Tonight Dayan and I continued our journey through Middle Earth with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Extended Edition. We learned Monday that we didn’t need to arrive so early at the theater, which allowed for time to grab dinner with Greg at Five Guys Burgers. We enjoyed the freshly grilled burgers and the conversation before heading to Regal Theater, with just enough time to settle into our seats.
As with the last Hobbit movie, I’ve written a great deal about The Desolation of Smaug. However, it was so good to see this one again on the big screen, and especially to see the additional footage. I marvel at the editing team, in knowing what to cut from the film and what to leave in. These scenes that ended up on the editing room floor seem so vital to the story. I’m grateful that Peter Jackson sees the value in doing an extended edition and adding the cut footage back into the movie, creating a seamless longer version.
One of my favorite additional scenes in TDOS takes place as Gandalf gingerly introduces the company of dwarves to the skin changer, Beorn. Known to have both an unpredictable temper and a dislike for dwarves, Beorn must be approached with caution. I love how Gandalf uncharacteristicly stumbles over his words as the dwarves appear from within Beorn’s house, in pairs. It’s a moment of comedy in an otherwise intense film.
There are additional minutes added to the scene in Mirkwood, as the dwarves attempt to find their way through the dark forest. The enchantment aspect is played up more and includes Bombur’s fall into the river and his surrender to a sleeping spell. Dayan was grateful that there was not additional footage of the giant spiders that lurk within the woods, as he strongly dislikes spiders!
One of the most significant inclusions is the long sequence that reveals that Thrain, Thorin’s father, is still alive. He went missing after the battle at Moria and most thought him to be dead. But Thorin never gave up the belief that his father was alive. Gandalf finds him, confused and a shadow of his former self, imprisoned in Dol Guldur, the old fortress now inhabited by evil. This scene is tragic to me, as Thorin never gets to see his father, but we do. And we hear Thrain’s request of Gandalf, to tell his son that he loves him.
Although the word “journey” is not in the title of this middle film in the trilogy, journey is what the movie is about. The first film establishes the characters and sets them on their paths. In The Desolation of Smaug, we get to see the real journey taking place as the characters discover who they are, at a deep level, and offer out of that place of knowing.
I saw more clearly tonight those strengths and something else that I had not noted before. Each being….man, dwarf, hobbit, wizard, even the orcs…offered to each other wholly from who they were, no matter what the expectations were of the company around them. And so Thorin acted from his heart and his purpose, in spite of the warnings of Gandalf and Bard. And Bilbo behaved as Bilbo, no matter what Thorin demanded of him. Tauriel followed her heart, against the advice of Legolas, who in turn had to be his own Elf and not a copy of his father, Thranduil.
Some faced dragons. Some conquered fears. Some found what had been lost, whether it was courage or jewels or their own worth. They journeyed together, all of them, a great company of companions, offering their hearts, lending their strength, contributing beautifully to the ongoing story of their shared adventure, while being absolutely true to who they were, individually. It was deeply inspiring to me, and an aspect of the movie that I had not pondered until tonight.
Perhaps my favorite scene of all in this second movie is the river footage as the dwarves are carried along in the current, riding in their barrels. There are exciting moments and dangerous ones, waterfalls, rapids and calm stretches of water, and the journeyers keep moving, keeping going where the flow takes them, handling what they must. I love that snapshot of life, of the journey. I see myself, sure of who I am and what I have to offer, bobbing along, down the river of life, companions coming alongside, challenges and calm stretches and joy all mingled together as I stay in the flow. I know I am going exactly where I am meant to go. Is it crazy that I see myself in a barrel, rather than a boat? I don’t think so!