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A Good Article about the Hobbit Film


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#1 lleimmoen

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:34 AM

http://www.huffingto..._b_2342591.html

Above is the link to a very good article about the Hobbit movie. It writes about how little the critics actually know of Tolkien, and sometimes of films, also.

For my perspective, when I saw the LotR trilogy, I loved it as a film, especially the Fellowship was a real treat and a great emotional journey. But for me the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is way superior as an adaptation. It really stays much closer to the original material (especially as intended by Tolkien in his latter days when he went to write the Quest for Erebor). And it does not have any of the previous misahap of the likes of the Army of the Dead or Denethor being simply mad. Even as a film, it has a better acting with Freeman being a much more enjoyable Hobbit than any of the former movies (perhaps safe Ian Holm himself) and Richard Armitage seems a perfect Thorin as his character becomes a beautiful mix of Aragorn and Boromir - in its tragic majesty. As a Tolkien nerd of sorts, I could not recommend the movie more.



#2 Raven1015

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:26 AM

A very interesting article, I'm glad you posted it, as it one that could spark a lot of conversations and debate. Let me preface this by saying that overall I enjoyed The Hobbit and have been itching to watch it again. However, there were a few things that rankled me. My partner saw it with me. She loved The Lord of the Rings movies despite her not being a Tolkien reader or much of a fantasy fan, and overall liked The Hobbit as well, but saw it as not being of the same quality as the LOTR trilogy. Interestingly, she said what bothered her were all these different pieces included that felt like allusions to material that she hadn't read but yet weren't explained very well for the non-Tolkien fan. I, on the other hand, being very familiar with the source material, liked some of these inclusions but was bothered by some of the substantial changes to the story as told in the book. So I think the article's idea that those who are critical of the movie do so from a place of not understanding Tolkien is a bit simplistic. 

Some of my big beefs are (I have smaller beefs like Radagast's depiction, Azog's inclusion, etc.):

* Thorin in the book is a bit of a jerk really. Greedy, at times mean-spirited, and not really the heroic or altruistic kind. By contrast, Thorin in the movie seems to be the very definition of a hero, albeit with some heavily emphasized character flaws (hates elves, distrusts Bilbo, etc.). In the book, his primary motive is to regain treasure. In the movie, his quest is a more noble one to regain his homeland. I understand why the change was made for the film. I just wonder if it takes away from some of what Tolkien intended for the character.

* The Dwarves become mighty warriors in the film. In the book, they aren't really. If you think about it, they make it through their journey largely either because of Gandalf or Bilbo. Trolls - Gandalf, Goblin caves - Gandalf, Spiders - Bilbo, Imprisonment - Bilbo, Smaug - Bard, Battle of Five Armies - Gandalf/Beorn/Eagles. Granted, they do take up arms at the end of the book in the big battles, but we see very little of them actually fighting in that instance. In the movie, despite them saying that they are not great warriors at the beginning, they sure seem that way when decimating hundreds of goblins in that escape scene. Again, I understand why the change was made. Perhaps it makes for better cinema. But I think Tolkien specifically intended for them not to be warriors. In fact, they are a little bit hapless in general (they never stopped to think about how they were going to actually steal the treasure or get rid of Smaug until they got there!). Does it take away from Tolkien's message/theme/story a bit to make them fearsome and semi-invincible warriors?

Anyway, I guess my bigger point is that Tolkien fans may be critical of the movie for changing the source material, rather than staying too close to it (as the article argues). And usually I hate to give film critics any support, but I think they are justified in judging the movie on its own merits as a film and experience rather than having to know the ins and outs of Tolkien. Again, as I said, I overall have a positive feeling towards the film but can also harbor some substantial criticisms as well.


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#3 lleimmoen

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:25 AM

I saw it with my partner also. She is not a geek, only know of Tolkien through myself. She liked the LotR movies but found them rather long, The Hobbit on the other hand, when it was over, she wondered if it really were nigh three hours. From my perspective also, I find the criticism of pacing the most absurd of all, the movie flew by very quickly in my opinion, certainly much quicker than many movies such critics usually praise.

I totally agree about Thorin. Except at times, and especially at the very end, Thorin of the book is not nearly as interesting as the portrayal in the movie. I really think, as the article mentions, this is close to the version Tolkien would have written, had he written it after the LotR.

As for the extra stuff, it is really mostly all there in the apendices, some of it is altered, like Azog instead of Bolg but I think each directer deserves some liberty and if one thinks about it, and compares it to usual alternations or changes in other adaptations, this is really the smallest imaginable change.

The one disadvantage the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has compared to the likes of the Fellowship of the Ring, it does not feel as a finished movie. The LotR films were really good at having a great climax, despite being the end of the story. I do not mind this one bit but I see that some people have problems with that; they should understand, however, that this is only part of the story. I think it will be wonderful to see all three movies at once - if one finds time for that. And as for the epic emotional scenes that were present in the LotR movies and were sort of missing in the first part of the Hobbit; well, they sure are coming in the latter volumes, and I can hardly wait to see them.



#4 CJMatos

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:04 AM

Azog should never be at the movie. Only someone who does not know nothing about tolkien work could put him there.

 

He was killed 90 years before Bilbo was born…

 

I liked the film as a film. As an adaptation, it lack some serious strengh and follow very differently from the book.

 

The Trolls being fighted till the end???? No sacking the dwarfs?

 

Bilbo letting himself drop behind? And it was before Gandalf kill the Great Goblin?

 

Sorry but as an adaptation this film is a bit rubish…


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#5 TheDisturbed1

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

@ lleimmoen: I dont agree with peoples criticism of the film not feeling like a complete movie, compared to Fellowship. H:TUJ ended with the party on top of the eagle eyrie, looking out at the Lonely Mountain. Fellowship ended with Frodo and Sam standing near a cliff, looking towards Mordor and Mt Doom. Neither of them seem like the end of a single story, as they obviously arent. They are just convenient resting places to leave the audience hanging til the enxt installment begins. 

 

@ CJMatos: *Spoiler warning*…..but the dwarves did wind up in sacks at one point. I'm not entirely sure what your comments pertain to specifically, though it's been a few weeks since I've seen the movie.



#6 TheDisturbed1

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:49 AM

@ lleimmoen: I dont agree with peoples criticism of the film not feeling like a complete movie, compared to Fellowship. H:TUJ ended with the party on top of the eagle eyrie, looking out at the Lonely Mountain. Fellowship ended with Frodo and Sam standing near a cliff, looking towards Mordor and Mt Doom. Neither of them seem like the end of a single story, as they obviously arent. They are just convenient resting places to leave the audience hanging til the enxt installment begins.

 

Edit: my point is, really, who cares? Tolkien's work is obviously hard to adapt, that much should be clear. I dont understand why people have to nitpick about stuff like that. harry Potter 7.1 didnt have a complete feel to it because it wasnt the entire book. I imagine Twilight fans feel the same about movie 4.1 of their favored franchise. Why do people complain about this kind of thing? (I'm not saying you are, I understand you were just making an observation. I am just commenting on the observation)

 

@ CJMatos: *Spoiler warning*…..but the dwarves did wind up in sacks at one point. I'm not entirely sure what your comments pertain to specifically, though it's been a few weeks since I've seen the movie.



#7 lleimmoen

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:02 AM

CJMatos said:

Azog should never be at the movie. Only someone who does not know nothing about tolkien work could put him there.

He was killed 90 years before Bilbo was born…

I liked the film as a film. As an adaptation, it lack some serious strengh and follow very differently from the book.

The Trolls being fighted till the end???? No sacking the dwarfs?

Bilbo letting himself drop behind? And it was before Gandalf kill the Great Goblin?

Sorry but as an adaptation this film is a bit rubish…

Wow, not sure whether you even understand the word adaptation, it certainly does not mean to film every word in the book exactly as it is. I certainly can imagine how rubbish that would be.

