An Expected Journey: Experiencing The Hobbit

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The first of three films based on an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Several actors from The Lord of the Rings will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood & Orlando Bloom. Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
May 11th, 2012

An Expected Journey: Experiencing The Hobbit

--"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is opening December 14, 2012. A prequel to the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy of films, it is one of the most anticipated films of 2012 and the first of two movies based on the novel "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien. The film follows the early adventures of Bilbo Baggins, an unusually curious hobbit. The reputation of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy sets expectations high for this film; Peter Jackson is returning as director, and Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens are returning as writers along with writer and director Guillermo del Toro. Many characters from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy will also be appearing in the prequel. Fans of the films can expect the same high-quality directing, writing and acting they enjoyed in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Fans of the book can expect the same relatively faithful adaptation of this much-loved book.

One of the most intriguing additions to this film that sets it apart from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro is known for writing and directing smart, intriguing fantasy films such as "Hellboy" and "Pan's Labyrinth." Given the number of fantastic creatures found throughout the movie such as shapeshifters, wargs and giant spiders, del Toro's involvement will help bring these elements to life. He played an important role in developing the structure of the film, and was originally set to direct it until he had to bow out due to delays.

Peter Jackson's directing also sets high expectations for the film. His commitment to using real elements rather than computer-generated ones whenever possible is what gave the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy its real-world feel. Actors of different heights were used, for example, to show the height differences between the hobbits, dwarves and men, rather than creating CGI versions. Weta Workshop physically built miniature versions of sets such as Helm's Deep from "The Two Towers." Weta Workshop is also doing all the props and sets for "The Hobbit." The beauty of the sets and the world Jackson creates is another much-anticipated element of "The Hobbit." "The Hobbit" is being filmed in New Zealand, which is where the original trilogy was filmed. New Zealand is known for its beautiful, varied and pristine landscapes.

The score of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is composed by Howard Shore, who also composed the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. His scores are a critical element of the films, and will undoubtedly lend beauty and intrigue to the new film.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is a fantasy adventure. The main character, Bilbo Baggins, is a hobbit. Hobbits are small, about half the size of an average man, and tend to be unadventurous homebodies, content to farm, eat and enjoy a quiet life. Gandalf the Grey tasks Bilbo with assisting a company of dwarves in recovering their lost kingdom, which has been taken by a dragon named Smaug.

Along their quest, the company travels into the dangerous lands occupied by goblins, orcs, and other strange and treacherous creatures. As they travel through goblin tunnels, Bilbo meets an unusual creature with a precious possession: Gollum. Gollum is an odd, twisted creature who owns a ring with curious properties, which intrigues Bilbo and changes the course of the rest of his life. Those familiar with the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy know this ring as the One Ring that Bilbo's nephew, Frodo, must ultimately destroy.

As with any movie, one of the most important elements is casting. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has an outstanding cast. Martin Freeman, who portrays Bilbo Baggins, is a fine British actor who has appeared in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," the BBC version of "The Office" and "Love Actually." Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf, Christopher Lee, who played Saruman, Andy Serkis, who played Gollum, Cate Blanchett, who played Galadriel, Elijah Wood, who played Frodo, Hugo Weaving, who played Elrond, and Orlando Bloom, who played Legolas, are all reprising their roles from the trilogy in "The Hobbit." Ian Holm is also appearing as Old Bilbo, reprising his role from the original films.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" may not surprise moviegoers, as it's based on a familiar book and is a prequel to a popular movie series. "The Hobbit" will feel like a bit of a homecoming, though. It's comfortable, familiar, and endearing, with characters that show real courage in the face of danger. Moviegoers will enjoy their return to Middle Earth, home of the hobbits.