General misanthrope, but tries to be cute about it.
A Horrific and Beautiful Nightmare
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Warning: May Trigger Imaginative Flights of Fancy
A Battle of Mixed Opinions
Very thoughtful review, Ranerdin. I come from a totally different background, as I never read the books (though many of my friends have), and I judged this more as a general literary buff and cinemaphile. If you had been the usual "fantasy geek purist," who didn't appreciate the separate art form of cinema, I wouldn't bother to reply.
I loved the movies, but for entirely different reasons. Having seen LOTR in the screen, I had no expectations for the Hobbit films. A few friends told me that "the Hobbt" is a let down by comparison, and I took their explanations at face value. Caught "The Desolation of Smaug" on video late last year--and was pleasantly surprised. Peter Jackson had found a story to tell in the earlier Tolkein book.
What moved me about this last film was its inpspirational message. I think the reason it's still doing so well is not as much as the sheer spectacle of the battle scenes and other effects (though that's a factor), but the message of people standing up courageosly to an evil enemy, and more poignantly the idea of people riskng all for their friends. The point that brought tears in my eyes, is when they tell little Bilbo he doesn't have to fight in this battle, as he is not a Dwarf or Elf, but he does so anyway, as these are his friends. It's not a new message; it's an eternal one. Too many movies today only showcase moral ambiguity and human depravity, and people are sick of that. We will always need heroes--not just superheroes--but regular people who risk and would give their lives to others. My name is Lyonel Laverde--you can find me on facebook or twitter (L. R. Laverde-Hansen)
PS--I wonder how much Guillermo Del Torro influenced the making of this movie. Like Jackson, he is a Grade-A fantasy fan and world-class filmaker. If you've seen Hellboy or (especially) Pan's Labyrinth, you might agree.
Yet another stellar, bang up review, Mr. Russin. I may employ you to pen my biography one day...
Yet another fantastic review, Robert. Said before; saying again: you have a future as a literary critic and as an author yourself.
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