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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
In praise of Martin Freeman
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Feb 7 2013, 3:55am

Post #1 of 40 (1511 views)
In praise of Martin Freeman Can't Post

I have enjoyed and loved all the new additions to this franchise. I really think they have played their part exceptionally well (specially RA as Thorin). And of course, all the returning actors have been fantastic. However, I have to say that the most impressive performance goes to Martin Freeman. When I first watched the movie I had some reservations since I did not know anything about him. After watching AUJ, I was extremely impressed with his performance. To me he is the best Hobbit ever. I have felt that the he brought the character right out of the book. Like Bilbo himself has acted in the movie.
I am really looking forward to his performance in the next two installments.


Feb 7 2013, 4:05am

Post #2 of 40 (813 views)
+1 [In reply to] Can't Post

I couldn't agree more. To me he simply was Bilbo, and I didn't expect that to be the case. I loved every minute of his performance.


Feb 7 2013, 4:20am

Post #3 of 40 (807 views)
He is sooo Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

...that when I watch the interviews I still go "Whooa, that guy is actually a man." :P

morgul lord

Feb 7 2013, 4:53am

Post #4 of 40 (802 views)
Definitely check out BBC's Sherlock [In reply to] Can't Post

If you've never heard of him before, you'll love watching him as Dr. Watson!

He's also great in The Hitchhiker's Guide movie, and the UK Office.


Feb 7 2013, 5:22am

Post #5 of 40 (814 views)
He had me at "Good morning"! [In reply to] Can't Post

I too am so looking forward to the next films. His facial expressions are so expressive. I love the way he uses his hands -- "I am a Baggins of Bag End". All of his body language (esp with his hands) on the morning after the Unexpected Party as he makes his decision. The way he draws Sting with two fingers after Bofur says "What's that?". And most of all the Pity of Bilbo scene.

Oh, and his performance as John Watson in 'Sherlock' is amazing, too.

...one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green... The Hobbit

Tol Eressea

Feb 7 2013, 5:33am

Post #6 of 40 (762 views)
I agree, Martin Freeman was excellent. [In reply to] Can't Post

He is also my favorite Hobbit of all the Middle Earth movies thus far.

PJ and Co did a perfect job, IMO, when they cast him as Bilbo.


Middle Earth is New Zealand!

"Question everything, embrace the bad, and hold on to the good."

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Feb 7 2013, 5:40am

Post #7 of 40 (769 views)
Hear hear! [In reply to] Can't Post

Having seen him as Watson (for which he's already won a BAFTA), I knew he would be absolutely spectacular as Bilbo! He's just so perfect for the part, exactly as I imagined Bilbo to be when I read the book! And I'm thrilled beyond words (well, no, obviously not) that Benedict is playing Smaug and the Necromancer!! They do make a fine team, Martin and Benedict. Brilliant casting.

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


Feb 7 2013, 5:48am

Post #8 of 40 (754 views)
I can just imagine [In reply to] Can't Post

Smaug wearing a scarf and staring into a microscope as Bilbo tries to speak to him. And of course he goes on his rampage yelling "I! Am! BORED!!!"

All joking aside though, Martin Freeman makes a wonderful Bilbo Baggins.

"It was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and go before it." ~FotR

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Feb 7 2013, 5:51am

Post #9 of 40 (756 views)
LOL! Yes, and I can just see Smaug [In reply to] Can't Post

spitting fire at some large, golden object across the room, just to see if he can hit it!

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


Feb 7 2013, 8:55am

Post #10 of 40 (699 views)
the perfect bilbo! [In reply to] Can't Post



Feb 7 2013, 10:30am

Post #11 of 40 (706 views)
Freeman basically plays Bilbo in Hitchhikers Guide... [In reply to] Can't Post

I still take pride in the fact that, when I first saw that movie back in 2005, my first thought was...

'When The Hobbit gets made, THAT guy IS Bilbo!"

Called it 6 years in advance.

