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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The "pointless hollywood blockbuster" argument


Jun 12 2013, 1:29pm

Post #1 of 7 (510 views)
The "pointless hollywood blockbuster" argument Can't Post

Now that the trailer has come out, this argument seems to have been really prevalent among skeptics. What I don't understand is, what's so bad about a film being a fun action film? If it still has character and story depth, and is engaging, does it really matter what kind of film it is? The same thing happened with Star Trek. What was once a quaint little TV-show became a gigantic blockbuster movie series. And you know what? Both those films were amazing.


Jun 12 2013, 1:58pm

Post #2 of 7 (302 views)
It's a very weak argument [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't see how any who is aware of the lineage of the film could call this pointless. The Hobbit is a literary classic. This new series isn't inventing a new story, like the Hangover sequels, it is a story that has been in place for almost 80 years for crying out loud! Was it pointless to make the Harry Potter films or the Narnia films as well?

Captain Salt
Tol Eressea

Jun 12 2013, 3:54pm

Post #3 of 7 (213 views)
You answer your own question. [In reply to] Can't Post

"If it still has character and story depth, and is engaging"...

Clearly, not everyone thought that this was the case - hence, bad Hollywood blockbuster.

But really, I don't think that the individual criticisms of the films necessitate their own threads "debunking" them.

My Top 5 Wish List for "The Hobbit"
5. Legolas will surf down Smaug's neck
4. Bilbo will be revealed to a Robot
3. Naked PJ cameo as Ghan-Buri-Ghan
2. Use of not only 3D, but smell-o-vision, plus the inclusion of axes coming out of the seats and poking the audience when appropriate
1. Not only keep the claim that Thorin & Co. ran amok in Mirkwood "molesting people", but depict said incident in vivid detail!!!!!

(This post was edited by Captain Salt on Jun 12 2013, 4:02pm)


Jun 12 2013, 4:00pm

Post #4 of 7 (190 views)
Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

... I guess they are provoced by threads of the different extreme.

But I agree that most of them (both negative and positive) would be enough as posts in the already well-debated threads... because rather harsh and snarky threads like this (and many others) only make it harder for those who try to debate... lets say... in a more balanced way to keep the discussions on a rational level.

ďA dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of menís imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien

Words of wisdom that should be remembered - both by critics, purists and anyone in between.

The Mitch King

Jun 12 2013, 5:55pm

Post #5 of 7 (148 views)
I reject the premise [In reply to] Can't Post

That somehow "hollywood blockbusters" are normally bad. The LOTR are "hollywood blockbusters" and those did just fine. Don't give me the "it's not in the book" stuff either because it is not a casual sit down and read it is a MOVIE! You want the book so bad than how about we put in silly dancing and singing animals at Beorn's? A talking purse? Talking birds? Of course that would be "too much cgi" for some folks *rolls eyes* There is a lot more hypocrisy in judging these movies against others than most critics will even dare admit because everyone has the "correct" way to interpret Tolkien don't they? 2 minutes out of 3 hours and many months away from the finished product is frankly a terrible way to judge what the movie will be like. There is no debating it.


Jun 12 2013, 10:48pm

Post #6 of 7 (98 views)
Why can't people have whatever opinion they want? [In reply to] Can't Post

You ask what's wrong with blockbusters?


But what's wrong with a nice, quiet film that's faithful to the source material?


Why do we all have to share the same opinion?

(And if you ask me, they should have stopped making Star Trek -- films and TV series -- about 20 years ago.)

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)


Jun 13 2013, 12:51pm

Post #7 of 7 (75 views)
It's a matter of emphasis and selection [In reply to] Can't Post

There are stories that include action and stories that are primarily built around action. If Tolkien were trying to do the latter he probably would not have chosen a main character like Bilbo who doesn't present much physical heroism and is even knocked out for the big battle. I'm not a Tolkien purist or superfan or scholar or whatever but I do admire and enjoy his work. One thing that sets him apart from a sea of generic fantasy epics is how for all his world building when it comes to tell a story he really reigns that stuff in in the service of exploring the inner world of his characters with sophistication and complexity. Reading the Hobbit I can see his choices in selection and emphasis of what he chooses to include and how it's always pointing the reader back to Bilbo as if saying "this is what it is really about! Pay attention! All that physical heroism is admirable but this is equally or even more important." The point is a work of art has a unity, composed deliberately around some focus and the thoughtful and humane unity of Tolkien's stories is a big part of why they stand out for me.

I might point to the Coens' True Grit as an adventure movie that I think captures the weirdness and chance circumstance of the wilderness and focuses more on the actual characters engaged in the journey in a way that I think is truer to Tolkien.

I agree that a book is a different beast than a movie and changes must be made. But so many of the changes Jackson and his crew are making remind me of watching Buddy make himself breakfast in the movie Elf. It's just piling on one piece of sugary candy after another. Much of it feels extraneous, generic, and superficial. At some point I think someone should have said, "OK, now let's tighten this up, put in focus." Instead they just made more room for it by turning this into a trilogy. It has become a creation that is about the extraneous where the story makes accommodation for special effects rather than the other way around.

And honestly, this is a criticism that sits in a more general disappointment I have with Hollywood. To me Tolkien is the sort of artist that serves as a refuge from this stuff. Which is why I'm pretty much quitting after film number one. But as a longtime lurker I thought I might at least offer a quick response.


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