Those of you who know me know that I am not much of a quest gal—that is, unless Monty Python is involved. I am also not much of a fantasy/adventure gal. I mean, I saw all three Lord of the Rings: Loved one, liked one, tolerated one. Give me great acting over special effects any day. The good news here is that this film actually has both. Not all the news, however, is good.

The story is fairly basic. Gandalf (Ian McKellen) tasks Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) with the daunting mission of helping a group of 13 dwarves—led by the warrior Thorin (Richard Armitage)—reclaim their kingdom located on a remote mountain in Middle Earth. They begin their quest, and that’s when somebody let Peter Jackson off his leash. The group encounters and battles all manner of evil creatures—shape-shifters and goblins and orcs, oh my! And of course, what Jackson/ Tolkien adaptation would be complete without the menacing Gollum (Andy Serkis)?

I have to say I was slightly disappointed with the CGI. There are far fewer human actors playing creatures than in the LotR trilogy. The only other real problem for me was the length. For such a simple tale, two and a half-plus hours seems self-indulgent. Other than that, The Hobbit is a visually stunning, brilliantly acted, family-friendly (maybe a tad scary for wee ones) film.

It’s a 7.

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