Prayer Focus
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Oscar®Oscar® Nominee for Best Visual Effects, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design
Movie Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images.

Reviewed by: John M. Decker

Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family Teens Adults
Adventure Fantasy Drama Adaptation IMAX 3D
2 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 14, 2012 (wide—4,000+ theaters)
DVD: March 19, 2013
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Featuring: Benedict CumberbatchThe Necromancer
Hugo WeavingElrond
Martin FreemanBilbo Baggins
Evangeline LillyTauriel
Luke EvansBard
Cate BlanchettGaladriel
Elijah WoodFrodo
Christopher LeeSaruman
Orlando BloomLegolas
Ian McKellenGandalf
Richard ArmitageThorin Oakenshield
Andy SerkisGollum
more »
Director: Peter Jackson
Producer: New Line Cinema
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
more »
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“From the smallest beginnings come the greatest legends.”

Sequels: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (2013), “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014)

A precursor to my review: Upon finishing my review, I am left with the impression that it is primarily negative. I do not mean to convey a negative view of this film. It’s a wonderful film. It’s a fun adventure which is more wholesome than the majority of films on the market. It is a wonderful children’s tale that I thoroughly enjoyed, and there is little that I find personally objectionable. I look forward to the rest of the series. I plan to buy it and watch it with my family many times in the future. Keep in mind, the key purpose of my review is to act as a kind of gatekeeper for what is ahead. An excellent and thrilling tale lies ahead. For those with small children—some warnings. For the rest of us, be vigilant always and enjoy this gorgeous, colorful, compilation of sight and sound once imagined, now on the screen.

A beautifully made, inspiring adventure story, an action film for the young, but no too young. There is something so innocent in the telling of The Hobbit when it is read to children, and this was the author’s intention. Dark aspects are quickly put out like flickering candles. They sneak up and make the heart race. Like a scary campfire story, they startle and are whisked away by the jolly voice of a father seeking to warn of evil but not terrify his little ones. This is not so much the case with the film “The Hobbit.” Peppered with humor and intrigue worthy of this small children’s book, the film has playful aspects of the myth—dwarves and their bumbling nature, innocence of hobbits, dumbness of orcs, thugginess of evil characters. However, if you guessed this film might be a little more like The Hobbit—primarily a children’s tale—than The Lord of the Rings—a darker and more intricate set of stories designed for an older crowd that’s more familiar with the depravity of the world, you would be like I was—wrong.

Yes, it’s somewhat playful, but there are portions dark enough to scare not only children, who are not accustomed to dark imagery, but some who are. I would not entirely disagree with the PG-13 rating due to the darker aspects of the film. It is certainly not darker than the LOTR series, so that’s a good gauge. If you are familiar with the LOTR movies or the book The Hobbit, you would expect a general lack of: cursing, dirty behavior, sexuality and general elevation of bad character in this film. “The Hobbit” delivers on that expectation.

Hope, loyalty, diligence, the value and appreciation of innocence, valiance, patience, trust, need for diversity, kindness, masculinity, honor, vision, determination—these characteristics are frequent among the heroes of this film. Tolkien, like C.S. Lewis, is known for his righteous heroes, and this film quite reflects the same. This is a heartwarming story of loyalty and purpose that warns of greed, but still seeks treasure and a restored heritage. Sometimes it is those who warn us of the evils of capital who secretly are thieves or working on the side of evil.

My sons, 14 and 16, and I quickly agreed that this film has more witchcraft than the LOTR series. It is seen throughout a number of scenes, instead of appearing only here or there with some words or a healing potion. On top of this, there is a difference in the portrayal of wizardry: With the appearance of Radagast the Brown comes a wizard more like a genuine modern day witch than we became accustomed to in the LOTR series. Where Gandolf and Saruman are noble, proper, with high abodes and high tongue, academic, visionary, with gathered wits, Radagast the Brown appears, in contrast, quite pagan. He lives among the woods in a thatched home. He talks to animals as if they are all he has, and, apparently, they are. For my part, his care for them conjures up impressions of hyper animal rights activism. It is said he eats intoxicating mushrooms. He stands out a little oddly in a film series where good is always portrayed as good, unless it betrays. This brown wizard is an “innocent, drug addled, animal extremist—a good heart”, this fallacy of identity is part of the conjury that has helped carry our country through to a leftist Agenda. His goodness comes out more weakly than his lack of mental cohesion, supposed innocence and extreme position toward animals. He loves those in his care—alas, we are endeared to this witch. What did you expect?

