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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
encouraged by both the reviews and the clips (minor spoilers)


Dec 6 2012, 11:30pm

Views: 1097
encouraged by both the reviews and the clips (minor spoilers) Can't Post

now, for the majority of us who haven't seen it, we really are in no position to throw stones at the opinions of those who have or even at each other (though none of us really have any basis for saying things like "i'm disappointed" or "i'm sure it is great and the critics are wrong" until we at least watch the movie).

but i do find it curious that there seem to be so many on here that are deeply perturbed by a few negative reviews. and it really is just a few that are outright negative, most of the ones being counted as "rotten" are actually more mixed than anything and still have some nice things to say.

so, what is it in these negative reviews that is shocking or disappointing to you? was anyone actually expecting this to be as good as Lord of the Rings? i know i certainly wasn't--there are limitations to the source material that just prevent it from reaching that level of scope and gravitas and depth, no matter what they tried to do to add to it. The Hobbit is a great adventure story for kids. initially i had been hoping for something fun, that brings us back to Middle Earth, with some likable characters and some nice moments. then i found out how much they've tried to flesh out the backstory and the concurrent happenings in Middle Earth as a way to build up to LotR, and i got excited about the potential for some extra pathos and scope that The Hobbit book didn't need as a true prelude, but The Hobbit movies kind of do as a prequel to what had already been done with LotR. not so coincidentally, the one part of the movie that the reviews all mention as having just as much cinematic magic as the original trilogy is Riddles in the Dark, which in my opinion is also the one part of the first third of The Hobbit book that's on par with the best parts of LotR (so i take that as a good sign). the one constant negative criticism that seems to have some sort of merit is that this first chapter is overstuffed and whatnot. however, almost all of the comments regarding the stuff that was actually added has been positive, the one exception being the Old Bilbo-Frodo framing device is regarded as a little pointless and some views seem slightly mixed about Radagast's storyline (though one gets the sense that some of the critics may not realize the full import of what's going on there).

the most common (and glib) example for the over-padding i've seen stated is "not one but TWO musical numbers" for the dwarves in the unexpected party of the film. would you have wanted one or both of those cut to appease the critics? i think this was PJ's way of honoring the songs in the book but he felt the only appropriate place to do so was in this introductory beginning, as the elves' song, for instance, would have seemed very anachronistic to how the elves are depicted in LotR (both the movies and the books, for that matter). and, as heard on the soundtrack, both dwarven musical numbers have been very smartly condensed, the Misty Mountains song particularly successful both in its melody and in the writers' choices for the two verses to use--i think the two most well-written, evocative, and pertinent-to-the-story verses, by far. are some of you really concerned about the two musical numbers, or the fact that PJ apparently chose to take a leisurely approach to setting up the story, letting us spend time with this massive company of dwarves and Bilbo together before they set-off on a fast-paced journey? because that's one of the primary complaints that i've seen: reviewers wanted quicker pacing to start.

now, i confess, as an avid movie buff i myself prefer the pacing and flow of the theatrical cuts of LotR, so i can see how this might be an issue for me with these Hobbit movies, like some of the reviews. BUT, i still love the EEs (and sometimes wish i could hand-pick a few of their scenes to insert into the theatrical cuts, like the Mouth of Sauron). these comments about overstuffing are not all that concerning to me, especially as i can't wait to see Dol Guldur and the White Council and i'm sure i won't have too much of a problem spending a little extra time hanging out with the dwarves (interesting that some reviews in one breath criticize the lack of distinction between the dwarves--which, how is it even possible to fully do that in one movie?--but then also complain about the part of the movie where they are being introduced being too long). i imagine the stuff that feels like it should have been deleted scenes to critics or casual movie-goers will go over just fine with the people on here that love the EEs. in fact, it just goes to show you that you can't please everyone--here the critics are about the movie being too slavishly faithful and filled with content and we have people posting on here that they are gonna wait for the EE! because it sounds like the dwarves weren't developed enough? you guys read the book, right? half the dwarves were lucky if their name even got mentioned every 50 pages. i feel like if there's one huge advantage that this being a trilogy affords, it's getting to see these actors' and filmmakers' interpretations of these characters and getting to see a lot more of that than what we were able to read in Tolkien. and, sure, it's fun to imagine for yourself what's going on with all the dwarves' and their backstories and personalities, but it's also fun to see how artists portray it and getting to watch that brought out in lavish detail. Balin, Fili, Kili, and Thorin and even Dwalin have all got some special mentions in several reviews. that's more than enough for me with the first movie, let's see what happens in the next two.

