Posted 19 December 2012 - 08:37
Kind of surprised that I'm the first person to post this thread?
I had fairly moderate expectations for the film. Whilst not a huge fan of the source books (I've read them all once, years ago) I did enjoy Lord of the Rings purely for the scale of the films and how ambitious they were - and of course how well executed they were.
I was less positive about The Hobbit because of reading some negative reviews, and also because I felt with such a small book, I couldn't understand why the film was being turned into three movies when two would probably have been ample. I also felt concerned reading various op-ed pieces about this whole 48fps thing, and was doubtful that Martin Freeman would work in the lead role as Bilbo Baggins.
So I went into the film (IMAX 3D presentation) with modest expectations. However I'm pleased to say they quickly all fell aside as the movie began to get going. Firstly I have to say something about both the utterly magical visual effects, and the cinematography of the film. They are utterly spectacular. The massive vistas (both real and computer generated) are fantastic, and the way in which the visual effects are combined together in battle scenes and so forth are simply breathtaking. Even if you hate fantasy films, you couldn't fail to be impressed by how this film looks.
I found the story ambled along at a pretty respectable pace taking time to explain things well for the generally clueless folks, and helping set things up. It never really felt like it dragged and, as a rarity for me, I didn't really check my watch at any point to see how long the film had been going - it engrossed me sufficiently.
There was a boat-load of action, with some really good / gripping scenes. I'd say at this point there were quite a few scenario's which even for a fantasy film were a bit far fetched (a scene with the heroes riding a collapsed bridge to the bottom of a chasm.. without it disintegrating into a thousand pieces was a bit of a stretch for me!) but overall there was plenty of hacking and slashing, and magic, and cool things going on.
The cast seemed pretty spot on really. They all worked, you did eventually get to know / remember all of the dwarves, and I think Martin Freeman took the role of Bilbo really well...
So all in all - I walked out of the cinema very surprised and very pleased. I thought the film was excellent - some good comedy, some real darkness and dark imagery, and a great adventure backed up stunning visuals. Kudos to Peter Jackson.