Tag Archives: the hobbit

Air New Zealand Review

Wonderful, as far as I’m concerned. There are several factors to this. In my adult life, I’ve used Air New Zealand twice to New Zealand, and both times it has been fantastic. 12-hour flights aren’t easy, but Air New Zealand definitely makes it easier. I’m surprised at the fortitude and endurance the flight attendants have for the whole entirety of the flight. Let’s go over the reasons why Air New Zealand rocks.

View from inside the airplane just getting into New Zealand

View from inside the airplane just getting into New Zealand

1. 75 movie choices. Yes, seventy-five. Usually you have to pay for even one movie, but here you get 75! They range from Despicable Me 2 to Whale Rider to 2 Guns. My goal is to usually watch one or two movies before attempting a sleep and then finishing with one when I wake up. Chris unfortunately watches like four our five and doesn’t get sleep. Go team.

2. Meals of decent to good quality. I know this doesn’t exactly sound like a compliment, but it is! Usually airplane food is blargh! But Air New Zealand does it well. I never had a stomach ache and everything tasted good, especially breakfast! Oh and both are free.

3. An epic safety video. I mean epic. It was completely Lord of the Rings/Hobbit-ed out! Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits galore! Even Peter Jackson made an appearance! It was such a good surprise. We were laughing the whole time. One of the few times I actually pay attention to airplane safety features. Last time I rode Air New Zealand it was Richard Simmons, which was of course hilarious.

4. No baggage fees. Yep. I couldn’t believe this one either. We did have to pay them going from America, but not back! It was so nice! Especially refreshing after Frontier now charges for carry-on items! Can you say rip-off!

5. Wonderful attendants. How would you feel serving a bunch of annoying Americans for 12 hours stuck in a small space high up in the sky? I would definitely not be cheery and helpful as all the Kiwi attendants were. They show that they care about the service you’re getting and want to help you best they can. Like the Kiwi people, they are friendly, laid back, and good-humored.

6. Wellington AirportI know this doesn’t necessarily count, but still. Check out the post. It’s awesome.

7. Free New Zealand wine. I can’t tell you how upset I was when I realized the wine was free and I didn’t take it! I couldn’t help but laugh when they were carrying the leftover bottles in the morning, saying “Wine, anyone?” Plus, New Zealand wine is among the best I’ve had. Before I didn’t like white wine, now I do! Yeah if this isn’t a perk of an airline, I don’t know what is.

DCIM100GOPRO

Those are just a few reasons why Air New Zealand knocks it out of the park. And yet another reason to visit New Zealand. If you’re going to fly to New Zealand, choose your Kiwi airline and you won’t regret it. It’s the best way to spend those 12 hours locked in an aircraft. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Cinema Sunday: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Review

And so comes the second out of the three movies for The Hobbit movie trilogy. We were originally going to see the midnight release like we did last time, but we ended up having a work holiday party, so that was that. However, we went at an 8:30am showing yesterday at AMC Flatirons which has the comfy seats that turn into recliners. Awesome. PS-we are huge Tolkien fans so we have been looking forward to this for a while. We just love the world of Middle Earth. I was a bit anxious how this one was going to play out, as the Hobbit as a book isn’t long, so obviously Peter Jackson was going to have some license with the story. Turns out we enjoyed all 2 hours and 41 minutes of this outrageously fun, exciting, and witty movie. And I hope my mum and dad want to see it when we come home for Christmas because I’d love to see it again.

hobbit-2-tie-in-book (1)

Let’s start off by saying that Peter Jackson has an awesome cameo within the first 3 seconds of the film. Gotta love those. Let me add that we did not see this movie in 3D. Why? Because last time we did, it was a very uncomfortable experience. The faster frame rate and the Dolby sound gave us a headache. And it’s not necessary for the Hobbit, because it wasn’t filmed in 3D. The theatre we were in definitely had a good number of fans: gasps, laughs, and squeals of delight could be heard a number of times.

In our opinion, this movie is much more complex than the first. There are parts that are certainly heavier and parts that are lighter than the first. There is more tension due to the fact that our courageous Dwarven-led party has a deadline to reach their destination. Thus, everything is weighted because their whole quest relies on getting to the Lonely Mountain at this one point. That is always in the back of your mind as you watch them struggle their way there. It also seems that the Dwarves and company run into many more problems than before (though in the Hobbit they had their fair share of obstacles). A very large part of this movie was introducing the darkness (aka Sauron) coming back into power. This is obviously because the Lord of the Rings was already created and they want to do a big tie-in to that. For example, Gandalf is rarely with the party in this movie because he is so preoccupied with this up and coming darkness and war. Another dark element of this movie is the Ring’s influence on Bilbo. It is easy to see that he is becoming more and more affected by the Ring and its power, and it is obvious that Sauron has awoken.

hobbit-desolation-of-smaug-ian-mckellen-gandalf

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh definitely decided to create some fan fiction in the Hobbit, which we don’t mind. They simply delved into the characters and stories between them in the Hobbit that were more briefly introduced by Tolkien. There was the introduction of the elves which included an old favorite, Legolas, as well as Tauriel, and Thranduil. Tauriel, the “she-Elf,” is played by Evangeline Lily, known to “Lost” fans as “Kate.” They were a great addition, serving us with some kick-butt action, typical of Legolas as we know from the Lord of the Rings. Tauriel also performed amazing stunts and moves to get rid of some Orc filth. There is a light romance triangle between Legolas, Tauriel, and one of the dwarves which brings some weight to the Elves’ purpose in this whole thing. Thranduil was absolutely epic, acting was absolutely spot on.

new-banner-arrives-for-the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-146652-a-1381991321-470-75

The introduction of the Men on Lake-town also added an interesting element. No longer are the Dwarves the only ones to suffer from Smaug, the Men on the Lake-town just near the Lonely Mountain have much to lose as well. This adds conflict for the Dwarves to actually make it to their destination as the lead Man, Bard (played by Luke Evans), wants to prevent their town from erupting into flames from the sleeping Smaug. Stephen Fry also makes a delightful appearance as the town’s corrupt mayor.

The action in this movie tops that of the last movie, at least for me. It is rip-roaring fun as in the scene of the barrels in the river or nail-biting in the fighting with “Oh Smaug the Stupendous” (as Bilbo says). Brilliant choreography, great witty lines in between, and Jackson kept up with the rivalry between Elves and Dwarves, which makes all fight scenes that much greater. Gandalf, too, gets his own action scenes which he shows the extent of his powers…pretty wicked.

smaug3

The acting is flawless in this second installment, for as far as I can see. Emotions are heavier as the quest nears its destination and the characters demand more from their actors in-depth of emotion, feeling, and consequence. The stars for me this time were the Dwarves, especially Balin (played by Ken Stott). They’ve come so far, have lost so much, and have so much more to lose. Balin really shined through for me. Ian McKellen rocks it as always, but no surprise there. Thranduil also killed it as the Elven King, concerned only for his own land. And how can we forget Benedict Cumberbatch, the seductive, destructive voice of Smaug. He gets underneath your skin with his creepy, all-powerful voice. It really is something else.

10258016_gal

Yes, it is a long review, but this movie is worthy of spending some time over. But if you want a summary: the second installment of the Hobbit plays with more complex themes, hilariously fun action scenes, develops relationships between all races, and sets the audience up for the third and final film where this quest will come to an end. The ending credits song is by Ed Sheeran and it is absolutely wonderful. A perfect guitar tribute to the Dwarves, watch it now (we have it on repeat) Hungry and Fit gives this film two thumbs up and is eagerly wanting to see it again ASAP. As always…stay hungry and fit!

Midnight Showing Review: The Hobbit

If you know us, or if you’ve read this post, you know we are huge Tolkien/Middle Earth fans. So, obviously, we were at the midnight premiere of The Hobbit by the wonderful Peter Jackson & Co. Although we didn’t dress up (sigh), we were brimming with excitement. Finally! It’s out! So I was expecting to leave about 9:30/10PM to wait in line, my cousin said that there won’t be crazy lines. You never know, coming from Los Angeles and New York, we’ve both waited in hefty lines for big movies like this. So we left at 11 (took us ten minutes to get to the theatre).

We packed into the car and got there–no line. Yes! We didn’t have to wait in the cold. Plus, if we paid an extra $1 per ticket, we would get a free t-shirt. Uh, duh. So we got our shirts, our tickets, my smuggled popcorn and sat down for a 3D Dolby Atmos viewing.

Sick Hobbit Shirt

Eventually, the movie started. Now with this insane amazing sound system, our ears kind of hurt. And it wasn’t just mine (I have sensitive ears, Chris calls me “wolf ears”), everyone’s was kind of ringing after. Especially battle scenes. The 3D was good, immersive, and not that silly “pop-out” kind of 3D that I hate. And for the picture…I believe it was a much faster frame rate. Now this was distracting. It looked like a filmed play, it was too realistic, and not theatrical enough. If you have an HD tv, sometime you can see this in certain shows. However, the action was pretty incredible and had a good flow. But…onto the story!

