My Review (4 stars):
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)... after watching it about three times, I think I may be ready to review it. Maybe. Bear with me, people, I haven't read the books! It's just that its such a long movie, and without having read The Hobbit, it takes me awhile to sort everything out.
So, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) actually comes before all three Lord of the Rings movies. While Frodo makes an appearance in the former, its about his uncle(??), Bilbo Baggins. I definitely liked this movie better than LotR. It wasn't as dark I think. It felt more adventurous, humorous, and purposeful to me. An epic tale of good vs. evil.
And I think that's all J.R.R. Tolkien meant it to be. An epic tale of good vs. evil, that is. Though Tolkien was a Christian I believe, a friend of C.S. Lewis even, I'm pretty sure he said at some point in his life that he didn't mean his books (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings) to be Christian allegories. However, we still may see subtle, small allegories scattered throughout this film. Overall, it doesn't have a BIG allegory, like Chronicles of Narnia. The wizards, like Gandalf, seem to be the highest powers on the good side. On the dark side, there is this blackness/sorcerer/evil being called the necromancer who definitely could represent Satan. But all in all, I think its just a great, adventurous, action story; and even can make me think of the spiritual world at times. The necromancer and the orc certainly make me think of Satan and his demons. But I wouldn't try to find a big, Christian allegory in this film. It just confuses one.
Gandalf also has some wise things to say that really make The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) all the better. It's a thoughtful tale really, with some lessons to teach I think.
Okay, some downs for me. There's some sort of crudeness, toilet humor, gross aspects. Nasty-looking trolls act in base ways; disgusting goblins and their horribly-disgusting king dominate a good many scenes; a wretched, little, once-was-a-hobbit named Gollum now acts like an animal; the dwarves are extremely piggy, spilling ale down their beards, extended burping... at least in one scene... All that could have been toned down some in my opinion. I'm just too much of a girl for all that, ha!
But besides their unseemly table manners, the dwarves do become rather loveable. The hobbits in their little hobbit village are very cute, if not sweet as well. Bilbo often melted my heart with his whole-hearted loyalty and simple bravery. Plus he's just a very unique and likable character; definitely a hobbit! :) And I very much like Gandalf, as always. He's a grand character too. The lady wizard, Galadriel is also inspiring.
Hmm... the orcs can be frightening, as well as the huge, wolf-like beasts they ride. The scene of the little, woodsman wizard visiting the dark, abandoned fortress is creepy to be sure. I think the Gollum parts are the worst for me... he's too animal-like for actually having once been a hobbit. Plus its hard to watch his good and bad side battle when you know he'll eventually be overcome by evil (in the LotR). Definitely take note of the pg-13 rating because of these things.
So, there's a few aspects I generally wouldn't prefer in the movies I watch. But, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), and its like, are exceptions. Middle-Earth is brilliant. The scenery in this movie (New Zealand area), is beautiful. I love visiting the elvish lands... they're simply lovely and inspiring and fantasy-like. In fact, the elves really are my favorite race of Middle-Earth. The whole getting hunted down by orcs and their massive wolves is really quite exciting; though I could have done without the goblins! The hobbit holes are very homey and quite sweet.
This whole unexpected adventure of Bilbo Baggins has me intrigued. I'll be back to review The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) when I've watched that for the third time! :p