The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (***3/4)
Martin is Bilbo.
Thorin is much too handsome.
Riddles in the Dark.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. First off, let me say: I was entertained by the movie. I only found myself checking the time once while we were watching it, and a midnight has to be entertaining for it to keep my attention—they are, after all, way past my normal bedtime.
Upon further reflection, however, and after reading a variety of reviews/having a variety of discussions ... I'm conflicted. Like I said, I was entertained, but I find myself torn between the thought that either the movie was trying too hard to tie into the Lord of the Rings or that it didn't try hard enough.
If you've never read the books, this might not make much sense. But The Hobbit and the LotR books are very different. The Hobbit is more of a children's story, and LotR is definitely for an older crowd, and the older themes made for more epic movies. The Hobbit takes place in the same lands and with the some of the same characters, but there's not as much action. (I haven't read the book in years and years, so if I'm wrong, please correct me.) The movie tries to stuff a lot more action into three hours than there actually is, and it makes the whole thing seem a little disjointed.
As far as the characters go, the movie doesn't rely nearly enough on Martin Freeman's Bilbo—and he's so very good in the role. The Dwarves were fun, but more comedic than LotR audiences are used to. And a couple of them barely even look like Dwarves—they just look like shorter, stockier humans. (I've also just realized that the poster with all the Dwarves looks a little Muppetish. It fits, oddly enough.) It was nice to see familiar wizards and Elves, and I look forward to seeing more of Lee Pace's Thranduil in the movies to come. (In part because this is one of my most favorite GIFs.)
The "Riddles in the Dark" scene, though? Amazing. Gollum's GC was fantastic, and the conversation (chemistry?) between Bilbo and him was, for me, the best part of the whole film.
I think I need to see it again to really make a solid decision. If you've seen it, what did you think?