2012-12-28, 6:58 a.m.
I spent the rest of the afternoon seeing The Hobbit, Part One Of Three with L and her brother.
Let me explain before I begin: I last read The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy in 2002, waaaaaaaaaay back when I had a boyfriend who was into those books. I was not as into them as he was, by a long shot. My opinion of the books was that they have an interesting setup and interesting characters....and then the author drags it out and makes it as dull as possible. Or as Kevin Smith put it, the movies are all about walking. I vaguely remember preferring The Hobbit to the rest of it (shorter, more concise plot, dwarves are fun), but in all honesty I don't remember much of the plot by now, and as of yesterday, couldn't really tell Mom what it was about beyond "uh, Bilbo and Gandalf and a bunch of dwarves...uh....they go on a quest for something, I forget what." I sat through all three very long and mostly dull movies for the sake of love, but I pretty much lost interest in them after the first movie. After that relationship broke up, I would not have figured myself to give a shit about this topic any more.
Buuuuuuuuut.... now I am friends with someone whose family is into these books. More than I am letting on in this entry, but man, her mom was really into them.... So here I go, seeing The Hobbit, which they have now decided to drag out into three unnecessary movies. Now, I cannot tell you in great detail what stuff they have thrown in that wasn't in the book at this point, though the folks I went to the movies with certainly could. (After the movie, her brother called their mother to ask if Radagast was ever mentioned in the books whatsoever. He lost that bet.) It sounds like they plugged in whatever they possibly could that was mentioned in the world in order to make it longer.
But here's the thing: it wasn't bad. Mostly I found it pretty interesting. I did briefly fall asleep during an orc chase, but other than that...and hey, at least I didn't snore like the guy behind me did.
Anyhoo, here's the spoilery review:
The framing sequence is that Bilbo is writing this story to Frodo before they throw the party that kicks off LOTR. (I had to check Elijah Wood for fingers.) In the flashback, Bilbo's a young dude, just kicking it in his garden blowing smoke rings, when Gandalf comes along. Bilbo is all, "Good morning," and Gandalf nitpicks in great detail exactly what is meant by that. "Do you mean you wish me a good morning, or is it a good morning, or blah blah blah...." I'll admit I've thought shit like this myself about the saying, along with my usual grumblings about how no morning is a good one and why can't people just shut up and leave me alone until 11 already. Upon this discussion, Bilbo is starting to get more weirded out and all, "Who are you again?" Gandalf is all, "I'm Gandalf" and Bilbo is all, "Oh yeah, that guy who used to come around here and set off fireworks!" and Gandalf is all, "Well, I'm glad you remember me for SOMETHING. Hey, I'm looking for a hobbit who wants to go on an adventure and I remember you being more adventurous as a child, and your relatives sure were." Bilbo is, of course, all Taurean and like, "Nasty things, adventures, make you late for breakfast, no thanks, going inside now." Gandalf is all, "It'll be good for you," and carves a rune (Fehu) on Bilbo's door. Come nightfall, as Bilbo is about to chow down on his delicious dinner, he gets a random dwarf showing up at his door, taking the dinner. "They said there'd be a lot of food there," the dwarf says, and then twelve more dwarves show up to clean out Bilbo's larder and use his doilies. Bilbo ain't happy. Gandalf rolls in and counts dwarves. There is also an amusing scene in which the dwarves throw all of Bilbo's dishes around, but don't break a one. I thought, "This is a cool scene, but uh...I'm reminded of books I read about writing in which they say not to put in anything unnecessarily."
The backstory for this--and man, it's portrayed SO PRETTILY-- was that Erebor was a gorgeous underground/in a mountain city inhabited by dwarves, and there was a lovely city nearby it as well. Until the king of the dwarves took up gold hoarding (not sure if this was intentionally brought on by the Arkenstone they found in the mine or not, I guess it's supposed to be?), and then a dragon named Smaug rolled in, set the nearby city on fire, and invaded Erebor. The elves--supposedly their allies-- apparently think dealing with a dragon is too hard, so they and their huge army haul off and leave. Jerks. So the dwarves are homeless and roaming the world. They try to retake Moria (taken by orcs), but that doesn't go well, AND the king gets beheaded by the super huge evil goblin Azog, to boot. The king's son disappears or whatever, leaving the whole mess to grandson Thorin. Thorin doesn't get to kill Azog, but he does chop his hand off--and then stupidly assume that killed him. Riiiiiiiight. Thorin and the other twelves dwarves (and Gandalf) are the only folks willing to try to take back Erebor and kick the dragon out. And Gandalf wants to recruit Bilbo as their "burglar," because (a) hobbits are small and inoffensive and nobody notices them much, and (b) the dragon doesn't know the smell of hobbit as opposed to dragon. Bilbo is all, "Ive never stolen anything in my life, I don't wanna do this" and goes off to bed.
