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General opinion
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Paulo Gabriel
Llednevir

Apr 19 2019, 11:45am

Post #1 of 83 (16710 views)
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General opinion Can't Post

General opinion amongst Tolkien fans seem to be:

AUJ - best one of the trilogy

DOS - bad

BOTFA - awful

What is your opinion?

Mine is below (an example):

AUJ - worst one; too slow.

DOS - best one; cinematographically it's the best (not taking adaptation into account).

BOTFA - Somewhere in the middle ground, but overall a good movie.


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Apr 19 2019, 11:46am)


skyofcoffeebeans
Llednevir

Apr 19 2019, 1:05pm

Post #2 of 83 (16499 views)
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It’s tricky [In reply to] Can't Post

AUJ is the most thematically cohesive, meaning we get the majority of Bilbo’s personal journey in its broadest strokes, whereas in the later films, he’s more or less relegated to a supporting character. This is Bilbo’s story, but his film is also the most plodding and slow.

DOS is the best-paced of the bunch and balances a lot of great material (Thranduil, the barrels escape, the politics of Laketown) with a lot of nonsense (Kili, Tauriel, Legolas, the Forbes, and the worst cliffhanger ever).

BOTFA plants itself as the Bilbo and Thorin film, and it shines in those sequences, but the battle itself doesn’t warrant the screen time it receives, and by the third act, it entirely loses itself in swords and acrobatics. It comes back together magniciently with Thorin’s death scene, and I enjoy Bilbo’s denouement. I love the majority of this film’s first hour and find most of the rest until the denouement a waste of screen time (except maybe for the chariot chase).

So as the films stand, I would probably rank them as AUJ, BOTFA, and DOS last simply because it is not a complete film. Its cliffhanger abandons all threads mid-storyline (because the material wasn’t written as three films) and as such, the cut to black feels less like a cliffhanger than an abandonment of its own climax.


Chen G.
NahoR

Apr 19 2019, 1:19pm

Post #3 of 83 (16498 views)
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The Desolation of Smaug is the best [In reply to] Can't Post

The setting (Wilderland) is refreshingly unlike anything we've seen in the previous installments, and often very transportative. Its much more wild and outlandish with places like Mirkwood and the Desolation of the dragon.

The picture has a strong theme of "is this quest trully worth it?" and its not a strawman. Seeing Thorin gradually lose it from scene to scene is much more compelling than seeing him already at his lowest (The Battle of the Five Armies) or at his most heroic (An Unexpected Journey).

The pace of the picture is unlike any other film in the series. Its long and assured, but also highly propulsive. We have a quick and economic recap with the Bree flashback and within less that thirty minutes we're off and running again. Nevertheless, the filmmakers know when to slow down and dwell, such as with the introduction of Laketown.

Smaug is one of the best movie monsters in recent memory. The prolonged buildup and overall sparse presence across the runtime (he's in it for 16 minutes) make him all the more special.

Unlike the third film, this film never loses its focus even through many subplots. I enjoy the macabre of Dol Guldur and Tauriel's commentary on isolationism, and even Legolas does his job of injecting action into the narrative. All the subplots are edited in such a way that they are gradually stripped from the main narrative. Some of the cuts are highly inventive, too: The transition from Bard being whacked in POV to the Hidden Door is the best of the series.

Some may begrudge the cliffhanger, but for a series that hasn't used cliffhangers as a crutch before or since, I find it a refreshing structural choice.

The Battle of the Five Armies is more powerful, containing a great, tragic conclusion to the story, but more uneven.

An Unexpected Journey, while it may be closer to the book and has a lot splendour, gets too lost in setting up the story and stuck between its two main characters, Thorin and Bilbo. The comedy is a nice, refreshing touch, but can get a bit too crass.

So its a ***1/2 out of ***** for the first film, a ****1/2 out of ***** (yes, that's not a mistake) for the second film, and a **** out of ***** for the third. For comparison, all Lord of the Rings entires are a ***** in my book, with The Return of the King being a personal favourite.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 19 2019, 1:26pm)


Noria
Rodnog

Apr 19 2019, 5:44pm

Post #4 of 83 (16477 views)
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Is there a general consensus? [In reply to] Can't Post

AUJ and DOS go back and forth as my favourite, but I love all three movies.

AUJ – I like for its fidelity to the book, especially the Unexpected Party with its introduction of the main characters and setup of the primary plot. I don’t find it slow at all. The White Council scenes add a lot too.

