Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hobbit

I saw The Hobbit twice this weekend. I would recommend seeing it more than once. The first time I was mesmerized by the characters ( the opening scene with the dwarves dropping in on Bilbo unannounced is terrific) and the special effects. The meticulous recreation of the Goblin kingdom is a delight to watch. ( I cannot believe A.O. Scott, film critic in the NY Times did not select The Hobbit as one of the years best movies- not even in his top 25! - well who said film critics know what they are talking about. He also wrote a review that said it was too long and boring. Well, this critic loved every minute of it, twice.) I haven't seen Lincoln yet, or Les Mis but The Hobbit will be on my list of best films for the year, for certain. One of my favorite characters, of course, is Bilbo, brilliantly played by Martin Freeman. No one can figure out why Gandalf,  when he was putting together his team for this adventure, chose a Hobbit. Hobbits are homebodies. They like warm homes, good food, and reading books in a comfortable armchair. But, Gandalf had a reason. Toward the end of this first film of three and after Bilbo has saved the life of the dwarf King Thorin, Thorin's perception of Bilbo changes. He had thought it a mistake to bring Bilbo on this journey but now he tells Bilbo he was never more mistaken about anything in his life. I understand completely, Bilbo says, I wouldn't have wanted to take me either. I am no hero, he confesses. And he is not faking sincerity. He believes it. That is way Gandalf chose him. At one point in the film Gandalf says that an ordinary person doing small acts of ordinary goodness can turn back the darkness more than all the power in the world. Bilbo is that ordinary person. In today's action movies the hero looks like he has been working out in a gym at least 8 hours a day for the past three years. Bilbo looks like he avoids the gym at all costs. He is an easily overlooked action hero. No surprise. Small acts of ordinary goodness often are. By the way, if you have seen The Hobbit go see it again then get the book out and re-read it.