Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
     Well...I FINALLY saw it! After so much waiting and anticipation I finally saw The Hobbit and it was soooo worth the wait! I was glad that I read the book a few months in advance so I got the whole concept of the story. There were scenes that were almost word for word from the book. There were scenes in the movie that weren't in the book, but did run with the flow of the storyline.

     The movie actually starts with Bilbo (older Bilbo played by Ian Holm) retelling the story of the dwarves of Erebor and how they lost their home and vast treasure to the evil dragon Smaug. It was a great beginning and it got the whole crux of the story taken care of in the first ten minutes.

     After that charming beginning (and a great introduction to Thorin...more on him later) we finally get to meet Bilbo Baggins...The Hobbit.

~ ~ ~

Bilbo Baggins
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
      When Gandalf the Wizard arrives at Bag End one fine morning and presents the opportunity for Mr. Bilbo Baggins to have an adventure, Bilbo turns him down immediately and that was the end of that...or so he thought. Later that very night, Bag End becomes the meeting place for one, two, three...thirteen hungry, rude, dwarves (well not Thorin, but his ungenerous attitude more than made up for it). 

     Then it is brought before Bilbo to become a burglar for Thorin and his company. His job is only meant to get inside the secret passage of Erebor that leads to the treasure hoard where Smaug resides. Sounds easy enough, except incineration might ensue. Once again, Bilbo says no, but the next morning when he finds all the dwarves gone, he ponders about the adventure, about Gandalf's words, and about finding a home and then he does the unthinkable and takes a step outside his door.
     The humorous aspect about watching Martin Freeman in this film is that I tried very very hard not to see Dr. John Watson, but I did in certain parts...and it added so much to his character too. Martin played Bilbo Baggins to absolute utter perfection. Shy, quiet, and very private, doesn't want to be bothered with outside issues, etc. I think Tolkien would have been proud.
     One trait that Martin pulled off very well was Bilbo's general awkwardness, especially when around Thorin, the ultimate alpha male of the story. Thorin makes it very clear that Bilbo is not wanted in the company and Bilbo takes it silently and with humility. A rare quality to be found in a hero, but one that I admired greatly. 

     There is also a wonderful kindness and gentility in Bilbo that coincides with unlikely courage and strength. Overtime the dwarves and eventually Thorin become to see all these traits come together to make this shy hobbit an extraordinary hero, and finally appreciate his presence in the company.

     Bilbo was my favorite character in the book and is most definitely my favorite character in the movie. When I read the book, Tolkien's  small charming details and descriptions about Bilbo Baggins made him sound so sweet and endearing (almost like a child) that I just wanted to reach through the pages, pull Bilbo out, put him on my lap and hug him to pieces!! In the movie...I just want to marry him. Seriously. I'm going to marry Bilbo Baggins.
~ ~ ~

Ian McKellen as Gandalf 
     Gandalf, it's safe to say, is always going to be Gandalf. He really isn't any different here than he was in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. The same isn't always a bad thing either. He is a constant source of wisdom and comfort for Bilbo as well as somewhat of a disciplinarian for Thorin, whose often times prideful nature, gets in in the way of his better judgement.

     The wizard somewhat glides in and out of the story, first he's here and then he's not. Of course when something terrible is happening and there seems to be no hope, BOOM, here comes Gandalf to save the day. At the same time, he offers constant opportunities for the other characters to showcase their bravery and their skills, most especially Bilbo, who above all others, doubts his place outside the comforts of Hobbiton.

~ ~ ~

Thorin Oakenshield
Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield
     As I said in the introduction, the movie starts, not with Bilbo's story, but with Thorin's. As a matter of fact most of The Hobbit can probably be considered, Thorin's story. We first see Thorin as a prince of Erebor and heir to the throne after his father. When Erebor is attacked by Smaug the dragon, Thorin guides his lost people to the Blue Mountains where they build a new life.

     Now, some sixty years later, Thorin's grandfather and father are both dead, leaving him a king...with no kingdom to really call his own. This journey is Thorin's only chance to bring his kingdom back to his people and to avenge the lives lost through Smaug's terror, as well as the destruction of orcs in other dwarven countries. Especially one particular orc leader that killed and beheaded Thorin's grandfather in the battle of Moria (same dwelling from Lord of The Rings) whom Thorin thought to be dead, but has been hunting him and his friends since that very battle.

