Tuesday, February 26, 2013

an adventure. . . unexpectedly. .

Part 1 began with a picture. A picture of a man--or was he a man?--wielding a word, a man with flaming, deep-set eyes, his mouth set in a snarl, his hair long and falling in waves over his shoulders. It was a man lost in a beard, a man of power, a man. . .or dwarf. . .not to be taken lightly.

And then I realized that this. . dwarf. . .was non other than Richard Armitage.

Submitting was tough. On one hand we have Mr. Thornton: Mr. Thornton the dark. Mr. Thornton the brooding. Mr. Thornton the mysterious. And what has he done? What has the ever-epic Richard Armitage, excuse me, Mr. Thornton, succumbed too? being stuffed into a wig. . .a long, ghastly wig. . .and growing a beard. . . and downsizing SEVERAL FEET into dwarf-ism. And, well. . .I wasn't so sure, dedicated fangirl though I am. . .if I approved.

But then. I didn't know anything about The Hobbit, either.

Part 2 began with a trailer. THE trailer. The first, one-does-not-simply-watch-once-a-day trailer. And my friends moaning in inhumanly deep voices in the back seat of a 12 passenger van. . ."Far over, the Misty Mountains cold. . ." while I laughed helplessly and tried not to ruin the recording. It was dissected, examined,  and critiqued in our most learned manner (aka stalking. I call it Intense Personal Research.) We, that is, Anna and I, submitted. Even Richard was partially forgiven, but that's only because, in our own strange way, we are hyper-nerdy Ringers. Just don't tell anyone we have yet to see the LOTR trilogy.

I finished reading The Hobbit in November, and as Bilbo can testify, I left part--a good, solid chunk--of my heart in the clutches of Middle Earth. In that darkly beautiful world of comfortable hobbits, majestic elves, sturdy dwarfs, goblins, Orcs, and the wizened old Gandalf. Blame the hype all over facebook--but I fell. Hard. And that clears up any gaps in the not-so-sure-about-Richard problem. I mean, facebook aside, all  I needed was the book to convince me that Richard Armitage IS Thorin. The King Under the Mountain. Thorin the dark. Thorin the brooding. Thorin the mysterious. Thorin the--(seeing a theme here, or is it just me? o.O ) And of course Martin Freeman IS Bilbo. There was never any question at all in my mind. He just is. He was BORN to be Bilbo.

And so, 2013 and I, though we aren't yet well acquainted. . .saw The Hobbit together. With a group of friends. Only I don't remember them being there. It was just me, my medium-sized popcorn (that kept getting into my mouth. . .until the whole bag was empty,) and one of the most beautiful, hilarious, and quotable movies I've ever, ever seen. Plus it was all in a theater. . .which. . .well, the last time I was in a theater I was 4. And I saw The Lion King. And it scarred me for life. :P


The first sight of the Shire warmed the very core of my soul with all it's green and I-want-to-live-there-NOW. Seriously. My 4'9 self deserves a hobbit hole. And pantry after pantry of FOOD. And curly-headed, furry-feet-ed children. And blue skies and chubby, comfortable neighbors, and peace and calm and quiet. No wonder hobbits don't go on  adventures. Who would want to leave a place like that? Heaven on Middle Earth.

Having not seen LOTR, BUT knowing what I know about Frodo. . .the opening scene of The Hobbit did nothing for me. I mean, it wasn't like Frodo came on screen and I started jumping up and down feeling fluffy feelings. I just don't like him (try not to kill me). But then we hear the legendary words--"in a hole in the ground" and the theater goes "awwwwww!"  And the popcorn starts going fast. THEN Smaug attacks Erebor, and Richard--I mean, Thorin--first shows his majestic self--and it goes THAT much faster. I nearly choked. At least, everyone in my group and probably everyone in the theater knew I was--fond--of Thorin. And the fondness just kept growing. And the popcorn kept on vanishing.

The dwarfs, right next to hobbits, are my absolute favorite race in Middle Earth. Maybe even more so. . .just don't tell Bilbo (or any hobbit wandering through cyber-land). Fiercely loyal, fun-loving (albeit a bit. . .er, sloppy? that's the nice way of putting it,) whimsical, fearless, proud, strong, stubborn, lovers of beauty and music. . .I really appreciated the detailed look into their history and linage. Deeply-feeling characters are my favorites. . .so the dwarfs, especially Thorin (all fangirling aside,) did much for deeply-feeling me. I especially liked Balin's fatherly care for Thorin, and how, though he is much older, he regards him as his King and leader. So powerful.

Even though the movie-version of The Hobbit is a lot darker then the book (in some ways,) it's also very comedic and keeps that lighthearted, fairly-tale feeling of the beloved classic alive. Nothing gets more adorable then Bofur. And Dwalin, Dori, and Balin are all fantastic. Respectively. Goodness, and I can't forget Ori! ("excuse me, don't mean to interrupt. . .but where should I put my plate?" Such a memorable, likable, unique cast of characters. Aside from Radagast (more on him in a minute,) I can't complain at all. The casting was sublime.

Like I said, the movie is darker. There are a lot of battles--too many battles, sometimes, and personally the story didn't really "pop" until the middle. Namely during the thunder battle. Everything prior to that was fine, but huge stone-giants hurdling themselves at 13 innocent dwarfs and one hobbit got my attention. And from that point the movie took off. Gandalf was wonderful throughout, and (cringe, but I must say it again,) having not seen The Lord of the Rings movies, I was surprised at how much I liked him. No. I LOVE Gandalf. As in, Thorin has competition for first-favorite spot. He is very human, simple, wise. . .powerful, but only in his natural abilities. While I'm still not sure if my Christian-views and fantasy coexist, there is a distinct message of good vs evil in Tolkien's works. I was disappointed that The Hobbit movie lost the concept through Radagast the Brown, a "good wizard" who resorts to witchcraft to save his animal friends. I thought it was totally unnecessary to the plot and very contradicting: evil does not conquer evil. Goodbye Radagast and lets keep Gandalf, thank you.

Then of course there was the whole Azog/The Defiler/Pale Orc (what exactly IS his name, anyway?) subplot. . .which was interesting, especially since orcs are only mentioned once in the book. A bit corny at times (just don't ask me to do my impression,) and definitely not as scary as the other orcs (my dad says he looks like a bald mummy,) for all his roaring and pet warg. But he added an interesting layer to Thorin's honor--his passionate hate for orcs, and his burning need to reclaim his homeland. Of course, without Azog there would be no epic ending. . .

The beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL ending, with the (spoiler!) eagle rescue (be still my heart!) and wounded-warrior-in-distress (AWD to us "morbid" girls,) and gasp sob sniffle. . ."I've never been so wrong. . .in all my life." Just.perfect. No, more then perfect--one of the best movies endings in all the world. Period. Amen and amen. If I wasn't a huge fan before I'm a MASSIVE fan now.

Honorable mentions: Elrond (he was epic!) Fili and Kili (I rebelliously walked into the theater knowing I wasn't going to love them. . .simply because every other girl on the planet does. ;) ) The hilarious "my-sister-and-and-I-are-laughing-our-heads-off-and-we-don't-care" parasites/troll scene. Goodness gracious. Too much funny.

So. . .that is my review in a nutshell--because I could seriously talk about this movie all day and for an eternity. Our secret Pinterest board (love that feature!) is chock full of hobbits, and dwarfs, and more hobbits, and jokes only professional Ringers would find funny.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 10 out of 5 stars. Note that this movie IS PG 13--there is quite a bit of violence, ie chopped and rolling heads, some blood, etc. For the most part I think it was to be very expected, especially in the battle scenes. Nothing my conscious couldn't handle, but everyone's rating system is different. Also, depending on how strictly you like or dislike fantasy magic, there are the Radagast bits that I found very disturbing. Otherwise--visually gorgeous film, soaring, passionate, mysterious, beautifully-gritty soundtrack (like someone said to me, it sounds a lot less "hobbity" and more "dwarvy,") fantastic acting, and several plot twists that enhanced the story. HIGHLY recommended.

{"Did he say parasites??" "We don't have parasites, YOU have parasites!" }

Oh. . .and thanks for letting me fangirl. I'm done now. . .er. . .for now.


  1. I simply adore this review. :-) You are so precious, Michaela! I am also a huge fan of this incredible film. I have always struggled with the "sorcery conquering sorcery" aspect of LOTR... glad to know I'm not alone. :-)
    Aside from that though, this movie is EPIC and one of my favorite films of all time.
    I also was surprised that the beloved John Thorton would be playing Thorin... but was won over the second I heard him sing the Misty Mountains song. And I completely agree: Martin Freeman was, indeed, born to play Bilbo Baggins. I have a feeling he is forever doomed to never fill any other movie role in my mind. ;-)

    I truly believe this is the film (or trilogy?)that Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman will forever be remembered for.

    Thanks for the enjoyable review!

  2. You know how I am SO not a LOTR fan. But I *loved* The Hobbit. Probably because it has Martin Freeman being his totally adorable self. And Benedict Cumberbatch (the Sherlock fan in my squeeeeeeeeeeed that they were together again! Except I waited the WHOLE movie and all I got out of Benedict was this weird roar? Thanks a lot). And of course OUR Richard. Have you seen all the majestic memes on Pinerest? Cracks me up. I love that they're all getting the international limelight they deserve. Yayyyy.

    Anyway, absolutely loved this. The fact that I actually loved a LOTR movie means it HAS to be good. You know. Except that Frodo had to make an appearance. Ah, well. Can't have everything perfect.

    I am not looking forward to the-event-that-must-eventually-happen. I shall cry ugly tears.

  3. Yeah, I'm still a little "hmm . . . that's okay, I've seen it once--but how am I going to like it the next time?" about the whole Azog subplot. Azog was dead in the book so I didn't really see the need to resurrect him . . . I don't like it when moviemakers throw in a bunch of extra stuff that wasn't in the book. But I agree, the ending was incredible. Made me cry :) I can't wait for Part 2--I CAN'T WAIT for Part 2.....

  4. It's a great movie. :) Enjoyed seeing your thoughts on it!


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