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So I saw The Hobbit
galadriel03
cleolinda
Due to the computer trouble (see the previous entry) and also my general and regrettable allergy to deadlines, I haven't finished the Breaking Dawn thing yet. However, even if I do finish it this weekend… I'm not sure when it will be appropriate to post it, given the really, really awful events in Connecticut. Charlie's Over-Protective Father Shotgun is a running joke to bring it around full-circle to the first movie, but I'm not sure it's something people want to hear right now. I'm not saying the Fifteen Minutes is postponed indefinitely; I'm just saying that I'm going to take my time polishing it and maybe wait until the end of this week or the beginning of Christmas week to post it, when everyone's a little less emotionally raw. I think laughter can help people cope with terrible things or distract them in a way that helps them keep moving, but I'm not sure this particular thing is the answer to that right now.

However, we can talk about The Hobbit here if you want; I have many thoughts under the cut, and it can be a nice bit of fantasy escapism, since there are no really, really ill-timed elements involved.


>> It might help to know, first of all, that I was obsessed with The Hobbit as a child. I loved the Rankin-Bass cartoon and obsessively checked the tie-in picture book and cassette tape out from the library when I was about four years old, as well as loving the actual book when I was a couple of years older. It was to the point where I knew in 2000 that Ian McKellen was a great actor, and yet I was still concerned that he would not be as good a Gandalf as John Huston's voice. My inner child was that irrational about it. (My inner child was also pleased with how that turned out, for the record.) And while I liked a few specific scenes in Lord of the Rings (Galadriel's temptation was important to me, as was Eowyn generally), the book was mostly a blur when I read it at the age of twelve. I didn't really get into it until I read it the summer I was 22, a few months before Fellowship of the Ring came out, and I had all the actors' faces firmly in my head--which meant that I was now able to follow who was who and what was what. So when everyone else was freaking out over the whether those movies did justice to the book, it was The Hobbit that mattered to me (and the Narnia books that I was more into generally). Knowing what a different approach Peter Jackson was taking this time around--or rather, the same ~Epic Trilogy~ approach to a short book written for a younger audience in much broader strokes--I just went ahead and gave up on worrying if it would be a good movie adaptation. And yet, I had this irrational moment where I teared up when the title came onto the screen--not unlike the first Narnia movie, where I always cry helplessly through the entire first ten minutes just because it hits me right in the childhood. So I basically had this strange viewing experience of The Hobbit where I compartmentalized all the things that I enjoyed and made me happy and just kind of threw up my hands and didn't worry about the movie as a whole. Also, best birthday present ever.

>> And I saw it in plain vanilla 24 FPS 2D, because, seriously, fuck this whole eye-melting high-frame-rate mess. Supposedly it's so clear that it looks like you're actually on the set and everything looks fake because it is, and three hours later you stagger out with a massive headache? Please, just give me a nice burnished fantasy veneer and let me go on my way.

>> I don't even think we really have to talk about how amazing the returning actors are, except that Ian McKellen is clearly having a ball, and any movie where he hustles people around while bellowing "RUN!!" is okay with me. Obviously Cate Blanchett is a goddess, although now she apparently has a little turntable for all her turning-around-slowly needs, particularly so that her long flowing train will twist perfectly around her feet (not once but twice), because obviously. And... I... I find Hugo Weaving really attractive in armor on a horse. Like, elf robes, okay, that is excellent costuming—elf armor, something just clicks in my brain, I don't know. The whole movie is riddled with weird brain-clicks like that. You'll see what I mean.

>> Martin Freeman is perfection. I think we all knew he would be. I had actually hoped they would get him for years now—I can't remember what put the idea into my head, but I'm talking, like, back before they had ever greenlit the production. There were rumors it might be him or James McAvoy, which was also a great idea, but I'd gotten my heart set on Martin Freeman, who just looks right. Richard Armitage is great, although the whole Thorin as Hot Warrior Dwarf is super weird, given that I grew up with Rankin-Bass Cartoon Thorin as pissy little old man. Like, my brain. My brain does not know what to make of this, please send help for my brain. It is, oddly, as much Thorin's movie as it is Bilbo's, if not more so, plus you also have Fili and Kili, who were very clearly cast younger and prettier on purpose, which means it is just all Hot Dwarf Cognitive Dissonance all the time.

(Man, can I just say that this movie is like a gift from the Fanfic Gods? I could actually hear fanfic springing into being as I sat there. The Galadriel/Gandalf scene is practically a writing prompt.)

>> So…. there's a ton of Radagast the Brown? And emergency hedgehog procedures? And him being endlessly (and fittingly, I guess) squirrelly? Which is kind of worth it to see Christopher Lee huffing, RADAGAST? RADAGAST is your proof that Sauron's back? RADAGAST is on SHROOMS. But... maybe not that worth it? Although there was a point where Radagast is gleefully leading a herd of orcs in circles while on a sled drawn by a team of rabbits (a sled drawn by rabbits. A rabbit sled) that goes on so long it becomes tiresome and ridiculous and then circles all the way back around to entertaining. Like… whatever, movie. I give up; you win. Rabbit sled, okay, sure. Basically, when Lee Pace showed up near the beginning on a giant elven moose, I just started gleefully, helplessly mouthing what the fuck? to myself. You stop loving it because you hoped it would be good and start loving it because it's awesome, if that makes any sense.

>> A lot of critics have complained about the tonal whiplash; @Gollancz on Twitter pointed out that it's a good fantasy movie, but it's not a good adaptation of The Hobbit, and (I say) there is one particular scene that can sum up the difference for you. There's now a specific antagonist—Azog the Pale Orc, an analogue to Lurtz in FOTR—who is chasing the company around Middle Earth, I guess to provide some narrative urgency to the journey. Maybe, in fact, to provide us with this particular Tone Whiplash scene. He's specifically after Thorin, who gets multiple So What Is Your Deal, Pissy Hot Bitter Dwarf flashbacks so that Richard Armitage can be grim and dirty and heroic in the throes of epic battle (I approve of this product and/or service and would like to sign up for its newsletter). The goblins inside the mountain who the company falls afoul of because they happen to pick the wrong cave for a night's sleep (as in the book) are a totally separate thing. So Azog is also hunting them, and after the company escapes the goblin caves, Azog's crew comes barrelling over the mountain and Our Heroes are off running again, yes, "out of the frying pan and into the fire."

And that's how the company ends up in the trees (which is one of my favorite parts of the book). But rather than the orcs setting the trees on fire, Gandalf lights up some pine cones (...okay, sure) to try to drive them off (which has the unfortunate side effect of everything being on fire). In the book, the goblins then break into song, which adds this dark, grotesque absurdity to the whole thing. It's actually frightening because it presumes their success: this is such a commonplace event for the goblins that they're just gonna camp out and sing, they have no doubt that they're going to be eating dwarf barbecue in about five minutes—nor can the reader, at that point, figure out how the company is going to get out of this. Here, instead of "Bake and toast 'em, fry and roast 'em, till beards blaze and eyes glaze," Thorin loses his shit and jumps down to charge Azog while all the other dwarves are hanging on to the domino-falling trees (because of course they're action trees) going THORIN WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? And he's slo-moing through the burning forest like OBVIOUSLY I'M POSING FOR MY HERO SHOT (*HAIR BREEZE*). And Peter Jackson no longer has a working relationship with subtlety so it's totally awesome. But this now-climactic movie-ending scene turns into, basically, Aragorn vs. Lurtz instead of one more episode of dark-comedy peril in the middle of a narrative. Except not exactly Aragorn vs. Lurtz because Thorin gets his ass kicked, and Bilbo has to jump down and defend him like a tiny terrified BOSS, which I loved, but also is totally not Book Bilbo cowering up in a tree all like I WASN'T EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TODAY!! That, in a nutshell, is the difference between the book and the movie. I love it, but I can't claim it's in any way the spirit of the original book.

This is basically what splitting a short book into three movies has done: it requires you to bring in Department of Back Story material from the appendices and The Silmarillion, or events alluded to in the book itself but never seen, and those things have a vastly different tone from The Hobbit. The Silmarillion, in fact, is high mythology, and thus even more elevated than The Lord of the Rings proper, so juxtaposing material from that with The Hobbit is the biggest moodswing you could possibly contrive. To use examples from the Fellowship of the Ring movie, it's basically "ISILDUR! THROW IT INTO THE FIRE!" rubbing shoulders with Merry and Pippin stealing carrots. That's the whole movie, back and forth. You--well, I--love the scenes individually, but as a single viewing experience, it's... weird. It works in FOTR because the tone doesn't flip back and forth: it starts out with Bilbo's party and Gandalf's silly jig and the hobbit antics, then shit gets real at Bucklebury Ferry and the hobbits realize that the world outside the Shire has become a terrifying place. Weathertop escalates it all into real danger. Then they get to Rivendell and Elrond tells us why shit has gotten real, and exactly how real it has gotten, and in the moment that Frodo volunteers to take the Ring, a new seriousness settles over the narrative. He is giving up the happy Shire antics and entering a new, sobering story that he may not return from. There are a few light-hearted moments, but it's a more dry sense of humor than Wacky Shenanigans, and more in the service of developing the characters than slapstick for its own sake, you know? Whereas here, you get Epic Thorin Battle Flashbacks one moment and the dwarves bagged up by snot-sticky comedy trolls the next. That's what people are talking about when they complain about tonal inconsistency in The Hobbit, or the problem of adding that second, more epic tone at all. It works in FOTR because it's escalated from one to the other with no turning back and for a purpose, whereas in this movie, it's like two completely different movies spliced together. I like them both, but yeah, it's a bit weird. So, if you want to go hang out in Middle-Earth again for three hours, the movie might be more enjoyable if you go in knowing that.

