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The Hobbit: An Unexpectedly Confusing Sequel or I’m as lost as these dwarves seem to be in the movie

Hello, I'm Martin Freeman and I'm filled with kittens and rage!

A Host of Unexpected Questions

I am a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan.

In fact, I can safely say there is no bigger, more Hobbit-like, more intimately familiar with the material, more enthusiastic fan out there. I can quote anything from the first three movies lock, stock, and quote-smoking barrel.

All of which means I was very excited to see The Hobbit.

So imagine my disappointment at what a confusing mish-mash of gibberish the movie turned out to be.

And I’m not talking about all the Elvish being spoken.

SPOILERS AHEAD

First off, what the heck is up with the ending? They didn’t even get to the gold. And why bother showing us that dragon, Smog, if they’re never gonna interact with it? Bilbo Jr. is all, “I think the worst is behind us, the end.”

WTF??

Ultimately, the movie raised more questions than it answered, which I found extremely frustrating:

Where the hell did the ring come from?

It’s been a while since I saw the Return of the King, but I’m pretty sure that thing got melted in the volcano lava. Along with Gollum.

Which brings up another question.

Why is Gollum in this movie?

He died at the end of Lord of the Rings, didn’t he? Or is he fire-proof, and swam away with the ring? I admit, there is some ambiguity there. But then if that was the case, Sauron would still be around, right? And his giant eye was nowhere to be seen in The Hobbit.

So I’m led to conclude that Gollum’s twin brother, Seagull, died at the end of Return of the King. But Peter Jackson could have made that clear, rather than forcing the viewers to guess that for themselves.

None of which explains where the ring came from.

Who in Sauron’s Inferno was the old guy at the start of the movie who was also named Bilbo?

Bilbo Baggins Senior? If that’s the case (and I’m not 100% certain it is), then why not call Martin Freeman’s Bilbo by a different name? Or possibly ‘Junior’?

Which brings to mind another issue I have, not just with this movie, but all the other fans of the series as well:

What is this refusal to acknowledge R. Tolkien Jr. properly?

Everywhere I look, people move the ‘Jr.’ to the front of his name, like this: J. R. R. Tolkien.

At first I thought this was some sort of Britishism, but I did extensive research on Wikipedia and could find no other examples. Did R. Tolkien Jr. have some sort of complex about being named after his father and as a result adopted this odd nom de plume?

I tell you, not knowing a rational explanation for this drives me crazy.

Other minor quibbles:

Frodo still has his finger.

I may not have been wearing my glasses when I saw Return of the King, but I’m pretty sure Seagull bit it off. And I know he has that finger now because I was wearing my glasses when I watched The Hobbit.

I can only assume Gandalf used magic to grow it back. Would it have killed Peter Jackson to include that scene in the movie? Talk about lazy filmmaking!

Speaking of Gandalf, what happened to his white robe?

Why is it grey again? Did he have an accident at the laundromat, and if so, why not show us that too? Frankly, I’m quite keen to see what a Middle Earth laundromat looks like.

Why was Gandalf talking to Saruman in the middle of this movie?

Hello! I thought Gandalf was this great and all-powerful wizard, yet he forgot that Saruman is a bad guy? Huh??

Too many damn beards.

I couldn’t tell the characters apart through the thick forest of facial hair. What, no razors in Middle Earth? Then why are the Hobbits so clean-shaven, huh? Huh?

Check and mate, Mr. Jackson. Check and mate.

Now before I threw these questions up on my blog and risked looking like a complete idiot, I ran them past a few acquaintances I’ve met via social media, to see if there was an obvious answer I had somehow overlooked.

There wasn’t.

The least-laughable solution they could come up with was the silly notion that if you assume The Hobbit is a prequel rather than a sequel, all of my questions answer themselves.

My response to that is, “Poppycock! Why make the first part of the story last? That makes no sense!”

I was hoping the novelization would do a better job addressing these questions, but I’m a quarter of the way through and so far it has even less stuff going on it in than the movie!

I will give credit where credit is due, however. It was a nice touch having the Doctor’s 7th incarnation be Radagast the Brown. I’d love to see how #7 got from there to the horrible, awful television movie.

Actually, if they make a sequel to The Hobbit, it would be really cool to see the Doctor help out.

Because he totally could.

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So bad it won a Voidy for the next THREE consecutive years (would have been FOUR, but 2012 was a leap year)

 
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Posted by on 1 January 2013 in Angst

 

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What price, ebooks? Or a tale of the Rise of the Machines, available on Nook and Kindle!

I’ve been thinking about the rise of the machines.

By which I mean ebooks.

Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments in favor:

– An entire library on a tablet thinner than most paperbacks (excluding Neal Stephenson and J.R.R. Tolkien, of course).

– The ability to buy a book (or download a free one) without having to leave your home or local coffee shop.

– Now anyone can publish a book – no more insidious ‘gatekeepers’ holding back those who would redefine a genre by experimenting with language, eschewing traditional plot expectations, or wholeheartedly embracing outside-the-box characterizations.

– We get eased into acceptance of machines controlling our lives with the “Recommended Book” and/or “Readers who bought this book also bought…” functionality. It seems so convenient, so…harmless.

But then you start hearing about the consequences:

– The end of brick and mortar stores as we know it.

– Sellers able to rescind a sale and remotely delete a book from your eReader. Or worse, transfer altered versions of books to your device without your knowledge.

Do you have any idea how hard it will be for our children to cite passages from ever-changing ebooks in their book reports? The ‘A’ may become a mythical, unattainable grade!

– The introduction of bastardized, non-English words into the lexicon, such as e-book and eReader. They’re not real words, people! Fight the corruption of our language!

– Now anyone can publish a book – no more fastidious ‘gatekeepers’ making sure grammar is correct, plot discernible, characters believable.

– The disappearance of bookcases from homes.

This last one was news to me, until I heard mentioned on the radio that the rise of ebooks means that in thirty years, homes won’t have any bookcases anymore.

I heard it on NPR, so it must be true.

That one gave me pause. A home without bookcases.

I have a lot of bookcases in my home. It would look weird without them. But if they become unneeded and rare, then that means demand will dropped, production been scaled back, and those of us who still want them will have to pay more money for them.

That’s not fair. Where else am I going to put all my knickknacks? I can’t use the top of the TV since society transitioned to wall-mounted flat screens.

My curios curse the day the LCD TV was invented.

Reading Marlowe and the Spacewoman under the covers against the missus' express orders to go to bed

A generation won't destroy their eyesight trying to read in the dark - how is this sane?

And what about that time-honored childhood tradition of being curled up under the covers, hours after bedtime, reading by the fading illumination of a trusty flashlight? Are we to deprive future generations of that bookish act of rebellion?

Clearly society has not thought this out!

The only really cool thing about electronic readers is that you won’t ever have to burn books again. You can just use an electromagnetic pulse to fry the reader instead.

And if there’s one irrefutable fact, it’s that EMPs are cool. Ebooks win!

 
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1 Comment

Posted by on 20 February 2012 in Reading

 

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