Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Hobbit Movie - My Top Ten

My love of the Hobbit goes back to when I was seven years old and my parents gave me this illustrated read-a-long version of the Hobbit (on vinyl record!) based on the 1977 movie. I played it over and over again and even made up parts for myself to play along with (because really the only flaw in the story is that there aren't any girls or ladies in it).  Shortly afterward I graduated to reading the full-length book. 

I could see how the 2012 movie version would be way too long and weird for anyone not familiar with the book, or at least a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies. Most reviewers are quick to point that out, but one reviewer also said "the film is Tolkien nerd nirvana" and that's exactly why I loved it and went to see it twice. I LOVED that it was nearly three hours long. That's almost three hours I got to leave everyday life behind and visit Middle Earth, and I'll take every last minute of it, thank you very much.

Except for the Azog ("the pale Orc") scenes. Those were blatant additions that weren't in the book, and I hated them. Just pure gratuitous violence and nastiness added to ramp the movie up to PG-13 level.  I wasn't a huge fan of how silly they made Radagast out to be, either. But as for the rest of it... well! Here are my top ten favorite things about the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

SPOILERS ahead - do not continue reading if you have not yet seen the movie.

10. The dragon.
We got to see just enough of Smaug to be really excited about the next movie. I especially loved when Bilbo reads the dwarves' contract and gets to the part about not being liable for lacerations, eviscerations, and.... incineration. Then dwarves proceed to give him a detailed account of what it's like to be incinerated by a dragon. "...think furnace. With wings."

9. All of Gandalf's great lines. 
His unique voice comes through so much better here than it did in Lord of the Rings. "I am Gandalf! And Gandalf means... me!" And this one: "Your Old Took's great-granduncle Bullroarer was so huge [for a hobbit] that he could ride a horse. He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of the Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfibul's head clean off so that it sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit-hole, and the battle was won-- and the game of Golf was invented at the same time."

8. "Stop! I forgot my handkerchief!"

And all the other places where wonderful lines from the book slipped in, and other details, right down to the brass buttons popping off Bilbo's coat.

7. The soundtrack. 

Howard Shore found the perfect balance between echoing the Lord of the Rings score and new material, especially the theme based on the deep, resonating dwarf song, "Far over misty mountains cold..." And if you stayed around for the credits, the Song of the Lonely Mountain performed by Neil Finn was a definite bonus.

6. Dinner at Rivendell with the elves.

"I don't eat anything green." "Where's the meat?"  Did anyone else notice that the elves came across quite differently than they did in Lord of the Rings? (With the exception of Galadriel). It matches how differently the elves were portrayed in the Hobbit versus Lord of the Rings. I remember as a kid reading the Hobbit and never being sure if the elves were the good guys or not. I especially loved how Gandalf sort of made a game of getting information out of Elrond, in the movie.

5. Pretty much any scene with Fili and Kili in it. 

As for the other dwarves - I loved them all them all too. The movie really succeeded in making each dwarf unique and memorable - no small feat with 13 of them! Bofur and Dwalin were my other favorites. Loved the all dwarvish details right down to the snoring and the moths.

4. The riddle game scene between Gollum and Bilbo.

 Creepy, like in the book, but Gollum's dual personality also made it laugh-out-loud funny at times too.
Bilbo: Why don't we have a game of riddles? And if I win, you show me the way out.
Gollum: [talking to himself] And if he loses, what then?
Well precious, if he loses, then we eats it! [turns to Bilbo] If Baggins loses, we eats it whole.
Bilbo: [hesitates] Fair enough.

3. The last line of the movie.

A perfect set up for the next installment: Bilbo says "I do believe the worst is behind us." And I'm thinking giant spiders? Smaug the dragon? oh ho ho, you poor deluded little hobbit. Which allows me to sneak in another favorite thing about this movie: the fact that there are two more movies still to come!

2. Richard Armitage as Thorin. 

I remembered Thorin as an ugly old grump from the 1977 movie version, so I was surprised and delighted to see Thorin portrayed as a handsome lost prince this time around, with layers of complicated issues. And Richard Armitage! The casting couldn't have been better.