"You're love of the halflings leaf has clearly slowed your mind"


Feb 7 2013, 11:37am

Post #12 of 40 (668 views)
He had me at good morning also, [In reply to] Can't Post

And at " I'm a Baggins of Bag End". The hands, the expressions. He is fantastic. The best hobbit ever. And you guys are right, I have to check out Sherlock , since I keep hearing how great he is as Watson.


Feb 7 2013, 11:39am

Post #13 of 40 (658 views)
I quite agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I did not know Martin Freeman before AUJ. The name was vaguely familiar, maybe, but I don't think I have ever watched anything with him in it. I was also a little apprehensive before watching AUJ because - and some might consider this blasphemy, so be warned - I didn't like Bilbo in LOTR. I didn't care for him at all. Book-Bilbo in the Hobbit was better, but even Book-Bilbo in LOTR was kind of 'meh' for me. And I like Sir Ian Holm as an actor in other roles, but I didn't like him much as Bilbo.

So I was a wee bit worried about watching a three-hour movie with Bilbo in it - well, not too worried, because I figured that I could always look at the handsome dwarves instead. But then I saw the trailers, and I started thinking that maybe it wouldn't be all bad. Freeman looked very Hobbity, and I like his voice. And then, when I finally saw the movie, well, he just bowled me over. He actually made me like Bilbo. I liked the look of him and the way he acted - and his facial expressions are absolutely spot-on and often hilarious. I actually find that I care now what happenes to him, not just what happens to the dwarves, and I'm looking forward to seeing him again in the next two movies. I still dont like Holm as Bilbo, that hasn't changed, but I love Freeman as his younger incarnation.


Feb 7 2013, 12:13pm

Post #14 of 40 (647 views)
I couldn't agree more, he was fantastic [In reply to] Can't Post

I was slightly worried about his casting, simply because I've never warmed to him in anything else I've seen him in. However, for the role of Bilbo he was 100% perfect. In the same way that I think McKellen was born to be Gandalf, I also think that Freeman was born to be The Hobbit. Can't praise him enough.

Easily my favourite hobbit due to his performance, which was as good if not better than Holm's Bilbo in my eyes (in terms of resemblance they go together terribly well). No wonder Jackson had so much faith in him.

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

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

The White Wizard
The Shire

Feb 7 2013, 12:50pm

Post #15 of 40 (638 views)
Martin Freeman [In reply to] Can't Post

Martin Freeman did a tremendous job as Bilbo. Sometimes I even wonder if that is Martin Freeman of if Bilbo Baggins just popped out of the book and played as himself. I am excited for the next two movies.

Tol Eressea

Feb 7 2013, 2:17pm

Post #16 of 40 (602 views)
Yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

I had chosen him as my preference for Bilbo from when I saw Hitchhikers Guide in the theatre, and declared as much to anyone within earshot. When I heard he was cast as Bilbo I bragged and bragged. "Called it! Called it!". I may have been somewhat annoying about it.

Seeing AUJ confirmed it for me. He was a living Bilbo through and through. I stayed with him as he grew as a character and was reminded of how the character grew in the book. Even if it unfolded a bit differently in the movie, in spirit it did honor to the book, largely due to Freeman's performance. He was robbed of an Oscar nom, IMO.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.



Feb 7 2013, 2:48pm

Post #17 of 40 (613 views)
Good, not great [In reply to] Can't Post

He overacts a ton. Not every line needs a crazy amount of emotion or hand movements. In most scenes it worked but in some it was very noticeable.

If I had to rank the main Hobbits based on performance...

Pippin > Old Bilbo > Merry > Bilbo > Sam > Frodo.

Not that I didn't think Frodo and Sam weren't played well, I just didn't like the lines and scenes they were given; it strayed too far from the book for my taste.

