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Felswrath

Peter Jackson's The Dwarf

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Pretty meh in general. There were some great moments, and also some cringe-worthy ones. Nowhere near as excellent as the movie version of LOTR. You can tell it was production hell for Peter Jackson, and that he was never really on top of things, always rushing and stretching the movies as long as he could.

Edited by Gizlivadi

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Yah, I really admire PJ for making lotr movies even though I am not a HUGE fan because of inaccuracy and such (that is just due to the fact that no one can replecate tolkien perfectly) but I think that he missed almost completely when in comes to the hobbit.  It just sucked.  Not even from a tolkien nerd perspective, but from a film perspective.  It was made to be a thriller, but had very few moments of thrill.  Its character developement was poor.  There were moments in all three movies when I almost fell asleep.  No offence, but as I already said, it just sucked. I hate to rant but theres a lot to rant about.  After seeing the first to films, I thought, "this isn't that good, but it does have moments for tolkien in it and has some epic moments and some cool songs."  But after I left the theater from watching the third one, I thought to my self, "after seeing this I think tolkien would have destroyed all remnents of the tails of Arda he had ever righten.  It just was a crappy move, the capstone of a crappy series.

Edited by SauronTheGreat

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They went progressively downhill.  The first one was a passable adaptation into film, and Martin Freeman made a very good Bilbo.  The riddle contest was done well, and that's a bit that is hard to translate into a visual medium.  But there was such an emphasis on spectacle and just over the top silliness that the movies as a set failed to resonate with me.  I have only seen the extended edition from the first one, and actually I liked what was added (some extra time to the White Council, some more culture clash between the elves and dwarves at Rivendell, more conversation with the Goblin King...).

 

The good scenes in the second and third movies are few and far between, and separated by a lot of cartoonish noise that is boring to watch.

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I liked the Hobbit movies more than most. There are certainly some substantial flaws, especially as you get to the third film, but overall I enjoyed them as films and basically an alternate version of The Hobbit. Thorin's character arc especially was compelling to me, and when they actually stopped to do character moments and conversations, it was great. I just wished they would have done that more.

 

If you're interested, we did a whole episode talking about the films on our LOTR LCG podcast.  You can check it out here.

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Excellent cast, can hardly imagine better. Both Serkis and Cumberbatch had their great moments. Riddles in the Dark and Inside Information perhaps the best two scenes. Freeman was perfect throughout, McKellen just as before, Armitage wonderful too.

 

Great quiet moments, especially in the Journey, and some very warm ones in Battle, the parting of Bilbo and Thorin was one of the most emotional scenes.

 

Personally, I would like more Beorn, less orcs but Azog was a very good addition. It could have been shorter, perhaps two movies would be better but I enjoyed stuff from the book not being cut (unlike in the Rings). The ending of Journey was actually perfect, and it would be hard to find a good ending for the first movie if they were only two.

 

Just like Return, it could have had less outrageous stuff but that is Jackson. He just likes that kind of stuff, and I can live with it given the tremendous adaptations otherwise.

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Excellent cast, can hardly imagine better. Both Serkis and Cumberbatch had their great moments. Riddles in the Dark and Inside Information perhaps the best two scenes. Freeman was perfect throughout, McKellen just as before, Armitage wonderful too.

 

Great quiet moments, especially in the Journey, and some very warm ones in Battle, the parting of Bilbo and Thorin was one of the most emotional scenes.

 

Personally, I would like more Beorn, less orcs but Azog was a very good addition. It could have been shorter, perhaps two movies would be better but I enjoyed stuff from the book not being cut (unlike in the Rings). The ending of Journey was actually perfect, and it would be hard to find a good ending for the first movie if they were only two.

 

Just like Return, it could have had less outrageous stuff but that is Jackson. He just likes that kind of stuff, and I can live with it given the tremendous adaptations otherwise.

I know most Tolkien fans would see this as sacrilege, but I think Rank and Bass did a better adaptation.

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I barely survived watching the theatrical releases.  there's no way I'd watch the extended versions.

From what I heard, the extended versions were actually better than the theatrical versions because the stuff they added actually helped to fix the pacing a bit and increase the signal to noise ratio. Like, all that ridiculous stuff is still in there, but it makes up a smaller percent of the movie overall so it feels like a better watch.

 

I haven't seen the extended versions myself yet, though, so take it for what it's worth.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing someone fan-edit the three films down into two movies--I wonder how good that could be.

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I do not mind very much what other Tolkien fans think. I mean I can understand (up to a point), and certainly tolerate differences in taste, as everybody should.

