It’s ten long years (is it really, which is unbelievable) since the last Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King, hit the cinemas.When Lord of the Rings came out, we didn’t have any children and did stuff like go to the cinema to watch entertaining things. Roll on ten years and The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey is now out on Blu Ray and DVD, which is how we now consume our cinematic fare.
Why did it take so long? It was a mixture of licensing and script development really. Turning a book no longer than any of the volumes of Lord of the Rings into a trilogy has meant a lot has been added, some from appendices, some from the merest mention in passing- for example, Gandalf mentions Radagast the Brown, so we get a cut scene with him rescuing a hedgehog and tracking some naughty spiders down before getting confronted by a Nazgul or two. It interrupts our Dwarfish escapades to a degree that it shouldn’t.
It doesn’t really matter though. Although a lot of these sequences don’t fit in naturally with the flow of the story, they’re entertaining enough. The dwarf sequences with their chatter, funny repartee and general tomfoolery are very amusing and in many ways reminded a bit of the gang of dwarves from Time Bandits. But we do get to see the likes of Galadriel flouncing around in proper Elvish style, defining po-faced for a whole new generation.
If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings, you’ll notice a lot of nods towards it that weren’t necessarily there in the original text, which is nice. A special mention must go to Martin Freeman too, he does an excellent turn as Bilbo Baggins, bringing a warmth and humour to the series that was left to Merry and Pippin to provide in the supporting cast to the Lord of the Rings.
A fitting start then, we can’t wait for the second episode this winter. I’ll personally be fascinated to see what goes into the third too.