Top Five Reasons to be Excited About “The Hobbit”

In less than six weeks, any geek worthy of the name should and will begin flocking to theaters worldwide to return to Peter Jackson’s vision of the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to immerse themselves in the first of not one, not two, but three films!  Not only are these movies destined to be blockbusters, there are going to be downright epic and I’m going to tell you why.

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Episode 11 – Monkey Year in Review

So, 2011 is finally winding down and coming to an end.  Another year come and gone with most of us having nothing to show for it but wracked up Christmas debt and extra pounds courtesy of the holiday season.  While this reality gets most people down as the new year turns the corner, we here at Monkey in the Cage couldn’t be more excited!  This year has proven to be a great one for all of the Monkeys, especially since it brought us all closer together and saw the start of our podcast!  Woohoo (or boo, if you’re Robert)!

This week, in our end of the year episode, we look back on all the great things we were able to geek out on this past year (or, from September on…).  From movies and games to babies and houses, join us as we close out 2011 with some great memories and get ready for a geek-filled 2012.  From all of us Monkeys to all of you Internet-ians, have a drunkenly safe and happy New Year and in 2012 always “Nerd out with your Wookie out!”

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An Unexpected Journey


Marking the passage of time as an adult is a tricky thing.  As children, school provided great markers; summer, holidays, going on to the next grade.  But as adults,  time has a way of slipping by.  Last Monday marked the 10 year anniversary of Lord of the Rings:  The Fellowship of the Ring’s theatrical release.  Ten years!?  Can you believe it?    I know, let us take a moment to mourn the loss of our youth…

That's what she said?

OK, be forewarned this is the part where I start to get sappy and a little serious so if you have an aversion to real human emotion stop reading now.

I think back 10 years to the person I was then and the struggles I faced.  I was 21 years old and battling thyroid cancer.  As you can imagine, I faced a plethora of emotions… most of which were lamenting my lot in life and questioning, “why me?”  I was too young for this, I was at the beginning of my adult life.  By December of 2001 I was five months out of radiation, thankful to be done with the worst year of my life but still frightened that the cancer could come back.

Months prior we learned that Peter Jackson was making The Lord of the Rings into a trilogy of movies.  We were excited beyond belief.  Nerds everywhere were rejoicing in what was sure to become their all-time favorite movie.  I still remember seeing a teaser trailer of the Fellowship walking through a passage single file, each character being revealed slowly… yeah, it gave me the chills.

We all went to see the movie together on opening night.  I loved every second of it.  Especially the part when the Fellowship was making their way through the Mines of Moria when this exchange happened:

Frodo: Wahh! Gandalf: Cork it, short-stuff!

Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.        

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us…

And it spoke directly to me.  I was wishing that the cancer never happened.  I was wishing that I could be as carefree as my friends.  But it wasn’t of my choosing.  It happened to me.  The End.  It was now up to me to make the best of my situation and go one living my life.

Is it a bit cheesy that a line from a fantasy movie helped change my entire outlook on life?  Sure.  Was it profound?  Absolutely.  Lord of the Rings has represented more than just an amazing story and an awesome movie franchise for me.  It reminds me of a time when I wasn’t sure what was to become of me.  It also reminds me that I have my very own Fellowship of friends that would, and have, travel through Mordor to Mount Doom with me.

Where does that leave me now?  I celebrated ten years cancer-free a month after the birth of my first child this year.  I am lucky and I am grateful.

Fast forward to now and I think it’s time to dust off my copies of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for a good ol’ reread.  Then have a movie marathon with the new Blu-Ray version of the films.

It's like visiting Matt's dreams.

It looks like 2012 will be a great year for J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation.  The Hobbit is set to release (super-squeeee!)

Aww... even Lego Frodo is emo.

Also, Lego just obtained the rights to the franchise.  I can’t wait to buy myself my son his own little Hobbiton and play the (no doubt) forthcoming video game!