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the hobbit: an unexpected journey


Movie review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition

One of the things I just got for my birthday was the Blu-Ray of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Edition, which I saved until tonight to watch–because one does not simply commit to a three-hour Peter Jackson epic on a school night! So we watched it tonight, and lo, it was lovely.

There are, according to Wikipedia, 13 extra minutes of footage in this version. And for the most part, I think almost every minute actually helped the movie considerably. Dara and I are in agreement that they improved the pacing of the film by providing a better balance between the battle bits and the slower bits. And I was particularly pleased to see some extra detail in the prelude that sets up the backstory between Thranduil and the dwarves.

There are additional songs, which I mostly liked as giving a bigger tie to the book, with one notable exception. And by and large, I did quite like the extra footage in Rivendell.

Details behind the fold! Mind where you’re digging for spoilers!

ETA: Here’s Dara’s commentary as well!

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This year’s Norwescon!

I’ve had more fun at Norwescon in recent years, in no small part because it’s actually pretty cool to be Dara’s water fairy–i.e., the person who runs water to the musicians she’s bringing in for the concert tracks. It means I get to hang out listening to all the music, and every so often, somebody’ll play something really awesome.

For example, this is the year I discovered Molly Lewis and Hello, the Future!, both of whom involve awesome geek girl singing. And ukeleles. I’m totally now hearing the Doctor in my head saying “I play a ukelele now. Ukeleles are COOL.” And while nerdcore remains not really my Thing, I did nonetheless quite enjoy what I saw of Klopfenpop and Death*Star, in Dara’s MONSTARRS OF NERDCORE concert.

But I also had quite a bit of fun attending three excellent panels. One was a complete geek-out about the movie edition of The Hobbit, in which I amused the panelists by announcing I was reading the book as we speak, in two different languages (and I was told that why yes, that IS extremely geeky). I was particularly pleased that one of the panelists was a young woman who’d just taken a semester on Tolkien at the U-dub, in fact–and that the two men on the panel cheerfully deferred to her as their expert, since her knowledge of the canon was significantly more current.

It will probably surprise none of you that the entire room was pretty much in agreement that 1) yes, we all liked the movie, 2) yes, we all had issues with the movie, and 3) yes, we’re all going to go see The Desolation of Smaug, probably two or three times. I was also quite, QUITE amused at one dude talking about how they prettied up Thorin, Kili, and Fili to get them to appeal to the “tweens and twenty-somethings”, at which point I and the fifty-something woman behind me were all “whaddya mean, twenty-somethings?” Because yeah, we were on board with the Unexpected Hotness of Dwarves.

Another panel was excellently moderated by Diana Pharaoh Francis, and was about Rogues and Anti-Heroes in Fantasy and why we love them and such. We had a delightful discussion about the differences between those character archetypes, and moreover, I was quite charmed by Diana’s purple hair. And Browncoat lanyard. You can’t go wrong with a Browncoat lanyard.

The third panel I quite enjoyed was one on Big Publishing Vs. Small Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing, which, for reasons that should be obvious, is Highly Relevant to My Interests. I wasn’t terribly surprised to see the guys who run small presses of COURSE being all “but of course you should send your stuff to big presses and if not then the small presses”… and this was where I started diverging in opinion from them, because I’ve come to believe that whether or not you submit to a big NY press should in fact depend on what your goals are and how much patience you have. Meanwhile, though, the two women who had more experience with self-pub had stern opinions about whether or not big publishing had worked for them (spoiler alert: it hadn’t, not really).

And in particular, I was pleased to note that Karen Kincy, an author whose book Other had been recommended to me, was on this panel. She spoke quite passionately about her experiences and why she chose to run a Kickstarter for the fourth novel in her series. As a Kickstarter author myself, that was pretty much the most interesting part of the panel for me.

