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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Is it true?

Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Dec 27 2018, 7:45pm

Post #1 of 25 (1899 views)
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Is it true? Can't Post

Was the Hobbit trilogy ''done in a hurry'', or this is just a myth created by the ''anti-Hobbit'' to justify their claims that the trilogy is bad (in their view)?


Chen G.
Lorien

Dec 27 2018, 8:31pm

Post #2 of 25 (1831 views)
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It is and it isn't [In reply to] Can't Post

The Hobbit, like The Lord of the Rings, counts among the most well-planned trilogies in cinema history: having been scripted and shot concurrently - ostensibly a single film spliced into three parts.

Even some of the subplots and original material - which some of the films' detractors fancy to be afterthoughts devised when the expansion to a trilogy was plotted, or a dictate of the studio - were in fact concieved very early in the screenwriting. For instance, the romantic subplot, the Dol Guldur subplot (which goes back to the earliest meetings with Guillermo), Thrain, the Bree prologue, etc...

However, this kind of prolonged production requires a long period of pre-production: a time spent revising the screenplay, manufacturing sets and practical effects, casting actors, storyboarding/previsualsing the camera coverage.

The Hobbit had plenty of pre-production time: about 25 months of it. However, of this period, 18 months were spent under Guillermo Del Toro. When he stepped down, Jackson had to step in and restart the process: he couldn't make Del Toro's film for him - he had to make it his own. However, he only had about six months to do so.

That does show up in the finished film: the over-reliance of CG can be in no small part associated with the lack of time to fabricate practical effects: you can't stall the shoot in order to manufacture a set - you have to do it in pre-production, and being that not enough time was given to it, more CG had to be used.

It also shows in the script: some of the subplots that feel undercooked could have been much better with one or two more revisions. The lack of sufficient time to previsualize the film is perhaps the most felt, when it comes to the more over-the-top action beats. With previsualization, someone will have figured out how preposterous they were earlier down the line, and they'd probably be dialed back more.

Having said all of that, these issues have been grossly overstated. On the whole, it seems to me that Jackson and co-writers Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh seemed to have had a solid concept of how to shape the trilogy as a whole. He also very wisely divided principal photography into three "blocks", between which more of the practical effects could be produced.

The decision to go to a trilogy was decided upon by Jackson and Co - without even informing the studio - in between Block 2 and 3, and they plotted the three films before presenting the idea to the studio, so that aspect of the trilogy was also planned.

A lot has been made of a "reshoot" period but in actual fact those weren't reshoots - they were pickups. They weren't meant to change the existing footage into something it wasn't - they're part of the way Jackson produces films: he always schedules a pickup period midway through the editing process - because while editing, you always find that you need certain shots (even something as trivial as a reaction shot) that you didn't shoot.

Also, the existence of the extended cuts helped enormously, because the extended cut of An Unexpected Journey came out when the edit of The Desolation of Smaug was shaping up, and with a rough cut of The Battle of the Five Armies already assembled, so Jackson could retroactivelly tweak the film - adding references to the Thrain plotlines, prefiguring Kili's infatuation with Tauriel and inserting Girion into the prologue - to make it all feel all the more pre-planned and organic.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Dec 27 2018, 8:42pm)


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 27 2018, 9:03pm

Post #3 of 25 (1830 views)
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A good summary but you left out [In reply to] Can't Post

The fact that a good chunk of prime pre-production time was spent dealing with a bizarre actors union strike, followed by contentious negotiations between WB and the NZ government that required a special debate and vote in parliament to solve. This took immense time and energy for Peter, and I believe he was also dealing with some health issues at the time. I have never seen him look so ill, run down and utterly exhausted as he did in the snips of video we saw from him then.

That is not a normal set of things to be dealing with during prep for a film, let alone with an already-shortened timetable after an interminable wait for a green light.

Silverlode

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.




(This post was edited by Silverlode on Dec 27 2018, 9:04pm)


Chen G.
Lorien

Dec 27 2018, 9:11pm

Post #4 of 25 (1826 views)
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Yes, there were other issues [In reply to] Can't Post

Jackson also had an ulcer. There were animal-rights issues and a recasting of the role of Fili early in production, etcetra.

But on the whole, I think Peter Jackson had enough of a clear idea of what each film was going to be, and how to make it that way. He just needed more time with the script, with the effects and with previz especially.

And, once you're behind on pre-production, it cascades and you find yourself behind schedule on post-production, as well, which led to the last-minute, overlong edit of An Unexpected Journey.


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Dec 28 2018, 12:34am

Post #5 of 25 (1801 views)
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It's true [In reply to] Can't Post

This thing was plagued with problems and set-backs from the very start and continued all the way to the end, and it is glaringly obvious in the end product. PJ admits this in the behind the scenes materials.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Dec 28 2018, 3:28am

Post #6 of 25 (1786 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

Pre-production was cut short when Jackson gained control of the production– Warner would not budge on delaying the project, so he had no choice but to accept an inadequate amount of time to prep. It shows in the final product and is an incontrovertible element of this trilogy's production.


Cygnus
Rivendell


Dec 28 2018, 5:50am

Post #7 of 25 (1771 views)
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What a privilige [In reply to] Can't Post

I just love the way folks here answer questions, some of them spending a lot of time on thoughtful, lengthy answers, jam packed with a ton of information. I'm learning so much here and feel privileged to be part of this place where so many people are so passionate about the tales we share a mutual love for.Thanks to all who contribute with responses.

"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.
Lorien

Dec 28 2018, 10:25am

Post #8 of 25 (1748 views)
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And yet [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It shows in the final product and is an incontrovertible element of this trilogy's production.


But it is also an element that was grossly exaggerated by the films' detractors. In the now infamous Battle of the Five Armies documentary, the part that Jackson recalls "winging" wasn't the entire trilogy or even just that movie: it wasn't even the battle.

Rather, it was only the component of the battle that took place on the open field. Both the battle in the streets of Dale and the majority of Ravenhill were concieved of between block 2 and 3 of principal photography, and shot during early pick-ups.

So they weren't planned from the very outset, but they were were much formed (and indeed shot) before the extended cut of An Unexpected Journey came out.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Dec 28 2018, 10:38am)


imin
Valinor


Dec 29 2018, 12:29am

Post #9 of 25 (1670 views)
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i didn't know that [In reply to] Can't Post

I have watched the documentary and to me it made so much sense and made me feel better about the movies.

I felt like 'ah of course! No wonder the films are pants, they had no time to plan it!'

To me it allowed me to cut PJ some slack, now you're telling me that isn't the case?! I feel i would rather still imagine it wasn't his fault, just doing the best in a bad scenario, fail to plan, plan to fail and all that.

I think (at least for me) the documentary isn't used as a way of being anti hobbit and detracting, to me it actually made me feel sorry for PJ and feel more of an understanding as to why the films are the way they are.

All posts are to be taken as my opinion.


Chen G.
Lorien

Dec 29 2018, 10:10am

Post #10 of 25 (1606 views)
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It absolutely is [In reply to] Can't Post

The shortcomings of the films are absolutely the result of a lack of ample time to prepare. Really, that it turned out as well as it did is something of a miracle, unto itself.

But I do think that the films' detractors have grossly exaggerated both the films' shortcomings and how detrimental this lack of ample pre-production time was.


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Dec 29 2018, 2:45pm

Post #11 of 25 (1576 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post

Hobbit detractors upset me. Frown Especially when they try to compare book to movie.


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Dec 29 2018, 3:38pm

Post #12 of 25 (1562 views)
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PJ's style is to "wing it" [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ did admit that there were times when he felt like he was "winging it," in other words he didn't have as solid of a plan as he would like. He ended up delaying the filming of the battle part of BOT5A for nearly a year, in order to properly plan out the sequences, etc. But then again, PJ also likes to throw ideas out there and see what happens. Remember in "Two Towers" where Arwen was supposed to fight in Helm's Deep? He filmed some scenes, but then obviously decided that wouldn't work and cut those. And in the "Fellowship" BTS, Billy Boyd jokes that he got his lines 15 minutes ago. Anyway, I'll bet there's 20 hrs of film from the Hobbit movies that ended up on the floor. Originally he had Tauriel removing the arrow from Kili's leg in the Laketown scene, and IMO it was better that those scenes were cut from the film, changed to her removing the poison instead. I mean, how could Kili run around Laketown with an arrow sticking out of his leg? And then there's that line about the "jambags," if you can watch the documentary that is HILARIOUS!





Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Dec 29 2018, 3:40pm

Post #13 of 25 (1561 views)
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Also agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I absolutely LOVE these movies! I admit they are not perfect, but they are FABULOUS!





