Posts Tagged ‘The Hobbit’

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Dave ( my brother ) took me to see The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey today. We’d worked all of our scheduling out in advance, and after a delicious lunch prepared by Mom and a time for Dave of visiting with Mom and Dad (while I worked on a side project) we were off! Off to see the 2:40PM showing of The Hobbit. We’d called earlier to double-check the time, not thinking to ask what version the 2:40 showing was going to be. Chagrined, we listened to the clerk rattle off that the 2:40 showing was for the IMAX 3D HD faster-frames-per-minute version of the film.

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That, was unexpected.  I really had no desire to see the faster frames, have never been a fan of 3D or HD, and only have seen the IMAX film documentaries at the Smithsonian.  Plus, the price was rather outrageous. Dave however, took it all in stride and popped the $14.99 a piece price down on the counter, waiving off my attempts to pay for my own ticket.  “I told you, it’s part of your Christmas present.”

He waved the tickets around some  for good measure before handing me mine. I was reminded of my wonderful card, and also “special Christmas bear” he gave me which is *void if ingested* (uh-huh, I’m not the only one in the family with an off beat sense of humor). People were looking at us as if we were nuts. Well we were, but it  was not polite to stare unless they thought we were  wax works and if they thought that they should have paid us. Lewis Carrol said so.

We walked in through the double doors, surrendered our tickets, and claimed our glasses. As we walked up the ramp to the seats Dave sighed.

“You sure you’re going to be all right with this?” he asked and I nodded.

“I know the trick, take the glasses off and shut my eyes if I get dizzy or nauseous” I assured him.

“I know, but I wanted this to be really fantastic.”

“It is going to be fantastic because” I said looking at the nearly empty theater “I’m seeing it with you, and that makes it fantastic. It’s been a long time since we shared something this epic.”  He grinned, and we moved through the vast emptiness to find seats. We were careful not to sit in front of anyone. It’s a pet peeve of mine, people sitting in front of me in a nearly empty theater.  If you have nearly the entire theater to choose from, DO NOT SIT IN FRONT OF SOMEONE ELSE. I don’t care if it’s stadium style seating or not. It’s RUDE.

There were six people in the whole of the theater yet some where sitting right in front of others. I told myself, they had to be family or some such thing. But, over heard bits of conversation made that seem unlikely. As did the fact that one pair moved  so they were not behind another pair of film watchers. We settled ourselves up in the nose bleeds (always a precaution in the 3D movies) and I pulled out  this;
BestJust in case Gandalf had misplaced his copy. I mean, it’s important that Thorin have his key.  Kinda hard for the heir to the “Kingdom Under The Mountain” to access his inheritance without it.  David grinned and shook his head “I think the Wizard will remember to bring his copy.”

The previews started (some in 3D HD and some not) and we spent the next forty minutes ribbing them. Star Trek looked ‘meh’, and the others were so non-memorable that I sighed and said “It’s going to be a long year.”

David chuckled. “Just wait till Disney(TM) starts on Star Wars.” I rolled my eyes behind my oh-so-fashionable 3D glasses

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Tomorrow, my brother and I are finally going to go see The Hobbit. Yes, we might be the only two people on earth not to have seen it, but I wanted to see it with him and juggling schedules has been a challenge, to stay the least.  But then, as Bilbo learns, nothing worth while doing is ever easy.  To prepare for this treat, I thought it would be a good idea to reread The Hobbit.

I read it when I was in my early teens, someone gave me a copy because I loved fantasy and they thought I should start off with the “best that there was”.

I really did enjoy it. I remember that. But I haven’t read it since, though I did read its younger brothers;The Fellowship of the Ring, Two Towers, and The Return of the King more recently.

The things that struck me (as I was reading on break at work tonight and trying NOT to get salad dressing on the pages of my copy) were that 1.) I was delighted that I had to buy my copy to read before seeing the movie (my library has copies but the wait for one is now at  three months) due to the demand for the book,  2.) it’s funny that a book written in 1937 still resonates with readers and 3.) this story really isn’t for kids.

On the surface, it’s a coming of age story about a little insignificant man who is tricked into an adventure and finds out that he’s more courageous, more daring, and more fierce than even he knows.

Scratch  the veneer of that away, and  a complex wheels-within-wheels story of archetypes and ideas comes into view, working like clock work with several ghosts in the machine. Middle Earth is a  moral world with absolute rights and wrongs. Decision made that are nearly right, or mostly right, lead to nearly or mostly dead characters. Tolkien’s world stands on a sharp pivot point and one protagonist leaning too far into the darkness, even for the right reasons, throws the whole thing into topsy-turvy turmoil.  But then a man might lean the other way, and pull with himself, his companions out of the chaos of a fallen realm. There are so many amazing lessons, most of which Bilbo learns by doing the wrong thing. He fails his very first test with the trolls. But thinking back to that moment, later, Bilbo doesn’t fail. He makes the painful, costly, right decision and suffers for it as he didn’t suffer at the hands of the trolls.

In this wonderful clockwork land where a villain might have been a prince at one time, and a prince might have been a villain, there are seconds of redemption and minutes of hope among its dark hour-long stretches of evil. And that’s exactly why it’s endured for over 75 years.

We readers still want to see the hope and redemption of our world and our neighbors in the dark hours we face. I take solace in the fact that if an ordinary little fellow like Bilbo might grow into an elf-friend and adventurer, then I might one day to grow beyond my safe shell and when my world needs me the most, do the right and costly thing to take my place beside the heroes of my age.

What about The Hobbit intrigues you? Or infuriates you?  It’s not a book for everyone, I know that. Don’t compare it to the movie, just tell me what you like or don’t about the book itself.