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I guess I just like liking things

Listen, any time you can add more Cate Blanchett as Galadriel to anything, you should do it.

Listen, any time you can add more Cate Blanchett as Galadriel to anything, you should do it.

The first film in the Hobbit trilogy opened to $84 million in U.S. this past weekend, and $138 million more worldwide. Not too shabby, even if some people are saying they expected it to do better.  I’m sure the running time affected those numbers a bit and I’m also sure the movie will do fine in the long run, and I’m further sure that haters gonna hate.

Another thing I’m sure of: I loved it. I, like many of you, loved the Lord of the Rings movies, so when I heard they might be making a movie from The Hobbit, my first response was “Shouldn’t they have made that one first?” immediately followed by “Sweet!” Then it became less and less of a sure thing, then it was back on, then it was going to split into two movies, and then finally three.  Each successive bit of news made me more worried about the final product, I’ll admit.

I went to a midday showing on Saturday, to a “regular” version: not 3D, not 48fps. Immediately I was back in Middle Earth, and glad of it.  The opening scenes revisit scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring, and I couldn’t help smiling at seeing familiar characters again. Those feelings didn’t subside when the “new” characters started being introduced, and I can honestly say I enjoyed the whole movie.

Your Hobbit purists will most likely take issue with the extra stuff included with the movie.  I haven’t read the book in a while, but there are many things in the movie that aren’t in the book, which is the big reason the book is being split into three movies. Stuff from Tolkien’s Silmarillion has been inserted, and it’s world-building stuff that I like seeing.  It’s still technically canon, so I’m not sure what the griping is all about.

There were a few moments that made me raise an eyebrow (do the houses in Hobbiton really have plumbing?), but I enjoyed it overall and can’t wait for the next installments. Furthermore, I already can’t wait for the day when I can host a Hobbit-watching marathon.

Here are some of my favorite things about the movie:

  • Martin Freeman as Bilbo. I haven’t seen Sherlock yet, but I thought he made a great Arthur Dent. He makes an even better Bilbo Baggins.
  • Gandalf!
  • The song that the dwarves sing in Bilbo’s house becomes their theme music, and it is absolutely beautiful.
  • Galadriel! (Please refer to the caption on the header pic)
  • Elrond! Hugo Weaving has done some great work in some fantastic movies, and Elrond is one of my favorites.
  • Gollum!  – though this one comes with a caveat. My wife really likes talking like Gollum and it creeps me out something fierce.
  • Revisiting places we saw in The Lord of the Rings (even if technically these are the first time we see them, timeline-wise)

In a way, the subtitle “An Unexpected Journey” couldn’t be more wrong. It’s a familiar story to many, many people, and anyone who has seen or read The Lord of the Rings knows what happens to Bilbo. For me, the unexpected part is just how much I would enjoy going back to Middle Earth and seeing it before Sauron has regained power.

I leave you with these two things:

  1. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, do yourself a favor and print out this chart and take it with you before you go. There are a lot of dwarves, and I wish I had taken that chart with me to help me keep track of them.
  2. If you haven’t heard Leonard Nimoy sing “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” then you need to rectify that right quick. SPOILER ALERT: The 60s were weird, man.


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