Dwarves, motion sickness and nostalgia

I’ve been pondering.  A slightly dubious occupation I find, as it can lead to a range of places I am not always comfortable visiting.  Today’s musings came about as a result of my response to an early morning movie watching adventure.

I haven’t been feeling all that great lately, so Mr Oh Waily prodded and poked at me until I agreed to go out to the movies so that I could have some time to myself (and a whole cast of characters).   Quite why we decided on the 8 am showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey I’m not clear about now, but it did give me a terrific start to my day. It has also provoked a range of unexpected emotions.

As I sat there, on my first visit, in The Embassy Theatre* I was looking forward to seeing my first 3D movie within the new, fabulous surround sound theatre.   I had been warned that there was some scuttlebutt about nausea and motion sickness.   The pre-movie ads had me a bit concerned that it would be true, but I should never have doubted Peter Jackson.

I cannot tell you how my skin tingled and the goosebumps rose the minute the Shire music began to play.  Even now as I watch The Fellowship of the Ring, I find myself moved and teary with the music.  And it is this reaction that I have been thinking about.

Why does the music make me goosebumpy?  Why do I get teary thinking about the Ring Trilogy?  Am I just an especially nostalgic sook?  Probably.  Or is it something to do with the story of trial and success, friendship and danger that strikes a chord with me?

Maybe I wouldn’t feel quite the same if the movies had been made elsewhere.  Perhaps there is a degree of pride involved too.  Our little country, punching above its weight, producing such excellent entertainment.  A case of over-inflated national pride – our beautiful country, and some excellent local movie makers – and a bit of second-degree connection with those who made them.**

I’m really not sure if it is one, or more, of these things mixing together to produce such a reaction.  But a reaction there certainly is.  I do wonder if I am on my own in this.   Is it simply a bit of national pride amplified by the nature of the story created by J.R.R.Tolkien?
It’s at times like this that I wished that I understood my own nature even better than I do.  I’d like to know why these movies hit me in the heart quite so much.  I know I’m a closet optimist (hidden very well by my general cynicism and pessimism) and that there is a wonder to the heroism and hope in dark times that these movies evoke.  Perhaps I’m of that nature – a person who is inspired by others striving and overcoming.  In truth that is probably the case^.

So on a Sunday morning I sat and watched the first installment of The Hobbit and I found myself comfortable and very happy to be back in Middle Earth once again.  I found myself laughing – Peter Jackson clearly continues the line that dwarves are at once strong, devoted and comedic – and flinching my way through two plus hours of film.  Lots of action, some thoughtfulness^^, and a good sprinkling of humour.  A good deal of backstory and place-setting was done as well.  It was lovely to see Elijah Wood and Ian Holm returning and reprising their roles.  Hugo Weaving never looked so young, and Cate Blanchett is simply more beautiful with the ten years between movies seeming to have no effect on her.  A lovely cameo by FIGWIT is my only spoiler (sorry if you were expecting me to tell you what and how and when).

Radagast the Brown was wonderful, if slightly icky in the hair department.  His sled is both fantastic and funny.  Thorin, for a moody, grumpy, chip on the shoulder dwarf, is still remarkably attractive.  In fact, truth to be told, I think I have a dwarf crush.  Thanks for that Richard Armitage.  You really do suit a beard and a backstory like Thorin’s.
And the singing – well, I wasn’t expecting a musical, but I should have remembered my lovely directors editions of the LOTR trilogy.  Dwarves can sing.  They really can create mood.

Go see it.  I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed.  It’s not Frodo and Sam.  It’s its own story.  You still get Andy Serkis and his furballs.  You still get Sir Ian and his gravitas.  Really, only an old sourpuss would find too much fault.

And for the record, I’m glad it fell into Sir Peter’s lap to take this through to its conclusion.  I have nothing against other directors, but I just can’t imagine another vision or view of Middle Earth.  I really don’t think it would have been the same.  There’s a great deal to be said for continuity of vision, and I think this is one of those instances.

And please tell me that I’m not the only sook in the world and that both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies do indeed inspire such depth of feeling.  Please.


* yes, home to the world premiere of both The Return of the King and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

** as it turns out, I’ve met Richard Taylor‘s father through work in the past, making it 2 degrees of separation for me and the filmmakers.

^ and perhaps another reason why I love watching the Paralympics.

^^ at one point a little bit preachy, but short lived.

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