Saturday, April 30, 2016

I Actually Wrote More than Five Words (and they weren't terrible)

Remember when I posted this? And I was all excited because I broke an almost six-week streak of basically writing nothing at all? I was so sure I was back into writing and I wrote two days in a row, and even though what I wrote was terrible I was pleased.
Guess how much I've written since then?

If you say "nothing" you would be very uncharitable and very wrong.

...but if you said less than 2,000 words you would be all too correct.

So now I'm truly celebrating because I'm breaking a seventeen-week streak of writing basically nothing (yeah...). And what I wrote was actually decent. Hopefully the last post doesn't show that mentioning my success breaks the spell, because I would really, really like to keep going with this. I really love my characters and writing is fun when I'm in the midst of it and have time to do it.

Here's a snippet of what I wrote today:

The castle had been fired. From far off, the keep looked the same, but now they could see the plants surrounding it were gone, the stones were blackened, and the stable was a crumble of black wood. There was not a sound in the courtyard. Arthur hurried forward and kicked open what was left of the carved doors. Inside it was ruin. Where there had been wooden walls there was nothing. The ceiling had almost entirely fallen and in many places they could see straight up, up through the heights of the castle to the grey sky. There was not a single stick of furniture to be seen. The staircase was too damaged for them to investigate the other floors, but Arthur was sure the picture would have been the same.
Arthur looked back at his friends. Owain was white and panicked, Lucan angry. Pelleas looked sick. Gwennie came close to Arthur and slipped her hand into his, as she used to do when they were children and his parents were arguing or worrying over money. Arthur wanted to sink to the floor, or convince himself he was dreaming, but he knew he couldn’t. He tried to take a deep breath, but it caught in his throat.

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dairy-free, Meat-free, Gluten-free (etc. and etc.) Rice and Beans Tortilla Soup

If I were a food blogger, I would name my blog "Food Does Not Have To Be Pretty".

If I were a food blogger, this would be a really high-quality photo of my latest creation (it's from the Shire by the by). I would then tell a wildly amusing story about why or how I invented this deliciousness. Further, I would list the benefits of this dish, including what diets it is suitable for and what substitutions are possible. I would conclude by describing in creative detail the hints of tapioca flavoring and the ambience of... something.
I'm not a food blogger and I have no funny story about this soup's creation. We needed dinner, we're on a very strict and specific diet, and no recipe was quite right.
This soup is animal-product free, sugar-free, gluten-free, onion-free, tomato-free, and a whole lot of other things free (no cocoa powder here, nor lettuce, nor basil, nor pickles, nor popsicles). But what's far more important than what is not in the soup is what is. Do look below to discover that.

Rice and Beans Tortilla Soup
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto (or kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen corn
  • 10 cups vegetable stock (or 7 cups vegetable stock, 3 cups water)
  • 2-3 tsps chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsps oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste*
  • Tortilla chips (optional, but would it be tortilla soup without tortilla chips?)
Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot. Sauté the bell pepper for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauce for 1-2 minutes more.
Meanwhile, rinse the rice in a colander. Add it and the other ingredients (minus tortilla chips) to the large pot. Turn the heat to medium-low, put the lid on and simmer for 30-40 minutes (until rice is plump).

*If you don't put tortilla chips on top you need significantly more salt.

You could also top this with sour cream and cheese (but it wouldn't be vegan) or salsa (but that wouldn't be tomato- or onion-free).

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Classics Challenge: February AND March (both written in April)

Although I have not been prominent around here, I have been reading steadily and completed both Wuthering Heights and The Blue Castle in February.

Wuthering Heights is very hard to put down and I read it in a week. But although I love the ending and the beginning is good, the middle can be quite depressing, especially if read in only a few long sittings that tend to be in depressing atmospheres (i.e., sitting in the quickly fading sun on a Sunday afternoon, as I was).  Also, there are only a few characters who are admirable or even likable (I'm looking at you, Nelly Dean). But then you reach the end, and *COULD BE A SPOILER, depending on how you remember this as you read it* one particular character dies, *END POSSIBLE SPOILER* and everything is cheerful again.
I had heard that WH was creepy and haunting and that was why I avoided it, but it really wasn't. There is a creepy scene towards the beginning *SPOILER* with a ghostly child and broken glass and Lockwood being horribly cruel *END SPOILER* but that is about it.
It is not great, but I liked it. To quote from Charlotte Brontë's preface, "Wuthering Heights was hewn in a wild workshop, with simple tools, out of homely materials."
There is no perfect novel, and WH certainly isn't. I often value characters more than plots, and I thought the characters were well drawn in WH. Some (such as Joseph) may not be terribly realistic, but Emily makes you believe they are.
The language is easier to read than Jane Austen, I think, except for several quotations from rustic Englishmen where the accent is written out (read them out loud to decipher them).

I think there were several quotes I liked, but the one I remember in particular was from Nelly/Ellen Dean (because apparently Nelly is a nickname for Ellen, or vice versa. Kind of like Nancy/Anne), spoken to Catherine (the younger): "You'll lose nothing by being civil." I love that.

Do I recommend this book, and to whom? I would recommend it to teenagers and above, with the above caution of its depressive-inducing powers. Read it during the day. There is also some mild language (I think "hell" was used out of context and also "d---".)

The Blue Castle doesn't really have things I could complain about — there is the same mild language as above, but nothing else — but I found it unsatisfying. How to explain that I could not really say.
First, a summary:
Valancy lives a very dreary life trying to satisfy her reams of family members with all their particularities. She is an "old-maid" (twenty-nine), despite trying hard to be respectable and modest and well-behaved. Then she gets a letter from a heart specialist telling her she only has a year to live, and she realizes she no longer needs please everyone. If she will die in a year, why be nice to rude old Uncle Benjamin in fear of being written out of his will? Why try to pacify her pushy, sensitive mother by cowering in submission and meek apology after imagined slights?

Well, I like Valancy's post-letter spirit...
but I don't like some of her morals.
Barney is okay...
but I'm not attracted to him.
The story-line is very creative...
but it was kind of anticlimactic.

If you are an Anne-fan, Montgomery's writing is still beautiful and humorous. Her characters are unique and amusing as always. But the story of Anne of Green Gables is much better, and the romance is much more... satisfying. I'm not sure how else to describe it but vaguely unsatisfying. Perhaps because the ending was rather anticlimactic, as mentioned above. *ENORMOUS HUGE TERRIBLE SPOILER (but I think I kind of guessed it)* Valancy finds out, perhaps 7/8 of the way through the book (I just made up that number :P ), that the letter was a mistake. She's not going to die after all. So she runs away from Barney (she fell in love and asked him to marry her, which he did because she was going to die in less than a year) in shame and horror and goes back to the dreary life. For twenty-four hours that is, because he runs after her (he fell in love with her after they married, you see). Oh, and he's filthy rich so they need never worry about anything and she can travel the world as she's always wanted. The end. See what I mean? *END THESE TERRIBLE SPOILERS*

Also, *ANOTHER SPOILER COULD-BE if you read into what I say* I guessed the identity of John Foster right away and I disliked that. I think this was partially because I read Dear Mr. Knightley just before, though. *END SPOILER*
L. M. Montgomery was basically a transcendentalist, and this comes through much stronger than in the Anne series.

Do I recommend this book, and to whom? If you are a Montgomery enthusiast, you will probably enjoy this book, if nothing else for the characters.

 It is not one I will reread and reread just for fun, but I do plan on revisiting it when I have the chance, to perhaps get a better handle on it (and learn why it doesn't sit right with me) by a second reading.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In Which The hobbit: Battle of Five Armies is Ruthlessly Attacked

(I do apologize for the extreme length of this post, as I am sure only die-hard Tolkien fanatics and perhaps my mother shall read it; but it was entirely necessary, to be thorough, you know).

A Joint Movie Review
by The Lady Awdur and the Author (of To Write or Not to Write)

So that unlabeled interruptions within statements will make sense:
The Author shall be writing in Red.
Lady Awdur in Blue.

AUTHOR: I would just like to preface this little collection of angry comments, by asking that one question which has, I’m sure, been prominent in many minds since they were first accosted with the end of Peter Jackson’s reign of terror. What is with the floor? 

And now, to a review.

How to even begin?

