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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
A Bit of Positivity


Jul 11 2013, 5:56am

Post #1 of 20 (1697 views)
A Bit of Positivity Can't Post

It seems to me like there's been quite a bit of negativity surrounding the movies recently (though I could be totally wrong), so I feel like putting up a bit of positivity in yet another ridiculously long post explaining why I am fine with all the differences.

Put mildly, I loved The Hobbit. Reading things on here I have examined the movie more than is probably healthy to see if I agree with some of the points, and I honestly don't. This doesn't mean that the people who have problems with it are wrong or anything, just that I take another view.

Everything that is in the book up to where the movie ends is in the film. Some things have been tweaked a bit for visuals and call-backs, but I don't think there is a single scene in the book that is not in the film (feel free to correct me there). The changes to the existing scenes do not seem to be much more severe than the tweaks that were made during the Lord of the Rings. And in my opinion, the additions add to the experience.

Was the Frodo and Bilbo scene necessary? Probably not. But it's purpose seems to be to reacquaint people with Middle-Earth and hopefully bring a smile to the fans' face. It worked for me. It hasn't worked for some (many?), and that's okay. Nothing can please everyone.

The Necromancer plotline, in my opinion, would be necessary for any adaptation of The Hobbit that is made after The Lord of the Rings. People will be wondering how everything ties into The Lord of the Rings, and it is neat to see it. And contrary to some opinion, the things in the film were in the Appendices, they were just kind of tweaked for timeline compression and the addition of Radagast.

I feel like the point of Radagast (other than providing a fun new character) is to make the Necromancer plotline possible for the film. As I recall, in the Appendices it goes Gandalf investigates Dol Guldur, meets Thrain, suspects Sauron is involved, is denied by the Council (specifically Saruman), then waits until Saruman changes his mind and they drive him out. Obviously, there is more to it than that, but those are the basics. Obviously, PJ wanted to put that story across the three films. So it can't have been Gandalf investigating Dol Guldur (at first at least) because he would be with the Dwarves. Enter Radagast. The story with the High Fells and the Nazgul was, I believe, included because they have to have a way of convincing the White Council to attack, as it would not work to show Saruman fearing that the Orcs are investigating the Gladden Fields, for that would spoil the surprise of Saruman being a turncoat in FOTR. All of these are acceptable to me, though not to everyone.

The Warg Scouts are in the film to tie the episodic nature of the story a bit more. That is a given. Almost every time an episodic story is adapted (Goblet of Fire, the Odyssey, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, etc.) something is introduced or beefed up to tie the story together. This leads to Azog.

I have no problem with Azog, but many, many, many people do. The main reason for this seems to be that in the books he is dead, and he is taking screen time from Bolg. The reason for Azog could be as simple as he has a cooler name than Bolg (which he kind of does), but that's probably not it. In my opinion, one of the cool things about Azog is that he has an immensely personal connection to Thorin, who is obviously supposed to be his arch-nemesis. He killed Thror, severed his head, and (in the books) carved his name into his forehead. Had Dain not killed Azog in the books, there's a sizable chance that he and Thorin would go to the ends of the earth trying to kill each other. Thorin wants him dead because he killed his grandfather. Azog wants him dead because he is an Orc and that is kind of what he does.

I feel that Azog works better than Bolg as the leader of the Warg Scouts because of the connection with Thorin. Thorin being chased by the man who killed his grandfather works better than Thorin being chased by the son of the man who killed his grandfather. It also kind of needlessly complicates the story. Not much, but enough. Bolg is still in the movies. Sure he is different, but at least his is still there. And for all we know he will end up performing his duty to the story, we just don't know yet. I don't think that we can honestly predict what PJ will do until the film is released. After all, who saw it coming that Azog would have as big a part?

So to make a long post short, I think that all of the reasons for the changes (not really changes, more like additions) are all sound and add to the experience. I feel that this movie was doomed by critics right from the beginning simply because it would always be compared to the Lord of the Rings (too kiddy in comparison OR too much like Lord of the Rings). Not to mention the fact that it seems like more or less every movie gets bad reviews these days.

I'm sure many people will disagree with this. Hopefully, many people at least partially agree with this. Or maybe this will be ignored as a too-long rambling post about things that have already been discussed. Either way, this is my two cents.


