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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Will The Hobbit make LOTR redundant? (Long Post!)


Feb 25 2013, 12:50pm

Views: 1093
Will The Hobbit make LOTR redundant? (Long Post!) Can't Post

or (is The Hobbit Trilogy feeding The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or is The Lord of the Rings Trilogy feeding The Hobbit Trilogy?)

First off, I'd like to state that I've really enjoyed AUJ and am still in awe at the production level - which fits so well with the Rings Trilogy. The subtle connections and references made between the two stories really added a special touch to my viewing and I am confident that the next two installments will be of similar if not better quality. That said, I do have my own small criticisms with the film and still believe that AUJ isn't quite on the same level of FOTR (though extremely close).

That out of the way, I'm fascinated by how the audience will/is/has been perceiving the two Trilogies in relation to each other and as stand-alone stories.

Let me explain ...

It seems to me that to viewers who have not yet seen the Rings Trilogy will affect the way in which they experience it, if they see The Hobbit first.

So, coming to the title of the post: "Will TH make LOTR redundant" ... most, if not all of us appreciate the genius of The Lord of the Rings and many scenes through the Trilogy sparkle with their perfectly crafted effectiveness and execution. However, now that we are presented with the prequel to that story (and this can already be seen in AUJ), will certain scenes from TH (which somewhat reflect some scenes in LOTR: be it the music, camera work, dialogue, etc) undermine those very same scenes in Rings?

How is this affected if a viewer has seen TH before LOTR?

Some examples ...

Now we must first assume that our viewers in question have no knowledge whatsoever of the story, characters, motivations, etc and that they will be viewing any of the two Trilogies without any prior knowledge of the books.

Example 1: Introduction to Saruman
In The Fellowship of the Ring, as Gandalf prepares to whisk away Frodo from Bag End, he briefly mentions that he must see "the head of my Order" and that "he will know what to do". To me, that short piece of dialogue already sets my mind in anticipation, to see who this character might be. We are later introduced to Saruman at Orthanc and Christopher Lee's presence as he walks down the stairs and greets his "old friend" is both a powerful and striking scene. We are drawn in to explore further this character's role in the whole story.

In An Unexpected Journey, the introduction to the wizard is of a more-or-less similar situation. This great and powerful voice greets Gandalf at the White Council - clearly to the disappointment of the grey Wizard (for some reason or other) and yet, we are still intrigued by this character and wish to know more about him.

In both cases, we have a very similar way of introducing the character. But if one were to watch any film first before the other, how will this affect the entire film itself?

In my case, having seen FoTR first, I had no knowledge of Saruman's treachery and therefore, that scene at Isengard played in a certain way. Once I saw the entire Trilogy and now just witnessed that scene in AUJ at the White Council - I perceived Saruman's entrance in a very different way from someone who would have seen The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings.

As soon as I heard Lee's voice in Rivendell, a smile beamed across my face and a chill ran down my spine as I recalled his actions in The Lord of the Rings and the impact he had on THAT particular story (thus also understanding why AUJ's Gandalf was so concerned at hearing his voice).

So for me, the scene in AUJ had a very specific and particular effect. But what if a newcomer decided to watch The Hobbit first and then The Lord of the Rings; when he/she would come across these two same scenes in a different order, what would be the reaction? Surely different, since the viewer has yet no knowledge of Saruman's treachery.

So, is The Hobbit aiding the numerous classic scenes now part of cinematic history in The Lord of the Rings, or "weakening" their effect due to the chronological viewing order of the two Trilogies?

Example: Elrond, Rivendell and Galadriel
Similar to Saruman's example, the first time we witness Elrond in The Fellowship of the Ring, he greets an injured Frodo and welcomes him to Rivendell. In the scenes that follow, not only do we get our first glimpse of Elrond, but also of the beauty of Imladris. The short montage of Frodo and the other hobbits walking around this enchanted place was/and remains a mesmerizing experience in my mind - especially the first time I witnessed it on the big screen.

In The Hobbit, we are similarly taken back to Rivendell through Bilbo's exploration and with such a scene accompanied by a very familiar score (a variant from the one used in FOTR) we witness again the beauty of Rivendell. But to someone like me who has already seen Rivendell in the "sequel" (I dislike that word in this case but it helps in explaining the situation), the AUJ scene plays out differently than a first-timer who does not know this place.

