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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
CNN: The Hobbit worst movie of 2012
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burrahobbit
Rohan


Dec 30 2012, 1:03pm

Post #101 of 112 (137 views)
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You wouldn't have to drop the Trolls, Beorn and the Eagles [In reply to] Can't Post

You're setting up a false choice there I feel. If AUJ cut all the necromancer storyline (including White Council, Radagast), all Azog (including Rivendell warg chase, and Thorin flashback) and greatly shortened action scenes with little significance (stone giants, goblin chase etc) then you could easily get the plot to Mirkwood. You'd probably have to trim the trolls scene, the prologue and remove Frodo and Bilbo opening (EE maybe), but again that could be done while keeping the important parts of the story.

In LotR Jackson and co showed they were adept at visualising the essential story elements. FotR has far more scenes and more complex drama than the first half of The Hobbit, and felt perfectly paced.

There's no way trolls could be cut. Beorn is an important part of The Hobbit and would be best to hang on to. If anything could go then perhaps the eagles could have been realistically cut, since they have already featured heavily in LotR.

Regarding Thorin's character, I don't see how building up a big revenge storyline with Azog necessarily helped the audience sympathise with him. When he rashly goes to attack a mounted Azog in the last scene he seems like a hot-head rather than a king of dwarves, and he also fought somewhat pathetically in that scene as well, which I didn't find very heroic.

There are other ways to help the audience sympathise with Thorin while sticking to the story. Whenever Thorin leads the dwarves and looks after them, we get a sense of his leadership and his love for his people. This happened in Bag End. In the book it also happens in Mirkwood. I would have liked Thorin to kill the Great Goblin (if there was no Azog this could become part of the later goblin revenge plot at BotFA).


sauget.diblosio
Tol Eressea

Dec 30 2012, 1:20pm

Post #102 of 112 (129 views)
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I honestly don't see how they ever planned on making this two films. [In reply to] Can't Post

Especially considering how rushed the final third of the movie felt. I'm certainly no fan of the Azog as presented here, but i do think that some similar threat was probably needed no matter what (at least in the Jackson/Boyens/Walsh school of scriptwriting). And i certainly wouldn't want to see the unexpected party or riddles in the dark, the two best parts of the film, shortened in any way. And while i may believe that some of the action with the stone giants, the warg chase, goblin town and the final showdown were definitely overdone, i wouldn't want to see them axed. Toned down sure, a little more grounded in reality definitely, but not removed entirely. I actually think that adding a few quieter moments here and there, or a couple more character specific action beats, to these set pieces would have made them better.

So, other than getting rid of the Old Bilbo/Frodo prologue (which i quite liked), or ditching the Appendices stuff, which is probably a huge part of the reason PJ wanted to make these movies at all (and which i love), i just do not see how they ever planned on squeezing even more stuff into this film.

It'll be interesting to see how all this played out in the EE documentaries.


moreorless
Rohan

Dec 30 2012, 2:01pm

Post #103 of 112 (122 views)
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My points were more that... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
You're setting up a false choice there I feel. If AUJ cut all the necromancer storyline (including White Council, Radagast), all Azog (including Rivendell warg chase, and Thorin flashback) and greatly shortened action scenes with little significance (stone giants, goblin chase etc) then you could easily get the plot to Mirkwood. You'd probably have to trim the trolls scene, the prologue and remove Frodo and Bilbo opening (EE maybe), but again that could be done while keeping the important parts of the story.

In LotR Jackson and co showed they were adept at visualising the essential story elements. FotR has far more scenes and more complex drama than the first half of The Hobbit, and felt perfectly paced.

There's no way trolls could be cut. Beorn is an important part of The Hobbit and would be best to hang on to. If anything could go then perhaps the eagles could have been realistically cut, since they have already featured heavily in LotR.

Regarding Thorin's character, I don't see how building up a big revenge storyline with Azog necessarily helped the audience sympathise with him. When he rashly goes to attack a mounted Azog in the last scene he seems like a hot-head rather than a king of dwarves, and he also fought somewhat pathetically in that scene as well, which I didn't find very heroic.

There are other ways to help the audience sympathise with Thorin while sticking to the story. Whenever Thorin leads the dwarves and looks after them, we get a sense of his leadership and his love for his people. This happened in Bag End. In the book it also happens in Mirkwood. I would have liked Thorin to kill the Great Goblin (if there was no Azog this could become part of the later goblin revenge plot at BotFA).


My point is really two fold, firstly yes I do think the film may have been struggling for time to include all those scenes even if it had lost the extra material but more importantly would such a film have been sucessful?

Having watched AUJ my feeling is that it wouldnt have, we actually got alot of very faithful Hobbit material afterall and indeed Bilbo is heavly featured in alot of these scenes but still to me they did not seem like something a coherent plot could be created from. In order to do that I believe the you'd need to cut out several sections of the book and focus on a few key events, perhaps have something like...

