The D is silent, but crudeness is not!

Django

 

 

“The D is silent!” a quote that made so many people laugh and applaud.   It’s Robbie K again, this time reviewing Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained.  The plot for this film is about a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who is rescued by a German bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz).  Apparently Django is one of the few men in Texas who knows the identity of a band of outlaws named the Brittle brothers.  As payment for helping him, Schultz promises to track down Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who is currently owned by a chauvinistic plantation owner named Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

If you’ve seen Tarantino’s work, you know that the man is very extreme in his movies and makes no attempts to censor his work.  Django Unchained follows the same path, which for some will be enjoyable for some and rather grotesque for other.  From the very beginning, Django starts off with blood as gun shots paint a messy shower of red.  Yet the madness has only begun, as Shultz takes Django under his wing and helps him develop the killers edge needed to be a bounty hunter.  As Django evolves, so too do the kills as the dynamic duo updates not only their arsenal, but techniques as well.  The end result of this training are numerous scenes of gun blazing goodness, usually resulting in some sweet kills and bloody bodies.  Are you sickened by the description?  If so, then skip this movie as the cinematography captures enough detail to make some stomachs turn.  Head shots, knees exploding, and a shots in the neck are common scenes in this movie.  Some of these kills are not quick though, and the poor victims who suffer usually have some ugly wounds associated with them, some of which involve a person being torn apart or tortured.   For me extreme gore isn’t my cup of tea, as violence doesn’t always have to mean a river of blood to follow.

Despite the messiness though, Tarantino does still provide some other entertaining qualities that somewhat made up for the weaknesses.  His choice of actors was well selected as both Foxx and Waltz work well together as the bounty hunter duo, each balancing out the other’s character weaknesses.  Waltz in particular uses his charm to not only swoon the various extras, but also as a tool to make his lines even funnier as he adds a pompous atmosphere to the conversation.  Foxx on the other hand sticks more to the rough necked outlaw motif, saying little to his victims before firing the shot, though the little he says is more than enough to get a few chuckles out of the cast.  Washington is just as lovely as ever, but doesn’t get to do much other than scream and cry.  While she can play a damsel in distress very well, this character was a little lacking compared to some of her other work.  As for Jackson, his character is both fun and malicious.  Jackson’s overacted rants and cascade of stereotypical insults were hilarious to me for the most part, yet his character too sometimes overstepped the appropriate boundaries.  As for DiCaprio, well the man is still on top of his game.  Stepping out of the somber detective role, Leo’s portrayal of the pompous plantation owner is incredibly captured in every detail from the rich debonair look to the heavy southern accent.  The strongest aspect to his character is the viciousness he has to develop throughout the course of the movie, which starts with simple enjoyment at a blood sport, but turns into an anger that can’t be controlled.

Yet like many movies, Django does have its faults.  For one thing the editing and filming require a little more polish to meet the qualities of his other films.  Various settings don’t match up with the areas they are supposed to be in, for example a rocky outcropping in the state of Tennessee, or a dried up wasteland for Mississippi.  The grainy nature of the film is also a little harder to enjoy, though it may have been used to help develop and depth to the Western world.  Pushing past the editing, the time limit of the movie was a little hard to deal with at times.  While the pace of the movie was rather quick for the most part, there were a few times where I felt the scenes were pointless or overdone.  The end of the movie in particular could have been modified to deliver the same entertainment in a fraction of the time.  What may have contributed to some of these “slower” parts was the episodic element this tale seemed to have.  Instead of having a nice linear plot with twists and turns, Tarantino sort of divided the story into 3-4 tales some of which lasted for minutes before the plot was just dropped.  Perhaps it was just a means for introducing more satire and laughs, or just another excuse to add more gore, but some of these short stories could have been replaced with something to make the story deeper.   Yet my biggest weakness was the uber amount of crudeness, Tarantino put in this film.  I know that he designs this movie without a care to criticism, but his rebellious nature was a little out of hand this time.  In particular the bloody savageness and filthy language were excessively overused to the point where it was no longer enjoyable, but annoying, despite the cultural relevance to the time period being portrayed.  How many times do you need to use the N word to get the point acorss?

Django was a fun movie to watch, but it still has some flaws that need to be tweaked.  Perhaps when the movie comes out on DVD the editing can hammer some things out.  While it is not his best work, it’s still enjoyable and will please any fan of his work.  Just make sure to exercise caution when planning to take younger audience members to see it, as the crudeness factor has stepped up a bit. My scores for this movie are as followed:

Action/Drama/Western:  8.0

Movie Overall:  7.0

Theater recommendation: Medium, probably better spent watching on Netflix.

