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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
A big hit for fans, average for the general public (Per Altaira: this is now the 7th Review Thread to Rule them All (links to others inside)
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Dec 10 2012, 6:03pm

Post #1 of 66 (3637 views)
A big hit for fans, average for the general public (Per Altaira: this is now the 7th Review Thread to Rule them All (links to others inside) Can't Post

thats the view im getting

average 3 star reviews coming in. but hey, at least its not a phantom menace!

of course im gonna love every extra 3d frame and second and extra story cos im a huge tolkien fan, and a huge film fan. but in many ways im worried jackson may have done a disservice to the wider audience.

the hobbit is a book nearly everyone loves, yet the confusion seems to be putting people of, i can easily count 10 different ways to watch this film, for a general cinema goer that is not going to sit well at all. combine that with stuff that isnt in the book, i think people like my mum or my sister are gonna be confused by these films, which is a shame. becuase the book is universal.

just my thoughts for today.

edited to add links to past review threads:

Thread 1

Thread 2

Thread 3

Thread 4

Thread 5

Thread 6

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro

(This post was edited by Altaira on Dec 10 2012, 6:40pm)

Tol Eressea

Dec 10 2012, 6:18pm

Post #2 of 66 (1773 views)
Except, [In reply to] Can't Post

3 out of 4 stars is actually quite good.

Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Dec 10 2012, 6:33pm

Post #3 of 66 (1773 views)
What an extraordinary set of conclusions [In reply to] Can't Post

Almost everyone loves TH? The vast majority of people in the world have never read TH let alone love it, I'm afraid.

What makes you feel people are being put off by viewing options? I haven't seen any data or evidence on this - have I missing something?


Crunchable Birdses

Dec 10 2012, 6:39pm

Post #4 of 66 (1690 views)
The film hasn't even been released to the general public yet. [In reply to] Can't Post

I predict a big hit for fans AND general public, and a mixed response from the jaded "too cool for fantasy" film critic-types.

* crunch *


Dec 10 2012, 6:43pm

Post #5 of 66 (1715 views)
76% 7.2/10 overall at RT [In reply to] Can't Post

Up up and away please. big critics still hate it though 1/6 fresh.


Dec 10 2012, 7:08pm

Post #6 of 66 (1677 views)
Wired loved it [In reply to] Can't Post

and maybe no big surprise considering that they are technogeeks, but they were pretty high on the HFR. called it "insanely gorgeous."


(This post was edited by unexpectedvisitor on Dec 10 2012, 7:09pm)


Dec 10 2012, 7:10pm

Post #7 of 66 (1596 views)
I think that's the case [In reply to] Can't Post

However it should be considered that there are many fans in general public, all around the world so I think it will do very well. When your fanbase is established enough, there is nothing wrong to do a movie for fans.

edit: Thought I should clarify, by fans I mean anyone who's read The Hobbit OR loved the LotR trilogy by Jackson. Like every other critic said, if you loved LotR, you will love this. At least that's what I understood by the critical consensus up until now.

(This post was edited by utku on Dec 10 2012, 7:13pm)

Grey Havens

Dec 10 2012, 7:14pm

Post #8 of 66 (1617 views)
Top Critics [In reply to] Can't Post

I wouldn't say they hate it. Right now it's up to 29% (2 out of 7 fresh) with average rating of 6.2.

As far as the rating goes, it's not that far off what its had for the overall critics score over the last week, which has been going back and forth between around 6.6 and 7.2 if I remember correctly.


Dec 10 2012, 7:32pm

Post #9 of 66 (1553 views)
not so "Top" critics [In reply to] Can't Post

i find it funny that the AP critic is counted as a "Top Critic," as those AP reviews are always pretty sketchy and just seek pertinence for the broadest possible audience. but i get it being counted as "Top" from the perspective of its circulation.

Edelstein's "review"--it's two perfunctory paragraphs--comes off fussy and out-of-touch, taking a minute just to echo all the complaining about length and HFR (and then giving himself away as a bit of Luddite at the end by saying that the discussions of the next two Hobbit films will revolve around refresh rates and "scan lines"). "Top" criticism in credentials only.

