Disclaimer: Spoiler Alert. This Review contains complete Story details and discussions. So do not read if you are planning to watch the movie soon.
For those, who have watched The Lord of the Rings series of movies- LOTR, The Two Towers And Return of the King, the Hobbit is a must watch movie. And not just because it’s a prequel to the LOTR series and provides a lot of background to the story of how the One Ring was acquired by Bilbo and Frodo’s Journey to Mordor, to the Mountains of Doom to destroy it. And even if you haven’t watched the LOTR series till now (because you have just landed on planet earth in your flying saucer), you should watch The Hobbit because it’s a damn good movie on its own and worth watching for not only the fantasy story but also the special effects, especially when seen in 3-D. The Hobbit has released in 2 versions- the 3-D version and the 2-D version. Please, please skip the 2-D version even if you get free tickets, free snacks and the company of a pretty girl thrown in besides. On second thoughts take the pretty girl with you and go see some other movie, and reserve the hobbit for watching only in 3-D. Because this is a movie worth watching only in 3-D. I got to watch the film, first day/first show at Escape theatre in EA Mall in 3-D with a sound system boasting of Dolby Atmos- the latest in digital sound technology. And I am still reeling with the effect of the movie. It’s as if I am walking around middle earth, expecting goblins and orcs to leap out at me at every turn.
To start at the beginning, if you have read the LOTR books, then I am pretty damn sure you would have read the prequel “The Hobbit” too and formed your own idea of how Mirkwood would be, or how Smaug would look like. If you haven’t read the book till now, here goes the story. Bilbo Baggins, a quiet little hobbit is spending his life, having meals and smoking pipes, when the wizard Gandalf who is passing by his village in the shire, decides to give Bilbo a taste of some adventure. He makes a mark on his door labeling it as a burglars place and a group of dwarfs who are looking for a burglar to accompany them on an adventure barge into his house and make merry. This has a great little sequence (courtesy the director Peter Jacksons quirky twist) where Bilbo looks at the pile of dirty dishes after the feast and wonders who will wash it, when all the dwarfs join in a song (fantastic music/tune btw) and simultaneously do the dishes, juggling them from dwarf to dwarf without breaking but leaving them in a gleaming pile. When they finally broach the topic of the adventure which involves traveling to Erebor, the dwarf kingdom under the lonely mountain to kill the dragon Smaug which lives there, Bilbo to everyone’s amusement, faints.
The next day, Bilbo, to his shock finds that he really wants an adventure in his life and rushes off to join the dwarfs and Gandalf on their journey. On the way to Erebor, they run into a lot of trouble, like in all adventure stories. From Trolls, Wolves, Orcs and all sorts of creatures. One of the best scenes of the movie is when they are climbing a mountain, only to find that it is a rock giant come alive and do battle with another rock giant, with the adventurers clinging on to the moving rock. Azog the Orc king, hunts them with his wolf band, because of his old enmity with Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the dwarfs and the only living prince of Erebor. But in a cinematic moment (with cinematic licence) Bilbo saves Thorin’s life when he is about to be beheaded by the Orcs ( something which is not in the book) and Thorin apologizes for the rough treatment of Bilbo till then.
And then comes the highlight of the film, Gollum’s entry (the claps/whistles in the theatre were equal to any seen in a Rajnikant movie). When the dwarfs and the hobbit get separated during a flight from the chasing orcs, Bilbo gets lost in the deep dark subterranean cave where Gollum lives and has lived on for centuries preying on everything living, with the help of his magic ring “my Precious” which makes the wearer invisible to everyone’s eyes. The ring somehow (magically) falls down from Gollum’s hand and is found by Bilbo who then has a nasty encounter with Gollum where they ask each other riddles (instead of fighting), the wager being, if Bilbo wins, Gollum will show him the way outside, but if Gollum wins, he will eat Bilbo. Bilbo manages to win that contest by asking “Guess what’s in my pocket?” which Gollum cannot answer even in three tries. Gollum treacherously refuses to accept his defeat but instead searches for his ring to wear (become invisible) and then kill Bilbo. That’s when he realizes what Bilbo has in his pocket and with murderous rage, chases after Bilbo. Bilbo manages to avoid him by wearing the ring on his finger and becoming invisible and Gollum takes him straight to the cave entrance, thinking Bilbo will have to pass there somehow. This Bilbo does, by taking one long, clean jump over Gollum’s head and rushing off outside to join Gandalf and the dwarfs waiting for him. And that’s how the one ring comes to Frodo in the start of the Lord of the Rings.
There are a lot of guest appearances in the movie from the LOTR series, Frodo is shown early on, as are Elrond and Galadriel the Elf lord and lady. Even Saruman the white is shown as a good guy before he turns to evil later on in the Two Towers. But the best new character has to be Radagast the Brown another wizard, who goes about in a chariot drawn by a dozen rabbits and who, though he looks like a comedian in the beginning, shows his stuff by going alone to Dol Goldur where Sauron, the dark lord lives (called as the necromancer in this movie but shown as the Burning Eye in LOTR) and battles to death a dread lord of Angmar, before escaping with his sword as evidence. Something which even Gandalf doesn’t do in any of the books. The director Peter Jackson has indeed brought alive the book as a well made film (one book into 3 films) and has left me salivating for part 2. And oh, the last scene of the film shows the Dragon Smaug opening his eyes and looking angrily at someone making a disturbance outside his house. With more to follow in the next part.
P.S. On a related note, I really should grow up and stop behaving like a teenager. I really should stop acting first and start thinking later. And really, really stop jumping into things given the smallest opening or slightest chance. And although I am feeling like a god and grinning all over, courtesy all the adventures I had today on my quest to watch this movie. Its time I stopped pulling rabbits out of the hat, time I stopped charming, charming little ladies and time I stopped dicing with fate to do things I had set my mind on. It’s really past time I grew up and started acting my age. Like Bilbo Baggins I should write about my own adventures someday later on and leave you with just this review of The Hobbit.