     As a king, Thorin is proud and courageous, but his pride can get in the way of listening to reason. He looks down (no pun intended) on Bilbo for being an irritant and contributing nothing of any value to the company, in spite of the fact that Bilbo saves their lives several times.

     Thorin might be displeased with Bilbo Baggins, but his major agitation is directed toward the elves. When Erabor was in destruction and ruins, King Thranduil (Legolas' father) who lived in the elven woods close to the dwarven kingdom, refused to help them. Afterwards, Thorin has harbored a general hatred toward all elves, even those who really wish to help him.

     In the book, Thorin is actually quite old with a wicked sense of humor. In the movie though, he's a handsome warrior figure who is the embodiment of a passionate king who is trying to reclaim back what is rightfully his.

~ ~ ~

Andy Serkis as Gollum
     One would hope that after The Lord of The Rings, you may never want to see this hideous creature ever again. Even though, he plays an intensely important role in The Hobbit as the possessor of the One Ring, that Bilbo Baggins just so happens to chance upon in the dark goblin caves.

     Gollum isn't necessarily evil, but anyone with a brain can render him completely insane. Instead of him possessing the Ring, it seems the the Ring possesses him. When Bilbo is lost and needs to find his friends that have been captured by goblins, Gollum is unwilling to compromise and help him. Then Bilbo suggests a game of riddles and Gollum finally complies.

      Riddles In the Dark, the chapter in The Hobbit where we first meet Gollum is possibly the most famous chapter in the whole story. It's not the game of riddles or the fight for the ring though, that make the chapter so extraordinary or Gollum's part so memorable. It was the bases of his fate that determined Bilbo's qualities as an adventurer and a hero.  

"It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand."

~ ~ ~

Lady Galadriel
Cate Blanchett as Lady Galadriel
      Some people raised a lot of unnecessary grief over Cate Blanchett's return as Galadriel, mainly because she wasn't in the book, but I was glad to see a familiar female face and it may as well be her. Galadriel gives a small cameo appearance in the movie during the White Council. A meeting at Rivendell consisting of her self, Gandalf, Lord Elrond, and Sarumon the White. 

     Once again, Galadriel brings a few minutes of comforting relief and a breath of fresh air into a story dominated by battles, blood, and darkness.

~ ~ ~

The Company of Dwarves
     These guys were awesome!!! The movie would not be what it is without them and I loved every single one of them! Each character had their own unique personality that brought a lot of dimension into the story. So it wasn't like a dwarf, is a dwarf, is a dwarf. Similar to The Fellowship of The Ring, but instead of having a fellowship of different races, theirs was a company of different personalities and characters.

     I'll have to have a separate character review on all of them : )

~ ~ ~

"I've never been so wrong in all my life"
     So great movie, great characters, great storyline added together with beautiful New Zealand landscape, stunning costumes and a beautiful score makes for a wonderful three hour watch. And makes you wait even more anxiously for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!!

Let the bells ring out these tidings
Let it echo across the land
That a king is born in Bethlehem
And his kingdom is at hand

Let the world rejoice together
As it looks upon the stars
Knowing every man's our brother
And that every child is ours

~Prince of Peace by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Stream of Consciousness #5

Prompt: Giving Gifts
      I love gift giving! The term 'it is more blessed to give than to receive' definitely rings true with me. There is something about the reaction on people's faces that is so priceless when they open a gift.

     One thing I am nervous about is actually shopping for the right gift that's for the right person. I'm always like will he/she like this? I hope I'm buying the right thing? etc. Normally when I do the gift bought, I'm content with my purchase.

     I've actually already started my gift shopping. Last night I went to Wal-Mart and bought Christmas thank you cards and some chocolates for my teachers, because if any people deserves gifts this year, it's them! Now I have to buy for my sister-in-law and my best friend and I am at odds to know what to get them!!!??

     The truth that Christmas is a time for gift giving never sat well with me, because anytime is a time for gift giving

...but it is the best time to get great deals for gifts...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Real Steel

     As an avid Hugh Jackman fan/lover, I picked this movie up for a good watch. It ended up be much more than a good watch. I absolutely loved it! I'm not very big into futuristic, sci-fi, fighting movies, especially when all three elements are combined, but putting Hugh Jakcman in the middle of the story was probably a 'good bet.'