Cruise Over And See Mr. Reacher!

Jack Reacher

                You’ve seen him take on Impossible Missions.  He’s been able to master the art of the samurai and battle the tyranny of a corrupt empire.  This man has even survived an alien invasion while babysitting a bug eyed little girl.  Yes, he’s Tom Cruise the man who seems to be a big contender for leading male roles.  This weekend Mr. Cruise stars in another movie, one that involves him wearing more clothes and drinking less booze.  Yes my friends, he has traded the shirtless role of Stacy Jaxx, for the incredible mind of Jack Reacher, which is the name of the movie.  What were my thoughts on this movie?  Please read on to find out.

The trailer didn’t make me too excited about this movie since it painted Cruise as the same character he has played in just about every movie.  Now this may not bother you, but for me I’ve gotten a little tired of his calm, creepy, calculated demeanor that lacks any expression of emotion.   In Jack Reacher though, Cruise’s demeanor actually is a strength that gives the protagonist just the right traits to be likeable.  For those who haven’t read the books, Reacher is sort of a loose cannon detective/soldier that uses intellect, rational thought, and intense training to uncover the truth.  Of course such qualities require a dryer character instead of an energetic idiot.  Does this mean that his character is boring though?  On the contrary, Reacher is actually a character almost everyone will like due to his many qualities.  He’s very blunt when it comes to speaking the truth and has no fear telling others what is going on in his head.  While some may find it rude, most of the audience and I found it funny due to the timing and delivery of the lines.  Even his facial expressions are funny, not because they are goofy, but because they are realistic reactions to some of the situations he faces.

However blunt humor and witty dialog isn’t the only quality of this character/movie that was enjoyable to watch.  The story itself is interesting and provides a good mystery that many movies have been lacking as of late.  Again assuming you haven’t the read the books, the plot starts off with a horrible killing spree that seems to set up the villain of the story.  However, I was fooled and instead it becomes a mission to discover the motif of the crime and leads to a much deeper rabbit hole.  To help uncover the mystery, Reacher’s character is used to analyze the various parts of the city, attempting to discover clues that were hidden in plain sight.  What I liked best about this, was it wasn’t some random discovery of clues like Scooby and the gang can find, but instead Reacher goes to the scene takes the info collected and expands on it.  The connections and concepts he finds are rather impressive, and were details that I had trouble seeing.  Plus, for once I found this story to a more unpredictable, constantly turning a new direction that wasn’t too radical of a turn.   As Reacher continues to piece the puzzle together, the world continues to grow and incorporates more of the characters into the story, who used their skills to further expand the plot.  This involvement and integration is something I love to see done in a movie, as it provides multiple opportunities to develop the main characters and keep them diverse and interesting.

Yet detective work and crime solving are still only a few pieces to Jack’s complexity.  Although he stalls casual and calm during most of the movie, there is a hidden beast within ready to break free when the time calls for it.  Of course this means some action is involved when the aggression is unleashed, but this doesn’t mean we get into a kung fu fury.  Reacher does have some moves, but his opponents are fairly untrained in the self-defense arts and fall within a few seconds.  While this isn’t bad for this movie, fans should not expect much from fist to fist fighting.  Instead Jack’s action skills involve using speed, intelligence, and guns.  While these scenes aren’t nearly as fast or detailed as other action films, they are still quite enjoyable and good support for the story.  Fans will find themselves tied to the action to determine how the outcome will affect the story.  These scenes are still exciting and suspenseful, but may still be a little slower for the action cravers that are out there.  Yet something many will appreciate is that for the most part these scenes are real.  When a person gets shot, they don’t stand perfectly straight and keep gunning, but actually have to favor one limb or go into hiding.  Now some of the car chasing is still a little farfetched, as how many impacts can one car take before it no longer moves.  Still the action is fun, relevant, and has some laughable moments from Reacher’s nonchalant attitude.

I’m impressed with Jack Reacher and happy that my initial doubts were misplaced.  I believe that many fans will enjoy this adaptation to the book series.  Cruise really brings the character to life and Reacher’s multiple qualities drive the story and keep it decently paced.  Yes there are a few things that may have been edited out to make the film a little shorter, but this movie is a pretty strong one in my books.  I suggest this one be seen in theaters either by your self or with friends.  However, should you not have time to see it definitely catch it later on Netflix/Redbox.  Here are my scores for the movie:

Action/Crime/Thriller:  8.0-8.5

Movie Overall: 8.0

 

Visually and Musically Beautiful!

