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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
What does DOS say about PJ & Co's attitude toward The Hobbit?
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Smeagol Bagginsess
Rivendell


Mar 4 2014, 5:20pm

Post #1 of 33 (1309 views)
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What does DOS say about PJ & Co's attitude toward The Hobbit? Can't Post

Okay, this is a genuine question and not a rant. I am not being judgmental or snippy in the least. Want that clear, right up front! I have said before, and I still believe, that when one artist picks up another artist's work, he is honor bound to stay true to it's spirit - not necessarily it's structure (and hence, no strawman arguments like "you cannot film a book page by page") I find it highly disrespectful to make changes to it, particularly when those changes render the re-imagined product unrecognizable in terms of the original product! My constant example: if a person who has only read the book sits down to discuss the story with a person who has only seen the movie, will these two be able to understand one another? and how well will they understand each other?

As I said, I am educated about the difficulties inherent in transferring a story from page to screen. But I am also convinced that not EVERY change is made simply to accommodate the media switch.

So, moving to the question: Do you think, based on what they did with the story, that PJ & Co actually LIKE The Hobbit?

To clarify on that, what I mean is this - do you think they read TH and said to themselves "Wow! love the story. That would make a pretty awesome movie!!!" or do you think they read TH and said to themselves "Wow. That's a good story, but it would have been so much better if....". And please do not refer to the multitude of times that they have attested to loving LOTR and TH and Tolkien. What on earth else would they say? If they hated it, from page one to page last, they would still say the same. Nobody in his right mind would address the LOTR fandom with anything less, not when they were hoping to capitalize on that fandom to carry so many movies to success.

As the old saying goes "actions speak louder than words". I am not asking about whether they profess to love the books, or whether you believe them when they say it, simply because they say it. I am asking.....do you think, based on the things they have done with the story in TH, that they actually like much of the story as is written?
I certainly fall in the second camp. I suspect they liked it alright but figured they could improve on it. The things they have done with the story say this to me, loud and clear. But that's just me and I want to know what it says to others here.


(This post was edited by Smeagol Bagginsess on Mar 4 2014, 5:21pm)


Shagrat
Gondor

Mar 4 2014, 5:31pm

Post #2 of 33 (764 views)
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Don't forget Warner's role in all this [In reply to] Can't Post

It seems clear to me that Warner are far more intrusive here than New Line were. Lily's comments about the studio wanting the love triangle confirm this. Who knows what else they forced upon PJ and co? You can't necessarily read the output as a reflection on PJ, Walsh and Boyens' views on The Hobbit. They are making huge films here, and studio politics have a big hand in how they 'adapt' it.

I'm not saying we should pin everything bad on the studio, but it wouldn't surprise me if certain things in DoS (prominence of the Elves, the 'romantic' aspects, shorter runtime and the rushed opening) were insisted upon by the studio.


Lindele
Gondor


Mar 4 2014, 5:35pm

Post #3 of 33 (688 views)
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I think that [In reply to] Can't Post

it is likely you are over thinking it a little bit, based on your question, 'do they actually like the book'?

First, to get this out of the way, they obviously wanted The Hobbit movies to be more in line with the movie versions of LOTR than The Hobbit book was. That is clear.

Second, I do think that there is some level of restraint lost in The Hobbit movies that was much more prominent in LOTR.

But to directly answer your question…I think that one decision leads to another. I don't believe that they sat down and said 'how can we improve this mediocre story'…I just think that they set out to adapt the book, much like they did with LOTR only this time adding in story lines that weren't 'in the book', but when it came time to make adaptation changes there was less restraint than with LOTR. And one thing led to another, led to another, led to another... Then they had to make three separate films that each had a beginning, middle and end and so on….

I believe, given the circumstances, that they have done a pretty good job. Would I change things? Absolutely…did they go too far sometimes in 'adapting'? Definitely…but there is a lot of good there too.


demnation
Rohan

Mar 4 2014, 5:37pm

Post #4 of 33 (728 views)
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I think PJ has said before that he is not overly keen on The Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

and that was part of the reason he wanted to avoid directing it. But please don't quote me on that!

