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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Chapter of the Week: Prologue
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Ardamírë
Valinor


Sep 13 2013, 10:35pm

Post #1 of 113 (1470 views)
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Chapter of the Week: Prologue Can't Post

Welcome to the very first chapter-by-chapter discussion thread for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey! This is the kickoff of regular discussion of our newest Middle-earth movie. Smile

Now, you might be wondering why someone who you thought hated the movie is leading the first chapter's discussion. No, I'm not here to troll. Nor will I be heaping false praise in order to "fit in" in this discussion. I will both gush and critique, and everyone else is free to do the same. I hope this can be a civil discussion where fans can discuss some things that we haven't really discussed before. Well, without further ado, let's jump right in!

Obviously, this thread covers the whole Fall of Erebor prologue. Were you expecting the movie to begin this way? Did you even want the movie to begin with a prologue? And what of Old Bilbo as the narrator. Was that something you liked or wish had been done differently? Personally, I love him narrating. I wish we wouldn't have seen him, but I do enjoy his voice-over. It's widely known that The Hobbit is feigned to be a personal account written by Bilbo, so the idea of him narrating seems very natural.

Let's talk settings. Would you rather live in Dale or Erebor? I would definitely have to go with Dale (and not just because it's built at human scale Tongue). It's just so beautiful and natural looking. And I love the tan-colored stone. It just looks so lively and vibrant. It really made me feel so very sad at its destruction. Did seeing its fall make it really come alive for you? It did for me.

We don't really see Smaug here. Did you want to see him in full? I liked not seeing him. I always thought that revealing him so early on would have been a mistake. Of course, this was totally ruined by the DoS trailer. Mad

Was there one shot from the prologue that just blew you away on first viewing? I remember being very moved by the shot of all the dwarves migrating across the wilderness after the destruction of their home. It was pretty haunting. This image especially captures what it, though it's not quite the same as it is in motion.

They heyday of the dwarves was spectacular to see. Are you glad we finally have gotten to see a live dwarven kingdom and an army of dwarves?

For the final question (or series of questions) I'll ask what you would have done differently. Anything about this scene is up for grabs. What would you change? Besides the picture quality (which I think is far too fake-looking), I've already mentioned that I would have not shown Old Bilbo. I think it should have opened with the lighting of the candle, then seeing the book opened and Bilbo's hand beginning to write. The narration could then start.

Well, that's all for this round! Real life is about to get pretty busy, so I'll probably not be able to reply much (especially come Sunday), so don't take it personally if I can't get back to all the replies. Thanks to any and all who replied, read, or lurked! Have a great weekend, everyone! Smile

'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 13 2013, 11:17pm

Post #2 of 113 (640 views)
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Great kickoff Arda! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Welcome to the very first chapter-by-chapter discussion thread for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey! This is the kickoff of regular discussion of our newest Middle-earth movie. Smile Thank you!

Obviously, this thread covers the whole Fall of Erebor prologue. Were you expecting the movie to begin this way? Did you even want the movie to begin with a prologue? And what of Old Bilbo as the narrator. Was that something you liked or wish had been done differently? I agree and think he is the natural narrator, from a film perspective, to kick off the story. I'm perhaps I the minority here, as I enjoyed seeing Bilbo and Frodo at home together - something you know was the case for many years but we never see or get any detail of in text really. I think in general a prologue was a good call; it both gives us history and is a link to the buildup of Thorin being at Bilbo's door.
Let's talk settings. Would you rather live in Dale or Erebor? I would definitely have to go with Dale (and not just because it's built at human scale Tongue). It's just so beautiful and natural looking. And I love the tan-colored stone. It just looks so lively and vibrant. It really made me feel so very sad at its destruction. Did seeing its fall make it really come alive for you? It did for me. Dale was beautifully detailed! So full of culture and little subtle clues. I posted in a thread a while back that it reminded me of Tibet a bit: the Mongol hats, the fur trimming, the gold Lions, the horns (and I think I saw hanging bells.) Even The Mountain fits in with that theme, and the flags in front of Erebor like prayer flags. But the greenery and lushness is so attractive, and you get the feeling of a very alive place (making its loss sadder - because it is in full bloom, and full of life and happiness.) I liked seeing the Dwarves and the people of Dale mingling and sharing their space. As for living: I would love to live in Erebor. The color, the artistry - I love what they did with the interior. I never expected it to look that way: I expected much more rough and drab; instead they gave us living stone and warm light. And, of course, Thorin lives there. So. SmileEvil We don't really see Smaug here. Did you want to see him in full? I liked not seeing him. I always thought that revealing him so early on would have been a mistake.I agree completely! I liked having him being just hinted at, but showing his massive PRESENCE: those stomping feet and wicked tail. I have to say...I could have waited for a view. Sort of wish the trailer didn't show him...I would have liked to hear the deep bubbling hiss, and glowing eyes in the dark, and have left it at that! But I am sure there will be more wonderful surprises for us in DoS.

Was there one shot from the prologue that just blew you away on first viewing? I remember being very moved by the shot of all the dwarves migrating across the wilderness after the destruction of their home. It was pretty haunting. This image especially captures what it, though it's not quite the same as it is in motion. Great choice of screencap; a parallel to Rohan, dislocated in years to come. One shot that I love in the prologue is the tear in Thror's eye when he grabs the Arkenstone - you see him from the back, running (which seems natural, rational) - but then when he turns you see the feeling in the tears, which is much more intimate, and shows he is not afraid for his life: but for the loss of that jewel. The sickness of greed shown in a very pitiful and touching way.

They heyday of the dwarves was spectacular to see. Are you glad we finally have gotten to see a live dwarven kingdom and an army of dwarves? Thrilled to see it. Its hinted at in text, but to see it is wonderful. The courage of those Dwarves, who follow Thorin and Thrain to the gate to stand in person against that Dragon! And when Thorin leans over the balcony to yell "Dragon!" , you get a great glimpse of the liveliness of the kingdom below, with everyone milling and talking below. Makes me picture Moria, filled with Dwarves in finery and talking, running errands, laughing...how I would love to see that now, because of seeing Erebor.

For the final question (or series of questions) I'll ask what you would have done differently. Anything about this scene is up for grabs. What would you change? Besides the picture quality (which I think is far too fake-looking), I've already mentioned that I would have not shown Old Bilbo. I think it should have opened with the lighting of the candle, then seeing the book opened and Bilbo's hand beginning to write. The narration could then start. Your take on the prologue would have worked too. Hmmm, done differently? I'm feeling rather lacking in critical skill but I am not sure if I would have changed anything! Well I will say I would like to see more of Hobbiton early - but I think we will get that in EE and I'm not sure where it will be located.

Well, that's all for this round! Real life is about to get pretty busy, so I'll probably not be able to reply much (especially come Sunday), so don't take it personally if I can't get back to all the replies. Thanks to any and all who replied, read, or lurked! Have a great weekend, everyone! Smile Good luck with all that RL craziness!


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








DanielLB
Immortal


Sep 13 2013, 11:19pm

Post #3 of 113 (650 views)
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Thank you for starting us off! Here's what I think ... [In reply to] Can't Post

When I saw AUJ for the very first time, I felt really conflicted about the prologue. When the title card "The Hobbit" popped up in conjunction with Howard Shore's familiar music, and Ian Holm's voice-over, I was immediately transported back into the world (Peter Jackson's world) that I knew and loved. It was great.

The next thing I thought was how awful the HFR was. Since the prologue is rather CGI heavy, I thought it looked fake (Dale and Smaug's fire especially). That's only in HFR, of course. Having seen it countless times since then, I love the film and the prologue. I think the stuttery-ness of 24fps helps blend the CGI in better. But that's a whole different conversation.

Since I love Holm, I couldn't have wished for a better prologue. Though not entirely "Tolkien canon" (whatever that really is), I think the prologue brings everyone back to (Peter Jackson's) Middle-earth once again. Do we need to see Old Bilbo? Not really, but I think it's an important connection to make. Likewise, I think the entire prologue opens up a window that we don't really get to see in the actual book. Since we're dealing with a film adaptation, there will be things that are changed and/or included for the benefit of the film, and I think this is one example. Film and books are different media, but I feel additions and changes like the prologue really give the film universe substance - it puts meat into the film mythology (however true it remains to its source material). And more importantly, I think it will define the mood for all three films. A lot of the actions seen in the prologue have major repercussions later on (the Arkenstone, Smaug, Thranduil, Dale etc etc.) The prologue acts to lay down all the threads, and the rest of the three films will weave these threads, culminating in the B05A. It is vital the audience, especially the general movie goer, was shown all this backstory. Also, without the prologue, I think a lot of the general audience would've be rather bored at this beginning. Since it is a film adaptation, they needed something exciting to start the film off with. And the prologue is perfect.

I wonder if Bilbo lighting the match right at the beginning has some sort of symbolism for anything? Other than the obvious fire connection ... I can't think of anything?

My favourite part of the entire scene has to be this:


Quote
Erebor! Built deep within the mountain itself, the beauty of this fortress city was legend. Its wealth lay in the earth in precious gems hewn from rock and in great seams of gold running like rivers through stone. The skill of the Dwarves was unequaled, fashioning objects of great beauty out of diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. Ever they delved deep, down into the dark and that is where they found it, the Heart of the Mountain! The Arkenstone


Bilbo's description of Erebor makes it sound breathtaking. The images it conjures in my mind are amazing. I'd love to explore Erebor (sorry Dale). The shot of the river of Gold was the one that blew me away. I can't say Dale really matched the description in my head. But I'll have to see more of it in DOS and TABA before I can really comment/complain.

With regards to the screencap you linked - I remember someone saying (likely in one of the DVD Appendices) that PJ's favourite shot in TTT was during the exodus of Rohan, and with all the Town's people leaving Edoras and walking along the contours of the surrounding land (maybe ... can anyone remember?) The screencap you link has very similar imagery (and feelings) - I bet my hat that was PJ's idea to have them the Dwarves scattered among the lakes. It's especially frightening, since that is all that is left of them. And of course, similar pictures of refugees and exoduses can be found like that in the real world.

I wonder if we will get to see the Iron Hills Kingdom of the Dwarves. That will make for interesting comparisons?

The only thing I would've done different is I would have made the scene longer ... and probably included Azanulbizar here, rather than later on. I don't really like flashbacks during films, so I would have preferred if all of the Dwarve's (relevant) history was in the prologue. It will be interesting to see how the EE changes the scene.

And my closing thought ... I think this prologue is just as good as the prologue in FOTR. It bought me back where I wanted to be. And I couldn't have hoped for anything better.

Smile



(This post was edited by DanielLB on Sep 13 2013, 11:26pm)


Kim
Valinor


Sep 13 2013, 11:28pm

Post #4 of 113 (616 views)
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Yay! Here we go! [In reply to] Can't Post

When the movie first started and we were back in Bag End with Bilbo, it felt like we'd never left, and a huge grin stretched across my face as the narration started. Then, when we moved to Dale and Erebor, I was excited to see somewhere new. However, I felt like we barely got a chance to see Dale, I would have liked to have seen more of it. It certainly looked like a city that would be enjoyable to live in.

But then, when we got to Erebor, I was blown away. The gates, King Thror, and that grand city were more than I'd ever imagined. I loved the green and gold stone of the interior, so much more beautiful than a giant stone cave I had pictured. A note on HFR here: when the camera panned over and down through the city, I noticed a definite improvement from 2D to 3D HFR – no stuttering or blurring in the motion. That was the shot that blew me away. A second favorite was when Thorin was watching King Thror with all his gold – when the camera panned back and we saw Thorin emerge from the shadows, it looked like someone was standing in the theatre with us.

It was great to see the dwarven city in its heyday, and the royal family secure in their place.

I thought it was interesting that Thorin was the first to recognize the signs that the dragon had come, and not Balin. I would have thought that Balin would have caught on sooner. I thought the attack was very well done, I like that we didn’t really see the dragon, just the destruction in its wake.

I thought the dwarves were very brave to defend the gate from the dragon, and when they were so easily swept aside by the dragon, you could see how easy it was for Smaug to take their home.

I hadn’t pictured that Erebor had as many dwarves as it did, so it was quite a scene to see the refugees pouring out. And when Thranduil refused to help them, my heart hardened towards him just as Thorin’s did.

Overall, I loved the prologue and thought it was very well done. I think I was one of the few people who adjusted to HFR almost instantly, and really liked the look. I was enthralled from the beginning, and thought it was a wonderful start.


Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 13 2013, 11:30pm

Post #5 of 113 (583 views)
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I had the same take on the exodus shots Daniel! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








DanielLB
Immortal


Sep 13 2013, 11:31pm

Post #6 of 113 (583 views)
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Silly edit window ... [In reply to] Can't Post

One thing I forgot to mention ...

Other than "Bilbo's Choice" scene, this is my favourite scene of the entire film. Excellently filmed, scored, narrated and executed. It's a scene I can watch over and over again, and never tire. It's beautiful and terryfying and exciting and thrilling and heartbreaking all at the same time.



Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 13 2013, 11:34pm

Post #7 of 113 (587 views)
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Different educations maybe? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

I thought it was interesting that Thorin was the first to recognize the signs that the dragon had come, and not Balin. I would have thought that Balin would have caught on sooner. I thought the attack was very well done, I like that we didn’t really see the dragon, just the destruction in its wake.





Yes I noticed that too - it feels to me like the real sign of a Prince in the line of succession and of a Counselor: I feel like Thorin has perhaps the equivalent in Dwarven culture of a 'classical' education, which perhaps Balin does not...and thus recognized the lore-based and classic signs of an impending Dragon attack.

In no way maligning Balin of course, who is very wise - but who may not have 'studied' like Thorin did as a youth.

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








DanielLB
Immortal


Sep 13 2013, 11:41pm

Post #8 of 113 (592 views)
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Something I've always wanted to know ... [In reply to] Can't Post

And this applies to both the book and film ... how does Thorin know what a hurricane is? They're far too inland to have ever experienced one. Wink

Or, since it was Bilbo who mentioned it in the film, then it might be more believable.

As for why Balin didn't recognise the signs of an approaching dragon, perhaps he simply didn't suspect it. It's all good knowing the signs, but Smaug's attack was out of the blue. To Balin, a hurricane may have been more likely than a dragon attack.



(This post was edited by DanielLB on Sep 13 2013, 11:42pm)


Kim
Valinor


Sep 13 2013, 11:41pm

Post #9 of 113 (566 views)
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Interesting theory [In reply to] Can't Post

and perhaps since Thorin was training to be a warrior, he had to study up on all potential enemies and warning signs of approach? I could see that.


Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 13 2013, 11:59pm

Post #10 of 113 (560 views)
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Hurricane...fascinating Daniel! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
And this applies to both the book and film ... how does Thorin know what a hurricane is? They're far too inland to have ever experienced one. Wink

Or, since it was Bilbo who mentioned it in the film, then it might be more believable.

As for why Balin didn't recognise the signs of an approaching dragon, perhaps he simply didn't suspect it. It's all good knowing the signs, but Smaug's attack was out of the blue. To Balin, a hurricane may have been more likely than a dragon attack.





Wow Daniel - I never thought of the cultural significance of hurricane knowledge. Count on special knowledge in RL to surprise one!

Yes, its Bilbo's description - so the possibilities are that Bilbo interpreted the tale told to him and used that word, in his own vernacular...maybe with the Shire closer to the Sea, can believe that enough storm front could have come inland at times during a large hurricane for the Hobbits to know what that was?

Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Brethil
Half-elven


Sep 14 2013, 12:00am

Post #11 of 113 (559 views)
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That too Kim - yup I agree. // [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
and perhaps since Thorin was training to be a warrior, he had to study up on all potential enemies and warning signs of approach? I could see that.


Is there a Tolkien topic that you have wanted to look into more deeply, and write about your thoughts on it? If so, we'd like to hear from you for the next TORn Amateur Symposium- coming in November. Happy writing!








Kim
Valinor


Sep 14 2013, 12:18am

Post #12 of 113 (553 views)
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I still find it fascinating [In reply to] Can't Post

that people have such different reactions to HFR. I first saw the movie in regular 2D and thought it looked awesome, then when I saw it in 3D IMAX HFR, I thought it was "awesome-r" (yes, that's a word). I still wonder how much the specific movie theatre and equipment impacted the experience. I'm lucky enough to live close to a theatre with both regular and IMAX 3D HFR, so I'm glad I was able to take advantage of being able to see both.

However, if you don't want to go spiraling down this rabbit hole again, no worries Smile

As for your statement, "It brought me back where I wanted to be", I completely agree!


Noria
Rohan

Sep 14 2013, 12:25am

Post #13 of 113 (557 views)
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The prologue is one of my favourite parts of AUJ. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don’t think I would change much. Like Kim, I adjusted to the HFR so fast that I wondered if I’d gone to the wrong showing except for how wonderful everything looked.

I don’t remember that I had any expectations about how the movie would start but I did expect “In a hole in the ground…” Certainly a prologue didn't surprise me.

It was good to see Bilbo, Bag End and Hobbiton and I thought his narration was excellent. I could have done without the whole Bilbo/Frodo sequence, except for the narration, not because I think those scenes were poor but because I didn’t need them. IMO, that sequence was intended to bring the casual LotR movie audience back into PJ's Middle Earth and to make them understand clearly when this story took place and who it’s about. It does its job just fine. The fact that Bilbo and Frodo looked a little different didn't bother me a bit.

I loved Erebor and Dale and here is where the HFR 3D really did for me, especially in those swooping shots in Erebor. I would choose to live in Dale. It looked like a beautiful place full of happy people, as these things go. As beautiful as Erebor is, living underground doesn’t appeal to me.

The scenes of Smaug’s assault on Dale and Erebor were wonderful, from the first kite burning to Smaug’s astonishing entry into Erebor to the flight of the Dwarves. I just loved how he powered in right over the Dwarves and straight to the treasury, especially the diving and swimming around in the gold which flew up in showers of coins, and the animal noises of ecstasy he was making. The witty, urbane dragon Bilbo will meet may come as a surprise to anyone who hasn't read the book.

Thranduil is going to have to redeem himself in my eyes, not for failing to fight Smaug but for turning away from the refugees. He looked absolutely great though and so did his elk.

As for the use of “hurricane”, aren’t the Blue Mountains the home in exile of the Dwarves of Erebor, at least Thorin? That range is fairly close to the sea, if I remember correctly. If the Dwarves know the word, Bilbo could have picked it up.

Edited because I forgot to say that the idea of Erebor being the greatest realm in Middle Earth and other realms paying homage irked me but I'll wait and see where PJ goes with it before I really complain.


(This post was edited by Noria on Sep 14 2013, 12:27am)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 14 2013, 1:10am

Post #14 of 113 (524 views)
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A big Mods Up! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for kicking this off, and look forward to great discussions from everyone!


Patty
Immortal


Sep 14 2013, 1:25am

Post #15 of 113 (509 views)
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Yes, it's wonderful that you're taking this on. [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll try to jump in here from time to time.

But for now, let me say that yes, I'm glad there was such a prologue. I was very happy to see Ian Holm's Bilbo be part of this tale, because, though I like Martin Freeman, Ian Holm is Bilbo to me, and it was good to see him "hand it on", as it were.

There is so much backstory that it is helpful for the non-Tolkien reading fan to know that I guess the lengthy-ness was helpful. But it was awfully lengthy.

I'll be happy if Smaug doesn't show up till the last 5 minutes of DoS, (I've often said that if you've seen one dragon you've seen them all) so I really was happy he didn't do a big role in the prologue. Yes, I agree the trailer did not make me look forward to seeing this dragon either. I think I'm just dragon- jaded.

I love Frodo, and I was happy to see him in this, too. All in all, a good effort.

Permanent address: Into the West






arithmancer
Grey Havens


Sep 14 2013, 1:50am

Post #16 of 113 (509 views)
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my answers [In reply to] Can't Post

Were you expecting the movie to begin this way?

No, actually I thought it would begin some sort of short Old Bilbo introduction to Hobbits leading into us meeting Young Bilbo. And I thought that would have been fine. However, when Old Bilbo started narrating instead about how "it began long ago in a land far away to the east, the like of which you will not find in the world today," I think I might not have managed to suppress a little cheer. This was the most wonderful surprise of the whole movie for me, that we would see Erebor and Dale before their fall.

And what of Old Bilbo as the narrator. Was that something you liked or wish had been done differently?


I did like it. And was expecting it, it is in the books that Bilbo wrote a book about his adventure, and this aspect of the books was already present in LotR.

Let's talk settings. Would you rather live in Dale or Erebor?


Erebor for me. Living under ground would be a bit odd, but it seemed that Dwarves came and went into Dale a lot, and also there were balconies and windows letting in natural light. I have a bit of a bias towards the Dwarves in the Tolkienverse anyway, they seem not to get as much appreciation. But the way Erebor was imagined exceeded my expectations. I loved the colors, the vast open spaces, the geometric architecture, all of it.

It really made me feel so very sad at its destruction. Did seeing its fall make it really come alive for you? It did for me.

It was sad seeing the destruction of Dale, yes. It was shown as such a lively place, full of busy, happy people.

We don't really see Smaug here. Did you want to see him in full? I liked not seeing him. I always thought that revealing him so early on would have been a mistake. Of course, this was totally ruined by the DoS trailer. Mad

I was glad not to see him, I liked the showing of him only in little bits. And I thought the specific choices of shots (that very long tail snaking behind him as he entered Erebor, the giant feet crushing Dwarf soldiers, bathing in huge mounds of obscuring gold, were all excellent. I'm not actually that miffed about the trailer, though, as the shot was dark and still limited - we did not get a clear view of the head, a true idea of his color, or any idea of personality. If he proves to be a truly spectacular design on par with Gollum, he has not been spoiled yet. If he falls short, then it matters less...

Was there one shot from the prologue that just blew you away on first viewing?


I could not pick just one. I think, the exterior view of Erebor, the image of one of Dale's towers exploding when hit with a blast of flame, and the flight of the Dwarves. A moving shot of the interior of Erebor stood out in a bad way, it was too blurry in my view. (I saw it exactly once in HFR, and this one shot looked much better that way, no motion blur).

Are you glad we finally have gotten to see a live dwarven kingdom and an army of dwarves?

Yes! I'd been regretting that we would never see this since my first viewing of FotR, where we were shown the (deserted and ruined) grandeur of Moria.

What would you change? Besides the picture quality (which I think is far too fake-looking), I've already mentioned that I would have not shown Old Bilbo. I think it should have opened with the lighting of the candle, then seeing the book opened and Bilbo's hand beginning to write. The narration could then start.

To me it seems that if Bilbo was not shown, the narration would have to have been by Martin Freeman. Otherwise, viewers who no longer recalled in detail, or had never seen, FotR would wonder why Bilbo's voice changed. (The whole smoke ring business in a later scene, moving the audience back 60 years and introducing the Young Bilbo, took care of that). While I am sure Freeman could have done the narration, and well, I feel Holm was the better choice for the sake of LotR fans. I wanted to hear Holm.

So, what would I change? I'd make a Dwarf woman more prominent. We do get quick, passing glimpses of a couple in Dale, but I would have liked to see one or two in the montage that introduced us to Erebor, more in the center of our attention. We saw the miners, the guy holding the molten gold between the two huge hammers, some guys examining gems...maybe one of the Dwarves examining gems could have been a woman, or maybe a short additional scene (talking seconds here) right after that, featuring, say, a woman jeweller holding some pretty item she had been working on up to the light with appropriate voiceover changes, or some such.

I would personally like more of Dale and more of the Elves (and why Thranduil just rode away) but I can also see how that might make for too slow and complicated a start. Also the EE might be adding a little along these lines...


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Sep 14 2013, 1:52am

Post #17 of 113 (509 views)
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Enjoyed the prologue... [In reply to] Can't Post

I expected a backstory prologue going in, and Jackson didn't disappoint. I was thrilled about the fact that there would be more than just one dwarf in this trilogy, and seeing the prologue confirmed that. There were elves, hobbits, and men all over the place in the LotR films, but only one dwarf. So within the first few minutes of the film, I was very excited about what was to come.

Erebor looked majestic. There was plenty of OTT cgi (like the giant blacksmith contraption nearly crushing that dwarf's hand), but once I saw the Arkenstone, I just knew we were getting a close adaptation (boy, was I wrong on that). I didn't even think the Arkenstone was going to be mentioned, for some reason. Maybe the R/B adaptation was stuck in my subconscious a bit.

Also enjoyed Old Bilbo narrating. I expected Sir Ian Holm to be involved in the prologue in some capacity. As soon as I heard his voice, I was transported back to 12 years ago. Almost like reconnecting with an old friend who was a big part of your past.

Dale looked nice, but the architecture was too Latin/Mediterranean-looking, where I felt it should have looked more Anglo-Saxon or Norse. I DID like the Smaug sneak-peak in the prologue, glad we didn't get to see too much of him yet. The dwarven exodus from Erebor is also impressive. So yeah, the only thing I'd change about the prologue is Dale's architectural style. All-in-all, a great prologue.


LordotRings93
Rohan


Sep 14 2013, 1:59am

Post #18 of 113 (507 views)
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Prologue [In reply to] Can't Post

I always get excitement and goosebumps when I put in the Blu-ray and watch the prologue. Just when "The Hobbit" appears on the screen with Concering Hobbits do I know I'm in for a ride. I love the music as the map of Middle-earth appears and we transport over to Dale.

Seeing Erebor was also AMAZING. It looked so fantastic and deep, like it's such an established kingdom, which it was. Seeing the dwarves doing their craft of mining and blacksmithing was great, and really set me up for the dwarven race. But I always get chills when "The first they heard..." starts, and Thorin warns Balin to call out the guard and shouts "DRAGON!", and then Smaug's awesome roar sounds. I love the little teases we get of him, and I get goosebumps when we see Thorin and the dwarven guards charging down the hall. Just the clank of their arms and armor as they run hypes me up, and then Thorin's shouting command in Khuz-dul is a great touch. I'd like to put in that I love the dwarves' plate armor they wear. Just the design and fitting fits so well with their race, and a brilliant job by Weta.

But Smaug's whole attack is one of my favorite parts of the movie, and then I can feel Thorin's anger as Thranduil leaves with his elves. Richard Armitage proved right off the bat his acting chops, and made Thorin one of my favorite characters. Bilbo's narration throughout was also a nice touch, as it is the story about him (although some will say different Wink), and having Ian Holm back as Bilbo is just a great addition. And the last shot of Thorin hammering away on the anvil is a chilling shot, showing his hatred for those who wronged him as he pounds away on the sword he is forging.

All in all, this scene was set up amazingly, and executed brilliantly. Being able to see the dwarves in greater detail in one of their kingdoms was very interesting, and getting glimpses of Dale before its destruction was also great. What I'm looking forward to is the archer using the Black Arrows against Smaug in the extended edition. Little things like that make these movies for me.

Lover of Medieval Fantasy
"I know what I must do. It's just... I'm afraid to do it."


arithmancer
Grey Havens


Sep 14 2013, 2:07am

Post #19 of 113 (516 views)
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Additional thoughts - Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

This was one of my favorite scenes of the film so I hope no one minds if I comment on things I found noteworthy in it, even though they are unrelated to Ardamire's excellent discussion questions.

I am also shocked to be the first to mention Thorin in my subject! Wink

One thing I found brilliant about this Prologue was its introduction of Thorin. I feel that showing him to the audience young, and showing his experience of the Fall of Erebor, did a huge amount to humanize him and make him more interesting. I say this as a book reader who was never much fond of this character. While intellectually I could tell myself Thorin 1) was raised to be King someday and 2) had a tough life (and this was why I should excuse him being a self-important , sometimes annoying character) seeing the grandeur of his kingdom and the horror of its fall was far more effective.

Another thing I liked was the decision to make Balin older than Thorin. I noted this right off, that Balin (somehow I knew it was him...) was older. To me he always felt so in the book, so I liked this change.

A final remark is something that occured to me on a rewatch of the movie. Most of the movie is Bilbo's story, and he is narrating it, but in the Prologue, it Bilbo telling us Thorin's story. It is told with sympathy and understanding. And while I noted a story-external reason why this was in my opinion a good move, on a story-internal level, it is foreshadowing the relationship these two characters will have. Older Bilbo would, totally, speak this way of Thorin in years to come.


(This post was edited by arithmancer on Sep 14 2013, 2:11am)


BallyWhooo
Bree

Sep 14 2013, 2:29am

Post #20 of 113 (509 views)
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Big smiles [In reply to] Can't Post

I knew ahead of time that the premise of the movies would be that Bilbo is writing his book and telling the story and that felt just perfect to me. I love Ian Holm, too, thought he should have gotten a Supporting Actor nod for FOTR, and remembered that he played Frodo in the BBC radio version, so this kind of seemed like a "nod" to his prior "voice over" work in the Tolkien universe. I thought the expression on his face when his voice over said "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" was absolutely priceless and just as I imagine Prof Tolkien might have looked when such an inspired opening sentence popped into his mind. I can just imagine him being so happy and pleased with himself knowing he had just come up with the best possible opening sentence for his story. Loved the fact that this scene is just hours before the opening scene in FOTR. I hope there is more of that at the end of BOFA. It was like we were getting more of LOTR in addition to The Hobbit. A brilliant idea and perfectly carried out. Too bad there was 10 years between the filmings, but I also was not put off too much by the fact that Elijah did not have that youthful, cherubic look that he did in FOTR. I was waaaaay willing to accept that just to see more of him.

I'd pick Erebor any day, but then I've been imagining The Lonely Mountain since I was 11 years old and Dale always kind of was a hazy non-distinct place for me as a reader. But the mountain struck my imagination in a keen way, so I'd love to go exploring there and find a little warm corner to call my own. But the imagery in the film for both locations was superb. If I had to whine about anything (and that's what it is... whining, not a criticism) it would be that they substituted horns for the bells of Dale. That was the one thing about Dale that really did stand out for me as a reader, and hearing a hundred bells clanging in warning of the dragon would have been very jarring and scary.

I have not watched the trailer to TDOS and do not plan to. I didn't watch the trailer (or anything else) for AUJ and that was a real plus. I hate spoilers. I don't want to see Smaug in full until I see him as Bilbo sees him. That's how I met him in the book and that's how I want to meet him in the movies.

I was pretty blown away by the hoard or Thror. Part of me wanted to not see that until TDOS, again as Bilbo first sees it, but then it occurred to me that in order for Thorin's subsequent comments about other groups wondering if the mountain and treasure were unguarded and the new emphasis on the Battle of Five Armies as a film on its own, I think it was a good thing for us to see the magnitude of the bling Thror had his hands on.

I was another person who was totally okay with the HFR. I purposefully went in with a desire to give it a fair shake for two reasons. I was already tired of reading critics whining about it AND more importantly, it's how PJ wanted us to view the film. And that's very important to me. As a musician and director of theatre, I want people to hear a song and/or see a play/musical with the emphases and perspective that I think is important when I'm in charge of it or performing it. It didn't bother me at all. In fact, like many others, I found it very immersive. I wasn't looking for film errors in makeup or the sets. I didn't want to waste my time not liking what I was looking so forward to seeing for 12 years. A lot of people worked extremely hard to make these movies a reality, and even if my "version" of the story locked in my head isn't quite the same, I'm more than willing to watch someone else's version. I can always read the book and revel in my own "version". And it turned out that I really loved PJ's version. I was smiling and a little teary all through the prologue, I loved the transition with the smoke Ring subtitle and the music that played along with that, and then I was perfectly happy with the journey that followed, including all of the non-book additions, no matter whether they were serious or silly.

Thanks for starting this discussion. I've been waiting for a real chronological trip through the movie!!




(This post was edited by BallyWhooo on Sep 14 2013, 2:38am)


Ardamírë
Valinor


Sep 14 2013, 2:36am

Post #21 of 113 (486 views)
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Just a note to all readers [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't want to steal any of arithmancer's thunder for next week's discussion, so I'll just note that the framing device between Old Bilbo and Frodo is actually her scene and different from the prologue.

Cheers Smile

'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Sep 14 2013, 2:43am

Post #22 of 113 (483 views)
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This is exactly my point about Dale [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Dale always kind of was a hazy non-distinct place for me as a reader


This is exactly why I loved seeing it as such a gorgeous city in full bloom! I totally forgot about Dale having bells instead of horns. I do wish, now, that those had been kept in. Hearing the cacophony of the bells in the hurricane of Smaug would have been fantastic!

'Twas in the Land of Willows that I heard th'unfathomed breath
Of the Horns of Ylmir calling - and shall hear them till my death.


The Grey Elf
Gondor


Sep 14 2013, 3:02am

Post #23 of 113 (485 views)
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Hello fellow CHOWsters! [In reply to] Can't Post

I just wanted to say very quickly kudos to Ardamire for taking the lead in this discussion and a big thank you to cats16 for coming up with the idea and making it happen.Smile

As a bit of a disclaimer, I just wanted to say that I have only ever seen this in the conventional 2D. I do think that has influenced my impression of many of the visuals since the overall design of the movie was to some degree intended to take advantage of the HFR.

The moment I felt I had stepped back into Middle Earth was not by a visual cue but by the nostalgia and recognition I felt the moment I heard Howard Shire's indelible music begin to rise. I thought the Dale/Erebor sequence was quite well-done but it did not reach me emotionally because it was all just so new. And while Erebor was utterly beautiful, I personally felt if suffered juxtaposed next to Dale which seemed far more real for the most part given that it was a set, Erebor far more CGI. Had I seen it in the HFR, my opinion may have been different. I loved the use of the dragon kite fluttering into view ... though I found myself staring at the yellow turtle kite. A turtle? It just seemed like a puzzling choice and I wonder now what made Alan Lee or John Howe -- if it was them -- chose it.

I loved how they suggested the size and strength of Smaug -- the trees thrashing about from his beating wings, how small the dwarf army appeared before him, seeing the tip of his whip-like tail disappear through the great doors of Erebor.

Where would I prefer to live? I'd have to pick Dale because I depend on sunshine and fresh air for my sanity. At least until Prince Thorin asked me to marry him Wink. (Wow, can you imagine the kind of rocks you'd get from him as an engagement ring?!!) The contrast between the darkness of the mountain kingdom and the sunny city of Dale has made me wonder about how sharp dwarf eyesight is. They're accustomed to spending long periods underground -- would that give them keener vision? That and the fact that when Thorin called out to Thranduil for help, they were really far away from each other and yet it was as if Thorin could read Thrandy's "Nah, don't think so" face like they only had a couple meters between them.

The only truly moving part of the Erebor sequence for me was the exodus. And I loved watching Thorin pounding away at the forge as though he had Smaug's head under his hammer. Again, I think Richard Armitage's eyes really managed to convey Thorin's "... And he never forgot and he never forgave." (* heart flutters *)

I loved seeing Hobbiton again and seeing more of Bag End even more. My eyes wanted to dwell on every single knickknack and bricabrack Bilbo had in his home but the camera insisted on moving too fast. Thank goodness for screen caps!

And while it was wonderful seeing original Bilbo and Frodo again, I was distracted by the mask-like appearance of Ian Holm's de-aged face and by how much Elijah's had matured. Anybody check to see if he still bites his fingernails?

I thought the Erebor/Dale sequence moved at a good pace but the Bag End part of the prologue was too slow. Some of it felt like padding (the whole hiding stuff from Lobelia) and should have been excised.

Overall, I think the prologue is not one of my favorite parts but I do think it established important information very well erring only a little in uneven editing.

Welcome more children to Middle Earth. Support The S.H.I.R.E. Project!


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 14 2013, 3:11am

Post #24 of 113 (476 views)
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Bilbo as Thorin's surrogate storyteller... [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I forgot to say that the idea of Erebor being the greatest realm in Middle Earth and other realms paying homage irked me but I'll wait and see where PJ goes with it before I really complain.



It occurred to me while reading your post that, while that statement is certainly debatable in terms of those who are immersed in all of Middle-earth history, it is not necessarily an unreasonable comment from Bilbo's point of view. Erebor is certainly the most impressive location that Bilbo ever travels to in his lifetime - at least until his last adventure sailing to Tol Eressea. Bilbo would have heard tale after tale of its greatness and magnificence from the dwarves on their travels, in addition to seeing it (and its piled riches) for himself. Would it be any great wonder if his imagination succumbed to the dwarves' own perspective on their great city? After all, Bilbo never saw it in its heyday, so what he is describing to us is how it was told to him by Thorin and the others. The flashback is essentially Thorin's memory of his lost kingdom, passed on to us by Bilbo. And would Thorin, or any dwarf, admit that it could ever have been surpassed by any other kingdom (except perhaps one of the other dwarf kingdoms of old)? I think not. Bilbo's information on this point is decidedly biased.

Also, at the time of his writing, Bilbo is both reminiscing about his younger self and looking forward to his return adventure, in which he will go all the way to the Lonely Mountain and back again as far as Rivendell, where he will settle down to a happy retirement in the Last Homely House to write poetry and have Elves about when he wants them. All these years he has remembered the glories of his great adventure and now he is beginning to feel stretched by the Ring, and is getting wanderlust again, and a great longing to see the wonders of his world once more. Mountains...he wants to see mountains again, especially that great Lonely one. From that perspective Erebor is the best that ever was.

This makes me wonder, though, since they never hinted in FOTR that Bilbo went any further than Rivendell after he passed the Ring on to Frodo....I wonder what the chances are that they'll hint in the end framing device for the Hobbit films that that is what he intends? I think I'd love it if they did that.


Silverlode

"Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dûm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone."



cats16
Tol Eressea


Sep 14 2013, 4:00am

Post #25 of 113 (453 views)
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Great to see so much discussion already! [In reply to] Can't Post

Went out to dinner unexpectedly so I was pulled away from online for awhile--not that that's a bad thing!CoolAngelic

Ok, here I go: *cracks knuckles*

Were you expecting the movie to begin this way? Did you even want the movie to begin with a prologue? And what of Old Bilbo as the narrator. Was that something you liked or wish had been done differently?

I figured we'd be in for a prologue, of some sorts. Funny enough, I read the book the day of the midnight premiere, to get all of my facts straight beforehand (This was so fulfilling, btw. So many little things I noticed throughout the film!), so I didn't put as much thought into how PJ would tell the story to us compared to the book. It was fantastic seeing Holm back, which really brought some nostalgia along. Loved the narration, too! So much of the film, to me, feels like one big fireside tale--like the one Bilbo gives the children at the Party in FOTR. Here, Bilbo is setting the stage for his adventure. I could see myself liking a voiceover only, had many other things been done differently. But I love what was done.

Would you rather live in Dale or Erebor?

Hmmm...good question. I think Dale would be incredible to live in, as the culture--from what little we saw of it--was quite spectacular, being a hub of trade and cultural exchange. I picture men of Gondor, Rohan, Wood Elves, Dwarves, etc. mingling there and creating relationships between races/nations that normally had few dealings with each other. And of course, the scenery is beautiful. Loved the look and feel of the city.


We don't really see Smaug here. Did you want to see him in full?


Actually I really like the idea of hiding his personality until the Company reaches the Mountain. It gives me that image of war--especially WWII--when the enemy marched into so many villages and communities, and destroyed everything (and everyone). It was terrible, and the destruction is something very saddening. So in a way, this faceless enemy really makes the situation all the more horrific for the people affected. Seeing that boy look up, innocently, really brought some sad pictures in my mind. Then, the exodus scene of the dwarves of Erebor made this even more tragic, with the displacement being a symbolic death for a people. Their way of life is gone, and the enemy, Smaug, has crushed them.

Great to see Erebor, too. Like others, I never really had an actual image of Dale in my head (for some reason it was always a few ruined houses with a river running by, nothing big at all). But I had some image of Erebor, and the film version was quite different. I never had a "vertical" image of the kingdom. I pictured a cavernous dwelling that spidered with the roots of the Mountain. I'm eager to see the place when we return to it in the next films.

Was there one shot from the prologue that just blew you away on first viewing?

Hmm...another tough one. Maybe for this one "blew away" isn't quite right, but I know that the 'horn-blowing' scene really gave me chills. (Though I completely forgot about the bells! +1 to the person who brought this up.) Also, when Bilbo introduces Dale--and then we see it! Those seconds were great, with the street view giving us looks at the culture of a beautiful city.

What would you change?

I think this prologue was no easy task to write, and I'm really impressed with everything it manages to touch on and introduce. So really, I couldn't say something I would change. (If I was making the film, of course I'd have done it differently. But I'm not sure I can give specifics, as I'm not sure.) A great introduction of Thorin. I also didn't think much of the book character (meaning on a development level). His last words do make up for it, though. I think RA established himself, and his character. This Thorin is one with a tragic story, with both his grandfather and father succumbing to a demise set in motion by the dragon. Smaug has not only destroyed his life, or his family's. His people have been uprooted. He sees it to be his responsibility, for his kin, to reclaim their home.

Some general thoughts: Actually I didn't adjust to HFR very quickly, at first (of course I now know it was my eyes adjusting). It was the movements of characters in medium shots I found troubling. Bilbo reaching in the chest comes to mind. I think the first shots of Dale and Erebor allowed my eyes to see the beauty of the picture, and from then on I was in love with the format--despite one or two things I still find slightly troublesome.

Thank you so much, Ardamire, for starting us off--as well as to all participants!! Couldn't have asked for a better first post. It was great opening TORn to find so many replies (probably a few more by the time I finally get done writing this!WinkAngelic) to the first week's thread. I hope more and more people become comfortable with what we're doing and join in. I'm already seeing more wonderful aspects of AUJ that I seemed to have been glossing over as I watched it recently. It's great to see so many opinions on the film itself.

Smile

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