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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The Hobbit: the original two-film structure
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LordGawain
Rivendell


Jun 25 2017, 10:15am

Post #1 of 28 (5323 views)
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The Hobbit: the original two-film structure Can't Post

Three years ago I made a short film, based on Tolkien's Leaf by Niggle, called Tree & Leaf, which a lot of people on this board were kind enough to watch. Since then, I've gone to film school and am now developing my skills as a cameraman and editor.

Today I would love to share with you a passion project I've worked very hard on for almost two years. It concerns a fan-edit of The Hobbit, in an attempt to recreate the original two-film structure. In doing so, I've created two films: The Gathering of the Clouds & There and Back Again.

The motivation behind this edit is in no way a critique of the original trilogy. I do not claim that I've made a better version, or that anything was wrong with the original films. They are pieces of art, and I admire them greatly. This project was instead born out of a lingering curiosity about the original two-film script and the different structure that the films would have had because of it. This curiosity, combined with my passion for everything Tolkien and my need for continuous exercise in editing, led me to committing to this two year project.

Because my film school offers all the post-production tools I could possibly need, I was able to finish this project in a much better quality then I originally suspected. I've tried to create a completely professional end result, and owe a lot of thanks to the Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema and Sound and my professors, who answered my questions when I had them. Without them, this production would be far lesser in quality.

As it stands, I'm extremely proud to present the trailer for the end result of this exercise. The films feature;
- a new shading/color correction inspired by The Lord of the Rings
- a newly mixed 5.1 surround mix
- restructured plotlines, inspired by Tolkien lore
- more than 40 minutes of extended and deleted footage reinserted
- a tone more similar to that of The Lord of the Rings

*Link deleted - links to fan edits not allowed on TORN.*

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Jun 27 2017, 2:05pm)


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


Jun 25 2017, 8:57pm

Post #2 of 28 (5212 views)
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Nice trailer [In reply to] Can't Post

Will your film be on Vimeo as well?

I'd say I've entered my second childhood, but I never left the first!


LordGawain
Rivendell


Jun 25 2017, 9:05pm

Post #3 of 28 (5209 views)
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It might [In reply to] Can't Post

It might. I'm still looking for a good way to post it without it being illegal. I will keep I will keep this threat updated. :)

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Silmaril
Rohan


Jun 26 2017, 7:35am

Post #4 of 28 (5184 views)
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Well done. [In reply to] Can't Post

LOTR and TH could have been in line...


(This post was edited by Silmaril on Jun 26 2017, 7:36am)


jlj93byu
Bree

Jun 26 2017, 7:42pm

Post #5 of 28 (5100 views)
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WOW! [In reply to] Can't Post

Watching that trailer was awesome. It made me realize how much I have missed the anticipation building towards the release of a Middle-earth film.

I hope to be able to view your films, so good luck finding a legal way to share them and make that possible!


LordGawain
Rivendell


Jun 30 2017, 11:29am

Post #6 of 28 (4897 views)
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thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you!

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Silmaril
Rohan


Jul 20 2017, 1:59pm

Post #7 of 28 (4398 views)
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July 20th [In reply to] Can't Post

Release today?


LordGawain
Rivendell


Jul 20 2017, 2:09pm

Post #8 of 28 (4392 views)
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YES! [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes! Depending on your time zone, today or tomorrow. I will send you a PM once it is finished.

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Jul 31 2017, 6:15pm

Post #9 of 28 (4127 views)
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Blessings to you. [In reply to] Can't Post

It is over two years since I last considered the Hobbit.

In New Zealand's summer of 2015 I spent 150 hours full of the joy of revelation in finding how the truth of how a grown up version of the Hobbit could be achieved but that was a prose narrative re imagining adjusting, writing extensions and contracting the film narrative.

"The Gathering..." in so many ways echoes that same quest indeed the crescendo ends in the same place in a very similar way. Because of your obvious love of the story and a recognition of all that is great about the films and essential to the story you have revealed more from less.

I am not sure how much those who administer the site want
set in the public domain but I would love to write to you possibly through the PM system with a more detailed analysis.

If I am allowed one observation, Stephen Spielberg once remarked that his movie 1941 was like a soup with to many ingredients. What you show you have a real skill in is knowing when to let things breath. If you have a huge build of tension and then release to ensure the narrative value of that you must never repeat it in exactly the same way with the same broad set of protagonists and antagonist. Your decision after the escape from the mountain was in my view perfect judgement in that regard.

