I’m going to do something crazy and outlandish this week. Something that surely has featured on no blog, book-related or otherwise, ever before. Something that, to my knowledge, has never even graced the most ancient and majestic tubes of the internet.
I’m going to talk about The Hobbit movie.
Wait, what? Everyone’s been talking about The Hobbit for like the past seven years? Damn. Here I was thinking I was being all cool and innovative and interesting. Oh well.
I guess the most innovation I can manage is NOT to regale you with the thrilling profit, property, and wage battles that surrounded the film even before it made it to pre-pre-pre-production (which presumably it has at this point, though it is my understanding that even those who’ve followed the whole drama thus far in a much less half-assed manner than myself remain skeptical). If you care about that stuff, you already know about it.
Instead, I’m going to talk about how I want Legolas to be the hero of this movie.
It’s possible that I’m just being cavalier because my obsession with The Lord of the Rings has dwindled over the years. And I was obsessed. I imagined myself into Middle-earth so often, I may or may not have been a small jump from changing my name to Laranitharwenilliel and waiting around to get magically zapped into the book. (I may or may not have written fanfiction to that effect.) I would call the Fellowship “the Company,” because I was too cool to call them the Fellowship. I could say more than a handful of phrases in Elvish (Sindarin, that is. I was a little too lazy for Quenya.) and write in Dwarven runes, all of which I’ve forgotten by now.
I still really love LotR, but because I attach it in particular to my childhood/teenage years, reading it or seeing the movies strikes me with a bizarre and unshakeable nostalgia. There was a point when I couldn’t hear three notes of the LotR soundtrack without crying. Although this was never particularly surprising to me, considering I have never in my life been able to read or hear Sam Gamgee say, “Well, I’m back,” without bawling my eyes out.
The point is, I would still consider myself to be a pretty big LotR fan. And besides that, I really do love the movies. I know a lot of non-fans find them boring and rambling and make jokes about all the walking and all that, but I think they’re beautiful. I think they get just about everything exactly right. And they brought the books to life for me in a very profound way.
And some not-so-profound ways. For example, when I first read The Fellowship of the Ring at age 11, I had zero clue of, what, exactly, a Balrog was. The scene was cloudy with descriptions of fire and shadow. So when I saw the film I had this amazing, OH-it’s-a-big-fucking-MONSTER-made-of-fire-and-shadow! moment. (We’ll leave whether or not this big fucking monster has wings or not to be discussed elsewhere.)
I imagine that for some people, the Harry Potter movies are sort of the same way. Which is why I try not to hate on them (those people, not the movies) too much. But honestly, I’ve never seen any movie capture exactly what was important about the book as well as the LotR films.
All that being said, I think Legolas in the films is ridiculous and pointless and Orlando Bloom plays him goofy as hell, which isn’t necessarily his fault considering his lines are usually two words long and almost always identifying things (but is probably at least somewhat his fault).
Years ago, when all the dramz was still goin’ down and the very existence of the film was up in the air, I (jokingly) decided that Legolas would have to be in The Hobbit. Sure, the LotR films managed to get some girls in their fanbase with studly/adorable fellows like Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, and Karl Urban (and Orlando, though that one makes less sense to me), as well as with over-exposure of token-female-character Arwen and the infinitely more badass Éowyn.
But in The Hobbit, it seemed to me there was no room for that kind of thing. Plain and simple, The Hobbit also involves a large group of people WALKING a lot, and unfortunately most of that large group is made up of Dwarves, who are typically uncouth and massively bearded. What, I wondered, was the movie going to do to get widespread appeal?? They couldn’t make ALL the Dwarves comic relief!
Solution: Legolas. Girls love ‘im. The Dwarves go tramping through Mirkwood anyway. GET HIS ASS IN THE MOVIE.
(Note: The actual solution was to cast hot BBC guys as many of the Dwarves.)
My ideas regarding this at least ridiculous involved Legolas standing dimly in the background of Thranduil’s murky and evil-looking (probaby) throne room for the clever eye to spot and get fangirl-excited over. At most ridiculous, they involved LEGOLAS being the one to save the Dwarves from Thranduil’s dungeon, not Bilbo. He would come galloping in BAREBACK on a BEAUTIFUL WHITE HORSE, which would rear up and whinny loudly as he pulled up sharp in front of their cells, and in a show of defiance against his cruel father, he would SET THEM FREE.
(I realize this would be inconsistent with the LotR movies, where Legolas has obvious superracisthate for Dwarves at the beginning, but just go with it because it would be HILARIOUS.)
That was the beginning of the end of my regard for this movie. I’m not leaving out the option that I might be blown away by it (or them, I should say. It’s two films. I’m counting on the second one to be 99% ri-sick-ulous battle scene.), but for now I’m viewing the whole thing as being potentially quite silly. Perhaps not least of all because the book The Hobbit itself is a great deal sillier than The Lord of the Rings.
The casting rumors haven’t done much to counteract this impression. The fact that on IMDB, listed second under Martin Freeman as Bilbo (WHICH I FREAKIN’ LOVE, bee-tee-dubs) is some chick cast as a “Silvan Elf warrior” named “Itaril” does not bode well. I suppose she might be the solution to the girl-character issue. (Personally hoping she’s Legolas’s girlfriend so all of the fangirls with CRY.) Then there’s the fact that Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, and Elijah Wood are all going to be in the movie for some reason, but even more strangely, someone has been cast as DROGO BAGGINS. I’m not saying Elijah Wood couldn’t pull off playing 12-year-old Frodo, because he probably could, but really, there is zero reason that Elijah Wood-as-Frodo and Drogo Baggins should be appearing in the movie together.
I don’t mean to be nit-picky, because really I don’t give a fuck what they change from the books as long as they do it as gracefully and successfully as they did in the first three films. I just hope that they’re taking this seriously. Because as of now, I sure as hell am not.
(Author’s Note: Dude, I really, really want to watch LotR now. Marathon, anyone??)