#2217

There and Back Again, or: How The Hobbit Trilogy Let Me Down (and I’m clearly not over it)

So I’m a little late to this particular party (haha, party pun for ya), but having recently reread The Hobbit and finally finished the associated movie trilogy, I need to get some things off my chest. Before I get into all that, though, let’s establish my ring-cred so you understand why I feel so let down. The Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters when I was in eighth grade and I, along with many of my friends, was immediately obsessed. I probably saw it ten or fifteen times in theaters and attended the midnight releases of the second and third movies in costume. My friends and I religiously attended our local Lord of the Rings (LOTR) convention and were so well known in the fantasy con/renaissance faire circuit that everyone called us The Fellowship. My room was filled with LOTR posters, figurines, replicas, games, books, trading cards, and just about every other related thing I could beg my parents to purchase. I even had a LOTR-themed birthday party with a buffet spread of which any hobbit would be proud. So when I say I was a fan, I mean it – and I still am. My wife and I routinely quote the books/movies and I’m currently rereading the trilogy. Hell, I took a LOTR-themed writing class in college! What I’m saying is, this is a love that will never die. I am loyal to LOTR until the end.

All that being said… I was supremely disappointed with the Hobbit movies. In fact, I was so disappointed by the first two that I didn’t even see the third one in theaters (sacrilege!). I rewatched them recently hoping to change my mind, thinking perhaps my expectations had just been too high the first time around, but my opinion remains the same: they’re just not good movies. And believe me, it truly pains me to admit that. I feel like I’m betraying a piece of my childhood merely by offering criticism where criticism is justly deserved. Maybe cloaked figures will show up at my door in the middle of the night to whisk me away to Mordor, or other fantasy fans will cross the street to avoid passing by me, yet still I have to speak this truth no matter how it breaks my geeky heart.

Many critics have already dissected the movies’ main weak points – mediocre special effects, bloated plots, and unnecessarily lengthy action scenes to name a few – so I won’t repeat them here, but all of these issues lead back to what I believe is the real flaw in the trilogy: its creators just tried too hard to recapture a magic that can’t be forced. You see this with many popular franchises that have become very dead and very beaten horses (like my beloved Jurassic Park, alas!), so it’s obviously an easy pit into which creators frequently stumble. The thought process seems to be something along the lines of, “They liked what we did last time, let’s just do that again exactly the same way” without actually considering what they did and why it was so successful. Sequels in these franchises become copy/paste plots with so many allusions to the previous movies that even the most faithful fan grows tired of being pandered to. We don’t want old characters and old plots dressed up in different outfits, we want new characters and new adventures!

The Hobbit trilogy tries so damn hard to be dark and edgy like LOTR and it just doesn’t work. It’s obvious the creators threw the book out the window, along with its humor and lighthearted vibe, and just pasted Bilbo and co. into the LOTR framework. All of our heroes are updated with tragic backstories and noble, selfless motives: Thorin becomes the burdened, exiled prince trying to save his remaining people, Bard is now a widower forced to smuggle so he can care for his young children, and the dwarf who falls in love with an elf (because every movie needs a star-crossed romance) is somehow stabbed with a morgul arrow so his lovely lady can dramatically save his life in the nick of time. It’s just all so cookie-cutter obvious and feels like LOTR played out with different actors. They even managed to shove Legolas in there because why not? We definitely need another ten-minute action scene of Legolas shooting arrows and surfing on vines.


There’s no heart in The Hobbit. I don’t doubt that it was a labor of love, of course, because you can’t produce a movie trilogy that complex without people who love what they’re doing, but it lacks the essential magic that made the first trilogy so captivating. The action scenes feel meaningless, primarily because there are so fucking many of them that you become oversaturated with the constant high-stakes drama, and the plot bits in between feel too repetitive to be truly engaging. By the third movie this horse is not only dead and beaten but practically unrecognizable as a once-living creature. All you really want to do now is kick some dirt over the remains and leave. And that sucks, honestly, because I went into this trilogy ready to renew my obsession with a childhood passion and yet came out of it feeling… well, tired, mostly. Like butter scraped over too much bread, if you know what I mean.

