Monday, December 17, 2012

What I Watched:: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I worked at a bookstore when the Lord of the Rings trilogy was coming out in the theater and we had huge displays of the books in a ridiculous number of formats (with and without pictures, with and without annotations, trade paperback, mass market paperback, hardcover, leatherbound, with action figures, with paper dolls...) and I was completely indifferent to the phenomenon. People raved ad nauseum about how fantastic the books were, but since I was a bit of a book snob at the time, I paid them no mind.

Fast forward to now: Donnie's parents gave us a gift card to the movies and we decided to use it to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first in a trilogy prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy (say that three times fast). I have now seen the Lord of the Rings movies and liked them very much. It has been a while since Donnie and I have gone on a date, so we seized the opportunity and took Lucas to Donnie's mom's house. I took a photo of Donnie and myself before the movie started. The lighting was terrible and I look like I should have been going to see Twilight, which, don't get me wrong, I also saw in the theater.
While The Hobbit was on many a summer reading list, I never read it and all I knew going into the movie was that it would explain how Bilbo Baggins came to be in possession of the infamous ring. There ends up being a lot more to the story as it is actually about how the dwarf race was displaced from their homeland by a gold-coveting dragon and Bilbo Baggins is relunctantly recruited to assist them in returning. Thus, the journey begins. 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

I did a Google search to see how faithful the film adaptation is to the book and, interestingly, the first several hits were about a new Hobbit-themed Denny's menu. I told my co-worker about this and he said he saw some commercials on T.V. and the running joke was that the movie was about the Denny's menu. I somehow completely missed this and it sounds silly to me, but there was a funny scene in the movie when the dwarves eat a meal with the elves and are offered a large amount of lettuces, which dwarves are, evidently, not accustomed to eating. One dwarf comically says, "I do not eat green foods," while ungratefully turning up his nose. There is also another scene where Gollum threateningly wonders what Hobbitses taste like and there are notably no items named for Gollum on this menu. Too bad.

In the movie we learn that there are five wizards like Gandalf the Grey, including Saruman the White whom we met in LOTR, and here we meet another: Radagast the Brown. He is pretty much awesome. He lives a solitary life because he prefers the company of animals to people. He has a lichen growing on the side of his face, a bird nesting under his hat, communicates with animals in the woods like Snow White, and commands a sled pulled by rabbits that can run faster than the hellhound-type creatures the Orcs ride. There is some controversy amongst Tolkien purists about the portrayal of Radagast in the film, but I found him to be charming and loveable. 
Radagast the Brown

My favorite part of the movie was my discovery of the dwarf warrior cutie Kili, played by Irish actor Aidan Turner. Throughout the entire movie I thought he was the dwarf king's son due to their physical resemblence, but he is actually the nephew. Here is a tumblr tag thread with photos and GIFs if that's your thing. He is the youngest of the dwarf crew and he apparently dies in an epic battle in the book that will reportedly serve as the climax of the Hobbit trilogy. Le sigh.

Aidan Turner as Kili. (Image courtesy of IMDB)
Come to find out, Aidan Turner stars in the U.K. version of Being Human, which is always recommended to me on Netflix and I never really paid it any attention. I tried watching the American version, but could never really get into it. Obviously, I will be watching the U.K. edition now. I also discovered, through my internet stalking research, that Mr. Turner will play Luke Garroway in the film adaptation of Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments. I really loved that series, so I am now looking forward to that as well.

I just realized that I am portraying myself to be a fantasy nut (note I am also currently reading Ender's Game) and while I definitely have embraced the geekery more that I used to, I never realize until now to what extent. Maybe I am making a new discovery about myself. Anyway, have you seen or read any of these titles? What did you think? 


  1. I did not love the first movie that came out and so I never watched another one, but my mother once read The Hobbit to me and my brother every night before we went to bed, after the divorce, and so I have a soft spot for it in my heart. I loved listening to it, as she told it.

    1. Now I remember you telling me that about your mom. That's so sweet. I remember going to the library with my mom, but I don't remember her ever reading anything to me, although I'm sure she did.