Friday, December 21, 2012


And it was....pretty glorious.  Not perfect, but I am not disappointed in the least.  I don't really know where to start in reviewing it, especially since I feel like by now y'all have heard it all a million times.  Oh! It was also the first time I've seen a 3-D film.  At first it seemed a little weird, with moths flying out at me and stuff, but after a while I got used to it and appreciated it.  It does make things more realistic.  It also makes it easier to *cough* hide unobtrusively from the scary orcs.

This is me when there were orc closeups. Take the glasses off, orcs go bye-bye and there's just a bunch of blurry movements.
 Okay, actually, the orcs weren't as scary as I remember them being in the Lord of the Rings films.  I really did make them nice and blurry a couple times, though - just cause they're so gosh-darn ugly.

Spoilers ahoy and fangirling ahead.  Motorists, proceed with caution.

Speaking of orcs, that is one thing I was not super happy about.  As most of you know, the whole Azog thing was not in the original book.  He was killed, by Dain, I believe, but I guess the producers wanted to have a present and tangible villain.  It makes sense.  I didn't mind for most of the time, but I felt the deviation from the fifteen birds in five fir-trees scene to be dramatic license overkill, just to bulk up the drama.  The pathetic "fight" between Thorin and Azog was just not necessary, and to have Gandalf either heal Thorin or bring him back to life (which it was, I couldn't decide) just doesn't make sense. If he could heal like that, why didn't he heal all those who fell in the Battle of Five Armies, and later, Faramir, Eowyn, and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings?  The only good thing that fiery Azog/Thorin/Bilbo fight scene did was to give Richard Armitage a chance to melt his poor fans with his ability to act pain and dismay with such heartbreaking perfection. All the man has to do is look.
 Also, I wish they had kept the original Hobbit way of calling them goblins instead of orcs.  The "orcs" in The Hobbit are a bit different than the LOTR ones, and anyway I just like the word "goblin."

I didn't realize it while I watching the film, but they really cut a lot of good dialogue.  What happened to "I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins, and I have lost my dwarves, my wizard, and my way?"  That's just one example. Of course, I do understand that as I was not personally consulted by the producers (an insufferable slight, but what can I do?), I cannot blame them for skipping my personal favorites.  They've got a lot of fans to please.  BUT.  They added dialogue, some of which made me laugh, some of which I found quite unnecessary, so why couldn't they keep more of the original dialogue?

The trolls were actually better then I expected, but of Bilbo as a handkerchief was just flat-out gross.  I don't know why they had to do that.

One more thing before I'm done complaining.  Radagast.   Though we hear next to nothing about him in the books, I'm sure Tolkien didn't mean for him to be a dirty, mentally unstable kook.  In my mind, Radagast was a clean-shaved, brown-haired, introverted man who just quietly went about the job of being a steward of the forest.  Also, I don't see why he had to meet up with the dwarves.  I was hoping to just see Gandalf go to visit him and talk about wizardy stuff, and I do hope that he's not going to replace Beorn, as Rosamund suggests.

Well, that's all for my complaints.  It looks more extensive than it should be.

I actually didn't mind the little White Council meeting at Rivendell.  Galadriel looked gorgeous and wasn't as creepy as she usually is.  Also, I didn't see the supposed flirtation between her and Gandalf as a flirtation at all, just friendship.  I think it could be interpreted either way.

Another deviation that I actually liked was the insertion of Gollum's split-personality problem into the riddle-game.  I especially enjoyed how he kept telling himself to shut up.  I feel for you, Gollum.  My internal monologues go kinda the same way.  And, I never thought I'd say this, EVER, but his expression when Bilbo's about to smite him was really almost heart-wrenching.   Another thing I loved about the Gollum encounter was the line "if Baggins loses, we eats it whole," accompanied my a matter-of-fact shrug.  And then Bilbo replies, "Eh...fair enough."  I LOVE IT.

That brings me to the Hobbit himself.  Guys.  I don't think they could have found a more perfect actor for the part then Martin Freeman.  He was just Bilbo all over, exactly how I imagined.  Of course, there was a certain act of almost-disloyalty which was not true to the character at all, but that is not Mr. Freeman's fault.  I just can't get over what perfect casting it was.

