Daily Archives: January 13, 2013

Context, context, context…

Yesterday morning on the way to work I bough a large cup of Starbuck’s dark coffee. That’s how I asked for it – “Give me a large cup of dark coffee.” You see, I like the taste of Starbucks coffee – but I REFUSE to hable that Starbuckian patter.

“Would I like a tall blonde to go with that coffee?” the girl at the counter asked me.

Wow – talk about customer service.

“No thanks,” I said. “I’m married.”

“I mean a coffee.”

“A coffee to go with a coffee? I don’t get it?”

“We’re having a promotion. You can get a free tall blonde with every cup of coffee you buy.”

“I repeat, I’m married.”

I finally figured out she was offering me an extra cup of coffee – which I took with me to work and handed off to one of my fellow employees.

I’m still wondering how a fellow as I am was expected to handle a tall blonde and a strong cup of coffee at the very same time…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Hobbits Stole My Lunch Money…

Okay – so let me be honest about this.

I absolutely LOVED Peter Jackson’s original trilogy. I loved it so much so at least once a year my wife and I eagerly sit down and burn an entire day rewatching it from start to finish – and I insist on watching the extended version of THE TWO TOWERS  because I really dig siege warfare – especially Helms Deep.

However, I was MASSIVELY disappointed with The Hobbit. The first movie was WAAAAYYYY too long, we didn’t get to know much about any of the dwarves, WAAAYYYY too many cheap gags, WAAAAYYYY too much CGI as opposed to actual actors made up into monsters, and don’t ANYONE get me started on “That’ll do it!”.

I’m sorry – but the only entertainment-diffusing mechanism that Peter Jackson forgot to insert was Jar-Jar Binks.

I hate this movie with the intensity that I had previously reserved for the George Lucas catastrophe, THE PHANTOM MENACE. What sort of weed was Peter Jackson smoking?

For starters – Peter Jackson set the mood with his false start – burning up nearly forty minutes of screen time – simply because he needed an excuse to show Old Bilbo (Ian Holm) and young Frodo (Elijah Wood) – JUST because he wanted to remind the fans of THE LORD OF THE RINGS that hey, they were back in the same movie.

Really, they should have begun with Gandalf coming to the door followed by the dwarves and let’s get this movie under way, shall we?

And – as I mentioned – we never really get a chance to meet very many of the dwarves. They just fall into a full-tilt boogie frat party and then Gandalf shows up – and then Thorin – who is, after all, the only dwarf we REALLY need to pay attention to.

What made the Trilogy work was that we got to spend a little time with EACH of the members of the Brotherhood of the Ring. Aragorn and Boromir and Legolas and Gimli and Gandalf. We felt we knew them – they were each individual characters – and we worried about them.

The dwarves in THE HOBBIT, unfortunately, are never anything more than a pack of mug shots. I would have LOVED to see each one of them get the opportunity for each one of these characters to shine in their own particular way – but they’re simply used as a running gag that consists of a non-stop Keystone Cops gallop across Middle Earth.

For example – I would have loved to see Bombur – the fat dwarf – would have ACTUALLY been given an opportunity to do something more than look like a walking advertisement for the Atkins diet. The character was more ill-used than Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of Volstagg in THOR.

I’d love to break this movie review down into a beautifully written critique of the nearly three hour movie – but, alas, the whole thing kind of blurred out for me. It was all so frantic. There were only a few rare moments when the movie really hit the notes that the original three movies had.

For example – when Bilbo was playing the riddle game with Gollum in the dark. The only time I really worried about one of the characters. I wish they’d stretched that scene out a little bit – and maybe do away with one of those non-stop dwarf chases through the wilderness.

I loved the scene when Cate Blanchett as Galadriel “spoke” telapathically to Gandalf.

And – corny as it sounds – I loved the scene where Bilbo finally got a chance to impress Thorin.

But – other than that – the movie bored the hell out of me. How many times can you watch a dozen or so dwarves run headlong down a mountain at a pack of a half-a-billion orcs, trolls, what-have-you only to run helter-pelter-skunkstink away – crashing through about six or eight poorly-constructed bridges, toppling a half a dozen trees and looking goofy the whole way through.

And speaking about those trees – who decided that Wargs – (big freaking wolves) – can climb trees? Jeez, cats have figured out dogs can’t climb trees a billion years ago. You try throwing your beagle into a tree and see how well he climbs…

And – if Peter Jackson IS aiming at the younger audience – (and it sure seems as if he is with this one) – how many of those kids actually stayed awake during the entire three hour long first segment.

Nope, nope, nope – PJ you flubbed the biscuit big time on this, buddy.

So what did YOU think of the movie?

I know I hated it.

Hobbits stole my lunch money, dammit!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon