21 December 2012

A Student's Response to "The Hobbit"

I took my students from Penn State and LCCC (along with a whole bunch of friends and friends-once-removed) to see The Hobbit on Monday. Here is one student's response. 

by Alicia Martinez
            I went to see the movie The Hobbit the other day, and it was better than I thought. At the beginning of the movie, the introduction kept me interested. Now, I have never read the book The Hobbit, but after seeing the movie it made me want to read it. While the movie was playing I was noticing the good quality of the visual effects. The imagery of the fields was beautiful. The altering of human features to fit the character’s role in the movie is amazing. For example, the big feet of the hobbit, the size of the dwarfs and elves, even Gollum! Also, the graphics for the battle scenes seen really realistic, and I felt part of it. Visually, the use of lighting and shades gave each scene a special tone or mood. Colors could also set the mood, for example the use of a sad color in a background such as light orange or dark blue or a raging red for the flames to give the impression of terror and destruction. The sound effects were also a big part of the movie and it made the experience more thrilling. While the thumps, splashes, booms, smacks, whoops and whoosh of every move were all a feeling of reality. I could hear the screech of the sword against sword, and it gave me goose bumps. Another sound would have been when someone would get hit. It sounded so real that I felt like I was the one that got hit.
            The overall the performance of the actors was spectacular. I know that the person that does the physical movements of Gollum must have been in a lot of pain from crouching all the time. The use of comedy gave the movie different view. Illustrating that the movie was not just about saving something, but about an adventure full of exciting, happy, sad and terrifying moments. Besides it’s comedy, the movie contained inspiring thoughts. For instance when Gandalf explains Bilbo what real courage is about. In general I did enjoy the movie.

20 December 2012

Hobbit postmortem

...or "All good stories deserve embellishment" (Ian Mckellen)

So I've had about enough of The Hobbit to last me a year. Here's what I've been doing hobbit-wise over the last couple of weeks:

On Dec. 10th, I hosted a "Riddles in the Dark Predictions Game" at LCCC, using The Tolkien Professor's "Riddles in the Dark" predictions grid. I had been listening to The Tolkien' Professor's hilarious, brilliant podcasts in preparation, which was quite a thorough Tolkien education. I recommend them most highly. He has also just published a brand-new book about The Hobbit, which basically presents the content of his Hobbit podcast in a smooth, professional format. It would make a great Christmas present!

 On Dec.13th-14th, I attend the midnight showing of The Hobbit with a few friends. This was wild fun (even though the movie isn't great).

Then I sat in a diner all night and wrote my two reviews.
My first review is in Curator, and it focuses mostly on the texts that get drawn into the story.
My second review is in Comment, and it is more of a cultural analysis of Hobbit-as-adaptation. Your thoughts on both of these are welcome.

Then on Dec. 17th, I offered a lecture on Tolkien to my students at Penn State (Lehigh Valley). Here is the video of my lecture. I hope you find it informative.

Then I took my students and others -- for a total of 222 people! (twice eleventy-one) to see the film. That was delightful, and only a little chaotic.

But what about the movie? I'm really pretty sick of talking and writing about it, honestly. I'll watch the extended edition when it comes out. I'll take people to see then other two films when they come out. But, sigh. So not a masterpiece.

Except for five bits. These five bits were worth the price of the movie, and I could watch these sections endlessly, over and over:
1. The opening sequence, in which Bilbo narrates the history of the dwarves of Erebor
2. Elrond's reading of the moon runes (actually, all of Rivendell)
3. The "Riddles in the Dark" sequence with Gollum
4. The ride on the great eagles
5. The very end (thrush-->gold-->dragon's eye).
Martin Freeman is spectacular. Amazing. I hope he wins an Oscar. He and Andy Serkis, both. 

Oh, and the biggest disappointment? No Benedict Cumberbatch. We have to wait a whole year for his appearances as The Necromancer and as Smaug. Good thing we've got Star Trek
in between, since I'm already suffering Sherlock withdrawal.