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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

Post #1 of 10 (1184 views)
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.


Dec 6 2012, 11:39pm

Post #2 of 10 (481 views)
I'm not too concerned... [In reply to] Can't Post

... about the reviews. It's suffering because it's LOTRs little brother. Rather than viewing it objectively as they did FOTR the reviewers are taking the quality of the LOTR trilogy as a starting point and emphasising the negatives.

Imagine if those same critics had never heard about the films and came across AUJ without any level of expectation. They wouldn't think the scenes at the start dragged because they would not have any idea what came next. The reason they think those scenes drag is that they a) know what the plot is throughout and b) are impatient for the film to get going and reach the same heights at the LOTR.

I'm not sure how RT compiles its scores but it seems to me that the reason for the 'bad reviews' is that the film is being held to a higher standard than most other films.

Tol Eressea

Dec 6 2012, 11:43pm

Post #3 of 10 (506 views)
A few of the reviews i've liked... [In reply to] Can't Post

Collider, Badass Digest (Devin Faracci), Twitch Film (Fason Gorber), Nerdist (Luke Y. Thompson), First Showing (Alex Billington), and of course the Emire one was great.


Dec 6 2012, 11:44pm

Post #4 of 10 (471 views)
Well....... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll be honest, I read like 2 paragraphs of your message, way too long for me :D

I'd say however that this is a movie (same for DOS and TABA) that us fans will love for sure.

I see some critics complaining about the silliness, or the two songs by the dwarves (which are great moments for me on the score), others suggesting that they should have gotten rid of some of the dwarves (yeah, right)

I'd say that even when the mixed reviews started coming in, I was still pumped and am more than ever. The latest clips are spectacular, the 13 minute video (today) is unbelievable and seems to make a few lads way more interested in the movie on several forums that I hang out on.

The critics probably find the prologues with the dwarves, the Shire scenes (which are the best for me, seeing the dwarves interacting, character stuff) redundant or boring, I know I'll eat it up and so will many many fans.

Simply the case here of movies with a much lighter tone, more playful (the first one, less for the next two :) ), maybe more adventurous, yet not childish (I disagree with that) where many critics seemed to expect a tone la LOTR, which we all know it's not, but it seems that many critics have never read The HOBBIT.

The HFR 3D, I believe, is also a culprit here for most of the negative reviews, I'd bet that if those guys had seen the movie in 24 fps, they would have liked it better.

When those guys talk of how much it distracted them, no wonder they hate/don't like the movie.

All I can say, I'm psyched to see the movie, in HFR 3D, in its full glory and I will drool all over the place for 2h45!


Dec 6 2012, 11:45pm

Post #5 of 10 (484 views)
I'm sorry, I couldn't read all that but [In reply to] Can't Post

it seems like a lot of reasonnable things. You have my support


Dec 7 2012, 12:17am

Post #6 of 10 (426 views)
ha, apologies [In reply to] Can't Post

yeah, i'm sorry, that post turned out a bit of a slog, eh? guess me and PJ both need to work on our self-editing!

it's just that i'd been lurking and had all these things building up i wanted to say and then when i get a chance i blurt it out, long-winded style. heh.

i don't want to fall into the trap of calling the negative reviews "stupid" and the good reviews "smart"--like, i can see the perspectives of some of the negative reviews and mixed reviews in terms of a pure film criticism approach to the movie--but i just don't understand why the specific reasons given in those reviews for why they're not raving is so concerning for some Tolkien fans and/or fans of the LotR movies...

really do like the Empire review, though, as it goes full-bore into "film criticism" mode but in a positive light that actually seeks to engage with the themes that PJ and co. have tried to bring to some sort of a foreground in the story.

and i didn't mean to imply that The Hobbit book is "childish" and that the movie should be, too, just that it was intended primarily for children, a different intention than LotR, so there is a different approach that Tolkien took in terms of humor, prose, etc., than he did later when he deliver his epic saga. i think it's cool that it sounds like the movie is trying to honor that while at the same trying to bridge the gap. i'm sure it's an incredibly difficult balance and one that they probably don't always get right, but i'm glad they made the effort.

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Dec 7 2012, 2:52am

Post #7 of 10 (337 views)
You've got a great attitude [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm giving you an attaboy! (And I read everything you wrote. I thought we were a community of not only movie but book lovers.) (Um, so I guess I'm sayin' you wrote a novella, hee!)


Dec 7 2012, 3:42am

Post #8 of 10 (344 views)
I suspect that part of the problem that some people have - [In reply to] Can't Post

with 'An Unexpected Journey' is that there's too much 'Hobbit' and not enough 'Lord of the Rings'.


From the makers of 'The Lord of the Rings' comes the sequel to Peter Jackson's Hobbit Trilogy -
'The War in the North, Part I : The Sword in the Tomb'.


Dec 7 2012, 11:20am

Post #9 of 10 (208 views)
I actually read all of your post. :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

And I can say that I wholeheartedly agree on all points! Thanks for that, it was encouraging, especially the part about the cartoony action setpieces. I admit I was worried about that, before I realized that this first, more innocent film is just the right place for more lighthearted, silly, even downright slapstick action! There will be more than enough room for the gritty and heavy stuff in the next two films, mainly the third, as it is in LotR!


Dec 7 2012, 9:26pm

Post #10 of 10 (173 views)
macsen you are so... [In reply to] Can't Post

correct in everything you said! I will add also that once all THREE films have been seen and people can watch all together(wether with extended scenes or not) they will come to the conclusion like all Tolkien fans will....THESE DOGGONE FILMS IS THE SHIZNIT! UTTERLY AWESOME!

(This post was edited by YaznegSouth40 on Dec 7 2012, 9:26pm)


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