DOS – I like for its divergence from the book, for how it further opens up the story of TH by placing it in a larger geopolitical world that includes the Necromancer, the Woodland Realm and Laketown, not to mention Mirkwood and Beorn. It’s interesting to delve more deeply into things just touched upon in the book. Smaug is fantastic and I love every minute he is on screen, especially his scenes with Bilbo. I have no problem with the cliffhanger because as soon as Smaug left Erebor, he ceased to be part of the Company's story.

BOTFA – probably my least favorite by a small margin, though I think the EE is much better than the TE. I love the execution of Smaug’s attack on Laketown and his death. IMO that sequence belongs in this movie because it it’s the catalyst for everything that comes after. I enjoy the long slow buildup to war as various players maneuver, some in secret. I like how the battle moves from the gates of Erebor to Dale and then to Ravenhill. I like that Thorin, Fili and Kili each die differently but heroically and Thorin’s death scene and the funeral never fail to move me.

So today I'll say:
DOS
AUJ
BOTFA


Chen G.
NahoR

Apr 19 2019, 7:37pm

Post #5 of 83 (16470 views)
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YES [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
IMO that sequence belongs in this movie because it it’s the catalyst for everything that comes after.


Indeed, it absolutely belongs. By killing the would-be main villain in the opening setpiece, you communicate that this isn't some formulaic fantasy adventure story. Instead of slaying the dragon and calling it a day, the real politik only starts when he dies, and the real villain is revealed to be Thorin himself. He's both the protagonist and the antagonist.


In Reply To
I enjoy the long slow buildup to war as various players maneuver, some in secret.


Its more than just a build-up to war: its a political thriller. Its such a grounded, confronting concept: the company reclaimed Erebor only to find themselves cornered and trapped with it.

By making the whole first half of a feature film fester as Thorin is completely deranged, you make his reclaiming of his honour that much more impactful.


In Reply To
I like how the battle moves from the gates of Erebor to Dale and then to Ravenhill.


Yes. Its a long battle, but the change of setting helps keep it interesting. The snow and ice on Ravenhill (including in the foreground) was a really nice choice!


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 19 2019, 7:46pm)


2ndBreffest
Neirol


Apr 19 2019, 10:56pm

Post #6 of 83 (16430 views)
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well... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if there's a "general opinion", but that's how I would rank them. The trilogy gets progressively worse with each installment.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
NahoR


Apr 20 2019, 12:46am

Post #7 of 83 (16411 views)
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Difficult for me... [In reply to] Can't Post

I would rank Desolation of Smaug as my favorite, followed by Battle of the Five Armies and An Unexpected Journey. DOS mainly because it has more stuff that I'm interested in, like Dol Guldur and Smaug and the Mirkwood Elves, and the Spiders, etc, while BOTFA has the death scene of Thorin, which is beautiful, and makes up for all the trilogy's flaws. An Unexpected Journey is my least favorite: it's just too slow. The purity of the adaptation matters little to me if the movie is dull, and the entire middle section of AUJ is quite boring to me, until the White Council.

"We are Kree"


Chen G.
NahoR

Apr 20 2019, 4:10am

Post #8 of 83 (16383 views)
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My thoughts exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

just explained much more succintly.Wink

The Desolation of Smaug contains several key moments, most notably the opening of the Hidden Door. There's a great sense of reverence to moments like that.

I'd say the portion of An Unexpected Journey that sags is between the Battle of Moria (which I like) and the beginning of the Warg Chase.


Silmaril
NahoR


Apr 23 2019, 8:26am

Post #9 of 83 (16119 views)
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I agree... [In reply to] Can't Post

and even AUJ is very far away from any LOTR movie in my opinion! What a big disappointment.


imin
Ronilav


Apr 23 2019, 6:51pm

Post #10 of 83 (16065 views)
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My opinion [In reply to] Can't Post

My opinion on the three movies would be what you call the general consensus in that i think they get worse as they go on.

AUJ is not very good itself and pales in comparison to say FOTR but in comparison to the films that follow, DOS and BOFTA, AUJ is ok.

I kinda pretend the three films don't exist/are not anything to do with Tolkien's work.

All posts are to be taken as my opinion.


