Tuesday 25 December 2012

The Hobbit - Forgiving and Forgiveness

With my last post, I was rather harsh with my critique of the religious aspect of "The Hobbit", as it is written and composed by J.R.R. Tolkien.
I hold that grudge for a while now and was really astonished to find the book such a recommended literature for moral guidance of young teens, when in my opinion it did not give one single useful instruction or aspect to find a way in my own life.

The Hobbit film in comparison, made lots of the non-existent background in the story perceptible, the characters understandable, though still, their life is quite far apart from our daily experiences.
I would like to have seen my last boss, if I had taken up a sword and held him at bay, when his demands became strange and unreasonable.
Perhaps such a cave like Golum's would work for him?
What a pleasant idea that is ;o) - Just joking! I am really a rather nice person, or at least I thought to be, till I went in to see the film.
Yes, not the film, but what transpired before it began, changed my mind about myself a great bit.
I was forgiven by the person, who I wronged, but the difficult part is inside myself.
I have not forgiven myself for acting in such a way.

As this now had quite some time to grow and nag inside of me, I turned it around, observed and analysed it from all sides and still came out with no solution.
But the nagging inside of me brought me to combine two things together, which brought me to new answers, even if not to the solution of my initial problem.
Like Servetus on her blog so wonderfully describes seeing parallels in RA's roles with one's own life as a very helpful method to understand more of one's own problems.
And that I did ... - though the past cannot be changed, whatever the intentions or resolutions come up with.

But now to the answers and no more about my unchangeable problem:

What, if Thorin Oakenshield had regrets about the past, even if they were only small ones', like a bad word to his ill/mad grandfather or not obeying his father in a little thing, before the dragon Smaug came and captured their land?
He would not, if he were anything like me, be able to ever let go of the past in that case.
I remember my faults of when I was 4 years old, especially when I am down and depressed and then I have nightmares about them all combined or separately, just how they can strike me best.
How much more must a lost land, unprotected and dead grandfather and lost father bind Thorin Oakenshield to his past, must haunt him in nightmares, must nag at him with questions of what if's?

We only had glimpses into this depths in RA's eyes. I am looking forward to more of it in the future parts, to the abyss he will reveal on the further journey, to the fight outside and within himself, that makes him such a great character, though a very hard role to play. I have the highest respect for Richard Armitage that he took this character to such heights and took his haunted background up to full extent.

This for me is also the element, where the film starts with much more depths than the a bit funny Thorin Oakenshield of the book, always getting into a mess whenever he commands, could ever hope to have.
This is where I am exceedingly thankful, that this material got into the able hands of Sir Peter Jackson and his team, who made this a story with a moral, though enjoyably not in an instructive, but in a very entertaining and interesting way.

A behind the scenes footage about "The Hobbit" I enjoyed very much, but which contains many (!) SPOILERS:

Collider.com (04.12.2012): 20 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from the Making of THE HOBBIT by Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

Sunday 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas and Thank You to all my Fandom Friends ...

Fandom changed in the last year......
Some of my fandom friends have retired from fandom, for different reasons, others still hold strong.
I remember all my friends especially at this time of the year and enclose them in my prayers, my well wishes and include them in my good thoughts and hopes for the new year to come.

Have happy, relaxed and enjoyable holidays 
and wonderful Christmas days !
May the New Year be full of joy for you!

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Thorin & A Lot More

[ CONTAINS "The Hobbit" SPOILERS ! ]

Before I start with this article, I must add that I neither can, nor intend to do a full review about "The Hobbit".
The article is completely based on my personal experience watching the film (3D 48frs) and so far seeing it one time only (though I would like to see it numerous more times).

What got me started with my ramblings, musings and just letting my thought drift off on various subjects, was

Gratiana Lovelace on Facebook (16.12.12), who asked the following questions:

1)  Most favourite and least favourite moments?
2)  What surprised you about "The Hobbit"?
3)  If you were the director, is there anything you would do differently and why?

Those questions got me to think, what I would answer and in the following got me started on my more in depths analysis of the film experience.

