Monthly Archives: December 2012

‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Film Review

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Director/Directors: Peter Jackson

Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, et al

Rating: 12 (U.K.)/PG-13 (U.S.A)

Stars: 3 (Average)

Well the time has finally arrived. It’s been months of hype and excitement for the release of the first instalment of The Hobbit, and thankfully it has been directed by Peter Jackson, the same person that directed The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But has he managed to maintain that level of quality that LOTR did, and what’s the big deal about this 48 frames per second?

The plot revolves around Bilbo Baggins (Freeman), who leads a cosy and sheltered life until Gandalf (McKellen) pops round for a visit. Within a matter of days, dwarves, trolls, goblins, and other weird and wonderful creatures become the centre of Bilbo’s life as he travels across Middle-Earth to try and find Smaug, a terrible fire-breathing dragon.

Many people say that The Hobbit is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings, but really it’s the other way around: The Hobbit was published nearly twenty years before LOTR, in 1937. This means that Tolkien did not know much of what was going to happen after this book, if at all, and that’s where Peter Jackson comes in; because the vast majority of people now know the events of The Lord of the Rings, it’s only natural to include in this film scenes with Frodo (Elijah Wood) and a much older Bilbo Baggins, both of which are not in the book. And this isn’t just the once, oh no. Several scenes have been made-up and are not at all a part of the book, although it must be said that they fit in with the plotline very well. It must also be explained that for about an hour-or-so into the film, the script and scenes are quite humourous, a stark contrast to The Lord of the Rings trilogy (yet I must add that The Hobbit book is humourous throughout, as it was effectively meant as a children’s book). But whilst I realise why this is done, it happened a little too suddenly – it should’ve been more gradual a tone change than what it was.

I know, two rings - just pretend they're two of the rings of power! ;)

I know, two rings – just pretend they’re two of the rings of power! 😉

The film is heavy on CGI, but that is no surprise, and you soon get used to seeing it. The acting on the whole is excellent, and of course is very British besides one or two people. I must say that my favourite character was Gollum, still played by Andy Serkis, as he simply was the sweetest creature and also the most horrible one at the exact same time, which is quite a feat to pull off. These actors boost the film’s rating up to 3 stars, but the real reason I gave it this rating is because It felt like it lacked something quite large, something that should’ve been there but wasn’t. The 48fps did not seem as bad as what people were blabbering on about, but it wasn’t that, either. I think it was the lack of seriousness in the film. Sure, The Hobbit book was funny at times, but it was still written in a fairly serious manner; the film felt like a step away from The Lord of the Rings, almost like some TV-movie that tried to create an exact copy of an original idea and failed.

All in all, An Unexpected Journey is all right. The cast is fine, if not great, and the CGI has no fault, especially the scene with Bilbo and Gollum. I wanted to like this film – I really did. But the script was a bit too funny, and that for me pulled me away from the world of Middle-Earth and into some other land where this film is set, and I do not think it is Middle-Earth. So many scenes were muddled and even made-up (like Lord of the Rings, I know, but it still kept the serious tone) that I was just pointing out the differences compared to the book. A shame, perhaps, yet it is clever how Jackson and the rest of the gang have managed to bring Tolkien’s books to the big screen. Here’s to hoping that next year’s instalment will be better.

 

Fun Fact: Try and spot the Wilhelm scream during the movie; I did. Don’t know what a Wilhelm Scream is?

Advertisements

Update on my blog…

Apologies for missing a few days on my blog, but that’s basically what I wanted to talk to you all about. As it’s running up to Christmas, and my next-semester university timetable is quite packed, I’m afraid my blog posts are going to have to change from a strict(ish) schedule to whenever I can. I’m sure I’ll be blogging at least twice a week, but my life after Christmas will probably be very busy, and I can’t promise anything. 😦 However, I will still be blogging, no matter how infrequently! 😀

As for what’s due on the blog in the extremely recent future, I’ll be watching the Hobbit movie tonight, so expect a film review for that in a couple of days. Also there will be a subject that I will be discussing which I heard about in university, and I found it interesting enough to make an article about it, which should also be up on the blog before Christmas, hopefully. And speaking of Christmas, of course I’ll have a post about Christmas! And maybe a quick update on how things are going in my life as well, at least writing wise. 😛

So for now, I shall bid you adieu, but I will be posting quickly after this post, maybe tomorrow or Wednesday. Anyway, that’s enough of my blabbering – see you in a couple of days! 🙂

Warhammer 40,000 Nerdgasm!

Today’s post is not going to be about writing, movies, or even books today. Yes, as you may have guessed, I’m going to be talking to you about Warhammer.

I went over to my friend’s house today to play Warhammer 40,000, and loved every minute of it. We don’t play to the exact ruling; my friend and I prefer enjoying each other’s company over faffing about over specific and exact ruling. We played a few games (the pictures can be seen below), some Ork and Space Marine, others Ork and Imperial Guard. N.B. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry – we’ll get to that part in a minute! I love playing Warhammer as I seem to ingest ideas for future novels and even short stories, although I do play for the sheer fun of it as well. 😛

Now, on to the next part of the post. For those of you who don’t know, Warhammer (both fantasy and 40,000, which is just a cooler way of saying 40,000 A.D.) is a table-top game wherein two players battle it out with opposing armies, seen in the pictures below, with dice, rulers, and many other bits of equipment. Basically, if you loved playing with toy soldiers when you were small and just wanted an excuse to carry on when you were ‘too old’ and/or if you really love video games or interactive stories, then this is the hobby for you. However, this hobby comes at a steep price – a literal one. If you don’t have any money to spend, or you don’t want to get into a hobby that you can get serious about, then this isn’t the hobby for you. Wargaming is a very expensive hobby, albeit an unusual and exciting one. I shan’t go into any more detail about it as it would take several thousand words to cover it properly, but if anyone is interested in beginning a new hobby or if you’re merely intruiged, then feel free to contact me – my email address is writerscabinet@gmail.com, but you don’t have to click this link; instead simply copy it into your preferred email website and write away!

And there we go. Sorry that this post wasn’t to do with what this blog is usually about, but I fancied telling you all a bit about what I do apart from being on the computer all day! Feel free to check out the pictures which I took today, which are directly below this sentence. All models are my friend’s, meaning they are painted by him, not me. Maybe I’ll upload my own models in a couple of weeks if anybody’s interested. See you all in a few days. 🙂

The battleboard on which we played our games.

Photobucket

Waaaaaggghhhh!!!

Photobucket

Up close and personal – Space Marine on the left, Ork on the right.

Write for Yourself

Do you write for yourself or for the market? This is a question all writers must ask themselves, hopefully sooner rather than later. Well come on then; do it. Do you write for yourself or for the market?

If some of you don’t know what those actually mean, I will give you an example. Say you’re a writer who loves to write science-fiction humour for young adults – that’s fine. But what if the market (that is, what’s selling at the moment) is serious fantasy? Now you’re in a real pickle. Do you carry on with your humourous book or do you throw it in the garbage and begin a fantasy novel just like the ones that are selling? It’s a difficult choice, as it can make or break a writer if they desperately want to be published. But what’s the answer, then?

Well in a book I am currently reading, called Richard Joseph’s Bestsellers, Alan Dean Foster (writer of the Alien novelisation) said this:

“Everything I had been trying to write ‘to the market’ was going nowhere, while something I wrote out of love and personal interest sold immediately.”

Fair enough if it’s his opinion, but why should we even begin to trust his advice? Because his world-wide sales are in excess of ten million copies. Wow. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? Yes, yes it is. But you may argue that what works for one writer may not work for another, and that’s true. So let’s a dig a little bit further into this to come up with an answer of our own.

Let’s take another example, one when you were (or still are) in school. There were certain subjects you enjoy more than others, weren’t there? Perhaps there were ones you utterly despised – like me and Physical Education! 😛 You may have tried your best at that horrible subject, or tried to write that History paper with all your heart, but in the end you weren’t as good as the best in your class, were you (not trying to bring you down here; I hated most of the subjects in my school)? You had your favourite subjects, the ones you were good at or at least did your best at. This is what writing should be like for us. We shouldn’t force ourselves to write what we aren’t good at or what we don’t enjoy – we should be writing what we do enjoy, subjects that make our bodies quiver with excitement!

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Of course, what interests you as a writer may already be what’s currently selling on our shelves, and that’s great! If that’s the case for you, then get cracking! For those of us who aren’t so great at writing what’s currently on our shelves, though, this can be a little bit of a problem, so let’s tackle this problem head-on.

What do we do when we don’t want to write what’s popular? This is difficult to answer, and probably one we won’t be able to answer fully, but we can at least try. Essentially, we as writers just need to keep writing about what we love, as that’s what motivates us to write that novel or screenplay or short story – our love for its themes, characters, and so on. That love should make us proud of the work we’ve done, even if publishers and agents don’t so much as take a whiff of it. As Oscar Wilde said:

“An idea that is not dangerous is not worthy of being called an idea at all.”

Wise words. If we’re not willing to at least try a new idea (in its broad sense, anyway) then there’s almost no point in us writing at all. In fact, you could go as far to say that the people who copy the ideas of what’s popular at the present may not actually be dangerous or original, just as Wilde said. And who knows? Maybe you’ll be that writer that breaks the mould – somebody has to be!

