Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey

SPOILER ALERT sort of.


Prepare yourselves for what may be a long gushing session.
So, I got to see the first installment of the movie version of The Hobbit last night -- or rather, this morning -- at 12:05, after probably two whole years of planning, waiting, hoping, worrying, etc. I was extremely excited. But I will admit, I had my doubts. I mean, they were taking one book and making it three movies. Peter Jackson was directing again, which was good, but there's always that possibility he would try to out-do what he did for The Lord of the Rings, and end up ruining everything instead. And honestly, I'm a little bit of a pessimist sometimes. I had this deep gut feeling that The Hobbit would be good, but not THAT good. I decided to keep my expectations pretty low, and then if the movies were even decent, I would be pleasantly surprised. I honestly thought I would sit in the theater, watching the credits roll, and sort of think, "Hmm. Interesting," and not much else. I also kind of thought it would ruin my whole life, and I would never quite be happy again.
But, to take a quote from the movie, "I have never been so wrong in my life." (Thorin Oakenshield)
From the very first scene, I was over the geeking edge. I panted and looked at the ceiling and waved my hands around and basked in the glow of poetic perfection.
(SPOILER ALERT FOR REAL THIS TIME: They use the opening lines of the book almost verbatim in the movie. You know the part that goes something like, "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole, with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat. It was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort." Yeah, they took that, with only slight word changes, and Bilbo said it, and the camera was showing around inside the hobbit hole, and I was almost singing the words along with him, because I have them memorized and they are absolutely beautiful. Anyway.)
The story line was close enough to the book to satisfy me, which means it was pretty darn close. There were definitely some things added, but they were things that needed to be added. Things like what on earth Gandalf was doing when he happened to disappear, and some of the back story of Sauron's return and Saruman's corruption, that kind of thing. See, all that is canonical and everything, it just gets explained later in the books, sometimes not until the appendices, but in a movie it needed to be added in the proper order. There was one sort of side-plot, which I won't give away, that wasn't in the books at all as far as I know, but it didn't have the air of being completely invented by movie makers, so I think that either it came from some of Tolkien's unpublished notes, or that the movie makers were just really good at faking it. Either way, it fit in quite well, and it all helped to make even a third of the book into a good movie with a full story arc.

(SPOILER ALERT AGAIN: They leave the part about Bilbo's handkerchief in too. That right there, believe
it or not, was a point of great importance, and I was pleased.)

Basically, Gandalf was the same amazing Gandalf, Elrond was the same amazing Elrond who did a really good job of seeming younger, the Dwarves were as Dwarvish as could be... And Bilbo.
Bilbo. Allow me to gush about Bilbo.
Let me first say that I have seen precisely one episode of Sherlock. That is the only other thing I had ever seen with Martin Freeman in it. I liked him as Doctor Watson, and I felt like he was a likable kind of guy, but that was about it. So I wasn't a hugely biased fan or anything, and I wasn't exactly sure he would make a super amazing hobbit. Again, wrong. As Bilbo, he was absolute, sheer, mind-blowing perfection. He had exactly that mixture of politeness and awkwardness, that sort of heroic stuttering, the perfect little homebody personality. He completely ceased to be Martin Freeman and simply was Bilbo. His absolute perfection was enough to make the whole movie good, even if it hadn't been good anyway.
On a scale of one to ten, I rate it a 9, maybe even 9.5. This is a huge complement coming from me. I know Peter Jackson must have been really stressed, trying to live up to my expectations, but now if I ever meet him, I'll have to simply congratulate him. He managed to completely satisfy me. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised. I highly recommend the following procedure to everyone on the planet:
1. Read The Hobbit
2. Read The Lord of the Rings
3. Watch The Lord of the Rings
4. Watch The Hobbit.
I think that to get the maximum enjoyment out of the Hobbit movie, it is best to have seen what comes after. I know it doesn't sound like it makes a lot of sense, but really, seeing a prequel is much more fun if you can tell when they're hinting at things to come.

Thanks for reading my gushing. Feel free to post concurrent gushing/keysmashing/etc. or opposing ranting/keysmashing/etc. in the comments! Discussion on all things literary should include debate on movies, I think. Movies include writing too, y'know.

On a side note, I celebrated the movie's goodness today by making this! I call it "Christmas at Bag End".

Yes, it is a "gingerbread" house made of graham crackers, pretzel sticks, etc. If you look closely, you can see a Teddy Graham version of Bilbo sitting to the right of the door. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12:12 12/12/12 12!

Good noontide, my merry blog followers! (Actually, so far, there is only one of you. Hi, Spork!)

