The Hobbit is just good enough to make you aware of how it could have been much, much better. If you take your kids-while shielding them from various nonhuman bad guys getting decapitated both repeatedly and, worse, bloodlessly-they'll have a good time. Bilbo Baggins' quest for adventure and Warner Bros' quest for cash will take him through three films. But your quest for epic, truly entertaining filmmaking will be more successful if you just stay home.
Stream The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
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The film, still only clearing its throat, hints at a wellspring of emotional riches to come.
If you're willing to just go with it, An Unexpected Journey is a competent ride, but as a whole it lacks purpose, giving the impression of a television program in its later seasons still chugging along while full aware that it has peaked. Needless to say, "Hobbit" fans will find plenty to soak in; others may get the feeling of being bludgeoned by deja vu.
I'm holding the filmmaker responsible for getting us all back again - to feelings of excitement and delight. Vital as they are, Gollum and Bilbo can only do so much to keep us enchanted. Is Jackson able to sustain the magic in two more installments? I peer into Tolkien's Misty Mountains and embrace the journey.
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.
Jackson and his team seem compelled to flesh out the world of their earlier trilogy in scenes that would be better left to extended-edition DVDs (or omitted entirely), all but failing to set up a compelling reason for fans to return for the second installment.
The movie lacks majesty. Grand in parts, the movie is too often grandiose or grandiloquent; and the running time is indefensible.
As epic, grandiose, and emotionally appealing as the previous pictures, The Hobbit doesn't stray far from the mold, but it's a thrilling ride that's one of the most enjoyable, exciting and engaging tentpoles of the year.
A purist's delight, something the millions of die-hard fans of his Lord of the Rings trilogy will gorge upon. In pure movie terms, however, it's also a bit of a slog, with an inordinate amount of exposition and lack of strong forward movement...There are elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy was, but there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going.