Bottom Line: Easily the most beautiful looking movie about hairy-footed short people walking I’ve ever seen! This look back at Middle Earth and the events that ultimately lead to the far superior LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY makes for a mostly engaging and sporadically exciting time at the movies. Director Peter Jackson delivers most of his trademark goods from the world of J.R.R. Tolkien: exceptional acting, epic battles, stunning visuals and creatively gnarly creatures – but because this is the first movie of three (all based off one book; The Lord of the Rings trilogy was based off three books) much of its adventurous spirit is squandered in needless storylines, extended scenes and a general milling about by many of its characters. A little too much fat on an otherwise delicious cinematic steak. Also important to note is the use of 48 frames per second in filming – most everything you’ve seen on the big screen has been 24 frames per second... It’s an impressive technology that makes everything pop – it’s sharper, clearer, more vivid – but much of this beautifully envisioned flick ends up looking so real that it appears digitally fake. A Hobbit's handful of missteps aside, it still remains a fairly rousing epic adventure that'll have excited moviegoers going there…and back again.
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, Graham McTavish, ken Stott, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm and Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Peter Jackson (THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY and KING KONG)
Running time: 169 minutes
Story: The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know. (Warner Bros)