Unexpected Party
Trolls
Rivendell
Misty Mountains/Gollum
Spiders
Elves

Even that to me seems seems like a pretty long rather linear film without a strong central theme that the Ring gave FOTR.

The Smaug and Azog flashbacks to me cover different sides of Thorins character, the sensible leader capable of making calculated decisions and the heroic but headstrong one capable of great but impetuous deeds.


arithmancer
Grey Havens

Dec 30 2012, 2:07pm

Post #104 of 112 (119 views)
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Thorin [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Regarding Thorin's character, I don't see how building up a big revenge storyline with Azog necessarily helped the audience sympathise with him. When he rashly goes to attack a mounted Azog in the last scene he seems like a hot-head rather than a king of dwarves, and he also fought somewhat pathetically in that scene as well, which I didn't find very heroic.


I did not find Thorin's action in this instance rash. Yes, he chose to attack an enemy with decided advantages (mounted, holding the high ground, and accompanied by others). But as far as he knew, his other option was to wait a few more minutes and fall to his death when the tree he was on, finally toppled over the cliff. Unlike the audience, Thorin was unaware that Gandalf had arranged for a rescue.

Thus, I found his action very much in line with what should be expected of a heroic/kingly character from a warrior culture. If he was going to die anyway, he was going to do his best to take his enemy with him before the end.

I can see what you are saying about his fighting, but I did not find it different in this scene, from his fighting in other moments in the film. He is shown in assorted brief moments of the Goblin Town sequence as an effective fighter (he knocks the Great Goblin over, and dispatches a number of random goblins with his sword in that sequence). On the other hand, in the Azanulbizar flashback when fighting Azog, he is shown losing his shield, then losing his sword, then barely able to keep himself alive using the oak branch, and then just as we might expect to see him killed too, he reaches for a sword that is lying on the ground and succeeds in cutting off Azog's hand. From which my takeaway is that Azog's natural physical advantages of size and strength are sufficiently overwhelming that all Thorin's skill does not necessarily suffice. He wins (in the first scene) because he never gives up. He loses (in the second scene) even though he likewise persists, getting up after being ridden down by the warg, and when caught in the warg's jaws, still holding on to his weapon and summoning up the will to attack it again.
It is of course a matter of personal taste, but I actually find it easier to make an emotional connection to Thorin because of this.


burrahobbit
Rohan


Dec 30 2012, 2:28pm

Post #105 of 112 (145 views)
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Suggestions for themes [In reply to] Can't Post

Sure absolutely it's very linear and has it's problems for a movie (but then AUJ as it stands has plenty too). But I think there are themes in the book that could have been developed much more to bring the plot together and make such a story work.

So Bilbo's development and his relationship with the dwarves is the main focus, and pushing the story forward allows this relationship to become richer. The moment where Gandalf leaves the company on the eaves of Mirkwood is critical- for me that would be a key emotional scene - "this is your adventure Bilbo, don't fail me". Where Bilbo realises he has to be courageous and believe in himself.

But of course we need more than that. The reason that getting to Thranduil would be great is that we could really develop the dwarves-elves tension. Thranduil appearing the prologue was clever and it would be great to complete that link in the same movie with the Thorin-Thranduil scene. The dwarves are criticised as upsetting the balance of nature and being too greedy; the elves being haughty and too introverted to help.

In the book you get a really strong sense of Wilderland and the wild being a key theme. There are various powerful forces of nature (including Smaug) that are chaotic and out of control. That's why I disliked the Warg attack before crossing the Misty Mountains- in The Hobbit is after the mountains where things get wild and dangerous. Wilderland could be introduced by Gandalf and further developed through Beorn (the symbol of Wilderland) and Mirkwood. You'd get a real sense of the north being out of control and needing the King-under-the-Mountain to return.

Thranduil's halls also offer the opportunity for a female character, which is desperately lacking in The Hobbit. Personally rather than the elf-warrior they have gone for, I think Thranduil's wife played as a Galadriel type character could have worked. She could discover Bilbo and sympathise with the dwarves against her grim and stubborn husband.


elostirion74
Rohan

Dec 30 2012, 2:43pm

Post #106 of 112 (113 views)
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I agree and disagree [In reply to] Can't Post

 I agree that The Hobbit shouldn't be compared to standard blockbusters, that's to set the bar too low. But like others have said, the Hobbit is a far lighter work than LoTR, especially in the first third of the book, so I don't see how the critics should have every reason to expect The Hobbit to be at this level and scope. But perhaps you're referring to the level of craftmanship in film making in general?

