Full circle. I'm back in the year 2000, I'm back in graduate school, I'm back before Bush v. Gore and before September 11th, I'm back to when it was just Melissa and me and a couple of tiny tykes, I'm back to working at Borders and riding the Metro. I'm back to when the only things on the future horizon that really seemed to matter at all were 1) finishing the dissertation, 2) finding a teaching job that could support the family, and 3) waiting for the most important Geek Film ever. Eleven years later, it looks like I'll be someday be able to at least do the last of those once again.
Look at them! Peter Jackson, no longer a fat scruffy hobbit, but still every bit the whimsical, grown-up wunderkind of New Zealand. Look close at the crowds and backgrounds, and spot storyboard artists and make-up folks which the more obsessive among us can remember from all the bonus features on the extended editions, years ago. Look at Richard Armitage, and see the good-hearted, formal pomposity of Thorin Oakenshield in his welcoming words; look at Martin Freeman, trooping along and taking his turn in a wonderfully dorky and Bilbo-ish suit jacket. And Ian McKellan, of course, taking it all in stride--after all, he's been here before. And so have we, haven't we?