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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
What about four movies?
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Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 4, 4:19pm

Post #26 of 50 (10663 views)
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Structure [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I've always thought DOS, my favorite of the trilogy, was structurally wonky. Your take on the act breaks make sense.


By the way, a film can be structurally wonky and still be brilliant. Try and provide a three-act breakdown of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - you just can't. An hour into the film and you've only got the barest semblence of plot. Same with Braveheart, whose impact is deeply felt on these Middle Earth films. Even something like the original Star Wars has a long first-act: 47 minutes, about as long as that of An Unexpected Journey.

I think that speaks well enough to Otaku-sempai's (understandable) apprehension for rules being applied to storytelling.

More than adhere to a three-act structure, I think one needs to adhere to its underlying principles, which aren't stipulations upon storytelling as much as they're inherent to good storytelling. Namely, escalation - the idea that the stakes get higher and higher, the tone more dire, etcetra.


In Reply To
But to the point of the thread: audience and corporate expectations aside, how would you ideally structure a 4-part Hobbit?


I wouldn't know with actually writing a treatment. I like the idea of breaking The Desolation of Smaug around the introduction to Laketown. But at the same time its my favorite of the three, so I wouldn't want it to be chopped up.

Point is, its possible.


lurtz2010
Rohan

Oct 4, 9:08pm

Post #27 of 50 (10633 views)
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What if there was no orc pursuit at all? [In reply to] Can't Post

Would it work to just have the book split into three parts including the White council material? That's the perfect trilogy in my mind but I doubt casual audiences would be satisfied.

Film1 end at the eagles rescue and film2 end with Smaug flying towards Laketown or after his death.

But as I said without the Azog or bolg revenge plot the first two films would just be a series of adventures leading up to film3 with nothing to make them stand on their own except simple character growth.

As for only two films I find it difficult to imagine how that should be done. So much would have to be left out.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 5, 12:04am

Post #28 of 50 (10610 views)
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To Orc or not to Orc [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally, I'd probably be fine without the Orcs chasing the company across Eriador, but others feel they were needed in the films to provide some urgency to the first film. I still don't think that three movies would have been needed, especially with less invented material; though I'm sure that Jackson or many other directors could make it work.

Yes, the episodic nature of the book might not work as well across multiple films. Yet there is still a clear progression as we watch Bilbo's growth and development over the course of his journey.

The only way I could see a four-part film adaptation of The Hobbit work would be if it incorporated the so-called 'bridge film' and included major events leading up to the War of the Ring.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


lurtz2010
Rohan

Oct 5, 12:39am

Post #29 of 50 (10605 views)
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Where would you split a two film adaption? [In reply to] Can't Post

With the barrel escape like pj did? Would you include an orc attack there too or keep it like the book?

So much happens from Bag end up until that point and I just can't see how it could've been done justice in one film.

It's the same with film2, Laketown then Smaug then everything after... there's just so much to cover.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Oct 5, 1:40am

Post #30 of 50 (10599 views)
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It would’ve been paced... [In reply to] Can't Post

...almost exactly like the LOTR trilogy, without anything of substance being cut.

You can find various versions of two-film edits online if you know where to look.


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

Oct 5, 6:12am

Post #31 of 50 (10580 views)
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Why? [In reply to] Can't Post

Because you think the original trilogy wasn't enough Bilbo-centric?


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 5, 8:36am

Post #32 of 50 (10564 views)
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Nah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Yes, the episodic nature of the book might not work as well across multiple films. Yet there is still a clear progression as we watch Bilbo's growth and development over the course of his journey.


Correction: it couldn't work in film, period. Films need to build towards something, and every major setpiece along the way needs to help build directly towards that "something."


In Reply To
The only way I could see a four-part film adaptation of The Hobbit work would be if it incorporated the so-called 'bridge film' and included major events leading up to the War of the Ring.


The idea of a bridge film is kind of misguided, to my mind, because it would have been a film completely lacking self-definition.

I suppose you could make the argument that The Desolation of Smaug is just that, but that film's plot
a) was picked up directly by The Battle of the Five Armies, which wouldn't have been possible with a bridge film to The Lord of the Rings;
b) featured some of the defining moments of The Hobbit as a trilogy: setting foot inside the mountain, the confrontation with Smaug of both Bilbo and the Dwarves, whereas no defining moment in the War of Ring exists between the two trilogies.
c) featured some important character milestones such as Thorin's fervor getting too much for his own good - which again would be difficult to accomplish in a bridge film to The Lord of the Rings.

Besides, The Hobbit trilogy works well enough as a prequel to The Lord of the Rings on its own, that you don't need a bridge film. In the films, The Battle of the Five Armies is essentially part of the War of the Ring. Just about the only thing you don't get to explore is Saruman falling prey to Sauron, the way the diminishment of the Elves comes about, and the reconquest of Moria. Some of those issues can be answered by releasing a revised edition of the sextet with a few minor changes.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 5, 8:40am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 5, 12:26pm

Post #33 of 50 (10533 views)
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My 'Hobbit" Duology [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Where would you split a two film adaption? With the barrel escape like pj did? Would you include an orc attack there too or keep it like the book?

