Sunday, December 30, 2012

Welcome Back to Middle-Earth, Part 1

It's hard to believe, but it's been 10 years since 'The Return of the King' graced the big screen, Peter Jackson's third and final installment of 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy which garnered 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  His lovingly and laboriously crafted adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic ('The Fellowship of the Ring,' 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King') is a tour-de-force masterpiece that as a whole are among my favorite films of all time. 
Call me a 'Dungeons and Dragons' geek if you must, but ever since I've read my very first fantasy series  'The Chronicles of Prydain' by Lloyd Alexander as a wee child, I've been fascinated with medieval fantasy and enchanted realms populated by fire-breathing dragons. noble elves and hardy dwarves.  But come on, given the mainstream popularity of 'The Lord of the Rings,' 'The Game of Thrones,' 'Harry Potter' and 'World of Warcraft' nowadays, geek is the new chic if you ask me.
Back on topic, Peter Jackson finally returns to Middle-Earth with 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,' and this first part of his much awaited prequel is a rollicking adventure indeed.  While it's not as grand or sweeping an epic as 'The Lord of the Rings,' it's not meant to be.  As a faithful adaptation of the novel it is based on, 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' stands on its own very well, just like its resourceful anti-hero, Bilbo Baggins, recruited by the wizard Gandalf to aid 13 dwarves to reclaim their lost kingdom many years after they were ousted from their mountain keep by the dragon Smaug.  An adventure awaits, as our hapless band of heroes must keep themselves from being eaten by trolls, evade orcs and battle a ruthless Goblin King and his minions to fulfill their quest. 
Well, as you can see, this first part of what will be another planned trilogy on 'The Hobbit' pretty much had me at 'hello,' so I can't say that this review is entirely unbiased.  I just love the fantasy genre, especially when it's done by a master such as Peter Jackson.
Grade: A
It looks cooler in Japanese, no? 

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