• Handicrafts

    Yarn Along: Entrelac and A Little Taste of Poison

    I am linking up again after a period of laziness here at Ginny Sheller’s Yarn Along. You will have to forgive the iphone photo. And the junk at the bottom; my room will never stay clean.

    Since I am knitting two items and reading two books (just kidding, I have several books and knitting projects started, this are just the most diligently pursued at the moment). My sisters and I enjoyed the first Uncommon Magic book, A Pocket Full of Murder, and we are happy to finally read the second installment, A Little Taste of Poison. Don’t you just love the titles? The covers, especially the first, are adorable. If you haven’t read any R.J. Anderson, you definitely should. Her Faery Rebels trilogy and Swift duo are amazing (they are connected, but not a series). Unfortunately only the first two titles are available in the U.S.; I ordered the others via Amazon.uk. Worth it.

    I’ve been making my way through Mildred Taylor’s Logan family saga. I meant to read the stories chronological order, but I got mixed up a little although not in the “main” story. I am working on my first entrelac project, a blanket. I mean for this to be slow since it is so huge and to complete other projects at the same time. I am knitting a cashmere blend scarf with this gorgeous textured triangle stitch also. I really need to stop the scarf and shawl deluge a bit and work on sweaters. I am aiming to work through “Handknit Garment Design” class on Craftsy to design a couple sweaters.

  • Culture and Entertainment

    The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

    Yes, I know this is horrifyingly late. You are welcome.

    I think this is a mediocre movie on its own, but it is a travesty as a Tolkien adaptation. The film is so hectic.  I think the film cut back and forth too much between its too many plot lines (Bard and his group plus their mini-plot lines, Dale, Gandalf and company, Legolas spying, the dwarves, the orcs, and etc.). The Laketown tragedy felt shortened, less severe, and the film did not show the trip to the mountain. That whole saga felt rushed. The battle itself felt unrealistically short (I know a movie cannot give justice to the length of battles with such weapons, but I know the directors could have done better than this . . . by cutting out some of the additional fluff such as the earth eaters and Legolas’s spying trip and by leaving such things as the desolation of Smaug to the movie of that name).  In addition, this movie like the two before it, fell far, far short of the quality of The Lord of the Rings films even as they in turn fell far short of doing justice to Tolkien’s work.

    The first film had so little in it and the last so much (including as others have noted the actual desolation of Smaug). I understand that the filmmakers wanted to tie in the Hobbit with the rest of Tolkien’s story. I think that one film would have made the story seem rushed, but cut out the orcs until they belonged and shorten the Necromancer section, and we would have enough to make two grand films.
    The film also contained waaay too much melodrama. Actually, it was a melodrama. I think many of my family thought that the crowning absurdity was Legolas’ falling rock hopping. But I thought also that the the earth eaters and the white orc under water (and the white orc period) beyond too much.  I thought the Necromancer scenes quite over the top as well.
    Then there are some of the “smaller” issues. That Alfrid character received far too much screen time and his role was quite silly. Tauriel did not exist in the novels, and so I felt that she ought to have died along with Kili. Instead she had this weird interlude with Thranduil. I wonder if we are supposed to think this whole Tauriel drama is the reason why Legolas is so eager at the end of the Return of the King to go West; he was not one of the High Elves after all, he could not feel with the same intensity as they did the desire to West.
    Legolas may not have been literally in the book, but he was alive in the Tolkien universe and so likely would have fought. Unless of course Thranduil grounded him and left him in Mirkwood smoulder-sulking, which is totally plausible.

    Thraduil is so awesome.
    But while we are on the topic of elves, why must the film makers put the elves in a negative light constantly? There is this absurd ignoring of roles and raising the lower people. If anything, the greed of all dwarves, should have been shown more. But since the elves are beautiful, they must also be selfish or somehow lesser. In Lord of the Rings the films omit to show THAT LOTH LORIEN WAS BESEIGED. Do you really think that somehow the elves are untouched? Of course Loth Lorien would be besieged; it was in a rather central location, and the elves there had harbored the Fellowship. Instead the elves come to help the Rohirrim (as if they would choose them over Gondor, the kings of which descended from the elves). In the same way, Theoden expects the king of the nation that bears the brunt of the problem and who is LIEGE LORD to the Rohirrim is somehow responsible to help fight his battles. Yeah, no, you live on land granted you by Gondor, you pay service to Gondor. 
    I disliked the confrontation between Legolas, Tauriel, and Thranduil; it was ugly, tasteless, ill-bred (and therefore, un-elvish).
  • Culture and Entertainment

    The Hobbit

    This is a gush post rather than a mature, clear review and will contain spoilers.

    I enjoyed this one MUCH more than the first one. I cannot tolerate suspense even when I know the outcome, and the first movie seemed to consist entirely of suspenseful running. This movie contained a little more variety in the action with cool combat scenes along with the freaky chase as well as plenty of little mini-plots and the focus on different lines of the story. I loved the more personal scenes amongst the characters in this movie.

    An older Orlando Bloom equals a much more manly and well-acted Legolas; I was quite impressed and pleased. His fighting skills were pretty cool as well; although since I am girly, I didn’t get a great thrill out of those . . . or the head scenes (although Legolas did not seem to relish them all either, particularly the one in which he had no choice; my sister remarked that Legolas was prim and his father was not).

    Ah, Thranduil. Lots of crushing here. I am chronically late, and while I was still getting ready before we left for the movie (we were going straight from the movie to the first family Christmas celebration) my next sister yelled up at me to hurry up because she had a date with Legolas’s dad (we know his name, but some of us get a kick out of referring to him thus) . . . and Thorin . . . and Bard . . . and Fili. I prefer Kili whilst she and another sister prefer Fili, we established that last year, and this year we established that Dean O’Gorman is handsomer than Aiden Turner, at least in red carpet photos, which anomaly irritates me to no end since Kili IS handsomer . . . how does that work? I have since discovered Aiden Turner is quite adorable in his Being Human photos, so that amends the issue somewhat (important things, peoples, hello!).

    Hello King Haughtiness Hotiness. Yeah, he was messed up (we thought this bit, pardon any inaccuracies, hilarious: “Why did you do that? We promised to set him free.” “I did free him. I freed his wretched head from his miserable shoulders.”).

    And Bard. I owe you my deepest apologies, you do not look as much like Legolas as I thought, and there is so much more to you than that similarity.

    He had a family, and he was young (I love young parents; it is sooo much cuter). This is sooo heartwarming and even the terrible acting of his children could not ruin it. I love how he is the descendent of the mayor of Dale, and he has the arrow, and he is trying to protect the town, and he is sooo noble that he doesn’t turn away my darling sick Kili. Yeah, Bard is awesome. But my sister has her claws in him and has since we were little and Dad read The Hobbit aloud to us. (She has her claws in Tom Hiddleston too; I am almost not “allowed” to like these guys! Seriously, don’t ruin my crushfest).

    This is the scene during which the proper reaction of all watching is,”Thorin, go and die.”

    My most belovedest happens to be the one to have the love affair in the movie. He is sooo sweet and brave with his wound, and his older brother is so sweet and loyal and protective of him! So there fat, ole Thorin! (Yeah, Richard Armitage is, don’t murder me, not handsome enough as a dwarf to beat all the rest of the handsomeness and his own character’s beastliness. I don’t remember Thorin in the book being quite so obnoxious so soon in the story as he was in these movies. I know I wanted to clobber him in the book when they reached the mountain, but before that I thought he was just a boring snob. Apparently I am due for another reread. I should’ve reread it again before this movie, and I definitely will before the third movie).

    Darling Kili

    Well, no one loves him enough because there are not enough photos of him from this movie. I want a picture of him sick and suffering bravely. How about one of him laughing (and probably from the first movie) instead?

    Of course Tauriel couldn’t resist this face. Tauriel, hmm, well, I don’t like feminist fighters, my sisters didn’t think she was too strongly this, but I wish that Kili could have saved himself in fights a bit more (I am by no means maligning his bravery nor speaking of the healing scene, he fought bravely whilst wounded and insisted he could make the journey to the misty mountain grey faced and all; I am saying give him some dignity Tauriel!).  I also don’t care for the fact that she is the one pushing the elves to action. Side note, I just saw a fanart photo of Thorin holding baby Kili…I forgive Thorin EVERYTHING. Not really, it is his fault Kili and Fili die. Oh!


    As to the accuracy to the book. About nil. I exaggerate. But like I mentioned, I didn’t reread The Hobbit this time, so I cannot even remember how I should be picky if I even wanted to be so. I feel like since Peter Jackson took such liberty with the plot in the  first movie (as he with LoftR, particularly Two Towers: Faramir was faaaar more noble than the movie change made him), it didn’t really matter so much how much the second film was changed; I mean if you already damaged it beyond repair . . .