there has been mention of silliness, of a lighter, mad-cap touch to some of the action, etc. i think this is appropriate to the tone of the book. i do not feel like the majority of the action needs to be really heavy, intense stuff like it was in LotR (and, believe me, i love that stuff). instead, i have been anticipating action that is more about clever, gorgeous setpieces, like in King Kong (yes, i love PJ's King Kong, the only PJ films i don't really care for are Meet the Feebles and The Lovely Bones). so, maybe this is more of the PJ fan in me talking, but when some reviews state that, for example, the Goblintown sequence is overlong--i'm cheering. i mean, i have loved PJ's action sequences since Braindead, a.k.a. Dead Alive. in my opinion, Peter Jackson has taken the mantle from early Steven Spielberg (Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite Spielberg movie) as far as adventure setpieces go and i am looking forward to seeing what his imagination came up with to fill in the sketchy blanks that Tolkien left in his story, practically invitations for a filmmaker like Peter to doodle something fun, vivid, and imaginative in the margins. PJ wasn't really afforded as much freedom in LotR because of time constraints and because so much more detail was already written in. i watched one clip of the six clips that came out, the Goblintown one, just to get some perspective on the action in this movie as it has received mostly raves but a few mehs--and i'm ready as ever! i totally get some of the complaints about "too much CGI" and particularly Drew McWeeny's comment in his HitFix review about the enemies lacking "weight," which i feel was slightly motivated on PJ's part in order to achieve some dynamic motion in space for the 3D. but, to me, that's a minor detraction from the glimpse i saw of action that, yes, could be described as cartoony--but is still ingenious, cleverly rendered, escalating itself in the way that a Charlie Chaplin gag might (i stole that comparison from Walter Chaw's excellent review of King Kong over at FilmFreakCentral, heh).

but some of you may not care for action setpieces like that or feel like they're wastes of time. is that gonna be enough to ruin the movie for you? have you not liked anything else you've seen from the clips? i'm avoiding watching much else but everything i have seen in the trailers and TV spots, i have really enjoyed. i just don't understand what it is specifically in some of the mixed or even negative reviews that is so discouraging for some of you?

are you worried about HFR 3D? cuz you don't have to watch it that way!

anyways, i mentioned the Drew McWeeny review, i think that's one of the best ones so far, seemed very fair and balanced with a B grade. only part that was confusing was that he shows he is a big fan of the book but grumbles about all the dwarves--can't imagine that he'd want too many of the characters actually cut out completely, so not sure what his aim was with that criticism. i also think the Empire review was excellent, not just because it was very positive (4 out of 5), but because it was well-written with some genuine insight and not the same-old same-old from a lot of these other reviews that kind of just touch on the same talking points.

Subject User Time
encouraged by both the reviews and the clips (minor spoilers) unexpectedvisitor Send a private message to unexpectedvisitor Dec 6 2012, 11:30pm
    I'm not too concerned... Macsen Send a private message to Macsen Dec 6 2012, 11:39pm
        macsen you are so... YaznegSouth40 Send a private message to YaznegSouth40 Dec 7 2012, 9:26pm
    A few of the reviews i've liked... sauget.diblosio Send a private message to sauget.diblosio Dec 6 2012, 11:43pm
    Well....... Jax_Teller Send a private message to Jax_Teller Dec 6 2012, 11:44pm
    I'm sorry, I couldn't read all that but Ffnir Send a private message to Ffnir Dec 6 2012, 11:45pm
        ha, apologies unexpectedvisitor Send a private message to unexpectedvisitor Dec 7 2012, 12:17am
    You've got a great attitude The Grey Elf Send a private message to The Grey Elf Dec 7 2012, 2:52am
    I suspect that part of the problem that some people have - Hanzkaz Dec 7 2012, 3:42am
    I actually read all of your post. :-) Foromir Send a private message to Foromir Dec 7 2012, 11:20am


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