 I'm going to be just be honest here and say that yes, I do find Fili and Kili to be annoyingly attractive.  I like that Kili's not just a pretty face like Legolas, though - his character actually has depth.

Speaking of attractiveness and perfect casting....THORIN.  You knew this was coming, internet.  As a North & South fan, I can't help but be a Thorin fan.  Richard Armitage plays the role to PERFECTION. (Chills-inducing voice, check.  Glowering expression, check.  Regal bearing, check.  Ability to convey volumes with a look, check.  All-round awesomeness, triple-check.) I was a little worried as to how he was going to be transformed into a dwarf, but I had nothing to worry about.  There's an internet meme going around about Thorin's majesticness (which isn't even a word), and I think that just about sums it up. Thorin is majestic.  He's just...gah.  I always loved the character (and would cry at a Certain Tragic Event which will happen in the third movie), and then to bring Mr. Thornton into it was the icing on the cake.  Absolutely perfect icing, too.

Now for my very favorite aspects of the film: the music and the scenery.

They did a lovely job with creating the right atmosphere for each place...can I just live in them all at once, please?  Bag End was so homey and cozy, you could definitely see why Bilbo missed it on his Adventure.  It was the nicest home a hobbit (or a human) could wish for.

Then there's Erebor. (Quick note: wasn't Erebor the Elves' name for Lonely Mountain? Why would Thorin, who hates Elves, use the elvish name for his home?) I've never been able to imagine what the Mountain looked like in Thror's day, so I was uncritical.  And it was breathtaking, as was the astounding amount of gold.  In a story with goblins, elves, wizards, and dragons, the amount of gold was the only thing I couldn't believe.

The sweeping panoramas of plains and mountains and green fields just made me want to book a plane ticket to New Zealand on the spot.  It was beautiful.

Then Rivendell.  Once again, I don't know what to say.  It was just lovely.  All the little waterfalls catching the moonlight and the sunrise...just...ahhh.  The sunrise scene especially was just unbelievably lovely.

And finally, the music.  They included Crack the Plates and, of course, the beloved Misty Mountains song from the book.  I did miss the tra-la-la-lally song from the entrance into Rivendell, but I am not surprised that they omitted it, as it doesn't quite fit with the more solemn portrayal of the Elves in LOTR, and thus with Peter Jackson's portrayal of them.  Once again, if they had consulted me....
There's also the fifteen birds in five fir-trees song that the goblins sing, but since the fifteen birds were stuck in one tree, it wouldn't have made sense.  Also, I'm not sure I really wanted to hear goblins sing.  It might have given me nightmares for life.

I thought that the Crack the Plates song was well done - rowdy enough for a bunch of rather unmannerly dwarves, but with a melody that made it pleasant to listen to.  As a matter of fact, I thought the whole dish-washing scene particularly well-done.

I needn't even say how lovely and perfect the Misty Mountains song was, especially since it would include more squeeing over a certain individual and his voice.  I shall simply say that it was just as I had always imagined it and I can't think how it could possibly be bettered.  That's saying a lot, too, because I've always loved it to bits.  They carried it over instrumentally throughout the film, which I think was a perfect artistic decision, as it conveys the sense of the deep longing and sadness of the dwarves for their lost homeland.  And of course it sounds gorgeous.

I haven't even actually seen all of the three LOTR movies, but when they played the theme Concerning Hobbits I could have cried.  I love that theme.  Howard Shore is wonderful.  The end.

*dies of excessive fangirling*

I think I shall go before I embarrass myself further.  Long story short, the book is always better, but the film was very lovely and OBVIOUSLY good enough to warrant an excessive post such as this.

