Feature

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A small hero answers the call of some dwarves in need.

Directed by Peter Jackson

(PG-13)

**

The immense success of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy took a toll on his latest effort, said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. Based on a slender J.R.R. Tolkien novel whose action also transpires in Middle-earth, it’s a “solid and acceptable” three-hour entertainment, but “there’s just not enough story here to prevent things from getting pokey.” Almost an hour is wasted on a simple setup, said Claudia Puig in USA Today. A band of dwarves who need aid in reclaiming their homeland from a dragon visit the cozy abode of hobbit Bilbo Baggins and “engage in rowdy antics” that become “grating” long before the homebody Bilbo agrees to join their quest. Martin Freeman makes a fine Bilbo and Richard Armitage “pulls off the task of making a dwarf seductive,” said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. But the plot gets next to nowhere, and the surface pleasures are undercut by another by-product of past triumphs. Jackson has filmed in ultra-high-definition 3-D, “which has the unfortunate effect” of making this Hobbit look like “a documentary about a film set,” not a fantasy world we can believe in.

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