10 reasons The Hobbit is a worthwhile journey

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I saw The Hobbit twice already, the first time on an advanced screening before my vacation and the second time this past weekend. I enjoyed it both times, perhaps a bit more the second time around. Despite the 2 hrs 44 minutes running time, I find it to be thoroughly enjoyable. That’s not to say that I didn’t think the length was perfect, I think there are indeed some scenes that could’ve been edited out, especially some of the battle scenes. But no, I did not find it to be as problematic as critics made it out to be. It’s worth noting that I have NOT read the book so I have no complain about the extra scenes, either.

So here are ten reasons why I’m glad to be back to Middle Earth once again:

1. The world that Tolkien built... and the classic tale of good vs. evil. I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed this movie so much is that I LOVE this fantasy world, the story and its wisdom. There’s an underlying message of hope, courage and love that’s worth revisiting again and again. I’ve loved the characters in the Lord of the Rings, and I also feel a connection with the main characters of The Hobbit. (See #9)

2. The dazzling visuals … The technological wizardry enables us to experience the journey as if we’re actually there inside Bilbo’s house, or in the woods spying on Thorin & co. I saw this movie both times in the High Frame Rate (48Frames/Second) Digital 3D format (NOT the IMAX version) and I have no qualms about it. Yes it’s so crisp that it looks like watching a show on HDTV but after a while, your eyes adjust to it and I’ve come to appreciate the clarity of every little detail and the smoothness of the fast-moving action scenes. It’s such a meticulously-crafted universe, from the interior of Bilbo’s house in the Shire to the ever-so-ethereal Rivendell, which was as majestic as I had remembered it in LOTR.

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It’s obvious this movie is a labor of love for Peter Jackson and it shows. The sweeping cinematography is one to behold, it was a welcome return to the visually mesmerizing world of Middle Earth.

3. Martin Freeman as Bilbo … I’m so glad that PJ was set on casting Freeman, even to the point of reworking the entire shooting schedule (due to the BBC’s Sherlock‘s scheduling conflict) for the Hobbit films to accommodate him. I think his casting is integral to the success of the movie and his personal journey is a joy to watch. Freeman is exactly what I’d imagine the young Bilbo would be. His bumbling mannerism, the way he constantly doubts himself, and his lack of vanity are all what I love about this character. Freeman plays the heroic ‘everyman’ so perfectly, I absolutely can’t imagine anyone else in this role.


TheHobbit_Thorin4. Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield… I was thrilled when I first heard that one of my favorite Brits got a major role in The Hobbit! The English actor definitely has the right look (despite his 6’2″ stature) and sensibility as the Aragorn-like leader of the pack. As the son of the slain Dwarf king and heir of Erebor Kingdom, he’s naturally got a sullen demeanor and a fierce determination to take back his stolen homeland destroyed by Smaug the Dragon. Armitage’s got a mean (read: irresistible) glower which PJ made the most of throughout the movie. Even underneath all that beard and dwarf costume, he’s still so darn hunky. Oh and that deep voice! I sure hope there’s another singing sequence in the 2nd and 3rd movies ;)

5. The Lord of the Rings nostalgia … It’s a good thing that PJ came back to direct this movie as it’s got all the ingredients and the vibe I’ve come to appreciate about the LOTR franchise. I also LOVE seeing the characters from the trilogy reappearing here, Frodo, Lord Elrod, Saruman and especially Galadriel and Gandalf. I’ve missed seeing Cate Blanchett on screen so it was nice to see her even in her brief scenes. Ian McKellen is fantastic as usual as the wise Gandalf the Grey. His chemistry with Bilbo is especially heartfelt, Gandalf truly believes in him despite what Thorin thinks about having him around in their quest.

6. The riddle scene of Gollum and Bilbo … Easily the main highlight of the movie for me. Andy Serkis is such a mo-cap virtuoso and Gollum is even more life like than ever before. His bulging blue eyes are ever-so-expressive, it’s especially amusing when he’s frustrated trying to come up with an answer for a riddle. He’s terrifyingly creepy but yet you can’t help but feeling sorry for the poor soul when he lost his ‘precious’ one. An iconic character that never wears out its welcome.

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7. Howard Shore’s gorgeous music … it evokes the lush sound of LOTR and I love that it plays the same theme when certain scenes are revisited, such as when the ring shows up. But yet it’s got its own distinct theme that is unique for The Hobbit. The melody from the song played in Bilbo’s house you heard in the trailer is played throughout. It sounds so beautifully melancholic as a song, but it’s got a lively energy when played during some of the dynamic action scenes.

8. The merry band of dwarves (I purposely use the Tolkien spelling here)The Hobbit is decidedly more lighthearted than the LOTR trilogy, though it still carries a profound message of good vs evil. In the first viewing I felt that the introduction of the Dwarves and the huge dinner party at Bilbo’s house went on a bit too long. But on second viewing I actually enjoyed it a lot more. Their colorful personality offers a stark contrast to the reclusive Bilbo and their angst-y leader Thorin. Radagast the Brown, one of Gandalf’s fellow Wizards, is amusingly quirky as well.

9. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth – Matthew 5:5

Galadriel: Mithrandir, why the halfling?

Gandalf: Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That’s because I am afraid and it gives me courage.

