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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Dwarves that don't look like dwarves...
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Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 3:39pm

Post #1 of 174 (2052 views)
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Dwarves that don't look like dwarves... Can't Post

Three dwarves, all family members:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/91/77/0b/91770b7acf92f1360994ccb6e7b4ea7a.jpg

I still can't get over how stupid the decision was to make 9 out of 13 dwarves in the company look like little humans instead of dwarves. All of the dwarves in the AUJ prologue looked like dwarves, except for Thorin. In a BTS video, they said they did that because Thorin's original, dwarvish-looking design "wasn't sexy enough". To think they made Bolg CGI and got rid of his awesome prosthetic design so he'd be more consistent with his father's appearance, while making almost all of the dwarves we're following throughout the story look nothing like their other dwarvish counterparts.


(This post was edited by Gandalf the Green on Feb 8 2016, 3:40pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 8 2016, 4:04pm

Post #2 of 174 (1876 views)
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9 of 13? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I still can't get over how stupid the decision was to make 9 out of 13 dwarves in the company look like little humans instead of dwarves.


That's a harsh assessment. All of the Dwarves of Thorin's company had body suits, prosthetics and 'dwarf-hand' gloves to tweak their proportions. Those changes were less noticeable with Thorin and especially his nephews. I think that you may be stuck on the approach that Jackson took with their beards and ignoring the rest. Granted, there is also his decision to intentionally soften the features of the younger Dwarves; at least he can cite Nature as an inspiration for that in that animal young often look much different from their parents until they mature.

"Things need not to have happened to be true.
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure
when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."


- Dream of the Endless


(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 8 2016, 4:08pm)


Lindele
Gondor

Feb 8 2016, 4:04pm

Post #3 of 174 (1870 views)
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They look like dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

to me.

Not sure who (other than you of course) has the final say on what dwarves are supposed to look like.
It is easy to complain about something that there may be no other obvious perspective for, but I am quite glad that they made each of the them unique while still completely capturing the culture and nature of the dwarves. So it being a 'stupid decision' is horribly subjective.


dormouse
Half-elven


Feb 8 2016, 4:18pm

Post #4 of 174 (1863 views)
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What does a dwarf look like? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'd say that there are two really significant things about the appearance of Tolkien's dwarves: 1) their short stature and related body proportions; 2) their beards

On count 1) I think the costumes, prosthetics and special effects in The Hobbit are so successful that it doesn't even cross my mind when I'm watching that the dwarves are really normal sized men - to the extent that any time I see the actors together I do an involuntary double-take because the dwarf actors are suddenly as tall or taller than the other people involved in the film. Essentially a dwarf is a little human - or at least, a little human-like figure - so if that's what they looked like, chalk that up as a success.

On count 2) they did compromise on the beard length for what seemed to them - and seem to me - to be valid reasons. Visually I think it works and works well, even though it is a deviation from the text. If you don't like it, fair enough; it is a change.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


ange1e4e5
Gondor

Feb 8 2016, 4:22pm

Post #5 of 174 (1857 views)
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Beard shortening for pragmatic reasons [In reply to] Can't Post

Working in line with the characterizations of the Dwarves, one part would be their weapons. Not everyone carries an ax. One dwarf would be an archer and would need a shorter beard so it wouldn't get tangled with the bowstring. That happened to be Kili.


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 4:26pm

Post #6 of 174 (1847 views)
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Well, let's just say [In reply to] Can't Post

that every other dwarf (in the movies, meaning the prologue dwarves, but also Dain, his men and Thrain and Thror) happens to look dwarvish, very similar to one another, much like the look of dwarves as established in the LOTR films, but the company we're following just so happens to consist of a whole lot of dwarves who look next to nothing like those dwarves, save for a few.


Noria
Gondor

Feb 8 2016, 4:27pm

Post #7 of 174 (1848 views)
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I can't see the image but I disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

Gloin and Oin have the stereotypical Gimli look (naturally since they are older and related to him) but who else? Doesn’t matter.

