Tuesday, January 29, 2013

At the movies

We saw The Hobbit when 's parents were visiting for Christmas. I was both looking forward to it, because it was my favorite Tolkien book, and a little afraid to see it, because it was my favorite Tolkien book. I had a hard time figuring out how they were going to stretch it to three movies and was very afraid of what violence they might do to the plot to achieve that end.

Well! First, it's been years and years since I've read it, so I had a comfortable vagueness about the actual event of the book going, which I think helped a great deal. Periodically, a scene would pop up that I remembered from the book and they always went about how I thought they should. A lot of the extra stuff is showing what Tolkien was telling, which is just fine with me because it makes no sense not to take advantage of a visual storytelling medium. I'm told the rest of the additions were from other Tolkien, and they all seemed to fit the movie pretty well.

I can see all the reasons that people didn't like The Hobbit - too long, boring, shifts in tone (well, except for the accusations of making extra plot up out of whole cloth because all of the additions were drug up from some portion of Tolkien) - but I loved it anyway. I wasn't bored, I thought they did a great job of capturing the humor of the book, yet giving the plot and the character development a great deal more weight than the book does.

So did anyone else wonder if Radagast the Brown started out brown, or if he just became that after too many centuries of not bathing?

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Speaking of movies, I've mentioned more than once Katherine's sensitivity to scary things, and my indecision on how much to push her on the issue. I finally decided to leave her alone, both because I don't remember seeing scary things as a child doing anything other than give me something new to terrify me in the middle of the night (I still have nightmares where I'm stuck in a theatre and Sweeney Todd is about to start) and because I decided her life will not be any poorer for not being able to watch horror movies.

And in one of those rare moments, my parenting strategy has proven to be the right one! Over Christmas, Katherine asked to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas and the first two Harry Potter movies. We gave her space and lo and behold, she matured enough on her own to be able to handle more scary stuff, probably much faster because we didn't make her watch anything traumatizing.

We're so excited. This might be the year we can introduce Star Wars!

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