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All right, so first of all, this absolutely most definitely is not a perfect movie and it's also even far from great actually at times. It however still remains a superior made adventure movie, that besides is a welcome return to Middle-earth again and to its familiar characters.

Compared to all of the The Lord of the Rings movies, this one might be a bit disappointing for some people, since it never, in no way or form, reaches the same level of excellence. This is an inferior movie in about every way imaginable but however, when you start judging this movie on its own right, there still is absolutely no way that you could call this a bad one or a failure.

On the contrary of course! The movie has far too much class for that. It's still a great looking movie, despite of all of its controversy and despite it that the movie uses a bit too many CGI. I mean, even the Orcs are CG this time around. Maybe they thought it would save them some time and money if they used more computer effects, as opposed to having actors and dozens of extras, with all makeup applied to them, while having to be present, day in and day out, on the set or at location. It are little things like this that make it still somewhat apparent this was a far from flawless and maybe even rushed production, after production was halted numerous times already before Peter Jackson stepped up again to direct, which had all cost the movie some serious time and money, way before filming had even started.

But of course the movie still manages to recreate the special kind of feeling and atmosphere Middle-earth had in all of previous 3 made The Lord of the Rings movies. It's no surprise all of course, since the movie is filmed at the same locations, uses some of the same settings and characters and has basically all of the important people who were involved with the previous The Lord of the Rings movies, behind the cameras, involved with this movie as well again.

I can still see why some people may consider this movie to be a bit of a bore though. Even though there is plenty of action, the action isn't particularly memorable or well shot and at times there is plenty of walking, talking and fooling around between those moments. And not all of that is particularly interesting or successfully done. I believe it's partly due to its characters. Having 13 dwarfs is just a bit too much for a movie to handle and let me just say it's a good thing they all have been given such a distinctive look, or else it would had been very hard keeping them apart. Martin Freeman is fine though as the young Bilbo Baggins and he acts with a confidence as if he already had been part of the The Lord of the Rings franchise for a long while.

I do admit it's not always a very well told movie. It seemed like the movie was struggling to find the right pace, which it finally managed to find during its final 30 minutes or so. I also do admit that if it wasn't for its final 30 minutes, I would had most likely given the movie a much lower rating.

It was that lacking as a movie at times. What I especially found lacking were the adventure aspects within its story. Sure, there is lots of traveling from point A to B but what the movie is lacking is some truly memorable and standout moments that occur during the journey. For the first half of the movie, there is the occasional random fight and meeting that doesn't really feel connected to the main story at all. It all feels like it got put in there to make the movie longer and to also take us to some familiar places and see some familiar faces again. But really, did we need to see Elrond, Galadriel, Saruman or Frodo in this particular movie again? It doesn't add enough in my opinion and will probably only please the die hard fans of the franchise. It's true that the movie could had used some more distraction within its story, since its main story is pretty forward but the movie unfortunately picks some wrong distractions, that besides only needlessly slow the movie down at parts.

The movie most definitely feels a bit too stretched out with its story and storytelling at times. It seriously could had gotten to its point way earlier on already but that way of course they couldn't had turned the novel "The Hobbit" into a new epic, long, trilogy. Judging by this movie and its story, it doesn't seem like this was the best idea but who knows, maybe it's something that's going to work out better in one- or both of the two sequels.

And I'm still very hopeful for this, since despite all criticism, this remains a very well made and entertaining fantasy adventure, that is a welcome return to the franchise again and a good setup for hopefully even better things yet to come, in its two sequels.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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