Jan 30 2013, 2:04am
An Unexpected Journey gave the larger series something which it was lacking, but which would have been hard to find a proper place for in the Rings trilogy under most circumstances, regardless of the director: a cozy, more familliar sense of childlike wonder, without a ubiquitous grim undercurrent.
Why, to my mind, An Unexpected Journey greatly adds to rather than detracts from LOTR's fim legacy.
A shadow hung over Fellowship, even in the morning of The Shire. And that was appropriate. It is largely absent here. From the moment a Wizard's will transforms a smokering into a purposefull butterfly, to that same Wizard's commentary on Home being behind, there is a simple, joyously adventurous, wonder to the first quarter or so of The Hobbit, untainted by the promise of dire darkness in a way that no part of The Fellowship ever really manages to be. The Shadow never lifts from The Fellowship from the prologue onward, even as the Hobbits drink and are awed by fireworks.
I had struggled to find words to express my different feelings for this movie. How I managed to find it more fun and more jubilantly charming, while not finding it as elegantly enchanting as much of the material in Lord of The Rings. What I have come to realize is that The Hobbit offers a world of more ubiquitous simple enchantment, while Rings offers a world growing more mundane, but in which greater enchantments still abide in concentrated places (Rivendell, Lothlorien, and of a dark and more dreadful type in the Moria of The Balrog, or the ghastly lit Minas Ithil). Enchantment is everywhere in The Hobbit. . . its fields, and hills, its dwarves and their songs and the air of familiar yet otherly adventure and yore which they bring to Bilbo's quiet corner of The Shire, in the entertainment charms of one Wizard, and in the enchanted forest of another. Enchantment is NOT everywhere in LOTR. Indeed, there are whole strecthes of it that are mundane and dominated by the ways and feel of Man (both genders included) to the point of feeling almost drear ( some moments in Bree and Rohan, for example). . . but there are also moments of High Enchantment, almost religious in nature, to which The Hobbit does not attain ( Gandalf's return, Galadriel approaching her mirror, Arwen speaking with Elrond on the fate of Aragorn, and The Havens are examples), some of which are almost excruciating in their melancholy poignancy, and their elevated beauty (made more piercing in many cases by the clear implication that the beauty and enchantment is on the verge of passing away).
And, with that in mind, I think An Unexpected Journey gives the series as a whole something that it understandably lacked, and benefits from having acquired. There was Awe in Rings which The Hobbit has yet to really capture. But The Hobbit has far more simple, bon vivant wonder than Rings ever really offered. I think it is an ideal marraige. And I think those differences greatly behoove the overall accomplishment.
And for those who think I am just wide eyed and shining the film crews behinds with kisses, I still hate that Glorfindel was ignored, all the more because Lindir is not and Tauriel is added, ad I still hate the alterations to the Dwarves history, and I will complain if The Balrog matter isn't at least alluded to, for history and continuity's sake, and I don't like the changes to the history of Arnor, and Rings would have been better movies if the connection between The Three, The One, and the failing of The Elves had been given at least a paragraph of explanation, etc. etc. etc. . lol
"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"
"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."