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Official Hobbit Review Thread #22 - (Gosh! What're you all talking about!) - Please post all reviews in here :)

The Shire

Dec 17 2012, 12:20pm

Post #1 of 9 (1293 views)
Official Hobbit Review Thread #22 - (Gosh! What're you all talking about!) - Please post all reviews in here :) Can't Post

We're trying to keep reviews in one place, so please post here.

Also, see our Home Page to submit a review to Ringers Reviews(and win something)! For the Fellowship of the Ring, we had more than 15,000 reviews - let's get more for The Hobbit.

Original post: Fantastic review/ article calling The Hobbit the MOVIE OF 2012!

Great informed review. This guy knows his Tolkien too as I can see by reading his other articles!


This is his other one on differences between the book and film, all points turned out to be correct:


AUJ - film of the year!

Thread 1

Thread 2

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Thread 19!

Thread 20!

Thread 21!

(This post was edited by Altaira on Dec 17 2012, 5:14pm)

Tol Eressea

Dec 17 2012, 12:46pm

Post #2 of 9 (563 views)
Great article... Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

And this guy is a good, and Tolkien-knowledgeable, writer.

The Shire

Dec 17 2012, 12:50pm

Post #3 of 9 (533 views)
Agreed... [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed, knows his stuff but is looking at this in as unbiased a way as can be done I think. I will leave a comment on the article because I liked it.

Off to see it again tonight- in non-HFR this time.

Yikes, can't wait!

(This post was edited by SauonWasHere on Dec 17 2012, 12:53pm)


Dec 17 2012, 5:17pm

Post #4 of 9 (401 views)
I LOVED the movie [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw the movie on Saturday, 12/15 and I loved it. I saw it in 3D and it was spectacular. The acting was great and I was very impressed by Martin Freeman. Armitage was GREAT as Thorin, Dwarf prince desperate to recover his lost home, Erebor. I am going to see it again - at least 2 more times.


Dec 17 2012, 5:49pm

Post #5 of 9 (409 views)
Liked, but didn't love it. (spoilers and long) [In reply to] Can't Post

Saw “The Hobbit” on Sunday at a 5:25 pm showing, only about 20 people in the theater (7 of whom were my family). The attendance was disappointing, but not surprising given my area. Deliberately chose to do 2D.

Before giving my thoughts, a bit on my mindset. LOTR was a life-changing read for me, and the movies were life-changing in their own way: a wonderful surprise after going into them with trepidation and low expectations, a gateway into communities like this, and an affirmation of my Tolkien geekiness. The Hobbit is nothing the same: a much less important book to me, and a sometimes wearying amount of hype leading up to this movie. The Hobbit is a different book, and so the movie from it will never be as important as the LOTR book and movies. So, different mindset going in, and something to take into account with each point below.


Martin Freeman as Bilbo: A wonderful comic actor, did some great work. I still keep seeing him as Martin though, or as Watson. A couple of times, I thought, “Ooh, an Ian Holm mannerism.” Don’t get me wrong, I think his performance was good. I’m just going to have to see him as Bilbo as many times as I’ve already watched him as Watson in Sherlock before the character becomes separate from the actor.

The framing device seemed unnecessary to me. As much as I loved seeing Elijah as Frodo again, I didn’t need the 10 minutes it took. The Dale and Erebor prologues, however, I liked. A new place and new information, and a chance to tease about the dragon design.

Loved the “Good Morning” sequence. I think my favorite parts are always going to be when something comes directly out of the book. This is what seeing a well-loved book adapted to film means to me. Thus, didn’t love the “Unexpected Party” quite as much. I don’t see the dwarves as having food fights, or performing acrobatics with the plates. Everything there went on about twice as long as needed. I would have liked a something on what made Bilbo change his mind and run out of the door.

The troll sequence was entertaining. Bilbo as “reluctantly brave” starts to come out well, and it sets up his cleverness. Liked Bilbo not really wanting a sword. Could have done without the troll snot. Just as with the dwarves throwing food, it seemed like a 10 year old boy’s joke.

Don’t like Azog. He looks fake. Don’t like that they subtitle his speech – in LOTR, the orcs speak English and nobody ever complains. Don’t like the addition to the plot – more on that below. Having the dwarves as little dots running endlessly through grassland chased by other black dots in wide shots got really boring really fast. Having Radagast be totally unable to understand what “leading them away” means was annoying.

Radagast is too silly for me. Saruman calls him a fool, and I agree. Gandalf doesn’t, but he doesn’t really defend him either, and the whole thing makes me squirm. I really hated the drug implications: you can mellow him out on a puff of weed, and addle him with mushrooms. The Istari are powerful beings and deserve a little more respect. The bunny sled is an example. Radagast could have befriended any creature, so the fact that bunnies pull his sled is only a gag.

Loved seeing Rivendell again. It’s very clear Bilbo is enchanted by the place and wants to stay. The lighter, more sympathetic Elrond is a joy to behold. I never liked Elrond in LOTR. I always attributed it to Weaving’s performance, but perhaps it was the lines like “Men are Weak” that were the real problem. This Elrond I can see being described as “kind a summer.” Other than Aragorn’s relationship with Arwen, it’s hard to understand what will make him so bitter over the next 60 years. He’s perfectly willing to help the dwarves here, but later on he’s going to deride them for holing up in the kingdom he’s helping them regain.

If the scene with Galadriel and Saruman is the White Council, I generally liked it, but I thought more of the wise would be there? Nothing was decided, and at some point they will decide to go to Dol Guilder, so maybe more is to come? It does set up a dynamic between Saruman and Galadriel, but I thought it moved a little slow. Galadriel even paces slowly. Perhaps all councils are like that.

The battle of the stone giants was cool, but again twice as long as it needed to be. This is my least favorite type of scene. I am far more character-driven than action-driven, and would rather watch any other emotion being played out than frozen terror.

For example, I thought Bilbo's scene with Bofur in the cave was wonderful. For the first time I felt connected with one of the dwarves. Perfectly placed to examine how Bilbo feels about himself at this stage in his development, how Thorin sees him, how the dwarves are beginning to see him. Deciding to leave now contrasts nicely with his later explanation of why he decides to stay.

Goblin Town: ugh. Way, way, way too long, too frantic, too gimmicky. As above, my least favorite type of scene. The little orc scribe in the hanging basket was just the type of gimmick Lucas would have put in a Star Wars prequel. There was nothing believable about all 13 dwarves plus Gandalf being able to survive and escape, all together, from 10,000 goblins. (And don't tell me "It's a fantasy, it's not supposed to be believable. When it becomes too in-credible, I'm pulled right out of the experience.) Having the dead body of the Great Goblin fall on them at the end was straight out of a Road Runner cartoon. The Great Goblin looked fake, it all looked computer generated and several times I found myself thinking, “yep, they shot it that way for the 3D.” But once you put the dwarves in that environment, you are locked into a stupendous production to get them out: no way for Gandalf to just kill the great goblin with a flash and everyone to just escape in the darkness.

In contrast, "Riddles in the Dark" was masterful. I liked seeing how the Ring was lost, showing what is implied in the book, that Gollum lost it while squeezing a nasty squeaker. The interaction between Bilbo and Gollum was exquisite. It wasn’t until after that I realized a number of riddles had been omitted, and rightly so. Doing them all would have made the scene too long. Bilbo’s expression as he watches Gandalf and the dwarves pass by in front of him, but he can’t get there, is wonderful. His moment of pity, where he looks into Gollum’s eyes and sees such expressive misery, well, I just don’t have any more adjectives to describe how perfect it was. And that continues as Bilbo overhears Thorin’s derision of him while hidden by the Ring. His growth is palpable, the emotion on his face is so clear, his answer to Thorin perfect.

Then the company is chased yet again by Azog’s orcs. And they spend more time running around. Yawn. I know the scenery is beautiful in New Zealand, but I really hate this plot addition. The goblins from the mountains could have chased them just as well. The only thing good was Bilbo killing his first warg, as a reason to barely make it into the tree, although that wasn’t important since Dori didn’t have to get down and help him. That said, if you accept Azog as Thorin’s personal enemy, then Thorin leaving his tree to meet him is inevitable. Hotheaded, short-sighted, and doomed, but inevitable. Bilbo being the only one of the company to come to his aid is too much of a stretch for me. Bilbo is not an action hero. He uses his cunning, wits, and a slowly growing sense of self as his tools. He uses the Ring to bolster these attributes. It is so much more in character for Bilbo to fumble and not know how to use his sword, than it is for him to go charging the biggest warg. If he's doing this now, how will he be so impressed by killing spiders in Mirkwood that he names his sword?

"I do believe the worst is behind us" made me laugh. Have you forgotten you have a live dragon to deal with? Never leave one out of your calculations. The eye opening was a thrilling detail. I loved we have to wait for the reveal of what the rest of him looks like.

I think the movie stands alone well enough. I did get a lot of questions from my group about “was that in the book?” My two cents, without having seen the entire three movie project: I am liking less and less the decision to make three movies out of this. There were tons of places that could have been edited to make a tighter movie, including trimming extraneous added plot, overlong action sequences and some draggy spots. If this had been done in order to create a two-movie package, I think I probably would have liked the resulting movie better.

My overall rating would have to be a 6 out of 10: plusses for Middle Earth, Freeman’s performance, McKellen and Serkis, a few good moments for Thorin and the Dwarves. Minuses for pacing, overall length, Radagast, action sequences. I’m definitely going to see it again, to see if it will grow on me, but I didn’t walk out of there with the same giddy excitement as after seeing FOTR for the first time. Again, see expectations above, your mileage may vary.

"That is one thing that Men call 'hope.' Amdir we call it, 'looking up.' But there is another which is founded deeper. Estel we call it, that is 'trust.' It is not defeated by the ways of the world, for it does not come from experience, but from our nature and First Being. If we are indeed the Eruhin, the Children of the One, then He will not suffer Himself to be deprived of His own, not by any enemy, not even by ourselves. This is the last foundation of estel, which we keep even when we contemplate the End. Of all His designs the issue must be for His children's joy."
Finrod, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, HoME X Morgoth's Ring


Dec 17 2012, 6:57pm

Post #6 of 9 (327 views)
Fantastic review [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with much of it. I think my main problem was that we had hardly any character-driven scenes - it was all action. It's one of the reasons I'm anxious for an extended edition. I truly think this film could have been great if the editing had been better.

One note: I enjoyed pretty much everything that came right from the book (or was basically from the book). It was all the additions and changes that killed the movie for me (not that I hated them all).

Radagast - like you, I did not appreciate the drug references AT ALL. Completely inappropriate.

I agree that goblin-town and Azog were the lowest points for me. Completely over the top and too much CGI.

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales


Dec 17 2012, 7:21pm

Post #7 of 9 (358 views)
review after seeing both 3D HFR opening night and regular 2D the next day [In reply to] Can't Post

3D HFR opening night

I went alone but found that the people around me were highly social and friendly and it was easy for us to find things to talk about since we were all the kind of people who would go to the opening night of The Hobbit. I didn't see anyone dressed up but every single seat (except one on the left side of the front rows) was taken. This friendly audience was laughing at every joke.

I noticed that not all 3D HFR is created equal. The previews made it look bad because there were obvious layers - not many of them - and little blending between layers. It was like the actors were all cardboard cut-outs! However, The Hobbit looked way better than the previewed films. There were multiple layers and the characters did not look like cardboard cut-outs. The 3D HFR brought my attention to the closest layer all of the time which led me to miss some nuances of what was going on with the characters and plot in favor of paying attention to the pretty scenes and things.

regular 2D the day of opening

I went with a group of 9 people. I saw one open seat but there weren't many (I didn't see any others - but there probably were a few). There was selective laughter. The whole theater laughed at the humorous scenes that were in the trailers (I assume they hadn't seen those a billion times from the sound of it). Once in a while, I could hear only childrens' voices laughing (more children came to this showing).

