Discussion in 'Entertaining Diversions' started by Blackadar, Mar 3, 2012.
Since it's all just speculation, I'll leave off the spoiler tags.
You're right that Jackson seems to think all movies need a climactic battle scene, and ending Movie II with the escape from Thranduil's captivity doesn't have that. But he's also shown himself to be perfectly willing to add stuff from more-or-less nowhere whenever he feels the need (see: Aragorn falling off a cliff, or elvish reinforcements coming to Helms Deep). So my guess is that the escape from the wood elves will be punctuated by some kind of major battle, either an army of talking spiders attacking the elves, or just pumped up dwarf-versus-elf combat during the escape, intercut with scenes of faraway wizards fighting near Dol Guldur. Either way, our heroes will be floating down the river just before the credits roll in the second movie, and the third movie will cover both Smaug and the Battle of the Five Armies.
I also expect they'll pump up Beorn's role. In the book, they spend a couple of paragraphs telling how he finds and kills a goblin scout on the trail of the company; in the movie, that will be more than enough excuse for Jackson to have an epic extended battle between Beorn and a horde of goblins in the woods. After all, 3 hours is a lot of screen time to fill, and a Jackson movie also needs an early action sequence.
I saw this tonight, and while I enjoyed some of the set pieces, overall I would say it was a disappointment. I didn't see it on a high frame rate projector, so I can't speak to that part of it, but most of my beefs are with the writing and direction.
In general I felt that the movie suffered from a muddled tone and general lack of narrative momentum. At times it wanted us to reflect on the grim seriousness of LOTR. At other times, it wallowed in childish slapstick. It had horror imagery, with severed heads and necromancers and the spiders, and then it had a Troll blowing his nose on Bilbo. I understand that the novel is meant to be lighter than LOTR, but that doesn't necessarily mean silly. It had a fairy-tale whimsy (the troll scene in the book could be straight out of Aesop). Jackson, on the other hand, seemed to want to continue the tone from his previous films, but at the same time couldn't restrain his urge to do goofy creature-feature comedy.
The characters were all frustratingly one-dimensional ... a problem in the book which I hoped Jackson and his writers would have solved or used somehow. Poor Martin Freeman has almost no scenes in which to develop a character. Also, and this may just be me, but I hate the cliched D&D portrayal of Dwarves in post-LOTR fantasy literature, entirely because those worlds steal the stupid belching, hard-drinking stereotype and don't bother to remember much else. I always hated the way Gimli was turned into a clown in Two Towers and thereafter, and I was really disappointed with the portrayal of Dwarves here. Thorin was great, if one note ... at least he was different. Balin wasn't bad. But the rest of them seemed like cartoonish buffoons. Oh and then there was Kili, who for some reason wasn't wearing the same Dwarf makeup as the rest of them. WTF?
The third thing that bugged me was the creature design, which I found to be extremely goofy and fake looking. The Great Goblin, for example, was ridiculous. He sets a little mini goblin slave in a basket and sends him sliding down a zip line to deliver a little note? Scenes like that would be at home in a Muppet movie. Not for one minute did I believe he was as real and scary as the Ring Wraiths or the Balrog in Fellowship of the Ring (more examples of how that movie towers over the others). And don't get me started on "yet another bumbling character" Radagast. Bird shit in his hair? Really?
I remember after I saw Fellowship of the Ring in the theater over ten years ago, I was walking down the street with a friend who said: "That's the first fantasy movie I've ever seen that gets why I like fantasy." I'm afraid that, if The Hobbit had been made first, he wouldn't have been saying the same thing.
Watched it. It was kinda bad. Keep in mind I never read any of the books, my girlfriend dragged me, she thought it was ok. I hated that NOTHING got wrapped up, they didn't even pretend it's possible this could be a stand alone movie.
I also suspect the movie was a bit disabled.
We see the Pale Orc who is the king of orcs, they fight the Pale Orc, the Pale Orc gets his hand cut off, they say the Pale Orc is dead but Gandalf spends a minute looking suspicious, we see some Orcs following them who talk about their master, we see the orcs going to report to a huge pale orc with a missing hand whom they refer to as "Master", then the music gets all dramatic and the camera zooms in to see that it's
I mean who could have seen that coming??? It was so out of the blue!
They did it several times too.