At the moment I post this (if I succeed in my plan) it will be 12:12 on 12/12/12! This means it is the last time for the next thousand years that the date can be three of the same number. Isn't that cool? We are alive to see it! And the next generation won't be! HA!
I get the distinct story-like feeling that the boy who turns twelve today will be the Last Something-or-other who will save the galaxy, or the town, or at least the Society for the Protection of Double-Sided Tape or something. He'll most likely go on a quest of some kind. Maybe he'll be a superman. Or at least a super genius. Something.
If he is a super genius, he could be in 12th grade now, like me. Then he'd really be all 12's all the way around. Especially if he was the 12th of 12 children, in the 12th generation to do something 12-like.
Anyway, I accidentally happened to celebrate by eating eggs this morning. Since eggs come in dozens, it seems like a 12-ish thing to do.
12. 
Twelve.
 It's a cool number, as numbers go. There were twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles and all kinds of cool stuff like that. And being twelve is basically like being at the brink of a cliff, because all of a sudden, this is your last year to really be a child, rather than a teenager. And twelve is generally the last set of numbers in the multiplication tables, which means it is probably the hardest. Besides, it's a weird-sounding word. Twelve. Twelve. Twelve.
AGH! I'm doing that thing where it doesn't even sound like a word! I know, I'll post a list of the word twelve in all different languages! Or at least a lot of them. Here I go:

Duodecimus. Zwolf. Dymbëdhjetë. Tolv. Dodeka. Douze. Dvylika. Dodici. Doce. Kaksteist. Dvanaest. Divpadsmit. Dhá cheann déag de. Dvanact. Doze. Dvanast. Oniki. On iki. Tolf.

Yes, I was using Google Translate. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lists, and Philosophical Ranting

As you may or may not know, I like making lists. Making lists is a method I use to think about life. I don't really know why, but it helps me cope with stress if I'm stressed, and is simply fun when I'm not stressed. It's like compartmentalizing my thoughts, so that things are lined up neatly with bullet points under a bold heading. If life was really like that, I suppose it would be more boring, but in a way it would be kind of nice. I read a quote just yesterday by G. K. Chesterton, arguing that order and precision were really the most poetical things in life, and I agree with him. (That quote will be the new Quote of the [insert time period] in just a minute.) Rainbows are only poetic because they are colors lined up in a spectrum, instead of randomly blotched all over the sky. Snowflakes are only poetic because they are perfect crystals that are the same on all sides, and even thought no two are alike, the system that makes all of them unique is still a system, so it's poetic. I'm going to go even deeper and say that love is only poetic because it takes an awful lot of careful precision and order to make two people actually meet each other under the right circumstances, and have the right personalities, and like the right things, and line everything up so that they fall in love with each other and not with anyone else. Think about it. What are the odds that that would happen out of utter mayhem?
Anyway, lists! That was the point of this post. Going with the sort of philosophical theme that I've accidentally fallen into, I'm going to make a list of all the important little questions in life that have never been solved. Ahem.
Important Little Questions That Have Never Been Solved:
1. Why won't anyone ever admit to forgetting to flush?
2. Why is there always syrup on the outside of the bottle?
3. Who was Murphy, and why is it his law that says "anything that can happen will"?
4. Why is that law even true anyway?
5. Exactly how old is "middle aged"?
6. Speaking of age, why do people say things like, "Wisdom comes with age" and "respect your elders" and then pretend to be younger than they are?
7. Why do so many people believe almost religiously in things like Bigfoot and global warming and then refuse to believe in God?
8. Why wasps? Seriously, why do they even exist? They do nothing useful in the world, as far as I can tell, and let's admit it, they're ugly and creepy and they sting very painfully. Why?
9. Who are They? As in, "They say you should do such and such"? They certainly know an awful lot, and some of it isn't true. Why should we believe They? What do They know?
10. And finally, Why in the world do so many people forget that there is such thing as a turn signal?
I'm sure there are plenty more, but of course, Murphy's law dictates that when I'm trying to make a list of questions like this, I can't remember half of the ones I've thought up before. Ah, well...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Polls and Lack of Posting Schedule

So, as you can see over yonder ----> I have added some polls to my blog, for the satisfaction of my own curiosity. Pleeease, puh-leeease, answer them! Or not. It's a free country. You choose. Personally, I think clicking the little bubbles must be fun. :)
And I'm also about to add a Quote of the Day/Week/Month/Year/Moment/Millennium. I have no idea how often I shall be updating it, so it can't very well be a Quote of the Day, or a Quote of the Week, or even a Quote of the Month. I hope it won't be Quote of the Year. And if it turns out to be Quote of the Millennium, then I'm going to be one elderly lady when I change it, and by then blogs will probably be completely obsolete. Hopefully quotes won't, though.
The point is, since my schedule is forever fickle and changeable, I don't know when I'll be changing the Quote of the Blank. I don't even know how often I'll be posting. Much as I would like to have a regular posting schedule -- something like 6:09 PM on alternate Thursdays -- it is rendered pretty much impossible by the ever-changing state of my life.
It is now 7:59, which means that even I, who am home schooled, must be getting ready to start on things like Pre-Calculus. [Insert violent retching noise.] Darn, now it's eight. I'll just add the quote thing, and THEN I'll start... Maybe.
:)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On my quest and the word "blog"

Dear Readerly People!
Today I begin an epic quest into the wonderful world of blogging! I hope I shall succeed in occasionally saying something interesting, but don't count on it.
I'd like to start off by saying a word or two about the word "blog". To me, it always sounds like one of the following:
1) A Danish curse word.
2) How I feel if I wake up in the morning and my head is congested.
However, it somehow actually means a sort of virtual podium from which one can broadcast one's thoughts and emotions from a virtual hilltop and have people anywhere in the world read them. Which is creepy and cool all at once.
That's all for now. Thanks for reading my doggerel, and wish me luck on my quest!