By Carly Armstrong


The highly-anticipated “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” premieres in select theatres at midnight tonight.

The highly-anticipated “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” premieres in select theatres at midnight tonight.

This coming Wednesday marks the 11th anniversary of  the night director Peter Jackson’s first interpretation of Middle Earth hit the big screen.  Lord of the Rings buffs and novices alike embraced the trilogy and it quickly acheived world-wide fame, despite the Harry Potter series’ dominance.  And so, when Bilbo and Frodo rode off in his carraige at the end of the Best Picture-winning, “Return of the King,” audiences shed a tear at the end of an era.

Therefore, when Jackson announced that he had started filming the trilogy’s prequel, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the world responded with celebration.  Even since the director declared that he would be splitting the book into three movies, this has not yet deterred anticipating fans.

Author J.R.R. Tolkein’s, “The Hobbit,”  or, as Tolkein titled it, “There and Back Again,” follows the adventures of an unexperienced young hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. When the wizard Gandalf the Grey subtly recruits Bilbo to rob a dragons lair, the small creature accepts if only to prove the dubious dwarves wrong.  Along with a troupe of goblins, elves, and other mystical figures, Bilbo takes a role in what truly is an “unexpected journey” of fighting dragons, finding rings and so much more.

The movie stars Martin Freeman as the hairy-footed protaganist Bilbo. However, this film is not Freeman’s debut. A prominant British actor,  the star has also had a role in the beloved Christmas film, “Love Actually” as well as playing Watson in BBC’s detective series, “Sherlock.”  “The Hobbit” also welcomes back a “Lord of the Rings” veteran, Ian McKellen, as Gandalf.

Since the film was released to critics, the cinemotography has received mixed reviews. An article published on Tuesday by the BBC discussed how Jackson has upped the traditional frames per second from 24 to 48.  Many reviewers considered this headache-inducing, yet the progressive director believes that this is the way modern film is headed.

“Ultimately,” he said, “it’s not critics who are going to decide if this [the new format] is going to be adopted or not, it’s the audience.”

While some may view this film as a step backward for the plot, it will be interesting to see how the film quality and the appearance of Middle Earth has adapted over the years.  Still, with a new cast of characters and a lively adventures, audiences will most likely be so distracted that they won’t have time to be nostalgic for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

While the film does not premiere until tonight at midnight,  the hype around the film, as well as the success of its forefathers, is enough to merit five stars alone.  With Peter Jackson’s brilliant eye and New Zealand’s gorgeous mountains as the background of the film, it is difficult to envision any criticism that  can be made for the movie other than a slow pace.

For those college students that were raised playing “Lord of the Rings”  Trivial Pursuit and opening the action figures for Christmas, your time has come. Our world may have changed, but Middle Earth, and the brilliant adventures that occur there, remain perfectly unaltered.


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