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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Why, to my mind, An Unexpected Journey greatly adds to rather than detracts from LOTR's fim legacy.
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AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 2:04am

Post #1 of 29 (951 views)
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Why, to my mind, An Unexpected Journey greatly adds to rather than detracts from LOTR's fim legacy. Can't Post

An Unexpected Journey gave the larger series something which it was lacking, but which would have been hard to find a proper place for in the Rings trilogy under most circumstances, regardless of the director: a cozy, more familliar sense of childlike wonder, without a ubiquitous grim undercurrent.

A shadow hung over Fellowship, even in the morning of The Shire. And that was appropriate. It is largely absent here. From the moment a Wizard's will transforms a smokering into a purposefull butterfly, to that same Wizard's commentary on Home being behind, there is a simple, joyously adventurous, wonder to the first quarter or so of The Hobbit, untainted by the promise of dire darkness in a way that no part of The Fellowship ever really manages to be. The Shadow never lifts from The Fellowship from the prologue onward, even as the Hobbits drink and are awed by fireworks.

I had struggled to find words to express my different feelings for this movie. How I managed to find it more fun and more jubilantly charming, while not finding it as elegantly enchanting as much of the material in Lord of The Rings. What I have come to realize is that The Hobbit offers a world of more ubiquitous simple enchantment, while Rings offers a world growing more mundane, but in which greater enchantments still abide in concentrated places (Rivendell, Lothlorien, and of a dark and more dreadful type in the Moria of The Balrog, or the ghastly lit Minas Ithil). Enchantment is everywhere in The Hobbit. . . its fields, and hills, its dwarves and their songs and the air of familiar yet otherly adventure and yore which they bring to Bilbo's quiet corner of The Shire, in the entertainment charms of one Wizard, and in the enchanted forest of another. Enchantment is NOT everywhere in LOTR. Indeed, there are whole strecthes of it that are mundane and dominated by the ways and feel of Man (both genders included) to the point of feeling almost drear ( some moments in Bree and Rohan, for example). . . but there are also moments of High Enchantment, almost religious in nature, to which The Hobbit does not attain ( Gandalf's return, Galadriel approaching her mirror, Arwen speaking with Elrond on the fate of Aragorn, and The Havens are examples), some of which are almost excruciating in their melancholy poignancy, and their elevated beauty (made more piercing in many cases by the clear implication that the beauty and enchantment is on the verge of passing away).

And, with that in mind, I think An Unexpected Journey gives the series as a whole something that it understandably lacked, and benefits from having acquired. There was Awe in Rings which The Hobbit has yet to really capture. But The Hobbit has far more simple, bon vivant wonder than Rings ever really offered. I think it is an ideal marraige. And I think those differences greatly behoove the overall accomplishment.

And for those who think I am just wide eyed and shining the film crews behinds with kisses, I still hate that Glorfindel was ignored, all the more because Lindir is not and Tauriel is added, ad I still hate the alterations to the Dwarves history, and I will complain if The Balrog matter isn't at least alluded to, for history and continuity's sake, and I don't like the changes to the history of Arnor, and Rings would have been better movies if the connection between The Three, The One, and the failing of The Elves had been given at least a paragraph of explanation, etc. etc. etc. Tongue. lol

"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."


Elessar
Valinor


Jan 30 2013, 2:29am

Post #2 of 29 (487 views)
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We are on the same highway again [In reply to] Can't Post

Well said my friend. I truly believe when we have all six films they will give audiences on of the best journeys they could ever imagine. The Hobbit will give us the lighter more care free aspects of Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings gives us the more serious aspects of the same world. All while both have the same bits from the other mixed in their respective tales, and IMO the same can be said for the books as well.



AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 2:54am

Post #3 of 29 (425 views)
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Absolutely. [In reply to] Can't Post

Could hardly agree more. And while I have to reserve judgement for the two as yet seen films (things COULD go badly. .. Tauriel could do in Smaug. . . Gandalf barely escapes Dol Guldur only to have Galadriel come and blow the whole place down with a single fart. . . Unsure lol), I remain optimistic. If Smaug is as magnificence in both speech and aspect as I hope and expect, they will really have to add a WHOLE lot of wrong crap to mess the next movie up. lol

In Reply To
Well said my friend. I truly believe when we have all six films they will give audiences on of the best journeys they could ever imagine. The Hobbit will give us the lighter more care free aspects of Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings gives us the more serious aspects of the same world. All while both have the same bits from the other mixed in their respective tales, and IMO the same can be said for the books as well.


