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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
First reactions to AUJ vs. to FOTR

Roheryn
Grey Havens

Jan 12 2013, 1:57am

Post #1 of 24 (999 views)
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First reactions to AUJ vs. to FOTR Can't Post

Here's something I'm particularly interested in: comparing first reactions to An Unexpected Journey versus to Fellowship of the Ring. Just over 11 years ago, many of us sat down in a theater for the first time to watch FOTR. The music swelled, the New Line logo came on screen, and...what did you feel, right then, and when you walked out of the theater? Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and we all sat down again to revisit Middle-earth for the first time in years on a big screen, and as the music swelled again...what did you feel, right then, and when you walked out of the theater three hours later? Were the two experiences comparable? And for both movies, how did these very first impressions fit with your expectations?

I'll share mine, to get things going. I went into my first viewing of FOTR with almost no expectations, because I had paid almost no attention to the fact that the trilogy was being filmed. I'm a long-time lover of book-LOTR and figured an acceptable movie adaptation was impossible, so didn't have very high expectations going in. Boy was I wrong! Within seconds I was transported away to Middle-earth, completely immersed in the movie, and upon leaving the theater felt like I was having culture shock, back in the modern world of Men. I just wanted to go back.

So, going into my first viewing of AUJ, I was slightly more up on things but not by much. I had at least looked at pictures of all 13 Dwarves. But, because The Hobbit (book) to me is just a nice prequel to LOTR, I figured The Hobbit made into a movie would likewise be not much more than a nice prequel to the LOTR (movie) trilogy. So, fairly low expectations again. And again, I was wrong! Cue the music...and I felt like I was transported right back to that wonderfully familiar other-world that PJ first showed us 11 years ago. And walking out of the theater, I felt that exact same culture shock that I felt with FOTR. PJ had nailed it again. And this time, I think the movie actually improves on the book -- something that I hadn't thought possible. (Yes, I know lots of you would disagree, and we all have minor quibbles -- but I'd argue that PJ has made effective use of the Appendices and the full story of The Quest of Erebor in ways I hadn't imagined possible.)

For both movies, I expect my experience was shaped in large part by going in with very low expectations, and thus it wasn't at all hard to have those expectations blown right out the window.

So, c'mon. Share your first reactions! How do they compare?


ryouko
Lorien

Jan 12 2013, 2:16am

Post #2 of 24 (535 views)
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First reactions [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't recall my first reaction to FoTR, other than, "ooh, that was neat"

My first reaction to Hobbit was "holyfreakincowIhavetoseethisagain!!!"

I think it was primarily because of the Dwarves. I really liked GImli in the LoTR, and now there were 13 Dwarves to like!


pettytyrant101
Lorien


Jan 12 2013, 2:19am

Post #3 of 24 (534 views)
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opposite for me more or less [In reply to] Can't Post

I went into FotR a huge fan of PJ's work and a huge fan of Tolkiens work- I left still a huge fan of Tolkiens work.

I went into TH excepting the worse after especially TT and RotK (the latter in particular I thought was a complete mess). I was pleasantly suprised by most of the Bag End stuff but after that it went back downhill very fast for me as almost everything I disliked about PJ's style in TT and RotK was on display times a hundred.

So the end result for both was pretty much the same for me- huge disappointment and some anger- but at least with TH I was more or less expecting that.


sevilodorf
Gondor


Jan 12 2013, 2:26am

Post #4 of 24 (476 views)
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digging into memory [In reply to] Can't Post

Prior to FOTR I didn't know a lot about the movie.... seeing the movie was This is fantastic I want more. I don't go to movies more than once as a rule. I went to FOTR 11 times. (no where near gramma's or many others but for me extraordinary.) I went online and made a lot of friends and even drove cross country to visit them with the extra bonus of seeing FOTR in their second run theaters.

The imagery of the film was stunning. There were (and still are) parts I wonder why they were changed from the books but overall FOTR and later TTT and ROTK are fantastic and remain so.


AUJ --- I knew what to expect in terms of quality going in, so not so mindblowing. There are still bits I wonder why they were changed, but again I'm thrilled to see Tolkien come to life. I don't agree with all of Jackson's visualizations of ME but even what I don't agree with are incredible and done with obvious love and attention to detail.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 12 2013, 2:37am

Post #5 of 24 (495 views)
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Well, for me, The Hobbit was my first [In reply to] Can't Post

introduction to Middle-earth, so I have a soft spot for it. I never really liked Frodo, because he took the place of my beloved Bilbo.

I went into FOTR with low expectations - after surviving the earlier debacles, I just wanted to not be embarrassed. I was so wrong, and like Thorin, never so glad in my life to be wrong. I had not paid much attention to the filming and preparation for the LOTR movies. I knew they were coming, but I was so afraid they would be as horrible as the earlier attempts. I watched FOTR with one eye closed, and ready to close that eye as soon as it was necessary.

The LOTR movies were amazing, and marked a turning point in my life. For the first time, I found people who shared my love of Tolkien, and I had a place where I could talk about it for hours. Even better, I got to meet those people, and found life-long friends.Smile

So I went in to The Hobbit:AUJ with a lot more confidence than before. I KNEW the movies were going to be great. Bilbo is special to me, and I knew that he would be taken care of. But I didn't expect to love the dwarves as much as I do, and love the story even more. I was a little cynical that that magic of the LOTR movies could not happen again, but here we are, back in Middle-earth, anticipating the next installment. For me, this experience is eerily similar, but so different. Last time, I was just discovering that I wasn't alone; now, I know I am experiencing this magic with so many others.


Gelir
Bree

Jan 12 2013, 3:08am

Post #6 of 24 (458 views)
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First reaction [In reply to] Can't Post

   
I think our reactions were somewhat similar. When Fellowship came out, I was skeptical that a movie would be able to do Middle-earth justice, but I was still excited to see the movie. During the entire movie, I was really in awe. I felt a lot of emotions too - just at seeing this story that I loved on the screen, and of course Boromir's death. After the movie was done, I sat there during the credits just kind of soaking it all in. And the first thing I wanted to do was re-read the books (which I did).

None of the other movies had or will have that advantage - of seeing it all on screen for the first time. Fellowship is my favorite of the trilogy (AUJ is too new to try to rank), and that's probably part of it. Another part is that it's my favorite part of the books too.

Moving on to the Hobbit, I didn't know anything about it except that a few of the actors were returning. I didn't know what the dwarves would look like or anything. My expectations were high because of the precedent set by the trilogy. I expected there would be changes that I wouldn't like (as there were with LotR), and I wondered how they were really going to stretch it into two movies (then three). However, I expected high quality because of how much I loved the trilogy and at the very least, I knew Middle-earth would be great. I was also a little concerned about the last movie with Thorin, Kili, and Fili, because I know myself and how attached I get to book characters, but that at least wouldn't happen for a while. So, cue the music, and I felt what you did. It was really good to be back in that world. At the end, I had to sit there once again and just take it all in and reflect on it. "Wow that was great" was combined with "why'd they change x or y." I wanted to see it again. And start re-reading all of the books again.

In some ways, I agree that the movie does improve on the book. I'd rather not have Azog alive (for a bigger issue) or the great goblin saying "that'll do it" (smaller issue). On the other hand, I loved getting to know the dwarves better. I barely thought of some of the dwarves in the book, especially Bofur. I like that almost all of them were given more depth in the movie. I had a certain sense of Kili and Fili from the book that I thought was captured very well in the movie. I like Dwalin, and Balin even more, and of course Thorin is something else. That character development is very powerful and the best part of the movie to me, along with Bilbo just being perfect.


Old Toby
Gondor


Jan 12 2013, 4:49am

Post #7 of 24 (443 views)
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Twice blessed! [In reply to] Can't Post

After having been familiar with all the books for years, I went in to FOTR with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I was totally blown away! I couldn't believe that someone had made Middle-earth real, for all of us to enjoy! And since it was the first film, everything was 'new' visually and the music was magnificent. So yeah, I think I went to see it an embarrassing number of times!

I have been looking forward to The Hobbit ever since I heard it was to be made into a film. And I'm SO glad PJ became the director again! I loved what he had done in the LOTR movies (and yes, I had issues with #2 along with everyone else as far as storyline was concerned), and it just seems right that he should be at the helm of this last series. I was so excited about it, that I went to New Zealand with a friend of mine to be there for the World Premier! (And meeting PJ in person at The One Ring/Red Carpet Premier Party was the high point of my trip...if not my life!)

