Travel::Kids::Tech::Foreign Service


Tech in this post: Garmin nuvi GPS.

We went to see El Hobbit: Un Viaje Inesperado yesterday.  All in all it was a successful excursion. We didn’t get lost, didn’t have traffic issues, didn’t get kidnapped, and had time for lunch at the mall before the movie.

The theater was a multiplex at a ritzy mall, and was entirely adequate.  It reminded me of movie theaters in Los Angeles, with the theaters on the floor above the tickets and concessions, but I’ve never seen a working and monitored metal detector at the entrance to a theater in LA.  Also, like most places that aren’t America, you pick your seats when you buy your tickets.

There’s no child discount (although there is on for seniors), but the ticket prices are rational (again, unlike the US).  We opted against the 3D version of the movie, and the theater wasn’t set up for the HFR.  It was set up for eardrum-blasting sound, however.

I guess I could give a review of the movie, but honestly I feel a lot of “why bother?” about it.  If you liked Lord of the Rings, you’ll like it.  If you LOVED Lord of the Rings…you’ll like it.  A couple amazing performances (Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis) and the avoidance of PJ’s worst abuses of dwarves help a lot, but all the things I love about it are due to Richard Taylor and Howard Shore, and I’d have been quite happy with another director and a MUCH tighter script.  It’s not the movie version I would have made.

The mall was the standard developing-world high-end mall, with your Zara and Swatch and such.  The food court was a little more interesting than I was expecting (sushi and cajun options even), but I’ve been in so many malls just like it around the world that I do almost start to believe the world’s a sim, and they are re-using models.

It was refreshingly close to where we live and easy to get to.  This is good, because I don’t think we’re going to be able to use the GPS here.  It’s a new GPS for us, but pretty much the same model we had before (Nuvi by Garmin), and I’d spent the day before loading the map pack for Venezuela onto it.  For whatever reason it cannot seem to acquire satellites in any timely manner; I was halfway home from the mall by the time it did.  Also, unlike any other GPS I’ve had, it wants us to set our country every time we turn it on.

That may be due to the Venezuelan map pack, but what it means is that we also have to go in and set all the language choices each time.  Way too much time and effort, especially when the English Text-to-Speech rules just can’t handle the Spanish street names.  I’m going to try one more time with a Spanish TTS, and hope it doesn’t say “coll” for calle or avenneda for avenida.  I don’t have brain time to dedicate to translating what the GPS says while I’m driving here.


Comments on: "Excursion" (2)

  1. I saw “The Hobbit” too, and was surprised by how much I liked it. There were definitely some things I would change about it (including cutting most of the scenes with the brown wizard and the trolls), but overall, as the movie came to an end, I wanted to see more. So, to me, that’s a sign I had a good time.

    It was also nice to see all the actors from LOTR…and upon later reflection, I noticed how closely the film’s structure paralleled “Fellowship of the Ring”. A long intro in the Shire…a mini-climax followed by an intermission at Rivendell, and two action set pieces toward the end. I also thought a lot of the dialogue was well written. In short, if we had never seen LOTR, I bet a lot of people would have hailed this as a masterpiece.

    Sorry to sound like an uneducated movie geek, but after seeing it, I’m genuinely psyched to see Part II. Hope Mal liked it too!!

  2. You’re right, the structure DID parallel FOTR. I mostly noticed that all the shots did also. Open-country trekking? Helicopter tracking shot with reverse pan. Evil spirit? Focus pull! And the 3D-friendly up-over-and-down-into-the-chasm shot, over and over.

    I said elsewhere that the Special Edition DVD of The Hobbit may be the first to be *shorter* because they’ll separate out the parts that are The Hobbit and the parts that are the rise of the Necromancer (and hopefully trim about half the troll scene and ALL of Radagast).

    One thing I wished they’d done was included more songs. The Hobbit is full of songs, some of which Bilbo wrote. They call back to one in FOTR when Bilbo heads out after the party, and it would have been neat to see him writing it. As it was we got two dwarf songs in short order at the start and then no more songs, which felt kind of unbalanced.

    Mal LOVED it, although the spiders and trolls made him cover his eyes, and the Gollum scene (“Riddles in the Dark”) just about killed him. He flipped around and wedged his head between two theater seat backs so he wouldn’t have to hear it either. His only two questions about it were “Why is the elf king riding a moose?” and “When can we see it again?”

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