Thanks for reading; I hope you gathered some opinions of your own through reading my own! If you want to check out the book which I quoted from, you can get it from Amazon here – Richard Joseph’s Bestsellers. It’s a good book in which the writer interviews several writers about how they became bestsellers, from Roald Dahl to Tom Clancy.

Books versus E-books: Tackling the Issue, erm…again

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a good week so far! Today’s post is a little bit special – I received an email from a lovely woman called Allison, asking me if I could possibly look at a piece to do with books and e-books. Once I saw it, I really loved it, and I asked for permission to use it on my blog; she said yes, and here we are. I especially love the first picture, which combines book and e-book into one flowing graphic. If anyone wants to go to the original source once you have read it on here, I will include the link after the graphic. I think it’s a really good piece that reminds us that books and e-books are, in a sense, totally different mediums. Let me know your comments and what you think about the piece in the comments below. Thanks! 🙂

E-books Infographic

A very special thanks to Allison and her company for letting me use their great colourful graphic, and I hope to keep in regular contact with them! Here is the link to the original source: http://www.teachingdegree.org/2012/11/26/ebooks-vs-print-books/

Thank you all for reading; remember to leave your thoughts and feeback below! 😀

The Hobbit: An Unaffected Journey

Now, before I actually go into today’s post, I just want to say this: I’m extremely sorry that I did not post last Monday evening, but I was busy with other things (NaNoWriMo mostly), but it was for a good cause, as I won my first year of NaNoWriMo with 50,624 words! 😀 Anyway, with that out of the way, posts will hopefully be returning to normal, being published Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays – weekly.

The Hobbit

So the time is almost upon us; The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey is due to hit our cinema screens on the 12th, 13th, or 14th of December, depending on where you are currently living. But what this post will focus on is whether we as film fanatics/J. R. R. Tolkien fanatics should be excited for this prequel to The Lord of The Rings. Are you still a little worried whether this’ll be a flop, or are you wondering why people are saying it will be a flop? If you are either of these, or just want to carry on reading, then do so, good sir!

Why are people afraid this trilogy will be bad?

A few reasons, and so I will go into a few here, discussing the points I at least know of.

 

1.) It’s a trilogy –  yes, people are worried about this, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. For one, it’s Peter Jackson’s (the director) idea to split it into three, not the studio’s, so it’s not all about the extra cash, and that means Jackson may well have something special in mind to offer here. Secondly, if you take out most of the description and other things used to pad out The Lord of the Rings, you would end up with roughly the same amount of action. Does this mean the trilogy will be around the same running time as LoTR? Possibly. And thirdly, Jackson plans to use the appendices of The Return of the King book as substantial content to flesh out The Hobbit to make it a trilogy.

 

2.) Jackson is running out of stuff to doreally? Why on Earth do people think this? Just because he wants to direct a prequel of something he’s directed before (LoTR)? That’s like saying Tolkien ran out of stuff to do when he did a sequel to The Hobbit; this is just the other way around. Come on, guys, think of a better argument than that.

 

3.) 48fps instead of the usual 24 – what this means is that Peter Jackson has shot his trilogy with an unususual frames per second, and people are saying that instead of it looking hyper-realistic in a good way, it is in fact the opposite; hyper-realistic in a bad way. One projectionist told The Los Angeles Times, “It looked like a made-for-TV movie. It was too accurate — too clear. The contrast ratio isn’t there yet — everything looked either too bright or black.”Now, this I might just be able to understand. I’ve seen many made-for-TV movies in my time, and let’s just say I’m not really a fan of them. The script is awful, the acting can be a little off, and…wait a minute, the script for The Hobbit is almost definitely great, and it has an A-list cast! Granted the camera may look a little weird, but I must say it was never the camera that made me hate a made-for-TV movie.

 

I know I haven’t seen the film yet, and yes, maybe the fps is bad, but I’m reserving judgement for Peter Jackson. This is the guy that quite faithfully shot the The Lord of the Rings movies, and he’s also a loony for anything Tolkien. With a     good past record and an even better cast backing him, why are people picking holes in what he is trying to do? He is trying to provide entertainment, and until I’ve seen the first film (and possibly even the other two) I’m going to say very little about what I think, and that’s why I’ve named this post An Unaffected Journey: it’s not an artificial film, as the money going behind it is extraordinary, and the cast, crew, and director has produced exceptinal results previously. As I end this post, I will leave you with a quote by J. R. R. Tolkien himself.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

 

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

 

Do you think The Hobbit trilogy will be good? Why/why not? Post your thoughts in the comments below!