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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Would the film have worked without Azog's revenge plot?
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LordElrond
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 12:41am

Post #1 of 42 (925 views)
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Would the film have worked without Azog's revenge plot? Can't Post

At first I wasn't much of a fan of Azog being alive and pursuing the dwarves but now I really like the addition. The main reason why I was against it was because it kind of took away the impact of seeing the misty mountain goblins for the first time since now we had already had some action with similar creatures with the warg chase, (Battle of Moria doesn't really count). If the film had still ended with the eagle rescue but had only followed the book's events then it would've been difficult for it to feel like a stand alone film, the Azog and Thorin revenge story and confrontation is the only thing that does make the movie feel solid instead of feeling like it's just a 3rd of the way through of a bigger story.


TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 2:12am

Post #2 of 42 (420 views)
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I liked the addition of Azog... [In reply to] Can't Post

...insofar as he WAS at the battle of Moria... but to have him survive and pursue the Party perplexed me. It added little to the story for me, and set up an unnecessary battle with the orcs that (from memory) was the misty mountain goblins seeking revenge for their fallen King in the books, which would have resonated far more with me than this made up mythology of PJ's.

If PJ had stuck with the books more he would have had more than enough dramatic themes to work with without inventing his own. IMO of course.

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im


stoutfiles
Rohan


Jan 19 2013, 2:21am

Post #3 of 42 (439 views)
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Did the book work without Azog's revenge plot? [In reply to] Can't Post

Has a movie ever been criticized for being too accurate to the book? I'm pretty sure The Hobbit, loved by millions 'round the world, would have held up on the big screen as is. Filling in the blanks is one thing, but adding major characters and scenes takes away from the main story that Tolkien wrote. If Tolkien had wanted Azog alive and following the company, by god he would have wrote it that way.

Azog is a pointless addition to set up a cliched fight scene and apology to end the movie. You already have a revenge character, his name is Bolg. Use him in AUJ if you absolutely have to have someone chasing the company.


(This post was edited by stoutfiles on Jan 19 2013, 2:21am)


Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 19 2013, 2:28am

Post #4 of 42 (418 views)
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Yes, movies have been criticized for being too close to the book. [In reply to] Can't Post

The third Harry Potter movie is considered by many to be the best, and far better than films 1 and 2 which kept closer to the book and were described by critics as "paint by numbers" adaptations compared to the more dynamic third movie.

Not trying to get into a discussion of the merits of the HP movies, but I just thought I'd mention that yes, movies do get that criticism sometimes.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 2:33am

Post #5 of 42 (390 views)
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Agreed! [In reply to] Can't Post

The Company encountered enough enemies on the journey without this concocted, badly written and scripted addition.

PJ maybe a great director in his own right, but trying to rewrite the work of Tolkien like this is either a bad decision at best, delusions of grandeur at worst.

I have always considered PJ a fan of Tolkien, but now I am not so sure... his rewrites lack any humility for the works of genius he has been entrusted with.

A true fan would be humbled by the honour and stay truer to the story. IMO again.

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im

(This post was edited by TheBladeGlowsBlue on Jan 19 2013, 2:41am)


Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 19 2013, 2:45am

Post #6 of 42 (382 views)
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But what about the many changes he made to LotR? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is The Hobbit more sacred a text?

Aragorn never fell off a cliff during a warg attack in Tolkien's book. Faramir never tried to take the ring back to Gondor. Haldir never arrived with a contingent of elves at Helm's Deep.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


stoutfiles
Rohan


Jan 19 2013, 2:48am

Post #7 of 42 (395 views)
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I figured that was largely due to the books themselves [In reply to] Can't Post

The books really start to open up and mature with Prisoner. Could also have something to do with child actors having to carry the film, I'd argue the acting definitely improves with the 3rd film as well.

Personally I loved Goblet of Fire (not having read the books) and some big Potter fans that I knew just hated it. After reading the book I can see why, there's just too much material to cover, and then all the stuff they changed to fit the time constraints.

Perhaps I would enjoy Azog more had I not read The Hobbit? It's definitely possible.


stoutfiles
Rohan


Jan 19 2013, 2:52am

Post #8 of 42 (369 views)
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A lot of people hate that too [In reply to] Can't Post

Not happy with the LOTR additions, but I've grown to accept it. I assume someday that all Azog haters like myself will eventually accept him. For now though, I remain disappointed with the addition, and hope he is killed by Beorn when he goes back to investigate the dwarves story.


TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 2:52am

Post #9 of 42 (372 views)
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Don't get me started on LOTR! [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the Hobbit movie section... LOTR is littered with similar criticisms...

Don't get me wrong, I am eternally grateful that Tolkien's work got to the big screen finally, I just object to the non-tolkien stuff dreamed up by PJ and Co...

It generally adds nothing to the story.

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im


TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 2:55am

Post #10 of 42 (361 views)
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I hope that too... however, [In reply to] Can't Post

I fully expect Azog to turn up at the battle of the five armies.

Poor JRR would be turning in his grave.

Frown

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im


Kassandros
Rohan


Jan 19 2013, 2:58am

Post #11 of 42 (358 views)
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I actually like the LOTR changes much more than the AUJ ones. [In reply to] Can't Post

In general, I find Faramir more interesting in the movies (sacrilege, I know) and enjoyed Aragorn's arc in TTT. I had no problem with Haldir showing up either, except wondering a bit how he got there. I've made my peace with Azog as an adaptation of Thrain's failed quest to retake Erebor being combined with Thorin's, but it's still not something I'm particularly keen on.

It does seem funny that people didn't expect big changes in the story, though, based on LotR.

all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us...


TheBladeGlowsBlue
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 3:12am

Post #12 of 42 (355 views)
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It does seem [In reply to] Can't Post

that there is a fine line between artistic licence and a belief that you can do a better job of story telling than the source material... I strongly suspect PJ believes the latter.

He is wrong. Most of his additions stand out as the proverbial sore thumb, and add nothing to the drama.

There are exceptions of course, but Azog is not one of them.

Maegnas aen estar nin dagnir in yngyl im


Súlimë
Rivendell


Jan 19 2013, 3:50am

Post #13 of 42 (340 views)
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Well.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you that there has to be some sort of story going on for the first movie, and in a way Azog chasing the company works. I thought the striding-down-the-tree scene worked well, as well as Bilbo's attempt to save Thorin, as well as the cliched apology (It's going to work for kids anyways, and that is good enough for me).

We can however argue that it doesn't have to be Azog and I can see why people are bothered by these changes. Still, we don't know how they are going to factor in Bolg and Sauron and the Witch King, so maybe there IS a good reason to have Azog alive in the first movie.

I think the main thing about adaptations is that they remain true to the spirit of the book -- which I think AUJ has. If anything, the movie adds extra complexities to the plot and characters, and I'm interested to see how it all turns out. After all, we already have the book and if I want something exactly like the book I'll just go read the book. Seeing the films is fun because now we get different versions of the story, and I really like that. Smile


Al Carondas
The Shire

Jan 19 2013, 3:52am

Post #14 of 42 (341 views)
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It definitely would have worked for me [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, I can hardly think of a book more suited to be broken up for the movies. Pretty much each chapter is a self-contained adventure, so you could have ended with the telling of any one of those tales and left the audience with a sense of closure, and yet anticipation. Of course the overall quest will remain unfinished, but there's no getting around that if you are going to make more than one movie - even with the addition of the Azog storyline. Besides, the Azog storyline doesn't lead to any resolution anyway. The final showdown between Thorin and Azog is interrupted and postponed.

"Good Morning!"


Grant
The Shire

Jan 19 2013, 4:24am

Post #15 of 42 (332 views)
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Wouldn't say necessary. [In reply to] Can't Post

But I think he gives Thorins story more heft. if the Hobbit was one movie or maybe two movies I think they could do without him.

Even if it wasn't Azog they probably would have used Bolg or do more with the Goblin King.

I generally like it when they build up the Orcs more in the movie.


(This post was edited by Grant on Jan 19 2013, 4:26am)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 19 2013, 4:29am

Post #16 of 42 (320 views)
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Yes, it would have. See Bolg. A Dwarven War of vengeance fulfilled with the death of Azog [In reply to] Can't Post

and an escaping Bolg as witness. Bolg is implicated, in film, in the capture and torture of Thrain. Thus, both his desire for vengeance and Thorin's are achieved. And I don't think that the scene in question made it feel as stand alone as it would have, had Thorin killed Azog. That is the one thing that might have promoted Azog over a Bolg choice. . . but it didn't happen, so the rest falls apart by comparison and film 2 and 3 don't need it in order to feel like complete films. . . or they wouldn't had it not been introduced here.

