Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Movie Note: The Hobbit

Just a quick movie note: I took my son to see The Hobbit today, because he's been getting horribly excited every time the commercials come on TV. He slept through most of the first hour (he's 6), but really enjoyed the last two hours.

I was a little wary about this movie, since I loved The Lord of the Rings, because I was afraid that the dark tone of that series would weigh down what is written as (or at least reads as) a light-hearted fantasy adventure, especially over three movies as long as the first three. As it turns out, the tone is darker than the old animated movies I saw as a kid, but there is still a good deal of humor and heroism, enough that we both are now looking forward to part two. Interestingly, one of the most amusing parts of the book and the prior versions was the riddle contest between Bilbo and Gollum, but in this version, although it's pretty much word for word from what I remember, it might be the most intense scene of the entire movie. My son certainly had the pants about scared off him.

There is some stuff in there that I don't remember from the book (although it's been probably 25 years since I read it), and I suspect that some of it was put in to tie the series more firmly to the original  trilogy. If the Star Wars prequels  had been this well done, well, let's just leave it at that.

If you liked the first three, see it. If you haven't seen the first three,  see it. If you didn't like the first three, what the heck's wrong with  you?

5 stars of 5

Update: By the way, I shouldl mention this: Of all the 3D movies that have come out over the last 3 years or so, this is the first one that I really felt justified the upcharge. And yes, I've seen Avatar, or as I dubbed it (long before I saw that episode of South Park), Dances With Blue People.


  1. I took my youngest daughter to see the Hobbit today too, though its probably not quite the same, she's 22. They changed a few things around, but still a very good start for 1 of 3 movies.

  2. I took my youngest daughter to see the Hobbit today too, though its probably not quite the same, she's 22. They changed a few things around, but still a very good start for 1 of 3 movies.

  3. Good review, not that we normally do movie reviews around here, but if you're a movie buff you can do reviews for us.

    I'm a huge Tolkien fan. I liked the LotR Trilogy movies, but I didn't care for some of the "artistic liberties" taken in the movies or the absence of Tom Bombadil, the Barrow Downs, or the Scouring of the Shire. I couldn't understand why any of those rather key things were left out of the movies.

    But I'm not one of those crazy people that gets so upset about a movie not being exactly like the book that I completely dismiss the movie. Jackson took people in to Middle Earth in his movies and that was enough to make them great movies.

    However, I was worried about The Hobbit for the same reason you were...that they would be too dark and too Hollywood drama to be representative of the book. I feel better about going and seeing it after your review, because most reviews on it are just by the normal crop of whiny critics that judge movies based on their Hollywoodness and not by whether they would be entertaining for fans.

    1. I liked it a whole lot. Like I said, I haven't read the book in about a quarter century, but there was stuff in there that I was sure I hadn't read before. Turns out, they're adding stuff from some of Tolkien's other writings. Let's face it, a Silmarillion movie is not likely to happen. So, Jackson is apparently trying to not only make a trilogy of prequels (where have we seen that before? Hmmmm.), but he is trying to make the series compatible in tone with the original series, while keeping some of the light tone that so endeared people in the book. I suspect that, when all is said and done, you could watch the series from this movie, through the next two, then the original series and get one coherent, entertaining story.

      A lot of people who complained elsewhere about the stuff left out of LOTR are complaining about the addition of stuff into this one. I, personally, enjoyed it wholeheartedly, almost from beginning to end. There were only two minor quibbles I had, and they are not enough to downgrade even a quarter star.

      And, I know movie reviews are not the typical fare here, but, darn it, I enjoyed this one so much I felt compelled to share. I'll do my best to keep it to a minimum.

    2. On the contrary Arik, movie reviews are a nice addition. I'm pretty open to most things. I'd like to have a nice multifaceted blog with a focus on political satire, but the ability to stretch out to other things. If you like doing movie reviews, by all means, do movie reviews.

    3. Thank you. I actually have an evil scheme in mind that will take some time to bring to fruition which includes, if not movie reviews, then short blurbs recommending moves that I think are worth sharing. A bit of precedent will help make it seem like an ICBM when it hits, I think. Fun times.

      P.S. I like a little bit of personal information from the blogs that I read: It helps to humanize the bloggers and lets me know where they're coming from, in other words, why their opinion should matter to me. It's what they tried, with varying degrees of success, to do for Romney.

