What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'The Hobbit')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Tag

In the past 7 days

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: The Hobbit, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 41
1. A Waffle About Tolkien's Horses

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Have you noticed how many of the horses in The Hobbit end up dead? And that's the children's book of that universe!

I don't know why I have suddenly been thinking about this subject, but it's one that enters my mind now and then. As a child, I had walls covered with posters of horses and horse figurines(mostly plastic) on every level surface. A normal little girl, of course. I lived in a flat, so no chance of owning one and anyway, they were expensive, so even finding an agistment paddock would have been out of the question. 

But I dreamed of horses like Shadowfax. Oh, yes!

If I've got any of the details below wrong, please forgive me, Tolkien experts, and don't write rude comments about it! It has been a while since I read these books, though it was multiple time, and I just wanted a pleasant Sunday morning wander through them.  

In The Hobbit, most of the horses are ponies. When Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves leave Hobbiton, only Gandalf is tall enough to ride a full sized horse. And Tolkien gives his ponies personalities. And then he has the lot of them eaten by the goblins, when the company sleeps in that cave above the goblins' halls. 

As if that isn't enough, several of the ponies lent to them in Laketown are eaten by the dragon, 

The only ponies to survive to the end are Beorn's, lent to the Dwarves when he has hosted them and sent them on their way - and that's only because he insists on their return at the edge of the forest and lurks in bear shape to make sure it happens. He's not silly! And considering what happens to the company in the forest, it's even more sensible! Giant spiders, for starters. Beorn would know about them and other scary things in Mirkwood, even if it does also contain a colony of Elves. (But these are not aristocratic Elves like the ones in Galadriel's realm or Rivendell. They're the lower class of the Elven community.)

I suspect Tolkien got rid of the horses because he needed the Dwarves and Bilbo to be on foot when they encountered the various dangers along the way. If the goblins hadn't eaten the ponies in those dark caves, Gollum would have done so. And you can't lug them up the Lonely Mountain, can you? 

In Lord Of The Rings, he's not so awful to his equine characters - and they are characters and they mostly have names. Who can possibly forget Shadowfax, king of the Mearas? Or Bill the pony? When the hobbits' ponies are scattered at Bree, the only horse they can get is a skinny nag bought at an outrageous price from an awful man called Bill. Bill the pony has to be left behind eventually, but he is reunited with his adoring master Sam Gamgee and even gets revenge on his former owner with a kick in passing. The other ponies, following Fatty Lumpkin, Tom Bombadil's pony, are not eaten or burned by dragon fire, as they would have been in The Hobbit, when the author needed to lose themThey end up quite happily employed at the inn in Bree. 

In LOTR we meet an entire nation of horse lovers, the Riders of Rohan. Their horses are their life and soul. They are the best among ordinary horses, though there are also the Mearas, which are a truly special breed, stronger, faster, more intelligent than the regular variety. And the best of those is Shadowfax, who ends up carrying Gandalf. He is dazzlingly white and was performed by two Andalusian horses in the film version, as I was hoping and expecting. 

Horses from Rohan, black ones, are stolen from the herds for the use of the Black Riders. They are brought up in Sauron's realm, so become used to it, but I always felt sad for those animals born to the light and the plains, living in the darkness of Mordor and carrying the Black Riders - and then being swept away at the ford along with their masters. After all, they were just ordinary horses, if the best quality, not flaming-eyed demons. And I do wonder whether the nasty Black Riders were at least kind to their horses, which, after all, they had to rely on.  

The Ranger horses are special too. They aren't pretty, but they're tough. Rangers need that. And when they came to the terrifying Paths of the Dead, the Ranger horses were fine with it, while the Rohan horses had to be blindfolded, as I recall. 

Apart from those poor Black Rider horses, the only equine death was Snowmane, King Theoden's mount, who died in battle and fell, crushing his master under him. The horse got a grave and a memorial anyway. Not his fault! 

There were Tolkien elements in the SF TV series Babylon 5, in which the Black Riders were captured humans in black spaceships, unable to be separated from their "mounts". Even the villain, Bester, grieves over a beloved woman who had had that done to her. 

Interesting, isn't it, how even Tolkien's horses made their way into our culture?

0 Comments on A Waffle About Tolkien's Horses as of 12/14/2016 5:14:00 AM
Add a Comment
2. The earnest faith of a storyteller

Ang Lee, the two-time Academy Award-winning director, has noted that we should never underestimate the power of storytelling. Indeed, as a storyteller, Lee has shown through his films the potential of stories to connect people, to heal wounds, to drive change, and to reveal more about ourselves and the world. In particular, Lee has harnessed new technology for storytelling in movies such as Life of Pi (2012) and his upcoming feature film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (to be released on 11 November, 2016).

The post The earnest faith of a storyteller appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on The earnest faith of a storyteller as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
3. ‘The Last Unicorn’ Scribe Peter S. Beagle Sues His Manager for Elder Abuse And Fraud

In many ways, Beagle's story -- an artist, taken in by a con artist -- is as classic as his writing.

The post ‘The Last Unicorn’ Scribe Peter S. Beagle Sues His Manager for Elder Abuse And Fraud appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

Add a Comment
4. An Unexpected Journey Meets an Imaginative Fundraiser

First Book works tirelessly throughout the year to provide new, high quality books to students in need.  One of the true pleasures of this work is to know that volunteers, organizations, and communities across the country are working toward the same goal.

Recently, we received a wonderful letter that highlighted the incredible creativity of one such group.

MJR Marketplace DiBag_End_Gandalfgital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, Michigan, does an annual movie promotion event to benefit an organization of their choice. This year, the movie theater used its promotion for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to help bring books to kids through First Book.

During the movie’s opening weekend, several of the theater’s managers and staff created a wonderful display of Bilbo Baggins’ iconic home, Bag End. One employee went above and beyond to dress up as Gandalf the Grey himself and posed in photographs with patrons for a small donation.

As a result of their hard work and imaginative fundraising, the night turned out to be a huge success. They combined the donations from the weekend with the funds from a year-long soda can recycling program to raise a total of $1,384.66 to help put books in the hands of low-income students.

