The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Available from March 19 until September 11, 2013 at Rogers On Demand (Channel 100).
When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in cinemas, much attention was paid to its hyper-real 48-frames-per-second wizardry (as opposed to the standard and more cinematic 24-fps) – so much attention, in fact, that the quality of the film itself was often overshadowed, as though it had slipped on the One Ring and disappeared into Middle Earth.
Thankfully, home viewing allows for a chance to step back from all that frame-rate nonsense and enjoy the film for what it is: a lavish swords-and-sorcery epic that’s slavish in its devotion to its source material.
Indeed, every line of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings prequel novel has been milked for its potential to be computer-rendered, so much so that the first hour of its 170-minutes, during which we’re introduced to all manner of wee weirdo-beardos with broadswords and battle axes, feels a bit like slogging up Mount Doom.
But once Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and the dwarves have all banded together, and the CGI wonder that is Gollum has rasped and hissed his way into the story, it’s a race to the finish. Except, of course, that it’s not the finish. Director Peter Jackson intends to wring two more episodes out of Tolkien’s rather slight novel.
Still, if you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy, then you have a pretty good idea what you’re in for: more of the same, only different.