Our Road Goes Ever On

Wednesday, 3 December, 2014

Early reviews suggest that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, which marks the end of Sir Peter Jackson’s 15-year trek into Middle-earth, is a bit of a pre-Christmas turkey. Writing in The Telegraph, Tim Robey felt it was padded-out and “begs not to exist“. He dismisses the film as being “neither very terrible nor remotely unexpected. It’s a series of stomping footnotes in search of a climax”.

Still, Peter Jackson is to be congratulated for his tenacious devotion to JRR Tolkien’s legendarium, and he provided us with some memorable images and scenes of grandeur. Let’s see if the next generation of filmmakers can do better. Whatever their efforts, Tolkien will endure because there is something eternally inspirational about his storytelling. Take The Road Goes Ever On, which Bilbo Baggins sings in chapter 19 of The Hobbit, at the end of his journey back to the Shire:

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

The spirit of The Road Goes Ever On is captured beautifully by Erik Wernquist in his short film, Wanderers, which is a “vision of humanity’s expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like.”

Favourite scene: humans base-jumping off the tallest known cliff in the Solar System: Verona Rupes on the Uranian moon Miranda. Voyager 2 flew near to the moon on 24 January 1986, and snapped the image. The cliff might be as high as five kilometres.

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