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I LOVE Gandalf answer. Bilbo is not of noble breed, nor does he have certain superpowers, in fact, he’s chosen because of his small stature and humility. In the midst of superhero movies out there, it’s nice to see a ‘regular guy’ who does heroic deeds motivated by love and empathy for others. The initially-doubtful Bilbo finally comes into his own towards the end, realizing his worth and his place in the journey to the Lonely Mountain. His speech after he escaped Goblin Town is moving and inspiring, delivered so effortlessly by Freeman without even the slightest bit of trite.
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10. Movie escapism at its best…I went in expecting to be swept away in a world so unlike my own and live vicariously through Bilbo as he goes about on his adventure and that’s what I got. Yes some of the scenes are perhaps a bit too cartoon-ish, I mean we’re talking about these dwarves falling down a cavern as the bridge they’re on breaks into fragments, and once they fell hundreds of feet below, a 500+ pound goblin king falls on them. Yet they all survive perfectly with no major injury! I suppose we don’t know the exact genetic makeup of a dwarf so their bones could be a heck of a lot stronger than humans. What else would explain Thorin survival after being whacked by the giant pale Orc Azog with a big mace with spikes on them! It’s all part of the ‘fantasy’ bit folks, so I don’t see a point in nitpicking on that front.

As for Azog as the main villain in this film, I heard some people complain that he’s a ‘weak’ villain. Well naturally he would be if you compare him to Sauron and his evil watchful eye, but the pale Orc is just one of the evil ‘minions’ if you will, employed by the powerful dark force that Thorin & co. would eventually have to face.

All in all, it’s a wonderful start of an epic journey. I really care for the characters and the quest for them to take back their homeland. I was caught up in the adventures and for me and now I can’t wait for what happens next!


So what do you think of The Hobbit? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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The good, the bad and the crazy… of this week’s movie news

Happy Wednesday, folks. Well, the post article says it all, so let’s just get to them, shall we?

First, the good news:

Cate Blanchett will reprise her role as Galadriel in The Hobbit

I have not read the book but I do know the royal Elf doesn’t appear in it, but I trust that Peter Jackson has a good reason for including her. I LOVE Cate Blanchett, and her role as Galadriel as well as her narration is one of my favorite part about The Lord of the Rings. So it’s all the more reason to anticipate The Hobbit. She’d join an already stellar cast which was announced back in October. Peter Jackson is apparently a fan of the classy Aussie actress, “Cate if one of my favorite actors to work with and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films,” he said of Blanchett (per Deadline article). YAY!

District 9 Director & Actor reunite for another sci-fi, Elysium

Sharlto Copley & Neill Blomkamp

I had been hoping to see a follow-up to the excellent sci-fi hit District 9 (read my review), but hey, I don’t mind seeing another sci-fi flick from the South African duo. According to Deadline this movie is Blomkamp’s long-awaited story set in the far future on another planet and, like District 9, is filled with many sociopolitical ideas wrapped up inside a Hollywood action film. I hope Blomkamp retains the same factors of what made D-9 so fresh and unique in the first place : original concepts, employ unknown but compelling actors, gritty & realistic setting, etc. Looks like by casting Copley again, he’s already in the right track. This is definitely one to watch!

The bad news:

Chris Tucker is back on the big screen to annoy possibly star in… well it really doesn’t matter, just the fact that he’s back making movies isn’t exactly great news to me. To be fair, he was pretty funny in The Fifth Element and the first Rush Hour, but y’know, he’s one of those people that way overstay their welcome. It’s mind boggling that he reportedly got as much as $45 million for a two-picture deal with New Line Cinema, and one of them is the crappola that is Rush Hour 2 (per HeyUGuys blog).

The not-so-good news:

Johnny Depp might not be starring in 21 Jump Street after all.

I blogged about this a while ago that Depp was reportedly interested in a cameo role. Now, as a fan of the show (and his character Tom Hanson) when I was growing up, that’d be the only reason I’d see the movie. Alas, according to CinemaBlend, the folks behind the upcoming feature haven’t contacted the mega star by now. Heh, maybe they think he isn’t bankable enough?

Well, lastly, file this one under Most Psychotic News:

The demented thriller American Psycho is being made into… a musical?

Ok, call me goody two shoes, but am I the only who think this is disturbing? I mean, I like Christian Bale and yes that is one of his groundbreaking killer role (literally), but come on! If you’re not familiar with the story (in which case, probably best if you don’t anyway), the movie’s main character Patrick Bateman is the epitome of ‘the devil comes in an attractive package.’ He’s a handsome, wealthy New York yuppie who works on Wall Street by day, and goes on murderous spree by night. Despite his privileged life, Bateman is constantly envious and dissatisfied with himself, which only fuels his psychopathic tendencies. I actually saw some of the most graphic scenes of the uncut version by mistake and I wish I could ‘un-see’ them. Sure, there are some comical part in the movie (especially that business card scene) but for the most part, it is bloody and brutal.

I do remember there were some catchy songs in that movie from Huey Lewis & The News, Genesis and David Bowie. So that explains the fact that the show will be set to music. According to this article, the show has reportedly been in the works since 2008 and music will be provided by Spring Awakening composer/90s pop star Duncan Sheik. It’s also going to be based Bret Easton Ellis’ novel, which was also the base of the Christian Bale movie. Suffice to say, plan on bringing your raincoat if you’re going to see this one.

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Well, any thoughts about any of these news flash, folks?