Empire review is STILL the best written and reasoned, by a good margin.


Dec 10 2012, 7:37pm

Post #10 of 66 (1523 views)
Metacritic [In reply to] Can't Post

64 and rising there as well.


Dec 10 2012, 7:43pm

Post #11 of 66 (1576 views)
From the Home Page: TORn staffer Arathorn's review (Spoilers) [In reply to] Can't Post

Editor Note: Arathorn was an original staffer of TheOneRing.net back in the early days of the site. His involvement in the site has waned in recent years due to professional and familial responsiblities. His perspective on 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is unique as he has remained completely unspoiled and out-of-the-loop for nearly 10 years. Spoilers Ahead!

So, the question you probably want to hear answered is how The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey compares with LoTR. From my perspective, it's pretty favourable“ it worked much better for me than RoTK and FoTR, and probably slightly better than TTT. For context however, this is coming from someone who seriously undermined their enjoyment of LoTR by spoiling themselves rotten, whereas I've deliberately kept myself unspoilt for The Hobbit.

The pacing of The Hobbit: AUJ is gentler and more consistent than LoTR, the storytelling unfolds at a much more metered and less rushed pace. At no point did I feel bored – it felt like a leisurely but appropriate telling of the story. Also, where story padding is added, it generally feels that it's actually dramatically required in order to provide additional context for the "real" story, rather than a jarring and illadvised substitution from the books. For instance, the presence of Radagast is a much-needed and legitimate extension to portray the rise of evil in Mirkwood and Dol Guldur which would otherwise have to be shown as a slightly forced flashback.

Also, the lighter humour and tone of The Hobbit feels much more suited to Peter Jackson's style,“ whereas I found myself wincing at many of the incongruously lighter moments in LoTR. I am glad to say that The Shire is presented much more naturalistically than the rather over-the-top utopia of the LoTR films (especially in the absence of The Scouring to balance it out!) – and there are thankfully no sequences remotely approaching the many "jumping on the bed" endings of RoTK (with the possible exception of needlessly belching dwarves)

Much of the improved consistency over LoTR can be ascribed to Martin Freeman turning in a pretty much perfect performance as Bilbo, alongside Andy Serkis hitting new highs in his portrayal of Gollum and Ian McKellen growing further into Gandalf. In fact, almost all the performances are very strong, with the possible exception of the entirely CGI creation of Azog, who unfortunately comes across needlessly one-dimensionally, complete with some very clunky dialogue (bizarrely exaggerated by being subtitled into English) - think Gothmog, but worse. The contrast is particularly shown up by Barry Humphries turning in a wonderfully charismatic performance as the similarly CGI Goblin King, as well as the spot-on interpretations of the Trolls.

A slightly unexpectedly major overlap with LoTR is the score " beyond the fantastic" Lonely Mountain theme which underpins the whole film, I didn't spot any new thematic material at all beyond all the original leitmotifs from LoTR. Whilst the various themes have been reorchestrated (including a fantastic cymbalom introduction for Gollum’s theme), there really feels like very little new material at all, and in some places (Rivendell, The Shire, The Ring) the audio cues sound taken almost verbatim from the various LoTR scores. Given that arguably one of the best things about the Star Wars prequels was the vast range of new thematic material that John Williams produced as a prequel in and of itself to the original SW scores, it seems bizarre that the main new theme here was apparently composed by Donaldson/Roche/Roddick/Long rather than Howard Shore.

Outside the content of the film itself, there is of course the question over its presentation in HFR 3D. The 48fps presentation is unquestionably jarring at first in my case however, I managed to stop getting distracted by it after about 25 minutes (coinciding with the story really getting going at Bag End). It's unfortunately true that the strangely smooth motion does evoke the impression of a shot-on-video 1980's BBC drama, and this impression is made only worse by the way the 3D glasses mute the colour and vibrancy of the footage. I actually took off my glasses briefly during Rivendell and was blown away by how vibrant and bright the print was. Putting glasses on again made it feel slightly as if I was watching it through a fish tank.

