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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Re-Visiting the Golden Statue
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Jan 21 2015, 2:09pm

Post #151 of 165 (481 views)
Still like it [In reply to] Can't Post

It captures the greed in Smaug when he sees it as well as the greed of Thror by having it potentially made.


Jan 21 2015, 6:51pm

Post #152 of 165 (461 views)
I'll be damned! [In reply to] Can't Post

Did you just admit that there's something besides only names that can be exact? I.e., roundness? Well, it's a pyrrhic victory for me at best, but I'll take it. Wink

Tol Eressea

Jan 21 2015, 9:37pm

Post #153 of 165 (451 views)
Ha - I don't dare tell you that I haven't said otherwise! [In reply to] Can't Post

A quality of a thing isn't the thing itself. The film is recreating a door - not the abstract concept of "roundness".


Jan 21 2015, 9:43pm

Post #154 of 165 (443 views)
Didn't you say [In reply to] Can't Post

that the only thing that could ever be recreated exactly, and not even really, were names?

Tol Eressea

Jan 21 2015, 10:01pm

Post #155 of 165 (442 views)
Give or take yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

I said I couldn't think of things the film could recreate exactly from the text. "Roundness" is just a quality of a thing, not the thing itself. No one in the production team made a "roundness"!


Jan 21 2015, 10:12pm

Post #156 of 165 (441 views)
Oh, ok dancing words man! [In reply to] Can't Post


So in that picture I posted the door is EXACTLY like the book in that regard. It is round. It is also green and also has a shiny yellow knob, but since those things don't count they are not exact to the book when Tolkien writes "green" and "shiny yellow doorknob". Guess you got me there!! But anyways, since when does a thing's quality not count in something being exact, anyways? Was that established earlier when you said nothing except names could ever be exact, and not even those? Boy, we should have established the rules better!

Also this, and this!! Those two doors are noticeably different shades of green to the naked eye. They must not be exact then!

Tol Eressea

Jan 21 2015, 10:26pm

Post #157 of 165 (436 views)
I thought we'd already covered this. [In reply to] Can't Post

There isn't any issue about individual qualities. If Tolkien says the secret door is five feet high, then of course you can have that quality. I just can't think of anything where you can recreate the thing itself - because most of its qualities are missing.

There are quite a few posts on this above (missing qualities, brown rectangular door etc.)

On the doors in your pictures I would assume that is the lighting in the photographs but if you think the door has been painted a noticeably different colour then yes, of course it wouldn't be exact. If two things are noticeably different then they aren't exactly the same, surely?

Michelle Johnston

Jan 22 2015, 8:20am

Post #158 of 165 (421 views)
The impossible challenge of Hobbiton to Rivendell [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi D M

I am one of those that believe when they were filming it was a two-film script. I can see a two-film adaption, which would address all of the concerns expressed on this board, expect two: -

1) It deviates from the book.
2) It includes Tauriel though without the triangle.

I am just finessing what a 2 film treatment could have looked like for my blog but I have been giving thought to whether a three film treatment could have been made which deals with many of the concerns expressed here and elsewhere.

I think you could substantially improve film 2 and 3 by placing more emphasis on character story and completion of arcs and much less on set piece actions scenes.

However here is why I do not think the first film will ever work for me at an intellectual level. The reasons are the inheritance of both JRRT and PJ.

1) Both books start in Hobbiton and end up in Rivendell.
2) The LOTRs great success is turning what the hobbits think will be a gentle stroll in the park into a terrifying journey with evil brought to your front door. This is in contrast to the whimsy of the Hobbit stroll across Eriador and the amusing Troll scene.
3) PJ quite correctly wants to blend the Hobbit with the LOTR and therefore transforms the feel of the book toward the feel of his previous films. The result if you just follow the book in the movie is
• Part 1 a great deal of exposition.
• Part 2 an easy dalliance with talking trolls
• Part 3 a great deal of exposition

PJ identified this issue and in both 2 and 3 film structure and he introduces jeopardy before Rivendell and in the three-film structure jeopardy driven by Azog.

There are four reasons why this does not work if we are to take these films as more than mere entertainment.