Once again, very much like Saruman, it was a spine-tingling moment to re-witness the magic of Rivendell in a different story as it where - but would that take away the "purer" magical scenes found in The Fellowship of the Ring - for someone who watches TH first?

Let's also not forget that breathtaking moment when the Fellowship comes across Celeborn and Galadriel for the first time. The cinematography, editing and acting of that scene helped create a moment of suspense as we (the audience - much like the Fellowship), are blinded by this strong light as our curiosity increases to see the faces of these two Elves.

In AUJ, (using once again a very similar score to Galadriel's theme), Elrond and Gandalf look on towards the Elven lady as she turns round in splendour. Probably not as powerful as in FOTR - a beautiful moment nonetheless.

Now, considering I have no idea what The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings are about and decide to watch all six films in order, I might be awed by AUJ's introduction to Galadriel but most probably, the moment in FoTR won't have as much impact as a first-time viewer since they would already know who's behind that bright light.

This raises another pressing question. Are Peter Jackson and the writers aware of what they might be achieving or undermining through 'The Hobbit'?

Example 3: Gollum (... and the One Ring, of course)
Yet another character that spans across the two Trilogies, in Gollum's case, this issue gets a bit more complex.

Our first real introduction to Gollum in the Lord of the Rings takes place in FoTR - but during the prologue and the Moria sequence. Both instances help establish the creepiness and the sinister feel that surrounds this character. We are ultimately fully introduced to him in The Two Towers in a beautiful camera swoop down the rocks as Gollum prepares to jump upon Frodo and Sam.

From my own experience, seeing Gollum for the first time in TTT (also in FoTR) was a very spin-tingling moment. His voice, his movements and appearance all contributed to a powerfully chilling sensation - wondering at what this thing is and what will it do to our protagonists.

In AUJ, as we see Gollum emerge from the darkness to grapple at the goblin, I remember the sheer joy and grin I had as an all-time favourite character returned on screen. In fact, the entire cinema theatre was filled with a sudden stirring and mumbling as all the audience present welcome with a smile his sudden appearance.

Now, it is my reasoning that for someone who has no knowledge whatsoever of both stories and watched The Hobbit first, and comes across the Riddles in the Dark sequence, their attitude towards Gollum would be different: perhaps fear? or other sensations similar to what I first felt when seeing FoTR/TTT for the first time?

Suffice to say, if that same individual then proceeds to watch The Lord of the Rings, those two shots in FoTR might have two effects:
1) The element of mystery is lost since the viewer would know what that creature is and what it looks like, his motivations (for the Ring), etc
2) Intrigue at how know character (from the Riddles in the Dark sequence) will be involved in this other Trilogy

So far, almost all examples seem to favour LoTR and put The Hobbit scenes in not such a good light (not at all). As I referred to earlier, I believe AUJ (and hopefully both DOS and TABA) will be on the same level (or almost) of Rings.

However, when it comes to the introduction to the One Ring (speaking from my personal viewpoint) I find the Trilogy's roles reversed.

Throughout The Lord of the Rings, the filmmakers cleverly manage to give the Ring a character of its own and emphasise the evil that it is tied to. So when I first saw AUJ and witnessed that shot of the Ring falling out of a struggling Gollum, the meaning of that one moment was electrifying. That single instance made all the difference in the world and the impact and significance of it all was so much powerful - and obviously made possible because of my viewings of The Lord of the Rings.

Having prior knowledge of the One Ring and the evil that is procured to the characters and inhabitants of Middle Earth in Rings, that small moment in The Hobbit was almost monumental.

Obviously, the disadvantage of someone seeing TH before LoTR would be that they would miss out on such a significant scene. Only later, once they have gone through the entire story would they realize what that one single instance really meant for Bilbo, Frodo and everyone else tied to its fate.

Example 4: Shore's Score
Obviously, I won't go into how beautiful Howard Shore's score is in AUJ and how much it ties in with LoTR - others have done that before me. However, I will talk briefly about these "repetitive" tunes.

Almost everyone knows now about the infamous (for some) moments when Thorin faces Azog (with the flare of the Ringwraith theme), or Gandalf talking to Galadriel about Bilbo ('The Breaking of the Fellowship'), etc, etc. And in a way, I have to agree - it DOES make you cringe a bit that some of the most beautifully composed music and crafted scenes in The Lord of the Rings, find an odd reference in The Hobbit.

