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So who is the definitive hobbit?
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The Shire

Jan 7 2013, 11:30am

Post #1 of 29 (1139 views)
So who is the definitive hobbit? Can't Post

Probably been discussed before but I can't be bothered looking.

For me Martin Freeman was superb and nailed the role in a way that I never felt with Elijah Wood. He just feels more 'hobbity'. He definitely puts more physical characterisation into the role with a range of facial expressions and mannerisms that help make Bilbo, for me, more enjoyable to watch.

Wood's Frodo on the other hand is to my mind quite flat by comparison. I always felt watching the LOTR trilogy that Frodo was a hobbit of few words and many pained expressions which I found quite tiresome and that's how I remember the character.

Of course we've only seen one Freeman performance so far and It'll be interesting to see how the character changes but I'm looking forward to it.

Valandil ed Imladris

Jan 7 2013, 11:34am

Post #2 of 29 (675 views)
I love all the Hobbits [In reply to] Can't Post

according to me they all did very well.

But my all time favorite is Sean Astin. Samwise is my favorite character and that's mostly due to him.

But let's see what Martin has in store for us in the next two films Smile

Tol Eressea

Jan 7 2013, 11:37am

Post #3 of 29 (637 views)
It's: Bilbo, Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins! The bravest little hobbit of them all! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, he fought with the goblins
He battled a troll!!
He riddled with Gollum!!!
A magic ring he stole!!!
He was chased by wolves,
Lost in the forest,
Escaped in a barrel from the elf-king's halls!!!!!!!


In all seriousness though, I think Bilbo has to top my list, but I'll wait for the next two films to find out for sure. Sam is at the moment my joint favourite.

--I'm a victim of Bifurcation--

Join us over at Barliman's chat all day, any day!

(This post was edited by Xanaseb on Jan 7 2013, 11:38am)


Jan 7 2013, 11:38am

Post #4 of 29 (628 views)
It's hard to judge when Freeman has only been in one film. / [In reply to] Can't Post


The Shire

Jan 7 2013, 11:43am

Post #5 of 29 (655 views)
I hadn't considered Sam.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Simply because Sean Astin could make up his mind on what accent to play and because I felt PJ spoiled his story arc with that confrontation over Lembas and his jealousy over the Gollum/Frodo relationship. But then I was brought up on the BBC radio adaptation and had expectations of these characters that was different from the movies.


Jan 7 2013, 12:04pm

Post #6 of 29 (612 views)
So far Freeman [In reply to] Can't Post

Martin Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo has so far been pretty much perfect. After the LOTR trilogy I felt Ian Holm's Bilbo was the most Hobbitsiest of the Hobbitses.Smile But, after AUJ I think Freeman might be on his way to surpassing that. He has all the qualities that Ian Holm's Bilbo had, being slightly stuffy, yet warm and friendly and whimsical in a very proper, homely sort of way. But he also feels like he has just a little more depth and subtlety to him, though this might not be fair to Holm since Freeman gets to play Bilbo in Bilbo's own story, whereas Holm only got to play a short cameo in Frodo's story.

But, all in all, Bilbo is the quintessential Hobbit and so far Martin Freeman is inhabiting the character perfectly.

(This post was edited by Kullervo on Jan 7 2013, 12:07pm)


Jan 7 2013, 12:22pm

Post #7 of 29 (578 views)
I agree completely [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Bilbo also has the benefit as a character of making the decision to go on a journey on his own terms. I find it a more interesting proposition. Yes, Frodo volunteers to carry the Ring, but, the way it's played in the film, it's very much "something he had to do". There was never really any doubt that Frodo would just go on in his quest, even if he had to alone. Bilbo has more grey areas to him, and is just generally a more dynamic character (in my eyes). Freeman did it in just one film. He goes through fear, self doubt, homesickness, courage. Frodo is pretty one-note by comparison.

I frankly never really saw a strong character arc in Wood's Frodo. He's cheerier in the beginning of Fellowship, but, after that he talks in soft tones for the rest of the entire trilogy.


Jan 7 2013, 12:40pm

Post #8 of 29 (599 views)
bill nighy [In reply to] Can't Post

freeman is the closest to a real hobbit weve got so far, as for sean astins samwise i dont even consider it to be the same character. terribly acted, no depth. silly accent that changes through out the film, sam is the real hero of the story and needed an actor like mckellen to really get to grips with him.

frodo is ok i guess but again the hobbityness is not really apparent. i like merry and pippin more than frodo and sam.

dont get me wrong i do like the films lol but the hobbits were caricatures of hobbits, not a serious depiction. if you look at say alan lees drawings of a hobbit you get a real sense of character. listen to bill nighys sam, now were getting closer.

