The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 epic fantasy film, directed by Peter Jackson. It is the first installment in the three-part film adaptation based on the novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. It is followed by The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), and together they act as a prequel to Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (the events of the An Unexpected Journey take place sixty years before the events of The Lord of the Rings).
The film's screenplay was written by Peter Jackson, his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro, who was originally chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010. The film stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Ken Scott, Sylvester McCoy, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Manu Bennett, Christopher Lee and Graham McTavish.
The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey was premiered on November 28, 2012 in New Zealand and was released internationally on December 12, 2012. The film has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, surpassing both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers nominally, becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of 2012 and the 18th highest grossing film of all time. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It was also nominated for three BAFTA Awards.
- Directed by: Peter Jackson
- Produced by: Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson
- Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro
- Story by: J.R.R. Tolkien
- Starring: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen, Mark Hadlow, Sylverter McCoy
- Music by: Howard Shore
- Cinematography: Andrew Lesnie
- Edited by: Jabez Olsen
- Country: New Zealand, U.S.A.
- Language: English
- Running time: 169 minutes
- Budget: $200-315 million
- Box Office: $1.021 million
- Release date: November 28, 2012
- Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Approaching his 111th birthday, the old hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) begins writing down the full story of his adventure 60 years earlier for the benefit of his nephew Frodo. Long before Bilbo's involvement, the Dwarf king Thrór (Jeffrey Thomas) brings an era of prosperity for his kin under the Lonely Mountain until the arrival of the dragon Smaug. Destroying the nearby town of Dale, Smaug drives the Dwarves out of their mountain and takes their hoard of gold. Thrór's grandson Thorin (Richard Armitage) sees King Thranduil (Lee Pace) and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside, and is dismayed when they take their leave rather than aid his people, resulting in Thorin's everlasting hatred of Elves.
In the Shire, 50-year-old Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) into hosting a party for Thorin and his company of dwarves: Balin (Ken Stott), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Fíli (Dean O'Gorman), Kíli (aidan Turner), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Nori (Jed Brophy), Ori (Adam Brown), Óin (John Callen), Glóin (Peter Hambleton), Bifur (William Kircher), Bofur (James Nesbitt), and Bombur (Stephen Hunter). Gandalf's aim is to recruit Bilbo as the company's "burglar" to aid them in their quest to the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo is unwilling to accept at first but has a change of heart after the company leaves without him. Travelling onward, the company is captured by three trolls. Bilbo stalls the trolls from eating them until dawn. Gandalf exposes the trolls to sunlight turning them to stone. They search the trolls' cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively. Gandalf also finds an elven shortsword ("Sting"), which he gives to Bilbo.
The company meets the wizard Radagast the Brown (Sylverster McCoy), who tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with the Necromancer, a sorcerer who has been corrupting Greenwood with dark magic. The company is then chased by orcs on wargs.
Radagast covers the company's escape as Gandalf leads the company through a stone passage to Rivendell. There, Lord Elrond (Hugo Weaving) discloses a hidden indication of a secret door on the company's map of the Lonely Mountain, which will be visible only on Durin's Day.
Gandalf later approaches the White Council at Riverndell —consisting of Elrond, Galadriel (Cate Blanhcett) and Saruman the White (Christopher Lee)—about his involvement with the dwarves.
At the White Council at Rivendell, Gandalf also presents the Council a Morgul blade Radagast obtained from Dol Guldur. Galadriel explains to the Council that the blade was of the Witch-king of Angmar (the most powerful servant of Sauron) who was buried at Dol Guldur with the blade with a powerful spell. The White Council sees in the apparition at the surface of the blade a sign that the Necromancer is an extremelly powerful dark force, and that he is linked to the Witch-king of Angmar, despite Saruman's skepticism.
When Saruman presses concern to the more present matter of the dwarves and Smaug, requesting that Gandalf put an end to the quest, Gandalf secretly reveals to Galadriel he had anticipated this and had the dwarves move forward on their quest without him.
At Rivendell, and before partying to join the Dwarves Company, Gandalf and Galadriel talk. Galadriel tells him that the Morgul blade riddle must be solved and quests Gandalf to investigate it at Dol Guldur.
The company journeys into the Misty Mountains where they find themselves amid a colossal battle between stone giants. They take refuge in a cave and are captured by Goblins, who take them to their leader, the Great Goblin (Barry Humphries). Bilbo becomes separated from the dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum (Andy Serkis), who accidentally drops a golden ring while killing a stray goblin to eat. Pocketing the ring, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins or eaten by Gollum if he loses. Bilbo eventually wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket. Noticing his ring is lost, Gollum suspects that Bilbo possesses it and attacks him. Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility, but when he has a chance to kill Gollum, Bilbo spares his life and escapes while Gollum curses the hobbit.
Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the dwarves that Azog (Manu Bennett), an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the Dwarven kingdom of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin's head. Gandalf arrives and leads the dwarves in an escape and kills the Great Goblin. Bilbo exits the mountain and rejoins the company, keeping secret his newly obtained ring. The company is ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, and takes refuge in trees. Thorin charges at Azog, but is knocked unconscious and left defenseless on the ground. Bilbo saves Thorin from the orcs just as the company is rescued by eagles. They escape to the safety of the Carrock where Gandalf is able to revive Thorin, who renounces his previous disdain for Bilbo after being saved by him. In the distance, the company sees the Lonely Mountain, where the sleeping Smaug is awakened by the knocking sound of a thrush.
- Martin Freeman - Bilbo Baggins
- Richard Armitage- Thorin Oakenshield II
- Ian McKellen- Gandalf The Grey/Mithrandil
- Ken Scott - Balin
- Sylvester McCoy - Radagast The Brown
- Cate Blanchett - Lady Galadriel
- Hugo Weaving - Elrond
- Manu Bennet - Azog
- Christopher Lee - Saruman
- Graham McTavish- Dwalin
- Andy Serkis - Gollum
- Aidan Tuner - Kili
As with all the previous films of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth saga (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Howard Shore. It was performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and featured several vocal soloists.
The original song "Song of the Lonely Mountain", sung by Neil Finn, served as the end title theme.
The album received nominations for various awards and peaked in the top ten charts in Korea and the United States.
01. My Dear Frodo
02. Old Friends
03. An Unexpected Party
04. Axe or Sword?
05. Misty Mountains
06. The Adventure Begins
07. The World is Ahead
08. An Ancient Enemy
09. Radagast the Brown
10. Roast Mutton
11. A Troll-hoard
12. The Hill of Sorcery
14. The Hidden Valley
15. Moon Runes
16. The Defiler
17. The White Council
18. Over Hill
19. A Thunder Battle
20. Under Hill
21. Riddles in the Dark
22. Brass Buttons
23. Out of the Frying-Pan
24. A Good Omen
25. Song of the Lonely Mountain
26. Dreaming of Bag End
A film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit (1937) was in development for several years after the critical and financial success of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003), co-written, co-produced, and directed by Peter Jackson.
Jackson was initially going to produce a two-film adaptation of The Hobbit, which was to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro left the project in May 2010, after about two years of working with Jackson and his production team, due to delays caused in part by financial problems at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Jackson was announced as director that October.
The Hobbit films were produced back to back, like The Lord of the Rings films. Principal photography for The Hobbit films began on March 21, 2011 in New Zealand and ended on July 6, 2012, after 266 days of filming. Pick-ups for An Unexpected Journey were filmed in July 2012 as well. Work on the film was expected to be completed on November 26, just two days prior to the film's Wellington premiere
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey used a shooting and projection frame rate of 48 frames per second, becoming the first feature film with a wide release to do so. The new projection rate was advertised as "High Frame Rate" to the general public. However, the majority of cinemas projected the film at the industry standard 24 fps after the film was converted.
The world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took place on November 28, 2012 at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand, with a full theatrical release in New Zealand on December 12. The film was released December 13, 2012 in Europe, December 14, 2012 in India, Canada and United States, and December 26, 2012 (Boxing Day) in Australia. It was also screened at the 65th Royal Film Performance in London on December 12, 2012.
Around 100,000 people lined the red carpet on Courtenay Place for the film's premiere, and the entire event was broadcast live on TV in New Zealand, as well as streaming over the internet.
Box office: Edit
An Unexpected Journey grossed $303,003,568 in the United States and Canada and $714 million elsewhere, bringing to a worldwide total of $1,017,003,568. It is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2012, and the 18th highest-grossing film of all time. It scored a worldwide opening weekend of $222.6 million, including $15.1 million from 452 IMAX theaters around the world, which was an IMAX opening-weekend record for December.
In North-America An Unexpected Journey earned $13.0 million during its midnight run, setting a December midnight record (previously held by Avatar). It then topped the box office on its opening day (Friday, December 14, 2012) earning $37.1 million from 4,045 theaters (midnight earnings included), setting a December opening-day record (previously held by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). By the end of its first weekend it grossed $84.62 million, finishing in first place and setting a December opening-weekend record (previously held by I Am Legend). 3D showings accounted for 49% of weekend ticket sales while IMAX showings generated $10.1 million (12% of the weekend gross). The film held onto the top spot for a second weekend, despite declining 57% to $36.7 million. An Unexpected Journey remained at the top of the box office during its third weekend, dropping only 11% to $32.9 million.
An Unexpected Journey earned also $11.2 million on its opening day (Wednesday, December 12, 2012) from 16 markets.