"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."


Elessar
Valinor


Jan 30 2013, 3:32am

Post #4 of 29 (400 views)
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Always a chance [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sure over the next two films ill have things I don't care for hopefully none as bad as those (lol). However, like the four films before I believe in my heart it will work itself out in the wash.



lurtz2010
Rohan

Jan 30 2013, 5:59am

Post #5 of 29 (383 views)
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what do you hate about the dwarf histroy? [In reply to] Can't Post

It was pretty much as it was in the book wasn't it? excpet Azog not dying. I know Thror gets killed before the main battle but that's not too major is it? The flashback would've been abit confusing if it showed too many different events leading up to it.

As for the The Hobbit's enchantment, I think it's perfect as a prequel to LOTR's grand epicness and I think I prefer it in some ways.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 6:20am

Post #6 of 29 (401 views)
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Thror getting killed before the main battle is essential to understanding the war and the dwarves. [In reply to] Can't Post

Moria was accursed since the rise of The Balrog and the slaying of Durin. Even with all the time that had passed, it was a place of ill omen. Not until the seemingly impossible defeat of Smaug did the dwarves seem to take a notion (wrongly) that their fortunes had changed sufficiently to try to retake the place.

The war of The Dwarves against the Goblins/Orcs was a war of vengeance. Tolkien talks in other writings about how seriously the Dwarves valued their fathers, being very patriarchal. A dwarf might spend his life avenging a dire greivance to a father. And, Tolkien further explained, Thror, as the Heir of Durin, the Eldest Forefather, was essentially seen as the Father of The Race. Its like if Uncle Sam was a real person and someone assasinated him. Few if any other offenses could have so enraged the entire Dwarven race as to serve to gather together armies from all Seven Houses, as happened for this war. The imagery and the tale is SO powerful. Thrain weeping and tearing his beard, then seven days of silence, and then the decleration of war. The notion that Azog swore to wipe out Durin's line when exactly the opposite was true. The Dwarves launched a war of semi-genocidal intent against the orcs. "They sacked, one by one, every stronghold of The Orcs that they could find, and they hunted for Azog in every den under the mountains."

Changing those two events entirely changes the history of The Dwarves at that point in The Third Age. The only thing that remains the same is that there was a war. It's like suggesting that Sauron went to war with The Elves because Celebrimbor left him to be with Galadriel. . . . whaaa? Just plain wrong. It could have been done more accurately, and without the need for a thousand flashbacks. And then there is the matter of the non-mention of Durin's Bane. . . that may yet be adressed, especially if the Visual Companion and the fire within the East Gate are any indication . . . but if not, then the single most significant event in the history of The Dwarves in the Third Age (or the Second, for that matter, except maybe for the receiving of The Seven) is essentially ommited.

I agree about the Hobbit's enchantment being perfect as prequel material to what follows. But the Dwarven history alterations still ranknle my chain.

In Reply To
It was pretty much as it was in the book wasn't it? excpet Azog not dying. I know Thror gets killed before the main battle but that's not too major is it? The flashback would've been abit confusing if it showed too many different events leading up to it.

As for the The Hobbit's enchantment, I think it's perfect as a prequel to LOTR's grand epicness and I think I prefer it in some ways.


"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."


LordMaximus
Rivendell


Jan 30 2013, 6:24am

Post #7 of 29 (350 views)
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Thanks for you post [In reply to] Can't Post

Like yourself, I thought the tone was very much appropriate and different from LOTR in a good way. I have come to appreciate the changes made to the story and I might have the odd quibble here and there, but overall I am very happy with the movie, and are looking forward to the next two.

In terms of pacing, the seriousness and briskness of the Fellowship can be kinda distracting, and I am happy with the pacing of the hobbit in this respect.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 6:31am

Post #8 of 29 (340 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post

And glad to have the voicing of my thoughts on the matter serve to express the notions of others as well. I too greatly enjoyed the slower pace of this film's first half. It allowed for more absorbtion of the wonders presented, though I think the slower pace was also well served by the more colourful, vibrant and more cheery atmosphere.

In Reply To
Like yourself, I thought the tone was very much appropriate and different from LOTR in a good way. I have come to appreciate the changes made to the story and I might have the odd quibble here and there, but overall I am very happy with the movie, and are looking forward to the next two.

In terms of pacing, the seriousness and briskness of the Fellowship can be kinda distracting, and I am happy with the pacing of the hobbit in this respect.


"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."