The staff successfully combined the excitement of a fan base for a movie premiere with the hobbit graphiccompassion of their audience to help students across the country. It serves as a high bar for the rest of us and makes us think: what are some creative ways we could help the students in our own communities?

If the tale of The Hobbit has taught us anything, it’s that you can never underestimate the impact of a small band of friends.  In the wise words of Gandalf the Grey: “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.  Small acts of kindness and love.”  In this case, let’s pretend the ‘darkness’ he is referring to is illiteracy. First Book could not be happier to have such great friends, with innovative ideas, along to way to create a generation of successful readers!

Add a Comment
5. Films Now, Books First

What are your favorite book-to-film adaptations? Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Book Thief? Anxious for the movie version of Divergent? Can't wait to see the next installment of The Hobbit? Leave a comment at Allie's latest Teens Wanna Know article!

Add a Comment
6. Fantasy Who Would Win?

Fantasy Books Festival

Who would win in a fight between your favorite fantasy characters?

I know what MY favorite thing about fantasy books is: fantasy books often have the most exciting, epic, earth-shattering battles. In worlds where anything is possible, magical creatures, logic-defying supernatural abilities, and even nature itself can turn any old argument into a knock-down, drag-out fight to save the universe. It’s so exciting!

Fight scenes in fantasy books always leave me wondering what I would do if I had the abilities or strengths that the characters have. Would I try to save the world, too? Or would I go on silly adventures instead? Probably a little bit of both!

Today’s Fantasy Books Festival post is all about special abilities. Everyone loves a good collision of fantasy universes

, so do a little imagining yourself: who would win in a fight between these fictional characters?
  • Maleficent (from the Kingdom Keepers series) or Gandalf (from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series)
  • Annabeth Chase (from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians
 series) or Hermione Granger (from the Harry Potter series)?
  • Dragonet Clay (from the Wings of Fire
  •  series) or Eustace (from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) . . . as a dragon?

    Who are your winners? Why? What are your suggestions for fantasy face-offs? Share in the Comments below! 

    Till next time,

    image from kids.scholastic.com — En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

    Add a Comment
    7. Christmas Classics you’ve read to you kids – Christine Bongers

    Fellow Boomerang Blogger, Romi Sharp recently congratulated me on hitting my first century. Gob smacked! I mean I don’t even own a cricket bat, let alone know how to hold one. She meant blogs of course. I hardly noticed. They rack up and slip by like birthdays these days. Nonetheless, even numbers deserve celebration (especially […]

    Add a Comment
    8. Europe’s FMX Conference Celebrates Joe Letteri, Pixar, and ILM

    The 20th anniversary edition of the conference will present some major industry players.

    Add a Comment
    9. First Edition of The Hobbit Breaks Sales Record

    thehobbitA first edition of The Hobbit by J. R.R. Tolkien, which the author had given to a former student, was sold at auction for £137,000 breaking historical sales records for the copy. Sotheby’s expected the rare book to go for between £50,000 and £70,000.

    The copy was one of a handful of copies that the author had signed. This copy contained a list of family members, colleagues, friends and students he planned to give copies of the book. Here is more from Sotheby’s:

    The recipient of this copy was Miss Katherine (“Kitty”) Kilbride (1900-1966) who had been one of Tolkien’s first students at Leeds University in the 1920s. Kitty Kilbride was, recalled her nephew, “…an invalid all her life and was much cheered by his [Tolkien’s] chatty letters and cards. …books were given to her as they were published”. Her set of The Lord of the Rings(inscribed to “C.M. Kilbride”) was sold in these rooms 19 July 1982, lot 315 and, later, Sotheby’s New York, 10-11 December 1993, lot 581. An autograph postcard to her, dated 24 December 1926, was sold at Bonham’s, 12 June 2012, lot 150. Kilbride’s letter of acknowledgement for the present volume is preserved in the Tolkien papers in the Bodleian Library (MS.Tolkien 21, f.66). She notes “what fun you must have had drawing out the maps”.

    Add a Comment
    10. The Hobbit is barreling at us with sexy dwarves and fashionable Radagast

    Hero Complex has a bunch of interviews about The Hobbit up, which is a reminder that OHMIGOD THE HOBBIT OPENS IN 12 DAYS!!! OH MY GOD! IT IS HAPPENING! DON’T LET ME ALMOST DIE AGAIN!

    201212030349 The Hobbit is barreling at us with sexy dwarves and fashionable Radagast

    One interview, with famed costume designer Ann Maskrey reveals that her favorite “look” she designed is for Radagast, the obscure wizard that Tolkienistas have been begging for for decades and are finally getting!

    AM: It was lovely doing things for Cate Blanchett, but she could make a plastic bag look good. There are favorite other ones that are coming up on the screen next year. [In the first film,] I’m very fond of Radagast. I’m very, very fond of that one. It’s just everything about it. The actor [Sylvester McCoy] I knew before, had worked on a movie with him before. He’s a very likable man, and the character’s lovely. The costume used every part of the workshop to the fullest. We had embroidery done, we had fabrics made, we had fabrics dyed, the break-down team worked on it, the milliner did a great hat, the boys that made all the footwear did really nice shoes for him. To me, that was one of the most successful ones. And he’s a new character.

    Maskrey reveals she had to update the WETA sewing department on modern techniques for HD stiching:

    “I’d be checking over what they were doing for the hobbit accessories or hobbit bodices, and how they were finishing them off, and I’d find that they were doing something that I didn’t particularly like, and I’d say, “Why are you doing it that way? I’d like it this way.” And they’d say, “That’s how we did it before.” And I’d say, “Well, ‘before’ is 10 years ago. And that’s not what we’re going to do now. We’re in 3-D, we want something better. … That was then, and this is now, and you’ve got to lift your game accordingly.”

    § Another piece interviews Dean Gorman who portrays Fili, one of the sexy young Dwarf brothers, namely Fili and Kili:

    Together, the brothers are the youngest dwarves in the company, and as many “Hobbit” enthusiasts have noted, the sexiest.

