An Unexpected Journey

"Many things can be drawn from J.R.R. Tolkien's tiny story. There are multiple examples of kindness, bravery, and wisdom, but… perhaps the most significant lesson to learn before going is the difference between a mission and an adventure. Where The Lord of the Rings was a quest to save the world, The Hobbit is an adventure to explore it. And while it may not be quite as epic as Jackson's original trilogy, this prequel contains a bit more charm, an appropriate touch of innocence... and perhaps even a dash of whimsy... This is one hopeful journey that should not be missed" (from The Start of an Adventure Begins with Meeting the Cast & Crew of The Hobbit, by Ryan Duncan, 12/7/12).

Why It's HereAs mentioned at the beginning of the article, we did indeed run a negative review of this film when it opened in December (see: Peter Jackson's The Hobbit Rings False, by Christian Hamaker, 12/13/12). But as it turned out, nearly every other person on our panel fell in love with it. Can any journey through Middle-Earth be all bad? Aside from romance, this movie had it all: beautiful settings, danger, intrigue, humor, innocence, a chance to see old beloved characters in action again, simple themes of the value of home, getting outside our comfort zones, saying no to greed, and more. An Unexpected Journey is a film that can be enjoyed by the entire family, and one which leaves you both exhausted and wanting more, which thankfully is to come this December.

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We also asked each of our panelists to list out their picks for the winners of various categories below. Each person's "Honorable Mention" is the film that was highest-rated on his or her personal list which didn't end up making it into the overall Crosswalk Top 10.

Christa Banister, Film Critic
Honorable Mention: Silver Linings Playbook
Best Animated Film: Wreck-It Ralph
Best Family Film: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Best Date Movie: Ruby Sparks
Best Action/Super Hero Movie: Action - Looper; Hero - Dark Knight Rises
Best Film About Faith: The Master
Favorite Female Performance: Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Favorite Male Performance: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor
Honorable Mention: Chronicle
Best Animated Film: Rise of the Guardians
Best Family Film: Wreck-It Ralph
Best Date Movie: Moonrise Kingdom
Best Action/Super Hero Movie: (tie) Chronicle & Dark Knight Rises
Best Film About Faith: Les Misérables
Favorite Female Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Favorite Male Performance: Martin Freeman, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey