By Ezra Pound
O my songs,
Why do you look so eagerly and so curiously into
Will you find your lost dead among them?
Everyone in my family slept late on Saturday -- well, as late as the cats would let us -- so after an early brunch and some pre-Christmas-travel chores, we picked up Adam's girlfriend and went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I neither fell in love nor felt monumentally disappointed -- I enjoyed it, felt very nostalgic to see various familiar Middle Earth locations again, LOVED seeing various LOTR characters again as well as meeting their relatives, loved the songs, yet thought the movie was too long and awfully derivative of The Fellowship of the Ring only without the gravitas, which would have been fine if it had been a bit more humorous and had a few -- well, a lot -- less battle scenes.
I loved most of the actors and thought the casting was terrific (Kili may be the cute one, but Thorin is the dwarf I'd be most likely to date). Pretty much all the villains, though, seemed like straight riffs off characters in LOTR as did several scenes -- I get that echoes of the second trilogy are meant to serve as foreshadowing here, but come on, PJ, vary those eagle summons and avalanches and especially the music. It was very warm in the theater, so I nearly fell asleep during the long warg-orc battle (the third big battle of the film), and during the climactic goblin battle I kept playing music from the Hamster Ball of Doom and Hamster Wheel of Doom from Pirates of the Caribbean in my head -- some of those shots of swinging bridges seemed right out of Dead Man's Chest.
I wish the music had played up the humorous aspects instead of boomingly emphasizing the seemingly endless violence, which gets glorified despite Gandalf's admonishment to Bilbo about sparing lives. I have never been bored by a Shore score before. Here as in King Kong, the ability not to take every single thing so deadly seriously -- especially at this phase when there is just a shadow and a threat looming, not a Dark Lord and an all-seeing eye -- would be an asset in a movie so long. Far and away favorite scene was the one with Gollum, which is subtle and witty, lets Freeman do more than just reaction shots, and shows the full magnificent range of Serkis's Gollum.
When we got home I rushed out to take a walk before it got dark and ran into a neighbor whose cat was missing -- it is a cold night and I looked for her for a while, I hope he found her but I don't even know which house is his. We had ravioli for dinner and watched the Falcons-Lions game. Here are some photos from Beans in the Belfry, the former Reformed Church in Brunswick, now converted into a coffee shop with fabulous breakfast food and sandwiches, plus several reading nooks, a kids' play area, a decorative fireplace, and seating upstairs in the former choir area: