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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
hobbit in retrospect
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Christine Golden
Registered User

Jan 14 2013, 11:26pm

Post #51 of 60 (178 views)
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Great Expectations [In reply to] Can't Post

No, after having seen LotR, I did not expect a faithful rendition of "The Hobbit." But considering how Jackson goes on and on (and on and on) about his deep respect for Tolkien, I would have thought he would have shown some of it in AUJ.

I also disagree with you about PJ's Hollywood clout: he is nowhere near Spielberg, Ang, Scorsese, Cameron, or Howard - instead, stretching The Hobbit into yet another trilogy reeks of desperation. He has directed one boxoffice smash and it was based on the writing genius of JRR Tolkien. All of his other directoral attempts were either flops, cult hits, or remakes: The Lovely Bones, The Frighteners, and Meet the Feebles come to mind. Personally, I think that he sank a lot of his profits from LotR and whatever he made from King Kong into Weta and CGI, expecting Hollywood to beat a path to his door. Instead, the studios built their own facilities. So, Jackson had few choices other than to 'go back to the well' for another Tolkien mega-hit to recoup his losses. To put it bluntly, imo, he was more interested in making money than The Hobbit; otherwise, he wouldn't have stretched the story beyond recognition into another three-part movie.

Btw, his arguments that he had to cut certain parts due to time restraints would be more credible if he hadn't added so much non-canon side stories such as resurrecting the long-dead Azog to chase the Company 'over the rivers and through the woods' of Middle Earth. You liked it and had no problem with Jackson going far beyond standard artistic changes needed to transform a literary work into a film so that he could add add more CGI bells-and-whistles. Fine. But please, don't disparage those of us who prefer the delightful faerie tale of Tolkien to yet another Hollywood B action-adventure flick with everything from trolls apparently based on a Three Stooges routine to the Scooby-Doo escape from the goblin caves thrown into the mix.

Oh, well, it's Jackson's last chance to butcher Tolkien (thank you, CT!) and I like action-adventure flicks, so no problem. But in 5-10 years, The Hobbit will be little more than a TNT weekend marathon, similar to LotR, and look as dated as Star Wars or Jaws. It's hardly ever going to give Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or To Kill a Mockingbird a run for the money as "best pic of all time."


unexpectedvisitor
Rohan

Jan 14 2013, 11:58pm

Post #52 of 60 (162 views)
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great filmmaking, great adaptation [In reply to] Can't Post

i guess it's a matter of perspective and viewpoint.

The Hobbit is a great book. some of you, thus, thought it should also be a great movie.

but when i read The Hobbit i don't see the material that makes for great cinema. i did see that with LotR, and that's why i'm really glad they made those movies first.

because it forced them to up their game with The Hobbit. i was not expecting a great movie when i went to watch AUJ. and yet it came a lot closer to that mark than i would have expected.

i was genuinely surprised by the thematic and contextual richness of the film, even though i knew going in that that was something the team had been gunning for by getting extra inspiration from the appendices. the technical quality of the filmmaking is some of the best work that PJ has ever done--in my opinion, on the same level as Heavenly Creatures (which, actually, is a truly great drama and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as whatever Top 100 or 200 films you care to mention) and Return of the King. the creativity of the enterprise and the way scenes were expanded and executed reminded me of PJ at his most imaginative--again, Heavenly Creatures, but also Dead Alive.

it doesn't hurt that Bilbo is the best central protagonist in a PJ movie yet, that Thorin is made a more involving character than he was in the book, and that Gandalf is as Great as ever.

that some would accuse it of being "unfaithful to the book" because it chooses to tweak appendice material into the main narrative to give us a more enriching, integrated experience...that it would be slammed as too "conventional" when it juggles all those dwarves, while it sends most cinephiles off to naps because it allows itself to take so much time setting up characters and motives through the unexpected party sequence...i'm sorry, but this strikes me as petty and ungrateful. an unfaithful, overly conventional movie would have axed half the dwarves, would have changed the quest to something of more ultimate import to match up to the stakes of LotR, would have changed the essence of the characters, would have ditched Tolkien's themes.


carrioncrow
Lorien

Jan 15 2013, 1:36am

Post #53 of 60 (154 views)
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You've got it wrong. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have a problem with the film because it "doesn't adhere to the story (i've) imprinted in (my) mind"
The Lord of the Rings films did exactly that and I enjoyed them immensely. Some of the things that tickled me most were the deft way the changes were worked.
The equation for those films was to turn Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS book into Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS film franchise. And they did. hurrah.
The equation, clearly, on this latest project was to turn Tolkien's THE HOBBIT book into Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS film franchise. And they did. boo.

THE HOBBIT deserved and adaptation of....THE HOBBIT. But a bargain was made here. We'll give you an adaptation of JRRTolkien's THE HOBBIT and simultaneously a return ride through the production palette of Jackson's earlier films. That chances of success on those terms were remakably slim (compared to doing a straightforward adaptation of some film maker's engaged take on THE HOBBIT.) They put profits above all, and have stumbled. At this point I'm hoping they see diminishing returns to their profits and credibility as film makers.

But I realize I am arguing with people who are convinced that this deeply flawed project is "perfect" so I'll just end here.


(This post was edited by carrioncrow on Jan 15 2013, 1:41am)


bborchar
Rohan

Jan 15 2013, 2:17am

Post #54 of 60 (143 views)
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You have every right to not like the movie... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but that doesn't preclude it from being a good movie. I don't like many films that others like...that doesn't make those movies bad, it just means they are not my cup of tea. And I've watched many of my most beloved books be hacked up (most notably, Pride and Prejudice turned into a sleazy romance film). I don't get offended by them, though. Of course these are going to be the filmmaker's visions, and not the original author's - that's why they are called adaptations. But I recognize that what I like in a book doesn't necessarily translate to film. Honestly, I thought the Hobbit was Tolkien's weakest work of literature. It has plot holes and too many indistinguishable characters. It makes a good children's book, but doesn't have much meat in it for anyone over the age of 12- that is UNTIL you add in the appendices.

Basically, I'm saying other people liking the film doesn't mean you have to like it, and likewise, if you don't like it, it shouldn't mean other people can't.


carrioncrow
Lorien

Jan 15 2013, 12:16pm

Post #55 of 60 (123 views)
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THe best sequence of the movie [In reply to] Can't Post

Is the Riddles in the Dark scene. There are reasons this scene works. The scene adapts from THE HOBBIT, and forgets the other side of the project. It isn't a slavish parroting of the book (that isn't even possible, I don't know what people are talking about when they say that is what I want).

It is almost a taunt, thrown in to show what could have been but must now be delayed for (at least) a (movie franchise) generation.


bborchar
Rohan

Jan 15 2013, 1:26pm

Post #56 of 60 (121 views)
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Things that wouldn't work... [In reply to] Can't Post

Now permit me to point out flaws in the book that wouldn't have worked in the movie:

1. All the dwarves look similar, and most are indistinguishable from one another. Too many characters like this would confuse an audience. Tolkien could just ignore them, but the film couldn't.

2. Lack of a consistant "bad" guy. Sure, Smaug is the main bad guy...but he's far off. And then he's killed in the middle of the book, and not even by any of the main characters. That leaves you about 95% of the story without any real bad guy, and the Bo5A after Smaug pretty much ruins the dramatic climax. It's the same reason that the razing of the Shire wasn't included in the LotR movies...you've already hit the 'climatic moment'. Anything after that feels unnecessary (and indeed, many people complained about the fact that PJ still added several endings).

3. No real reason for the journey in the first place - this makes the pacing of the book feel like a stroll through middle earth...which would be terrible for a movie, and terrible for the characters. Without adding the appendices where we find out that Gandalf is worried about Smaug joining with darker powers, there's absolutely no reason for the characters go to on this quest.

4. Bad characterization - What would keep Bilbo from running home? He reluctantly comes with the group, surrounded by dwarves who don't appreciate him (despite constantly risking his life for theirs) ,is constantly pining for home, and is on a journey for treasure he doesn't care for. It makes no sense. In PJ's version, the characters are more sympathetic...they want their home back. Thorin may have his flaws, but he's a respectable and likable character. In the book, you don't really see that side of him until he dies at the very end...which would make people wonder why Bilbo cared for him after what he did to him. In the movie, it will be obvious why Bilbo cares for him, and therefore more tragic when he dies.

4. Gandalf suddenly leaves for half of the book at the most dangerous part of the quest - this is a HUGE plot hole that would never work in cinema. It was obviously used by Tolkien as a way to get the company into trouble that Bilbo had to get them out of (as a way to make them appreciate him). It would just look like the plot device it is in the movie. Tolkien himself even felt the need to elaborate on it later...so I see no problem with using those notes to make it look like he had to go.

