J.R.R. Tolkien’s world is unlike any other.
In his books, including “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” wizards give firework shows, dwarves mine enormous mountains in order to craft their gold, and daring hobbits leave their peaceful shires to go on adventures.
“The Hobbit,” which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, is a story about one such hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who leaves the comfort of his home to accomplish dangerous feats in the company of a group of dwarves and Gandalf, an accomplished wizard.
This small group of characters takes on the seemingly impossible task of gaining back the dwarves’ home, the Lonely Mountain, which was taken from them by the evil dragon Smaug. During this journey, Bilbo finds the all-powerful “precious” ring, which is an important piece in “Lord of the Rings.” First published in 1937, “The Hobbit” is a prequel to that trilogy.
As a fan of “The Hobbit,” I think it is a tale with imagination deserving an excellent movie, and thus I had high expectations for the actors, the action, the relationships between characters, and the representation of the book as film. After seeing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” I must say that I left feeling content and relieved.
I was, first, impressed with the actors. The dwarves showed the same family connections that had been described in the book. The main dwarf, Thorin (Richard Armitage), was a strong leader who always remained loyal to his mountain and family legacy. Watching the characters develop just as in the book by great actors was what satisfied me the most. Having re-read many scenes in the book, simply being able to watch the characters come to life on screen was exciting.
I was relieved to find out that this movie was only part one of a planned trilogy by director Peter Jackson, who also directed the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
The length of the first film allowed for more details from the book to be shown on screen and I appreciated added details giving more background information to connections between events, especially relating to the significance of previous battles involving orcs (evil goblin-like creatures), dwarves and elves. The adventures were acted out with humor and passion, which pleased me as a fan.
Bilbo (Martin Freeman) as a small hobbit going on an adventure, away from his home for the first time, was a message that came through very well. In the pleasant shire where hobbits live in The Hill, in hobbit holes in the ground, the adventures of a small group of heroes to faraway lands of Middle-earth begins.
I do not think that I could have asked for a better movie to capture the first part of “The Hobbit.” As I watched Gandalf (Ian McKellan) take command of the screen, I realized that two more movies will be released, next year and in 2014, in which Bilbo and the dwarves will continue on their adventure.
I hope that those films will also be as great as this one, because the world of Tolkien deserves to be represented with spectacular movies.
• Ava Gempler is a sophomore at Davis High School and a member of Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed journalism program for high school students.