The long awaited, highly anticipated "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" movie is finally in theaters. In the months leading up to the release of the film, The Hobbit seemed to always make the headlines, good and bad, but how will the Middle Earth fairy tale do at the box office? Will it live up to the expectations of the book by J.R.R. Tolkien or will it utterly flop, disappointing many diehard Tolkien fans? Here are the top 10 facts you need to know about "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."
1. J.R.R. Tolkien's Tale Will be Broken Up Into Three Movies
Yup, that's right folks, the tale of "The Hobbit" will be told through three separate movies. Sounds absurd at first since the book is only 300 pages, but the films director, Peter Jackson, added details from appendices of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy as well as invented material to enhance the plot. Either that or every scene is going to be ridiculously drawn out. I know what you're thinking; it's just a way to capitalize off of the franchise. Yeah, probably, but it works because I know I am going to buy a ticket to see each and every installment.
2. It's the Prequel to The Lord of the Rings
If you recall back to the first Lord of the Rings movie, "The Fellowship of the Ring," you'll notice that the film opens up with Bilbo Baggins penning a novel titled "An Unexpected Journey or There and Back Again." Yeah, Bilbo is the star of The Hobbit and in the beginning of The Lord of the Rings he literally just got back from the journey we're about to see in theaters and decided to put the experience on paper.
3. The Hobbit is Much More Lighthearted Than Lord of the Rings
Unlike the epic story of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is more of a fairy tale, with talking spiders, goblins, trolls and shape-shifting bears. In fact, the story was actually meant for children. But that doesn't mean the movie won't be as epic. The Hobbit tells the story of Middle Earth with the subtle tone of the evils present in the Rings trilogy and of how the ring itself even came about.
4. The Film was Shot at 48 FPS
That's frames per second. The standard film nowadays is shot at only 24 FPS. The Hobbit is shot at 48 FPS, which has been taken as both good and bad. Do you remember the first time you saw a movie on a high-definition television screen and for some reason it looked like it was filmed as a low-budget soap opera? That's kind of what the high frame rate does. While movements transition more smoothly, it gives a surreal artificial look. Though, in a review of the movie, AfterElton.com writes that the higher frame rate is definitely necessary for the action-packed fight scenes.
As the action scenes began to pile up, the scales began to tip in 48's favor, and by the end the choice was probably a good one. Not only does the added visual information provide massive amounts of deep-focus detail in busy settings (like the vast, teeming underground goblin city) or in scenes involving perilous, vertigo-inducing heights (as in a dizzying sequence where the band of heroes find themselves standing on a mountain that is not only alive, but in the midst of a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots-style fight with another mountain), but it allows for a much more seamless marriage of live action and CGI (which has always been held back by standard 24fps film's innate motion blur).
5. Ian McKellen is Back as Gandalf
Ian McKellen plays the best characters. Aside from his epic role as the great and powerful Gandalf the Grey in all three Lord of the Rings movies and now in The Hobbit, he is X-Men's Magneto (who is also returning in the new X-Men movie "Days of Future Past").
6. Gollum is Back too!
Who doesn't love Gollum? He's the wretched creature who got his name by the unattractive gurgling that emanates from his throat. Gollum, the original owner of the ring until Bilbo stole it, makes his very first appearance in The Hobbit, my precious!
7. The Hobbit Might Pick Up the Box Office
The past two weekends at the box office have been dreadful. Could it be that people are spending their money on Christmas presents instead of going to the movies this December? Well, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is expected to get the masses back into the theaters and drastically pick up the numbers at the box office.
8. 27 Animals Died During the Filming of The Hobbit
A few weeks back there was some controversy over the making of The Hobbit because reportedly some 27 animals died during the filming of the movie. A wrangler at the farm the animals were being held at said causes of death ranged from dogs mauling unprotected chickens to goats freezing to death to worms infesting animals through bad feed. Though, director Peter Jackson said all the animals that died did so of natural causes.
9. The Film is Getting Mostly Good Reviews
A film that seemed might fail is turning out to get many positive reviews from the cinematic action-packed scenes to John Watson's performance as Bilbo Baggins.
"As for the movie itself, 'An Unexpected Journey' is beautifully shot. The 3-D was disconcerting at first, but it worked amazingly well with the aerial and landscape shots. The landscapes and sets are just as stunning, if not more than, the gorgeous shots of New Zealand in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy," reports the Mercury News.
10. It Hits Theaters Today
See you there!