So I took my nine-year-old daughter Molly to see the second installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy today. We saw the first part last winter so this has now turned into a tradition for us and she had been looking forward to seeing the movie for quite a while.
Before we get to my point, let me talk about the movie a bit. I’ll admit it’s been a couple years since I read The Hobbit, but I really enjoyed the movie. The inclusion of Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel was really inspired casting — I thought she was one of the best parts, even better than Legolas and a reprise by Orlando Bloom. Legolas’ character really suffered without the foil of Gimli throughout the film. The barrel scene down the river rapids was one of the best chase scenes I’d seen in a movie in a long time.
Now, of course, since Jackson took a smallish book and made it into three gigantic movies, there are bound to be slow parts and some of the Laketown parts dragged, but I look forward to the payoff in the third movie for Luke Evans’ Bard and the rest of the city.
Now, as for Molly, this isn’t her first experience with movie series, sequels or trilogies by any means. As a matter of fact, we’re working out way through a few other notable sci-fi series. We’re taking out time with them, but we’ve watched together:
— Parts IV and V of the Star Wars movies.
— The Fellowship of the Ring and half of The Two Towers
— Back to the Future (just the first so far)
All of those I plan to conclude sometime in the next year, but we can do those at any time. If we wanted to, we could watch the final pieces to each of those series tomorrow and she’d be done with them once and for all.
The difference with The Hobbit is the movie-going experience. She saw both the movie this year and last in the theatre. She’ll see it next year the same way, but not before then. In fact, last year when she saw it, I didn’t tell her beforehand that it was going to be multiple films. After the dwarves and Bilbo were left staring out in the distance at the end of the film’s runtime with no obvious conclusion, she stared at the screen and said, “Really?!”
Same thing this year. The final credits roll as Smaug is preparing to lay waste to Middle Earth…I lean over and tell her it’ll finish next year…and she says “Really?!”
There’s a lot to be said for delayed gratification and that is one thing that she’s experiencing with The Hobbit. Could Peter Jackson have shrunk the movies? Sure, but with three movies Molly has to wait to see the epic tale finished on the big screen. Just seeing her experience a movie trilogy in real-time is paying for itself and for that, I’m thrilled.