Then when Bilbo wakes up and finds that everyone took off without him and .... decides to join up after all. This is about the first hour of the movie or so, and it's pretty cute. Then, the walking begins. We get to see a scene with Radagast the Brown wizard, who's such an animal-loving hippie that he lets birds nest in his hair and he has a permanently fossilized trail of bird shit in his hair. He also is, no joke, carried around on a sled driven by rabbits. ("That wasn't in the book!") Anyhoo, we're shown that Radagast finds a lot of dead/dying animals--he spends a lot of time trying to save a poor hedgehog-- and he uses magic to revive the hedgie once it dies. Spiders attacked Radagast's house, and he bugged out using the rabbits led.
Gandalf gets annoyed at Thorin and stomps off in a huff, leading everyone else to have their ponies stolen by trolls. Bilbo attempts to be a burglar and steal them back, but this resorts in all the dwarf/hobbit party getting caught by hungry trolls. Bilbo tries to stall 'em, but Gandalf has to roll in and save the day.
At this point I kinda dozed off, but according to the Internet, Radagast and rabbits roll in and tell Gandalf what's up and that dark magic and ghosts and a necromancer and shit like that appears to be happening, and hey, check out this sword the ghost had, and orcs attack, and everybody somehow arrives at Rivendell even though Thorin was all "Fuck the elves." Elrond the elf is of course nice about it, and eventually helps them out by reading the map they have with moon runes on it. COINCIDENTALLY, now's the night to read it. It tells him where the hidden door to Erebor is. Elrond, still scared of dragons, tells the party they shouldn't go, but that just ticks off the dwarves, who eventually sneak off and leave. Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel (it's old home week), and Saruman The Creepy all have a meeting to discuss the creepy evil shit that seems to be going down in Middle Earth again, and of course Saruman is "nope, nothing going on here, nothing to worry about." Galadriel spends the entire thing snooping through Gandalf's thoughts psychically and they figure out that the sword was buried WAAAAAAAY deep with a dead witch-king, so how the fuck is it out and about now? Also, she's amused that the dwarves snuck off.
The dwarves and Bilbo run into some stone giants, who are apparently dumb as shit because they randomly fight each other and chuck rocks at each other's heads, which makes me wonder how the species survives. After seeing this, and hearing Thorin bitch once again that Bilbo is a wimp, Bilbo is all, "You're right, I'm outta here." Of course, that's the time for them all to end up being trapped in Goblinville, for a giant fight to break out, for me to get super grossed out by the Goblin King--the movie does pretty very well, but it also does super ugly in more detail than I like--and Gandalf has to roll in once more to save the day. Bilbo, unlike the dwarves, falls to the bottom of the cavern or whatever and meets--oh goodie, my very favorite character, NOT-- Gollum the Schizophrenic. They have a riddle-off, Bilbo grabs The One Ring that falls out of Gollum's...whatever, let's not think about this too hard...., uses it to become invisible, and gets the hell out of there. Eventually, everyone ends up stuck on a tree, about to fall off a cliff, while orcs attack. Bilbo does heroically stop Thorin from being beheaded by Azog, so good for him.
Can i just say that the entire cast should be dead like five times over, with all the falls they do? Good thing we can figure they somehow don't have broken backs because they're of other species!
Anyhoo, Gandalf summons a butterfly to go summon some giant fucking eagles to fly them all out of there, and the movie ends with them finally seeing Erebor.... a looooooooooong way off. More walking to come....
Overall, I enjoyed it, though I was starting to lose interest and patience about the point where the ugly-ass goblins and orcs and Gollum all showed up. But I can't stand Gollum, so there you go. But they did manage to make it action-packed, so it seemed more interesting than it should have been for a regular book split into three and dragged out. Not bad. And they make the dwarves more personable and fun to hang around, and it's nice to see Bilbo grow up some.
After that, I went over to L's with them, where they cooked a Chinese food dinner and we watched episodes of Archer. I'd seen the first three episodes of it and...well, hadn't liked it as much as I thought I would. Mostly at the time I thought, "god, everyone's just a dumb asshole and they fight all the time and mostly I'm not laughing that much." But season two appears to be better--I was really cracking up at the "Archer gets breast cancer and goes on a rampage when he finds out he was on fake chemotherapy drugs, then goes on chemo DURING his rampage and guess how well that goes" plot. Maybe I'll go watch more of this?