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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The music: Message for Peter Jackson
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Dec 12 2012, 11:18pm

Post #1 of 103 (6270 views)
The music: Message for Peter Jackson Can't Post

I have seen An Unexpected Journey today, and to make it short, the way Howard Shore's beautiful music was presented and used and edited was absolutely abysmal.

I don't know if Mr. Jackson or any of the editors realise it, but the music means a great deal to many of the viewers, and not just to Lord of the Rings or Tolkien fans, but average film fans as well.
This movie lacks trust in the composer's work, and severely so. Otherwise it would be inexplicable why so many cues were edited the way they were.
The inclusions of direct quotes and tracking from all over the Lord of the Rings trilogy, when similarily great music was written by Howard Shore, took me out of the film several times. That usage of themes throws thematic continuity right out the window, something that was always one of Howard Shore's strongest abilities in this Tolkien film series.

Some of the strongest moments on album - not there at all. "The Adventure Begins", first half gone. "The World Is Ahead", mostly gone. "A Good Omen", almost entirely gone. "Riddles In The Dark", mostly gone. The choir in "Radagst The Brown", gone. The dramatic bits of "The Hill of Sorcery", gone. The first minutes of "The White Council", gone. Some of "Brass Button", gone. The middle part of "Over Hill", gone.

And in their place isn't even new music most of the time. How the Riddles in the Dark sequence began, with direct lifting of the Ring theme from Fellowship (yes, those Ring variations on album are all gone!), and Gollum's menace and pity themes tracked in, like, six times in a row, that drove me mad right in my seat. Really, they must have used every cimbalon statement of his theme there is in Lord of the Rings.

Not even the haunting chorus from the end of "Brass Buttons" is there. Then, in all honesty, The Breaking Of The Fellowship is used in the scene when Gandalf talks about Bilbo giving him courage. That didn't match the pacing at all.
Then, my god, the worst musical moment as far as continuity is concerned is when Thorin attacks Azog with the Nazgul music behind him. That was so unbelievably awkward for someone knowing the music a bit.

Then there was the direct reusing of "Master Peregrin's Plan" from Two Towers, followed by an absolutely out of place statement of Gondor Reborn. Jesus. I think it is even a re-recording because the french horn counterpoint is not there.
What is this new devilry?
Out of all the things I was worried about going into this film, frame rate, pacing, the music was the least of my worries.
Bilbo's theme is cut almost entirely from the film!
The Nature variations at the end are really breathtaking, but at that point, the music took me out of the film a dozen times already.
The coup de grace at the end is that the music is removed completely from the final shots of zooming in on the Lonely Mountain and Smaug opening his eye.

I have no idea what was going on behind the scenes, if the amount of rearranging affected the score so much that there wasn't enough time to properly rescore it, but that seems unlikely because you could have simply left the pieces as they are and not lose anything.

Whether Mr. Jackson realises it or not, music is a major part of these films, and for the way it is treated in An Unexpected Journey by editors and the director, the term "careless" is the mildest one.
I expect a better treatment in The Desolation Of Smaug, and many others as well.


Dec 12 2012, 11:25pm

Post #2 of 103 (4129 views)
ah [In reply to] Can't Post

well, that's very interesting...

sheds some light on why people were complaining about the music when the soundtrack itself is so wonderful.

how perplexing! nothing like what we experienced with the LotR soundtracks, wonder if a time crunch came into play.

Lacrimae Rerum
Grey Havens

Dec 12 2012, 11:26pm

Post #3 of 103 (4065 views)
Alas TORN does not function as a message forwarding service. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm afraid it will not reach its intended recipient here.


Glóin the Dark

Dec 12 2012, 11:27pm

Post #4 of 103 (4105 views)
I wasn't perturbed by many of the critics' complaints... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but this is very worrying. I'm going to see the film tomorrow morning. Suddenly very apprehensive.

Glóin the Dark

Dec 12 2012, 11:28pm

Post #5 of 103 (4102 views)
I thought it was to good to be true... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that James Newton Howard wasn't called in last week.

Glóin the Dark

Dec 12 2012, 11:30pm

Post #6 of 103 (4055 views)
Smaug's eye opening - no Smaug motif? // [In reply to] Can't Post

Cave Troll

Dec 12 2012, 11:35pm

Post #7 of 103 (4016 views)
Indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

It was very odd. Unsure

Also noticed the Gondor theme and was baffled - especially when the LOTR was so tight in this regard.

It felt like the person in charge of implementing Shore's music this time around didn't work on the trilogy. Or even talk to the composer.

