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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Please post all Hobbit reviews within this thread. (Links to previous review threads within.)
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Dec 13 2012, 9:32pm

Post #26 of 30 (656 views)
wow, that Salon review is a mess [In reply to] Can't Post

it comes off intelligent and well-written, but his argument is all over the place. he constantly goes back and forth between making points that contradict each other, like saying it was a mistake to make the movie more epic and not stick to the book...but then criticizing stuff that is straight out of the book while giving praise to some of the darker stuff that was added! and there are moments in the review where it looks like he's really familiar with the story and then others where it seems like he has no idea. maybe he's just confused about how he felt about the movie but tried to write his review, anyways. it's better than some of the other reviews out there, at any rate, even if its argument is incoherent.

on a side note, i don't get Metacritic's selection process at all for what reviews they include--i guess it's just based on which publications they recognize? there are a lot of more positive or "green" reviews from respected publications that are not yet included on their page for The Hobbit while they have a fair share of the more negative middling reviews, including the one from the NY Daily News which was just terribly written and an insipid rehash of the negative comments that had already come out before it (length, HFR, yadda yadda yadda). lazy, lazy criticism, that one.

The Shire

Dec 13 2012, 10:14pm

Post #27 of 30 (605 views)
Saw it in 2D, and pretty much loved it all. [In reply to] Can't Post

Some brief and random (spoilery) comments that come to mind:
  • the overall tone is lighter than in LOTR, which is fitting given the source material (though there's plenty of grim hack'n'slash besides the comedic moments)
  • principal and supporting characters were all wonderfully portrayed (PJ & co. really have a knack for casting)
  • wargs looked good to me, as did the CGI in general (I liked Azog's look too)
  • to my surprise the old Bilbo/Frodo framing device worked well (I was worried about it beforehand thinking it unnecessary)
  • ditto for the flashbacks (I am/was actually eager to see all the background stuff, but flashbacks can easily disrupt story flow if not used carefully/sparingly)
  • the slight changes that were made compared to what's actually in the book(s) seemed mostly very reasonable for a film adaptation (I'm in fact happy that the more fairy tale aspects were cut, such as the talking purse, and it was keeping in line with the world established in the LOTR trilogy)
  • happily I didn't even notice the axe in Bifur's head (IMO an utterly ridiculous design choice)
  • given it was a first viewing of all new material there was a lot to absorb, but most of the (in itself brilliant) soundtrack seemed like slight variations of the familiar themes in LOTR, and there was actually a disrupting moment at some point where some LOTR "baddie"-theme seemed strangely out of context and kind of yanked me out of the movie
  • many of the action sequences were rather overboard (a trait that PJ seems prone to) and (more than) bordering on impossible, which I don't like as when it gets unbelievable it destroys immersion in the film (e.g. the characters falling down hundreds of meters on a bridge and coming through unscathed; hanging onto a narrow mountain ledge which is moving every which way in basically in 10+ on the Richter scale cataclysmic conditions; goblins and other creatures having unrealistically little body mass with the company swatting them away like flies)
Overall though it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, and I can't wait for more!

The Shire

Dec 13 2012, 11:34pm

Post #28 of 30 (605 views)
That "baddie" music... [In reply to] Can't Post

A lot of people are mentioning this part where the ring ringwraith theme plays when Thorin confronts Azog. Thing is, Howard Shore's soundtrack release (on disc) contains a totally different theme for that moment. I don't understand why it would be changed!

The Shire

Dec 14 2012, 2:41am

Post #29 of 30 (543 views)
Hobbit Review - Defiantly one for LotR fans (4/5) [In reply to] Can't Post

I've never gone into a film with such high hopes and expectations and so was always, inevitably, going to be slightly disappointed. But the poor reviews in the media are completely wrong. If neither the book nor the original film trilogy had been released, thus setting a nearly impossible standard, then this movie would certainly of received tremendous praise. In terms of tone, it most closely resembles the 'Avengers' from this years releases and I can safely say it beats that film hands down. Having said that, the greater than expected number of ties between this and the original trilogy certainly means it is a film primarily aimed at fans of Jackson's first Middle Earth epic.


Nearly all of the media criticism seems to revolve around the length and the use of 48fps. Whilst I can't comment on the frame rate, having seen it at 24fps in 3D, I can say that by and large the length really isn't a problem and shouldn't annoy many people who didn't think the LotRs was overlong. While there are defiantly a couple of individual scenes that could of been edited down, such as the dwarves escaping from the wargs before Rivendell, there were other moments that felt like they could of been given slightly more time to breath in the way scenes in the original trilogy did.

Length aside, I found nearly all of the film immensely impressive. The humour stayed on the right side of believable for the most part (although a couple of shots in the dwarf plate tossing nearly departed from Jackson's desire to make 'realistic fantasy)'; the acting was nearly all perfect and the dialogue was far better written than most modern blockbusters.

While I'd been worried about the visual effects from trailer shots, these were nearly all stunning and certain aspects such as the trolls, CGI sets and Radagast's animals all seem to of been polished since pre-release footage. The wargs, Gollum and the Lonely Mountain were particularly impressive and the short Dwarf/Orc battle scenes involving large numbers of CGI duplicates were far better integrated and grounded than those in the LotR. But perhaps the biggest change I noticed from the original trilogy was the huge leap forwards taken in terms of creative camera angles and shots, particularly the scenes flying through Goblin town which really back up Jackson's decision to move away from using miniatures in part to give greater freedom of camera movement.
And despite the pre-release fears that too much of the film made use of studio filming and a lack of miniatures, there seemed to be nearly as many wide angled shots of real, spectacular, scenery as in the LotR.

Unlike the original trilogy however (and in part because of the high standard set by it) there were some portions which immediately stuck out as being improvable. The Great Goblin for instance, strayed just a tad too far into comedy, especially as he begins singing and dancing at one point and again just before he dies. But his chances of being taken seriously were always going to be hampered by his improbably large and unrealistic chin which detracts from otherwise good computer renderings. The rest of the scenes in Goblin town, just about stay on the right side of plausible but whilst they go on for quite a while, each individual portion doesn't seem to have enough time devoted to it. This problem, where individual sections of a scene seem rushed and underdeveloped, despite going on for a long time overall, occurs at several points throughout the film but is particularly evident when the dwarves are first captured by the Goblins and even in the brilliant riddles in the dark scene where Gollum occasionally seems to have to rush out lines. In another film, this wouldn't be noteworthy, but when compared to scenes such as Moria in FotR - with the long, tension filled pause, between the skeleton dropping and the sound of drums and again when the camera has time to focus on each character's fearful face as the orcs approach the tomb - certain aspects of scenes in the Hobbit don't seem to have the same devotion of time and development of rising tension. Even short shots such as that of the chimney over Bag End as the sky turns to day are effected and seem a couple of seconds short, adding up to a slight general sense throughout the film of cramming in too many individual, rushed sections.
This goes hand in hand with some sections of poor editing, especially as Radagast tries to draw off a Warg pack from the company. Here, between camera cuts the dwarves manage to move to a completely different place despite the wargs being right upon them. Meanwhile Radagast draws the orcs in circles without getting anywhere and keeps crossing lines with the dwarves without the wargs seeing them - resulting in a scene that's not nearly as well constructed as many of the chases in the original trilogy. The dwarves then escape down a short tunnel before appearing, what visually seems like hundreds of miles away in Rivendell, with far less geographical consistency between shots than in the previous films.
And whilst in most parts, the effects were a bit step forwards, from certain angles the Eagles and the Great Goblin's chin were less realistically than most of the visuals in the original trilogy. And Radagast's CGI animals, while being extremely impressive, are still recognizable computerized (in part due to the fantastical way they act as opposed to any fault in their rendering), giving a different feel to the original trilogy which went for less magical and improbably visuals in favour of greater realism.

Of course the Hobbit also lacks the rising speeches, multi-stranded plot and end of the world stakes of the original trilogy, so it never reaches the same epic emotional heights. However, it is a brilliant addition to those movies that pushes the boundaries of film making and alone would be seen as an outstanding success. As such it deserves at least 4/5 stars.


Dec 16 2012, 5:52am

Post #30 of 30 (497 views)
Hobbit Review: Amazing (5/5) SPOILERS [In reply to] Can't Post

The movie starts with Bilbo, on his 111th birthday, providing an introduction to dwarves and the dragon, who is recognized as the greatest threat of the age by just about everyone. (Gandalf and Radagast suspect something far worse in the Necromancer, but they are in the minority.) Erabor is beautifully rendered. The second time I saw AUJ, I did not have to adjust to the 48 fps so, for lack of a better expression, I was there. Stunning. Driven from their home of Erebor, the dwarves find they have no home in Moria, either, and we see a flashback to the battle in Moria where Thorin takes Azog's hand when Balin relays the story to the rest of the company later in the adventure.

