‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ vs. ‘Fellowship of the Ring’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated December 19th, 2012 at 6:56 am,

The Action/Effects

hobbit unexpected journey fellowship effects The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey vs. Fellowship of the Ring

It’s certainly unfair to compare the quality of effects in these two films, seeing how An Unexpected Journey has ten years of advancements in digital technology at its disposal (not to mention, a budget 2-3 times larger than Fellowship). However, the same could be said for the comparisons between the original Star Wars films and prequel trilogy; yet, many prefer the SW films that are several decades old now to the comparatively-fresher prequels, purely in terms of effects and action. So why, then, does the first Hobbit movie avoid being branded with the same stigma?

Well, the difference is the SW prequels swap ingenuity for rudimentary filmmaking; scenes are saturated with eye candy, but realized through basic shooting/editing techniques. An Unexpected Journey, by comparison, does not use effects and a bigger budget as a crutch; instead, it combines approaches to create dazzling 3D dioramas and elaborate shots that make diminutive Dwarves and Hobbits appear all the more authentic. Moreover, it does improve the integration (and interaction) of live-action characters and settings with CGI elements – passing over the heightened realism of those digital components, compared to Fellowship.

Ian McKellan Gandalf The Hobbit Movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey vs. Fellowship of the Ring

Kili, Bifur, Gandalf, Dwalin, Dori, and Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

Fellowship makes clever use of energetic cinematography and in-camera tricks for purposes both symbolic (Saruman constantly towering over Gandalf) and from a practical storytelling angle (Fellowship members tower over their Hobbit peers). It also has the benefit of grislier close-quarter combat sequences and brawls, but that is a stylistic choice (fitting with the darker tone of the Rings films in general); though, Fellowship is free of certain visual restrictions that An Unexpected Journey endures due to its use of 3D cameras and HFR format.


WINNER: Fellowship of the Ring for action, An Unexpected Journey for effects.



hobbit unexpected journey fellowship ring direction The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey vs. Fellowship of the Ring

Overall, An Unexpected Journey has its flaws; although there’s nary a scene that doesn’t serve a purpose or lay groundwork for development in a later film, it does feel overstuffed. However, the direction is quite confident, editing is consistent and pacing shifts very consciously faster and slower. Everything from characterization to bridge-work for later films is conducted with an assured hand – even one prone to lavishing brushstrokes that sometimes come off as too-much.

Fellowship does not become ‘weak’ when juxtaposed with An Unexpected Journey; rather, Jackson’s energy right out of the gate is observable in every facet of the former. However, there’s a roughness that Hobbit doesn’t suffer from, like choppy passages in terms of editing (see: Gandalf and Frodo traveling through the Shire). Similarly, there are character arcs with enough missing material, they seem to almost come from nowhere in the theatrical cut (see: Aragorn’s commitment to Gondor, upon Boromir’s death).

Bear in mind, Fellowship remains an amazing accomplishment; indeed, these complaints are the results of an eye scrutinizing the film very closely. Nonetheless, it was the first blockbuster under-taken by Jackson – with more experience on his side, his output has improved overall.


WINNER: An Unexpected Journey


And So, the Overall Winner Is…

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  1. the hobbit isnt worthy of licking fotr’s boots ….still by far the greatest of lot …it gave you a sense of realism that somehow this could of happened in the past ……10/10…..oh ps not like giant bunney rabbits pulling sleighs ..

    • John!Johnny!Johny boy!Based solely on your comments…Your name here should be John The Drunk!Because your comment made absolutely zero sense if any!

      • He doesn’t seem drunk, but you do. I completely agree with his comment. It’s like the difference between the Tyrannosaurus in Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and the Tyrannosaurus in the original Jurassic park. One looks real, like it is actually happening right in front of you, and the other looks like CGI, like it is just a bunch of animation. Not to mention all the big falls and physically unrealistic scenes where characters get up without a scratch gives the Hobbit more similarity to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies than to Fellowship of the Ring…

  2. Most of the problems I have are little, nit picky things.They changed a whole hell of a lot to make it just like Lord of the Rings. Azog hunting the dwarfs, needless action scenes, the side story of the bird poop guy and the sense of impending doom of necromancer and a few others.

    Also, a lot of the dwarfs don’t look like their book descriptions, which is kind of annoying, but Fili bothered me the most. He doesn’t even look like a dwarf, like not even close. I mean, wouldn’t someone on the set just have said, “Yo, Fili doesn’t look like a Dwarf. Why doesn’t he have a beard or a big nose? His brother looks like a dwarf so he can’t be a secret elf spy or something like that. There is a reason for it right? It doesn’t really make sense to have one dwarf not look like all the other dwarfs when you spent so much time with the beards and makeup already. Did we run out or something? Cause I mean, there has to be a good reason cause people are probably going to notice something like that. And I’m not just talking about the nit picky die hard fans, anyone with eyes can see that guy doesn’t look AT ALL like any of the other dwarfs. I dunno, just seems kind of sloppy to me.”

    It was obvious they were trying to make it a huge block buster, which I just didn’t like. That being said, I can see why a lot of people did like it. It tied in a lot with LOTR, lots of action, cool effects. But to me it was obvious that The Hobbit was just a cash cow that they were doing everything they could to bleed dry.

  3. Gandalf says Lotr is the best you fools.!

  4. From my viewpoint, The Hobbit is a disgrace to the LOTR trilogy, especially after 10 years. I had to re-watch The Fellowship (in standard DVD format unlike the Super HD X 5 zillion megapixel IMAX 3D blah blah Hobbit version) just to be sure I wasn’t overreacting. The first five minutes of The Fellowship validated my disdain for The Hobbit.

    Hopefully, the next installments will be a better.