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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Transition problem between the two trilogies
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Legolas_Shoehorn
Bree


Dec 1, 9:04pm

Post #1 of 58 (971 views)
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Transition problem between the two trilogies Can't Post

A few days ago i had a nice talk with a friend of mine. Worth mentioning he is by no means familiar with Tolkiens deeper lore and he never read any of the books. He is just a typical everyday guy, who likes to watch movies - 'Mr. General Audience' so to say. At some point he told me how he rewatched the Hobbit trilogy recently and was nicely entertained by it. After BotFA he started rewatching the LOTR trilogy. And then something happened. He had huge problems getting into TFotR. He was downright bored by it and had to start three times over. He had no clue why that happened since he remembered really enjoying the LOTR trilogy a few years ago.
I told him that the LOTR trilogy, more precisely its dramaturgic storytelling and script foundation, operates under the circumstance that the Hobbit trilogy does not exist. TFotR takes its time to carefully introduce Middleearth to the audience. He was simply bored by TFotR 'slow' (Re)Introduction to Middleearth and its characters due to the fact, that he still had fresh "introductive information" about Middleearth from the Hobbit trilogy.
I was shocked by the fact that a 'Mr. General Audience' guy had severe problems enjoying the LOTR trilogy because of an obvious transition problem between the two trilogies. A Tolkien fan may not notice it, but what if 'Mr. General Audience' people of future generations will experience the same problem?

My English is not that good, my Elvish is better ;-)


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Dec 1, 10:17pm

Post #2 of 58 (908 views)
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an interesting question to ponder [In reply to] Can't Post

I personally never encounter this problem because I always watch the LotR trilogy with the understanding that it operates under the circumstance that the Hobbit trilogy does not exist and this is rather easy for me to do because I prefer to imagine that it actually does not exist. Perhaps Mr. General Audience Peoples of the future could use my method, it works great.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Dec 1, 11:08pm

Post #3 of 58 (901 views)
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Amazing! I've never experienced that issue myself [In reply to] Can't Post

But I can see why it might occur. I watched the trilogies back-to-back in September, and I can see where it might be difficult to go from one to the other. Maybe it's when you watch TFotR immediately after BotFA, that it can be difficult? Because thinking back on it, I remember feeling a sort of transition problem - not so much about being reintroduced to Middle-earth, but about how you're suddenly thrown back thousands of years in the opening seconds of TFotR, which can be a rather abrupt jump. It's an interesting question. I usually watch the trilogies in chronological order, but maybe for a general audience guy like your friend it makes more sense to watch them the other way around?

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Cygnus
Bree


Dec 2, 2:36am

Post #4 of 58 (889 views)
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different perspective [In reply to] Can't Post

I am a bit of an unusual person. When is was in high school (late 70s) I never read The Hobbit even though it was wildly popular. When the first 3 movies came out I never saw any of them. When Unexpected Journey came out it was my first exposure to Tolkien and I was hooked. I then saw Desolation and 5 Armies. After that I got the DVDs and watched the original 3 in order. In other words, I watched everything play out as it "really" happened. As a 'Mr General Audience' person myself (who still hasn't read the books but I'm getting them for Christmas) I did struggle with things (like keeping all the characters straight at first) but I had no problem at all making the transition. Hopefully future general audiences won't have any problems. Hopefully they will watch them in the order I did. I consider myself lucky that I got to watch everything in the right order. I'm not a big Star Wars fan but I feel like he does when I do try to watch anything past the original ones made.

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Chen G.
Rivendell

Dec 2, 2:01pm

Post #5 of 58 (829 views)
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I see the issue [In reply to] Can't Post

Its inherent to watching any series that has a big body of prequels. But in this case, I actually think what alleviates that issue for me is the nonlinear course of the narrative.

Because all of these films jump around with flashbacks and flashforward, the idea that "between" The Battle of the Five Armies and The Fellowship of the Ring we have this huge flashback to the Battle of Dagorlad is made a bit more palatable.

I think that what Fellowship's existing cut is missing is a sense of scale and immediate threat, which will probably be inserted into it in somekind of boxset edit in the future. I.e. the idea that Fellowship is not a new beginning, but a "deep breath before the plunge", as it were.

