The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Ten years after the Lord of the Rings trilogy hit cinemas, Peter Jackson’s latest memorial to J. R. R. Tolkien has opened to the public. Where the trilogy covered a book per film, this time The Hobbit has been split into three films covering different aspects of the same book.

Within the cast there are a lot of familiar faces – Ian McKellen has returned as Gandalf, Ian Holm is back as old Bilbo (used mostly for framing), as well as Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett as Elvish Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel respectively. There are several well-placed cameos too – Elijah Wood’s return as Frodo was used to frame the opening of the film, setting it as a flashback during Bilbo’s writing of the Red Book just prior to the start of the original trilogy while Christopher Lee reprised his role as Saruman for several brief scenes.

Onto the plot: as can be expected, The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey follows the plot of the book closely, staying true to its roots. A lot of backstory to the world of Middle Earth is covered, and this exposition is handled well although it does tend to tell more than show. Throughout the film, historical reference is made (like in the first trilogy) to events not directly connected to the plot, but which affect the wider world.

From the start, the film is lighter, more whimsical than the original trilogy and in many cases this humour works well; especially in scenes like the dwarves cleaning after the feast the film really shines – that’s not to say that the lightheartedness works well in all places. At times there does seem to be a cliched, and at this point slightly tropic trend towards big, brutish characters with squeaky voices/behavior not really suited to their position – like Skids and Mudflap in the recent Transformers films, or the robots in Doctor Who: Dinosaurs on a spaceship. In both cases the subversion irks (although younger children may adore it) because it feels forced. Other than that though, the characters worked well. The returning cast stayed true to form (Andy Serkis spoke at length during filming about how difficult he found it to resume the role of Gollum after ten years away) and the newcomers (mainly Martin Freeman and the dwarves) each brought their own magic to their roles – though young Bilbo did at times dip into common Martin Freeman mannerisms seen throughout his career.

Throughout, you can see the effort, love and devotion applied to all aspects of the film, from the dialogue between characters, the pacing (splitting between action and gorgeous shots of New Zealand’s scenery as needed to give viewers time to digest what they are watching), the scoring and the effects.

There were enough hat-tip moments that fans of the first trilogy will recognise while at the same time the film stands well enough alone that it can – and will – act as an entry point for a new generation, unfamiliar with Jackson’s previous works.

Overall, The Hobbit was everything expected of it, and a worthy successor to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It should go down as a hugely successful hit and will keep the Tolkien estate afloat for a good many years to come.

What did you think of our review? How about your views on The Hobbit? Did you like the book? Let us know in the comments.


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

When Snowmen go bad

Following up from yesterday’s Doctor Who post, this pinged our interest. It’s fun, fictional and seasonal. And somehow just a little similar with its sense of foreboding to The Snowmen, this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special.

If you neutralise zombies by taking out their brains… do you steal a zombie snowman’s carrot? What’s the proper way to kill a snowman? And will we find out on Christmas Day?


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

The Oncoming Storm

Eleven famous faces, a recent 49th birthday, a man who has stared into the vortex of time and who once declared himself Timelord Victorius… it can only be The Doctor.

My take on a darker version of the Doctor, the Predator, reminiscent of the Dreamlord or the Valeyard. A man who’s been wounded one too many times, whose defenses have finally shattered under the guilt and pain and loneliness of centuries. He has finally turned his back on the universe, becoming the one thing he feared the most. The blood of entire worlds is on his hands, and there is no one left to stop him.

“See? This is what happens when you travel alone for too long.” -Amy.

All credit to Saimain for an excellent visual. This is a rendition of The Doctor that will not soon be forgotten.



Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Doctor Who Christmas Special

Last night, on the BBC’s annual Children In Need telethon, we saw the first glimpse of this year’s Christmas episode. The Doctor has retired and is living in Victorian London… but as ever the end of the world is just around the corner. And who’s that girl bearing a striking resemblance to Oswin from Asylum of the Darleks? We’ll have to wait and find out.

As has become tradition with Children In Need there was also a ‘minisode’, this time giving a little backstory and fleshing out some characters we’ve seen before. My guess is that they’ll be important in the episode itself. Both videos below…

So… snowmen… thoughts? Will you watch the episode this Christmas? Tell us in the comments.


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.

Mixing the Worlds Beyond through fiction

When I saw this I had to smile; characters from six continuities seamlessly blended together to pull off one punchline. For me that’s what the essence of Worlds Beyond is all about – exploring different universes, asking what would happen if they met, and enjoying new ideas.

This is the first image I’ve seen from The Cutting Room, but according to their Deviant Art page they are “is a twice a week webcomic focusing on recently released and upcoming movies. We feature a new guest artist with every strip, and we’re looking for more talented people that want to take a swing at our characters.” Based on that description I think they merit further reading.

What do you think? Should we feature more work from The Cutting Room in future posts? Answers in the comments, please.

[The Cutting Room]


Lifelong geek, and now admin at Worlds Beyond.