‘The Hobbit’ doesn’t disappoint

Joey Crown, Roar Film Critic

When it was announced Peter Jackson was returning to Middle Earth the giddy fanboy in me exploded with joy. Ever since the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy ended, I feel like there has been a part of me missing, and “The Hobbit” is attempting to fill that void. Fortunately for Tolkien fans, “The Hobbit” lives up to expectations, but do not go into this movie expecting another “Lord of the Rings.” The comparisons between the two series are unavoidable, and while some the characters will be the ones from the trilogy, remember “The Hobbit” is a completely new start to a trilogy, and thus it needs to be treated on it’s own merit. You have to ignore the filmmaker’s previous trilogy if you want to get the most out of the first installment in Jackson’s new one.

Even if you go in expecting “The Lord of the Rings,” you shouldn’t be disappointed. The incredible battles, interesting and creative characters, the breathtaking visuals and landscapes and atmosphere of Middle earth are still there, just not all in one piece. The way “The Hobbit” differs from the previous trilogy is through structure, rather than three books being made into three movies, it’s one book being made into three movies. Each of the “Lord of the Rings” books stands wonderfully on its own which is why each film works so well, as there is a beginning middle and end to match each of the books.

Because “The Hobbit” is working from one book — and with Jackson making it you can expect each movie to be three hours long — viewers can expect some of the scenes to be drawn out for as long as possible. This film can be slow paced at times, the first act in particular when protagonist Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman, is introduced to the group of dwarves he will travel with. They make a huge mess of his house and are a giant nuisance to him, you get the point very quickly. The scene goes on and on and feels like it was being used as filler to make the playtime longer.

Other than that, I had absolutely no issues with this film. Anyone who read and loved the story will love this movie too. It’s a really fun adventure, all of the characters are wacky and each dwarf is so instantly recognizable and has a distinct personality even if you don’t remember any of their names. Sir Ian McKellen returns to his role as Gandalf, and any fans of the original trilogy will be happy to hear he is still the lovable old wizard he’s always been. Bilbo himself is also fantastically well done, and his character matures a lot just through the first film.

The bottom line is that I loved this movie, and even though it seems slow in the beginning, it’s just so awesome to see Middle Earth again. This is only the first film in a trilogy, so don’t go in expecting a concrete ending right off the bat, and being the first movie I felt it set things up perfectly for the next two. I’m looking forward to the next films in this franchise and can’t wait to see how this story will develop, even if it’s at a Hobbit’s pace.