Brethil
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 12:39pm

Post #9 of 29 (269 views)
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Pace and import [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree. I find the pace very enjoyable. It has an antique feel which in the end will serve to underscore the push forward in LOTR.

...she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.


redgiraffe
Rohan

Jan 30 2013, 12:45pm

Post #10 of 29 (285 views)
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to the op [In reply to] Can't Post

tl/dr..... yet. When I wake up from my nap I'll be able to read this. It looks good. And thats something I've wanted to say about you, AO. You always post very long in depth posts about your assessments and feelings about the film. And I just have to say its quite refreshing to see that here on the boards. I love it when people can get really in-depth and have more to start out a thread than just two lines. No offense intended to those who do. But AO, you always leave very insightful points and a lot of stuff worth discussing. So thank you.

-Sir are you classified as human
-Negative, I am a meat-popsicle


stoutfiles
Rohan


Jan 30 2013, 1:17pm

Post #11 of 29 (284 views)
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It was setup to fail, though [In reply to] Can't Post

An Unexpected Journey gave the larger series something which it was lacking, but which would have been hard to find a proper place for in the Rings trilogy under most circumstances, regardless of the director: a cozy, more familliar sense of childlike wonder, without a ubiquitous grim undercurrent.

With the LOTR intro, people expect a similar film. The fact that The Hobbit is NOT LOTR turned a lot of reviewers off. It's like if RotK was full of childlike wonder, it would have been a turn off. You don't invoke the tone of LOTR from the beginning and then pull a 180.



Lindele
Gondor


Jan 30 2013, 3:53pm

Post #12 of 29 (239 views)
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Are you insinuating [In reply to] Can't Post

that the prologue of AUJ was a false representation of what the film would be?
Because if you are, I completely disagree.
Completely.


Rostron2
Gondor


Jan 30 2013, 4:14pm

Post #13 of 29 (247 views)
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The films [In reply to] Can't Post

The three prequels had to be different, ye they need to feel the same as the later films. Imagine if Del Toro had done these films. Some of the look and feel would have been there, but I think there would have been some really jarring artistic choices. He might have made it more serious, but it would have been more of same.

I view these two sets of films as almost like before and after a great calamity. (pick one, 9/11 for instance -- it made significant cultural changes that affected EVERYTHING) The three Hobbit films start in a lighter way, and proceed to a relatively happy conclusion. However, LOTR starts happily enough, but the world has changed. PJ made a lot of points about this early on in discussions before the films were even greenlighted. How to make them different and yet familiar, and how to make it one big story arc. Because they are one big story.


Loresilme
Valinor


Jan 30 2013, 5:43pm

Post #14 of 29 (214 views)
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Appreciate the thoughtful post [In reply to] Can't Post

Your 'struggle for words' was decidedly won :-). Thank you for describing AUJ so eloquently. It resonates with my experience of it to a T, e.g., the "childlike wonder without a ubiquitous grim undercurrent".

As the LOTR films showed, the film makers are capable of producing moments of breathtaking beauty and imagery, as well as conveying devastating heartbreak. Given the sorrowful events that occur near the end of TH tale, what remains to be seen is whether TH trilogy will retain the "jubilantly charming" tone of AUJ throughout its entirety, or, by the end of TABA, evolve towards the "melancholy poignancy" of the LOTR trilogy.



AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 7:05pm

Post #15 of 29 (177 views)
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*warm smile and blush* [In reply to] Can't Post

BlushBlushBlush SmileSmileSmile BlushBlushBlush Thank you very much. *little hug*

In Reply To
tl/dr..... yet. When I wake up from my nap I'll be able to read this. It looks good. And thats something I've wanted to say about you, AO. You always post very long in depth posts about your assessments and feelings about the film. And I just have to say its quite refreshing to see that here on the boards. I love it when people can get really in-depth and have more to start out a thread than just two lines. No offense intended to those who do. But AO, you always leave very insightful points and a lot of stuff worth discussing. So thank you.


"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."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 7:22pm

Post #16 of 29 (200 views)
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The tone of the prologue for AUJ is mixed, like the movie. And it does not go [In reply to] Can't Post

apocalyptic nearly as quickly as Fellowship's prologue does, nor does it remain as grim for as long. The madness of Thror and the coming of Smaug indeed hearkened to the serious tone of rings. . . and Smaug IS a cataclysm. But then the tale turns back to the dwarves and to Thorin, who never forgot and never forgave. It moves from legendary times, to devestating moment, and back to a more personal folktale, and segues very well into the Unexpected Party which follows. There was no 180. At most, a 45 degree angle and turn in favour of more of the fairy-folktale feel.

