Alex Lynch Reviews: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY [Blu-Ray/Special Features]

Alex Lynch Reviews: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY [Blu-Ray/Special Features]

Even though it's a little on the late side, we have our review for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack release. Is the trip back to Middle-Earth a success or has Peter Jackson failed at bringing this adventure to life?

Growing up, I just couldn’t get into The Lord of the Rings mythology. I tried the books, I tried to movies and I tried the games. The only thing that actually really kicked with me was the video game Return of the King, which was spectacular in almost every way and I’m still playing it to this day. Even though I didn’t like the LOTR movies, I always looked up to Aragorn and Gandalf as iconic figures and great heroes despite not knowing too much about them. Someday I’m going to go through the Rings saga again because they really do have an incredible cast of characters, but I was more focused on action-packed Sci-Fi like Star Wars.

When The Hobbit was announced , I brushed it off and totally forgot it even existed until a trailer came out, and surely enough my feelings about the cast (Martin Freeman, specifically) gave me enough interest to check it out, and that was pretty much the only material of marketing I watched before seeing the movie. Later on, I viewed The Hobbit in IMAX 3D purely because of the Star Trek Into Darkness prologue (which was fantastic) and I was extremely, extremely pleased with the film. The Hobbit was absolutely beautiful in IMAX 3D, but is the adventure still as unexpectedly awesome on Blu-Ray?

The Hobbit is a thrilling tale with action, humor and wild, spectacular adventure. Peter Jackson takes all of his amazing knowledge on directing and applies it to The Hobbit, a film that captivates with its incredible cast of characters, effects and unbelievable locations. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes filled with an amazing ensemble cast of actors such as Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis all being highlights of the film. In addition to the cast, An Unexpected Journey touts a great, linear story with little plot holes or errors inspired by the original Hobbit novels. Even though An Unexpected Journey visuals aren’t necessary “realistic”, they are stunning to see in action and fit with the scope, or tone, of the film. If you combine all of these elements, you get one great film in The Hobbit.

The acting in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is absolutely superb thanks to a fantastic cast. In the film, it definitely feels like all the actors know their parts very well, especially that of veteran Lord Of The Rings actors like Ian McKellen, who’ve played their part before. Also, it doesn’t seem like there is any rust because of being away from Middle Earth for 10 years, and since this film is a prequel it’d be quite strange for any veteran to seem out of character. Next, new star Martin Freeman portrays a young, vibrant yet hesitant Bilbo Baggins very well, always keeping the spirit of the character intact no matter what the ol’ Hobbit goes through. Through Martin Freeman’s acting, we finally have an amazing and spirit-filled adaptation of a young Bilbo Baggins, which had only been seen through animation and video games before. All of the cast, including some of the supporting actors (Sylvester McCoy, Christopher Lee, etc.) bring their A-Game to the table to please Peter Jackson and make sure the return to Middle-Earth is worth the trip.

In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo Baggins joins a crew of Dwarves to help take back their land that was destroyed by the evil dragon, Smaug, who we’ll see in full during The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. The story of The Hobbit is very simple and family-friendly, not to mention the ties to Lord Of The Rings give it some great leverage. Many fans of Lord Of The Rings material will remember quite a few characters and enjoy revisiting plenty of these characters and locations once again. However, if you weren’t a fan of Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit boasts a great villain in The Pale Orc and develops each and every one of its main characters in a fairly large way. Also, with its great character development, being new to The Hobbit mythology will not be a problem at all due to intense flashbacks accompanied by atmospheric narration. In addition to the development, many of these flashbacks help establish the film’s villain, the Pale Orc. Not only is he greatly designed, but The Pale Orc’s background also ties into one of the main dwarves, making the film’s subplot extremely interesting. There, are, however some segments of the story that seem to go on longer than they should, however these do not take away the film’s overall quality but rather make the pacing seem unsteady. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey boasts a thrilling, charming storyline with spectacular effects such as the Stone Giant fight and the final scene with The Pale Orc.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a must see for not only Lord Of The Rings fans, but also casual movie viewers who like to show something to their family. The Blu-Ray looks, and sounds, absolutely stunning and is the ONLY right format to see this movie in. Recommended.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey special features showcase some really great production videos and bonus trailers. For example, the featurette showcasing how beautiful New Zealand is will probably make you appreciate the hard work the cast and crew have done and also blow your mind on how beautiful certain parts of the Earth really are. The cast and crew all appreciate New Zealand and I don’t blame them because it’s such a beautiful place. In addition to that featurette, all the production blogs from the marketing of the film are included in the Blu-Ray, and they give you a giant amount of content. Each blog spans about 10 minutes long, giving you about 2 hours of content on the production of The Hobbit. They feature cast interviews, crew interviews and a giant block of behind the scenes footage that truly picks Peter Jackson’s brain and are definitely worth watching. Overall, the add-on content for The Hobbit is in small variety but the quality certainly overcomes the quantity.

