The Hobbit was one of this year's most anticipated films, and it might be considered one of the most disappointing. Do I agree with the disappointment? Slightly. Is it still worth a watch? Definitely.
First and foremost, the film is a visual wonder. The CGI is slightly excessive, but places like Rivendell have never looked so vibrant. Gollum's scenes look scarily realistic, and the 3D is bold and effective. See it for the sake of visual entertainment.
Unfortunately, the writing is a tonal mess. Was it really necessary to have four writers? No, probably not. Was it really necessary to go on for three hours? No, probably not. Was I able to identify and separate all 13 dwarves? No, but I could separate 9 Fellowship members. What gives?
The Hobbit follows the shy Bilbo Baggins on his journey with 13 dwarves and a wizard (Gandalf the Grey), to retake the dwarves' home after it was plundered by a dragon some 60 years ago. Martin Freeman is a very good Bilbo, and Ian McKellen is a very good Gandalf. Outside the lead dwarf, Thorin Oakenshield, played by Richard Armitrage, the rest are good, but do not get a time to shine. Bummer.
Still, The Hobbit is a mighty fine entertainment and a visual marvel. It does not match the ranks of The Lord of the Rings, but its still a welcome return to Middle Earth.
3 1/2 Stars/ 4