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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
On the contrast of character design between the two trilogies.
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Tol Eressea

Oct 4 2013, 9:36pm

Post #1 of 38 (1542 views)
On the contrast of character design between the two trilogies. Can't Post

Hello, everyone!

I saw Beorn's picture today, and didn't quite like it. Didn't hate it, but I guess I was picturing something else entirely. Then I started thinking I have felt exactly this way about pretty much every character in The Hobbit, beginning with the original Dwarf revelation pics. It's like some kind of all-encompassing lacklustre design work.

Please, do not think I'm thrashing the movies, which so far I have immensely enjoyed... it's just they lack the visual refinement (not to confuse with lavishness or glitter) the Lord of the Rings has.

Has anyone noticed it as well? Is there some traceable reason for it?

Thanks in advance, and please receive a warm greeting, it's always nice to pay a visit to my online home. Wink

Visit Mexico from A to Z! Index to the whole series here.
Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


Oct 4 2013, 9:43pm

Post #2 of 38 (890 views)
Hm... [In reply to] Can't Post

For me it is exactly the same as with LotR. Some characters, places or landscapes look exactly like I envisioned them (Gandalf, Galadriel, the Shire, Rivendell, Sam, Thranduil, etc.), some not at all (Frodo, Boromir, Faramir, Bard, etc.).

But I got convinced by most during LotR and so far I have no real issues doing the same with TH.

I actually like that while reading the book only very few images blend 100% with the movie images. They can happily sit next to each other in my imagination.

“A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of men’s imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.

Tol Eressea

Oct 4 2013, 10:14pm

Post #3 of 38 (864 views)
For me it's been a hit or miss production [In reply to] Can't Post

while LotR was just all-around hit.

But you're right, majority of the designs have needed some time to get accustomed to. That's why I didn't react too strongly to Beorn; by the time I see him in the film he'll blend in quite fine.

But every word you say today
Gets twisted 'round some other way
And they'll hurt you if they think you've lied


Oct 4 2013, 10:18pm

Post #4 of 38 (817 views)
Hello - good to see you! [In reply to] Can't Post

It's a hard one to answer because I don't see any contrast or inconsistency between the standard or style of the designs. Just as Arannir said before me, some of the characters look pretty much as I expected them to, some don't, but I see the same skill and care - and in most cases, the same hands at work creating the visual image of these film as the previous ones.

That for me was one of the most compelling things about the LotR films - the artwork. I could watch them happily if they were in a language I don't understand, because they look so beautiful. And for me it's the same with AUJ and the little we've seen so far of DOS. Even the characters who looked least like my mental image of them I find I get used to. easily, and the settings are ravishing - Dale, for example, and Erebor.

So I don't know.


Oct 4 2013, 10:23pm

Post #5 of 38 (872 views)
Guillermo's fault [In reply to] Can't Post

If you dont like the design then it is probably Del Toro's fault! PJ can do no errors and mistakes.

I bet Del Toro is behind this design you dont like... I am so happy he got kicked out. And PJ returned to do what he was born to do. I call it destiny.

Tol Eressea

Oct 4 2013, 10:33pm

Post #6 of 38 (767 views)
I agree with Faenoriel... [In reply to] Can't Post

TH so far has been a bit hit and miss for me, though the character designs are probably the least of my worries! Mostly the issues seem to have been the need to exaggerate designs for the purposes of identification, particularly with the Dwarves, or to go OTT like with the bird poop on Radagast, or the Goblin King's chin- just going that bit too far, IMO. The same with The Master who is purportedly going to be rather gross, and his side-kick Alfrid,already looks like a clichéd villain. that said, I think all the Elven costumes are lovely, though Tauriel's still seems a bit "technicolour" bright to me, compared to the rest of the Elves so far...

I think with Beorn, the designers were hampered by the Hagrid issue - if Harry Potter had not existed, we probably would have got the Beorn Tolkien described, but there is no way we were going to get that look after Rowling's creation got there first (in movie terms!)

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


Oct 4 2013, 10:39pm

Post #7 of 38 (751 views)
I must say I don't agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the designs for the characters have been first-rate so far – Thorin and Bilbo's clothing, make-up and hair, for instance, are terrific. Galadriel actually looks better to me than she did in the LOTR films. Gandalf looks great, as ever. The three Trolls were very well done, too, and Radagast is imaginatively designed, though I find his facial make-up somewhat off-putting.

The costumes and hair were great overall – so no, I definitely don't agree.

However, I don't like the psycho Legolas look revealed in the trailer for the next film. Unimpressed


Oct 4 2013, 11:05pm

Post #8 of 38 (727 views)
The only things that I really don't like are a few of the dwarves and Radagast. [In reply to] Can't Post

Specifically Dwalin, Bifur, Bombur and Nori. Just something about those guys I really don't connect with.

Everything else in terms of design I think has been first rate. I would rather have had a lot more of it have been done practically (prosthetic goblins etc.) but the actual look of them has been great.

Same goes for locations. Actually, Radagast's house was a bit 'eh'. Though not too bad.


Oct 4 2013, 11:16pm

Post #9 of 38 (694 views)
I've loved most of the designs so far [In reply to] Can't Post

Bilbo and Thorin in particular are great, especially in the make-up and costuming. I think the looks of the other dwarves are quite creative too. Thranduil in the next film actually surpassed my image of the character; he looks terrific.

The designs do have a bit more of a "storybook" feel to them, that I'll grant, but they're still some of the best in the industry, imo.

