Category Archives: fantasy

A Long-Expected Movie: A Review of the Hobbit Trilogy

So, I finally got around to re-watching it. Here’s what was running through my head, and please excuse the length. 🙂

Elements of the Film Which Didn’t Bother Me

Legolas’ presence

Bringing Legolas into the film held potential. We know from LotR, Legolas is the Elf King’s son, so it stands to reason he’d be there and witness or even potentially assist in the dwarves’ capture. In the Hobbit, The Elf King is almost presented as a villain, and his son(in LotR) a hero. This clash raises questions: Would Legolas approve of the dwarves’ captivity? Would he feel any guilt later toward Gloin’s son-Gimli? All that to say, I wasn’t opposed to Legolas in the Desolation of Smaug at. It was with Tauriel they went wrong. Without Tauriel, Legolas never would’ve ventured to Laketown and without Kili, she probably wouldn’t have, either(a detail I’ll discuss later). Without Tauriel, he would’ve stayed happily in Mirkwood where he belonged.

Trilogy

Some people held second thoughts on Peter Jackson’s motives for stretching the movie into thirds rather than keeping it whole. Maybe he did do it for the money, but does that really matter? It just means more room to include all the good parts from the book, right? Except, not. Instead, the extra film time was filled with completely made up scenes.

Lord of the Rings Characters who weren’t in The Hobbit(book), but still showed up in the movie

Galadriel. Saruman. Lobelia(if only briefly). Frodo. Bilbo(the older). Legolas. I didn’t mind so long as they didn’t awkwardly disrupt the main plot movie, or change the Middle Earth history Tolkien created. Unfortunately, some did both.

Problems I Did Have with the Series

Tauriel and Kili’s Relationship– We don’t need romance to enjoy a story(which is why there wasn’t any in the book!), particularly between a dwarf and an elf. Quite unrealistic, actually.

The excessive orc appearances– Just because the orcs proved popular villains from Lord of the Rings doesn’t mean they have to show up in each Hobbit movie.

Disturbing Middle Earth’s History

The pale orc was a great bad guy and all that, but technically he died long before the dwarves’ quest.

The absence of funny scenes…and addition of others

The parts Peter Jackson cut out where…

  • Gandalf adds dwarves in twos as he speaks to Beorn.
  • Gandalf keeps the trolls up till dawn by imitating their voices/arguing with them.
  • Bombour falls unconscious for much of the Mirkwood journey, and can only think of food once he wakes.

 And I could go on… Now, it’s not that the funny bits they added weren’t funny, it’s just that the time could’ve been used to include the pieces from the book which I thought funnier anyways.

Alfred

Was he really necessary to the movie??

My Favorite Elements

  • Richard Armitage’s acting as Thorin who falls progressively deeper into his gold-obsession.
  • The music. Howard Shore is incredible. The Desolation of Smaug was a bit of a disappointment(in more ways than one!), but the soundtrack for The Battle of Five Armies and A Long Expected was awesome.
  • The scenery. *adds visiting New Zealand to bucket list* 😀
  • Martin Freeman as Bilbo. He’s absolutely perfect for that role.
  • “The Last Goodbye” it’s so, so, sad, beautiful, and a good way to include Billy Boyd without giving him an acting role and thus again changing the book. 🙂 I always liked his song from RotK.

  • The bittersweetness. Even the winter colors seem bittersweet somehow…

Well, I better cut off this review now before it grows any longer. Thanks for bearing with my ramblings! I’m still taking in the fact that this is goodbye to Peter Jackson’s Tolkien movies. No more countdowns, midnight showings(;D) or trailers. But there’s always re-watchings, movie marathons, and extended editions, right?

Rating: 3 stars

What are your thoughts?? How would you rate the trilogy?


“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”-Dr. Seuss        An oddly appropriate quote. (:

10 Favorite Screen Characters

Yes, I’m doing another list(sorry!), one I happened to steal borrow from another blogger. But, in my defense I did ask for permission first. (:

10. Amos and Theodore from The Apple Dumpling Gang

For anyone wanting perfect stars for a clean, cheesy, hilarious western, Amos and Theodore won’t disappoint.

9. Loki from various Marvel movies

Great villain. I honestly didn’t love The Avengers that much, but Loki beats any bad guy I’ve ever encountered in a book or movie, the closest being Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events(not to be confused with everyone’s favorite snowman) or the wicked stepmother from Cinderella.

8. Edmund Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia

The actor, Skander Keynes, transitions nicely between the Edmund nobody liked from the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to the kind(yet not without a few character flaws)brother from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

7. Lydia Bennet from Pride and Prejudice(2005)

Loved her actor’s(too lazy to look it up) portrayal of the funniest Bennet sister.

