I should be working on the next ‘Nomad’ post and I kind of am at the time of writing but I couldn’t not spend a few minutes expounding my adoration of The Hobbit and Middle Earth in general, books and films alike.
I heard a lot of grumblings in the build-up to this film, mainly about the fact that it was shot in 48FPS which, apparently (not that I’m an expert in any way), gives it a more realistic feel because of all the extra detail captured. Reviews I have read since have likened it to watching the most expensive tv show ever. I can’t comment on this and, to be honest, I couldn’t care less as I watched it in 2D anyway. I’ve watched a few films in 3D and can honestly say that the only one that didn’t feel like a total rip-off was Avatar, I think Green Lantern had more 3D sections in the trailers beforehand than the actual movie!
Anyway, enough about all that FPS rubbish, what about the film? I bloody loved it! If I were to reel off all the lines that made me laugh, gasp or damn near cry I’d still be writing this post into next week. My first thought upon watching was thus, I fucking love dwarves!! I always have of course, ever since I read the book as a child, but the dwarves in this film deserve a special mention such was their hilarity and general awesomeness. James Nesbitt, an actor I normally associate with ITV dramas and mildly amusing Yellow Pages adverts, was a particular highlight as Bofur, injecting much humour and even pathos into the seemingly doomed expedition. When the dwarves had finally settled into Bag End in hilarious fashion and began to sing I must admit I almost cried and I’m certainly not a crier. Seeing and hearing much loved characters from my childhood on the big screen in such an epic fashion was almost too much, the Misty Mountains dirge sent a shiver down my spine and I have not stopped singing it since.
Music is an integral part of Tolkien’s universe, in fact as far as I remember his universe began with a great musical harmony only to be broken by a rogue being Melkor etc… (I used to be a lot more knowledgeable on Middle Earth lore). The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are littered with songs and poems, each serving to add life and character to Tolkien’s rich world. I was always captivated by these songs, music is an essential part of real cultures so it makes sense for fantasy races to have their own folk songs and musics. I’m even trying to emulate the great writer in some small way myself, attempting to write a few songs for my this very blog, with mixed results as I’m not much of a songwriter. One of my best finds on Youtube recently was ‘The Tolkien Ensemble’ a group of talented musicians that bring to life these songs and poems with mesmerising results. One of my favourites being the Song of Durin a dwarven dirge, sung by our very own Gimli son of Gloin. These are a treat for any Tolkien lover and should be checked out immediately if you’ve not already done so.
A major worry of mine before heading to the cinema was the fact that the Hobbit, a relatively short book, was being made into a trilogy with a length similar to that of The Lord of the Rings. How on Middle Earth is he going to stretch a single book out over three films?! I and many others thought. I was pleasantly surprised then to find that, at least for this first episode, Peter Jackson has largely pulled it off. Sure some die-hard fans of the original material will scoff at the added scenes, including an exceedingly good battle scene with a certain pale orc. But I thought the vast majority of the added scenes were inclusion-worthy, the scenes with Radagast the Brown, a barely mentioned character in the books, were a pleasant surprise, the scene with him trying to resuscitate his beloved hedgehog “Give him some air!” a funny highlight.
All in all I think the first installment was a success and I just wanted to vent my appalling excitement at finally seeing my beloved dwarves on the big screen, not to mention the majesty that is Christopher Lee’s Saruman. Now all there is to do is wait for the next one, all the while singing…
Far over the misty mountains cold.
To dungeons deep, and caverns old.
The pines were roaring on the height.
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread.
The trees like torches blazed with light.