Critical response: Edit
After the New Zealand premiere, Television New Zealand noted that critical responses were "largely positive" but with "mixed responses to the film's technological advances". After the film's international release, Forbes called reviews "unenthusiastic" and the Los Angeles Times said the critical consensus is that the film "stumbles". The film holds a 65% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 271 reviews with an average score of 6.6/10. The site's main consensus reads "Peter Jackson's return to Middle-earth is an earnest, visually resplendent trip, but the film's deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty." On aggregate review site Metacritic, the film has a score of 58 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews", based on collected reviews from 40 critics. The main contention of debate was regarding the film's length, its controversial High Frame Rate, and whether or not the film matched the level of expectation built from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, while the film's visual style, special effects, music score and cast were praised, especially the performances of Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage and Andy Serkis. According to CinemaScore polls the film received an "A" grade from audiences.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone criticised the film's use of "48 frames per second… Couple that with 3D and the movie looks so hyper-real that you see everything that's fake about it… The 169 minutes of screen time hurts, since the first 45 minutes of the film traps us in the hobbit home of the young Bilbo Baggins," but continued, "Once Bilbo and the dwarves set on their journey… things perk up considerably. Trolls, orcs, wolves and mountainous monsters made of remarkably pliable stone bring out the best in Jackson and his Rings co-screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens." Robbie Collin of The Telegraph said in a 2-star review "Thank heavens for Andy Serkis, whose riddling return as Gollum steals the entire film. It is the only time the digital effects and smoother visuals underline, rather than undermine, the mythical drama of Bilbo's adventure. As a lover of cinema, Jackson’s film bored me rigid; as a lover of Tolkien, it broke my heart." He felt the film was "so stuffed with extraneous faff and flummery that it often barely feels like Tolkien at all – more a dire, fan-written internet tribute." Time Out magazine's Keith Uhlich praised the film as "A mesmerizing study in excess, Peter Jackson and company's long-awaited prequel to the Lord of the Rings saga is bursting with surplus characters, wall-to-wall special effects, unapologetically drawn-out story tangents and double the frame rate (48 over 24) of the average movie." The Guardian magazine's Peter Bradshaw commented on use of high frame rate technology and length of the film, writing "After 170 minutes I felt that I had had enough of a pretty good thing. The trilogy will test the stamina of the non-believers, and many might feel ... that the traditional filmic look of Lord of the Rings was better." Richard Lawson from The Atlantic Wire commented on the film's "video game"-like visual effects, saying "this is a dismally unattractive movie, featuring too many shots that I'm sure were lovely at some point but are now ruined and chintzified by the terrible technology monster."
Matthew Leyland of Total Film said in a five-star review that it is "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." Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine awarded the film 3 stars out of 4, and called it "The first of an arguably gratuitous three-part cine-extravaganza." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that "Jackson and his colleagues have created a purist's delight… [And leads to] an undeniably exciting, action-packed climax." McCarthy did however feel that "Though there are elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy was… there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going." Kate Muir of The Times gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, saying Martin Freeman "perks up" the film as Bilbo Baggins and that Jackson's use of 48 frames per second 3D technology gives the film "lurid clarity". In a four-star review, Dan Jolin of Empire felt "The Hobbit plays younger and lighter than Fellowship and its follow-ups, but does right by the faithful and has a strength in Martin Freeman's Bilbo that may yet see this trilogy measure up to the last one". He gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, stating "There is treasure here".
The film received three Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling as well as praise from critics organization Broadcast Film Critics Association and from critics groups, such as the Houston Film Critics Society, Phoenix Film Critics Society and Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. The film's team won an Academy Scientific and Technical Award—the Scientific and Engineering Award for inventing a technique which has made huge advances in bringing to life computer-generated characters such as Gollum in the film to the screen. In January 2013, it was announced The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was nominated in the Best Live Action Motion Picture category at the Cinema Audio Society Awards, awarded on February 16.
An Unexpected Journey led the nominations at the 39th Saturn Awards with nine, more than The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring which earned eight nominations at the time of its release. These nominations included Best Director (Peter Jackson's eleventh Saturn Award nomination), Best Actor for Martin Freeman, Best Supporting Actor for Ian McKellen (his third nomination for playing Gandalf) and Best Music for Howard Shore. It won Best Production Design for Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent and Simon Bright.
An Unexpected Journey also earned five nominations at the 18th Empire Awards, winning in two categories, Best Actor for Martin Freeman and Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Film. It also earned two nominations at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards in the categories Best Scared-as-S**t Performance and Best Hero for Martin Freeman. Freeman won the latter award for his performance. It has gathered 6 nominations at the 2013 SFX Awards, including Best Film, Best Director for Peter Jackson and four acting nominations.