Johanna invited me on her epic journey to Middle Earth – seeing all three Hobbit movies back to back! I couldn’t get out of work early enough to catch the first one, but I caught up with Desolation of Smaug, and was thoroughly psyched for Battle of The Five Armies. It was all SO GREAT. Also: cushy reclining seats at the new Assembly Square theatres are a good idea when you’re sitting for more than six hours. It’s been a year since I saw Desolation, and I liked it better now than the first time I saw it, the emotional interaction between the characters comes through the second time around and the Barrel Ride is still hilarious and awesome. The Hobbit trilogy is pulling a lot of hate, but here’s the thing: a movie diverging from the source material is neither good nor bad, the film need be judged on its own merits - Peter Jackson & Co may have hugely expanded on the book, but there’s nothing wrong with that, the argument should be how the movie is executed in story, pacing, and character. I like this trilogy a lot, and I can understand some of the points people don’t like about it. But if you think The Hobbit sucks, what other fantasy epic of the past ten years is better? Of course The Hobbit is not as good as LoTR. Nothing is. But besides that, what else? Maybe Avatar. Maybe Harry Potter. Maybe…I can’t think of anything else comes close.