If we look at the quality of film making just in and of itself, it strikes me that the disparity between the weakest and the strongest parts of AUJ are much greater than their respective counterparts in LoTR. The implausibility and sheer lifelessness of the action scenes with the Stone Giants and the escape from Goblin Town makes parts of the film plummet and creates a sense that the characters are beyond danger in a way FoTR never did.

FoTR also had a better general narrative thrust, partly due to the lack of a sub plot and that's of course vital for the judgement of the film as a whole. In terms of acting, though, it's not better than AUJ.

In some respects I actually find that AUJ is superior to FoTR. The scenery was actually more beautiful and made more of an impact on me, both because the film takes more time to show us the detail of each landscape, the various terrains feel richer and less static than in FoTR and the various technologies used to create the scenery seem to me to better integrated. The camera work in AUJ is more quiet than that of FoTR and beyond the weakest action scenes the film makers have been courageous enough to avoid the tendency to quickly cut from one frame to another out of fear of boring the audience which you could see from time to time in FoTR. In terms of camera work I find AUJ to be at least as good or better than FoTR.


moreorless
Rohan

Dec 30 2012, 3:33pm

Post #107 of 112 (121 views)
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The problem is I'd say... [In reply to] Can't Post

As I said I think the problem is that your dealing with ALOT of material between Bagend and Mirkwood and only some of it really seems suitable for devolping Bilbo's relationship with the company, for alot of it he's really just an observer. On the page I think Tolkien "gets away" by the brevity and tone of his writting but even then I'm guessing most would agree the novel becomes stronger as it processes.

My guess is that the earlier shorter adaptations probabley cut alot of material from the journey and focused on sections such as the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood where Bilbo is taking a much more proative role in the story. So rather than having elements like Azog being introduced to fill out a greed driven move to a trilogy I suspect they were introduced partly to cover a desire to show more of the book both in terms of material and tone.


(This post was edited by moreorless on Dec 30 2012, 3:34pm)


moreorless
Rohan

Dec 30 2012, 3:49pm

Post #108 of 112 (103 views)
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Indeed it will [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It'll be interesting to see how all this played out in the EE documentaries.



Indeed it will, as I'v said elsewhere in this thread I suspect the general theme maybe similar to LOTR with a growing desire to add in more of Tolkiens own material as production progressed.

What the EE might feature is interesting to me aswell as there doesnt seem to be many entirely new sections that could be added. The only real "quick cut" to me seemed to be the Dwaves leaving Rivendell which I'd guess we might see in full, besides that I'd hope for mostly quiter character moments ala FOTR EE.


moreorless
Rohan

Dec 30 2012, 7:10pm

Post #109 of 112 (102 views)
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Critics won't get fooled again? [In reply to] Can't Post

Personally I'v not had a chance to see the 48fps version yet but I do get a strong sense that alot of the reaction agenst it comes from an Avatar/3D backlash.

That was afterall a film that many critics and audiences went absolutely ga ga over largely because of the reintroduction of 3D. While not a terrible film I think we can now acknowledge is as a rather simplistic one with art direction straight from 13 year old girls sketchbook.

To me the guilt from that massive overeaction has really created a bashlash not just agenst 3D(some of which is deserved with the cheap cashins we've seen since) but in any new form of film presentation. I think Tron Legacey(not a classic film but far superior to Avatar) suffered from it and I think the Hobbit may well be suffering from it aswell with reviews such as this in mind.
Doing a quick net search yes the same critic for CNN loved Avatar. Wink


Chainsaw Charlie
Bree


Dec 30 2012, 7:30pm

Post #110 of 112 (89 views)
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It'e entirely possible... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
For the second film of the trilogy expectations will now be much more realistic, so Jackson will likely get a far more positive critical response.


Expectations or otherwise, it's also entirely possible that there will be a more positive critical response when the 2nd film has payoffs that are informed by the 1st part, and it's equally possible the first part will be completely re-evaluated after the conclusion of the third part. Punters often think they can cash their bets after horses have only gone around one turn of a three-turn racecourse, but post-mortems are conducted and bets are paid off when the race is finished.


(This post was edited by Chainsaw Charlie on Dec 30 2012, 7:32pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 31 2012, 12:23am

Post #111 of 112 (88 views)
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The forums are moving so fast that hardly anyone will see this post. [In reply to] Can't Post

Perhaps not even you, Altaira! That's what I get for being busy for 24 hours. Still, since you were kind enough to chime in:


Quote
Then proclaim it was the worst concert of the year, not that it was the worst piece of music written in the year.


I think we're all taking this list a bit too seriously. Generally, critics' year-end "best" and "worst" lists are throwaway pieces created after the hard work of actual reviewing is done, or they exist as a way of making some general points about the state of cinema, without really being about the specific films in question. In this case, I would say that the critic is emphasizing the problems with 48fps because one of the most prominent filmmakers has declared that this is the future (while, if I recall correctly, hinting that films of the past were ugly), so the critic saw this as a significant point to address in a year-end summary.

