The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Sir Ian McKellen as “Gandalf the Grey”

Academy-award winning filmmaker Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey is a visual masterpiece. Jackson, ever the technical and creative genius takes viewers to an elevated level of optical delight with 3D at 48-frames-per-second, twice that of current day engineering. What it renders is exceptional depth, clarity and dimension by comparison to 24-frames-per-second.
Paired with a story for the ages taken from author J.R.R. Tolkien’s noted works, there is never a dull moment in the nearly three-hour film, rated PG-13, released by Warner Bros. Pictures.
HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey is the first in the trilogy.
The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”
Jackson sums up his latest movie this way, “This film is written in a very breathless pace. It is a children’s bed time story with character development and character conflict taken from the book plus what we took from the Lord of The Rings perspective. We wanted to expand on the author’s original character, the hobbit. “
Regarding the exceptional visuals in this film, he states, “I wanted this film to feel like a complete fantasy and to look as real as possible. I don’t subscribe to the notions that because it’s fantastical that it should be unrealistic; I think the levels of detail are very important.”
Synopsis of THE HOBBIT:
The adventure follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome Dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the Wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild, through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins, Orcs and deadly Wargs, as well as a mysterious and sinister figure known only as the Necromancer.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the Goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of ingenuity and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities…A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” in “The Hobbit” Trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as Old Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; and Andy Serkis as the iconic Gollum.
One of the industry’s celebrated actors regaled and honored for a commendable roster of satisfying roles is Sir Ian McKellen. Born and raised in the north of England, the 73-year-old McKellen attended Cambridge University and since 1961 has worked non-stop in the British theatre, specifically the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre of Great Britain and the West End of London.
During press interviews in New York, McKellen spoke to reporters —
On his portrayal of Gandalf the Grey versus Gandalf the White
McKellen: Gandalf the White (from the Lord of the Rings films) is on a mission to save the world or help save the world. He’s cut his beard down to size and he’s gone white in the process; he doesn’t have any jokes, no time for jokes, but that’s the story. It’s a much more human level as befits the quality of the adventure they are going on. There’s a bit more range for the actor in Gandalf the Grey, which is why selfishly I prefer doing him.
On reflections of Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, compared to the film
McKellen: Can I just say that there are limitations in a Tolkien view of the world. I mean, where is sex? Where are women? But in other aspects he is absolutely bang up to date; he takes old people very seriously and gives them their full weight and due. Young people, he’s very keen on and I think the message that resonated with everyone who read the books or has seen the films is that the world is organized by people who are extremely powerful. These same people have an overview and are concerned for the preservation of “middle earth” but they are entirely dependent on the little guy. And for someone such as myself who has been through two world wars to accept that, indeed it’s not the great people we build statutes to that the worlds changed, it’s the foot soldiers who measure up to the monument. We can all understand that because it is the level we are all at, really.
On working with Cate Blanchett
McKellen: The beauty of those few days was working with Cate Blanchett, which I hadn’t done before. We had appeared in the same scene at the end of the final Lord of the Rings movie but we hadn’t met; we met at a party in times past. But for those two weeks there she was in person. We had such a congenial relationship. She’s practically running the National Theatre of Australia in Sydney and we had so much to talk about – plays and everything else as well as the fun of making a movie. We got extremely close and affectionate with each other; her husband wasn’t around (laughter). So I think there was a lot of love, innocent love, and dependence going on; we were talking about something that Gandalf feels very strongly, as stated earlier, it’s a little guy that we need and who may be expendable. That’s what I remember most about working together.

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