After the initial flashback, old Bilbo lights up a pipe on a bench outside his house and we are taken 60 years into the past, where Bilbo is smoking a pipe on the same bench. He and Gandalf engage in the good morning routine. It is a beautiful little scene. I could not have hoped for a better recreation of the scene in a film medium. The dwarves show up and Bilbo is appropriately flustered. I do not understand the complaints about this portion of the film "dragging." PJ patiently lets you get to know some of the dwarves. Unfortunately, there are too many to really get to know them. You do get a good feel for who Dwalin, Balin, and Thorin are. Though less important, I think we also learn who Ori (innocent little child) and Dori (more sophisticated fellow) are. Bofur has some lines, but they don't let you learn who he really is. Fili and Kili come across as intended, I think, as energetic young men. Bombur is fat, which is really his only "purpose." Both times I saw the blunt the knives scene, I did not particularly take to it. It kind of took me out of the story like a classic musical will. Don't get me wrong, I love Les Miserable, songs and all, but I did not want that in my Hobbit. The misty mountains song did not have the same impact (I loved it). Nevertheless, none of the scenes dragged. Like I said, I cannot understand the critique.

Once we are out of the hobbit hole, the scenery, even the light forest that has relatively little grandeur, is amazing in 3d HFR. Especially the second time I saw the film, I was entranced by the quite normal tree branches. The dialog was funny and we learn a little more about the relationship between Fili/Kili and Thorin when he snaps at them for trying to scare Bilbo by talking about orcs. The troll scene is amazing. The camera angles let you feel like the trolls are on top of you. I guess you could call it a dwarf eye view. Wonderfully choreographed. I did not like how the fight ended. The dwarves did well enough for themselves, but then the trolls get hold of Bilbo and threaten to tear him apart. So the dwarves give up. Trolls eat dwarves. If you give up to prevent Bilbo from being torn apart, then you all get eaten. Who would do that? I found it somewhat annoying. I guess I didn't particularly like the way the dwarves were captured in the book, either; so perhaps PJ improved on the book ever so slightly.

Radagast is a nice little addition to the story. He has evidence of corruption, which is the result of Sauron (not mentioned by name) returning. His scenes are whimsical, but not stupid. It is true that when he does some magic he goes cross-eyed. He also takes a toke from Gandalf's pipe and smoke comes out of his ears. These things did not bother me (perhaps because I knew a guy who could make smoke come out of his ears--less extreme than the Radagast version, but this is a fantasy story, after all). When the company arrives at Rivendell and Gandalf meets Saruman, Radagast's discoveries are ignored because Saruman considers him a fool. The scene is great. The two elves and two wizards work well together. Saruman's explanation for disliking Radagast is funny without making Saruman look silly (his reasoning is that of a stuck-up noble); Gandalf's explanation of why he chose the halfling is really pretty cool. I enjoyed how the party was split from Gandalf in the movie better than the book.

Stone giants. Amazing.

Bofur and Bilbo have a nice little chat in a cave in the mountains before a trap is sprung to drop all of the dwarves into a pit. I rather enjoyed the bonding between Bofur and Bilbo. It established that Bilbo was giving up a lot to help the dwarves and Bofur, at least, got it.

The Goblin Town was amazing, start to finish. I liked the Goblin King, I loved when he sang. The escape scene had incredible choreography. The flow was great. I wouldn't say I was nervous about the dwarves escaping and I wasn't ever afraid, but that didn't make it less thrilling from a Disney Land ride perspective.

Gollum and Bilbo had the greatest scene. Book and movie. Gollum the cannibal was creepy as hell. His loneliness was also pretty apparent. I don't think they needed to ham it up quite as much when Bilbo was deciding whether to spare Gollum before his escape. It was already pretty clear that Gollum was a horrible monster who could still be pitied, particularly because we know what the ring did to him. A little crying did not make him any better or worse.

Bilbo finally bonded with everyone after they got out of the frying pan. He had a nice little speech about helping the dwarves reclaim their home. Then they noticed they were in the fire when the orcs closed and eventually treed them. I prefer the movie version of the treed scene to the book. Gandalf doesn't accidentally start a fire that appears to consume them as in the book. Rather, the fire drives the wargs back. When there is little hope left, Thorin charges Azog to try to take him out. Bilbo saves him. The dwarves charge and start fighting. Nobody really punks out. Then the eagles come to save them. No honor lost. Good scene. When Thorin hugs Bilbo at the end, all is well. Their home is in view in the distance. Beautiful ending.

A word on 3D HFR: I liked 3D HFR the first time I saw the movie. I had to adjust to the new format throughout, however. The second time I saw the movie in HFR, I was floored. Absolutely. Stunning. I never want to watch a film in 24 fps again. I am spoiled.

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