Wednesday 28 September 2016

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The sheer spectacle of the setting enthralls and the characters have depth but it does seem to stretch on.

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed by Peter Jackson

This review comes with a warning: it’s not from an ardent follower or even admirer of Middle Earth and its peoples. Yes, there is a very basic familiarity with Bilbo, Frodo and the other creations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s pen, but not an inflexible dedication and loyalty to them. The result: one often lost the way in the extended, meandering narrative and got confused in joining some dots spread over the film.


On paper, The Hobbit is a very simple children’s fantasy. Bilbo Baggins (an endearing Freeman), approached by the wizard Gandalf (the solid and stellar McKellen), reluctantly heads for the Lonely Mountain with a group of 13 dwarves led by Thorin (Armitage). Their aim is to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the terrifying dragon Smaug (Cumberbatch — to be seen full blown in the next two films). Their adventures en route and the beguiling characters they encounter—goblins, elves, sorcerers and, of course, Gollum (Serkis)—make it a life-altering experience for Bilbo.

The Hobbit is much more straightforward and undemanding than The Lord of The Rings but Peter Jackson chooses to lend it a monumental, epic touch by stretching it over three films, two of which, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, will release in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Jackson crafts a long and detailed film. The innumerable characters are invested with depth, nuance and human dimensions, be it feelings of guilt or guile. But at three hours, it does seem to stretch on and leaves one impatient, weary and indifferent. What pays off is Jackson’s visual ambition and technical ingenuity. The setting—Rivendell, or the dwarf or the goblin world—is magically realised. The sheer spectacle enthralls, be it Gollum or a brief glimpse of Smaug achieved through motion capture or the exhilarating action sequences or the glorious computer-generated special effects. Bilbo’s encounter with Gollum is alone worth the price of admission. I did not see the film in the new fangled HFR (High Frame Rate)—48 frames per second, as opposed to the traditional 24—in which The Hobbit has been shot, but I’m told it takes some getting used to, in order to appreciate the depth and dimensions it ostensibly adds.


A version of this appears in print. This was edited online

High Fives


  1. Khiladi 786
  2. Talaash
  3. Life Of Pi
  4. Jab Tak Hai Jaan
  5. Son Of Sardaar


  1. The Hobbit
  2. Rise Of The Guardians
  3. Lincoln
  4. Skyfall
  5. Life Of Pi


  1. Die Young (Ke$ha)
  2. Locked Out... (Bruno Mars)
  3. Diamonds (Rihanna)
  4. Let Me Love You (Ne-Yo)
  5. One More Night (Maroon 5)


Anandi Singh Floris Evers
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail
The Reviews
Amitabh Bachchan holds the movie together with his piercing gaze and formidable presence
MAGAZINE September 21, 2016
The Reviews
Mildly funny, pseudo-feminist, and not in the least offensive
MAGAZINE September 15, 2016
The Reviews
Could easily have transgressed into poverty porn territory, with a side of White Saviour Complex tossed in...
MAGAZINE September 15, 2016
Web Extra
A very welcome, refreshing and poignant tale of Mumbai.
MAGAZINE September 12, 2016
The Reviews
A spoof—if not a laugh riot—of everything from modern marriages to the police-politician nexus.
MAGAZINE September 08, 2016

More than a decade after India first started the procurement process, it has finally inked an €8bn agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The original deal was to buy 126 Rafales to replace the accident-prone Russian MiG-21s. Ultimately, the government offered to buy only 36 ready-to-fly planes.

POLL STARTED ON: Sep 26, 2016
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016