by Helen Earnshaw |
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2012 as we returned to Middle Earth on the tenth anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
We are now getting to the business end of our Best Movies of 2012 countdown and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is in at number four.
Now I will happily admit that this is the movie that I was most excited about this year as Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is still one of the best times that I have ever had in a cinema so I was eager to see if this feat could be repeated.
There are some who have been critical of the length of the film and the fact that it has been split into three movies but don't listen to a word of it as this film is an utter triumph.
First and foremost the movie just looks fantastic and Jackson has delivered a series of incredible set pieces that will just have you on the edge of your seat.
But The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is not just a movie that is about looking good it is a film with real heart.
Jackson has very much caught the essence and the spirit of the book and the conflict within the characters - particularly Bilbo Baggins and Thorin.
Bilbo feels like he doesn't belong from the minute that he joins Gandalf and the dwarves on their quest while Thorin, despite being a great leader, is a character that is plagued by doubt.
Once again Jackson has got the casting absolutely spot on as the likes of Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Ian McKellan just shine.
Freeman really does seem to embody the spirit of Bilbo Baggins; reserved and timid on the outside but there is an adventurer just bursting to get out.
He has a real understanding of this character and manages to balance all the different aspects of his personality; eccentric, afraid, humours and brave perfectly.
Ian McKellan is his usual wonderful self and it is great to see him back as Gandalf the Grey as he is a more interesting and conflicted character - here he is afraid and uncertain.
But there is one standout performance in this movie and that belongs to Richard Armitage as Thorin and I am excited to see this character develop over the next two movies.
Armitage has a real presence and a power in this role that was a little unexpected her grabs he your attention and never lets it go.
He is a character that carries the weight of his people and he feels that the responsibility of reclaiming Erebor from Smaug lies firmly on his shoulders.
There are a couple of new scenes in the film that are not in the book and these fit really well into the story - if you are going to make The Lord of the Rings first then you have to nod to the doom that could be coming when you go on to adapt the story that comes before it.
McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee all together in one scene is a joy to behold and it is a moment in the film that has real power because we know what is on the horizon for the people of Middle Earth.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a movie that was everything I wanted it to be and more and I am already excited for the next two instalments - December 2013 cannot come around quick enough.
Check our countdown of the Best Movies of 2012 so far:
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw