Tag Archive | Tolkien

Thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

(NOTE: This is not technically a critique, just a series of impressions. Also, SPOILER ALERT. No, seriously, don’t read this if you haven’t seen it yet and want to be surprised.)

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So last night I finally got to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part of Peter Jackson’s trilogy prequel to The Lord of the Rings. This morning, when I woke up, these were some of the thoughts running through my head:

  • First of all, how amazing was it in 3D? I’m not talking about the new 48 fps format, because it wasn’t available in the Philippines, but the 24 fps 3D blew me away. 3D is so easy to get wrong, and terrible when it happens (The Last Airbender, anyone?), but this view of Middle Earth was breathtaking, and yes, I ducked reflexively several times when stuff flew at my face.
  • Speaking of gorgeous views: every single scene was a visual treat. I’m not just talking about the idyllic, pastoral Shire or even the too-beautiful-for-words Rivendell. I’m talking about the utter believability of the Goblin Kingdom, the sheer realism of Gollum’s cave, and the majestic giant eagles whose feathers you could almost touch. Middle Earth lives and breathes in The Hobbit. Peter Jackson has done Tolkien’s world justice once again.
  • I’m happy to be able to say that without reservation this morning, because last night I was freaking out about the stone giants. (I kept myself from watching the trailers except one, so they were a surprise.) The purist in me was just about pulling my hair out thinking they were just invented for cinematic effect, but it turns out THEY DO EXIST. (Well, in Tolkien’s world, at least.) I had completely forgotten about them, because in the book, they didn’t interact directly with Bilbo and the rest. That doesn’t make for good action, so I understand why Peter Jackson took artistic license. I can deal with that. I mean, I’m already dealing with Kili, the dwarf dreamboat who probably has Tolkien blowing furious smoke rings in the afterlife.  I get that they need a Legolas-type to sell more tickets so that Peter Jackson can keep making movies, which means I would be happier just dealing with it than being insisting on accuracy. So okay, fine, bring on the hot dwarf. (Let me just get this out: Even dwarf women are supposed to have beards. How is that civilized scruff of Kili’s considered satisfactory?)
  • However, there is one bit of artistic license I have absolutely no problem with. I’m talking about the Elf on a moose. That image is forever tattooed on my mind. Elf king on a GIANT moose. I find it equal parts hilarious and awesome. I want to high five whoever thought of that.
  • Speaking of Elves, hail Cate Blanchett, the most Elvish Elf ever. She is phenomenal. Gandalf, Elrond, and Saruman are played by brilliant actors with powerful presences, but whenever she was onscreen, I couldn’t tear my eyes off her. She is every bit as enchanting as Galadriel is supposed to be, and I could probably listen to her narrate the end of the world in that calm, regal voice of hers and not feel an ounce of panic.
  • While we’re on the subject of voices, I would follow Thorin Oakenshield to the Lonely Mountain and beyond if he would just keep singing to me. I loved Richard Armitage in that role. He is a somewhat less humorous character than he was in the book, but Tolkien wrote a children’s novel, and Peter Jackson’s movie is much more adult.
  • However darker they made the movie, they still put in a lot of fun. A key aspect of humor is the element of surprise, which is why I loved that this movie still made me laugh even when I already knew what was going to happen. (Whoever thought Gollum could be adorable?) Martin Freeman is a great choice as the hapless Bilbo, and his body language and physical comedy is pitch perfect. Same goes for the dwarves (yes, fine, even Kili).

Obviously, I loved this movie. Even more obviously, I am not the most unbiased audience there is, and I probably never will be. Still, for a while there I was honestly worried that the countless problems that plagued the pre-production period would ruin the movie, and I am so relieved that it didn’t happen. It was great fun to  be reunited with beloved characters, settings, and music, and even more awesome to see new wonders and be tantalized with the promise of more. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is amazing, and now fans like me have to gird ourselves for the year-long wait until the next one is released. God help us.

You know you’re addicted to the Lord of the Rings when…

  • You’ve read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Books of Lost Tales, The Silmarillion and everything else Tolkien has written – heck, everything he’s even touched – more than ten times.
  • No one in your family is allowed to speak, breathe, or otherwise suggest their existence while you’re watching the trilogy for the 57th time.
  • You know exactly what the characters in the movies are going to say next because a) you’ve watched them 57 times, b) you actually have the script and have read it over and over again, and c) you recorded the sounds with your mp3 player and keep listening to it all day.
  • You’ve been caught talking to trees and sympathizing that “nobody cares for the woods anymore”.
  • You want to petition your school to add Elvish 101 and The History of Middle Earth to your curriculum.
  • Anyone who dares to criticize, or heaven forbid, compare The Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter gets treated to a passionate two-hour rebuttal from you.
  • You’ve memorized quotes from the books.
  • You’ve memorized quotes from the movies.
  • You’ve memorized Elvish phrases.
  • You’ve memorized EVERYTHING connected to Tolkien!
  • You use “mellon” as your password.
  • You take more notes and pay more rapt attention when reading The Books of Lost Tales than when studying for your final History of Civilization exam.
  • Your mom warns visitors who have limited time to never mention “Tolkien”, “The Lord of the Rings”, and other similar words to you.
  • You start saying “eleventy-one” instead of “one hundred eleven” and refer to potatoes as “taters”.
  • There are more Lord of the Rings posters in your room than pictures of your family and friends.
  • You try to convince your married friends to throw their wedding rings into the fire.
  • All your favorite things are your “preciousssss”.
  • You decide whether the people you meet have good taste or not by asking them what they think of The Lord of the Rings.
  • You refer to your friends as your “Fellowship”.
  • You feel proud that you’re only five feet tall, because even the smallest person can change the course of the future.
  • You refer to meetings as “councils” and “Entmoots”.
  • You are seriously considering plastic surgery on your ears.
  • You think the world has changed. You feel it in the water. You feel it in the earth. You smell it in the air.
  • You know who Glorfindel is.
  • You seriously consider wearing green on your wedding day and walking down the aisle holding a banner.
  • You try to buy lembas bread at the bakery.
  • You know what LOTR, FOTR, TTT, ROTK, BOLT and Sil stand for and use them often.
  • You know exactly where and how the movies deviate from the books.
  • When you have no load or you’re in a place where there’s no network coverage, you try use beacons to communicate long distance.
  • You’ve memorized Middle Earth geography while you can’t quite remember whether Samar is in Visayas or
    Mindanao.
  • You’ve spent hours looking for “There and Back Again – A Hobbit’s Tale” in the library.
  • Fifty percent of the sites on your bookmarks are about The Lord of the Rings.
  • You know what happened in the Second Age of Middle Earth but don’t know the year that the Japanese landed on Philippine shores.
  • When you’re worried, you say that “a shadow and a threat is growing in your mind”.
  • When you’re sick, you ask for athelas, or kingsfoil. You’re also convinced that the doctor is a king in disguise, because “the hands of the king are the hands of a healer”.
  • You can relate to this list and…
  • You make lists like this.

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Lairë Telcontaro*

By Bilbo Baggins

Ilya i ná

malta úmirilya,

lá ilyë yantë ranya nar vanwë;

i tulca enwinawë úquela,

nurë sundar arahtier lá ringwenen.

Erinillon nárë núva coivana,

cala lumbellon tuiuva;

encarna núva macil i né rácina,

i úrína ata núva aran.

_______________________________________________
*the Riddle of Strider

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