Thursday, December 19, 2013

Take a Christmas Break!

    Christmas is a busy time for everyone.  Sometimes, though, you just have to hold up your hand like a traffic cop and stop the madness.  So as I was heading out to face the local mall melee, I decided to see a movie instead.  It was just what I needed.
    Of course, Christmas is one of the big seasons for movie openings, and I certainly had plenty to choose from, but I went to the only one I had actually been waiting to see:

The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug

    One of the things I always love about Peter Jackson's epic fantasies is his attention to detail and the sheer beauty of his sets and locations.  This second of the three Hobbit movies is no exception.  Even the most desolate location is impressive in its desolation and the creative way it is desolate, like the impossible stairway one character has to climb up the side of a mountain, which is vastly different from the other impossible stairway different characters climb up the side of a different mountain.  Throughout, the sets are beautifully designed and each place is unique and fascinating to look at.

Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Thorin (Richard Armitage)

    Some might say the acting in a movie like this one takes second place next to the special effects and the epic nature of the film itself .  That may be true, but that does not make the acting here anything less than first rate.  Martin Freeman is perfect as the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.  And, of course, anything with Richard Armitage in it is all right by me.  His melancholy Thorin is very touching, especially when he finally reaches his goal and returns to his ancestral home after years of exile.  Benedict Cumberbatch's dragon Smaug is fascinating, hypnotizing and powerful as he sits on (and in) his endless hoard of treasure, and I am happy to say that Sylvester McCoy's Radagast is not nearly as irritating as he was in the first movie of the series.

Smaug the Terrible

    As much as I love Aidan Turner as Kili (a Dwarf), and he is great in this movie even without much to do, I found his "love at first sight" with Elf warrioress Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) less than convincing and more than unnecessary.  It certainly was implied nowhere in the books, and apart from that, she does little but slaughter Orcs.  And that is exactly what I didn't like about Orlando Bloom's role in this film.  The ten years since he last portrayed Elf prince Legolas have certainly done him no harm, but I would like to have seen him do a bit more than slash through Orcs and narrow his eyes dangerously when Tauriel talks to Kili.
    But those are minor quibbles in a movie that kept me enthralled for nearly three hours.  If you need a break from Christmas shopping madness, I highly recommend it, though you might want to see the first movie first, if you haven't already.  And don't expect a real ending until next Christmas.
    By the way, if you don't like spiders, take something to scream into.  Just sayin'.

What are you doing to take a break this Christmas?

DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. She is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, as well as Letters in the Attic, The Key in the Attic, The Diary in the Attic and The Legacy in the Attic, contemporary mysteries. Her new series of Drew Farthering Mysteries debuted in the Summer of 2013 with  Rules of Murder,  to be followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado in 2014 from Bethany House.  A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats.   


  1. I know that Saving Mr. Banks is coming out and I'd like to see that. Last night I was thinking... Disney missed a chance here. They should have put Mary Poppins back in the theaters for the Christmas season.

    I'd so go to that again and I think my oldest Grand would love it.

    DeAnna, I haven' seen any Hobbit movie yet. I know. argh. So I will someday watch them both. I suppose there are more on the way?

  2. Oh, I definitely want to see Mr. Banks. And, yes, why wouldn't they re-release Mary Poppins? Seems like a great tie in.

    Yes, there's a third movie coming next Christmas, which is the actual end of the story. I think they're fun movies. Not profound, but highly entertaining and beautifully done. You should watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy first (though it's not essential).

  3. I am so excited to see this! Love the LOTR movies (and books). I neither deny nor confirm that my daughter and I are Beyond Thrilled and Swooning to see Orlando Bloom as Legolas again, even though he wasn't in the book.

    And Deb, you should watch the trilogy movies for Legolas and Aragon alone, if nothing else. I will say no more on the subject.

    I want to see Mr. Banks too, although it is PG13 and I read that it isn't precisely family fare. Travers had a rough life, but it is difficult to imagine a movie about the making of Mary Poppins earning a 13 rating, so maybe I am remembering incorrectly. (Is someone beaten? Swearing?)

    1. Well, as I said above, Orlando was not damaged in the least by the passage of ten years. But I just wish he had more to do in this movie. Maybe next time. :D

  4. As soon as I saw
    Movie review + Hobbit

    I know that had to add up to DeAnna.

    We're hoping to take turns seeing this one. It's PG-13, so we won't be taking youngest. However, oldest is home, so hoping dh and I can take an evening out with just the two of us. And then I'd like to send #2 with his older brother so they can spend a little time together. (They both liked the idea.)

    Need to watch the vid of the first Hobbit before I go though.

    Susie, I hadn't heard of the Banks movie, so I just looked it up. Looks like there's a certain amount of occult/mysticism in it. (From what it said, Travers was into that.) And it said her father was an alcoholic, and there are flashbacks to her childhood.

    1. Yeah, it's me, CJ. Heh heh. I don't make the effort to go out to see many movies, but I do enjoy these at Christmastime. I'm sad that next year will be the last.

  5. My entire clan has seen The Hobbit and its sequel, except me. I'm challenged by all of the LOTR movies... although the fact Legolas has returned gives serious points to this one. :)
    We're looking for "outs" while my SIL's family visits over the holidays. Saving Mr. Banks and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty are on the to-see list. Although we'll probably wait on the DVD release for at least one of them.


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