Cirque du soleil

The art of circus performing is a tradition that continues to defy the test of time.  One circus that continues to remain popular with the public is Cirque du Soleil, the show that combines acrobatics with artistic imagination.  Cirque du Soleil has taken on a number of themes over the years from dragon celebrations to Michael Jackson tributes, yet many have missed the opportunity to see these shows come to life.  This weekend people around the country/world have the opportunity to see a show for themselves as Cirque Du Soleil: World’s Away 3D released.  So sit back and relax as I dive into the artistic into James Cameron latest production.

Let’s start this review off with the biggest strength of the movie, the visuals.  Worlds Away is a breath taking experience of mind blowing sequences that show off the imagination of the performance theater.  Audience members will be excited to see the performers pull off aerial ace performances as they flip and soar through the air amidst brilliant settings.  What makes this movie even more entertaining is that the stunts are not just people showing off their training, but are actually being used to tell a story and describe the emotions of the act.  Some performances are elegant displays of finesse, combining ballet and interpretive dancing to wow and amaze.  Others are all about power and gravity challenging stunts that build suspense at whether or not the person will fall to the constantly moving environment.  My favorite in particular involved a Japanese anime like act, where performers “fought” on a gyroscopic platform that involved them adapting to the environment, which kept it interesting.  Amidst these entertaining performances are some performances that are more strange than entertaining.  These skits involve oddly designed characters whose purpose was unknown to me.  I’m sure there is some symbolic nature to these scenes, but unfortunately I was unable to decipher the meaning behind these interludes, or at least understand what each character represented.  Regardless these scenes can still be entertaining, but don’t expect them to be as flashy as those shown in the trailer.

Another factor that adds entertainment to this movie was the musical score.  Those who have seen the show before, will be familiar with the beautiful harmonies the orchestra creates.  Each scene has its own song accompanying it, designed to mirror the feelings the performers were trying to act out.  Performances that were softer and more elegant, used a slower track where flutes, violins, and vocals dominated.  Scenes that were more aggressive, darker, and more suspenseful took on the entire orchestra relying on the drums and strings to paint the challenging nightmare the world had to offer.  If you don’t care about the music matching the scenes, it doesn’t matter because the orchestra work is still ear pleasing on so many levels.  Fans of the series may recognize some of the tracks, but for newbies like me, you may just find yourself bobbing to the beat.

So we have the stunts and the accompanying music, but is there anything else that will impress the audience.  I believe the visuals might also be another aspect that will grab your attention .  The costumes are indeed artistic and interesting to see, but usually fit the scene well.  Unfortunately my lack of artistic understanding denied me the full appreciation of their design, and might confuse other audience members as well.  Despite the confusion though, the setting itself is beautiful.  The artificial rivers and ponds, the misty trees of the forbidden jungle, and the industrial wasteland of a steam punk nightmare are polished in every detail.  Some of the scenes also included some artificial creatures that were even more impressive to watch.  My favorite was the giant snake that coiled itself around the forest as the two protagonists dance their way through the air.  This beast moves as it was an animatronic reptile, but one can see the strings as the puppeteers work their magic to make it move.  I feel though that many people will enjoy the world the designers have created for the audience.

So what should I warn you about this movie?  One thing is that the story is rather basic and very straightforward.  It’s a romance story that involves travelling through multiple worlds, with each having a tale of their own that provides an obstacle for the main plot.  Unfortunately the deeper elements of the story require a little more thought than I was able to understand, but those who can interpret symbolism will be just fine.  Another thing I noticed is the constant amount of flashing lights in this movie.  These lights add more life and excitement to the scenes, however those with seizure disorders are going to need to stray from this movie.  Perhaps the other thing to warn you about is that this movie seems to be only available in 3-D so it could be a more expensive purchase depending on your theater.  Was it worth the 3-D? Frankly I could have done without it, but it added a smidge of detail that can be appreciated. 

Was Cirque De Soleil worth a trip to the theater?  It really depends on if you have already seen a show.  If you have, then not really as I discovered some of the details were cut from the movie.  Plus at the show you get a little more involved than you do in the theater.  However, if you’ve never been to a show, then totally go see this one, as the visuals and sound are made for the theater.  What are my scores for this movie?  Check them out below:

Fantasy:  7.0

Movie Overall:  6.5

This is Okay

This is 40

Hello one and all, Robbie K here with another round of movie reviews.  We start this triple threat off with the latest Judd Apatow film entitled This is 40.  For those who have seen the trailer, this sort of sequel to the film Knocked Up focuses on the life of the previous films supporting characters Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann).  No longer worried about her sister, Debbie’s concerns have now turned to turning the big 4-0.  This midlife crisis leads to her questioning the foundry of her relationship with Pete, who also has to face his own problems on top of his emotional wife.  What in the world is going to happen?

