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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Revisiting The Hobbit movies
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Chen G.
Rohan

Mar 2, 8:23am

Post #51 of 125 (19903 views)
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You're not wrong [In reply to] Can't Post

The colour palette's a tricky thing. Its clear to me that Jackson and Lesnie wanted a gradual transition from the brigh, sharp, almost 65-mm look of An Unexpected Journey (which is great!) to the grainier, gloomier super-35mm look of The Fellowship of the Ring.

To achieve that end, the subsequent films were graded for less and less colour. In The Desolation of Smaug its not quite as extreme, and there are still visuals that "pop."

In the Battle of the Five Armies, the colour palette also informs the tone of the film, but I do think its a step or two too far. Its just soo much harder to enjoy the images (which, per the raw footage, should be beautiful).

As for dragging things: that's kind of the point, at least in the first half. The picture is paced in such a way as to drive home the stagnant nature of the situation between the Dwarves, Lakemen and Elves. Very natural for a thriller of this sort. Jackson likened it to "All the President's Men."


kzer_za
Lorien

Mar 3, 2:45am

Post #52 of 125 (19841 views)
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My long-winded review of DoS EE [In reply to] Can't Post

Tl;dr: The EE really does make it a much better movie, though it still has issues with a really stupid ending.

Good:
  • First of all, the narrative that the Hobbit movies are just CG fests is just not true. While there are CG things I will complain about below, these movies have many wonderful sets on par with LotR such as Laketown, the Carrock, and Woodland Realm. And The Hobbit movies might even surpass LotR in beautiful landscape shots.
  • The movie's central theme of "is this quest really worth it?" and the gradual descent of Thorin's character is done well, such as his interactions with Bard, Balin, and Fili.
  • The performances are generally great all around. Even people who hate these movies praise Freeman, but it's much more than that. I will especially note Stott's Balin as a great supporting character.
  • I like the Prancing Pony opening, and the following (beautifully lit) scene of avoiding the hunt.
  • I like Beorn, especially the new greeting scene and that beautiful twilight shot of his transformation. Both him and Mirkwood were rushed in theatrical; extended lets them breathe. The butterfly scene is really beautiful and the extended material makes it more cathartic.
  • Thrain is a great addition who really should not have been cut, at least not entirely. He both strengthens the movie thematically and makes the Necromancer plotline much more coherent.
  • The Woodland Realm is more uneven than previous scenes, but it still gets more right than wrong. The visuals and music are beautiful and the barrel escape (as opposed to the chase) is great. Thranduil shows the less noble side of the elves and would fit right into the Silmarillion.
  • I love Laketown. The lighting and set are so beautiful (the colors of the tapestry shop, or that scene with the snow falling in the torchlight!), I like the Italian city-state vibe, and overall it's the most fully realized city in all six movies except the Shire. Even Alfrid, while bad in B5A, is fine in this movie, and I like how there is clearly an undercurrent of contempt to his sycophantry with the Master.
  • Bilbo vouching for Thorin is important and another thing that should not have been cut.
  • Bilbo's conversation with Smaug is amazing, both the performances and visuals. And the Erebor scenes leading up to it are great too.
  • The feast of starlight scene is really quite lovely, understated, and feels very Tolkien. If they had kept the Kili-Tauriel connection to this and a few meaningful glances, it would have been fine.

Okay/mixed:
  • The barrel chase is kind of fun and I even like bouncing Bombur, but it just doesn't have much reason to be there, especially with Bolg as the villain. Well, it does lead to the healing scene, so I guess for setting up that cinematic masterpiece it was worth it. I can understand putting an action scene at that point, but I think a shorter more dwarf-centric scene with the elves in a peripheral role would have worked better there.
  • I have mixed feelings about the Necromancer storyline, as I'll detail below. You do need to show why Gandalf keeps leaving in a film, so something had to be done. Good: Adding Thrain does a lot to improve it, the Dol Guldur visuals are great, and especially the big Gandalf showdown feels like something out of The Silmarillion.
  • Bad Necromancer stuff: The Nazgūl don't really have any reason to be here (a classic example of what I would call "prequel-itis"), these movies try a little too hard to connect Sauron to everything, and the endless proclamations of "WAAAAR is coming" reach self-parody.
  • The Ring. I like the visual effects and little moments with Bilbo, especially "mine!" and Bilbo's subsequent reaction in Mirkwood is a great scene. But having Smaug know about it is too much.
  • Tauriel's character is frustratingly a missed opportunity, because you can still see the potential. I can tell what they were going for is her openness vs. Thranduil's isolationism, combined with elf "class" divides, and then the studio forced a romance.