Oh, wait.  One word of warning before I resume dying.  As you may have noticed, I'm a Tolkien fan.  You're probably a Tolkien fan too, if you've read this far.  However, if by some chance you're not, I will say that the film will not be as bright and shiny and perfect to a non-fan.  The thing is three hours long, people.  My dad, who, unfortunately, is at best a casual fan, was not amused.  So if you're not a fan, consider carefully.  If you are, and you haven't seen it yet, WHAT IN MIDDLE-EARTH ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Four-and-a-half out of five stars, and I'd say suitable for ages 13 and up.  If you've seen LOTR, you'll be fine.  We didn't take my eleven-year-old sister, and I was glad we didn't.  There's nothing sinful, just what the rating association calls "disturbing images."  LIKE ORCSES.  AND GOLLUMS, PRECIOUS.

*resumes dying*

Editor's note: re-reading this review-ish thing, it is not as good as I at first hoped.  However, I shall not continue to edit it cause life calls.  So sorry if I am at all unintelligible or uninformative.  It's hard to make sense when you're dying of an excess of fangirling.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Life and Stuff

I haven't posted in over a week, and yet I'm still getting lots of views every day.  Wow.  That makes me feel a bit guilty.

So, this is just your regular I've-been-super-busy-blah-blah kind of post, I'm afraid.  I've been finding schoolwork rather overwhelming and so haven't had the mental energy or creativity to write up any posts.  Also, IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS.  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?  It feels like Advent should still have like three weeks left.  Despite the nearness of Christmas, let us not forget that it's still Advent, and thus still a penitential season.  It's not time for cookies and carols quite yet, but don't worry - we Catholics have over a month in which to sing and eat sweets, because Christmas technically doesn't end until February 2nd.  (And yes, I do use that as an excuse to eat extra dessert during that time.)  Also, just want to remind y'all that the O Antiphons started today.  Last year I made little graphics for each day and posted them here.  I'm reminding you because I've gained many more followers since then, and I was rather proud of my O Antiphons and thus want everyone to see them. :)  (Speaking of followers, a warm welcome to my new ones! I'm amazed that so many people will follow such an inconstant blogger.)

In other news, I might be getting to see The Hobbit this week, so I'll hopefully write a review-ish thing of that.  Hopefully.  I can't wait.

Well, happy Gaudete Sunday to you all!  I'll be remembering you all at Mass next week as a peace offering for being a bad blogger.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Appreciating Persuasion

So a couple days ago I got to thinking about Jane Austen's "most mature" novel, Persuasion, and I realized that I've really changed towards the story since I first read it five years ago.  When I first read it, I thought it was a bit boring (FORGIVE ME, I WAS TWELVE) - it’s a  story about an introverted, very-old-to-preteen-me, not necessarily pretty woman whom everyone walks all over and treats like dirt.  Basically, Cinderella with no mice or pumpkins or princes who instantly fall in love with you even though they’ve never seen you before.  Ahem. The film adaptation had none of the wit and sparkle of Pride and Prejudice and very little dialogue between the protagonists.  At the time I also thought both the book and the film to be very passionless and tame.
Now, over the years, I have developed a rule: if one does not appreciate a certain book, one must reread it over and over until he or she learns to appreciate it.  That’s what I did with Jane Eyre - but that’s another post - and that’s what I did with Persuasion.  And finally, on perhaps the third reading, I got it.  I learnt to admire Anne’s faithfulness and patience, got to understand Wentworth’s frustration with her (though for the first half of the book I still mentally shout at him that Anne loves him and he loves Anne and they need to just make it up already), understood the subtle (and the not-so-subtle) humor, appreciated the ongoing references to poetry and it’s effects on the temperament, and finally the book started playing in my head like a film, the way all good books do.  I got so into the “letter scene” that even now I can see it vividly in my imagination, just as I did when I read it.  I think for a while there I started to think that what Miss Austen was describing was happening to me.  My heartbeat quickened and I was in agonies for the few minutes it took to get and read the Captain’s letter.  This is how you know that a book is good.
As for the film, the second time I watched it, I payed more attention to the facial expressions and realized how talented the acting was, nearly everything conveyed in glances and stares.  (Of course, the scene where Anne runs down the streets like a hoyden still makes me want to throw things.)
This is probably going to sound cliché and stuck-up, but I really think Persuasion is just one of those books that takes some maturity and thoughtfulness to appreciate.  I’ll probably get even more out of it if I read it again when I’m more mature myself.
This has been your literary ramble of the day.  You’re welcome.

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