With the help of "meddling" wizard Gandalf (McKellen), Shire-dwelling hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) finds himself thrust into adventure, embarking on a quest with a small group of dwarves ("not 13 of the best or brightest") to reclaim their treasure and homeland from the dragon Smaug. Meanwhile, a malevolent presence returns to Middle-earth.
It may deal in part with a (literal) phantom menace, but this is thankfully not The Phantom Menace. The Hobbit plays younger and lighter than Fellowship and its follow-ups, but does right by the faithful and has a strength in Martin Freeman’s Bilbo that may yet see this trilogy measure up to the last one. There is treasure here.
Reviewed by Dan Jolin
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