The strangest side-effect of the 48fps video however is that certain rapid movements (e.g. Bilbo tying up his dressing gown in preparation to flee Bag End) end up looking as if they've been inexplicably artificially sped up, as per the Benny Hill show. I think this is because when we normally see fast movements on film, they are very obviously motion-blurred. But if you see movement which is unexpectedly fast without any motion blur, your brain almost thinks it's more plausible that you're watching normal movement that has been sped up. Either that or PJ is doing something very strange with the frame rate in some of the earlier shots in Bag End. On the plus side, the higher frame-rate added much more detail to the various spectacular fight set pieces, a major complaint of the fight choreography of LoTR for me was that the action was so kinetic and motion-blurred that you often couldn't really see what on earth was going on. HFR fixes this problem admirably, which arguably helps with the immersive experience. (That said, I haven't seen The Hobbit: AUJ at 24fps yet, so I may be guessing wrong on this).

The 3D is impressive at points, especially in the jawdropping VFX of the Stone Giant's thunderbattle, and a welcome cameo for Sauron (in a pleasantly understated manifestation as opposed to the boggling eye of RoTK). However, elsewhere the 3D really doesn't contribute very much (unlike Prometheus, Thor, Hugo, Avatar or other more 3D-aware films), and does detract noticeably from the clarity of the image, especially in combination with 48fps. My recommendation would certainly be to see it at first on a really good 2D 24fps screen, and then follow it up in HFR 3D a bit later.

To conclude: The Hobbit: AUJ is a more than worthy successor to the LoTR films, and learns from many of their mistakes and avoids many of their disappointments whilst standing true to all their positives. In the end, one of my key metrics for a good film is whether it sucks me in enough for the drama to send shivers up and down my spine, and I'm happy to say that both the sacking of Dale and Thorin's final showdown managed that big time. The set pieces are bigger and more spectacular than ever, and the film captures both the essence and the detail of the book. What more could you ask for? In IMDB terms, I’d give it 8 out of 10 (with FoTR coming in at 7, TTT at 8, RoTK at 7).

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

(This post was edited by Altaira on Dec 10 2012, 7:49pm)


Dec 10 2012, 7:44pm

Post #12 of 66 (1488 views)
down to 74% at RT [In reply to] Can't Post


Grey Havens

Dec 10 2012, 7:51pm

Post #13 of 66 (1522 views)
down to 71% [In reply to] Can't Post

Does the percentage just not update right away?

I could have sworn the review count was still at 42 when it was at 74%...

Grey Havens

Dec 10 2012, 7:53pm

Post #14 of 66 (1537 views)
Wait... what? [In reply to] Can't Post

Now it's at 14% (1 out of 7 fresh), still with an average of 6.2.

What happened? Did one fresh reviewer suddenly change his mind?

(This post was edited by Mooseboy018 on Dec 10 2012, 7:53pm)


Dec 10 2012, 7:57pm

Post #15 of 66 (1533 views)
Just posted on BBC (not a review) [In reply to] Can't Post

But might be of interest: link.

Want Hobbit Movie News? Hobbit Headlines of the Week!


Dec 10 2012, 8:10pm

Post #16 of 66 (1542 views)
Review worth discussing [In reply to] Can't Post


I have to say, I understand what she is saying about the film changing the focus of the story and can understand her reasons for not liking it.


Dec 10 2012, 8:10pm

Post #17 of 66 (1473 views)
well, that's certainly a different perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

better than TTT? (though, to be honest, i could see this possibly being true for me, as well, as TTT was always my least favorite of the movie trilogy--though i still loved it and some of the added sequences like Arwen's vision of the future and Gollum's conversation with himself were brilliant additions).


Dec 10 2012, 8:18pm

Post #18 of 66 (1448 views)
Dana Stevens [In reply to] Can't Post

was fresh and now changed to rotten.