1) It is a fundamental point of both the Hobbit and LOTR that Eriador is desolate and empty of any serious evil before Saruman and Sauron begin their war on the ring. The LOTR makes it entirely clear that spies of both begin to appear only after the events of the Hobbit and in the main it is because of the fall out of the Hobbits adventure.
2) By introducing “serious evil” West of the misty mountains in the hobbit you undermine the events of the later trilogy and flatten out the distinction between Eriador and Wilderland where all manner of wickedness has begun to thrive.
3) PJ falls into the trap that was one of his original reasons for not directing the Hobbit movies he is simply repeating himself in the journey between Hobbiton and Rivendell but without the authority and gravitas of the LOTR source.
4) For the films three characters had to be fleshed out and grown Thranduil, Bard and Bolg/Azog. The adversary that plans and executes the BOFA sponsored by Sauron has to be exceptional clever and cruel the latter quality echoing the necromancer of the Silmarillion. Everything you do with this character should reinforce those notions and at no time before the battle should he be outwitted except in exceptional circumstances. The reality is he is constantly outwitted and there were many times he could have surrounded the company once he knew they were on the move and destroy it particularly after Gandalf left. This is why so many see all the chasing and fighting as meaningless nothing actually happens. The one scene which survives from the 2 film script is the one that works. Azog/Bolg has the Dwarves surrounded by wargs scouts and maggot orcs . Without the intevention of Manwe’s Eagles they would have been toast. Sir Peter recognised the problem of Azog constantly failing and at the last minute withdrew him from the chase but he should never have been on it. Azog/Bolg has bigger fish to fry the raising of the army of Gunderbad. I will not burden this reply with my thoughts about how Azog/Bolg should be fleshed out after the cones scene but I will stress it is through crossing referencing others experience of him adding to his mystique and reputation not just by showing him being angry and grunting.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

Michelle Johnston

Jan 22 2015, 8:30am

Post #159 of 165 (417 views)
The 13 or is 8 [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with all of this that the wonderful section to the curling smoke scene is utterly gorgeous. But PJ quite clearly recognised you could not carry all 13 along with the same degree of intensity nor is that what the film is about. The answer should have been to reduce the number of Dwarves to a level which would get proper airtime. Think about this over 8 hours how many of them actually had dialogue between each other. That kind of relativiism which builds character is entirely absent. Much as we might admire all 13 men who played the Dwarves many of them where merely extras. What PJ should have decided at the out set that he didn't need to face the challenge of 13 actors to tell his story.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

Michelle Johnston

Jan 22 2015, 8:39am

Post #160 of 165 (415 views)
My Cup Has Been Runneth Over [In reply to] Can't Post

When i read your description of Erbor it chimes with mine. The final scene with the statue is a wonderful piece of visual hubris and irony. You and I agree on what comes before, not surprising, we agree on most of the films strong and weak points.

However i am now standing back from all 8 hours and saying where were opportunities taken to reinforce the original story and where were needless diversions inserted which merely diverted us from the more powerful point already made by Tolkien.

The statue is a coherent scene and I understand it. But it drives out the real reason for Smaug getting in a flap which as someone else has said is even more powerful because of its overwhelming psychopathy and desire to withhold even the most insignificant part of his hoard..

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

Michelle Johnston

Jan 22 2015, 8:51am

Post #161 of 165 (412 views)
Yes but that point need not be made again [In reply to] Can't Post

You are quiet right it shows the mindset of Thror and Smaug but this is like so many other elements of the films it is remaking a point which Tolkien made in a better way or has already been made. We already knew Thror we did not learn anymore about him.

The absolutely supremely important point about the Hobbit is Smaug gets killed by Bard because he loses his temper over the loss of a cup because a brave little Hobbit has by chance been given the role of burglar and by chance has found the ring which will help him survive in the short term and change the history of middle earth in the long term.. That is the kind of chance happening that is at the centre of Tolkien's stories.

What happens in the film is Brigadier Thorin Oakenshield comes along with his dirty dozen and uses his military skills and knowledge to kill the baddy. That would not be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that it was never going to work so we are going through the motions to create a big Wellywood ending for the film. Sir Peter has said this in the two film structure the forges were absent but when Erebor became the end of the 2nd film it needed a big ending.

Thats worth thinking about told seamlessly and uninterrupted its not needed told with a break it is. A perfect example of contrived story telling.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.


Jan 22 2015, 10:04am

Post #162 of 165 (400 views)
Hello Michelle, and many thanks for the detailed reply..... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm fascinated by your reasoning but I still stand where I did before. All this is theory. You simply don't know what the two-film script would have looked like, none of us does.

Let me give you one example: the 'out of the frying pan' scene at the climax of film one. You're claiming this as a survival from the two-film script. I don't believe it was. I think this scene - which works well, as you say, must have been substantially altered to make it the climax of the film. In a two-film adaptation it would have been just one other hurdle the company had to cross on their way to the shore of the Long Lake, where we know the first film was supposed to end. It couldn't have been allowed much screen time and I think it's questionable whether Azog would even have been there.

