As usual what you find here is just a very personal approach to the movie and nothing like a professional review. So, get ready to my very subjective vision of a film I just wanted to see for Thorin Oakenshield, or better  Richard Armitage. or go to the end of the post for a link to a proper review. I wouldn't mind you reading my post at all, if you have a few minutes, though. 

After waiting for a couple of years and after booking a ticket to see it with my friends in Rome as soon as it came out,  I was really disappointed when I felt sick overnight and had to give up going.

I was, however , very happy to go and see it later on with the Tolkien expert in my family, my elder son , who wanted to see it again with me in the English version after watching it in Italian with his friends.

He was my personal driver to Rome and that's really a unique event. We hadn't gone to the cinema together since my husband and I used to drive him there . Ehm, this kind of thoughts don't improve my melancholic mood of these days, so let's focus on the pleasure of such an unexpected event.

I was saying.... My son really wanted to see  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey a second time so he accepted and willingly to be my escort.  While driving to Rome, we had a good chat  in the car first, then over a coffee once arrived.  Inside the cinema, sitting side by side,  he told me: “You’ve got a rather satisfied expression, like someone who has really achieved something!” I was, I had. It had been such a long wait.

The film begun,  he  was rather annoyed by three ladies giggling and whispering every time Thorin was on screen.  How dared they disturb him? He gazed at them quite Thorin-like.

Do you know them, he asked?
How could I? Never seen them,  I whispered to him,  puzzled.
You know, you too are here for Thorin  ...

Did he mean I was like those ladies?!? I wasn't. I was pretty well-behaved.  I watched and listened very carefully, and especially, still and totally silent. Speechless, indeed. Did I say still? Well, that’s not true, actually.

Fact is,  I’m not very tall -  if not a hobbit a dwarf - and I had problems at watching over the seat in front of me , which was as high as me seated. I couldn’t relax a bit leanining over all the time trying to peep over the back of the seat in front of me to see what was happening on the screen.  Never happened before. Usually the rows of seats behind are on a higher level than those in  front. Not in that theatre though. 

But I forgot the seat in front after a while and I let the  story and  the magic of Middle Earth  mesmerize me. So I followed the company of funny dwarves +  their fascinating leader in their quest back to Erebor with Bilbo the hobbit, their burglar, and Gandalf the Grey, their guide.

Surprise, surprise! Thorin was really different from the grumpy, funny, old dwarf in the pages of Tolkien’s book. Surprised I was, but not completely. I’d understood he would be someone majestic, powerful,  charismatic, proud and brave at first glimpse back in 2010, when I gasped: “Where’s Richard?!?”, after seeing Thorin’s first promo pic.

I felt my son’s stare on me when Thorin made his first appearance on the screen, young and elegant in his palace at Erebor, but I gave no external sign  of the thrill inside. As if that was not my favourite actor performing for the first time in something as big as Peter Jackson’s new trilogy. But  in that moment I was extremely calm, except for a pinch in my stomach.

I really enjoyed being there, concentrated on the amazing images flowing on the screen, woken up to reality by “the” familiar voice from time to time, astonished at the beauty of some landscapes and some scenes. I easily sympathised with Thorin and Bilbo and forgot they were Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman … most of the time.

They were brilliant. They were incredibly suited for those roles and the chemistry between them worked magic. Thorin and Bilbo were my favourite characters, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Gollum , who has always been my favourite character in the previous movies, came second this time but I loved the scene of the riddles. That creepy creature is really an extraordinary fictional character ,  for which we must thank Andy Serkis more than Tolkien or  Peter Jackson, in my opinion.

Watching the movie was an unexpected pleasure on the whole. I had my moments, mind you. What moments? Fits of … “Give me back my Jane Austen!” , though it was just a flash or two, you know. All those awful slimy beasts, all that fighting and then escaping death, giant birds, fighting again and escaping death again,  made me want something more ordinary and less epic.

I’m not so interested in CGI, new shooting digital techniques, 3D. I’m more into gripping stories and fascinating characters.

I’ve read and watched some interviews with the cast -  a few not all of them - and I agree with Richard Armitage when he says that these are also message films, beside being  cinematographic wonders : “They’re about fighting for your home, but doing it with kindness and mercy.” 
There are messages in The Hobbit first movie, actually. Basic but important.
As Gandalf teaches Bilbo, real courage is not being good at using a sword to kill your enemy but being generous enough to spare their lives.
From Thorin we learn, instead,  that real nobility is not being the heir of a great kingdom but to be ready to apologize and recognize your own mistakes.

When the movie finished I felt it was just the beginning of a new adventure, not the end. Not only because there will be a part 2 in December 2013, The Desolation of Smaug,  and a part  3 in July 2014, There and Back Again, but because this is a fantasy world I have just started to explore and want to know better.

Fed up of my ramblings? Looking forward to a real review of the movie?  Try this one.


Anonymous said...

Maria Grazia, this is a wonderful report of your trip to Rome for to finally see „The Hobbit“, and most important, to have a closer look at Thorin at last.... It had really been a long wait. But we are regaled with loads of exquisit scenes, an outstanding performance of Richard Armitage (of course for me there isn't enough screentime of him in this first film, greedy as I am.!! LOL) and I enjoyed most of the other actors as well. However I do quite understand your Jane Austen remark!! ;-) Thanks for sharing your impressions.

Maria Grazia said...

Glad to hear from you, Linda. Thanks for stopping by and contributing your opinion :-)
If I can be honest, you must be very greedy ;-) since this first movie should have been titled "Thorin, the dispossessed prince of Ereborn" more than "The Hobbit. An Unexpected Journey" . Poor Bilbo had less screen time than Thorin in it , or was that only my impression?
However, I'm very proud of RA's performance in this movie. He'll always be Mr T. For me, and especially, Lucas or Harry Jasper Kennedy. But for a huge amount of Tolkien and Peter Jackson fans he is Thorin now. Brilliant achievement.

lunarossa said...

Ciao bella, I'm glad you finally got to see The Hobbit and you liked it. I also went with my son (and his girlfriend) and all of us really loved it. Truth be told, I did not expect much. The hype was too much and I did not like reading the book much either. But the movie was splendid and watching it in 3D really fantastic. Thorin was superb and won me over even more than Aragon in LOFDR! Looking forward to the next instalment even though we have to wait another 12 month...A.xx

Summer said...

Glad you had an unexpected pleasure, Maria :)

Barbara Bettis said...

So glad to find another Richard Armitage fan! I only hope the other two installments of TH are as heavily favored with his appearances as the first.

Maria Grazia said...

Hey A.! It seems I'm not the only one who went to see The Hobbit with her grown - up son (though mine keeps his girlfriend/s secret for now ;-)
Glad to hear you liked it too and that your heart too was stolen by the lead dwarf. Thorin better than Aragorn? They have something in common... long hair? Jokes apart, both are the heirs of a kingdom, though their fates will be quite different. Ssshhh! No spoilers. And their heights are quite different too. But only one of them has a certain blue stare that can make a lady feel hot and flustered :O
Thanks for your comment. Ciao!
And many thanks to you too, @Summer and @Barbara for visiting and commenting :-)