     Set in the near future (roughly about ten years from now), bot fighting has become the ultimate extreme sport. Similar to boxing, only using remote/computer controlled robots. Men love it, woman love it, and kids love it. Instead of broken bones and spilled blood, you get mashed metal and leaking fuel, which can make for some expensive repairs.

     The ultimate event in bot fighting in the World Robot Boxing league is called Real Steel and people will go to any extreme to make to the top, compete, and with any luck, win.

~ ~ ~

Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton

     Washed up fighter, untrustworthy dealer and a just all around 'bad bet.' Typical Hugh Jackman character...which is why he did such a great job. Charlie Kenton at one point in time use to be at the top of his game as a professional boxer, but then robot boxing came into the scene and Charlie dreamed of being the best.

     Being the best doesn't come easy, though. Charlie abandons his girlfriend and their one year old son to pursue his dream. Ten years later he gets the news that his girlfriend is dead and he has custody of his son, Max. If Charlie as a bot fighter was bad, Charlie as a father is worse. He doesn't want his son and his son doesn't want first.

     When they come across a worn down, second generation, bot named Atom, who proves his worth as a skilled fighter, they hit the road and take Atom to as many bot fights they can find and begin to make their way to top of the fighting chain. Charlie and Max become closer through the love of bot fighting, but then a bet that went incredibly wrong shows up and Charlie risks losing his son.

     In one last attempt to make things right with Max, Charlie takes his son to the Real Steel championship tournament and shows the world the courage to right wrongs, take risks, and become a hero.
~ ~ ~

Dakota Goyo as Max Kenton
     Charlie's tough eleven year old son that's proof the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Actually, I don't think the apple even hit the ground with this one. Max loves bot fighting just as much as his dad, except his only experience is from video games. When Charlie takes him to an underground fight, Max gets bit.

     When Max finds a second generation bot, Atom, in the junkyard, he has the crazy idea of putting the bot together and have it fight. Beginning to sound like someone else in the story? His dad doesn't hold out much hope, but he takes Max and Atom to a fight only to have! Both Max and Charlie see something, a small something that could not only make their dreams come true, but also bring them together.

    Max was definitely my favorite character. His life being raised by a single mother has made him somewhat older beyond his years. He brings a lot of humor to the story (he actually swears more than the adults) and his transition from frightened introverted boy to an independent young man is great to see.

~ ~ ~

Evangeline Lilly as Bailey Tallet
     Owner of Tallet's Gym, Charlie's best friend  and the only person who is not afraid to tell Charlie the hard truth, whether it's about bot fighting or parenting. Bailey's genuine kindness toward Max and consistent support to Charlie becomes a strong push to bring father and son together.

     Of course, Bailey and Charlie fall in love (they kind of were in the beginning), but the love story was very subdued and at the same time it was definitely needed. Every story needs a strong character that balances out all the other characters and that is definitely what Bailey brought to the story.

~ ~ ~

Dakota Goyo as Max Kenton and Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton in "Real Steel"
     The best part about this movie wasn't really the fighting, but the Father/Son relationship between Charlie and Max. Charlie needs Max to realize that he can be hero by fighting for his son and Max need Charlie to teach him to fight, to dream, and above all how to live to be the best he can be.

     Good movie, a lot of Hugh Jackman : ), a hilarious up and coming child actor, makes for a great futuristic, sci-fi, fighting movie.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

To give thanks in solitude is enough. 
Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. 
Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.

~ Victor Hugo 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Which Middle-Earth Character Am I?

You are most like a: 




 Like a hobbit, you are a bit shy but social, a foodie, and a real team player. You enjoy good company and the comforts of home. You've never felt the need to heed the call of the wild. But whoever said hobbits aren't adventurous has clearly never seen your wardrobe - the brighter, the better!

Click on the poster to see where in Middle-Earth you belong!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Get To Know Your Dwarves


 With The Hobbit coming out in a month I had three tasks I wanted to accomplish:

(x) Read The Hobbit

(x) Memorize all the dwarves names

( ) Learn all the Dwarves from the movie.

 Seems difficult trying to put 13 names to 13 faces, but then I found this >> Heirs of Durin << and it gives awesome detailed descriptions and short bios to all the dwarves. So hopefully by the time the movie comes out, I'll know every single unique character.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Hold your candle steady
And keep a sharp lookout 
For back among the shadows
You'll see goblins peeping out 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

North & South (2004 BBC mini-series)

     I just finished watching an amazing mini-series!!! BBCs North & South based on Elizabeth's Gaskell's novel. I had heard of it and there seemed to be the same cult following similar to BBCs Pride Prejudice. My curiosity and intrigue was well fed, because once I saw the first episode I was completely in love with the story, the characters, the music, the costumes, all of it!

   Set in the in 1850s, lively, lovely, and outspoken Margaret Hale enjoys her life in the countryside of Helstone. Her idyllic world comes to a halt when her father uproots their family and moves to Milton, a cold, harsh city in industrial North of London. While there, Margaret finds unlikely friendship, courage, happiness, and most of all the most unlikely of men.

  ~ ~ ~
Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale
     Margaret Hale is as kind and compassionate as she is strong and independent. From the very beginning, she is outspoken and not afraid to let her opinions be heard. Her genuine love for the people around her, whether they be in southern Helstone or northern Milton, is the base of her character.

     Margaret expects the absolute best of people regardless of their position in the society, which is why she becomes so loved by the lower working class people in Milton. At the same time, her generosity to the poor comes at strict odds with the upper class society who think that she is doing great damage by helping others considered below them. Nothing pleases Margaret more than proving people wrong and she gives herself wholeheartedly to those in need

     The only person that Margaret sees no hope for is John Thornton, owner Marlborough Mills.

~ ~ ~

Richard Armitage as John Thornton
      John Thornton is as cold as the Milton winds and as hard as the winter's ice. After his father committed suicide, leaving him and his mother and sister in poverty, John works his way up the social ladder, through hard work, iron will, determination and a mother who ceaselessly instilled all of these qualities into him. He becomes one of the most respected business in London as well as the most eligible.

     Margaret's first 'meeting' with Mr. Thornton is rather an unfortunate one, when she sees him beating an employer for smoking in the mill. John's reason for doing so is for the safety of the mill and the workers, but Margaret refuses to see any truth and writes Thornton off as a cruel and harsh taskmaster.

~ ~ ~

Brendon Coyle as Nicholas Higgins
     A leader of the union workers, Nicholas is fed up with the poor living conditions of his fellow workers and their families, while the wealthy are ignorant of the squalor around them. His oldest daughter, Bessy, befriends Margaret and eventually she is welcomed into the Higgins home.

     In spite of his revolutionary ways, Nicholas is calm and level headed. He wants a better life for his class, but not at the expense of harming others around him. Eventually, Nicholas becomes an ally to Thornton and helps him to develop better ways to improve the mill.

~ ~ ~

John & Margaret
     Revolution makes strange friends and even stranger love interests. After Margaret is attacked by a union worker, things begin to unravel between her and John. Over the course of the story John's cold will becomes warmed and sees the workers and the lower class in a different light. Margaret finds herself in even deeper trouble when she is caught in a scandal, but when Thornton covers it up, her opinion of him changes.

     Their story is similar to Darcy and Elizabeth's, only darker and grittier. Their ups and downs are are very real and heartbreaking. They both have been through love and loss, but through loss they find love again in one another.

~ ~ ~

    This is really a great watch; I loved the exquisite costumes and the extraordinary music. The history and romance were woven very well together, as well. The other characters in the series are well worth the enjoyment. Maragaret's loving parents and exiled brother, John's calculating mother and his insipid sister, and the hardworking Higgins family.

   The best part for me was seeing John and Margaret's transforming opinions of each other. Their different backgrounds, beliefs, and social attitudes become challenged during revolution and eventually mutual respect becomes unexpected love in a cold climate.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Malala Yousafzai, schoolgirl shot by Taliban, now in UK

 Dr David Rosser: "We do have very extensive experience of this sort of traumatic, bullet-related injury"

Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Swat, has arrived in the UK for medical treatment. A renowned campaigner for girls' education, she was attacked on her way home from school last Tuesday and a bullet was removed from her skull.

The Taliban said they targeted her for "promoting secularism".

She is in a serious condition and is being seen by doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Malala was flown from Pakistan on board an air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates and accompanied by a full medical team. A bullet which hit Malala's skull was removed by surgeons in Peshawar in north-west Pakistan last week but she was later transferred to a military hospital for more specialist treatment.

Although Pakistan had initially insisted she could be treated in her home country, a military statement said that a panel of doctors had recommended she be "shifted abroad to a UK centre which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury".

On arrival at Birmingham Airport, she was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by ambulance, traveling at a slow speed because of the nature of her wounds. The hospital has a recently-opened major trauma centre specialising in both gunshot wounds and head injuries. Its specialist team has 10 years of experience of treating UK military casualties and Medical Director Dr. David Rosser said Malala Yousafzai "could be viewed as a battle casualty", which put doctors there "in a good position to treat her". Security, he added, was taken very seriously "at the best of times".

Education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai came to prominence in 2009 at the age of 11, when she started writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban.

Malala Yousafzai (file image)

 Under the pen-name Gul Makai, she described the problems caused by militants who had taken control of the Swat Valley where she lived in 2007 and ordered girls' schools to close.

Although the Taliban were ousted from Swat in 2009, her role as a young campaigner for girls' education meant that she received death threats. She was attacked last week as she returned home from school in the town of Mingora, in the Swat Valley. Two armed men stopped the van she was traveling in. One of them entered the vehicle, asked which of the girls inside was Malala, and fired three shots, hitting her in the head and wounding two others. The bullet that went into her skull had to be removed from close to her spinal cord.

"I felt hurt on opening my wardrobe and seeing my uniform, school bag and geometry box. Boys' schools are opening tomorrow, but the Taliban have banned girls' education”
Malala Yousafzai Diary entry, 8 February 2009 

After she was moved to a military hospital in Rawalpindi, a panel of doctors decided she needed "prolonged care to fully recover from the physical and psychological effects of trauma", the Pakistani military said.
The doctors had advised that if she were to be moved abroad, it should be "during this time window whilst her condition was optimal and before any unforeseen complications had set in," the statement added.

Once Malala recovers sufficiently, she is expected to need treatment to repair or replace damaged bones in her skull and to undergo neurological treatment. The Taliban have threatened to target her again. She was given tight security while she was being treated in

Pakistan and on board the air ambulance, which stopped in Abu Dhabi on its way to Birmingham. 'Example to us all' Dozens of people have been arrested in Swat in connection with the shooting, and most have since been released on bail.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague: "It was a cowardly attack on her and her school friends." A rally in the Pakistani port city of Karachi on Sunday attracted thousands of demonstrators in support of the teenaged campaigner, by far the largest protest against the attack. The UK's Foreign Secretary William Hague said the shooting had "shocked Pakistan and the world" and her bravery was "an example to us all".

"The public revulsion and condemnation of this cowardly attack shows that the people of Pakistan will not be beaten by terrorists," he said. "The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in its fight against terrorism."

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown - now the UN's Special Envoy for Global Education - has announced the launch of a petition in Malala's name "in support of what Malala fought for."

"The petition calls on Pakistan to ensure that every girl like Malala has the chance to go to school," he said, while also calling on the international community to ensure all children have access to education by the end of 2015.

Mr Brown said he would hand the petition to Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari when he visited Islamabad next month.

Source: BBC News
~ ~ ~

All I can say is that the day of The Woman is coming in the Middle-East and all those who oppose it had better pray for deliverance whether from Allah or God himself.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stream of Consciousness #5

     Prompt: Being Just me

     I have never really liked talking about myself, and I mean that in all honesty. Sometimes it's not a bad thing, but people have to know who you are, right?

    Well...I tend to be a very eclectic and at the same time picky person. Example, I have never cared about super heroes or comic books until I saw the Avengers and now I love them, but I'm not like super crazy about them.

     I love animals! Especially butterflies and dolphins! I would love to swim with dolphins one day, but I might need to learn how to swim first.

     Reading and writing have always been my favorite activities, but I definitely prefer writing to reading.

     I love shopping, but I don't like doing it with other people, especially clothes boring!!!

     And while most women my age are watching Vampire Diaries, I'm watching Downton Abbey. I prefer my men real be real, thank you very much.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Downton Abbey Confession #10

Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens)

Enough said.

 “I’ve told you before, if we’re mad enough to take on the Crawley girls, we have to stick together"

~ Matthew Crawley to Tom Branson

Monday, October 8, 2012

Snow White and The Huntsman

     So...I don't know what was up with the whole Snow White obsession this year. Mirror Mirror came out in the spring and it was really cute and then then I was really interested in this more 'adult version' of Snow White. It was different to say the least. As a matter of fact this could have been a great stand alone story in itself instead of just making it 'another Snow White movie.'

~ ~ ~

Princess Snow White
     I was actually quite surprised when I found out that Kristen Stewart had been cast as the beloved fairy-tale princess, but then again, this movie is anything but I fairy-tale. She did a good job at it, but she is no Lily Collins.

     The one complaint that people have always had with her, and I agree, is that she is so wooden in her performances. If she had been cast as Snow White for Mirror, Mirror, then that would have been a joke, but Kristen's often times steely exterior worked for the dark portrayal of this film.
     Snow White in this is not a singing dancing princess. She's been in prison since she was ten years old (by her step-mother of all people), she then escapes, runs into a rugged huntsman, and that's pretty much when her story begins. Snow finds out that along with being a princess, she must become a leader. Leadership comes through compassion as well as courage and Kristen Stewart did a decent job at pulling that off.

~ ~ ~

     This is basically Thor, just with an ax not a hammer. In all seriousness though, Chris Hemmsworth did a good job at this role (he was the only reason I went and saw the movie anyway). We never know the Huntsman name, so he's just known by his occupational name.

     Huntsman is a widower, who has some major drinking and anger problems, and is sent out to find Snow when she runs away. When he finds her in the forest, he never bothers to ask her name and so he just assumes that she is just a lost girl. He teaches her how to fight and defend herself and also manages tough negotiations with the dwarves.

     Throughout the course of the film, we get to see Huntsman's cold and cautious nature break down. Burdened by the guilt of his late wife's death, he has cut (no pun intended) everyone out of his life. He wants no one around him, until Snow comes. I wouldn't exactly say it was her sweetness that changed him, but more or less her will to survive and her passion to save her people.

     The most emotional scene is when he tells an unconsciousness Snow (who is supposedly dead) about how he has lived his life blaming himself for the loss of his wife. All was also hard to except the fact that he was crying (yeah, watching Chris Hemsworth cry is really heartbreaking) over Kristen Stewart of all people, but all things considered he came out of it by breaking the spell and becoming Snow's (very unlikely) true love.

~ ~ ~

Queen Ravena
     Creepy, evil, awful, terrible queen!!! Queen Ravena was about the best evil step-mother queen this story has ever had! Charlize Theron was beautiful and played this role with complete ease and grace. What they did so well with this character was they really went into Ravena's background and discover why she is the way that she is.

     When the king finds Ravena as a prisoner in an enemy camp, he falls immediately in love and marries her the next day. All according to Ravena's plan to take over the kingdom. She then kills the king, puts Snow in prison, and rules the people with a terrible will.

    Ravena's ability stay beautiful is by sucking the youth out of younger woman (which is what happened to Huntman's wife), a morbid and horrific way to do things, but unique at the same time. The best thing about the character is that we get to see how Ravena came to evil and why she is compelled to do what she does. Most of the time you just want to take a knife and stab her in the back and then there are rare moments where you do really pity her.

~ ~ ~

Prince William
     At first I was confused as to where William fit into all this. He's Snow's childhood friend and when Ravena's forces take over, he and his father flee to the forest. Now by that point I thought that William was going to become the Huntsman and it would be this whole deal of childhood friends reuniting and falling in love. Not so in this case. William and Huntsman are two very different men, with very similar values.

     When we meet William again, he's a feisty and headstrong soldier who is ready to take Ravena down and restore Snow back to her throne. He and Snow find one another in this whole tangled mess and there's an instant love renewal between them...except Snow keeps looking behind her shoulder to that shifty Huntsman.

     You could immediately make the conclusion that William is going to be a jealous and over-bearing prince who wants Snow to himself, but he is completely opposite of all that. He's everything you would think Snow White's prince to be, loyal, courageous, and honorable, but in the end only one man can be Snow White's true love.
~ ~ ~

Huntsman and the dwarfs
     And what's Snow White without the seven merry dwarfs? Ok, these guys are far from merry, but they are definitely the comic relief of the whole movie. Their storyline in this isn't too different from Mirror, Mirror. They're basically thieves and bandits who have been forced to live in the deep forest and will kill (or at least terrify) anyone who comes near their territory. Through Snow's compassion, Huntsman trust, and William's loyalty, they become great assets to bringing Snow back to her throne.

~ ~ ~

     An interesting movie, a bit gory, with intense action, and some fabulous costumes. It was probably the most different take on fairy-tale story that I've seen yet, but sometimes different and new can be a bit of a relief, because who really wants to see the same story over and over again?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Masterpiece Magic

     With the terrible lack of Downton Abbey looming over the US right now, Masterpiece Theater is showing not one, but two of their other mini-series. Call The Midwife and the remake of Upstairs, Downstairs. My mom and I watched the pilot episode of Midwife on Sunday and that was followed by season one of Upstairs, Downstairs. We had both seen season one when it premiered last year, but we were thrilled when we found out that season two is premiering this Sunday!!!

     The hard truth about having a show as popular as Downton Abbey is that eclipses everything else around it. Like what Harry Potter did with Lemony Snicket. I had read that Call The Midwife was a smash hit in England when it premiered last year and so I was really excited to see it. Upstairs, Downstairs has had a harder time because it came out the same time Downton Abbey did and was totally left in the dust.

~ ~ ~

     Call The Midwife is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Lee (Worth) who becomes a midwife in the East End of London in 1957. She leaves her family, friends, and home to live at Nonnatus House, a nursing convent with several nuns and two other young midwives.

     Now, this show is about as far away from the glamor and beauty of Downton Abbey as you can get. You get a real hard look at the working class life in the 1950s. It's about childbirth, so the stories are painful and brutally honest. 

      Jenny is a great protagonist character and you really just jump into the storyline. The other nuns she lives with are hilarious and her two other co-workers are just as passionate about the midwifery profession as she is.This is a show you probably wouldn't want your younger children watching. There are some circumstances during the childbirth scenes than can almost cause you to get ill, but like I said, it's a very real story. They don't hide or cover anything up.

     This show is going to be a definite favorite.

~ ~ ~

      Upstairs, Downstairs is a remake of the popular 1971 show that has become a classic in British media. It takes a time span between 1903-1930 and follows the lives of the wealthy Belamy family on 165 Eaton Place in London.

     Season 1 of the remake takes place in 1936 with Sir Hallum and Lady Agnes Holland. Hallum is a diplomat who is ready to settle down in the busy life of London and Agnes is more than eager to make their name a popular one.

     Rose Buck, served at Eaton Place as a maid for almost forty years before the house was emptied. Now she comes back (same actress as well) as the housekeeper and most of the Downstairs life is told through her experienced point of view. Eileen Atkins also guest stars as Hallum's sometimes overbearing, but well meaning mother, who grates on Agnes' nerves at every opportunity, at least it seems that way in the beginning.
     Similar to Downton Abbey there are characters you grow to love and you grow to hate. The only actual love story (for now) is between Hallum and Agnus, but season 2 might change that. I can't wait for season 2 which has six episodes, so I'll be in a happy Sunday heaven for quite a while.

Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes Holland

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stream of Conciousness #4

Prompt: Banned Books

     Isn't ironic that banned books are some of the most popular books in the world? Why? Because people desperately want what they can't have.

     Banned books have been around...well...for a long time. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic example because of its dealing with slavery. As well as Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Slavery was a tense issue and anyone who dare go against it whether in writing or in talking were basically signing their social death warrant. People did it anyway. They wrote what they want and made the world see what they were blind to.

     Alice In Wonderland is also considered a banned book because it basically a satire of the royal family of England at the time. So all our great stories came from stories that were never meant to be.

The Hobbit: Chapters. II & III

Chapter II. Roast Mutton

      The next morning Bilbo sleeps in and to his relief he finds a very messy kitchen....and no dwarves at all. So needless to say, he thinks he's gotten out of the adventure. Then Gandalf shows up and hands him a note written by Thorin (in his typical sarcastic manner) that says that Bilbo should meet them at The Green Dragon at precisely 11:00. It's 10:45. So Bilbo books it as fast as he can to The Green Dragon to find the whole company of dwarves waiting for him.

     If I was Bilbo, I would have just torn the note up and told Gandalf to leave, but I'm not Bilbo and if he did do what I had suggested, well we would have no story, would we?