My main scene for discussion is the Thorin/Azog moment - which in my opinion is one of the highlights in AUJ but is somewhat "spoilt" by that brief introduction of what I refer to as the Ringwraith theme (though I can't recall it's actual title). Upon my first viewing, I was suddenly drawn out of the story for a moment as I heard the very familiar tune from Rings - and I couldn't quite place it within this TH context; awesome moment though it be.

After several more viewings, those few seconds of "distortion", just before Thorin charges towards Azog, still remain but have somewhat lessened. If this were viewed by someone who has never seen The Lord of the Rings, the scene will no doubt play out as correctly as expected, with no disharmony whatsoever. The problem might arise though once that individual comes across the same tune in LoTR and the same disharmony might take place.

On the other hand, one moment I very much enjoy and cherish from AUJ is the scene where Bilbo spares Gollum's life. That particular instance, as he holds Sting against Smeagol's neck and falters - reflecting on this poor creature, is accompanied by the familiar theme played during Frodo and Gandalf's conversation about that same event in Moria. Having seen LoTR before, I can appreciate all the more this scene in TH and understand better the effects that this has on both stories.

If someone watches Bilbo's scene in TH first and then the one in FoTR, the effect might very well be the same vice-versa. Recounting both the same events in two different stories but with the same score, seems to "balance" the situation and provides for a rare instance where one Trilogy complements the other - no matter in what order they are first watched.

Many other examples of course exist throughout the films, such as: the introduction to the Shire (and Hobbits), returning characters such as Legolas, the Ringwraiths, etc. No doubt that the such connections will increase drastically once films 2 and 3 are eventually released.

Will all this affect the legacy of The Lord of the Rings for future generations? How is it comparable to the Star Wars franchise (I've never seen all the films so I cannot really say, but the two 3-film structures has been done in a very similar way)?

So, to clarify the post's title: "Will TH make LOTR redundant?" is mainly a reference to first-timers in Middle-Earth rather than the already established fan-base through The Lord of the Rings.

Should we love The Hobbit films for laying the foundations of The Lord of the Rings films? Or should we be wary of the undermining effects they may have on The Lord of the Rings? (Not on us, those who have experience LOTR before the Hobbit, but for any newcomers to Middle-Earth.)

Lots of questions ... questions that need answering ...

Let's Discuss! (unless I'm the only one who's delving too deep in this matter! Crazy)

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Review

Subject User Time
Will The Hobbit make LOTR redundant? (Long Post!) Arandir Send a private message to Arandir Feb 25 2013, 12:50pm
    Depends on the order you watch, I suppose stoutfiles Send a private message to stoutfiles Feb 25 2013, 1:05pm
        Viewing orders BalrogTrainer Send a private message to BalrogTrainer Feb 25 2013, 2:21pm
            The popular order stoutfiles Send a private message to stoutfiles Feb 25 2013, 2:56pm
                Re: Yoda twist BalrogTrainer Send a private message to BalrogTrainer Feb 26 2013, 12:51am
    I think... Arannir Send a private message to Arannir Feb 25 2013, 1:13pm
    I don't think so... arithmancer Send a private message to arithmancer Feb 25 2013, 2:01pm
    Viewing order Súlimë Send a private message to Súlimë Feb 25 2013, 3:46pm
        Introductions to kids BalrogTrainer Send a private message to BalrogTrainer Feb 26 2013, 12:58am
    Thank you for a fascinating thread Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Feb 25 2013, 4:17pm
        Really good analysis Brethil Ham_Sammy Send a private message to Ham_Sammy Feb 25 2013, 6:19pm
            Thanks Ham Sammy Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Feb 26 2013, 6:30pm
    interesting thoughts ;) Verbal_Daggers Send a private message to Verbal_Daggers Feb 25 2013, 5:03pm
    I Don't Even Know Why I'm Posting... Dwarvenfury Send a private message to Dwarvenfury Feb 25 2013, 6:31pm
        Here's why: SirDennisC Send a private message to SirDennisC Feb 25 2013, 7:22pm
        Glad you posted! Brethil Send a private message to Brethil Feb 26 2013, 7:00pm


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