If there is one thing Peter Jackson does better than anyone else, it’s large scale cinema. After concurring the Lord of the Rings trilogy in impeccable fashion, Jackson shifted his gaze to an ambitious remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong. Now, his much anticipated journey through another of J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpieces, The Hobbit, is just beginning. The first chapter in his imaginative trilogy, Jackson picks up right where he left off in the Lord of the Rings. This kind, bold, and immense outing reaffirms Jackson’s ability to handle delicate literature with charisma and flare while still being able to extract the emotion and personality needed to completely capture the audience. Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a spectacle to behold.
A Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is smoking, off in thought when he is approached by a tall, intimidating figure. The cloaked man is revealed to be Gandalf the Grey (McKellen) who urges Mr. Baggins to partake in an adventure. Later, famished and about to sit for dinner, Bilbo is interrupted by the intrusion of a group of dwarves. Reluctantly willing to accompany the group on its journey to the lonely mountain. Bilbo is thrust into some new, exciting experiences while others are deathly and life altering. Continuing their quest, the group encounters all sorts of creatures, good and evil and begin to understand and trust one another.
Tapping into a familiar theme from the Lord of the Rings, Jackson very strongly states that no matter how small the detail or creature, the impact is still enormous. Not letting gigantic boxing mountains or the trembling inducing beauty of New Zealand overshadow the heart of the story, Jackson completes another outstanding return to Middle Earth. While most were surprised to hear that Martin Freeman would take the reigns of young Bilbo Baggins. I, after viewing Mr. Freeman countless times in the revamped Sherlock Holmes series alongside Benedict Cumberbatch (also appearing in the Hobbit trilogy), knew the role was in capable hands. What can I say? Freeman exudes the quaint, laziness lifestyle of Bilbo perfectly, as well as the quiet lust for adventure deep inside. Sir Ian McKellen returns to top form as Gandalf while Richard Armitage immerses himself along with the other dwarf cast into tough, unrecognizable brothers. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stacks up well against the Fellowship of the Ring as great introductory films into their respected trilogies.