December 24th, 2012, by Rob


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is the first of a three-part film adaptation of the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, to be followed by The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, due for theatrical release in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The trilogy acts as prequels to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

The story is set in Middle-earth sixty years before The Lord of the Rings, and portions of the film are adapted from the Appendices to Tolkien’s The Return of the King novel. An Unexpected Journey tells of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is convinced by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. The film premiered in New Zealand on 28 November 2012 and was released internationally on 13 December 2012, where it has since received mixed to positive critical reaction.

The film is written by Peter Jackson and his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro, who originally was chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010.

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Plot

On his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins decides to write down the full story of the adventure he took 60 years before for his nephew Frodo. Bilbo writes about how, prior to his own actual involvement, the Dwarf Thrór becomes King of Erebor and brings an era of prosperity to his kin until the arrival of Smaug the dragon. Drawn by the amount of gold that the Dwarves have amassed, Smaug destroys the nearby town of Dale before driving the Dwarves out of Erebor. Thrór’s grandson, Thorin, sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and is dismayed to find them taking their leave rather than aiding his people.

Following this, Bilbo is tricked by the wizard, Gandalf the Grey, into hosting a party for Thorin and his band of Dwarves, which doubles as Bilbo’s recruitment as the Dwarves’ “burglar” to help them steal their treasure back from Smaug. Bilbo reluctantly joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. The group gets captured by Trolls, but Bilbo is able to stall the Trolls from eating them until dawn, when Gandalf saves the company by exposing the Trolls to sunlight, turning them into stone. They search the Trolls’ cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.

The group then encounter Radagast the Brown, a wizard who lives in Greenwood. He tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a necromancer who has been infesting the forest with dark magic. The group is then chased by Orcs on Wargs, with Radagast covering their escape. Gandalf leads them through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs above are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond. Elrond discloses the map’s indication of a secret door that will be visible only on Durin’s Day. Gandalf talks with the White Council—Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White—about his involvement with the Dwarves, explaining the necromancer Radagast encountered and expressing mild suspicion that it is the Dark Lord Sauron. The others are skeptical, believing Sauron to have been defeated forever, and that this necromancer is not a true threat.

Against the Council’s wishes, Gandalf sends Bilbo and the Dwarves towards the Misty Mountains. While passing through the mountains, Bilbo and the Dwarves are captured by Goblins and taken to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo is separated from the Dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray Goblin to feed on. Picking up the ring and placing it in his pocket, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins, or eaten by Gollum if he loses. After Bilbo wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket, Gollum realizes Bilbo has stolen the ring and attacks him. Bilbo discovers the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum, following him to find the way out. Despite his chance to kill Gollum, Bilbo decides not to out of pity.

Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the Dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle at the abandoned Dwarven city of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin’s head. By this time, Gandalf arrives and saves the Dwarves from the Goblins, killing the Great Goblin during their escape. Bilbo finds the exit and rejoins the group, keeping the ring he found secret. The group is then ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, and take refuge in trees. Thorin charges Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground. Bilbo defends Thorin from being decapitated by the Orcs before the group is saved by Eagles, who fly them to safety on the Carrock. Gandalf heals the unconscious Thorin, who acknowledges Bilbo for his bravery. The party see their destination, the Lonely Mountain, in the distance, where Smaug awakens.

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Cast

Before filming began on 21 March 2011, the principal actors trained in sword fighting, riding and boating for a month. Jackson hoped such activities would allow the cast to bond so chemistry would be evident on screen as well as getting them used to life in Wellington. Some of the films’ cast and their respective characters include:

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins: A hobbit hired by the wizard Gandalf to accompany 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. Peter Jackson said in an interview with NME that Freeman was his only choice to take the role of Bilbo Baggins as he felt that he had the necessary qualities that were needed to play Bilbo. Because of prior commitments to Sherlock, Freeman was initially unable to accept the role. However Jackson, because he was set on casting him as the role, reworked his entire shooting schedule to accommodate him.
Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey: A wizard who recruits Bilbo and helps to arrange the quest to reclaim the Dwarves’ lost treasure in Erebor. Gandalf was also portrayed by McKellen in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel: An Elf and the co-ruler of Lothlórien along with her husband, Lord Celeborn. Galadriel does not appear in the novel The Hobbit. She was also portrayed by Blanchett in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. She herself is a ring bearer, yet does not hold one of such evil and power.
Hugo Weaving as Elrond: The Elven Lord of Rivendell. Elrond gives shelter to Bilbo’s party, after which, presumably, the two become friends. Elrond was also portrayed by Weaving in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Christopher Lee as Saruman the White: Head of Gandalf’s Order of Wizards and the White Council. Saruman was also portrayed by Lee in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown: A wizard of Gandalf’s Order. During the production of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, McCoy had been contacted about playing the role of Bilbo and was kept in place as a potential Bilbo for six months before Jackson went with Ian Holm. On 23 October 2010 that he was in negotiations to play a major role as a “wizard”, leading to speculation he could appear as Radagast the Brown. This was later confirmed by the actor. He was officially added to the cast on 7 December 2010.
Ian Holm as an old Bilbo Baggins: Bilbo was also portrayed by Holm in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. His scenes take place before the events of The Lord of the Rings.
Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins: A hobbit and favourite relative of Bilbo Baggins. His scenes take place shortly before the events of The Lord of the Rings.
Andy Serkis as Gollum: A wretched creature mentally and physically corrupted by the One Ring. Serkis portrayed Gollum through motion capture, as he did in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Serkis also acted as second unit director of the trilogy.
Manu Bennett as Azog the Defiler: The Orc chieftain of Moria who beheaded King Thrór in the battle of Azanulbizar. He now hunts Thorin and Company, having taken an oath to break the line of Durin. He leads a band of Hunter Orcs and rides a huge white Warg. He is shown as a large pale Orc who, having had his left arm cut off, now wears a metal prosthetic hand and forearm.
Lee Pace as Thranduil, also known as the Elvenking, the ruler of the Woodland Realm of Mirkwood.
Benedict Cumberbatch as The Necromancer of Dol Guldur: A mysterious sorcerer with the ability to summon the spirits of the dead. Cumberbatch provided the voice and performance-capture for the character.
Barry Humphries as the Great Goblin: The ruler of the underground caverns of Goblin Town in the Misty Mountains.
John Rawls as Yazneg: An Orc lieutenant and second-in-command of Azog’s hunter party.

The Company of Dwarves

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield: The leader of the Company of Dwarves who have set out to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. On his casting, Jackson was quoted as saying, “Richard is one of the most exciting and dynamic actors working on screen today and we know he is going to make an amazing Thorin Oakenshield. We cannot wait to start this adventure with him and feel very lucky that one of the most beloved characters in Middle Earth is in such good hands.”
Graham McTavish as Dwalin: One of the Company of Dwarves that accompanies Bilbo and Thorin on the Quest of Erebor. On his casting, McTavish stated, “I think that I would be very lucky indeed if ever again in my career, I was offered an opportunity that was going to be so iconic in its influence and scale with regards to The Hobbit. I can’t think of anything comparable.”
Ken Stott as Balin: A member of the Company of Dwarves and the brother of Dwalin. He is described in the novel as “always their look-out man.” On the casting of Stott, Jackson commented “Fran and I have long been fans of Ken’s work and are excited he will be joining us on this journey.”
Aidan Turner as Kíli: One of Thorin’s nephews who sets out on the quest of Erebor. On his casting, Jackson stated, “Aidan is a wonderfully gifted young actor who hails from Ireland. I’m sure he will bring enormous heart and humor to the role of Kíli.”
Dean O’Gorman as Fíli: English actor Rob Kazinsky had originally been cast as Kili’s brother Fili, but left the film on 24 April 2011 “for personal reasons”. Jackson said that he would have time to cast a replacement due to focusing on filming scenes with Bilbo without dwarves. On 30 April 2011, Jackson announced via Facebook that O’Gorman had been hired as Kazinsky’s replacement. Jackson stated, “Dean’s a terrific Kiwi actor, who I am thrilled to be working with.”
Mark Hadlow as Dori: A member of the Company of Dwarves. He is described in the novel as “a decent fellow, despite his grumbling,” while Thorin described him as being the strongest member of the Company. Hadlow is a long-time collaborator of Jackson’s, having previously worked with him on films such as Meet the Feebles and King Kong. On his casting, Jackson said, “I have worked with Mark Hadlow on many projects; he is a fantastic actor. I am thrilled to be working with [him] on these movies.” Hadlow also plays Bert the Stone-troll.
Jed Brophy as Nori: A member of the Company of Dwarves and brother of Dori and Ori. Brophy has collaborated with Jackson on several films, including Braindead, Heavenly Creatures, and all three Lord of the Rings films as various creatures.
Adam Brown as Ori: A member of the Company of Dwarves. The role will mark Brown’s first film appearance. Commenting on Brown’s casting, Jackson was quoted as saying, “Adam is a wonderfully expressive actor and has a unique screen presence. I look forward to seeing him bring Ori to life.”
John Callen as Óin: A member of the Company of Dwarves and brother of Glóin. On getting a role in the films, Callen stated, “I did wonder about my casting and how they had made the choice—maybe the long hair and the beard sold it, I thought. But now that has all gone. Given that Óin is almost 200 years old I can presume only that it was the age.”
Peter Hambleton as Glóin: A member of the Company of Dwarves and brother of Óin. He is also the father of Gimli, who was portrayed in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy by actor John Rhys-Davies. Hambleton also plays William the Stone-troll.
William Kircher as Bifur: One of the twelve companions of Thorin and Bilbo on the Quest of Erebor and the cousin of Bofur and Bombur. The remnant of a goblin-axe in Bifur’s forehead renders him incapable of speech, leaving him to communicate via gestures and grunts. Kircher also plays Tom the Stone-troll.
James Nesbitt as Bofur: One of the Company of Dwarves and the cousin of Bifur and brother of Bombur, he is described as “a disarmingly forthright, funny and occasionally brave Dwarf.” On 15 October 2010, Deadline Hollywood reported that Nesbitt was in negotiations for a part in the film. On 1 November 2010, Jackson confirmed that he had been added to the cast. Jackson was quoted as saying, “James’s charm, warmth and wit are legendary as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome him as one of our cast.”
Stephen Hunter as Bombur: Described in the novel as being fat and clumsy, he is the brother of Bofur and the cousin of Bifur. On being cast in the role, Hunter said, “Being cast in The Hobbit is really exciting and really an honour. I auditioned for the original Lord of the Rings way back when I signed with my agent in New Zealand. When I saw the films I thought, ‘Man, I so want to do The Hobbit.'”