     After they leave, it rains and it rains and it rains. By the next couple of days the food has run out, the dwarves are testy because of the weather, and Oin and Gloin are about to kill one another. Then there's a light. Not sure what kind of light it is, but it's a damn light, so it must mean something!!! Thorin tells Bilbo to go check it out.

     The light is coming from a fire and around it are three stupid ugly trolls. Burt, William, and Tom. What original names for a fantasy story. Anyway, to make a long story short the trolls take all the dwarves captive and plan the best ways to eat them, but just when all is lost...Gandalf appears, the sun is up, the trolls are turned to stone, and there's food food for everyone!!!

     While they're scrounging around for food and other valuable items, Thorin and Gandalf come across two swords and Bilbo finds a small sword of his own all with foreign writing on the blades. Completely clueless to what the writing is on each of the swords they set off to find rest and refuge in the House of Elrond.

(Roast Mutton is what the trolls were planning on turning the dwarves into)

Chapter III. A Short Rest

     This was a cool chapter. They finally get to Rivendell! It was humorous reading about the dwarves crossing the bridge and how the elves on the other side were teasing them about it (elves of all peoples). The best part about this chapter was the incredible description of Elrond that was given,
"He was as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves (must have been talking about Thorin) and as kind as summer...
His house was perfect whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or storytelling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley."
      Despite the dwarves testy relationship with the elves, Thorin and his companions trust Elrond enough to let himer translate the ancient writing on the map that Thorin is using for their adventure. Afterwards, Elrond tells Thorin and Gandalf about their swords. Gandalf's is Glamdring and Thorin's is Orcrist, the goblin-cleaver.

     When they first got there, Thorin said they were only going to stay the night. They ended up staying for fourteen days. Then they leave for the Misty Mountains.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Hobbit: Chapter. I

My best friend and I (in honor of the upcoming movie "The Hobbit") have decided to read The Hobbit together. We're going to read three chapters a week and then I said I would review each chapter here. Sounds like fun : )

The Hobbit

Chapter I. An Unexpected Party

     From the very beginning, we get incredible descriptions of Hobbiton, Bag-End, Bilbo Baggins and his family. Bilbo's mother, Belladonna Took, and her family were considered odd from the rest of the hobbits because they liked adventures.

"It was often said (in other families) that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. That was, of course, absurd, but certainly there was still something not entirely hobbitlike about them. and once in a while members of the Took-clan would go and have adventures. They disappeared discreetly, and the family hushed it up; but the fact remained that the Tooks were not as respectable as the Bagginses, though they were undoubtedly richer.*
     The Bagginses come in when Belladonna married Bilbo's father, Bungo, and Belladonna settled down to raise her son. Bilbo has always had a little Took in him, but has never really known it. He's takes more after Baggin's side of the family and prefers to stay in his beautiful hobbit-hole home and stay as far away from adventure as possible.

      Then one day the great wizard Gandalf shows up at Bag End and says,
"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone."
      So Gandalf voluntells Bilbo to go on this grand adventure and Bilbo says,

     "Sorry, I don't want any adventures, thank you."
      The next day Bilbo gets the shock of his life when Gandalf and thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep. The dwarves as they were introduced in the book.

Dwalin, Balin, Kili, Fili, Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin

     This is when the story gets funny. The dwarves are loud, a little rude, and seem to have no clue what they put poor Bilbo through when he has to unexpectedly feed all fourteen guests. Afterwards Thorin (the leader of the company) explains why they are going on this adventure. To reclaim a lost treasure that was stolen from them by Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's role in this is the burglar, who is small, discreet, and able to get by without being seen.

     After some hefty persuasion (and some rather rude comments slung out by Thorin), Bilbo agrees to go.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Les Miserables

The only movie I'm almost as excited to see this Christmas besides The Hobbit is Les Miserables! I love love love this story! I grew up with the story because my family absolutely loves the musical and I even got to see it when I was twelve (even though we were way up in the back and my vision was so bad that everything was blurry). It's also coming to Richmond next year and I don't care how much tickets cost...I'm going!!!!

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert
Anne Hathaway as Fantine. I am so excited to see her in this!

Isabelle Allen as young Cosette
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette. 
Eddie Redmayne as Marius.
Cosette and Marius

This video is really good!
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