Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to

I have chosen Gandalf's words of wisdom on wizards' sense of temporal mechanics for two reasons. The first is obvious - my shameful neglect in the up keep of this blog. The second, is talk in a little more depth about my history with Lord of the Rings and very specifically about my thoughts and feelings on the latest movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Unlike many of my geeky friends, in fact unlike pretty much ALL of my friends, the non-geeks included, I did not see any of the Lord of the Rings movies when they came out. I had not read the books as a child and held to the incredibly strange and continually baffling logic that, at the time, one could either be loyal to watching The Matrix movies or Lord of the Rings. In retrospect, by gods I really did bet on the wrong horse.

It emerged in later years that not seeing or reading Lord of the Rings is pretty much considered treason in the geek world. Liking them may not necessarily be required, but you at least have to see them and read them so you can form an opinion, which can then lead to late night, Mountain Dew-fuelled discussions on the subject. So far I have completed the watching them requirement, with the full intention of obtaining the trilogy of books and reading them. I already have, and have read, The Hobbit, so I suppose that's something a start. My geek credentials, taken from me by the benevolence of Spike, have since been returned by the same token of benevolence, with the stipulation that I must get my arse into gear and read the frakking things.

But enough on that. Time for my thoughts and feelings on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

I'd heard some quite mixed things about this movie. Some said I should prepare to be disappointed, others said I would enjoy it and that it wasn't a bad movie. In short...I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now I read The Hobbit at the beginning of 2012, just before the GRRM Reaper and Song of Ice and Fire entered and thoroughly took up residence in my life. So by the time I saw The Hobbit in early 2013, my memories of the book had faded a little bit. So I didn't necessarily recognise all of it, but there were a lot of points where I was thinking "Aha, I remember that" and, of course, points where I thought "Hang on a second, I'm fairly certain that didn't happen". However, I was prepared for this. As always, after the release of the movie, the Internet and die-hard Tolkien fans erupted in various states of outrage regarding deviations from the source text. Unfortunately, this is a reality of the movie industry we have to live with. Which is why I take the Douglas Adams, Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy approach and view such things as separate entities to be enjoyed on their own merits. That said, comparative studies can be quite fun too.

The obvious trickiness of movie adaptations is bringing the characters to life. You have to be real careful about who you pick to embody certain characters, because the fanbase you're relying on to bringing in those opening weekend bucks are going to have some pretty firm ideas about what those characters are like. In this, I think there was much success. Thorin Oakenshield's company of Dwarves are indeed a very merry gathering and Martin Freeman quite brilliantly portrays Bilbo Baggins' confusion over the presence of them in his neat little Hobbit-hole. Or at least it was neat before they arrived to pillage the pantry and trod mud into the carpets.

So far, I'm enjoying this trilogy. I know it's only one movie in, but hey, I'll start calling it a trilogy anyway. Saves time later. It felt like they had added a lot of things in that I didn't remember from the books, but regardless of that I really enjoyed it. I imagine that the original Lord of the Rings trilogy will stick out as my favourites, but that'll probably be for all the battles. Saying that, we do have the Battle of the Five Armies to look forward to. Along with many, many other things.

I feel like I should be saying more but it was a fair few weeks ago that I saw it and my mind draws blanks. I really, really have been atrocious with updating. I blame my parade of early morning starts at work. Getting up at 5 am five days in a row doesn't do great things for the energy levels. But I'm getting close to getting used to it (so Sod's Law dictates that my shift pattern is going to drastically change now), so with any luck I'll be able to update more often. That and I'm not playing anymore Skyrim until I send my novel out to at least five agents. Yeah, I'm getting to that exceptionally scary point in my writing career. Actually trying to get paid for this so-called career.

So until next time, here is a little musical gem by a gifted fellow named Peter Hollens that I discovered and relates quite nicely to what I've been babbling about: Misty Mountains Acappella.