I didn’t really have a point to this rant; I mostly needed to get it out of my head so I would stop harassing my friends about it. I just… I really love the LOTR universe and I strongly believe The Hobbit could be made into a fantastic movie. By pandering to the box office, though, we missed out on that potential awesomeness and instead got a LOTR prequel trilogy that didn’t really add anything to the franchise. There’s probably a good metaphor here about what happens when you’re driven by money (*cough* gold *cough*) instead of a more noble desire, but I’m ready to bury this horse once and for all. Rest in peace, mellon.

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#1918

[ Yo check out my new D&D character, she’s based on several professors of mine and Evie from The Mummy! Speaking of which, I drew her in one of Evie’s outfits (normally she has light leather armor). ]
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Name: Remr’knali’v’sarna’nbat’shi
Nickname: Remr
Age: 30
Gender: Female
Race: Tiefling
Class: Ranger
Background: Sage/researcher
Alignment: Neutral Good
Level: 4
General physical description: Red skin, yellow eyes, black hair (a double sidecut with bangs, usually held up in a bun by several writing implements), two horns on her upper forehead (one above each eye)
Orientation: Oblivious (she’ll end up some sort of queer, but for now she’s too involved in her work to think about it)
Relationship status: Married to her job
Family: Well-to-do mother and father, three older female siblings
Job: Associate Professor of Biology
Dress style: Tends toward comfort over appearance, clothes are often muddy, ripped, ink stained, and covered in bits of melted candle wax, wears a belt from which hang sample bags, a compass, a magnifying glass, and other necessary scientific tools
Companion: A long-suffering mule named Abigail
Religion: Agnostic but very excited about the possibility of meeting a god or gods when she dies, as she has lots of questions to ask them
Hobbies: Geology, ecology, anthropology, climatology, mythology, sociology, learning new languages, translating ancient texts, barely ever sleeping, writing notes to herself on her clothes, skin, or whatever else is at hand
Favorite food: Chocolate covered coffee beans
Catchphrase: “Fascinating!”
Strongest positive personality trait: Very outgoing and non-judgmental
Strongest negative personality trait: Extremely flighty
Sense of humor: Jovial and nerdy, but often accidentally pretentious
Temper: Friendly, upbeat, intense but well-meaning, hard to anger or offend, socially awkward but unaware of it
Consideration for others: Assumes everyone is as excited about learning as she is, has no concept of personal space or privacy
How other people see her: They either love her or hate her, depending on how they deal with such high energy levels and the conversational equivalent of pinball. Additionally, she can come off as pretentious or thoughtless.
Opinion of herself: Best Professor Ever!
Background: Being the high energy, ambitious late-in-life child of aging parents who had already raised three other daughters, Remr was often instructed to “go play outside” or “find something quiet to do”. She spent most of her time alone, either reading every scrap of text available or exploring the natural world. Her parents had hoped she would follow in her sisters’ footsteps and take up the noble family occupation of being a succubus, but it was clear early on that she was destined for the university. She and her parents parted on good terms, though they are wary of the packages she sends home; they sometimes contain dead, or not-so-dead, specimens. She is currently an Associate Professor on an extended sabbatical (the university may perhaps keep extending it in the hope she doesn’t come back).
Philosophy of life: Attainment of knowledge is the noblest pursuit to which one may dedicate their life, and nothing (even the law) should stand in the way of furthering our understanding of the world.
Most important thing to know about this character: She may be a flighty science nerd, but she has a rock hammer and an ice pick and she knows how to use them.

#1897

[ I don’t have any writing for you today, so here’s some geeky info on my characters (and myself, there on the end). Enjoy! ]

Category Tanim Daren Mage The Scribe
Sexual Orientation Asexual?? Asexual Asexual Asexual
Romantic Orientation Homoromantic Aromantic Aromantic Queer
Astrological Sign Cancer Scorpio Aries Leo
Element Water Earth Fire Earth
Sin Lust Sloth Pride Sloth
Virtue Charity Patience Diligence Temperance
D&D Alignment Chaotic good Neutral Chaotic neutral Neutral good
D&D Class Fighter Rogue Mage Mage
Assassin’s Creed Templar Assassin Assassin Assassin
Hogwarts House Gryffindor Slytherin Slytherin Ravenclaw
Pokémon Team Fire Ghost/Dark Ice/Electric Eevee evolutions
Bender Element Fire Water (blood) Fire (lightning) Water