(This post was edited by MatthewJer18 on Oct 4 2013, 11:17pm)


Oct 4 2013, 11:24pm

Post #10 of 38 (697 views)
This. [In reply to] Can't Post

That is the main point for me. Even if I do not agree with all the designs, I can clearly see that the same thought and care has gone into them. And even those I do not love 100% have not taken me out of the story.

“A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of men’s imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.

(This post was edited by Arannir on Oct 4 2013, 11:25pm)


Oct 4 2013, 11:30pm

Post #11 of 38 (723 views)
Agree.. Gloin is the only image I went "YES" at. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even when Bilbo was first revealed, I was fine with his look, but it was the first image from the film and I didn't like the clean grain-free digital aesthetic the camera was creating. Every reveal image has had something wrong or weird about it. Including the posters.

The flip side to this, though it that all the designs have grown on me (except Bifur's axe head) I'd still prefer better designs for Fili, Kili and Thorin. But I've learned to appreciate the designs we've got and am actually quite happy with them.

I'm sure Beorn will grow on me in the same way. I just need to see him in context.


Oct 4 2013, 11:58pm

Post #12 of 38 (660 views)
I think the Hobbit designs are more child-friendly.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...LOTR was darker and grittier. More realistic, and less fantastical.

The Grey Pilgrim, they once called me. Three hundred lives of men I walked this earth, and now I have no time...


Oct 5 2013, 1:01am

Post #13 of 38 (645 views)
I just don't like the plain stupid ending of the Goblin King... and Saruman. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have to say they did not show the minumum respect for Saruman, portrayed as evil (sort of), incompetent and surely not the most important of the five wizards. Ok, Galadriel, we know you have a crush on Gandalf, but come on...
I hope this is partially fixed in the EE... and also that in the next two movies they show why he is considered the wisest of all (or whatever Gandalf said in FOTR, riding to Isengard)



Oct 5 2013, 2:12am

Post #14 of 38 (578 views)
AUJ Design [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I like all of the AUJ design I have seen so far. Thought is necessary to have relatable dwarves. They had to look somewhat like Gimli and that was done well. The House of Durin would naturally be different than other dwarves and perhaps more human which works. Thorin is not a sympathetic character and the more he looks like someone you would know or be attracted to that better for the film. So I think everyone looked great. On a par with LOTR in my opinion. But we all see things differently -- that's just my two cents. It's worth at least half that.

Intergalactic Lawman

Oct 5 2013, 2:25am

Post #15 of 38 (635 views)
Every single character reveal... [In reply to] Can't Post

Has taken time to get used too. No-one has looked remotely like I imagined they would...yet almost every lotr's character did.

I'll be honest - I flat out hate most of the designs! Some are just down right juvenile... Mad


Oct 5 2013, 2:45am

Post #16 of 38 (578 views)
Loved most of them [In reply to] Can't Post

A few have been ones I've had to get used to. I totally disagree with the poster that called them juvenile.

Peterthorn of Rohan

Oct 5 2013, 5:20am

Post #17 of 38 (524 views)
I liked.. [In reply to] Can't Post

A lot every design from the hobbit. Bilbo and the dwarves are great. The armies we have seen till now are amazing too. Even Radagast looks cool!

Lost Hobbit

Oct 5 2013, 6:29am

Post #18 of 38 (496 views)
The designs [In reply to] Can't Post

In my view the difference is more freedom, more eccentric designs this time, than in case of Lotr. It is clearly visible.

Cave Troll

Oct 5 2013, 8:18am

Post #19 of 38 (481 views)
Juvenile [In reply to] Can't Post

is the word.

Bifur's axe and Radagast's bird poo are silly ideas that should have been discarded in one of the early brainstorms.

The Master of Laketown and Alfrid are ludicrously unsubtle and, unfortunately, Beorn looks like another misstep. Unsure


Oct 5 2013, 8:46am

Post #20 of 38 (471 views)
It's been said before... [In reply to] Can't Post

..but Radagast's bird poo is an idea with a long history behind it. They certainly didn't invent it for the film. It harks back to Merlyn in T.H White's 'The Sword in the Stone' and beyond.

It's also a logical result of having a bird's nest on your head!

Cave Troll

Oct 5 2013, 8:53am

Post #21 of 38 (450 views)
Apologies [In reply to] Can't Post

That I did not know.

Intergalactic Lawman

Oct 5 2013, 9:17am

Post #22 of 38 (433 views)
Funnily enough... [In reply to] Can't Post

I love Dwalins look the most! I know that's not a popular opinion. I also think Gloin looks cool.

Old Pilgrim

Oct 5 2013, 12:31pm

Post #23 of 38 (394 views)
There is a difference [In reply to] Can't Post

but that doesn't bother me. Some characters looks a little odd like dwarves and Radagast but maybe this is because the Hobbit is more for a children then Lord of the Rings and they want to add a lighter and more funny style.


Oct 5 2013, 5:26pm

Post #24 of 38 (341 views)
The absence.... [In reply to] Can't Post

of Ngila Dickson could have something to do with the design differences. I wonder why she didn't wind up working on The Hobbit.

Tol Eressea

Oct 5 2013, 5:28pm

Post #25 of 38 (340 views)
I actually thought most of those dwarves looked fine [In reply to] Can't Post

Didn't like the axe stuck in Bifur's head, and didn't like Nori's starfish hair-do, but at least they looked like dwarves. I really don't like the look of Kili, I feel he just looks far too human compared to the rest of them. And Thorin, Bofur, Bombur, and Kili should have a longer beards IMO.

Other than that, they did a bang-up job on the dwarves, especially Dwalin, Balin, Oin, and Gloin.

(This post was edited by Salmacis81 on Oct 5 2013, 5:33pm)

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