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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Official Hobbit Review Thread #30 - Seeing it again this weekend, or for the first time? Post your reviews here!

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Dec 21 2012, 1:29pm

Post #1 of 13 (1486 views)
Official Hobbit Review Thread #30 - Seeing it again this weekend, or for the first time? Post your reviews here! Can't Post

Are you going to see The Hobbit: And Unexpected Journey again this weekend? Perhaps in a different format? Perhaps for the first time? Post your review in this thread (we're trying to keep the in one place).

FYI, we'll probably keep these going through sometime next week to give Aussies, parents with kids getting out of school, and everyone else who hasn't seen the movie yet a chance to post their reviews. If your review is back in one of the first review threads, feel free to re-post it here for reading and discussion.

Also, don't forget that you also stand a chance of winning something special by submitting your own review of The Hobbit - An Unexpected Journey to TORns official reviews section.

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

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Dec 22 2012, 4:33am

Post #2 of 13 (1241 views)
My Line Party report and Review after 6 shows. [In reply to] Can't Post

A sibbie asked me if I've done a review of The Hobbit yet, and my response started out this way:

I've seen it 6 times (once on IMAX 3D) and my golly... I'm loving it more and more each time I see it! I have to admit the first viewing was splendid, but I didn't leave in a stupor like I did with FotR. Then again, no film left me feeling like FotR or RotK did. But once I emotionally (and not just psychologically) knew The Hobbit was a different story and different film, I've been caught in a trance and have fallen in love! (fyi... I've made a deal with my local theatre who remembers me from LotR. They've let me pre-purchase several tickets at a group-rate price. I've been saving for these viewings ever since The Hobbit was green-lit... though it will be a fraction of my LotR viewings :)

I haven't done a review yet because I've been selfishly going to the movies and going to work each day. I've got… *counts*… 26 pages of notes scribbled in the dark as I watched this fabulous journey. I've already got a lengthy list of geeky observations… so I'll be turning my attention to The Hobbit Geeky Observations List (like I've been promising) over this Christmas Break… while I'm not at the movie ;)

When I sit here thinking about different parts of the film, I can't stop smiling let alone keep from giggling. And then I think of the heroic moments, and I'm stirred to tears. This film is an obvious romp, a massive road trip, yet so intimate and touching... and valiant.

Scroll on down to **THE MOVIE** if you want to get past the Line Party report and straight into the review. For those who don't know me, hang on… I'm very wordy in my reports. Can't help it! They're also like a diary for me so I can remember (or re-discover) what happened as my memory fades. J Here goes…

I hosted what turned out to be a very humble line party for the 2 midnight screenings at my local theatre. I was so nervous... not knowing what to expect and thinking that most of the people would be college students from the nearby university. Thursday the 13th was the last day of final exams, so the masses were still in town and ready to celebrate. Surely in no mood for an ol' geek to interrupt their chatter as they waited for the movie doors to open. I showed up in my Nazgûl costume armed with a trivia game, donated trading cards for trivia prizes, little black plastic spiders handed out to everyone, and also some donated t-shirts, buttons, 3D Hobbit glasses and more for contest prizes once we got inside. I even got asked to pose for some pictures.

I was right. 90% of the movie-goers were between the ages of 18 & 24, but there were some seasoned fans there as well! Thankfully the young people didn't roll their eyes at me once! They were all fantastic and very enthusiastic about participating in the trivia game. I did the 2 lines in sections, reading trivia questions and then fanning out a huge handful of LotR/Denny's Hobbit trading cards for the winners to pick out what they wanted. You know how little kids look when you hold out a box full of toys and say, "Take your pick"? That's what happened :) Then everyone around them would lean in and say, "What'd ya get?! What'd ya find?!" Then I'd move to another section and do it all over again. But those people knew what was coming and were watching and waiting, whispering, "Here she comes!" Cripes that was fun! The winner who gathered the most cards was a many-wintered Tolkien gammer-geek who won a t-shirt and pair of Hobbit 3D glasses. Everyone was tickled with the spiders I gave out, except 2 young gents that fairly squealed and pulled away at the sight of them! I moved to the other side; "Oh look! There's one over here, too!" "eeeeek! No! No!" I told everyone they were Mirkwood spiders and that they'd be grown to full size by next December.

When we were finally let into our theatre, I waited for more people to show up. At about 11:30, I went to the front of the room and bellowed, "MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!?" They must have still been in classroom mode, cuz the room immediately went silent! "THANK YOU! We thought it would be fun to have some contests. So on behalf of TheOneRing.net…" to which there were gasps and whispers of recognition "…I've got some prizes for the Best Costume and the Best Gollum Impersonation. If we have time after I go to the other theatre for their contests, we'll do some more!" *anticipation noises ensued*

I continued. "Okay, so anyone who would like to participate in the Costume Contest, would you please come forward?" Some brave souls came down and we had an applause vote as I held my hand up to each. The Elven Princess definitely won! Everyone got prizes, but she got multiples. Same thing for the Gollum Impersonation contest. We only had 2 people participate, but WOW… they were incredible! The young lady did the battered-by-Faramir's-soldiers "cruel men hurts us" Gollum/Sméagol scene and the young man did the "Nobody likes you" Gollum/Sméagol scene… both in their entirety! Fantastically Creepy! We couldn't decide who was best, so they both got first prizes. Every contest participant got a HUGE round of applause!

Then I left for theater #2 and just got inside when their pre-preview advertisements came on. So I'll save the few prizes left for next year's Line Party.

Most of the formats I've seen have been the normal 24 fps 2D version, but I was very fortunate to see it in IMAX 3D... and it's outstanding! I normally don't care for 3D, but this is incredible quality that gives the film depth rather than in-your-face graphics. I strongly encourage anyone who really wants to experience this film at its best, see it in IMAX 3D!

I was literally holding my breath as The Hobbit started and the music came up… and then there was a closeup of an eye that instantly threw me off. What the…? Oh. Still production stuff. Then The Hobbit title filled the black screen. Ahhh… now it begins :) Bilbo strikes a match to light his candle. It's very dark in Bag End, so he's up very early to write his confession and tale to Frodo.

I'll admit my first viewing had me a bit off-kilter. After 10+ years of LotR being absorbed into my pores, it was a bit of a culture shock to finally be back in Bag End yet in unknown territory at the same time. What an adventure! :D So with my tablet in my lap and my pen perched on page one, I let myself fall into the abyss. It was so delightful to see Bilbo and Frodo scurrying around Bag End... to see what it was like for them to live in Bag End together!

At this first viewing, I was distracted by the anti-aging cg process on Bilbo (elder), Saruman, etc. And the comedic timing took me a little while to get used to. But once I saw The Hobbit again, I found myself totally enthralled and falling in love with this story and these characters! Ahhhhh.... this is exactly what I was hoping for.

Thorin, Balin, Fili and Kili are certainly great, but I really love watching Bofur. He's such a surprise and really does a wonderful job of setting the tone for every scene he's in. The two I can't get enough of, though, are Gandalf and Martin Freeman's Bilbo. My gosh... they're amazing and spot-on for bringing their counterparts to life. Gandalf the Grey has always been my favorite. I'm delighted there's so much of him here!!!

What was especially fun for me was how much book dialogue kept popping up. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Bilbo and Gandalf first meet. Now it's also one of my favorite parts of the film! Bilbo is fantastic, as are the Dwarves. Gollum is stronger than ever, and Galadriel is hauntingly ethereal as she glides through one scene. Armitage's Thorin is so well done! And I appreciate that the individual dwarves are slowly brought to our attention. There's no effort to put them in our face to memorize. We're introduced to them, yes... but then we learn about each of them through events, not as part of a checklist of personalities.

A Jackson/Boyens/Walsh adaption of Tolkien's works should never be expected to be a page-to-screen of the book. Jackson is telling his version of the story while staying true to the heart and sensibilities of Tolkien's world, imho. I found this to be true with The Lord of the Rings, and now again with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Howard Shore's music remains as much a character of these films as anything visual. The themes from LotR are fitted nicely into Hobbit plotlines. For me, these trigger an emotional response from giggles to tears. It also subconsciously put me into the sentiment of the event straight-away. Within the familiar themes, the new music representing the Dwarves (and The Hobbit) is a great addition to Shore's musical representation of Middle-earth.

While there were plot twists and story diversions, they were not a violation of the overall tale. In fact, there were a few places where I think the film version is better than the book! Riddles in the Dark, the Stone Giants, Radagast (not even in the book), Goblin-town (sans Goblin-king) and the Company trapped in the trees... these were full of surprises while still sticking to the basic plot.

As I become more familiar with these movies through multiple viewings and the story evolves with the release of parts 2 & 3, I know The Hobbit will be as beloved by me as The Lord of the Rings. I'm so happy with this first installment and grateful to have Jackson at the helm! I can't wait to have all 6 extended editions of Jackson's adaptation of Tolkien's tales. Two of the greatest storytellers of all times.


I'm SO HAPPY these new films take me back to that magical world!!

