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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Guldur trolls were unnecessarry invention
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Eruonen
Valinor


Jan 8, 3:31am

Post #51 of 68 (3231 views)
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The makeshift crossbow was ridiculous but dramatic... [In reply to] Can't Post

especially for Bain who was about to get a very nasty crossbow string across his face.

http://www.thelandofshadow.com/...15/05/BainArrow2.jpg

https://www.google.com/...mgrc=3nRmfFYDNY3ahM:


(This post was edited by Eruonen on Jan 8, 3:35am)


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 8, 12:08pm

Post #52 of 68 (3186 views)
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For what its worth [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The changes we got regarding the Black Arrow and Bard's impromptu crossbow were ridiculous enough. It was dramatic, but only if you avoid giving it any thought at all.


For what's its worth, I like it.

Interestingly, when Chris Hartwell released his video essay about The Hobbit, he also cited that as a good action scene.

It was always going to be like that, by the way: it was filmed in principal photography - NOT in the pick-ups.


In Reply To
unfortunately whatever their plan was, it had to fail, or the original story would change too much.


Yes, but that's part of what's good about having such a flawed central character as Thorin: He can make wrong decisions, and ones that are doomed to fail.

And yes, having Thorin actually dispatch Smaug would rob the story of something very essential: that it doesn't end with the death of the dragon, as a formulaic fairytale would.

That's one of the best things about the first half of The Battle of the Five Armies. Its a very bleak notion, though.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 8, 12:20pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jan 8, 2:21pm

Post #53 of 68 (3165 views)
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I meant 'film versus book'. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For what's its worth, I like it.

Interestingly, when Chris Hartwell released his video essay about The Hobbit, he also cited that as a good action scene.

It was always going to be like that, by the way: it was filmed in principal photography - NOT in the pick-ups.


By 'changes' I meant to compare Smaug's demise in the movie as opposed to the book. Smaug had been made so enormous for the films that there was no question of Bard slaying him with a conventionally-sized arrow. On the other hand, the windlance was foreshadowed as early as the prologue of The Unexpected Journey. Jackson could have allowed Bard to make use of the dwarven ballista to end Smaug and redeem his ancestor Girion.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own." - Adam Savage


Noria
Gondor

Jan 8, 3:38pm

Post #54 of 68 (3159 views)
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The attack on Smaug [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Well, when Tolkien started writing The Hobbit it was his intention for Bilbo to use Sting to mortally stab Smaug in his bald-spot, so...


LOL I didn't know that! The lack of a realistic plan in the book doesn't affect my enjoyment of what is essentially a fairy tale but the Hobbit movies, which are set in the larger and more real feeling world of LotR, needed something more.

For his Hobbit movies PJ spent more time doing pick-ups than it takes to make many an entire movie. Thank goodness he always inserts time for pickups into his shooting schedule. That habit, and his organic approach to film making, enabled him to make DoS out of some of the end portions of AUJ and beginning sections of There and Back Again and, of course, newly filmed material.

What I don't know is how the writers had originally ended the Erebor sequence before the two to three film split and the requirement for a climax for DoS. Was the only face to face meeting between Thorin and Smaug to be the one on the treasure cavern stairs with the Bilbo? Did the Dwarves then just run away into the recesses of Erebor until after the dragon left, as in the book?

Despite its excesses, I like the Dwarf/Smaug sequence. It's fun, Erebor is gorgeous and it's more satisfying to have the Dwraves go up against the dragon even if their plan to kill him failed. At least they tried. And as was pointed out in this thread, the plan had to fail unless the filmmakers were going to eliminate Smaug's attack on Laketown altogether.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 8, 6:02pm

Post #55 of 68 (3148 views)
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Its a complex subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What I don't know is how the writers had originally ended the Erebor sequence before the two to three film split and the requirement for a climax for DoS. Was the only face to face meeting between Thorin and Smaug to be the one on the treasure cavern stairs with the Bilbo? Did the Dwarves then just run away into the recesses of Erebor until after the dragon left, as in the book?


Well, one of the ways to piece that together is to look at whatever Smaug's dialogue was during the original sessions with Cumberbatch and the scene with Freeman in block 3.

Of course, it isn't the ideal piece of evidence, because we never know if that dialogue (taken almost straight from the book) was ever intended to be the final word on the matter, or whatever it was from the outset meant to be a placeholder: just something for Cumberbatch the read for the performance-capture or for Freeman to react to,

Because of the nature of the project (i.e. the lack of sufficient pre-production time), the story wasn't entirely scripted when shooting began, including the climax of the Battle of the Five Armies. So we don't know that they ever figured out how the Smaug sequence would've played out before the decision to go to three films was made.

