By Raya Brashear-Evans
It was no surprise that “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was a huge success during its opening weekend. It racked up $84.8 million and broke the December box office record.
This first installment of Peter Jackson’s new Middle Earth trilogy follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins during his pre-“Lord of the Rings” expeditions.
Bilbo has forgotten his thirst for adventure and now prefers a quieter, more simple life sitting by the fire, admiring the beauty of his mother’s antique dishes and basking in the beauty of the Shire.
He is soon sought out by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, who believes him to be the 14th member of the company of Thorin Oakenshield. Played by Richard Armitage, Thorin is heir to the throne of Erebor.
When the movie opens, he and his band of dwarves have been exiled from their homeland by a fire-breathing dragon and are trying to reclaim their home from the beast.
The company faces a multitude of challenges, including trolls, goblins, orcs, wargs and the iconic character Gollum.
It didn’t shock me that there were numerous similarities between “An Unexpected Journey” and “The Fellowship of the Ring,” such as battle sequences, the ragtag gang of misfits and the fact that the main character was an underdog.
However, the movie matched up almost perfectly with the original words of J.R.R. Tolkien, so superfans should be quite pleased with the content, although the addition of some extra scenes was not needed.
Jackson’s decision to shoot the movie in 48 frames per second seemed like a good way to make the film feel more real and immersive, but accomplished quite the opposite.
The human brain can only interpret reality from a span of 24-40 frames per second, so increasing the frame count to 48 diminishes the mystical fantasy world Jackson worked so hard to create.
“An Unexpected Journey” contains the same ingredients that made the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy so successful — relatable characters, awe-inspiring scenery and exciting battles.
It’s definitely a must-see movie that can be enjoyed by an audience of all ages. If the next two movies are as exciting as “An Unexpected Journey,” Jackson will have given Tolkien a great honor.