The Hobbit was one of the biggest anticipations of mine for the year! It was like a grand finale for the year and everything that’s been going on.
See, for me the movie isn’t just a movie… it’s a reflection and representation of what’s going on in my life. When I first started working with Ray and building Panic to Freedom, that was right around when the first Hobbit came out, and we both went super stoked to go with each other because we’re two of the biggest nerds on the planet!
In addition to that though, afterwards we also read the book together, usually reading a chapter every time one of us would make meals, and we would alternate back and forth on reading. (We also read PatternMaster and Enders Game this year). I absolutely loved the book, it was a whimsical tale, very innocent and playful, and a very easy read at that.
I have a new rule for movie books
It’s better to have two enjoyable experiences, than one great one, and one that feels disappointing.
If you haven’t read the book already, and there’s a movie coming out… watch the movie first. The book is always better… but the movie always seems enjoyable if you have no idea what it is going into it… So simply save the best for last, and both experiences are great!
And before I go into my explanation as to why, I want to preface with this.
You can tell by the work that went into this that the people who were involved in the production were absolutely incredible. A huge amount of energy and love poured from their hearts, minds, and labor and into everything that they built, from the clothes, the weapons, the animations, the acting, the camera work, and of course, the directing.
If you were involved in the project in any way (which also means someone who worked on the Hobbit reads my blog….. *Fangirl scream*), i want to applaud you for your efforts, I see the incredible work that went into it, and you did an amazing job. Thank you.
So, if there’s one thing i’ve learned… it’s that if there’s something Wonko with the seed… the tree grows all funky. Likewise, and perhaps more popular of a term – shit rolls downhill. What that ends up looking like in the results.. is something like a very dramatic climax where the animation budget seemed to run short just 20 minutes too soon… If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.
As you might already know, the movie takes a different direction than the one in the book, It’s still intrinsically the same story, but with a whole layer of “Modern Movie-Making Magic” layered on top of it, which sometimes accounts for brilliant turns, and other times… not so brilliant ones.
As for brilliant ones, there are a few notable ones. First, Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo is magnificent. With these movies you can really see Bilbo look at his dark side, and the dark side of the world in a way that wasn’t in the original book, and fits VERY well in the film adaption.
I also really love the merging of the Silmarillion into this film. I haven’t read that one yet, but I really liked the merging of the rise of Sauron into this movie, as short as the scenes were. I was always wondered “what WAS Gandalf doing between Mirkwood, all the way to when he met up with them after the Dwarves reclaimed the mountain??”
And on the other side of the coin, I’ve got all kinds of details I could nit-pick (which is where my frustration and confusion lies), the Overblown action scenes, lack of character development, the dwarves looked more like full-grown men half of the time, legolas’s vibe was really weird, and was he really even necessary to the story? What’s with the out of place love story? Why was the animation so bad in the last half hour, and where the hell did that extra barrel come from?!
So.. what’s with all these changes? Are we telling the story of the Hobbit, or some other story altogether? What I think happened was that somewhere in the early development, some big fat-cat producer decided that they’d be able to make more money if the movie was an action movie, which means Action! Action! Action!!!
And so a large portion of the script was changed to accommodate for extra violence at every turn, which subsequently removed a large portion of the growing story development stuff… (which, if you didn’t know – accounts for a large reason that gives the action scenes meaning at all! Without them, the action scenes are meaningless, and the movie feels empty).
It is for this reason that I still can’t decide if I REALLY liked this one… Yeah, it’s still a staple in my life, so much so that i’m learning the ending song “I see Fire” on piano, but i’ve walked out of the movie theater twice now with a feeling of twisty-ness at the bizarre additions to the movie.
In the end, I feel left with a movie that really had the potential to be great, and still by all accounts was still very good… but left me feeling less than I would have hoped for, with a replacement story for the one that I wanted to be told.
To be honest, the whole thing is reminding me a lot about Star Wars. The original trilogy was some of the best freaking movies out there!… And then they made prequels.
While Jacksons prequels are turning out a good solid plenty times better than Lucas’s, it still doesn’t change the fact that they’re following the same model. Are we making something for money? Or are we trying to tell a story?
This really just brings me back to that idea i’ve been saying for a while….
What is the core intention behind the thing that you’re making?
Make sure you always get the seed right. If the seed is right, the tree grows beautiful and bears magnificent fruit. If you get the seed wrong, it might not turn out as majestic as it could have been.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And having said that, I’d like to bring it back around too…
Why watch the movies first? Well, i just recognized that with both Enders Game and the Hobbit, i probably would have enjoyed the movie far more if throughout the whole thing I wasn’t constantly feeling “I know what’s supposed to happen next, and it’s not what you’re showing me!”.
And yet, if you watch the movie, and then read the book, as you’re reading the book you’re thinking “Wow, this is delightfully different and much more engaging than the movie!”, and you’re given 2 great experiences, rather than one great one, followed by one that just doesn’t compare to the first.
You know… just as much as i was left confused about how i felt, it was primarily because of the contrast to the book… I still knew that I loved it! It was awesome! A fantastical adventure, completely different than what I was expecting, a little weird, but a lot of fun nonetheless.
Such a weird feeling… But it makes sense to me.. Anyways, that’s what I got for the day
We are One,
Ps. Lucky Toilet Dwarves, hahahaha!