Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (♦♦♦♦)

The Dwarves have finally conquered Lonely Mountain, but now the survivors of Lake Town, and the Woodland Elves, have come to cash in on Thorin's promises. War is imminent as Thorin seems possessed by his treasure. He refuses to share his birthright. As armies of Dwarves, Men, and Elves prepare for battle, Orcs, commanded by Azog the Defiler on behalf of Sauron, march in by surprise, and all the inhabitants of Middle-Earth come face to face in an epic battle of good versus evil.

I rated The Desolation of Smaug three and half stars, but The Battle of the Five Armies was a solid four. Its pace was dynamic. Not only there was never a lull in the action, but there were several subplots to follow along. The movie had a bittersweet ending on several fronts: a relative peace was won; the Dwarves got their revenge, and Bilbo Baggins returned to the Shire. The adventure ending as it began.

The signature elements of this trilogy—epic world building, stellar special effects, photography, cinematography, musical score, and great acting—were present in this installment as well. There was also a masterful command of lighting to convey the nature of good and evil. That technique is typically used by the Studios Disney to great effect, but not so much in other productions. In The Hobbit trilogy it was used to maximum advantage; even Gandalf seemed to commandeer light to his benefit.

Like most people, I thought that making a trilogy was a gimmicky way for the studio to make more money, but seeing it as a whole, it was very well done yet respected the essence of J.R.R. Tolkien's work.

Comments

  1. I certainly agree with your assessment that there was never a lull in the action. All movies in the trilogy were fully loaded with action, and, as always, one could not fault the production values.

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    1. I have read many negative comments about the excessive CGI, which didn't bother me one bit. Since it is a fantasy genre I almost take it for granted.

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  2. I can agree that there was great special effects, photography, cinematography, musical score and cast. Sadly though I can't help but feel they stretched the story too thin and in doing so made 3 good films instead 1 great film.

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    1. I know they did, and it's a pity, but like you said there is a lot working in favor of this trilogy.

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  3. I was going to have a bit of a rant about the whole Hobbit 3 movies - but I've decided no! They're very well done movies, they don't stick to the book but even so they're well loved with great effects.
    Lynn :D

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    1. You are welcomed to rant on this site anytime, as I am sure is not I'll intended. ;-) I am not much of a purist when it comes to adaptations, Lynn, or maybe I am but I have watched more adaptations than I have read books they are based on, so I can only comment on the artistic values of the films I watch. I read The Hobbit in my childhood and I hardly remember anything, so I only commented on technical aspects and how the movies made me feel.

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    2. I wasn't going to rant at you - seriously :D
      It just gets my goat a little bit that one small book was stretched into 3 long films. Like I said though, they are very entertaining and well produced.
      Lynn :D

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    3. I understand you. Most people are bothered by the three productions, but at least they weren't boring. ;-)

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  4. I am pleased by your assessment that three movies was not just a gambit. I admire Peter Jackson so much and was dismayed by all the negativity.

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    1. I think it helps if you don't remember the book.

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