Box art for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The adventure follows Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim Erebor with the help of Gandalf the Grey and 13 Dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 11
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
0 out of 5
3 out of 5

Tolkien tale isn't as great as LOTR, but better for tweens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's stand-alone quest through Middle-earth, is less violent than the scarier Lord of the Rings trilogy. But there are definitely some frightening sequences, like the battle between the dragon and the dwarves of Erebor, during which one character is decapitated, another has an arm amputated, and there's mass destruction. The group of Bilbo, Gandalf, and 13 dwarves is often tracked and pursued and nearly killed several times, but they manage to avoid death -- at least in this installment. Bilbo (like Frodo and his friends in the LOTR movies) again shows that size doesn't matter when it comes to making a difference.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how The Hobbit compares to The Lord of the Rings. How are the stories similar (a hobbit joins a dangerous quest), and how are they different? Which adventure do you prefer?
  • For those familiar with the book, how does the movie adaptation differ? If you haven't read the book yet, does the movie make you want to delve into Tolkien's classic?
  • What does Bilbo learn about himself throughout the journey?
  • Why do you think Tolkien's fantasy tale has withstood the test of time?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Tolkien's inventive, episodic tale of a modest homebody on a dangerous journey has been turned into an overscale and plodding spectacle.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rotten: I'm afraid that whoever it was in the New York Film Critics Circle who voted for "The Hobbit" as best animated film had a point. And so did the people who suspected that this whole thing was a bad idea.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rotten: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has finally arrived, not on wings of gossamer fancy but with a hairy-footed thud.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, December 14, 2012

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Filthy hobbitses, it tricked us into believing we would not enjoy "The Hobbit"! *gollum, gollum* Full review at

- spielberg00, Thursday, May 16, 2013

3 stars

Filthy hobbitses, it tricked us into believing we would not enjoy "The Hobbit"! *gollum, gollum* Full review at

- spielberg00, Thursday, May 16, 2013

3 stars

Visually a treat; remarkable and entrancing. The humor is visible and solid. But the film's duration along with its tendency to sidetrack and lose its touch brings this new franchise to a unbalanced beginning. An Unexpected Journey is adventurous and comprised of a groundbreaking scenery. Though its sluggish and at times somewhat hard to catch on, it's nonetheless a decent start for this prequel-trilogy. 3.5/5

- fb1442511448, Friday, April 19, 2013