Meanwhile, I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of local authors I’d seen at a previous Norwescon–Tiger Gray and Vivien Weaver, who have a couple of books in a shared universe that are published under the moniker of Hard Limits Press. When they found out I was an author as well we had quite the delightful chat about each other’s covers–and when I told them I had a book coming out from Carina, they were all “ooh, Deb Nemeth” and I said quite happily that she’s my editor. I quickly bought both of their books in trade, and then came home and bought them again in digital form just so I’d have them easily at hand for my commutes.

And. AND! I sold five print copies of Faerie Blood, three of which were with the help of the lovely people of Book Universe. I sold them on consignment so I didn’t get as much money for them, but hey, they were sold, and I was quite happy to give them a cut for doing the work of selling the copies for me!

Music-wise, I had huge fun at the Find Your Instrument panel, in which I totally bugged userinfosolcita to show me her violin. Because RESEARCH. Also because AWESOME. I finally got it explained to me exactly how a violin does in fact physically differ from a fiddle, and even managed to get a few coherent notes off of Sunnie’s instrument. WOW, holding that thing felt weird to flute-player me, since it was at a completely different angle. And playing it felt even weirder, since I had to try to figure out how to angle the bow to get it to make proper noises against the strings.

I did learn two things that may eventually become useful when writing Kendis, though. And those are: 1) there’s not really any such thing as a chord on the violin, but you can sometimes play two strings at once and that seems to be about as close as you get; 2) if you want to do quick staccato notes, you will want to bow down rather than up, since you get more force that way. (Since one of the questions I asked Sunnie was how to know which direction to bow when.)

Cascadia’s Got Talent was fun again this year, even if it was short, and was sadly lacking in a gong. But that was okay, since nobody was really bad enough to deserve being gonged, and a couple of people were actually actively funny and sang well. And I did love Dara’s schtick about the grand prize of Metro bus passes to Kenmore (“Kenmore! It’s on the way to Bothell! Kenmore! We used to be interesting, thank God THAT’S over! Kenmore! Where the appliances go to die!”).

Dara and I closed out the con with what’s becoming a tradition–the Intro to Irish Session panel, which is small but fun and eventually I’ll have enough damn tunes to actually carry a fair share of one of these. But in the meantime, this time, I heavily geeked out about podorythmie and Quebec music as opposed to Irish music, and had the delight of a lady in the audience name-checking Le Vent du Nord. “YES!” I proclaimed happily, as the aforementioned userinfosolcita beside me gestured in my direction in a “why yes she IS a raving fangirl” sort of way, “I love them!”

And I got told by Alexander James Adams that my singing was good on the GBS fanvid that Dara and I showed off to him. Which was awesome. <3


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey review post!

My household, along with , just got back from seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey!

I’ve posted before about I’ve still got the original copy of The Hobbit that I read in sixth grade–complete with my name written in pencil on the unicorn nameplate sticker on the inside cover. The eleven-year-old me who read that book is absolutely delighted by the movie we just saw. 43-year-old me is somewhat more reserved in her reaction; there are parts of the film that I absolutely loved, and there are other parts that I feel could have benefited a lot from tighter editing.

And make no mistake–this is very much Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle-Earth in play here. If you like Peter Jackson’s Middle-Earth, you’ll probably enjoy yourself. If you’re not a fan of the previous movies, you probably won’t.

Me? I am a longstanding devotee of the books. But I’m also a devotee of the movies. And while I saw some flaws in this one… yeah, I enjoyed myself immensely. And I’ll be going back for more. In no small part because we saw the 24fps, non-3D version tonight–on the grounds that we very specifically wanted to see that version first, in case the 48fps wound up interfering with the viewing of the actual movie. (I’ve had prior movies released in 3D be actively distracting to me in that format–I’m looking at you, Thor–and have enjoyed them much more upon viewing them in 2D.

But I AM totally curious about the 48fps version and I DO want to see it. Now that I’ve gotten the viewing of the standard version out of the way and am able to react to the plot and characterization first, that’ll free me up to better react to the technology later!

And with that, let’s get down to spoilery goodness behind the fold. 😀

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