The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

You have no power here

hobbit3By the mercy of the Valar, Peter Jackson’s (hopefully) final Tolkien adaptation is leaner and more concise than the previous two, yet highlights the exact problems with creating three films out of a shorter-than-most-novellas-and-many-poetry-collections novel for children.  Remember PJEs from last time?  As sad as I am to see them go, I am not sad to see them go.

The Battle of the Five Armies, previously entitled There and Back Again, begins with what should have been the final ten minutes of The Desolation of Smaug in place of the mindless “kill the dragon with the stuff he literally sleeps under” fandango: Bard (Luke Evans), temporarily incarcerated by the Master of Lake Town (Stephen Fry), breaks out of his flimsy cage and kills Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch collecting his easiest paycheck yet) by firing the arrow we’ve heard all about into the hole in Smaug’s hide that we’ve heard all about, in the process using his young son as a stabilizer for his bolt – since this is mostly invention anyway, a way to create actual stakes would have been to have Bard’s son perish as the lifeless dragon plummets into the burning Dale, but then our Boring Hero would not have been quite so boring, and we can’t have that.

Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is now stuck inside the reclaimed Erebor with Scrooge – er, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and company, previously tricked by Gandalf (Ian McKellan) into becoming the company’s “burglar.”  Thorin has become obsessed with protecting his own gold, and refuses to aid the people of Lake Town in rebuilding, taking back his promise to fulfill their claim of Erebor’s treasure in the process.  The Mirkwood Elves led by Thranduil (Lee Pace) and including Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) also have a claim – some of their ancestors’ MacGuffins lie inside Erebor – and wait things out with Bard, but to no avail.  Bilbo, having had enough of Thorin’s crap, hands over the Arkenstone (one of the three main MacGuffins in Tolkien’s legendarium, after the One Ring and the Silmarils) to the allied Men and Elves, hoping that a ransom will do the trick.  But Thorin has to deal with his issues on his own, and while everyone argues, a massive army of CGI Orcs marches upon Erebor (their mischief quota for the decade has not yet been met, and now they can wipe out all of the do-gooders at once).

Unlike the second installment, this film actually feels finished.  It’s certainly not the “defining chapter,” but similar to An Unexpected Journey, the adapted parts turn out pretty well, specifically the expunging of Sauron (in animated GIF form) from Dol Guldur by the White Council, composed of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), and the not-yet-corrupted Saruman (Christopher Lee).  Galadriel is given the task of banishing Sauron with her incredible power, while the others hold off the Nazgul (!), and what could have been a disastrous repeat of the Dol Guldur battle in the second film accomplishes quite a bit: Galadriel, one of the only two women among the film’s roughly thirty speaking roles, is given an important task to do while keeping in step with the mythology.  Her standoff, in “blue” form, with Sauron (which would be truly tense if not for the fact that we know she defeats him because we’ve already seen the “sequels”) illustrates exactly why she is so terrified of being offered the One Ring later.  Cate Blanchett slips back into the role as easily as if they’d filmed this in conjunction with The Fellowship of the Ring, and I almost high-fived the stranger next to me in the theatre when Galadriel casually strutted barefoot into the Orc-infested pits of Dol Guldur and began destroying enemies with the wave of a hand.

The film also highlights Thorin’s greed (albeit spinning its tires to the point of near-baldness to do so).  His decision to break his oath is worse than anything done by the film’s Orc villains, Azog and Bolg (calling them one-note would be an insult to stock characters).  This section, though, is one of the most egregious examples of how this film, 144 minutes, should have been even leaner.  Nearly every shot in the film is too long.  Every integral character has multiple closeups with serious looks on their faces whilst their hair blows in slow motion.  Conversations that already went on for too long are repeated in other characters’ heads later.  One of the film’s opening shots is a closeup of Tauriel that lasts for so long that one can almost hear the filmmakers saying, “Look! We got a woman to agree to be in this!”  Countless scenes are comprised of cliche’ non-Tolkien dialogue, including a dozen versions of this: That army was bred for one purpose. / What purpose? / (pause) War.  There are more villain-slowly-raises-weapon-to-kill-hero-leaving-just-enough-time-for-another-hero-to-stop-him scenarios than in every LotR film combined.  The eponymous battle looks like it’s about to end countless times, only for something to go wrong or another horde to show up.  The central fights in the battle (Thorin vs. Azog; Legolas/Tauriel vs. Bolg) start out well enough, tense enough, engaging enough, but employ misleads and “you only thought he was dead” moments ad nauseum.  The protracting of these scenes only highlights the series’s ongoing CG issues (cartoonish elf stunts, characters blipping across the screen, video-gamey movements, mounts appearing as blobs of color, etc.) and storytelling problems: after so much focus on the Erebor quest, why don’t we find out what happens to it and the Arkenstone after the battle’s end (in the novel, Dain, Thorin’s cousin, played here by Billy Connolly as a belligerent Irishman, takes over)?  Why is so much tension given to whether a battle will break out, when the title of the movie already gives that away?  Why isn’t Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), one of the funniest and most important supporting characters in the book, not to mention completely unique compared to the dwarf/elf/human/orc archetypes that constitute the main cast, featured more?  Why does Tauriel care about Kili (Aidan Turner)?  What does she decide to do after deciding that love is nothing but pain?  In what ways is this almost-relationship meant to be a revelation (i.e. Thranduil knows about Beren/lLuthien and Aragorn/Arwen, yo!)?  Why isn’t Tauriel allowed to kill Bolg, when they’re both essentially inventions for this film, and when she’s the only one who has any real motivation to do so (besides just winning the battle)? Why do we see Legolas mourning a comrade’s death when The Fellowship of the Ring makes clear that he’s never had to deal with death before?  Why does he have to go hang out with Aragorn now?  Why does Bard’s son get involved in the fighting, but his daughters just make scared faces?  Why don’t we see the women (i.e. wives and daughters of the Lake Men) fight in the battle after they decide to fight? Why drag out the existence of made-up character Alfrid (Ryan Gage) and not have him do anything?  Maybe his scenes are misplaced attempts at humor, but his final sendoff, in which Bard essentially calls him a coward by calling him a girl, is in pretty poor taste.

The most important issue is one that bears repeating: you cannot create tension or stakes in a prequel by introducing material that has already been resolved in the originals.  If you drink a single milligram of arsenic every time this film focuses on a contrived lead-in to something that happens in the LotR trilogy, you will be dead before the credits.

The titular hobbit does a bit more this time around, and the film ends (as it should/must/etc.) with him.  The final scene takes a moment to reflect upon all we’ve been through with the movie versions of the hobbits, and then reminds us exactly where we began.  This is one of maybe two scenes that evoke any real emotion in the film, mostly because none of the characters have actually been characterized or deepened.  The other scene is Bilbo’s tearful farewell to dying Thorin, who apologizes profusely for his selfish actions earlier.  The scene works because Freeman and Armitage are adept actors who have spent a lot of time playing opposite one another; however, it falls slightly short because it mirrors the scene between Aragorn and Boromir in Fellowship, and the core issue is that it’s the same moment.

Many of the issues are with Tolkien, including the continuous exclusion of women (none appear in The Hobbit; none are a part of the Fellowship of nine, few do anything of importance in The Silmarillion besides die), but most of it is with the filmmakers.  The story could have been more succinct with one movie or even two, but three installments that all breach 2.5 hours actually lampshades the absence of character growth.  The most complete piece of the Hobbit film trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies puts forth an (mostly) honest effort, and is, for the foreseeable future, the last one I’ll get a chance to look at.  Y’know, unless New Line greenlights an Azog n’ Friends spinoff.

Read my writeup of The Desolation of Smaug here, and An Unexpected Journey here.

Check out a Tolkien-based film I worked on here and here.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014); based upon the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien; screenplay by Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh; directed by Peter Jackson; starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Richard Armitage, and Evangeline Lilly.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

What have we done?

la_ca_1016_the_hobbitI don’t know who’s paying reviewers to say that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is leaps and bounds better than the mediocre first film, but as they say, the money-hose runs long (actually, I just made that up).  I wrote a bit about narrative payoff in the newest Disney film, which seemed all well and validated until last night.  The Desolation of Smaug makes Frozen look like Pulp Fiction.

We joked all throughout the aughts about Peter Jackson’s love for All Things Orc, and when he shoehorned Orcs into the first Hobbit film (for the laymen: Orcs do not appear in Tolkien’s The Hobbit novel), even that seemed somewhat okay, since yes, the novel did have an army of Goblins (later referred to as a type of Orc in The Lord of the Rings) led by Bolg, the sworn enemy of Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage in the films), son of Azog, the sworn enemy of Thorin’s ancestors, and as we all know, the Boring Hero of a fantasy film must have an appropriate foil.  But in the first film, it wasn’t Bolg; it was Azog, who in Tolkien’s mythology is dead a century before the novel begins.  Alright, I thought.  Maybe PJ liked Azog’s name better.  Bolg didn’t do much other than get squished by Beorn off-page, so no harm done.  But then I remembered how many Orcs and Uruk-Hai received their own scenes in the first trilogy of films.  I recalled lines like “We ain’t had nothin’ but maggoty bread for three stinkin’ days!” Okay, okay, I thought.  This is all because they’re making a trilogy, and need to have a bad guy to knock off in a duel at the end, so let’s stick it out until Azog bites it and Bolg takes over the army in the next one.  And then Azog did not die, and what’s worse, I hadn’t brought anything to throw at the screen.

The new film is All Orcs All the Time (actually a better title than the one it has).  The wonder and magic are gone, as are all attempts to adapt the novel.  Beorn (Mikael Persbrandt), one of the most interesting and important characters in the novel, and also the subject of one of the novel’s funniest and most involving scenes, receives two or three minutes onscreen, wherein he says and does nothing that makes any difference or sense, before being shoved aside for scenes of computer-generated Orcs saying corny bad guy crap to one another.  Remember Barrels Out of Bond?  That’s included, but it’s extended to about twenty minutes so that a thousand Orcs can be killed trying to stop the barrels from floating down the river while simultaneously battling other characters who are not in the novel, such as Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom), whose makeup so heavily tries to hide how much older and differently built than he was in the LotR films that his face might as well be animatronic – in fact, most of his fighting is done by a CG version of him, and it’s some of the most embarrassingly bad CG that I’ve ever seen onscreen.  Even the dwarves in the barrels appear as blobs of CG color.  Did they dump the entire animation budget into Smaug, spitball this stuff together, and just say “Fuck it; the Ringers won’t notice or care”?  If there’s a chase scene, there are Orcs involved.  If there’s a narrow or dark passage, an Orc is lurking somewhere.  If a new set is introduced, you can bet the Orcs will want to visit it.  If someone is eating a cake, an Orc will pop out.

The overt “prophecy” stuff about the dwarves takes a front seat.  Thorin is supposed to retake Erebor and become King Under the Mountain.  He believes and pursues this without question, even referring to people who might be sacrificed in the wake of this pursuit by their races instead of their names, absolving himself of all blame for their deaths.  He has a scene wherein he becomes not unlike Sean Bean’s Boromir in a fumbling attempt to snatch the Arkenstone.  Here’s the problem: no one in the theatre – and more importantly, not even the lens of the film itself – seems to realize that Thorin is the villain.  He’s the one making all of these bad things happen.  His adventure is putting everyone in danger and bringing back to life a dragon so steadfastly evil that he actually utters the phrase “I am death” – and not even to intimidate anyone; he says it to himself!  Thorin will not succeed in the end, of course, but none of Tolkien’s (nor Jackson’s) narrative remotely suggests that he gets what’s coming to him.

There’s an unbelievable amount of focus on material meant to raise the stakes, but the film falls victim to an ancient blunder: you cannot raise the stakes in a prequel by introducing stuff that has already been resolved in the originals.  Gandalf (Ian McKellan) goes head to head with the Necromancer (Sauron) before getting captured at the end.  Is anyone truly afraid for him?  Similarly, when the One Ring rolls away, is anyone afraid that Bilbo (Martin Freeman) will not retrieve it?  In further distractions, even the barely-relevant Master of Lake Town (Stephen Fry, basically playing himself) has his own scenes with yet another Jackson-invented character, Alfrid (Ryan Gage), who essentially fills the “Wormtongue Lite” role.  Furthermore, an excruciating amount of screentime is devoted to Kili (Aidan Turner), who falls for the flawless Tauriel in much the same way that Gimli becomes infatuated with Galadriel.  But it’s different this time because none of this, including Tauriel, is in the book, and readers know that any nuance or depth concerning Kili’s character doesn’t matter much at the end of the next film anyway.

You’ll notice that I have barely mentioned Bilbo Baggins, the titular Hobbit.  That’s because his role, the essential narrative voice of the novel (albeit told in vintage Tolkien third-person) is relegated to cameo status here.  There were times that the film lingered so long on Orcs and dwarves that I actually forgot about Martin Freeman’s involvement.  He saves the dwarves’ lives more than once, but the profoundness of these feats is never mentioned by anyone (Gandalf at one point chalks everything up to Bilbo not being “the same Hobbit who left the Shire,” and we’re left to accept him as a generic warrior character to go with the other thirteen).

If you’ve made it this far, I’ll say this: Bilbo’s scene with the Mirkwood spiders is very good, and even includes the twisted speech of the spiders, and the horrifying revelation (to those who pay attention) that Bilbo’s desire to keep the ring is more than fairly similar to the spiders’ blind desire to feast on living flesh.  But it’s soon punctuated by yet another unwelcome and noncanon arrival of the Elves, whom Jackson shoved into Helm’s Deep (where they did not belong), and now has them rescue our gang from spiders and Orcs using painfully choreographed bull-shitsu, most of which is animated and not performed by the actors or stuntmen.  The involvement of Gandalf is well done, despite the fact that his trek to Dol Guldur is not shown in the novel, because it’s simple: he wants to check out a suspicious magician whom he (correctly) presumes to be Sauron.  So he joins Radagast (Sylvester McCoy, still covered in bird shit) and heads to the center of the problem.  It’s straightforward and mostly relevant.  Take a guess at whether he fights Orcs, though.

And then there’s Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), a creature so painstakingly created that he took the entire title of the film for himself.  The scene with Smaug is great in the novel not because we see a cool dragon or a battle, but because we see a genuine bit of characterization on the part of Bilbo: due to the Ring’s influence, he begins arrogantly taunting Smaug without even thinking about it.  In the film, he still refers to himself as Riddle Maker and Barrel Rider, but he does it all jittery-like, and both characters react to the other exactly as you’d expect characters in a fantasy movie, and not from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, to react.  The wordplay soon moves aside in favor of a film-invented battle with the dwarves, whom, again, readers know will not succeed in melting Smaug’s indestructible hide with molten gold (although it takes us a half hour to get there before the film abruptly drops us).  Wherever there arises the opportunity for a cliffhanger, there will be one.  Even Legolas’s lakeside duel with Bolg ends in a stalemate.  Smaug, though, is expertly animated and acted, albeit at the expense of the filmmakers’ one true love: the Orcs.  Evangeline Lilly’s involvement is also a welcome breath, adding a feminine energy and voice that the story desperately needs.

The biggest chip I carry is that ever since the original Rings films, I have continuously suspected that Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, reread as they might, have no idea what Tolkien’s books were actually about, and this was Tolkien’s biggest fear and pet peeve when it came to adaptations of his work.  It’s so easy for someone with the money and fanbase of New Line to say that a certain addition is “in the spirit of Tolkien,” when in fact, there was a reason he did not write penis jokes, ten-page battles with Orcs, and a wrestling match atop Mount Doom.  Tolkien’s cultural insensitivity aside, he knew the workings of his own universe.

All things considered, I can say with genuine honesty that I think the final chapter (which should have been this one, considering the amount of taffy-style narrative stretching seen here) will be better in all ways, if we can find our way back to even a single facet of what makes the story resonate – the smallness of it all, the deliberate and unique narrative, the characterization of Bilbo.  Is it an “enjoyable” film?  Yeah, sure.  But as I’ve said, spectacle and entertainment do not make quality art.  Leave the enjoyment to the Wargs.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013); based upon the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien; screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson; directed by Peter Jackson; starring Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman, Evangeline Lilly, and Richard Armitage.

LOST: The End

You have to lift it up.

I suppose I should do this before the mist clears and I have to spend a lot of time away from the only television serial drama I’ve ever followed.  For those who live in a cave or don’t own a TV, ABC’s LOST ended for good this past sunday in a quiet-yet-climactic episode simply titled “The End.”  No matter what you thought of the plot events, especially the end (and I’ve heard some truly savage and thoughtless remarks about it), the episode was well-written, passionately acted, and full of the heart we’ve come to expect from this show and its cast and crew.  

This has generally been a great season, with the vintage LOST sectioned-off storyline patterns (we started at the Temple and moved to the battle against the Man in Black), and the best episodes, “Dr. Linus,” “The Last Recruit” and “The Candidate” were real gems.  

I’ve always loved the show but had my own judgements and observations.  Being a fiction and screenplay writer, my perspective has always been from that of the craft, which Damon, Carlton and the others have not always been too good with.  They’ve introduced multitudes of mysteries and red herrings, leaving a heavy suitcase full of them behind never to be spoken of again.  They’ve killed off great characters for the sake of A) writing themselves out of a hole, B) “cleaning up” the cast because they left themselves with too much material (in the proper style of inexperienced or tired, uninspired writers such as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King), and C) simple shock value.  They’re also guilty of throwing things in without a solution in mind: since the first season they’ve admitted to not having an original idea of what the “Monster” was, the origin of the Others, the mysterious secrets of the Island (including who the skeletons in episode 1.06 were), and who Jacob was.  There are also the cases of irresponsible writing: the character cleanups (rewatch the series and count the mass deaths), continuity errors and contradictions (what was the cabin for?  Who was inside and what was “help me” all about?  If MiB was Christian, how did he appear off-island twice and speak to Vincent?), preposterous things left unexplained (why were the Egyptians, a non-seafaring people, on the island?  Where did they quarry the stone to build the statue and the Temple?  How is the Dharma Initiative still receiving food-drops?), and having a sixteen year-old girl shot in the back of the head after begging for her life.  Yes, D&C could use a few crash-courses in writing (as good as they think they are), but luckily the performances and the direction of Jack Bender/Mario Van Peebles bring the sometimes-clunky scripts to vibrant life.

I respect the writers for burning their bridges at the end of each season, however.  The first time around, the characters were trying to get into the hatch and also build a raft to escape the island.  Both were accomplished in the season 1 finale.  In season 2, we were pushing the button.  At the end, the Swan exploded, so no way they could continue with that.  Season 3 focused mainly on the Others, most of whom die in the season’s climactic ending.  Season 4 featured the flashforwards, the mystery of who was in the coffin, and the battle against the freighter folks.  In the finale, we see Locke in the coffin and the freighter blows up.  Season 5 was Dharma season and involved time travel due to Ben not turning the Man in Black’s wheel hard enough, and in the end the wheel is put back in place and Jack detonates a hydrogen bomb in Dharmaville.  Season six was the end, and it ended.  Taking risks in a narrative is always good, though every package D&C delivered to us was chock-full of extras that didn’t always get resolved.  On one hand, I blame the viewers for latching onto every tiny detail and making a “mystery” of it (somewhat perpetuated by Lostpedia, which kept a record of what everyone was thinking just in case they forgot).

In any case, the series became a phenomenon that has never been seen in television before, and is unlikely to ever be seen again.  The fandom was something out of the Star Wars universe: the vast amounts of fan-designed t-shirts and swag; the internet games between seasons that fans would play just to get the slightest clue of what was to come; the viral videos featuring cast members; the Missing Pieces mobile episodes; the weekly podcasts and contests by both the creators and the fans; the tie-in novels (including the fictional Gary Troup’s ghost-written Bad Twin); the video game (Via Domus)  the musical tributes (see Sonic Weapon Fence).

