THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
The beginning of a trilogy of fi lms based on the beloved book by J. R. R. Tolkien. While undoubtedly dazzling to the eye, a decided lack of storytelling urgency ( there was no need to stretch this simple story across three long instalments) fl oods all other senses with pure tedium – unless you are a total tragic for all things Lord of the Rings. Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins, the homebody hobbit who reluctantly joins the wise wizard Gandalf ( Ian McKellen) and a tribe of warrior dwarfs for a mammoth trek into the unknown. The special- eff ects work is utterly spellbinding, but there’s no hiding the unnecessary padding that bloats the running time to almost three hours.