    “I think that’s pretty relative,” O’Gorman said, laughing. “I mean, we’re a company of dwarves. The bar’s not set very high. … I think the idea was as you get older, your beard gets longer, and your nose gets bigger, but when you’re younger, you’ve got a smaller nose and less facial hair.”

    While other dwarf actors wore enveloping whiskers and bulging prosthetic foreheads and noses, O’Gorman and Turner had fewer prosthetic pieces to deal with — nose extensions, fake hands and hairpieces with ears.

    201212030347 The Hobbit is barreling at us with sexy dwarves and fashionable Radagast
    That’s Gorman, left, along with Richard Armitage who plays Thorin in The Hobbit Part 1…uh, has anyone read the end of this book?

    I’ll say no more.

    0 Comments on The Hobbit is barreling at us with sexy dwarves and fashionable Radagast as of 12/3/2012 1:21:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    11. Studio Coffee Run: The Hobbit, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D., Enders Game, etc.

    ewhobb1 224x300 Studio Coffee Run: The Hobbit, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D., Enders Game, etc.

    Variant Entertainment Weekly cover celebrating next week’s release of The Hobbit

    There’s hobbitses just around the corner, people. Peter Jackson’s Hobbit opus opens next Friday to so far mildly positive reviews (it’s currently clocking in at 71% Fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes). In celebration, EW has released four variant covers for this week’s issue, featuring different Hobbit principals. Peter Jackson is preparing for the release by defending his choice to show the film at 48 Frames per second while Warner Brothers is already teasing audiences with pics of the second Hobbit movie, in which Orlando Bloom, “returns” (or is it seen for the first time?) as Legolas (via Rotten Tomatoes, EW, and Comingsoon.net)

    Get ready! There is a big plot twist coming up on the next episode of Arrow. It’s the mid-season finale though, so shouldn’t that be expected? In other Arrow related news, casting is underway for an actress to play the DCU character, Shado, an archer and assassin who becomes Oliver Queen’s lover. (via InsideTV and CBR)

    Joss Whedon was named Entertainer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly. In this naming ceremony, newsy tidbit, EW reveals that Joss’ brother, Jed Whedon, and sister-in-law, Maurissa Tancharoen (who were the showrunners of Dollhouse and have co-production credits on Dr. Horrible) will be the showrunners for S.H.I.E.L.D., along with Jeffrey Bell (who has co-production credits on another Whedon show, Angel). The piece also says that Whedon already turned in an outline for Avengers 2 (EW)

    Anne Hathaway would love to play Catwoman again. I could get into that. (via Access Hollywood)

    And while we’re on the subject of Anne Hathaway’s turn as Catwoman, it is worth mentioning that Indiewire talked to Christopher Nolan who answered questions about Man of Steel (he’s producing) but skirted around any Justice League related inquiries (via Indiewire’s The Playlist)

    Entertainment Weekly got a first look at the live action adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game.

    fl enders game 510x380 300x223 Studio Coffee Run: The Hobbit, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D., Enders Game, etc.

    Enders Game first look (Image via EW)

    Here is a picture of Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff and Asa Butterfield as Ender. The film will be released November 1st, 2013. Enders Game Director, Gavin Hood told EW that they have upped the ages of the children from 6 to 12 because it’s just, well, easier all around for everyone. Plus, middle grades are where it’s at, just ask any YA author you might know about their latest editorial revisions (via EW)

     THR has an interesting read about X-Men: Days of Future Past which speculates as to how Fox might bring back all the now very busy and totally famous X-Men from the original films. It is unconfirmed but rumored, for example, that Halle Barry and James Marsden will be reprising their roles as Storm and Cyclops (via THR)

    The USA Network has picked up a World War 2 alien space drama called Horizon, which will be produced by The Walking Dead’s Gale Anne Hurd (via Deadline)

    And, even though this came out a few weeks ago, just in case you missed it – here is a trailer for Season 2 of Derek Kirk Kim’s web series, Mythomania (via Mythomaniashow YouTube Channel)

    Have a nice weekend!



    0 Comments on Studio Coffee Run: The Hobbit, Arrow, S.H.I.E.L.D., Enders Game, etc. as of 12/8/2012 12:09:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    12. J.R.R. Tolkien Cookbook Featured on Kickstarter

    “Dillicious” blogger Heath Dill wants to share his recipes for second breakfast with his project, Medium Rare and Back Again: A Tolkien Cookbook. The recipes will be derived from several of J.R.R. Tolkien works, from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    Dill has raised more than $14,000 on Kickstarter to give him time to research, cook, photograph, and write 30 recipes for this book. He hopes to make the online version free and to have a print edition available as well. We’ve embedded a video about the project above–what do you think?

    Here’s more about the project: “These recipes will cover different parts of Tolkien’s world – light and delicate Elvish recipes like lembas bread, stout roasted Dwarven fare, hearty Hobbit pies and stews, as well as a few oddball recipes like Balrog Wings. Those that I’ve already blogged about – I’ll be doing refined versions of those, as I’ve learned how to make them even better since then!”


    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

    Add a Comment
    13. The life of J.R.R. Tolkien

    By Philip Carter

    Published in 1937 The Hobbit was Tolkien’s first published work of fiction, though he had been writing on legends since at least 1915. His creation — a mythological race of ‘hobbits’, in which Bilbo Baggins takes the lead — had originally been intended for children. But from the outset Tolkien’s saga also proved popular with adults, perhaps appreciative of the hobbits’ curiously English blend of resourcefulness and respectability. The book was published by Stanley Unwin, following the recommendation of his 10-year old son, Rayner, who received a one shilling reader’s fee. Its success prompted Unwin to press for a sequel, and Tolkien now began work on The Lord of the Rings — a story that ‘grew in the telling’ at readings for the famous Inklings circle in Oxford.

    [See post to listen to audio]

    Or download the podcast directly.

    Philip Carter is Publication Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Read more about J.R.R. Tolkien on the Oxford DNB website. The Oxford DNB online is freely available via public libraries across the UK. Libraries offer ‘remote access’ allowing members to log-on to the complete dictionary, for free, from home (or any other computer) twenty-four hours a day. In addition to 58,000 life stories, the ODNB offers a free, twice monthly biography podcast with over 130 life stories now available. You can also sign up for Life of the Day, a topical biography delivered to your inbox, or follow @ODNB on Twitter for people in the news.