When The Hobbit first opened on the screen, I was so thrilled to be back in the Middle-earth I was so familiar with again! The familiar music, Bag End, everything was glorious! And I just loved all the dwarves! What PJ & crew have done with them is in my eyes absolutely marvelous, making them 'real' individuals with distinct personalities. I love Bofur, Balin, & Kili! But Thorin....oh my! This is such a better character than we read about! (And I won't even go into his charisma and sex appeal! Sheesh!) I always loved the songs in the book, particularly the Misty Mountains song that the dwarves sing in the beginning. I had no idea it could be so profoundly moving. When Thorin started singing, I got goosebumps! And for me, the movie was just one big thrilling ride. I saw it in 3D HFR and I swear I could feel the wind blowing through the eagles's wings in that last scene!

FOTR was always my favorite of the three LOTR films. This one reminded me of why I loved it so much, and I have a feeling the next two will get better and better. I may like this trilogy more than the LOTR after all is said and done. Because we had already three films behind us, I knew more or less what to expect visually, so in that sense it wasn't something new that I had never seen before. But no matter. It was like coming home again. I felt as Sam when he said, "Well, I'm back."

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)


MasterOrc
Rivendell


Jan 12 2013, 5:19am

Post #8 of 24 (426 views)
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Well, there's always.... [In reply to] Can't Post

anger management classes Wink. At least it wasn't a panic attack....


MasterOrc
Rivendell


Jan 12 2013, 5:25am

Post #9 of 24 (380 views)
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Great attitude indeed... [In reply to] Can't Post

when Hollywood is involved with converting novels to film, it can make a few of us quite unhappy.. In the end, will all survive...

But, I'm like you...just to walk in the theater and know it's about to begin "again" was a huge boost in my life. Brought out the good in me lets say. Can't wait for DOS, the DVD to come out, more action figures for the Wink kids......etc...


imin
Valinor


Jan 12 2013, 12:25pm

Post #10 of 24 (313 views)
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Basically this for me as well. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Prior to FOTR I didn't know a lot about the movie.... seeing the movie was This is fantastic I want more. I don't go to movies more than once as a rule. I went to FOTR 11 times. (no where near gramma's or many others but for me extraordinary.) I went online and made a lot of friends and even drove cross country to visit them with the extra bonus of seeing FOTR in their second run theaters.

The imagery of the film was stunning. There were (and still are) parts I wonder why they were changed from the books but overall FOTR and later TTT and ROTK are fantastic and remain so.


AUJ --- I knew what to expect in terms of quality going in, so not so mindblowing. There are still bits I wonder why they were changed, but again I'm thrilled to see Tolkien come to life. I don't agree with all of Jackson's visualizations of ME but even what I don't agree with are incredible and done with obvious love and attention to detail.


FOTR - blown away - one of the best films i have seen.
AUJ - disappointed but still thought it was good.


pettytyrant101
Lorien


Jan 12 2013, 12:48pm

Post #11 of 24 (325 views)
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(puts on best Shatner impersonation) [In reply to] Can't Post

You cant take my anger from me! I NEED my anger! Wink



DanielLB
Immortal


Jan 12 2013, 1:23pm

Post #12 of 24 (321 views)
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My first reactions to FOTR and AUJ were very different [In reply to] Can't Post

I finished reading the book not long before the film came out. I was blown away by the book, and then there was a film. I was stunned and amazed and gripped by the story. While I love The Hobbit (and AUJ), the same was never going to happen. I've had many years since of reading the books, and waiting for the films to arrive. And everything was very familiar (same director, same cast etc.). As a result, it (AUJ) was very familiar, it didn't feel new.

Despite this, my reaction to the actual films were almost the same. I loved them both, and I came out being satisfied and excited for what's to come.


Elenorflower
Gondor


Jan 12 2013, 2:47pm

Post #13 of 24 (287 views)
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I remember the first time [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw FOTR, I was awestruck, and totally excited and thrilled and from that moment I fell in love with LOTR. When I saw TH I thought it was a very solid good effort with a few bits that bored me, but I didnt get that *ohmygodburstingwithexcitent* feeling. parts of it felt lovely like the Eagles, but it never made me go *ooooooooh!*

Unsure
Its like trying to revisit a past love. Its never the same.


(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Jan 12 2013, 2:49pm)


ghost_matt
Rivendell

Jan 12 2013, 3:31pm

Post #14 of 24 (258 views)
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different reactions [In reply to] Can't Post

The first time I saw Fellowship, I thought it was good but I was a tad disappointed because of the changes. Every time they changed something, left something out, or abruptly introduced new characters (Merry and Pippin), it kept throwing me out of the story. When I saw it a second time two days later, I left the book at home and just enjoyed it as a movie and this time I thought it was REALLY good. Then I saw it for a third time and thought it was excellent. When the extended edition came out, all my little nitpicks were fixed and I felt like this is the best movie ever. I kind of wish PJ had released the extended Fellowship in the theater first so I could have had that experience first.

