So, thatdarongirl and I, Beth Matthews, have been wanting to do this NerdGirls chat thing for a while. Basically the two of us having a long involved discussion about some geek relevant topic which we would then present here for the delectation of you, our fellow geeks. We finally managed to get our act together.
Basically, this is our long and in depth geeking out-conversation about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Enjoy! Please feel free to argue or make your own points. As you can see from this conversation: discussion is encouraged.
Let us all be geeks together!
BETH: Hello. My cat just jumped onto my lap. He wants to talk about The Hobbit too, or get petted. Either way…
DARON: Katie’s cat was typing to me earlier. Lots of nonsense.
BETH: Cats are not very good film critics. OK, first of all, the big debate: 24fps or 48fps. You saw the movie in 3D at the 48fps. Any thoughts?
DARON: You know, there’s been a lot of talk of the movie not being “cinematic” due to the frame rate. It’s just not true. I was blown away by the imagery in this movie.
BETH: I don’t see how it could NOT be “cinematic” with them filming in New Zealand. I was drooling over the landscape shots.
DARON: Yes! The flying eagles! I have to say that, more than any of the LOTR movies, this movie made me want to BE in middle earth. It’s the tone, a little more playful maybe.
BETH: hmmm….I think I still lean toward Fellowship for that. So many hobbitses! I want to be a hobbit, I cannot lie.
DARON: But the feet! So hairy!
BETH: But the hobbit holes!
DARON: I do want a hobbit hole.
BETH: So, Martin Freeman as Bilbo…
DARON: He is absolutely perfect.
BETH: I think he should get an Oscar nod. His Bilbo is career defining, take it to the next level, brilliant as hell, genius-level work.
DARON: What did you like about his performance? What was your favorite scene?
BETH: Well, I’m a Martin Freeman fan from way back. I adore him in Love Actually, and then more recently watching him play Watson on Sherlock. He’s just…he’s very natural, and he has this really great physicality. Subtle little twists and ticks, things he does with his head and face. For instance: the “I am a Baggins of Bag End” line, and with this hand gesture and voice you get exactly what that MEANS.
DARON: Totally agree.
BETH: I really love the part during the dinner party where Bilbo goes to the other room to get away, but he can hear the dwarves singing. And his face; he wants to be a part of that, he wants to go.
DARON: I love that you pick up on those details.
BETH: I used to be an actor, remember? LOL.
DARON: But it’s so true, it always seemed like a strange decision to me, for a hobbit to go out seeking adventure, but it was obvious in the movie that Bilbo is just an adventurous spirit! Even though he pretends otherwise. I guess it helps to have a wizard giving you a push.
BETH: Yes, but they also show the push and pull for Bilbo: the sensible Baggins in him vs. the adventurous Took. I liked the Old Took stories. They were a good addition, helped give family background.
DARON: You know, I was worried that Jackson decided to do three films but now I understand why—he wants to give us all those stories and that detail. Man, I’m a sucker for detail. I LOVE it! Detail NOT at the expense of story, though! AHEM like some other prequels we could name
BETH: I know! I thought that was such a good point in the Scalzi article.
DARON: Yep, anyone reading this should go read the Scalzi review here. NOW.
BETH: And this is the particular bit of that review that we are referring to:
“…[a] fair comparison would be to put The Hobbit up to the first installment over another hotly anticipated first movie in a prequel trilogy, i.e., The Phantom Menace. Compared to that movie, The Hobbit is an absolute joy; it makes sense, it doesn’t crap all over the films which preceded it, storywise, and it doesn’t merely rely on special effects to drag the audience through. Jackson doesn’t reach the heights he hit with Fellowship of the Ring or the other movies in Lord of the Rings, but he doesn’t embarrass himself or have to excuse his choices. And when I left the theater, I was genuinely looking forward to the next installment instead of desperately hoping it would redeem the first movie, which is what I felt with Phantom.” ~John Scalzi
BETH: Anyway, SO pacing…I feel like this one was a little padded. Like some of the stuff that was added in was not as organically incorporated as the additions in LOTR were.
DARON: Yes, when Radagast just randomly appears it was a little jarring.
BETH: The scene with Galadriel sticks out as one of those moments for me. I was like “Why is this here?” It felt as if the filmmakers said, “oh, we want Cate Blanchett in the movie; where can we stick her”?
DARON: Well, I will say about Galadriel: I know they probably stuck her in there so we’d get at least ONE female in the movie.
BETH: That’s what I figured too.
DARON: But there’s a great story about Galadriel and Gimli’s gift which I love. Hold on let me find it…
BETH: The thing with Feanor? Teh GR8Test Elf WHO EVAH lived. (Besides Santa Claus…)
DARON: Hahaha yes!
BETH: I think I pinned it. Oh, this isn’t it but…
DARON: LOLOLOL. That hair!
BETH: Synchronized flipping. All dwarf princes have to master it.
DARON: I was a little disappointed by the three baby-faced dwarves to be honest, but Oakenshield grew on me
(Ed. This bit of the conversation below actually happened AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.)
BETH: WAIT! I found the Feanor thing…
Here it is!
DARON: YES, I love this, that Jackson took the time to build this up. You really don’t get a sense of the gravity of the dwarf/elf bad blood in the LOTR movies. It’s just a lot of “oh that Gimli! Look, he fell off a horse again.” The fact that Galadriel gave Gimli her hair is a BIG DEAL, and I think The Hobbit sets that dynamic up a little bit.
