Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-II)  Michael Phillips (2 1/2 Stars)  AV Club (B-)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB review
Michael Phillips review
AV Club review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [2012] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Peter Jackson along with Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh and Philipa Boyens) is the first of three films based on the J.R.R. Tolkien [IMDb] novel The Hobbit [Amazn] planned to be released over the course of the next several years.

Given that Peter Jackson was able to fit Tolkien's [IMDb] whole Lord of the Rings trilogy into a series of three films, the breaking up of a single book, The Hobbit, (shorter than any of the three books making the LOTR trilogy) also into three films each as long as those made for the LOTR series seems at first, second and third blush to be a brazen attempt to further milk previous commercial success.

But here, honestly, I'd like to say that I DON'T CARE.  If one was at all enamored by (or perhaps more fittingly here, enchanted by ;-) the LOTR series, then just bask in the opportunity to spend a few extra hours in the "Middle Earth" of these films because the New Zealand location, the CGI and the cinematography in general are once again simply AWESOME.  I saw the cheapest possible version of this movie that I could see (the 2D and presumably 24 frame/sec version) and I still was awed.  And I would imagine that _this time_ the 3D, 3D IMAX and 48 frames/sec versions would be _well worth the price_.

Further, I fully intend to recommend this film to younger vocation prospects because The Hobbit, perhaps even more than the LOTR, is about a fundamental question in Life: Does one want to spend it living safely/comfortably as a "half-ling" in a house _already_ "half in the ground" and in a "shire" where "nothing unexpected ever happens?" OR is one ABLE TO TAKE THE RISK, like Bilbo Baggins (played in the film by Martin Freeman) and _accept_ (however reluctantly initially) the invitation of "the Wizard" Gandalf (played by Ian McKellen) and go on "an unexpected journey," a journey that asks one to take up a fight that isn't even really one's own - helping the fun-loving but somewhat crass "Dwarves" (also "little people") regain their dignity/homeland?  Can one do that?

There was a Servite priest who was my "Wizard Gandalf" who entered into my life when I was in my 20s, and I am a Servite priest as a result and I've _certainly_ experienced _plenty of adventures_ both big and small and often across the planet ever since.

So I just loved this movie and encourage ANYONE who still can imagine defending justice and "slaying dragons" to go see it and especially the young: YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO DREAM and see a world that is bigger than simply the mundane, to see a world that is _wonder-full_ and ultimately worthy of the greatest wonder -- God.

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