And yet I entirely agree with you that the Hobbit not being Lord of The Rings did turn a lot of viewers off, though the fault lies at least in part with them, for The Hobbit should NEVER have been a redux of Lord of The Rings, and would have been poorly served indeed if it had been treated thus. Much of the wonder and magic that this film had, at least for me, would have been destroyed if Peter had approached it with the same tone he used for The Two Towers.

In Reply To
An Unexpected Journey gave the larger series something which it was lacking, but which would have been hard to find a proper place for in the Rings trilogy under most circumstances, regardless of the director: a cozy, more familliar sense of childlike wonder, without a ubiquitous grim undercurrent.

With the LOTR intro, people expect a similar film. The fact that The Hobbit is NOT LOTR turned a lot of reviewers off. It's like if RotK was full of childlike wonder, it would have been a turn off. You don't invoke the tone of LOTR from the beginning and then pull a 180.


"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."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 30 2013, 7:52pm

Post #17 of 29 (173 views)
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Aww. Thank you, as well. [In reply to] Can't Post

And I am glad my words are appreciated, and my sentiments well expressed and expressive of the sentiments of others. I do think the last movie will be, in some ways, an interesting balancing of An Unexpected Journey with The Two Towers, though more sorrowful in the losses. This may be the first time in the entire series that a Major, primary character dies without hope of return. I think the charm will be retained in Desolation of Smaug, but the darkness will also grow exponentially.

In Reply To
Your 'struggle for words' was decidedly won :-). Thank you for describing AUJ so eloquently. It resonates with my experience of it to a T, e.g., the "childlike wonder without a ubiquitous grim undercurrent".

As the LOTR films showed, the film makers are capable of producing moments of breathtaking beauty and imagery, as well as conveying devastating heartbreak. Given the sorrowful events that occur near the end of TH tale, what remains to be seen is whether TH trilogy will retain the "jubilantly charming" tone of AUJ throughout its entirety, or, by the end of TABA, evolve towards the "melancholy poignancy" of the LOTR trilogy.


"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."


Elessar
Valinor


Jan 30 2013, 8:10pm

Post #18 of 29 (161 views)
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You do that for sure [In reply to] Can't Post

Despite writing reviews for products on the front page I'm always worrying am I making myself clear and not sound silly. Even more so in these threads because I want people to see just how much this world means to me in my everyday life. You sir do a great job of expressing my thoughts (with a few exceptions of course) of how I feel about The Hobbit. We'll have to chat sometime about The Lord of the Rings and see if we're as closely connected on those.



stoutfiles
Rohan


Jan 30 2013, 8:16pm

Post #19 of 29 (170 views)
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The prologue invoked LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

And led to a comparison of LOTR throughout the film. Naturally it's not a fair comparison, and most that did so would feel disappointed in the movie. If you disagree then ok, that's your opinion, I'm just reporting what I noticed with people I went to see the film with, as well as what some professional reviews noticed.


Arandiel
Grey Havens

Jan 31 2013, 6:02am

Post #20 of 29 (105 views)
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I found the tone [In reply to] Can't Post

of the AUJ prologue quite different from FotR's prologue, for many reasons, but the overarching difference for me is in the identity and sound of the narrator. Bilbo and Galadriel are completely different as narrators. Both carry authority, certainly, but Galadriel's voice is full of mystery and loss and dark portent. Ian Holm's Bilbo, by contrast, is an elder starting off with "Once upon a time..." There is a warmth in his tone that Cate Blanchett (rightly) doesn't have in the FotR prologue. With Bilbo, we the audience are entering into a tale simply told; with Galadriel, we are entering into the epic of how the world was nearly lost and now might be again.

And I appreciate much of what you state in your original post, AinurOlorin. Thank you!


Walk to Rivendell: There and Back Again Challenge - traveling through Middle Earth with thirteen rowdy Dwarves, one grumpy Wizard, and a beleaguered Hobbit

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Súlimë
Rivendell


Jan 31 2013, 7:36am

Post #21 of 29 (89 views)
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Great post! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been thinking about this for a while, and I completely agree with what you said, especially how LotR is dominated by a 'growing feel of the world of Men'. I think that's what the LotR books were all about -- a sense of fading 'magic', and I think the movies nailed it perfectly.

