Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Only a few reasons can explain why Peter Jackson would turn Tolkien's slight novel, The Hobbit, into a trio of long films, longer director's cut versions of which are almost certainly on the way.  Greed, of course is one of them; sequels are the surest paths to money Hollywood knows.  I'm going, though, with love, pure nerd love. 

I read The Lord of the Rings at possibly the perfect point in my life, as I was just starting seventh grade, which back then was the beginning of what we called junior high school.  I received the first book as a gift around seven in the evening on a Friday, and I read all three books straight through into Saturday.  I was entranced.  I absolutely walked right alongside the fellowship, sharing their adventures and their trials.  (I loved those books and lived so firmly in them that I have never been willing to risk reading them again; I know way too much now to be able to enjoy them as the young me did.)  As part of living in those books, like many people I also saw them as movies in my head, movies so grand that no one could ever make them fit on a silver screen. 

I like to think that Peter Jackson experienced the books the way I did, except that his passion didn't diminish the way mine did, and so one day he decided that he would by damn make the movies in his head come to theaters everywhere.  I like to think that the grand excesses of all his Tolkien films--and particularly those of this last installment of The Hobbit set--stem from his passion to bring to life all that he had seen and felt. 

When I believe that, when I picture the young Peter Jackson living inside the current one, I not only understand the overwrought, overly long Hobbit films, I actually admire them. 

This final Hobbit movie is a big one, grand in almost every shot, sweeping in scope, a film committed to repaying the ride of the previous two movies by making sure that absolutely everything in every movie comes together in a powerful conclusion--and one that, of course, leads us straight to the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring

At a gathering earlier tonight, I remarked that one day we would all have the option to take the challenge of watching all of The Hobbit and all of The Lord of the Rings movies--extended, director's cut versions only, of course--in order in an eighteen or so hour marathon.  Ben looked wistful for a second--I could have sworn I saw his early teen self in that pause--and said he would be up for that challenge. 

In the right mood, on the right day, with my young self holding sway and the world not reminding me that I am now a man with gray hair and white beard, I would be, too. 


Rosanne said...

Wow! We read the books about the same time in our lives! I got the 3 Lord of the Rings books out of the library, read all 3 one afternoon, go up off the couch and felt faint (I have low blood pressure) The faintness was worth it. I always hoped the books would be made into movies, As soon as I read the LOTR book, I went and checked out the Hobbit, so I didn't read the books all in order, but they still remain some of my favorites, and I reread them not long ago. Thanks for the review, fellow nerd. :)

Mark said...

You're most welcome.


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