Friday, January 2, 2015

Dinner and a Show

Or rather, a show, then dinner. Being oldsters, we're more apt to see the show in the afternoon and have dinner afterwards. Georgia persuaded me to take her to the movies, and even, against her better judgement, conceded to go to "The Battle of Five Armies", a piece of fan fiction loosely based on the J.R.R. Tolkien book "The Hobbit." Warning, if you don't know how this differs from the plot of the Hobbit, there are some spoilers below.

It's hard to blame the producers and directors for the some of the changes.  The original "Hobbit" had effectively zero female characters, an obnoxious hobbit relative, and some fleeing refugee humans, but being written in the build up to World War II and an outdoor adventure, it was written largely to exclude females.  Well, you can't have that in the modern era, so the fan fiction script writers added two strong women characters
Kate Blanchett

Galadriel, the elf queen played by Kate Blanchett, who was added to the plot to rescue Gandalf from Dol Guldur, where he was being held prisoner by Sauron.

While the imprisonment of Gandalf was told of in the Lord of the Rings, it was only alluded to in the Hobbit. So the whole segment, including a recurrence of the dreaded "Bunny Sled of Doom" driven by Gandalf's fellow wizard Radagast the Brown, was pretty much invented using hints from the plots of both books. But Kate Blanchett is a kick-ass elf wizardess.

Evangeline Lily

But it's hard to have a good romantic story with a multi-thousand year old elf wizardess capable of at least temporarily banishing the world's great evil, so to have a little romantic interest, to at least give women a chance of enjoying the space between battles, they had to invent Tauriel, the elf maiden played by Evangeline Lily.  Moreover, to counteract at least in part the inherent racism of Tolkien's original plot (elves, dwarves and humans at perpetual odds over difference in their appearance and cultures), they had to create a love triangle between her, Legolas (who could have been in the Hobbit, but wasn't), and Fili, the dwarve, which leads to Orlando Bloom looking almost as upset as when Miranda Kerr packed up her wings and left.

To accommodate this whole plot line, and allow Legolas to have a physics defying battle against a horde of orcs and some other unnamed minions of the Dark Lord they also added a new battle scene. In particular, I liked the way a tower built of unmortared bricks fell across a chasm to form a bridge only to fall apart under minor blows from weapons and bodies, culminating in Orlando Bloom, or at least his computer equivalent, climbing up a falling row of stones in slow motion.

I'm simultaneously sad and relieved that the whole shooting match, the Lord of the Rings triology, and the Hobbit, expanded to a trilogy with copious insertions is over. It will be years before another version of the books needs to be put on film. I figure it won't really be warranted until holographic movies are really perfected, and you don't have to wear those stupid glasses to see 3D.

Speaking of which, I really found them annoying. Perhaps because I had to wear them over my regular glasses so I could actually focus, and they didn't fit very well, but also the fact that my non-bionic eye has wandered off its prescription enough to the point that the two eyes don't work together very seems to make the 3D effect less effective.

But all in all, not bad, if you aren't expecting close correspondence to the J.R.R. Tolkien classic, not a bad way to spend 3 hours (counting Netflix adds and trailers).

And dinner?  The new Mexican restaurant in town, up in the place that's been three other eating establishments in the last 10 years.  They weren't bad, and they had a decent Margarita, so I hope they make it.

Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Happy New Year!" ready.

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