    Subscribe to the OUPblog via email or RSS.
    Subscribe to only literature articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

    The post The life of J.R.R. Tolkien appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on The life of J.R.R. Tolkien as of 12/15/2012 4:18:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    14. THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop

    HBT FP 0009 THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop
    Over the years, I’ve developed a stable of sick foods for those days—whether self-incurred or sent by nature—when you just can’t get out of bed. One of my favorites, frequently referenced here, is Kozy Shack Rice Pudding, a magical substance, each bite of which contains the exactly perfect ratio of creamy vanilla custard and chewy rice grains. Every bite. I’ve never gotten sick of Kozy Shack Rice Pudding. I’ve eaten an entire tub of it in one sitting, never tiring of its flavor and texture, savoring each and every spoonful. It’s good to the last drop.

    The new HOBBIT I movie (An Unexpected Journey) is like Kozy Shack Rice Pudding. It’s jsutmore of the stuff I love and I can eat the whole tub on one sitting. To anyone left who wonders if they should see it I would ask “Did you like LORD OF HE RINGS? Didn’t you say at some point that you would watch a whole movie of Ia McKellan’s Gandalf and Christopher Lee’s Saruman reading aloud rice pudding recipes? Yes, you did and this is that movie.”

    HBT 061233r THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop

    The Hobbit is another helping of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. It is not an exact replica of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but it is close enough in spirit and texture to be an enjoyable extension of the books. And if you are a hardcore Tolkien scholar, like me, you like ALL OF IT, every creamy, ricey bite of it, from the Cracks of Doom to Dol Guldur, from Aragorn to Feanor. And that’s what Jackson is giving us…little bits from the appendixes kitted up to full on battle scenes and character arcs. And I love it!

    Now, did I think the opening with Elijah Wood as Frodo and Ian Holm as the older Bilbo was a little too custardy without enough rice? Yes I did. Was I surprised to find that all White Council meetings took placed while the participants were stoned out of their minds and could only talk in long, drawn out syllables? A bit. Was I previously unaware that Bilbo would be mostly a bystander in the film’s action as the story shifted over to Thorin Oakenshield and his quest for his homeland? That is surely so.

    HBT VFXprog 020 THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop

    But was I also excited to find the canonical great orc Azog elevated to sub villain, and stone giants having majestic boulder battles in the mountains, and the scrofulous growths of disgusting goblin kings shaking with laughter and wargs and elves and Mount Gundabad?

    You betcha!

    To all the haters who say this movie has no story and is way too slow: I think you got the wrong idea. Peter Jackson’s three part Hobbit is not a movie. It is a nine-hour mini-series that is being presented in theaters at frame rates only a crankhead can enjoy. The first hour is all set up, the second hour is some journeying, the third hour has some fights, the fourth hour will definitely have more fights, and maybe spider, and perhaps a hearty lunch and so on.

    Also, if you don’t mind spoilers, I defy you to read this and not want to se Peter Jackson make this movie! If you don’t want spoilers here’s a peek:
    201212161815 THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop
    The third movie is apparently going to be nothing but action as a giant battle of men, elves, dwarves, orcs and eagles unfolds, while Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond go postal on the Necromancer at Dol Guldur. With swoopy camera angles and bigatures! And hot elves! And hot dwarves! And Martin Freeman! Come on now, who does not want to see that?

    HBT 033314r THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop

    I was not a fan of Jackson’s KING KONG, which was total monkey fanfic and betrayed White Council-like meandering story sense. But here, Jackson’s viewpoint meshes perfectly with the source material. There are a lot of Jackson/Walsh/Boyens/del Toro made up things in the HOBBIT but they all improve the film’s cinematic flow. They’ve elevated Thorin, who in the book is mostly a greedy, petty pain in the ass. In Jackson’s HOBBIT he’s a noble, dispossessed prince trying to get his homeland back—but he’s also flawed. He’s an Aragorn who doesn’t make it. Richard Armitage is fine with the role, and as with the original trilogy, slash and fanfic will never be the same after meeting Thorin, Fili, Kili, Bofur and so on.

    Now, I did not see this in the crack-head frame rate, and it seems that everyone who did—including all critics—was repelled and alarmed. I don’t generally like 3D but The Hobbit looked fine in that presentation, with Jackson’s trademark plunging tracking shots, and WETA’s attention to detail holding up well on the screen. (Apparently in 48fps it’s really hard to make things look good in cinematic terms.)

    And to those who say The Hobbit is a cute kids book and does not need to be three three hour movies, I say, “No, it doesn’t so go watch the Rankin Bass version.” This movie is all about pigging out on rice pudding, and wallowing in every last detail of Middle Earth. And I’m fine with that.

    HBT FP 0001 THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop

    I wasn’t totally fine with Radagast. I liked his bunny sled, which wasn’t canon but somehow, kinda fit in with the spirit of other agrarian Tolkien works like Farmer Giles of Ham and Leaf by Niggle. I wasn’t entirely in love with his bird shit. Radagast in the books was an oddball but not a hoarder. (And yes every Tolkien scholar in the audience laughed when Gandalf said that there were five wizards but “Hm, I can’t remember the name of the other two.” )

    Other Tokienistas seem to have reacted favorably to An Unexpected Journey. Here’s Mariah Huehner’s take.

    By changing a few things, Jackson gave Bilbo a bit more agency up front (choosing to go on the quest instead of Gandalf basically shoving him out the door, figuring out he should maybe try stalling the trolls until daylight, coming to Thorin’s defense). This makes his arc as a character more believable because he does have some of these positive traits already. They just need to be brought out by the circumstances. He starts out fussy, with glimmers of risk-taking and cleverness. Which come up again later in various circumstances (trolls, Gollum, spiders, barrel ride, Smaug, info via thrush to Dale, they all build toward each other). That’s how you work a character arc.

    And Dresden Kodak creator Aaron Diaz, who has the best post for the Tolkien scholars I’ve read yet:

    The tone is perfect, and they do a really good job of making this “Not Lord of the Rings,” complete with the implication that Bilbo likely embellished parts of the story. It’s lighthearted without being goofy or dumb, and captures that sense of innocence of a time much less dark and dreary.  I suspect this might throw off some who are less familiar with Tolkien’s work, who expect every one of his stories to feel like LoTR, but we know better, don’t we?  There are many different stories in Middle-Earth with many different purposes.

    And just to round thing out, noted surrealist Alejandro Jodorowskywas not a fan of Tolkien’s male-focused world:

    The Hobbit is a single male elf accompanied by male dwarves. How can we make movies where women do not exist?

    Bring on Tauriel!

    In another tweet, Jodorowky united the streams:

    which translates (Google tells me) as:

    At the end of “The Hobbit”, who sleeps in the mountain of gold coins, is none other than Donald Duck’s uncle disguised as a dragon.

    If Benedict Cumberbatch is going to play Uncle Scrooge, so be it!

    So anyway, I really enjoyed the Hobbit, I plan to see it at least once more, and when it comes out on Blu-Ray I’ll watch it over and over again, especially when Fili and Kili are onscreen, and oh yeah, Andy Serkis’s Gollum was amazing.

    Now bring on the Kozy Shack!

    HBT TRL2 174 THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop

    6 Comments on THE HOBBIT is just like rice pudding: good to the last drop, last added: 12/17/2012
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    15. First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Warner Bros dumped a bunch of stills from 2013 ovies the other day, including this first look at The Hobbit II: The Desolation of Smaug that shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo lounging about on Smaug’s gold hoard. That can’t end well.

    HBT2 044512r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews


    Because the other photos include Ryan Gosling, Henry Cavill and a very troubling looking Sylvester Stallone, here are the rest of the photos:

    GSD 16456r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    Gangster Squad (Ruben Fleischer)

    Starring MICHAEL PEÑA as Officer Navidad Ramirez, RYAN GOSLING as Sgt. Jerry Wooters, ROBERT PATRICK as Officer Max Kennard, ANTHONY MACKIE as Officer Coleman Harris and JOSH BROLIN as Sgt. John O’Mara

    GSD 07545 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    EMMA STONE as Grace Faraday and RYAN GOSLING as Sgt. Jerry Wooters. That won’t inspire any tumblr posts, no sir.

    GSD 01128 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    HSD 04758rv2 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Walter Hill directs this graphic novel adaptation! It’s based on the French Du Plomb Dans La Têteby Matz and Colin Wilson. It stars Sylvester Stallone who has clearly taken an axe to his head which left his eyebrows in suspended animation. Seriously, Sly. WTF!!!! You are 66 years old and it’s been a hard life but…AIEEEE. Co stars include Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christian Slater, Jon Seda, Weronika Rosati and Jason Momoa

    HSD 04802r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    HSD-04802r: SYLVESTER STALLONE as Jimmy in Warner Bros. Pictures’, Dark Castle Entertainment’s and IM Global’s action thriller ”
    HSD 04106 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    That’s Sarah Shahi with Sly’s eyebrows. Also he has the felt hair of a G.I. Joe figure. Why do we suspect this will not be one of the more PRESTIGIOUS comic book movies?

    BC 04017 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Richard LeGravenese directs this story of star crossed southern lovers who meet up with supernatural shit. It stars ALDEN EHRENREICH as Ethan Wate and ALICE ENGLERT as Lena Duchannes and does not takes place at TWILIGHT.

    BC 18771r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Oscar winner VIOLA DAVIS explains that they are in terrible danger from some old artifact I bet.
    BC 02302 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    Jeremy Irons explains that they are in terrible danger.

    BC 01287 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    Emmy Rossum appears as the girl next door in a dress that has useful built in underwear.

    BC 08271 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews


    JTGK TRL1 1335r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Bryan Singer slums from the X-men to direct this fairy tale. NICHOLAS HOULT plays Jack. The rest of the cast includes Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Ewan McGregor. McShane and McGregor in one picture. Good

    42 (Brian Helgeland)

    Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey in the story of the first African American major league baseball player.

    42D 02303r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    42D 06370r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    42D 06491r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews


    GG 06432r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    GG 14241r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Baz Luhrmann directs what is sure to be an understated version of F. SCott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of Jazz Age overindulgence, with Leo Di Caprio as Jay, Carey Mulligan as Daisy and Tobey Maguire as Nick. Beautiful shirts.


    H3 FP 0002 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Director Todd Phillips is back as are Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms , Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong.

    H3 FP 0004 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews


    MOS 0001RV First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    You’ve already seen this one. Dark broody Man of Steel played by Henry Cavill.

    SS KH 15157rV5 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    WOW this movie is going to be incredibly toyetic, isn’t it? Guillermo del Toro directs a big MECHA VS KAIJU movie, starring the guy from Sons of Anarchy, Rinko Kikushi (who has Knives Chau’s haircut for some reason), and Idris ELba because every action movie must include Idris Elba. Also, Rob Kazinsky who was roiginally to play Fili in THE HOBBIT until mysterious health issues forced him off the production. I lked Dean O’Gorman fine as Fili, but Kazinsky would have been more of a “twin” with Aidan Turner’s Kili.

    SS KH 00609rC First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    SS KH 01682 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    SS KH 11808c First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    SS KH 09110 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    THE CONJURING (James Wan)

    CJD 05806 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as supernatural investigators who must rescue Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor from a horrible demonic possession in a farmhouse.
    CJD 02925r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    WE’RE THE MILLERS (Rawson Marshall Thurber>

    WTM 04248r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    Also known as “We’re the co-stars of the latest attempt at a Jennifer Aniston vehicle.” The co-stars in this case are Ema Roberts and Jason Sudeikis.
    WTM 10272 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    GETAWAY (Courtney Solomon and Yaron Levy)

    GA 03638r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    Teen star/Bieber object of desire Selena Gomez teams up with Ethan Hawke for a remake of the Professional a thriller. Hawke is a burnt out race car driver whose family has been kidnapped! Gomez is a young hacker who is the only person who can aid him! Jon Voight plays the Sinister Older White Man. HEY GIRL — a driver who chews on a toothpick? Very original!