So much happens from Bag end up until that point and I just can't see how it could've been done justice in one film.

It's the same with film2, Laketown then Smaug then everything after... there's just so much to cover.


I would have probably made the split either when the company departs from Beorn's house or at the Eaves of Mirkwood. I'm not sure that I would have placed the formal meeting of the White Council while the company was at Rivendell, though I would have at least shown Gandalf having a secret meeting with Elrond and perhaps some of his folk. My White Council would have probably met after Gandalf left the others at Mirkwood and might have been more inclusive, with Círdan, Glorfindel and perhaps a few others who Peter Jackson left out.

I don't think I would have included an Orc attack during the escape from the Woodland Realm, if only because Jackson's barrel-ride was so over-the-top that it left a bad taste in my mouth. I definitely would have approached the Nazgűl differently, assuming I included them at all. They would have been left free to manage the lands and strongholds controlled by Sauron and to prepare for his return to Mordor as in Tolkien's legendarium.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 5, 12:31pm

Post #34 of 50 (10530 views)
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Well, there you go! [In reply to] Can't Post

You make a good argument against a four-part film adaptation of The Hobbit, for which I would not be hopeful in the first place. Now a four-part miniseries for television might work as it need not be ridiculously lengthy.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


AshNazg
Gondor


Oct 5, 4:32pm

Post #35 of 50 (10507 views)
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They could have made a tv series. [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder if that might have worked better, honestly. Tackle a chapter per episode, more or less. The book is written in an episodic way, and having the hobbit series lead into the lord of the rings movies, it could have been an interesting dynamic.

I think it could have felt less like a franchise/money grab this way. And would make the series feel more unique.

Just a thought.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 5, 8:52pm

Post #36 of 50 (10476 views)
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Sure! Why not? [In reply to] Can't Post

There are already several adaptations of The Hobbit for radio; why not television or home entertainment as well? The radio play format also worked well for The Lord of the Rings. the Mind's Eye version for NPR even includes Tom Bombadil and Goldberry.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 5, 9:09pm

Post #37 of 50 (10471 views)
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Middle Earth lends itself to the big screen [In reply to] Can't Post

There's just something about Tolkien's core stories (so, The three Great Tales, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) that lends itself to the big screen.

Tolkien's works are notoriously hard to adapt to cinema, but the reason why people try is that, in his writing, he can ever so often conjure up images that are so very cinematic. And he was certainly not above ostentation: after all, this was the man who made Orthanc 500 feet tall.

I'm glad for the upcoming TV series, but I'm all the more glad that its taking up the interstitial material, as it were. The core stories - belong on the big screen.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 5, 9:10pm)


lurtz2010
Rohan

Oct 6, 8:16am

Post #38 of 50 (10436 views)
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How would leaving Beorn’s house work as an ending? [In reply to] Can't Post

Or even at the edge of Mirkwood?

We have a huge set peice up in the Misty Mountains with goblins, wargs and eagles then after all that we have 20 extra minutes of quiet time at Beorn’s before it just ends anticlimacticly? Or then a quick ride to the edge of Mirkwood? How would that work with no action scene or other kind of resolution?


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 6, 8:51am

Post #39 of 50 (10431 views)
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Indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

Movies are built on escalation. In a two-film cut in which the Misty Mountains setpiece is but 70% into the runtime of the film, you'd be dialing things up to 11 for that setpiece only to than have the rest of the film be exposition at Beorn's house and walking through Mirkwood? It just doesn't work.

Same with The Desolation of Smaug: you cannot have a film in the middle of which (or 70% into it or where-ever you place) Smaug is killed in an action climax, an then slow waaay down for the tense negotiations between Bard and the deranged Thorin.

Of course, there is a simple way to go around those issues - you can dial back some of those climactic setpieces or remove them entirely. But why, when you can just make an extra film? Why wouldn't you?


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 6, 9:05am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 6, 1:38pm

Post #40 of 50 (10396 views)
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A Natural Break [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking in terms of natural breaks in the story, though you make a good point that this would end the first part on an anticlimactic note. The arrival of the company at Beorn's house is a good place to begin a new chapter as it serves to reintroduce the company to the audience.

Alternately, the first film could take Thorin and Company through Mirkwood and end on the cliffhanger of their capture by the Wood-elves. The fight with the spiders would be the climactic set-piece. Gandalf rendezvousing with the rest of the White Council would be part of the second film.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 6, 1:43pm

Post #41 of 50 (10396 views)
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Smaug killed in the middle of Part 2 [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...you cannot have a film in the middle of which (or 70% into it or where-ever you place) Smaug is killed in an action climax, an then slow waaay down for the tense negotiations between Bard and the deranged Thorin.


Sure you can; those negotiations are still building up to a major, final conflict in the Battle of Five Armies. It would not be a conventional film structure, but it could be made to work.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 6, 3:19pm

Post #42 of 50 (10380 views)
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I dunno [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The arrival of the company at Beorn's house is a good place to begin a new chapter as it serves to reintroduce the company to the audience.


But...but that's what happens in The Desolation of Smaug. There's just a small scene to set the tone of the film, but the bulk of the first act is Beorn's House.


In Reply To
Alternately, the first film could take Thorin and Company through Mirkwood and end on the cliffhanger of their capture by the Wood-elves. The fight with the spiders would be the climactic set-piece. Gandalf rendezvousing with the rest of the White Council would be part of the second film.


That'd be a long movie, though. And I still can't get a good feel for how it could be paced. It'd be tricky to make the Spiders more climactic than the Misty Mountains setpiece. More visceral? sure. But not climactic. And you'd need to truncate the Mirkwood setpiece (perhaps my very favorite), which would have robbed it of its effectiveness.
That'd be a long movie, though.


In Reply To
Sure you can; those negotiations are still building up to a major, final conflict in the Battle of Five Armies. It would not be a conventional film structure, but it could be made to work.


I suppose. But again, I'd be a long movie, and I can't see how it would be structured because you've got one slower bit with the introduction of Laketown (to make us invested in its destruction) and another one during the negotiations, and both of these need time to breath.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 6, 3:37pm

Post #43 of 50 (10378 views)
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The lengths depend on other factors. [In reply to] Can't Post

Keep in mind that I am talking about completely different adaptations, not re-edits of the Jackson films. Their running times would depend on the screenplays and how they were edited, but the Jackson-specific additions would not be present. My point is that every major plot-point of the book could still be represented as well as additional material provided by The Lord of the Rings and its appendices. Minor changes and new supporting characters would probably be needed to improve the flow of the story; however, such new characters do not need complete character-arcs of their own.

"For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered." - Harlan Ellison

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Oct 6, 3:38pm)


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 7, 11:55am

Post #44 of 50 (10321 views)
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I know. But still. [In reply to] Can't Post

Each of those setpieces needs the time to "breath": it needs a build-up, twists and turns, climax, denoument and a bridge to the next setpiece. It'd be tricky, if you indeed want to maintain all of them. This isn't Indiana Jones.

And at the end of the day I'm happy that all six films are Jackson's, warts and all. No other franchise of this scope and pedigree (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel) had "belonged" to any one producer/writer/director and one production crew, as this one does.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 7, 11:57am)


VeArkenstone
Rivendell

Oct 16, 6:51pm

Post #45 of 50 (10124 views)
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I am seeing quite a few scenes in the Appendices of the movies, etc. [In reply to] Can't Post

that did not make it into the films. I would like to see all three movies rereleased with all scenes added that did not make it to the first two releases.

Please, call me Ve.


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 16, 7:31pm

Post #46 of 50 (10117 views)
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Nah [In reply to] Can't Post

All six films had scenes that didn't make the cut - that's just part of the filmmaking process. A rough cut with all of the scenes in it would just be an unwatchable product, not so much because of its sheer length but because it lacks the flow that a finalized edit has.


Paulo Gabriel
The Shire

Oct 16, 9:27pm

Post #47 of 50 (10106 views)
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Is it, though? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
All six films had scenes that didn't make the cut - that's just part of the filmmaking process. A rough cut with all of the scenes in it would just be an unwatchable product, not so much because of its sheer length but because it lacks the flow that a finalized edit has.


Some would say that the filmmaking process isn't ''just like that'' -- I have seen one person describing the way Jackson shoots as simply ''chaotic''. I. e. This has nothing to do with the way filmmaking is, but the way the fillmmaking JACKSON does it.


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 16, 9:29pm

Post #48 of 50 (10104 views)
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No [In reply to] Can't Post

No filmmaker ever produces a rough cut that's anywhere near the final cut of the film: even two-hour films often have rough cuts of three-and-a-half to four hours.

Not every deleted scene belongs on the extended cut.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 16, 9:30pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Oct 16, 9:30pm

Post #49 of 50 (10104 views)
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Jackson's shooting style is only inordinate... [In reply to] Can't Post

... in that his writers are often contributing to a constantly evolving shooting script, which is pretty atypical to the process.

The Hobbit was its own beast of a shoot, though, as the appendices describe. Completely inordinate, and more so as the shoot went on.

Having said that, deleted sequences are a very common part of the filmmaking process.


Chen G.
Rivendell

Oct 16, 9:38pm

Post #50 of 50 (10101 views)
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Jackson of course being one of the writers [In reply to] Can't Post

Its basically him, his wife (Fran Walsh) and their next-door neighboor (Philippa Boyens). The latter two also produce the films and so they were regularly on-set and even directed several scenes.

I've been through the appendices and while its true that Jackson had very little time to prepare in pre-production, I think the inordinate nature of principal photography has been grossly exaggerated and put out of context around the net.

From what I can gather, most of the planning issues during the shoot had to do with the finale of The Desolation of Smaug, and the part of the Battle of the Five Armies that was set to happen in the field in front of Erebor: Jackson had a fair grasp on the fights in the streets of Dale and in Ravenhill, but not on the skirmish in the fields.

Other than that, the unplanned parts were little beats here and there that were always going to be filled in by CG in post-production anyway - never whole scenes.

And most film trilogies aren't planned from the outset at all - so no matter how incomplete Jackson's planning was, he was still ahead of most filmmakers.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 16, 9:45pm)

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