    So yeah, I wanted to see it again soon after I watched it. I will happily re-watch it when it comes out on DVD (I wasn’t super eager to see the first movie again soon after seeing it and haven’t re-watched it much).

  • Culture and Entertainment

    The Hobbit

    My dad read the Hobbit years ago to us; I think it had to be definitely around or over a decade ago. I decided that since I had forgotten so much I needed to reread it which I did in the week I finished school. I loved it.

    We went to see the movie last Saturday. I did not love it. I know I am about to be murdered. It was far more intense than I was anticipating, and intense scenes are far easier to read than to watch which fact I obviously had forgotten. I kept asking my sister the time; yes, the situation was that bad. I should be ashamed that I was asking for the time during THE HOBBIT. I was wondering how I could make it through the next two movies. I jumped and screamed at least twice. The second time the whole theatre was quiet and I woke up my slumbering sister (shame to her as well) and startled my friend.

    I am one of those die-hard the book-way-or-the-high-way type people, and there were considerable deviations and additions in my tetchy opinion. The most highly offensive one was the elf-dwarf drama; really, you had to bring that in? There was no hint of such a thing in the book. Way to make the magnificent elves look evil (this was done in Lord of the Rings-all of Middle Earth was beginning to be or would soon have been  besieged; Lothlorien was under attack and elves were leaving Rivendell to avoid being attacked…this is a whole other rant). Way to make the stupid dwarves confuse the much lowlier Wood Elves with the magnificent High Elves (I am NOT a Tolkien nerd, and I have read The Silmarillion, so I scorn any presumptuous person who thinks that they are a Tolkien nerd and have not read that most essential book…hmm, I am thinking of attempting to become an amateur Tolkien nerd). The Pale orc plot line was irritating too-yes, I know there was a Great orc who was responsible for the killing of Thorin’s grandfather, but he did not directly appear in the story. Oh, and this extra plot greatly increased my nervousness with regards to suspense; there was never a moments rest, and there was always the anticipation of a surprise attack-aaahhh!

    I did like the additions that did not change the story such as the blending of the beginning of The Fellowship with Bilbo’s story-telling. I liked that the history of Erebor was told, but I hated the inaccuracies (you would think I am referring to history). I liked that the hints of Gandalf’s work in the Hobbit, the driving of the Necromancer (Sauron) from Mirkwood, was being told, but again, I hated the manner of how it was told. I mean, did Radagast really have to be so embarrassing and gross and ridiculous? And why is Galadriel always so creepy and annoyingly aloof/superior?

    My friends and siblings pointed out that the orcs, goblins, animation, special effects, etc. were much poorer than Lord of the Rings. Personally, I think I preferred these Wargs, although they were too big, for they actually looked like wolves and not like hyena monsters. I thought Gollum was good and his scene was near perfect although I was freaked out and grossed out for most of it (during the beginning I had a horror that he would be shown eating the goblin, and I was sickeningly aware of all the bones…sorry necrophobia coming out here). My group also complained about the weird glow around the somewhat bizarre looking elf-king (in retrospect his expression reminds me of Mr. Lovegood…). I did not mind this, and I also did not mind his “steed”…after all he was a wood elf. But as to the orcs and goblins I have to agree-they were absurdly animated.

    I, of course, knew that our belovedest Richard Armitage played Thorin. Thorin irritated me, but then most of Richard Armitage’s characters do; he is after all adept at characters that brusque and conflicted at best and evil at worst. All of the girls in our group swooned when Fili and Kili appeared. I adore Kili and my sisters adore Fili. We laughed at how we were swooning over DWARVES! Sorry, Thorin, you have been replaced. Now I just need to hear the voice of the dragon and see some more elves to complete my swoonfest. Ahem.

    Bilbo was a doll of course, but Martin Freeman’s mannerisms are exactly the same in The Hobbit as when he is John Watson, and the situation was hilariously the similar. A meek little man is overborne by stronger personalities, and huffs and puffs fruitlessly about it, and then in the end turns out to be a loyal and brave little fellow (sorry, Watson, I suppose you are a leetle more dignified than that description supposes). While I watched Sherlock I though about how hobbit-like Mr. Freeman was. Dear me.

    Can I say something positive without a caveat? Yes. I like the closing scene with the dragon opening his eye. Of course I was thinking about the man who voiced the dragon. Well, I got to see him in the Star Trek premiere (which was marvelous and worth coming to the theatre) and his name in the credits.

    I think I need to read the appendixes and all the main Tolkien novels again before the second installment comes out in order to be properly prepared to be justly offended at all the changes.