Trailer Tuesdays: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The trailer for the final film in the Hobbit trilogy has finally been released, and to paraphrase Thorin Oakenshield, I’ve never been so torn about something in all my life.

Spoilers ahead for those of you who haven’t read a 75-year-old book.

Continue reading

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

hobbit_desolation_of_smaug_posterJust like last year, I went to the Hobbit movie’s midnight premiere. Unlike last year, I didn’t stay up after getting home from the movie to write a review. I know, I know: get my head in the game. Our readers are dying to know what I thought! Well, wait no longer, as my opinions can be found, along with plenty of spoilers, right below this handy-dandy jump.

Continue reading

Trailer Tuesdays: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Less than two weeks till The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premieres in theaters, so the time is as good as any to talk about this trailer. If I sound a little less than enthusiastic, it’s because I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The new filming technology was fine, it was just… well, it was boring. And the book was emphatically not boring. The film was so boring I actually fell asleep in the last ten minutes and only woke up when Thorin was thanking Bilbo for saving him from the Orcs.

Thing is, The Hobbit was just one book—a relatively short book, at that. There’s no real reason the adaptation has to be three movies long. But since it is, it would help if Peter Jackson decided to flesh out the Hobbit world with interesting things. In the first movie we got an extended look at Radagast the Brown and cameos from Galadriel and Saruman, who were not in the book at all. In this movie Jackson’s going to add a side plot with Tauriel, a Sylvan Elf. None of these things are inherently bad, but they’re not related to the main plot of the Hobbit at all, and as long as they come off as detours from the plot rather than additions to the plot, they’re always going to feel extraneous. Is it fun to see Saruman and Galadriel again? Yes, but unless they add to the plot I’d just as soon rewatch all three Lord of the Rings movies, thanks.

Still, I am excited about Tauriel. She’s not a canon character, but Lord of the Rings is notoriously bad at women, and adding another woman to an almost-womanless cast can only be a good thing. From a storytelling perspective, it shouldn’t be hard to fold her seamlessly into the narrative, as the gang is going to be stuck in Mirkwood for quite some time. Having said that, I hope that Tauriel’s entire plotline won’t revolve around Legolas and his possible feelings for her, as the trailer implies. It would be a shame to finally have a female character in the Hobbit-verse, only to have her defined by Legolas’s interest in her.

So in Desolation of Smaug, I would love to see more of King Thranduil and the Wood Elves, and we should, since we’re getting to that part of the book. Lee Pace brings amazing sass to this role, and I was beyond disappointed when he only got a couple minutes of screentime in the first movie. Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug is going to be incredible, and I look forward to the explosion of Cumberdragon art after the movie premieres. I would also, obviously, love to see that possible cameo by Stephen Colbert that he’s been hinting at for ages.

On that note, I’ll leave you with Stephen Colbert asking Peter Jackson the nerdiest Hobbit question of all time. (For those of you who don’t want to reread the book, this is an excellent way to brush up on your Mirkwood history before seeing the movie!)

The Hobbit’s Newest Lady

It has been announced over at Entertainment Weekly that Peter Jackson is introducing a new character. Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly of Lost, is the captain of the Elven Guards. Additionally, she is a Sylvan Elf, which means she is an elf of a lower status than Legolas, Elrond, Galadriel, etc.

HBT2-fs-140204.DNG Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: Where are all my dwarf ladies at?

If you’ve read The Hobbit or any other Tolkien books or pretty much any fantasy story where dwarves exist as a separate race, you might have noticed that dwarf ladies are sadly lacking representation. Although there aren’t, in fact, any female characters at all in The Hobbit, in The Lord of the Rings at least we have examples of powerful women (or at least existing women) from every race but the dwarves. As someone (I think Gimli?) in Lord of the Rings notes, Middle Earthling dwarf women are seen so rarely, and so resemble dwarf men (sporting plenty of facial hair and… pants and axes, I guess?), that most other races assume dwarves are a single-gendered species who spring from the rock fully formed rather than one that engages in sexual reproduction.

Peter Jackson, in the scene in The Hobbit movie showing the fall of Erebor and the devastation of Dale, does show us a number of dwarf women living under the mountain with their male cohorts. I was surprised, however, that he had given them far more feminine clothing and features than I expected.

These are certainly not characters who might be misgendered as men, and furthermore, the clear difference in presented gender gives the lie to any suggestion that dwarf women are so rare/often misgendered that they are considered mythical creatures by other Middle Earthlings. Continue reading

Happy Hobbit Day! Have a Post Re-read Retrospective

I just finished re-reading The Hobbit yesterday (just as a refresher before the first movie this winter). It’s sadly been several years since I last traveled with thirteen dwarves and a burglar to the Lonely Mountain, so I figured it was time. And it’s interesting how different it is reading it as a sort-of-adult, and how much of it is like coming home. Continue reading

The Hobbit Trilogy

So I’m sure that most of you have probably heard this by now, but Peter Jackson has announced that The Hobbit is being turned into three movies. Now, if you hadn’t heard this before and you think I’m making this up, here is the BBC link that tells you the same thing.

How do I feel about this? Well, a little confused. Supposedly, there is going to be a decent amount of footage from the appendices and (I’m assuming) enough background/character development of each dwarf to fill another three hours. I’m going to be really honest: I do not care about all of the dwarves. I can hardly keep them straight, and most of them are just names in a book. They have hardly any character development the way Tolkien wrote them. In a sense, that is fine because (essentially) they weren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. I was fine not knowing about them. I’m not so sure I’m as okay with Peter Jackson pouring their personalities down my throat.

And what about all that stuff in the appendices? I’m going to be honest: I didn’t read that. My feeling is if it were important enough for me to know, it would have been in the central text. If Jackson wants to have screen time and character development for every minor character, maybe he should just give them their own movie. But this is Bilbo’s story, and in my opinion it should stay that way.

How do you feel about this? Let me know in the comments!