The Hobbit: Worth Watching

Screenshot from The Hobbit (c) 2012 Warner Brothers.

Screenshot from The Hobbit (c) 2012 Warner Brothers.

If you’re thinking about going to see “The Hobbit,” released this last weekend, TJP’s Matt Stewart has some advice for you: go.

In a review published yesterday by America Magazine, Stewart relates his positive reaction (Well…mostly positive. It is a review after all…) to the first installment of Peter Jackson’s cinematic rendering of then J.R.R. Tolkie novel.

I wanted to see the same breathtaking, sweeping panoramas of Middle Earth I was so familiar with from the first trilogy.  I wanted Howard Shore’s music to transport me to that world.  I wanted dazzling special effects, battles and the thrill of a journey.  I wanted Gandalf, Bilbo, Elrond, Galadriel or one of those many Dwarves or Elves to give me some wisdom or some new way of thinking about my life. I was not disappointed.

Likewise, Matt was particularly struck by the film’s efforts to draw out the religious themes that appear with frequency in Tolkien’s writings:

Readers familiar with the St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises may recall the exercise entitled “The Call of the King,” from the beginning of the Second Week, while viewing Balin (the second-in-command Dwarf) tell the story of how he comes to follow Thorin: “…there is one I could follow…and one I could call king.”

But the founder of the Jesuits isn’t the only saint with resonance in Middle Earth. Turns out The Little Flower is there, too:

We even see traces of St. Thérèse’s little way in the explanation Gandalf gives to Galadriel as to why he has selected Bilbo to accompany the group of Dwarves: “Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. That is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small things, every day deeds from ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.”

You can read the rest of the review at America’s website, and Fandango can hook you up with local showtimes.