I have no complaints about the way any of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield looked, though I admit that Kili appeared quite human. I was happy that they did not all resemble Gimli and the handful of Dwarves we saw in prologue Erebor and that most of them were quite different from the stereotype. It worked for me because their proportions and way of moving were not quite human and the beard lengths don't bother me.

I admit that while I'm not a Thorin worshiper, I enjoyed the eye candy. But more than that I liked the variety of face and form that the Dwarves displayed, more like a real population than the denizens of a video game.


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 4:31pm

Post #8 of 174 (1844 views)
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A dwarf is hairy, wide, by no means skinny, and short, and far more than just a downsized human... [In reply to] Can't Post

"Essentially a dwarf is a little human - or at least, a little human-like figure - so if that's what they looked like, chalk that up as a success."

You're really just scraping the surface of the dwarvish look there. If all that's required to make a dwarf (a Tolkien dwarf, in this case) look like a dwarf is making sure he looks like a little human, then you might as well have thrown in some bearded Stoor hobbits in their stead and called them "dwarves".

"they did compromise on the beard length for what seemed to them - and seem to me - to be valid reasons."

I personally don't deem a reason such as "a dwarf with a big beard isn't sexy enough!" a valid reason, but if that's your cup of tea, well, fair enough then.


dormouse
Half-elven


Feb 8 2016, 4:37pm

Post #9 of 174 (1833 views)
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They all look like dwarves to me... [In reply to] Can't Post

Just as the elves all look like elves and the men like men. The dwarves in the film all have the body proportion of dwarves and they all have facial hair. Dwarves. Just as the dwarf women we see in Dale in the AUJ prologue are unquestionably dwarves.

An extraordinary amount of thought, skill and care went into designing each individual dwarf and I think the result's amazing.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


LSF
Gondor

Feb 8 2016, 4:37pm

Post #10 of 174 (1835 views)
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"real population" [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes. Humans do not all look the same- short, tall, fat, thin, darker skin, lighter skin, different bone structures... and then there's the things you can personally style like hair/beard/clothes. I'm certainly not going to expect that of another human-like people. You can get away with the samey look with the helmeted armies, but not with the ones we're supposed to care about, especially when there's 13 of them.

Though the eye candy for me was Bofur... not Thorin/Fili/Kili Tongue


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 4:42pm

Post #11 of 174 (1826 views)
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- [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think that justifies anything about Kili. Bows were used in the novel, and even most soldiers of Rohan have much longer beards than movie Kili, and many of those soldiers are archers. A shorter beard than normal dwarves have on a dwarvish archer would be OK, but Kili has almost literally no beard whatsoever and nothing about him looks dwarvish. I've had people tell me they thought he was a human at first.


(This post was edited by Gandalf the Green on Feb 8 2016, 4:42pm)


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 4:51pm

Post #12 of 174 (1821 views)
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Yes you can. [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not even necessary for us to care about all the dwarves. They're just extra characters who are tagging along. The fact that they all look distinctive is what leads many of us to wish for more scenes with them, even though that only clutters things up more and more and we end up not really getting many of them. And we shouldn't, we can't have that many characters to focus on in what is supposed to be a story of small scope, and in the movies they just kept piling it up with even more characters. They should've all looked like the dwarves that went to the Council of Elrond, other than Kili and Fili looking a tad bit younger and having shorter beards. SHORTER beards, not no-beard and barely-beard. And then give Thorin the longest beard of them all. Really, the only dwarf we should really care about through the movie is Thorin. Maybe Kili and Fili next to that, and add a bit of Balin, but then just really focus on those guys, perhaps make *them* look a BIT distinctive, and then make all of the others look almost the same. It's no big deal if a few of the dwarves are appointed as important characters with the rest being merged together as a collective entity, much like in the animated version of The Hobbit. In fact, it would've helped the story. With what we got, it constantly felt like they were promising so many more scenes with the rest of the dwarves, which we never got. If anything, the rest of the dwarves should've looked more generic to 1) fit in with the rest of the dwarves and 2) to help us stop thinking we're going to see so much more of these oh-so-unique dwarves, because in the end, Alfrid got more screentime than most of them.

