But after going into hiding for much of the day, I'm trying to piece back together some sense of normalcy. I'm going to go ahead and talk about The Hobbit, not to be insensitive to the families in Connecticut...but because it hurts too much, and too many have already spoken about it, and I know I for one need a respite on the Internet away from that conversation.
So, um, The Hobbit! I'm not going to write a real review -- my brain is too frazzled! -- so I'm just going to spew thoughts out into the ether. There will be some spoilers. Tread at your own risk, and feel free to comment!
- The Hobbit is kind of a filmmaker's nightmare. The book is not structured properly for film at ALL, and the tone is so light and tongue-in-cheek (but at the same time so dark). Jackson was reluctant to make it at all, and I totally understand that, but oh man am I glad they did it. Personally I think three movies isn't quite the right way to approach the story -- I think a six-episode miniseries would've been just about right -- but I think it's better than trying to cram everything into one big movie.
- I LOVE that it's so lore-heavy. Love, love, love. The LOTR geek in me is delighted to see all of these little bits and nods and fan service. I think the primary audience of The Hobbit is "People who loved LOTR," so that seems appropriate. I doubt that a lot of people are going to the movie who have never heard of/enjoyed the films before. I mean, it'd be awesome if a whole generation of kids fell in love with The Hobbit from these movies the way I did the old animated one, but I don't think that's necessarily going to happen.
- I need this soundtrack, post-haste. I have all three LOTR film scores, and they taught me so much about music. Weird, but true. Also, it filled me with an inexpressible amount of joy that the "That's What Bilbo Baggins Hates" song makes an appearance.
- Dwarves have never been so sexy. Like, seriously, omg. Not only do I have an enormous crush on Thorin (who is DELICIOUS, oh my god, those smoldering eyes!), but Fili and Kili are also super attractive. My "inability to be attracted to men without facial hair" is reaching new heights. (And did I mention Thorin's smoldering eyes?)
- Radagast the Brown! One of my favorite characters from the books, I was glad they found a place for him in the movie. He's weird and off-kilter and adorable and I wanted to cuddle him. Even if the CGI animals looked kind of dumb, but I think that might have had more to do with the heightened framerate than anything else.
- Is there anyone on this earth who is more of a hobbit than Martin Freeman? Absolutely perfect.
- All the monsters are so lovingly crafted. The trolls are hilarious and personable. The Goblin King is AWESOME. I didn't like the wargs so much, and it seems that the eagles have probably lost their sentience, but I guess that fits in with the world that was already built.
The thing I've always loved most about Tolkien -- the thing that makes him stand out and makes his books truly classic -- is his ability to capture scope. Here was a writer that understood that huge changes take a long time to happen, but they are powerful and inevitable and little people get swept up in things that are so much bigger than them. I don't know if any writer before or after has ever been able to truly capture the essence of "Small, normal people getting pulled into a world so much bigger than themselves" as well as Tolkien. There's a lot of that happening in The Hobbit movie. The Hobbit as a book is largely told from Bilbo's perspective -- a narrow, small, hobbit-sized perspective. The film has a larger scope because it's showing us the details of the bigger world...a world that soon will be the source of an epic quest and battle against the apocalypse. But I think it works.