6. The Huxtable Family from The Cosby Show

I realize this may be cheating, but my list is too short for all of them. (:

5. Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings 

Probably my favorite character from the books, minus Sam, speaking of whom…

4. Samwise Gamgee (a.k.a. Sam) from The Lord of the Rings 

Do I need to explain? (: Apparently, Tolkien considered him the true hero of LotR. And, why not? Sam carried more than his fair share of packs, accompanied Frodo through the thick and thin, wrote his own song, *Spoilers* killed Shelob, rescued Frodo after he’d been kidnapped, and then proceeded to carry him up Mount Doom. Oh, and most people may not think of it this way, but he was also a ring-bearer, if only briefly.*End of spoilers*

3. Cinderella from the 2015 film

Best Disney princess since Belle. Better, actually.

2. Lizzy Bennet from Pride and Prejudice(again)

Yup.

1. Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit

Love his quirks, his mannerisms, and the way he walks. I’ve tried to imitate his nose-twitch on several occasions, but can’t seem to get the hang of it.  


“The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail.”-Mark Twain

On the Subject of Hobbits, Dragons, Virtue, and How Fantasy Relates to Us in the 21st Century

Note: I wrote this review over a year ago, so please excuse any consequential grammatical mistakes or the such.

According to Angelina Stanford, 150 million copies of the Lord of the Rings have been sold, as well as 120 million copies of the Chronicles of Narnia. Not only is fantasy very popular, but it has existed since the ancient world. Sadly, many people view fantasy as pure entertainment. I would like to argue that fantasy has a direct impact on our daily lives for three reasons: Fantasy calms our fears of sin, allows us to escape, and increases the beauty of virtue.

The first reason is that fantasy calms our fears of sin. Sin is a very real thing, and it has been at work since the fall. It corrupts every human’s thoughts, feelings, words, actions and lives. Also, fear is a consequence of sin, and an emotion nearly everyone experiences. Fantasy is not intended to instill fear, but to fight it! G. K. Chesterton explains, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist, children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” Although evil may be overwhelming, what is good and true will prevail. This is the Christian’s hope. Tolkien provides an excellent quote, “…the true form of fantasy is the… sudden joyous turn, it’s a sudden and miraculous grace, it is the denial of universal final defeat, it gives us a fleeting glimpse of joy,joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief, and therefore, these stories are not escapist, they are the ultimate reality…” And so, fantasy shines a light of hope in this world of the dark fear and sin on the “ultimate reality” of the truth of the gospel.

The second reason is that fantasy provides a means of escape. In the modern world, we are surrounded by the beeps, rings, alerts, and other various sounds of technology. Additionally,  as I already mentioned the world is sinful and often stressful. To escape into a world such as Middle Earth or Narnia brings a break from these distractions and discouragements.  Tolkien adds his insight, “I have claimed that Escape is one of the  main functions of fairy stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which “Escape” is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?”

The third reason is that fantasy increases the beauty of virtue. What is virtue? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, virtue is defined as morally good behavior  or character. In Latin, “virtus” could be translated as either virtue or courage.  We find a lot of both in fantasy, especially the classics, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. Douglas Wilson summarizes this beautifully, “If our sons are to be prepared to encounter the world God made, then their imaginations must be fed and nourished by the stories of the Red Cross Knight, Sam carrying Frodo, Beouwulf tearing off Grendel’s arms, and Trumpkin fighting for Aslan while still not believing in him. Fairy stories make virtue not just right, but lovely.” Surely this does not only apply to our sons, but to everyone! Although we may never be asked to fight in battles against the Telmarines, carry a magic ring to Mount Doom, or  fight dragons for stolen treasure, we are called to be virtious everyday, and thereby give God the glory! Similar to virtue, is integrity. C.S. Lewis says, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” This is an especially powerful quote when I consider that I usually struggle with the question, “How does this relate to me?”, more often after watching these movies, than after reading these books. I think this is partly because the actors in these movies have cameras following them, and they know that many people will view the movies. Whereas, the characters in fantasy did not know that books would be written about them, much less movies! Sam, from Lord of the Rings, did speak of the stories that would be told about Frodo, but Frodo had to add the part about Samwise the stouthearted, because Sam was to humble too mention it himself. (I’m very sorry if you have not read this, it is in the second book)

To conclude, fantasy relates to us  for three reasons, it calms our fears of sin , allows us to escape, and increases the beauty of virtue. If you are interested in reading more fantasy, I recommend The Chronicles of Narnia, Beowulf, The Chronicles of Prydain, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings. And if you are interested in learning more about the power of fantasy, I recommend Angelina Stanford’s talk. A great deal of my material and inspiration is from her talk.


“I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” – C.S. Lewis, from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader