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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Nerd Movie Marathon: Lord of the Rings

Every Sunday, we try to see two movies at discounted rates before we have to work in the afternoon. However, we’ve now seen 28 movies in theaters this year, and even though we skipped Sunday (because some of the movies we wanted to see weren’t playing and mainly because I have been very sick) because we saw a triple on Saturday!

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In preparation for the Hobbit, theaters were showing a marathon of all the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It clocked in at a whopping 13 hours and 27 minutes of movie watching. There were intermissions of 30 and 40 minutes in between each movie, but we wish they were shorter so we could keep watching. And we wanted more when it was over.

There were probably less than 100 people in the theater that holds 500 and the employees were saying how it was an underwhelming turnout. Basically, in terms of reviews, these are some of my favorite movies of all time. They’re all basically tens if you ask me. I have my favorite parts in each so I won’t rank them. And now we can’t wait for the Hobbit, which we have tickets for Thursday night at midnight with the family.

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We got a free lanyard with a keychain, and even treated ourselves to snacks. We brought some goodies that we went to the car to eat, but we bought Skittles, Buncha Crunch (went so fast), and a large large root beer. And we renewed our AMC Stubs card, finally.

Fellowship: So happy, with beautiful landscapes and an upbeat soundtrack. Gimli in Moria.

Towers: So quotable, incredible action and big sound.

Return: The beacon is lit, Into the West incredible wrap up.

We love these movies so much which makes us so excited for the Hobbit. It was a pretty epic marathon, and we left with sore upper backs, but it was worth it. Everyone clapping, cheering, and laughing together. Everyone is so connected to these films The Shire made us want to go to New Zealand so badly. Soon! Much love to Tolkien for creating such an amazing world.