The easy part was, what I like most:

  1. The heroic appearance and behaviour of Thorin Oakenshield at the beginning, setting his 'royal' and 'worthy' background for the rest of the story.
    (As I find Thorin a rather comic and involuntary funny and not to be taken serious leader in the book, I was surprised by this valuable characterisation of Thorin Oakenshield in the film.)

    What - strangely and surprisingly for me - I like least about "The Hobbit", is the embracing at the end, though I appreciate the way it is done. (I come back to it in point 3, though I am not sure, I would make it any better with my interference.)
  2. Really surprised I was, that well halfway through the film, suddenly somebody seemd to start snoring next to me in the audience. It took some more strange sounds to alert me, that suddenly I became aware of the new surround sound, which really made you believe you were sitting in the middle of the action. - So no real snoring ;o) How could one fall asleep while watching that wonderful film?
  3. What I would make differently if I could (and knew what I was doing in such a complex surrounding like the filming of "The Hobbit") is:
    In the embracing scene between Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, I would take away some of the prosthetic layers on Thorin's face.
    Here is the only moment I really got annoyed with the mask, while in all other scenes, I was quite happy, what emotions RA could transmit though having his face heavily covered.
    I know he wants to portray a stony faced warrior in that scene breaking down with emotion, but still, I would like to see that (or rather more of that).
    [Perhaps, I did not get a too good look at this scene during the first watching, because I was much too surprised that Thorin Oakenshield would really get emotional and embrace Bilbo. I must have a closer look the next time.]

What I, with answering those questions, did not mention so far is, the most impressive moment, where all the technology and image density made complete sense to me, was the moment the eagles flew like the rulers of the world.
I want to see this again, each layer of the feathers, each movement, the landscape and enjoy this freedom and heavenly peace all over again.

One thing I was astonished about in other reviews about "The Hobbit" was that the time spent in Rivendell was seen as too long.
I did not have that impression at all. May be because I only saw the first part of "Lord of the Rings" and wanted to explore each well crafted detail of this setting to full extent and would like to, like Mr. Armitage told he did before starting filming, go through the created set, see and discover each crafted piece, see the drafts and models for it and how they turned into the end result of this beautiful stage.

The other reason why I saw this sequence completely appropriate in its timing and slowing down of the pace is, because this so well shows the different mentality of hectic and active dwarves who grab the opportunity when it comes and stumble into danger, which they can't control or oversee and where they might not be able to stop in time. They are forceful and fierce warriors.

In contrast, the elves are thoughtful, don't speak before they heavily evaluated each aspect and think they are the better people for it. So, in a way arrogant in their presumed nobility, which allows them to live their life in comfortable, comfort enjoying pace.
In comparison, the dwarves have no sense for these comforts (except their own food) and no patience with the slow pace of the elves, which in the end brings Thorin Oakenshield to leave them with his men and not await any long thought through resolution or compromise the elves might have come up with at the end.
Thorin wants to act, not discuss and debate his quest.

I find especially that change of the tempo of the film very well composed and each moment at Rivendell showed one different aspect, why elves and dwarves just don't get along too well.
Especially the debates I found quite amusing, imagining what Thorin would have done if he would have been allowed to join the discussions and little mind fights.

Further Points:

Initiated by RA's interpretation and connecting the dwarves to the Jewish race, I followed the thought through further and found parallels to other parts of societies / peoples in "The Hobbit", which make sense, but seem so flattened out, that I won't mention them, as in most aspects, they are not overly favourable or a positive or even hopeful interpretation of the world.

What I could not appreciate in full, are the cave scenes of "The Hobbit".
They are full of action (like an action game) and considering my slow eyes go into emergency mode - that means, they reduce the image to movement impressions and when there is lots of movement at the same time, just reduce the input of information further.
So to appreciate any of the realistic special effects and the part of the actors here, means for me to having to see this part many more times.
Once is not nearly enough, but just a blur in my memory, though at the time I was impressed by the detail all this movement still reached on screen.

