Two days have passed since I entered a theater to see the Hobbit… One last time. It could have been two hours or two years ago. The experience seems suspended in a time of its own.
I know, that sounds rather melodramatic for a movie. But to me, this was more than a mere film. This was the final chapter of an era. It was the last large-screen sojourn to Middle Earth.
As it turned out, there was an adventure beforehand. We were sold the wrong tickets and didn’t notice until we’d found seats, sat through the trailers and the feature began to play. These were the wrong production credits. Then a B.C.E. Date scrolled over the screen, and Egyptian music filled our ears. Was this an extended trailer? No. This was the wrong theater! Wadding up my coat and clutching my 3-D glasses, I raced after my family into the lobby, making a mass exodus from the Exodus theater.
What if we had missed the beginning of the Hobbit? There wasn’t another showing for three hours! As I waited in the lobby, I tried not to panic. What if we didn’t get to see the Hobbit at all? Just as I was ready to charge through each auditorium like Gollum searching for the ring, the manager directed us to the right one and we dashed off.
Somehow, the sight of Smaug settled me down. From the opening credits on, I was entranced. Wide-eyed. Breathless.
Despite the book being a classic, I don’t want to spoil anything. Even though I knew the end when I entered the theater, I had avoided reading other movie reviews. I wanted to watch it entirely through my own eyes and high expectations.
I wasn’t disappointed. Truly, this film is the Defining Chapter of the Hobbit trilogy. The sets are stunning as always, the acting is superb, and the emotion is raw and real. I wish I could watch it again for the first time.
Yes, there are deviations from the book, but The Battle of the Five Armies is a riveting adaption. I silently wept through the ending, and the feelings are still near to my heart. I left the theater with more than a movie experience. I had gone on an adventure with Bilbo, and as he changed, I did too.
I felt each rush of victory, terror of failure, test of loyalty, sharp knife of loss, and finally, the bittersweet end of all things.
Each part of the trilogy has marked different points in my life, spanning several hours of film and three years.
As I sit here replaying scenes in my mind, I wish I could put into words everything this series makes me feel. I could write post after post dedicated to the characters, the plot, the development. At some point, I might.
For now, though, amid all my rambling, one thing stands out to me.
The story never really ends. As Tolkien put it in the Fellowship of the Ring, “Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on on the story.” The book will close, the credits will roll, but the story goes ever on and on. The best stories are the ones you carry in your heart, even after there is nothing else to be told. The Hobbit is such a story.
If you haven’t seen it, this movie is completely worth the ticket price. And who knows? You may walk into a theater to find me in the back, with extra tissues all over again.
For one last goodbye.