The Sunday Salon: The Hobbit — An Unexpected Journey Midnight Premiere

Okay, well, actually, it wasn’t midnight, it was 12:15 AM. The fact that Peter Jackson and company really want you to see this in high frame rate 3D sat poorly with my group of friends—since childhood, I have subconsciously allied myself with people who wear glasses. (I recommend this strategy.) In the interests of not having my friends’ heads explode when exposed to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I got tickets for the 12:15 AM 2D screening in Atlantic Station. And lo and behold, the official TheOneRing.Net line party was being held at this very screening! Having never been to a line party before (and two of us having never been to a midnight screening before!), we were all super-excited, so when Thursday night finally rolled around and we were done braiding each other’s hair and talking about Tolkien, we took to the highway. (Music: “I Will Wait”, Mumford & Sons.)

As the line party started at 10 PM, we rolled out at 9:30 PM, resplendent in our braids. We had a few elves, one human, and, of course, one dwarf—myself as Lady Fili. The fur coat may have been a bit much at Dragon*Con back in the summer, but for a freezing December night? Perfect. (Of course, the last film will be a summer release, so I better get cracking on Thranduil…) We met my friends Natalya and Jessica there, Natalya having come as an adorable Ori. (Adam Brown seems to think so too; I tweeted a photo of her at him and he favorited it. Ah, the blessings of the Internet!) And yes, this is the best photo my camera took. It’s very fond of turning me into a warm beige blob even when I’m not in costume.


We were immediately greeted by a small TheOneRing.Net crew, including Rebecca Perry, who sweetly recognized me from an Evening at Bree. The evening’s swag started with a Bilbo or Gandalf pin and a one-sheet poster, which is now lording over my small one-sheet collection (The Social Network, The Three Musketeers, Rock of Ages, and Looper). Natalya and Jessica’s tickets were for the 12:20 AM 2D screening, so we sadly had to part ways, although we’ve got a dish session scheduled for tomorrow to compare notes. My crew hopped in line, but we weren’t waiting long before they let us into the theater proper and seat ourselves. Since we were early (people were trickling in up until midnight), we got some choice ones.


There was a trivia contest, with questions from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings—by the end of the contest, I had worked up some considerable swag! Pictured above: a 75th anniversary edition of The Hobbit, specialty dwarven 3D glasses, and a TheOneRing.Net Line Party pin. We then fell to chatting with our fellow Ringers—turns out I went to high school with the guy seated in front of us. Small world! We took some photos, especially with a lovely Blue Wizard, and we met Cressie, whose map of Middle-Earth dress you might be familiar with, who was equally lovely. Between talking music with the blue wizard and texting Natalya bastardized The Lord of the Rings quotes, the time flew, and then, suddenly, it was 12:15 AM.

The lights dimmed and the theater’s roller coaster bumper played, while we all raised our arms up and pretended we were on a roller coaster. Geeks: we’re the best. We got through an awful Billy Crystal cell phone PSA and then the actually amazing trailer for The Host, when the fire alarm went off. We didn’t budge. Turns out, one of the popcorn machines caught on fire; thankfully, it was contained and nobody was hurt. After a few minutes, they restarted the film—we heckled the Billy Crystal PSA—and cheered when we finally got past the The Host trailer. There were trailers for Star Trek Into Darkness (my friend Rosie was delighted by my gasps), After Earth (which looks really good), and Oblivion (we only really perked up when Morgan Freeman showed up in those awesome glasses). There was also a trailer for The Lone Ranger, which actually sickened me. Can we just agree not to go see Bruckheimer’s latest attempt to whitewash the rare franchise that has people of color in it? Because I’m so done with it.

Anyway, after that, the film started and… well, I suppose you’ll have to wait for my review of the film tomorrow, won’t you?

It’s been a week—recovering from a midnight premiere is always difficult on my system. It’s been my last week of classes and finals—I took my Latin final on Thursday and my history final yesterday. I still have a paper due, but I can do that from home, so I’m heading home today! As you can imagine, my reading has stalled a bit with this, but it should pick up during my well-deserved break. And yeah, I’m going to go see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey again, in, ideally, high frame rate 3D.

