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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Video Essay - A Long Expected Autopsy
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TheHutt
Gondor


Apr 24, 8:51am

Post #26 of 43 (1252 views)
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The series was interesting, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but felt rather overblown, like butter spread over too much bread. Wink

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TheHutt
Gondor


Apr 24, 8:53am

Post #27 of 43 (1254 views)
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Del Toro's vision gets romanticized too much, I feel [In reply to] Can't Post

I doubt his zombie mumakil would meet with much acceptance.

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Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 24, 3:12pm

Post #28 of 43 (1237 views)
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Perhaps, but... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Del Toro's vision gets romanticized too much, I feel


...not by me. I'm sure I would have had my own problems with his vision as well. As already mentioned: Trolls folding into armored balls? Thorin's helm of thorns? And that's only the most obvious examples.


In Reply To
I doubt his zombie mumakil would meet with much acceptance.


I don't remember reading about zombie oliphaunts before; that'a a new one on me! Laugh Mainly what I'd like to see now is a good look at the alleged 6-foot tall maquette of del Toro's Smaug.

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

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 24, 3:15pm)


Oscarilbo
Lorien


Apr 26, 8:58pm

Post #29 of 43 (1185 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

As someone says "If a film goes well "GREAT DIRECTOR" is a movie doesn't goes well "*bleep* THE STUDIO"...

LOTR ALSO had a great number of demands... maybe even the same amount or maybe even more. But no one says anything about it because the movies went overwhelmingly well. That's a bit hypocritical.

I loved the Hobbit movies and I think they never supposed to be better than LOTR.. they shouldn't have been and I'm grateful they didn't

"The World is Changed, I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air"

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Apr 26, 10:46pm)


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 11, 8:57pm

Post #30 of 43 (1043 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Del Toro's vision gets romanticized too much, I feel


...not by me. I'm sure I would have had my own problems with his vision as well. As already mentioned: Trolls folding into armored balls? Thorin's helm of thorns? And that's only the most obvious examples..


Yep. Del Toro's production design, while unique and interesting, is much more hightened and wouldn't work as well for this series, I think.

As for the web "essays" themselves: I know Lindsay's work very well, but I don't agree with many of her opinions, these films included. It should be said that more than critiquing films, nowadays she mostly looks as sociological issues (feminism, male gaze, yada yada) through film, so its not like she's some kind of authority. Even here she talks more about laws surrounding the films than she does the narrative itself.

Her main criticism is that the trilogy serves two functions, which she claims are at odds with each other: one being the story of The Hobbit, the other being a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. She claims the two are inherently incongorous in terms of tone and scale.

Where this argument falls apart, to my mind, is that if fails to acknowledge that the story being told isn't that of The Hobbit, per se: its that of the appendix Durin's Folk. Yes, Jackson takes a lot of the individual setpieces and plot points from the pages of The Hobbit, but the actual substance of the adaptation - the narrative thrust - is derived from Durin's Folk.

Durin's Folk, being a Dwarven story, does evoke a a much more grim story, and one that lends itself to being more grandly-scaled. In short: its more like The Lord of the Rings. That's not a Jackson-ism or a studio dictation: its straight from Tolkien's vision.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 11, 9:00pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

May 11, 9:15pm

Post #31 of 43 (1040 views)
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Erm yes [In reply to] Can't Post

That’s the issue many had with the films... they became less and less about the Hobbit. Not really sure how that counterpoint dismantles her point. She wasn’t criticizing the films’ reverence of Tolkien or lack thereof.

A sociological perspective also amounts to much more than feminism, the male gaze, or whatever yada yada means. It’s an accredited field with a valuable perspective.


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 11, 9:24pm

Post #32 of 43 (1038 views)
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Durin's Folk is better than The Hobbit [In reply to] Can't Post

What I mean is that she doesn't have a whole lot of meaningful criticism of the narrative itself. Certainly not something that we haven't heard before. I like to separate the product from the production just as much as I separate the art from the artist (I'm Jewish and I love Mel Gibson films, for instance), so I just don't care about her rambling on The Hobbit law. It strikes me as her scraping the bottom of the barrel.

As for the story becoming less and less "The Hobbit" - I just don't care. I like it better as an adaptation of "Durin's Folk" which is what it really is. That this appendix, which was so instrumental to this adaptation, merited no mention in Lindsay's languid essays, tells me all that I need to know about her mindset regarding criticising this trilogy.

When I first sat down to watch An Unexpected Journey, it was a long time since I've laid eyes on The Hobbit; what I was reading quite often, though, was The Lord of the Rings. And I always found the appendix "Durin's Folk" so enthraling: it was grand, and grim, and it gave me such an evocative peek into Thorin's mindset leading into the undertaking of the quest of Erebor.

Within but a few minutes into the film, I understood that Jackson was adaptating that piece of Tolkien, first, and The Hobbit, second, and I just rode with it.

