ZOO Weekly


15 January 2013
Music & Movies
4 stars
WHO’S IN IT? Martin Freeman assumes the role of the furry-footed midget, Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage is the proud dwarf leader, Thorin Oakenshield. Meanwhile, Ian McKellen returns as beardy wizard Gandalf, as does Andy Serkis (Gollum), Cate Blanchett (elf queen Galadriel), Orlando Bloom (elvin archer Legolas) and Hugo Weaving (Elrond).

THE GIST: If you never read the Tolkien books as a kid, then heads up…  this is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, and details how, amongst other things, Bilbo Baggins (if you recall, he was the elderly hobbit who bequeathed the evil piece of bling to his nephew Frodo) first found the One Ring. But all that’s incidental to this stand-alone story. Basically, to reclaim a treasure stolen by a dragon, a band of cranky dwarves enlist a lanky magus’ help, who convinces them into bringing a reluctant hobbit along as a “burglar”. Along the way, they run into peckish trolls, nasty goblins, evil orcs and a creature known only as... Gollum.

ZOO’s VERDICT: Prepare yourself — considering Lord of the Rings was three books turned into three films, and The Hobbit was one book (and a lot slimmer one at that!) also turned into three films (and this is just the first instalment!), you may just doze off from an overdose of Middle-Earthen lore. Also, true to Tolkien’s original fairy tale, it’s a lot more kid-friendly and not as dark theme-wise as the first trilogy — arguably, we could’ve done with less dwarven bonhomie, songs and comic relief, and more orc slaying and dragon biff. But despite all that, it’s another triumph for Peter Jackson and an epic mind-f**k. A spectacle in every sense. 9/10

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