The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

7.82 h 49 min2012X-RayPG-13
The adventure follows Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim Erebor with the help of Gandalf the Grey and 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield.
Peter Jackson
Sir Ian McKellenMartin FreemanRichard Armitage
Science FictionDramaKidsFantasyAdventureAction
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
James NesbittKen StottSylvester McCoyBarry HumphriesCate BlanchettIan HolmChristopher LeeHugo WeavingElijah WoodAndy SerkisAidan TurnerDean O'GormanGraham McTavishAdam BrownPeter HambletonJohn CallenMark HadlowJed BrophyWilliam KircherStephen Hunter
Peter JacksonFran WalshCarolynne CunninghamZane Weiner
New Line
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Violencefoul language
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4.8 out of 5 stars

37496 global ratings

  1. 88% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Miranda GoodReviewed in the United States on July 13, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Hard to watch knowing what I know
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I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out I had seen the LOTR trilogy. My impression then was that Peter Jackson had kind of gotten stuck in a groove and was reluctant to let it go. Since that time, I have learned of some disturbing information which makes any further rewatching of the Hobbit impossible for me, namely, the reports of animal cruelty which occurred during filming. As I understand it 27 animals died during the shoot. So much for the "no animals were harmed" disclaimer. One pony broke its back and was not found until the following day when it was blessedly dispatched. Another horse drowned and was found with its face in the river. Due to overcrowding in the horse pens, several horses were lacerated on sharp wire resulting in torn flesh and exposed muscles. Chickens were mauled by unsupervised dogs. Mr. Jackson was advised of these occurrences but denied them and did nothing. I guess fancy special effects had become more important than care of the animals who made him so much money. I am sure that not everyone would decline to watch a movie due to unpleasant events behind the scenes, but all I could think about was animal suffering. JMO
37 people found this helpful
RedthistleknitReviewed in the United States on July 5, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
They ruined everything you liked from the book
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They messed up the storyline, and tried to make everything cuter. It was a fail. Fantastic cast and production values, but I failed to be pulled into the story. They added dialogue and exposition where none was needed, turning into a Disneyfied version of a terrific story. I was sorely disappointed I couldn’t get my money back after 30 minutes of drivel.
36 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 28, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Bilbo is enticed to go on an adventure
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This was Peter Jackson’s second deep dive into the work of J.R.R. Tolkien dealing with his first major book The Hobbit. Like Jackson’s first foray into the author he had to go all out and turned the story into a trilogy. The first in the series gets its title from the fact that Gandalf recruits Bilbo Baggins a hobbit to help a group of Dwarves reclaim their home from a giant dragon named Smaug. Bilbo had no interest at first, but Gandalf knew that Bilbo was an explorer at heart and the idea of going on an adventure would be too much to turn down.

An adventure is really what this film is all about. Bilbo meets three trolls that are food connoisseurs, a crazy wizard who eats too many mushrooms, elves, of course Gollum, and more.

The film also features The Necromancer who would become Sauron in the Lord of the Rings.

My one main complaint is that the Orc lord Azog looked really bad. He was done with CGI but it just didn’t work. Gollum and others used affects but Azog just failed artistically. More importantly why didn’t they use an actor with make up? That’s what made the Orcs look so good in the Lord of the Rings. That’s really a minor point in what is an otherwise great film by Jackson.
4 people found this helpful
Jonathan HansenReviewed in the United States on December 25, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Can't get enough Middle Earth? Start Here
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Here begins the tale of the finding of the one ring of power. Blah, blah, blah... Some, it seems are a bit challenged with the idea of lengthening a film feature that has already expanded a single book into three feature length films.

To begin with, Peter Jackson's movies are not J.R.R. Tolkien's books. Telling the stories on film involves a great deal more than simply looking gorgeous. Now that all three Hobbit movies are released, it's appropriate I believe, to reflect on how the most altered element of all was converting over the narrator's P.O.V. (point of view). The narrator of the book is the Hobbit himself. But the movie presumes to display the events which generated the narrative. By the time the last movie rolls out, Bilbo's narrative conversation with himself doesn't exist any longer. The illustrations are completed. But that doesn't mean Tolkien's word crafting has been discarded.

It was the Hobbit who became "fed up with dwarves" after they reclaimed Erebor -- The Lonely Mountain, in the book. Likewise, the hoarding instinct evinced by Thorin when their home is reclaimed was exactly what motivated Bilbo's narrative ire and desertion to the elven camp with the Arkenstone.

Again, with the movies, it's Gandalf (during the Unexpected Journey) cursing the pride of dwarves/their downfall, as he stomps out of the camp of the ruined farmer's house. On maps and in the calendars that site later became known as the Trollshaws. Understandably, it's the previously developed movie character Gandalf from LOTR movies who now must script for us a tid-bit at a time, Jackson's character sketch of Durin's folk.

Dwarvish character profiles of the novel were un-polished, with but marginal history that Tolkien hadn't yet developed. It was Bilbo who grew unsympathetic with them in the end, with their appalling disdain for the suffering of Laketown at the fire and claw of the dragon's wrath awakened by the dwarves. The movies alternatively have generated a company of other characters to narrate the dwarvish background, and dischord with elves that went un-elaborated with the book.