AWDUR: At long last, we are writing a review (do you even call this a review?) of the third hobbit movie. (Seriously, it's just an angry rant about how horrible it was) Well, maybe you can call it a review , as we will be stating some quite serious flaws in this movie and encouraging you NOT to see it.
AUTHOR: Actually, it would be a much harder task to compile a list of good points long enough to be worth posting.

Now then:

From the Maker of Two OTHER terrible films
The hobbit, An Unexpected Journey: The Author's Review
The hobbit, Desolation of Smaug: The Lady Awdur's Review; The Author's Review
Comes the movie we’ve all been waiting for, impatient for it to come so that this horrible experience will finally, finally be over….

Take a deep breath, we're going to be here for a while. Alright, how does this movie start?

AWDUR: Basically in the middle of the "cliff hanger" (when I start using quotations you know I'm feeling disdainful), where the Desolation left off. (I think it ought to have been called The Desolation of the Hobbit, because Bilbo sort of disappears in that movie and barely shows his face in this one).

AUTHOR: So let’s try to remember the end of the last movie, I know that Legolas was riding after Azog on horse, and yet somehow at the beginning of this movie he is hanging out with Bard again, and Azog is back with his army..

AWDUR: And it's never quite clear WHY they're going to this mountain place. I mean, it's kind of like he's spying on them, but he doesn't really get close enough to find any information. If he was coming there to try to get rid of them before the evil guys get worse, why didn't he bring people other than the weird girl with him?

AUTHOR: So a) why do we care about his mother? b) where on earth did this entire story about his mom being imprisoned here and dying come from? That wasn't even in the appendix.

AWDUR: Alright, back to Lake Town.

AUTHOR: Why didn't the tower get knocked over first? Imagine: YOU are a dragon, you are angry at this town and there is this one building that is taller than any other building in the town, wouldn't you destroy that first? Or ever by accident? Add to that, in the MOVIE'S OWN terrible story, a long time ago another guy shot Smaug with a black arrow and dislodged a scale. He shot out of that SAME tower, why wouldn't that be the one building that Smaug especially hated?

AWDUR: Or at least was smart enough to get rid of it.
So, we have Bard, in the tower (he having recently cleverly connived his way out of prison - a prison, by the way, that he was never IN in the first place in the book...). You know, I really hate it when a movie director thinks he needs to write a story that's cooler than the book he's basing it off of. What? Wasn't the book version cool enough, when Bard simply shoots an arrow out of a normal bow, from the ruins of a burning house? No-o, I guess not, because we have to have the dramatic bit with his son on the top of the ought-to-be-decimated tower.
AUTHOR: And can I just add, it’s not as if they took a story and livened it up stupidly.The book was actually MORE suspenseful, and MORE interesting, and made MUCH MORE SENSE. But I must apologize, not here to talk about the book, to even consider this movie, one must pretend that the book never existed in the first place, otherwise one's head might just explode. So back to the movie.
AWDUR: Now, to be fair, this was still a cool scene in some ways - but if they had only followed the book's story line, it would have been so much better (that's actually a fairly good summary of the movie in many ways).

AUTHOR: Okay, so I think we have gotten into a rut of anger (by which I mean mostly me, since Lady Awdur is actually capable of thinking reasonably on this subject) about this here, so let us TRY to be a little more organized. (BUT I JUST HATE IT SO MUCH)


AUTHOR: In the book, Smaug (like any actual dragon would) has a scaleless underbelly. And his protection is diamonds that he has been sitting on so long, that they are embedded in his skin. And BILBO find out one is loose, tells the dwarves in the presence of this awesome talking bird who then at the end of hope for Bard, tells him about it. How cool is that? It's not huge, but is one of those tiny things that really bothers me. Smaug doesn't have scales on his belly. It's like if Eowyn had black hair. It wouldn't affect the story so much, but it would be HORRIBLE. It wouldn't be Eowyn. And that's not Smaug.
Why is Smaug just flying around dramatically in the mist and not burning in anything? What???? He gives them time to get into their boats and get their gold and their young.
BARD'S Escape:
I don't really think you could break the bar windows of a jail and the wood around them, just with the weight of one overlarge guy.

Bard is just standing RIGHT under that ringing bell, and it doesn't bother him at all.
TAURIEL: “Leave him, we cannot go back.” HE'S A LITTLE KID?
NOW he destroys the tower, for dramatic effect. I like how he can just jam the end of his bow into the wood SO securely that he can shoot this GIANT arrow.
It's a good thing, when he fired this arrow, that the giant fires below weren't, I dunno, releasing a blanket of hot air that might mess with the arrow? I don’t think science or physics or any of that was taken into account in the making of this movie, as we will later see with young Legolas.


AUTHOR: Remember Aragorn's Coronation? Remember when he bowed to the hobbits? (which wasn't in the book, but was an addition that did not mar it.) Remember how beautiful that entire thing was? So why does Laketown destruction aftermath have to be a comical laugh fest about Alfrid?
AWDUR: Why is Alfrid’s stupid self here anyway, I might ask? Have you noticed yet that anytime some silly illogical thing happens it’s not in the book?
Annnywaaay. An enormous difference between The Lord of the Rings movies and the hobbit movies is that Jackson is trying way too hard. Especially trying too hard to be funny. The book humour is actually far more amusing than your inventions, Mr. Jackson.


AUTHOR: After a split which should never have happened in the first place and was stupid and terrible, the dwarves finally come together again in the mountain. Where Thorin basically goes insane. OK, well, aside from the stupid split, so far so good.

AUTHOR: Leading a troop of orcs wearing armor strangely similar to Uruk-hai armor, and also a little greek?
AWDUR: I would just like to quote from Wikipedia for a brief moment (emphasis added by me):
‘He is referred to in a single remark of Gandalf's in The Hobbit: "Your grandfather Thrór was killed, you remember, in the mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin." ’
By the by, Azog was killed in 2799 of the Third Age, whereas The Battle of Five Armies takes place in 2941


AUTHOR: First, let's play toss an old man around in a cage. Then let's discover that Galadriel can just wave her arm and send a powerful unexplained deathy magic around everywhere, that you then find out does nothing. Then Ring Wraiths! What? And now, in addition to being weirdly semi-transparent, they are gymnasts and can also do a weird teleporty speed move thing.
AWDUR: Everyone seems to have gotten lots of powers that would have been very useful in LotR.
AUTHOR: And hey Elrond and Saruman came too. And Radagast poop-face.
AWDUR: That’s a little harsh.
AUTHOR: He literally has poop on his face though.

Okay, maybe a LITTLE bit of bird droppings. I don’t mind the addition of Radagast — what I do mind is the rabbit sleigh thing. And the thirteen seconds Galadriel and Gandalf gaze into each other’s eyes while he grasps her wrist and whispers “Come with me, my lady”. It’s almost as though Jackson is trying to develop another love triangle with Galadriel (who, HELLO, is already married [with grandchildren]), and Gandalf (who is too young for her anyway, you know). But then we think Galadriel ought to have gone with him since she falls to the ground as if dead (after fighting… whom?)
AUTHOR: I am rather confused at this point. When knowing a story back to back and reading everything in the appendix doesn't help the movie's make even the slightest bit more sense...something is wrong. With the movies. And here's a thing, in Fellowship, Galadriel reveals a little of what she would be with the one ring. Then she does that to defeat Sauron??
AWDUR: It’s almost as if Peter Jackson forgot that when Galadriel does this, it’s her giving in to evil. When she gives into the temptation of the ring, wouldn’t you suppose she is more in Sauron’s power?
AUTHOR: Next she steals a bunch of random lines from LOTR, and we are invited to watch a seizure-inducing flashy thing that somehow is Sauron.
Lots of weird stuff with the magic people, that has no connection to ANYTHING.