Jul 11 2013, 9:19am

Post #2 of 20 (801 views)
My two cents I agree with you [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to see the film with no expectations (and having not read The Hobbit for many years). Since I had seen none of the publicity before seeing the film, I expected that I would not like it based on the book (a children's book with garden-gnome and other sketchily drawn characters). That, coupled with del Toro's involvement rather than PJ's, had made me lack interest in the film.

When I saw it I was utterly surprised by what I saw the casting and acting, and the visuals and music, were wonderful as far as I was concerned, and I love the high-frame rate. The things I didn't like were very minor (PJ's 'gross' moments). The storyline, too, worked logically for me. I find it is on a par with FOTR (my favourite of the LOTR trilogy), and I think the acting of the new characters, for one, is considerably better overall than it was in LOTR, apart from a few notable exceptions, such as Sir Ian McKellen.

Possibly, some people went to see the film with very high expectations and were consequently disappointed (as inevitably happens). Some people wanted to see a 'cartoon' version, with cardboard characters, others another LOTR. Whatever PJ did, he would have attracted criticism. It also seems to be the case that all films that come out these days, especially popular ones, seem to be trashed online. I've never commented on films that I even quite like, let alone films that I detest, so I do not know what motivates people to post negative and often really vicious comments about films (or anything else for that matter). Perhaps it is done to attract attention, or a way to vent frustration with daily life that can only be expressed anonymously? I'm sure a psychologist would be able to put forward theories about this phenomenon but it's interesting.

I do remember massive arguments and criticisms about LOTR when those films came out only people have forgotten these, or were not around at the time.

Rather a rambling post, but I'm in a hurry. Thanks for posting your opinion. Smile

Grey Havens

Jul 11 2013, 12:01pm

Post #3 of 20 (711 views)
Not too long... [In reply to] Can't Post

I entirely agree with your post! (Well, was actually one who did not care for the Frodo scene, but while I found I was wanting to get to Young Bilbo already, I'd certainly agree it was a possible and reasonable way to start the movie, that is inspired by the books (Frodo is not a "The Hobbit" character, but in the wider ME book context, Bilbo did write the story of his adventures down, and did share them with Frodo, who later added his own to the same book...)

However, you forgot to mention my favorite addition and change. Smile

I loved the Prologue with the coming of the dragon. It was visually spectacular. It gave us a glimpse of Erebor and Dale as they were at their height, beautiful, wealthy, full of activity and life, which delighted me. I did not think I would see a Middle Earth Dwarf Kingdom brought to life in the films, since we do not in the books, we just read about their past glory. As a reader I always regretted that, as I really like the Dwarves and wished for this.

Finally, by putting characters we were going to know and love in the middle of the action, it made the tragedy more real and personal for us, and created sympathy for them. I had always found Book Thorin difficult to warm to, he's a bit prickly and rather full of himself. I was already inclined to cut Movie Thorin some slack by the time he showed up on Bilbo's doorstep, even while his movie incarnation shares those qualities, and compounds them by making a quick (and unfair) judgment of Bilbo in which he persists for most of the film.


Jul 11 2013, 12:22pm

Post #4 of 20 (714 views)
Let's sing it! [In reply to] Can't Post

Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB

Oh ... sock it to me, sock it to me sock it to me, sock it to me.

Good old Aretha Franklin.

(And I largely agree with you).

Coming soon! The first TORn Amateur Symposium, starts Sunday 21st July in the Reading Room. Closing date for essay submission Sunday 14th July, but even if you don't submit, join us for some interesting discussion on some different and personal ways of looking at Tolkien's work.

Tol Eressea

Jul 11 2013, 12:41pm

Post #5 of 20 (742 views)
There has just been [In reply to] Can't Post

a thread called what i love about the hobbit film, not what i hate about th film...

Far more appreciation than criticism i would say.

On your post, i disagree with almost everything. Tongue

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Jul 11 2013, 12:47pm

Post #6 of 20 (697 views)
Okay, but what need to connect Bolg to Dol Gudur? [In reply to] Can't Post

What is wrong with keeping Bolg of the North as the son of Azog who rallies the goblins of the Misty Mountains after Gandalf slays the Great Goblin? Why must he be connected to the Necromancer and Dol Guldur?

