Sunday, December 9, 2012

Will 'The Hobbit' hit big this week?

The first of three ‘The Hobbit’ movies hits at midnight Thursday – and I actually can’t wait.

I haven’t been this excited for a movie since the final installment of ‘Harry Potter.’

The difference between the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise and the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise – for me at least – is that I’ve been in love with the ‘Lord of the Rings’ since I was a kid.

Even before I could read the books, I had ‘Lord of the Rings’ merchandise. I remember having a memory game and even records that played the animated movie for me. I can still sing the song at the end of the record from memory.

I read ‘The Hobbit’ for the first time when I was 11 – and I fell in love with it. Then, even though the copy in my house was huge and leather-bound, I tackled the ‘Lord of the Rings’ when I was 12.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, ‘Lord of the Rings’ is the better book. It is my all-time favorite book, in fact. ‘The Hobbit,’ though, is still a wondrous and epic tale. It’s just not as complex as ‘Lord of the Rings.’

I probably could have went to a media screening for ‘The Hobbit’ this week – but I ultimately didn’t even try to get credentials. I have found I enjoy seeing movies I’m really excited about with “regular folks” rather than critics.

As journalists, we’re essentially cynical jerks. Fans, though, don’t let their enjoyment of a movie take a backseat. They voice their enthusiasm – and that’s what I want to see.

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed ‘The Avengers’ so much this summer was because the crowd I saw it with was ridiculously excited. That’s what I want for the first installment of ‘The Hobbit.’

Now, I’ve heard mixed things about the way the movie was filmed – and I’d be lying if I said that I thought splitting the book into three movies was a good idea – but I’m still geeked to see it.

Peter Jackson did something wonderful with the first trilogy. He managed to perfectly cast a film – and whittle down some very expansive source material – to make an instant classic. I have faith that he will do the book justice.

You see, I’ve always believed that ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ was Frodo’s story, ‘The Two Towers’ was Aragorn’s story and ‘Return of the King’ was Sam’s story. ‘The Hobbit’ is clearly Bilbo’s story – but it’s different, as well.

At its heart, the central message in ‘Lord of the Rings’ is that even the smallest person can make a difference.

‘The Hobbit’ has a different message. Bilbo Baggins isn’t brave. He isn’t particularly smart. He doesn’t have an overabundance of charisma. What he does have is loyalty and a sense of purpose. He doesn't want to fail.

Ultimately, ‘The Hobbit’ works as an epic tale because Bilbo doesn’t have special skills. Bilbo is a great hero because he’s himself – and he doesn’t feel the need to aspire to be something that he’s not. ‘The Hobbit,’ in a lot of ways, is about being comfortable in your own skin.

So, this holiday season, I’m fairly certain I’ll catch ‘The Hobbit’ at least three times in the theater (just like I did the three installments of ‘Lord of the Rings’).

Bring on Smaug, baby.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to ‘The Hobbit’?


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