VeArkenstone
Neirol

Apr 23 2019, 8:09pm

Post #11 of 83 (16048 views)
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Opinion [In reply to] Can't Post

AUJ My favorite. Most like the book. Out of the Frying Pan/ Into the Fire my favorite sequence of all six of PJ's movies.

DOS My second favorite. Loved Beorn, wish he had had more time. Thranduil's arrogance and retreat from the problems of Middle Earth was interesting. The meeting between Thranduil and Thorin was interesting. Thorin's decline into madness was interesting, the only thing that could snap him out of that was Smaug. I did love the Dwarve's escape from Thranduil's kingdom.

BoFA My least favorite. Still watch it from time-to-time, there are some really good scenes, but, there seems to be a problem with connecting all the scenes together. Loved the end-of-movie fight between Thorin and Azog. Where was Beorn? He does not receive the recognition he should have. Think its an o.k. movie.

Please, call me Ve.


Chen G.
NahoR

Apr 23 2019, 9:09pm

Post #12 of 83 (16042 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thranduil's arrogance and retreat from the problems of Middle Earth was interesting.


The whole trilogy is really a commentary on isolationism. Its not just Thranduil: are Thorin and the company really out to do anything except do right by their own people, and them alone? Does Bard have any real interest in the wellfare of anyone other than the people of Laketown?

Its completely grounded in real-life politics, and while the trilogy certainly ends up landing on a more globalistic view, its not impossible to sympathise with Thranduil. Even without being denied the white gems, its perfectly understandable that he wouldn't want to risk the lives of so many Elves against the dragon.


In Reply To
The meeting between Thranduil and Thorin was interesting. Thorin's decline into madness was interesting, the only thing that could snap him out of that was Smaug.


That's right. Thorin is right to mistrust Thranduil: he's already proven himself duplicitous. But he's certainly not being very practical, and the way in which he gets worked up - its a stepping stone to his downfall.

His confrontation with Bard later in the film recalls this. He's more pragmatic, but now its his very resolution to see the quest fulfilled that is his flaw: he is told how dangerous the continuation of the quest is to the people of Laketown.

Its not a strawmen argument, not least because it ends up proving true, but also because a) we the audience spent enough time in Laketown to be invested in it and b) we the audience spent enough time with The Master to see that he's only siding with Thorin out of greed.

By having The Master plead Thorin's case against Bard for him, it props up the vanity in Thorin's argument. Plus, The Master's only rebuttal is mere hand-waving, pointing out Girion's failure which has no bearing on the matter at hand.

Its further driven home when Thorin leaves Kili behind. Its understandable, and yet isn't. When he later leaves Bilbo to the mercy of the dragon, using much the same excuses as he did Kili, we get the depth of his zeal.


Darkstone
Latrommi


Apr 23 2019, 10:08pm

Post #13 of 83 (16031 views)
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Nice! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks for that!

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


Paulo Gabriel
Llednevir

Apr 24 2019, 7:32am

Post #14 of 83 (15971 views)
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Great post [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
[When he later leaves Bilbo to the mercy of the dragon, using much the same excuses as he did Kili, we get the depth of his zeal.


This, particularly, is very insightful.


Paulo Gabriel
Llednevir

Apr 24 2019, 7:33am

Post #15 of 83 (15973 views)
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Question. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Thanks for that!


Do you like the Hobbit trilogy or not, Darkstone?


Otaku-sempai
Latrommi


Apr 24 2019, 2:07pm

Post #16 of 83 (15916 views)
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Bard [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The whole trilogy is really a commentary on isolationism. Its not just Thranduil: are Thorin and the company really out to do anything except do right by their own people, and them alone? Does Bard have any real interest in the wellfare of anyone other than the people of Laketown?


To be fair, Bard (in the films) does attempt to mediate between Thranduil and Thorin. This is in sharp contrast to Tolkien's book where it is the Elvenking who is reluctant to enter into hostilities while Bard seems to have little sympathy for the dwarves.

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


Chen G.
NahoR

Apr 24 2019, 9:57pm

Post #17 of 83 (15851 views)
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True [In reply to] Can't Post

The characters are far from immoral. Bard has morals. The Dwarves have moral, especialy Balin who functions as the moral center of the company. Thorin initially has morals (I like that its clear he doesn't approve of the White Gems being denied of Thranduil in the beginning) and even The Master isn't out to kill Bard outright.

As for the book, where Bard is the agressor in the negotiations, well that's because Tolkien changed the way he was writing the Elvenking half-way through The Hobbit. When he captures Thorin and the Dwarves, he's really not too far off from the movie version. He jails them for a throaway reason, really.

But it seems that as Tolkien came to write the episodes in which he reappears, he had second thoughts about presenting an Elf - a member of the race Tolkien initially wrote his entire legendarium around - in such an unflattering light, so he made him much more pacifistic. The movies simply kept the original (and more complex) iteration of Thranduil. They also kept him more closely in touch with the plot (in the book there's a sentence about him hearing of the Dwarves arriving in Laketown) by having his son Legolas actually go after the company.

Also, because we need to understand how low Thorin has fallen, his opposition needs to be made sympathetic, and so Bard's part got enlarged. If we didn't empathize with Bard, we wouldn't put as much weight on Thorin denying him during their negotiations. It wouldn't have worked as well to do so with Thranduil, because his marching on the mountain isn't driven by a genuine plight, as Bard's is.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Apr 24 2019, 10:02pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Llednevir

Apr 29 2019, 6:45pm

Post #18 of 83 (15696 views)
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There definitely seems to exist... [In reply to] Can't Post

a general trend. Smile


Darkstone
Latrommi


Apr 30 2019, 8:09pm

Post #19 of 83 (15651 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not in my top 100 favorites, though.

I do enjoy posts like Chen G.'s with the view of maybe appreciating it more.

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


Noria
Rodnog

May 1 2019, 2:48pm

Post #20 of 83 (15494 views)
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A consensus – I still don’t think so. [In reply to] Can't Post

Reactions to each individual movie and the trilogy depend on who you ask and where they are coming from. On this site for instance, trends of general approval and disapproval (for the Hobbit trilogy as a whole and the individual movies both) have waxed and waned in turn over the years as posters came and went.

If you ask book fans of a purist, they will likely say they dislike the Hobbit movies essentially because they are so different from the book and are not what they wanted from an adaptation of the children’s novel.

If you ask people who are primarily LotR movie fans, they might respond that they don’t like TH movies because they are so different from the LotR trilogy and they had wanted something more like the earlier movies.

Some people just think they are poorly made movies, maybe one more than the others, maybe not. All those opinions or any combination of them are fair enough.

If you ask me, I’ll say that I love the book for what it is and I love the movies for the way they enrich and expand the stories of the Hobbit himself as well as the other characters and the way in which they unite the worlds of TH and LotR. I already mentioned my preferences amongst the three films in a previous post. As with the LotR films, these stories are told through the eyes of someone who is not Tolkien and are essentially alternative versions of the books.

I happen to be a Tolkien fan who loves what Jackson did with both LotR and TH, despite some choices with which I disagree. It helped that I became reconciled to certain aspects of the director’s style back in the early 2000’s, mostly his juvenile sense of humour and his love of big action sequences and special effects (whatever their source). It was inevitable that any movie made of TH would be big budget and big spectacle, so no surprises there. The Hobbit films were more or less what I expected.

On the topic of special effects: Jackson spent his childhood making models and masks and such for his home made movies. He started his career as a special effects provider for NZ entertainment media, physical effects of course. It appears that as a director he has always used the best special effects he could get, from buckets of gore and puppets in his first years to the latest CGI effects in his newer films. His most recent movie was the mesmerizing “They Shall Not Grow Old” (for which he took no fee) and his next is about the Beatles, "small" films both. Who knows if Jackson will ever direct a big budget special effects rich fantasy movie again, but if he does it will be full of the most recent, cutting edge effects that Weta can produce.


Lio
Neirol


May 1 2019, 4:19pm

Post #21 of 83 (15500 views)
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Looks like I'm in the minority [In reply to] Can't Post

...of liking DoS the least? As for AUJ and BOTFA, depends on my mood!

Also regarding AUJ, I recall an opinion among Tolkien fans that the first 40 minutes or so were the best, back when the movie first came out, while the opinion among the general audience/casual fans was the opposite -- stating the opening was too slow or boring.

Dwalin Balin Kili Fili Dori Nori Ori Oin Gloin Bifur Bofur Bombur Thorin

Orcs are mammals!

"Don't laugh at the Dwarves because they will mess you up." — Dean O'Gorman (Fili)

Want to chat? AIM me at Yami Liokaiser! (Does anyone still use AIM?)