The cast also includes: Bret McKenzie as Lindir, an Elf of Rivendell; Kiran Shah as the Goblin scribe, a scribe and messenger for the Great Goblin; Jeffrey Thomas as Thrór, former King of Durin’s Folk and grandfather of Thorin Oakenshield and Mike Mizrahi as Thráin II, a Dwarven king and Thorin’s father.

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Production

A film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit (1937) was in development for several years after the critical and financial success of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003), co-written, co-produced, and directed by Peter Jackson. Jackson was initially going to produce a two-film adaptation of The Hobbit, which was to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro left the project in May 2010, after about two years of working with Jackson and his production team, due to delays caused in part by financial problems at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Jackson was announced as director that October.

The Hobbit films were produced back to back to back, like The Lord of the Rings films. Principal photography for The Hobbit films began on 21 March 2011 in New Zealand and ended on 6 July 2012, after 266 days of filming. Pick-ups for An Unexpected Journey were filmed in July 2012 as well. Work on the film was expected to be completed on 26 November, just two days prior to the film’s Wellington premiere.

Movie2k Watch Movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Music

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Soundtrack album by Howard Shore
Released 11 December 2012
Recorded 2011–12
Length 1:47:42 (Standard Edition)
2:07:03 (Special Edition)
Label WaterTower Music, Decca Records
Producer Howard Shore, Peter Jackson (exec.), Fran Walsh (exec.), Philippa Boyens (exec.)

The musical score to An Unexpected Journey was composed by Howard Shore. The original motion picture soundtrack album was released on 11 December 2012. It will be released in both Standard Edition and Special Edition, with both coming in a 2-disc format. The Geeks of Doom commented that Shore, who recorded the soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios in London, re-used some of the “magisterial musical motifs” from his music for the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, but that he “uses his established themes to launch into a completely original sonic adventure with turns both optimistic and dark, true to the mutual visions of Jackson and Tolkien”.

 

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Movie2k Watch Movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Distribution

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Marketing

The first trailer for An Unexpected Journey was first screened before the Jackson-produced The Adventures of Tintin in the US on 21 December 2011, and released on the Internet on the same day. Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times said, “While it was all too fleeting there was enough in it to stir the heart of fans”. Jen Chaney of the Washington Post stated, “Visually and tonally, this preview for [An Unexpected Journey] looks like a perfect match for the Frodo Baggins tales that released in 2001, 2002 and 2003. […] But plot isn’t the main matter at hand in the trailer… This clip is all about reacquainting us with Middle-earth.”

Jackson, Freeman, McKellen, Armitage, Serkis, Wood, and co-screenwriter Philippa Boyens appeared at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International promoting the film and screening 12 minutes of footage.