With AUJ, I absolutely loved it right on the first viewing. It's probably because it's three movies so they're not cutting anything out. I'm looking forward to the extended edition, but there's not a whole lot I can think of that's missing from the theatrical cut, maybe just some more screentime for Bilbo.


Eledhwen
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 12 2013, 3:35pm

Post #15 of 24 (267 views)
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I went into FOTR hoping ... [In reply to] Can't Post

that it would match up to my insanely high expectations - which had been high since the first teaser trailer, when I first thought that perhaps they'd Got It Right. And from the first moment I knew they had Got It Right, and I came out sobbing my eyes out and wanted to see it again immediately.

I had lower expectations for AUJ, because I like the book less, because I was uncertain about the need to turn one short book into three, but I did feel that frisson of excitement as the music began and the familiar logo and font appeared on screen. And I did enjoy it, but it didn't grab me in the same sort of way. But then there was no Boromir or Gandalf moment in AUJ - those were the two bits which really got me in FOTR - and there were more niggly bits (poor Radagast caused most of them, I must confess. Tolkien wouldn't have called anybody or anything Sebastian, he really wouldn't.)

I think the last Hobbit film may be more satisfying in some way, as the story is at once wrapped up but also left, waiting for Bilbo's party and the forming of the Fellowship.

Storm clouds


shadow0421
The Shire

Jan 12 2013, 3:36pm

Post #16 of 24 (253 views)
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This is how it happened to me [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't aware of the LOTR movies until FOTR first came out. I saw the tv special and HAD to see it. I instantly feel in love with it. Middle-earth was PERFECT! Now I was never really a Tolkien fan before this. I tried to read TH and LOTR when I was in middle school but just couldn't get through it.

After seeing FOTR I immediately ran out and bought the books. Again I struggled through it (way too much detail) but as I read it Elijah Wood WAS Frodo and all the actors in the films were the characters in the books. It really came to life for me. I actually prefer Peter's films over the books. LOTR is now my favorite movie of all time and Howard Shore's score is my all time favorite.

Now for the Hobbit. Of course I was excited when it was announced it would be made but I forced myself to lower my expectations. It was highly unlikely that Peter could make a second masterpiece and I was perfectly ok with that. I figured if it was half as good as LOTR I would be happy. Well, seeing that first production video sent chills down my spine as did the first teaser trailer. And Shore's Misty Mountain piece-WOW! Everything I saw about it I was happy with except maybe the Goblin Town sequence. Well I saw AUJ and I was very happy with it. Was it great? No but it was very good. I have quibbles with it but all in all I'm happy. Can't wait for DOS.

It was Peter that got me back into Tolkien. Now I think I have every book Tolkien wrote regarding Middle-earth. So far The Children of Hurin is my favorite. Thank you Peter!


Estel78
Tol Eressea

Jan 12 2013, 7:17pm

Post #17 of 24 (217 views)
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Very different reactions [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't know what to expect from FOTR, the director being some unknown NZ guy known for horror shlocks for the most part. A few moments in i was in Middle Earth, grinning from ear to ear, i was blown away.

I didn't expect Hobbit to come close to that experience and it still disappointed me hugely. The 2nd time i liked it a lot more but it still bugs me that so much of the soundtrack is recycled, as are some of the storytelling devices (hero almost dies, Hobbit comes to the rescue first etc).


(This post was edited by Estel78 on Jan 12 2013, 7:18pm)


Pimmiko
Bree


Jan 12 2013, 7:42pm

Post #18 of 24 (200 views)
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Very sceptical [In reply to] Can't Post

was my first reaction towards FOTR. I'm a long-time Tolkien lover too and especially hobbits were very dear to my heart. No one can make these books so true as they were in my imagination I was certain of. My daughter practically dragged me to my first seeing. Of course - love at first sight. Jaw dropping. Has PJ seen my dreams? How can he do that?

AUJ - read the Hobbit as an adult and to tell the truth, never cared much of the story. I wasn't interested in dwarves at all, Gimli was mostly annoying I felt. So not much expectations again.But PJ did it again! Guess who is passionately in love with the dwarves and has started already to mourn over the end - me again.


