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Filming The Hobbit posed so many challenges, not least how to cover the distance between the
operatic _LOTR_ films and a kid's book. Jackson manages it neatly and elegantly with a frame-tale dialogue between Bilbo and Frodo that admits at once that _The Hobbit_ is Bilbo's story both as character and semi-reliable narrator; the jokey tone of the book comes through (sometimes too much: The White Council seems rudderless and childish, and some jokes fall flat; as with _LOTR_, Jackson is best when trusting the source material). But when the dwarves are allowed the book's song "That's What Bilbo Baggins Hates," I reckoned Jackson meant to do right by the book.
The adventure-story is strong, the characters likable. The music sometimes links _The Hobbit_ to the _LOTR_ films, recycling themes from the earlier movies, and is, I think, rather weak by comparison. Not Howard Shore's best work.
I dislike 3D, but it's used to extraordinary effect here in the high frame-rate version.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey...
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