From a story-telling standpoint, I can somewhat understand Jackson's decision to keep Azog alive as an active threat to Thorin and Company. I do agree with those who think that he should still die before the Battle of the Five Armies to give Bolg an addtional motive to attack the armies of the Free Peoples at Erebor.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

Superuser / Moderator

Jul 11 2013, 3:12pm

Post #7 of 20 (643 views)
No need to keep score [In reply to] Can't Post

'Keeping score' posts don't add anything to a discussion. And, lest I be accused of taking sides (not that that would ever happen Crazy), please consult this post where I made the same point to someone keeping score in a 'negative' thread.

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

Tol Eressea

Jul 11 2013, 3:19pm

Post #8 of 20 (615 views)
i wasnt keeping score, i wouldnt go around making sure theres a balance .. [In reply to] Can't Post

just making a comment that i thought there was more pros than cons recently, which the OP thought differently.

Nothing more.

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Jul 11 2013, 3:46pm

Post #9 of 20 (576 views)
i agree [In reply to] Can't Post

it's a wonderful movie. certainly one of my favorites from last year. not as good as LotR but LotR is one of the best epic adventure films ever made and has a story much more suited to that genre than The Hobbit's. i understand complaints about some bloat here and there and Azog or whatever, but those things don't bother me that much and certainly none of that or my own personal quibbles are nearly enough to undermine all the things the move does well. it has a lot of ambition, a lot of heart, and a lot of craftsmanship. there are moments that chill me to the bone (Gandalf's one-on-one with Galadriel, Bilbo's Pity) and scenes of grandeur that sweep me up (the prologue, the Eagles) and tons of great character moments and Freeman gets Bilbo so right and, my gosh, Riddles in the Dark. AUJ really should be considered in the upper tier of fantasy/adventure genre cinema.

Old Toby
Grey Havens

Jul 11 2013, 3:58pm

Post #10 of 20 (582 views)
No need to apologize for your two cents legomire! [In reply to] Can't Post

And to me, positivity is always welcome. I try to avoid things that I feel are constantly stressing the negative. Anyway, since I loved AUJ in general, I agree with what you've said.

I particularly loved the beginning of the film that gives us the backstory with Erebor and Smaug and Thranduil etc. This gives the audience necessary information, I think, on why the dwarves are going on this quest in the first place and why the animosity with the elves is so great. And perhaps the Frodo/Bilbo beginning wasn't 'necessary', but I feel it was a glorious start, tying in the previous LOTR films to this one. And I loved seeing Elijah again.Aalthough he's obviously a bit older now, who cares? He's still got that boyish charm and those big blue eyes!

Re: Azog. Yeah, he was one I didn't care for, but not because of his addition to the story. I just didn't care for his look. I completely agree with you that he was a good enemy for Thorin just because of all those very personal reasons. (And I really hope that Thorin is the one to give him his just desserts.)

"Age is always advancing and I'm fairly sure it's up to no good." Harry Dresden (Jim Butcher)


Jul 11 2013, 4:45pm

Post #11 of 20 (544 views)
Well said [In reply to] Can't Post

Nothing wrong with creating a thread and talking about what you enjoy rather than focus what we didn't.

Grey Havens

Jul 11 2013, 10:47pm

Post #12 of 20 (422 views)
It's the other way 'round. *book spoilers*, movie speculation [In reply to] Can't Post

It is Dol Guldur that needs connecting.

"The Hobbit" movie series remains the story of Bilbo the hobbit and his adventure. Jackson has decided he wants to tell an expanded version of that story, showing its links to LotR, including more characters from Tolkien's imaginary world, and events that were not included in the book. But Bilbo's story is what the movies are still (explicitly - see the first scene of the first film) aiming to be. The Necromancer and Dol Guldur, in the novel, have no connection whatsoever to Bilbo's story. They are an after-the-fact explanation of the convenient disappearance of Gandalf. That's poor storytelling. I don't mean Tolkien's - I'm saying it would be poor movie storytelling to include all these scenes of Gandalf, Radagast, the White Council, Nazgul, old fortresses, etc. if none of them has anything to do with Bilbo and his adventure other than that Bilbo is friends with Gandalf.

So the filmmakers are (in my opinion) taking steps to remedy that, by working to connect this thread of the film series plot to the main story. The reasons Gandalf gives for his involvement in the quest are one such step. Gandalf wants Thorin to succeed, so that "the Enemy" could not use Smaug to threaten the North, and Galadriel agrees he is right to help Thorin. We will presumably eventually learn that "the Enemy" and the Necromancer of Dol Guldur are one. But I think the filmmakers think they need more than this one single connection. So where can they find others?