Tol Eressea

Dec 12 2012, 11:41pm

Post #8 of 103 (3987 views)
2 into 3? [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess this is one of the things that the first film suffered (possibly along with the pacing and structure) when the 2 films went to 3. The next two films should fare better i would think. And, though i'm not sure what could be done with the music, maybe some of the smaller mistakes can be fixed with the Extended Edition (i know they always added new cues when integrating the new footage). That is too bad though-- i was really liking the new soundtrack.

(This post was edited by sauget.diblosio on Dec 12 2012, 11:46pm)


Dec 12 2012, 11:45pm

Post #9 of 103 (3986 views)
If the use of music in AUJ is a trend, let's hope he won't replace Howard Shore in the next movie! [In reply to] Can't Post

The obvious disregard by PJ for Shore's wonderful work is incomprehensible and saddening. Unsure


Dec 12 2012, 11:53pm

Post #10 of 103 (3951 views)
I am trying to think of a reason [In reply to] Can't Post

why the score would be available as a separate thing that you can listen to, but not integrated into this movie.
I am brainstorming now. Let's say the score had to be radically altered or perhaps infuriatingly redone because altering it would be impossible. One way that none of these songs would have then made it into the movie would be if none of them were finished in time to add them as a sound layer to the video because they need to be completed together and as a set. Or maybe the music had to be completed based on an incomplete film and the parts without music from the score are the parts that were done last. Another reason I can think of speaks to the long long story of "the Curse of the Hobbit" ... but I will leave it at that. I really don't know much to be honest. These are all guesses.

In any case, hopefully PJ and all the rest of us learned enough from AUJ and that will help TDoS and TaBA along beautifully.

Glóin the Dark

Dec 12 2012, 11:53pm

Post #11 of 103 (4056 views)
Doug Adams' blog [In reply to] Can't Post

Open to invited readers only? I'm sure I read it a couple of days ago.

Eye's on Guard

Dec 13 2012, 12:10am

Post #12 of 103 (3916 views)
Really? :( [In reply to] Can't Post

Nothing I have read over the past week has phased me in the least, but this... Frown

I'm stunned... Pirate Mad

PJ wouldn't be able to re-work the scoring for say the EE release, would he? I can't see this as being anything but unintended (due to last-minute work or whatever).


Dec 13 2012, 12:15am

Post #13 of 103 (3902 views)
I knew it [In reply to] Can't Post

Something felt awfully wrong with the score in the movie. It felt disjuncted and out of touch with what was really going on. And the reuse of old themes.. What a mess. Frown

*Baruk khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!*

Glóin the Dark

Dec 13 2012, 12:17am

Post #14 of 103 (3903 views)
I can't think of a good explanation other than... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that Jackson decided he didn't like the effect of Shore's intended music over the scenes in question. If so, it's unlikely (but not impossible) that he would reinstate it for the Extended Edition.

Tol Eressea

Dec 13 2012, 12:18am

Post #15 of 103 (3883 views)
Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't make any sense. What happened there? They were so meticulous when it comes to themes in LOTR but in Hobbit it feels kinda random.

The more i think about the movie the more i'm disappointed.

Glóin the Dark

Dec 13 2012, 12:25am

Post #16 of 103 (4059 views)
Displaced music in "The Lord of the Rings" [In reply to] Can't Post

The instances which spring to my mind are:

When Éomer's band attacks the Uruk-hai captors of Merry and Pippin, music from the Battle of Helm's Deep is used. The (presumably) originally intended music can be heard on the Complete Recordings. In this case, I actually prefer the edited version.

When Legolas first spots the approaching Wargs en route to Helm's Deep, music from the staircase scene near the Bridge of Khazad-dum is pasted in. It only lasts a few seconds, though, and works reasonably well.

When Pippin realises that what he's clinging to is no ordinary tree, Ringwraith music (I think from Weathertop) is played. Again, it's only for a few seconds and works well enough as music - but it's way out of context and damages the integrity of the score.

(This post was edited by Glóin the Dark on Dec 13 2012, 12:26am)


Dec 13 2012, 12:32am

Post #17 of 103 (3859 views)
I don't care about critics at all, but this is heartbreaking. PJ, are you there?!?!? [In reply to] Can't Post

I've listened to the soudtrack sever times and it was gorgeous. Music was the last of my worries...
What the heck is going on?!?
Are they out of their minds?
I want to hear what Howard Shore has to say about this, and I want him to complain with PJ about this. The editing of the music NEEDS to be redone for the extended edition, or I won't buy it.
I won't buy anything of this...
Music is the most important aspect of a movie.
What the heck where they thinking!
I'm out of my mind.
Now I'm not even sure I'll go see it, I've lost all my faith in this movie.
This is EMBARASSING. There are no other words.