Later I learned that Jakcson himself only read The Hobbit after having read The Lord of the Rings, so it stands to reason that his vision for the book would be heavily informed by Durin's Folk.

This is a Dwarvish story, and its all the better for it! Thorin and the Dwarves are better characters! And while making this story about them imbues the films the scale and grim nature of the Lord of the Rings, it also differs from it with regards to the characters' motivation: This isn't about saving the world (Frodo's story), or discovering one's courage (Bilbo's), but about restoring one's place in the world. Its bordering on modern patriotism.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 11, 9:30pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

May 11, 10:09pm

Post #33 of 43 (1029 views)
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Great points [In reply to] Can't Post

But the point remains: there are two fundamentally different narratives at work in Jackson’s trilogy, with no center to unite the two strands. Frodo is the heart of his trilogy, but Bilbo is frankly irrelevant to much of his.


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 11, 10:27pm

Post #34 of 43 (1027 views)
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But Thorin isn't [In reply to] Can't Post

This is Thorin's trilogy. Its his story, and its his decisions which drive the plot forward at its most critical junctions. That's not like The Hobbit but very much like Durin's Folk. As long it *is* derived from Tolkien's writings, it can't be accused of being a bad adaptation.

Yes, there are other subplots, as well, but they all connect back to the story of Thorin and the Dwarves.

1. The Woodland Elves subplots are clearly very deeply linked: both through Tauriel's infatuation with Kili and Thranduil's grievances with the Dwarves. Legolas involvement, while it often smacks of fan-service, is a good means to keep Thranduil in the loop of the plot, rather than having him suddenly show up in the Battle.

2. The Dol Guldur subplot ties back, by making Sauron the perpetrator of the battle of the Five Armies. While its not like how Tolkien wrote it, it is consistent with the way he envisioned the connection to the war of the ring. In "Durin's Folk", Tolkien explains that, had the Battle of the Five Armies been won by the Orcs, it would have served Saruon's interests all the same, and would have just about guaranteed his victory in the War of the Ring. So to make him the actual initator of the battle is not such a big change, and one that really distills Tolkien's intetion to a new audience.

3. Bard's subplot exists mostly to serve as a counterweight to Thorin's. That's another great thing about the motivation of Thorin and the company, especially compared to that of The Fellowship: While theirs is nevertheless a noble cause, its far more provinical, and therefore can be challenged and subverted, and that's Bard's function in the story. One of my favorite things is about The Desolation of Smaug is that it constructs the argument between Thorin and Bard such that Bard's point doesn't come across a strawman on the part of the film: first, by letting us know him, his family and his town and making him sympathetic; second, by not having Thorin himself rebuttle Bard, but rather giving that to the clearly-corrupt Master of Laketown, and have him do so with little more than handwaving. It instantly makes you think: "Well, Bard kinda has a point", which is very unsettling.

Also, these subplots really don't take that much from the main story. One of the things I found notewhorty about the editing of the later two films is that - while they both dabble in multiple storylines - prior to the climax of each film, rather than pile the subplots one over each other (an all-to-often choice in filmmaking, which always smacks me of inconfident storytelling), Jackson strips them away one by one. The finale of The Desolation of Smaug is edited such that each subplot:

a) is alloted no more than two segues from the main story before it concludes.
b) can only be told once the previous subplot had concluded.

Likewise, Legolas' fight with Bolg is allowed to conclude in its entirety before Thorin can fight Azog, and even the scene with Dwalin trying to save Thorin was wisely cut, so that the climax will be strictly about Thorin.

Where is all of this in Lindsay's "fair shake"? That's right, nowhere.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 11, 10:39pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 11, 10:45pm

Post #35 of 43 (1015 views)
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But is it a good adaptation of 'The Hobbit'? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is Thorin's trilogy. Its his story, and its his decisions which drive the plot forward at its most critical junctions. That's not like The Hobbit but very much like Durin's Folk. As long it *is* derived from Tolkien's writings, it can't be accused of being a bad adaptation.

Yes, there are other subplots, as well, but they all connect back to the story of Thorin and the Dwarves.


That would be all well and good if the blanket title for this trilogy was The Quest of Erebor. However, it is not; this is still called The Hobbit. It's great that Thorin is portrayed as more of a leader and that we get much more of the history of the Dwarves of Erebor, but the main focus should still be Bilbo Baggins, the titular character and the 'everyman' to which the audience should be able to relate. I disagree with those who say that Bilbo gets lost in his own story here, but he is a bit overshadowed by Jackson's ensemble approach.

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


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 11, 10:50pm

Post #36 of 43 (1010 views)
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And, because this is cinema... [In reply to] Can't Post

Thorin's story and that of the Dwarves in general merits the most purely cinematic moments of storytelling in the trilogy: whereas Bilbo's key scenes are often dialogue-heavy, when the Dwarves behold Erebor across the misty lake, its completely wordless.