As for your first line, you surely cannot mean that. I do not know how big your knowledge of the Tolkien stuff is, probably quite big, but mine is also and I certainly would put him in there. I find it quite anti-climactic as the story is, where the Defiler gets killed right away, it adds a lot to have him live on and keep being a menace. "Every good story deserves embellishment." And it is easy to see that Jackson knows his Tolkien quite well, as he often touches on stuff found in Silmarillion or the History of Middle-earth.



#8 lleimmoen

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

TheDisturbed1 said:

@ lleimmoen: I dont agree with peoples criticism of the film not feeling like a complete movie, compared to Fellowship. H:TUJ ended with the party on top of the eagle eyrie, looking out at the Lonely Mountain. Fellowship ended with Frodo and Sam standing near a cliff, looking towards Mordor and Mt Doom. Neither of them seem like the end of a single story, as they obviously arent. They are just convenient resting places to leave the audience hanging til the enxt installment begins. 

There you have it. Yet it is one of the usual complaints. I certainly do not find it a problem but I at least see where the people are coming from, unlike when they criticise the pacing or when they say the singing at Bag End took forever (actually one of the so-called top critics said that) and it took around 3 minutes in total (for two songs). You can see these people often just try to show off - somehow, yet it escapes me how readers can take them seriously.

The only one thing in which I find the LotR movies superior (though only slightly) is the emotional impact. But as I said, I believe the latter installments will bring just that. [Spoiler ahead] I think Thorin's parting with Bilbo will be very moving (as it is indeed in the book).



#9 Raven1015

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

Well, I guess it all comes down to how much we expect Jackson to stay faithful to the actual text of The Hobbit. In general, there are always changes made in adaptations, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the director and scriptwriters. What's subjective is how much each of us values faithfulness to the text. For the most part, I can forgive Jackson's liberties in LOTR and The Hobbit and come away with an overall positive experience, despite some of them sitting uneasily with me (and this is as true of the LOTR movies as it is of The Hobbit). Talking about just The Hobbit, we want to see the movie reflect the book because it is dear to us and we want to see what we read up on the screen, and maybe also because we worry about Tolkien's intentions or vision for characters and themes being changed (with him not being alive to have a say about it). That's why I brought up the changes to Thorin, and the dwarves being depicted as fearsome warriors. Tolkien may have rewrote Thorin as more heroic, then again he may not have and maybe Thorin being a bit unlikable was part of what made his realization at the end of the book more poignant.  

On the other hand, there are considerations that come into making good movies that conflict with how you write books. For instance, I will probably be flayed alive for saying this, and The Hobbit has a very special place in my heart reading it many times as a kid, but in some parts it is not very well-written. Reading it more recently, it is astonishing at how fast the narrative moves (I understand it is in many ways a kid's book, but still). The big baddie, Smaug, who is built up as a nigh-invincible foe, has a couple of very brief scenes in the book and then is quickly dispatched with one arrow. I wouldn't be suprised, in fact I very much hope, Jackson does make changes in that case because that would make some very anti-climactic cinema. Then again, you could say that it is a bit more realistic or thematic that Smaug is not killed by these hapless dwarfs and a small Hobbit but by his own pride/vanity and a more heroic (lucky?) character - Bard. Where is the line between making changes that make the story play better on film and fundamentally altering the spirit of the story? That is a very hard line to walk.


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#10 Alex6222

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

I'm with you Raven about Smaug. He does appear very little and gets killed very anti-climatic. I think PJ will still have Bard killing Smaug with his Black Arrow but some more fighting would happen first (or at least i expect more fighting with Smaug happens).



#11 CJMatos

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:01 PM

TheDisturbed1 said:

@ CJMatos: *Spoiler warning*…..but the dwarves did wind up in sacks at one point. I'm not entirely sure what your comments pertain to specifically, though it's been a few weeks since I've seen the movie.

 

@ I know that. What I wanted to mean (maybe poorly expressed) is that they all do not fight until day light comes up. In the book, they all were sacked and save by Gandalf playing with the trolls voices. That could be on the movie.

 

 

lleimmoen said:

 

Wow, not sure whether you even understand the word adaptation, it certainly does not mean to film every word in the book exactly as it is. I certainly can imagine how rubbish that would be.

As for your first line, you surely cannot mean that. I do not know how big your knowledge of the Tolkien stuff is, probably quite big, but mine is also and I certainly would put him in there. I find it quite anti-climactic as the story is, where the Defiler gets killed right away, it adds a lot to have him live on and keep being a menace. "Every good story deserves embellishment." And it is easy to see that Jackson knows his Tolkien quite well, as he often touches on stuff found in Silmarillion or the History of Middle-earth.

 

I understand the word quite well. The translation word in my language is adaptação. And they meant the same. What I wanted to say is that adding characters that Tolkien himself (in his writings) says are dead by the time the story unfolds seems a bit pushy.

 

If it was some other Orc that was given a higher role (without mentioning his name) I wouldn't have any problem with it. But using a character from the lore of middle-earth that was dead by the time the story unfolds, hm….

I understand that Jackson wanted to strenghten the story with a character that was linked to Thorin's family (after all Azog killed Thorin's grandfather). But that is not sufficient to me to put a "dead character" as the villain of the movie. Even more because he choosed to show some images (interpreted and modified) from the battle in which Azog was killed.

This could be the same as to put Gilraen in Aragorn's coronation…. 

 

Other thing: Putting Thorin fighting Azog in that battle to show how he gain the nickname Oakenshield, I accept. But Dain Ironfoot could be in too, because he was the killer of Azog…

 

If he had choosen to show Azog killing Thror and didn't showed the Battle of Azanulbizar, probably i didn't had problem with it. But this way, doesn't enter in me… For me it is too much embellishment.

As embellishment, I had no problem to see Haldir in the Battle of Helm's Deep, although no Elves were there apart Legolas; or Arwen in the place of Glorfindel in the Fellowship escaping from the Nazgul;

 

Nevertheless I will see the other two films with the same expectation that i went to this… but we are all free to give our opinion and that is what i did.

 

@Raven: certainly that Smaug will get a bigger role on the movies… But remember that The Hobbit was written as a children book. And we all know how hard is to put children to read an entire book. It has to be swift, especially in the end (they are bore at that time)..


Carlos José Matos


#12 Nerdmeister

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

@CJMatos: PJ addresses the matter of Azog being dead by having Thorin be convinced that he was slain in that battle. This way, to me at least, the stories being told in middle earth about Azog being vanquished can still hold true. It is just the stories themselves that are based on a misconception.

Including Azog is IMO a very pleasent surprise that makes sense in the greater scheme of the story as it unfolds later. Now the anymosity from the goblins isn´t just something that started when the great goblin is slain but is an underlying plot line, that makes sense.

Oh and speaking of the great goblin: though I liked the most parts of the encounter with the goblins under the misty mountains, I think the death of the great goblin was done in a manner that could have been taken a bit more serious.

(paraphrasing)

"Now what are you going to do?"

Gandalf slashes the great goblin

"Oh yeah you could do that"

…. I mean… come on :P



#13 Dam

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:51 PM

CJMatos said:

If it was some other Orc that was given a higher role (without mentioning his name) I wouldn't have any problem with it. But using a character from the lore of middle-earth that was dead by the time the story unfolds, hm….

I understand that Jackson wanted to strenghten the story with a character that was linked to Thorin's family (after all Azog killed Thorin's grandfather). But that is not sufficient to me to put a "dead character" as the villain of the movie. Even more because he choosed to show some images (interpreted and modified) from the battle in which Azog was killed.

Other thing: Putting Thorin fighting Azog in that battle to show how he gain the nickname Oakenshield, I accept. But Dain Ironfoot could be in too, because he was the killer of Azog…

If he had choosen to show Azog killing Thror and didn't showed the Battle of Azanulbizar, probably i didn't had problem with it. But this way, doesn't enter in me… For me it is too much embellishment.

As embellishment, I had no problem to see Haldir in the Battle of Helm's Deep, although no Elves were there apart Legolas; or Arwen in the place of Glorfindel in the Fellowship escaping from the Nazgul;

Above covers some of my issues, except the last bit, both were stupid, not sure which one was stupider, although that whole Arwen-angle was also annoying as well as stupid, so maybe that one.

Leaving Azog alive (or as some have suggested, being raised from the dead by the Necromancer) just allowed the filmmakers to add in the stupid, pointless orc-out-for-vengeance/chase angle. Having us see any orcs before the reached the Misty Mountains (fighting them no less with Wargs), meh. Whole flashback to the Battle of Azalnubizar rubbed me wrong, Thorin getting his nickname part probably the one thing I could agree with. Where was Dain, why was Thror (or was it Thrain that was killed in the movie) there? Nothing about Dain (or anyone) going up to the door to Moria and seeing the shadow within.

Glamdring and Orcrist not glowing, annoying, but okay. But Bilbo charging Azog and his Warg and doing a better job than any of the dwarves, come on! Even with my hobbit-hate, that's too much. Of course, the whole scene would've been left out except Azog had to be included. 

Both times the Elves showed up pissed me. Whole coming to check the burning of Dale and Erebor and leaving, why are you even there? So ****ing unnecessary! But even worse somehow was the fight before Rivendell. Seriously, Elves are allowing Orcs to escape? What is this crap!? You know there were within feet of finding the secret entrance? Come on!

I feel like splitting the book into three movies was the root the issue, makers just had to add too much stuff and dragging scenes, when splitting it into just two movies would've tightened the whole experience.

Less said about Radagast Binks the better.


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#14 CJMatos

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:31 AM

Nerdmeister said:

@CJMatos: PJ addresses the matter of Azog being dead by having Thorin be convinced that he was slain in that battle. This way, to me at least, the stories being told in middle earth about Azog being vanquished can still hold true. It is just the stories themselves that are based on a misconception.

Including Azog is IMO a very pleasent surprise that makes sense in the greater scheme of the story as it unfolds later. Now the anymosity from the goblins isn´t just something that started when the great goblin is slain but is an underlying plot line, that makes sense.

 

PJ addresses the dead of Azog by having Thorin be convinced that he was slain in that battle, but then shows Azog at the fire and even before. So IMO PJ enters in contradition inside the movie… And that is what upsets me in the movie, the fact that he choosed a character that was dead for 100+ years…

 

If the intention was showing the anymosity between goblins and dwarfs, then it was better to make the first film about the coming of Smaug to the Lonely Mountain (Erebor) and the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.

Then make 2nd film the first part of Hobbit (either Transport to Carrock or Entering Mirkwood) and 3rd film about the rest.

 

Splash here and there the White Council and the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, Gandalf entering Dol Guldur and finding Thrain and IMO you have a winning triology.

 

The great problem was only this:

- In LotR, PJ had 3 books to fit in 3 films and of course could not put all;

- In Hobbit, he has only 1 bookt (sufficient to 2 films) and wanted to explain some things that were implied in the book and later explained in LotR books (Gandalf absent during some phases of the journey, rivalry between dwarfs and orc/goblins). In sum, PJ was a litlle bit ambitious as toi what should be on the movie(s)…

 

About Bilbo being more fearless than the dwarfs, in the book, if i recall it right, it only happens in Mirkwood, not before…

 

Radagast: PJ needed in the film one character the was the clown, to give people some laughting.

It was the same on LotR 2nd and 3rd film with Gimli. Remeber start of Two Towers with Gimli rolling down beyond Aragorn and Legolas or in Return of the King, when they decide to go to the Black Gate….

 

My hope is that he stick more to the book in the upcoming two films… I wonder how it will be in Thranduil's palace…

 


Carlos José Matos


#15 Nerdmeister

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:22 AM

One could argue that Bilbo shows fearlessness in the encounter with the trolls when he tries to pick their pockets. Or in the cave with Gollum where he has to keep his composure despite the risk of ending on the dinner plate



#16 just Logan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:15 PM

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#17 just Logan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:15 PM

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