My thanks to your personal help and also Apple who made sure it would work.

... and Thror's son would be delighted with his rightful place as the glue to the twin threads.

You should be immensely proud. I am of course curious about the conclusion which in my view presents the most daunting challenges of all.

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


LordGawain
Rivendell


Aug 1 2017, 11:21am

Post #10 of 28 (4093 views)
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Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you so much for your feedback! I've worked very hard on his, it has been the biggest creative process in my life so far, and I am honored and humbled by your reaction!

If you find the time to write a more detailed analysis, that would be lovely. I do believe it is allowed to discuss and analyse a fan-edit on these forums, as long as no links to the film are publicly shared.

I hope you enjoy the conclusion as much as you enjoyed the first film. In my own opinion, the second film is the better one of the two. I am looking forward to hear if you like that one too!

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 2 2017, 3:37pm

Post #11 of 28 (4066 views)
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There and Back Again [In reply to] Can't Post

Once again there is much to say about the recasting and restructuring and its impact on the narrative momentum which I would rather come back to in much more detail. I am sure you would agree that when you pursue this kind of journey with a "Good Heart" it is really educational and teaches you about Tolkien and film making in away you never expect.

What astonishes me about this film is it was not until afterwards that I realised how much editing you had done.
I had enough distance from 2015 that I went with it instinctively and because it was so right for me was just swept along.

Except in one regard, whereas in 2015 I was constantly reeling from distraction, with this I was invested through out and once we come to the point of Bilbo planting the acorn I was really very deeply moved until the closing pages.

This is the great gift for me. I have always known that Martin and Sir Ian gave astonishing performances and Richard made a good fist of Thorin but found myself frustrated by so much which jarred and made me turn aside.

The editing of the chariot sequence was perfectly judged and simply advanced the story and the interaction between Legolas, Thorin and Kili was brilliantly done (though in the latter case I think your film showed me the same truth I found you could tell the tale with just the heir and give that one heir a really powerful counterpoint without intruding on Dwalin and Ballin). In the end Thorin was only witness to one death and that was enough to move the themes forward.

The best compliment I can think of right now is I cannot wait to watch this work again which just goes to show for me hiding inside the published films was "my film" making me able to appreciate all the effort of Wellington and the actors in the years ahead.

Finally for now I would also say this edit communicates a love of Tolkien and good film making principles rather than displaying personal prejudices and an alternative agenda which try to deny what the film makers over arching objectives were when they began which was place Bilbo transformational journey in its geo political context and tell on the page what happened to Gandalf.

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


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Aug 2 2017, 7:46pm

Post #12 of 28 (4055 views)
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Have you seen the 'Maple edit'? [In reply to] Can't Post

The 'Maple edit' is probably the best-received re-cut of Jackson's Hobbit films up to now, attempting to be as faithful as possible to the original book. Of course there are some difficulties that are impossible to overcome entirely due to the limitations caused by what was shot and what was left out or changed (sometimes radically changed). I'm sure that you were faced with the same issues. What are your thoughts on that version?

For the record, I should state that I have never watched the Maple cut.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.” -- The Doctor

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Aug 2 2017, 7:48pm)


DuBekar
Rivendell


Aug 3 2017, 12:21pm

Post #13 of 28 (4016 views)
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Send me a PM [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey, i really like to check it out :) Could you send me a link=?

" Why, O people of Noldor! Fëanor cried. Why should we longer serve the jealous Valar, who cannot keep us nor even their own realm secure from their enemy? And though he be now their foe, are not they and he of one kin? Vengence calls me hence, but even were it otherwise I would not dwell longer in the same land with the kin of my father's slayer and of the thief of treasure. Yet i am not the only valiant in this valiant people. And have ye not all lost your King? And what else have ye not lost, cooped here in a narrow land between the mountains and the sea? Here once was light, that the Valar begrudged to middle-earth, but now dark levels all. Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the thankless sea? Or shall we return to our home? In cuiviènen sweet ran the waters under uncloaded stars, and wide lands lay about, where a free people might walk. There they lie still and await us who in out folly forsook them. Come away! Let the cowards keep this city!"


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 3 2017, 12:37pm

Post #14 of 28 (4015 views)
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Not my question but [In reply to] Can't Post

O-S. I am familiar with Maple Films version and unsurprisingly as it was completed by a professional editor from within the industry at a micro level it is of the very highest standard.

