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



Plan for Aboriginal cultural centre on Fishos site

The Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club fell into liquidation last month.

THE Aboriginal Land Council is planning a cultural centre

Immigration scam targeting Woolgoolga residents

police generic

POLICE are warning Woolgoolga residents to be aware of a phone scam

Free-to-air broadcast a boost for Rally Australia

SMALL SCREEN, BIG ACTION: This year's high octane action from the Kennards Hire Rally Australia in November will be seen on free-to-air television.

Coffs Coast's own Rally Australia to be televised on popular network

Latest deals and offers

Blac Chyna sued after car injured 2 women

Blac Chyna is being sued after her friend crashed into another car

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

Chris Hemsworth surprises kids at hospital as Thor

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston surprised children at hospital

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep