So I've had a little more free time in the past couple of weeks. I've tried to stay busy improving things at home during this time, but I have inevitably ended up with a tad of extra time for watching movies, etc. I've decided in the wake of a deluge of film and television that I have viewed, to briefly sound off on some of the more significant pieces. I hope no one minds. If you do, unfortunately my decision is final- best open up a tab and start watching cute puppy videos on YouTube for a while until I get through this.
No doubt many of you would be able to share stories of anxiously awaiting the film version of The Hobbit as the years have passed since the completion of The Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies. Tolkien's earliest fantasy success was a book that perhaps succeeded in areas where the LOTR books failed( not to say that Tolkien intended for the books to serve the same purpose)- it blended light-hearted adventure and peril, leaving neither element behind and forever maintaining that rythmic English literary meter and charm present in the works of such writers as C.S. Lewis, A.A. Milne, etc. Having seen the film, I'm happy to say that Jackson has again managed to bottle that feel- that impeccable blend of humor and danger that pervades the book. There is a very physical, impish comedy present, but not without witticisms and frankness. Again, like the book before it, there are funny moments in this film that I instantly related to. For instance, Bilbo's initial irritation with Gandalf that transfers over to his first encounter with the Dwarves as they eat him out of house and home (literally), his reluctance to leave home and his eagerness to accept the Dwarves' dismissing of him as a valuable asset to their party, his preoccupation with tidiness, all these moments draw chuckles that come not purely from the comedic assets, but also their familiarity. Okay, some complaints, because I've delivered far too much praise in such a short period of time, and now I feel dirty. As a stand-alone film, The Hobbit is an entertaining, if not extended romp through Tolkien's Middle Earth, exposing a happier side of this still-perilous land. There is notable, heart-warming character development. Bilbo sheds a few onion layers, revealing a peek into the brave, adventurous wanderer that lies beneath the simple, comfort-loving hobbit. However, I did take issue with the invulnerability of the Dwarves and Bilbo. You'll find them tumbling through rocky caverns at top speed, bouncing off walls, hanging off edges of crumbling mountains that fall directly around them but never quite touch them, fighting off goblins so numerous and claustrophobic that they look like a bowl of Captain Crunch, but yet taking no wounds, and so on. I wanted to love the actions sequences, and to some degree, I appreciated the raucous insanity of it all, the kinetic movement the pulled the camera along with the party as they ran across fields dodging arrows and Wargs, the chaos as I found the Dwarves charging through billows of Goblins, but I hit a point where I disconnected from the happy embrace the movie had on me and fell back into the real, trying to ignore thoughts such as "that's impossible" and "no one could ever survive that". I tried to reason it away, thinking that perhaps that absurdity of the adventure is what made it so grand, and so worth Bilbo telling it to Frodo, but... it still removed me from the movie and placed me squarely in reality. No thumbs up for that. This party doesn't need to be likened to rag dolls in order for me to appreciate the danger they're in.Now, as a Tolkien fan, I have to express my disappointment with the inclusion of Azog, deemed the "Pale Orc" in the movie. I immediately let out a "Hw-whaaaaaaa??", knowing that in canon, Azog died far prior to the events of The Hobbit, and didn't have his arm amputated by Thorin, but his head lopped off by Dain Ironfoot, who was even mentioned in the film. I don't see the necessity of including Azog as a driving villain to pursue Bilbo and company throughout- the story is already rife with constant trials and danger, and already has a larger threat in The Necromancer. I enjoyed the confrontation between Thorin and Azog in the final minutes of the movie, but it was cheapened knowing that, according to Tolkien, that never happened... oh well. This is the farthest I've ever strayed from collegiate comedy in any blog post thus far, so I'd better stop before I completely evolve into an adult. Long story short, The Hobbit is great, go see it, but it will be ever-so-slightly less good if you know anything substansial about Tolkien's universe. THNBPBOTBETTJTTJTTHTHTHLAKKJWJDKWKKLWCMW. That ought to make up for the lack of jokes. Cheers!
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