There's a big fight, suddenly someone uses Gandalf's signature spell and a large, Gandalf shaped figure is revealed and moves towards them and, as the music swells and the camera zooms in it reveals that it is
HOLY CRAP WHAT A SHOCK!!
And every single music cue was "awe" and "heavenly choir" and, after about an hour, it sorta loses it's impact.
Saw it today, and thought it was a bloated, incoherent mess. Alas. I wanted to like it, but the flaws were just too shockingly obvious to ignore. Might write more when I'm not on my joobaphone.
I saw it last night and thought it was fine. Not perfect, but fine. In fact, I was pleased that Jackson didn't go down all the obvious paths that he did in the previous trilogy.
As for film two, it should be noted that the title is The Desolation of Smaug, which strongly implies it covers more then just the rest of the trip to the mountain. I could even see it going so far as ending with Smaug's death, leaving the third film to focus on the final battle and the events leading up to it, and perhaps continuing on with some bridge stuff to the LOTR story.
Hm, good point. Plus the very ending shot (I think it is) sets up dragon fu.
I saw it in 24fps 2D. Thumbs marginally up. It is WAY too long for the material and Peter Jackson continues to be way too self-indulgent and melodramatic. It's such a shame. He's a great producer but should not direct these movies. It's poorly paced and the tone is all over the place. There are some weird scripting moments, such as gollum not knowing what a hobbit is despite the fact that LOTR already established that he is himself a hobbit. The action scenes were mostly exhausting and unexciting messes.
On the other hand, the production values are out of this world, and the acting is generally great. Especially McKellan, Freeman, and the white-haired dwarf (Balin, I think). It's a beautiful movie in many parts, and it's great to be back in Middle Earth. I was glad I saw this movie, but it could have been so much better.
In the book, Gollum does not recognize Bilbo's smell. Gollom's origins are a distant memory by this time.
Plus, Gollum wasn't a hobbit. All Tolkien says is that whatever he was is related to hobbits, IIRC.
I agree that the tone is inconsistent, but then again the book is to a large degree as well. Plus, we as viewers already know whats happening later. The original book version of The Hobbit was pretty whimsical and it was only later the Tolkien revised it to have some ominous overtones to setup the story for LOTR. Jackson has to walk a pretty tight line in this case as a result, and I'm not sure anyone else would have done any better. I do agree that it could have been shorter, but most of what I would have cut would have been at the beginning, and beyond the long Bilbo/Frodo intro sequence the rest is pretty much a literal version of the book.
As I said above, it could also have been much worse. Near the end there is a moment that is very parallel to a moment in Fellowship. In Fellowship Jackson resorted to playing Gandalf's line again to show the audience what Frodo was thinking. At least this time he resisted that tactic, letting Freeman show it in his performance.
You know whatever else happens, the third movie is going to end with a great eye opening on top of a dark tower.
I'm with whoever it was earlier in this thread; I think the third movie will end with an image of the ring in a mason jar on top of Bilbo's mantlepiece.
I saw this over the weekend. I liked it. It wasn't as good as the LOTR series, but overall it was an enjoyable romp.
Things I liked:
- Good tie-ins with LotR
- Great set design, especially Goblintown
- Walked a fine line between the lighter tone of The Hobbit and still fitting it into the LotR universe
- Incredible scenery
- Gandalf was again perfect (Grumpy Gandalf)
- Gollum/Bilbo scenes were great
- Martin Freeman was pretty awesome, as was Richard Armitage
- I liked the White Council meeting and the portrayal of Galadriel
Things I didn't:
- Dragged a bit, especially towards the end of the first act and into the second act
- Overall portrayal of Radagast was far too comedic and absurd - this almost ruined the movie for me
- Azog was a bit of a flop
- Goblin King was a bit too strange-looking
- Needed a bit more editing and Jackson needs to do a bit less foreshadowing
I only got about 2/3 of the way in before the theater blew a transformer, but frankly I thought this was fucking great, and I can absolutely see why some people don't like it.
It's both Middle-Earth and Peter Jackson write large. Watching the original trilogy you could see the progression from huge gamble to enormous blockbuster, and in terms of describing and showing Middle-Earth Jackson settled. Which sounds ridiculous considering the scope of the production, but having seen (most of) the Hobbit you can see just how far Jackson can go with what was essentially a blank check, and it turns out it's pretty fucking far.
At the same time, that meant that all of Jackson's idiosyncrasies come to the fore. Having seen a lot of Jackson's early stuff, the signature really shines through, and I personally love it, but I can see why some people are put off by the alternate serious/slapstick. That said, I thought this movie was brilliantly put together from what was essentially 75% exposition, and I can't wait to see Smaug for real. Well, for a given value of real.
One thing I missed was Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of The Necromancer. When did he actually talk? I did have to use the bathroom once, though.
He plays Smaug, not the Necromancer. (I wasn't aware of this until I saw his name in the credits, and a girl sitting in front of us overheard me talking about it and filled us in.)
ETA: Turns out he voices both. Which is still weird, because neither Smaug nor the Necromancer had any lines that I recall. I guess Smaug growled and his eye opened?
He roared some in the beginning? It would be funny if they credit the actor because they had him yell to be distorted into a dragon roar in post production.
Athryn must have deleted her post, but she just corrected me by pointing out that Cumberbatch voices both the Necromancer and Smaug. My bad! Either way, I still have no idea why he's credited in The Hobbit. :)
You must have missed the part where Smaug disguises himself as an elf and sneaks into Rivendell. Then a bridge collapses and he rides it like a roller coaster for twenty minutes of comedic near-misses.
It's a long movie, so forgetting that happened would be understandable.
My wife and I saw it on boxing day. I really loved it with a few caveats. She is not a fantasy fan and mostly enjoyed it but I don't think she really would have if I wasn't so enthusiastic. I spent a bit of time taking her through questions afterwards.
I suppose there may be some spoilers below, but can one really spoil The Hobbit? If you haven't seen it yet get out of the thread and go see it.
So happy to see the Dwarves singing at Bag End. Loved what they did there. "Over the Misty Mountains Cold" was fantastic.
Personally, I missed the goblins singing "Down Down to Goblin Town" and "15 Birds". I also expected Gandalf to have a bit of Parlay with the King of the Eagles. I didn't care for the Pale Orc business. And, as Raife mentions, riding the rollercoaster out of Goblin Town was just too much. (Though if I were to try and justify things, consider the dexterity required to clean the plates like they did at the unexpected party, perhaps none of them getting a scratch during their escape wasn't so ridiculous.) I liked the Goblin King and can't understand why people seem to hate it so much, though some of his dialogue was a bit cartoonish.
Martin Freeman was awesome full stop. Casting for this is all around better than the others. I thought Sylvester McCoy was great. I have mixed feelings about the Radagast bits. Bird shit on his face? Clothing, perhaps, but face? He's basically an immortal ffs. The joke from Saurman about eating too many mushrooms was great though. (Side note, I met Sylvester McCoy once around 89-90 I think, one of Two "Doctors" I've met) And, as mentioned up thread, cgi dudes racing over hills still have a way to go to look natural.
Looking forward to spiders, barrel riding and Smaug! I do hope that the wood elves have inexplicable German accents.
That was my favorite part of the movie:
It was kind of downhill from there (on a wooden bridge). It's too bad the rest of the movie couldn't maintain the gravitas of that scene.
I thought it was mold or fungus as if he was so in touch with nature that he had almost become one with it. I found the rabbit drawn sled far more ridiculous.
Yeah, that's fungus on his face and yeah that rabbit sled was painful.
If a Norse goddess can have a chariot pulled by cats, can't a wizard have a rabbit drawn sled?
Edit (for awesome):
I think it would have been more awesome if Radagast hadn't been comic relief, but more of a solemn nature wizard. They already had enough goofing around with the dwarves, they didn't need more of it. He could have had a sled pulled by stag or something more majestic.
I thought it was bird poop on his face also.
The audience reaction in the theatre I was in indicated that is the widespread interpretation.
The Radagast stuff does go a bit farther then it probably should have. That said, the book has some absurd moments as well, such as when Gandalf tricks Beorn into letting the company stay with him. If they play it in the movie the same way, it will be at least as uncomfortable as some of the stuff people are complaining about.
I thought it was Lichen at first but MMI thought it was shit and I've sort of changed my mind.
Either way I need to see it again in the cinema.
At one point, Radagast takes off his hat to reveal a bird's nest with a bird living in it, which he feeds or pets or something. So yeah, it is bird shit.
I couldn't stop laughing at the rabbit-sled either. :( I probably made an ass out of myself, but I lost it when they showed up the first time.
Is anyone still reading the thread hoping to avoid spoilers?
Saw it. Thumbs pointed... sideways? Like the LotR films, it was a mixed bag, and more heavily mixed than any of the trilogy. It was way too long, and almost all of the new material added to the story was terrible, which pretty much follows in the LotR film tradition. But much of the stuff that they took straight from the book they got right, and a fair amount of that they got really right, so I can't actually say that I hated the film. My main complaints:
1. Radagast. Thanks to Peter Jackson, the Lord of the Rings now has its own Jar Jar Binks. He's barely mentioned in any of the books, but this is really, really not what I imagined him to be like. Saruman called him "Radagast the Ridiculous" in the LotR, when he revealed himself to Gandalf, and apparently Jackson decided to use that throwaway insult as a character bio. Christ on a cracker, did I ever hate the portrayal of this character. And just when I thought I couldn't hate him any more, they brought out the fucking rabbit sled. W. T. F?
2. Azog. I actually didn't mind the flashback scene where Balin related the Battle of Azanulbizar, because it was mostly straight canon and gives the audience some background on Thorin, and also explains how he got the name "Oakenshield." All that was fine right up until the end of the battle, when Azog is supposed to be killed by Dáin. Instead, Jackson turned it into a confrontation between Thorin and Azog, and then has Azog escape his doom just so he can come back for Thorin in the film and this time it's personal, and at this point I feel like the writers are just drawing random hackneyed Hollywood tropes out of a hat. There is no need to give Thorin an old enemy from the past that he must eventually confront, because he already freaking has one. You know, the dragon? The whole Azog-grudge storyline is just pointless narrative filler that actually detracts from the main story, and it feels like filler when you are watching it, and if there's anything that a two-hour-and-forty-six-minute film doesn't need, it's more fucking filler. Bleh.
3. Lack of editing. Some of the scenes in the film would have been a lot better if more of them had ended up on the cutting room floor. Especially egregious examples include the escape from the Goblin King, and the Unexpected Party, which was actually really well done and suffered only from being way too long.
4. The Stone Giants. I could almost feel Peter Jackson leaning over my shoulder during this scene, whispering in my ear. "Don't you see? It goes to eleven." The giants were a throwaway line from the book; I'm not sure why he needed to turn them into some sort of grand set-piece action scene. Oh, right: three films.
5. This is really nitpicky, I know, but what the fuck was up with the totally lack of consistency in the portrayal of the elvish swords? All three of them--Orcrist, Glamdring, and Sting--are supposed to glow when Orcs are near. In the film, only Sting glowed. Sometimes. There were scenes, like the battle at the end where they are rescued by eagles, where Bilbo is actually fighting orcs and Sting is not glowing. I remember it not glowing in several other Orc-filled scenes as well. Am I the only one that was bothered by this? #ocd
There's probably more, but those are the main criticisms that come to mind right now. Some of them comprise major chunks of the film, so it's not like they are small criticisms. Balancing them out, though, there were things that I really enjoyed:
1. The casting/acting. Mostly quite good. Martin Freeman makes a really good young Bilbo, and Richard Armitage does a really good Thorin.
2. I was expecting to be annoyed by most of the "satellite" narratives that Jackson was shoe-horning into the films, like the White Council's campaign against the Necromancer, but I actually really liked having the recounting of the fall of Erebor at the start of the film. The stuff with old Bilbo and Frodo puttering around Bag End while getting ready for the party, on the other hand, felt like a pointless addition.
3. The Unexpected Party. It was too long, as I mentioned, but aside from that I thought that everything in the film from Bilbo's meeting of Gandalf right up to the irritating return of Azog was pretty much pitch-perfect.
4. The Trolls. Jackson took some liberties with this part of the story, but I felt that he kept the spirit of the scene intact. In the book it was Gandalf, and not Bilbo, who kept them talking until dawn. I would have preferred that they stuck with that, but for the most part, it worked.
5. I actually liked the capture of the dwarves and the Great Goblin, despite a few WTF moments like the little goblin in the basket (who felt like he would have been more at home serving under David Bowie's Goblin King). The escape sequence went on for way, way too long, though. They could have left, like, two thirds of that stuff on the cutting room floor, and the film would have been better for it.
6. The riddle game was fan-fucking-tastic. Seriously, so good that it almost served as an apology for everything that sucked in the film. The animation for Gollum was amazing. There was really nothing in this part of the film that I didn't love.
The battle with Azog was marred by how much I hated Azog's inclusion in the film, and also by the fact that his sudden arrival on the eastern slopes of the Misty Mountains made no sense (they just sent a message to him, like, ten minutes ago. How in the hell did he get there so fast?). All in all, though, I really loved parts of this film. And really hated other parts. Like I said, thumbs sideways.
Here's something that occurred to me after watching the film: Do you remember the Phantom Edit, where some fan decided to make the Phantom Menace a better film by editing it down, taking out all the filler and most of the Jar Jar Binks scenes? It didn't make it a great film or anything (the core storyline was just too nonsensical to be fixed by editing alone), but it was an improvement.
I have a feeling that you possibly could turn the Hobbit into a great film by editing alone. Keep all the good stuff that's right out of the book, and maybe a few additions like the fall of Erebor and the recounting of the Battle of Azanulbizar, and cut out everything else. Trim unnecessary bits out of otherwise good scenes like the Unexpected Party. Get the whole thing down to about 90 minutes. I'll bet it would be pretty damn good.
Ben Sones - that Stone Giants scene was easily one of the worst moments in the movie. It boggled my mind that PJ would take that one-off mention of the stone giants from the book (in which they're playing, IIRC, not fighting) and turn it into 10-15 minutes of CGI nonsense that accomplished nothing other than to illustrate that yes, Bilbo obnoxes poor Thorin because he's little and useless and such. And we already knew that, this scene just repeats it.
And no you are not the only person that was bothered by the inconsistencies with the Elven blades. In the book, Tolkien doesn't make a point of screaming "AND THE BLADE GLOWED BLUE AGAIN" every time Thorin, Gandalf, or Bilbo draws a sword in proximity to orcs or goblins, but once you've established that in the movie, you kind of have to stick with it as a visual effect.
I agree about Radagast as well. None of the Istari (or Maiar in general) should be used as comic relief, IMO. Gandalf, Sauron, and Saruman are all pretty real characters - why not extend the same courtesy to Radagast? PJ could have made him eccentric without having him wear birdshit. That said, I thought Sylvester McCoy did a great job playing the character that he was given.
He could have just left the stone giants out of the film altogether, and I wouldn't have cared. Their only narrative purpose was to get the party into the cave, and the storm would have sufficed for that. If they had to be in the film, the best way to do it is like this: The storm keeps growing in intensity, lightning crashing, etc. Suddenly there's a crash that's much louder than the lighting, and some rocks rain down, and we get a glimpse of large shapes moving in the distance. Then Thorin does his speech about how they need to find shelter, and they discover the cave. THE END.
As you say, the big CGI giant battle added absolutely nothing to the story. MOAR FILLER.
Oh, come on. Three movies aren't going to make themselves, you know.
It's been about a decade since I read the book, and I had forgotten that the stone giants were even part of the story. When I saw the film, I just assumed they were something Jackson added for the purpose of spectacle and/or filler. What a useless scene that added nothing to the narrative.
Regarding the glowing elven blades, I think I read that they erred in Fellowship by not having Gandalf's sword glow while they were in Moria. Rather than try to retconn it, Jackson just exercised creative license to say Gandalf's sword didn't have that property. Apparently in The Hobbit he stuck to that and did the same for Thorin's blade as well. So in the movie continuity, only Sting glows. I think.
They were, like, one sentence out of the book. They were on this dangerous mountain pass, and it started to storm, and then it started to thunder and hail, and then in the distance they heard stone giants coming out to throw rocks at each other for fun, and the whole point of all that was that the group was finally forced to seek shelter, and were subsequently captured by the Goblins. That's really the only reason the giants were in the story at all, and turning them into some big action scene was absurd.
This would be fine except for the part where, in the Hobbit film, they explain that Sting glows blue when Orcs are near because it is of Elvish make, and all Elvish swords do that. And then of course there's the fact that even Sting doesn't always glow when it should. I think whomever is in charge of continuity is just lazy.
They couldn't afford the CGI glow for the other swords because they blew their CGI budget on troll mucus and goblin chins.
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