Does this mean that I don't like the book? No. But I think it's only fair, if you're going to point out the flaws of the movie (and fairly, because it does have them), that the book's flaws are pointed out, too. Neither of them are perfect. It just shows that you have to take each for what it is, and not expect one to be like the other.


Rolfina
Rivendell


Jan 15 2013, 1:33pm

Post #57 of 60 (111 views)
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Very nice post, but one question [In reply to] Can't Post

which version of Pride and Prejudice were you referring to earlier. Sly


bborchar
Rohan

Jan 15 2013, 1:40pm

Post #58 of 60 (111 views)
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2005 movie... [In reply to] Can't Post

...with Keira Knightly. Now, there was a 1995 BBC mini-series that was done, and done wonderfully. I love that one, and just pretend the movie doesn't exist :)


Rolfina
Rivendell


Jan 15 2013, 2:18pm

Post #59 of 60 (104 views)
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Phew, glad I can agree with you then. [In reply to] Can't Post

Wink


Michelle Johnston
Rohan


Jan 15 2013, 9:15pm

Post #60 of 60 (92 views)
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Motivation and Half full/Half empty [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
No, after having seen LotR, I did not expect a faithful rendition of "The Hobbit." But considering how Jackson goes on and on (and on and on) about his deep respect for Tolkien, I would have thought he would have shown some of it in AUJ.

I also disagree with you about PJ's Hollywood clout: he is nowhere near Spielberg, Ang, Scorsese, Cameron, or Howard - instead, stretching The Hobbit into yet another trilogy reeks of desperation. He has directed one boxoffice smash and it was based on the writing genius of JRR Tolkien. All of his other directoral attempts were either flops, cult hits, or remakes: The Lovely Bones, The Frighteners, and Meet the Feebles come to mind. Personally, I think that he sank a lot of his profits from LotR and whatever he made from King Kong into Weta and CGI, expecting Hollywood to beat a path to his door. Instead, the studios built their own facilities. So, Jackson had few choices other than to 'go back to the well' for another Tolkien mega-hit to recoup his losses. To put it bluntly, imo, he was more interested in making money than The Hobbit; otherwise, he wouldn't have stretched the story beyond recognition into another three-part movie.
Once again someone who knows Sir Peter's motivations with absolute certainty and then judges the three movie adaption a cash cow exercise. Sir Ian McKellan has said if one knew Peter and the full extent of how he conducts himself people would not make this judgement.
Btw, his arguments that he had to cut certain parts due to time restraints would be more credible if he hadn't added so much non-canon side stories such as resurrecting the long-dead Azog to chase the Company 'over the rivers and through the woods' of Middle Earth. You liked it and had no problem with Jackson going far beyond standard artistic changes needed to transform a literary work into a film so that he could add add more CGI bells-and-whistles. Fine. But please, don't disparage those of us who prefer the delightful faerie tale of Tolkien to yet another Hollywood B action-adventure flick with everything from trolls apparently based on a Three Stooges routine to the Scooby-Doo escape from the goblin caves thrown into the mix.
You may not like the introduction of Azog into the time line but as an objective observer of AUJ (I neither like or dislike the Jackson's and Boyens) I can see a clear artistic reason for the choice. On the question of the Trolls that was a difficult chapter to harmonise with the LOTR and I thought they did as well as they could. The Indiana Jones style escape from the mountain was adventure movie Yes but I might suggest this is a film where each of us see flaws not 2 hours and 40 minutes of unremitting wrongness.
Oh, well, it's Jackson's last chance to butcher Tolkien (thank you, CT!) and I like action-adventure flicks, so no problem. But in 5-10 years, The Hobbit will be little more than a TNT weekend marathon, similar to LotR, and look as dated as Star Wars or Jaws. It's hardly ever going to give Citizen Kane, Casablanca, or To Kill a Mockingbird a run for the money as "best pic of all time."
So I assume you will attend the next two movies be equally disappointed make the same observations be equally incensed by Tauriel and Alfred (Masochism for the love of Tolkien). Incidentally I have yet to see even those who have gained a great deal of enjoyment from the first part argue it sits alongside Citizen Kane or Lean's Expectations.


I tried to save the shire , and it has been but not for me.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Jan 15 2013, 9:16pm)

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