What worked for me

I think the acting was very compelling, the CGI was the best I've seen yet, the scenery was engaging and beautiful, and the 3D HFR spectacular. This first movie did a superb job of making me want to see more.

The frame worked for me but I wished there could have been more of it (they hit so many points so fast that it could have been confusing - but then again maybe keeping it short was a good idea because not everyone gets interested by those kinds of connections that show up later) and that it could have been included at the end (I guess this is one film of 3 - but as a film standing on its own ... it could have been there). I really liked picking up on all the different bits (like the Troll treasure and the artifacts in Bilbo's box) showed up later in the film.
The parts that followed the book closely - especially in Bag-End were delightful.
The building up of the dwarf-elf drama was done well with both sides of it showing the weaknesses and vulnerabilities that led to misunderstanding rather than one side being championed at the expense of the other. That's a hard line to walk well and I think they pulled it off.
The eagle seen was awesome! I could watch that for a long time and not get bored.

What didn't work for me

It was a tad over-the-top in spots. I guess I just convinced myself that many people could fall off of a cliff in the dangerous wilds while adventuring ... but I think it still would have been very good without taking things to the extent they were taken in parts.
I liked Radagast overall - but I think that he can wash off the bird poo at some point. I don't think the character doesn't fit into the overall story and I think the acting was great and I laughed a lot. But I think that the bird-poo falls in with the over-the-top comment above.

I can't wait to see the rest!


Dec 17 2012, 8:06pm

Post #8 of 9 (326 views)
Azog, the only orc in PJ's ME that knows how to fight... and everyone hates him. [In reply to] Can't Post

First, I recognize that Azog as a CGI creation was not great. I totally agree with that (and I hope they get him better for the other two movies).

Beside that however, I do not understand what is everyone's problem with him.

First, even, as bad CGI he still looked scary to me. As such, he is the first Orc "boss" in PJ's movies that seems to be legitimately threatening to seasoned warriors like Thorin or Aragorn (I exclude Lurtz as Uruks all look the same and they are not orcs). In comparison, Gothmog was a joke and while other orcs may be fearsome to hobbits, real warriors cut through them like butter. Not really good for tension. Really, Azog is the first orc to display any skill at fighting in ME.

Some complaints that he is a bit cliché. I agree that the "he killed my father" is a recurring cliché, but this story is about archetype so I don't mind as long as it is well introduced, which I thing it is. Balin does a good job of narrating Thorin vs. Azog backstory (and I really like the bloody look of the Moria battle).

Other complaints about him is that it's padding and it does not serve the story. I don't agree. PJ is setting up Thorin's main antagonist for the subsequent films. In AUJ, he plays a role similar to Lurtz in FOTR, with more backstory (normally a good thing). I don't see what's wrong with this.

Ok, instead of being chased by Goblins out of the mountain, he is chased by Azog's orcs... I don't see how that is a problem. This makes the final confrontation more meaningful to me, which enables some great moments for Thorin and Bilbo.

On the fact that he does not speak English. I have not read LOTR in a few years, but I vaguely remember that not all orcs speak "the common tongue" in Tolkien's ME. When Sam takes the ring to rescue Frodo at Cirith Ungol, I think Tolkien explains that Sam was able to understand the orcs' speech only after putting the ring on. Or is my memory playing tricks on me, here?

Anyway, I think the character has potential and I think those who hate him should get used to him, because we'll definitaly see more of him...


Dec 18 2012, 3:18am

Post #9 of 9 (219 views)
That would be ... the Eagle "scene" // [In reply to] Can't Post



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