FROM THE SMALLEST BEGINNINGS COME THE GREATEST LEGENDS.
Gandalf the wizard (Ian McKellen) convinces a hobbit, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), to join his party of 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim a treasure that was stolen by a mighty dragon. Set sixty years before the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson’s grand return to the same territory (now in 3D) feels more like a dreary afterthought. Benefits from Freeman’s charming performance, a few truly engaging scenes (the stone giants, Gollum’s guessing game), but a little too cute, insanely protracted, and the 48 fps format makes the film look a little cheap.
2012-U.S.-New Zealand. 169 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Peter Jackson. Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens. Novel: J.R.R. Tolkien. Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie. Music: Howard Shore. Cast: Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Sylvester McCoy… Barry Humphries, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Trivia: Del Toro was originally considered for directing duties. The first major release to be filmed in the 48 fps format. Also released in a 183-min version. Followed by two sequels, starting with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013).