Darkstone
Latrommi


May 1 2019, 7:26pm

Post #22 of 83 (15476 views)
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Same with FOTR [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Also regarding AUJ, I recall an opinion among Tolkien fans that the first 40 minutes or so were the best, back when the movie first came out, while the opinion among the general audience/casual fans was the opposite -- stating the opening was too slow or boring.


While many fans delighted in the antics in the Shire, general audiences and critics often said they were quickly bored by the interminable scenes of happy hobbits and wanted the film to get on with it. I recall in the commentaries producers Barrie Osborne and Mark Ordesky both said they had to keep fighting Jackson to keep the Fellowship on the road, continually pushing to spend the minimum amount of time in the Shire, Bree, Rivendell, and Lothlorien. The biggest bone of contention was the gift giving scene, which Jackson eventually agreed to cut as long as New Line let him put it back in in a dvd edition. And thus the EEs were born. .

******************************************
Character is what we do on the internet when we think no one knows who we are.


Chen G.
NahoR

May 2 2019, 6:43am

Post #23 of 83 (15381 views)
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But there is something to be said for an extended period of normality [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think the way the Extended Edition spends time in The Shire would work for the theatrical release, but there needs to be a prolonged period of normality before the quest is undertaken.

Its the old William Wyler proverb: "If you want to shock an audience, get them almost to the point of boredom before doing so."

Likewise, I don't think An Unexpected Journey's pacing issues are with the Bag-End sequence. I think its with the first leg of the journey, where the mountain is too far off and the threats such as Azog are yet to materialize.


CuriousG
Nevle-flah


May 2 2019, 2:41pm

Post #24 of 83 (15328 views)
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vs. the approach of "Max Max: Fury Road" [In reply to] Can't Post



In Reply To
Its the old William Wyler proverb: "If you want to shock an audience, get them almost to the point of boredom before doing so."

I think for any movie or book, you need some normalcy to know what's at stake when the crisis hits. The exception was Mad Max: Fury Road. For those who haven't seen it, it starts off with action which never seems to let up, though it actually does. The slower moments allowing exposition come later in the film. Otherwise, exposition and character-building are given brief scenes early on.

I thought it was a bold and novel way to approach a movie. I definitely wouldn't want it to become the new normal for Hollywood, however, since there was something exhausting about it. (I rank it as a good movie, but not one I'd watch twice.)

RE: LOTR and The Hobbit movies, as a book fan, I loved the beginnings and the lingering in happy places. I also understand movie-firsters getting impatient. All the same, I think lingering in happy places can be done well and be entertaining. Done poorly and yeah, it's boring.


Noria
Rodnog

May 2 2019, 6:09pm

Post #25 of 83 (15301 views)
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I too loved the "slow" openings of FOtR and AUJ [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To


In Reply To
Its the old William Wyler proverb: "If you want to shock an audience, get them almost to the point of boredom before doing so."

I think for any movie or book, you need some normalcy to know what's at stake when the crisis hits. The exception was Mad Max: Fury Road. For those who haven't seen it, it starts off with action which never seems to let up, though it actually does. The slower moments allowing exposition come later in the film. Otherwise, exposition and character-building are given brief scenes early on.

I thought it was a bold and novel way to approach a movie. I definitely wouldn't want it to become the new normal for Hollywood, however, since there was something exhausting about it. (I rank it as a good movie, but not one I'd watch twice.)

RE: LOTR and The Hobbit movies, as a book fan, I loved the beginnings and the lingering in happy places. I also understand movie-firsters getting impatient. All the same, I think lingering in happy places can be done well and be entertaining. Done poorly and yeah, it's boring.


One strength that PJ has in common with Tolkien is world building, the ability to make the fantasy world of Middle-earth seem grounded in a kind of reality.

You’d have to be a true movie hater to deny that PJ and his crew put a huge amount of thought, effort, time and money into the design and creation of Middle-earth itself, its different environs and denizens, and were largely successful in creating a world that looked, sounded and felt real despite the presence of magic and impossible creatures.

To my mind that’s what those opening chapters in both FotR and AUJ are about: establishing the world of the movies as well as introducing and spending a bit of time with the major characters, so that we both understand the stakes of the quest and care about the people involved and those left behind. Both trilogies more-or-less start with large, if relatively brief, action sequences and shouldn’t that be enough to keep action fans going while the rest of us enjoy submerging ourselves in ME?

Even the Marvel movies spend some time developing their characters between chases and fights, in fact in some ways those movies are pretty much character driven.

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