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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Hobbit: A Victim of its Time
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Kangi Ska

Mar 15 2013, 2:35pm

Post #1 of 143 (3356 views)
The Hobbit: A Victim of its Time Can't Post




A style of editing action sequences that makes it impossible to see what is on the screen.

All of these are problematic and detract from the story as well as the quality of the film.

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.


Mar 15 2013, 3:12pm

Post #2 of 143 (1767 views)
These were artistic choices made by Peter Jackson [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not sure what you mean by the style of editing? But those other things are part of PJ's style not just the style of the time.

If Del Toro had directed we would have seen more puppets than CGI. It's not like these things were forced upon the film.

(This post was edited by QuackingTroll on Mar 15 2013, 3:12pm)

Grey Havens

Mar 15 2013, 3:18pm

Post #3 of 143 (1730 views)
More or less [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To



A style of editing action sequences that makes it impossible to see what is on the screen.

All of these are problematic and detract from the story as well as the quality of the film.

CGI, definitely. It definitely wasn't there yet to do what Jackson wanted it to do and replace the quality of models and locations of The Lord of the Rings. The Goblintown chutes and ladders, the bridge, and Radagast's Rabbit Chase were awful in terms of not looking like a great video game.

Action editing, maybe. I don't remember a sense of losing track in The Hobbit. I'd have to go back and watch again. But today's claustrophobic close photography, shaky cam, and quick cuts give you no time to absorb what's on the screen. I equate cinematographers who believe in those things with people who pee in a bottle and call it art.

3D is an independent variable. I can choose to see it in 3D or not. You can sometimes tell if it was shot with 3D in mind, but I haven't found it to be a distraction. So I'll mostly disagree here.

MoCap, not really. They're doing great work with it. I think it's a terrific asset to get away from the really fake skinny-guy-in-a-rubber-suit Godzilla look.


Mar 15 2013, 3:42pm

Post #4 of 143 (1555 views)
Victim? [In reply to] Can't Post

A billion dollar, universally acclaimed victim?

I think it's more of a Pippin than a Boromir. Not perfect, sometimes annoying, but definitely one of the heroes. Who wins. And lives. At the end. (As Bomby would put it.)


Mar 15 2013, 3:46pm

Post #5 of 143 (1542 views)
Metacritic [In reply to] Can't Post

Just noticed that a 6/10 gives a positive review from a user but a 60/100 (same score) from a critic gets a mixed review - do you know why that is?


Mar 15 2013, 3:47pm

Post #6 of 143 (1481 views)
I thought you liked it, Kangi? // [In reply to] Can't Post


Grey Havens

Mar 15 2013, 3:48pm

Post #7 of 143 (1519 views)
A victim of MoCap...? [In reply to] Can't Post

What exactly is wrong with motion capture? I think it really helped Gollum's performance be even better than in the Lord of the Rings.

Grey Havens

Mar 15 2013, 3:50pm

Post #8 of 143 (1503 views)
Yes, Victim [In reply to] Can't Post

As in any film currently caught in the "tealization of Hollywood" would be a victim of the times, and easily dated in years to come. Like bad 1970s haircuts. Films and other things that manage to avoid the fads, clichés and other popularisms of their time are called "timeless."

Grey Havens

Mar 15 2013, 3:51pm

Post #9 of 143 (1497 views)
Objectivity [In reply to] Can't Post

Regardless, he can pose the objective question either way, yes? And not just to further his own preferences or sensibilities?


Mar 15 2013, 4:00pm

Post #10 of 143 (1540 views)
I think so [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been kind of idly pondering this same question, pretty much.

I still think 3D can be used effectively to enhance an experience by providing a sense of depth and atmospheric texture that increases a sense of realism but isn't missed or noticed when the movie is viewed in 2D.

But it seems to me that movie makers are using 3D as a way to entice viewers out of their living rooms and into the theater and since they are charging more for 3D, I think they feel they need to convince said viewers that the extra money and effort will be worth it. So we get the gratuitous 3D shots that only exist to showcase 3D (not because the film needed it) and we get over long movies because, by george... if I pay $15 for a ticket the least they can do is entertain me for 3 hours... right?

I think I know what you mean by action sequences. I also find it impossible to track what's going on and I found it happening a lot in The Hobbit. I think some of that (for me) is editing and some of it is how the shots are framed. When the camera shoves in too close to the action, I just want to back up so I can more properly sense what's happening. I think the camera crowds in close to enhance that 3D effect and give a bit of sense of an amusement park ride. We aren't watching the action... we're *in* the action.

But also, this affection for overlong action scenes is getting old. I think long action scenes have been around forever. For awhile, they usually involved car chases (Bullitt or French Connection, for example). Now they take different forms but I can remember how much I loved the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie and how much less I loved the second one. I saw the second one with a friend who had never seen them and I realized that it was those over long action sequences with people in spherical cages dangling from ropes and bouncing off hilltops or people fighting forever in rolling wheels (or whatever) that were boring me.

I thought of those blah PotC2 action scenes quite a lot while watching some of the action scenes in TH:AUJ.

Besides showcasing 3D so that they can justify the extra expense, I think appealing to the foreign market is also driving how movies are being made these days. It's easier to market a movie to a non-English speaking country that doesn't have a lot of dialog that needs translation, especially dialog that is nuanced or may rely heavily on English language metaphors or cultural references. I could never understand the appeal of tv shows like The A Team till I had kids. Once I had kids running around the house, watching Masterpiece Theater was a thing of the past. If you can't hear the dialog of an English costume drama, you can't get the movie. You don't need to hear any dialog for action packed, simply plotted shows. (and I'll take a moment here to say I'm not knocking the simple action packed movie. I enjoy quite a few. But they are one form of entertainment -- the potato chips of the movie world. I can't live on potato chips and I can't eat *that* many)

Overall, movies more often feel like they are attempting to evoke the experience of a trip to an amusement park than they are trying to serve up a well formed plot with well written dialog and tight editing.

I think movies are products (you used the word, victims) of their time more than we can realize until we look back at them. But I think there's a substantial body of work (in regards to movies) that will be firmly identifiable as being from the time when action scenes involved some sort of bobsledding (or rolling) down hillsides, dialog containing some reference to farts or burps, and music that sounded epic and huge. (get me something that sounds like Zimmer!)

I don't know that I can declare TH:AUJ a failure (in terms of entertaining me). I liked parts and I look forward to seeing it again at the Riverview (which Kangi has also been to!) -- hopefully a few more times.

But I am completely ambivalent about buying the DVD; even the promise of some advance footage is not enticing. The only reason I can think of to buy the DVD now is that I'm likely to get the best deal the first week it's out. But I'm not sure if I had a choice between watching one of the tv series I'm getting from Netflix or TH:AUJ, if I'd pick The Hobbit.

On your list, I don't see MoCap as detrimentally contributing to filmmaking. I think it's allowing for some very sophisticated animation for characters or situations that can't be done in live action. And I think CGI has come so far that I often don't notice it (I used to *see* it a lot when it first was being used). Those two I see as assets and tools that can be used well or not - but I don't think the use of them necessarily nudges a filmmaker toward making choices that don't serve the final artistic quality of a film.

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(This post was edited by dernwyn on Mar 15 2013, 7:21pm)

Tol Eressea

Mar 15 2013, 4:11pm

Post #11 of 143 (1641 views)
Indeed, i agree with you. [In reply to] Can't Post

Had Guillermo stayed on board we would have :

Shot on 35mm film, which would have given a strong message out there if TH, a universally loved book and a film that whose reach is global, were shot on film, rather than digital. Plus, it would have looked immensely better. It would have resembled Lotr and Barry Lyndon more than Attack of the Clones and pretty much every green screen fest thats made these days.

Use of animatronics, real models and miniatures like in the days of Lotr, real locations in places such as Rivendell and perhaps the fifteen birds scene. Minas Tirith, rivendell, in the lotr movies look as if they were there, as if they were real locations, they dont look like video game digital builidibg constructions.

A more judicious and frugal use of CGI, no doubt. The Hobbit reeks of CGI, just like the SW prequels do. The differences between sets, costumes, cgi, digital backgrounds, skies, even the mountains surrounding the Carrock are blatantly and obviously fake and computer generated.

And no 3D, which is for me would have been an advantage since even viewed in 2d 24 fps, TH has many shots which looked obviously made for 3D theatrics, which contains elements of that shot taht seem to be jumping out at you, seem to be wanting to leave the shot...All of that prevents the cinematography form being more balanced and painterly and cinematic in the composition of a frame.

No 5k, super, unforgiving, wrinkles exposing, unnatural and distracting resolution. Characters look like actors with costumes and make up on, props and costume elements such as tiaras or vests are so exposed that they lose any sense of believability and brake the spell necessary for the actual portrayal of an ancient distant time, rather making the viewer aware that were watching an actor with some really pretty jewellery and costumes...
Also, it removes the illusion that cinema requires when creating a fantastical world by exposing the set, the cgi backgroud added in post and the actors ..

We might have gotten a more interesting and natural use of light and darkness, which TH desperately needed. The Goblin Town sequence you mention is a perfect example of over lighting, lack of darkness, sets looking like sets, cgi over indulgence, etc...

This season of GOT we will have a cave scene. From the footage already available in the trailer we can see a proper use of fire and darkness in a cave environment that is far more competent than the one chosen by THs DP and director.

The action editing is the MTV style of shaky cam crap that is en vogue these days...seeing older movies more often recently, has increased by distaste for this way of shooting and presenting the violence scenes. Th doesnt have nearly as much as other films but it still has some of it.

And i might add on the actors front, Brian Blessed or Ian Mcshane as Thorin would have been so much more interesting to see.

Vous commencez à m'ennuyer avec le port!!!

(This post was edited by Lusitano on Mar 15 2013, 4:16pm)


Mar 15 2013, 4:21pm

Post #12 of 143 (1492 views)
Action editing... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't enjoy when the action scenes are edited so quickly that alot of it goes by so quickly that I have no clear idea of what just happened. I found AUJ to be nealy as bad as LOTR for that. It seems to be the way movies with action scenes are filmed for the last 10-20 years. I thought younger folks liked it that way.

Which should not to be taken as if I didn't thoroughly love AUJ. I did indeed. And don't have many, if any, other complaints.

My avatar photo is Lake Tekapo in New Zealand's South Island. Taken by me in 2004 on a Red Carpet Tours LOTR Movie Location Tour. 'Twas the Vacation of a Lifetime!

pictures taken while on the tour are here:


Mar 15 2013, 4:30pm

Post #13 of 143 (1474 views)
Bad linguistic analysis and reductionist methodology [In reply to] Can't Post

Attempts to break down the qualitative linguistic aspects of a review into a quantative score are, as any social science or english literature graduate will tell you, deeply flawed as they are attempting to take the subjective and relative use of language with all the nuances and context that implies and reduce them down to an objective score, fitting round pegs into square holes if you will. This is, as you are no doubt aware, what these sites do.

I think as well, there is a formula where some of the more highly regarded critical sources e.g the New York Times are given a weighting, thus giving them more power to skew the overall results. So that a couple of reviewers for high powered publications can artificially inflate or deflate a films overall score.

Film reviews from thoughtful critics are more complex than this film is good or bad, they take different aspects from the film, editing, cinematography, acting, plot, script etc and review the component parts especially when reviews are mixed, as the were for AUJ, metacritics sites are not designed to reflect these complexities and subtleties. Quality film criticism also does something else, it takes into account the context and genre of a film. A well made summer action based blockbuster may get a good review with 5 stars because the reviewer found it entertaining and highly watchable but, that doesn't mean it's as good or on par with The Godfather II, metacritics sites again, do not and can not, reflect this.

Metacritics sites do their job well for films that are more or less univerally acclaimed or derided, where they fail is on films that receive mixed reviews as the methodology used to produce the scores is far to simple and reductionist to be representative.


Mar 15 2013, 4:33pm

Post #14 of 143 (1620 views)
You are joking, aren't you. [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I'm concerned, Richard Armitage did a wonderful job as Thorin – in fact an astonishingly good job. I certainly couldn't see either of the two people you mention in that role.

I also don't get all your gripes about the effects. The film worked wonderfully for me on all fronts – best film I've seen in years.

Oh well, I guess you can't please everyone and everyone has different perceptions when it comes to films.

In Reply To
And i might add on the actors front, Brian Blessed or Ian Mcshane as Thorin would have been so much more interesting to see.


Mar 15 2013, 4:36pm

Post #15 of 143 (1464 views)
There's a fight scene in The Dark Knight Rises [In reply to] Can't Post

Where Batman is fighting the villain, Bane. The camera stays fairly far away so you get a good sense of what's going on. But at the same time it makes the fight seem slow and the punches have no impact. It's a very odd thing... I guess a middle-ground is needed.

Here's the Batman scene: http://youtu.be/ypFIX0xWPQw


Mar 15 2013, 4:38pm

Post #16 of 143 (1444 views)
Of course he can - did I say he couldn't? [In reply to] Can't Post

I was just intrigued and wanted to hear more of what he was thinking - whatever he was thinking.

It's always intriguing when someone who posts regularly appears to change tack - you mustn't read every question as an attack. Kangi can post whatever he likes, providing it stays within TORn's rules. (So can I)


Mar 15 2013, 4:40pm

Post #17 of 143 (1476 views)
I get your point [In reply to] Can't Post

but I can't agree with an argument insinuating that the progression in camera technology is a bad thing, and that we should use lower quality, or noisier cameras to hide imperfections.
I personally think you are way too hard on the CGI as well. But this argument is nothing new, I've made my point many times before on here.


Mar 15 2013, 4:45pm

Post #18 of 143 (1519 views)
I think Del Toro would have made a better film too... [In reply to] Can't Post

But saying that Del Toro's version would have had better actors playing specific characters - when there was no indication of Del Toro's casting ideas other than Ron Perlman - is just a case of looking at things you didn't like and saying "Del Toro wouldn't have done that". There's no evidence that this is the case.

I'm sure Del Toro would have made changes and had ideas that you wouldn't have liked and then people would be saying "Peter Jackson would've done this or would've cast so and so" It's just a rediculous argument.

Also Del Toro's next film is in 3D and he was planning to do The Hobbit in 3D too.

(This post was edited by QuackingTroll on Mar 15 2013, 4:47pm)


Mar 15 2013, 4:47pm

Post #19 of 143 (1475 views)
Which upsets you more? [In reply to] Can't Post

All of that or Guillermo not directing? It feels like Guillermo had an impact on you being able to like this film.

I will be honest in that while I dig The Hellboy movies and am looking forward to Pacific Rim I'm not a huge fan of Guillermo. I was kind of glad when he backed out to be honest.


Mar 15 2013, 4:59pm

Post #20 of 143 (1469 views)
Peter Jackson [In reply to] Can't Post

was meant to direct The Hobbit.
What if Bilbo hadn't found the ring?

Tol Eressea

Mar 15 2013, 5:04pm

Post #21 of 143 (1430 views)
Really? I always understood GDT was against doing TH in 3D... [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To

Also Del Toro's next film is in 3D and he was planning to do The Hobbit in 3D too.

"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
¯ Victoria Monfort


Mar 15 2013, 5:14pm

Post #22 of 143 (1406 views)
Victim sounds completely wrong to me... [In reply to] Can't Post

... as a majority seems to like the movie. Plus it did not get completely trashed by critics.

I can see where some people such as @ Lusitano come from, although I disagree strongely. But "victim" is imho hardly a good word to describe the situation when there is no evidence whatsoever that the things you list are an opinion shared by a majority of the audience.

(This post was edited by Arannir on Mar 15 2013, 5:15pm)


Mar 15 2013, 5:17pm

Post #23 of 143 (1429 views)
Del Toro [In reply to] Can't Post

I like Del Toro for the most part but I am not sure he would have done a movie that fit in with the LotR series, which I did enjoy. That being said, there were a number of things that I didn't enjoy in the Hobbit. I still enjoyed it but there are things that I would definitely change. There were too many times that I was yanked out of the experience by something that made me shake my head. Fortunately, most of them were small-ish.


Mar 15 2013, 5:21pm

Post #24 of 143 (1404 views)
This comparison... [In reply to] Can't Post

... feels really forced and weird to me.

Who the tell can tell what GTD wanted to do with the Hobbit or would have done with it other than purely speculating based on "similar" movies he has done?


Mar 15 2013, 5:23pm

Post #25 of 143 (1370 views)
all i know [In reply to] Can't Post

is that if GdT had done The Hobbit, there would have been a creepy goat dude in it.

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