On (Peter Jackson’s) Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

I went to Best Buy today thinking I would buy the new Rush CD/Blu set that came out, because as noted, I’m a big Rush fan. Found it, but it was only the DVD copy and I wanted Blu, so I wandered around the store a little, thinking about if I wanted to compromise on that.  While I was wandering, I made the startling discovery that the three Hobbit movies have been released in a single set for about $60–including the “appendices” discs!  So I bought that instead.  Figured it was close enough…three of something…they’re all great…epically long…etc…

I’m at the “barrel” scene in “Desolation of Smaug” as I’m writing this.  You know.  The really fun fight scene that features one of the best laughs in the whole series?  That bit.

I love these movies.  And by “these movies” I’m also referring to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, since it’s the same world.  I find a lot of joy in these six flicks and the behind-the-scenes stuff.  I have the LOTR series four different times, in fact.  Once on DVD in the theatrical version.  Once in the extended series.  Once in the extended series, but with DIFFERENT behind-the-scenes discs.  And finally in Blu-Ray.  And when-ever the next format comes out, I’ll buy them in that, too.

The Hobbit films, so far, I’ve only bought in the one format.  (Although I was also gifted the theatrical version of the first movie on DVD.)  I hope to keep it that way.  I didn’t mean to get LOTR so many times–it just sort of happened.  I’m hoping to only have to re-buy the Hobbit when a new format emerges…

Like many of you, I have an over decade-long relationship with the franchise.  The Fellowship of the Ring came out in December of 2001.  Think of that.  9/11 hadn’t left the headlines yet.  (Come to think of it…has 9/11 left the headlines YET?)  I can’t speak for the rest of the world…but I’ve been through a lot since December 2001.  And for every down mood, every bad experience, every rejected date, friendship-ending fight, week-long illness, term paper due the next day, sudden tragic loss, deep descending doubt, and every day that I’ve just needed a smile; I’ve done a re-watch of at least one of the movies.  These flicks have been there for me and helped get me through some stuff, man.

There are those who vocally state that the Hobbit movies aren’t as good as the LOTR flicks.  I don’t see it that way at all, but I see why they feel that way.  It’s a different tone, but I maintain it’s the same world.  (We can talk all day about the stuff they changed from the book or the additional characters added, and my argument will always be that they did exactly the same things in the first series of flicks that everybody joyously shits themselves over.)  I won’t dismiss somebody for liking the first three flicks better–in some ways they ARE better, or even if not they’re at least the first time you saw this world, and that’s special.  I get liking the first three movies better than the Hobbit movies.

But I like the Hobbit movies, too.

I almost feel like the two different series function to mark two different stages in my life.  I relentlessly devoured the first trilogy between 2001-2003.  I was in college for the first trilogy.  I had an almost completely different set of friends then, too.  I was at a different church, different job, different haircut, different everything.  I think about that time when I see those movies.

And the Hobbit…  2012-2014…  The present, mostly–but it’s wrong to call it that, too.  A lot has happened since 2012.  And a lot happened between 2004-2011, too.  A lot of loved ones lost.  Some new loved ones born.  A handful of the old friends…a whole bunch of new ones.  But even still, they do feel like they’re marking “NOW” for me.  It feels like we’ve got a long road ahead together–in fact I haven’t even seen the extended version of the last movie yet!  That happens tomorrow at my dad’s place!  It’s kind of a cool experience to see something and KNOW it’s one of the things you’ll be using as a benchmark.  “Oh, right…I’d just seen “Smaug” when that happened…”  It’s nice to know you’ve got something to get through stuff with.

I don’t think it’s a secret that in recent years, I’ve not been as happy a person as maybe I was in the early part of the century.  When the new series started up, knowing how much I loved the previous trilogy and all it had gotten me through, I wasn’t sure if I had high expectations or low ones.  Then I walked into the theatre and we were in Hobbiton…and if I didn’t cry, I meant to.  Because there it was…there was that world that helped me graduate, that helped me get over broken hearts, that helped me believe that good wins in the end and sometimes the BEST good comes in small packages…  There it was…  And then again in 2013.  And then again in 2014.

And here it is on my coffee-table in a collector’s box.  And Stephen Fry is on screen, and Stephen Colbert’s cameo is about to go by…  And I’m happy, watching it.  And it’s going to get me through some stuff and be something that makes me happy, even in the middle of it.  Because that’s how this franchise works for me.  Whatever I’m going to go through in the next 14 years, these flicks are going to be there, just like the original trilogy was for the previous 14.

…and after that, someone’s going to have to make The Silmarillion, I guess…


Current Listening:

  • Replacements – Mix of stuff from “Let It Be,” “Don’t Tell A Soul,” and “Pleased to Meet Me”
  • Slayer – Repentless
  • David Bowie – “Nothing Has Changed” three-disc set

Current Reading: “The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath.  Which I’m mostly reading because it’s referenced in a Jason Isbell song.  Enjoying it a lot.