However the over arching agenda of the Maple Films Edit is to make a film of the book whereas the edit produced by the thread starter accepts the intent of the film makers and aims to recreate the two film vision. So with the Maple vision there is a sense of expunging and exorcism of unwanted elements whereas this edit is more relaxed and simply focuses on taking advantage of the original structure, ensuring at a micro level it is tonally consistent and raising the story telling values at the expense of action.

Sometimes when I am cooking I remove one element of the recipe and the remaining elements suddenly grow beyond there just being there. That is what has happened here just the absence of certain sub elements gives the key elements a lift up.

The editor of the Maple Films used a word which outside of fandom is a very powerful driver of artistic decisions - fatigue.

If you say to a fan who is an obsessive hobbyist we streamlined the story so it is more engaging and avoids viewer fatigue they really do not relate to it and why should someone who watches the material countless number of times.

Both edits have a desire to avoid this issue of fatigue and for myself who loves and relates to the entire artistic experience it is most welcome. In music in theatre leaving the audience wanted more rather than indulging them has always worked in the past why certain creative people think they can break that rule seems odd to me.

Finally there is one very substantial difference between the two the treatment of the necromancer sub plot. In the Maple edit It is separated out and removed from the main film whereas this edit restores it to the two film vision which gives it back its sense of urgency and revelation and puts Gandalf ahead of the curve rather than behind it. .

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


LordGawain
Rivendell


Aug 3 2017, 5:26pm

Post #15 of 28 (3997 views)
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Exactly [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
O-S. I am familiar with Maple Films version and unsurprisingly as it was completed by a professional editor from within the industry at a micro level it is of the very highest standard.

However the over arching agenda of the Maple Films Edit is to make a film of the book whereas the edit produced by the thread starter accepts the intent of the film makers and aims to recreate the two film vision. So with the Maple vision there is a sense of expunging and exorcism of unwanted elements whereas this edit is more relaxed and simply focuses on taking advantage of the original structure, ensuring at a micro level it is tonally consistent and raising the story telling values at the expense of action.

Sometimes when I am cooking I remove one element of the recipe and the remaining elements suddenly grow beyond there just being there. That is what has happened here just the absence of certain sub elements gives the key elements a lift up.

The editor of the Maple Films used a word which outside of fandom is a very powerful driver of artistic decisions - fatigue.

If you say to a fan who is an obsessive hobbyist we streamlined the story so it is more engaging and avoids viewer fatigue they really do not relate to it and why should someone who watches the material countless number of times.

Both edits have a desire to avoid this issue of fatigue and for myself who loves and relates to the entire artistic experience it is most welcome. In music in theatre leaving the audience wanted more rather than indulging them has always worked in the past why certain creative people think they can break that rule seems odd to me.

Finally there is one very substantial difference between the two the treatment of the necromancer sub plot. In the Maple edit It is separated out and removed from the main film whereas this edit restores it to the two film vision which gives it back its sense of urgency and revelation and puts Gandalf ahead of the curve rather than behind it. .

Thank you, you have clearly understood my intent when watching the films. I indeed did not set out to create a version that was as faithful to the novel as possible with the given material. I instead tried to construct two films that balanced three characteristics:
1. a good, well-balanced set of films, evenly paced and accessible.
2. a truthful adaptation of the Hobbit, extended with and truthful to Tolkien lore.
3. two films that in visual and editing style resemble the Lord of the Rings trilogy, creating a set 5 films.

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Aug 3 2017, 6:51pm

Post #16 of 28 (3988 views)
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Thanks for the reminder. [In reply to] Can't Post

It is indeed worth remembering that you had your own goals and weren't attempting the same effect as the 'Maple cut'. I imagine that you did have it a little easier in some ways, though your edit was probably just as challenging in others.

In the end, I think that Peter Jackson became enamored with the symmetry of a pair of trilogies. The Warner Bros. execs were doubtless looking at the prospect of a Hobbit trilogy with dollar signs in their eyes.

"Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand is where I fall.” -- The Doctor


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 3 2017, 9:17pm

Post #17 of 28 (3983 views)
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My daughters view [In reply to] Can't Post

One of the strange pieces of serendipity is my daughter who attended the Hobbit viewings each year at the BFI IMAX theatre with me has returned from New Zealand after a nine month journey of discovery including a visit to Mata mata !