The unfortunate result, I expect, from the increased wizardry in this film is more wizardry in American film in the future. Purely from an entertainer’s point of view, Hollywood would be foolish not to merchandise the increased popularity of wizardry it will bring. Any filmmaker who doesn’t have a problem with witchcraft, who is not inspired by Jackson’s usage of it, is dead in his imagination, if he is not inspired here. That said, I have a more fond idea: Let the Christian filmmaker see what is coming. Whether it’s in the battle for reality sans fiction, or the battle to portray righteousness appropriately, the Christian filmmaker can also see the future of this market and cease it for God’s glory without glorifying an evil practice. Matthew 16:3—“O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

The fairly short appearance of the Necromancer is certainly one of the more startling and disturbing images in the film. My Webster’s dictionary defines Necromancy as—“Divination by communication with the spirits of the dead; witchcraft; sorcery. Magic, especially ‘black magic;’ the ‘black art’ so called from the early false etymology.” On behalf of children, it’s nothing to be ignored. We are familiar with such a story in First Samuel 28, where King Saul sought the same, and his end was no good for it. The Necromancer in this film is nothing but pure evil; he is certainly not portrayed as good. He is none-the-less portrayed and, as most of us would not tell the First Samuel 28 story to a child up to a certain age, particularly not with focus, elaboration and emphasis on explaining the possibility and wretchedness of such evil, the same would not want that child to see this film’s dark and elaborate portrayal of the Necromancer.

Primarily, my intention is not to touch on the typical academic questions such as “Is the movie ‘like’ or ‘worthy of’ the book?,” however, I will say that, in my opinion, most scenes are true to the book’s content about 75% of the time, particularly if you are forgiving of them being out of order and needing to synchronize with the LOTR films.

My guess is that aesthetic complaints about the film will be in relation to lack of character development and CGI. Some of the fire and smoke is not as realistic on the big screen as I expected. This CGI aspect should be different in your living rooms. As for character development, I think a good illustration of what is perhaps missing would be to point to a scene where character development occurs quite well. Bilbo awakes in the night and has a conversation with the dwarf Bofur holding watch. I latched onto this scene; it delivered a deep glimpse into this particular dwarf. I became familiar with him, like I came to know Mary or Sam from “The Fellowship of the Ring.” So am I complaining? Well, there are 13 dwarves and hardly time for a lot of that, but I’ll say it again, this is much more of an action film than how the LOTR series started, with “The Fellowship of the Ring.” It would not bother me a bit if the next one were a little slower paced. For one thing, I know what richness of personality Director Peter Jackson is capable of delivering.

Peter Jackson repeats his ability to portray such barbarities as a severed head and close-up visual and audial expressions of violence, without focusing on the gore more than is given for telling the story. That said, violence is not something I avoid in film where it lacks ingratiating gore, however Jackson certainly pushes the limits. Where there is plenty of good guy fun in mid to long shot sword swinging, there is no doubt quite a bit of bone crunching and bad guy slashing.

Drug reference: The reference to the brown wizard partaking of mushrooms is quite in your face. It’s an education for the uninitiated, not easily breezed over, something I try to avoid when watching a film with children. The reference is to a brain addled by its use, that is clear, but it is also playful, and I don’t take lightly to talk of drugs. I grew up in the 1980s, when churches were more given to testimonies, and we who were innocent teens at the time learned to envy those with more of a ‘story’. I don’t recommend hiding the past. I also don’t recommend misplaced humor about it. Enough said.

One surprising, indecent verbal reference to crochet balls is made. As is common in animated films these days, the reference goes over the heads it’s meant to. Honestly it’s a little uncouth man humor. I would expect more of Director Jackson in mixed company.

