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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Re-evaluating Peter Jackson's The Hobbit
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Feb 24 2018, 2:35pm

Post #26 of 31 (2049 views)
Very nice thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
If this film’s content will have been relegated to the third act of the second of two movies, the theme of turning the adventure tropes on their head, would have probably been less effectively driven home to the audience, I feel.

One minor point- if you reconstruct the two film structure, the death of Smaug at the latest would occur at the midpoint of the film- much like TDK’s Joker capture- but could have even possibly closed out the first act, leaving the middle ground of the film to the meaty political standoff in the valley of Erebor. The subversion was still present and would likely have had more of a payoff, since Smaug’s death would be a climax rather than a preface, more effectively surprising (or exhausting) the audience.


Feb 24 2018, 3:07pm

Post #27 of 31 (2053 views)
Like your others, an excellent post. [In reply to] Can't Post

I meant to respond to your interesting first post but never got around to it. Fundamentally I disagree that these movies are about Thorin rather than Bilbo even though I've always really liked Tolkien's Dwarves. Rather, it seems to me that the eye of the beholder is influencing how you see the movies, that is, you find Thorin more interesting and attractive than Bilbo and inflate his importance. No doubt my bias is influencing my view of the movies too.

I do agree that Thorin is nearly as important as Bilbo and that he drives a good deal of the plot but part of his function is also to be a catalyst for Bilbo's development. Poor Bilbo – he is so unromantic and uncool. He is not a great warrior or tall and handsome, with flowing hair and an air of majesty, nor is he tragically damaged and conflicted. Naturally many eyes, including PJ's, are drawn to Thorin but for me Bilbo is more interesting. His development, from staid everyman to altruistic hero, is the golden heart of these films, IMO. As Legomir said, we also see a good deal of all three films through his eyes and experience the adventures of the Company of Thorin Oakenshield as he does.

That being said, I agree with a good deal of what you said in the OP. You're right that a lot of the changes from the book were done for cinematic reasons and work in that context. It's hard for us book fans, some more than others, to get our heads around that. Peter Jackson needed and probably wanted to make the tale of Bilbo Baggins larger and wider and more complex, and so incorporated the stories of Durin's Folk, the Woodland Elves and Laketown into it. But this trilogy is still The Hobbit, just writ large.

In AUJ, I somewhat disagree about the framing device. I was indifferent to it myself but I believe it was intended to reacquaint and reengage casual movie fans with Middle-earth, those who hadn't read the book or seen LotR fifty times. Just as importantly, it was meant to make it clear that AUJ took place before LotR and was about Bilbo, Frodo’s “uncle”, that minor character from LotR, and not the further adventures of Frodo Baggins. As someone who, as a teenager, read The Hobbit after LotR and was initially disappointed that it was about Bilbo, I get that.

I also sort of disagree about the Troll sequence. I could have done without it but many book fans would have been mighty unhappy if it wasn't included. For them the omission of the talking purse was bad enough. Engaging book fans was important. You are right that the Troll sequence does create a bit of action between the Shire and Rivendell but it also increases everyone but Thorin's appreciation of Bilbo and is the beginning of his personal growth. We also see the fighting skills of these Dwarves, making it clear once and for all that they are not the inept idiots of the book.

As I indicated above, I disagree that DOS is about Thorin, In the first half Bilbo is rather more active than Thorin - the reconnaissance , the Ring, Mirkwood and the spiders, the escape from the Woodland Realm. In the latter half Thorin is more evident but even so Bilbo's personal development and growth continue throughout until he is ready to face the Dragon in those crucial scenes. I liked the confrontation between the Dwarves and Smaug, instead of them just hiding until he went away to attack Laketown, even if it was a bit cheesy at times.

For me the introduction of the Woodland Realm and Laketown and the new characters we meet there are just as interesting as the main story and I always expected all these threads to come together in BOTFA. I too would have preferred the story of Kili and Tauriel to have been one of two young people unencumbered by the prejudices of their elders and drawn to each other on several levels, but without the love talk. Less is sometimes more.

As for BOTFA, I think that the opening sequence with Smaug is fabulous - beautiful visually and aurally – and one of my favourite parts of the trilogy. After that, the term political thriller is apt and it's well executed, IMO. The battle sequences are great and I too like how the climax between Azog and Thorin takes place on sterile and colourless Ravenhill, with almost the only slight colour being the blood on the ice. There I will agree with you that the movie is about Thorin. But for me battles and fighting pall pretty quickly, making BOTFA my least favourite of the three movies by a small degree.