I asked her after watching Gathering for her initial impression and even though her memories are almost five years old she said the pacing was much better and she felt much more engaged. The other element was confusion in that so much of what is included is only part of the extended editions, which she has never seen and yet are crucial to the story telling.

Next week I will work through a more detailed critique. What I find absolutely fascinating is that given you were dealing with a fixed tradition (what was filmed) and I had the luxury in prose of going outside of that your edit was driven to make the same broad adjustments.

To deal with just the first one :-

You concluded the journey to Rivendell should hold on to its sense of innocence and the jeopardy should retain a sense of whimsy (The Trolls) and the start up of the necromancer storyline should begin from a whimsical point of view Radagast BUT crucially a more seriously portrayed Radagast.

This allows for the original intention of GDT that Bilbo's journey would be more about a loss of innocence rather than be crowded out by Thorin's antagonism towards Rivendell and warg packs west of the mountains. It also helps focus the narrative on the key element, obtaining help with the deciphering of the map. The company were always going to Imladris, so any circumspection is complication without any pay off.

This final point is a crucial learning point for me. You can add depth and motivation to characterisation and give the protagonist and antagonists more weight and purpose to their actions providing more meaning to the story you are telling but if you add conflict for its own sake, bending a straight line in the narrative, you are effectively wandering off and the audience will do the same consciously or subconsciously. Equally if you add complication to a narrative that has already been designed and works you can undermine the supremacy of the key themes which pre existed.

Your treatment of the narrative from Bag End to Rivendell is a straight line introducing just one other parallel story along the way which links at Rivendell and then moves naturally with real pace itself, before resolving at the end of the film bringing all the strands together in a moment of thundering revelation. As a result that divergence is viewed as a natural tributary in the story telling which in your treatment flows naturally to its conclusion in one film.

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


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

Aug 4 2017, 4:09am

Post #18 of 28 (3969 views)
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Where is the link? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, I would be very much interested in seeing your edit, but I am not finding any link in this thread.


LordGawain
Rivendell


Aug 4 2017, 10:36am

Post #19 of 28 (3959 views)
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forbidden [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks, I would be very much interested in seeing your edit, but I am not finding any link in this thread.


Linking to the fan-edit is forbidden on this forum. I've sent you a private message with the info.

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 6 2017, 6:10pm

Post #20 of 28 (3889 views)
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More Detailed Thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

The Opening - To I am going on an adventure.

Structural

To transform the Hobbit to LOTR values requires a Grand Context to the retelling which you quite correctly recognised was crucial to lifting the story toward the LOTR and retained it.

You had to accept the dichotomy provided by the source material that whilst this was the world of the LOTR the atmosphere and way the story of the party of Bag End is told owes much more to the book (something which Sir Peter recognised and changed for the second and third films) with one or two awkward attempts to give it gravitas by referencing the meeting of the seven envoys and dain in an oddly negative light.

Probably the best element was Thranduil you kept in the jewels and his turning away so the gun was loaded and ready for later in the film. Like a number of elements having all that in one film was a huge get.

Atmosphere

In the end what makes it work is the stellar work from Sir Ian and Martin. What you left out had no bearing on the story and got us to the next stage that much quicker. Sometimes editing involved leaving out things which in themselves worked at a modular level but are "not necessary' and other times they didn't work. Cutting Frodo down but not out was one of the latter examples. You left in the market shopping but not the gag that added to the sense of Bilbo the safe domestic creature and was not mere expansion for its own sake. It told us something about him.

Frogmorton to Rivendell

Structure

I have really dealt with this but for completion retaining the innocence of Eriador and thereby Bilbo until after Rivendell was a great improvement and of course by cutting out Thorins multiple grievance narrative the story moves along with much more pace.

Atmosphere

Bilbo and the company are moderately tested and deal with the vaudeville of the Trolls, keeping that gentleness going, and yet we now have hints of old dangers all of which appears more clearly communicated rather than be undermined as a distant threat through the sudden appearance of wargs and orc pack and an Elven company of warriors. You keep the threat at a distance which will gradually over the course of the movie get closer and closer. For me that works beautifully developing an increasing sense of terror and danger which Galadriel warns all about. We will have trolls and goblins Yes but the real threat The Nine, Azog and Sauron are revealed with maxim dramatic value at the right time ..more of that later.

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


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 6 2017, 7:12pm

Post #21 of 28 (3877 views)
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Rivendell to Beorn [In reply to] Can't Post

Structure.

