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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Thoughts on DOS (Having see it last night) *MAJOR SPOILERS*
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Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 9:59pm

Post #1 of 219 (5982 views)
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Thoughts on DOS (Having see it last night) *MAJOR SPOILERS* Can't Post

My apologies in advance if this is a bit difficult to read. It was hastily written during my lunch break. Let me know if you'd like any clarification!

I had the good fortune of seeing the film last night with Peter Jackson, Dan Hannah, Joe Letteri and Cumberbatch. To pre-empt this I will say that I loved AUJ. I love Tolkien but I'm not a purist in the slightest (I haven't read the Hobbit in years, I'm more fascinated by the First Age era of Middle Earth). My expectations were hampered and I was prepared to just enjoy the movie for whatever it was...

With that said, I'm sad to report there are a lot of things to be disappointed by with DOS. The purists even moreso.

Before I get into the gritty dissection I must say there are a lot of beautiful moments that play very well. I won't spoil them here because I'd much rather you discover them in the theater. I will however pick apart the moments that don't work...

The CGI: The orcs in this film pop out far more than they did in AUJ. This is made doubly worse when they are placed in completely CGI environments which happens quite regularly with Azog and Bolg. It gives the effect of watching a videogame, which I strain to say since it was that criticism the last go around with AUJ that I didn't understand. But in several scenes, especially in Dol Guldur and in Lake Town (in the third act), the CGI unfortunately is inexcusable, likely the result of these scenes being late additions with the reshoots.

Thranduil: Minor criticism is that PJ made the odd choice to give Thranduil a massive facial scar that he can hide or reveal at his choosing. It is a strange choice and it comes across as unnecessary and clumsy in the scene and in the mythology.

Dol Guldur: Thrain has been completely cut or shifted to film 3. As a result these scenes lack any substance or emotional weight. I hate to draw attention back to the effects but there are several moments (likely changed late in the game) where they've completely CGI'd shots to retrospectively remove Thrain and have Gandalf run about by himself.

Necromancer: The necromancer is a sonic cloud being in the film. Odd but I was willing to follow PJ on it. His duel with Gandalf is strange, Gandalf uses a spell very similar to the one at the end of Prisoner of Azkaban. The shots are completely CGI (including Gandalf who becomes digital quite often in Dol Guldur), giving the duel a very bizarre look.

Barrel Sequence: I really was looking forward to this but even I can only tolerate so many PJ gags. This sequence features some of his most bizarre and over-the-top gags. There is an extended CGI Bombur Ninja moment that would have been better left cut, and Legolas has more than a couple cringe inducing superhero feats.

The Third Act:

Honestly this is where I had the most trouble. I'm not a purist in the slightest but I think when Peter ventured into fabricating his own entire third act he lost his way a bit. I'll break it down a bit:

Laketown (Legolas and Tauriel vs. Orcs) - This scene was clearly shot in the reshoots (or at least the bulk of it) and it shows. After establishing how well guarded Laketown is and how it's full of spies and eavesdroppers, Bolg and his orcs manage to sneak in and wage a war with Legolas and Tauriel without a single Laketown soldier or citizen raising the alarm. It's a strange scene that feels as though they retrospectively (and sloppily) wanted to add in an action scene that didn't fit.

Tauriel heals Kili - I don't mind the romance hinted at with Kili and Tauriel. It could have been done it a less hammy way but I was on board. However, having Tauriel beat for beat rehash Arwen's healing scene from FOTR was completely unnecessary. They even used the bright halo effect from FOTR. It's a odd choice and cheapens Arwen's entrance in LOTR.

Dwarves vs. Smaug: This seems to have been a late addition, or at least the bulk of it. I had to rag on about the effects but they honestly at times looked like pre-vis (save Smaug who was always in top form and beautifully rendered). It's outlandish and gravity defying in all the worst ways. It's really Peter Jackson without restraint which is not the best Peter Jackson.
Final note: I think CGI has given him way too much freedom. His focus seems to be more on action and shock than beauty and grandeur. And that extends past the action and the effects, it extends into the story. His belief that he can massively alter scenes at the last minute leaves the film feeling stunted and deformed in places.

I wish he had stuck with miniatures, not because they look better (although I think they do!) but because they force him to think through each and every shot months in advance... not 6 weeks before delivery date. At the Q & A he said that often times he "winged it" and it shows...


(This post was edited by Dcole4 on Dec 5 2013, 10:03pm)


haldad
Bree


Dec 5 2013, 10:04pm

Post #2 of 219 (2430 views)
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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for the info. Was the CGI really that bad? Almost all of the early reactions have raved about the special effects and action sequences, especially anything involving Smaug


Olorin2607
Lorien


Dec 5 2013, 10:06pm

Post #3 of 219 (2483 views)
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So.. a massive CGI rant. [In reply to] Can't Post

Nothing I would not have expected. I always think when people complain about CGI that they should watch older films more often. And then say again what they saw is bad.
Really I don't get why people are so critical about CGI.

And I guess everyone knew we would get OTT Action.


(This post was edited by Nagini6 on Dec 5 2013, 10:07pm)


TheFlayedMan
Rivendell


Dec 5 2013, 10:06pm

Post #4 of 219 (2384 views)
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Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for this, your impressions are appreciated!

Instead of asking you to go into more detail about certain aspects which you've already mentioned, I'd like to know what you thought about Beorn?

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.


Glóin the Dark
Rivendell

Dec 5 2013, 10:07pm

Post #5 of 219 (2394 views)
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Can you remember... [In reply to] Can't Post

...over what scene and specific shot the title "The Desolation of Smaug" appears?

Also, what is the very last shot?


Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 10:08pm

Post #6 of 219 (2525 views)
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Smaug was gorgeous [In reply to] Can't Post

Smaug was flawless and will likely be the focus of any praise for the CGI. The spiders were also quite incredible. My criticism is mostly regarding the orc characters and some of the CG environments. There was also a feeling (especially in the third act) that PJ approached scenes with a "if I get a few closeups I can CGI the rest."


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea


Dec 5 2013, 10:08pm

Post #7 of 219 (2357 views)
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Thanks for your thoughts... [In reply to] Can't Post

The films sounds very much in line with AUJ (but I'll reserve judgment until next week).

A few questions, if you wouldn't mind (not necessarily in direct connection to your review):

- Is it mentioned that Fili and Kili are Thorin's nephews/heirs, and does he have any interaction with them at all?
- How is Bolg as a character and is it mentioned that he's Azog's son/spawn?
- Are a lot of the background characters (Braga, Galion, Bain/Tilda/Sigrid, ETC), bit players with one or two lines (ALA Grinnah the Goblin) or so they have actual personalities/parts to play in the film?
- Does the opening scene in Bree work as well as the other prologues, given that it's basically Thorin and Gandy sitting in a tavern and chatting?
- CGI issues and lack of Thrain aside, is the Dol Guldur sequence gripping, scary, or epic? Also, it seems that Gandy and Raddy are barely in the film - is this so?

Thanks. Smile

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!

(This post was edited by Captain Salt on Dec 5 2013, 10:09pm)


Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 10:09pm

Post #8 of 219 (2396 views)
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The title... [In reply to] Can't Post

The titles appears over wargs running alongside the top of a mountain. A pretty shot.

The last shot is Bilbo watching Smaug fly to Laketown, which was a bizarre, quite abrupt ending. It felt like something out of a lesser film.


MatthewJer18
Rohan

Dec 5 2013, 10:09pm

Post #9 of 219 (2280 views)
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Is there any way that you could verify your attendance at this screening? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not accusing you of lying, but we've had experiences with fake reports like this in the past. None of your comments here are based on information that we don't already know from the IMDB user (who verified with a marked ticket).


NecromancerRising
Gondor

Dec 5 2013, 10:10pm

Post #10 of 219 (2231 views)
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Thanks for your review [In reply to] Can't Post

and i am sorry you didn't like it. So,your problem with the movie judging by the 95% of your review is the CGI.That is totally fine because the awesomeness or not of the CGI is something subjectiveSmile


Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 10:11pm

Post #11 of 219 (2374 views)
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Yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

Fili and Kili are finally referred to as his nephews! Having not mentioned it in AUJ I expected they were going to save the "reveal" for something special, in DOS it's said as if it was well known knowledge to the casual viewer.


Glóin the Dark
Rivendell

Dec 5 2013, 10:11pm

Post #12 of 219 (2226 views)
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Thanks! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Elutherian
Rohan


Dec 5 2013, 10:12pm

Post #13 of 219 (2252 views)
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The main complaint here seems to be CGI.... [In reply to] Can't Post

.... The Thranduil scar, Tauriel/Kili romance, and Legolas stunts don't bother me in a slightest.