"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Jabarkis
The Shire

Jan 19 2013, 5:28am

Post #17 of 42 (308 views)
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Co-writers... [In reply to] Can't Post

I suspect that Jackson quite often allows/ed Boyens and Walsh pretty much free rein on some of the adaptation decisions.

In the LoTR EE interviews, discussion of changes to characters or plot elements is usually left to Boyens, who gives the impression that major characterisation changes (such as Faramir being seriously tempted by the ring, Frodo dismissing Sam on the Stair, and Sam being hesitant to return the ring in the tower of Cirith Ungol) were all for the good of the story.

I think it's possible, theoretically, to improve on Tolkien's writing, but I don't think changes like the ones I've mentioned in LotR, or the addition/rearranging of Azog's role in the Hobbit, are improvements in any meaningful way - they act to dumb the stories down and to make them more generic.

So I guess what I'm saying is that we can't necessarily blame Jackson for all of the changes - he is one of three co-writers, and I suspect he does less work on the writing than Walsh and Boyens do.


moreorless
Rohan

Jan 19 2013, 5:38am

Post #18 of 42 (314 views)
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I think thats actually the problem... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In fact, I can hardly think of a book more suited to be broken up for the movies. Pretty much each chapter is a self-contained adventure, so you could have ended with the telling of any one of those tales and left the audience with a sense of closure, and yet anticipation. Of course the overall quest will remain unfinished, but there's no getting around that if you are going to make more than one movie - even with the addition of the Azog storyline. Besides, the Azog storyline doesn't lead to any resolution anyway. The final showdown between Thorin and Azog is interrupted and postponed.



I think thats actually the problem Jackson faced with AUJ, you have so many sections telling self contained stories that covering a number of them in a single film becomes difficult.

The common response to that is "Bilbo links them together" but really I'd argue that Bilbo doesnt really link them togther that strongly, he's present yes and events are decribed in respect to him much of the time but really he's not taking a very proactive role in the quest until Mirkwood. Not every story needs a hero from the start of course but I'd question how often you could go back to the same "fish out of water" well with Bilbo before it became tedious onscreen.

Azog provides a thread that runs though much of the story linking into several other sections but I think more importantly he helps devolp Thorins character. As with Aragorn in LOTR I think the biggest change in AUJ is that Jackson has looked to elevate Thorins character to a co lead, I think thats important as Thorin is really much easier to cast as a proactive hero in the early events of the story without damaging his latter devolpment. It does rob Bilbo of being the central focus of the film somewhat but I'd argue it makes for a better film overall and makes Bilbo's own story stronger, earning the respect of such a character is obviously a bigger deal for Bilbo.

To me the alternative to more focus on Thorin was probabley to stick with two films but cut out alot of material in the first half, the Unexpected party, Goblins/Gollum and Mirkwood/Elves are really the only "must have" sections for me and to be honiest your covering quiet alot of ground even with just them. Perhaps a bit more could have been included but the Trolls, Rivendell, Wargs./Eagles and Beorn would be alot of ground for one film to cover with Bilbo really only stepping up at the end.

Personally if I questioned the adaptation it would be much more whether the Radagast section was really needed so early, it seemed to "up the stakes" a little early for me and made ther post troll section rather cluttered with the party being "found" twice in quick sucession.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Jan 19 2013, 5:47am)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 19 2013, 6:18am

Post #19 of 42 (313 views)
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I am inclined to agree with this. I think Boyens is considered the resident expert, and [In reply to] Can't Post

if she suggests certain "lore", I don't know that Jackson always has the requisite knowledge to say, "the book contradicts x y x, and actually provides a more formidable account." That said, I am also sure some of the bad ideas are entirely his own. They need to seek more input from Christopher Lee.

In Reply To
I suspect that Jackson quite often allows/ed Boyens and Walsh pretty much free rein on some of the adaptation decisions.

In the LoTR EE interviews, discussion of changes to characters or plot elements is usually left to Boyens, who gives the impression that major characterisation changes (such as Faramir being seriously tempted by the ring, Frodo dismissing Sam on the Stair, and Sam being hesitant to return the ring in the tower of Cirith Ungol) were all for the good of the story.