The bad:
  • I don't like Bolg at all. I think keeping Azog alive was a legitimate cinematic change to have a continuous villain with a connection to one of the protagonists, and Azog has some real menace. But then Bolg, who is kind of a non-entity and should be a tertiary antagonist like Gothmog's skull-wearing lieutenant, is supposed to carry two action scenes, and then be Legolas's arch-nemesis. Also his design is dumb.
  • Too many CG orcs.
  • That one Kili line after capture, so out of place.
  • And yes, Legolas, already my least favorite LotR film character or at least bottom two, is in these movies WAY too much. A small cameo is fine, I don't even mind a fanservice stunt or two like spider-surfing. But they just keep piling it on and on, and then they even give him his own villain? Come on!
  • The orc attack on Laketown and the healing scene and too much Legolas. "Do you think she could have loved me?" Ugh.
  • The dwarves' encounter with Smaug is terrible. Interminably long, full of really stupid action beats, and badly weakens Smaug as a villain, making him look stupid and incompetent. I actually don't mind the golden statue itself (it's great visual symbolism, sometimes that trumps logic), but everything leading up to it is awful. If you want to have the dwarves briefly meet Smaug directly, fine, but it should be BRIEF and Smaug should clearly have the upper hand and be toying with them.

I like the movie, in some parts love it. But the Laketown attack, healing scene, and dwarves vs. Smaug really do hurt it quite a bit. I'm not sure whether it or AUJ is better.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Mar 3, 2:55am)


Chen G.
Rohan

Mar 3, 12:30pm

Post #53 of 125 (19791 views)
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Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The Nazgūl don't really have any reason to be here (a classic example of what I would call "prequel-itis"), these movies try a little too hard to connect Sauron to everything, and the endless proclamations of "WAAAAR is coming" reach self-parody.


In terms of the Tolkien canon, I seem to recall at least three Nazgul being in residence in Dol Guldur. In fact, the White Council originally thought that the Necromancer was indeed a Nazgul.

In terms of the High Fells, well, if you're setting up a mystery story, you can't just have Gandalf show up at Dol Guldur and resolve the mystery instantly. Adding another stop along the way wasn't a bad idea.

I do like that Sauron is the mastermind behind the entire thing: that's what makes The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings two parts of one greater story - that of the struggle between Sauron and the Free People, aka The War of the Ring.

Its also not too impertinent to what Tolkien envisioned. One of the major functions of "The Quest of Erebor" and its abbreviated form in "Durin's Folk" is to tie the quest to the War of the Ring, explaining that had the quest not been successful, it would have guaranteed Sauron's triumph in the war.



In Reply To
I can tell what they were going for is her openness vs. Thranduil's isolationism, combined with elf "class" divides, and then the studio forced a romance.


All this studio interference sounds like bollocks to me. Jackson is a very independent filmmaker: you don't go around telling him what to do, no more than you would a James Cameron or Christopher Nolan.

I do know the romance was in the script from very early drafts. It certainly isn't a bad idea to have a romantic storyline in this type of adventure story, and in the early parts of the narrative its - if nothing else - sincere.


In Reply To

I don't like Bolg at all. I think keeping Azog alive was a legitimate cinematic change to have a continuous villain with a connection to one of the protagonists, and Azog has some real menace.


I used to think that, as well. I mean, I never thought strongly on the issue. I had previously though that Azog was basically Bolg from the book with an extended role, so when he showed up he was just another villain.

However, there is something to be said for how few and far between the appearances of the villains are: if Azog stayed on the company's trail throughout, he would have lost some of his menace through repetition and dilution.

But more importantly, by not having a central antagonist, the film really focuses on the turmoil in Thorin's mind. He's both the protagonist and the antagonist; certainly after the company leaves Laketown.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Mar 3, 12:37pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Mar 3, 1:51pm

Post #54 of 125 (19775 views)
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Ringwraiths [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In terms of the Tolkien canon, I seem to recall at least three Nazgul being in residence in Dol Guldur. In fact, the White Council originally thought that the Necromancer was indeed a Nazgul.


Yes, but that doesn't take place until five years after the Quest of Erebor. Before that Tolkien has the Nazgūl governing their own realms in the South and East of Middle-earth. It is so that some members of the White Council believed that the Necromancer could have been one of the Nine.

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


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 3, 9:05pm

Post #55 of 125 (19743 views)
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All this sums up pretty much how I feel about it too [In reply to] Can't Post

I especially agree about the perfomances, Thranduil, feast of starlight, Laketown, and the barrel chase and ending. The ending is really what drives me insane about the movie and makes me annoyed - because, when the credits are rolling, you've still got that replaying in your head instead of some of the much better scenes, like Bilbo's interaction with Smaug, which, in my opinion, is spot-on. Without that action scene at the end, with giant gold statues exploding and the lighting of the forges and shield-surfing down a river of molten gold, the whole movie would be so much better. One ridiculous action-sequence is fine, I can deal with that, and that, for me, is the barrel-chase: but two is going too far, especially when it additionally makes Smaug look like a very weak villain. They should have played it up as a psychological confrontation solely between Thorin and Smaug. That, I think, would have worked.


Chen G.
Rohan

Mar 3, 11:32pm

Post #56 of 125 (19723 views)
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It could've undermined Smaug's menace [In reply to] Can't Post

Had he been more prominently featured. But he isn't: Smaug is in the film for less than sixteen minutes!

The fact that the company is one of ten rather than fourteen, that they're small - all serve to make them evading him a bit more palatable.

I don't think it undermines Smaug's threat. I do think it stretches credulity on one or two beats. But on the whole, I eagerly anticipated this showdown, and I'm glad to have seen it, warts and all.

And that Smaug the Golden visual is stunning.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 3, 11:58pm

Post #57 of 125 (19721 views)
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Thorin standing on Smaug's nose... [In reply to] Can't Post

does not undermine Smaug's threat? You've got Smaug's sworn enemy standing on his nose, and Smaug not only doesn't swallow him or blast him with fire, but is then easily distracted by some falling buckets, and then fails to breathe fire until Thorin is safely out of his range. That, in my opinion, was too much. Then you've got Thorin leaping onto a rope while Smaug's fire blasts safely overhead - and yet, the flames somehow fail to even singe the rope that Thorin is hanging onto. Aside from the fact that the whole scene is way too obviously choreographed, scenes like those make me view Smaug as a much weaker villain.
I don't think he needed to be in the film much longer, but if he had done more while there - that would have been better, in my opinion. Like, if he had been able to speak to Thorin and that could have further precipitated events in the third film. I feel like a smaller action sequence - and a more plausible one - would have been fine, but it was all action. It was just filler action, and had no impact on the plot. Even the barrel chase had impact on the plot, since Kili got injured there, but the Smaug fight did nothing to further the story. At least in my opinion.

"We are Kree"


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Mar 4, 12:04am

Post #58 of 125 (19714 views)
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Good point [In reply to] Can't Post

If Smaug had played a role in Thorin's transition, that whole sequence might have played better. But he doesn't plant any seeds or engage with Thorin verbally in any meaningful way, so his devolution becomes the mysterious "dragon sickness" of the book.


kzer_za
Lorien

Mar 4, 12:42am

Post #59 of 125 (19707 views)
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I actually do like the gold statue [In reply to] Can't Post

In a story where greed and corruption of power is important and Thorin has to struggle with his family's demons, Thror building a golden statue of himself and Thorin trying to use it is a fitting idea. Golden statues are also a well-established symbol of megalomania, like King Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible and King Midas in Greek myth. You also see "Smaug the Golden", and it even ties into the gold floor in the next movie...it works with the themes and characters as a visual cinematic symbol on multiple levels.

It's the chase scene leadup that is the problem. I think that, if it has been set up in a quicker and less ridiculous way, the statue would have been received better.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Mar 4, 12:53am)


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 4, 1:56am

Post #60 of 125 (19676 views)
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I can see where the gold statue is a powerful symbol [In reply to] Can't Post

And I agree, if the lead-up to it had been better, it might have also worked for me. I mean, I think there are probably still scientific problems with that scene, but I don't doubt that, cinematically and thematically, it is quite powerful.

"We are Kree"


Noria
Gondor

Mar 4, 1:52pm

Post #61 of 125 (19642 views)
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Smaug's nose [In reply to] Can't Post

Thorin standing on Smaug's nose was a step too far for me too and one of the little things I dislike in the movie. But it is a little thing for me and overall I liked the climatic sequence of DOS.

Smaug is incredibly powerful but he's not omnipotent and his mode of fighting is not subtle. He uses the brute strength of his immense body and his flame and only the latter is of real use inside Erebor.

It didn't surprise me that the Dwarves could use their small size and intimate knowledge of every hall and room in Erebor to evade the dragon. Over time he likely would have been able to pick them off a few at a time, but there was no time.

This action sequence was a battle of wits between Thorin and Smaug. A more subtle psychological confrontation might have worked but we just had that between Bilbo and Smaug.

Also, these Dwarves couldn't cower in hiding while Smaug went off the destroy Laketown. It works in the book but would be awful on screen. Though they were fighting for their own lives and had no idea of what the dragon would later do, there had to a confrontation between these feisty Dwarves and the dragon.

IIRC, Thorin did all his dangling and such on metal chains, not ropes.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Mar 4, 5:55pm

Post #62 of 125 (19614 views)
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Actually [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought Thorin on Smaug's nose and that whole dance was one of the more competently executed parts of the whole sequence.


Chen G.
Rohan

Mar 4, 7:02pm

Post #63 of 125 (19601 views)
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True [In reply to] Can't Post

Its just the slow-motion that makes it look like Smaug was taking his time. Thorin just suddenly landed on his snout.

Its a cool image, and it utilizes the mine shaft that we saw in An Unexpected Journey, which is neat.

But either way, to each his own. Its not too difficult to fast-forward through that bit.


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 4, 9:38pm

Post #64 of 125 (19590 views)
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I'm just going to toss this in here for fun... [In reply to] Can't Post

Something I wrote in 2014 about Thorin on Smaug's snout and the problems of monocular vision.

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.




Noria
Gondor

Mar 4, 9:55pm

Post #65 of 125 (19585 views)
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Thanks Silverlode [In reply to] Can't Post

I must have read this five years ago and forgotten. I'll keep it in mind next time I watch the movie.

When the Dwarves were planning their attempt to kill Smaug, the writers should have had Thorin remind the others that the limitations of Smaug's vision might help them evade him. Many arguments might have been averted!Wink


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 4, 10:21pm

Post #66 of 125 (19577 views)
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Well, I don't know about that.... [In reply to] Can't Post

but it might have varied the arguments a bit more. Wink

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.




Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 5, 12:25am

Post #67 of 125 (19558 views)
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Good point. [In reply to] Can't Post

I had not taken that into consideration. I'd still prefer if some of the excesses in that action sequence had been trimmed out, but at least you've shown some interesting possibilities for why that specific scene might be the way it is.

"We are Kree"


kzer_za
Lorien

Mar 5, 1:51am

Post #68 of 125 (19540 views)
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Interesting...I will keep that in mind next time I watch DoS [In reply to] Can't Post

I watched the Five Armies EE, by the way. Like all the Hobbit movies, it has flaws, some large. Yet its good points are very strong and it might be my favorite at the end of the day. But I want to finish rereading the book and possibly rewatch BotFA (still the one I've seen the least) before writing a review.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Mar 5, 1:52am)


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Mar 5, 2:01am

Post #69 of 125 (19540 views)
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Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

While I enjoy much of the sequence, and find that most of the Smaug cat and mouse game works given the eyesight issues, I reach my own sticking point at surfing molten gold in what appears to be a metal wheelbarrow, holding on with hands mere inches away from the surface. Dwarves may be tougher than humans but I don't believe they are actually fireproof. People rant a lot about PJ going way over the top, but I think often it's just one small step too far, and then even fairly credible things get caught up in the backlash.

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.




Noria
Gondor

Mar 5, 1:52pm

Post #70 of 125 (19432 views)
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LOL the wheelbarrow [In reply to] Can't Post

Even if we pretend that the wheelbarrow is lined with asbestos, I can't disagree about the heat of the molten gold. Thorin just looks a little sweaty! It isn't something that really bothers me though I understand why others feel differently.

It reminds me of when Gollum fell into the lava of the Cracks of Doom as if it was water and floated for a second looking at the ring before he sank. I always thought he should have been half dead before he hit and then killed immediately, slo-mo or no slo-mo.

I find that I have to let some small things go even if they bother me a little so that these small irritations don't overpower the greater beauty and power of the movies.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Rohan


Mar 5, 10:19pm

Post #71 of 125 (19284 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

It's usually just a very brief thing, or something very minor, but it gets all the attention. Like, shield-surfing, or shield-surfing on molten gold, or barrel-bouncing, etc.

"We are Kree"


Gimli1252
Bree


Mar 6, 10:51am

Post #72 of 125 (19154 views)
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Thanks fo the nice review, [In reply to] Can't Post

In my opinion DoS it has a better flow than the rest two movies, and the EE adds up more elements that raise the stakes for Thorin and Co. to reclaim Erebor.Actually I love all the new scenes in the EE, Beorn's introduction, the Ringwraiths flashback, the Mirkwood scenes, Bilbo's and Balin's exchange before they reach Dale and of course the plot and scenes with Thrain. When I watched the EE for the first time and Thrain said "None must enter that
mountain" and hard edit to Thorin and Co. climbing the secret stairs, I was feeling so thrilled. Still remember me thinking, yeah this is it, PJ did
it again. And then, another extended scene follows that ruined the experience for me and left a bad taste in my mouth. Well not the scene but
a specific sound-effect. I guess you all know what I am talking about. Thrain's Wilhelm scream at his death. I couldn;t believe that they did that
to a major character like Thrain. It was like a slap in my face when I heard it for the first time, completely threw me out of the movie. Still, I don;t
know if that was a mistake or if they did insert that track intentionally. Although, I am not bothered by other elements of the movie as other people
mentioned, e.g., the wheelbarrow surfing, or the Smaug chase or even the romance triangle, whenever I watch Thrain's death scene,I always roll my eyes.


''There is one dwarf yet in Moria, who still draws breath''

(This post was edited by Gimli1252 on Mar 6, 10:53am)


Noria
Gondor

Mar 6, 2:02pm

Post #73 of 125 (19135 views)
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Lucky for me.... [In reply to] Can't Post

that I had never heard of the Wilhelm scream before it was discussed on this site and still can't recognize it now. So it bothers me not a whit.

It's fascinating how, quite apart from opinions of the movies as a whole, different little things bother different people. And all of them are legitimate quibbles.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Mar 8, 6:51am

Post #74 of 125 (19019 views)
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All I have to say is... [In reply to] Can't Post

People who have problems with ''scientific'' issues in The Hobbit scenes must rewatch LOTR.


Chen G.
Rohan

Mar 8, 9:49am

Post #75 of 125 (19004 views)
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And a ton of other movies [In reply to] Can't Post

Characters in action movies often do/survive the implausible. As long as it doesn't happen too often, people barely notice.

Bruce and Rachel fall from a Skyscraper unto a car and survive in The Dark Knight. In Braveheart, Wallace takes an arrow to the shoulder and yet he gets on a horse and rides after king Edward. Both of those are as grounded as action movies come.

Movies aren't meant to be scrutinized that way.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Mar 8, 9:50am)

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