This for me encapsulates the problem. That one film would have had to include Beorn's house, the journey to the eaves of Mirkwood, Gandalf's departure, the journey through Mirkwood, the spiders, capture by the elves and imprisonment in the Woodland King's realm, then the escape - to fit all that in the story would have been shredded to ribbons!

I still applaud them for taking three films, I just wish the decision could have been made at the outset.

Tol Eressea

Jan 22 2015, 11:18am

Post #163 of 165 (398 views)
Looking at the "Out of the FryingPan" scene [In reply to] Can't Post

we can see where extra material was added for the new ending: Dori and Nori would not have been left hanging from Gandalf's staff all that length of time in the original scene. Gandalf summons the Eagles before Dori and Nori start slipping. The showndown between Thorin and Azog was inserted after this....there is an incredible length of time before the eagles arrive. Also, the tie-in AUJ Hobbit Storybook that came out before AUJ doesn't mention Azog being there...there is a picture of Fimbul, I believe, and just a mention of an Orc leader. We also know the whole angry-hug on the Carrock scene was added in.

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


Jan 22 2015, 12:08pm

Post #164 of 165 (395 views)
I guess [In reply to] Can't Post

It confirmed what we already knew I suppose. Though for some of us it was because we have experience with the book. I love how it is done in the book but I do think it's equally done as good in the movie.

Let's be honest going to torch a town over a cup is a bit over the top. I've had this out to me by several folks I know who checked out the Hobbit as the movies were going on. I can't say I disagree with them to be honest that it is a little much.

Now, I don't disagree that the Erebor stuff goes on a little long and I do not care for Thorin standing on Smaug's mouth. I do think the way Jackson handles most of it though was well done and works for a good percentage of folks. If you're like me though you can enjoy both. lol

Michelle Johnston

Jan 22 2015, 6:05pm

Post #165 of 165 (394 views)
Two Film Theory [In reply to] Can't Post

It would take an awful lot of time to restate the sources of the two film theory but I have a memory for things to do with my Hobby of Tolkien. Also there are tie in books and posters which make it clear how the original AUJ would have worked.

However the really important evidence is from PJ himself through out the directors commentary he refers to what was added in pick ups. Most of the Bilbo Thorin interactions were very late additions to make Bilbos ninja leap where he saves his life the switch moment.

You are of course correct to arrive at the barrels would have made the movie four hours long. My solution is simple you put the deep homage moments which the general audience find slow and which has received the greater part of the criticism in a wonderful EE and cut a very incisive movie which restores the cohesion of the original vision and has the pace and excitement of the original trilogy.

I also think the whole section on the trolls is not fairy tale its Brian Rix farce and some thing radical was required in the same way Rivendell and The Elven King needed to be transformed. A might Dwarven King wriggling in a sack ?

What is true is we cannot identify the precise amount of time that could be saved by leaving out the elements added to make the carrock sequence the climax. We know the entire Azog pre cones arc was added so that together with all the other pickups is probably at least 25 minutes. I would expect the long AUJ would have had an EE of about 45/60 minutes of extras. Its difficult for deep fans to accept but the non political elements of Bag End are EE material. Its wonderful atmospheric and delightful but it is not crucial to telling the story and taken over the 8 hours now has an Island feel to it.

My final thoughts on all of this is The Hobbit films, like the Silmarillion prepared by Christopher Tolkien, have many wonderful moments and I would not be without them but they do not match the peerless craft and sense of artistic fulfilment of the LOTR books.

I see the Hobbit films as workshop items of Tolkien's world. As much as I like Sir Peter Jackson and do not doubt his commitment to the making of these films I am absolutely certain he is not making these films for me.

If he had been then these films would have

1) Explored the pits of Dol Gulder and how Thrain and Beorn were humiliated.

2) It would have shown Radagasts decline and fading in a cohesive and consistent manner.

3) We would have seen the ambiguity of self, cruelty and sense of self loathing that Azogs original prosthetic appearance hinted at with its trophies, strange surgery and Dwarven feux beard.

4) The Palantir would at a stroke have shown us how Sauron had reclaimed his world view and how he would use Smaug and correctly in the movie universe Bolg.

These are not my ideas they are ones they discarded.

Huge care and attention went into the fabric of these films imagine that kind of thoughtfulness applied to Legolas. Imagine what you could have done with a character who was old enough to have met Girion which could have drawn him properly into the narrative with Bard by the Lake. Instead in pick ups he focus's on extending Alfrids arc who wasn't even present when they filmed by the Lake in 2011. The Master was but thats another story.

In the end its fun to speculate and I am certainly not crying in my boots someone else could have completely destroyed these adaptions of Tolkiens world.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Jan 22 2015, 6:12pm)

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