I think it's possible, theoretically, to improve on Tolkien's writing, but I don't think changes like the ones I've mentioned in LotR, or the addition/rearranging of Azog's role in the Hobbit, are improvements in any meaningful way - they act to dumb the stories down and to make them more generic.

So I guess what I'm saying is that we can't necessarily blame Jackson for all of the changes - he is one of three co-writers, and I suspect he does less work on the writing than Walsh and Boyens do.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


swordwhale
Grey Havens


Jan 19 2013, 6:29am

Post #20 of 42 (290 views)
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the plot thickens [In reply to] Can't Post

The overall issue with LOTR was what to cut to make 3 films...

The overall issue with Hobbit was... it's short. It's told in a read-aloud classic faerie tale oral tradition style (which I understand, but do not really like... I like the epic detail of books like LOTR).

Other thing: here's this Azog dude in the preamble... then in BO5A we have some guy named...Bolg? Wheretheheck did he come from???? I'm guessing giving Azog continuity from the prologue through the end will make more sense to an audience which has not read the books in the detail most of us have.

There is also the issue of hobbit having been written in a different age with a different aesthetic, and that film is an entirely different medium with different storytelling requirements.

In LOTR's case, some of my favorite bits were left out (still loved the films though).

This set may be the first time I've loved the films far better than the original book!

Go outside and play...


Michelle Johnston
Lorien


Jan 19 2013, 6:35am

Post #21 of 42 (303 views)
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Would the 2nd movie have worked post smaug and would 2 movies have worked. [In reply to] Can't Post

Yours Is a fair question and it is a great shame that those whom love and adore the little children's book are upset by the changes.

However I am not sure we will be able to judge until the entire adaption is revealed or we look through the directors eyes at the strategic decisions that were made.

I can see the three movie arcs very very clearly now. Whereas if Azal/Azog/Radagast had been dropped and they got to the barrels in say 3 hours then the second movie would be the White Council completion arc, all the journeying the death of smaug and BOFA and intro Dain and Bolg would have been in right at the end with no build or a clumsy insertion. Imagine Aragorn getting married to Arwen after 8 1/2 hours and no back story for the latter in the films. For me placing their love story inside the films was a wonderful improvement.

But it is a great shame that some are so upset by the Azog story which makes perfect sense to me. I note Ainur Olorins remarks it could have been Bolg instead but that would still upset those whom wanted the book on screen.

.

I tried to save the shire , and it has been but not for me.


Jabarkis
The Shire

Jan 19 2013, 11:43am

Post #22 of 42 (247 views)
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Or 20% of the people on TORN [In reply to] Can't Post

I bet almost anyone who has taken an interest in the world of Tolkien, beyond a single read-through, would have a pretty good sense of the work: its style, tone and moral and emotional content.

Boyens comes across to me like a bit of a know-it-all - her "correct" pronunciations of all the names and non-English words ("Shmeagol" *shudder*, pretentiously rolling the R's etc.), always referring to Tolkien as "Professor Tolkien" - which wouldn't bother me, except that I often find that know-it-alls (as distinct from real experts) basically make up their own version of something and then stick to it tenaciously, often noisily protesting their respect for the thing they are misrepresenting.

That's not to say Jackson doesn't make dodgy decisions - though I suspect they're mostly down to an inability to say no (and a related lack of self-restraint) - e.g. the bodily fluids humour, "little hairy women" etc.


(This post was edited by Jabarkis on Jan 19 2013, 11:46am)


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Jan 19 2013, 11:58am

Post #23 of 42 (218 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

If Christopher Lee was willing enough to go ahead with the "mushroom" line, then he probably won't give much help (I liked the line, but it is certainly a ridiculously bold statement and one that some may feel to be too modern)

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."



imin
Valinor


Jan 19 2013, 12:08pm

Post #24 of 42 (211 views)
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he is being employed by those people [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps he voiced his objections but ultimately they were like 'get on with it' and then there was nothing he could do.


Jabarkis
The Shire

Jan 19 2013, 12:41pm

Post #25 of 42 (208 views)
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Lee hardly has high standards... [In reply to] Can't Post

...though he did refuse to speak at all in one of his early Dracula films because the script was so bad.

They made the movie anyway, with Dracula remaining mute.

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