For someone who has FOBA (Fear of Being Alone), watching The Hobbit without a friend was quite an accomplishment. Sunday night (before Christmas Eve), I found myself making my way out of the bookstore and into the cinema, buying a ticket, a single-sized serving of cheese-flavored popcorn and bottled iced tea for myself.
I have always been planning to watch a movie on my own and tick off that imaginary box from my imaginary bucket list (I haven’t committed to actually writing it on paper or in pixels yet). But no matter how many times I planned, it never happened. So what finally made me go for it? It’s the series of unfortunate events this year that has led me made me pass up on a lot of good films just because no one would watch it with me. With the pressure of Metro Manila Film Festival lurking around the corner, I had to take my chances and watch “The Hobbit”. Yes, I watched a three-hour long movie by myself in the dead of the night.
A friend was quite skeptical when I told him that I was planning to watch The Hobbit on my own. If I remember correctly, he said, “Don’t watch a three-hour long movie alone.” But I can vouch that it was the best experience I ever had in my history of watching movies in the theater.
One, I had the chance to really appreciate a movie on the big screen. The actors’ facial expressions all told a story. For once, I found myself feeling sorry for Gollum, feeling desperation clog the air during the “Riddles in the Dark” scene. Gollum was a victim of the ring’s power, not the villain as I have always made him to be.
Two, I gave myself over to the power of sound and music. I paid careful attention to how each soundtrack made me feel, from the happy atmosphere during the opening scene where Bilbo Baggins was seen writing his adventures for his nephew, Frodo Baggins. And when I saw Frodo walk in the hobbit hole, I realized that I missed Middle Earth after all; the breathtaking scenery, the depicted comfort of a hobbit hole and the familiar faces felt like home. Scenes wherein Thorin Oakenfield and company stood face-to-face with goblins and orcs resulted to tense muscles and bated breaths. I had to remind myself often to breathe and unclench my taut shoulder muscles the whole duration of the movie.
I just found it amazing how sound affects us and the way we perceive a movie. (I couldn’t help but remember a talk I attended last October on the art of sound in advertising. I am amazed at how I didn’t grasp this reality before.)
I was immersed in Bilbo Baggins’s world for three whole hours. It’s a journey, although unexpected, I will never forget. As I am a newbie at film appreciation (forgive me, film connoisseurs), I cannot write a respectable review of the film so I am linking a friend’s review here.
I enjoyed my night out but my time in the dark theater made me realize a number of things. One, do not pass up a really good movie, even if it means you have to go alone. Two, J.R.R. Tolkien is a master creator, leaving us a new yet curious world of Middle Earth and all its adventures (and misadventures). Three, it’s never too late to pick up the print version of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I will do sometime in 2013.