Monday, February 03, 2014

Unhomely Homes

Joseph Simmons on the problems with the second installment of the Hobbit movie at "Ironical Coincidings" is quite good. A sample:

In the original story, remember, we follow the company through a series of unhomely homes. The eagles’ eyrie; Beorn’s house; the elvenpath; the spiders’ webs; the elves’ caverns; the barrels; Laketown; the hidden doorstep; and, finally, the Lonely Mountain itself. These follow a chiastic structure, save for the Lonely Mountain. The eyrie and the doorstep make promises, but they can’t stay there for long. Beorn and Laketown are suspicious of strangers, but welcoming to those who meet their lofty expectations. The elvenpath and the barrels keep the dwarves safe on the road, but are claustrophobic. The spiders and the elves take them prisoner, and Bilbo must help them escape. Then, at the end, the Lonely Mountain: the dwarves are at home, but the rest of the world does not want them to be. This is the human content of The Hobbit, the stuff that makes the action worthy of our attention.

The first movie, however incompletely, recognized that The Hobbit is about home–about having it, losing it, leaving it, looking for it, having to make do without it; about being welcomed as a guest, being barred as a stranger, being captured as an intruder. “The Desolation of Smaug” replaces this all with action....

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