Life and 100 Films – Charlie’s Film Review of The Hobbit

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-movie-poster-1The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was one of my most anticipated films for this year. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big geek, and this is one of my holy grails! A film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, it was in development for several years after the critical and financial success of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Peter Jackson was initially going to produce a two-film adaptation of The Hobbit, which was to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro left the project in May 2010 after about two years of working with Jackson and his production team, due to delays caused by the financial problems MGM was facing. To make a long story short, Peter Jackson finally came to his senses and took over the project as director, as it should have been all along because he is the rightful heir to the throne! Besides Tolkien, may he rest in peace, no one knows Middle-Earth like Peter!

The Hobbit films were produced back to back to back, just like The Lord of the Rings films. Yes, you read that right, I said back three times. At first it was only going to be two films, but now Jackson is turning The Hobbit into a film trilogy. When the credits started rolling after I saw the film, the guy behind me was like, “WTF, it’s only one book.” All I wanted to say was, “have you been living under a rock?” Before you say to yourself that I’m nuts and that The Hobbit is the shortest of all of Tolkien’s books, I’m quite certain that Jackson knows what he is doing. It’s not just to make more money, as I believe that he always has the end goal of making the best possible product on his mind at all times. Adapting The Hobbit to film was a very hard task to begin with, but now that he’s completed this Peter has allowed us to enjoy it to the max. He has added appendix material of Tolkien’s, including side stories happening off of the main page, and even added a few things of his own to make this into the epic trilogy that the story deserves. I will admit, some studios have been doing this as of late just to make more money, but this adaptation is for pure entertainment in my mind. Without an author like Tolkien, who I believe is the greatest of all time in his genre, we wouldn’t have many of the great stories we all know and love today.

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The series acts as a prequel to Jackson’s highly acclaimed Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Several actors reprise their roles from The Lord of the Rings in this new trilogy, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. For those of you who don’t know, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set in the fictional world of Middle-Earth, and the films follow the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman [aka BILBO PERFECTION]), hired by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), to accompany 13 dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbactch [aka a NEW GEEK GOD]). The next in the series is The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and There and Back Again (2014). I can’t be any more excited!

Now, even though the film is already awesome, what makes it even cooler is that it’s filmed at 48 fps (frames per second) instead of the normal 24 fps. This is the first time we will be seeing this on the big screen, and it will provide the most realistic 3D experience to date, as if you were actually with Bilbo in Middle-Earth. It’s getting mixed reviews, but I think that’s just because some people don’t like change. This is the future of film, and trust me, when you sit back, relax, and think about it, its pure awesomeness! I really couldn’t believe how crisp and quick the image was. I’m a technology nerd, so it made me love it even more.

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All in all, I loved The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It ended at such a great moment, and even at almost 3 hours running time, it was legit the fastest 3 hour movie I have ever seen, which is a great thing! I can’t wait for the next two! I think that one of the best things about this movie is that it’s told from the point of view of an older Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), whom we all know and love from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The story is told as he is writing a book, which allows for us to see our old friend right from the beginning of the movie! One final note, this is defiantly a lighter tale, whereas the book was originally written for children, but it is awesome nonetheless, as they manage to include some darkness as well. To top it all off, it’s the 75th anniversary of the book, so if you haven’t read it already, be sure to READ it, and if you have already, READ it again! Peter Jackson has done it again!

5 out of 5 stars

The November Round Up!

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First snow of the season!

11 months down, 1 to go! 177 books down, 23 to go to meet my third reading goal of 200 books for the year!  I have to tell you that I’m shocked at how fast this year has gone.  This past month our days were filled either being with/helping family or beginning to prepare for the holidays. (We also got hit with our first snowstorm!)

As many of you are already aware, Hurricane Sandy came rip-roaring through NY, NJ, and CT earlier in November.  The amount of damage and destruction left behind was absolutely shocking.  Mother nature’s power is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  I’ve got family in NY and NJ so it was interesting to see and hear the stories of how the same storm hit all of us yet did different things to our states.  Being where we are in CT, Todd and I were fortunate to have minimal damage.  Downed power lines and trees scattered our town, but that was the extent of our damage.  Closer to the shoreline there was a ton of flooding, fires, weeks without power, etc.  My parents in NJ lost their power for several hours but were lucky to get it back so quickly. My sister and brother-in-law live in Manhattan and had no power for 5 days.  They and their menagerie of animals wound up going to my parent’s house to stay so that they could have access to heat and water.  My aunt on Staten Island unfortunately fared the worst.  Her home was evacuated at the beginning of the storm, and upon her return found water in her basement up to the ceiling. The several feet of water took a few days to drain and that’s when we got to work.  We began tearing her basement apart, bringing up all the furniture, appliances, and other odds and ends that were down there as it all needed to be trashed.  We then proceeded to gut the entire basement literally down to the studs.  Framing, molding, heating baseboards, dry wall, etc.  It all came down.  At this point construction workers were able to come back in and begin working, beginning with putting up the drywall for all the new walls.  My aunt has a new ceiling, new framing for closets, and has picked out new appliances and cabinets.  Cable, internet, and power have all been restored as well.  Thankfully things are looking up for her personally, but the island is still an absolute mess.  I urge all of you to participate in any clothing, supply, or food drives taking place near you for Sandy victims.  There are still homes with no power, people with no food, and construction going on everywhere.  The cars that were flooded and totaled by the insurance companies are still being towed away.  It’s truly a very sad sight and any and all help is truly appreciated.

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Thanksgiving with my in-laws!

Not all of November was a downer, though. Todd and I spent Thanksgiving with both of our families where lots of good food was consumed.  My mother-in-law makes this fantastic jello dish that comes from a recipe from her grandmother.  It has celery and apples in it and a great sauce on the side (it truly is fabulous!)  My grandmother makes my other favorite Thanksgiving dish, rice and sausage stuffing.  She throws in craisins and it is just a heavenly dish!  There is almost never any left (of either dish) once Thanksgiving dinner is over.  I think in 2013 I’ll have to fight for these dishes to get made more often, and not just at Thanksgiving.

To recap my reading in November, I completed another 10 books.  My favorite of the ten was a historical fiction novel called In A Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener.  That novel has quickly restarted my love of reading about the Tudor period of British history all over again.  I’ve found myself gearing up to read a good amount of historical fiction novels in December.

Looking forward, December will be a lot of catching up for me.  I’m working on getting all the reviews I have to finish by year-end up, along with what challenges I’ll be participating in for 2013!  Todd’s working on his review of Targets of Deception and has some author interviews in store! Adam’s working on a review of the film Lincoln and a review of the historical fiction novel Tragedy and Triumph (he’s excited about December since both of his review items relate to the Civil War!)  Sam’s in the process of reading an illustrated sci-fi/fantasy novel Elfhunter, and Charlie has film reviews of The Hobbit and Lincoln coming as well.

It looks like we’re going to have a busy and productive month!  Until next time, happy reading!