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Thursday, 3 January 2013

The hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A short pre-amble …..

Tomorrow I'm finally getting to see the The Hobbit movie. Yes, yes, yes, I know I'm a bit late in seeing it. The world and it's dog has already seen what is arguably the most anticipated movie adaption ever. Well, maybe after The Lord of the Rings that is……

I mean, after all it's only perhaps the most important story that's played a part in my life. By rights there are some people that are happy to be called my friends ( some are even happy to be called my family) who were surprised that I wasn't queueing for a week to be first in the cinema…..However, in my defence, the last week has not only brought in the new year. No, it also brought with it a lovely cold ( I say major flu) bug that has made any attempt at concerted thought processing in my brain as easy as, well, as easy as bringing a J.R.R Tolkien novel to the big screen. Now I'm not one to wallow in self-pity (cue sounds of the odd guffaw from assorted family and friends) but I want to experience this movie with as clear a head as possible. Hence the delay. The fact that my local cinema has perhaps the best Nachos on the planet, and consequently there was no way I was going to let my cold bug spoil my enjoyment of them, has nothing to do with holding out for a few more days to see he movie.

Anyway, I digress, back to the point. There are three novels that have had more importance in my life, for varying reasons, than any others; The Hobbit, The Catcher in the Rye and Dracula. Now apparently there has already been the odd movie version of the Transylvanian's various antics - and these in some form may well form the basis of a future blog entry. As everyone on the planet probably knows by now, this is the first cinematic adaptation of the adventures of Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin et al. The Hobbit has formed part of the fabric of my consciousness since it was read to me by our English teacher at primary school. I really wish I could remember his name and thank him for having the effect on my Fantasy education that he did. The sessions we had on a Friday afternoon when he would read passages, then get some of us to read other parts were a magical introduction to a world the entranced me beyond description. He even humoured me in my attempt to read The Lord of the Rings - I was 9 years old, I didn't get very far. He did draw the line at my wish to read The Silmarillion… Anyhoo,  It's not an over exaggeration to say that this story changed my life.

That introduction of mine to the story of Bilbo Baggins at School was about 37 years ago and I've been waiting ever since for it to be made into it's cinematic form. Am I nervous that a book that has played a large part in the imaginative and visual soundtrack of my life could be spoiled by the movie adaptation? (Yes, the makers of 'Dune', I'm talking about you). Well if the truth be told, I am a little nervous. I'm not sure why, as the Peter Jackson treatment of the other Tolkien book, the title of which escapes me…, I thought quite frankly was inspired. Yes it had its flaws, the non-appearance of Tom Bombadil being an obvious but understandable case in point. I personally know some Tolkien purists to this day who have refused to see the whole series. For me though, the whole visual perfection of Jackson's earlier Tolkien film transformation and the near perfect casting gives me little reason to worry.

However, I'm not a Tolkien purist (and believe me I'm not belittling them), so if one or two 'liberties' are taken with the story then so be it. I will admit to having the odd concern about he fact that Peter Jackson has decided to release three movies to tell the story, though there are enough gaps in the plot of The Hobbit ( Gandalf disappearing off on his adventures etc) that should counter any 'padding out' issues. I've tried to stay away from news of reviews as much as I could, wanting to experience the film as freshly as possible. The only word I have had is from the odd friend or two whose opinion I trust. Yes Kimberly Weinburger, people such as yourself.

We shall see, tomorrow will tell. I will let you know if my 'treasured book' works for me or not.

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