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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Faulty assumptions
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Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jul 21, 9:14pm

Post #1 of 29 (4516 views)
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Faulty assumptions Can't Post

Why everyone has to assume that the Hobbit movies were ''bloated'', or had ''issues'', or something along those repeated charges, even if they like the films? I for one have a firm opinion that the Hobbit do NOT have any major faults on them and they are an artistic and aesthetic massive accomplishment. Also the tacit assumption that they are somehow a priori inferior to the LOTR movies, something which I don't think is true either. I bought the box with all six films PRECISELY because I think they are all in the same caliber.

I do not one bit about the Kili-Tauriel romance or how it ''destroys'' Tolkien's mythology. I DO NOT care about the ''because it was real'' line. I also don't give a rat's ass about the supposed ''overly CGI'' scenes. This stuff just doesn't interest me. The movies are entertaining, they expand on Tolkien's world, and that's what I care about. If anything, the LOTR movies have the same so-called ''issues''. Purists also don't like the LOTR trilogy. So it's a simply a matter of opinion. So it's always bugs me when people take it as a PREMISE that the Hobbit movies are bad. I can give several examples off the top of my head. They were certainly not financial failures, so why assume they were artistic failures, and without any strong evidence supporting this opinion at that?

Does anyone else here feel the same way? Amazed at the Hobbit movies and their production and frustrated at their reception?

/rant over

Sorry for the verbosity.


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Jul 21, 9:16pm)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 21, 11:40pm

Post #2 of 29 (4431 views)
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I can recognize flaws in the films, alright [In reply to] Can't Post

But on the whole, you know my opinion: when a filmís core narrative (and, particularly, itís ending) are as effective as that of these films was to me, then the other issues - while evidently there - fall by the wayside as something of a technicality. To focus on such issues would be petty on my part, I think.

Taurielís romance with Kili, for instance, is a subplot of a subplot. Thereís only so much it can do to detract from the main narrative, to me.

The main narrative - that of Thorin losing everything and then - in the process of setting out to retrieve it - losing himself to his all-consuming dedication to the venture, is one of the best things of all six films and of Sir Peterís entire filmography.

I am equally tired with cliche critiques, which seem to me to be passed down rather than informed by watching the picture. Iíve developed an intolerance to some of the detractorsí jargon such as ďbloatĒ.

I am equally upset at what seems like deliberate misinformation regarding studio meddling, the motives of the splitting of the films and the nature of pickup photography on these films.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jul 21, 11:46pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Jul 22, 12:58am

Post #3 of 29 (4415 views)
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Assumptions? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Why everyone has to assume that the Hobbit movies were ''bloated'', or had ''issues'', or something along those repeated charges, even if they like the films?


Those are not assumptions, but opinions; not nearly the same thing. It's not as though you are referencing people who have not watched the films (often more than once). That said, opinions are subjective and what is true for one viewer is often not true for another. Hence, you do not have the issues that many others have had with the Hobbit trilogy. That doesn't make them wrong any more than it makes you wrong.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Jul 22, 1:00am)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jul 22, 6:13am

Post #4 of 29 (4387 views)
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No [In reply to] Can't Post

I still tend to think the films, if not bloated, are particularly poorly paced. This, combined with occasional poorly-rendered CGI, tend to take me out of the world that so many A-list creators have worked to immerse me in.


(This post was edited by skyofcoffeebeans on Jul 22, 6:13am)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 22, 8:58am

Post #5 of 29 (4368 views)
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Are they? [In reply to] Can't Post

When you really think of it, the only film which is poorly paced is the theatrical cut of An Unexpected Journey. The extended is paced just right for what its trying to achieve, and the other two films are paced just right, as well.

The Desolation of Smaug is wonderfully kinetic. It only really ever slows down to introduce Laketown, which is of course important to do.

The Battle of the Five Armies has a slow first half, but that's intentional because it communicates the stagnation of the story: the quest is fullfiled, and now laborious real politik takes the place of fast-paced adventure.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jul 22, 9:00am)


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jul 22, 2:08pm

Post #6 of 29 (4359 views)
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Typos. [In reply to] Can't Post

*I for one have a firm opinion that the Hobbit MOVIES[..]
*I do not CARE one bit about the Kili-Tauriel[..]
*So it's simply a matter of opinion


Noria
Gondor

Jul 22, 5:02pm

Post #7 of 29 (4340 views)
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Faulty assumptions indeed [In reply to] Can't Post

There are things I donít like about all six movies - plot and character choices, silly humour, bits of dialogue - but they donít detract from my love for all of them and I donít really think that TH films are inferior.

Iím not particularly frustrated by their reception, though I donít agree with the wholesale criticism. Some fans of the book and /or LotR movies didnít get what they were hoping for and for film critics the Hobbit movies seemed to have been overshadowed by LotR.

But it does seem to be a given for some critics and fans that The Hobbit movies are inferior to the LotR trilogy

IMO, for the most part TH is simply different from LotR. The casting, acting, music, cinematography and other production values of TH films are at least equal to those of LotR. The two trilogies had the same writers and director. The issues for detractors seem to be with the way the little childrenís story has been expanded to three movies, the lighter tone and the use of CGI.

I donít think that TH movies are bloated. The single strand adventure tale of novel has been expanded into a multi-thread story, woven mostly from elements touched upon in the book, and the movies needed enough space to tell that more complex story. I got pretty sick of the ďbutter spread too thinlyĒ analogy.

Book and movies, TH lacks the gravitas of LotR, which is a quest to save the world and is founded upon loss, self-sacrifice and death. The story of The Hobbit is slighter, funnier, less earth-shaking and more personal; essentially it starts out as a middle-aged ďmanísĒ quest for adventure, though that is part of a larger mission. The Hobbit films, like the book, do not at first take themselves as seriously as does LotR and are lighter and more full of joy and fun. Hence the difference in tone. (That being said, of course all that changes as the plot and tone gradually darken and the stakes are raised.)

As for the use of CGI, one of Jacksonís trademarks is the use of cutting edge special effects and he chose to move on from 2002. I too loved the bigatures of LotR but have no quarrel with the CG environments and creatures I saw in TH trilogy. (But then I donít ascribe to the current vogue for analog.) The action sequences in TH are big, carefully choreographed and filmed, and each tells its own little story.

Some commentators and critics criticized Jackson for going back to Middle-earth with TH but I doubt that many fans of his LotR agreed.


Solicitr
Rohan

Jul 22, 5:32pm

Post #8 of 29 (4333 views)
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Subjectivity [In reply to] Can't Post

is inherent in all evaluations of film and other art forms.

Having said that, my (wholly subjective) view is that, even without reference to the book, to Tolkien's universe and metapysics or any other so-called "purist" concerns, that standing in a vacuum they are bad movies, in the same sense that Ishtar or Gigli or Plan 9 from Outer Space or The Last Jedi are bad movies. I'm not going to write an essay on all the ways in which they exemplify poor filmmaking, since it won't change any minds. After all, there are those who unaccountably think Kiss was a good band, and you can't change their minds either


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jul 22, 5:32pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jul 23, 3:17pm

Post #9 of 29 (4270 views)
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Let me correct myself [In reply to] Can't Post

There are two problems here: to some degree, the films suffer from poor pacing, but they also suffer from increasingly poor editing. As the films go on, they desperately cry out for an extra six months of post-production work on all fronts, except perhaps audio. In line with its narrative trajectory, the pacing tends to stabilize as the quality of its editing disintegrates.

I'm not going to attempt to break down the flaws in BOTFA EE's battle editing on a micro level (it's first half is generally structurally sound). Suffice to say, many pieces of the battle feel haphazard and random, placed with little care, thought, or vision. There are many charges and speeches that rarely alter the battle's trajectory, or the emotional reality of the characters delivering these speeches. The titular battle of the film is a wasted opportunity, and in its editing, it often fails to drive momentum forward.

I see similar problems in DOS's third act, but my main problem there is the entire lack of thematic conclusion. You can have a cliffhanger, but it has to engage with the audience emotionally. Frodo captured in Mordor works as a cliffhanger because it presents Sam with a new emotional reality (he is alone with the Ring) that he will have to confront in a few hundred pages. There is no such new emotional reality at the end of DOS; there is just a loose dragon that has to be killed so that its story can end, and the larger story can move on to engage with Bilbo and Thorin's new emotional reality, that they set loose a dragon that committed mass slaughter against the very men they will soon negotiate gold against. This material is there in the undercurrent of the film, but, I don't think, brought to an adequately emotional resolution. I will agree with you that, as a whole, the second film has the best pacing and kinetic energy of the three films.


(This post was edited by skyofcoffeebeans on Jul 23, 3:19pm)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jul 23, 3:42pm

Post #10 of 29 (4266 views)
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I see [In reply to] Can't Post

When you rush pre-production, that inevitably cascades into post-production, as well.

That said, I donít find the editing on the later two films to be bad. From what I can gather, by far the most hectic post-production schedule was that of An Unexpected Journey.

I love the editing on the Desolation of Smaug, and not just because the cut from Bardís POV to the hidden door is the best of the entire series bar none; but also because of how Olsen and Jackson play the different plotlines sequentially rather than stacking them ontop of one another.

Donít find the editing on The Battle of the Five Armies to be egregious, either. The battle has variation (starts in the long valley, moves into the streets of Dale and finally to Dale) and has a sense of ups-and-downs.


VeArkenstone
Lorien

Jul 25, 9:04pm

Post #11 of 29 (4020 views)
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I agree. [In reply to] Can't Post

The movies have the disclaimer at the very beginning "Based on the book __________ by J.R.R. Tolkien" so these are not exact representations of the books, and we all know that going into the movies. I love Tauriel and she is not in the books, but love that she reminds King Thranduil and Legolas that they are Elves and and should fight the darkness and not hide from it (although I don't know about the love relationship between Kili and Tauriel, but recognize those scenes have a right to be there since PJ made the movie and not me, although if the Tauriel-Kili love subplot were not in the movies, BOFA may have run a little more smoothly - Just Kidding!).

I also appreciate how PJ uses scenes from different books, for instance the meeting in Bree between Gandalf and Thorin is from "Unfinished Tales, um, or The Appendices, the Histories are all from different books, it educates us, and spurs me on read more ("Unfinished Tales" really is a great book, my favorite).

All-in-all, I think all six movies are entertaining, all six movies have amazing soundtracks that stand on their own, they carry the spirit of the books with them, and are well done for the most part.

Please, call me Ve.


(This post was edited by VeArkenstone on Jul 25, 9:09pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jul 26, 3:20am

Post #12 of 29 (3978 views)
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I am also very tired... [In reply to] Can't Post

of this silly and mindlessly-throw analogy.

It does NOT descibre these movies at all.


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Jul 26, 3:22am)


2ndBreffest
Lorien


Jul 26, 3:50pm

Post #13 of 29 (3916 views)
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well... [In reply to] Can't Post

speaking on behalf of The Hobbit Movie Haters Association, these opinions are held largely by those who love the story as Tolkien wrote it, and feel that the vast majority of alterations, additions and "enhancements" PJ and Co. made, were unnecessary, added nothing of significance, and mostly lowered it to the level of middle-school quality fan-fic. We feel that the added action sequences such as the one that was clumsily forced into the barrel escape sequence was way over the top, utterly ridiculous and not at all something Tolkien would have ever imagined for his story. The reason why we feel these movies are bloated is simply because they are. 70% of it is composed of things that are not in the book, and of that 70%, 100% are things that we feel detracts from the story Tolkien wrote, which we hold dearly.

The movies did well financially, sure, but so did Twilight, so I place them in the same category. The only difference being The Hobbit is based on a widely cherished work of literature, and Twilight is actually based on fan-fic quality rubbish.


(This post was edited by 2ndBreffest on Jul 26, 3:58pm)


Noria
Gondor

Jul 29, 6:53pm

Post #14 of 29 (3605 views)
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Popularity [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
speaking on behalf of The Hobbit Movie Haters Association, these opinions are held largely by those who love the story as Tolkien wrote it, and feel that the vast majority of alterations, additions and "enhancements" PJ and Co. made, were unnecessary, added nothing of significance, and mostly lowered it to the level of middle-school quality fan-fic. We feel that the added action sequences such as the one that was clumsily forced into the barrel escape sequence was way over the top, utterly ridiculous and not at all something Tolkien would have ever imagined for his story. The reason why we feel these movies are bloated is simply because they are. 70% of it is composed of things that are not in the book, and of that 70%, 100% are things that we feel detracts from the story Tolkien wrote, which we hold dearly.

The movies did well financially, sure, but so did Twilight, so I place them in the same category. The only difference being The Hobbit is based on a widely cherished work of literature, and Twilight is actually based on fan-fic quality rubbish.


Itís true that popularity is not indicative of quality. All it means is that millions of people liked those movies. It doesnít necessarily mean that they are bad movies though, unless you are saying that anything thatís popular is by definition bad. Not having seen the Twilight movies or read the books, I canít comment specifically on those.

It seems that you fall into the group that didnít get what you wanted from The Hobbit movies. Fair enough. Other people wanted something more like Lord of the Rings in tone and scope and they didnít get it either.

Maybe you would have preferred a smaller, more literal and linear adaptation of the charming childrenís book. Many book fans did. I might have myself, before 2001. After that, in the post LotR movie world, it was too late. It was never going to happen.

Jackson did what was required of him by Warner Brothers and probably that significant portion of the audience that were not Hobbit book fans: he produced a set of epic blockbusters. To accomplish that, he made a series of choices with which we are all free to agree or disagree.

As a member of The Hobbit Movie Lovers Club, I'll say that there is not all that much I would change about the trilogy. To my mind Jackson succeeded in making three movies that are firmly set in the same beautifully realized world as LotR, book and movies, and that tell a compelling story of courage, friendship, greed and love of home in a moving and fun way. I love the book for what it is and I love the movies.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jul 30, 11:53pm

Post #15 of 29 (3537 views)
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Wrong. [In reply to] Can't Post

Any movie cannot be ''is... something, because ''is'' implies something objective and movie criticism is subjective by definition. Therefore, you should say ''I think... the movies are bloated'', and nothing else.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jul 31, 12:55pm

Post #16 of 29 (3523 views)
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Eh [In reply to] Can't Post

Arguing over semantics is dull. Of course he's saying what he thinks, and not voicing some imagined authority. No, people should not have to preface every sentence that voices an opinion with "I think." It's understood.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Aug 1, 5:43am

Post #17 of 29 (3479 views)
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To elaborate... [In reply to] Can't Post

If an objective criticism can be done in the form of direct affirmation, which may be correct or not, a subjective criticism IS, AND WILL ALWAYS BE, a personal opinion that HAS NO TRUTH VALUE. If I say that Jurassic Park errs to attribute to the Jurassic period animals that are from the Cretaceous period, that is an objective criticism, which may be RIGHT or WRONG, and can be compared with scientific sources. But if I state that the acting of the actors doesn't convince, except if it is the opinion of everybody, that is too subejctive to be considered true of false, because nobody can tell to one person that she is right or wrong in her sensibility.

We might try to make her feel other aspects, point to other characteristics and see if showing another point of view she changes her mind, but that will be up only to the person herself. The non-transferable and personal sensibility is PARAMOUNT. And by that same token, the opinions should ALWAYS be prefaced of a personal declaration, of the kind ''think so'', ''seems to me'', ''I am of the viewpoint that'', etc.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Aug 1, 5:03pm

Post #18 of 29 (3439 views)
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I suppose I disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

If the nature of the conversation revolves around subjective criticism, then one does not have to preface every sentence with any of those qualifiers. They are redundant and inherent in the frame of the conversation itself. What you seem to have an issue with is that when one doesn't express those qualifiers, they are making a blanket statement and claiming a false power over the narrative, i.e. of course, everyone thinks the Hobbit movies suck, and therefore one's positive appraisal is in poor taste. Perhaps this is a real problem, but I doubt the solution is to ask everyone to fill their sentences with redundant filler words.


Domien
The Shire

Aug 8, 7:04am

Post #19 of 29 (2937 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with you, Paulo.

These assumptions you mention are a kind of unspoken consensus that grows among the insiders.

It's a phenomenon that happens a lot among fan communities. I think it can be interesting and refreshing to see how an outsider perceives these things sometimes. Show the movies to someone who doesn't know anything about them and see what their preferences were. All of the typical talking points of fans tend to be completely absent and they often pick up on different things they like/dislike.

In Reply To


Solicitr
Rohan

Aug 8, 2:52pm

Post #20 of 29 (2891 views)
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Agreed. [In reply to] Can't Post

--


2ndBreffest
Lorien


Aug 10, 4:57pm

Post #21 of 29 (2724 views)
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well... [In reply to] Can't Post

I did preface the statement as being the opinion those who hate these movies. I didn't feel the need to reiterate this before each specific point made within.


StingingFly
Lorien


Aug 10, 9:11pm

Post #22 of 29 (2692 views)
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...only the Sith deal in absolutes... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
opinions should ALWAYS be prefaced of a personal declaration, of the kind ''think so'', ''seems to me'', ''I am of the viewpoint that'', etc.


You have to be careful when making (literally) bold statements such as this.
In your original post you declare
"Purists also don't like the LOTR trilogy"
This certainly "has no truth value."
What most "purists" have a problem with are alterations that are made to stories that they love. The Hobbit movies were a significant departure from the book. Some of these changes were necessary, especially after the LOTR trilogy, but it can be argued that many were not.
I do appreciate your enthusiasm and love of the films, but you have to be careful when dealing in absolutes.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Aug 20, 8:49am

Post #23 of 29 (2530 views)
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Thanks. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Sep 9, 12:26am

Post #24 of 29 (1908 views)
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Perhaps... [In reply to] Can't Post

But they imply that those of us who like the films have ''bad taste'' or something.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Sep 9, 12:42am

Post #25 of 29 (1905 views)
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So... [In reply to] Can't Post

''This certainly "has no truth value."

It is in the sense that it can be verified independently.

''but it can be argued that many were not.''

The same can be said of the LOTR trilogy.

''I do appreciate your enthusiasm and love of the films, but you have to be careful when dealing in absolutes''.

I also appreciate the advice. I will try to rethink some of my arguments.

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