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Bettie's Box Office: The Hobbit Movie Review

Updated: Thursday, December 13 2012, 03:44 PM CST

The Hobbit is the first film in a new trilogy based on the popular J.R.R. Tolkien book. If you're new to The Lord of the Rings franchise, keep reading. If you're already an uber-fan, skip to the third paragraph.

So, this is your first trip to Middle Earth. Don't worry about all of the goblin, orc, wizard, elf, hobbit, troll and dwarf lore. The Hobbit is a lighter, more accessible story. Bilbo Baggins is a mild-mannered Hobbit who's settled into a quiet, predictable life when he's convinced to join an adventure helping the wizard, Gandalf, and a dwarf king, Thorin, reclaim the dwarves' castle from a ferocious dragon. But first, they'll have to outwit, outfight or outrun all kinds of dangerous creatures along the way. That's all you really need to know to get started.

Okay, so you're the person who's read all the LOTR books twice and have the extended versions of the movies on DVD. Don't worry that The Hobbit is a lighter, more accessible story. It still has all of the goblin, orc, wizard, elf, hobbit, troll and dwarf lore. Best of all, the stars of the original film (Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett) reprise their roles, looking 60 years younger - at least by elf and wizard standards.

You might wonder: how did they make a three-hour movie out of the first 100 pages of a book? The answer is that some events get a lot more time on screen than they did in print. But overall, the movie stays pretty true to the text.  It's even true to the prior movies, as you'll see when Bilbo has his first meeting with Gollum.

There's been a lot of talk about the high-definition/high frame rate used in the 3D. It does make the picture much crisper and the 3D even more effective. But that level of clarity also tends to make the computer-generated characters and scenes slightly less believable. Some of the battle scenes look like they were lifted straight out of an XBox game. The new technology seems to work the best when the movie isn't trying as hard. Overall, once you adjust, I don’t think you’ll ever want to watch a 3D movie with a slower frame rate. 48 fps spoils you. 

The Hobbit should more than please both die-hard fans and newbies. It's rated PG-13, primarily for violent battle sequences.  It opens Friday, Dec. 14.  Run Time: 2 hours and 46 minutes (and worth every second).

By Bettie CrossBettie's Box Office: The Hobbit Movie Review

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