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One of the greatest cinematic experiences ever

Daniel Dercksen
12/11/2012 16:19:00

Artslink.co.za News
Daniel Dercksen: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is here at last and it’s worth its wait in gold, ten times over!

It is unquestionably one of the greatest cinematic experiences ever, and a proud prequel to the equally consummate The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Spectacular beyond belief, this emotional and visceral visual flight of fantasy truly celebrates the art of storytelling and story making at its most enchanting and mesmerising.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is one of the most imaginative and gripping stories ever, and as a prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is what cinema and the art of filmmaking is all about.

It’s astounding to think that one of the greatest stories ever told, brought to life by one of the greatest filmmaking teams in the world, sprung from the fertile imagination of Bloemfontein-born J.R.R. Tolkien – it is interesting that as a child Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider, which is echoed in The Hobbit. Also, the themes of personal growth and forms of heroism are central themes of the story and along with motifs of warfare; these themes reflect Tolkien's own experiences during World War I.

And, NO, I am not going to reveal anything about The Hobbit’s story; it will be a deadly shame to ruin such a refined and illuminating experience.

What makes The Hobbit such an endearing and memorable journey, is that its magnificent and overwhelming epic grandeur, and gallant mythology are grounded in an astounding magic realism.

There are moments that take your breath away and wilfully imprison your imagination, unlike anything you have experienced before.

Even if you are not a Lord of the Rings follower, you cannot deny its artistic merits and intelligent storytelling.

And if you experience The Hobbit fresh, without having read the book and still have some vivid recollections of The Lord of the Rings films, you will most definitely make a point of watching the entire saga all over again; this is one marathon you can look forward to.

One of the most charming aspects of The Hobbit is its characters; good or bad, meaningful or malevolent, each and every creation is unique and perfectly brought to life – from Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, to 13 fortune-seeking dwarves, the legendary Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield, dragons, to giant spiders, hostile elves, ravenous wolves, and – perhaps the most perilous of all – a subterranean creature named Gollum, they are all magnificent in both performance and realisation.

Director Peter Jackson’s passion deserves every award bestowed on him and his team, particularly his dynamic co-screenwriting team of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, his fellow Oscar-winning co-writers on The Lord of the Rings films, along with Guillermo del Toro.

They pieced material together an additional treasure trove of material from a revered English writer, professor and philologist developed in the decades after The Hobbit was first published, as well as 125 pages of appendices at the end of The Lord of the Rings which provided more back-story to the history of Middle-earth, describing some of the politics and events that occur during the years pertaining to The Hobbit and was more serious, darker in tone, and more in line with The Lord of the Rings.

Although there are moments of pure terror, its nightmarish horror never offends or becomes overbearing; the dark forces of antagonism become a worthy opponent in the warzone for supremacy.

Another great aspect of The Hobbit is that it underlines an important message during a time of war and dispute; and shows that home is indeed where the heart is and that outside familiar comfort zones, there lies an adventure that challenges the endurance of the human spirit and ultimately reveals our true humanity.

The Hobbit also shines a beacon of hope for outsiders who grow up in a shadow of destitute and loneliness, showing that friendship can be found in the most unlikely of places and that it can indeed make the world a better and more peaceful kingdom for all to share and rejoice in.

Daniel Dercksen
Freelance Journalist
072 474 1079
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