Published December 20, 2012
Epic 3-D adaptation of the opening part of Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 children’s novel “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again,” directed by Peter Jackson. In this first installment of a trio of prequels to Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, also based on Tolkien’s fiction, a homebody hobbit (Martin Freeman) is reluctantly convinced by a wizard (Ian McKellen) to accompany and aid a group of dwarves (led by Richard Armitage) in their quest to recapture their ancient stronghold, a storehouse of fabulous wealth long ago conquered by a rampaging dragon. The heroism of ordinary people and the potential for everyday goodness to subdue evil are the primary themes of the long, combat-heavy adventure that follows. As the titular character proves his mettle, the corrupting effects of power are also showcased through his encounter with a cave dweller (Andy Serkis) who is obsessed with—and spiritually enslaved by—a magical ring. Not for the easily frightened or those with short attention spans, Jackson’s sweeping journey across Tolkien’s imaginary world of Middle-earth is an upbeat outing suitable for all others. Much bloodless action violence, some mild gross-out humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II—adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.