I personally didn't even care about Thorin, Kili and Fili (as did many others), with no thanks to what I deem to be the poor executions of their death scenes - or overall characterization, for that matter. They should've paid more attention to the actual characterization instead of what the characters would look like. The only dwarf I really cared about was Balin, because he was a friendly guy who was closer to Bilbo than any of the other dwarves. If you ask me, they should've scrapped some of the scenes with the minor dwarves to give Balin more time with Bilbo.


(This post was edited by Gandalf the Green on Feb 8 2016, 4:55pm)


dormouse
Half-elven


Feb 8 2016, 4:54pm

Post #13 of 174 (1821 views)
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You're putting words into my mouth and theirs now.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but that's no surprise - it happens a lot round here!

Hobbits are smaller than dwarves, have a completely different body proportion and hairy feet. And according to the films, pointy ears. So no, that wouldn't work.

I wasn't thinking of whether long beards are sexy or not and I don't think Peter Jackson was either. In fact, the only people who ever use the word seem to be the ones who want to complain about it....

For what it's worth, the reasons I've heard them give for the shorter beards had more to do with the difficulty of acting through a very large (and almost certainly fake) beard and the need to vary the looks of the main characters - so that each was instantly recognisable. I reasons the reasons they give in the EE documentaries and Chronicles books (as opposed to the ones you say they give, rephrased by you) are perfectly valid.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


LSF
Gondor

Feb 8 2016, 5:05pm

Post #14 of 174 (1803 views)
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Yes, they didn't have to [In reply to] Can't Post

They didn't have to design 13 visually distinct dwarves, but that's why I applaud them. They could have taken the easier way and make the only distinct one Thorin, and maybe Balin. But they didn't want to. They wanted to do their best to make us at least recognize each one, and possibly care about them. And while of course I would love more stuff with them, what I got with them was enough for me to care.

Whether their efforts worked for you or others is totally subjective, but it worked well for me.


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 5:14pm

Post #15 of 174 (1797 views)
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Now you're just twisting things... [In reply to] Can't Post

But they are essentially little humans, hence why they're called "halflings" - at least, that's what you said dwarves were, too (even though they, just like hobbits, also have different body proportions than humans, so why then did you say that?), so if I were to judge by what you deemed to be a successful dwarf, a bearded hobbit would've done the trick. Judging by what you said in your previous comment, which you yourself apparently don't agree with anymore.

You don't "think" they were worried about their original designs not being sexy enough. You clearly just know a part of the reasons and try to declare my statements invalid even though you don't know that is what they actually were worried about. They were also worried about losing the look of some of the actors through all the make-up, but it isn't about the actors - it's about the character that the actor is portraying. I'll link you to that part in one of the BTS/appendice videos where they say "it wasn't sexy" (in regards to Thorin's old design) when I find it.

The need to vary the looks of the main characters? Do you mean Thorin, Kili or Fili, who all look similar with their short beards? Because none of the other dwarves are main characters (neither is Fili, actually), unless being a part of the traveling unit while maybe speaking 2 or 3 lines of dialogue throughout an entire trilogy and not really being relevant to the plot as a whole makes any of the dwarves a main character.