Unexpected Journey presents us with the principle hurdle the screen writers must overcome. They're tasked with a rather bleak assessment, delivered in deadpan sarcasm by the Goblin King, as Thorin and his captured company are introduced: "But wait", he says to Thorin "you don't have a mountain", and "you're not a king, which makes you NOBODY really." (Enter the conspiracy of the "defiling-days" of Azog, the pale Orc). Now Peter Jackson can show us that Thorin and company can still fight for something. Now they have motivation. Pretty much from the moment in Imladris, when the White Council gathers, these dwarves have stopped being Tolkien's original literary creatures and have begun to develop into the maturity of his later developed history of Durin's folk.

This extended edition both introduces Silmaril-like "jewels of pure star-light", as the bone of contention between dwarves and elves of the dark days, but also plays this out as narrative commentary with Bilbo Baggain's dis-embodied voice commenting on how sad it is when alliances fall and friendships break under the spell of avarice. To some, it won't matter how much more mature a Hobbit story has evolved. But to others, we are refreshed through having spent time with the skillful story teller.
48 people found this helpful
Jonathon TurnerReviewed in the United States on December 19, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Well executed and good fun overall, but also quite long. Best when it follows the story.
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More than seventy years ago, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a story called "The Hobbit", in which the title character somehow gets mixed up with a bunch of dwarves to reclaim missing treasure. The success and acclaim of this book led to the highly acclaimed "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which years later was transformed into one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time by Peter Jackson. It was perhaps inevitable that one day Jackson would return to this territory to tackle the trials of Bilbo Baggins, but because this movie follows on the heels of a towering achievement like the LORD OF THE RINGS films, comparisons are bound to be inevitable.

Adding to the burden of the brunt is the controversial decision to extend THE HOBBIT into a trilogy. That approach worked ideally well for Jackson's THE LORD OF THE RINGS, but because THE HOBBIT is a considerably shorter book (more like one third of the trilogy), it doesn't really merit the decision for three two-and-a-half hour movies. A more ideal approach would have been to film the book as a two-part series, not a trilogy. On a technical level there's nothing majorly wrong with Jackson's direction; the casting and performances are both excellent, the cinematography breathtaking as always, and the visual effects, for the most part, are as impressive as ever. The problem is that the movies are just too unnecessarily long.

In fact, it takes a whopping 45 minutes to get Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) out of his cozy home in Hobbiton to go out on his fateful quest with the eponymous wizard Gandalf (Ian MacKellen), as well as a pack of dwarves led by a brooding fellow named Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage). En route, we first see a lengthy, ten-minute prologue in which the old Bilbo (played with a wavering sincerity by Ian Holm) begins writing his book about his adventures, starting with the downfall of the Dwarven city of Erebor. The subsequent half hour is basically the first chapter, in which Bilbo's quiet humble life is turned upside down when the dwarves intrude into his household and take over his pantry in no time. The nature of this scene is also noticeably more lighthearted than even the prologue of the first RINGS film, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. In all fairness, the tone of Tolkien's HOBBIT is more of a children's story and what's on the screen is more or less true to the original, but it also requires a subjective approach. Fans familiar with the book will get the gist of it and more or less be fine, but for more antsy audience members, it does require patience to sit through this scene.

Extending scenes like this aren't the only aesthetic choices that Jackson chooses to approach when tackling the story to screen. Sometimes he ends up culling information from the footnotes of Tolkien's fantasy, even borrowing bits of THE SIMILARION for good measure. For instance, we meet the wizard Radagast, an eccentric fellow who cares for animals and goes around riding on a massive "rabbit" sleigh. There is also a shady backstory involving a conflict between Thorin against a nasty-looking orc named Azgog (a mostly computer-animated villain with a vicious grin and a prosthetic arm). Finally we get a surprisingly long scene at the Elven city of Rivendell in which Gandalf converses with his colleague, the ill-fated sorcerer Saruman (Christopher Lee) about the potential return of Sauron. This is obviously meant to tie THE HOBBIT into THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, which is understandable because this is, after all, a prequel, but again, whether one is willing to sit through such slow scenes depends on the nature.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY really comes to life during the bits when it actually sticks to the story. The sequence where Bilbo and company are captured by giant trolls does justice to the book. In the second half, we get a scarifying roller-coaster style confrontation with two stone giants (a scene which nailed me to my seat) to a visit to the infamous Goblin City, ruled by a bloated fellow called the Goblin King. But the film's real highlight is the "Riddles in the Dark" sequence, a cunningly choreographed, thrilling confrontation in which Bilbo must outsmart the twisted Gollum (again brought to life by the remarkable motion capture and hoarse voice of Andy Serkis).

