The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
When I started it last night just after midnight I was thinking that it was going to be simultaneously too long and too short: too long for the hour (and, yes, I did watch it all, no napping), and too short because despite the movie length Peter Jackson would have to leave out stuff (and he did).
Of course what Jackson and his co-screenwriters did was to fill out the movie with a lot of background story which was basically omitted from the narrative in the Hobbit--which after all was a children's story--most of which appeared in the Lord of the Rings books. Everyone who wondered what Jackson would do to fill out three movies must have forgotten the wealth of surrounding materials that he can drawn upon for literally days of additional film if he wanted it (THAT might
be a bit much for me). These additions do take the movie out of the realm of a story for a young child.
I did like how An Unexpected Journey is directly linked to the start of the the Lord of the Rings movies.
I was bothered by how very little was done to explain why Bilbo decides to chase after the dwarves. Unless I missed something he just seemed to get the idea to go in his head and runs off with practically nothing except the contract in hand. As I recall it (and this being years since I last read the Hobbit) this was done in the book as an internal debate in Bilbo's head and the Took part of Bilbo eventually wins out, so trying to replicate this on film would be difficult but not impossible.
The water at the tops of the waterfalls in some of the scenes in Rivendell was remarkably cheesy. They were obviously small-scale models matted into the scene with seemingly no effort made to hide this, not even the use of slowed images to de-emphasize the speed which the water was overflowing the edge. This is especially surprising considering the effort that WETA has gone to make the parts of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit fit together otherwise seemlessly.
I did note that in the trailers for An Unexpected Journey that accompanied this movie there are some scenes that apparently were done but did not make the final cut. The earliest trailer had a Rivendell scene where Bilbo wandered into the room in which the shattered parts of Narsil were kept (I imagine that Bilbo asks Gandalf or Elrond about the broken sword and the other would reply: "That, Mr. Baggins, is a long tale for another day"). Oddly in a set of trailers which only differed by a short (usually comic) scene at the end of each, there is a portion of the dwarves' meeting at Bag End where a squarish part of the side of the head of one of the dwarves was still blocked out (perhaps because the actor wore or failed
to wear a large earring and "it was fixed in post"?). I just now checked the one of these trailers
on YouTube and it has the same artifact at 0:31 (that link goes to that time code in the trailer).
Don't be silly: yes, I enjoyed the movie and will probably watch it again (well, maybe not too
soon). I do lament that we will be waiting another year before part 2 and another year after that for part 3.