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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Pessimist pleasantly surprised (Spoilers)

The Shire

Dec 16 2013, 1:23pm

Post #1 of 8 (3571 views)
Pessimist pleasantly surprised (Spoilers) Can't Post

I went into the theater Saturday expecting the worst. I read too many spoiler reviews and I thought I had the whole movie planned out in my headÖ it didnít look good. But my experience was much better than I imagined it would be. Most of the reviewer complaints were exaggerated beyond belief. Maybe it helped that I saw it in 24fps, 2D. Anyway, here is a quick review of the major scenes that I was expecting to be awful but turned out great (plus a few nitpicks that nobody else seems to have mentioned on here yet).

I was very skeptical of his appearance. I was having childhood flashbacks to the 80ís Beauty and the Beast TV show, but Beorn was really amazing. The actor sold the role for me. He had a steely-eyed seriousness that made the whole thing work. My only nitpick was the chain on his wrist. How the heck could a giant bearís arm fit in that chain?

Absolutely better than I imagined. I wish it had lasted 10 minutes longer. The only nitpick was the spider ďtalkingĒ after Bilbo took off the ring, and the naming of Sting being so casual. There was significant foreshadowing of this in AUJ, I expected it to be something special. Really, this scene would be much better if AUJ hadnít already shown us the spiders and hadnít forced Bilbo to kill a Warg and an Orc already. This was supposed to be his first heroic action, but you canít blame DOS for those mistakes (blame the trilogy as a whole).

The acting and dialogue was much better than the trailers presented it. I thought for sure this would be an elf-focused movie with cheesy one liners. It ended up being a good introduction to the Wood Elves and how they differ from Elrond and Galadriel. I have some nitpicks but theyíre not worth mentioning.

In the trailer you can see a barrel flying through the air and I really expected this would be over-the-top nonsense. It was over-the-top, but I have to admit that it was really fun, and it served the story! Thatís a rare combination for most of PJís movies. Some of the choreography was a little too convenient, but it wasnít too bad. Strangely enough, the longer this scene continued the better it got. Bomburís barrel scene went on, and on, and on, but I was laughing uncontrollably the whole time (personal note: I havenít laughed in a movie theater for 20 years). The good parts far outweigh the flaws. The only possible nitpick is why Thorin would bother saving Legolas by throwing away his only weapon, but you can reconcile it pretty easily.

The transition from summery-autumn to icy-winter was jarring, but the town was perfect. I think they conveyed the character of the town and its people very well, considering how little time there was. Bard was great. Great acting, great dialogue. We need far more of this town in the EE.

I was really worried by this subplot. Iíve been resenting the whole setup since AUJ. But DOS made it interesting. I didnít notice the ďfake CGI GandalfĒ or choppy editing that other reviewers had me looking for. Gandalf v Azok was pretty cool. The only nitpick is how long it takes Gandalf to admit the obvious to himself. How much evidence do you need before you put it together? Letís see if this pays off in the TaBA.

Entering the mountain:
Loved it, except for the part where Bilboís ďkeen eyesĒ see a 600ft tall giant dwarf carved in the mountain. Seriously, nobody else could see that? I loved Thorinís disappointment when the door wouldnít open. It seemed very real as he tries to explain to the others that he read the map correctly. Balin wins the Middle-Earth Oscar for his scenes. Crying on entering the door/ defending Bilbo against Thorin. It was great. My minor nitpicks arenít worth mentioning.

I have been extremely worried about Smaug since they announced they were making the Hobbit movies. Years of anxiety were building up for this reveal. The voice, the setting, the tone was perfect. The CGI was amazing, mostly on the face and tail. I loved how his eyes shifted in tone if he was being sarcastic or aggressive. They did an amazing job.

I am one of the anti-wyvern people who have been plaguing the forums for 3 months. I have to admit that I still think walking on his wings was a big mistake. He moves like the white dragon in Harry Potter 7. He is jittery and seems less mobile. Iím sure heíll look fine flying over Laketown, but in Erebor he would have looked much better with 4 legs. Part of this is because his wing-arms are too long and his back legs are too short. Imagine if he had stomped into the Hall of the Kings on four legs with his head held high instead of winding his way on his wing-tips. It seems more noble for some reason. Itís senseless to keep the argument up now. My fellow 6-limbers and I lost the fight. And I guess Iíll get used to it eventually. Everything else was a triumph, so it seems petty to complain about this now. It doesnít take away from the character at all like I expected it too. Itís just aesthetics.

My biggest complaint about the movie is how PJ handled the editing in the final 20 minutes. I was won over by all of the subplots, but once Smaug was on screen I didnít care about them anymore. Why did they feel the need to cut back to Laketown every 3 minutes? I wanted to see Smaug. I was drumming my fingers on my knee waiting for Tauriel and Legolasí scenes to hurry up. Thatís not a good frame of mind to be in for the climax. I think thatís why people complain about the ending so much. I was already bearing a grudge against those distractions as soon as they started. It also made it harder to ďget back intoĒ the Smaug scenes.

I think it would have been much better if those were resolved before Bilbo ever walked into Smaugís lair. Then the pressure would build through the whole conversation, chase scenes, and golden statue. As a climax, the statue would be much less goofy and over-the-top because it would be seen as a payoff to 15 minutes of tension instead of a useless gimmick. Itís just my opinion.

In general, most new movies make this editing mistake. Look at some classic movies with exciting climaxes. They keep the camera on the action, and only cut away to people who are reacting to the action. Never cut away to another plot 20 miles away. It sucks the energy out of the scene when it needs it the most.

Overall I am a repentant pessimist. I thought it was going to be a disaster bordering on heresy. Thatís what most reviewers led me to believe, but I ended up really liking it. The climax was disappointing, but it could have been much worse.

Any other worrywarts out there who wish theyíd been more open minded?


Dec 16 2013, 1:38pm

Post #2 of 8 (3267 views)
I pretty much feel exactly the same [In reply to] Can't Post

The only difference is that I was more discouraged by AUJ than the reviews for DOS. But I certainly have changed my mind and my attitude toward the next film is completely different than it has been for DOS.

In complete agreement on your assessment of the ending - no cutting to Laketown and maybe even cutting out the statue completely would have served the film better but it's a minor gripe for me.

Overall I was extremely impressed and I cannot wait to buy the extended version on blue ray.

Cave Troll

Dec 16 2013, 2:03pm

Post #3 of 8 (3211 views)
I think I'm with you... [In reply to] Can't Post

A lot of things I was fearing the most actually played out alright - Beorn looked fine on screen and the dreaded dwarf-elf romance was surprisingly effective (Kili really annoyed me in AUJ but he was transformed here).

I still think the whole necromancer subplot is proving hugely disappointing but hey...

And I agree - they got carried away with the climax (the whole golden statue thing was just silly and, as you say, the cuts back to Legolas and his pointless CGI adventures in Laketown detracted from the main action in Smaug's lair).

Had they decided on a slightly more straightforward, sensible conclusion, it'd really be quite a good film imo.


Dec 16 2013, 2:50pm

Post #4 of 8 (3182 views)
Replies to your points [In reply to] Can't Post

Mirkwood: Never noticed the spiders talking after the Ring was off - will need to rewatch. I did not mind that Bilbo had his heroic moment in AUJ (it was needed to close off the first film). IMO, Bilbo's battle with the orc in AUJ was more of a 'spur the moment' kind of thing, where he just rushed over to help. This Spider sequence was Bilbo being more in control and calculated. It does show how Bilbo is becoming more courageous, so it still works in my mind.

Barrel Scene: Interesting observation about Thorin - I guess he respected the fact that while he hates Elves, he still respects them for saving his Dwarves against the Orcs - battling the common enemy.

Dol Guldur: Yeah I didn't really notice the choppy edits with Gandalf either. It was pretty well done IMO. Only thing I was confused about was why Gandalf sent Radghast away and made him promise not to follow? I am sure Radgasht could hold his own (he did battle the Witch King already).

Climax: I think I need to rewatch the movie again, but the whole Smaug vs Dwarves thing did not seem like it was put together very well. That said, I could not think of another way for the Dwarves to battle Smaug (without them taking advantage of what they had in Erebor). The Molten Gold looked really weird, but I guess if you Google Molten Gold, that IS apparently what molten gold looks like (does not look like 'lava' as some would expect).

Registered User

Dec 16 2013, 3:31pm

Post #5 of 8 (3135 views)
. [In reply to] Can't Post

Have to say I was captivated by the whole film. I was maybe a bit perplexed by Thranduil - my reading of his character wouldn't have had him so introverted or so self(elf)-centred as portrayed, but I'm happy enough to see how that plays out. (I do wonder how you reconcile that with the King who will later send Legolas to Rivendell to see how the world fares and allow him to take part in teh quest of the Ring).
Overall though - very happy with it.

The Red Avenger

Dec 16 2013, 3:32pm

Post #6 of 8 (3163 views)
I'm shocked... [In reply to] Can't Post

...well done for actually seeing the movie and letting us all know how and why you enjoyed it, more than you thought you had every right to expect.

This is my problem with people who lambast something before they've seen it. Being a pessimist is fine, so is being an optimist but being one or the other and then expecting everybody to share your view without actually seeing the finished film first has always seemed to me to be narcissistic. There is only one person who matters here and it's you. Only you can decide if you like something or not. Not everybody will like it, some will have mixed views, some will really like it, that's normal but to foist their opinion without seeing something first is less about you and more about me, me, me.

It's reviews like this that gives me great hope. I had problems with AUJ, I liked it, I didn't love it. Last week I watched the extended cut and it fixes a lot of problems I had, mainly the flow of the film and I do love that version. I am looking forward to DOS (seeing it tomorrow, hopefully) but I do have that slight nagging that AUJ left me with. However I have not seen it and until I do I will not comment specifically on it in positive or negative tones.

Again, very pleased you were happy with what you saw and that it changed your pessimistic outlook.

Grey Havens

Dec 16 2013, 3:33pm

Post #7 of 8 (3152 views)
Radagast [In reply to] Can't Post

I though Gandalf was making sure that the White Council would be apprised of Sauron's return. Just in case, for whatever reason, Wink, Gandalf was not able to report back on what he found in DG.

The Shire

Dec 16 2013, 4:52pm

Post #8 of 8 (3167 views)
I'm betting that Thranduil's transition... (SPOILER????) [In reply to] Can't Post

into someone who sends Legolas to The Council Of Elrond will be a direct result of dealing with Bilbo. Not that they're being particularly careful to be faithful to the book, but isn't he there when Bilbo brings the Arkenstone to barter with? I'm guessing the Alliance with Bard and Bilbo's actions will make him see the light of interacting with the outside world. I don't think that scene of closing his borders in DOS was there on accident. PJ clearly likes to play up the drama of these kinds of things- See: Bard getting thrown in a cell when the dragon is on the way....


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