Visually it is sometimes amazing, but it is a large troll step down from the last trilogy.
-Mark R. Leeper, Mark Leeper’s Reviews
Not all the scenes are necessary, and a great deal of the movie is set-up, with Jackson reveling in his own return to Middle Earth. But it’s an enjoyable experience.
Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
The Hobbit is really long. It feels great to return to Middle Earth with Peter Jackson, but this is overdoing it just a bit. Having fond memories of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I was initially a fan of stretching this book into 3 films. But after seeing the first one absolutely stuffed with backstory and unecessary tangents, I now think 2 films would have sufficed. Regardless, it’s an incredibly fun movie with some astounding visuals and great set pieces that brings back some of the joy I felt watching the previous entries.
The bulk of The Hobbit consists of a pattern of journey/battle/escape sequences as the team of dwarves ventures across Middle Earth. Although fun to watch, it starts to become repetitive. But the repetitive nature of these sequences make the showcase scene of the movie even better:
Jackson gives us a break from all this adventure at the perfect time. Riddles in the Dark is the best part of the film and features what should be award-winning motion capture work from Andy Serkis. Gollum once again is a complete visual masterpiece; his interactions with Bilbo are captivating and hilarious. Jackson does do great work with the large scale action sequences, but you can tell his true gift behind the camera with small character driven moments like this.
Oh, we like goblinses, batses, and fishes, but we hasn’t tried Hobbitses before. Is it soft? is It juicy?
Oh! We knows! We knows safe paths for hobbitses! Safe paths in the dark!… SHUT UP!
And if he loses? What then? Well if he loses precious then we eats it! If Baggins loses we eats it whole!
There are a billion characters in The Hobbit, most of which aren’t entirely fleshed out given this story only tells the first third of a children’s book. However, there are a few standouts. Martin Freeman does a great job portraying the character arc that Bilbo experiences throughout the journey. Richard Armitage has the perfect screen presence and command as dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield. The remainder of the dwarves were pretty unmemorable.
Bilbo: I know you doubt me. I know you always have. I often think of Bag End. That’s where I belong. That’s home. You don’t have one. It was taken from you, but I will help you get it back if I can.
Overall, The Hobbit is a visual feast and brings back some good old Middle Earth nostalgia from Jackson’s LOTR trilogy. It’s on the long side and can become repetitive, but it’s not enough to totally hinder your viewing pleasure. I can’t speak for the higher framerate version that was released in some theaters, but I would probably check it out because technology is cool.