The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is the first of a three-part film adaptation of the 1937 novel The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, to be followed by The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, due for theatrical release in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The three films together will act as prequels to Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The story is set in Middle-earth sixty years before The Lord of the Rings, and portions of the film are adapted from the appendices to Tolkien’s The Return of the King novel. An Unexpected Journey tells of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), who is convinced by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany thirteen dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest across Middle-earth to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon. The film premiered in New Zealand on 28 November 2012 and was released internationally on 13 December 2012.
The film is written by Peter Jackson and his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro, who originally was chosen to direct the film before leaving the project in 2010.
On his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins decides to write down the full story of the adventure he took 60 years prior, for his nephew Frodo. Bilbo writes about how, prior to his own actual involvement, the Dwarf Thrór becomes King of Erebor and brings an era of prosperity to his kin until the arrival of Smaug the dragon. Smaug destroys the nearby town of Dale before driving the Dwarves out of Erebor and taking their hoard of gold. Thrór’s grandson, Thorin, sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and is dismayed to find them taking their leave rather than aiding his people.
Following this, Bilbo is tricked by the wizard, Gandalf the Grey, into hosting a party for Thorin and his band of Dwarves: Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, and their leader Thorin. which doubles as Bilbo’s recruitment as the Dwarves’ “burglar” to help them steal their treasure back from Smaug. Bilbo reluctantly joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. They travel through the Lone-Lands where Bilbo is told about Thorin’s attempt to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Moria. Traveling onwards, the group gets captured by Trolls, but Bilbo is able to stall the Trolls from eating them until dawn, when Gandalf saves the company by exposing the Trolls to sunlight, turning them into stone. They search the Trolls’ cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.
The group then encounter Radagast the Brown, a wizard who lives in Greenwood. He tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a necromancer who has been corrupting the forest with dark magic. The group is then chased by Orcs on Wargs, with Radagast covering their escape. Gandalf leads them through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs above are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond. Elrond discloses the map’s indication of a secret door that will be visible only on Durin’s Day. Gandalf talks with the White Council—Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White—about his involvement with the Dwarves, expressing his suspicion that the necromancer Radagast encountered is none other than the Dark Lord Sauron. Elrond and Saruman are skeptical, believing Sauron to have been defeated forever, and that this necromancer is not a true threat.
Bilbo and the dwarves continue towards the Misty Mountains. While passing through the mountains, Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves survive a storm and duelling stone-giants. While hiding in a cave, Bilbo is about to turn around but is convinced otherwise by Bofur, who believes in him. goblins capture the dwarves and take them to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo becomes separated from the dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray goblin to feed on. Picking up the ring and placing it in his pocket, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins, or eaten by Gollum if he loses. After Bilbo wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket, Gollum realizes Bilbo has stolen the ring and attacks him. Bilbo discovers the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum, following him to an exit. Bilbo considers killing Gollum, but ultimately spares him out of pity and escapes.
Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the Dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle at the abandoned Dwarven city of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin’s head. By this time, Gandalf arrives and saves the Dwarves from the Goblins, killing the Great Goblin during their escape. Bilbo finds the exit and rejoins the group, keeping the ring he found secret.
The group is then ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, and take refuge in trees. Thorin charges Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground. Bilbo saves Thorin from being decapitated by the Orcs before the group is saved by Eagles, who fly them to safety on the Carrock. Gandalf heals the unconscious Thorin, who acknowledges Bilbo for his bravery. The party see their destination, the Lonely Mountain, in the distance, where Smaug awakens.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:
First Published: Jan 3, 2012 – Last Updated: Mar 14, 2013