 

How I wish things were done differently, but actually more often in the Rings than in the Hobbit. There I was really bothered by Denethor's plain madness (as opposed to its colourful description in the books), Army of the Dead taking away much of the previous heroism of the Battle on the Pellenor Fields, or indeed the absence of Tom Bombadil and especially Gildor and Glorfindel. But I understand the immense difficulty of such adaptation -- or can imagine parts of it. In a similar sense, I really wish there was less Legolas (though I liked him a lot) in the Hobbit, and more Beorn (though there is not much more of him in the book itself), especially him getting rid of Bolg, for instance. And I wish the whole thing was a bit darker, more in the style of the Fellowship of the Ring, which I too find the best of the six movies. But I am so grateful I could experience these on the big screen. And it only enhances on my personal journey through Middle-earth (taking nothing away from the source material).

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I barely survived watching the theatrical releases.  there's no way I'd watch the extended versions.

From what I heard, the extended versions were actually better than the theatrical versions because the stuff they added actually helped to fix the pacing a bit and increase the signal to noise ratio. Like, all that ridiculous stuff is still in there, but it makes up a smaller percent of the movie overall so it feels like a better watch.

 

I haven't seen the extended versions myself yet, though, so take it for what it's worth.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing someone fan-edit the three films down into two movies--I wonder how good that could be.

The extended versions do make the films flow better - they didn't just add footage, there's a bunch of re editing going on. There are websites that do a scene by scene comparison of the changes, if you want to know.

I've heard that fan edits do exist, but I've not seen any of them.

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                                                                   <Spoiler Alert>

 

I barely survived watching the theatrical releases.  there's no way I'd watch the extended versions.

From what I heard, the extended versions were actually better than the theatrical versions because the stuff they added actually helped to fix the pacing a bit and increase the signal to noise ratio. Like, all that ridiculous stuff is still in there, but it makes up a smaller percent of the movie overall so it feels like a better watch.

 

I haven't seen the extended versions myself yet, though, so take it for what it's worth.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing someone fan-edit the three films down into two movies--I wonder how good that could be.

 

In my opinion the 2nd was really the only one that benefited more than was ruined by deleted scenes.

 

The first adds "great stuff" like the dwarves skinny-dipping in a fountain in Rivendell and the goblin King singing some weird rock version of Goblin Town. The only scene that I thought was a benefit was having Fili say that the girl elves are not bad looking setting up for the next two movies (and yes I hated that romance).

 

The second added some great scenes to both Beorn (who felt super rushed in the theatrical cut) and Mirkwood which I hated in the theatrical cut.

 

The third only benefited from one short scene in which an orc tries to cut Narya from Gandalf's hand in Dul Guldur. Gandalf getting the staff he has in Fellowship felt shoe horned in, and almost everything else felt stupid and over the top. The Extended cut left be feeling in the words of Balin, "I'm too old for this."

Edited by Felswrath

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While I enjoyed the movies as entertainment, I was very disappointed that Jackson turned a light hearted adventure into an action movie. I haven't bothered with the extended editions, because I want the abbreviated edition. Sadly, that's in contrast to the LotR movies, which were great with relatively little embellishment.

I haven't seen the Tolkien edit version yet, but I suspect that would be more my speed.

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Just watched the extended edition of Desolation of Smaug, as things would have it, and I agree with Felswrath that Beorn and Mirkwood were way better in the extended edition.  Also was it just me or were some of the silly action sequences actually reduced? I felt like the weird barrel spinning action with Bombur went much longer in the theatrical release.

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I really liked the first one but was a bit on the fence for the last two. In general, I like almost all the deviations from the book in theory but thought the excecution was often terrible. A dwarf-elf romance? Sure why not, just look at how Gimli and Galadriel interacted or read the Beren and Luthien part of the Silmarilion and write something similar. Instead they wrote something about Kili's *****. No human could have written that scene and thought it was acceptable so I suspect they used a Hollywood automated-script-writer.

 

But I like a lot of the world-building they did, especially with the extended scenes. Keeping Azog alive so the Battle of Five armies doesn't come out of nowere, emphesizing the link between LotR and the Hobbit, showing what Gandalf was up too, letting Thorin actually have a plan when he arrives at the lonely mountain, all good ideas in theory.

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I think these movies mainly suffered from something of an identity crisis.

 

The original source material was a very light-hearted children’s story told in an almost fairy-tale-esque style. The studio wanted a PG-13 fantasy action trilogy to sell tickets to the lucrative, younger-skewing action crowd. And Peter Jackson (and, I think, a large portion of the original trilogy's fans) wanted a thematic and tonal prequel to Jackson’s previous Lord of the Rings films.

 

And in trying to be all of those things, the films didn’t quite succeed on being any of them. The movies were too long and too focused on world-building (the stirring of the enemy and the set-up for the War of the Ring, Legolas and the politics of the elves and dwarves, the corruption of Saruman, etc) to be a light and breezy adventure tale and yet still maintained too much of that zaniness to be a serious LotRs prequel in tone. Action scenes dragged on ad nauseam to further clutter the run-time and little time was found for quieter moments between the characters (partially do to added plot-lines—like the romance--likely included to pad out a three-movie release). And that is before we even talk about the action-scene composition that was clearly meant for 3D viewing and is terrible in every single movie that does it. Case in point: the barrel scene.

 

It was a mess.

 

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of good in the movies. As someone who is not a particular Tolkeen fan, I didn’t mind the diversion from the main plot of the hobbit to further the world-building and I found a lot of it interesting (it just didn’t fit the tone/pacing of the rest of the movie). Some of the special effects were also very well done (though the abandonment of practical effects for things like the orcs and goblins was stupid). And Bilbo and several of the company were wonderfully cast.

 

But as a whole…I just don’t think it works too well. 

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Huge disappointment for me. Cannot even compare to LOTR movies. The awkward thing is that there are very good moments in the Hobbit. But overall the movies felt cheapened, rushed, dispirited.

 

Still... it was a feast to see Middle-earth again! Such a shame it didn't work out in the end as a whole. 

 

What I liked:

- Gandalf - perfection. 

- Bilbo - was very skeptical of Martin Freeman, but he nailed it. He is likable, relatable, and hobbitsy enough. More of him and less of distracting b-s would do these films a lot of good.

- Thranduil - that voice ("...Such is the nature of evil"). A very interesting character. Pompous, proud, bad-ass, powerful. And distinct enough from other elf-characters in PJ's movies. 

- Battle of Azanulbizar. Very grim, emotional. That feel of victory bought very dearly. None of the action scenes later lived up to that fight.

- Smaug's scene with Bilbo.

- Riddles in the Dark.

 

What I hated:

- Kili & She-elf love story - absolutely unbelievable, weird, pointless. It also cheapened the character of Tauriel. She was cool enough on her own, but her role was reduced mainly to a dwarf romance. Oh, and we already have a good elf-dwarf abridging in Gimli and Legolas. Why do the same thing again?

- Overuse of CGI - green screens, green screens everywhere. Battles seemed like a cartoon. Dain's dwarfs particularly seemed like one character copy-pasted for infiity.

- Idiotic action-sequences: Legolas' antics, go-pro barrel ride, pointless battles and fights ad nauseam. Ridiculous earth-worms and trolls.

- Alfrid and his slasptick, cringe-worthy jokes.

 

I have to stop here. Going on makes me angry, and sad. 

 

Yet, I will watch it again. There is a fan-edit to be found on-line. The three movies are compressed into one 3-hour flick, apparently cut to be as faithful to original story as possible. Might be good.

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I know most Tolkien fans would see this as sacrilege, but I think Rank and Bass did a better adaptation.

Agree!  And I'm a huge Tolkien fan.  As far as adaptations go, I'd say it knocked the atmosphere out of the park.  I'd like to have seen Beorn and better visual design on the elves, but short of making it a 3-hour movie, it was pretty amazing and edited very smartly for its short runtime.  And it is much more kid-friendly than Jackson's messes.  I still play the music for my kids.

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There is another fan edit which came out recently, which condenses the trilogy into a four hour movie. It might not be quite as faithful as the three hour edit, but it's much more faithful than the trilogy and the cinematic pacing is very well done: it very rarely feels like a fan edit. You can find it at www.maple-films.com/the-hobbit-fan-edit/

 

The battle of Azanulbizar is not included in the four hour edit, but Dustin Lee (the fan editor) also made a one hour "appendices" film which includes it. It focuses on the dwarves' back story and on The White Council's mission to Dol Guldur.

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Huge disappointment for me. Cannot even compare to LOTR movies. The awkward thing is that there are very good moments in the Hobbit. But overall the movies felt cheapened, rushed, dispirited.

 

Still... it was a feast to see Middle-earth again! Such a shame it didn't work out in the end as a whole. 

 

What I liked:

- Gandalf - perfection. 

- Bilbo - was very skeptical of Martin Freeman, but he nailed it. He is likable, relatable, and hobbitsy enough. More of him and less of distracting b-s would do these films a lot of good.

- Thranduil - that voice ("...Such is the nature of evil"). A very interesting character. Pompous, proud, bad-ass, powerful. And distinct enough from other elf-characters in PJ's movies. 

- Battle of Azanulbizar. Very grim, emotional. That feel of victory bought very dearly. None of the action scenes later lived up to that fight.

- Smaug's scene with Bilbo.

- Riddles in the Dark.

 

What I hated:

- Kili & She-elf love story - absolutely unbelievable, weird, pointless. It also cheapened the character of Tauriel. She was cool enough on her own, but her role was reduced mainly to a dwarf romance. Oh, and we already have a good elf-dwarf abridging in Gimli and Legolas. Why do the same thing again?

- Overuse of CGI - green screens, green screens everywhere. Battles seemed like a cartoon. Dain's dwarfs particularly seemed like one character copy-pasted for infiity.

- Idiotic action-sequences: Legolas' antics, go-pro barrel ride, pointless battles and fights ad nauseam. Ridiculous earth-worms and trolls.

- Alfrid and his slasptick, cringe-worthy jokes.

 

I have to stop here. Going on makes me angry, and sad. 

 

Yet, I will watch it again. There is a fan-edit to be found on-line. The three movies are compressed into one 3-hour flick, apparently cut to be as faithful to original story as possible. Might be good.

 

Tauriel's love story was just bad. Not because there couldn't be a good, compelling love story fit into this movie--there absolutely could have been. But because as written the romance follows the worst, most cliche, most predictable path possible and even then doesn't give audiences enough time to at least invest in the cliche so that they care when the inevitable happens. 

 

As for your other complaints, 100% agree. 

 

It is absolutely possible to make great looking, compelling 3D and CGI-heavy effects sequences. But Jackson just couldn't pull it off in these movies. Which is a shame because the lighter CG touch mixed with heavy practical effects that Jackson favored in the initial trilogy worked really well. But as is the 3D focused composition was just terrible. 

 

As someone who is at best a casual Tolkeen fan, I have no problem with Jackson taking liberties (even very great liberties) with the original story. I just have a problem with the movies, in the end, not being very good. 

 

Honestly, I am probably alone here but I would have happily watched a less crowded, more focused Hobbit movie or duology and a separate original movie or duology focusing on the lead-up to the War of the Ring, the corruption of Saruman, etc. 

 

PS--I didn't realize Tauriel was in cannon--who/where is she in the Lore?

Edited by JonofPDX

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I read the Hobbit a couple times, and while the movies are quite different in many aspects from the books, I sincerely enjoyed them a lot.  The LOTR movies were better, but the Hobbit had a few things I loved about it:

1.  The characters (mostly) acted and behaved as I expected them to.

2.  The additions from Tolkien's earlier writings were very welcome.  Sure, they weren't in the book at all, but in his later writings we learn the White Council was operating against the Necromancer at about the same time, and Legolas was eventually added in LOTR, so it made sense that he would have participated in at least some events.  Tauriel was a less welcome addition as she seemed to only be there for the sake of having a female character and her romance with Kili actually made me laugh at one point.  Overall though, I thought the additions made sense and were fairly true to cannon if you consider that the Hobbit was written before Tolkien actually decided to add things like Legolas, the Prince of Mirkwood.

3.  The Battle of the Five Armies may have been only a chapter in the book, but I'm glad they made it long in the movie.  That's because it would've been rather lame if it was too brief.  Also, it makes the Hobbit movies mesh better with the LOTR movies as they also had long and action packed battles (except Fellowship).  That being said, there were some liberties and depictions I didn't enjoy as much.  For example, I really didn't like the giant worm things.  When I saw them, I though, "Oh look, the Zerg sent Nydus Worms".  They're pretty cool on their own (if you forget that that's pretty far outside 3rd age scope, 1st age maybe since they had huge and crazy stuff then), but then why not just have the worms eat all the dwarves, elves, and humans?  Why not just burrown inside the mountain?  It presents the same problem the Eagles do, but on the evil side.  The eagles, however, were always there from Tolkien, so you can't blame the movies for that.  The worms however....  Still, mostly cool battle.  Dain riding a battle boar makes it all worth it.

4.  The first two films to a really good job, imho, of capturing the adventuring feel of the Hobbit.  Bilbo is mostly just scared and incapable, the dwarves are clumsy, gandalf is mostly absent, various things are scary, people get captured, gollum riddle scene was top-notch, smaug was cool, and so forth.  You just have to deal with a few over-the-top scenes that seemed really unnecessary to me such as: riding the legs of mountain giants, making a giant liquid-gold dwarf to dump on Smaug, running all over Erebor with Smaug getting easily distracted and taunted, anything involving Tauriel's romance with Kili (you couldn've kept her as a character, but just gotten rid of the elf-dwarf romacnce... just have Legolas go to help because he's nice and then have her chase him because she's in love then she can still save the day somehow and YAY girlpower everyone is happy), etc.

 

I think the movies would've been perfect if there were only 2 and you cut out all the crap I mentioned and maybe a little more.  1 movie would've cut out a lot and that would've been disappointing to many, but 3 had too much filler stuff, so 2 would've likely been just about right.

 

P.S. Why couldn't we have seen more than 2 seconds of Beorn fighting??? :'(

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