December 20, 2013

One week ago today, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (colloquially known as Hobbitz 2) debuted in theaters. This is my obligatory post about it. True to my mid-twenties aging form, I did not go to a midnight showing. In fact, I didn’t even go opening weekend because like the increasingly out-of-pop-culture-touch person I am, I hadn’t even seen Catching Fire yet. So, we saw Catching Fire Saturday and went to Hobbitz 2 on Wednesday.

If I want to ruffle David’s feathers as quickly as possible, I bring up that any part of the Hobbit franchise, is/was/will disappoint or underperform. I give this one a 5/10, which is pretty terrible as the Lord of the Rings movies are my standard for a perfect 10. (Hobbitz 1 gets a 7.)

As I tweeted after seeing it, “watching the Hobbit is like seeing a loved one slowly make terrible life choices.” I haven’t even read the books, and I could tell there was a lot thrown in to draw this thing out into three movies.

First, I’ll find something nice to say before I list my dislikes. Martin Freeman as Bilbo is spot on. Benedict Cumberbatch could play Smaug just wearing a children’s dragon costume and he would still kill it. (I might even prefer it.) The fat dwarf had be lol-ing more than once. Loved the Legolas & Gimli shout out moment with Gloin. Also, I liked the bear guy. More of him, please.

Now, my gripes.

  1. Get this wannabe Arwen character out of my sight. I’m not trying to be mean to you, Evangeline Lilly. It’s not your fault. You did your best with a bad situation.
  2. TOO MUCH CGI. Too much CGI. The pale orc should be a real dude in costume. It’d be so much better. The LOTR films used special effects for fight scenes sparingly and it was for the best. Why does everyone look overly-airbrushed even when it’s just a face talking?
  3. I almost booed in the theatre when they put the “Bree, near the Shire” caption on the screen. If there’s one thing this trilogy needs to do, it is to be harmonious and stylistically identical to LOTR. That means no captions. Or use the right font, at minimum.
  4. I could not have less of an idea of what was going on in the Gandalf plot line. If you’re wanting to make the movie accessible for people who haven’t read the book by putting basic geography captions up, don’t not do enough to explain whatever is supposed to be going on with this necromancer.
  5. Not enough impressive shots of Smaug. This is where to get your CGI fix, Peter.
  6. Were they trying to get me to like, hate Legolas or something?

That’s it. And who are we kidding? There is nothing Peter Jackson will make of Tolkien that I won’t see. He made my three favorite movies of all time. I hold out that Hobbitz 3 could be something great. What percentage of my readers also love LOTR? What’d y’all think?

CHERRY KUCHEN BARS from Rachel Schultz-4

Serves 24 bars

1/2 pound butter, softened
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
40 ounces cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Continue to mix.

Put 2/3 batter into a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Spread into an even layer. Pour cherries over top.

Drop remaining batter on to cherries. Bake for 40 minutes.

CHERRY KUCHEN BARS from Rachel Schultz-7CHERRY CAKE BARS from Rachel Schultz

4.0 from 1 reviews
Serves: 24 bars
  • ½ pound butter, softened
  • 1 and ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 40 ounces cherry pie filling
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Continue to mix.
  4. Put ⅔ batter into a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Spread into an even layer.
  5. Pour cherries over top.
  6. Drop remaining batter on to cherries.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes.


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  • KC

    What size pan should I use to make these? They look great! But am curious what size pan you used or is best for this. While I am sure I could use different sizes depending on how thick I want the base, I’d prefer to know what you recommend. Don’t want to waste the delicious batter by trying a bunch of sizes that don’t give me best results. Please help!

    • Shari

      I’m pretty sure the picture is showing about an 11 x 16″ pan.Or 10×15, something like that.

  • Hannah

    LOTR rant had me lol-ing because I said a lot of the same things! These Hobbitz just don’t compare to the original movies. I don’t think they even need to bother with the 3rd. Seriously, PJ should stop while he’s only semi-behind. My guy can’t stand to hear me slander them so, but come on. The only part I really likes was the raging river fight, and my mind went to “how awesome would it be to have a LOTR theme park with a river ride?”
    I digress.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Woah. An LOTR theme park.

  • Nikk

    I love LOTR–in fact, when I was preggers with my last child, I did not have a single food craving, but I wanted to watch The Trilogy pretty much every night. Very, very strange. I have read The Hobbit and was very excited they were making it into a movie. . . but surprised they were going to try to stretch it out to be a trilogy, so I figured there would be a lot of filler. . . I figured I’d probably be OK with it since I was so happy they were making the book into a movie, and I really loved the extra stuff they put into LOTR, because I enjoy a good love story and whatnot. I liked the first Hobbit. I really liked that they used Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield–did you see him in North and South? Very nice! Granted, he wasn’t so attractive as a dwarf, but I enjoy his acting skillz nonetheless. I haven’t seen “Hobbatz 2” yet, because I’ve been busy and sick and I hate going to the movies, because they are so expensive and my fellow movie-goers tend to be very annoying. I do plan to see it in the theater, though. . . so I guess I’ll have to weigh in with an opinion after I see it. I’m not so encouraged by your review, though. Hmm. . .

  • Hey Rachel, I’ve been so inspired by all of your recipes and my most recent trials have been in the world of pies! Nothing beats a good pie in the winter

  • Nice recipe, by the way. Me Man loves cherries so much and I’m slightly going out of ideas what else I can do with them, but, nevertheless, I think he will like this kuchen!
    About The Hobbit: here, in Russia, our localizers made a great job to deliver a right athmosphere of the movie. Of course, I didn’t hear the perfect voice of Cumberbatch, but our actors achieved the goal – all characters sounds so natural and “proper”. And we hadn’t such problem with font (ok, may be I haven’t noticed :)
    As I’ve read Tauriel character was made directly for this movie to add some kind of “love triangle”. May be this is the way to attract post-“twilight” fans into the cinema. I’m not sure, but it feels like it is so.
    And my Manasked me after the movie (he hasn’t read any books): “Don’t you see than Gandalf doesn’t do anything magical except back-lighting with his stick?”. And this is true. It’s pretty hard to understand what was his goal in Dol Guldur.
    I hope in the 3d part we’ll get all answers to ouк questions. But, in general, we were watching in IMAX HFR and that was my 2d time in this kind of cinema. So I was impressed! :))

    Have you seen this?

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