Entertainment

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie review

Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins.
Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins. Warner Bros.

DWARVES are front and centre in Peter Jackson's new Hobbit epic An Unexpected Journey.  

While the first instalment of the trilogy centres on the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, older cousin of Lord of the Rings character Frodo, it is the baker's dozen of rowdy dwarves who steal the spotlight.  

No longer are the pint-sized warriors relegated to the role of sidekick as in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  

The dwarves, with their elaborately braided beards, are the heroes, battling against all odds to reclaim their kingdom Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.  

Director Peter Jackson honours the lighter, more child-friendly tone of Tolkien's book by opening the film with a humorous introduction to the company of dwarves.  

Bilbo, who has unknowingly been chosen for the quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain by Gandalf the Grey, finds his home taken over by a "dwarf frat party".  

Despite his reservations about adventures, which he describes as "nasty things that make you late for dinner", Bilbo eventually joins the team on their quest.  

So why bring a sheltered, home-loving hobbit on a dangerous mission?  

As Gandalf says, "It's the small deeds of ordinary folk that keep the evils at bay".  

Just as there is only one hobbit for this adventure, there was only one actor in, Jackson's opinion, who could play Bilbo - Martin Freeman.  

To accommodate Freeman's filming commitments for the TV series Sherlock, Jackson scheduled a six-week break in The Hobbit's 18-month shoot to secure the actor.  

"It's not the sort of thing you normally do on a film, but I'm incredibly pleased we did it," Jackson said.  

"It's the best thing that ever happened."  

Elijah Wood, who played central hobbit Frodo in Lord of the Rings, has also praised Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo.   "He's the heart of the movie," Wood said on the red carpet at the film's world premiere in Wellington.  

There's plenty of Orc slaying, but An Unexpected Journey is more about establishing the characters and relationships that will span the trilogy and whetting appetites for what is sure to be plenty of sword-wielding action in the second instalment, The Desolation of Smaug.  

The Hobbit is the first feature film to be shot at 48 frames per second, twice the industry standard of 24 frames per second.  

The majority of cinema-goers will see the film at the standard rate though, with only 1000 of the 25,000 screens showing The Hobbit equipped for the doubled frame rate.  

The faster frame rate definitely helps to smooth the movements in the action sequences, particularly the lengthy fight scene in the depths of the goblin tunnels.  

Speaking of goblins, Aussie Barry Humphries makes a cameo as the voice of the Great Goblin.  

It was the actor's first introduction to WETA Digital's performance capture technology, which was also used in James Cameron's Avatar.  

"I always thought motion capture was something you did when you were taking a specimen to the doctor," he joked at the press conference a few hours before the world premiere.  

Reprising their roles from the Lord of the Rings trilogy are Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Ian Holm, as Old Bilbo, Christopher Lee and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  

Serkis also makes his debut as second unit director in The Hobbit trilogy.  

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened on Boxing Day - for a review of the day, click here.

Topics:  movie review, the hobbit: an unexpected journey



Boardwalk fix a step closer to completion

ALMOST THERE: Coffs Harbour International Marina manager Elise Currey is hopeful the boardwalk to Muttonbird Island will finish in time for the Christmas holidays.

After months of delays a finish date for the marina boardwalk nears

Major congestion on Pacific Hwy marks start to holidays

Heavy traffic marks the start of school holidays

Coffs population to grow 30% by 2036

POPULATION GROWTH: It is forecast the Coffs Harbour population will grow by more than 30% by 2036.

Coffs Harbour population to grow by almost a third

Local Partners

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

Coffs region is hot property

The region’s housing market is looking up, with projects on the radar in Tannum Sands and Boyne Island.

Units and houses are both pulling strong returns for Coffs

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.