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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
"The Hobbit" films ranked as among the worst out of 5,000+ films of the 2010s.
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Hasuwandil
Lorien


Feb 15, 9:40am

Post #51 of 78 (1894 views)
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5,254Ė5,256 [In reply to] Can't Post

I saw all three films in the theater, but haven't seen them since. I wouldn't rate them among the best films of the previous decade, but then I wouldn't rate them so low, either. I find it suspect that an attempt to judge over 5000 movies places all three Hobbit films in consecutive spots.

I did have a prejudice going into the theater: I was skeptical that The Hobbit could be turned into three films without adding unnecessary filler. I don't think I was proven wrong.

Things I liked:
  • Most of the beginning of An Unexpected Journey.
  • The music: much better than The Hobbit (1977), in my opinion.
  • It made sense to show the White Council expelling the Necromancer from Dol Guldur, given the length.
  • It made sense to include Legolas in the films, although I don't think he needed more than a cameo or two.
  • I liked the production design overall.
I was going to add that the fight scenes were more realistic than The Hobbit (1977), but then I remembered the Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. homages.

Things I didn't like:
  • The character designs of the thirteen Dwarves.
  • The pointless Frodo flash-forward.
  • The character design and characterization of Radagast.
  • The character designs of the prominent Orcs/Goblins.
  • The Elf-Dwarf love story.
  • The Alfred character.
  • Too much Legolas.
  • All in all, too many obvious references to LOTR.
I'm sure there's more I could add to both lists but, like I said, it's been a while since I saw the movies. Sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if Peter Jackson had done The Hobbit first, and then gone on to do The Lord of the Rings. Presumably The Hobbit would have turned out better, but would The Lord of the Rings turned out worse?

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Noria
Gondor

Feb 18, 2:44pm

Post #52 of 78 (1648 views)
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Interesting question [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if Peter Jackson had done The Hobbit first, and then gone on to do The Lord of the Rings. Presumably The Hobbit would have turned out better, but would The Lord of the Rings turned out worse?


I have always felt that a Peter Jackson Hobbit movie, one movie, that had been made before LotR could have been very different without the expectations and constraints that being both a prequel and a follow-up to the hugely successful LotR trilogy engendered. Yet Jackson is still the same director who likes special effects, big action and juvenile humour, who made both Braindead and Heavenly Creatures before LotR. So what would that original Hobbit movie have been like? I wonder too.

The effects on the LotR films would have been profound as well, probably not in a good way, had the original plan come to fruition. . LotR would have been two films instead of three and a lot more would have been condensed or left out, affecting both plot and character. No doubt many beloved scenes would never have been filmed. I have read about the two-film treatment but canít remember enough about it now to provide examples. Nor do I recall if a script for the Jackson/Walsh Hobbit had ever been written.

Since I love TH movies almost as much as the LotR trilogy, it all worked out for me.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 18, 2:59pm

Post #53 of 78 (1647 views)
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If Jackson had made 'The Hobbit' first. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I have always felt that a Peter Jackson Hobbit movie, one movie, that had been made before LotR could have been very different without the expectations and constraints that being both a prequel and a follow-up to the hugely successful LotR trilogy engendered. Yet Jackson is still the same director who likes special effects, big action and juvenile humour, who made both Braindead and Heavenly Creatures before LotR. So what would that original Hobbit movie have been like? I wonder too.

The effects on the LotR films would have been profound as well, probably not in a good way, had the original plan come to fruition. . LotR would have been two films instead of three and a lot more would have been condensed or left out, affecting both plot and character. No doubt many beloved scenes would never have been filmed. I have read about the two-film treatment but canít remember enough about it now to provide examples. Nor do I recall if a script for the Jackson/Walsh Hobbit had ever been written.

Since I love TH movies almost as much as the LotR trilogy, it all worked out for me.


Of course, Peter Jackson had proposed adapting The Hobbit before the Lord of the Rings films were made. It likely would have been a single film, maybe two. Elements from the appendices might have been included, but probably no Tauriel and no Alfrid, no Were-worms.

I am not prepared to say that the LotR movies would not have been a trilogy in this case (if they were made at all). There are too many variables, too many unknowns.

#FidelityToTolkien


Noria
Gondor

Feb 19, 3:18am

Post #54 of 78 (1607 views)
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One Hobbit, two LotR [In reply to] Can't Post

As I recall, Jackson and Walsh went to Miramax with a proposal to make three films: one Hobbit and two LotR. The rights to film TH were too hard to acquire so that movie was eliminated, But there were still supposed to be two LotR films and I think the scripts were written and pre-production had started. Then it all famously fell apart when the Weinsteins insisted on a single LotR movie.

So the two-movie LotR project was well underway before it died. The subsequent three movie deal with New Line necessitated a complete rewrite, so we don't know what the original concept would have been like unless somebody has read that treatment.

Thus it seems to me that both TH and LotR would have been very different if the original plan had worked out. By the time LotR became three movies, The Hobbit film had been abandoned.

It's funny that the difficulties in getting the rights to film The Hobbit were suddenly worth working through post-LotR, once they all knew how much money there was to be made.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 19, 3:42am

Post #55 of 78 (1604 views)
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That seems accurate. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your post lines up with my distant memories concerning the abandoned project. If there are any corrections to be made, I'm sure someone will chime in with the information. If the Hobbit movie had been made under Miramax, though, and been successful, I could see the idea of the LotR as a film trilogy being revisited at that time. As was said later, by a New Line exec: There are three books, aren't there?

#FidelityToTolkien


Noria
Gondor

Feb 19, 1:50pm

Post #56 of 78 (1564 views)
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Of course it's possible [In reply to] Can't Post


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Your post lines up with my distant memories concerning the abandoned project. If there are any corrections to be made, I'm sure someone will chime in with the information. If the Hobbit movie had been made under Miramax, though, and been successful, I could see the idea of the LotR as a film trilogy being revisited at that time. As was said later, by a New Line exec: There are three books, aren't there?


But in my opinion three films from Miramax were unlikely given that that Weinsteins were balking at (and maybe couldn't afford) two, unless the single Hobbit film made a fortune. I hope that Hobbit movie would have been successful but I can't think that it would have had the impact that the epic LotR had, like three cannon shots across the world of film, three years in a row.

But we'll never know, though it's entertaining to speculate.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Feb 19, 2:31pm

Post #57 of 78 (1567 views)
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Yes... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but we are, after all, playing a game of 'what if'. Alternately, we could ask: What if New Line had agreed to Peter Jackson directing an adaptation of The Hobbit before making The Lord of the Rings? Again, I think we would most likely have seen a single movie made of TH, without most of the embellishments that we actually got. It could have been expanded into two films, especially if additional material from the LotR appendices were incorporated into the narrative. Again, I could see Legolas being included, but likely in a much smaller role--perhaps little more than a cameo. We might have even seen Aragorn in such a movie, but as the young boy 'Estel' in Rivendell as opposed to the reference to a Ranger as mentioned by the Elvenking.

#FidelityToTolkien

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Feb 19, 2:35pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

Feb 20, 3:12pm

Post #58 of 78 (1485 views)
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Yeah... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To

In Reply To
IMO the movies needed to set up a reason for the animosity between the Wood Elves and the Dwarves of Erebor, not rely on ancient history known only to book fans.


That's a fair point, though Thorin's attitude was a bit extreme, extending to all Elves including Elrond's folk, who--when they lived in Eregion--had had a good relationship with the Dwarves of Khazad-dum (Thorin's ancestors).


Thorin in the book had none of the animosity toward Elrond (or even Elves in general) that movie Thorin displayed. Thorin was your basic proud old man/dwarf fallen on harder times than heíd like to admit. He took offense to Thranduilís questioning (and compounded that with innate dwarves greed). Movie Thorin hated Elves to the point of unreasoning racism.

Just one more reason my joy at the start of AUJ with the ďGood MorningĒ scene quickly turned to dismay and revulsion as the movies progressed.


Even as a Jackson ''apologist'' (for a lack of a better term), I don't get why he made certain choices in the scripting processes. Why alter Thorin's personality in such an extreme way?