Anyway, they wanted three films so they have to expand it a little bit. The book by itself isn't substantial enough for even one film . (IMO)

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


Smeagol Bagginsess
Rivendell


Mar 4 2014, 5:39pm

Post #5 of 33 (674 views)
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That would put an end to the question then [In reply to] Can't Post

if you are quoting correctly.


Eleniel
Tol Eressea


Mar 4 2014, 5:50pm

Post #6 of 33 (688 views)
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I think that if PJ had wanted to make The Hobbit as Tolkien wrote it... [In reply to] Can't Post

and as a standalone film, he could and would have done Tolkien's version far more justice.
Sadly, that was never going to be an option after LotR. The impression one Is left with from these films is that Tolkien's story was not deemed good enough as it is without reinventing it for today's audiences and to fit the blockbuster template.


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


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 4 2014, 5:54pm

Post #7 of 33 (655 views)
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Peter wanted to film the Hobbit before LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

and he's said that he loved The Hobbit book. The film rights for The Hobbit were too tangled up between production and distribution, while the rights for LOTR were a lot less complicated. Peter went after the rights for LOTR instead, which is why he filmes that first. It was nearly a 10-year battle to untangle the rights for The Hobbit.


Eleniel
Tol Eressea


Mar 4 2014, 5:56pm

Post #8 of 33 (669 views)
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I would agree with this... [In reply to] Can't Post

Studio pressure does seem very likely, and I think it has led to PJ being less sure of himself in being able to tell the story how he wanted - so many changes/reshoots/pickups, chopping and changing the subplots....Azog-Bolg, for starters, the Thrain will he/won't he, expanded roles for Tauriel and Legolas in Laketown. etc.


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


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 4 2014, 5:59pm

Post #9 of 33 (639 views)
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I think people can make different choices [In reply to] Can't Post

and still like the source material. You have your expectations about adapting a book into a film, but others might have differing expectations and will make different choices. That does not mean that different choices mean the film team does not like the material. It's not a "I'm right, you're wrong" issue.

None of us can put ourselves in Peter Jackson's shoes and decide his opinion about the books. All we can do is decide for ourselves whether we like the end product. Passing judgement on other people's motivations is not "alright" (how I hate that misspelling).


Riven Delve
Tol Eressea


Mar 4 2014, 6:05pm

Post #10 of 33 (614 views)
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I agree most heartily [In reply to] Can't Post

It is not necessary to imply that PJ & company are lying when they say they love The Hobbit, simply because they have chosen to adapt it differently than you would have.


"My chief objection to a quarrel is that it ends a good argument." --G.K. Chesterton



Elessar
Valinor


Mar 4 2014, 6:08pm

Post #11 of 33 (603 views)
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I believe they do [In reply to] Can't Post

I also believe they've done a fine job of keeping the spirit of the book and the spirit of Middle-earth as I feel they are. I am thankful as a fan it's been someone who does care about Middle-earth doing these films.



Thranderz
Rohan


Mar 4 2014, 6:17pm

Post #12 of 33 (597 views)
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There's more than enough for one film! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think one thing that people overlook, is the fact that many parts of the book are 'narrated'. Basically, big events that can take up to five minutes on screen are actually only 2 sentences in the book. This is purely because of how the book was written (in some parts). I have a few examples but I've lent my copy of the book to a friend.

(BoFA is a big one)

I simply walked into Mordor.


(This post was edited by Thranderz on Mar 4 2014, 6:19pm)


wonderinglinguist
Lorien

Mar 4 2014, 7:18pm

Post #13 of 33 (560 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

While PJ et al certainly had the major say in terms of the storyline, from things I've read and inferred, it hardly seems that WB gave them free rein. I would not be surprised at all if quite a few things in the movies are different than PJ would have done them because the studio forced his hand.

keep smiling Smile


burgahobbit
Rohan


Mar 4 2014, 7:56pm

Post #14 of 33 (497 views)
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Good post Lindele [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
one thing led to another, led to another, led to another...




I think that's right. A lot of scenes were shot much closer to how they were in the book, and as they continued to film (or else during pick-ups) they decided to re-film the scenes their own way due to the three film split, which was due to adding more material, and so on.