On 8 October 2012, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown announced that for the week of the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the capital of New Zealand would be renamed the “Middle of Middle-earth”.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Theatrical release

A standee outside the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand at the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took place on 28 November 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand, with a full theatrical release in New Zealand on 12 December. The film was released 13 December 2012 in Europe, 14 December 2012 in India, Canada and United States, and 26 December 2012 (Boxing Day) in Australia. It was also screened at the 65th Royal Film Performance in London on 12 December 2012.

Around 100,000 people lined the red carpet on Courtenay Place for the film’s premiere, and the entire event was broadcast live on TV in New Zealand, as well as streaming over the internet.

Movie2k Watch Movies – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Reception

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Box Office

An Unexpected Journey was released on December 14, 2012 in over 4,000 theaters where it topped the box office and grossed $37.5 million in North America for its opening day, $13.0 million of which came from midnight showings, breaking the record for the highest December opening day gross, previously held by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for $34.5 million. The film retained the No. 1 spot over its first weekend in North America and grossed $84.6 million, which broke I Am Legend’s record of $77.2 million for the highest opening weekend for a December release. During its second weekend, the movie held onto the top spot at the box office but declined 57% with a gross of $36.7 million.

As of December 23, 2012, An Unexpected Journey has grossed $149,858,000 in the United States and Canada, and $284,000,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $433,858,000.

 

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Critical response

An Unexpected Journey has received mixed to positive reviews from film critics. The film currently holds a “fresh” rating of 65% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 234 reviews with an average score of 6.5/10. The site’s main consensus reads “Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth is visually resplendent and features strong performances from Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, but the film’s deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty”. On Metacritic, the film has a 58 out of 100, indicating “mixed or average reviews”, based on reviews from 40 critics. The main consensus of debate was regarding the film’s length, visual style, its highly controversial High Frame Rate, and whether or not the film matched the level of expectation built from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Matthew Leyland of Total Film said in a 5 star review, that it is “Charming, spectacular, technically audacious… in short, everything you expect from a Peter Jackson movie. A feeling of familiarity does take hold in places, but this is an epically entertaining first course”. Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine awarded the film 3 stars out of 4, and called it “The first of an arguably gratuitous three-part cine-extravaganza…It builds nicely to a rather startling moment of emotional realization”. Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that “Jackson and his colleagues have created a purist’s delight…[And leads to] an undeniably exciting, action-packed climax.” McCarthy did however feel that “Though there are elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy was…there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going. Kate Muir of The Times gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, saying “Martin Freeman ‘perks up’ the film as Bilbo Baggins and that Jackson’s use of 48-frames per second 3D technology give the film lurid clarity”. Dan Jolin of Empire felt “The Hobbit plays younger and lighter than Fellowship and its follow-ups, but does right by the faithful and has a strength in Martin Freeman’s Bilbo that may yet see this trilogy measure up to the last one. There is treasure here”.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone criticised the film’s use of “48 frames per second…Couple that with 3D and the movie looks so hyper-real that you see everything that’s fake about it…The 169 minutes of screen time hurts, since the first 45 minutes of the film traps us in the hobbit home of the young Bilbo Baggins” but continued “Once Bilbo and the dwarves set on their journey…things perk up considerably. Trolls, orcs, wolves and mountainous monsters made of remarkably pliable stone bring out the best in Jackson. Robbie Collin of The Telegraph said in a 2 star review “Thank heavens for Andy Serkis, whose riddling return as Gollum steals the entire film. It is the only time the digital effects and smoother visuals underline, rather than undermine, the mythical drama of Bilbo’s adventure. As a lover of cinema, Jackson’s film bored me rigid; as a lover of Tolkien, it broke my heart”. He added it is “so stuffed with extraneous faff and flummery that it often barely feels like Tolkien at all – more a dire, fan-written internet tribute”. Time Out magazine’s Keith Uhlich praised the film as “A mesmerizing study in excess, Peter Jackson and company’s long-awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings saga is bursting with surplus characters, wall-to-wall special effects, unapologetically drawn-out story tangents and double the frame rate (48 over 24) of the average movie.” The Guardian magazine’s Peter Bradshaw commented on use of high frame rate technology and length of the film, writing “After 170 minutes I felt that I had had enough of a pretty good thing. The trilogy will test the stamina of the non-believers, and many might feel,… that the traditional filmic look of Lord of the Rings was better.” Richard Lawson from The Atlantic Wire commented on the film’s “Video Game” like visual effects, saying “this is a dismally unattractive movie, featuring too many shots that I’m sure were lovely at some point but are now ruined and chintzified by the terrible technology monster.”

 

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