Does he give any reason anywhere (say, the EE's Appendices)?

It just seems STUPID to change the book gratuitously like that. If the change has a cinematic/narrative purpose, then maybe it can be excused. But for NO REASON?


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Feb 20, 3:26pm)


Noria
Gondor

Feb 20, 8:18pm

Post #59 of 78 (1458 views)
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Otaku-sempai, I pretty much agree with you. [In reply to] Can't Post

I discounted the feasibility of New Line making The Hobbit back then because presumably they would have had the same problems in obtaining the film rights. But if we are imaginingÖÖ.

Whether it was one or two movies, I think that The Hobbit could only be completely faithful to the book if it stood alone, unconnected to any LotR films. Otherwise, there would be a need for continuity between the two stories; the world of the Hobbit would have to be the same world as the larger, more expansive LotR.

Since Jackson et al were planning to film LotR as well as The Hobbit, presumably they would have had the larger, more complex book in mind as they wrote their treatment of TH and it would have been a big influence on TH.

As part of a trilogy (or even a tetralogy if weíre dreaming big) with LotR, it would only make sense to bring in the White Council, Galadriel, Saruman etc. into TH and have the whole Necromancer subplot. The Ring would be more significant.

Since Legolas is important in LotR, he should appear in TH when the Company visits his home. But maybe Legolasí role would have been smaller because neither he nor Bloom were fan favourites later used to attract existing LotR movie fans to the prequel movies.

In the same vein, the Dwarves of The Hobbit novel are not those of LotR, either book or movies, and I suspect that the Dwarves of any Hobbit adaptation would have to be closer to Gimli in character than to his relatives in the TH book. Until they suddenly changed into warriors at the Lonely Mountain, the Dwarves of The Hobbit were helpless and cowardly; the Dwarves of LotR were neither. I wonder if back then Jackson would have had the IMO very clever idea of making all the Dwarves visually distinctive but featuring only a few of them as main characters.

I expect that they still might have introduced at least one female character.

Also in order to better match up with LotR, some of the characters would have to be more developed, be more than a name and/or title and a couples of line like Bard the Bowman or the King of the Elves or the Master of Laketown.

There is still the issue of what Thorin and company thought they were doing on this quest anyway.

I have no issues with the book as it is and I imagine that a faithful adaptation of the little childrenís story could be made. But if The Hobbit was being filmed as part of a series with LotR, it would have to be looked at differently and I imagine that any director would at least consider the things mentioned above.

And all that is before we consider the characteristics of Jackson himself as a director.


Noria
Gondor

Feb 20, 9:14pm

Post #60 of 78 (1455 views)
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I don't think it was for "no reason". [In reply to] Can't Post


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Even as a Jackson ''apologist'' (for a lack of a better term), I don't get why he made certain choices in the scripting processes. Why alter Thorin's personality in such an extreme way?

Does he give any reason anywhere (say, the EE's Appendices)?

It just seems STUPID to change the book gratuitously like that. If the change has a cinematic/narrative purpose, then maybe it can be excused. But for NO REASON?


I think it was done to up the dramatic tension and make it much less likely that Thranduil and Thorin could ever cooperate either in the Woodland Realm or at Erebor. It increased the likelihood of war between Elves and Dwarves. The animosity of the two kings was personal.

Whether that reason was good or not is a matter of opinion.


Omnigeek
Lorien


Feb 23, 3:34am

Post #61 of 78 (1280 views)
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Reasons, yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree, they had reasons for what they did. I just happen to think a lot of the scripting decisions for the Hobbit trilogy -- especially Thorin's general attitude toward Elves -- were ridiculous and stupid. I understood most of the decisions for deviating from the books in the LOTR movies but there really was no need for the "White Orc" or love triangle much less the changes in Thorin's personality or background.
They could have covered the differences in mood between the Hobbit and LOTR books simply by doing what Tolkien did and explain the text of The Hobbit (or start the tone more like the book) as Bilbo's contemporaneous view of events -- or what he was willing to admit to -- and then show the LOTR backstory from the Appendices by having Gandalf fill in the rest of the story.
In any event, the movies are what they are. I do still love how they did the Good Morning scene, enjoyed Riddles in the Dark, and appreciated Elrond's invitation to Bilbo. I laughed at Dain's arrival and the insults he hurled at Thranduil. Thorin's funeral was magnificent (although I still maintain he should have had a full beard worthy of a Longbeard).


Noria
Gondor

Feb 25, 2:13pm

Post #62 of 78 (1176 views)
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Fair enough. [In reply to] Can't Post

You didnít like many of the choices the writers and director made in filming The Hobbit, and though I donít agree, itís a legitimate point of view.

I had forgotten about Tolkien's notion of presenting The Hobbit as Bilboís subjective recollections rather than historical ďrealityĒ. Would it have worked, either as the first film of a trilogy with LOtR as originally planned or as the prequel-sequel that actually happened? Possibly, and I get why such an approach would have been more to the liking of purists.

Would the slaying of Smaug and other things that Bilbo didnít witness would have to be described to him, just like the BoFA was in the book? I liked how the BoFA was shown in real time instead of as a flashback. Although I didnít care much for the denouement of the White Council subplot in TBOFTA, I again preferred that it was shown in real time rather than have Gandalf describe it. And that story needed to be in TH, not LotR. Placing it in the latter as a flashback would entail even more exposition of long ago events in movies that were already struggling with an overabundance of source material. LotR had more story than could be told as it was, and more than enough flashbacks. The Hobbit is a much thinner story which has more room for events that happened within its time frame and involved one of its major characters.

If anything, before I saw AUJ I was hoping The Hobbit movies would be more like LotR. PJ explicitly stated that he wanted LotR to feel real, like history rather than fantasy. I loved that about those movies and it was what I wanted for TH - a more adult version, like the rewrite that Tolkien started and then abandoned. Once I saw AUJ, I realized that PJ was going in a different direction tonally and was fine with it.


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

Mar 1, 11:36pm

Post #63 of 78 (1074 views)
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Just a minor point... [In reply to] Can't Post

but I think Azog is never actually reffered in the movies as ''the WHITE Orc'', but rather as the ''the PALE orc in a white Warg'', or something to that effect. Just a correction. Wink


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Mar 1, 11:38pm)


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

Mar 1, 11:48pm

Post #64 of 78 (1069 views)
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Question. [In reply to] Can't Post


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Once I saw AUJ, I realized that PJ was going in a different direction tonally and was fine with it.


But that ''different tonal direction'' matched your vision/expectation of what those movies should be like?


Noria
Gondor

Mar 2, 2:01pm

Post #65 of 78 (1004 views)
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To clarify [In reply to] Can't Post

I love The Hobbit book, but not nearly as much as I love LotR (or The Silmarillion). I also love the LotR movies and what I had hoped for from TH movies was more of the same Ė a Middle-earth that was treated as if it was real and an epic story full of gravitas leavened by occasional humour. I suspect that many LotR movie fans felt the same, especially if they had never read any of the books. But I was wrong.

Once I saw AUJ I realized that the LotR treatment was not necessarily the best one for TH, though it might have worked for the epic story it became. But I remember PJ saying that he didnít want to repeat himself with TH and I imagine that was part of why he chose a very different tone for those movies. What he attempted to do was bring the lightness, absurdity, and sheer fun of TH into the wider and deeper Middle-earth of LotR. The marriage is somewhat uneasy at times and I understand why some Hobbit book lovers detest the result. I am fine with TH movies as they are.

I might have loved that LotR-like Hobbit as much as I do the version that we got, but Iíll never know. As with LotR, I donít think the Hobbit movies are perfect and I disagree with some of the choices PJ made. None-the-less, I love all six movies.


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

Mar 6, 6:06pm

Post #66 of 78 (896 views)
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OK... [In reply to] Can't Post

That certainly did clarify things. Wink


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 6, 6:40pm

Post #67 of 78 (893 views)
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Except [In reply to] Can't Post


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What he attempted to do was bring the lightness, absurdity, and sheer fun of TH into the wider and deeper Middle-earth of LotR


he didn't; if that was his intent, he failed. The lightness and humor of Tolkien's Hobbit were dry, droll and donnish. What PJ gave us instead was Looney Tunes slapstick.


Noria
Gondor

Mar 11, 2:20pm

Post #68 of 78 (718 views)
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In your opinion [In reply to] Can't Post

But really Ėthe foolish and fainting Bilbo, the yammering Dwarves, the Trolls and their talking purse, the singing orcs and the talking spiders may be droll but are hardly intellectual. Dry and donnish humour is not the only kind in the book. It wouldn't appeal to kids if that was the case.

But regardless, PJís task was to make a set of movies that would attract a large and wide ranging international audience of the 21st century, not a subset of people harkening back to the 1930ís.


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

Mar 11, 6:22pm

Post #69 of 78 (706 views)
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I agree completely. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But regardless, PJís task was to make a set of movies that would attract a large and wide ranging international audience of the 21st century, not a subset of people harkening back to the 1930ís.



Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 11, 11:45pm

Post #70 of 78 (693 views)
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I believe [In reply to] Can't Post


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PJís task was to make a set of movies that would attract a large and wide ranging international audience of the 21st century, not a subset of people harkening back to the 1930ís.


That is summarized by a common ten-letter phrase beginning with SEL and ending in OUT.


Noria
Gondor

Mar 13, 8:41pm

Post #71 of 78 (558 views)
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No itís reality [In reply to] Can't Post

Itís the movie-making business. Itís only a sellout if the director makes a movie they donít want to make. There is no evidence of that with The Hobbit. If you watch the video logs and Appendices and listen to the commentaries, PJ appears to be right into it all. It was his idea to make two movies into three, because for him TH novel seems to have become a springboard into a larger story set in a wider and more complex Middle-earth.

Whatever their artistic aspirations, the producers and director of a movie have an obligation to those investing in their project to do their best to create something that will make money. In the case of inevitably expensive movies like LotR and TH, that means attracting and appealing to a large audience by making movie(s) that that large audience would enjoy watching. Like TH trilogy. Something that is popular is not always bad any more than it is necessarily good.

After all, Tolkien himself sold the film rights to TH and LotR for money, and the Tolkien Estate recently sold the television rights to LotR for money.


Paulo Gabriel
Lorien

Mar 14, 7:08pm

Post #72 of 78 (463 views)
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Yes. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Itís the movie-making business.


Under contemporary Hollywood constraints, both LOTR and Hobbit trilogies are as good as one could expect-- perhaps not just perfect, but then, perfection is utopia.


Solicitr
Gondor


Mar 14, 8:06pm

Post #73 of 78 (455 views)
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Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

pere sold them with the Inland Revenue's gun to his head, confronted with a tax bill he had not the cash to pay; the Estate, yes, Sold Out with a capital S O once the inconveniently honorable Christopher with his oh-so-out-of-date sense of integrity had retired (or was defenestrated.)


VoronwŽ_the_Faithful
Valinor

Mar 15, 12:12am

Post #74 of 78 (426 views)
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I'm surprised to see you say that [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding is that the oft-repeated statement that Tolkien sold the film rights to pay an overdue tax bill was not at all true. But you certainly are in a better position to know that I am, so perhaps it is true after all.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Noria
Gondor

Mar 15, 1:47pm

Post #75 of 78 (367 views)
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Disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

I had heard the story about the tax bill before and also that it was untrue. Iíll take your word for it. If it was income from book sales that caused the tax problem, itís kind of fitting that selling the film rights should remedy it. In any event, it was fortunate for Tolkien that he had something to sell.

There is nothing inherently dishonourable about a business deal between the Estate and Amazon Studios. Granted, I wouldnít have thought that the Estate needed the money Ė no doubt it was one of those dreaded ďbusiness decisionsĒ. But the rights are the Estateís to sell. And itís Amazonís right to make a television series that they believe will appeal to their audience, subject to whatever oversight the terms of the deal stipulate.

Iím sorry to hear the suggestion that Christopher Tolkien was removed from the board of directors of the Estate against his will. I had assumed it was the result of age-related physical or cognitive issues.

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