AUTHOR: Angry yelling in the mountain, courtesy of Thorin.
Comic slap stupid stuff with Alfrid.
Dwarfs moving rocks, because that's what dwarves do!
"The Children, The Wounded and The Women come first." So...everyone?
The elves appear verrrrrry sneakily. Two questions: how do the antlers of that moose (is it a moose?) get through the doors? And also, how long were those elves just standing there?
We show some white diamonds when the book specifically SAID that they were supposed to be green emeralds.
Then a bunch of pointless arguing that was actually fairly close to the book and pretty good.
How convenient that the dwarves made a special, diamond shaped hole for chit chat.
Thorin whispers mysteriously through speakey tube thing. And what is up with his eyebrows!? What if someone just walked up to the hole and asked to speak with Bard, and then shot an arrow through it and killed him? This made so much more sense in the book.
The way that Bilbo is done in this movie is great. His expressions of horror and absolute bewilderment all the time are PERFECT for everything. There are absolutely no complaints regarding Bilbo. Martin Freeman is... a perfect hobbit indeed. (why did you cast him as an extra, Peter Jackson?)
We discover that the ruined city of dale still has a perfectly well equipped armory full of nicely organized stuff without a sign of rust on it anywhere. Because no one would EVER ransack a nicely stocked armory.
"Mithril, it was called by my forebearers." Actually Thorin, it is STILL called that, by everyone.
I like how Thorin is quicker to think his family who has been with him forever and whom he has always trusted, is evil, than he is to suspect the hired burglar.

Hey gundabo, gundubad, goondadorboobad?! Is there any concept of distance in this movie? No. Snap your fingers, and you can be anywhere. Maybe elves have figured out how to teleport. BUT, when an orc army is on the march, and you have horses, suddenly the snap thing doesn't work any more, and you may be too late, oh no!

Okay, then Bilbo climbs down a rope, and suddenly, everything starts actually going a little bit more like the book.
AWDUR: I’m skimming the scene in the book while watching, and I agree with the Author that this small parley scene is very like.
Oh my gosh there is still an hour to go in this movie! My brain is melting.

I still can't figure out what Thranduil is riding. It COULD be a giant reindeer. Nah, I think I’m sticking with moose.
(I kind of like the moose/reindeer)
So far still going pretty well to the book. Excellent acting.  Thorin is a little too horrible for my taste, but altogether pretty good.

AWDUR: In the book:
“But the Elvenking said, ‘Long will I tarry, ere I begin this war for gold.’”
In the movie:
Thranduil says, “Let them advance. See how far they get.”
And later to Bard, “Stand your men down. I’ll deal with Ironfoot and his rabble.”
AUTHOR: Then suddenly there was a dwarf riding a pig. Which I am KIND of willing to overlook.
AWDUR: “Send in the goats!” I just cracked up on that line. Really, Dain? You guys couldn’t come up with a better name for your goat riders? Perhaps I might think of nothing better, but there is $700,000,000 going towards this film.

A quote from the book (italics added):
“Suddenly without a signal they sprang silently forward to attack. Bows twanged and arrows whistled; battle was about to be joined…
‘Halt!’ cried Gandalf, who appeared suddenly… between the advancing dwarves and ranks awaiting them.”
Directly after that the goblins arrive and the dwarves and elves join forces.
In the movie, naturally, they had to have some battling between elves and dwarves. I guess they just wanted to show how they can do this: (if you watch to 4:49 you’ll see a very, very young elf fighting)
Which we might have considered cool, other than being over the top, without the line:
“How do you like that, the old twiddly-widdlies?”
No, literally, that’s what Dain just said.

AUTHOR: Creepily perfect CGI armies. They remind me of the clones from Star Wars.

And then suddenly, giant worms which appear out of the ground, and disappear far enough in to let an army through.
AWDUR: Dain’s remark, at this point of, “Oh, come on!” aptly describes everyone’s feelings at this point.
A note: Gandalf calls them “were-worms”, a creature that is mentioned by name in The Hobbit, but never described even remotely. So basically it’s a Jacksonian invention.

AUTHOR:  Where was the army when the worms were there? And where did the worms then go to make room for the army? And why wouldn't Azog ever use the worms again?
AWDUR: Yeah, I mean, couldn’t giant worms come out and eat most of the army and save him quite a lot of trouble?
Oh, and now in addition to eagles (because Peter Jackson has never heard the saying “Less is more”), Middle Earth has evil pterodactyls that carry people off Jurassic-World-style.

AUTHOR:  And how did Azog have his whole signal thing set up up there on a giant peak of stone that can be seen from everywhere, without ANYONE noticing? What happened to elf eyes? They were busy looking at the weird she-elf, obviously.

Unlike the epic and amazing battle for Minas Tirith with THOSE impossible odds, this is just too impossible and too illogical and too comical and too stupid.  This whole movie basically has gone into the kind of slapstick, usually stupid, and often rather vulgar humor that I have been seeing more frequently in modern movies. You could kind of see it coming with the stuff with Bombur and the dwarves earlier.  
AWDUR: It is really pretty sad that the funniest parts aren’t supposed to be. (Like 1:19 to 1:20 here:

“They cannot fight on two fronts; now we make our move.” Um, just wondering, Azog, why didn’t you make your move at the BEGINNING? I mean, why not? You could have gotten this whole rigamarole over so much quicker.
That’s SO cool, they have trolls that wear rocks on their heads so they can smash holes in walls (he still falls unconscious though), and trolls that carry catapults on their backs. There’s a cave troll for everything!
AUTHOR: Fly a wagon over your children. That could and would have gone so wrong in so many ways.

AWDUR: I’m confused about how the wagon is even moving. There is a slight downhill slant, and Bard did push off slightly, but seriously, with all the rubble he’s going over he would not have made it all the way to the huge goblin/teeny (by this movie’s standards) troll.
AUTHOR: OK, because of the stupid comical stuff, the saddest and most moving moment in the entire movie, was either Bilbo's goodbye at the end, or the reindeer/moose thing dying.
Cut to lots of dramatic slow motion stuff.
AWDUR: The hobbit is so much more gory than LotR. Was the Battle of the Black Gate and the Battle for Minas Tirith not long or epic enough for you? We just have to suffer through a battle that goes on and on and apparently the armies are bigger than you thought because otherwise this could have been done sooner.
AUTHOR: Wait, NOW there is an hour left? I cannot bear it.
Ok hmmm, skip a lot. Dwarves run out. Magic mountain goats appear out of literally nowhere, and then vanish, much like the worms. Why does everything useful like that just leave?

What is with that floor?
AWDUR: The whole scene where Thorin comes to his senses is… interesting. The first time I saw TBOFA I disliked it and thought it was just weird. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s not in the book, of course, but I’m pretty sure the book doesn’t show/explain Thorin’s change of heart at all. It’s an interesting way to show his change, so I’m not going to attack it.

AUTHOR: Absolutely adorable and wonderful scene with Thorin getting ready to go fight.

AWDUR: Agreed. At this point I remember why I feel sad at Thorin’s death. And then they’re up on Ravenhill. And yet another orc army comes out of the depths. And look! Is that an uruk-hai? 50+ years before they were invented, though.

Has anyone realized how there is no standard on how easy it is to kill an orc? Here, little Bilbo throwing rocks downs them like nine pins. There, Azog is stabbed and drowned and goes through how many battles, and is STILL ALIVE.
So then after Kili dies, Tauriel jumps into a bear hug with the enormous orc/small troll, I think illogically hoping to injure it. (BTW, in the book, Kili and Fili die defending Thorin, which I personally think is much better than dying trying to get to this random she-elf he met so shortly).
Legolas ran out of arrows! This movie must be more realistic than LotR — wait nope, he just directed a cave troll to make a bridge for him, and then ran up falling rocks. ?
AUTHOR: And then Azog and Thorin fight, ice conveniently being slippery only when proper for dramatic effect. Lots of defying of physics. Let Azog stab you. Then kill him in a way which is physically impossible. Then suddenly be okay, and stare off into the distance for a while, THEN fall to the ground, but don't die until someone has come along to hear you say something dramatic.
AWDUR: Now that’s not quite fair, since in the book he was mortally wounded yet had time say farewell to Bilbo before he died. The whole battle with Azog though — defying physics to leap out from under the ice — ugh. And then Gandalf shows up, and in quite proper respect for Thorin, spends thirty-five seconds filling and smoking his pipe, which he somehow managed to keep close throughout the battle. Nice. (Bilbo gives him a “really?” look.)

AUTHOR: Oh, and a bunch of slow motion close ups of constipated looking Kili and Tauriel.  