There are some things I still don't understand why they would change though. For instance, why can't Beorn be black haired and black furred? The inclusion of the nearly fist sized bees was wonderful, but why couldn't Bilbo have a cold in Lake-town? Little things like that make a big difference to me, and while I actually understand most of the huge changes they made and can realize why they think it makes a better story for a film, I don't understand why a lot of the iconic moments in the book which would have taken seconds to show had to be dropped.

"I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I’m afraid, and he gives me courage.” - Gandalf the Grey.

"Do not be afraid Mithrandir, if ever you should need my help, I will come." - Lady Galadriel.


ShireHorse
Rohan

Mar 4 2014, 8:32pm

Post #15 of 33 (542 views)
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What do I think that DoS shows about PJ & Co's attitude? Well..... [In reply to] Can't Post

First of all, I notice that you include '& Co' and, by this I suppose you mean the scriptwriters, the design team, the actors, Weta, Howard Shore etc etc. If you didn't, perhaps you should have been more specific because, as far as I can see, you are blaming just about everyone for what you see are the failings of the film.

To answer the question, I think that DoS shows a lot of love and care, a lot of imagination and beauty, a tremendous choice of actors, a huge effort to plug the gaps that Tolkien left in his story, an excellent attempt to write dialogue where so little exists (and some of the most frequently quoted and loved lines seem to be those written by PB and not by Tolkien), an heroic effort to join the dots between everything we know about the story and to make it segue into LotR so that watching all 6 films will be a great, continuous experience.

Do I like everything about DoS? No. Do I think that anyone else could have done it better? Who knows? But probably not. All I can say is: thank goodness it wasn't G del T. I love his Pan's Labyrinth and I have seen and enjoyed many of his other films but he has Spanish/Mexican sensibilities. And just as Rankin-Bass gave us that appalling Americanised vision of Middle-earth (I know, I know: my son absolutely adored it, but he was only 5 and knew no better) so del Toro would have given us the southern Mediterranean version rather than that of Northern Europe. And if you think there would have been less action and more heart with him in control then you only have to watch the soulless, all action Pacific Rim to understand differently.

People try to explain again and again that Tolkien says in two sentences what it takes at least 5 minutes (and even perhaps half an hour) to show on film and yet some people still refuse to acknowledge this. Thank goodness PJ & Co realised that the story couldn't be squashed into one film and not even into two And I think it's patently obvious (to me and many others, at least) that he didn't do this for the money but just so that he could do justice to the story.

And everyone who works with him loves him and never says a bad word about him. Their admiration and appreciation of his skills and devotion to The Hobbit project just shine out of them when they speak about him. Are they all lying?

And now I'd like to discuss Tolkien who has always been my favourite author ever since I picked up LotR in my teens. As someone who has specialised in the study of English Literature from the Anglo-Saxons onward for more years than I care to acknowledge, then my conclusions about The Hobbit are that it is a far from perfect book. It has a couple of fabulous set pieces that redeem it utterly and we are presented with a number of great characters (Bilbo, Smaug, Gollum, Gandalf, Thorin.) But it has lots of flaws which any director or screenwriter would need to address. And how you go about rectifying these flaws is probably a matter of opinion. And that's where posters on here come to blows. Some people refuse to acknowledge that the book is less than perfect - often those who have read it as a child and to whom it is very dear. Others can see the flaws but don't like PJ's way of handling them. TH was never as good as LotR, so why should we expect more of the films? At the end of the day, it's all opinion, isn't it, and not worth getting your knickers in a twist about.

All I know is, a gi-normous number went to see and enjoyed AUJ and almost as many have gone to see DoS. Perhaps the slightly smaller audience is explained by the fact that those who thought that AUJ was 'slow' or 'childish' or 'not like LotR' were the ones who stayed away and decided not to give DoS the benefit of the doubt. (Personally, I sightly preferred AUJ but enjoyed DoS in a different way and can't wait for T&BA.)

And finally, the only person involved in the film I have ever heard say a rude word about TH/Tolkien/the fans is not PJ but Billy Connolly. Why hasn't he been shot down in flames?