So by adding, say, a cut to Erebor and the Woodland Realm tilting towards war with Mordor - you'd give the film the sense of building upon The Battle of the Five Armies.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Dec 2, 2:43pm

Post #6 of 58 (824 views)
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That's a wonderful idea! [In reply to] Can't Post

 

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Chen G.
Rivendell

Dec 2, 2:48pm

Post #7 of 58 (820 views)
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Thank you [In reply to] Can't Post

Because of how tightly (and well) the two trilogies are woven together, not much in the way of changing the existing films is required to make them feel cohesive.

A bit of added polish to The Hobbit; a re-do of the color palette, transfer and effects of The Fellowship of the Ring, a few edits (Martin Freeman in the prologue, cutting around "you haven't aged a day") and a few added cuts to war preparations in Erebor and the Woodland Realm (Fellowship) and actual war (in Return of the King) and maybe inserting an old Dwalin into Aragorn's coronation - and you've got yourself a truly cohesive sextet.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Dec 2, 2:51pm)


Belegdir
Lorien


Dec 2, 4:16pm

Post #8 of 58 (799 views)
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I can understand the problem with a casual viewer [In reply to] Can't Post

However, most casual viewers won't watch all six films so closely together, so the problem should be limited.

Tolkien fans won't suffer this problem as we're greedy for everything we can get.


Cygnus
Bree


Dec 2, 9:12pm

Post #9 of 58 (754 views)
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Our precious stuff [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

Tolkien fans won't suffer this problem as we're greedy for everything we can get.

And when we do get more we continue to say (using our best menacing Thorin voice)
"And I will not part with a single picture, poster, collectible or DVD."

"I found it is the small things.....everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.....simple acts of kindness and love." - Gandalf


Noria
Gondor

Dec 4, 1:24pm

Post #10 of 58 (607 views)
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What Belegdir and Cygnus said [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
However, most casual viewers won't watch all six films so closely together, so the problem should be limited.

Tolkien fans won't suffer this problem as we're greedy for everything we can get.


I love every minute of world building in these six films. Tolkien did the same thing with his lengthy and detailed first chapters of LotR.

I have to admit though that thus far I have rewatched LotR before The Hobbit, out of habit I suppose and because the stories are so distinct.

I was a decades long book fan first and the transition from the Hobbit novel to the LotR books is more jarring to me than the transition between the movie trilogies could ever be.

It's nice to see new people discussing the movies.


Oscarilbo
Lorien


Dec 4, 8:13pm

Post #11 of 58 (577 views)
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I think.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the problem must be not that it doesn't flow well, but that the experience of watching FOTR is now been "changed" compared with how you remembered, thanks to The Hobbit trilogy. But, if you are watching the whole saga for the first time chronologically, it wouldn't be as conflictive at all.

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


Chen G.
Rivendell

Dec 5, 3:37pm

Post #12 of 58 (532 views)
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It could be better [In reply to] Can't Post

In The Hobbit, the Battle of the Five Armies is transformed (quite cleverly) into, essentially, the first skirmish in the course of the War of the Ring.

But in Fellowship of the Ring, that war is yet to begin - as it is in the book. It doesn't take much tinkering to make Fellowship feel like a lull in the fighting rather than a new beginning.

I also think a cut to war preparations in Erebor and the Woodland Realm would serve as setup for the arrival of Gimli and Legolas to Rivendell later in the film. In the case of Erebor, it'd also mean that we'd finally see the place repopulated - one of the main things whose absence makes the end of The Hobbit not feel as climactic.


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 5, 6:28pm

Post #13 of 58 (511 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

I've always thought of LOTR as The Hobbit "writ large". But when you take Bilbo's personal journey in The Hobbit and turn it into a sprawling Middle-earth epic to use Tolkien's terms in Letter #271 you "flatten" LOTR by "anticipating" LOTR's epicness, thus rendering the second trilogy stale and predictable in comparison to the first.

******************************************
Elves and Men and Dwarves gonna cower,
When I finish building my tower,
When I finish building my tower with the Eye on top!
Watch that Eye and see how it glowers,
Ain't no contest between the Two Towers,
Nosey folks'll peek thru' palantirs and their eyes will pop!
The battlement's black and immeasurably strong, an adamant mountain of iron,
A buttress of steel, impossibly tall, held aloft by the power of Sauron!
See that Eye a winkin' and blinkin',
Ain't no finer tower I'm thinkin',
You can keep Orthanc if you're thinkin' that I'd care to swap,
For my black and shiny tower with the Eye on the top!

-Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Lord of the Rings"


(This post was edited by Darkstone on Dec 5, 6:35pm)


Belegdir
Lorien


Dec 5, 8:55pm

Post #14 of 58 (491 views)
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Excellent point [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps PJ made The Hobbit too epic. The Hobbit is almost a pure adventure story that hints at a future epic. The films were too grand and so diminish the LotR films for some people when watching them too close together.
This isn't a problem I share though.


Chen G.
Rivendell

Dec 5, 11:11pm

Post #15 of 58 (468 views)
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I don't think it diminishes it [In reply to] Can't Post

The idea that The Hobbit does not merit ostentation is one that I don't subscribe to. The Quest of Erebor is about on-par with crossing continental Europe from West to East - so its certainly an epic journey. No less epic in scope than the journies of Ben Hur or Lawrence of Arabia.

Its also epic in the repercussions of its plot: i.e. it has large-scale geopolitical implications: the renewel of the kingdoms of Erebor and Dale, the routing of most of the Orcs in the North, the slaying of the last great fire-drake, etcetra...

I think the decision to make The Battle of the Five Armies part of the War of the Ring (by making Sauron initiate it) was one of the most clever of the series: Tolkien didn't concieve it like that, obviously, but in both Durin's Folk and the unabridged The Quest of Erebor he made it clear that - had The Battle of the Five Armies been won by the Orcs, it will have served Sauron's purpose all the same: the Elves, Men and Dwarves of the North will have been defeated, the territories of Angmar reclaimed to leverage into besieging Lorien and Rivendell and - seeing as Bilbo was present on the battlefield with the Ring - it would have been captured.

A few minor tweaks to The Fellowship of the Ring and it'll be just fine.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Dec 5, 11:14pm)


Belegdir
Lorien


Dec 5, 11:47pm

Post #16 of 58 (463 views)
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You are correct [In reply to] Can't Post

Diminish is far too strong a word.


Noria
Gondor

Dec 6, 12:49am

Post #17 of 58 (455 views)
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I've often wondered what PJ's pre-LotR Hobbit would have been like. [In reply to] Can't Post

That is, the Hobbit movie that Jackson and Walsh had in mind when they were pitching a Hobbit movie followed by two LotR films. Would it have been smaller and closer to the book only?

Because, as I've often said, after the huge success of the epic LotR PJ probably had little choice but to make an epic Hobbit.

I love the Hobbit movies we got, partly because there is so much joyousness and fun in them compared to the much more earnest LotR (which I love at least as much.)


lurtz2010
Rohan

Dec 6, 1:59am

Post #18 of 58 (447 views)
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No tweaks needed [In reply to] Can't Post

LOTR works fine as it is and none of the films need added scenes showing Erebor etc. The wars in the north are irrelevant to the main story of LOTR.


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 6, 6:59am

Post #19 of 58 (372 views)
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As Tolkien said: [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.
-An Unexpected Party

In contrast LOTR is about The War of the Ring and The End of The Third Age.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.Ē

(This post was edited by Darkstone on Thu, 7:12am)


Chen G.
Rivendell

Thu, 8:51am

Post #20 of 58 (362 views)
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Its still epic [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.


But its still a grand, epic adventure.

It also has what all good epics have, which is variety of genre: it has genre elements from the adventure, action and fantasy genres (obviously) but also from the horror genre (the spiders), the detective genre (the mystery of Dol Guldur), the epic, the war genre, and - per the films - even the superhero genre, thanks to Legolas.

Besides, the film isn't really about Bilbo's adventure. Its about Thorin and his quest to recover his homeland. When you look on it from that perspective, it suddenly becomes a much more grand and epic tale, even if the geography of it remains the same.


In Reply To
LOTR works fine as it is and none of the films need added scenes showing Erebor etc. The wars in the north are irrelevant to the main story of LOTR.


The films work fine as they are, but as part of a greater, six-part story (which they very much are) they could have a few finishing touches. This isn't Star Wars or anything - there isn't much tweaking to be had here.

And I do think that it can add to the scale of The Fellowship of the Ring, and build-up towards the war that's coming in The Two Towers and Return of the King, while also setting-up the arrival of Gimli and Legolas to Rivendell. I know Jackson had at some point wanted to have it in The Lord of the Rings.

Retrofitting and rediting motion pictures is actually quite common in Hollywood: from epics that had entire scenes chipped away for the theatrical release (and later re-assembled for bluray), to films that had been cut short after their premiere (The Shining, and mostly recently Outlaw King) to films that had tweaked editions like E.T. or director's cuts like Alien.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Thu, 8:58am)


lurtz2010
Rohan

Thu, 9:55am

Post #21 of 58 (347 views)
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It definitely wonít happen [In reply to] Can't Post

The only justifiable edit would be bilbo finding the ring in the prologue, anything else would just be completely unnecessary. We donít need to set up Gimli and Legolas before Rivendell, thatís like saying the Boromir fashback in Osgiliath should be moved to FOTR to set him up too.

LOTR is about Mordor vs Rohan and Gondor. Legolas saying ďI fear war already marches on their own landsĒ in ROTK is enough to reference the north. I donít know why PJ had to cut that 10 second sene from the theatrical.


Chen G.
Rivendell

Thu, 10:28am

Post #22 of 58 (342 views)
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I hope it does [In reply to] Can't Post

which isn't to say that I think it will. I think with a few tweaks beyond simply replacing Sir Ian Holm with Martin Freeman you could really make this work as a six-parter. We already have the existing cuts on Bluray, so its not substituting the existing cut of the film, either.

Again, nothing too major. You could do the segue to Erebor and the Woodland Realm in a montage. once during war preparations in Fellowship of the Ring, and once near the end of the battle in Return of the King. I think it will also be a nice payoff to see that Erebor has indeed been repopulated.

Just that line in Return of the King isn't quite enough: you need to show, not tell.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Thu, 10:30am)


Noria
Gondor

Thu, 1:31pm

Post #23 of 58 (326 views)
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I don't think it will. [In reply to] Can't Post

it's true that many films are altered later but PJ has already produced two version of each of these six movies.

But more importantly, I've never seen any indication that Jackson is the kind of filmmaker who would go back to earlier works like that. He seems to be always moving forward, on to the next project. The LotR movies are ancient history and The Hobbit trilogy is several years in the past. PJ made remarks about ultimate editions and alterations and additions but he didn't seem to be serious at all.

I too don't see any need for the films to be altered and would regret it if they were.


Chen G.
Rivendell

Thu, 1:40pm

Post #24 of 58 (312 views)
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Also true [In reply to] Can't Post

He has moved on. But I'm sure his involvement will be required when these films are released on UHD, for 3D transfers, etcetra, and he might take the chance to introduce a new, tweaked version of the films.

The "Ultimate Editions" he sometimes speaks of in the commentary are something of an inner joke. But he has made remarks about, say, going back to put Martin Freeman instead of Sir Ian Holm in Fellowship's prologue, which sounded genuine.

Its not that much is needed from him: maybe a few ADRs and effects shots, and beyond that its mostly a minor editing job.


Noria
Gondor

Thu, 1:54pm

Post #25 of 58 (314 views)
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I just don't think he would go there. [In reply to] Can't Post

What I would truly love to see is a movie about the War in the North, a companion piece to LotR and TH both. Tolkien's few sentences about Dain and Brand have always moved me and I find intriguing his brief mentions of battle under the trees of Mirkwood and assaults on Lorien.

It could have Galadriel and Thranduil, Luke Evans as Brand and even Tauriel.Wink

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