The Grade Book: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Plot: Bilbo Baggins joins the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves in order to go on a quest to take back a city from a dragon.

Director: Peter Jackson.

Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro.

Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, Ken Stott, and Graham McTavish.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy.

Running Time: 2 hours and 49 minutes.

MPAA Rating: PG-13.




SUMMARY OF THOUGHTS: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is too long and a tad silly at times. However, the film contains great cinematography and visual effects, impressive direction by Peter Jackson, and standout performances by Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, and Andy Serkis.



  • Gabriel Alcantara (Big Gabe):

Grade: A-

It sure was fun to return to Middle Earth. Although it took a little too long for the excitement to really kick in and it was a tad silly at times, the film was very enjoyable and beautiful to look at. The Hobbit isn’t as strong of a first entry into a trilogy as much as Fellowship of the Ring was but it certainly did it’s job as far as getting me excited to see what Peter Jackson has in store for the next two installments.

  • Chad Gleason (MovieManCHAD):


Grade: A-

Even though it was a little too long, I really enjoyed this film and look forward to the next part!!!

  • Leah Hather (Bright Eyes Long Lashes):

Grade: B+

Watching the film in HFR 3D IMAX is crisp, smooth and adds depth to the film. Martin Freeman is the perfect Bilbo Baggins and once again, Andy Serkis steals the show. The film is unnecessarily long, but now the set-up is complete, and I look forward to the next two installments.

  • James Michael Holtz (WeWatchedAMovie):

Grade: B+

The Hobbit still carries the same magic as the Lord of the Rings films, even though it doesn’t quite have as much at stake. It’s a tad more light-hearted and long-winded than its sequels and never seems to set you on fire but is still a great spectacle to enjoy.

  • Steven Hunt:

Grade: A

A fantastic start to what seems to be another epic journey. Martin Freeman is fantastic as Bilbo, very likeable. Jackson still retains the Lord of the Rings feel while making this movie stand on its own. The action is some of the best in the whole series. The Gollum scene went on for too long, but that was my only problem. I cant wait to see Desolation of Smaug next year.

  • John Maffeo:

Grade: B

An Unexpected Journey, the journey that is getting so much criticism. This criticism is nonsensical, as this film is a strong opening to the newest trilogy for Middle Earth. Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Armitage as Thorin, McKellen as Gandalf, and all others bring it to immerse the audience into the world. Speaking of immersion, one having a good time will be sucked into the world and completely forget reality for three hours. The pacing is decent and I felt that it flew through fluently. This is the most visually stunning film of the four that exist today, and the art direction is insane. People may feel this film is more childish than LOTR, but that is the point. The Hobbit is about a fun adventure that turns out to have some consequences! It’s recommended that one doesn’t walk in with high expectations, but know that you’re in for one hell of a time.

  • Zachary S. Marsh:

Grade: A

It might drag a little bit in its 169-minute run time, but The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is fun, fresh, exhilarating, and a great trip back to Middle Earth. The cinematography is spectacular in IMAX 3D. See it first in 24fps, then 48fps to compare the two.

  • Scott Menzel:

Grade: B+

Martin Freeman without a doubt owns the role of Bilbo and brings a new level of comedy and excitement to the character. The film itself at times has some pacing issues, particularly in the first half where it takes over 45 minutes for Bilbo to even leave the house. Visually the film is beautiful and when the film features action it is well-shot and beautiful to look at it. To me, The Hobbit is on par with the Fellowship of the Ring and if you’re an LOTR fan you will more than likely adore this film and wait anxiously for the next two entries in this Hobbit trilogy.

  • Kevin Morrison:

Grade: A

This is a grand adventure that stays true to the book. The visuals star, but Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage steal the show by bringing their brilliant characters to life. It is a light-hearted tale as it should be, not being as dramatic as Lord of the Rings. This is for book and Middle-Earth fans alike and while some might want it to be more epic, The Hobbit book simply is not Lord of the Rings — and neither should the movie. Loved the experience I had!

  • William Bond Nunn:

Grade: A+

Excellent visuals, great acting, Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth still shines beautifully, and it’s the start of another epic trilogy that I can’t wait to see more of.

  • Austin Putnam:

Grade: A

For me this was a fantastic return to Middle Earth. As a huge LOTR fan I had the feeling that The Hobbit wouldn’t overtake LOTR so I went into this as a stand-alone film. As a result, I absolutely loved The Hobbit. You can tell that Peter Jackson is a huge LOTR and Hobbit fan from watching the movie. The plot is epic, the battles are epic, the CGI is quite phenomenal, had a great pace, and the cinematography was gorgeous. The 3D is implemented beautifully. The 48fps to me added to the beauty of Middle Earth. Howard Shore conducts a beautifully composed score, and the acting is all around excellent. The scene involving Gollum and Bilbo is just amazing. Peter Jackson has brought me back.

  • Daniel Rester:

Grade: A

I disagree with many of the professional critics that have been bashing this film. Yes, it is too long, a bit CGI-heavy at times, and comes with a few underdeveloped characters. However, I was caught up in this magical world again, and find this to be one of the best fantasy-adventure films in the past few years. Peter Jackson’s direction is surefooted, the acting is terrific (especially by the three leads, and Andy Serkis, who nearly steals the show by reprising his role as Gollum), the music is beautiful, and the cinematography and visual effects make for many awe-inspiring moments. So, yes it has flaws, but I believe its great aspects highly outweigh them.

  • Christian Ruvalcaba:

Grade: B+

The Hobbit holds up as another epic quest through the beautifully-shot world of Middle Earth. The adventure of Biblo, Gandalf, and company will satisfy LOTR fans as this opener delivers a very long journey. Although at times the CGI is slightly over-the-top, it was not enough to completely damper the film. Andy Serkis returns as the infamous Gollum, who preciously takes home the cake. Despite not being a fanboy of the fantasy genre, as a movie it holds up as an entertaining experience.

  • Dean Searle:

Grade: A-

Meets most of the criteria you’d expect from a Jackson-Tolkien project. Freeman and Serkis are the standouts of the film, but unfortunately the film suffers from being unnecessarily long and not having the “blow you away” factor that Lord of the Rings has in spades. Gets better and better as it goes on, ending this first entry satisfyingly and leaving you anxiously waiting the next installment.

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