(This post was edited by Gandalf the Green on Feb 8 2016, 5:16pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Feb 8 2016, 5:17pm

Post #16 of 174 (1794 views)
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On beards [In reply to] Can't Post

From Ian McKellen's The Grey Book:

At the first screen test the beard was too long and cumbersome for Gandalf the man of action - he is forever tramping and riding and on the move. I didn't want a beard which hampered me with a life of its own once the winds blew. Alien visages stared back at me from the mirror - hirsute offbeats like Shylock, Fagin, and Ben Gunn. Even Rasputin for a moment.
For the second test, the beard was care-freely slashed by Peter Owen, who hadn't had much confidence in it nor in the whiskers that hid my cheeks. Once he had trimmed it all back, I saw a glimmer of the old wizard's sternness. I smiled and tried a Gandalf twinkle, the friend of the Hobbits who admires their spirit and sociability
Peter Jackson suggested a droopier moustache. I suddenly looked like a double for the Beatles' Maharishi. So the eyebrows, over-faithful to Tolkien's description, were plucked thinner and shorter. The old guru was still there but you couldn't put a name to him. At last Ngila Dickson placed her pointed, blue/grey Wizard's hat on top. Out of the blue, I remembered the silver scarf that he wears in the book. Somehow it had been overlooked or decided against. Until I looked the part I hadn't missed it either. And there's a thing to ponder - what does a man with an umbrella for a hat and a warm cloak need with a scarf? The book starts in autumn. We are filming in summertime. Weather conditions aside, I thought he might have the silver scarf much as he has the pointy hat - to disguise himself. The Gandalf who visits his old friends Bilbo and Frodo has lots of props. Already I have had to cope with his staff, his toffees, his pipe, as well as Clyde - why not a scarf to do some magic with?
Only when Peter Jackson was certain that Fran (co-screenwriter Frances Walsh), Philippa (co-screenwriter Philippa Boyens), Alan Lee, Peter Owen, and I liked what peered back at us through the various applications, did he give his own approval. He's a director who likes to share decision making. It's a large crew and cast but we are all encouraged to contribute.


******************************************

Fimbrethil, Warrior Entwife



Sez: "Why don't we terraform Earth? It's closer."


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 5:23pm

Post #17 of 174 (1788 views)
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But in the process, they did sacrifice time, as well as believability for many that these were actually.. y'know, dwarves like Gimli... [In reply to] Can't Post

But why would we need to be able to recognize them when most of them have next to no relevance to the story or the plot? In fact, I would go as far as saying they took the second easiest way out by just making them all look distinct while almost promising us we would see them play different roles throughout the trilogy, only to end up with them never doing that. Ocean's Eleven did this - you may not remember the names of the many characters, but you do remember the characters and what they did. With The Hobbit, anyone other than an actual fan would see the fat dwarf and think "Oh, that's.. the fat one.", or see Bofur and say, "Hey, there's the homeless looking guy who was kinda nice to Bilbo and started singing in Rivendell for no plot-related reason", or they see Gloin and go "There's the guy that looks like Gimli". Yeah, real fun, but it was a waste of time because it hardly even matters. That time should've been spent on actual characterization, giving them roles, or just making all the other dwarves a collective unit while focusing on other story aspects instead of almost promising us the dwarves would play larger roles, which they didn't really end up doing.


dormouse
Half-elven


Feb 8 2016, 5:27pm

Post #18 of 174 (1781 views)
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I'll try just once more, very slowly.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Human beings have two arms, two legs, one head and walk upright....

Dwarves have two arms, two legs, one head and walk upright....

Hobbits have two arms, two legs, one head and walk upright....

I contend, m'Lud, that the above three beings are all similar in structure and appearance. Being human I tend to refer to this similarity by saying they are all human-like, though different in size and body proportions. If I were a hobbit I might say that dwarves and men are like oversized and misshapen hobbits, but I'm not, so I don't.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


Smaug the iron
Gondor


Feb 8 2016, 5:42pm

Post #19 of 174 (1771 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Out of the blue, I remembered the silver scarf that he wears in the book. Somehow it had been overlooked or decided against. Until I looked the part I hadn't missed it either. And there's a thing to ponder - what does a man with an umbrella for a hat and a warm cloak need with a scarf? The book starts in autumn. We are filming in summertime. Weather conditions aside, I thought he might have the silver scarf much as he has the pointy hat - to disguise himself. The Gandalf who visits his old friends Bilbo and Frodo has lots of props. Already I have had to cope with his staff, his toffees, his pipe, as well as Clyde - why not a scarf to do some magic with?

