Took my teenage daughter to see the movie The Hobbit over the weekend, which we had been looking forward to for quite a while, although to be fair, she had already seen it three times! However, my daughter who had already seen it with a few of her school friends, then a couple of her best friends and more recently with her grandparents, had right from the beginning wanted to see it with me seeing as though I had initiated her in the Tolkien saga way back when the Lord of the Rings trilogy had been first released.
This was a tricky step forward as although I consider the book the Hobbit to be a far superior book to that of Lord of the Rings, the movie of the latter was in every way a masterpiece. However, how do you get a child of around 8 to watch such a film with all the gruesome characters and some scenes which are brutal to say the least?
Well, if like me, you have the complete DVD set – around 30 discs! – you start off with viewing the extras first. So, we used to sit down in front of the TV and watch the sets being created, the costumes being designed and of course the creatures being made up. In particular, how the Orcs, Goblins and Uruk-hai’s were put together.
The one scene which i think convinced my then young daughter that this was just a film and make-believe was that of Helms Deep, which I explained took months to film and there were scenes of New Zealand rugby players doing the Haka. Apart from anything else, it was very amusing watching these grotesque figures dancing and singing in the pouring rain. But it worked, she totally understood that the gruesome characters were just actors in make up and costumes and she had no problem watching the three movies, which she loved.
Curiously, she found the book very difficult to read and didn’t like it that much at all. Conversely, she loved the Hobbit, which is how it should be, but she now also loves the new movie series even more, which is where we differ. I don’t think the movie so far has anywhere near the gravitas and mystical qualities of The Lord of the Rings, but my daughter begs to differ.
The other thing i have noticed in movie theatres, not just in this instance, but in general, is the sound level. it is positively deafening, so much so, I am having to resort to taking along ear plugs! Do theatres really need to make your ears bleed to become fully immersed in the movie experience? Its maddening.
Anyhow, my top tip if you have a child who you think is old enough to understand an adult film of this genre is to watch how the movie is made beforehand and that should allay any concerns of the movie’s content.