The one thing lots of J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis (Narnia) interpretations don't mention, that they were not happy or hopeful interpreters of their time. This is the reason why I so much appreciate RA's reference to WWI as background for Tolkien to write this story.
Thorin is no hero, neither is the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, but they struggle to make sense of a world around them, which makes no sense.
They try to fight for their little space to make a living and have a 'home', each in their own way and ideology.
The motive of small men thrown out into an unfriendly world they can't influence, but which means gravest danger, allows them to become heroes or to fail, for no ulterior motive or no goal or sense in life.

This also is part of the reason, why I never liked either "Lord of the Rings", "The Hobbit", nore the "Narnia Chronicles", when I read them.
They have no goal or sense of promise of redemption, but are just brutal fights for their own right.
No goal of redemption, doing right by some measure of morality (which does not exist or at least not in a way one would expect in the writing of either author, who are seen as leading Christian literature for teens).
No bravery (though doing what is necessary could be rated in that way, but I don't, as all characters are pushed into their position and just act and react upon it and not out of a conscious sense of bravery and trying to be strong or do the 'right' thing, but doing what must be done).
No reflection upon the morality or rightfulness of their doing, just puppets in a greater game they have no means to understand.

This is the reason, why I find the connection to WWI so important, to the sense of inevitability, of helplessness, of having to do what must be done.

When I think back of reports about the wars from my family, that so much resembles their experience of the time, thought they stood at the opposite side of J.R.R. Tolkien and his friends.

The worst critique I have for the two authors, I combined even before I knew they were friends, is:
Their writing has no hope, no goal, no change for the better, just a respite from the worst, a delay from the winning of unclear, hateful, yet not legitimized or legally banned bad forces for some time longer.

This hopelessness, the never changing ritual of fight of the good against the bad forces, makes me avoid the authors, though I see their writing in a way as a time document.
They depress me enormously and make me search the more for a reason for life, for joy, for rightful and good behaviour, beside a just temporarily appearing wizzard / lion, giving sense like a doctrine or a 'deus ex machina' from the Antiquity.

I don't believe in such a haughty, self-obsessed position of G*d, but in a loving, caring and freedom loving G*d, having a reason for each single one of us.
So my outlook to life is much more hopeful, much friendlier, much more joyful, than either J.R.R. Tolkien's or C.S. Lewis' could ever be.
I hate the spreading of depression and giving it an almost religious meaning, prolonging and manifesting a for me hateful image of G*d.
In principle, I do think we can make things better in future, not making the same mistakes all over again like I see it in those authors' work. (Not that we do make things better, but at least that we get the G*d given option and not follow a pre-set path of fate, that repeats itself over and over again.)
J.R.R. Tolkine and C.S.Lewis give me no hope, that except for a daily fight between good and evil forces, nothing will ever change, just the participants of the fight, not the attitude, not the fierceness, nothing ... forever ... till the last day of creation and the end of time.

Just perhaps need to explain, that all the fuss in J.R.R. Tolkien's work as well as the Narnia Chronicles with lots of pretended ulterior motives like brotherhood, loyalty, honor, 'religious believe' in something, to build a forceful army and strong fighting unit, for me are just absolutely empty and senseless motives, created to get the story along, but not in a way to build a hopeful future or religious mind system upon. So therefore I always, even when I read the "Narnia Chronicles" and "Lord of the Rings" years ago and discovered that they were the recommended literature for a Christian youth, found them dangerously violent in the name of an empty believe system.
They explain nothing and build nothing in a creative, hopeful, understanding and future building way.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Yes, he indeed is ...

Yesterday, I spoke about Mr. Armitage as a miracle.
Now, after seeing "The Hobbit" and the late interviews with him about it, I can definitely say, he is.

Richard Armitage interviewed in London (YouTube - RACentral, 12.12.12), predicts my reaction to seeing the film (at about [3:00]):
It ["The Hobbit" film by Sir Peter Jackson] will make you want to come back and see it again.

Seeing it once is not nearly enough.
I want to see the film again and again and again to grab every little and lovingly created detail of the film. It is so much a world of its own - and you know, I don't really like J.R.R. Tolkien's story of "The Hobbit", but I very much like, what Sir Peter Jackson made of it.

