Peter Jackson’s visual gamble on first “Hobbit” film fails despite solid take on Tolkien

“Far over the misty mountains cold To dungeons deep and caverns old The pines were roaring on the height, The winds were moaning in the night, The fire was red, it flaming spread; The trees like torches blazed with light. The bells were ringing in the dale And men looked up with faces pale; The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire…

Denver Flicks

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

“Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.
The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.”

This isn’t “The Hobbit” you remember.

Whether your touchstone is J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, the 1977 animated Rankin/Bass special or you’re just a fan of the recent “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” — director Peter Jackson’s first installment of another three-part film series — will be unlike just about any experience you’ve had with this story to date.

Change isn’t inherently bad, but it’s an unsettling prospect for someone such as myself, who has read “The Hobbit” and…

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