Well, Bolg is undeniably a part of Bilbo's story in the novel, I've never seen anyone complain about his being in the film (more typically, people complain he is not ALREADY in it). In the book, he takes actions that deeply affect Bilbo, as they lead to the deaths of three of his companions and cause him to live through a huge battle. If (speculation, obviously!) we were to discover that the Necromancer/Sauron encouraged, egged on, ordered, suggested, or otherwise caused Bolg to gather a large host and march it to the Erebor as another element of his plans for the North, that would be another link connecting the two stories. (Particularly if Gandalf learns of this and this is what causes him to go North himself to warn all of the danger).

Finally, I think Azog will be another such connection. I do not believe it is any sort of coincidence, in the films, that Azog (long years after the battle) suddenly decided it was time to hunt Thorin down, just when Thorin decided it was time to ask his companions to leave their peaceful prosperous lives in the quest for Erebor. I think we will learn that someone suggested this course of action to him, and that someone was the Necromancer, who is influencing both father and son in this matter for his own ends.

(This post was edited by arithmancer on Jul 11 2013, 10:48pm)


Jul 12 2013, 3:50am

Post #13 of 20 (361 views)
from 2 to 3 [In reply to] Can't Post

I can see the Azolg/Bolg - Sauron/Smaug - Gandalf/Thorin triangle if that is what PJ is ultimately pushing for, and if so it wil definately make more sense in the next 2 films. I've said all along that as a whole the films would probably make more sense than just watching AUJ and a 2 minute DOS trailer and speculating without all the facts.

Also when PJ added the 3rd films he "stole" material from the two which may have made him stretch a few things out a bit.

I think he could have killed Azog off as per canon in the Battle of Annulzibar(sp?) and made Bolg the primary antagonist, but perhaps that would have caused issues with his plot lines necessitating 2 main goblin baddies.

The ending of AUJ kinda was a letdown to me of sorts, very abrupt with little resolution.

But on the plus side the acting/casting was spot on and most of the main parts of the book were there, so all in all it was good.

As good as FOTR? No, but good, and I think DOS and TABA wil be better.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.


Jul 12 2013, 6:45am

Post #14 of 20 (344 views)
I was not sure if the Prologue really counted as a change... [In reply to] Can't Post

Sure it wasn't exactly like that in the book, but for the most part it was what was talked about that was on screen, other than Thranduil's appearances. But I did love it too.


Jul 12 2013, 6:48am

Post #15 of 20 (341 views)
Fair enough [In reply to] Can't Post

Won't think any different of you for the opinion. In a totally non-creepy way, I was kind of wondering if you'd have anything to say about this Wink

Tol Eressea

Jul 12 2013, 1:23pm

Post #16 of 20 (304 views)
While it seems most scenes from the book [In reply to] Can't Post

seem to be in the finished film, its how they were done, that i disagree with, poorly in my opinion.

But theres no bilbo with his hunger and complaining and the difficulties with the food supplies, leading up to a much better and faithfull troll scene.

Necro : has little to do with bilbo and the dwarves. Personally i have little interest in seeing a bafoon of a wizard scuriling around some old ruins, spooking a ghost and seeing some dark shadow. For me the story of the lord of the rings is in the LOTR. Having some " explanation" of his sudden appearance and retreat 60 years earlier, doesnt matter for me. Plus, it might create an inconsistency with gandalfs discovery that it is sauron in fellowship.

And it unbalances the whimsical fairy talish nature of TH, imo. And it confused some people in the audience :P

But given that it was included, the least i could expect was some originality in the design of the necro and a more decent and appropriate portrayal of radagast. Not the drug addict, insect keeping, poop ridden, drunken driver, alzhaimer suffering, bum he seems to me.

The wargs are just yet another lazy and screenwriting 101 decision from jackson...boring, popcorny moment. Lets insert action!! Its going to be really cool!! As if the trollshaws wasnt already a moment filled with drama, magic, danger etc....If jackson only trusted the nature of TH book rather than inventing new stuff....

