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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2012

Critics score:
64 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: The movie lacks majesty. Grand in parts, the movie is too often grandiose or grandiloquent; and the running time is indefensible. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: [A] dazzling, busy, fundamentally tedious movie ... Read more

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: I found that it provided a pretty convincingly immersive experience, and I look forward to the technology's evolution/refinement. Which I guess also means I look forward to the next two installments of the trilogy. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Tolkien's inventive, episodic tale of a modest homebody on a dangerous journey has been turned into an overscale and plodding spectacle. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The Lord of the Rings trilogy [has] been replaced by something that resembles tatty summer-stock theater. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: An overlong adventure enlivened by wonders. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: [The] elements are in place again, but the story feels less substantial than the Lord of the Rings tales. Read more

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times: Though at two hours, 50 minutes it feels overstuffed, the first "Hobbit" film holds its own thanks to inspired acting and some jaw-dropping technical innovations. Read more

Tasha Robinson, AV Club: At its best, it recaptures the Rings movies' breadth, detail, and staggering sense of beauty. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: It all just takes so long. Read more

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: Little about the storytelling suggests a beating heart beneath the visuals; once the journey has begun, the characters find themselves in life-threatening danger with stupefying regularity. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: When, in Jackson's film, someone describes a character's "love of gold" as having become "too fierce," you wonder if the warning might apply to "The Hobbit" in other ways. Read more

Tom Charity, CNN.com: An Unexpected Journey is a major comedown, a muddle-headed and cumbersome piece of filmmaking that betrays Jackson's mercenary motives -- Tolkien's book, too. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: My first thought in watching The Hobbit was: Do we really need this movie? It was my last thought, too. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: I was impressed with how much of the story's good humor Jackson and Co. manage to weave into the spectacle. It's there in the close shave with a gang of hungry trolls, and it really lifts off once Andy Serkis' uncanny Gollum enters the picture. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: To its own narrative detriment, "The Hobbit" works hard to lay the framework for what will follow. Certainly that's one way to set out on a trilogy, but it's surely not the best. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The last hour of this movie is pretty much nonstop, and it's a gas. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com: His first installment of The Hobbit, Tolkien's relatively slim precursor to the sprawling "Rings" saga, is a technically impressive but bloated adventure that makes you feel every one of its 169 minutes. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Vital as they are, Gollum and Bilbo can only do so much to keep us enchanted. Is Jackson able to sustain the magic in two more installments? I peer into Tolkien's Misty Mountains and embrace the journey. Read more

Laremy Legel, Film.com: What's all this add up to? Not terribly much. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: There are elements in this new film that are as spectacular as much of the Rings trilogy was, but there is much that is flat-footed and tedious as well, especially in the early going. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Solid and acceptable instead of soaring and exceptional, [and] unnecessarily hampered in its quest to reach the magical heights of the trilogy. Read more

Charlie McCollum, San Jose Mercury News: In a bit of irony, Bilbo Baggins says at the end of the movie: "I do believe the worst is behind us." We can only hope so. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: There are people who claim to see no difference between 24 and 48 frame rates, and to them, I'd recommend an unexpected journey to the eye doctor. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "The Hobbit" is an impressive first chapter. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: On balance, honor has been done to Tolkien, not least in the famous riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, and some of the exploits to come will surely lighten the load. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: "The Hobbit" becomes what it was originally meant to be - not a cut-from-the-same-cloth prequel, but its own, individual thing. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: Between its lighter tone and a decade's worth of improvements in digital film techniques, there should be enough of a novelty factor to delight most fans. Read more

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News: The movie itself is a lot of fun. And if you can separate yourself from the visual distraction, you'll find plenty to enjoy. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Piles on enough eye candy and action sequences to please fans, plus more humor than the three "Rings" films - even if it only occasionally achieves the trio's grandeur. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: This is not about a reluctant hero drawing courage from some deep personal well. It's not about dread and danger. It's about visual effects. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: An Unexpected Journey is a competent, entertaining effort but it neither enthralls nor amazes in the way its predecessors did. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: There's no denying the majesty in Peter Jackson's visuals but he's taken a relatively slim children's book and stretched it beyond the limits. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Part One of director Peter Jackson's planned film trilogy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit forces audiences to run an obstacle course before the fun kicks in. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: I'm afraid that whoever it was in the New York Film Critics Circle who voted for "The Hobbit" as best animated film had a point. And so did the people who suspected that this whole thing was a bad idea. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: If you loved the earlier films, these are moments you will hold on to, but they're very few, and they're not enough. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: It's hard to overstate the degree to which the 48fps format interfered with my ability to get lost in this movie's story. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: Tolkien's brisk story of intrepid little hobbit Bilbo Baggins is drawn out and diluted by dispensable trimmings better left for DVD extras. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is not the worst film of the year, but it may be the most disappointing. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: At nearly three hours long, "An Unexpected Journey" has moments when the caravan seems both overstuffed and out of balance, but it's such a scenic trip that only a stubborn homebody could complain. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: It frequently seems as though Jackson was less interested in making The Hobbit than in remaking his own fabulously successful Lord of the Rings series. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The repeated iterations of fight, flight and respite here get wearing. Especially perhaps because, with Jackson's fetish for detail, they take more time to watch on screen than to read about. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: The film is worthy of both your attention and of the Tolkien legendarium in which Jackson, his actors and his Weta Workshop technical crew are so firmly situated. Read more

Dave Calhoun, Time Out: The more dark it becomes, the more 'The Hobbit' becomes compelling as a story, and finds a fitting tone. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: Even though this installment is mostly a prelude, Jackson's eccentric mixture of low humor, earnest foreboding and digitally processed pageantry is consistently engaging and immersive. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: Fulfilling just a fraction of J.R.R. Tolkien's "There and Back Again" subtitle, The Hobbit alternately rewards and abuses auds' appetite for all things Middle-earth. Read more

Scott Foundas, Village Voice: Even once Bilbo and company take to the hobbit highway, the pacing is leisurely verging on lethargic ... Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has finally arrived, not on wings of gossamer fancy but with a hairy-footed thud. Read more