The way I see it, you're either in one camp or the other:
a) You're a fan (often a big one) of The Lord Of The Rings, and absolutely cannot wait to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
b) You cannot stand any LOTR film, and think watching a bunch of fantastical characters walk from one end of a map to another is akin to a fork in the eye. Ergo, seeing The Hobbit isn't even a remote possibility.
This post is mostly for the b)s of the world. While it's usually fruitless to try and convince someone to go see a specific movie against their better instincts, I'm still going to try. The Hobbit is enjoyable on every level -- from story to cinematography to the performances -- and despite the inherent nerdiness of the franchise, even the non-geeks among us can identify with the triumphs of a small man over big foes. And, if you stop and think about it, a lot of the great movies of our time orbit around this basic, universal concept: hope, in its purest form, can lead us to realizing our dreams, or things we never thought possible.
If that doesn't convince you, cold-hearted cynic, that you too can enjoy The Hobbit, here are 26 reasons why you should re-consider and give it a chance.
Of course, the hobbits in <em>LOTR</em> and <em>The Hobbit</em> go on some big adventures. The fate of the entire world rests on their (little) shoulders. We, as viewers, live vicariously through them.
Bilbo, like Frodo in the <em>LOTR</em> movies, is the perfect main character: he is smart, industrious and strong of heart, and hasn't an evil bone in his body. You just want to cheer for him as you watch him embark on the huge adventure.
One of the greatest scenes in <em>The Hobbit</em> features the return of Cate Blanchett (the elf Queen Galadriel) and Christopher Lee (the not-yet-evil wizard Saruman). I won't divulge any more here, but watching these two veterans on-screen together is a pleasure.
Make no mistake: this movie centers on the story of the dwarves. You learn their entire backstory, how their ancient kingdom was destroyed, and why they need to go on a quest to Lonely Mountain. Good luck getting to know all 13 of them! (You can get some help <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/12/10/the-hobbit-cast-character-guide_n_2272027.html">here</a>.)
The size, scope and magnitude of <em>The Hobbit</em> are obvious; truly, at some parts in the movie the effects are jaw-dropping.
Only one brother (Fili, on the left) is shown here, but he and brother Kili are earnest, diligent soldiers who like to crack jokes. Any target will do, though they particularly like to pick on Bilbo. They are also Thorin Oakenshield's (the fellow on the right) nephews.
Our favourite tortured soul returns in <em>The Hobbit</em>, and offers one of the most entertaining scenes in the movie. Andy Serkis masterfully plays the little guy, and even though we're aware of Gollum's intense lust for the ring, we can't help but smile whenever we see him on screen.
For fans, <em>The Hobbit</em> will provide a much-needed salve after such a long hiatus. Re-entering Middle-earth is like having a dream filled with friends you haven't seen in a long time.
Is there anyone in the franchise more beloved than Ian McKellan as Gandalf? He brings a magnetism to every scene he's in, and no one can make wizardry as cool as the Grey Wizard.
One of the best (and perhaps one of the most descriptive) authors of our time, J.R.R. Tolkien has created a universe filled with expansive mythologies and stories. They are timeless, and generations of kids and adults alike have, and will continue to have, fond memories of the series.
Throughout the movie, there is a strong sense of camaraderie and brotherhood, and even though the dwarves are constantly heckling each other, they save each other's lives more than once, and would gladly die for their ultimate goal.
The dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf are on their way to Lonely Mountain to reclaim the dwarves' stolen treasure/kingdom. It's <em>The Hobbit</em>'s Mordor, basically. (The Stone Giants pictured aren't on Lonely Mountain, but they're encountered on the way.)
Freeman is charming, charismatic and funny as Bilbo, and is perfectly cast as the uptight little Hobbit.
It's a treat to see the original <em>LOTR</em> cast members in <em>The Hobbit</em>, but it's also nice to finally get some new blood in Middle-earth (not literally, of course).
Oin is the white-haired dwarf, which means that he has the most knowledge in the group. He kind of reminded me of Santa Claus or Papa Smurf, in that patriarchal way. Goin (far right) is the father of Gimli, who, as we know, plays a huge part in <em>LOTR</em>.
We have to hand it to Jackson; he really knows how to craft the perfect fantasy epic. While many critics are complaining about various aspects of the movie (three films instead of one, the film's length), you have to admit that, in another director's hands, this probably wouldn't have turned out as well as it did. Jackson is very passionate about these movies, and you can tell.
This is what it's all about. At almost three hours, the movie feels like a quest in and of itself -- but I have faith in you, you can make it through.
Meet Radagast, the Brown Wizard. Helplessly cute and endearing, the guy rides on a sled powered by a gaggle of super-fast bunnies. Despite his apparent insanity, he's quite powerful and is able to communicate closely with the forest animals.
<em>(Sorry, no pictures of Smaug for public consumption -- these imbecilic trolls will have to do.)</em> Smaug is the main enemy in <em>The Hobbit</em>, but we don't see much of him in this first installment. You gotta admit, though, that the idea of a gold-obsessed dragon is pretty cool, and we get some little glimpses of him at the beginning and the end of the movie.
Remember how much love you had for Aragorn in the <em>LOTR</em> movies? Well, make room in your heart for dwarf king Thorin. He is passionate, bad-ass, and does that look into the distance like nobody else.
As mentioned before, it's fun to root for the little guy -- even if you're cold and heartless. I dare you to sit through <em>The Hobbit</em> without smiling at least once.
A lot of people have been griping about <em>The Hobbit</em> being shown in 48 FPS (frames per second). I will admit it was a bit jarring at first, but the layperson audience probably won't really notice. There are several breathtaking vistas and scenes, plenty for the average audience to enjoy.
Wizards are awesome. Always have been, always will be.
There's always a map to follow in the Tolkien universe, and <em>The Hobbit</em> is no exception. The characters must decipher some ancient text (with the help of the Elves) to ultimately find their goal.
<em>The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King</em> was released ten years ago. TEN YEARS AGO. If you've had a child since then, now's your chance to fully immerse them in the glory of the Tolkien universe. Even if you have nieces, nephews or random strangers to share with, go for it!
As with <em>Twilight </em>and our seemingly insatiable appetite for vampires in pop culture, <em>The Hobbit</em> stands to infiltrate every available opening in our society. Expect an influx of toys and references ("You shall not PASS!") in the months to come.
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