But everyone so far has been impressed with the CGI. Guess I'll have to wait and see for myself.

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


Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 10:12pm

Post #14 of 219 (2325 views)
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Laketown... [In reply to] Can't Post

Has the best background characters. A lot of fun is had there.

Bolg is terrible. He's never referred to as Azog's son and he kind of lumbers around. I love Lawrence who did the mo-cop but something tells me he would have really sold this character and done justice in prosthetic.


NoelGallagher
Rohan


Dec 5 2013, 10:13pm

Post #15 of 219 (2260 views)
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The High Fells [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you like the whole scene, landscape and so in?! Cause you didnt mention then...


Elskidor
Rohan


Dec 5 2013, 10:13pm

Post #16 of 219 (2224 views)
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.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Well if CGI is the biggest issue, then I have no issues at all. :)


Olorin2607
Lorien


Dec 5 2013, 10:13pm

Post #17 of 219 (2302 views)
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Would you elaborate on Thranduils scar? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hard to understand what you mean.


TheFlayedMan
Rivendell


Dec 5 2013, 10:14pm

Post #18 of 219 (2267 views)
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I already mentioned it above, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

What about Beorn? Thoughts/impressions?

Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.


haldad
Bree


Dec 5 2013, 10:16pm

Post #19 of 219 (2205 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Fili and Kili are finally referred to as his nephews! Having not mentioned it in AUJ I expected they were going to save the "reveal" for something special, in DOS it's said as if it was well known knowledge to the casual viewer.


I would assume that they didn't mention it in AUJ because it doesn't really affect anything, not because they wanted a 'reveal' moment.


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea


Dec 5 2013, 10:16pm

Post #20 of 219 (2162 views)
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Thanks. [In reply to] Can't Post

Certainly sounds like a mixed bag...but at least the film is finally playing! Smile

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!


Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 10:17pm

Post #21 of 219 (2276 views)
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I live in Los Angeles where these screenings are typical [In reply to] Can't Post

My friend is in the Art Director's guild so we were were able to RSVP.

I focused on the negatives in my review, which might give the indication I am a troll, but there are a lot of moment's they got right, that I loved. I won't spoil them because where's the fun in spoiling the best parts of the movie!

A few tidbits no one would mention elsewhere:
Barrel Sequence: Legolas hops across the dwarves heads (while they're floating in the barrels) like they're lilly pads.

The gold that the dwarves melt at the end is driven into a caste that when knocked away reveals a giant golden dwarf statue that Smaug becomes angered by.


Arannir
Valinor


Dec 5 2013, 10:17pm

Post #22 of 219 (2134 views)
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Me too... [In reply to] Can't Post

... feeling that the worst CGI moments of AUJ are mostly ahead of 95% of all CGI heavy movies I have seen this year Crazy


“All good stories deserve embellishment."

Praise is subjective. And so is criticism.

"I am afraid it is only too likely to be true what you say about the critics and the public. I am dreading the publication for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at."


Skaan
Lorien


Dec 5 2013, 10:17pm

Post #23 of 219 (2194 views)
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Sucks to hear that you didn't like it that much [In reply to] Can't Post

And that you thought the CGI was bad. Although i'm very glad to hear that Smaug's CGI was good.

Also, this may be a stupid question, but you mention Bolg was never refered to as Azog's son. Are you sure it was actually Bolg, then? Like, does he get called Bolg in the movie?


Dcole4
Lorien

Dec 5 2013, 10:18pm

Post #24 of 219 (2338 views)
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They've done the trick before... [In reply to] Can't Post

if you saw Skyfall, it's akin to the moment when Javier Bardem removes his jaw piece to show James Bond his wounds.


Captain Salt
Tol Eressea


Dec 5 2013, 10:18pm

Post #25 of 219 (2160 views)
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It would probably have made sense [In reply to] Can't Post

to have Thorin announce it to the Master (or someone else) when they reach Lake-town as in the book, perhaps to Bilbo's surprise.

They certainly could/should have mentioned it in the first film (and not just in interviews with the dwarf actors) IMO.. It's a major piece of character background for Thorin, as well as Fili/Kili.

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!

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