TORn's Observations Lists
Unused Scenes


Dec 22 2012, 6:33am

Post #3 of 13 (897 views)
Pssst, Gramma [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope you are keeping all those ticket stubs so that you can crochet yourself a lovely blanket. You can put it on your knee to keep warm later down the track when you are watching the extended edition at home. Cool

Glad you loved the 3D. I did too, even though I really did not expect to. In fact, I loved the film altogether, which was an excellent surprise.


Dec 22 2012, 8:32am

Post #4 of 13 (871 views)
Gramma! [In reply to] Can't Post

All those years (10+) when I've been lurking here in ToRn your opinions were the most valuable to me. I cannot express myself very good in english, not at all, but once again, I don't need to, you said it for me.
Can I send you a hug from this cold, northern country of mine? We share the same love Heart

I'm very much looking forward to your geeky observations. I have seen the Hobbit only 3 times 'till now and my family is coming for Christmas to us, so not much time right now but after these busy and happy days I'll give myself that joy again.

Tol Eressea

Dec 22 2012, 1:52pm

Post #5 of 13 (850 views)
Love your reviews! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, 6 times -- we can't get to a second viewing. We were thinking about going again Friday, but we got to watch sleet and snow come down instead. The theater we go to is 40 miles away. Our local theater has the seats from hell!

A Jackson/Boyens/Walsh adaption of Tolkien's works should never be expected to be a page-to-screen of the book. Jackson is telling his version of the story while staying true to the heart and sensibilities of Tolkien's world, imho. I found this to be true with The Lord of the Rings, and now again with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

I reconcile the differences between Tolkien's version and PJ's by thinking of PJ's as the gritty grown-up version (probably the *real* story and Tolkien's as the cleaned up version he could tell his children at bedtime!

Sounds like your line party was a real success. We don't know if there was a line party at the theater we go to -- we don't even try to go to the movies at midnight! We must be a couple of *over* seasoned fans!


Dec 22 2012, 2:54pm

Post #6 of 13 (838 views)
Cheers, Gramma! [In reply to] Can't Post

This was a joy to read, my friend. It makes me happy to know that you are enthralled just as much as I am. :)

I've only had one viewing, so far (2D, 24fps), but I won't be stopping at just one, and even though I am not a fan of all the 3D-happy film-making going on these days, I do plan to see this in IMAX 3D, just to see what HFR looks like.

I wasn't distracted in the least on my first viewing, though. I got the same chill down my spine as I did for all of my LotR viewings when The Hobbit title screen came up, and I was transfixed from there to the end. I could have easily sat through an even longer run-time without looking at my watch.
I loved seeing the old, familiar faces, and hearing the familiar themes in Howard's music. Those things pulled me right back in and rekindled the joy of viewing all of the LotR films for the first time, and only served to enhance the experience of [finally] seeing The Hobbit on the big screen, set in the same version of Middle-earth as the former trilogy, as told by the same folks. That continuity is just what I had been hoping for when talk of The Hobbit coming to the big screen first started in this community.

And as unpopular as this opinion is in many corners... while the story of The Hobbit is at the center of this film (and the two to follow), I also enjoy that PJ/Fran/Philippa's focus goes beyond what is found within the text of that book. I'm *glad* we're getting another trilogy out of this.
There is so much to the [hi]story of Middle-earth, and I applaud the effort that has been invested by this team to bring it forth.


Dec 22 2012, 3:19pm

Post #7 of 13 (834 views)
Oh... [In reply to] Can't Post

I had just assumed, without researching, that IMAX 3D was the HFR version. Guess I was wrong.
HFR 3D isn't available anywhere close-by.

Ah, well...
Still, the IMAX is just around the corner. Why *shouldn't* I view it?


Dec 22 2012, 4:32pm

Post #8 of 13 (860 views)
I posted in previous thread about my bad experience [In reply to] Can't Post

Now to follow up i gotta say that yesterday i saw it for the third time, and this time the HFR 3D was perfection! I saw it on IMAX and the experience was unbelievable. I think im done with 3 times. First one in normal 2D view, second in a crappy HFR view, and the third time in the most outstanding possible view ever. Smile


Dec 22 2012, 6:31pm

Post #9 of 13 (824 views)
Wild, right? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this will work to increase AUJ ticket sales. It truly gets better with each viewing. So even with the (arguably) weaker story than LotR, it may still compete with them (or at least with FotR).

In Reply To
Now to follow up i gotta say that yesterday i saw it for the third time, and this time the HFR 3D was perfection! I saw it on IMAX and the experience was unbelievable. I think im done with 3 times. First one in normal 2D view, second in a crappy HFR view, and the third time in the most outstanding possible view ever. Smile


Dec 22 2012, 9:15pm

Post #10 of 13 (834 views)
Honestly, it's not that it improved with a second viewing [In reply to] Can't Post

the problem was that the first HFR viewing was bad because the theater we went to sucks. It's a pretty old place, small screen and seriously, the projection was in bad quality. Not to mention there were only 4 of us in the theater. No one there could tell me before hand how it looked on HFR. And they work there! It looked to me that they didn't even care or knew what the heck i was talking about.

What improved was my choice of theater. It was as different as day and night. IMAX screen, outstanding quality, and the people from the theater had already seen it and told me what to expect. Thankfully it was a blast this time.

Aragorn the Elfstone
Tol Eressea

Dec 23 2012, 7:02am

Post #11 of 13 (797 views)
Similar experience with the film... [In reply to] Can't Post

I too have found that my first viewing left me feeling off kilter. But I think I was worse off than you were. Because my first viewing left me feeling a bit deflated. I'd built up this idea of what The Hobbit would be in my head, and when I didn't quite get that, it was a major let down. However, on my second viewing, I was able to appreciate it for the movie that it was, and not what I had imagined over 9 years.

I've now seen the film 4 times, and I can say truthfully now that I really do love it. Before my second viewing, I had to understand that this was not Lord of the Rings, and wasn't meant to be. As different as the book of The Hobbit is to the book of Lord of the Rings - so too are the films different. Once I truly understood and felt that, I started to enjoy things about The Hobbit in their own way. I've liked it more and more with each viewing, and the latest one pushed me over the edge into the "love it" category.

It's actually very strange, because I spent so long awaiting one kind of film. It's kind of a joyous surprise to have something that's quite different than expected. It feels like something wholly new (while still quite nostalgic), and makes me even more excited for "The Desolation of Smaug" next year. Smile

"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

(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Dec 23 2012, 7:04am)


Dec 23 2012, 4:41pm

Post #12 of 13 (802 views)
I must have been in the wrong theatre! [In reply to] Can't Post

Note : for you 'Sheldons' out there, this is a "Sarcasm" alert.

Yesterday, I drove forty miles to view the 10:30 PST showing of 'The Hobbit: An unexpected journey' in 3D. I had some trepidation, as I feared what might have been done to one of my favorite books, one I first read some forty-two years ago and have read probably thirty or more times since. My mood was best described as 'expect the worst and hope for the best.' I moved down the hallway to the viewing room and found that I was the first to arrive. I moved around a bit, checked a few seats and finally picked out a nice spot. When the previews began, I was still the only person in the room. After a few minutes, a young couple came in and sat a few rows down and to the left of me. That was it . . . three (3) people for the 10:30 showing (I later asked the gal at the front about that, and she said the earliest showings were often lightly viewed) Crazy

And, the movie started. I watched the prologue unfold and I began to smile. Dale and Erebor, the view into the lives of the dwarves. A few shots reminded me of 'Forbidden Planet', but that quickly passed. I was re-immersing in the Middle Earth experience . . . Huh, who is that human-looking lad there. Thorin? Hmmm . . . doesn't look like Thorin. Hey! Thorin wasn't at Erebor when the dragon attacked. He was 'a fine, adventurous lad who saw the dragon fall upon the mountain from a distance' or some such. Huh . . . are those elves on the ridge above as the dwarves flee from the destruction of their home? Nope. No elves at the fall of Erebor. I must be in the wrong theatre . . . this is not The Hobbit. Frown

Huh. An older Bilbo writting about his adventures and a young Frodo. Huh . . . well, this is not the Hobbit, but I think is has something to do with the film. Maybe I am in the right theatre. Ah . . . finally, old Bilbo fades to young Bilbo, and we have The Hobbit. Yes, there's Gandalf. And the dwarves are showing up. Ahhhhh, Balin. Perfect. Well, maybe not. There's that Thorin again. Why does he seem to be out of place, a bit in slow motion compared to the other dwarves . . . maybe it's just me. Hey, that's not right . . . Bilbo's tookish side didn't take over, and he turned them down. Huh. No, there goes Bilbo, running off to join them. OK . . . this might just be the Hobbit. Smile

Off into the wilderness, the odd Thorin character being a grump. Huh . . . a flashback? To Moria and the battle where Azog was killed by Dain. Good, they worked in how the whole 'Oakenshield' name came about . . . and . . . Thorin cuts off Azog's arm and he escapes. Well, now, this must be some other invented nonesense by PJ in some other story. Maybe this isn't the Hobbit. Unimpressed

