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Thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Dec 14 2012 · 588 views
Hobbit, movie, spoilers
This entry contains spoilers! I discuss both The Hobbit (the book) as well as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (the movie), and even go into The Lord of the Rings (the books and movies). If you don't want any of those spoiled, stop reading now.

We good?

Great!

I loved the framed narrative. I was expecting it since we knew Ian Holm and Elijah Wood were in the cast, but they did it so magnificently. I love how it ties into The Lord of the Rings movies and the beginning of those where Ian Holm does the 'Concerning Hobbits' narration. Perfect, absolutely set the right tone.

I loved the history of Erebor and seeing the Lonely Mountain and Dale in their prime. The way they cut the arrival of Smaug was teaser-ific (in a good way). Except Thorin and Balin were supposed to be away from the Lonely Mountain when Smaug came, and they witness it from afar. Also, Thrain and Thror are supposed to escape from the secret door and be the only survivors. I'm not sure what they gained by changing that.

I loved most of the Unexpected Party, especially the dishes scene. Except it was supposed to start at tea-time, which I'm pretty sure is the afternoon, not the evening. I also missed the colored hoods which are very clearly and explicitly mentioned in the book. Also, I wanted to see them playing their instruments. I'll concede that all of those are pretty minor in the big scheme of things - but I wanted to see them all in the different colors!

I loved the trolls - they captured their personalities perfectly. Except that they completely changed everything else. It was supposed to be raining, they were supposed to be having a hard time lighting a fire and they all see the trolls' fire from afar and send Bilbo to investigate instead of their ponies being stolen. Bilbo gets captured when trying to steal a troll's wallet. The dwarves then go one at a time and get captured instead of all of them fighting until the trolls threaten to kill Bilbo. And it was Gandalf who confused the trolls until they turned to stone. I'll concede that a talking wallet (as described in the book) would have been silly. Also, since the book has been broken up into several movies, they had to start developing Bilbo's character as a quick-thinker earlier by having him delay the trolls.

I loved the council scenes in Rivendell. They're touched on in The Lord of the Rings, and I think they did them well. Except for everything else. I disliked the whole Azog storyline - he was killed by Dain well before the events of the movie. The dwarves and Bilbo were supposed to enter Rivendell peacefully and by choice, and where were the singing elves? I wanted to hear their songs! And then there was the whole mistrust thing - I know there's little love between dwarves and elves, but they added Thranduil to the flashback and then made Thorin despise all elves - totally different from the book. I'm sure it will come into play again in the following movies when the dwarves are captured by the elves in Mirkwood too. And then they leave secretly, without Gandalf or their ponies?

I loved the Great Goblin. They did a good job fleshing out that character a bit (literally) and even included some of the singing stuff I'm about to gripe about. Also, the battle scene was fantastic, if a little over-the-top. It takes a lot of creative license, but it's fun at least. Except the stone giants were a bit much. It would be fine to include them, but the whole 'getting caught on the giants' knees' part didn't do it for me. Neither did the change of the 'front porch' scene, with Bilbo trying to leave and then the floor opening up instead of there being a crack in the wall. And they took out the goblins' fun little evil songs. I'll concede that Gandalf not being there at first worked out in the end in this regard.

I loved the Riddles in the Dark - they nailed this in spirit if not in complete accuracy. But no real complaints on that... Except for how Bilbo got there, and how he found the Ring. They have a flashback scene in The Lord of the Rings that shows this, and it's quite different in the new movie. Bilbo shouldn't see Gollum until he gets to the lake (really he's not supposed to see much of anything except the darkness) or see him kill the goblin (although in the book it's mentioned that Gollum had recently eaten one). Then for the escape he should lose his buttons on the door, not on some crack in the rock. And Bilbo shouldn't see the dwarves and Gandalf escape, they're supposed to have quite the head start, since Bilbo is supposed to have been knocked out for a while. I'll concede that the buttons are a minor detail and at least he lost them.

I couldn't stand the tree scene. It's supposed to take place in a glade with a wide open meeting area. Obviously Azog isn't supposed to be there. They're all supposed to get in the trees before the wargs even arrive. And then there was the silly and contrived 'trees falling into one another while the dwarves jump from tree to tree.' I'm sorry, but I don't see a pack of wolves uprooting trees like it's nothing. And then there's the battle scene with Thorin and Azog where Bilbo saves his life but he still is maybe dead and then they're all falling off the tree over the cliff only to be rescued by the eagles. And where were their aeries and why didn't we hear them talk? Smaug has a voice actor, so obviously they're making some creatures that talk. At least there were still eagles.

Other things I loved: Radagast in his entirety, Dol Guldur and the references to the Witch King of Angmar, the score by Howard Shore, and the sneak peek of Smaug.

I think in general they made it a lot more serious than the book. Which makes sense since it's a children's book and that wouldn't have worked nearly as well as a movie. But the part of me that really loves the book wishes they had kept it a bit more innocent.

All in all, I enjoyed it. If they had not included Azog it would have been a more manageable length and I think I would have liked it more. I will still be seeing the sequels and buying the extended editions and all that though, make no doubt about it.


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Camera Adventures

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower, Real Life Dec 03 2012 · 660 views
camera, reviews, photography
I really wasn't satisfied with my recent set review pictures, they were way too dark despite me having tons of lights on and using my flash (indirectly). So I did some research and pulled out my camera's manual and learned how to adjust the shutter speed. A bit of experimentation later, and brighter pictures appeared.

The only problem is that now I have to make sure to be very still so that I don't shake the camera when I hit the shutter button. I'm doing a 0.5 second exposure so that can have a lot of impact.

So I thought to myself, 'I wonder if I can get a remote to trigger the shutter so I don't have to touch the camera?'

The short answer is no. :(

The long answer is, if I put some open-source, aftermarket firmware on my camera, it can support a remote shutter release, but I have to make the remote myself.

Needless to say, I'll be installing the firmware this week and making a trip to RadioShack on Friday.

I get to play with my soldering iron!


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Which Hobbit?

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Nov 11 2012 · 427 views

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out in theaters next month, based on one of my favorite books of all time. I am super pumped.

So of course I want to reread the book before the movie to have it fresh in my mind. The question is - which version should I read?

I have a copy of the mass market paperback (not that exact version) that I got in sixth grade. I've read it countless times and it's definitely seen better days, but it certainly has some sentimental value.

I've also got a nice hardcover illustrated edition that looks just amazing. I love the Old English runes (which I can read, or could at one point).

No? Well how about The Annotated Hobbit? I got this back in high school when I was writing a research paper on The Hobbit. It has a lot of interesting details about Tolkien's inspirations, the references he makes, and the time period during which it was written that had an impact on the book.

Most recently, I received a copy of The Pocket Hobbit as a gift in July. It's so adorable, and packs in a lot of detail on the jacket design.

So many choices! Help me decide!

Also, I may have a problem...


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Back in a Bit

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 28 2012 · 478 views
hurricane, Sandy
So the military base I work at is closing tomorrow because of the hurricane. If it's that bad, then at the very least I'm expecting to lose power at some point over the next few days. So my presence here may be a little scarce. As it is, here's my plan:

  • Go to bed tonight.
  • Wake up tomorrow, work from home for as long as I have power.
  • Edit the Powercast while I have time.
  • In the event of a power failure, break out the dead tree books for some reading.
  • Hope I don't lose power for too long.
  • Repeat.

Depending on if/for how long I lose power, the next episode of the podcast may be delayed. I've got everything recorded, I just need to edit it all together, master it, and upload it, which is probably about three hours worth of work at least. Between battery backups and my wireless hotspot, I should be able to stay connected for a while even if I do lose power, so I'll do everything I can to get it up on time.

I hope everyone stays safe during the storm and that damage is minimal.


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Reading Rainbow Road

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 23 2012 · 306 views
Halo, Books
I'm a bit behind on making this entry, I suppose. I finished The Thursday War last Friday night/early Saturday morning, completing my mission to reread all of the Halo novels before Halo 4. Woohoo! It was good, but not as good as Glasslands. It did have some nice twists and revelations, and a lot of stuff that seems like it will tie in to Halo 4. I'd definitely recommend it.

Now I feel like I have nothing to do though, after having spent all this time reading. To start though, I'm going to go through The Art of Halo followed by the Halo graphic novels. I'm not going to blog about all of those though, because I feel it would get too boring. These entries have already seen to have lost everyone's interest.

So what should I read next? I have to reread The Hobbit before December, and am considering re-reading the Lord of the Rings too. But I'd be open to some recommendations too.


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Somewhere Over the Reading Rainbow

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 15 2012 · 220 views
Halo, Books
As mentioned last week, I had fallen a little behind on my reading goals, but I managed to finish Halo: Glasslands Friday night (early Saturday morning, technically). It was pretty enjoyable, and a good continuation of the Ghosts of Onyx. There were three main storylines: one following the Spartans, Dr. Halsey, and Chief Mendez as they try to learn more about the Dyson sphere they're trapped in, another following some Elites planning on overthrowing the Arbiter, and the last focusing on Kilo-5, an ONI team performing 'destabilization efforts.' They all intersect each other at various points, and there's some interesting twists along the way. It had quite the cliffhanger of an ending, so I'm looking forward to The Thursday War.

On Saturday proper, I started reading Primordium, and I finished it last night. Guess I'm back on track again. Primordium was excellent - it continued the story of Cryptum, but from a different narrative perspective and point of view, and answered a bunch of questions you had at the end of the first book. It ended with a huge reveal though, and now Silentium can't come soon enough. If you've read it and want to talk about it, feel free to PM me.

So tonight I'll be starting The Thursday War, and see where things pick up with Kilo-5. I'm hoping the remaining Spartan 2s and 3s make an appearance after they built their characters up so much in the other books. I'm figuring a week to go through that, then it'll be on to the graphic novels, since it seems like I'll have plenty of time!


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Reading Rainbow Bridge

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 09 2012 · 286 views
Halo, Books
A little late on my update this week, thanks to yesterday's federal holiday. I finished Cryptum last Thursday, which was great I thought. A lot of interesting insight into the Forerunners. It was really a piece of hard science fiction that just happened to be set in the Halo universe. There were some connections to the games and other lore for people who really dig into things (like the Librarian, the Didact, and Mendicant Bias). The story itself really kept me turning pages, and when it ended I wanted to tear right into Primordium.

But I'm reading them in release order, so I went over to Glasslands next. It picks up about where Ghosts of Onyx left off. It's a big adjustment going from Cryptum to Glasslands - the former only really had one story thread and one main protagonist while the latter thus far has four story lines going on (at different time periods no less). I don't mind this, and some of my favorite stories have done this, but sometimes it's frustrating when they end a chapter on a cliffhanger and you have to wait three more chapters before you get back to those characters. I'm enjoying it so far, I just didn't get as much time to read this weekend because I had some friends visiting.

A little under a month to go, and about 2.75 books left. I think I can, I think I can...


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Tablet Research

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 03 2012 · 660 views
tablet, Android
I've been toying with the idea of buying a tablet. Almost definitely Android. I'd like a 9"-10" one, but those seem like they're still a bit too expensive for my tastes. In the 7" space the Nexus 7 seems like the clear winner. I'll probably wait until the holiday shopping season to see if I can grab any good deals.

Does anyone out there have a tablet and want to offer suggestions or advice?

Thank you kindly!


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Reading Rainbow Unicorn Attack

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 01 2012 · 298 views
Halo, Books
As anticipated, Halo Evolutions took me the majority of last week to get through. That's okay though, it's a great collection. I love the twist at the end of Palace Hotel - it may be my favorite just for that. Human Weakness and The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole are also good reads. But so are the other stories, so give the whole thing a try.

I started Cryptum last night, which is very different so far. I only got through a chapter, so I'll reserve my judgment for now. It's much shorter than Evolutions, so I'm hoping to have it done by the middle of the week or so and then move on to Glasslands. This is also the first book of this project that I haven't read before, so it's all new and exciting. I enjoying rereading books I read in the past, but experiencing new stories should not be avoided.

Which reminds me that my copy of The Thursday War should be arriving today.

Lots and lots and lots to read!


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The Reading Rainbow Connection

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Sep 24 2012 · 348 views
Halo, Books
Against all odds, and at the expense of some sleep last week, I finished both Contact Harvest and The Cole Protocol. Six books in three weeks! Halo Evolutions is up now though, and it's almost as long as both of those books combined, so I'm expecting it to take up this entire week.

Contact Harvest is interesting among the Halo books as it's the first where there are no Spartans involved. They don't even get mentioned at all. It makes sense, since the book takes place before they received their augmentations and went on any actual missions. There's lots of Sergeant Johnson though, and some other characters from Halo 2 and 3 as well. The books really give a lot of insight into the Covenant, especially the relationships between the Prophets, Elites, and Brutes.

The Cole Protocol does have some Spartans in it - the mysterious Gray Team who is mentioned in The Fall of Reach as being too far away to contact/recall. It also features Lieutenant Jacob Keyes and helps fill in the gaps of his life between helping Halsey collect the Spartan candidates and the inception of the 'Keyes Loop' maneuver. There's a lot of different factions in this one, all working together and stabbing each other in the back at different times. It makes for some interesting twists.

Looking at my calendar, I've got six weeks to go until release and five books to read, so I'm feeling pretty confident about making this. Setting goals FTW!






Welcome To My Blog

I'm glad to see you made the trip intact.

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Name:
Andrew
Alias:
Black Six
Join Date:
August 2, 2001
Staff Since:
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Position:
BZPower Administrator
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Making sure news is posted, keeping the forums running smoothly, learning the ways of server-burping.

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