There and back again, and back again, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released five years ago today, on the 12th December 2012.
A prequel to the trilogy that made Peter Jackson a household name, An Unexpected Journey reintroduced audiences to Middle Earth from the perspective of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and tells the tale of his most famous adventure: battling a dragon to retake the Dwarvish kingdom of Erebor.
Freeman is the perfect fit as Bilbo, bringing cynicism, charm, and a childish twinkle to the most famous of Hobbitses. The film also stars Middle Earth alumni Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, who continues to speak in riddles, and appear only at the most convenient of times, but does so with wit and aplomb. By far the most memorable additions to the cinematic mythology, however, are the new cast of Dwarves, led by Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Each one is unique, and given space enough to show off their individual quirks and antics.
Originally intended as the first of two parts AUJ, somewhat unexpectedly, became the first instalment of a new trilogy. Although many raised concerns about how Tolkien’s original text could be embellished, the adaptation was positively received by critics and audiences alike.
As Gandalf says, ‘all good stories deserve embellishment’ and this first instalment—with its nods to previously unexplored aspects of Tolkien’s rich mythology—was one tale that certainly did.
Remind yourself of Bilbo’s first adventure with the film’s trailer below: