January 5, 2013

unexpected journey...

It's a new year.  Welcome!

I have to say, never have I been so eager to leave a year behind.  But 2012 was a doozie, and I was more than happy to see it go.  I have to say, the best thing that came out of it was a movie and some renewed friendships.  Let's talk about the movie, because it really highlights a lot that is going on in my life right now.

The Hobbit (part one) came out in December.  Now, I waited for this movie with more than normal excitement.  Mostly because it has been far too long since we got to tarry in Middle Earth with fresh scenery and characters.  What I didn't know was how much my soul NEEDED this Hobbit story.

Let's be clear up front--this movie is NOT the book. It's more than the book, it's the book and lot of history (taken right from Tolkien), and it's also more than that.  It's not just an adventure for kids.  This is a story about a hobbit who is stuck, even though he doesn't know it.  He needs change, he needs meaning, and he needs to become so much more than he even knows he can be.

I've heard a lot of mixed reactions to The Hobbit--people who said it was a waste, people who were sad because it wasn't the book, and those that loved it.  A friend had a good theory--that people who are Tolkien fans would love it (because it adds so much more of the world Tolkien created, even with some minor deviations, they still get more than just The Hobbit story), that people who aren't familiar with the story will enjoy it (because it's a good story), and those who are "casual fans" (his words, not mine) will be disappointed because it is NOT the book, and they won't appreciate the depth the background story lends to the story at hand.

I have to admit, I love it.  Partly because I can't read a lot of the history because it's so dry (and I'm slightly ADD, so if it's dry and boring, I'm not going to pay attention), but I LOVE the world Tolkien created.  I get more of his creation this way, and in a way that I can appreciate and pay attention to.  But that's not the only reason I love it.  I love how this movie has made Thorin a sympathetic character.  In the book, I never liked him.  He wasn't fleshed out and he was too focused.  Here we get a very focused, a very passionate, and very driven young dwarf prince (and yes, he is also very good looking, which helps, but hey!).  This Thorin has capacity to grow, to change, to become a better dwarf.  I know how the story ends, but I'm still enjoying this Thorin, and I look forward to two more movies with him.

That's not all. I also love the Gandalf we get here.  A more mischievous, more tender in ways, and one who is humble.  I really love the part between him and Galadriel (and the smirk we get from Elrond).  It really builds a depth to the characters that we never see directly in the words, but it fits it perfectly.  I also adore Martin Freeman as Bilbo.  He is perfect.  He is delightful.  He IS Bilbo.  His performance is excellent and heart-warming.  And the scenes with Gollum are heart-wrenching and funny and sad.  It's fantastic.

But that's not the main reason why I love this movie.  I love it because, like Bilbo, I need an adventure.  I need to get out of my rut.  I need to believe that I am capable of so much more than I realize.  I need to fight for others that they might have what I have.  As I watched the movie again this afternoon (for the fourth time), I was deeply struck by the part where Bilbo explains to Thorin why he came back--because the dwarves don't have a home because it was taken from them. And if he, Bilbo, can help them take it back, he will.  Because he has a home to miss.  He has books and an armchair and a garden.  It reminded me so much of the scene from Fellowship when Arwen says over Frodo, "What grace has been given to me, let it pass to him."  Bilbo recognizes the grace given to him, and he wants to extend that grace to the company of Thorin Oakenshield. 

And if that isn't beautiful, I don't know what is.

And that's part of what I am longing for.

There are things brewing in my life that I am not at liberty to share just yet, but I can say that adventure and grace and being more than I can realize that I can be all play a part.

So yes, I love this movie.  Not just because it's a beautiful sojourn in a favorite place; not just because it's a good story; not just because it's well-acted with stunning performances that move my soul to laugh and pause; I love this movie because I'm just a hobbit who is in need of an adventure.  And I'm a little afraid, and Bilbo Baggins gives me hope, too.

(photo from TimeWarner)