Did you go to a midnight premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? If not, do you plan on seeing the film?

21 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: The Hobbit — An Unexpected Journey Midnight Premiere

  1. I do hope to see the movie while it’s still in theaters. A friend and I thought about going last night but decided we’d rather wait until the crowds have died down a bit. If I were going to see it in a crowd, I’d rather do it the way you did, in a party environment.

    I’ll be interested to hear how the 2D and 3D compare. I’m mostly uninterested in 3D anything, but the NPR review said Jackson uses it well, which has me wondering whether it’s worth trying out.

    • I know our Atlanta Tolkien Fans group is hosting a few viewing parties this weekend; maybe your local Ringers will too! Any way you see it, I hope you enjoy it.

      Yeah, I’m interested to see how it all pans out. It’s not playing in HRF 3D in my hometown, so I’m going to grab a couple of friends and trek back up to Atlanta to see it.

  2. I’m going to see The Hobbit today. I’m a huge JRR Tolkien fan and was recently travelling by his home in Stirling Road, Birmingham, before passing by the Two Towers – Perretts Folly and Waterworks Tower. Amazing imagination – just from seeing those two buildings, he would go on to write The Lord of the Rings. I can’t wait to see The Hobbit!

  3. DAMN am I ever not going to see The Lone Ranger. I feel cross every time I think about it. We didn’t get that trailer, or the Star Trek one, or The Host — ours were ALL for postapocalyptic things, not just the two you mention but other ones I now forget. Two of the trailers had music by Of Monsters and Men, though, which was nice. (I didn’t see it at midnight, I should add. I like Tolkien but am more a Lord of the Rings girl than a Hobbit girl.)

    • Dude, screw The Lone Ranger and Jerry Bruckheimer’s attempts to whitewash the few franchises that actually start out with people of color in them. AGAAAAHHH.

      Man, I need to sit down and listen to their album. I love “Little Talks”, but more, more! (And an Icelandic band is very Tolkien.)

  4. Saw The Hobbit today – I may have to hold on until all three films have been out, because I was a little underwhelmed by FOTR until seeing all three extended versions. But I think it should be called ‘Lord of the Dwarves’ – Bilbo needed to be in it more!

      • I always wonder how I would have felt if The Hobbit had been on the big screen before Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit, for me, is a very straight story, told wonderfully by JRR Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is massive undertaken, told brilliantly, and yes – filmed brilliantly by Peter Jackson. I actually liked some of hi pre-Rings offerings like The Frighteners and especially Heavenly Creatures.

        But Lord of the Rings wowed me so much, that I kind of had to forget about it to appreciate the Hobbit. But how could I,when there are so many references to Lord of the Rings in it, visually and also musically? Is it a bad thing? I don’t know – but The Hobbit deserved to stand on its own.

        Martin Freeman was apparently the only choice for Bilbo, which I find amazing. I mean, cast the net wide people! Aragorn was supposed to be played by Stuart Townsend originally, but can you imagine anyone else but Viggo Mortensen playing the role?

        Someone on IMDB commented how the performance of Thorin made them forget all about Aragorn? What? Thorin, in my view, is Aragorn-lite.

        I guess what I am saying is – I wanted The Hobbit to be brilliant, amazing, draw dropping. But things need to pick up, and PJ has two more films to do it in.

        I think JRR Tolkien would been impressed by the Rings films….I am not so sure about The Hobbit. Roll on 2014 when maybe, just maybe, Peter Jackson will have turned me around. Having given all three Rings films a solid 10/10, I can only muster a five out of ten for the Hobbit. I know I’m in the minority, but it is truly how I feel at this time!

      • I loved Heavenly Creatures! So fantastic.

        Well, they did! Freeman’s schedule is hell, being one of the most in-demand UK actors at the moment and being Watson on Sherlock. Jackson and company did look and look for someone else, because initially, he was just flat-out unavailable, but Jackson and company realized that Freeman was perfect. Only choice doesn’t mean that they didn’t look; only that there was, at the end of it all, only one choice.

        I don’t think Thorin is Aragorn-lite, especially in the context of the films. Whereas Aragorn’s journey is about accepting his kingship—he’s quite reluctant—Thorin knows it and is utterly burning to have his kingdom back. His emotional journey is about opening up and accepting help.