    SEVENTH SON (Sergei Bodrov)
    SES 09919r First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews
    The Dude is now a full on wizard in this mystical fantasy. Ben Barnes and Julianne Moore also star.

    SES SR 059 First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

    2 Comments on First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews, last added: 1/9/2013
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    16. Video Sunday: Six ships of my own making

    I’ve blogged about this fellow before, but it’s been a while.  There’s a young actor in L.A. by the name of Hunter Davis who has a penchant for doing a dead on Ian McKellen imitation.  He’ll post videos of his antics from time to time, and with the release of the new Hobbit movie you can see that he’s extended his repertoire a tad.  Apparently it isn’t just Ian McKellen.  He has a pretty good Andy Serkis as well.

    Previous videos include things like the theme to Ducktales, the Magic Dance song in Labyrinth, that sort of thing.

    Now I understand that Christmas has come and gone and that if you’re anything like me you’re just vegetating on your couch watching the snowflakes fall, contemplating the sheer caloric loads you’ve imbibed in the last week and a half.  But insofar as I can tell it is NEVER too late to watch British children’s authors singing The 12 Books of Christmas. Here you will find Sarah and Don Conroy, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, Michael Emberley, Jane Mitchell, Síne Quinn, Conor Hackett and on ukelele Grainne Clear and Deirdre Sullivan.  Their band name?

    The Blurbs.

    12BooksChristmas 500x283 Video Sunday: Six ships of my own making

    Worth it if only to discover how to pronounce Niamh Sharkey.  Thanks to David Maybury for the link.

    Finally, for our off-topic video (busy week, not much fodder, somehow I missed this Spike Jonze book-loving bit of stop-animation.  In the interest of work friendliness there is some copulating skeleton action over the credits at the end.  If your place of business is anti-skeleton sex, forewarned is forearmed.

    MourirAupresDeToi Video Sunday: Six ships of my own making

    Thanks to mom for the link!

    printfriendly Video Sunday: Six ships of my own makingemail Video Sunday: Six ships of my own makingtwitter Video Sunday: Six ships of my own makingfacebook Video Sunday: Six ships of my own makinggoogle plus Video Sunday: Six ships of my own makingtumblr Video Sunday: Six ships of my own makingshare save 171 16 Video Sunday: Six ships of my own making

    3 Comments on Video Sunday: Six ships of my own making, last added: 1/2/2013
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    17. Which Door Would You Choose?

    You find yourself in front of seven identical doors. A voice from above tells you, "These seven doors lead to seven different places: Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot, Middle Earth, and Westeros." Which door do you go through? Why that door? What happens?

    I would go through the door to Wonderland without hesitation. I have always loved Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and count it as one of my top ten books of all time. The character of Alice and I have a lot in common, beginning with our curiosity and continuing with our adoration of cats, a thirst for knowledge, and sheer determination. I would love to wander through Wonderland and interact with different characters from the books, especially the White Rabbit, the Gryphon, and the Cheshire Cat. I'd rescue the hedgehogs from the croquet games and delight in the chess game. Plus, I really love the hallway of doors in Wonderland. 

    Read more at my blog, Bildungsroman. 

    Which door would YOU choose?

    Add a Comment
    18. Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentia

    Charlotte 500x301 Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentia

    Now this is really neat.  There’s a series called BOOKD through THINKR (apparently E’s are considered gauche these days) that will take a topic and really go into it with a panel of experts.  In this particular case the question is whether or not you should re-read Charlotte’s Web.  Author Bruce Coville and teacher/blogger/author Monica Edinger (amongst others) give their two cents.  Really nicely edited and shot, don’t you think?

    In other news, I had no idea that the Royal Shakespeare Company had created a staged adaptation of The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban.  Hoban died just last year in 2012.  I feel a bit miffed that he didn’t get to see this.  Maybe he got a sneaky peak in some way.  At any rate, it look fantastic (love the ending on the second video).  I just wonder how they pulled off The Caws of Art.  I’ve two videos here for the same production.  Love them both for very different reasons.

    Thanks to Stefan for the links!

    Sometimes I like to step into an alternate universe where I grew up in the USSR and watched television like this version of The Hobbit.  Instead I grew up on the old Rankin & Bass version.  Which was better?  Um . . .

    Thanks to Educating Alice for the link!

    And kudos to The New York Times for this lovely Christoph Neimann illustrated video of an interview Sendak conducted with NPR.

    Sendak 500x274 Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentia


    When I die, let’s do that.  That would be fun.  Make a note of it.

    And finally, for the off-topic part, gold gold goldy gold.  I don’t even know if you could label it “Off-Topic” since it involves a child reading.  Or rather, a three-year-old child “reading”.  I know it’s three minutes but I seriously sat down and watched the whole thing because it’s a fascinating case study in what words kids pick up on when they hear stories.  The “but then” particularly amuses.

    Many thanks to Stephany Aulenback for sharing that.


    printfriendly Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentiaemail Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentiatwitter Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentiafacebook Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentiagoogle plus Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentiatumblr Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentiashare save 171 16 Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentia

    3 Comments on Video Sunday: Steampunk rodentia, last added: 1/20/2013
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    19. HFR and The Hobbit: There and Back Again

    By Arthur P. Shimamura

    Is it the sense of experiencing reality that makes movies so compelling? Technological advances in film, such as sound, color, widescreen, 3-D, and now high frame rate (HFR), have offered ever increasing semblances of realism on the screen. In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we are introduced to the world of 48 frames per second (fps), which presents much sharper moving images than what we’ve seen in movies produced at the standard 24 fps. Yet many viewers, including myself, have come away with a less-than-satisfying experience as the sharp rendering of the characters portrayed is reminiscent of either old videotaped TV programs (soap operas, BBC productions) or recent CGI video games. What features of HFR create this new sensory experience and why does it appear so unsettlingly similar to the experience of watching a low budget TV program?

