Richard Armitage Gets the Star Treatment Down Under

I think the Aussies like Richard Armitage.

Empire Magazine in Australia made Thorin the only cover available for their January issue.

Yeah, I think they really like him in Australia. :D

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — A Review with Spoilers

Some of you have been wondering about my absence. It’s a two-fold issue. There is a lot going on with my family and my business. It’s all good, but it’s time consuming. I also had to step away from The Hobbit full court press machine in order to preserve enjoyment of the movie. That’s not a knock on the PR. I understand they had to do it for the general public who hasn’t been following along. But with over two years of immersing myself in information about it and then going to New York and being bombarded by its presence, I knew the movie would be ruined for me if I didn’t step out of the fray.

Okay, enough of my excuses for not being here, I’m ready to review this puppy. Unfortunately, I suck at analysis of movies and books, so I will be deferring to SO for most of this.

We saw the 48fps 3D version. Honestly, I loved this version. It was very clear but not in a buffoonish way as was suggested about 48fps 2D. Most noticeable to me is I came away without the slight headache and nausea I usually get from 3D. With the negative space severely restricted in the higher frame rate, my eyes were not continually straining to focus, and it made for a very pleasant experience. So I think 48fps as the basis for 3D is a big win and here to stay for those who will take the time to try it.

Our 12 year old and one of her buddies went with us, and thankfully, they sat at the very back so we could perhaps escape being subjected to their muffled giggles and their incessant need to go to the restroom. Such is the life of middle school girls. Oy. Despite my sometimes distraction by the two girls, I enjoyed the movie. Mostly, I wanted to know what SO thought since he’s the writer, he’s the movie connoisseur,and he hadn’t been biased by an avalanche of information about The Hobbit!

We had not even reached the exit door after the movie was over when SO announced with a surprised grin, “I really liked that!”

I cut my eyes at him and wanted an explanation, “Really? What did you like about it?”

“It was fun!”

After all of the time talking on and off about The Hobbit, I was hoping for a bit more from him. He continued, “Yeah, it was fun. I was 12 again, and I loved the adventure.”

“So nothing beyond it being an adventure?” I asked still hoping for an examination from him. C’mon give me something I was thinking.

He said, “Well, it was too long, but then that’s Peter Jackson, and I’m sure he has an eye toward people watching this at one sitting when the series is out on DVD. Something to be savored over and over. Isn’t that what Ringers do?”

Yeah, it is. “But why do you think it was too long?” I persisted.

“The whole Frodo part was extraneous. The time in Bilbo’s house with the dwarves was also too long and too much singing. They should have kept it to one song and then sung the one about the mountains later. But then that may just be me.”

I had felt the song was out of place as well, but I was curious about his thinking. “Why do you think the singing was a problem?”

“It did little to develop the characters or the story. I knew it was supposed to move me, but it did not. When I read the book about a hundred years ago, I didn’t care for the singing then either. It seemed disjointed from the rest of the story. A bit lame. At least that’s how I remember it. As I think of the movie now, part of the problem was that your guy was not developed enough for me to really get the significance of the Misty Mountain song. I did notice the other dwarves were in awe of him when he came to Bilbo’s door, but that wasn’t really enough to show me why they were in awe. Yes, he was the leader, but all I knew of him was he was a deposed prince and angry at the Elves for not helping his people. What in all of that should generate awe? What made the audience really care to know about him? It wasn’t until Balin told more of Thorin’s past and the maiming of the Pale Orc that I understood he was a badass who deserved the reverence from the others. This should have been near the beginning.

The Badass Dwarf

The Badass Dwarf

“And of course none of this is Richard Armitage’s fault. I think he did a good job, but the writing failed there.”

I was stunned. Not by his breaking down the story but at the use of Richard Armitage’s real name. LOL!

He continued, “Then again, Peter Jackson was slow to develop Aragorn, and your guy [yeah, I noticed Richard no longer had a name. :D] is very much like that character in the sense that he is really the Man as it became evident that Aragorn was the Man.”

“But what about Bilbo?” I asked.

“Sure, he’s the physical conscience whereas Gandalf is the spiritual conscience, but the story is about Thorin. He is ultimately the center of this piece. And I did not realize how much Armitage was going to be the central character in this movie. This is Thorin’s story! I guess I kept thinking about the last thing I saw with him — a five minute bit in Captain America and didn’t realize he was essentially going to have the starring role in The Hobbit.”

“Oh, but he’s not the star!” I corrected.

SO laughed, “Yeah, right. Although he didn’t have many lines in this segment, he’s going to be Aragorn at the end. Hide and watch.”

“But the story isn’t the same as the Lord of the Rings,” I said still trying to set him straight.

“No, it’s not, but Thorin is an Aragorn in the sense of the pivotal character.”

I agreed with everything he said and was compelled to keep asking questions, “What did you like best about the movie?”

“Too much to narrow it down, but the ending was fantastic. I’m ready for the next installment.”

“Wow. You really did like it.”

“Yes, I did.”

I have more thoughts about it, but I’ve added it to another post. For now, just know that the movie was worth $12.50 a person, and more important the almost three hours investment of time.

And the biggest plus to me personally is SO now wants to watch other pieces with Richard Armitage. Thank you, Peter Jackson. :D

Being the Badass

Before I move onto the Okie school teacher, who is about as far from looking like an Okie school teacher as someone can get (no offense to male teachers in Oklahoma), I thought I would bask in the badass from Middle Earth:

[click to enlarge]

Photo courtesy of CBSwords.com via @HeirsofDurin

The Year of the Dwarf?

Timeout from my FanstRAvaganza exploration.

I was followed on Twitter by another movie trailer site. I think they know I’m a sucker for these things. So I went over to watch some and came away with the need to post this.

Who woulda thunk one of the hot topics in entertainment this year would be dwarfs? (Or is that dwarves? Damn that Tolkien!) Not that I have any kind of problem with it or that it’s my first encounter with them — I have been a fan of the Roloffs. But I never imagined so much would be coming at us.

The premiere of “Mirror, Mirror” on Friday:

And supposedly ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ in June:

Of course the best is being saved for last since no dwarf before and probably since will be like this (Thank you, Sir Peter. :D):

But I do wonder why this much emphasis on Snow White? I’m sure the producers of those movies are irritated with each other, and I wonder if Peter Jackson is irritated by this as well or if it helps with ‘The Hobbit.’ Yeah, I think about useless stuff like this when I should be doing some paperwork such as the kind needed to file my taxes. See?! See?! why I get so caught up in this useless pastime?! Who in God’s creation wants to do their taxes?! Yep, that’s what I thought. This is much more soothing.

edit: E.B. Darcy reminded me about ‘Once Upon a Time’, which came out last year, and I think may be part of the reason Snow White is getting so much treatment.

Going Mainstream

There is a new interview with Richard Armitage at MTV. Wow! I never thought to use those two names in the same sentence.

Jan 11 2012 5:00 PM EST
Richard Armitage’s Journey To ‘The Hobbit’ Best ‘By Far’
The U.K. actor is Middle-earth’s most badass dwarf and One to Watch in 2012.

By Kevin P. Sullivan

This winter, director Peter Jackson will deliver the long-awaited return to Middle-earth. “The Hobbit,” which will unfold across two films, begins with “An Unexpected Journey,” as Bilbo Baggins leaves to win back gold stolen from his companions. But these are not just any friends. Bilbo is accompanied by 13 dwarves, each with a larger-than-life personality.

The leader of these adventurers, Thorin, will be played by Richard Armitage, who made a brief appearance in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” but will get his biggest Stateside break in “The Hobbit.” The British actor played a key role in last month’s trailer and will soon join the illustrious ranks of Tolkien alumni, alongside Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean and Orlando Bloom.

We spoke with Armitage about traveling to Middle-earth, the difficulty of working under pounds of makeup and leading a band of treasure-seeking dwarves.

MTV: Congratulations on being named to MTV’s Ones to Watch!

Richard Armitage: Thank you very much!

MTV: Where are you currently in the filming schedule?

Armitage: We just finished up our second block, so we start again at the end of January, and then we go — we think it’s the end of July. Then there’s a bit more in 2013, we reckon.

Read the rest here.

Wonder how all of this is going to look when we get the full court press.