Belung
Registered User

Jan 12 2013, 8:58pm

Post #19 of 24 (175 views)
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First reactions [In reply to] Can't Post

I went into FotR having read The Hobbit, LotR, and The Silmarillion numerous times, but not having seen any of PJ's films. I don't consider myself a complete Tolkien traditionalist, so the movie having effectively nailed the scene (itself) at the bridge of Khazad-Dum, I could forgive some of the other changes. I left fairly satisfied at the vast improvement over the Bakshi cartoon and looked forward to more.

I had heard and read a few published and first-hand reviews of TH before seeing the film, and I was pleasantly surprised by the end of it. I expected to see a lot from the LotR appendices and some Jacksonian alterations, but the latter of these seemed minor enough compared to seeing the story on the big screen. The movie didn't feel over-long to me, either.

Belung
Ranger of the South


Calenheniel
Bree


Jan 12 2013, 9:04pm

Post #20 of 24 (194 views)
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Beautiful moments in both [In reply to] Can't Post

I remember seeing FOTR in middle school for the first time, and the visual beauty of Lothlorien just took my breath away.

I had a very similar sensation during the moon runes scene in Rivendell in AUJ, and during the flight with the Eagles, so I think my first reactions to both were quite visceral and emotional (not in a teary-eyed way, but in an amazed, wide-eyed way).

'I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!' And he stooped and kissed her brow.


Fredeghar Wayfarer
Lorien


Jan 12 2013, 10:19pm

Post #21 of 24 (169 views)
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Very different reactions [In reply to] Can't Post

When FOTR came out, I had misgivings and worried that they wouldn't do it justice. But it surpassed my expectations. I thought it was spectacular. On my first viewing, I just kind of sat there in awe and ecstasy. I went back to see it multiple times. It's my favorite of the trilogy and in fact, I consider it my favorite movie of all time. When I'm in a bad mood, I put on FOTR and the world seems a little better.

With AUJ, my expectations were higher. I'd seen what Jackson and company were able to do and had been waiting 10 years for The Hobbit to finally be made. The excitement level was higher but I ended up being disappointed. I liked the film but didn't love it. Too many changes, too many new elements that felt at odds with Tolkien (Radagast and Azog particularly), and I'm still annoyed that it's a trilogy. It just seems so unnecessary and drawn out. And I hate the fact that, some day when the series is on DVD, I can't just sit down and watch the Hobbit movie. I have to set aside nine freakin' hours or so to watch three movies if I want the whole story. With LOTR, I expect that but it wasn't necessary for The Hobbit.


carrioncrow
Lorien

Jan 13 2013, 1:02pm

Post #22 of 24 (89 views)
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in short [In reply to] Can't Post

FOTR overcame my skepticism / AUJ has not
FOTR was a critical and commercial success that laid a foundation for TT and ROTK to build on (and borrow from) / AUJ has not
FOTR cleverly reduced and reimagined the source material in service to a film based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings / AUJ shoehorns in every familiar Jackson visual cliche and every bit of Tolkien errata within their rights in service to a film loosely based on a Peter Jackson film based on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (I was rather hoping for The Hobbit)


shadow0421
The Shire

Jan 13 2013, 1:08pm

Post #23 of 24 (87 views)
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Yes, the soundtrack [In reply to] Can't Post

was one of my quibbles. The Misty Mountain theme was used way too much.


batik
Tol Eressea


Jan 13 2013, 5:04pm

Post #24 of 24 (113 views)
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Different [In reply to] Can't Post

The music swelled, the New Line logo came on screen, and...what did you feel, right then, and when you walked out of the theater? Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and we all sat down again to revisit Middle-earth for the first time in years on a big screen, and as the music swelled again...what did you feel, right then, and when you walked out of the theater three hours later?

Quote

Well, being a "film-firster". (aka person with zero expectations) ...I really don't recall the thoughts I had during those first couple of minutes but maybe something like "what is this?" would apply. I think I was pretty well hooked at some point during the prologue though! I do remember thinking "that's it!?!" at the end of FotR, along with "WOW!". I also remember getting a copy of the books--promptly! So began my now-over-a-decade-long love affair with M-e/Tolkien.
Fast forward to 2012. To some degree, Sam's "Well, I'm back" fits here. Hearing the music and seeing "The Hobbit" appear on the big screen in that familiar style was happy-sigh worthy. I enjoyed The Hobbit and look forward to seeing the rest of the story on the big screen. Was I "wowed"? Not so much. I suspect this has much to do with my own expectations or knowledge of the lore these days rather than anything the film-makers did or did not do.

 
 

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