The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Director: Peter Jackson
Year Released: 2012
Rating: 3.0

All-powerful wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) recruits dainty, passive Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to help the dwarves (led by Richard Armitage) reclaim their homeland, which was taken over by a treasure-hogging dragon named Smaug. Though Jackson's clearly padding Tolkien's 300 page novel into three separate films - and the bloated nature of it already shows - the child-like sense of wonder I found all too sparse in the Lord of the Rings trilogy has seemingly returned, plus the CGI is astounding. Tolkien 'scholars' can gripe about trivial details, but as magical fantasy for those willing to simply buy the ticket and take the ride - the ride anchored considerably by McKellen's assuredness - it's a pleasant experience.