Smoking: There is some pipe smoking. This doesn’t bother me. I’m more a believer that it’s many of the modern uses which are not use, so-much-as abuse, of tobacco that lead to death and sickness. In general, the smoking references are not drug associated, though an agnostication of that factor is arguably present in one scene.

Gollum continues to portray so well the ugliness of the soul in its extremes—always willing to retreat to his more innocent self when it’s advantageous, always given over to a more aggressive self, if he believes he can get away with it. While I am not necessarily a fan of the idea that within so many movies lies a Biblical narrative to be brought out, what Gollum represents is brilliantly portrayed and should be convicting. Certainly the “pity” for Gollum’s state that Frodo has in the LOTR series is relevant again. What deplorable aspects of the human condition show up for those needing a Jude verse 23: “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: None / Vulgarity: Minor (“ass” and “jaxie”) / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—It’s fair to say that I was excited when I learned “The Hobbit” was in production, especially when I heard that it was to be split into three parts, which meant that they were attempting to follow the book a bit more closely than “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. However! After seeing “An Unexpected Journey” for myself, I can fairly say that, just like before, a large amount of content has been removed, added, or changed for the silver screen, which will leave a sour taste in the mouth of anyone who has read the book for themselves. That being said, it’s still a remarkable film that most will enjoy, though parents should practice caution in deciding to bring their little ones, as the film contains many scary, violent moments that are sure to upset them. As for the film’s viewing options. The 3D, as in many films before it, remains a gimmick, sometimes going without notice and often taking more away from the experience than it adds. The 48 FPS option (known as HFR in theaters), on the other hand, was immediately apparent, taking several minutes to adjust to, but, overall, had a positive effect on the film, and at times made me feel as if though I was watching the action unfold through a window rather than on a screen. I whole-heartedly recommend the HFR experience, and am anxious to see its applications in future films.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrew, age 18 (USA)
Positive—Returning to a new set of Middle-earth films is like going home and realizing how much you’ve missed being there. From the warm green hills of the Shire to the darkness of orc-infested mines, for a Tolkien fan or even for a newcomer, this is an epic tale about very small heroes. There’s much to delight Tolkien fans, and to win over new viewers, as well. This is a more comical Middle-earth but still possesses the heart and wisdom of its author.

Many changes have been made from the book, but none in my opinion detract from the writer’s original vision. Though not as blatant in its spiritual symbolism as the original trilogy, there are still elements of Tolkien’s faith evident: in how easy it is for Gandalf to defeat a formidable foe, in Bilbo’s choice to stay his hand out of mercy to Gollum, and in the events that send these characters on their epic quest. I loved every moment of it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Charity, age 29 (USA)
Positive——I was thoroughly pleased with the adaptation of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. While I still believe “The Hobbit” could’ve been made into two movies, instead of three, part one is meant to set certain events in motion of which even Bilbo and company won’t be fully prepared for what they will face ahead. From the epic proportions of the landscapes to the music to the acting to the visual effects, every aspect is done beautifully and with great care to follow the essential plot points of the story. I’ve read the book enough that I recognized dialog verbatim from “The Hobbit,” such as Gandalf and Bilbo’s first meeting or the songs the dwarves sing while they are staying at Bilbo’s house.

