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Monday, November 5, 2012

The Hobbit Is Coming!!!

All pictures in this post belong to the studios and artists who created them. Thank you for letting me advertise for you without issue.

Forgive me while I Geek out a little, but The Hobbit is coming to film and I have a babysitter!!! I assume normal people don't book babysitters for movies over a month in advance, but this is important.

THE HOBBIT was My Book. The first book I read to myself. The first book that I remember owning. I still have my original copy, a gift from my teenage aunt and uncle in 1983. I was one, and they (or more likely my grandmother) bought me a beautiful green leather bound copy with the ruin embossed in gold. I've dragged that book around for 29 years, through multiple states, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, divorces, my marriage, four children, and a cockatiel aptly named Gandolf who nibbled on the edges when I was twelve.

I have a vivid memory of taking the book to Mrs. Flynn's kindergarten class at Jonas Salk Elementary and shyly showing my classmates my favorite picture: Smaug on his pile of gold while he talks to the invisible "Barrel Rider" Bilbo Baggins. At the time I was a soft spoken child in home sewn clothes and terribly afraid of being rejected. My classmates brought in She-ra dolls and Crocodile Dundee canteens. Sharing my love for THE HOBBIT was my first real test of Being Different. It went well, and the next day I convinced some of the neighborhood boys to slay pretend orcs with stick swords. We had fun.

Seeing one of my favorite books come to the big screen is equal parts thrilling and terrifying.

Peter Jackson is a good director. On the whole, I like most of his work. I loath with a fiery passion what he did with RETURN OF THE KING. He butchered the book, shredded what Tolkien wrote, and destroyed the trilogy. I've sat through ROTK exactly once, in the theater. I own both versions (live action and the older cartoon version with it's catchy little orc ditty "Where There's A Whip There's A Way") but I refuse to watch the live action ROTK. Jackson spun off over the edge and ruined my favorite characters, Faramir and Eowyn.

You all know I have a love affair with minor characters, I've blogged about how they make or break a book for me on numerous occassions. And Faramir was my childhood crush. Some girls have Justin Bieber, I had the Captain of Gondor...a self-effacing beta hero who lived in his brother's shadow and did the right thing, no matter what.


*deep breath*

I may still have some issues with this. I'm working on them. *wipes away a tear* There are whole days that go past without me envisioning beating Peter Jackson with the script of ROTK until he comes to his senses and refilms it. Whole. Entire. Days. Therapy is working.

The fact that Jackson is stretching THE HOBBIT into three movies is hard for me.

On one hand, from a series perspective, I understand what Jackson and his crew are thinking. THE HOBBIT was a children's book. Tolkien as an answer to the fairy tales a la the Brothers Grimm. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is a much deeper, more nuanced book with a huge cast of characters that's geared towards adults. Both are beautifully written, but to keep up with audience expectations Jackson was going to need to go past the written storyline for help, even if it's only an excuse to cast some major female actors.

All of this makes sense from an academic perspective. And I'll admit that there are some movies where I liked the retelling better than the original book. THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO comes to mind, the movie ending is very different than the book ending, but since I'd read the book years before the movie worked for me. I know THE HOBBIT movie isn't going to follow the books exactly (although having Radagast and Beorn is a huge improvement over cutting Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Wights), but I'm going into it with an open mind.

Here's hoping this works out in my favor.

Because what Peter Jackson does well is detail. The WETA Workshop is amazing. The work that goes into creating individual orc faces, rings, cloaks... it's amazing. One of the things that makes the LOTR movies so rewatchable is the effort and detail that went into the design. I assume there are mistakes, all movies have mistakes just like all books do, but what you find yourself watching is the details... and Orlando Bloom. Because... ORLANDO BLOOM!!! Also, all the other hot males. The casting director chose wisely.

I'm going in with an open mind hoping to see a movie that's based on the book I love but that explores the world I love to the fullest extent.

And I'm still torn on whether or not I'll watch the third movie. As a kid I'd fast-forward from the fall of Smaug, to Bilbo's return to the Shire. That whole Battle of Five Armies thing? Never happened. The death of [SPOILER REDACTED FOR THE TWO PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T FINISHED THE BOOK]? Never happened. The ending is tragic, but most Tolkien's books have bittersweet endings. He was a man who understood death a little too well.

Now, while we eagerly await the arrival of my New Favorite Movie on December 14th, I'm researching rules for moving to New Zealand. Because of this...


  1. Replies
    1. Don't you have a sudden urge to move to New Zealand?

  2. Yes, on Tom Bombadil! One of my very favorite characters, and nobody likes him! He always gets left out of the movies!

    (And I've also looked into emigrating to New Zealand. It's surprisingly hard.)

    1. I make amazing cookies, do you think they'll take that into account?

    2. Tom's my absolute favourite character in the entire series. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing him on the screen and extremely disappointed that they cut out that entire section.

      I'm one of those people who haven't read The Hobbit yet. I'll watch the movie first this time and then read the book.

  3. That video has WIN written all over it!