The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Film Review

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The Hobbit
The Hobbit

 Peter Jackson’s long-awaited fantasy epic The Hobbit finally hits the (improved) silver screen

The glut of great movies this winter has spoilt cinema-goers rotten. Skyfall got everyone’s adrenaline racing, Life of Pi was inspiring and Seven Psychopaths got us laughing.

And Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a success in fantastical escapism that took us out of our current wet and windy world and into a sprawling land of dragons, trolls, dwarfs, goblins and, of course, hobbits.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This movie, the first of a trilogy, sees Bilbo Baggins (played by Martin Freeman of The Office and Sherlock) unexpectedly whisked into an adventure with Gandalf the Grey (Once more being played by Sir Ian McKellen) and twelve charmingly unruly dwarves.

Whilst on their way to reclaim the dwarve’s ancestral home from a giant dragon the group stumbles from one dangerous event to another. Not only do they find themselves hunted by the Orc who killed the grandfather of the dwarf leader (Thorin Oakenshield) but they’re nearly eaten by trolls, crushed by storm giants, eaten by Wargs and they once accidentally stumble into a goblin town and are nearly tortured by the Great Goblin, whose silken voice belongs to Barry Humphries aka Dame Edna Everidge.

Avid fans of the franchise will not be disappointed by the arrival of the One Ring. The tense Riddles in the Dark scene, where Bilbo meets Gollum, does the chapter justice and contrasts well with the comical scrap simultaneously taking place elsewhere.

If anyone is seeking the dark overtones and shadowy menace of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy (Peter Jackson’s previous Tolkien adaptations in case you were unaware), you will be surprised to find a much lighter movie. The dialogue and imagery reflect the more childish nature of the The Hobbit compared to J.R.R Tolkien’s follow up novels.

Before and after the premiere, movie forums have been awash with discussions on the impressively techy side of the movie. But without going into too much detail you can expect amazingly crisp and detailed scenes that use 3D to enhance the movie rather than using it as a gimmick (*cough* Avatar *cough*). In fact at times the high quality works against the film, as props which would previously have been believable are suddenly revealed as plastic fakes.

So if this sounds like you’re fantasy cup of tea, then head to your nearest cinema capable of 3D HFR, which is the fancy high quality version, stock up on popcorn (you’ll need it as the movie is 2 hours and 49 minutes long) and enjoy.

Where to Watch

If you’re looking for a great place in Manchester to watch the movie then there’s a good choice of venues to consider.

Odean in the Printworks

The Odean Manchester is one of the city’s premiere movie hotspots. Housing a giant IMAX 3D theatre, with a floor to ceiling screen and laser-aligned loudspeakers it provides one of the most immersive experiences available. Combined with a great selection of restaurants in the Printworks for your pre or post-movie meal, this is a difficult option to beat.

AMC Manchester

If your nearer the Deansgate area of Manchester then the AMC may be a good location. This cinema is equipped with 3D and has a wide range of viewing times to make squeezing a 3 hour movie into your timetable a little easier.

Showcase Cinema

The Showcase cinema in Belle Vuw is one of the better cinemas outside the city centre, in case a trek to the middle of Manchester feels like a bridge too far. This cinema also shows The Hobbit in 3D HFR.