5 out of 5 stars

Posted By:
Alex Lynch
Member Since 7/26/2011
Filed Under "Fantasy" 4/2/2013
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LEEE777 - 4/2/2013, 10:50 AM
It was no LOTR's!

Oh wait... it kinda was lol.

You know what I mean :P
ralfinader - 4/2/2013, 10:57 AM
Best middle earth movie to date.
ComicFan1134 - 4/2/2013, 10:58 AM
Pretty Damn Good Movie....To Start The Trilogy!
SimyJo - 4/2/2013, 10:59 AM
It was always going to be a quality production....

but I just cannot muster any enthusiasm for this new trilogy after the effort expended taking in all of the extended-edition trilogy, - I'm just thoroughly precioussss'd out.
HellsHammer - 4/2/2013, 11:01 AM
Great movie
PsyGuy - 4/2/2013, 11:07 AM
I still want some kind of 48fps home release!
exe - 4/2/2013, 11:08 AM
Great flick. LOTR still trumps it.
LoudNoises - 4/2/2013, 11:52 AM
The first time I watched this movie I thought it didn't play all that well. It felt like the pacing was off and certain scenes dragged on too long. But upon a second and third viewing it seemed to come together much better.

But is it just me or did the part where the Witch King comes out of nowhere and attacks Radagast really not work? It just looked awful to me. Not in terms of the special effects but it just seemed like it was unnecessary. It was just one of those moments that sticks out in the movie that should have ended up on the cutting room floor. It removed all the tension from the scene by revealing a character like that who played such a scary, memorable part in LOTRs with out any build up. The whole scene would have worked better if we never saw the Witch King at all and they just prelude to the fact that he is there with Radagast finding his sword and perhaps hearing one of those shrieking Wraith noises. But it's a minor quibble in an otherwise good movie.
jerryblake - 4/2/2013, 11:56 AM
watched it the other day. Nothing special. Basically "one big special effects orgy" nothing more.
All they where doing was basically walking from point a to b to c and fighting everything that wanted to eat them.
For three [frick]ing hours.

+ Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin, Sauron, Gollum, Galadriel, Elrond and some of the dwarves.
+ Dwarfs Kingdom, Bilbo house scene, Gollum Riddles.
+ the Rivendell visit was a nice touch.
+ Orcs underground
+ the beggining

- Bay likes to blow shit up.
Jackson likes to blow shit up CGI style.
(this guy is obsessed with effects)
- the ending - last fight (on the trees) should be cut out entirely
- CGI of the Worgs was the worst CGI i have ever seen
jerryblake - 4/2/2013, 11:59 AM
Anyway it's like 4 to 5/10 in my book. Still better than ROTK.
GrayMatter - 4/2/2013, 12:01 PM
Not trying to be an ass, but I really wish you'd spent more time reviewing the quality/content on the Blu-Ray. I mean, the vast majority of us have already seen the movie, so we don't need another review of it.

How did it look? How was the contrast the contrast? Did it have any weird tinting issues like the early FOTR releases had? How was the sound? Do you think the special features are worth buying it now? Or should we wait for the inevitable special/extended edition/trilogy box set? Simply saying: "There's about two hours of extra content" just doesn't cut it.

Stuff like that would have been a much more useful review of the Blu-Ray, instead of just rehashing a movie that everyone's already seen.
jerryblake - 4/2/2013, 12:11 PM
you so not watched this movie, didn't you ?
jerryblake - 4/2/2013, 12:47 PM
well then ... you got yourself a punishment now ...
First the Hobbit, then the Trilogy :)
jerryblake - 4/2/2013, 12:48 PM
TheHitchhikingGhost - 4/2/2013, 12:48 PM
@GrayMatter -- Without getting too long-winded, the Blu-ray picture/sound is impeccable. It is superior to the LOTR transfers for obvious reasons (being the original trilogy was filmed more than a decade ago), and the sound is perfect.

The extras are few and mostly comprised of the online video blogs and a lot of TV trailers that are all fairly identical, so I would hold-out for the Extended Version.

All in all, a hugely entertaining companion to a superior LOTR trilogy. I can't wait for the next two.
TheHitchhikingGhost - 4/2/2013, 12:51 PM
...and what epic fantasy/journey film isn't about a cast of characters trekking over a far distance and getting into adventures/fights along the way? I'm no Jackson apologist and I've never read Tolkien's books, but some of the criticism I saw for The Hobbit (sans the 48fps issue) seemed like a reach, and seemed critical of stuff everyone gave a pass to on the original trilogy.
gaikinger - 4/2/2013, 1:10 PM
i rented the bluray but will buy the special edition
DravinClaw - 4/2/2013, 1:53 PM
so how were the special features on the blu forgot to mention thoose
marvel72 - 4/2/2013, 2:57 PM
i enjoyed it not as good as the lord of the rings trilogy but still a good f*ckin movie.
foxfan - 4/2/2013, 3:10 PM
"Growing up," you tried the movies, books, and games? How old are you, 14? lol

Totally kidding, thanks for the review. As a serious Tolkien fan, I'm glad you found The Hobbit enjoyable. I definitely agree that the acting is superb.
foxfan - 4/2/2013, 3:11 PM
Oh and it's one of only about 7 or 8 movies I give 10/10 to on IMDB, meaning I kind of like it :D
GrayMatter - 4/2/2013, 3:34 PM
@ggoblin31 - Awesome. That's pretty much all I could ask for. Thanks!
And I agree completely with your second post too. I don't think some people even know what an adventure movie is.

I'm a serious Tolkien fan, and I quite enjoyed the movie (except for the 48fps. That was absolute crap), but it wasn't perfect. It had some pacing issues, notably everything with Radagast. But I think that's just a result of turning one novel into 3 movies. Some things will just be out of place in one movie, and won't pay off until later.
Brady1138 - 4/2/2013, 9:49 PM
Loved the movie, but...

When you said you couldn't get into LOTR books and movies, but still play the VIDEO GAME?! Yeah, you lost all credibility.
MrChuff - 4/3/2013, 3:55 AM
How about an actual REVIEW of the DISC rather than wasting a page with a load of crap that could be summed up with "I liked it"?
comicb00kguy - 4/3/2013, 10:34 AM
I still haven't seen answers to my questions for the first part of The Hobbit:
1) when is the extended version coming out? I have heard that they're doing an extended version of this movie, just as they did with the LOTR films. I'm willing to wait for that rather than buy the movie twice.
2) Are they going to release the 48fps version of this film? I absolutely loved that version and would love to own it.

SauronsBANE - 4/3/2013, 11:24 AM
Ok if your only exposure to the LOTR world (movies and books) was the ROTK video game (which I agree was pretty great lol), well you basically lost any and all credibility in that very first paragraph. I'm begging you, read the books, watch Jackson's LOTR movies, and you'll see how bad this Hobbit movie really was. Bad CGI, terrible pacing, ridiculous side plots and characters (Radaghast, Azog, etc), unnecessary and stupid changes from the book...this movie doesn't even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as the original LOTR trilogy. Jackson has reallyyy lost his touch. Seeing this mess of a movie makes me wonder how he possibly made the LOTR trilogy as good as it was

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