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


Jan 7 2013, 1:19pm

Post #9 of 29 (566 views)
Frodo had elvish qualities [In reply to] Can't Post

I think that is why Elijah Wood was cast in the part - those eyes are extraordinary and unworldly. He is supposed to have a more serious demeanor, is supposed to suffer from a tremendous burden. I don't agree with those who think his performance was flat. For me it is full of pathos. That moment outside Moria brings tears every viewing. Now I don't always love the writing for Frodo in the film - and I think that is the core of the problem.

Sam could have been better cast - but Sean Astin has many good moments - and better writing.

Merry and Pippin were always my favorite hobbits.

That said - Martin was perfectly cast and the writing is good. They haven't strayed far from Tolkien.

N.E. Brigand

Jan 7 2013, 1:33pm

Post #10 of 29 (493 views)
Orson Bean. // [In reply to] Can't Post


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Jan 7 2013, 1:45pm

Post #11 of 29 (554 views)
I'm not yet sold on Bilbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Martin Freeman is a good actor, don't get me wrong, but he plays it up in every scene. Sometimes it almost seems like a parody of Bilbo instead of Bilbo, what with the long pauses and nonstop arm movements.

Elijah and Sean weren't fantastic either, but they were there to look sad, hungry, beaten up, and say emotional lines for the fully Hollywood effect, which they did well.

Dominic and Billy were the best Hobbits by far. I wouldn't say they completely nailed their book characters, but they were both funny and serious while never overdoing it.


Jan 7 2013, 2:24pm

Post #12 of 29 (499 views)
Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

It is interesting how differently people can experience a single performance. I completely understand where you are coming from, but at the same time I also completely disagree.Smile I find that Freeman, rather than playing it up, is actually playing it down. I find his gestures and expressions to be quirky but in a very small and quiet way. He feels to me like a bit more subtle and a bit more complex version of Ian Holm's Bilbo, which I absolutely loved (and named him my favorite Hobbit from LOTR) but which is also much bigger and louder in his whimsical gestures than Freeman is, I think.

But now that you mentioned Dominic and Billy, I do agree with you in that they were excellent hobbits. And I might actually change my earlier answer of Ian Holm's Bilbo to Billy's Pippin as my favorite Hobbit from the LOTR trilogy (but only because he had more to do than Ian Holm had). But I still think Martin Freeman's Bilbo is, so far, even closer to that what I think of when I think of a hobbit.

(This post was edited by Kullervo on Jan 7 2013, 2:27pm)

Grey Havens

Jan 7 2013, 2:28pm

Post #13 of 29 (473 views)
Freeman or Astin? [In reply to] Can't Post

For me it is hard to choose between Freeman's Bilbo in AUJ and Sean Astin's performance as Samwise Gamgee throughout the LotR trilogy. I really loved Sam in the films, but I suspect that with another two movies to do it in Freeman will win me over. He was simply perfect for me in the early part of the film (meeting Gandalf and the Dwarves), and I also thought very highly of his performance in the "Riddles" scene and the brief (movie-only) scene in which he plans to leave the Company and explains this decision to Bofur.


Jan 7 2013, 2:40pm

Post #14 of 29 (459 views)
"My dear Frodo" was meant to show PJ's love for Elijah's work.// [In reply to] Can't Post



Jan 7 2013, 3:17pm

Post #15 of 29 (448 views)
Exactly my thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

I, too, noticed the arm waving and rather loud body language on the part of Martin Freeman, although I do think it's mostly present at the beginning and, interestingly, when he is *alone* (although I would need to confirm this by rewatching, which I can't right now), and therefore I believe it's there for a reason. I interpret it as Bilbo not being fully himself, having lost touch with his Tookish, intuitive side, replacing it with the outer persona, which is by definition there to be seen by other people and therefore has tendencies to be more theatrical (sorry if I'm babbling). He drops the slightly theatrical manner of his movements altogether in the touching moment when he realizes he is left all alone in Bag End and the dwarves are gone - and his Tookish side comes back knocking on the door. Although to be honest, I'm writing this just off the top of my head, having only slightly blurry memories of the scenes to go by, so I might be completely off.

In the rest of the movie he is just spot-on and brilliant. His facial expressions are so incredibly subtle yet so noticeably in-character. He really steals every single scene he appears in but not to draw attention to himself as an actor but rather to the character.

So to answer the original question, Martin Freeman's Bilbo for me.

And like many others here, I loved Merry and Pippin and thought they were perfect, too. Maybe except Merry's wig, um, hair - I always thought the colour looked off. A minor detail, obviously.


Jan 7 2013, 3:36pm

Post #16 of 29 (421 views)
I don't see how you can have a definitive hobbit.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... any more than you can have a definitive human. They're all individual, aren't they. Different sexes, ages, characters. Playing Frodo (as written for the film) would be very different from playing Bilbo (as written for the film) - or Sam, or Merry, or.... well, you get the picture.

I agree that Martin Freeman is brilliant in the role and I'm looking forward to the next installment.


Jan 7 2013, 4:39pm

Post #17 of 29 (392 views)
I'm with you on Freeman's over-the-top performance [In reply to] Can't Post

1st viewing: I love Freeman the whole time!

2nd viewind: I thought he was really hamming it up in nearly every scene (the resolution with Thorin was satisfying both times for me however, in spite of the fact that it's "too early" in the story). I still liked him, I just wasn't quite as taken by him.

I was a Freeman supporter from day 1, as I love the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That exact performance would've been perfect for The Hobbit, IMO, but in AUJ I thought he played it up just a little too much. All the waving about just seemed so over the top! I still liked him, and I can't wait to see more of him, and I hope as Bilbo finds his courage and assumes unnoficifal leadership of the party, we'll see a more nuanced performance.

Even upon second viewing, where I was less pleased with the performance, I still think Freeman knocks it out of the park with the "morning after" scene, when he realizes that he's alone in his house and will always be alone if he doesn't make a change in his life. The only "subtle" scene in a very in-your-face, over the top film. I loved it!

"There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go."


Jan 7 2013, 4:42pm

Post #18 of 29 (391 views)
From comments MF has made [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it was PJ's decision to have MF play the role of Bilbo this way rather than a more muted/subtle performance i think he would have gone for himself.


Jan 7 2013, 4:48pm

Post #19 of 29 (368 views)
Makes sense [In reply to] Can't Post

cause Martin definitely goes for subtle most of the time.

In related news, I watched Sherlock seasons 1 & 2 last week. HOLY COW that show is GOOOOOOD.

Can't wait for Benedict Cumberbach to take over the world in 2013 with DOS and Star Trek!

"There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go."

Tol Eressea

Jan 7 2013, 4:58pm

Post #20 of 29 (353 views)
Which is exactly... [In reply to] Can't Post

...what Shelob's Appetite always claimed about Jackson's direction of Ian Holm's Bilbo - that he always chose Holm's more over-the-top takes.

Whatever the truth in all that, I guess that naturally MF's Bilbo had to match Holm's performance in that respect.

"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Victoria Monfort


Jan 7 2013, 5:13pm

Post #21 of 29 (343 views)
A Hobbit is???? [In reply to] Can't Post

Other than in books, is there really a standard? I'm sure in a few hundred years when there will be a multitude of historical Hobbit movies an argument could be made on who's the better Hobbit.

My vote goes for the old Gaffer...Wink

The Shire

Jan 7 2013, 5:54pm

Post #22 of 29 (325 views)
Billy and Martin [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm almost ashamed to say I JUST saw The Hobbit yesterday! I wanted to be the first in line at my theatre Dec. 14th, but things just didn't work out for me (holidays, family things, illness etc.). However, I made it to a 24 fps. version and I just loved The Hobbit. As for my favorite hobbit, my favorite in the Lord of the Rings trilogy was Pippin (Billy Boyd). I thought he was perfect displaying enormous humor and emotion in the films. He really surprised me. When I heard that Martin Freeman was cast as young Bilbo, I frankly didn't have any idea who he was. I haven't seen his work in British television. After the trailors came out, I knew instantly I would really like him. He's wonderful in The Hobbit and I know he will continue to excel in the role with the next two films. Not sure about the "arm waving criticism" because to be honest, I thought that was part of his charm. He really had very good timing when delivering his lines and his facial expressions were really humorous. I look forward to the next film. Before that, however, must see The Hobbit again and catch up with all of you that have seen it 2, 3 and 4 times! Wink

Scourge of the Stoors

Jan 7 2013, 6:52pm

Post #23 of 29 (291 views)
60 years [In reply to] Can't Post

If Bilbo was feeling stretched out and thin by the time of Fellowship, then it stands to reason that his eccentric behavior would've been more pronounced 60 years ago


Jan 7 2013, 7:03pm

Post #24 of 29 (295 views)
Hobbits! [In reply to] Can't Post

The two definitive performances so far have been Ian Holm's Frodo and Bill Nighy's Sam. They capture the relationship between the characters in the book fantastically well, and with a lot of subtlety. Elijah Wood was excellent, but he played a very different Frodo - one that reflected the director's decision to play the character very young.

The Shire

Jan 7 2013, 9:47pm

Post #25 of 29 (293 views)
Bill Nighy and Ian Holm are the real voices of Sam and Frodo... [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes must admit the BBC radio version really brought the books to life for me. It left an impression in my mind so strong that few of the film characters (apart from Sir Ian Mackellan's Gandalf) really came up to the mark (I still prefer Robert Stephens performance as Aaragorn too).

Maybe that's why I've found myself enjoying The Hobbit more than LOTR.

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