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Thoughts on The Hobbit:

I am too effing tired to have thoughts on The Hobbit. Seriously, if I ever do a midnight screening again, I'm going to make sure I have leave available to take the next morning off from work. I did not sleep last night so much as I had two naps totaling two hours and forty-five minutes.

Seriously, though, I enjoyed it. I enjoy midnight openings because it's really the last bastion of the communal film-going experience -- any other time, the rest of the crowd feels like a nuisance, but when the theater is packed to the gills with people who love film (or a film) enough to be out in the middle of the night, it's something special.

The film itself is a bit scattered and weirdly structured in terms of narrative highs and lows, but a.) that's the Lord of the Rings films all over again and b.) I sort of expected that when I heard they were splitting it in three and putting in all the peripheral stories and background information that get glossed over in the book's main narrative. The other potential issue I see that might turn people off is that it gets a bit...cartoony, for lack of a better word. There's a good bit of singing (though thankfully they cut the tra-la-la-lally crap), and the film just tends to take itself less seriously than the LotR trilogy. I don't personally see that as a problem, since that difference in tone is firmly present in the relevant books -- seriously, go back and read The Hobbit and try to sell yourself on it being Serious Business. It's not happening.

Mostly I wanted to see a bunch of dwarves recklessly endangering a hobbit, and you do get that. Freeman is just as perfectly Bilbo as the trailers led me to hope, and the dwarves are actually differentiated enough in appearance and personality that you could theoretically learn to recognize them all (...I didn't in one viewing, but thirteen bearded men are a lot to track even with the best of writing). I didn't read a cast list before I went in, so I was surprised and delighted to recognize Sylvester McCoy by his voice when he showed up as Radagast, aka the best FailWizard of all time (...alright, best FailWizard barring Rincewind). Gandalf did a good bit of masquerading as a FailWizard, as per the book -- no character was immune from being the butt of many jokes (except maybe Thorin, because Thorin actually is Serious Business). Gollum/Smeagol in particular is/was very funny, and the Riddles in the Dark sequence was wonderful (though it was always one of my favorite parts of the book, too).

Overall, I give it a big thumbs up. I will note that it lacks focus on the titular character, but I was really taken by the dwarves' history and mission. You really don't see that much about the dwarves in LotR -- or really many dwarves in general. Dwarves vs. goblins makes for some really neat (sometimes silly, sometimes serious) battle sequences, and I liked the warg redesign. It's kind of nice to see a Middle Earth story that isn't Fate of the World, too (I like seeing smaller stories -- not everything needs to be Fate of the World), though with the peripheral materials added in, some of the lead-up to the LotR trilogy does naturally seep in. I don't remember the "ending" all that clearly, but I'm sure I'll be seeing it again at least once before it leaves theaters.