8:00 PM, 22nd February, 2013
The Lord of the Rings had nearly all of the big fantasy motifs covered – dwarves, orcs, elves, massive wars, a quest to save the world, ancient prophecies and heroic destinies. What it didn’t have was a massive dragon. That’s because Tolkien had already used a dragon in his earlier novel, “The Hobbit”. So finally, after multiple delays, we get the film we’ve been awaiting – the first in a new trilogy. How is it?
Well, it’s different – a more genial, anecdotal film with a less angsty protagonist in Bilbo Baggins (Freeman), a homebody forced by circumstance (and the manipulations of Gandalf (McKellen)) into joining a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland from the dragon who stole it years ago. There are mishaps and adventures along the way as Bilbo gradually becomes a less reluctant hero. And there are also hints of darker things building, with more than just Gandalf returning from the previous films…
This isn’t a bad film, it’s just a lower-stakes film, less urgent than the original trio. The dwarves are goofy sidekicks without individual character, and it’s a bit overindulgent in the length department. It’s still entertaining and the sequence with Gollum, everybody’s favourite multiple-personality psychopath, is genuinely thrilling – but it isn’t the instant classic I was hoping for. Still, it’s worth watching, and … why not at Film Group?
And the dragon? He’s only glimpsed in this film, a teaser for his larger role in the next two.