The rest of the plot by Guillermo del Toro, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh is simply laughable. If Gandalf can send a magic butterfly for help, why are any of the characters in danger at any time of the narration? And what’s the conflict, exactly: the dwarfs vs. the orcs? Searching for meaning here is futile, which is a shame, because the acting is superb. The whole of the cast is great (as well as the makeup artists who toiled for hours to do their faces), which hurts because no matter how talented they are what matters in cinema are the results, and the results with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are very poor.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a great case in point to the eternal argument of fidelity in adaptations, and it proves that movies have no business ‘translating’ every sentence of the original material onto the screen. Movies have to be movies; whatever it takes for books to become films should be performed ruthlessly and without mercy. But Peter Jackson completely chickens out, afraid to be stomped by an army of Tolkien purists, but I am not sure even they will be pleased this time.
Verdict: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is bloated, theatrical, sad, literal, boring, cheesy, ugly, tedious and uninspired. It’s one of those movies people will hate or love, but most will go and see just to form their own opinion, which is what the studio is hoping for, because, believe it or not, once you have bought the ticket, you have contributed with a ‘yes’ vote in box office terms. Take my word for it: if you really love cinema, go to a movie that was actually produced with love and wonder and don’t be duped into paying just to be disappointed, like I was.