There are some deviations from the story. Some of them are meant to set up certain connections with “Lord of the Rings” and others in the form of flashbacks that will give you a better perspective as to why the dwarves, especially Thorin Oakenshield, are even going to reclaim what was stolen and decimated by Smaug. Bilbo learns a lot about what he is or isn’t capable of doing. True to the way God works in our lives, we don’t know what we are truly able to do until we go outside our comfort zone. At first, Bilbo doesn’t believe he is a part of Thorin Oakenshield and company. They even tell him up front he isn’t “burglar material,” not someone who could adjust to the hardships they all know they will face. It isn’t until later in the film he proves he has merit, courage, stealth, and the heart to protect his friends, no matter how dangerous and dark the places are where their journey takes them. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Caroline, age 23 (USA)
Positive—I love “The Lord of the Ring” series, and this was not a let down. The only negative is that it was a little long. I think the movie was about 2 hours and 45 minutes, and they could have easily cut about 30 minutes out of the movie. The violence was pretty heavy, considering The Hobbit had the least violence of all of the books. This movie had more violence than each of “The Lord of the Rings” movies. No objectionable content for a PG-13 movie. Other than the violence, there was no profanity or anything else that would be objectionable to a Christian. The only exception is when a dwarf said something about “not having the balls” to do something. I wish more movies out of Hollywood would see that you can make a PG or a PG-13 movie without profanity.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Brad, age 41 (USA)
Positive—I really, really enjoyed this film. I have never read the books, so was reliant on my wife to fill me in on some of the bits missed out, or added in, or changed, but we both found the film to be just the sort of thing that cinema was invented for! It is lighter in tone than “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy (which we also enjoyed). The cinematography was excellent, the use of dialogue superb, and it faithfully took a happy audience through a load of really fun escapades with our unlikely hero. We watched in 3D and 48fps, and it looked great. Martin Freeman was first rate as Bilbo Baggins. Thorin Oakenshield was very well played, and the actors from the LOTR trilogy did well (Gandalf, Galadriel, etc.), although it was hard to escape the fact that they all looked much older, but were supposed to be much younger!

We took our 10 year old daughter, who had read the book. I would say it was a heavy film, violence-wise, for children. There were graphic battle scenes and the bit where someone’s arm gets cut off is still causing a bit of upset to my daughter now, 24 hours later. As you would expect, there was no foul language (none that I noticed anyway) and no sexual content or nudity. We all thoroughly enjoyed this film. The audience where we were even clapped at the end! I’ve read some negative reviews on-line, but all I can say is that they either don’t like that sort of film, were being sniffy or watched a different film. Go along, and enjoy a fantastic three hours of entertainment.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gordon Clow, age 38 (United Kingdom)
Positive—As a Lord of the Rings fan, I arrived at the theater a little worried that my expectations would not be met. My doubts were quickly erased as the movie unfolded. The special affects were great, the acting was first rate, and the story was phenomenal. Granted, these are my opinions, as everyone has different taste. Nevertheless, the movie was outstanding; nothing offensive (to me anyway) showed up in the movie, at all. The film does cover several themes within the story, which I enjoyed in the LOTR trilogy. One of my favor lines by Gandalf spoke of how people keep evil at bay by how we live our lives everyday. That it’s the small things we do that make a huge difference—little acts of kindness, acts of love, it all has a huge affect at the end of the day even though we may not see it. As Christians, this is a great lesson that applies to us since we are told to love others. Allowing the light of Christ shine through us has a significant effect.

I highly recommend this movie to everyone, except small children who may be afraid of the orcs and goblins portrayed in the film. I believe this movie is entertaining for most people. I dragged my daughter along to watch the film, and the only complaint she had was that the movie was over, but the story wasn’t. I think she was moved by the courage Bilbo Baggins was able to muster when the situation called for it. I know Bilbo’s courage moved me, and I struggled to remain silent, holding back my cheers. In short, watch it; it is well worth it in, my opinion.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Troy Mendez, age 37 (USA)
Positive—We enjoyed it. In addition to the adventure and characters themselves, we liked the underlying messages about respect for one another, friendship, testing character, courage, loyalty, good people doing what they can to combat evil and take back what was stolen from them. It also explores prejudice via the dwarves’ animosity toward the elves because of events in the past. Gandalf points out that the only ill will is what they bring with them. For example, because of their prejudice, the dwarves assume they are being insulted, when instead the elves are inviting them to dine with them.

The many teenagers in the audience may especially relate to Bilbo Baggins. The smallest and least experienced member of the group, he rises to the challenges and finds ways to contribute and prove his worth. A deciding factor in his joining the troop seems to be that the rowdy group not only respected his decision, but also respected his property. Everyone is more than they appear to be, and even a proud, high ranking individual is not too proud to admit in front of all when he was wrong.