Azog : his design is fierce and monstruous, but his rendering was not that good and his role seems dumb and unnecessary for me. What we have with Bolg and Dain and azanulbizar was much better imo.

I would prefer no one chases them, but if that is the case, then do it with Bolg, who actually has a good reason for seeking revenge from Thorin and the dwarves.

Anyway, my two cents, Azog-fan!Tongue

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Jul 12 2013, 2:55pm

Post #17 of 20 (285 views)
warg scene [In reply to] Can't Post

the warg chase was one of the most poorly executed scenes in the film but it works with the Azog storyline and it works in terms of how PJ sets up this sort of impasse between Gandalf and Thorin because Thorin refuses to go to Rivendell because of his mistrust of Elves as laid out in the prologue and then the warg scene not only provides a bit of action for pacing purposes but also serves as an impetus for Gandalf to push the party into ending up at Rivendell. so it's far from lazy screenwriting, it was a very well thought-out decision to help get the movie to Rivendell while keeping things consistent with the character motives and so forth that PJ was wise to emphasize in his telling of the story. without conflict, there is no drama, and there would have been very little conflict between characters in the first part of this tale without Thorin/Gandalf's dispute, which is very rightly rooted in Tolkien's own imaginings of these characters but something he didn't really touch on in The Hobbit at that point because he was writing a children's adventure story and was more concerned with just taking his characters from point A to point Z with a lot of other episodes in between. but the warg scene is probably a bit overlong and has some of the most poorly done action and effects in the film, so on those counts it is one of my least favorite scenes in the film. however, it does have a nice, subtle character moment where Thorin directs Kili to kill the Warg scout on the overhang which then in turn alerts the other orcs to the dwarves location...a nice moment of foreshadowing of how Thorin's hardened, angry character contains elements that will lead to his downfall.


Jul 12 2013, 8:23pm

Post #18 of 20 (252 views)
I would argue that the connection between the Necromancer and Thorin's quest is already there, in the book (and Appendices). [In reply to] Can't Post

First, through Thrain. The Necromancer captured Thrain in order to secure one of the Dwarven Rings. It was while investigating the Necromancer that Gandalf discovered Thrain and received the map and key to Erebor.

Second, the Necromancer poses a threat just by his presence in Southern Mirkwood. Thorin and Company dare not risk bypassing Mirkwood by going around it to the south because that path would take them too close to Dol Guldur.

Thirdly, because of the Necromancer, the party has to do without the services of the Wizard. Gandalf must leave the company at Mirkwood to keep his appointment with the Council to drive the Necromancer from Mirkwood Forest.

To my mind, those are plenty of connections right there.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring

Werde Spinner

Jul 13 2013, 2:13am

Post #19 of 20 (228 views)
Well said. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was always just so grateful that we were getting a Hobbit movie at all (let alone three!) that I went to the theater hoping to be happy with a little and came out happy with almost everything.

For me, stuff left out of the movies bothers me more than stuff added. Also, I always felt that the Necromancer/ whatever else Gandalf is up to would have to be explained. I also absolutely loved the Prologue, as it demonstrated where the Dwarves were coming from - yeah, it was probably during those scenes that I converted from Elves to Dwarves. I am impenitent, however. Wink

This is a bit tangential, but my personal theory is that Azog was sent by the Necromancer to retrieve the last of the Seven from Thror, and that is why he had 'sworn to wipe out the line of Durin'. Then, after Thorin hacked of his arm, it just got personal.

Thanks for spreading some more positivity around! Smile

"I had forgotten that. It is hard to be sure of anything among so many marvels. The world is all grown strange. Elf and Dwarf in company walk in our daily fields; and folk speak with the Lady of the Wood and yet live; and the Sword comes back to war that was broken in the long ages ere the fathers of our fathers rode into the Mark! How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged. Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house."


Jul 13 2013, 3:52am

Post #20 of 20 (233 views)
Prologue [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I loved the Prologue with the coming of the dragon. It was visually spectacular. It gave us a glimpse of Erebor and Dale as they were at their height, beautiful, wealthy, full of activity and life, which delighted me. I did not think I would see a Middle Earth Dwarf Kingdom brought to life in the films, since we do not in the books, we just read about their past glory. As a reader I always regretted that, as I really like the Dwarves and wished for this.

I don't often think any movie can improve on any book, but I think the AUJ prologue is one area that was a big boost.


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