The Hobbit is something very different. You said it perfectly: 'a cozy, more familiar sense of childlike wonder'. Personally, I only want a vague connection with LotR, since if we keep true to the spirit of the books, The Hobbit offers a totally different tone and feel. I think AUJ tries a little too much to tie it to LotR (Frodo is totally unnecessary!), but I hope that is just because it wants to establish itself in the same universe first (for non-book-readers), before departing into its own version of Middle Earth in the later two movies.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want The Hobbit movies to be what The Hobbit book is to The Lord of the Rings books -- something different, that is just set in the same universe. Smile


elostirion74
Rohan

Jan 31 2013, 4:31pm

Post #22 of 29 (78 views)
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Thank you for this lovely post! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure if I agree that there was an ubiquitous grim or dark undercurrent throughout FoTR, but anyway it is there in many parts of the film. I think you've hit the nail on the head when you talk about how enchantment and the charm of simple, joyous and adventurous wonder is to be found throughout all of AUJ and I agree that this sense of enchantment and wonder brings something that the previous films understandably often lacked. There's so much joy and pure love of the beauty of Middle Earth in AUJ compared to FoTR, something I think fits Bilbo's wide-eyed perspective on the world and the early stages of his journey.

It remains to be seen how the two other Hobbit films will evolve though.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 31 2013, 11:32pm

Post #23 of 29 (68 views)
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Almost exactly. Point well made. Indeed, Galadriel tells us definitively that something HAS been lost [In reply to] Can't Post

The World is changing. . . much that once was is now lost. The tone is melancholy and sad from the onset. Even before the grey, grim spectacle of war, there is a heavy sorrow, and the promise that great and in some cases wondrous things have come and gone and will not be seen again.

An Unexpected Journey has a very different prologue from that. Yes, there is the granduer and eventually some of the dark seriousness of Rings. . . but never the brooding melancholy of the Fellowship prologue, nor of many parts of the Rings films. The Hobbit indeed begins with a "once upon a time, there was a wondrous kingdom. . . and then something terrible befell. . . and a prince went into exile, and brooded bitterly on his return." Yes, there is serious content there. . . but it isn't near so sad nor so massive in it's scale, and it does not lay a foundation of loss, sorrow and forboding in the way that the Rings prolouge does.

Very well stated Arandiel. I appreciated this post, and I am pleased to know that you appreciated mine.

In Reply To
of the AUJ prologue quite different from FotR's prologue, for many reasons, but the overarching difference for me is in the identity and sound of the narrator. Bilbo and Galadriel are completely different as narrators. Both carry authority, certainly, but Galadriel's voice is full of mystery and loss and dark portent. Ian Holm's Bilbo, by contrast, is an elder starting off with "Once upon a time..." There is a warmth in his tone that Cate Blanchett (rightly) doesn't have in the FotR prologue. With Bilbo, we the audience are entering into a tale simply told; with Galadriel, we are entering into the epic of how the world was nearly lost and now might be again.

And I appreciate much of what you state in your original post, AinurOlorin. Thank you!


"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."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Jan 31 2013, 11:57pm

Post #24 of 29 (58 views)
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Thank you! And I absolutely agree with your comment about that fading and loss [In reply to] Can't Post

being a central theme of LOTR. I really wish Peter had followed Bakshi's example in the one respect of including Galadriel's lines to Frodo about The Three, The One and the Elves. In the live action Fellowship, she never really explains the "footstep of doom" comment, and the book, and the old animated give a wonderfully and woundingly powerful understanding.

I know what you mean about the fence straddling. I wouldn't count on it ending, since The Necromancer and Council will feature heavily, but it could still work very well, if it is handled correctly.

In Reply To
I've been thinking about this for a while, and I completely agree with what you said, especially how LotR is dominated by a 'growing feel of the world of Men'. I think that's what the LotR books were all about -- a sense of fading 'magic', and I think the movies nailed it perfectly.

The Hobbit is something very different. You said it perfectly: 'a cozy, more familiar sense of childlike wonder'. Personally, I only want a vague connection with LotR, since if we keep true to the spirit of the books, The Hobbit offers a totally different tone and feel. I think AUJ tries a little too much to tie it to LotR (Frodo is totally unnecessary!), but I hope that is just because it wants to establish itself in the same universe first (for non-book-readers), before departing into its own version of Middle Earth in the later two movies.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want The Hobbit movies to be what The Hobbit book is to The Lord of the Rings books -- something different, that is just set in the same universe. Smile


"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."


Brethil
Half-elven


Feb 1 2013, 12:58am

Post #25 of 29 (49 views)
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Thanks for a heartful posting [In reply to] Can't Post

really enjoyed this whole thread a lot.

...she took the point at once, but she also took the spoons.

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