And, in regards to Bard serving a counterweight to Thorin, so too is the moment in which he realizes who Thorin is. We see Luke Evans in a close-up, and than the camera moves to show the mountain and we know, just through the reveal, that Bard has a realization.

Another moment is when we cut from Bard recieving the ill Kili to a stoic Thorin arriving at the slopes of Erebor. The juxtaposition immediately tells us that reclaiming Erebor has overriden his care for Kili (his nephew, as were told just prior), and the same will soon happen with Bilbo.


In Reply To
That would be all well and good if the blanket title for this trilogy was The Quest of Erebor. However, it is not; this is still called The Hobbit. It's great that Thorin is portrayed as more of a leader and that we get much more of the history of the Dwarves of Erebor, but the main focus should still be Bilbo Baggins, the titular character and the 'everyman' to which the audience should be able to relate. I disagree with those who say that Bilbo gets lost in his own story here, but he is a bit overshadowed by Jackson's ensemble approach.


The title "The Lord of the Rings" refers to Sauron, but it isn't his story, now, is it? Hell, many would argue that it isn't even about Frodo, but about Sam. Frodo is, in their mind at least, a "false protagonist."

The same is true of Bilbo here. Its a well-established storytelling choice, even just within Tolkien's body of work: for instance, Beren is the false protagonist of "Beren and Luthien."

I like it more as Thorin's story, anyway.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 11, 10:58pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 12, 12:12am

Post #37 of 43 (990 views)
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That is a false comparison. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The title "The Lord of the Rings" refers to Sauron, but it isn't his story, now, is it? Hell, many would argue that it isn't even about Frodo, but about Sam. Frodo is, in their mind at least, a "false protagonist."

The same is true of Bilbo here. Its a well-established storytelling choice, even just within Tolkien's body of work: for instance, Beren is the false protagonist of "Beren and Luthien."


Except that in the case of The Hobbit it all started with the line: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." and Tolkien tells the story primarily from Bilbo's point of view with only a few exceptions. It is the tale of Bilbo Baggins' adventure with a band of dwarves; the hobbit is the central character of the book. It was Peter Jackson's decision, not Tolkien's, to make Thorin a co-leading character, though Tolkien's development of Thorin does take a more serious and sophisticated turn in the final chapters of the book when the Dwarf-lord becomes obsessed with the Arkenstone and falls victim to dragon-sickness. If Jackson had done no more than try to match this tone throughout the three films, I think there would have been fewer complaints from Tolkienphiles.


In Reply To
I like it more as Thorin's story, anyway.


And there is nothing wrong with that.

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


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 12, 8:56am

Post #38 of 43 (973 views)
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It *is* the Hobbit, re-interperated using "Durin's Folk" [In reply to] Can't Post

Jackson says as much in the Behind the Scenes material. While I have focused about Thorin and I do think one can construct the argument that he is the actual protagonist, Bilbo is hardly irrelevant to the plot.

I seem to recall that Lindsay made a big point out of the Bilbo/Thorin dynamic being pushed through the paces in order to artificially provide closure to the first film, only to than regress. I, again, disagree. Its a known Jackson-ism: they talk about it numerous times in the commentary to The Lord of the Rings, especially in regards to Theoden: how they would have a character develop and than regress.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


May 12, 1:44pm

Post #39 of 43 (952 views)
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The Hobbit + Durin's Folk + new material [In reply to] Can't Post

You are making a rebuttal to a statement that I never made. I never claimed that the films were not still, essentially The Hobbit; I stated that Bilbo's role is lessened by comparison by placing more emphasis on Thorin and other characters. Yes, that is largely by including material from "Durin's Folk" in Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings. However, Jackson added a fair amount of material that is wholly original to the films, diluting Bilbo's footprint even further.

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


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 12, 1:51pm

Post #40 of 43 (949 views)
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Fair, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

Its all too easy to make too much out of these additional sideplots. They really don't detract too much from the main story.

And the editing never loses itself in these sideplots. Its never unclear what the main story is.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 12, 1:51pm)


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

May 13, 3:46am

Post #41 of 43 (912 views)
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Where? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Its a known Jackson-ism: they talk about it numerous times in the commentary to The Lord of the Rings, especially in regards to Theoden: how they would have a character develop and than regress.


Where Jackson says this: in the Appendices or the commentary track (both in the Extended Editions)?


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 13, 8:00am

Post #42 of 43 (894 views)
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Its said in the Return of the King commentary [In reply to] Can't Post

Where Théoden says “it was not Theoden of Rohan who led our people to victory.” Bernard Hill relays that it was the screenwriters’ idea to have his character regress slightly from his big moment in Helm’s Deep; I can’t recall where else they point it out, but it occurs with other characters, as well.


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

May 16, 3:16am

Post #43 of 43 (707 views)
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So... [In reply to] Can't Post

It is in the cast audio commentary?

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