As many Judd Apatow fans know, the sky is essentially the limits when it comes to his portrayal of modern day life.  This film is no exception as Judd has once again adds his ridiculous humor to the mix, finding ways to bring awkward situations to the big screen.  From the very start, this small family is starts bickering about the most trivial things from episodes of Lost to what they are going to eat for dinner.  These arguments consist mainly of three things that are consistently seen throughout the movie, slapstick dialog, lots of cursing, and well-timed awkward moments.  For the dialog, Aptaow’s writing shines through as a plethora of sexual innuendos, penis references, and sarcastic jabs are jammed into the 2 and half hour time limit.  Perhaps what made the dialog funny to me was the timing and delivery of the lines.  Paul Rudd’s sarcasm was his biggest strength in this movie that somehow tied in his insults with an “I can’t believe you just said that” tone.  Although he was a bum, Albert Brooks’s character was another character that was funny to me. His pathetic excuses to get money were incredibly absurd, yet his delivery and natural awkwardness made this pathetic nature humorous to watch.  However, what had the character that had the audience laughing for most of the movie was Debbie.  Somehow the high pitched squealing and constant whining/criticism had enough one liners to keep the room filled with laughter.  If that doesn’t interest you, then her mannerisms will keep you entertained instead.  Her fiery passion, willingness to speak her mind, and feisty attitude were a combination that kept her character spontaneous, fresh, and fun.  While her characters normally annoy the heck out of me, this movie Debbie wasn’t that bad as she had other aspects that balanced her overreacting nature. 

Comedy wasn’t the only strong point in this movie though.  This is 40 also has some good morals and plot elements that will keep audiences into the movie.  The issues both Pete and Debbie face are challenges that most people can relate to on some level.  Many scenes show the challenges marriage can place on partners and the dilemmas that unfold when a healthy balance of communication and understanding are not lacking in the relationship.  Despite Apatow’s crude approach, he does have a good way of teaching important lessons in a manner that isn’t overdramatic or cheesy.  Characters in this movie don’t just magically wave their hands and solve their problems with a kiss.  Instead they make mistakes, sulk/think about what could have gone better, and then actually find a way to address their issues and make amends.  This realism is a big plus for me and I applaud Apatow for using these situations to develop his formerly shallow characters.  Debbie in particular surprised me as her internal challenge to stay rational while keeping her passion drove the story to new places.  Her struggles affected other character affecting their moods, which then led to their development that further strengthened the film.  However, some of this realism is slightly stretched, especially when it comes to the characters go on cursing rants to little kids and other parents and no repercussions are seen.  Yes this adds humor for a lot of people, but some of the audience were a little shocked or offended by this unleashed anger.

Let’s move on to a few things I didn’t like about the movie.  For one thing, I still don’t like the overuse of the F word in movies.  Sparingly it can be a master tool to get the perfect laugh or emotion out, yet Apatow still likes to integrate this word into almost every sentence, which grows stale for me after a while.  Another big weakness for this reviewer was the character Sadie (Maude Apatow).  Taking the place of her mother, Sadie becomes the unreasonable, emotional mess that Debbie made famous in knocked up.  A majority of her lines were just screaming, tear filled rants that involved her yelling shut up about five times in a minute.  While she did have a few acts that made me laugh, I grew tired of her teenage hormones about a half an hour into the film, slowly losing respect for the character as the time continued to pass.  This brings me to my last big weakness, the time span of the movie.  Two hours and fifteen minutes of emotional purging was a little too long for me.  The post production editing had some scenes that could have been taken out or at least shortened to spare the audience from viewing some dragged out nonsense that was a waste of time.

This is 40 was surprisingly entertaining for me and I was very happy with the plot of this movie.  The integration of comedy, story, and all of the stars was well balanced and the realistic approach to problems was a good message to all.  Yet there are still some editing issues that need to be addressed to make the movie shorter and less stale.  Is this movie worth a trip to the theater?  For me probably not, unless it’s a date/girls night out, but do give it a try at some point.  My scores for this film are below:

Comedy: 6.5-7.0

Movie Overall: 7.0-7.5

Not a Guilty Pleasure, But A Fun Trip!

Guilt Trip

 Have you received constant calls from your mother?  Can you remember a day when she didn’t leave a message asking you a million questions?  Does she happen to bring back embarrassing memories or personal stories that nearly push you to the edge of screaming?  Now would you take this person on a road trip with you?  If the answers to most of these questions are yes, then have I got a movie for you.  That’s right I’m here with my latest review on the latest comedy The Guilt Trip starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen.

Now if you’re like me you might wonder just how these two were paired together.  I’m still wondering the answer to that question, but the good news is this combination works.  Both Rogen and Streisand have a good chemistry in this movie as their characters came to life on screen.  Starting with the leading lady first, Ms. Streisand nailed the part of the overprotective mother who just can’t let go of her beloved son.  Her clinginess, overzealous nature to make suggestions, and constant recollection of the “good” times were all told in a manner similar to how my own mother acts, trying to look out for my best interests, but crossing the threshold into that annoying level.  For me, Streisand didn’t seem to try too hard to play this role, though there were a few points where they stretched her character a little too much for me.  Rogen as well did a nice job trading his idiotic stoner character for one that was more lax, serious, and still just as entertaining.  No longer relying on a bong as his main prop, Rogen surprised me with this role as he relied on Barbara as his springboard for his character.  This devoted son trying to save his sanity was a role I could relate to, heck throw in the organic chemistry background and you essentially have me.  Regardless Rogen used his emotions and facial expressions to drive the character and deliver the fun dialog that gave his character potential.   To sum it up the acting is good and this duo was entertaining to watch.

The acting wasn’t the only thing  I liked about this movie though.  My second strength is the dialog between the two.  Most comedies these days go overboard writing lines that are filled with massive amounts of swearing, constant hits on some ethnicity, or a million one liners for describing sex/penis.  This is not the case in the Guilt Trip.  I felt this movie was more representative of a real conversation using awkwardness and natural embarrassment to make you laugh.  At various points in the move, the audience and I were laughing as the mother brought up unique and embarrassing stories that were so awkwardly phrased.  However, some of these jokes also added a little character background information to explain why things had become so weird between the two and on so many levels.  Yet what I think also helped make the dialog funny, was the fact that Rogen was also given a lot of opportunities to be sarcastic.  Some of my biggest laughs came not from the words themselves, but the way Rogen delivered it.  His “I can’t believe you just said that” tone, added  some character to the lines that, to be a broken record, made the lines more relatable to me.  I couldn’t help but think of either my friends or I reacting in the same manner, which for this reviewer makes the lines more fun.  If you don’t relate your memories to movies, than the fact that Rogen is a jerk with his sarcasm may tickle your funny bone as well, but that’s for you to decide.

What are other strengths of this movie?  To start this hodge podge collection of strengths off, it’s a cute and fun movie.  This awkward trip you know is not going to be the best, but the mini adventures they take have a good feeling with them that can’t help but make you smile.  Those worried about this movie taking a turn down ridiculous situations like the two driving their car in the river, or blowing up a hotel have no need to worry as this movie tries to stay on the real world line as much as possible.  Perhaps another big plus for me is that this movie also has a good positive vibe to it, which is perfect for the holiday season.  I can’t go into much detail, but I feel most audience members will be pleased with the good vibes this movie puts out and the messages they offer one to take.

Yet like many movies there are some weaknesses that bring this tales score down.  This movie is pretty simplistic when it comes to story.  Yes there are some good character development aspects of this story, but it lacks some depth and pizazz that I was hoping to see.  With this simplicity comes some predictable plot lines that one can see coming if you moderately pay attention to the duo’s arguments.  The movie also leaves you with a few loose threads that would have been nice to tie up, but I do acknowledge that if you can’t integrate smoothly in the movie, it shouldn’t be shown.

The Guilt Trip is a fun movie that many couples, groups, or solo guys like me would enjoy.  Streisand and Rogen were a good duo, whose characters were so much fun to watch and laugh at.  Is it Oscar material?  Not really, but if you like sarcastic, fun, and branched out comedy then I suggest you give it a try.  Do I think it was worth a trip to the theater?  Unless you have a holiday movie theater trip tradition, probably not, but rent it later when it comes out on DVD.  My scores for this film are below:

Comedy:  7.5

Movie Overall:  7.0

Partake on A New Adventure

Hobbit

Hello my friends!  It’s Robbie K back with another review after coming off of a two week dry spell, and what a movie to return to.  As many know, this weekend belongs Peter Jackson’s newest installment The Hobbit, another tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings world.  Now The Hobbit might be one of my favorite fantasy books, so I was very excited to see Jackson taking on the challenge of bringing the Middle Earth to life once more. Yet with his plans to make three movies based on this book, I was worried that Mr. Jackson may have added some extra footage that took away from the movie.  So let’s get to work as I review The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

With a good book, comes great characters and with great characters come big expectations, and in my opinion, this movie meets those expectations.  While the Hobbit has many characters, I have limited space to complement on a few actors that brought the traveling company to life.  My first actor to talk about is Martin Freeman, who played the protagonist Bilbo Baggins.  Freeman has already had experience portraying legendary characters like Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. Watson, and has impressed me with his work in the past.  I’m happy to say that Freeman has done his job again, using his natural awkwardness to bring Bilbo’s shy and cowardly nature to life on the screen.  I felt that Freeman’s facial expressions were perhaps the strongest tool in his arsenal, using it to represent the internal emotional struggles Frodo faces in the book, while solidly delivering his lives.  The legendary Ian McKellen returns to play Gandalf, using his enchanting voice to bring the wit and wisdom of the wizard out to entertain the masses.  Of all the characters, he was the most diverse, as McKellen manages to deliver well timed lines with just enough emphasis to make it funny.  Even McKellen’s look portrays wizard, as he goes from joking, lovable hermit, to wise and fearless warrior.  To finish up the actors section I’ll talk about Richard Armitage playing the lead dwarf Thorin.  Bringing a hero of the dwarf world to life was no easy feat I’m sure, but the casting crew did a great job picking him for the part.  Not only does Armitage have the look of headstrong, proud warrior, but he also has the voice that I pictured the character having.   Armitage managed to capture pride, emotional recklessness, and determined nature of dwarf leader, which kept me hooked into the story Jackson was portraying.

However, acting isn’t the only strength of this movie.  Like many fans, I wondered how Jackson could extend this story into three parts.  I feared that like some of his other movies, Jackson was going to put in extra detail that was a dragged out boring mess that was merely used to extend the movie into some obscenely long time.  With the Hobbit though, I think he managed to get the balance right, as the extra scenes I saw made the story even more interesting.  Though I do not remember everything about the book, the film contained some plot elements that were new to me.  Jackson managed to integrate these scenes well, making them key parts of the story that set up more adventure for the later installments.  Some of these scenes though are a little tough to understand at this point though, as some of these extra scenes are left unexplained leaving them a little out of place in this movie.  Despite these extra scenes though, Jackson did a decent job capturing the immense detail this book contains and in a decent amount of time.  Although there is almost a three hour price tag with this film, it didn’t feel like I was in the movie for that long.  Unlike its predecessors, The Hobbit’s pace stays decent moving from one challenge to another quickly, yet making sure to address the backgrounds and plot elements that are necessary.  Yet like the book, the beginning is a little slow, with Jackson taking a little too much time on the Baggins home, especially the unneeded Frodo cameo.  Yet my friends and I agree, once the quest has started, there are very few lack of a better phrase “long feeling” scenes that will bore you out of your mind.  I’ll go ahead and answer the question of how is the Action?  Like the earlier installments, Jackson’s crew has gone above and beyond bringing the battle to life.  Whether it is flashbacks or troll bashing, this movie had a decent amount of sword swinging, axe smashing, and arrow shooting chaos to open up a new trilogy.  Fans will be pleased with the teamwork of the dwarves, and may appreciate the focus on individual combat styles of the party instead of the clashing army swarm fights many movies like to use.

What else is there to say about the Hobbit?  One thing is the camera work, which captures the beautiful wilderness frontier, though a few scenes may cause some motion sickness.  The digital art and creation of the various Middle Earth kingdoms was also impressive, as the computer generated lands were stunning.  The intricate details of the dwarven halls, the polished finesse of the elven castles, and the rugged waste land of the frontier were all designed to capture the emotion of the scene.  Though what are visuals without music?  Fear not my friends as the Hobbit has another award winning soundtrack that will take your breath away.

Overall this was my favorite movie of the four Middle Earth films.  With great balance, a fantastic pace, beautiful visuals, and some entertaining characters I have no doubt the other two movies will be great.  Do yourself a favor and go see this movie in theaters, preferably 2D, and enjoy the world Peter Jackson has created once more.  My scores for this film are the following:

Fantasy:  9.0-9.5

Movie Overall:  8.5-9.0