'Nuff said.


Annatar598
Rohan


Mar 4 2014, 8:53pm

Post #16 of 33 (480 views)
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It's merely an adaptation [In reply to] Can't Post

I see it as a certain version of a story. Not the story itself.

It's quite the same with the book actually. We only get Bilbo's viewpoint and not Gandalf's or Thorin's.

I think the two complement each other quite poetically. I love how everything (EVERYTHING) in AUJ and DOS is setting things up for TABA. As a trilogy, in hindsight when they're all released, the three films will play beautifully as Act 1, 2 and 3.

I think PJ and Co really do love the Hobbit. I love it too, I just wanted more from the book (knowing that there IS more given the appendices). My primary expectation of these movies was to get an expanded subplot for Gandalf and Thorin - two things that PJ delivered on.

"[Annatar598] is an overzealous apologist [for PJ]" - Certain TORn member.

Really? Alright...

Well, proud to be one I guess.


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea

Mar 4 2014, 8:56pm

Post #17 of 33 (473 views)
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Of course he liked the Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

Otherwise he wouldn't have bothered making the movie. I don't think he ever said he "wasn't keen on the book," I believe he said he was worried about adapting it to a movie. Part of the problem is that it's a pretty sparse story, IMO. Some of the "adaptations" were needed as well: A pitch-black forest won't translate well to film; Gandalf's disappearance needed explanation; and why mention a Necromancer if you're not going to put him in the story? The BEST change, to me, is Thorin telling Laketown that "all will share in the gold," giving them more of a reason to expect treasure. There have been many discussions about that, and Thorin's motivations, etc. Another part of the problem is developing 13 dwarves, especially since most of them had no real dialogue in the book. There was a (again, IMO) totally STUPID review a few weeks back where the reviewer said he should have either started with a lower number or killed off some of the dwarves early on, just to be more manageable.

But the rest of the problem is that, when someone reads a book they get a picture in their minds of what the story would look like, and often a film doesn't measure up. And you just can't please everybody. Now, clearly I'm a bigger fan of the movie than the book, and I'm not saying they didn't go over the top in a few areas - I read that everyone tried to talk Peter out of the bug in Radagasts mouth, but PJ loves his bugs - but I am saying that I'm pretty satisfied with the movie, most of the adaptations make sense to me (not all, of course), and I just don't get all this negativity toward the movie! I really don't get where you're coming from, that he didn't like the book, I don't see that at all.


Noria
Gondor

Mar 4 2014, 9:18pm

Post #18 of 33 (464 views)
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Well said ShireHorse. [In reply to] Can't Post

I too believe that AUJ and DoS show that a lot of love and care went into their making. The evidence of my eyes is enough for that but the appendices and videologs bolster my opinion.

I too have read that the original plan was to film The Hobbit and then LotR, but the rights to the former were too difficult to obtain. That changed after LotR of course, but it still took years to sort out.

I don't buy this studio interference stuff, except maybe on small things like the "romance". PJ is the guy who was willing to walk away from LotR when the original studio wanted to cut it down to one movie. I believe he makes the movies he wants to make. If you don't like the movies, blame PJ.

However I do believe that from the beginning the studio wanted epic blockbusters like LotR. So did a lot of the audience. That would have been a requirement no matter who made the movie.

Frozen, a movie for kids and their parents which has done better than DoS financially, is an updated and radical adaptation of The Snow Queen, as I understand it. The makers of The Hobbit movies have done the same, but likely a lot more people are emotionally invested in the LotR movie trilogy and The Hobbit novel than the original of Frozen.

Since I find the Hobbit novel sweet and charming but tame, I am happy with the way things have gone.


sycorax82
Rohan

Mar 4 2014, 9:19pm

Post #19 of 33 (473 views)
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LOTR is this trilogy's biggest problem... [In reply to] Can't Post

You can't make something as huge as LOTR, complete with all the 'spicing up' that Peter, Fran and Philippa included, and then scale all that back for TH. If TH had been made first I'm sure we would have seen less messing around. Though they may well have invented at least one female character, which is the most understandable change of them all, let's be honest!