BETH: Yes I’m expecting Thorin’s hateration on elves to pay out in the third one. With the Arkenstone.
DARON: ooOoOoOoO The arkenstone. Let’s talk about the scene that all the critics are calling “worth sitting through the rest of the movie”…the game of riddles. Damn Gollum is a nasty little SOB.
BETH: Yes. Oscar gold for that scene alone, man.
DARON: Oscar gold for Martin Freeman?
BETH: BOTH. Andy Serkis deserves a motherfucking Oscar.
DARON: AMEN. They should really give a “best scene” Oscar.
BETH: YES. The thing with Serkis is if the Academy can’t bring themselves to award him a normal one for motion capture work, well, there are “Special Oscars” they can give out. I think for all the stuff he’s done to advance motion capture performance he should get one [ /rant ]
DARON: Preaching to the choir my friend
BETH: What was your favorite part of the riddle scene? Favorite detail?
DARON: I was mainly struck by how repulsive Gollum was (or I guess “bad” Gollum was), and how difficult Bilbo’s choice to spare him must have been because when he’s pounding away at that goblin’s head with a rock? Ew.
BETH: That’s interesting because one of MY favorite parts was how sort of grotesquely endearing Gollum was. I was thinking about how excited and happy he is to have company, to be playing games and riddles and then, you know, he gets to eat too. But that’s one of the things I love about the Gollum character: that horrifying mix of sociopath and lonely, wounded old creature. I was watching the scene and actually thinking about that: about how much Gollum seemed to be enjoying the riddles almost as much as the fact he was going to have a tasty hobbit snack later. I think that’s Peter Jackson being a bad ass director. How many other directors would have that kind of nuance? Would see the layers in Gollum?
DARON: You’re right. Gollum is so interesting… and creepy. Jackson really has dedicated so much time and thought to these characters, it’s such an achievement.
DARON: What was your LEAST favorite part of this movie?
BETH: Hmmm. Oh! I know. Bilbo being used as a handkerchief, and the other gross-out touches that were just unnecessary. Like Radagast and the bird poo. (Ed. See picture. Yeah, that’s bird poo IN HIS HAIR. WHY???!!!) Thumbs down. The gross-out stuff pulled me out of the movie. Which I don’t feel like any of the gross stuff in LOTR did. That’s my biggest problem: gross out stuff is fine, but not when it breaks me out of the movie watching zone.
DARON: I had a bit of a problem with that too, although it didn’t really derail me. I wondered whether Jackson was reaching for too young an audience in those particular instances, and those moments were out of place enough to make the tone uneven. What really messed with me was the sudden appearance and disappearance of Radagast. We’re following along with Bilbo and then suddenly we’re in a forest with a crazy wizard. There was a disconnect there for me.
BETH: Yes, very abrupt.
DARON: Then I’m getting into what Radagast is doing, and it’s so COOL to have another wizard! We only get the two in the books! And poof he’s out of the picture again. Side note – I have NO idea what the necromancer bit is, I don’t remember that at all.
BETH: The Necromancer was very peripheral in The Hobbit as I recall. It’s also weirding me out why they don’t just use the name “Sauron.” I know Tolkein didn’t use that name in The Hobbit, but jeeze Jackson, you’ve already proven you don’t hold Tolkein as gospel so make the whole necromancer thing less confusing. Please.
DARON: Yes please. I’m sure we’ll get some questions answered next movie, but that in particular makes me nervous. Last thoughts? Daron needs sleepy sleep!
BETH: Let’s do Thorin.
BETH: Wow. Hello, Freudian slip. I meant, let’s DISCUSS Thorin.
DARON: HAHAHA. The man has some super nice Dwarven locks
BETH: Yes, very pretty.
DARON: Is he Aragorn-lite? Maybe a little.
BETH: That’s almost EXACTLY how I described him to my mom. Diet Aragorn.
DARON: Well, he’s a warrior king, and a classic hero so I guess they’re all the same
BETH: That’s what I wanted to talk about with Thorin. Because I feel like Viggo Mortenson…he just IS Aragorn.
DARON: Yes, he totally inhabits it.
BETH: And the two of them are kind of on the same point of their kingly trajectories. But I see Richard Armitage working for it more. Viggo just…is. So, I like that we have hunky Thorin, BUT he just can’t stack up to Viggo.
DARON: There may be a different dynamic there, Aragorn isn’t widely known to be king and doesn’t really want it.
BETH: Good point.
DARON: We like a reluctant hero
DARON: Hmm. I didn’t really look for too much nuance from him, I’ll have to watch him more closely on second viewing.
DARON: Him and his oakenshield…
BETH: Oh yeah baby. I’ll rub his wood.
BETH: Sorry. Had to go there.
DARON: Ah! I must add how much I ADORE the closing credits song.
BETH: Yes! The music OMG! That is the one thing I felt was totally on par with anything from the original trilogy.
DARON: I’ve been listening to it on repeat. Another great soundtrack. I’ve loved every credits song but this one is just so perfect.
BETH: I love the guy’s voice.
DARON: Me too! OK, I have to go, falling asleep…
BETH: Sleep tight! Dream of hobbits! And oakenshields…
And that’s our review/long-winded-really-detailed chat…
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in theaters NOW! Buy your ticket today! Do we like exclamation points?! You betcha!