watching, reading, and writing stories

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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So I finally got through the holiday busyness and had time to go see a movie. I had been wanting to see the Hobbit for quite some time. Since I saw it so late, I inevitably heard people’s opinions about it, before I could see it for myself. One person basically said, “If you liked the others, you’ll like this one,” but wasn’t too impressed with it. Another friend hated it, but mostly because her favorite characters died, which was true to the book. And someone else commented on the movie’s simple message, “Don’t be greedy.”

So as I watched the movie, these opinions stayed with me. And now it’s my turn to add an opinion. I agree that this film is on the same standing with the other Hobbit films. They were good movies, but I connected more with the Lord of the Rings trilogy than this one. I think the characters in the Lord of the Rings were based more on the books, whereas a lot of the Hobbit characters weren’t even in the Hobbit, like Legolas, Saruman, and Azog. And certain relationships weren’t ever in the book either, like Fili’s romantic interest. I think that Peter Jackson tried to add so many extra storylines to the Hobbit, that the original story and it’s charm got a little lost.

But even with these separations from the book, I still liked seeing the same characters from the first two movies develop and the action of the story come to a satisfying end. I may not have connected with the Hobbit as much as LOTR, but I will say I enjoyed the movie. I liked seeing Bard kill the dragon, which I originally thought would be the climax of the second movie. And I particularly enjoyed seeing when Bilbo went home and his neighbors were buying all of his stuff because they thought he had died. And I really enjoyed how Thorin’s greediness was portrayed as coming from the dragon and even melded Cumberbatch’s voice with Thorin’s to show the connection to Smaug.

And at the end of the Hobbit trilogy, I can say Bilbo is my favorite character; his courage and wit, loyalty, and wisdom make him a lovable character. And can I say his face expressions are priceless! So if you haven’t seen the Hobbit movies yet, I hope you do.

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Two Great Movies: The Hobbit and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Over the Christmas holidays, I found myself busy as always. And although I intended to write reviews for these two movies earlier, it just kept getting put off. But here they are, two movies that I highly anticipated and that managed to still impress me.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Movie Review

Let’s start with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I’ve done a blog post about this series already. And I have to admit I was a little worried going into this movie. I didn’t want to be upset at the changes Peter Jackson was likely to make, but I had just reread the book recently. Thankfully, although there were quite a few changes made, I still found the film intriguing. In fact I was almost glad that Peter deviated from the book, because then I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I became more engaged with the stories.

Not everyone will like the changes he made, and there were a few that I wasn’t thrilled about, such as splitting the dwarves up and only sending a few to the Lonely Mountain. It didn’t seem right to do it, but there were so many other changes that I loved, that I can forgive this one.

For example, I loved how the dwarves actually try to battle Smaug in the Mountain, instead of sitting in a tunnel, fearing for their lives, like in the book. I also liked getting to see more from other perspectives, such as the elves, or even Gandalf. These storylines were skipped over in the original Hobbit book, though I’m pretty sure some of them were discussed in other Tolkien books.

In any case, I enjoyed the movie, it was exciting, interesting, had good character development, and it really sets up the next film nicely. I can’t wait for next Christmas!


Now on to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. This film hasn’t gotten the good reviews that I think it deserves. Some people may not enjoy the “artsyness” of this film, but I thoroughly did. From the beginning of the movie seeing the opening credits etched onto building sides and pavement, I knew I liked this film’s style. It has gorgeous footage of far off places, and a great soundtrack. But beyond all that, the story that it tells can relate to us all.

Walter Mitty is a guy with a big imagination. Ever since he was a kid, he wanted to explore, and discover and do great things. But he had to grow up quick and be the provider for his family, after his father passed away. Yet even in his routine life, he can’t help but imagine being the hero, catching people’s attention, and doing great things.

I know I’ve felt this way, wanting to be different, to make an impact on the world, to do “something mentionable or noteworthy.” To have a life.

As the film progresses, Mitty begins to take steps towards fulfilling these dreams, and begins to actually go to new places, do new things, and fulfill that desire.

I found the movie a perfect fit for the new year. It reminded me to not be afraid to try something new, and to go out and live, love and laugh.

So if you haven’t seen either of these movies, I’d encourage you to check them out. Or if you have, feel free to leave a comment.

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The Hobbit and Movie Adaptations

The Hobbit text

I’ve been rereading the Hobbit recently. As you might recall, right before I took my trip to Haiti I watched the movie and got all excited about going on my own adventure. Well now that I’m back, I’ve decided to read the book again. I haven’t read it in years and there are many parts that I had completely forgotten about. Reading it is getting me excited for the next movie in Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

Speaking of movies based on books, I’ve always been interested in film adaptations. It’s an interesting process for whoever is writing the screenplay, because you can’t take the actual book and make it a movie, you have to take out parts, change things and make it flow as a movie. No audience would sit through a ten hour movie, so changes have to be made. However, the changes made are very noticeable to an audience that loves the original story. I think it takes a brave person to turn a book into a movie; you could get a lot of praise or a ton of criticism.