Dec 10 2012, 8:18pm

Post #19 of 66 (1428 views)
PS [In reply to] Can't Post

Interestingly. I just went back to that site and among the comments, she said she was allowed to pick her own rating and decided that fresh was too generous. It all seems rather arbitrary.

Cave Troll

Dec 10 2012, 8:23pm

Post #20 of 66 (1402 views)
Seems fair. [In reply to] Can't Post

It always ran the risk of being somewhat schizophrenic.


Dec 10 2012, 8:25pm

Post #21 of 66 (1412 views)
interesting review [In reply to] Can't Post

definitely a more interesting and worthwhile read than a lot of the middling or negative reviews out there. however, i'm personally not bothered by any of her criticisms, in the slightest. a lot of the examples she gives for stuff she didn't want to see that wasn't in the first part of the book...the Arkenstone, a visual representation of what happened to Erebor, the battle of dwarves and orcs, the White Council...i mean, i can't wait to see this stuff! i'm especially glad there is some sort of glimpse or reference to the Arkenstone, as it always kind of bothered me that this object that is tremendously important to the end of the story just kind of pops up all the sudden in the text.

she wants the movie to be lighter and simpler and less bothered with backstory and, honestly, i'm glad it isn't. now, i do want it to maintain the tone of the book as best it can and try to balance that "charm" that she talks about with its larger objective of being a cinematic experience with some added scope that will help set up the events of LotR in a way that feels enriched. but i long ago accepted that this was the kind of adaptation we would be getting. apparently, Mary Ann still can't get over the fact that this film does not take the approach that she would have personally preferred--a "by the book" approach, if you will. and that's okay, but i'm not sure her perspective on that should have so determined the whole bent of her review.


Dec 10 2012, 8:28pm

Post #22 of 66 (1402 views)
That's a great review [In reply to] Can't Post

It reminds us of the dangers of expanding Gandalf's adventure with the Necromancer and the Council, etc.

But I do think there is a way the whole of Middle-earth could be at stake in The Hobbit, from Bilbo's point of view at least. If we get to see the corruption of Thorin's romantic quest (it's in the book) and the corruption of nature (kind of in the book, but could be emphasized via the Necromancer), then we could see how Bilbo's concept of Middle-earth as this great adventure/fairy tale collapses right before his eyes. In this sense, Middle-earth IS at stake in The Hobbit, and even the book is a lot different at the end than at the beginning. There is a loss of innocence inherent here, though the filmmakers must make sure it's Bilbo who feels it most acutely.

Grey Havens

Dec 10 2012, 8:45pm

Post #23 of 66 (1463 views)
Final Rotten Tomatoes Consensus (already?) [In reply to] Can't Post

Peter Jackson's return to Middle Earth is visually resplendant and features strong performances from Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen, but the film's deliberate pace robs the material of some of its majesty.

Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea

Dec 10 2012, 8:59pm

Post #24 of 66 (1381 views)
Once a film gets a certain amount of reviews... [In reply to] Can't Post

RT usually has a sense of what the final consensus will be. I think we can expect the final RT score to be somewhere between 70-75%. I'd prefer it to finish off above 80%, but it is what it is. Still, looks like the fans will be plenty satisfied. Tolkien's writing has a deliberate pace, after all.

What most critics (even many normal viewers) don't realize is that the lightning fast pace of the LotR trilogy (particularly the theatricals) doesn't resemble Tolkien's writing style in the slightest.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence

morgul lord

Dec 10 2012, 9:16pm

Post #25 of 66 (1358 views)
Not a bad final consensus! [In reply to] Can't Post

I almost expected a worse "final consensus", with all the media seeming to focus on the (minority of) negative reviews.

The consensus praises the visuals and the strong performances, and the only negative is a "deliberate pace" which is really not bad. At least the consensus didn't use the words "bloated" or "padding". No mention of the 48fps either, thank the gods.

(This post was edited by morgul lord on Dec 10 2012, 9:17pm)

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