Interesting way they have woven some elements to link with “The Lord of the Rings” movies. The violence equivalent to the other films, mainly battling orcs. No profanity. Only remotely possible offensive bits (mild) might be a line that croquet is a fun game “if you have the balls,” a scene involving a troll blowing his nose and examining contents, and the creature Gollum preparing to kill someone to eat them. However, the context is integral to the storyline. Overall, excellent acting, character development, story, beautiful cinematography, direction, special effects, costumes, makeup, music, sets, and more. Very well done.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tori, age 40+. (USA)
Positive—This movie is awesome! As a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt it was completely up to par with the other “Lord of the Rings” movies. They did a great job intertwining the story with the Lord trilogy. My husband and I brought our 11 and 8 year old children and felt it was very appropriate for them, and they also thoroughly enjoyed it. The only objectionable parts would be the violence, smoking and drinking, but, in my opinion, not objectionable enough to not allow older children to see the film. The message is clearly good vs. Evil, as in all the other films. One of my favorite scenes was when Gandolf is asked why he chose Bilbo. I won’t spoil it, but his answer is so much why we love Tolkien’s stories. Definitely Christian based. Left the theater satisfied and so excited for the next film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Angel, age 42 (USA)
Positive—Being a fan of “The Lord of Rings” Trilogy, I just knew I had to see its backstory (or prequel). This movie certainly fills in some of the blanks to “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.” Parts of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” were… confusing, to say the least. Perhaps had I read the books for The Lord of the Rings and also for The Hobbit, I would have understood the scene between the elves and Gandalf in the movie (slight spoiler). The conversation went by so quickly I didn’t quite catch everything. Still, everything else made sense, and to that I credit this movie in a positive manner, giving it a 4 and a half starts.

To try and compare this film to “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy is unfair. You have to judge it as a film by itself, and as a movie itself apart from the trilogy, it was pretty well made. Good performances and decent CGI (I agree that it wasn’t as good as the Trilogy, but I didn’t really care). This installment is a little less violent than the other films, but there are 3 decapitations, which I would say warrants this film, in my opinion, as a “keep away from children.”

I saw this in 3D and felt that it didn’t make much of a difference. No real “pop out 3D scenes.” Sorry. Still, as a story? This first installment works. I’m interested to see the next two chapters of “The Hobbit,” to see what happens next.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—I never was a Lord of the Rings fan, and I didn’t read The Hobbit book. So I was going in for a surprise. And I loved the movie. It was better than I expected. I loved the characters, the story and the obstacles they have to go through and miraculously survive. The movie portrays many moral values—such as loyalty, courage, sacrifice and many others. The character Bilbo Baggins was first seen as a normal hobbit, and we see him progress through the film. Although small, his heart is his ultimate weapon. Bilbo portrays his love for his friends when he promises that he will help them find their home. A great movie. Every Christian should watch it
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Michael, age 18 (USA)
Neutral—My husband and I saw “The Hobbit” last weekend. First, the good… I really liked Thorin’s character… great leadership qualities we can all learn from. Loved the transformation and willingness to sacrifice we see in Bilbo as he comes to realize that, while he has a cozy home in the shire, others have lost theirs and need help. Love some of the great speeches and wisdom Gandalf offers. Liked the levity the dwarves give the film at humorous moments. While I enjoyed the film and will probably see the remainder of the coming trilogy, I chose a neutral rating because of the spin that P. Jackson chose to give this story… to me, there was an unneeded amount of time on very dark elements and images.

My other reasons are as follows:
—When there is good reason for a movie to be long to capture needed elements of the story, I could sit through any long movie… I did it with all LOTR movies… but this one could have edited out at least 30 minutes-just felt as if they were trying too hard to make it long instead of moving the story along, spent too long on certain scenes. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—T.J., age 41 (USA)
Positive—As a fan of all things Tolkien it was nice to see Middle Earth again on the big screen. I enjoyed this film very much and loved the lightheartedness of it. Martin Freeman’s Bilbo is a welcome sight, and, with Ian Holm and Elijah Wood making cameos, it was as it I never left the theater after Return of the King (do I really need to say anything about Gandalf, Saruman, Elrond, etc.?). The dwarves are very comical and Thorin’s character can only be matched by Aragorn in the first trilogy. Once again Andy Serkis” Gollum steals the whole film with what little time he spends in it, and I enjoyed how it shows the corruptness of his character. On a moral note, there are some scary images with the goblins and orcs, but anyone who is familiar with “The Lord of the Rings” may not mind this so much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Katherine, age 22 (USA)
Positive—I liked the movie, but a couple things bothered me. The King goblin in goblintown didn’t talk like a goblin, in my opinion, and the whole “white orc” story.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Billy Moore, age 41 (USA)
Positive—The thing that prompted me to write this review was seeing some of the other reviews that criticized the presence of magic and wizardry in this movie. I do want to say, first of all, that, while Tolkein’s book was originally written for younger movies, this is not really a children’s movie (the PG-13 rating should give that away). I think that if you do allow your children to see this, you should be explaining to them the biblical reality behind magic and witchcraft, so that they know that it is forbidden in the real world. That being said, I don’t think that the magic as presented in this movie is unbiblical.

