We felt a little guilty going out on a date on a Wednesday night. It was Awana night, after all.
But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do – especially when it means a free date (except for dinner).
We went to see a special screening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D. The movie doesn’t hit theaters until Friday, December 14th, but we were given a sneak preview thanks to Grace Hill Media.
Listening to The Hobbit
I had begun listening to the unabridged version of The Hobbit (from Audible) on a lonely long drive to and from Chicago this past weekend. I had three hours to kill invest each way, and wanted to study up before I saw a movie that attempted to bring to life the message that J.R.R. Tolkien was trying to convey through hobbits, elves, orcs, and dwarfs.
While I only got through 2 of the 11 hours of audio book (due to interruptions from the younger passengers in the van) it did help me to appreciate Tolkien’s writing ability and helped me see whether director Peter Jackson stuck closely to the original tale.
While devout Hobbit fans may take issue with some of the divergences Jackson takes from the book, he stays true to the overall storyline and the subtle differences could probably be viewed as an improvement, at least on the big screen.
Seeing The Hobbit
The Hobbit has plenty of action, CGI, amazing scenery, and, of course, special effects. It is an action movie at its core and parents would be wise to heed the PG-13 warning due to the brutality of some of the fight scenes.
But The Hobbit is much more than just a big time action movie.
The storyline, which takes place 60 years or so before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, is about a band of 13 dwarfs who set off on a journey to reclaim their homeland and the life of abundance they once enjoyed.
You will note that the movie is not called “The Dwarfs” and that is because the true hero of the story is their unexpected hobbit companion, Bilbo Baggins.
If you are anything like me, the character that Tolkien created in Mr. Baggins, might just hit a little too close to home.
The Bilbo Baggins in All of Us
As the story opens we realize what a quiet, comfortable, and predictable life Bilbo leads. He lives in a quant little Hobbit hole surrounded by his books and a pantry full of delicious food. He enjoys his arm chair and his garden and has no need to venture outside his quiet little shire. At least until his life is Wrecked by an unexpected visit from the wizard Gandalf and his band of dwarfs.
While it would have been far safer to stay at home, Bilbo takes a huge risk with little promise of reward to join the dwarfs in their quest to enter their promised land.
(Photo credit: Warner Bros)
It isn’t totally clear what drives Bilbo to make this bold step.
Is it boredom? A longing for adventure? Or is it the power of compassion for the dwarfs who have no home? Whatever the reason, there are powerful lessons in this story that paint a beautiful picture of what it means to suffer with someone else in a way that is neither comfortable nor easy.
Bilbo doesn’t simply write a check to a dwarf charity or re-tweet 140 characters advocating “Dwarfs for Freedom.” He goes all in and puts everything on the line to serve someone he knows almost nothing about.
I wish I were more like Bilbo… and yet sometimes I don’t because, if I had to admit it, I like my books, armchair and garden a little too much.
I just hope that when my Gandalf comes knocking on my door calling me out on an unexpected journey, that I’m as willing to go as Bilbo was.
(Mostly) The Engineer with The Granola Mom (hovering nearby)