It is said that way back when in the 1930's when JRR Tolkien was in Oxford University grading papers, he came across a blank page amongst the others and out of the blue he wrote on it: "in a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit". Unbeknown to him, this would go on to be the first line of a literary phenomenon that would capture hearts and imaginations all over the world. This was the beginning of an "unexpected journey" for Tolkien, not dissimilar from that of the hobbit in question, Bilbo Baggins.
After an epic trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings was a hard act to follow. Now delving back into Middle Earth, Jackson had another major task on his hands in delivering one of the most beloved fantasy books of our time into film. As the first part of another (sure to be epic) trilogy, The Hobbit was a great start.
Martin Freeman gives an endearing and inspiring performance as the courageous hobbit that chooses to step out of the comfort of his shire and embark on a big adventure with Gandalf the Grey and a dozen dwarves. During his unexpected journey, Bilbo encounters majestic elves, monster-like orcs (the stuff of nightmares), a schizophrenic goblin, giant flying eagles and a few other certainly unexpected surprises.
Just like the book, the movie showcases the courage and determination of one small little Hobbit that took a chance and proved that his bravery could match anyone stronger or more fight-worthy than him.
There were a lot of moments that I loved in this film but the most captivating has to be the scene where Bilbo first meets Smeagol, the schizo, scary but sweet (in a way) goblin. Smeagol and his "evil half" Gollum are in constant battle to fight their way out and stay in control. When Gollum comes across a juicy hobbit in his dark cave, he thinks he's gotten lucky with a tasty meal until Bilbo decides to play a game of riddles with Smeagol instead. The special effects are genius and the character of Gollum brilliantly played by Andy Serkis.
A piece of cinema not to be missed.