Monday 29th January 2013
I finally saw ‘The Hobbit’. Two days ago first. And again yesterday. And again today… twice in a row (Monday is my weekly holiday).
Wow. What a treat.
I am often unable to take in a new film all at once the first time I see it. I have to see it several times before I have sufficiently digested it to start being able to perceive it inwardly, the impression I have of it taking shape gradually in the individualized form it grows to have in me.
So at first I was completely overwhelmed, but now I can say for sure, the more I see it, the more I love it!!!
So many remarkable moments:
– Moments of total, hilarious fun, as only Tolkien’s Dwarves can offer us. Scenes from the beginning of the book, great to read but so crazy I didn’t think even PJ and Co would dare to take them up, let alone succeed in bringing them to life: the thirteen Dwarves (minus Thorin, he is too serious and self-important) making fun of poor Bilbo by giving him his first fright already, a still domestic one, right in his own house, and to a mocking song at that, the fright of seeing all his dishes and plates and cups broken to pieces by those irreverent and seemingly clumsy Dwarves. In spite of the alarming blur of all those delicate objects being thrown around full speed all across the room and the apparent absolute chaos that reigns for a while, the Dwarves reveal themselves to be in fact great jugglers and throwers, doing it all with such a communicative glee that Gandalf too laughs with them, their collective feat being accomplished with the brio and perfect precision of a comic ballet worthy of some well-trained circus troop.
– Moments of total epic-ness, where the Dwarves’ fantastic spirit, strength and bravado shine through spontaneously, giving them the full heroic grandeur that their short if stout physical stature would not make us expect. Ah, Thorin’s splendid magnificence… I would never have suspected I would be falling in love with a Dwarf!!! But of course this is not just any Dwarf, he is the prince Thorin Oakenshield… Even his younger relatives, Fili and Kili, are quite handsome too, by the way. It must be in the lineage!
– Moments of Elvish aristocracy of exquisite beauty and refinement, that reawaken our longing to live among them in the heavenly Imladris, to blend with them, to be like them: great warriors like the Dwarves, and yet so different from them…
– Moments of inspired Gandalf-ness in the difficult art of harmonizing all those various species’ stiff necks, including the stiffest one of all: that of false friend’s Saruman. Beautiful complicity with Galadriel, an embodiment of Feminitude in all its tremendous, irresistible power, together with its unerring intuitive perception of the Truth.
– Moments of utterly moving Hobbity goodness, Bilbo’s growing humility and pure simplicity of heart gradually revealing the inner grandeur and genuine courage, born of his increasing love for his companions, that bloom unexpectedly in this barely Tookish Baggins of Bag End in the Shire. Extreme intensity of the scene with Gollum, culminating with the beautiful silent Moment when Pity in him replaces fear, and stays his hand ready to kill Gollum. A most challenging scene for an actor, played remarkably well, as my own feelings attested enough.
Besides that well-known, iconic scene from Tolkien himself, two more Moments that seem to be from the writers only, as I haven’t found anything like them in the various Tolkien sources that the writers may have used for the script:
– the acute feeling that Bilbo the Hobbit, the homebody by excellence, has of the Dwarves homelessness; which becomes his main conscious motivation in deciding to go on with them for their Quest. Suddenly the Dwarves themselves become more aware of their own sad condition; and Bilbo’s sincere compassion for them and wish to help them regain their own home is what really touches them and makes them feel for him too. Their new appreciation of him deepens in themselves too the same capacity of simple caring; they are usually rejected and not very much understood by the other species; here is someone they made fun of, and that Thorin ended up rejecting openly, and there he is, willing to go on risking his life for their sake.
– the actual leap forward of Bilbo, sword in hand, to save Thorin from the abominable Azog or at least protect him at the cost of his own life – an astonishing act, and yet fully in character for that Hobbit slowly turning into a hero out of love. Even Thorin then finds himself, out of genuine admiration and gratitude, acknowledging in front of all his companions that he misjudged him completely.
cf for ‘The Lord of the Rings’, establishes at once the Reality of the Story, not as a fairy-tale for imaginative children, but as a story of epic greatness and world significance.
At the very end, return to a – this time more discrete – comic vein and renewed expectation on our part of many more complications to come, with Bilbo saying, a sweet smile floating on his lips, these naive last words, ‘The worst is behind us’… followed by the ominous glimpse of a huge dragon half-buried under an enormous treasure, stirring in his sleep and opening an eye, big and cruel enough to send you fleeing as fast and as far as you can!…
The ending of this post was, in a second draft, much more elaborate mentioning the less known texts by Tolkien himself that inspired many of the scenes added to the story as told in the little book, but that draft got erased by mistake, and I don’t want to delay any further an already much delayed posting; so while this first stable connection since many days is lasting, I put this up just as it is, my first draft…