I find it odd that some filmmakers choose to add in some scenes that are not based on the book. It seems more logical to me to use the book’s material first and only cut out what is not necessary, not create new scenes that have no basis in the book. However, I can’t complain too much, because there are times that I really enjoy what the filmmakers have changed. For example in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, a scene is added with Aragorn getting separated from his friends. This scene has no basis in the book, but I love it. It adds suspense and drama to the story and honestly it’s one of my favorite scenes to watch.

But most of the time when filmmakers do this I am angry. One of the best examples of this comes from the first Percy Jackson movie. I had read the book before I saw the movie, so I knew all about the crazy adventure that had happened in the book. And there were a lot of things wrong with the movie, but one thing that seemed worse than the rest was adding a pointless battle scene at the Parthenon in Nashville. It had no basis in the book whatsoever and took time away so that other more interesting plot points had to be left out.

Although there is some fault to a filmmakers decisions, I’ve also found that I am partly to blame for my reaction to a movie that is based on a book. I’ve found that depending on how recently I’ve read a book, I will either enjoy or not enjoy the movie adaptation. It seems that if I either have no clue what the storyline is supposed to be, or have read the book so long ago that I can’t remember details, that I thoroughly enjoy the movie adaptation. However, if I read the book right before seeing the movie, all I can see is all the changes that were made and feel upset at the “good” parts that were left out, or the things that were changed.

A perfect example of this comes from my experience watching the Chronicles of Narnia movies. I can’t remember exactly when I read each book, but I have read them all now, and seen all of the movies that have recently come out. However my responses to the second and third movies were extremely different based largely on the fact of when I had read the book it was based on.

When I saw Prince Caspian, the second movie, I had recently read the book and was upset by even little things like the hair color of characters that I had pictured differently. I noticed every little thing that was changed, like added battle scenes, and was left upset that the movie didn’t live up to my expectations.

However, when the Voyage of the Dawn Treader came out a few years later, I watched it without rereading the book. I could only remember a few relevant parts from the book, all of which were included in the movie. So I ended up loving the movie, the message, and found the whole experience very enjoyable. In fact I felt at the time that this third movie was the best of the three. However, when I discussed the movie with a friend, I found that she had not enjoyed it. She kept pointing out little changes that I hadn’t noticed and complaining that it wasn’t like the book so she didn’t like it.

In light of this, my new plan for seeing movie adaptations is to either watch the movie before I read the book, so I can enjoy both, or wait to reread the book until after I’ve seen the movie. That way the storyline isn’t too fresh in my head. I guess I should have waited to reread the Hobbit until all three movies have been released, but I couldn’t wait. Oh well, hopefully I’ll still enjoy the movie and not be too critical of the filmmaker’s decisions.

So what’s your favorite movie adaptation and why? Or what book would you like to see turned into a movie? Leave a comment below.


“I’m going on an adventure!”

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One of my favorite scenes from The Hobbit, is where Bilbo is running after the dwarfs and yelling to his neighbors “I’m going on an adventure!”

There’s something exciting about going to a new place, doing new things and even though it’s a little bit scary, ultimately it’s very thrilling and you want to tell everyone.

I’ve noticed that in many novels, or stories, the main plot involves a protagonist leaving what is comfortable and going to where things are unexpected. Why is “the journey” so important to a story? Does is force the character to grow, to change, to become something other? There are many great stories that don’t involve a journey, but every story has a change that takes place. In The Hobbit, Gandalf clearly tells Bilbo that if he is to return from this “adventure” he will not be the same. Change, whether it’s from journeying to a new environment or current relationships becoming something different, is scary. We like things to stay the same, to be comfortable. Just as Bilbo is very sure that adventures is not what he wants, we often want everything to stay the same.

However, things are always changing, we can’t escape it. And change can be a good thing. Once everyone has left Bilbo to start the adventure, he finds himself alone in his big house, and something occurs to him. Does he really want this? Suddenly the thought of missing out on something great becomes more unbearable than the thought of leaving a comfortable home. And even though going means change, Bilbo decides it’s worth it.

I’m going on my own adventure in a couple days, I’ll be leaving the country for a whole week. And I’m excited, just like Bilbo I want to yell “I’m going on an adventure!” This will mean that I’ll change, but just like Bilbo, I’m embracing it.

However, this means I won’t be posting for awhile…

But I’m sure I’ll have “a tale or two to tell” when I get back.

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