Your source material was about an unending change of gears. Tension- Set Piece Danger/Release- Escape/ Exposition - Reconciliation which is then repeated all again before Unexpected finishes. Once you get past the prologue the same thing happens again when the second movie starts.. Set Piece Danger/Escape/Exposition.

The really key movements in the story which you identify are :-

1) The revelation of the High Fells coming quickly after Galadriel's conversation.

2) Bilbo's doubt, then the finding of the ring and Bilbo's resolve.

3) Entering Wilderland and the increased sense of danger. This is the undiscovered country.

So you go Capture/Escape (mercifully self disciplined)/part reconciliation then entering Wilderland and the first major challenge intro Azog/exposition Azog/dash to Beorns and stop.

Put simply there is no repetition the pace is good but variable.

Atmosphere

Reducing the Dwarven narrative to "rescued by Gandalf" has a huge benefit to Bilbos's, he has had the life changing meeting with Gollum whose ending is cleverly interspersed with the Dwarves escape, ensuring Bilbo is the central narrative with the Dwarves as texture. His appearance feels more organic and then everyone can relax and we move to Azog. Your reinterpretation of the Black Speech through out was an excellent way of reframing the drama and you use it to good effective here to place the Warg Pack on the East side of the mountains. The Battle of Azanulbizar with Thrain fits perfectly builds on Gandalf's remarks at the White Council and we have our key antagonist who in this reading comes across as cleverer and more successful until he reaches the climax of the story at the Ravenhill. The endless failed chases are a welcome absence and of course you quite correctly keep the Necromancer story at the right pitch -its constantly there but a mystery.

Then once the company wake up we have our fun moments with Beorn fully represented before leaving.

For me this section is rich in story, offers genuine variety of atmosphere and establishes a very firm base from which to complete the first film.

Brave Decision -The removal of Out of the frying pan into the fire

Some will argue this is the classic failing of trying to self consciously reduce the timings of the films (actually you are not its about structural benefits).

However there is a very important legitimacy in leaving out the Eagles. In the book the Eagles rescue the company and get them out of harms way. They never see a Goblin until the battle of five armies. In this LOTR knowing world for the Eagles to drop them and Azog immediately restart the chase makes no sense. If you look at all of the Eagle Interventions across all three ages from the rescue of Beren and Luthien they take their charges to relative safety.

With the introduction of Azog and his packs of Wargs and battalions of Orcs the Eagles do not fit with that narrative. There has to be the safe house of Beorn in the films.

Note

I recognised the issue but dealt with this is in my prose formulation in a different way. I felt it was more texturally accurate that Sauron's unholy alliance with Bolg was hidden and that Bolg only acted covertly at this stage and only marches on the mountain once the dragon is dead which of course for different reasons echoes the book. I prefer the notion that Sauron and his allies are not yet ready to declare themselves with packs of wargs and orcs dashing hither and thither.

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


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 7 2017, 6:13pm

Post #22 of 28 (3825 views)
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Beorn To Bard [In reply to] Can't Post

As I wish to produce a series of entries which like your edit focus on the essentials I want to make three quick points :-

1) The colour grading is superb and brilliantly harmonised across the first film which covers two different aesthetics. It has that sense of the ancient that stood the LOTR movies in such good stead.

2) I am not going to micro analysis and comment on the many short edits you have made which revolve around matters of taste. Suffice to say I have never met you, have no idea where you come from, and yet your view on these matters is entirely the same as mine. The effect is to subtley alter the atmosphere of the story telling, making it more grave, but still with some delightful lighter moments.

3) Only when it is really significant will I make a point about the moments when you have no option but to go with what is there. I have mentioned one the tone of the party which belongs with the book rather than a LOTR like make over.

Structure and Atmosphere

If I may I will start with a no alternative moment. The severing of the company, One only needs to think of the LOTR and its moments of separation to realise how underpowered this scene is. It needs more tension and much more of a jolt than a cloud insert of Galadriel and having myself tramped into so many forests in New Zealand surely this could have been added to a location shoot. Moving on.

Bilbo and the Dwarves are yet to reach the point where the nature of their relationship changes, as GDT described the ending of the first film, so to use the full potential of the Mirkwood sequence makes sense. Thorin letting off an arrow at the Stag is a moment of tension between Bilbo and Thorin and the entire company leave the path completely ignoring Bilbo, both these moments overlooking Bilbo and his view fit, as the final and complete rapprochment lies in the future. Bilbo maintains his own momentum through his growing association with the ring a separate and secret relationship from the Dwarves. But somehow because you know Thorin and Bilbo are not yet reconciled the uneasy alliance between them gives this section heart.

