Synaesthesia Magazine Green - Page 43

The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey

by Tom Robinson

What does an avid fan of a children’s novel do after the release of the much anticipated movie adaptation? Well, after all the initial excitement and loss of sleep they (I) look forward to the DVD release of course!

Last month The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2012, directed by Peter Jackson did just that. I got hold of my copy, on the day of release... obviously. The film tells the story of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, played by British actor Martin Freeman. He is a hobbit that enjoys a comfortable un-ambitious way of life; he dresses in sensible clothes and has a taste for plain food. That is until the wizard, Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellen) tricks poor Bilbo into going on an adventure accompanied by him and thirteen dwarves led by their leader, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Amitage). Set sixty-years before The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it once again recalls the services of an unwilling hobbit setting of from his humble hole in the ground, leaving behind the pleasant green hills of The Shire.

Whilst on their adventure, the party come face-to-face with many foes, some more dangerous than others. I couldn’t wait to see William, Tom and Bert, the trolls in Bilbo’s story that he tells of on his “eleventy-first” birthday in The Fellowship of the Ring. Using CGI, the trolls are brought to life and given their own unique characteristics. And although potentially dangerous the trolls bring a certain aspect of humour to the story. They are big ugly lumps far from their mountain homes who stumble across a hobbit, wizard, and thirteen dwarves - dinner? This isn't the first time that Tom, William and Burt have appeared on-screen. In The Fellowship of The Ring, the hobbits encounter the trolls but in this instance the trolls are already stone. In The Hobbit, the special effects team had a lot of freedom when bringing the trolls back to life. After narrowly avoiding being cooked-alive by the trolls, the group find the Last Homely House. There they meet Elrond for the first time along with Galadriel and the wizard Sauroman.

In the final stages of the film, the party inadvertently find themselves in the lair of the Goblin-King after narrowly escaping a great pulping by Stone Giants. They manage to escape with the help of Gandalf while Bilbo is busy playing riddles with the creature Gollum and apprehending a very curious ring. Along with many warm and funny moments, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a great adaptation of Tolkien’s 1937 novel. It adds certain elements not seen in the book, and manages to portray the characters well and explores more beautiful parts of Middle-earth.

Filmed in New Zealand, but also in studios across the US and England, production on The Hobbit originally began back in 2011. To obtain the vibrant green look of The Shire, work on the set had to begin almost a year before any filming could take place. Unlike the Hobbiton set in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (dismantled after filming commenced), The Shire for The Hobbit film was built using bricks and mortar - built to last. Shortly after filming finished, the site was turned into a tourist attraction and is still available to see. I am going to visit this haven one day if it's the last thing I do!

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey showcases some of New Zealand's great delights; its snow peak mountains and truly breathtaking green hills. New Zealand really is a great real life Middle-earth. And is everything I imagined it would be when reading the books.

Originally written by author, J.R.R.Tolkien in 1937, this movie adaptation transforms a 300-page novel into an epic film trilogy with the first part ending on chapter six, ‘Out of the frying-pan into the fire’. Born in Bloemfontein in January 1892, Tolkien was a Professor at Oxford University; he also fought in the First World War. Tolkien had no recollection of when exactly the idea for the book came about. He once wrote: “On a blank leaf I scrawled ‘In a hole in the ground there lied a hobbit’”. In early drafts of the book, Tolkien named the dragon Smaug - ‘Pryftan’ and Gandalf went by the name of ‘Bladorthin’.

Interest by New Zealand born director Peter Jackson in adapting The Hobbit started in 1995 and again in 2006 a few years after the release of the final The Lord of the Rings film. Although in 2008 director Guillermo del Toro was given the task to adapt Tolkien’s literal masterpiece, but by 2010 due to many delays del Toro dropped out and it was once again left to Jackson to bring Middle-earth to the big screen.

See if you can spot the moment when Frodo leaves Bag-end in order to rendezvous with Gandalf the Grey on the morning of Bilbo’s birthday, it’s a fantastic tie-in with a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring. I adore Tolkien’s original book, and I enjoyed this adaptation immensely. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is due to be released the end of this year and will take on where this one left off. Until that day I will be waiting with anticipation.

Tom Robinson

graduated from Chichester

university last year and is now trying to make it as a freelance journalist. tomrobinsonblog

The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey, 2012