Monday, January 21, 2013
The Scene I Liked in The Hobbit (the rest not so much)
I was having thoughts about the movie while cooking dinner, but I've forgotten them now. Crispina and I went to see it, because she was too sick with what I now think is probably bronchitis to go snow-tubing with the boys in the mountains, and I had thought that we needed to do something, because she was insisting that she wasn't that sick, really, and she'd been begging to see the movie again, after having seen it with my mother over Christmas. So I caved.
Oh, I know one thought I had about the movie: that they'd managed to take a sprightly tale, There and Back Again, and make it absolutely leaden with its own history. Actually, what I thought was that while The Lord of the Rings is an epic, The Hobbit is a fairy tale, and trying to treat it like an epic is a mistake.
Also, I hated Rivendell, the Vegetarian Kingdom. I haven't seen any of the LOTR movies, but the Elves seem all wrong in this one -- maybe it's just that numinous doesn't translate well onto film, so that it ends up just seeming all New-Age dreamy, man, with like harps and stuff. And chard.
And let us not speak of Radagast. The pain is too fresh.
On the other hand . . .
Martin Freeman: good as Bilbo, though the Bilbo he's given to play comes to seem not really very much like the Bilbo Tolkien wrote, particularly towards the end.
I was struck, watching the movie, by just how much the story is about putting a hand to the plow and not looking back, and how hard that is. Of course, in the movie, Bilbo blathers on sensitively about home (and how the Dwarves haven't got one, which is why he wants to help them, because of course there's always got to be some empathetic reason for doing things), but in the book he's always privately wishing he was back in his own hole, "and the kettle beginning to sing," even as he keeps plodding forward on a quest whose end he can't foresee, and in which his own usefulness is far from clear even to himself. In this Tolkien's story, at least, seems suddenly to me to be very much about discipleship, though I hadn't thought about it that way before.
PS: Bombur in the movie really bothers me, and I couldn't figure out why, until I realized that he moves like Barney the Dinosaur. It's like they refurbished a Barney suit into a Bombur one. All the other Dwarves at least look and move like real people, but not Bombur. He's a walking costume.