I won't reveal anything about Thorin or the story now, when some of you did not yet have a chance to see the film so far, but can reveal that I have not been left down in my high expectations and entirely love the first part.
Too long? Whoever said or implied that, did not get the grip of the story. Every second is well worth it and it ended much too soon for my liking.
What I don't like about J.R.R. Tolkiens story, gets a sense, a connection and is embedded in its background, to make it a round and sound story with full grown characters, which - sorry J.R.R.Tolkien fans - it is not in the author's version.

I can also report and assure you, I had no sign of motion sickness during the eintire film! (Saw it in 48fr 3D) And I must admit, I am heavily plagued with it and mostly remember places we visited in my childhood because of ... (I won't get into any more details ;o)

IngeD3 posted a wonderful report about her seeing "The Hobbit" here. (Without spoilers, so can safely be read, even if you have not seen the film yet.)

So have fun with "The Hobbit" and if you like, share your own experiences with me.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Mr. Armitage is a Miracle !

Almost one year ago, I wrote something, which came back to me in a clash, when I read a late interview with Mr. Armitage about his role as Thorin Oakenshield in "The Hobbit".

You know, I especially admire his singing as revealed in the trailer published on December 21st 2011. New video of the song published by The1neRing on YouTube:

RA's comment about what he intended and what image he had in his mind when singing this song, attracted my closest attention:

RA was asked the following question in the L'Ecran Fantastique Interview, 24.11.2012:
Which are your favourite Thorin moments that we will get to see in this first episode?
[...] this song all the Dwarves sing together in front of Bilbo is a moment of fervour almost religious in nature, which marks the beginning of their quest towards the Blue (sic - Misty) Mountains. When I recorded this song, I imagined it had been sung to Thorin time and time again when he was still a little baby in his crib, and that it also aroused a strong emotional identification amongst the other Dwarves. [...] It's a very beautiful sequence.
(Quoted after Lexie171170's translation for RichardArmitageNet.com

Why especially this quote, when in his latest interviews, RA might have told lots of more spectacular things?

Because for me it holds the quintessence of what makes Mr. Armitage so singular and for me so important in my life. For me, this small comment shows the greatness of RA's talent.

If you compare my comment about what I experienced in reaction to RA singing this song at the end of my last year's christmas wish post, you will understand, that the similarity of the projected image just hit me like a thunderbolt.

How can he send me such an intense picture with his voice alone - and not with his normal speaking voice, but with the limited, because strongly regulated, repertoire of his singing voice?
How can he, as actor, tell a whole story with his voice alone?

I had the image of a child in the crib in my mind, while hearing him sing this song.

And I think I have mentioned, I am not the most visual of persons, as my eyes are rather lazy and build pictures comparably slow and rudimentary.
So you will understand, that I was quite stunned, when Mr. Armitage in the interview revealed this image, which seemed to come right out of my head ;o)

This marks a really great actor
and was the most stunning fan-experience for me.
The effect of the song, whenever I hear it, is devastating on all my senses and this song alone will guarantee that the evening of seeing "The Hobbit" today, is well spent.
(I still hope, Sir Peter Jackson will consider a separate production of songs accompanying the marketing of "The Hobbit": "The History of the Dwarves, sung by their king Thorin Oakenshield, i.e. Richard Armitage).

I gladly spend the day, celebrating such a wonderful actor.
As I have mentioned, I don't care if the film is good (the only thing I hope is, that I will not suffer motion thickness like I did in the 3D "Ring of Fire" production, of which I was not even able to see 1/3, but it will not stop me from hearing the song in super - what is it called? - surround quality ;o) ).

I go to celebrate Mr. Armitage today !

Cheers and I hope you all can join in on the celebrations soon !!!

Source: http://dl6.glitter-graphics.net/pub/1902/1902616gzigibv9ox.jpg
Source: http://dl6.glitter-graphics.net/pub/1902/1902616gzigibv9ox.jpg

Happy RA-Day celebrations to you all!