Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a bit of a nerd. Besides being one of the most avid Trekkies I know, I’ve probably seen both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings about 100 times each. Minimum. As a result, I was beyond excited for the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I was lucky enough to blag tickets to see it in 3D at the O2 the night before the general release – a week later, I went to see it with my family in King of Prussia in Imax and 3D. I’d definitely recommend seeing it in Imax (particularly for other Trekkies, as there’s a ten minute preview of Star Trek into Darkness before the main Imax presentation – it looks amazing!)
The basic plotline of the film is familiar to most people – hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is reluctantly convinced by wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) to join a party of dwarves hoping to reclaim their homeland from the dragon Smaug. Director Peter Jackson has spoken at length about his decision to film in 48 FPS, which I found gave it a slightly surreal look, particularly in the early scenes in The Shire. Once the film gets going into the adventure, however, it wasn’t particularly noticeable. Freeman excels in a role as the essentialist everyman (a role he has perfected in Sherlock) and it’s good to see a variety of old faces from the previous Lord of Rings trilogy. The film is quite long (it clocks in at almost three hours long), but a good rule of thumb would be that if you minded the length of any of the Lord of the Rings films, you’ll probably mind it here as well. It follows a similar formula (fleshing out the action sequences more than Tolkien’s novel – Tolkien preferred vivid descriptions of landscapes to that of swordplay) and provides a treat for those who loved Jackson’s initial vision of the world of Middle Earth.
For the corresponding food, I decided to make my own attempt at lembas bread (the elven shortbread which taste a bit like honeycakes) – although I’m not sure it will fill a grown man’s stomach in one bite!
Lembas Bread (adapted from Spark Recipes)
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter (for once, don’t let it sit to room temperature)
2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup (65g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
2/3 cup (160ml) milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream together the butter, flour and baking powder into a mixture of breadcrumb-like consistency. Sift in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix in the vanilla, honey and milk.
Heat the oven to 220C (425F) and bake for about 10 minutes (until it’s lightly. Once it’s cooled, cut into squares.
Enjoy (preferably not while fighting your way through Moria or the Misty Mountains.)
The Hobbit is in theatres now.