The sense that the company is wading through treacle is fully exploited and the idea they are tripping is kept to a minimum whereas the dank dark atmospheric forest is given full reign.

The edit dwells less on the Dwarves and more on Bilbo and he is more prominent in their rescue with the fighting kept to an absolute minimum. The Wood Elves are the Moriquendi of the Silmarillion familiarity and overt displays of modern feelings are avoided.

The main Elven characters are not allowed to hi jack the story and you keep the hierarchy of story telling values on point but equally do not edit out something for ideological reasons. The Co leads of Thranduil's son and the Captain of the Guard function for the story ...not the other way round.

The benefit again is Bilbo and his actions which leads to their escape.

The set piece of the barrels is retained.This is exactly the right moment after judicious use of action to let it run on in an entertaining flourish as the plot reaches its conclusion. Nevertheless it is edited more tightly so we remain engaged.

This section stops to introduce the interrogation of Narzug. I have always suspected this was deliberately introduced as a gift to the sub plot with its illusions to what in a few moments time was to lead to the reveal in the Palantir.

And so once Bard's apocryphal silhouette appears above Ori we move to the denouement of the sub plot.

Everything is there perhaps some editing of Gandalf moving around. We have been building to this remorselessly. Thrain has been properly established and his mystery set. We know there is a necromancer whom Saruman has dismissed as a conjurer, whereas Radagast and Galadriel believe it maybe the enemy. Beorn knows there is a link between Azog and the Necromancer. But at this point nothing is certain we have not seen Azog since the night at Beorn and the Necromancer remains hidden.

Gandalf moves in to establish the truth which the audience can only guess at. So first Thrain who reveals all. Perfectly judged performances to deal with the gravitas of this revelation between theses two superb Shakespearean actors where their performance are justly the climax of the first film. Gandalf knows his first priority now is to escape but Azog reveals himself and the harrowing chase is one leading down to Thrain's death, the burning of the staff and the final reveal and then silence .....and Ed's beautiful song. Absolutely mesmerising use of the material had me clapping the first time.

Points of detail.

I felt Beorn and Gandalfs final elements of conversation, over explaining the detail for the DOS structure, could have been left out or edited down Gandalf knows the truth of the High Fells. Its crucial I think to avoid this notion of Gandalf as the stupid old man we need him to act ahead of the curve and be on the same level as the audience or in front, certainly not behind with a sense of irony.

The titles include actors yet to appear. I know you made changes to the music for the titles of the second film do you consider the titles off limits ?

Bravo fantastic first film you have given the Hobbit back to me.

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


LordGawain
Rivendell


Aug 13 2017, 10:05am

Post #23 of 28 (3664 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you for taking the time to write this feedback. It really means a lot to me, and is very interesting to read!

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 15 2017, 5:48pm

Post #24 of 28 (3445 views)
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Bard to Smaug's demise [In reply to] Can't Post

Structure

My immediate reaction to the Prancing Pony was "ah he has put this in because its such a beautiful section.. but its not relevant".

However I then began to realise it actually works better than in its original placement and I was struggling to work out why. It is because the story is so much more advanced and has achieved one of its key story summits. So we feel rather than it cuts across the narrative and make you think "How much narrative have we received" and place a value on it, you actually have a sense of looking back at this legendary start point.

Placing the mystery of coming to Lake Town at a start point and then going for a faster cut was always going to work, thats how it was intended. The whole section has a sense of revealing new vistas and cultures and works well. The other major structural change and benefit is we resolve the Dol Gulder plot before we get down to the core scene of Bilbo/Smaug and that gives everything its appropriate relative importance. Its like OK Saruman's out the way now on to Sauron except its now the not ready Sauron is out the way on to Smaug. I loved your Black Speech translations and Azog's departure with his army reminded me of Sarumans army before the Ents with the three about to appear.

Its really important for me to love the Dol Gulder material and apart from the formation line up of the nine behind Sauron I was invested. I loved the real performance of Conan it made the threat and intimacy of the moment real.

So we move to the mountain all of this feels more focused because we close out narrative threads and only check in on Bard and his arc for obvious reasons.

Bilbo/Smaug is one of those reasons why the films caused so much comment three years ago it is mesmerising it is just its surrounded by and undermined by extensions all of which you set aside.

