The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I saw the midnight opening of this and…it was MARVELOUS! It’s shorter than its predecessor, the pacing is tighter and smoother, the humor feels more precise and balanced, and the self-references to Peter Jackson’s other works felt purposeful and like a good joke between old friends rather than spin-offy. Also, I cannot wait until Thranduil’s headpiece becomes a common look. Go forth and enjoy!

thranduil___the_elvenking_by_iary-d5itrwu

Other thoughts (SPOILERS for those who haven’t read the book):

-I’m definitely going to need the barrel-riding to become a theme park ride.
-Lee Pace’s Thranduil turned out every inch as glorious as I wanted him to be, and I desired Excessive Glory.
-Many in my midnight theater yelled “sshh!” at the dwarves’ exclamations when Bilbo released them from Thranduil’s prison.
-Gandalf’s entrance to the Necromancer’s domain can be perfectly timed to “I always think everything could be a trap, which is why I’m still alive.”
-Does anyone else think Thorin’s sword on reaching the Lonely Mountain is shaped suspiciously like that of Theoden, King?
-Bilbo’s face when Smaug fully rises from the gold and he kneels down to hide is utter perfection.
-Isn’t it marvelous gold that doesn’t melt in dragon flame even though it’s historically been shaped by forges that can be lit by dragon fire? Perhaps intention can somehow be read.
-Yet more evidence that “But no one withstands the machine!” can only keep criminals down for a short timespan.
-Can we all take a moment to bask in the beauty of Smaug, particularly when shaking off gold?
-Isn’t it interesting how Legolas’ character seems tougher in this timeframe than when he’s actually fighting for the fate of the world? Perhaps that’s maturity, for you. He goes from “Step off or I will kill you!” to “I’ll have to kill you anyway, so step wherever, enjoy your short life while you can.” Or perhaps that is exhaustion and he was showing signs of it more than we knew.
-Stephen Fry is working his wig.
-Gandalf’s visit to the tombs immediately made me think, “See, this is why we miss Erebor so much-it’s the only cavernous place that has real stairs!”
-Really, all these Tolkien films are a cautionary tale about what can happen to a society with no professional librarians or archivists. Archivists would keep up these tombs and let people know if spirits escaped, so wizards wouldn’t have to abandon other quests to do this research work. They would also curate the history books that explain Sauron’s One Ring reveals its secret through fire so they wouldn’t be so dusty and make a research guide so Gandalf wouldn’t have to spend time paging through the memoir to find the right information and maybe the hobbits could have got a head start on the ringwraiths. Just think how much smoother everything would have gone if all wizards had a librarian/archivist working for them, to do their research side-trips and settle questions about which evils are and aren’t abroad in the world in a timely and efficient manner. They would have staged outreaches reminding everyone to check all magic rings in fire, too, so Bilbo might have avoided some possession. I’m just saying.

Huzzah for “The Hobbit”!

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Nikita 4×2 “Dead or Alive”

Okay, I just have some quick thoughts I need to jot down. They do include SPOILERS:

1. One, I totally cringed when Nikita and Michael started talking about their relationship issues during an operation, just like everyone else. However, the reason it’s okay and not just shoehorned in like so many other shows, is that it is totally in-character for Nikita to choose that time. Knowing she’s about to shoot Michael, even metaphorically, would bring all her guilt to the fore. When she’s not physically next to Michael and feels in control is totally when Nikita would be most willing to share her feelings. And knowing that physical separation, together with the fact that there was no real hurry or danger, made it not the utterly stupid thing that airing up those issues during missions usually is. (I’m looking at you, Ichabod Crane.)

2. I do not believe Birkhoff is cloned. Of all the characters on this show, Birkhoff has shown himself the most adept at hiding from the Division head honchos when hiding is what he wants, and as the tech guy instead of a field guy, he’s been constantly surrounded by people since back in last season. Reeallly don’t think that Nikita’s framing would lend itself to him so much as stepping outside for coffee, so no chance for him to be nabbed.

3. I love Amanda’s face when she believes Nikita is Finally actually turning into her.

4. Framing Alex seems more satisfying for Amanda than actually a good move for The Shop. She’s got a Cinderella Story and lots of documented charity behind her, that’s not a personage the public will be swayed against so easily.

In any case, I can’t wait for the end where Ryan will be set to run the new government, Owen will die having chosen who he wants to be, and shows she can actually be a partner, not a leader. These are my predictions-my main hope is that Birkhoff will get a happy ending, but I’m not holding my breath.

Lost Girl 4×1 and 4×2

Okay, it took me a bit to figure out my thoughts on the beginning of this season, but I do have them:

SPOILERS

On Kenzi:
-I don’t mind the storyline with her sparkle cream, but at the end of last season she was discovering she had potential to become a Real Fae, not this fake thing. Was that just totally switched out for the sparkle cream? Did I miss something where that was taken care of, cause last season she had to cover up her arm I think and now she’s definitely not. Cause that lack of consistency is something I am NOT alright with. What’s up with that?
-I maintain that Kenzi makes everything awesome, always, but….these first episodes keep putting her in situations designed to make female leads likable and entertaining (suddenly having to take care of a child, becoming a dirty dancer…) and Kenzi doesn’t need to be made likable or entertaining-she’s already the best thing about the show! So-why??? It seems like she could be rocking things so much harder if they just stopped throwing things at her and let Kenzi be Kenzi. In “In Memoriam” she was even acting like a faux-Bo half the time! No more mixing-even when Kenzi was Dyson they knew she needed to be Kenzi! That is what works.

On Bo:
-I understand that her pregnancy needed working around, but right from the beginning of “In Memoriam” I was begging them to not do the cliche cliff-hanger of only seeing one last shot of the protagonist’s face….and that’s what happened. Other than that there hasn’t been enough of her to have thoughts, so she had better be allowed to bring it next time, is all I can say.

On Selene and Endymion:
-I’ve been waiting for more Greek myth references on this show, but this seemed like the tamest possible way to do it. What’s with this playing safe thing, Lost Girl? That’s not what I think of with you.
-Eddie was fun but I wanted to know why he needed to know so much about emotions in order to try and do his job. Was it just a cover for his obsolescence or does he know of some sort of theory about love that can help locate people that could maybe be learned by others? What? It just seemed like it was all there for Dyson’s big speech and I like to see characters all having their own motivations.

On Aife:
-So, Trick’s whole thing about Aife going crazy again because she remembered losing her daughter is clearly crap since she did remember Bo even when no one else did. Is this a show inconsistency or is Trick just lying about stuff? Also, why has no one gone to ask her more things about Bo’s dad yet?

On Tamsin:
-Little Tamtam pleases me, but she needs to stop hogging the Kenzi.

Others I am simply having to wait and see, as I haven’t seen enough to judge current Lauren, Cleo, or Vex lines. What do you guys think?

White Queen 1×7 “Poison and Malmsey Wine”

FINALLY, this show has joined the ranks of a proper history soap opera! The costumes are looking up, they took a moment for simply a beautiful nature shot, they left room for some mystery…it has arrived. This is definitely my favorite episode so far.

SPOILERS:

-Margaret Beaufort, turns out you just needed things to Do other than mope around about your son and Lancaster in order to enliven the screen. The baby thing in itself and as your way in was dumb, but you went for it and by golly, anything that makes you stop bellyaching and start spying and speaking with dignity is excellent. However, it would have been that much better if you’d been seen subtly scaring off the other maid before she asked the queen to leave court, so it would be clear you’re still backstabbing and scheming away.

-David Oakes, your Juan pt. 2, the English One ends as outrageously as I had hoped. From the moment I saw you stroking your dog while watching brother-sex I was worried about the relationship. I was relieved to see it ended in a superstitious death. Also, I shall go ahead and give you credit for brainwashing Isabel for that year we didn’t see-getting her so afraid of Lizzie she could have died of voodoo-inspired fear was quite the accomplishment. Still a big fan of your hissyfits, but seeing one start with you in a bull mask was a special treat. Also, choosing a colorful way to go literally gains my approval.

-Edward…I love your lion outfit. Why do you keep whoring around and pretending to go to war so much when you’re obviously way too tired to make any kind of decent decisions ever and merely bend to wife, brothers, or the letter of the law without much foresight or zest? The year has not been kind to you, has it? Perhaps you’ve already got STDs and that accounts for it.

-Anne, why does everyone else get new clothes but you remain stuck in the one plain silhouette ALWAYS? I feel like this episode had you wanting to jump ship to Revenge, wanting to destroy someone for your fallen family member, clearly not knowing everything, needing Victoria’s advice about controlling powers that be instead of just having to choose a side…yeah, you’d fit RIGHT in. And they’d liven up your wardrobe, too.

-Elizabeth, I feel for you. One snarky comment about your womb being able to beat up everyone else’s womb and suddenly court is exploding in your face. What I’d like to know is how everyone somehow realized you were responsible for the storm that killed Izzy’s firstborn-don’t think that’s ever been comprehended before and it had no realization moment. However, storming after George in front of everyone served no useful purpose except to show off your sparkly gold dress. This is a schemey political show and you’ve got witchcraft-why bother to go after him yourself? It’s the least interesting choice. Your problem here seems, in fact, to be that you are too direct and honest. You let everyone know how you feel, you’re consistent, and you try to come at problems head-on. These are not the most useful problems from a TV perspective, but you’re doing them with flair.

-Richard, I am glad they let you speak up for George. On the other hand, your dealings with Anne are becoming too focused on dark looks. Your best moment really was when you got to blow up at your mom over her favoritism. Also, you at least have been paying attention to the foreshadowing. Please, let that not be played out as a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of actually your decision.

-Dear show, see how that works out for everyone when there’s not absolute clarity about a suspicious death? That’s what we’re looking for. That and more present complexities instead of filling in with repetitive foreshadowing. And more masquerades/intriguing scenery. Take note!

The White Queen 1×6 “Love and Death”

This is the episode where we find out how peace makes every woman’s life suck (as opposed to war).  Nevertheless, we persevere.

 

SPOILERS:

– Dear George, how marvelous you are in your blatant disregard of absolutely everything not you.

 

It really interested me to see how they drew parallels between Elizabeth and Anne as women who are both out  of the loop, even though one’s guardian is a bastard and the other’s does actually care for her.  Elizabeth’s problem seems simple to me-the difference with Jane the Mistress is that she flaunts it in front of everyone, including Elizabeth.  If she at least pretended that no one else knew she was the king’s mistress, Lizzie would get over it.  Alternatively, if she could’ve gotten a really good setup to put her in her place/insult her, things could have been fine.  Also, while yes, it is funny that Edward bursts out with this is what’s been bothering you? when talking about totally transparent adultery, compared to saying goodbye to her son, losing her mother, her newborn, and nearly her life, Jane should not perhaps be the highest priority.

 

Speaking of which, I shall miss Jacquetta.  And it was sweet to see her and the baby together, at least.  Although, even with their vague quick-shots at the birth, I have to say that I do not blame husbands back in the day for generally avoiding labor.

 

As for Anne…what is with this show?  Why not show the whole rumored story of George forcing her to live like a servant to prevent her getting in touch with anyone before she could be sen to the abbey, eh?  This is a schemey TV show here, folks, we want to see these things.  I’m very glad George called out Richard on the money angle, but…I’ve gotta say, that’s not how he’s been playing it.  Speaking of Richard, whether it’s for love or money, he was not being proactive enough this episode.  The boy needs to get cracking pretty soon here.  As for Isabel, I really wish they’d given her some more time to grow into her conniving role, controlling Anne with kindness for a little longer before they actually come to blows and she freezes.  As it was, I feel the actress did the best job she could to play her two faces without losing all possible plausibility.

 

Margaret, Margaret, Margaret, this is the deathbed conversation I wish had happened between Jane Eyre and her aunt.  Jane Eyre was too nice, it made me like Margaret.  As did her cool moving-on reaction to romantic rejection.  I like to see a woman of means using them.  And as for New Husband, I like his strategic mindset.  And his lack of actually wanting her affection, which was the previous guy’s downfall, in my opinion.  Lancaster Business Partners, Kingmakers Inc. has arrived!  On top of which, it’s an excellent time.  Elizabeth is vulnerable and in need of a new confidante, and Margaret will hate George and whoever else at court Elizabeth hates with true venom.  All she needs to do is humiliate Jane the Mistress for being a whore, and voila-Margaret is in.

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Similar Posts:

-https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/the-white-queen-1×4-the-bad-queen/

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The White Queen 1×5 “War at First Hand”

SPOILERS:

Well, Finally we have gotten through Warwick’s story.  Surprisingly enough, this episode that reaches the climax of everyone-knows-no-matter-what-something-is-going-to-suck managed to show all the characters at their best.  Warwick shows protectiveness towards his daughter, Isabel.  Isabel bears up bravely in her loneliness and supreme something’s-about-to-suckage.  Seriously, Isabel has become far and away my favorite character.  Anne grows up in leaps and bounds, although sometimes not very plausibly.  The “Bad Queen” Margaret flaunts her strengths for battle and commonsense.  Remarkably, her respect for commonsense is so great she gives up any extra jibing at Anne.  Unfortunately, her practicality put Anne at a disadvantage in my eyes for awhile.  (Yelling you’re the Kingmaker’s daughter is not going to help you against the folks who killed him, Anne!)  Even Anne’s husband comes across as just an arrogant prick instead of a horror.

 

Where they lost me was Warwick himself.  First, the man is not Boromir!  He doesn’t need this music and kneeling-in-the-leaves thing!  Second, call me something if you want, but I would’ve been much happier if the York boys had actually at least tried to kill him.  I know there’s this thing going about where the “good guys” no longer actually dispatch their enemies, but for God’s sake, we KNOW Edward gets his hands dirty, has no time for anything but, AND we’ve already gone over how he doesn’t want to, so at least let him act like he’s willing to do what he has to do for his realm.  Jeesh.  Just made him look like a wimp to me.

 

As for the royalty, Jacquetta managed to come up with a way for them to help the battle, magically of course.  Elizabeth showed great aplomb and practicality in attempting to defend her brood against Edward-in-disguise, and other times, which makes me like her.  “Most men would prefer to die in their sleep” indeed, Elizabeth!  You rock on!  (Until she gave Isabel that death look anyhow.  You keep your machinations off of Isabel!  Remember how sorry you felt for her and her newborn, will you?)  Edward continued to act very nobly, as always (So nobly and courageous in fact that it tired me out just watching him run about even more after all these episodes), and this time added sensitivity.  His demeanor about his son and about Warwick set him markedly apart.  They finally let Richard in on the action there, too, talking down to George.  Speaking of which, even GEORGE at least acknowledged how he should be feeling about his wife being Warwick’s daughter.  When you can get George to admit something honorable, you’re really on a roll!  (Isn’t he the most magnificent bastard?)

 

And on the Lancastrian side, even Margaret of Anjou and her husband made out well, character-wise.  Husband Henry showed determination, integrity, and as always, commonsense.  Margaret meanwhile proved that she can actually put aside her quest to think of others when things are dire, and that she can bear up well under more trials so long as she’s sure she did all she could.  It makes me think how frustrating it must be to not be able to really influence or ACT to effect the outcomes you want as a woman in those times, and how hard it would be for me also to shut up about anything without that power, how hard not to play manipulative emotion games when that’s all you have.  This episode showed that, so long as Margaret could do things and felt she had done all she could do, she can actually show some grace.

 

Plotwise of course, everything was supposed to be all war! Battle!  Blood!  However, that first blood-soaked face they close-upped on reminded me so much of the time I made a Vlad-the-Impaler cake (https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/vlad-the-impalers-just-desserts/) and sprayed red food coloring and strawberry syrup everywhere for blood that the taste of that scrumptious creation came to my mouth.  Naturally, after that whenever I was supposed to think about blood and death and the misery of it all, I just tasted and thought-CAKE!  So, that kindof fell apart for me, but ya know, a very enjoyable experience for my own reasons.

 

Also, I am disappointed that the show has taken no stand on the death of Edward Lancaster.  Died in battle, indeed.  What about the more controversial stories and rumors, eh?  This is a Starz freaking TV history version, if you take out the controversies, what on earth are we doing here???  Which brings us to:

-Suffocating King Henry in bed.  Well, I know what they’re going for with that, but…I have no strong feelings.  Sorry.  Have you?

 

Other thoughts:

-Anne’s a freaking princess now, she can’t get at least a fancier hairdo like her mom has??

-Having Queen Margaret offer to make Richard king instead of having him figure it out all on its own just seems to weaken his character for no good reason.  Foreshadowing?  I don’t know.  It throws me off.

-Having Richard dramatically rescue Anne like that is a bit over the top, yes?

-I actually really like seeing little Elizabeth join her mom and grandma in magic.  It at least gives her a glimmer of her own power, which I’ve never felt she had before.  It’s nice.

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-https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/bones-belonged-to-richard-iii/

 

The White Queen 1×4 “The Bad Queen”

Also known as “Everyone gets divided, and if there are reunions there’s something creepy involved so we can’t ever all just be happy.”

We have finally reached regular historical drama genre standards of this era of “Game of Thrones” and “Borgias’.  Sex is horrifying, no one trusts anyone else, and it is clear that absolutely everything will get fucked over.  So far, so good.  The show contains its tone by continuing to draw lots of parallels between anyone it possibly can and by doing so through quiet moments.  That’s the odd thing about this show-its hardest attempts at realization are always through quiet, odd moments rather than anything with flair or that causes that satisfying click that most show parallels manage.  Yet, it seems to be that way by choice, rather than misdirection.  It is interesting.  “The White Queen” is clearly going for the opposite of instant gratification.  I’m not sure what all that is yet, but I’d better find out by the end of the season.

 

SPOILERS:

First, let’s count the divisions that happened:

-Margaret from her son Henry

-Elizabeth from her oldest 2 sons

-Henry from his mother, then his other guardian

-Izzie from Ann

-Margaret of Anjou from Henry VI

-Elizabeth Woodville from Edward IV

-Warwick from his family

-Jasper from Henry and Margaret

-Elizabeth from Jaquetta

Reunions with something creepy/weird involved:

-Henry’s total fealty reunion with his mom

-Everyone’s reunion with Henry VI

-Jaquetta’s reunion with Elizabeth was too convenient and timely to be plausible

-Jasper’s reunion causes even Margaret’s long-suffering husband to get his creepy glare on

 

It’s just the thing.  Now, onto other notes:

 

1. Now Edward Lancaster looks like the creepy teenage hoodlum lurking creepily outside a drugstore.  WHY do the two princes involved with Ann Neville have modern-day teenager stereotype looks??

2. I really like the way Countess Warwick’s hair looks when she’s wearing her tiara and at official functions.  It’s my first costume ooh.

3. Margaret of Anjou was not as impressive as I wished her to be.  Perhaps if she had some time to be odious with just her son?  Maybe it’s just that I already know how her judgment of things works out.  Hmm.

4. Warwick beheading random lords who’ve just been upgraded to good lands with his own hands is odd.  Him going to behead a random kid and then immediately taking him at his word at the cry of “Tudor” stretches the mind.

5. Didn’t Jasper also tell the boy about him having a claim to the throne and being a total Tudor?  Cause it was pretty clear that he was all “Henry Tudor” and also much closer to the kid.  Why is the recognition of the Tudor name leading solely to Margaret here?  Shouldn’t the kid be all, hurrah-Jasper was right?  Or at least, hurrah!-Lancasters should totally always guide me?

6. I kept expecting Henry VI to yell out nonsense or somehow embarrass his supporters.  Next time, perhaps?

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