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In the Dark

Mercy Is Courage

The Hobbit
Produced by New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Wingnut Films
Directed by Peter Jackson
Written by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens
Distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures

For this month’s column, I’ve enlisted my son Liam to write the review, since he knows far more than I do about J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of his works.  For purposes of his review, Liam refused to see the movie in 3D and HFR (High Frame Rate—48 frames per second).  This was not at my insistence.  I eagerly subjected myself to these questionable technologies.  Liam, however, forswore gimcrack spectacle, the better to engage Jackson’s intentions.  He’s thus earned the right to assess their execution.  Liam, if you will, tell us what you think.

The story begins this way:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

And so, in 1937, J.R.R. Tolkien announced at the beginning of his fantasy, The Hobbit, that comfort is the middle way between extremes, and a highly desirable way at that.  His protagonist, Bilbo Baggins,...

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