(This post was edited by stoutfiles on Feb 7 2013, 2:49pm)


Feb 7 2013, 3:28pm

Post #18 of 40 (597 views)
Bilbo and Myrtle! [In reply to] Can't Post

I am hoping there will be more small character scenes included in the EE - for instance I think I remember Martin saying several scenes between Bilbo and Gandalf were missing from the film - because he is just so good at all those small subtle moments that make his characters so real and so easy to relate to (so much so that he has reduced the British nation to tears twice, in The Office and of course in Sherlock.)

One of my favourite friendships in The Hobbit was between Bilbo and Myrtle the pony, especially the little moment when he brought her a stolen apple. It's a shame she has run off, never to be seen again, but at least she wasn't eaten by trolls or goblins!


Feb 7 2013, 3:37pm

Post #19 of 40 (567 views)
casting spot on [In reply to] Can't Post

I had reservations, but the transition from Holm to Freeman has been a pleasure. And I am thrilled with how closely he resembles Pippin, showing right on screen the family resemblance. When he is caught in the crevice feeling Gollum and loking down from the toppling fir tree the connection is uncanny. Perfect and well performed. I have to admit I have not been able to move on from Brett as "my" Holmes but perhaps I shall give the Freeman/BC a look.

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


Feb 7 2013, 4:18pm

Post #20 of 40 (561 views)
Somewhat agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel he was a great choice and felt he would be from the moment we knew it was going to be him playing Bilbo. I also feel he is the best out of all the hobbits, definitely better than sam and frodo who are poor reflections of themselves in the book.

I do agree that he overacts/is a bit hammy but from my understanding that is how PJ instructed him to be and MF did give more subtle, nuanced performances but PJ preferred the more in your face acting - which is just his style i think. So i wouldn't say its MF fault more just how he was told to be.

For me it doesn't have to be vastly different, just every now and again just tone it down a tad, other parts he gets bang on - talk with bofur, talk with gollum (for the most part) and talk to the dwarves after getting out on the eastern side of the misty mountains.

For me i cant think of anyone who could have played Bilbo better and i think as the story progresses he may ever so slightly calm his hamminess as the story becomes increasingly serious. Again i just want to point out i dont think he is over acting by tonnes more just there is a general tone of over acting with periods of getting it right (for me) but the rest had probably been acted perfect for me as another take, just PJ preferred a different one.


Feb 7 2013, 4:26pm

Post #21 of 40 (553 views)
I thought the scene with Myrtle was really sweet also, [In reply to] Can't Post

specially because he was quite uncomfortable being on a pony at the beginning of the journey.


Feb 7 2013, 4:37pm

Post #22 of 40 (541 views)
Hobbits [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I thought MF did a superb job of playing young Bilbo. I wasn't a totally sold on him in the role at first but the more and more I saw I felt good and after seeing the movie I felt 100% comfortable. I think he very much captures Bilbo from the books both with lines and actions within the movie so that for me really helps seal the deal. As far as how the Hobbits were played in The Lord of the Rings I really thought they all did a really good job. Frodo and Sam I thought were excellent as a whole but there are a couple of moments that I thought these two would never do this in the book, but I can get past that and enjoy the job done by EW and SA.


Feb 7 2013, 4:50pm

Post #23 of 40 (561 views)
The one thing everyone seems to agree on [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I can tell, Martin Freeman's performance is the most universally praised aspect of AUJ. Even those who were disappointed by the movie seem to have enjoyed it or at least not minded it.

I think, overall, Peter Jackson & Co. did an amazing job on casting. It's something they seem to be very, very good at.

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


Feb 7 2013, 7:04pm

Post #24 of 40 (502 views)
So glad MF won your heart! [In reply to] Can't Post

And you must especially enjoy Ian Holm's early line, as he looks at the drawing of young Bilbo, and says "I'm not the same hobbit I once was". That always tickles me for the double meaning!

...one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green... The Hobbit


Feb 7 2013, 7:09pm

Post #25 of 40 (486 views)
Yes, I enjoy that line also, very much, [In reply to] Can't Post

It brings a smile to my face every time I see the movie. And I am looking forward to checking him out on Sherlock!

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