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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Ellen Pham, Chamberlain High
Grade: ****, 4/5 asterisks
Fans stricken over the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy can take heart. Peter Jackson, the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning director, has given you another gift. Jackson stays within his comfort zone, recreating the mystical world of Lord of the Rings, but weaves a fresh story line with the original as a source of inspiration rather than imitation.
The Hobbit, based on the popular novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. The film is set 60 years earlier and begins with old Bilbo Baggins ( Ian Holm), ink pen utensil in hand, writing and narrating the adventure he had when he was younger. That’s when we’re introduced to young Bilbo (Martin Freeman), whom we’ll follow throughout the rest of the movie.
Bilbo has a surprise encounter with a wizard named Gandalf, who gives him the opportunity to for an adventure. Bilbo insists that he is in no need of an adventure, content with his currently predictable, timid life. Nevertheless, Bilbo’s home is later filled with dwarves who couldn’t care less about table manners but are adamant about rescuing the kingdom of Erebor from a vicious dragon. After listening to the dwarves’ woes, Bilbo goes on a life-changing journey that develops his wit and courage.
The insurmountable advantage The Hobbit possesses is its visuals. Simply put, they’re incredible. It’s obvious hours and hours were spent digitally altering and enhancing the scenery and creatures to make them pristine, and the wardrobe and makeup are fantastic. The imagery in The Hobbit comes pretty close to perfect — so close that I’m predicting a Hobbit nomination for Best Picture.
The Hobbit makes book references, including about the rings, that may leave newcomers puzzled, meaning they’ll have to pay closer attention to details the characters briefly mention. The film’s intense, dramatic sound track is extremely effective in moving the scenes along. Although the battle scenes are great to watch, certain scenes with dialogue drag.
Freeman is delightful as Bilbo Baggins. He does a good job capturing Bilbo’s quirks and uneasiness during his transition to becoming stronger and braver. Ian McKellen (X-Men), is wonderful as Gandalf, using his considerable acting experience in authority roles.
Jackson stunningly breathes life to new characters, leaving fans of the Rings trilogy with a sense of nostalgia for his skills of the previous films. Those who are now seeing Jackson’s work for the first time are left with a solid story that will make the wait for the next film in The Hobbit trilogy even more agonizing.
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Running Time: 2 hours 49 minutes