Mari D.
Bree


Dec 30 2018, 12:12am

Post #14 of 25 (1526 views)
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Well, maybe we can stop feeling upset by and instead ... [In reply to] Can't Post

... try to understand people with other opinions? I'm not very good at this myself but I want to try :-)

I don't understand what's going on on this message board, and I don't know if it's really helping.

Many of the threads and posts these days seem to me like many people are trying to work together with the purpose of convincing the others of how amazing the hobbit movies are.

But the sheer amount of posts at least to me does not have that effect. Restating the same arguments over and over again does not convince me at all. And I guess it's the same the other way round?

- People who love the hobbit movies are equally frustrated and it seems to them that their opinions are not understood by the others?
And so we all keep repeating ... the same things ... and does anything good come out of this?

I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to just put our opinion on the hobbit movies in our signatures or profiles or something. Rather than state and restate them again and again ...

But then, again, we can also just continue as we do. I for my part will then try to use this dynamic as an excercise in not feeling upset and instead carefully listening, trying to understand, even when I disagree.

[Sorry Paulo Gabriel, this is a long post, it's a reaction to a dynamic I'm observing, which your post reminded me of, not a reaction to your post alone. I hope that's okay.]


(This post was edited by Mari D. on Dec 30 2018, 12:15am)


Noria
Gondor

Dec 30 2018, 1:46am

Post #15 of 25 (1507 views)
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Yes and no [In reply to] Can't Post

Short answer: yes, the pre-production period after PJ took over as director was rushed but if that really damaged the movies significantly is a matter of opinion.

Chen summed it up well. A good many, if not most, of the major decisions about story and plot, characters and much else were made and the scripts were written before del Toro left, long before the movies were green lit and PJ agreed to direct them at virtually the last minute. But PJ needed these movies to express his own vision, style and design sensibilities and the time to develop what was required was short.

Of course changes had to be made after the shift from two to three movies, such as the creation of a new climax for DoS. That stuff had to be shot during the pickups that are part of PJ's mode of operation.

He also never had time to make any real plan for the actual battle of the five armies and IIRC decided not to proceed with that during principle photography. He took the time he needed to develop that part of the story, which was then shot during an extended pickup period.

As for over-reliance on technology, that too is a matter of opinion. But PJ does love that stuff. He used cutting edge tech for LotR and new cutting edge tech for TH.

I often wonder if the problems they had filming on location for both trilogies with rain, snow, flooding, fog and clouds etc. made PJ choose studio shooting and CGI more often than not. Even the barrel river chase in DoS replaced something PJ had planned for FotR but abandoned when the location set was destroyed by a flooding river.

As has been said, PJ is a chaotic film director who changes things on the day in response to new ideas and really makes his movies in the editing room.


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

Dec 30 2018, 10:38am

Post #16 of 25 (1448 views)
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Less is more? [In reply to] Can't Post

Sometimes it is a good idea to have a time schedule and stick to it! One can have too much time to think about and alter things sometimes!


Chen G.
Lorien

Dec 30 2018, 1:40pm

Post #17 of 25 (1428 views)
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There absolutely was a schedule [In reply to] Can't Post

You can't really undertake even just one film of this sort - let alone take on three at the same time - and not have a schedule. What Jackson tends to "wing" it are some of the specifics: variations in blocking, and obviously the incorporation of CG, which is only done after-the-fact. No major turns in the story were made up on the spot.


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Dec 31 2018, 3:36am

Post #18 of 25 (1328 views)
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Thats absolutely okay. [In reply to] Can't Post

I respect your opinion. Smile


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jan 2, 2:35am

Post #19 of 25 (1189 views)
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Might be a good time [In reply to] Can't Post

to provide a link to Silverlode's excellent Open Letter to the Hobbit Forum.
I'll put a couple paragraphs here, because I can't say it better myself, but whenever I get frustrated, I read the entire post.

Quote
Diversity is an idea we tend to praise right up until we realize that it means others will actually be annoyingly different and keep on being annoyingly different, never coming around to our (obviously correct or I wouldn't hold it, stands to reason) point of view. We all want others to love the things we love as much as we love them and in the same way, because then we could share it. But often that doesn't happen. If there is one thing I have learned from being part of this community, it's that many people will love the things I hate, be touched by things that leave me cold, and somehow manage to be supremely oblivious to things, both major and minor, that I love passionately. But everyone is here because they love - the books, the movies, or both.

So may I encourage everyone: While talking about what you love or don't, pay attention to whether you're falling into the habit of telling someone else what and how they should think or be. Because it's not your job to make them be like you, even if you're right, and they won't appreciate it any more than you do when it goes the other way. Nobody here represents a block of opinion, or a monolith of sentiment - we are all individuals and between us we cover pretty much the whole spectrum of opinions on any given question. That's what drives debate and discussions and keeps them interesting, but it need not make them antagonistic. Your fellow fans may have weird tastes, be incomprehensible in their reasoning, and have their priorities all out of order (compared to yours), but they're not your enemy. It's always a good idea to remind ourselves how much common ground we share when differences start to feel like they're filling up all the space.




Lindele
Gondor

Jan 2, 3:31pm

Post #20 of 25 (1086 views)
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You can certainly [In reply to] Can't Post

perceive that if you want, as many people [who have taken it out of context] have, but that is not the spirit PJ tries to convey at all and it's unfortunate that people have twisted his words (like in that unfortunate YouTube video that was released a few years ago).


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 2, 5:16pm

Post #21 of 25 (1077 views)
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I should have taken this advice long ago [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you, Mari D. Very insightful, as always. I, at least, will try to adhere to this. New Year's resolution.

"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."


Noria
Gondor

Jan 4, 10:00pm

Post #22 of 25 (904 views)
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Isn't this is a discussion board on which people are meant to present often differing opinions? [In reply to] Can't Post

Isn't that why we are all here - to see what other people think about The Hobbit movies? But we needn't take differing opinions to heart.

I love all six movies, though I don't think they are perfect any more than the books are. But many people didn't get what they wanted in either trilogy or in one and not the other, and that's inevitable. Sometimes it's because changes have been made to beloved characters, plots, themes etc. and sometimes it's due to PJ's style as a director. Or other reasons. They are all as valid as the reasons those of us who love the movies have for doing so.

It doesn't matter. The books are still the books, unharmed by the movies. The movies are still the movies, undiminished by any criticism. Though I have loved LotR immensely for fifty years, it and TH are still just books and the movies are just movies.

I consider myself lucky to be one of the legions of people who love the movies and take as much joy from them as I do from the books.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 4, 10:23pm

Post #23 of 25 (894 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

But since it so often seems to me that whenever I try to make some point about my opinions, I end up making some mistake or accidentally leaving out some crucial point of my argument, which usually results in my words backfiring - it just seems easier at this point to say, once, definitively, that I very much enjoy the Hobbit, and let that be that. I know I'm not going to change the opinions of anybody else, and after the seventeenth argument about burping jokes in the movies, or whatnot, I find myself tired of such conversations, so I understand Mari D.'s advice. And I take it to heart. It's not a differing opinion - it's one that I've wanted to act on for quite some time now. I'm not gonna stop talking about other things that are important to me, stuff about the books and the movies. But whether I like the Hobbit? I've said that I do, I don't feel the need to repeat that a hundred times over. I've got it in my signature, also as Mari D. suggested.
And, maybe, when I am able to better phrase my arguments - and not leave out important paragraphs - I will be able to hold my own in one of those battles of opinion over the movies that take place here. But until then, until I have that sort of skill, I will respectfully refer anyone who wants to argue with me about whether the movies are good to my signature, which says it all.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 5, 7:52pm

Post #24 of 25 (798 views)
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Hear, hear. :) Hopefully, here. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 



Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 7, 6:46pm

Post #25 of 25 (687 views)
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Honestly not sure that's possible [In reply to] Can't Post

"Upset" is a strong word, maybe annoyed is better. But people have feelings, and it may not be possible to separate the two. Keeping the conversation respectful and the snark to a minimum is just good manners, but I don't know that either will keep people from getting annoyed with each other. As for your dynamic, I've seen it go both ways. We had a fellow for awhile that never missed an opportunity to dump on the movies, no matter what the original post was about. I also remember a few years ago someone started a "movie-haters" thread, the very title invited some relatively hostile responses. In response, I started a "movie-lover thread," and then someone else started a "mixed-feeling" thread, which actually got the most responses. Here's the bottom line: My attempt at explaining my love for these movies, and the reasons thereof (for the however-manieth time), will come across to some people as annoying or even badgering, no matter what language I use. I figured out I just needed to avoid threads that were obviously written by movie-haters for movie-haters. Because there is no point in my re-reading how much someone else hates the movies; it just makes me double-down in my responses so why go down that rabbit hole?




 
 

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