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hobbit 3Can a book-loving girl make peace with Peter Jackson’s bloated script? A clue to the answer is contained in this question…

But before you read my review, take an interactive quiz! You know you want to. Are you brave like Bilbo? (Um, not to brag or anything here, but I actually am…) Take the quiz to find out, and mouse over the interactive map to find out fun facts about Middle Earth, which you may already know if you have obsessed children in your life, too. If you are brave like Bilbo, let me know in comments or tweet about it at #TheHobbit.

Ever since Peter Jackson filmed JRR Tolkein’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings, he has amassed much fame and fortune, in large part from my family alone. We are big fans, and by we I mostly mean my children. It seems at least once a year, we have to have some kind of LOTR marathon, sometimes with extra snacks (second breakfast, teatime, dinner AND supper, etc) depending on how generous I feel and also on if the marathon takes place in the middle of the night, as it so often does. I have learned to sleep through protracted battles.

So, last Christmas break I took my LOTR-obsessed kids to see the last of the Hobbit movies, The Battle of the Five Armies. Abel in particular loves the Hobbit, book, movies,  and all, but all 3 of my kids are big fans. We had spent the previous 2 evenings watching parts 1 and 2 at home, so I have to say part 3 was about what I expected it to be.

Let’s start with the positive. I’d like to say my mother always told me to say nice things, but by the time I came along, my brothers had gotten her to the point where I think she’d given up. Still, it’s good to say nice things.

(Warning: I’m writing this review assuming that you, like most people, are familiar with the books and movies already. If you’re not, you may find it a bit confusing)

First of all, the casting. Almost all the actors in the Hobbit movies are excellent. I may protest that Legolas and Tauriel exist at all (neither are in the book), but I have no fault with the people playing them. Martin Freeman does a superlative job–he is so perfect as Bilbo that I can’t imagine anyone else in the part. Richard Armitage makes an excellent Thorin, including his descent into greed and madness. Honestly if I was Tauriel, I would be attracted to those smouldering eyes, instead of to Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, who of course seems older in the Hobbit movies than he does in the LOTR trilogy. And I have no objection to making the dwarves a bit sexier, because in the LOTR, Gimli often provides comic relief and is portrayed as sort of bumbling, which he really wasn’t in the books.

Second, the sound track. If you have to have a kid obsessed with a soundtrack, it’s nice to have it be a melodic, haunting, vaguely Celtic one. The music is gorgeous, even on the 50th time through today. For all you mums of preschoolers out there who are still stuck listening to “Let it Go” for the millionth, trillionth time, sorry.

As for the rest, well. Jackson has continued to spend the goodwill he gained from his films of the original trilogy, bloating the plot with pointless additions and meaningless fan-fiction of his own imagination. Sorry, Peter, but you’re no JRR. The film is bloated with CGI and the battle (made-up) between Thorin and the White Orc Azog on the ice is dragged out to painful levels.

But I’m not the intended audience. Jackson did not think, “I’ll make a film for middle-aged book lovers.” The fact that my teens like the film, even while clearly seeing its faults, says a lot. The book may always be better, but the film has something to offer too.

AND, you can win a free copy of the Blu-Ray version, assuming that you live in the US or Canada! Special Features on the Blu-Ray combo pack include:

• New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3
• Recruiting the Five Armies
• Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga
• Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey
• The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes
• Music Video
• Trailers

I’m including a behind-the-scenes montage, because my kids want to see it. And also because when I watch it, it sucks me right in and I want to watch the films again, faults and all.

Enter to win

Lawyer stuff: Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.



                               

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Two Picture Book Posts You Must Check Out #Cybils #Giveaway

Thumbnail image for Two Picture Book Posts You Must Check Out #Cybils #Giveaway Dawn is featured over at the Cybils blog this week with her list of her favorite read-aloud picture books. You might be surprised by some of the picks, but I guarantee you and the little ears who are listening, will find at least one new treasure. And we have a quick giveaway going on at 5 Minutes for Mom that I wanted to share. Anna reviewed David Weisner’s new Spot app. It’s beautiful and amazing. The giveaway is a quick turnaround, so you have even more of a chance to win a prize pack which includes the app, 3 of his picture books, and some other fun goodies as well. Hurry and enter now. It closes March 17!
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Here’s Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards with #Giveaway

Thumbnail image for Here’s Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards with #Giveaway For years, actor and author Henry Winkler has had great success with his Hank Zipzer series for middle grade readers. Now, together with author Lin Oliver, he’s sharing Hank’s adventures from his younger years in the “Here’s Hank” series, aimed at readers 6-8 years old. My 1st grade son and I recently read Here’s Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards together. It’s the 4th book in the series, though each book can actually stand on its own. About the book… Hank’s sister Emily wants Ralph’s Reptile Show to perform at her birthday party more than anything, but Ralph is booked solid. So Hank comes up with a plan: he’ll disguise himself as a magician called The Westside Wizard and pull a snake from thin air! But
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One Plus One, Book Club Guide #Giveaway

Thumbnail image for One Plus One, Book Club Guide #Giveaway I reviewed One Plus One (with a 5-Star rating) when it came out in hardcover last summer. At the end of this month, it’s available in paperback, which makes it even more accessible and might help it reach even more groups and individual readers. It’s the kind of story about non-traditional families, people coming together: weaknesses, warts and all. I enjoyed it, and I think it would make a good book to discuss in a fairly lighthearted way. The characters are so unique, and there are so many points about mothers — mothering kids who aren’t technically yours, dealing with special needs, going out of your way for your kids — everything that we moms see in our own lives or those of our friends.
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Breakfast for Dinner with @Krusteaz #BreakfastNight #Giveaway

I received a sample pack from Krusteaz to help promote Breakfast Night. Keep reading and enter below for a chance to win your own set of mixes! Did you know that February is National Hot Breakfast month? It is. And if you’re like me and many other busy moms, you might agree that breakfast isn’t just good for the first meal of the day. Whether it’s an easy bowl of cereal after a big heavy lunch, or a filling and comforting meal of pancakes, bacon and eggs, it’s something that feels easy to prepare and a meal for which I always have ingredients on hand. The kids were more than willing to have some blueberry belgian waffles one night as a part of my experiment.
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