That's why I'm saying to people who didn't like these films, that they'd probably have disliked the two-film version ever more, because without the added time and extra shooting allowed by the trilogy scheme, the second film would've been that much more undercooked.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 8, 6:37pm

Post #56 of 68 (3142 views)
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And I should add [In reply to] Can't Post

Two more things. The first being that its not necessarily right to look at the decision to add a confrontation between Smaug and the Dwarves as the byproduct of the decision to go from two films to three.

Being that it was Peter, Fran and Philippa's idea, rather than the studio's, I'm sure it was the lack of such beats as that confrontation, which motivated the shift to three films, rather than vice versa.

In fact, to use Jackson's [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XDsSr3sGSI]own words:


In Reply To
by the time[..]we were well into shooting, we just suddenly thought, "you know what, this doesn't feel quite right as two movies." It didn't even structurally feel quite right where one finished and the other began, and so we started to - this is Fran and Philippa and myself[..]just the three of us, privately - started to knock the idea around[..]that maybe we are dealing with three movies, not two. And it wasn't until the end of film when Warner Brothers came down to New Zealand to visit, and we at that point had worked out enough of a structure that we could pitch them.[..]they were shocked.


Added to that, I should say that I love the use of Smaug in these films: with the added action climax and the split to three films, you'd imagine (if you were inclined to view Jackson as an indulgant director) that Smaug would appear early on in The Desolation of Smaug, and stay around well into The Battle of the Five Armies.

Instead, however, he appear in all nine hours of film for no more than twenty minutes and thanks to the multi-pronged nature of the The Desolation of Smuag, even that period of time is sprinkled throughout the last third of the film, rather than being all delivered at once.

That means that Smuag appears less than Godzilla does in Gareth Edwards' film or Hannibal Lecter (Smaug's most direct inspiration) does in Demme's. I think that's great because there's nothing worse than dolling out your monster (with regards to screentime) so much that the audience becomes accustomed to its presence. In that sense, Smaug is a better movie monster than Jackson's Kong.

That never happens here, and it really disproves that whole critical outlook on Jackson as a kind of Michael-Bay-type.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 8, 6:47pm)


StingingFly
Lorien


Jan 8, 8:45pm

Post #57 of 68 (3125 views)
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The merits of hiding dwarves [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think hiding in the tunnels makes the dwarves scaredy-cats.

The Prologue taught us this about Smaug, he is a terrifying, unstoppable force of nature. He utterly destroyed a dwarven stronghold, despite its fortifications, armaments, and thousands of soldiers.

The Company was not, and could not have be prepared for the awesome power of Smaug.

People criticize the Company hiding in the tunnel. I think it is a natural reaction and quite important to the story.

When they were consumed with greed, the dwarves were self-centered. Self-preservation wouldn't allow them to challenge Smaug, even though they desperately wanted to exact revenge.

Contrast this with their heroism at the Battle of the Five Armies. Here they, and particularly Thorin, realize that family and honor are worth more than gold...even life itself and they charge out to their death.

The change of heart, the redemption of the Company, is made only more clear by the hiding in the hall, or that is the way I read it anyway.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 8, 9:21pm

Post #58 of 68 (3119 views)
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I don't think anyone's saying it doesn't work on the page [In reply to] Can't Post

It fits with the book's portrayal of the Dwarves.

Would it have ever worked for the film? I have to say no.


Kilidoescartwheels
Valinor


Jan 9, 1:47am

Post #59 of 68 (3093 views)
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Definitely did not read it that way [In reply to] Can't Post

Not sure what prologue you're referring to - you're not conflating the book & movie, are you? Anyway, the Dwarves in the book sent Bilbo in to see if Smaug was still there, in hopes of getting some gold. That in and of itself is cowardly, IMO, and as I said I'm happy that PJ changed the Dwarves. Remember, at first the movie Dwarves were trying to get out, until they ran into the blocked room with all the bodies. So in that sense yes, self-preservation was the most logical thing under the circumstances.
Then again, two intelligent people can read the same book & come to two different conclusionsSmile





2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 11, 6:42pm

Post #60 of 68 (2970 views)
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another great moment from the book...ruined. [In reply to] Can't Post

By this point, I had pretty much given up all hope of seeing a decent adaptation of the story, but this scene was especially bad.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 11, 7:36pm

Post #61 of 68 (2964 views)
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Ridiculous and dramatic [In reply to] Can't Post

And the dynamic between Bard and Bain made me cry in the theater, and also reiterated my wish that BOTFA was an extension of the second half of DOS so that this moment would exist in its proper context, rather than as an ill-thought prologue.


Noria
Gondor

Jan 11, 8:07pm

Post #62 of 68 (2954 views)
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Ridiculous maybe but I loved it. [In reply to] Can't Post

I liked how PJ upended our expectations about the windlance and then surprised us with Bard's makeshift bow. Surely a normal bow would not have worked with that huge black arrow anyway. I too liked the emotion of the scene and don't really care about the mechanics of the bow. The whole attack on Laketown sequence is one of my favourites in the entire trilogy.

Regarding the placement of the sequence, I've always felt that it works very well where it is. As these films are structured, the last part of DOS is about the Company and the dragon and that story was over at the end of that movie, when Smaug left Erebor. The dragon's attack on Laketown and, more importantly, his death, are the catalyst for the events of BOTFA.

The openings to all six LotR and Hobbit movies are all great, IMO.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 11, 9:23pm

Post #63 of 68 (2938 views)
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Best opening [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Regarding the placement of the sequence, I've always felt that it works very well where it is.


Its the best opening of the series, as far as I'm concerned. Its in medias res and action-packed, while still being part of the linear chain of events.

I love that Smaug dies within the first fifteen minutes. Its like how the killer in Se7en is caught before the film ends, but here its taken to the absolute extreme.

But its more than suprising: its a statement of theme. A formulaic adventure story would end with the dragon slain and the treasure recovered, and the customary "happily ever after."

This film, however, only starts there, and how does it continue? With corruption, madness, stagnation, petty feuds and finally death. Its dour, and I love it for that.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jan 11, 9:37pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 12, 5:39am

Post #64 of 68 (2911 views)
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It's indeed awesome. [In reply to] Can't Post

As a movie, I consider it as a masterpiece. As an adaptation, I don't remember much of the book to properly assess.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 12, 2:52pm

Post #65 of 68 (2838 views)
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I don't know [In reply to] Can't Post

I still find The Desolation of Smaug the superior film.

Masterpiece is a bit much, for either of the two films.


Noria
Gondor

Jan 12, 5:03pm

Post #66 of 68 (2816 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Regarding the placement of the sequence, I've always felt that it works very well where it is.


Its the best opening of the series, as far as I'm concerned. Its in medias res and action-packed, while still being part of the linear chain of events.

I love that Smaug dies within the first fifteen minutes. Its like how the killer in Se7en is caught before the film ends, but here its taken to the absolute extreme.

But its more than suprising: its a statement of theme. A formulaic adventure story would end with the dragon slain and the treasure recovered, and the customary "happily ever after."

This film, however, only starts there, and how does it continue? With corruption, madness, stagnation, petty feuds and finally death. Its dour, and I love it for that.


I like Gandalf and the Balrog in TTT just as much but otherwise I agree about the opening to BOTFA and how it sets up the entire film.

Sometimes I think we can't always see the forest for the trees when we focus on how something in the movies differs from the book without considering what it means to the entire narrative. I am often guilty of that myself.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 12, 5:28pm

Post #67 of 68 (2810 views)
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The Sack of Laketown is better [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I like Gandalf and the Balrog in TTT just as much but otherwise I agree about the opening to BOTFA and how it sets up the entire film.


The edge that the Battle of the Five Armies has over The Two Towers, is that its a whole sequence, rather than a little vignette.

If you're going for a "James Bond" kind of cold opening, you should construct it as if it were a short film onto its own. Something that has its own rises, falls, climax and denoument, so that by the end of it, the audience already has some sense of gratification.

That's the way its done in a Bond film, in Indiana Jones features, some of the better Star Wars films (namely, the original) do that, etcetra. A vignette like The Two Towers' also works, but not as well.

Besides, the one in The Battle of the Five Armies is not a flashback: its part of the linear and immediate chain of events that ushers us into the film.


Noria
Gondor

Jan 12, 5:37pm

Post #68 of 68 (2806 views)
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You are talking structure [In reply to] Can't Post

and I am talking about pure emotion and enjoyment.
.
So though the two openings are not the same in length or complexity, or what they mean to the story, I like them both,

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