  4. I saw the movie with my 10 and 13 year olds on your recommendation. I found the pace to be a little inconsistent and the previews of upcoming apocalyptic movies somewhat disturbing, especially to my 10 year old, but on the whole, found it exciting, wholesome and fun. Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Honestly, the only two negative things I can think of to say about the whole thing are that the physics of the Stone Giant scene don't work for me, went from the realm of fantasy into a place where I couldn't suspend belief, and that the falling bridge scene in the goblin lair suffered some from the same malady. Overall, though, I suspect that when all 3 films are complete to watch back-to-back, the pacing will be less of an issue. Also, I don't mind watching three hours worth of movie, if the movie can keep me entertained for three hours, and this one certainly did.

      My son didn't really mind the previews, and I didn't manage to get a "Star Wars is better" out of him during the Star Trek preview. My wife is a Trekker of long standing, and she absolutely LOVED the first J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot (so did I), and I suspect we're both looking forward to it in a big way.

      By the way, have your kids seen Lord of the Rings? If they haven't get the 4 Hour director's cut editions. Even at 4 hours, they'll keep you entertained, and some of the stuff that missed the cut in the theatrical version is stunning. But be aware: they are a bit darker in tone than the Hobbit, though the violence, if I recall correctly, is about the same, if on a far grander scale (The Battle of Helms Deep will remain the benchmark for great battle sequences for years to come.)

    2. I reread the LOTR books last summer and then watched the movies for the first time. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am very easily disturbed by dark, scary and violent things so I guess I finally became grown-up enough to manage them. I'll have to try the director's cuts on a day when I'm feeling particularly brave. My oldest kids had seen them long before I had.

    3. I think a movie marathon may be in order!

      The troubling previews were not for Star Trek, which I love. There was a stupid zombie love story, a Will Smith everything's out to kill you movie, a Tom Cruise post-apocalypse one, and another about satanists. I was not thrilled. I doubt very much that I'll be seeing any of them.

    4. Definitely see the extended versions. They are not so much extended by action, but by embellishments on the story, and though the whole series is wonderfully shot, there are just some stunningly beautiful scenes that got cut because they added atmosphere, not plot advancement.

  5. Btw, did the pale orc remind anyone else of Goonies?

    1. Hadn't thought of it, but, yeah, I can see that!

    2. I don't know if you ever come back and look at these old posts, but I felt I had to try. This is the only thing I could think of that might, MIGHT get your attention.

      I know I overstepped my bounds. I know I hurt you. I want so badly to apologize to you, but I can't think of a way to do that that would be acceptable. I sent messages through two separate people, but I have exactly zero faith that either of them bothered to relay it.

      It's been 8 months since we've spoken. I don't know how they've been for you, but they've not been good here. I can honestly say I'm not unhappy, but only because I would need to see significant improvement to reach the level of unhappiness. I say without rancor or malice that I hope your life is better for my absence, because it would at least provide benefit for the pain I feel.

      I know you used to wish that you had someone to write words describing how important you were to hem and how much they valued you. The irony here is that someone finally has and you will likely never read it. There are actually a few of them, my Christmas and Valentines gifts to you. If you want to read them, I will send you copies.

      You probably don't know, but I was baptized in November. I's one of the few bright spots in the last eight months. If you like, the picture is my Facebook profile picture. It's one of the few times I've really smiled in a long time.

      I barely recognize the person I see in the mirror. He's ten years older than I remember; More gray hair. 45 ponds heavier. The frown line are deepening. I can't remember the last real smile I've had. You can see the Permanent Scowl which I now see every time I mention church or anything related to it. My kids get to go away for the weekend on y weekends to watch them so they don't have to go to church with me. Every attempt at discussion results in argument. My marriage has deteriorated to barely roommate status.

      I'm lost and hurting.

      I miss you. I've given praying up for you to ever be friends with me again, but I do pray frequently that your life improves from what t was.Just know that I am here if you need me.


  6. So, here we are now, three years on. It's been well over two since I've heard your voice, seen the smile in your eyes.

    I know I'm shouting into the wind, screaming into the abyss here, that you don't come back and look at these old comments, anymore, but I guess at least I have some place that maybe, some day, you will find my words for you.

    I've had many friends over the years, people who have moved in and out of my life. Sometimes it was a fracture that ended it, sometimes a drifting apart. But I always managed to move on.

    At least until now.

    When you left my life, you tore my soul into pieces, left a void that is not only unable to be filled, but that keeps dragging what's left into the vacuum. Not only am I no longer whole, but the pieces that are left are unable to be healed.

    And I've tried to heal. I've tried praying, I've been in therapy. I've done everything short of drilling holes into my brain.

    You are the one I will never forget.

    No matter how hard I try.

    I am always here for you, at any time, under any circumstances, should you need me: No conditions, no obligation, just a shoulder to cry on, and the love of a big brother.

    I miss you. Always.