Glóin the Dark

Dec 13 2012, 12:44am

Post #18 of 103 (3856 views)
That's definitely a concern... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but it seems more likely that Howard Shore will be replaced with Howard Shore since there's already a wealth of music to mine, cut and paste (albeit out of context - but who cares about that sort of niggly detail?).

Aragalen the Green

Dec 13 2012, 12:51am

Post #19 of 103 (3802 views)
I'm a little taken aback, but not entirely surprised :( [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems that soundtracks are usually individual short scores, which are taken out in bits and pieces to be inserted where needed. An example is the "Nature's Reclamation" theme from LOTR, which is rather ponderous listened to on its own, over 5 minutes, but used for the Moth (!), the Ride of the Rohirrim (oddly), and most memorably for me, the Last March of the Ents.

Well, I lost my train of thought with that, but still being hopeful. Sometimes the music is better after watching a movie again Smile But thank you for the heads-up, and glad to hear from someone who appreciates good soundtrack music.

" 'Twas a near thing!" said Spam. "Came nigh to a-spoilin' me pantaloons."

(This post was edited by Aragalen the Green on Dec 13 2012, 12:52am)

Glóin the Dark

Dec 13 2012, 12:55am

Post #20 of 103 (3768 views)
But only one usage of that theme... [In reply to] Can't Post

...was copied and pasted (the instance heard when Théoden and co. are about to ride out from the Hornburg, which seems to be exactly the same recording as that used for the March of the Ents - and not the originally intended music for the Hornburg scene). The others were deliberately and uniquely written for the scenes in which the appear, and (in my opinion) fit perfectly.

Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea

Dec 13 2012, 1:11am

Post #21 of 103 (3811 views)
*boiling with rage* [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ, I love every single thing you've done with these movies and have been aching with anticipation for Friday morning - but how could you do this?!!!

Rearranging a couple cues is one thing - I know how editing goes - but how could you have such blatant disregard for Howard's themes?! Surely you must know that the Ringwraith theme is meant for the Ringwraiths!! Not for a dwarf/orc battle scene! Unsure

I'm still looking forward to the movie, but this has really broken my heart. After listening to Mr. Shore's masterful score on CD for the past couple days, the mere thought of this kind of hacking and slashing of his music is too much to bear. How could you? Frown

"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

Lieutenant of Dol Guldur

Dec 13 2012, 1:12am

Post #22 of 103 (3743 views)
Thank you! Hopefully we get a statement of PJ [In reply to] Can't Post

I noticed it too and I am really a person who sees and listens a film especially a Middle-earth movie. Because the music is his own character... I was really disappointed about the musical-cut of the movie.

My four unforgettable music-mistakes (all unaffected by any plot changes or new cuts... I knew the tracks and they all would have fit great):

1.) Nazgûl-theme with choir (their text is something that is important to the action that takes place!!) when Thorin attacks Azog instead of the choir from "Out of the Frying Pan"

2.) Generic Rring-theme from LOTR when Bilbo finds the Ring instead of this wonderful new variation from "Riddles in the Dark"

3.) No epic Smaug-theme at the end like in "A Good Omen"

4.) Where was the beautiful "Erebor" track from the deluxe edition???

I fear that means: No Oscar (nomination) for Howard Shore this year Frown although his CD-Soundrack would deserve it

"There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power."


Dec 13 2012, 1:15am

Post #23 of 103 (3754 views)
Negative comments about the score are now making sense.... [In reply to] Can't Post

With all the care that was given to Shore's score in LOTR, it's a huge shock to hear that his music is being played with like this.

I can understand music being taken out of a scene, but why just stick in old music when you have perfectly good new music to use?

Glóin the Dark

Dec 13 2012, 1:16am

Post #24 of 103 (3724 views)
The absence of the Smaug theme... [In reply to] Can't Post

...really intrigues me. I was anticipating that rather enthusiastically. What exactly is the scene like without it?

Glóin the Dark

Dec 13 2012, 1:21am

Post #25 of 103 (3764 views)
The Ringwraiths theme... [In reply to] Can't Post

...is used briefly in The Two Towers when Treebeard makes his presence known, and also (very briefly) in the first battle in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring (with no Ringwraiths about). Both out of place, but I can reconcile myself to both appearances because they're so brief and rather unobtrusive. I'm hoping that the situation is similar for this Azog occurrence!

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