(There is an argument to be made that critics shouldn't make ten top ten lists at all. I'll follow up on that in a new thread at some point.)


Quote
Of course critics should comment on 48fps, as several people have already noted. It's difficult for some critics to separate one from the other as we've seen in other reviews. It just diminishes any critic's credibility, and/or exposes a bias, if they bash a composition itself because of the concert hall it was played in.


I disagree. If the music critic thinks a new work sounds bad, and she's only been able to hear it in a poor setting, or performed by a weak orchestra, she can't commisison a new performance by a different ensemble in a different building! She has to make the best judgment based on what she's heard.

It works in both directions, by the way: the acoustics may cause a bad work to sound better than it "really" is. (Similarly, it happens in theatre that a new play is acclaimed because of brilliant direction and when seen in a revival is found wanting -- as a play, not (just) as a production.)

Think about this: if a critic praised The Hobbit largely because of the 48fps, would most people here be complaining that the critic wasn't giving the film itself due consideration?


Rather than adding a separate post, I'll also respond here to sauget.diblosio:


Quote
I think the Mozart comparison applies more to The Hobbit as it's an independent work, like an album or a written piece of music. It exists as a work separate from format or venue. Of course when you go see a band or orchestra live that particular performance is affected by venue, but to review that band's *album* or that orchestra's music's *composer* on the basis of that particular performance or venue would be absurd. A movie is not a performance, it's a pre-existing work like a symphony or painting and should be judged on those pre-existing elements alone.


No, The Hobbit movie is more analogous to a new composition than to a known work like a Mozart symphony. The critic is encountering the work and its performance at the same time. Now, is it more apt to compare The Hobbit film to a recording of a new concerto than to a performance of a new concerto? Sure. But again, I don't believe the studio gave critics the opportunity to see the film a second time in a different time before the film opened to the public -- which is when their reviews had to appear.


Quote
And if you're a professional critic and you knew that this film was showing in both traditional 24fps and a controversial new 48fps, and you hated 48fps, i think it's your professional duty to see it in the other format as well. Especially if you're a nationally known critic, and especially with such a high-profile film.


Nobody "hated 48fps" before seeing The Hobbit, because no one had seen 48fps projection before. And as this particular critic had also noted other reasons for disliking the film, it's completely understandable that he ddn't feel he needed to see it again just to try a different format.

And I utterly reject the idea that one film should be given more attention than another because of its supposed "profile", i.e., because it cost a lot of money. That's just snobbery.

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redgiraffe
Rohan

Jan 3 2013, 11:12am

Post #112 of 112 (72 views)
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I find this to be the funny thing about the critics [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
...was exquisitely clear in the early scenes in Bag End, and at moments elsewhere. These were the best parts of the picture. I don't think that's what the critics saw as "bloat". Where it got bloated was the bludgeoning home of the Elves v. Dwarves conflict, the long, dreary "action" sequences of aimless attacks by thousands of ugly but ineffectual orcs, the drawn-out White Council segment (I really don't think that backstory is going to contribute much to the trilogy except length), and the patently phony ending with the maudlin rescue of Thorin and "reconciliation" scene. Jackson is not happy with "quiet charm", he is going for "standard blockbuster." Yawn.


First, I agree with you that the bloated areas were most certainly in the later parts of the film. While I seemed to have enjoyed the film more than you did, I still feel as if once the action started it didn't slow down enough and was a little too much.

But for the most part the critics said it was the beginning stuff at Bag End that felt bloated and "dragged" the film. Much like you, I thought the beginning was wonderful and not at all slow.

I do, however, remember quite a few critics saying that the white council and dol guldur story line felt like superfluous bloating. Honestly, I can understand where they are coming from. Personally, I don't feel as if it's bloat just yet because I'm fully expecting it to be well developed.

But from a pure movie perspective of judging the film on its own, the white council stuff feels out of place. I think that mainly comes from the fact that the story line didn't seem to resolve anything by the end of the movie. I know it's going to be fleshed out later but if we just look at AUJ right now they don't really seem to accomplish much with the white council story line, and it has little to do with the main quest (at the moment).

I had expected more to happen with that plot in the first film. Really, it only ends with them saying that the morgul blade mystery must be solved. I think there should have been a little more action taken by the council to show a sense of accomplishment. It wouldn't necessarily have to involve action but have something about the white council preparing a big investigation into the matters. And I think PJ should have made it clear in the first film that Gandalf more than just feared an alliance with Smaug and the enemy. But that would have taken some restructuring.

-Sir are you classified as human
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