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At the time of writing, it has been exactly two weeks to the day since The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hit UK screens. aving been panned by critics – though, seemingly adored by everyone else – Peter Jackson’s second delve into the adventure-ridden realms of Middle Earth looks set to be the most controversially talked about film of 2012.

In a year in which fantasy has been forced to play second fiddle to many other genres of the industry – thanks in part to the forgettable Snow White and the Huntsman and the under appreciated John CarterThe Hobbit, it would seem, announced itself to the world during a time in which cynicism governed the day. Indeed, unlike the plaudits received by the technology used to render Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, the controversial pioneering of the high frame rate format was seen by many as a step too far.

Coupled with the unfortunately unavoidable comparisons between An Unexpected Journey and The Fellowship of the Ring – the opening installment of Jackson’s other trilogy – the critical failure of The Hobbit will be seen by many as a grave disappointment in the years to come. Though a true fan of Tolkien appreciates that both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are as different as they are similar, Jackson’s obvious odes to The Fellowship of the Ring will ensure that comparisons are unavoidable.

Thus, with the above considered, it is time for An Unexpected Journey to weigh itself in; the following ten similarities between both films will ultimately decide which opening installment currently reigns supreme.

10. Prologue

These days, an engaging prologue is as essential to a fantasy film’s success as the main plot is. A prologue sets the tone for a fantasy film and, so long as it is convincingly feasible, ensures that the viewer enters the main body of the film with a positive outlook.

Admittedly, both prologues in question are prime examples of how a prologue should be done; from the gorgeous scenes of Dwarven craftsmanship and majesty – in An Unexpected Journey – to the historical accounts of anarchy during a time in which evil threatened the consume the land – The Fellowship of the Ring. Indeed, it is difficult to suggest that either is superior to the other, as both capture the wonderment and epic proportions of a Tolkien fantasy.

Yet, with that said, the origins of the One Ring is slightly superior to that of the fall of Erebor. Simply put, the fall of Erebor is not the only origins story that the viewer is made to digest. The bridge between An Unexpected Journey and The Fellowship of the Ring – seen via the inclusion of Frodo and an older Bilbo – is also apparent prior to the account of Erebor, somewhat confusing the viewer as to which is the main focus. As such, The Fellowship of the Ring proves dominant due the lack it being enveloped in another story.

Winner – The Fellowship of the Ring

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This article was first posted on January 1, 2013