“I’ve found that it is the small things, the everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay: simple acts of kindness and love.” -Gandalf the Grey
For this week’s edition of Movie Review Monday, (posted exclusively on Tuesdays), I chose a rather dangerous movie to review: “The Hobbit”. Caution: it is a rather extensive analysis.
Before I Watched the Movie:
The first thing I’d like to say is that the movies I review, I do not watch for sheer pleasure and enjoyment. I may get both out of a film, but that isn’t my purpose in watching it. These reviews are posted to give honest worldview and analysis of films for the information and enlightenment of my readers.
It is a fantasy movie, so automatically we assume that it is not real. This film also does not have a God figure, so clearly any conventional allegory cannot be made of it. Thus, this film is the perfect example of what fantasy is for, but we will talk about that later.
Notes Taken While I Watched the Movie:
From the beginning few scenes, I discovered the plot, motive, drive, and major moral error of this film. If I had to create a tag line for the film based upon just the first 15 minutes, it might look something like this: A king with an insatiable desire for gold, a dragon with an equally insatiable desire for gold, and a homeless dwarf, also with an insatiable desire for gold… (plot twist) … and revenge.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
-1 Timothy 6:10
- Because of his desire for more gold, the dwarf king Thror brought disaster upon himself, his people, and everyone around him. Sin hurts others as much if not more than it hurts you.
- Because of his desire for revenge, the dwarf Thorin pulls 13 others into a trip that is destined for disaster and will eventually result in his own death, (but that’s another movie altogether). Sin effects those closest to you.
From the get-go, the meal at the hobbit Bilbo’s house, we get into mysticism and messed up worldview. They begin with prophesy and foretelling, –which would be perfectly fine if God existed in this world and they attribute it to Him or a representation of Him– then they all take on this selfish mission. Only Balin, the eldest of the dwarves, speaks the truth when he tells Thorin that the mission is futile and it proves nothing to leave the life they have created for their people to die in a distant land. But, Thorin is too consumed with pride, a false sense of duty and obligation, and vengeance against his exile and the deaths of his father and grandfather, (if you don’t see the connections, ask me about it later).
Who is the villain?
And the award for most predominant antagonist in “The Hobbit- an unexpected journey” goes to: Azog, the Defiler.
Azog is an orc. A great orc. In fact, he is known as the great orc, who killed Thror, the grandfather of our leading protagonist, (at least for the first film), and the reason that everyone is in this jolly ol’ mess in the first place. Now we have a main character with a dual hatred. Hatred for Smaug, the dragon who overtook his homeland, and hatred of Azog who killed his grandfather.
The Turning Point-
Bilbo, who is the main character of the series, even if he isn’t the center of the first leg of the story, is a timid, mild-mannered, well-spoken, well-bred, sensible hobbit who doesn’t at all do anything out of the ordinary. Then, along come 13 dwarves and wizard who crash into his peaceful life and throw an adventure in his lap. Being the reserved, cautious fellow that he is, Bilbo’s first instinct is to stay within the security and comfort of his home.
Then comes the turning point. Bilbo realizes that his life is boring, uninteresting, and without purpose. He longs for something more but he doesn’t quite know what it is yet. Still, stepping out, rather running out in faith, he makes a decision, committing himself to a cause, devoting all of his energy and effort to his new-found purpose.
He is scared, terrified, knowing that he is headed for certain peril, perhaps even death, still he leaps out in faith. He joins himself to a group of people that most of the rest of the world thinks are crazy for radically following a cause. Sound familiar? It sounds a lot like the Christian life, does it not? Though, we have to be very careful here, the cause that this company was dedicated to was one of loyalty, love, and to win their home, to leave a legacy for their children. They win their prize, but at a great cost. Their motives were off, but if 14 men could defy the world and radically run after a prize as fleeting as gold, why can’t we give ourselves to the radical mission of furthering God’s glory and fame?
I’m just going to fire some thoughts at you that I discovered while watching this film.
- Like the trolls turned to stone in the light of day, and the Whargs fled from the burning light of the fire, the light of Christ turns evil to stone and chases away fear and Satan himself.
- Gandalf looking back saved the dwarves from the Trolls. The dwarves rushed into a battle they could not win on their own and were saved by Gandalf who turned back. The only one among them who had the power to save them was the least of them, and all he could do was out until morning.
- Evil never dies by the strength of men. The Dark Lord, the ultimate evil of Middle Earth is defeated and lies dormant for 400 years, then emerges and unleashes unfettered evil upon the earth. As it will be in the last days when Satan has his way with earth for a time. The Dark Lord is eventually destroyed by its life source being cast into, as it were a lake of fire.
- The One Ring is the inducement to do evil and conforms in size and shape to fit anyone. As in the riddle game between Bilbo and Gollum, evil often lures us in with enticements, making sin a game. Soon, we are caught, and cannot escape, sin becomes part of us. When the pleasure leaves, all that is left of us is the flesh and bones of a miserable, hopeless life.
After I Watched the Movie:
This is the traditional, “review”, part of this review. There is a lot of graphic and rather gruesome action scenes in this films, making it unsuitable for children. Even when the film makes light of the killing and violence it is in rather detailed and gory deceptions.
From a film perspective, the visuals are superb. Yes, the orcs, trolls, and other CGI images do get a bit ridiculous at times, as well as the fact that these seemingly brainless animals known as orcs, are intelligent enough to speak and feel hate.
For all of the good ideology and lessons that this film portrays, it is still a flawed worldview. The world in which these dwarves, hobbits, elves, and wizards live is a world where killing is a lifestyle, not a choice. The evil is incarnate beings rather than spirit beings. But, we see the true purpose of fantasy: to expose God and His character as well as the spiritual and unseen things. Fantasy is a vantage point from which we view life as it is, not as we wish, or are sometimes made to see it.
Where do the dwarves flee when the wolves are after them? The flee to the trees and lift up their eyes to the hills from whence commeth their help. They wait and hold to their courage and rise upon the wings of eagles, literally.
In the end of the story, evil doesn’t have its way. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Love covers a multitude of sins, and grace abounds where sin, anger, discord, strife, and prejudice did once abound. This film likely did not intend to have as many allusions and references as those I have gleaned from it. This film does not glorify God in its story, in the drive of its characters, or in its world that is created to glorify man and his deeds over God.
This film is inspiring and encouraging, it is also a very interesting study. It is not a healthy watch for multiple views because of the excessive violence, obsession of anger, and extensive gore, magic, witchcraft, (there is a difference), and death. I do not recommend it for repeated watches, but if one approaches it with the proper motive, from a correct worldview, analyzing it for what good can be gleaned; it is an exercise and study.
Always go back to the Bible, base your assumptions and conclusions off of its truth and how the film aligned with that truth. I’ve found that there is no such thing as harmless entertainment when it comes to media. Even kid shows have their own agenda that they’re trying to push. This is why a solid worldview is absolutely vital to Christians. In the end it all comes down to the way we look at things.
As always, thanks for reading, and look at life from a different perspective; you never know, you might see something you never saw before.
—the anonymous novelist