Ah, the trolls. Something I recognize. Hmmmm . . . well, mostly. I think I missed the talking purse (Daniel won't be pleased), and the dwarves were captured by the trolls, they didn't attack them. I certainly don't remember Bilbo distracting them . . . that was Gandalf's doing. Where the heck is . . . ah, there's Gandalf. I will say that splitting the rock was a nice touch. Ok, they have found Glamdring and Orcrist . . . and there is Sting. I drifted along and watched the added dialog and filler, stuff about the other Istari . . . what's this? Radagast?! I sat up, the mood broken, and I tried to determine the reasoning behind this new and strange aberation. A sickening forest, poor dying animals, witchcraft . . . hmmmm . . . sounds like they are trying to tie in . . . hmmm . . . must be Dol Guldur stuff, as PJ seems to have an unatural fixation with that little-mentioned part of the story . . . huh . . . and, there's the infamous bunny sled. Well, it kinda works.Tongue OK, now what. Thorin doesn't wish to visit Rivendell? Well, that's not right . . . Hey, that's a Warg. And another. And they're chasing them. And, is that . . . Azog at Weathertop?

At that point, I lost my immersion in the film. I watched the poorly-executed effects of the bunny sled as it careened around in a unsuccessful attempt to draw off the foe. I saw the elven cavalry and I shoke my head as the dwarves continued to avoid the elves. I had hope again as I saw Rivendell again (what! no tra-la-la . . . ok, I'm not surprised), but lost hope as I witnessed the awkward meeting between Elrond and Gandalf. Maybe both actors understood how wrong that scene was. Nope, this is definitely not the Hobbit. Mad

I spent the rest of my viewing experience watching a fine, if flash and gimmicky, fantasy action film that had a resemblence to The Hobbit, but it wasn't The Hobbit. The dwarves scrabling around in the creases of the stone giant's knees (so much devoted to a single-sentence, throw-away reference?), the denial of the quest by Bilbo . . . Not enjoyable, but pure PJ & Co. Goblin Town was an overdone, exaggerated mess (much like the Great Goblins jowls) that turned into a huge, hard to follow mess punctuated by the THUMP of the Great Goblin on the top of a pile of dwarves. Unsure

I will admit that the Riddles in the Dark was well done. They used most of the riddles, and the changes they made were not offensive to me. The effect of invisibility was very nicely done . . . similar to the effects from the LOTR trilogy, without the reddish hew and violence of the original, this reflecting the fact that Sauron was not strong yet, nor focusing wholly on finding the ring.Shocked

In contrast, I was largely unhappy with the 'into the fire' sequences. Azog is back, Thorin attacks and Bilbo has to save him? Really? And, of course, Azog survives. The moth was a nice touch, especially the effect of the 3D moth fluttering towards the audience . . . one of the few 3D effects that didn't make me shake my head. Then, of course, came the tear-enspiring scene where Thorin accepts Bilbo after he saves his life. Amaturish and predictable . . . and an ending probably suggested by Philippa Boyens. Heavy Sigh . . . . . . . . .

As a 3D enhanced fantasy epic, I give the film and 8 out of 10. PJ, as usual, has crafted a rollercoaster, one designed to throw the viewer's emotions this way and that, a ride which deviates and confuses most viewers as it spends too much time on visual flash and gimmicks, and far too little on characterization and powerful, believable conflict.

As an adaption of The Hobbit, I am stretching to give it a 4 out of 10. Too many changes to a wonderful story, a story written in a narrative form which lends itself to adaption to the screen. Unfortunately, PJ & Co. obviously saw too little to their liking in the classic story, and they made changes to help their Dol Guldur sidestory which, in my mind, made the film a poor reflection of The Hobbit.

Note : the "Sarcasm" alert has ended. Please go about your business.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow, if I can

"Thorin sat up with a start. 'Something is not right,' he muttered to himself as he stood up and
looked towards the mirror . . . . . . . . . 'Durin's bones', he gasped, 'what's happened to my beard?'"


Dec 27 2012, 11:46pm

Post #13 of 13 (681 views)
Pertaining to changes (1) from the book: [In reply to] Can't Post

At first i had a mild 'frumpness' at the way the contract seen unrolled, but after a bit of seeing Bilbo running head long through the shire with the contact flailing all about with that expression on his face, i was won over. And especially when he said exclaimed "I am going on an adventure!" it turned me to the firm side of delight. Actually i laughed at my reaction because it reminded me the way Aragorn laughed when he was told by Legolas at Helm's Deep that he looked awful.

I think this is the point i felt i was very much warming up to Martin/Bilbo.


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