Editing the attack was hard, I know exactly what you were trying to do. You kept the story straight, there are some Dwarves they need to be seen and escape and what you demonstrate is it was a simple story. A dragon runs amok and is slain redeeming the line of Girion whilst the Master skulks off. But the money is all in the dragon coming in like a 747 on Bard.

No Option but to go with it.

So then on to Thorin. I will not risk the life/the arkenstone challenge did you find it /the obsessive taking no notice of his sister sons fate whilst Laketown burns.

That was the best you could achieve with the material but in amongst all the sound and fury was a chance to really explore Thorins descent outside the door to that moment of obsession and give his descent some real weight..

As Richard said I wish someone could have explained the Dragon Sickness to me and that they had no plan for the Dwarves and Smaug at the end of block three according to Phillippa, meant the answer was driven by structural necessity.

Some thing life changing and pure Tolkien was required its there in the book, and in a centuries old conflict between a Dragon and a Legend and it would have followed Bilbo/Smaug and complimented it the psychopath taunts one with gilt the other he bewitches. The Dragon emerges leaving a gilt ridden Bilbo and finds Thorin, shamed by Balin going in to help, stood defiantly before the hidden door and like Glaurung bewitches his victim rather than killing him and then departs.

Atmosphere

I noticed the music a good deal more, the details of the nine and their sense of being from far flung places and different more exotic cultures ensnared by the Dark Lord.. Alfred is not as amusing as he appeared three years ago with the passage of time the hamming it up with Stephen becomes more noticeable. I loved the entrance to Erebor and Ken always delivered in spades.

Put simply I did not miss anything (what did I miss I cannot remember, that means you told the essential story) I was marginally distracted (like the last two rings movies) and felt the story knew what it was.

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 Aug 15 2017, 5:58pm)


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Aug 17 2017, 10:09pm

Post #25 of 28 (3321 views)
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Smaug to Bag End [In reply to] Can't Post

I see this period in three distinct phases.

1) Smaug's demise to Dain's arrival.

2) Hostilities until Thorin faces Azog on the Ice.

3) The Death of Azog to the End.


1) Structure

As the sub plot is much more advanced and various strands are reduced or removed the sense of all converging on the mountain is very exciting and full of tension. Bard is the heir of Girion and moves out of the water and up to Erebor with the minimum of fuss as Thranduil joins him. Gandalf via Rhosgobel, the dash North and "where are these legions Mithrandir" fits beautifully with your remodelled meeting between Azog and Bolg and once again the Black Speech dialogue is a vast improvement. It is a simple case of timing and less is more.

2) Structure

This is by far the hardest part of the entire narrative to bring into line with the rest of your vision.

Undoubtably the greatest success is the narrowing of the tone so it is consistent. There are no "head in my hands" moments but you cannot entirely escape the convulsion and over complication, so to actually make it easy to follow is an achievement in itself. Why certain things happen at a strategic deployment level just has to be part of the suspension. However by cutting quickly and keeping the pace up the tension overcomes the endless random appearances and unassailably large number of the enemy. You let the Thranduil thread wither with that "I have had enough of this accursed land" and because you focus where the real story lies that kind of choice doesn't leave you wanting "or where did that go". The introduction of the Bard/Bilbo acorn scene with the latter's hyperventilated emotionalism gives Bards eventual ending the very best presentation from the source material.

However what is absolutely brilliantly achieved is the chariot scene and choreographing of the Fili,KIli, Legolas Thorin baton hand off. I have seen this latter viciously cut and it does not work but this does. Though as I have said elsewhere, you convince me one nephew would be enough to support Thorin's story of family grief.

Essentially in these highly controversial scenes where you are trying to refocus on the crucial your priority is flow rather than ideology and I am sure thats right, we notice hard cuts but withering or reducing to cameos not at all.

Because of the convulsion and roaming around multiple stories and battle locations its really easy for me to become fatigued and lose interest but I do not and thats more important than cutting in jokes about stone street. I will only make one direct and hard critique of the source material in this entire review but their are some absolute howlers in this phase of the movie I remember, which are not in.

Atmosphere.

I only want to make one aesthetic point .For a reason I do not understand, as with all your edit, the music sounds more memorable and nowhere is that more true than in this section the sense of grandeur and pathos (the mess of war) really cuts through more powerfully, is that to a consequence of not being fatigued ?

I will complete the final section 3 tomorrow which is one peak after another and a transcendent ending.

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

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