Though Bilbo initially wants nothing to do with the dwarves’ perilous mission, in the face of Gandalf’s insistence, and perhaps sensing his own destiny, he eventually relents.
The heroism of ordinary people and the potential for everyday goodness to subdue evil are the primary themes of the long, combat-heavy adventure that follows. Tolkien’s tale can be viewed as a sort of prophecy, foretelling the down-to-earth courage with which his British compatriots would soon confront the onslaught of the Nazi war machine.
As Bilbo proves his mettle, the corrupting effects of power are also showcased through his encounter with Gollum (Andy Serkis), a cave dweller obsessed with — and spiritually enslaved by –– a magical ring.
Gollum’s grasping character also may relate to the current events of the 1930s, given that the period between the world wars saw the rise of numerous dictators bent on aggression and acquisition. But the endurance of the story in which he appears suggests that his traits may have a broader moral application as well.
The film contains much bloodless action violence and some mild gross-out humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.