AWDUR: Goodness gracious, those last scenes with Thranduil were paaaiiinffull, no matter if you completely pretend that this movie stands alone and you’re just judging it in its own right. So first there’s this little interchange with Legolas:
“Legolas, your mother loved you.”
Stupidest. Line. My mother, who usually doesn’t give too harsh criticism of movies, said in the car (as drove home from the movie, sitting in dazed semi-silence at the awfulness of it all), “I know Mom loved me, Dad, it’s you who’re the problem!”
Is Thranduil trying to appease his guilt somehow or to convey (without humbling himself of course, because he could never do that) that HE loves Legolas? Or is he simply the rabbit-trailer of all time and decided to change the subject to mother’s love?
So then we have the next scene, where he walks in on Tauriel crying. My eyes are watering right now. Am I feeling sad? Ha. As if. Nope, I’ve just been staring at the computer for too long.
Tauriel, maybe I COULD have felt sad for you, if you hadn’t spent your last scene saying such stupid lines. I mean, listen to this:
Tauriel: They want to burry him. (Um, DUH)
Thranduil: Yes.
Seriously, why did Peter Jackson waste my time on those 14 seconds of completely unnecessary dialogue? Couldn’t he have given those 14 seconds to Bilbo (oh wait, I forgot he was just an extra, why would he be given 14 random seconds).
And then:
Tauriel: If this is love, I don’t want it. Take it from me. Please.” (Imagine it said in a whispery whiney voice and it’s even worse. I’d post the video, but I’m not so cruel to make YOU all watch it).
“Why does it hurt so much?”
Thranduil, “Because it was real.”
That is NOT how you sit on a throne.

Goodness gracious. You’d think that with spending more than seven hundred million dollars on these films they could have got a better script editor. Number one, her line sounds like something a seven year old would say. Number two, his response is supposed to be comforting… how? She just said that if this was love she didn’t want it. Really, Thranduil, you’d improve so much if you just listened to people.
We then have another 15 seconds of staring at Tauriel’s face. Then she kisses Kili’s [DEAD - is this creepy to anyone else?] lips.

AUTHOR: And now, the movie is FINALLY over.
Nope, not quite. A little something more from Thranny:
“OK, now Legolas my unfortunate offspring, go find this mysterious ten year old kid who has already made a name for himself in the wild as Strider (due to those incredibly long legs that ten year olds are known for) but I can’t tell you anything useful about him because I like to be weird and mysterious, or more likely because I don’t know it, and am going to sound weird and mysterious anyway. Hopefully you will be intrigued enough to go looking for him (*he’s in Rivendell, not in the wild. I lied, and you will never find him. Because I hate you, kid*) that you will get off my back and leave me in peace with my new necklace. Oh and by the way, you annoying creature, your MOM loved you, so be happy with that and stop pestering me for, what did you call it? ‘Fatherly Affection?’ Utter nonsense. Never heard of it. I really don’t know where you come up with this stuff. Likely you have been listening to that overly emotional she-elf again.”

AWDUR:After all this nonsense it does finish out pretty well, with some quotes and scenes straight from the book. I love the line of Bilbo’s to the dwarves: “If ever you are passing my way, don’t wait to knock! Tea is at four”, and I’m glad they included it in the movie. And the sale of his stuff. I always liked that twist.



AUTHOR: Got kicked out of his own movie. Got yelled at by Thorin. Got confused by everything. Got yelled at by Thorin. Actually quite hobbitey, but not what is supposed to happen in the story.
AWDUR: Bilbo is great. I think Martin Freeman makes a great hobbit. However, once again he’s playing an extra.
And I’m just curious, why didn’t he put on the ring at the beginning of the battle, as he did in the book? It’s just the logical thing to do.


AUTHOR: I like how all of them just call her the she-elf. I should like to be referred to as the ‘she-human’ from now on.
AWDUR: One thing a sister of mine pointed out is how in Lord of the Rings they had opportunities to stick in females more often, but didn’t because it wasn’t true to the book. For instance, they almost had Arwen at Helm’s Deep. Now, this would have likely distracted from the scenes and given Arwen too much attention (besides the fact that we don’t see the “she-elf”s fighting in the books), but it would have worked. However, they wisely chose not to. For the hobbit, there are no female characters to speak of, and any they would add in would be far more cumbersome than putting Arwen in Helm’s Deep. Yet, for some reason (did they think no girls would come to the movie if there were no females? That’s interesting, since a quick google search and my own experience says there are certainly as many female Tolkien fans as males; and surely they aren’t worried that guys wouldn’t come if there were only male actors?) they chose to add her. I understand that, yes, there may have been female guards in the book who just happen to be nameless. I wouldn’t care if they added in a small character — but Tauriel and the whole love triangle takes up so. much. film. time. (naturally it wouldn’t of been spent on BILBO of all people, this isn’t called The Hobbit after all — wait…)


