“Why is he splitting them up?”
“Why are they so long?”
“Why must he take something we love and ruin it?”
No these are not reviews for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. They were the assumed reaction of the tens of people who read Part 1 of my 2012 wrap up; where I dissected the year of Channing Tatum, had two Lincolns square off, and looked at one of the two live action Snow White adaptations. Part 2 will start with…
2 Films, 20 Dwarfs
Snow White and the Huntsman featured Chris Hemsworth as a hunter whose prey is apparently trees since his weapon of choice is an axe, and Kristen Stewart as a Snow White who went to the distinguished school of parted lip acting. There’s a love triangle that nobody cares about – and I’m not talking about director Rupert Sanders, K. Stew, and R. Patt – and Charlize Theron acting with as much subtly as a nuclear explosion. The dwarfs were entertaining but tragically underused.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was what I expected. It’s similar to The Lord of the Rings trilogy in a lot of ways but is not as good as any of them. Where we came to know and love every character in that series we only really get to know Bilbo, Gandalf, and Thorin in this. Meanwhile there are a mess of other dwarfs that are only distinguishable by variations of hair above the neck, and sometimes that doesn’t even do enough to make them stand out. Did it need to be a trilogy? No. Is the book being dragged through the mud? More like dropped in a puddle before quickly being grabbed and dried off quickly. As long as fans of The Lord of the Rings series don’t go into it expecting it to be world shattering they should enjoy themselves. I should mention I didn’t see it in 48fps but I heard mostly negative things about it.
And the Winner Is: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - even though Peter Jackson obviously thinks “dues ex machina” is Latin for giant eagles.
Harrison Ford, as Indiana Jones, is an archaeologist who goes on a search for the mystical Ark of the Covenant, while outwitting Nazis who compete to obtain the Ark for its fabled supernatural power. Raiders of the Lost Ark is a movie that you need to see before you die.
A few weeks ago, I erased all of my rankings (over 2,000) after receiving a shocking revelation: Many of the movies that I’d ranked exist in my mind as fragmented, abstract memories that are only tenuously representative of my overall opinion of the actual films. This injection of harsh reality came rushing in after watching the movie Bonnie and Clyde again after several years. It occurred to me that my positive memory of the movie revolved almost exclusively around the amorous feelings I experienced for Faye Dunaway during the initial viewing. Back when I first saw Bonnie and Clyde, apparently I was so stricken by her charms that ranking the film among my favorites seemed like a perfectly legitimate course of action. After a fresh viewing, however, I was surprised to discover how average I found the rest of the movie to be. For years I’ve been placing it above films that I enjoyed for more substantial, empirical reasons than just a superficial movie crush (as opposed to a profound movie crush, like with Trasgredire).
Machete, the Robert Rodriguez action massacre, was released into theatres recently. While it delivers plenty of sleaze and carnage, the movie also takes time to comment on the plight of illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States. Even the “Illegal” trailer from back in May took a stand on the issue. With that in mind, I thought this edition of Reel Rumbles could feature two movies about gringos who aren’t too welcome south of the border. In Bandidas, Mexican heroines Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz take on a ruthless American interloper who is aggresively swindling people out of their land. Turistas involves naive white people vacationing in Brazil who become unwilling organ donors. Maybe the basic message of both Bandidas and Turistas is that other countries are not gringo playgrounds. You can’t just come around and act like you own the place, or there will be consequences. (Or, the message could also be that it never hurts to cast attractive actors and dress them up in sexy attire whenever possible.)