The story was pretty accurate to the book, though I haven’t read it in awhile. And he obviously split it up. I would give the Best Acting Awards to Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), and Richard Armitage (Thorin). And of course, to Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, and Christopher Lee, though small roles in this movie they played. One thing I wished is that they made Thorin look more like a Dwarf and less like a Man. I know people were nervous about Martin Freeman playing Bilbo, but let me tell you, he was spot on. Seriously. And of course there’s Andy Serkis as Gollum who really just brings the caliber up. The riddle scene between Bilbo and Gollum was absolutely brilliant.

I started off unsure about it, how I felt, because it takes a little while to get rolling. There’s good humor with the dwarves and it’s fun to see Bilbo before he was an adventurer. By the end, after all the lore (which we love to see), fight scenes, troll scenes, and excellent dialog, I was happy. I want to see it again when it’s not 12 AM. Perhaps during Christmas week with the family.

Lastly…Howard Shore. What would the Lord of the Rings trilogy be without those held-close-to-heart themes that you know as soon as you hear them…the Shire…the Trio…Gollum’s music…It’s all Howard Shore. And he brings it back just as well this time. When we see the Shire, that familiar light-of-heart music comes on and you can’t help but smile. When Gollum comes creeping into the movie, so does his eerie music. And, with this new story (or old, if we’re talking timeline wise), he created a brilliant sound bit for the new adventure gang.

 Rest assured, you will be laughing, gripping your seat, and holding your breath. Now stop reading this and go see it!

Wreck-It Ralph and Skyfall: Double Feature

Ideally, Alana and I would go to the movies every time a new movie came out that we were even remotely interested in if we had the time and money.  We’re not quite there but we’re close enough to be able to see the movies we really want to at a discounted rate on Sunday mornings before we both go into work for some late shifts. Although our checklist is backing up, it includes: Cloud Atlas, Argo, Chasing Mavericks, Man with the Iron Fists, Lincoln, Silent Hill Revelations, and Flight. You could probably figure out which ones we each want to see. Rise of the Guardians comes out nest Wednesday and that’s on there because we love Dreamworks but there are tons of upcoming movies that we want to see: namely The Hobbit and Les Miserables. But back to the point of this post, a review of this trip and those two movies.

As for the trip, we were excited to see that Hobbit promotions were everywhere and we even took some pictures with them. There was also a stand up of Georges St Pierre for his upcoming match against Carlos Condit. I want to see it but Alana doesn’t, but it’s not a big deal. So we brought our usual stash of goodies including popcorn, drinks, and candy and prepared for the double. First up…

In theater 4, Wreck it Ralph. This was a good Disney movie, plain and simple. Great voice acting, a good comedic and clever script, nostalgia for gamers, and a cute story line with great characters. It was entertaining, kept our attention, and was full of great lessons. The soundtrack was solid and the animation was top notch, going from pixelated throw back moments to smooth and beautiful modern day technology. In terms of a score, let’s just say it was a really good movie. 8 maybe seems fair. Nothing lower but there was nothing exceptional to make it higher.

No time to break, the previews here last for so long that we had to go to the bathroom and rush to the next one.

In theater 11, the movie I have been waiting for the past four years, Ian Fleming presents Daniel Craig as 007 James Bond. My dad raised me on James Bond movies and although him and my brother love Roger Moore, I am a little bit more open to the other Bonds. I always liked Sean Connery, and even Pierce Brosnan, and even Timothy Dalton, but Daniel Craig has done an exceptional job in the role. He is much more callous and introverted than past Bonds but maintains the confidence and debonair manner. I don’t want to give any spoilers but I was initially disappointed in the story. With that being said, I enjoyed the movie and was grinning the whole time. They kept regular Bond quirks but took some new turns and chances, such as with their “choice” of Bond “girl.” Javier Bardem was so amazingly creepy. It was great acting, beautiful sets and landscapes, dark and mysterious, but overall amazing. Maybe 8.5 but it’s hard to put a number to it.

And then we bought a 6 dollar fountain drink to win a trip to New Zealand for 4 and the set of the Hobbit. We lost and won a track from the movie soundtrack. That is one expensive song.

See these movies and wait to read our next reviews.