AUTHOR: Sounds way too human. One feels such sympathy for him. I mean, how could anyone not want the movie version of Laketown to just vanish? To leave us in peace, free from the unclothed ramblings of once wonderful (hey Jeeves!) Stephen Fry.


AUTHOR: No longer looks or sounds like an elf. And did I mention that from a lot of angles he looks like John Wayne? Little Orlando is all grown up, or down as this most recent film suggests.
AWDUR: Honestly, though everyone complains about how old Legolas looks, he didn’t bother me so much. I like that he’s in Mirkwood, as it makes sense, and he didn’t take up nearly so much time as the she-elf (and since half of his scenes concerned the she-elf, without her in the movie there would be nothing to complain of).
Hi skin and hair does look a little more smooth and… chalky. He, does, however, look more like Thranduil than he did in the other movies, which is interesting.


AUTHOR: Kili has a very sweet face (it IS sweet. Too sweet. Dwarves are not supposed to have "sweet" faces), it looks so young and very wrong next to the scary elf lady.
The thing between him and Tauriel is just creepy and gross in addition to being wierd.
AWDUR: Interestingly enough, I think the movie makers assumed that because of Tauriel we would feel even more pain when Kili dies. Nope. Didn’t really care.

AWDUR: He’s not supposed to be in this movie at all.
AUTHOR: We hates him precious. He looks like he’s made of nasty wax, yes precious.


AWDUR: I like Thranduil, I really do. Not as a person, of course not, but they did capture his aloof, cruel but not hateful Elven self well. I think his actor his great. But he sure did get some stupid lines in this movie.
AUTHOR: I do have to say, Thranduil was a lot more reasonable and nice in the book. And didn’t go around making weird comments about people’s mothers. Also magical face…..where. on. earth, did that come from?? I do rather like Movie Thranny, but I just wish he didn’t look like he was made out of plastic.

His picture doesn't deserve to be bigger.

AUTHOR: Doesn’t even have his own poster.
AWDUR: Once again got way too much screen time and tried to hide among the women and children.
AUTHOR: He’s like a really really really terrible attempt at Grima. Except that Brad Dourif is an amazing actor and Grima is an interesting character with depth and hateful sides and sympathetic sides etc. and Ryan Gage is a kind of a terrible actor, and Alfrid is just a slimeball. That is so true. Once again Jackson trying to use something that worked in LotR, but changing it in a way that is not more creative, just worse.


AWDUR: The Burning of Laketown was much better in the book, naturally, but that wasn’t Bard’s fault. There isn’t really much to complain about Bard. Plus I think it’s cool his daughters are actually sisters (you can totally tell).
AUTHOR: I dislike a lot of actors, and therefore, I usually find myself disliking the people they play. But there are a few actors who I dislike, but who are good enough to make me forget it’s them, and I am able to just enjoy the characters they portray. Luke Evans is one of these, I don’t really like him, but he is a very good actor. I wholly approve of Peter Jackson’s Bard, but I think he could have been SO much better if only he stuck to the original a little more.


AUTHOR: He was just so messed up. I mean yeah, dragon sickness, but at first, (in the book) he just told everyone to clean up and look for the Arkenstone. He wasn't a jerk about it. Walking like a slave master and yelling at them never to rest until it is found….odd
AWDUR: As I said in my previous review, the casting was great — the script was messed up. Richard Armitage makes a great Thorin — but like the Author said, through much of this movie he really is a jerk. Yes, in the book he really does try to throw Bilbo from the ramparts, but he isn’t quite so angry. all. the. time.

And that concludes our thorough review of each and every part of the hobbit. If you got this far, you deserve a round of applause.
AUTHOR: *clap clap clap clap* I am so sorry we made you sit through this. Thank you for listening to our righteous indignation, and I bid you all a very fine farewell.

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