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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 4 out of 5 stars

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Released: 2012

In the J.R.R. Tolkien world of orcs and wizards and rings, "The Hobbit" might be considered lighter fare, more comedic and adventurous, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  The hobbit in question is Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a homebody who is quite content to live his life in peace and solitude until Gandalf the wizard organizes a dwarf party in his little hobbit home.  The dwarves are returning home to reclaim their kingdom from the dragon Smaug, and Bilbo has been reluctantly chosen to be the party's "burglar".  The crew subsequently sets off on a journey fraught with orcs and trolls and goblins, and a mysterious ring as well.

The world the hobbit inhabits is quite beautiful to look at, and the creatures (mostly computer generated) are all interesting and devious in their own ways.  This prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy attempts to show us how certain characters from those movies came to be, and gives us a better understanding of what they once were.  It's a fun, light-hearted (well, as light-hearted as one of these Peter Jackson extravaganzas can be) adventure, but at three-plus hours (and this is just the first of three,  no less) even the best can start to get a little tiring.  And the Hobbit is definitely one of the best.

Peter Jackson
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