    One factor that can be ruled out is the potential difference in flicker rate. Moving images are of course created by the rapid succession of still frames, and thus the flicker or on-and-off rate must be fast enough so that we do not perceive any change in illumination between frames. With early silent films, the flicker rate was less than 16 fps, and a noticeable flashing or flickering was apparent (hence the term “flicks” to refer to these early movies). Since the advent of sound, the standard has been 24 fps, though the flicker rate is increased with the use of a propeller-like shutter that spins rapidly in a movie projector so that a movie running at 24 fps actually presents each frame two or three times, thereby increasing the flicker rate to 48 or 72 fps. Thus, with respect to flicker rate we have always watched movies at HFR.

    A still from The Hobbit film. (c) Warner Bros.

    Two factors have motivated the current interest in HFR. The obvious one is that actions recorded at more rapid frame rates, such as a car chase shot at 48 fps vs 24 fps, would reduce by half the distance objects move across successive frames. With HFR we are presented shorter increments of movement, and our brains need not work as hard to extrapolate apparent motion across frames, which may result in a smoother sense of motion. I, however, do not think that it is this between-frame difference that is driving our sensory experience as we watch The Hobbit. A second, less known factor, is that the movie was shot at a faster shutter speed than movies shot at 24 fps. Filmmakers have a rule that states that the shutter speed at which each frame is shot should be half as long as the frame duration. Thus, most movies we’ve seen have been shot at 24 fps with a shutter speed of 1/48 sec for each frame. Those of you who have played with photography know that this shutter speed would produce rather blurry images when the camera is hand held. On a tripod, a movie filmed with this shutter speed would show fast moving objects (e.g., cars) with a noticeable blur. When movies filmed at 24 fps are shot with a faster shutter speed and less motion blur, actions appear jerky and unnatural.

    The Hobbit was filmed with a shutter speed of 1/64 sec, which produced less motion blur and thus sharper images compared to movies shot at 24 fps. At the faster frame rate, the jerkiness associated with presenting sharp images at 24 fps is largely reduced, though I did notice that on some occasions large camera movements and fast movements of actors appeared stilted and unnatural. A psychological study by Kuroki and colleagues showed that in order to perceive naturalistic movements with sharp moving images (i.e., no motion blur) it is necessary to use frame rates of 250 fps or faster. Interestingly, the shutter speed used for The Hobbit closely matches that used for old videotaped TV programs, which were filmed at 30 fps with a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. I suspect that it is this close match in shutter speed (and thus similarity in image sharpness) that creates the impression of viewing a soap opera when we watch Bilbo Baggins and company.

    In the future, after years of experiencing HFR movies, will we be able to appreciate the more realistic renderings garnered by this new technology? Will a younger generation without prior associations to videotaped TV programs be enamored by the sharper images? Time will tell, though I’m skeptical. HFR does offer a more realistic rendering than what we’ve previously encountered at the movies, and further advances may help to refine its use. Yet do we really want to have an entirely realistic portrayal? In most cases that would mean having the experience of sitting next to the director watching actors on a sound stage with artificial lighting, which is exactly the impression I had while watching Bilbo backlit by what was supposed to be moonlight. Instead, we may end up preferring a softer image which maintains the illusion of being engaged in an adventure with our favorite fictional characters and partaking in a wonderfully unexpected journey.

    Arthur P. Shimamura is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and faculty member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. He studies the psychological and biological underpinnings of memory and movies. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008 to study links between art, mind, and brain. He is co-editor of Aesthetic Science: Connecting Minds, Brains, and Experience (Shimamura & Palmer, ed., OUP, 2012), editor of the forthcoming Psychocinematics: Exploring Cognition at the Movies (ed., OUP, March 2013), and author of the forthcoming book, Experiencing Art: In the Brain of the Beholder (May 2013). Further musings can be found on his blog, http://psychocinematics.blogspot.com.

    Subscribe to the OUPblog via email or RSS.
    Subscribe to only television and film articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

    The post HFR and The Hobbit: There and Back Again appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on HFR and The Hobbit: There and Back Again as of 1/14/2013 8:16:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    20. Movies 2013

    In addition to the May 17 release (finally!) of Star Trek into Darkness, 2013 looks to be a good year for movies based on children's and YA books.

    Coming up this year are:

    Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
    Ender's Game
    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    Other movies this year based on books/plays/classic tales include:

    Bless Me, Ultima
    Jack Ryan
    Jack the Giant Slayer
    Jurassic Park 3D
    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
    The Great Gatsby
    World War Z
    Much Ado About Nothing
    The Seventh Son

    And based on comic books:

    Iron Man 3
    Man of Steel
    The Wolverine
    Thor: The Dark Worlds

    0 Comments on Movies 2013 as of 1/16/2013 6:28:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    21. Gollum not a fan of the Rings films

    Warning: This 36-second video contains the 'F' word.

    Add a Comment
    22. Hobbit-y Goodness

    Excuse me, but I need to nerd/geek/dork/whatever out here for a minute because: They are making not one, not two, but three movies for The Hobbit. They finally released the sub-titles this past week causing a flurry of speculation as to how exactly the story is going to enfold. It’s like Durin’s Day for Tolkien nerds, with secrets like Lee Pace as Thranduil being released, looking pretty and elf-y. The first trailer that debuted months ago still gives me goosebumps during the dwarf song.  There are the amazingly perfect gestures of Martin Freeman as Bilbo to consider. I’ve got some time to analyze Galadriel’s knowing smile and Gandalf’s concern before the first hits theaters and I’m pretty ecstatic to be able to write that.

    Why is it all such an epic big deal? Well, for me, it’s because I thought LOTR was the end of it and I considered myself lucky and grateful to have gotten such wonderful adaptations of works I love so much in my lifetime. I was content with having not only theatrical releases but extended, everything and the Moria-sink, versions. I saw the Huorns eat the orcs after The Battle of Helms Deep. I saw the Gray Havens. Cate Blanchett was Galadriel and she was perfect. I have like 12 hours of awesome Middle Earthing to watch whenever I want. How could I ask for more?

