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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey


Year: 2012 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Peter Jackson 
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage  
An image from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

In 2001 Peter Jackson brought Tolkien’s Middle Earth vividly to life with his acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in 2012 he is taking us back to where it all began. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the eponymous hobbit and most unlikely of heroes, as he is swept out of his gentle idyllic life into the conspiracy of a reprobate band of dwarves (Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, James Nesbitt et al.) and one well known wizard (Ian McKellan), questing to reclaim their homeland, Erebor, from the dread wyrm Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch, performance capture).

From the beauties of the valley of Rivendell and the Last Homely House, to the eerie peak of The Lonely Mountain, the band have run-ins with elves, trolls and goblin kings as well as finding treasures and many other troubles besides. The Hobbit is a tale that no childhood can be complete without, finally brought to the screen in three acts (this being the first) by the one man whom Tolkien fans trust implicitly.

After the onslaught of Rings it is refreshing to see that the new series is able to capture the much lighter, and sometimes even whimsical, tonality of the book; a fairy-tale adventure, rather than that of a grandiose solemn undertaking. Further, it says something of the brilliance of Jackson that he has managed to give each of the dwarves a unique character and history – something that due to their prominence, if not handled deftly, could otherwise have been a death knell to the series.

The decision to adapt the book into a trilogy was purely a creative one (it was not until late into filming that the call was made to upgrade from two films). While the book may only be short, it is fast paced and content heavy; The Hobbit film trilogy will follow this story arc as the main thrust, whilst also having the relevant story from the Appendixes of The Lord of the Rings added to expand on the story (ever wonder where Gandalf goes off to?), this includes such things as the meeting of the White Council and the downfall of the Necromancer of Dol Guldur.

As to exactly where An Unexpected Journey ends… you’ll have to wait and see. Though it should be said that, much like Rings, the film’s story arc is both self-contained as well as being part of the greater whole.

With such a stunning cast of new characters; as well as some old favourites and cameos, this deeper exploration of the lands, peoples and history of Middle Earth cannot be idly missed. So sit back, take a pinch of some pipe weed, and let Tolkien take you on another adventure.

Timothy Green

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Screenings of this film:

2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)
2012/2013 Spring Term (35mm)