The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey

  • 12
  • Peter Jackson (2012)
  • US / NZ
  • 169 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Following the hit Lord of the Rings trilogy, director Peter Jackson travels further back through the history of Middle-earth to tell the rather rambling story of Bilbo Baggins. Martin Freeman plays the titular hobbit with curmudgeonly charm, as he reluctantly leaves home to join a band of dwarves led by Thorin (Richard Armitage doing mean and moody) on a quest to reclaim territory. Ian McKellen makes an amusing double-act with Freeman as the wizard Gandalf, who nudges him into action. Still, it takes a while before the story gets going and the pace suffers thanks to a diversion into Thorin's backstory. Jackson's decision to split the book across three films means he struggles to impose an orderly structure, but he does deliver extraordinary set pieces such as a battle between stone giants and a fateful encounter with Gollum. Of course, Andy Serkis's vivid turn, full of humour and pathos, is deftly captured. The action is heightened with a superfast camera, but crystal clarity doesn't lend itself to a storybook aesthetic. Overall, it's a rocky road with some spectacular views, but you're left feeling there's a long way to go.

Plot Summary

Unassuming hobbit Bilbo Baggins is pulled out of his comfortable life when Gandalf the wizard volunteers him for a dangerous quest. He joins a party of dwarves who are on a mission to reclaim their lost homeland, which has been taken over by a dragon. The first part of Peter Jackson's fantasy adventure trilogy based on JRR Tolkien's novel, starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage.

Cast and crew


Gandalf the Grey
Ian McKellen
Bilbo Baggins
Martin Freeman
Thorin Oakenshield
Richard Armitage
James Nesbitt
Ken Stott
Sylvester McCoy
Great Goblin
Barry Humphries
Cate Blanchett
Elder Bilbo
Ian Holm
Christopher Lee
Lord Elrond
Hugo Weaving
Elijah Wood
Andy Serkis
Aidan Turner


Peter Jackson

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Warner Bros
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 14 Dec 2012
Certificate 12