    Yet, we’re getting a lot more. Not one, not two, but three installments of dwarf-y, hobbit-y, dragon-y, goodness. Some people have wondered if there’s enough story to do a satisfying trilogy. I would argue an emphatic, YES. Even though The Hobbit is a more straightforward, “simple” heroes quest, with far less world detail and historical density, it’s not really a “lite” read. Especially when you consider it within the greater story of LOTR, which it foreshadows, and further consider some of the events that take place off-page, that are helpfully included in appendices in LOTR. The fact that they’re actively putting it within that context, in my opinion, roots the story in the world more solidly, grounding it within a framework of larger and more profound consequences.

    Depending on when you read The Hobbit and how you interpreted it, I can understand the belief that it’s a “kids” story and doesn’t need a darker adaptation. As grownups it’s easy to view the less sophisticated writing style, especially when compared to the sweeping and layered complexity that is LOTR, and see something “for children.” If you’re looking at it through the nostalgic lens of childhood, or the assumption that it is child-ish, we can sometimes overlook the fantasy/horror elements that The Hobbit does in fact contain.


    First of all, a group of trolls nearly eats all the dwarves in the first third. The goblins (or basically smaller orcs) in the mountains capture and chain up the dwarves, hurt them, threaten them and definitely want to kill them. Gollum, it is implied, has eaten goblins before, and he absolutely tries to brain Bilbo when he figures out he found his ring and tricked him with a non-riddle. After they get out, those same creatures set fire to the trees our heroes hide up, nearly becoming kebabs for goblins if not for the eagles. Then there’s Mirkwood with the giant spiders who poison the dwarves so they can, let’s face it, drain their blood. Then the elves lock them all up in dungeons. And that’s all BEFORE the giant dragon who decimates Esgaroth, The Battle of Five Armies, and the sad yet noble death of a redeemed main character. I’m just not sure you can call that sort of story “lite” toned, exactly.

    Granted, there’s plenty of humor. I remember laughing every single time I read the exchange between Bilbo and Gandalf about who/what Beorn is, because Bilbo’s response is just so completely ludicrous, involving the word “coneys” and his bizarre belief that skin-changers are somehow like furriers. And Bilbo running around invisible with a cold during the barrel ride to Laketown and freaking people out with his “spirit” sneezes and bread stealing? Comedy gold. He has quite a bit in common with Pippin in the pratfall department, really. So, like any good drama, there’s levity to break it all up.

    However, that just brings us back to the darker themes and story points, like Thorin Oakenshield’s entire history and his character arc which gets pretty obsessive and dangerous because of the Arkenstone. They only narrowly avoid dwarves vs. elves because the goblins come sweeping down from the mountains and that’s an enemy everyone can agree on because they’re pretty gross. There’s also some interesting specieism going on with Thranduil,king of Mirkwood, which hints at the larger problems in Middle Earth with the “good” guys being way too divided. And! If you’re an attentive reader, at least, you start to gather that Gandalf may have been kind of manipulating events here, especially in the hindsight you gain from information in LOTR that tells you how important it was to deal with Smaug. Plus I, for one, have always wanted to know what happened with the Necromancer while Gandalf was away, so I’m not sorry to have it added in. Basically, there’s plenty of story to go around.

    Beyond all that, there’s also the issue that adapting the The Hobbit today, after LOTR has been made, means you can’t dial the story back to a time when this connection didn’t exist so concretely in pop culture consciousness. That’s just how it is. If you want to view The Hobbit as entirely separate, okay. You can do that. Don’t go see the films, read the book as a one-off, and it won’t be a problem for you. The films can’t actually undermine anything about your personal story interpretation. But there is no way Jackson could be expected to ignore the over-arching context after LOTR and it would be kind of absurd to try. Personally, I’m all for bringing these things together and getting our collective epic on.

    At this point my obsessive love of all things Middle Earth should be pretty obvious. I could talk/write/post about it forever. I’ve loved this world since I was little and it’s informed my overall adoration of stories and storytelling a great deal. I appreciate detailed world building because of Tolkien, and one of the things Jackson has done best is realize that world with respect and consideration in a visual medium. That alone would make me a fan, but he also actively went beyond the superficial and made sure it all “feels” authentic and real.

     Hobbit y GoodnessThe fact that we’ll have The Hobbit in another three films to add to this world, another journey to follow, another group of characters to root for and care about? I just can’t ask for more, because I’m already getting so much.

    8 Comments on Hobbit-y Goodness, last added: 9/4/2012
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    23. The Hobbit: Trailer 2 = :)

    This looks even better the more times you watch it :) 

    Add a Comment
    24. Lord of the Rings Trilogy Unabridged Audiobook is 54 Hours Long

    Audible has released the first unabridged audiobook version of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy, a staggering 54 hours and nine minutes of listening time.

    The series is read by Rob Inglis, the actor who narrated audiobooks for Ursula K. Le Guin‘s The Earthsea Cycle. Inglis also narrated the unabridged audiobook for Tolkien’s The Hobbit, an 11-hour listening experience.

    Here’s more from the release: “Each of these audiobooks is also Whispersync for Voice-ready, which means that if you buy or already own the Kindle version of The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers or The Return of the King, you can now effortlessly switch back and forth between reading and listening to the series that has captivated millions of readers and moviegoers—without losing your place.”

    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

    Add a Comment
    25. The Art of Breaking Breaking Dawn

    From The Hobbit to Harry Potter, Hollywood loves dividing popular novels into two separate films.

    With the second adaptation of Stephenie Meyer‘s Breaking Dawn coming to theaters this weekend, we caught up with screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg to find out what it was like to break the novel into two pieces.

    She explained in an email interview: “There was a very natural place at which to break the two books.  The second movie needed a little filling out, but the book itself offered many possibilities for that.  Because the book is all told from Bella’s point of view, things sometimes happen off the page and are related by Bella after the fact — for instance, when Jacob tells her father she’s a werewolf.  In the book, Bella finds out about this conversation after it happened, but in adapting the movie, I got to write the conversation itself.”


    New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

    Add a Comment

    View Next 15 Posts