Bilbo Baggins (voice by Orson Bean) is a small hobbit, happiest when he is sitting at the door of his hobbit hole, smoking his pipe and enjoying the slow-paced life of Hobbiton. But all of this is suddenly changed when the wizard Gandalf (voice by John Huston) appears with a dozen dwarves, headed by Thorin (voice by Hans Conreid). They are there to hire an expert burglar, of which Bilbo is purported to be, but by whom Bilbo really does not know. Before he knows it, Bilbo is on his way to Laketown where the last surviving dragon, Smaug (voice by Richard Boon), watches over the great dwarvish treasure that Thorin is determined to reclaim. Along the way, Bilbo will be forced to battle monstrous trolls, descend into the world of the goblins, escape the clutches of the creature Gollum (voice by Brother Theodore), free his friends from the huge spiders, and eventually steal into the cavern of the great Smaug himself...
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I can vividly remember watching this film when I was a child and being absolutely entranced by this fantasy world. I had no idea it was based on a book until I was older and was able to devour Tolkien's books. I admit that the animation style takes a little getting used to, but I thought that it very ably suited the fantasy epic portrayed. All of the voices were perfect for the film and the voice of Gollum is particularly creepy - you can really tell that this creature has lost his sanity just by listening to the voice. I particularly enjoyed the soundtrack where they took care to use songs from the book. These were wonderful and I love that they took the time to put them in. Even though there is quite a bit of violence in the story, the animators took care not to show anything, just showing weird swirls of color and blackouts, I didn't even know that the characters were dying until I watched it when I was older. Still, it is a little too scary for young children to watch, regardless of its cartoon status. As far as the sound quality goes, I would have to agree with other viewers in that it is very poor on this DVD. If you are a fan, it is definitely worth your time to find a used copy of the older VHS version (and pray that Peter Jackson decides to make this film!).
The review of this Movie prepared by Debbie