 1.Martin Freeman as Bilbo. 

He did a superb job. He made me love Bilbo even more than from the book. His expressions of dismay and "who, me?"  looks were perfect. 
He's the main reason why I went back to watch the movie a second time. This statement he makes in response to Thorin's doubts made me want to cheer: "I know you doubt me, I know you always have, and you're right. I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden. See, that's where I belong; that's home, and that's why I came cause you don't have one... a home. It was taken from you. But I will help you take it back. If I can."

What's the last movie you loved so much that you could've done a top ten for it?


  1. I loved the movie too. For all the same reasons. My favorite scene was the dwarves eating dinner at Bilbo's house. The movie captured that scene for me. (It was one of my favorite parts of the book.) I can't wait to see the movie again. Even my daughter, who was skeptical before we saw the movie, loved it.

  2. I'm not going to like the movie, but I'll try not to be too critical. After having read the Hobbit so many times to school children, I know the book by heart, sure to be annoyed when I see the film, but can't help wanting to see it. :0)

  3. I have to admit, I don't love LotR, but I saw The Hobbit and liked it for the most part. I'm sure if I grew up on the books, I'd feel differently. I loved the casting, and lots of the character interactions. The whole thing felt overly long to me, but I expected that given the length of the other movies. I've always had trouble keeping all the characters straight in the LotR lexicon, but I appreciate how beautifully they are shot, and the actors are incredible.

  4. I agree with all of your comments. I've seen The Hobbit three times now, and will probably see it for a fourth time this week. I LOVED Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman so much. Thorin and the dwarves come off quite badly and unlikeable in the book but the film gave them heart and courage.

    Cannot wait for December. And Andy Serkis for an Oscar!

  5. I really liked the movie. It was a fun adventure, just like the book.

    Do you still have that record? It's probably worth a pretty penny!

  6. I thought it was a good movie, but there were parts where the cgi stood out for me (as fake background) and also it feels stretched already. I think that side of it will feel worse by the third film (although I could be wrong).

    Good acting though, and I can't help but feel fondness towards characters who played such a large part in my childhood.

  7. Margo, YES. YES. YES. To ALL of these. I loved the movie and thought it couldn't have been more perfectly cast. I adore Sir Ian McKellan of course and thought Martin Freeman was a fantastic Bilbo. And Richard Armitage... *drool* I just recently watched "North and South" and that was fun to have that in my mind while I watched him as a dwarf. I don't know why everyone was complaining to me before the film, but I enjoyed myself the whole time. Radagast's bunny sleigh was one of the highlights for me! LOL.

  8. Okay, I didn't read all your points because I haven't seen the movie yet. I will when it comes out on Red Box. Two reasons I'm not seeing it in the movies: I heard the first 30 minutes were a bit long and rambly with lots of backstory and I'm annoyed they're stretching it into 3 movies. I feel like that's just to make money, which they will and I"m not saying it's not a smart move. But.... :)

  9. Jack Lewis BaillotJanuary 9, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I second all this. The soundtrack, The Misty Mountain song, the end song, Martin Freeman and his expressions, Gandalf's lines, Kili, Fili, and Thorin. Also, the fun guessing game I've got to play with my brothers while we try and pin point Golin. The elves and the uncertainty if we can trust them or no even though we knew in The Lord of the Rings they were good. Wonderful movie!

  10. I wish I had a love of The Hobbit (or even Lord of the Rings), but I don't. I'm not sure I'm allowed to say that as a writer (or even as as a lover of books but maybe especially as an English teacher), but it's true. They just don't grab me. It's possible there's something wrong with me. :-)

  11. oh, wow! I had stories on vynil, too!!! Mine were much larger records--but still the Disney variety. How funny! I have not seen the movie, but I HAVE read the book. It's the only one of this series that I've read, and it was waaay back in HS. Hubs is a huge fan, though. I'm sure we'll end up seeing the movie. And I'm very sorry to hear about this orc thing. I hated those guys. :P

    Fun post, girl! <3


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