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The Hobbit: Blu Ray Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Warner Home Video

And so, part one of the trilogy (!) hits the small screen.

A perfectly cast Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit movie and Sir Ian McKellen is back reprising his role as Gandalf the Grey in this. Baggins, a Hobbit, lives in Bag-End, and enjoys the quiet life - so when Gandalf shows up on his doorstep, offering him a chance to be involved in an adventure, Bilbo politely, but firmly refuses. Later that evening, a company of 13 dwarves gradually show up at his homestead, ransacking his pantry and determined that Bilbo will join them on their quest - to reclaim treasure stolen by thedragon Smaug and to help Thorin Oakenshield (a broody Richard Armitage) take back his lost kingdom of Erebor.

Against his every fibre of being, Bilbo finds himself going on this adventure - a trip which will change them all forever...

While the stunning work of WETA shows off a lot, it's not all perfect on the FX front - while the Goblin Kingdom looks impressive, some of the shots when Gandalf and the gang ride a walkway down to try and escape don't quite fit together as well as they could, lacking the cohesive FX touches - and likewise, when the first reveal of Rivendell comes, it looks a little too much like a painting in the background, with action superimposed on the front. To be honest, though, these are minor niggles of the process rather than glaring FX distractions.

As for the human side of the film, Martin Freeman easily stands (a little) head and shoulders above the rest of the cast. His Bilbo is a perfect combination of deadpan well-timed comedy, Englishness and a hint of a Hobbit about to grow up. Plus, having seen Martin Freeman as Bilbo, it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. The sequence where he riddles with Gollum is just astounding as a two-hander and is a real stand out of the film; particularly for Andy Serkis' work as Gollum, as he runs the gamut from childish glee to murderous malice in his game.

Magical, majestic, mystical and utterly masterful, The Hobbit movie is an enthralling, engrossing and unmissable return to Middle-Earth (especially if you're a committed LOTR fan); it's a fantasy film which reinvents the genre and is in someways game-changing for all that will follow it.

But I have to say I'm disgusted with the DVD treatment - not a hint of an extra in sight with everything saved for the Blu Ray. It's a real kick in the teeth to fans to be frank - and I'm hoping it means an extended DVD with some stuff on will be here soon. Warners - you should be absolutely shamed at how you've treated the casual DVD viewer. If you're willing to upgrade to the Blu Ray though, you get around 10 mini features -and a 3D pack as well, so that adds for some quality.

Rating: 8/10