Friday, December 14, 2012

Should You See The Hobbit? (A Christian Perspective Movie Review)

I love The Lord of The Rings (LOTR) trilogy. I would say that the first movie, The Fellowship of The Ring, is my favorite movie of all time. The first time I saw it I got lost in it like no movie before or since. I didn't want it to end. I was literally dreading the ending.

If you don't know, The Hobbit is a prequel to the earlier movies. It takes place 60 years before LOTR. The story is going to span three movies and cover almost every detail of the 288 page book. You don't need to know anything about The Lord of The Rings to enjoy The Hobbit.

It follows a homebody hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (The uncle of Frodo from LOTR). He gets invited on an adventure. By invited I mean basically forced. The adventure is to rid the world of the dread dragon Smog who inhabits the Lonely Mountain which is the once home of the great dwarves.

The Hobbit once again took us on a cross country journey through the breathtaking land of New Zealand Middle Earth. We visited familiar places like The Shire and Rivendale but were also treated to many new locations.

Also like in Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit was just as much about the spiritual and emotional journey as it was the physical one. Bilbo starts this first installment as one person and is someone much different by the end. In other words we have a real character, something many movies can't claim.

The Dwarves

Is The Hobbit A Christian Movie?
The writer of the original books, J.R.R. Tolkien, definitely was. This movie is less of a Christian allegory than LOTR, but Christianity rings loudly throughout. At one point I heard a pretty foul mouthed movie goer behind me say, "Here comes Jesus," in reference to Gandalf.

The Hobbit never references God, Jesus, or anything blatantly Christian, but the overtones are all but impossible to ignore. Just like LOTR. I view this as a great thing.

There is some magic in the movie. There are also trolls, goblins, elves, orcs, wizards, dwarfs, and hobbits. It's a fantasy movie for pity sakes. But The Hobbit makes sure the viewer understands there is a stark contrast between evil magic and good magic. That being said you might not be comfortable with any magic. I will say that if you were ok with the magic in The Lord of The Rings you should be fine with this movie's magic.

Is The Hobbit Violent?
Yes. It is very violent. There are large battle scenes where heads literally role and stomachs are sliced open. I can tell you I won't be taking my 2 and 5 year old to see this movie because of the violence. There is no blood compared to the gore ridden Walking Dead, but all the kills are there. Head shots, disembowelments, and decapitations happen throughout the movie. The director, Peter Jackson, did not shy away from the violence in this young adult novel movie adaptation.

How is the Cursing?
It doesn't exist. But there is a bit of crude humor from the dwarves. One dwarf in a passing double entendre says, "It's a wonderful game if you have the balls for it." And another talks about kicking iron up Smogs Jaxxy (Sp?). Most of these comments are made quickly and the movie doesn't focus on them, but they are worth noting.

Other Negative Elements
  • There is a lot of ale drank by the dwarves. 
  • It would be really scary for young children
Who She see The Hobbit?
Anyone 12 years old or older.

Bilbo Baggins and Sting

The Hobbit does not live up to the first film. But it is a great film! I loved every minute of it. I was never bored and the action rarely let up. I felt that the pacing was perfect. The length didn't seem too long for the story. I really connected with Bilbo in this movie (Something I was worried about before seeing it). Martin Freeman, Bilbo, does a wonderful job acting unsure, clever, weak, strong, and brave. Sometimes all at once.

I would love to see more from the other dwarves in future movies, but I don't think there was enough time in the almost three hour running time to give every dwarf their due. I laughed, loved, and felt with the four or five main dwarves in the movie.

The music, as typical for a Middle Earth movie, is amazing. The theme of the Misty Mountains runs throughout this first movie. But again familiar musical themes are heard like the classic Shire melody. If you liked the orchestration from the LOTR movies you'll definitely want this sound track.

I saw The Hobbit in the typical 24 Frames Per Second. I cannot speak to the complaints about looking like a home movie that the 48 FPS versions are getting. I also did not see it in 3D. Mainly because I hate 3D, but yeah, that's just me (Or is it?). The version I saw was shot beautifully and made me yearn to run through the mountains of Middle Earth. You won't be disappointed. Middle Earth has never looked so clear.

The Hobbit does a great job of not staying too series for too long. There are plenty of laughs to be had, but also plenty of tears to be shed. That to me is the sign of a great movie. You laugh and cry. It allows you to explore your emotions and search yourself. You'll leave The Hobbit wanting to be a braver person. You'll also leave longing for the next movie. We only have to wait a year.