The reason why magic is forbidden in Scripture is because it involves disloyalty to God. It means trying to seek supernatural help from spiritual forces (usually demonic) other than God, thus showing that you do not trust God or believe Him to be all-sufficient. However, in Scripture, there are instances of biblical characters like Moses and Elijah performing miracles. The only reason why we don’t call these “magic” is because they are done by the power of Yahweh and with respect to His Lordship. But in the world of Middle Earth, the good characters (most especially the wizards) who use magic are using abilities that have been entrusted to them from the creator. In fact, if you look at Tolkein’s other writings, the wizards are maiar, spiritual beings who are below the valar, who themselves are below Eru, the creator. Thus, they are really more like angels than humans. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ryan Groene, age 25 (USA)
Positive—For me, this movie kept me on the edge of my seat for many scenes. The orcs are pretty gruesome to look at, and, of course, that creepy Schmegel is too, but good flick. I didn’t catch any cussing and no sex scenes, so, good for kids that are of an appropriate age to understand what is going on…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—CJ, age 53 (USA)
Neutral—This movie was okay in my opinion, but it wasn’t better than the Lord of the Ring films. For instance, there were way too many “trying to be too funny” lines in the film and way too many gross yet not believable creatures. Lord of the Rings had better looking orcs, etc. But this one had a very disturbing, fat, 4x chin troll. I did like some parts of the film, but they put too much unwanted stuff in, like Rock mountain monsters, king troll, and spiders. It didn’t seem to be taken very seriously, only to find it very funny. But it was okay.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Emma, age 20 (USA)
Neutral—’My family and I are hard-core LOTR fans, and I read The Hobbit book before watching the movie. It’s a cute book… Recently, we’ve been torn about the wizardry found in the films. So I wasn’t sure how to rate “The Hobbit.” The visuals are excellent, and the characters are generally good hearted, but I wish they hadn’t included another wizard into it. In the book itself, Gandalf isn’t really a main character. He jumps in now and then, but Bilbo is the main hero of the story. I was a firm believer that Christians shouldn’t watch “Harry Potter.” But how can I say that when I watch “The Lord of the Rings”? It really bugs me that I might be watching something I shouldn’t. I suppose this is a good subject for debate.

Most would say that you have to remember that it’s fiction. Either way, children that aren’t able to make that conclusion should be steered from watching anything with witchcraft. I found the following verses related to wizardry in the Bible, and they all have a negative view of witchcraft: Leviticus 19:31; 20:27 and Revelation 21:8 and Deuteronomy 18:9-12.

Pros: I love the moviemaking quality of the film, and I like most of the characters. The good guys show pity, mercy, love, and courage. Cons: Wizardry runs rampant in the film, and probably in the next. But with a movie that is based on a book, it’s hard to navigate from having a wizard as the good guy or dismissing magic altogether.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—’Arielle Gordon, age 25 (USA)
Neutral—I felt, as the reviewer did, that this film has too much witchcraft. But that is what you will see in a film like this. And the reviewer’s assumption that loving animals is tied to the occult and extremism is totally wrong!! Jesus Himself taught that a righteous man sees to the needs of his animal. Often animals are there for you-without judging—when everybody else walks away. Sometimes after hurting you deeply. They have even saved lives. Perhaps mine included. Please judge this movie for the right reasons, it’s occult content and/or violence. Not because a lonely character loves-and is loved by-animals.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Catherine, age 49 (USA)
Neutral—I found “The Hobbit” disappointing overall. It did not at all seem to capture the suspense, character development, and movie quality of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Technically, the attention to detail and amazing visuals are a definite plus, and the only reason I would recommend the film. On the big screen in 3D the scope of the movie venues is quite awesome. However, be aware that there is A LOT of violence with long bouts of the protagonists viciously battling countless goblins and orcs, for sure enough to be quite unsettling for younger viewers. In my opinion, the movie needed more time with the characters and much less of the action violence. The young Bilbo and the dwarves just do not have the magic of Frodo and Sam. Maybe a trilogy is just to much to ask of “The Hobbit,” and, hopefully, part two will be superior to part one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Todd Adams, age 45 (Canada)
Negative—Perhaps the boringest film ever made. The first hour stretches for what seems to be an eternity. By pursuing greed, they have divided the book into 3 movies and thus must stretch it out. The only people that will enjoy this bore-fest will be die-hard fans. What is a great book has been completely ruined. This film will soon be dropped into the dust-bin of Hollywood flops.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Ken, age 60+ (USA)
Negative—I found this movie to so violent and lacking in any thing good. I have not read the book, but I hope that the message is deeper then the standard “doing acts of kindness, one at time, will change the course of this world” the wizard says. The only real message of the movie. Really? Very shallow message.

Only Jesus can change the course of this world and change the evil in man’s hearts. Any one that would take a child to this movie hasn’t thought what would please the Lord and what affects it might have on their spiritual walk in regarding the true prince of darkness. There were so many battle scenes with grotesque creatures and very disgusting imagery, I had to close my eyes, repeatedly. I was with a group that drove, so I couldn’t just leave, although tempted to do so. I really don’t understand parents take their children to such movies; 80 percent of the movie was violent—not pure, holy and true, which the Bible tells us to fix our eyes on.

New Living Translation (©2007)—“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sharon Ulstad, age 52 (USA)
Negative—We are so shocked that this would be considered average. We watched it based on the average rating on this website. We use this Web site regularly. We will never look at these ratings the same way again. Some of the images were gruesome. Evil was glorified, and the good was down played. I cannot believe someone would rate this as “average.” The movie makers went into every last detail of the evil side (goblins, trolls, wargs, etc.). The evil was thoroughly disturbing. The images were so dark and a few are seared in my mind even though we fast forwarded quickly. On the positive side, the female actors were modest. They stuck to the story line. Personally, the bad far out-ways the good. We would definetly NOT recomend this to anyone. We will be extremely cautious about these ratings in the future. This is a misleading one. The book was much better.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jen, age 42 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—Overall review: it was much better then I had thought. I have read The Hobbit book twice, and I am very picky when I comes to books-to-movies. With several other of my favorite books slandered by movies, I was really nervous with The Hobbit. Being a fan of the original trilogy, I knew that the movie would be in respectable hands of a fellow fan, but I had also watched some sneak-peaks that disclosed Jackson’s wish to bring in more viewers. Well my sisters and I went to the Midnight premier, I will say that it was worth the hour-and-a-half sleep that I got after.

The Good: 1. I was extremely proud how close that the movie was to the book. Yes, there were some scenes that were moved around, some that were taken out, and some that were added, but every one of those I saw a reason for. The Hobbit is a very long travel story and can’t be done without some outtakes from it. The parts that were added I was grateful for because it helped some of those unfamiliar with the book understand motives, and it gave those of us wanting reasonable plot-line satisfaction. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jessica, age 16 (USA)
Positive—At first, I was very wary of seeing the film, because of the reports that it was scary. However, I was very pleased when I watched it that it was definitely not scary, though I definitely wouldn’t show it to anyone below 12, because there were some bits that could be scary for younger children (for example Gollum, he appears to have a “mixed personality disorder” one minute he’s sweet and child-like and the next vicious and aggressive.)

It was very good, and I was shocked when the film ended, because it felt like I’d only been in the cinema for an hour not 4 hours and 45 minutes! It was very well produced and goodly scripted, with some funny parts, as well. Also, I was very impressed to hear that (I don’t think) that there was any blasphemy and no swearing, it is very rare in films these days. And should be commended!… more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Anna, age 15 (United Kingdom)
Positive—I’ll start off my review for people who haven’t read the book, “The Hobbit” has a completely different feel to it than “The Lord of the Rings.” It has a much lighter and humorous feel than “The Lord of the Rings” did, though, at times, it is just as epic. So don’t expect the seriousness of the LOTR when seeing “The Hobbit.” Just because it doesn’t always have an “epic” feel to it doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as LOTR. I actually liked it as much as “The Fellowship of the Ring,” which I compare it to because it was the first film in the LOTR trilogy.

I absolutely loved the humor in “The Hobbit.” I was laughing throughout the entire movie at the antics of the dwarves. The acting was also excellent, with Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and Andy Serkis stealing the show as Gollum. Suffice it to say, the riddles in the dark scene was one of my favorite LOTR scenes of all time. The story/script was also excellent. Peter Jackson really did a great job of incorporating elements from the appendices into “The Hobbit” and catching perfectly the feel of the book. He did unnecessarily extend a couple scenes, but it wasn’t that bad. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Ben, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I was actually surprised that this movie wasn’t rated better than average. When I was done with the movie, I could think of nothing in the movie that was objectionable, except the fact that Galadriel’s dresses shaped her a little too much. And yes, they did make that one wizard look good, as they did with Gandalf, of course. But hey, that’s how LOTR movies are; it’s all fictional. J.R.R. Tolkien did not mean for whatever-kind-of-creature they were to matter, unless it actually meant something (like Frodo being a hobbit, and therefore “even the smallest can make difference” thing). It was the symbolism in his stories (Frodo carrying the ring, and it being such a burden, like Christ carried his cross for the good of mankind). The LOTR is an allegory, it doesn’t really matter what creatures they are, as long as you don’t take it seriously and try to justify actual wizards and telepaths and say “It’s all good”.

As for how the movie was, it was pretty good. But the thing is you’re not sure whether or not you want to see it again in theaters, because of how long it was, and you don’t want it to end, but it did seem to drag on (even though it was action packed). But I did like it, and will DEFINITELY see the next one!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Rosey, age 17 (USA)
Positive—I watched “The Hobbit” yesterday and loved it! It was such an amazing film! I recomend all teens to go and see. But since there is a lot of scary scenes, some younger children under seven might be frightened. But if the younger kids are used to the scary images in “The Lord of the Rings” movies than this movie won’t scare them. There is one scene when an orc holds a head of a dwarf and throws it to the ground. And that might frighten smaller children. But for the tweens/teens, this is a great movie to take a bunch of friends and hang out. Overall, I recommend this movie to the older adience.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Meaghan, age 13 (USA)
Positive—I went to see this film, and I really, really loved it! It is really well made, and it is just such a good film. There were quite a few times that I jumped, but it wasn’t really that scary, though younger viewers may find it so. Also, it is quite funny at times, which makes it have a lighter feel than “The Lord Of The Rings” films. There wasn’t any bad language that I can remember, which just made the film even better. I would recommend this film, and I would watch it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Connie, age 15 (United Kingdom)
Positive—The “Hobbit” was a very good movie! To me, it showed how we can face our strengths in troubling times. I believe it could have been better, because my friend and I went to go see it, and the end was very disappointing; they left us hanging with questions. The movie was long, yes, but thrilling! We were on the edge of our seat! But I didn’t like all the faith in the wizard, and not God, or Jesus.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Hannah, age 11 (USA)
Positive—I thought that this movie was NOT for kids under 13 years old. And that was because of violence and a tiny itty bitty bit of magic. But as for violence, dwarf gets a head chopped off and an Orc holds it up in retaliation to show the dwarf’s son. I don’t think that there is any other kind of blah violence that fidgety people wouldn’t think was “appropriate”. That’s all folks
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Johnnie Moore, age 14 (USA)

Sorry, no other viewer comments received yet. If you have seen this movie, PLEASE share your observations and insights with others to be posted here. GO