        I don’t think you’re in the minority at all here!

  5. I saw the 3D IMAX midnight (actually nearer to 1am with the fire delay and some projector issues) showing and found the format to be pretty seamless (not too many “gotcha” moments). Would love to see it again, so feel free to phone me if you’re looking for a theater friend.

  6. That just sounds perfect. I saw it this weekend, but I didn’t make it to a midnight premier. I did go to those with the LOTR trilogy movies though and I loved them!

  7. You know…after the Rings films, I thought “I don’t care whatever cr*p Jackson puts out in the future, because he really outdone himself here.” So King Kong comes – and I didn’t like it. Lovely Bones was a return to form though – Saoirse Ronan for the win!

    I was sorry for saying that though. Why do directors fall so far after greatness though ? Ang Lee ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ followed by ‘Hulk’? What???!

    Put your heart and soul into everything you do, otherwise I feel, don’t bother.

    The Hobbit was a let down for me – but I will see the three films out. A bit like The Hunger Games books – HG (1) – amazing – one of the truly greatest books I have ever read. Catching Fire – ditto – amazing, just not as good as (1). Mockingjay (3) had potential but got lost along the way…I could go on and on….but better to be remembered for one true act of greatness than fall from such dizzy heights.

    Maybe I never truly gave The Hobbit a chance. Martin Freeman plays Martin Freeman – just as Jason Statham (Snatch aside) plays Jason Statham in all the same roles they do.

    Perhaps MF will show true Bilbo-ness in the last two films, but he seems so amateur compared to Ian Holm, who was simply amazing to me.

    Despite what some might think – I truly hate to give low ratings to anything, but can’t give in to fandom mentality either!

    I accept that many will love The Hobbit and the depiction of Bilbo and Thorin on the big screen. It is just a weaker book for me, filmed weakly – so far – by Jackson and co.

    Agree with you on Heavenly Creatures – I simply adore that film 🙂

    • It’s nice to think that directors can put only their best efforts into a production and select only the work they want to do, but, at the end of the day, it’s a job, and food has to get on the table. I think everything deserves a fair shake, but sometime it’s hard to get excited and innovative over a film you’re not wild about.

      I’ll see them out, as I will The Hunger Games—I enjoyed the film much, much moreso than the book, so I’m happy to see the trilogy play out on film rather than in prose.

      Freeman has range—I think you’d be hard-pressed to find his character on The Office remotely sympathetic—but his look is so specific he gets cast as similar characters. Check out his early catalog if you want to see him doing different, but he’s quite entrenched by now.

      Fandom mentality? Are you calling us fans uncritical and unwavering? Because that’s not the fandom I know—I always feel like I have to emphasize that I actually do enjoy Doctor Who after picking over the latest episode with my Valkyries.

      Far enough! You’re more than entitled to your opinions.

      • It’s good when you have others to pick over the latest books, films and tv series you like. If I can put it maybe like this – I love Star Trek…but my allegiance as to fave series wavers….but usually it’s between DS9 and Next Gen. Now…it’s all part of the ST universe, so like The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings….and Tolkien’s other works…people are going to like some, all, or nothing of what they see / read.

        On IMDb – which may not be the most objective forum…fans appeared to give The Hobbit straight 10s…others that didn’t like it seemed to be giving it 1s – for balance. I could only give it what I thought it deserved – a five out of ten.

        Fandom – well I did give in to The Hunger Games and even Harry Potter too to find out what all the fuss was about, and the films and books of both series give us a great ride.

        I think The Hobbit film failed to get off the ground and paid too much homage to LOTR – The Hobbit didn’t need to be so bloated. I suspect that with all the to-ing and fro-ing that Jackson’s heart wasn’t in the project, it had a different director originally, funding issues, rows with New Line over payments for ‘Rings’….it’s like the 10th album of a 10th album deal for me…an artist might be great on one and two, by the end, with their money all in, they couldn’t care less.

        Martin Freeman didn’t carry off the big scenes for me…but maybe it’s the director’s fault, he should have demanded more from his actors.

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