LOST was at its best during the first three seasons, which focused on the interior development of the characters, relevant  flashbacks, and creative approaches to directing.  After the third season we moved in the science fiction and mythology direction, which was engaging in and of itself but simply did not fit a character-driven narrative.  The best material was in season 1, when we didn’t know what was coming and the most incredible revelations had to do with the characters’ personal lives (see 1.04, “Walkabout,” when Locke’s paralysis is revealed).  The premiere of season 4, entitled “The Beginning of the End,” was just that.  The story departed from character flashbacks and took a sharp turn toward violence, convoluted mythology, and fast-paced narrative.  Season 6 attempted to bring back the season 1 way of doing things, recalling the character reunion moments and revisiting the original beach camp where our survivors first met.  It was a truly inspired choice, and I retain my claim that “Dr. Linus” is the best episode of the final season.  Throughout the series the performances of Terry O’Quinn (Locke), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Michael Emerson (Ben), Emilie de Ravin (Claire), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), Matthew Fox (Jack), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond) and several others have brought the show to all-new highs as far as expressing fear and passion, and I can’t imagine spending time in the dazzling world of this show without them.  

Michael Giacchino’s score is an integral part of the series’ lifeblood, and as the show goes on it becomes an organic piece of the story as though it’s invisible, not soundtrack music but a subtle (yet essential) piece of every scene.  One of the most amazing instances occurs in season 3’s finale, “Through the Looking Glass,” during Charlie’s sacrifice.  I can’t say how many times I’ve seen that episode and it still makes me rather misty.

I kept hearing the words “satisfied” and “explanations” thrown around in the weeks leading up to the series finale.  If you were upset or dissatisfied with the ending, it’s more or less because you planned on being upset or dissatisfied.  Even at the beginning of this season, I heard comments such as “They’re going to let a lot of people down this season.”  Nothing could have satisfied some viewers, even if they had written it themselves.  During the LOST-themed shindig I attended, shivers and tears crept upon me during certain scenes.  The climactic battle between Jack and Locke, the reappearance of Christian Shephard and the near-assurance that he wasn’t MiB, and most of all, the final moments of Jack lying in the bamboo forest, nurtured lovingly by Vincent in his final moments.  On one hand, the whole “moving on” ending with the characters in the church seems like the coward’s way out (i.e. leaving it open to interpretation and thus alienating less viewers), but there’s something almost beautiful about it.  Many dismiss it as the characters all being dead and waiting up for each other before moving onto their respective afterlives (as indicated by the different religious icons, and notably the island-moving wheel, on the stained-glass window).  That didn’t occur to me, but I won’t share my theory here unless someone really wants to read it.  In any case, it was great to see the entire cast together again, and the moment the final title came up after realizing the entire six years had happened in the blink of an eye… heavy. Just heavy.  I actually felt sad.  Probably too sad considering it’s a television show, but I invested a good amount of time and energy into it.  Matthew Fox’s portrayal of Jack Shephard, while all the while knowing his character’s fate, should serve as an inspiration to television actors and anyone involved in a serial project.

For posterity, I’ll share my top episodes.  “The Moth”: the story of Charlie’s life with Driveshaft, addiction to heroin and his redemption on the Island with the aid of John Locke, who creates a wonderful (if convenient) metaphor about a moth breaking through its pupal casing; “Tricia Tanaka is Dead”: The reveal of Hurley’s ultimate bad luck due to the numbers and his acceptance that he must “make his own luck” in life – this episode also contains some of the most lighthearted and feel-good moments of the series; “Par Avion”: Claire’s most important story, in which her mother is rendered comatose due to Claire totaling the car the two of them are riding in.  On-island, Claire deals with Charlie’s depression and Desmond’s secrets while attempting to capture tagged seagulls; “Man of Science, Man of Faith”: the premiere of season 2 in which Jack performs an impossible spinal surgery on a woman he later marries, and he meets Desmond while running a tour de stat in an abandoned stadium; “Outlaws;” Sawyer believes a troublesome island-dwelling boar is the reincarnation of a man he murdered in Australia.  He and Kate bond as outcasts while on an all-night hunt.   

From the very human relationships to the literature/film references to the late nights of theory-spinning with good friends, this show has taken us for a whirl.  Now, like the beached castaways waving to the crew of the raft in the first season, I must bid LOST a fond farewell.  I look forward to seeing how its legacy will live on and how it will inspire future entertainment, as well as the places this phenomenal ensemble cast will go.  

Good luck, brother.  See you in another life, yeah?