Prior to seeing The Hobbit earlier this week, I had just finished re-watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy in anticipation for the prequel. And for anyone that may have had the (mis)fortune of reading this blog, you may have picked up on the fact that I’m a big LOTR fan. The Fellowship of the Ring came out during my freshman year of high school, so the movies were a part of some pivotal developmental years, which I would ultimately like to think was for the better. I saw each film at least five times in the theater. I went to the midnight showings. I fell in love with all of the characters. Especially Aragorn.
Needless to say, I was pumped to see the movie, because I have to admit that the previews alone weren’t getting me as excited as I would have wished, and after starting to re-read The Hobbit, I was suddenly reminded why I love LOTR so much more – there’s only one prominent dwarf character in the trilogy. That may seem a bit harsh, but I just don’t find the dwarves all that compelling. And they’re just too darn hard to keep track of.
Now, I did have a few problems with the movie. Again, not only were there thirteen dwarves, but their looks were inconsistent. Maybe this has to do with each individual storyline as to why some of them had elaborate braids and long hair, and others…looked like men. My theory on the latter is that LOTR had eye candy. And let’s be honest here, dwarves aren’t your typical eye candy. So, Peter Jackson & Co. decided to throw in some handsome lads. Not that Martin Freeman isn’t a handsome lad – but when you transform The Office’s Tim into Bilbo Baggins he loses a certain allure. Another problem I had was with the execution of the main orc villain and how cartoony he looked. And his scenes were far too long.
However, I highly enjoyed the film, mostly because it brought me back into a fantasy world that I adore and it was fun to see familiar faces (and landscapes) again and being in on the inside jokes and references to LOTR. Of course, the absolute highlight of the film, and this is no spoiler, is the scene when Bilbo meets Gollum for the first time. I only wish this scene, of all scenes, would have been twice as long as all the others. But the scene was electric. Even though some audience members of the theater I was in were chuckling here and there in prior scenes, the introduction of Gollum made the entire audience come alive. People were laughing. I could feel the energy in the room, and the audience was eating it up and loving it – this was the moment people were waiting for. And the movie became a better movie from that point on.
There were also some moments that made me very emotional. In light of recent real events, I couldn’t help but tear up when Gandalf mentioned that the small things, the little acts of courage and thoughtfulness that Bilbo exudes, gives him hope in a world that can be so full of darkness and fear. And even though Bilbo loves the comforts of his home, his hearth, and has spent his entire life living inside of a hole in the ground, in the end he doesn’t let his own fears, and even complacency, get in the way from letting others have the very same right of having a place to call home. That said, I think we can all learn a great deal from this hairy-footed halfing.