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.”