Thanks to the hobbit trilogy Gandalf has finally his silver scarf. And he could not look any better then that.


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 5:52pm

Post #20 of 174 (1763 views)
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- [In reply to] Can't Post

I may have misinterpreted what you said a bit, fair enough. Actually, I overlooked "little human-LIKE" and responded to "little human", my mistake. When I said "little humans", I quite literally meant little humans, as in downsized humans with not any changes. Like Fili and Kili, you see? And Ori, too. On some of them, the dwarvish body proportions were obvious, on others, it simply didn't scream "dwarf" to me. My vision of a Tolkien dwarf may differ from yours, but in my case, they must all have wide bodies and beards that make the edges of the chin and jaw impossible to see. In several shots in the movies, Thorin's body is also clearly more human-like than dwarvish. Another feature of dwarves would be large, bumpy noses, and I'm sure you know which dwarves don't have those. By "little humans", I didn't just mean body-wise, but also facially. When I look at Gimli or any of his counterparts at the Council of Elrond, I see dwarves. Cover up their bodies with my hand, and I still see dwarves. When I look at the dwarves from The Hobbit, I see a few dwarves that look like all the other dwarves in Middle-Earth, and among them several dwarves that may have dwarvish body proportions, but don't scream "dwarf" to me facially - at all, really. Those two things have to be in harmony - for me, at least.

So do you have any replies for the other things I've said, or are you going to ignore those points without further research? I do wonder if you ever admit you're wrong about something...


(This post was edited by Gandalf the Green on Feb 8 2016, 6:01pm)


Riven Delve
Tol Eressea


Feb 8 2016, 6:00pm

Post #21 of 174 (1752 views)
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Yes, what O-S said. [In reply to] Can't Post

In addition, all the Dwarf actors had body-movement training that distinguished them from other races in they way they carried themselves, with lower centers of gravity and different postures, as well as fighting methods.


“Tollers,” Lewis said to Tolkien, “there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves.”



Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 6:09pm

Post #22 of 174 (1743 views)
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Fair enough... I know about the body movement thing. [In reply to] Can't Post

Which was good, really - they did move like dwarves. I'm just still not sold on their looks - facially, mainly. When I look at just a dwarf's head, I want to be able to say to myself, "That's a dwarf." or "That's a dwarvish-looking person." This was the case with Balin, Oin, Gloin and Bifur, but not so much most of the others, which especially bothered me with Kili, Fili and our main character Thorin. I just find it odd how little he looks like his father and grandfather, while Gimli's father Gloin looks almost exactly like his son.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 8 2016, 6:30pm

Post #23 of 174 (1730 views)
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Prince Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post

In the flashbacks, at least (for this applies to the Battle of Moria as well), Thorin is still quite young for a Dwarf. Without our arguing about what year it takes place in the films, Tolkien wrote that Thorin was only twenty-four years old when Smaug attacked and took-over Erebor. Dwarves aren't even considered to be young adults until they turn fifty and don't usually marry until they are about one hundred years old. Young Thorin could actually be said to look quite mature for his age.

"Things need not to have happened to be true.
Tales and dreams are the shadow-truths that will endure
when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."


- Dream of the Endless


(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 8 2016, 6:30pm)


Gandalf the Green
Rivendell

Feb 8 2016, 6:32pm

Post #24 of 174 (1725 views)
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A problem I have with that is... [In reply to] Can't Post

...that, when Thorin comes to Bilbo's house, he looks pretty much exactly the same way he did in those flashbacks, as if those events occurred just a week ago.


ange1e4e5
Gondor

Feb 8 2016, 6:34pm

Post #25 of 174 (1723 views)
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Looks like another instance of Peter Jackson messing up the timeline. [In reply to] Can't Post

 

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