Of Extended Editions, Gerard Butler, and Pathetic Cider Purchases

I know I am in good company when I don’t have to explain to my readers why, after attending a mandatory health trust meeting on a weekend, I found myself wandering the aisles of Whole Paycheck Foods absently pondering the existence of pumpkin flavored beers and doing a double take when I spotted this alcoholic offering:

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I’ve never had a particular opinion about hard cider. I can take it or leave it. In this case I took it home and am now enjoying it’s crisp, icy coldness as I write. It’s not bad, actually.  I’m not making my “blech” face as I drink it. It’s actually quite refreshing. I honestly didn’t think I’d like it.

Here’s a companion bottle of Smaug Stout. Fittingly, I didn’t like the Smaug Stout at all, not even in a beef and ale pie. But the bottle simply could not be left on the shelf, so home it came:

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On to the extended edition. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies extended edition is about the only thing that could have dragged me out on a school night. I am glad I went and now wish I had seen the other two movies on the big screen as well. The huge screen and a first rate sound system really added to the experience. I noticed and heard details I’d missed in the original scenes, and it gave impact to the new material.  Simply speaking, BOTFA EE is the film that should have been released in the theaters last December. I don’t understand why it wasn’t. The extra twenty minutes wouldn’t have made it much longer than any of the other movies in the trilogy, and it’s not as if we haven’t come to expect long Middle Earth films from Peter Jackson. We would still have handed over our wallets to see it. Hell. He could add another hour to it and I’d be thrilled.

Other bloggers have gone into considerable detail, and I won’t do that, but several things particularily satisfied me. The depth and pathos of Thorin’s madness was never more apparent than in the scene on the battlements with the army of elves threatening before him. Knowing him to be at heart, an honorable man, it was at once painfull to watch Thorin stalk the wall like a trapped panther with no hope of escape, and exhilarating watching Armitage deftly paint every unspoken nuance of this looming humiliation across his face. The man is a master class in projecting unspoken internal conflict. When the army of the Iron Hills finally appears on the horizon, the relief in both the characters on screen and the body language of the audience in front of me was palatable. That’s quite a complement considering the audience already knew what was coming.

Each of the dwarves get their individual moments on the battlefield. They cease being extraneous characters that for much of the films are reduced to little more than padding for the “hot” dwarves. The Balin and Ori of the earlier films finally become dwarves capable of reclaiming Moria. Bombur becomes more than a weighty joke. Bifur finally speaks, and Bofur shows the most humanity, not to mention the most battlefield creativity. And Dain? While not a member of the company, he gets a big thumbs up from me for the best line in the movie. You will know it when you hear it.

The battle itself makes much more sense. I found it jarring when in the original film, Thorin and his chosen fighters climb Raven Hill on the backs of mountain sheep. Huh? WTF did those come from? How did they get from the main field of battle up to Raven Hill? Mountain sheep? Smaug didn’t like crisply roasted lamb? The clicker clack of hooves on Erebor didn’t disturb his beauty sleep? When he was gone the dwarves had time to catch and train rams in addition to Arkenstone duty? Dwarves don’t like crisply roasted lamb? We finally get an explanation.

Finally, a character that deserves to die actually does, Thank you baby Jesus! and the characters we already know will die finally get a funeral befitting their status. This should absolutely have been in the theatrical release.

One more thing: damn you, Peter Jackson. Quit making me cry!

Oh, and Gerard Butler? A teacher came into my office this week, spotted a Crucible poster, and said, “I didn’t know Gerard Butler made a remake of The Crucible!”

Crispin cider, anyone?


5 thoughts on “Of Extended Editions, Gerard Butler, and Pathetic Cider Purchases

  1. Pumpkin beer is one of the great unlocked mysteries of the beer universe to me (I drink a LOT Of beer). I just don’t see the point or the attraction. I’m interested in the Smaug Stout, though. If Whole Foods has it, I suppose I should go and check it out. I will probably like the Bolg Tripel better.

    re: why wasn’t that stuff in the film? I think that by the end of the film either Jackson or the marketing team at WB had decided that since the Tolkien fans stayed away from DOS in droves, the major audience for BOTFA was going to be the CGI video game generation. That doesn’t explain the omission of the chariot sequence, though.

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  2. I got the Smaug Stout at World Market last February. I just needed an excuse to open it. Someone else said the Bolg Triple wasn’t very good, but I have a bottle of it, as well as the Golum Pilsner. I think the Brewer missed the boat by not having a Durin or Erebor brew. I might have an extra bottle of the Smaug Triple that I could send you if you wanted.

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  3. Thanks for the offer! I’ll look around see if I can find a bottle and get back to you. I remember seeing the ads for these when they were initially announced and just kind of have fallen down on following up. I agree, there should have been an Erebor brew — like a quad or a Belgian dark strong ale — and then maybe a Bilbo Baggins farmhouse ale / saison.

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  4. I think the problem isn’t finding a brewer who can make a good product, it’s convincing them that it’s worth it to buy the rights to license the “Hobbit” label … Ommegang brews a bunch of “Game of Thrones” beers — but I have the impression that they don’t do as well as their regular stable of offerings.

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