I took my ten and sixteen year old sons the other night for a sneak preview of The Hobbit. One was sick-- he sat and sniffled through the entire film. I kept thinking that if he didn't want to see this movie so badly, he'd be home in bed. But he soldiered through. And so did I. (The movie was three hours long.)
I'm not a big Tolkien-ite. (Is that a word?) But my husband is. And he's passed that onto our male children. So there was no question that some faction of our family would see this newest Tolkien installment asap. They were super happy when dear old mom got them the chance to see the movie early.
Here are some random thoughts about the film for those of you considering it as potential for your weekend entertainment. (Our weekend entertainment is getting a puppy. Don't be jealous.)
- There is a lot of fighting. A lot. People get arms cut off, heads cut off, stabbed, etc. But, as my sons pointed out, there was nearly no blood. "It's only violent if there's blood, mom." Consider me educated. The boys thought all the fighting was "cool." Boys like fighting and are not, apparently, bothered by it like their mothers are. There is little to no language and no boy/girl stuff at all. And I loved finding all the spiritual symbolism. Good and evil are definitely portrayed as such.
- The movie is basically a series of nail-biting scenes. Don't get too comfortable when the little rest breaks happen. They don't last long.
- There are some really gross characters. The king of the Orcs comes to mind. The Pale Orc who rides a particularly angry wolf. And of course creepy Gollum who, as my 16yo son so aptly described "looks like a homicidal cancer patient."
- As a storyteller, I really loved the beginning of the movie, before Bilbo sets off on his adventure. Most storytellers know that you have to show the character in their ordinary lives, then have them receive a "call to adventure," a time when life as they know it ends and they are faced with a choice. As Bilbo asks about the quest he is invited on, "Will I return?"
When he and Gandalf have their little chat about whether or not he should accept their invitation to join the quest, you can't help but put yourself in Bilbo's place. We all have our armchair, our books, our cozy little home that we never want to leave. But, as Gandalf tells Bilbo, "The world is not in your maps and books. The world is OUT THERE (pointing to the window)." Gandalf calls out in Bilbo that longing for adventure that he had buried, knowing that if he can ignite it he will have his burglar. And as Bilbo makes his choice, something in all of us does too.
- The day after I saw the movie, I heard U2's song New Year's Day. The line "And gold is the reason for the wars we wage" jumped out at me as I thought about Smaug the Dragon and how his love of gold led to the destruction of the Dwarves' home. War was waged, and, from the looks of things, will continue to be waged for two more movies.
- I have never seen a movie where people fell off-- or nearly fell off-- mountains/cliffs/high places so much.
- The ending kind of sneaks up on you. Don't be surprised like I was.
- And finally, I love Martin Freeman. Loved him in Love Actually. Really love him in Sherlock. And found he made this story much more entertaining. So glad he is Bilbo. He's well suited for it. I just hope that all this movie making doesn't get in the way of filming more episodes of Sherlock. My husband is dying to find out how Sherlock survived that fall!