Professional acting overrides underdeveloped plot in ‘The Hobbit’

Professional acting overrides underdeveloped plot in 'The Hobbit'

Brianna Glase, Online Chief

Take a journey to Middle Earth and find an unexpected surprise in the movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” a prequel to “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, both of which are directed by Peter Jackson.  Jackson proves to be a master of continuity for die-hard “Lord of the Rings” fans, while crafting an enjoyable movie for Middle Earth newcomers.

Based off of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” “An Unexpected Journey” is the first of the three part film series that will chronicle the novel and details from other writings of Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the hobbit, lived a peaceful life in the farmland of the Shire until Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellan), a wizard known for his amazing firecrackers, chose him to be the fourteenth companion of a quest.  The company of 13 dwarves that Bilbo joined were on a journey to reclaim the Lonely Mountain they once called home from the terrible dragon, Smaug.

Over the years, the dwarves and their leader, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), had made many enemies.  The majority of this first film installment provided an exposition of these enemies and the defeat of a few of them, while still leaving enemies that will clearly become antagonists in the next few movies.

The biggest problem with the movie is its lack of plot.  The majority of “An Unexpected Journey” provided exposition of the beginning of the company’s journey without really getting to the meat of the plot.  The storyline gave background information which, though important to the tale as a whole, just felt like a set up for the next film.

However, the beautiful scenery, the superb acting, and the suspenseful scenes that were included made up for the absent plotline.  Filmed in New Zealand, Tolkien would surely be proud of the gorgeous landscapes that have become known as his Middle Earth.

Freeman perfectly portrayed a naïve but content hobbit thrust into an unexpected adventure with a group of strangers.  In addition, McKellan, already familiar with the role of Gandalf, performed like a pro.  Due to the fact that there were 13 dwarves, not all of the actors were able to shine through and portray different personalities.  Out of all of them, Armitage stood out as majestic and regal, as the leader of a company should be.

Though there was a dearth of plot, there was no shortage of intense scenes to keep moviegoers engaged, whether they were anecdotes from the past told by Balin, the eldest dwarf, or tense battles of wit that Bilbo falls into.

Whether you are acquainted with Middle Earth and want to see familiar faces like Frodo and Gollum, or you have no idea who J.R.R. Tolkien is, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is a great movie that successfully begins a tale of a hobbit who gives up house and home to help a group of dwarves reclaim theirs.

Brianna Glase is the Online Chief for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.