"It lacks the magic of the original LOTR trilogy."
Rick was appalled. I was too, until I read between the lines of that review and saw what they were really saying. It isn't that the movie doesn't deliver. It's that the novelty has worn off. People saw all of this 10+ years ago. It delivers what we know and expect from Peter Jackson's work with this franchise. The problem is that it isn't new. The only thing The Hobbit really offers that we didn't see in LOTR is Smaug the Dragon, and he isn't clearly seen in this movie. I think too that I complained about that in my initial reactions to the movie. There's a dragon but we don't see him - that was my one grip about the movie. Hints and signs. No doubt they're waiting to pull out their "bad boy" next time, but for now, we wait and must settle with the set up of what we know preparing to deliver what we don't know.
This is a problem that's faced repeatedly not only in entertainment, but in real life. I call it "the novelty effect." When we discover something new there's an excitement there. We want to learn all we can about it. It captivates and interest us. The problem is that as we come to know this thing, it becomes less new and more routine. It takes more to impress us and capture our interest. It becomes routine and the "wow" factor is gone. It's not that we don't like it anymore - we still do like and appreciate it's uniqueness and what first captured us, but that captivation melts away and the bar is set ever higher. It takes more to impress us. We need something new, something surprising and exciting, to pique our interest again.
It happens in all areas of life. The job that challenged and inspired us becomes mundane drudgery after a few years. Maybe you feel you aren't learning and growing as much as you did in those first years and you're probably right - after all, once you master it, then all that's left is to find new and better ways to do the same old things. That hobby that you loved just doesn't interest you as much as it once did. You loved it before, but again, you feel stuck in a rut. You're skill level plateaued, and you aren't really excelling as much as you thought. Or if it's not competitive and it's something you do on yoru own, you, find yourself gravitating toward the same old things over and over again, and you don't know how to break free and find that spark that first drew you in. You aren't as excited about it.
In short, you get bored. It becomes a rut and you feel stuck. As we say about television, there's 200 channels and nothing all. We've seen it all. We want something new and exciting.
I believe "the novelty effect" is one thing that makes finding balance in life difficult. It's why we always need to be mindful of ourselves and the world around us, and on the lookout to inject new life in old things. It's why we need to learn to find contentment in what we have and stop to appreciate the small pleasures that things bring day to day, and not get addicted to the excitement of adrenaline rushes that are so rare. It's why we need to make sure our thinking isn't falling into a rut with our doing, and to realize how even small changes can perk us up and keep us alert to the minor variations in day to day life. Because life isn't about living from one high to the next. It's about living in the humdrum of every day and learning to appreciate and love the small blessings that make up those days, all the time. It is, after all, the small things that make up the big things. We have to work our way up to them and learn to appreciate what it takes to get us to that level.
It can be hard to simply get up and do what you're supposed to do every day. We so easily fall in those ruts. I think the secret is to challenge ourselves by shaking up the routine. It's why I revolve hobbies. I recently decided to pursue writing short stories again once I finish writing Move and Feathered Frenzy. I realized I have worked exclusively on novels for over three years, and I feel I need to expand my writing skills by delving into something I haven't done in a while. I also started cross stitching again for the first time in nearly two years because I missed it and thought it would be a good change of pace from my regular routine. These aren't big things, but they're significant enough that I feel a spark of inspiration from the novelty that drew me to these things in the first place. So no, they aren't changing my life, but they are changing my thinking, and I hope that will open my eyes and help me to keep a good perspective on my life as a whole.
As for The Hobbit, I'll have to respectfully disagree with the critics. No, it didn't drop my jaw the way LOTR did. But it was nice to return to that world and to see it again through the eyes of new characters. The different perspective brought it new life - and that's enough for me.
That's all today. Have a great weekend.