The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first film in a three-part fantasy trilogy, based on the novel “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. This trilogy works as a prequel to the classic The Lord of the Rings film, taking place many years before it.
How to Stream or Download The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey can be streamed or it can be downloaded from iTunes. You should also look out for the second and the third part of the trilogy. To start streaming or downloading, click on the button below the review.
The Movie Review
The story focuses on a young Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a quiet half-man who lives in the Hobbit home of The Shire. One day, the masterful wizard Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) approaches Bilbo with the promise of adventure. Alongside a dozen dwarves led by the dwarf prince Thorin (Richard Armitage), Gandalf wishes to enlist Bilbo on a quest to reclaim a lost dwarven fortress.
Once a stronghold of wealth and power, the dwarven building Erebor on The Lonely Mountain now stands vacant, save for a powerful dragon named Smaug. Despite his comfortable home life as a hobbit, Bilbo takes up arms and sets out on a wildly fantastical journey.
For fans of The Lord of the Rings film franchise and more, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does a decent job expanding the lore. It’s nice to see familiar faces, and the callbacks are aplenty. Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of an unfocused story. Like the first Lord of the Rings film, An Unexpected Journey is a slow start to this three-part narrative.
The main plot of Bilbo and the dwarves’ journey to Erebor gets lost in the shuffle, especially considering the length of the movie. There’s a lot of fun world-building in An Unexpected Journey, but the main story isn’t terribly compelling.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does manage to impress with its expensive visuals, despite some awkward looking CGI. Unlike the classic Lord of the Rings trilogy, a great deal of the action and setting is done with computer-generated graphics.
The original Lord of the Rings trilogy was renowned for its great use of practical effects, so this major shift to CGI can be a bit jarring. For the most part, it works out; action scenes are still intense and the colors and bright and vivid. Occasionally, things can look a bit manufactured and plastic, but it’s never truly at odds with the fantasy nature of the film.
There as an abundance of beautiful nature scenes and the cinematography always captures the atmosphere nicely. Thanks to that, trolls, giant spiders, and all other assortment of beasts remain intimidating, regardless of their visual quality.
Overall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a fun albeit a less compelling return to the fantasy realm of Middle Earth. It’s a great joy to see some fan favorite characters back on the big screen, and it’s even more fun to discover new things about the world they inhabit. Unfortunately, heavy use of CGI and some odd pacing makes An Unexpected Journey occasionally awkward to watch and long in the tooth.
Despite this, there are still great performances from the cast, the start of some interesting mysteries, and plenty of fun action scenes. It might not have the staying power of the original Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring, but it matches it in both scope and style.
- An epic return to Middle Earth that's great for fans
- Awesome action scenes and some really cool creature designs
- Fan favorite characters make tons of cameos
- Too much CGI makes the movie look plastic at times
- The main narrative isn't very compelling
- Lack of focus results in an unbalanced story