Around this time of year, I'm usually dashing around madly to every cinema in town trying to see all the films that have been nominated for an Oscar of some sort. Although I had heard some rather ambivalent reviews about THE HOBBIT, I knew I simply couldn't pass it up.
Those who are avid Lord of the Rings fans (of the books and the films) poo poo this prequel to the series as lacking the depth of the other stories. But I have to say that this is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. Not because they didn't, but because it has a light-hearted sort of fun that is so scarce in the other three films.
Martin Freeman (whom you may recognise from Sherlock) plays a superb Bilbo Baggins. He is naive and lacks ambition, but he has a heart of gold and a soul that secretly yearns for adventure. He is also not as thick as he looks - he uses his latent cunning to outwit three trolls (or were they giants), and he also wins a certain ring from a certain Gollum in a fateful battle of wits.
The charm of THE HOBBIT is the old Englishy feel of the stories. The epic sweep of the narrative make the tale a legend in a way that only Tolkien can tell it. Peter Jackson's directorial vision brings the warmth of Middle Earth into an almost palpable beauty on the big screen. All the old familiar faces are there too, from [Sir] Ian McKellen as Gandalf to the menacing Christopher Lee as Saruman to the devastatingly pretty Cate Blanchett as the white elf lady.
In the final analysis, I give Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT (2012) a rating of 8/10. This DVD will most definitely be gracing my collection for many years to come.