KW
Rivendell

Mar 4 2014, 9:32pm

Post #20 of 33 (440 views)
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.. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
As the old saying goes "actions speak louder than words". I am not asking about whether they profess to love the books, or whether you believe them when they say it, simply because they say it. I am asking.....do you think, based on the things they have done with the story in TH, that they actually like much of the story as is written?
I certainly fall in the second camp. I suspect they liked it alright but figured they could improve on it. The things they have done with the story say this to me, loud and clear.

I fall into that heretical camp as well.





Lindele
Gondor


Mar 4 2014, 9:34pm

Post #21 of 33 (464 views)
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Absurd [In reply to] Can't Post

If you are going to make allegations like that you should have something to back it up. PJ has never said this. At least not somewhere recorded.

Also absurd to think The Hobbit couldn't fill one film…not even sure where you come off with an argument like that.


Lindele
Gondor


Mar 4 2014, 9:35pm

Post #22 of 33 (425 views)
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Thank you for this! [In reply to] Can't Post

Wonderful and absolutely true response


demnation
Rohan

Mar 4 2014, 9:40pm

Post #23 of 33 (454 views)
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Sorry! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't making any allegations. It was just something I thought remembered hearing somewhere and I said so. I even said don't quote me on it, which was me acknowledging its dubious veracity.

And I'm not "coming off" anywhere by saying The Hobbit couldn't fill one film. That is purely my personal opinion. Sorry you where so offended.

"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." Gandalf, "The Last Debate."


Thranderz
Rohan


Mar 4 2014, 10:11pm

Post #24 of 33 (382 views)
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Beautifully said! // [In reply to] Can't Post

 

I simply walked into Mordor.


glor
Rohan

Mar 4 2014, 10:49pm

Post #25 of 33 (402 views)
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Warner Brothers. [In reply to] Can't Post

    

Quote

Lily's comments about the studio wanting the love triangle confirm this


If you watch that interview in full, you will notice it's actually a joke about Evangelina's role in Lost, which was bought up by the interviewer as you are always cast in a love triangle etc, and blaming the studio in jest is the oldest joke in Hollywood/film making. Evangelina spent most of that interview giggling, it was a press junket not a serious From The Actor's studio piece.

As far as general comments about WB's involvement with the Hobbit, as much as I enjoy PJs M-E films I actually think this isn't the case. PJ not only had a larger book with LOTR, which he had to condense into three movies he also had a far tighter budget, with TTT and ROTK only given a sufficient post production and call back/re-shoot budget after the success of FOTR(there were straight to DVd plans for TTT and ROTK with little or no post production budget should as most of the world expected, FOTR flopped). PJ could not, on LOTR indulge his imagination or film every scene he wanted to because the budget would not allow. If I recall correctly there's quite a few comments on the LOTR commentaries and EE extras about how we wish we could have filmed X or Y scene but didn't have the money or the time and money buys time in film making.

I actually think it's the opposite, WB have handed over the Hobbit and given PJ free rein and an almost bottomless (but not talkingWink) purse which has allowed PJ to indulge his imagination. Couple that with sparser source material that does require some expansion, even a straight purist version would require a lot of additional dialogue and plot points to explain Gandalf's absence, give us 13 individual Dwarves and unsilly Elves and you have more room for PJs excesses ( i like his excesses give me a film maker prepared to indulge, and let his or her imagination run riot and make mistakes, than the blockbuster by committee drivel that fills our cinemas)

LOTR was massive risk by New Line on an unproven (as blockbusters go) director, Warner Brothers on the other hand invested in a Director who had broken Oscar and Box office records with what is still regarded as one of the great achievements of cinema history, working on the natural successor to LOTR, they didn't and dare not meddle that much, if at all, they wanted a PJ Middle Earth film and to do that they stood back and let him make his film, by and large the way he wanted it.

If you want to blame Warners, I don't but if you do, blame them for not keeping PJ on a tighter leash. Don't get me wrong I have thoroughly enjoyed and been delighted by TH.



(This post was edited by glor on Mar 4 2014, 10:51pm)

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