As someone who grew up with special effects consisting of men in monster costumes and model spaceships on strings, I am fine with the CGI of these movies, but I have come to understand why younger folk are not.

One of my major issues with these movies is the Dol Guldur subplot. In AUJ, the meeting of the White Council and so on is great. But I think Gandalf’s visit to the High Fells belongs in AUJ. I would rather have had him go there before rescuing the Dwarves from the Goblins and from then on having it secretly in his mind that he would set the Company safely (as he thought) on the Elven path through Mirkwood and then in DOS go to Dol Guldur with Radagast. For me the way it plays out in DOS with Gandalf's telepathic message or memory of Galadriel's words and abrupt departure is silly and awkward.

While I felt that most of the Dol-Guldur subplot is a bit awkward and its denouement in BOTFA is underwhelming, I believe it needed to be included. However, IMO there was no point in introducing Barrow-wights or some such entities to defend Sauron at Dol Guldur because we already knew the Ringwraiths and how dangerous they were, and bringing in something new would be confusing.

Chen G.

Feb 24 2018, 6:01pm

Post #28 of 31 (2034 views)
Its not a clear-cut thing [In reply to] Can't Post

Part of my reason for emphasizing Thorin is that whenever Peter was being interviewed, as well as in his behind-the-scenes material, he always describes the story of the trilogy as "the Dwarves going to reclaim their homeland." And I think that once the general viewing public sees this trilogy not as a carbon copy of the book but as the story of the Dwarves, they'll find it to be less overwrought and more emotionally resonant.

But you could also read it as Bilbo's story. I've just watched The Battle of the Five Armies, and while I see Thorin's death as the climax, you could argue, from a Bilbo-centric point of view, that the climax is Bilbo admitting "he was my friend."


Feb 25 2018, 2:31am

Post #29 of 31 (1995 views)
The Wight Stuff [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
While I felt that most of the Dol-Guldur subplot is a bit awkward and its denouement in BOTFA is underwhelming, I believe it needed to be included. However, IMO there was no point in introducing Barrow-wights or some such entities to defend Sauron at Dol Guldur because we already knew the Ringwraiths and how dangerous they were, and bringing in something new would be confusing.

I'll admit, the main reason I suggested Wights in Dol Guldur was nostalgia; I always found the Barrow-downs sequence in The Fellowship of the Ring very effective and I was disappointed that Peter Jackson omitted the Barrow-wights from the films.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Feb 27 2018, 4:31am

Post #30 of 31 (1832 views)
Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Very intersting and thought-proving.
Long enough to be thorough, but well-written enough to be clear, neither belaboured nor too condensed.

Thank you!

Chen G.

Feb 27 2018, 2:39pm

Post #31 of 31 (1797 views)
Thank YOU [In reply to] Can't Post

I opened several threads, thinking I would dissect this subject in other ways, but ultimately I decided to do it like this.

The reason I'm replying now is that I came to a realization that - seeing how I already opened a bunch of threads - I'd rather post here.

In analyizing the narrative structure of not just these three films but each of the sextet, and knowing that each trilogy was constructed essentially as one movie, I was able to pinpoint major plot turning points in each trilogy and in the sextet as a whole, and came to the realization that - either by design or the nature of the process - the sextet as a whole has a well-defined and fully-realized narrative structure.

If we consider the overarching story of the six films as the conflict between Sauron and the free people of Middle Earth, than the first turning point would be two-third of the way into The Desolation of Smaug, when new audiences learn that The Necromancer is Sauron and that he is sending an army to Erebor to forward his cause.

The second turning point would be the discovery of the nature of Bilbo's Ring, a couple of minutes into the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring, and the third would be following the low-point of the conflict as Minas Tirith is breached and Frodo is captured by the Orcs.

Well, it suddenly dawned on me that these three turning points not only mark a three-act structure but one that adheres to the convention as to how long each act needs to be, relative to the length of the overall narrative.

Well, the first turning point (end of the first act) happens after five and-a-half hours - about 23% of the way into the narrative - the number vary slightly whether you consider credits or not, or whether you are looking at the theatrical or extended cuts.

The second turning point (the midpoint twist) happens right in between both trilogies, about 42%. Its not quite in the middle of the runtime, but still is very much within the conventional ballpark. The third turning point happens after about 88% of the narrative, again right on point for a third act.

And it does this without the three pequels spoiling anything that is to come before its time. That's unlike any other film series out there. Its incredible.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Feb 27 2018, 2:43pm)

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