Despite the occasional lull in the story, though, I honestly wasn't necessarily bored at all by any of this; I have quite enjoyed Tolkien's stories and I could spend hour after hour in the fantasy world that Jackson still manages to fully realize on the screen, thanks to the luscious sets and aforementioned cinematography. And unlike George Lucas, who obviously was no great "actor's director" when it came to his weaker STAR WARS prequel trilogy, Jackson hasn't lost his ability to extol performances from his cast. Freeman was practically born to play Bilbo, embuing the character's neurotic reluctance with a charm that easily makes even the slowest parts of the film tolerable to sit through. Armitage mostly portrays Thorin as a grumpy, dour fellow who doubts his new charge, but he does so with hints of a tortured personality. Sylvestor McCoy is also quite good as the eccentric Radagast, and the dwarves are all well cast and fitting for their roles. And of course, it's gratifying to see McKellan, Lee, Serkis, and even Cate Blanchett (as Galadriel) reprise their roles.

On a more controversial move, Jackson chose to shoot this HOBBIT trilogy in High Frame Rate mode, in which the speed of the frames is increased from 24fps to 48fps. It's a bold, daring move, and in many ways it works quite well for this movie; Middle Earth looks spectacular and rich in its depth with the 3D format, but other times it gives the feel of a super-polished real-life documentary on TV rather than a film. Having said that, though, the film plays well either way so aside from the frame rate length.

Is this HOBBIT trilogy on par with the original LORD OF THE RINGS? No. But it's still well-made and executed with a style that only Jackson can do. In short, whether you decide that THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is for you depends on how much you are willing to overlook the eccentric decision to extend what is essentially a shorter story and embark on another adventure. Having said that, though, I still quite enjoyed the movie and if nothing else, it left me eager for the next chapter.
75 people found this helpful
Vorobyevite-Blue Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
Cute and decent for family.
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This movie could have been alot better in my opinion, but that's because I was expecting something a bit more epic thanks to the Lord of the rings trilogy. For whatever reason the graphics and animation was too cheesy and childish overall. But it's a good reminder that this story was intended for younger audiences, originally. It would have been better if the Moria was done better. The book had my heart racing. The spiders in the forest scene could have also been alot better (though not sure they even had it in this movie, now that I think about it). Must not have been memorable. This is great to watch with your kids but not so much if you want more seriousness. I genuinely hope Amazon can create a serious series comparable to something like game of thrones (from what I've seen) or Salem (very dark) for their "Lord of the rings".
5 people found this helpful
T. R. MathesonReviewed in the United States on August 14, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting But More Modern Entertainment Than True Tolkien
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First, I admit that I'm a fussy purist with these things. I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in high school about 45 years ago, and enjoyed them so much that I have read them again and again. After seeing LOTR I knew pretty much what to expect from The Hobbit, which was not to expect too much. More irrelevant unnecessary filler; dumb things that Tolkien would definitely detest, like Dwarves coming into a strangers home and using a piece of furniture to scrape mud off his boots(!), and then sitting down to eat and throwing food at each other; and the exaggerated chases and crudeness that seem to turn on the baser folk of today. Sad.

And then there are things which bother people who think and reason. Just one example: Beorn shows a shackle on his wrist and tells about his once being held captive. When he changes to a bear, what happens to that shackle? If it remained, the bear would be in serious pain and limping. Or does the shackle stretch and then shrink back again? Beorn looks pretty strong and clever with tools, so why doesn't he remove it? The Dwarves are especially famous for their cleverness with tools, forging, metalworking, etc. Why don't they offer to remove it? Gandalf is a wizard (supposedly, although many times throughout this movie you have to wonder...), so why doesn't he offer to remove it? Pure silliness that Hollywood folk don't think through when they add unneeded filler. Within the Tolkien world of fantasy -- in the books -- the stories and histories make sense, there are no conflicts or contradictions. The movies don't have that.

Enough of that. On the plus side, it is fun to see the characters all made up and on stage doing their bits. The parts that are true to the book are done very well. If you can turn off the need to be loyal to the book; turn off the thinking and reasoning part of your head and look at this as an entertainment based on Tolkien's works but finished up in the modern Hollywood way to please the computer gamers, you will probably enjoy it.
13 people found this helpful
johnwmgibsonReviewed in the United States on January 31, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
A good effort, but the characters are part of the scenery, not fully developed.
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Peter Jackson took pains to remain somewhat more faithful to the storyline than he was able to in LotR, however, he got too bogged down in the details and the characters became like parts of the scenery than driving the story. I've always enjoyed Martin Freeman's, from the first time I saw him in "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", as Watson in "Sherlock" and now as a "young" Iam Holmes, the actor who created our first view of Bilbo Baggins. He, fortunately, doesn't try to "play" a young Ian Holmes, but takes full control of the character as his own interpretation. I was well pleased with casting of the dwarves, but since there are so msny, none of them can stand out on their, except for Thorin. All in all, a fun trip, again, across the beautiful New Zeeland countryside, with good VFX to fill-in the world of Midfle Earth, but it still lacks in bringing out all the characters as they are, as I said, just part of the scenry. 4 out 5 for a good effort, but bit draggy in parts that should have left on the cutting room floor. Extended editions rarely live up to their hype.
3 people found this helpful
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