The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
|The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 epic fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is the first of a three-part film adaptation of the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, to be followed by The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, due for theatrical release in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The three films together will act as prequels to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The story is set in Middle-earth sixty years before The Lord of the Rings, and portions of the film are adapted from the appendices to Tolkien’s The Return of the King novel. An Unexpected Journey tells the tale of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is convinced by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. The film premiered in New Zealand on 28 November 2012 and was released internationally from 12 December 2012.
The film’s screenplay was written by Peter Jackson, his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (who also co-wrote The Lord of the Rings), and Guillermo del Toro, who was originally chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010.
The Hobbit has grossed over $1 billion at the box office, surpassing both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers nominally. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It was also nominated for three BAFTA Awards.
On his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins decides to write down the full story of the adventure he had 60 years earlier, for the benefit of his nephew Frodo.
Long before Bilbo’s involvement, the Dwarf Thrór becomes King of the Lonely Mountain and brings an era of prosperity to his kin until the arrival of Smaug the Dragon. Smaug destroys the nearby town of Dale before driving the Dwarves out of the mountain and taking their hoard of gold. Thrór’s grandson Thorin sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and is dismayed when they take their leave rather than aid his people, resulting in Thorin’s everlasting hatred of Elves.
In the Shire, young Bilbo is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey into hosting a party for Thorin and his company of Dwarves: Balin, Dwalin, Fíli, Kíli, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur. Gandalf’s aim is to recruit Bilbo as the Dwarves’ “burglar” to aid them in their quest to the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo is, at first, unwilling to accept but has a change of heart and joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Traveling onward, the company gets captured by Trolls. Bilbo stalls them from eating the company until dawn, when Gandalf exposes the Trolls to sunlight, turning them to stone. They search the Trolls’ cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.
The company encounters Radagast the Brown, a wizard who lives in Greenwood. He tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a Necromancer who has been corrupting the forest with dark magic. The company is chased by Orcs on Wargs, with Radagast covering their escape. Gandalf leads the company through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond. Elrond reads Thorin’s map and discloses that the Lonely Mountain has a secret door which will be visible only on Durin’s Day. Gandalf talks with the White Council consisting of Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White. He tells them about his involvement with the Dwarves, presenting a Morgul-blade Radagast obtained from Dol Guldur as a sign that the Necromancer is linked to the Witch-king of Angmar and may attempt to use Smaug. Saruman is skeptical, not believing the Necromancer to be a true threat.
Without Gandalf, the company journeys into the Misty Mountains, where they find themselves amid a colossal battle between Stone Giants. They take refuge in a cave and are captured by Goblins, who take them to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo becomes separated from the Dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray Goblin to eat. Pocketing the ring, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum, who is initially deterred from attacking Bilbo because he wields an Elvish blade. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins or eaten by Gollum if he loses. Bilbo eventually wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket. Realizing that he lost the ring, Gollum suspects that Bilbo possesses it and attacks the hobbit. Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum.
Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the Dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the Dwarven kingdom of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin’s head. As the goblins search Thorin and company they reveal Thorin’s sword, Orcrist the goblin cleaver. The sight of this drives the Great Goblin into a fury, who then orders the goblins to attack and behead Thorin and company. Gandalf arrives just in time and saves the Dwarves from the Goblins, killing the Great Goblin during their escape. Meanwhile, Bilbo evades Gollum in the deep of the mountain using the ring. He eventually comes upon an exit and Gollum nearby, but rather than kill his pursuer, Bilbo spares him and escapes out of the mountain. Bilbo rejoins the group, keeping the ring he found secret. Ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, the company take refuge in trees. Thorin then challenges Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground by his mace and set upon by his warg. Bilbo saves Thorin from the Orcs just as the company is rescued by the Eagles who fly them to the safety of the Carrock. Gandalf heals the unconscious Thorin who acknowledges Bilbo’s bravery. In the distance, the company sees the Lonely Mountain. The company also see a thrush flying about, which then heads to the Lonely Mountain. There, the thrush catches a snail and knocks its shell against the mountainside, awakening the sleeping Smaug, who is lying beneath a golden hoard.