“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

I find The Lord of the Rings problematic. Obviously, I’m a fan and I enjoy it greatly . . . insomuch as I can ignore that it’s not my interpretation of the book. Mostly my issues lie with The Return of the King and it’s not really surprising since that’s my favorite “part” of the book. Anyway, I didn’t soak up every tidbit of news on The Hobbit that I could find as I did when LOTR was in production, but that was just as much because I’m not a college student procrastinating on homework as it was the fact that the news itself wasn’t instilling me with much confidence and, well, honestly I just didn’t have a great amount of enthusiasm to see this. Shocking, I know.

Movie poster

I’ll put your fears to rest: I enjoyed it. Mostly. At the very least I wasn’t disappointed and I definitely felt that way after walking out of The Return of the King. And I didn’t fall asleep, which I can’t say the same for my first viewing of The Two Towers. (What? It was the midnight showing and it was finals week!)

In a lot of ways the movie feels like a continuation of LOTR. You know, in case you’ve never read the books or seen those multimillion dollar films from ten years ago. Anyway, this starts off with what is basically an extended scene from the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Ring. It’s nice melding, but it’s also just the beginning of lots and lots and lots of padding. And because of this, the movie almost has two beginnings and they’re both kind of slow, which is pretty much how most of the movie plays out.

For what it’s worth, I will say that I really enjoy Martin Freeman as Bilbo. I don’t entirely enjoy this version of Bilbo, but I also haven’t read The Hobbit in about ten years so maybe I just remember him a bit less bumbly and rude. As far as casting goes, though, I have no complaints. Same for the score, which I’ve been listening to for about a month already. Likewise for basically anything that Weta was responsible for because really it’s a breathtaking film with a ludicrous attention to detail.

Well, except maybe all the CGI. I’m generally not bothered when it’s done well, and this was for the most part, but there was a lot. The most obnoxious were the obvious 3-D gimmicks or the obligatory video game pandering. Really that entire bit towards the end running through the orcs was cool, but it gave me the same irritated feeling as Legolas taking down the mumakil in ROTJ that part of me could have walked out right then. I get it the technology has advanced in the last ten years and it’s awesome, but at some point it just gets cheesy and this was, for me at least, over that line. I also found some of the creatures were a bit too cartoonish; Azog especially was obnoxiously CGI.

What I was even less pleased with were the supposedly funny bits that really were just not. I’m not a total Tolkien snob, but I’m enough of one to find groin shots completely inappropriate. And I couldn’t help but feel what was intended to be funny was so intentional that it was more laughable because it was pathetic than actually hilarious. It was kind of randomly smattered throughout the film, too, so just when I’d think things were actually serious there would be some stupid joke thing.

I knew going in that the film was long. Almost three hours. What I don’t understand is how there’s another 20-25 minutes (or more?) that PJ is packing into the extended edition because by golly does this film just go on and on and on. I really could have used an intermission during this. Better yet, about an hour less padding. I hated the padding. I didn’t like all the walking shots. (We all got the memo, New Zealand is gorgeous.) I really could have had far less talking. (We also got the memo that there’s another trilogy that comes after this one.) And the entire Azog subplot was really bizarre. I wouldn’t have cared if his creation and insertion into the film had some resolution as a stopping point, but that’s not what happened. In fact, there were at least three times I thought the movie was ending — even though things were largely unresolved — and then there was like an hour more movie. And when it finally did end it was just as random of a stopping point as any of the other places I thought of. Maybe more so.

So, yeah, I’m certainly not even slightly obsessed. I didn’t love it, but I liked it well enough, I suppose. I’m glad I didn’t jump right into seeing it opening weekend, though, because the theater was packed yesterday so much so that Uschi didn’t have even an inch of extra space. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll check out the extended edition on Blu-ray, but I doubt I’ll see this again in the theater. I’d rather lounge on my comfy sofa, have snacks that don’t cost more than the price of admission, and be able to pause to use the bathroom. Honestly, that said I’m not sure I want to see The Desolation of Smaug in the theater either. We’ll see.

“One Ring”

This is pretty funny. (Via TheOneRing.net.)

New Camera

I am still very much under the weather, which has meant my original plans for the day have been cancelled. Instead, I am spending the day snuggled on the sofa with Uschi and enjoying a long marathon (between accidental catnaps) of The Lord of the Rings. You know a movie is superb quality when even I can tell the difference between the original DVDs and the hi-definition copy because WOW!

Nikon Coolpix P7000Anyway, my big news is that I have just clicked “Submit” on the order for a new camera to replace the one that decided to join my external HD in the great beyond. I didn’t have much choice in either of my last two cameras. My little GE was a gift from my father for Christmas and the Kodak I was using for the last year was a replacement for that camera when it died because the store no longer carried that model and it was the only camera in the store within the price range that I could see to use. Both were fine and well, but while my photography skills are decidedly amateur they do exceed either of those cameras. And the Kodak was a bit too clunky for my tastes. So, this time I did my research and I’m fairly pleased with this specific camera. Newegg says I should have it by the end of next week, which is perfect because there are plans for cupcaking and as such a good photograph is necessary.

Countdown to “The Hobbit”

Movies.com has a new article series centered around Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films. While the title would lead one to believe this will be ongoing until the release of the first film in December 2012, the article itself does not state as much. Still it’s being written by a TORn staff member and should prove to be well informed and entertaining.

I’d post something less fannish, but the oven timer just dinged on my manicotti. Toodles.

[ETA: Spellcheck thinks manicotti should be manicurist. I am truly amused.]

March 22, 2011

I have nothing of real substance to report other than a mishmash of squee:

  1. The Lord of the Rings extended edition streets June 28th. I literally squeaked when I read that online yesterday. I’m actually surprised it is coming out so soon as other films that were announced ages ago have later street dates. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
  2. It came to my attention that the next Pirates of the Caribbean film opens on my birthday! Needless to say I so will be there and some texting back and forth has led to the promise of company. (I’ll get into all that another time.) Oh, and then there was a TV spot for the film during last night’s Castle.
  3. Tonight Alice and Josh are coming over and we are watching Shaun of the Dead because Alice was quite appalled to discover I had never seen it. I have a whole post unto itself about my rather sheltered exposure to movies of — or even slightly related to — the horror genre. But I figure I’ll save that for after tonight. Also, we’re having ravioli for dinner. Yum!

Anyway, much to do. More soon!