Given my computer issues, I may or may not be able to chat much in the comments, but I'll try. Therefore: go ye and discuss.

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The tonal whiplash thing might explain some of my mixed feelings having seen the film twice already and now being able to take a break and actually think about it. The whole Azog thing was super confusing to me, because by the time the events in The Hobbit take place, he's already dead. He dies in the same battle Thror is killed in. I'm not sure why they decided to go with him as the Big Bad and probably write out Bolg as the enemy in the Battle of the Five Armies (which is sure to be absurd and massive). I understand that splitting the story in such a way requires some kind of antagonist to be brought in so you can end the first volume with some kind of triumph, but it came off a bit weird.

Also, I felt after the first viewing that it was true to the spirit of the book, but upon my second viewing and reading your thoughts, it really doesn't. Because I feel like we lost Bilbo for a while, between all of the Dwarf Angst and What the Fuck Is Happening in Middle-Earth OMG scenes. If you're going to call it The Hobbit, it should probably focus a bit more on the hobbit. Bilbo's whining is kind of annoying in the book, but it's endearing because this is such a change of scenery for him. And I feel like maybe we lost that whole reader proxy thing because he didn't complain as much. You can't have him whining the whole time about things, because that's irritating, but I felt like he didn't really bumble enough or get upset about things as much as he really should have in this first installment. This is the adjustment period, you know? He doesn't really go Full Badass until they get to Mirkwood, so when he charged up to Azog to help Thorin I was like, "LOL water u dewing Bilbo???" It was just... out of character for him. Maybe this is why I wasn't super impressed with Martin Freeman's performance. He fits the role great, but the role is... really different from what I was expecting, maybe?

Her Cateness and Sir Ian were fantastic, and I really liked all the dwarf backstory and may or may not be in love with Richard Armitage in his dwarf getup. I thought they did a great job of differentiating the dwarves from one another. (I always liked Fili and Kili in the books, and I think Aidan and Dean played off one another really well. Dori and Bofur were also excellent. Especially Bofur.) Also Figwit got a real name!!! How great is that?

So yeah, I think in terms of the details, I really liked it, but the overarching story and themes had some issues that needed to be worked out.

Edited at 2012-12-15 06:31 pm (UTC)

I'm still not entirely sure of what the movie timeline with Azog and Thror and Thrain's deaths were. Azog beheaded one and then one was taken prisoner, and I know in the BOOK how that goes, but they sorta handwaved what happened to Thrain, there. But somehow in the movie this didn't bother me because EPIC DWARF BATTLE OMG.

Also, I really wish they had brought Dain in, and shown more of his story, given how important he ultimately ends up being.

I HAD COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN ABOUT FIGWIT!! Someone posted about him on Tumblr and I just about died. I kinda wish they'd kept his nickname. =P

I really liked the dwarf battles and that back story added to the tale as it added to Thorin's character. I was not feeling the orc thing and them being chased to Erebor. I am not sure how I feel about PJ changing the whole structure of the tale. This is no longer about Bilbo - it is now Thorin v Azog. That does not work for me at all. I am really worried about what will develop with this plot and how it will effect the ending of the story. That is simplicity itself as they face the dragon and if the orcs muck that up, I am going to be pissed.

This is certainly not my Hobbit but I did enjoy the film.

**SPOILERS if you don't know the book ends**

I was UNPREPARED for the awesomeness of Richard Armitage's Thorin. Like, I knew seeing all the old guard (both Ians, Hugo, CATE AND OMG ELIJAH HI ELIJAH!!) was going to do me in, and I knew Martin would be an endearing, adorable Bilbo, but HOLY FUCKING SHIT, THORIN GODDAMNED OAKENSHEILD.

Basically, I agree with you here,

"Thorin, who gets multiple So What Is Your Deal, Pissy Hot Bitter Dwarf flashbacks so that Richard Armitage can be grim and dirty and heroic in the throes of epic battle (I approve of this product and/or service and would like to sign up for its newsletter)."

and would also like the newsletter. And God bless Peter Jackson's completely unhealthily codependent relationship with DRAMATIC HEROIC ANGLES with *HAIR BREEZE* Also, am I the only one who thinks Armitage is hotter as a dwarf? Like... the hair and the beard do it for me. IDEK. Like you said. Hot Dwarf Cognitive Dissonance.

Now, I was not that into The Hobbit, which probably enhanced my viewing experience because I had only the vaguest recollection of the narrative (it's one of the few books I haven't re-read to the point of memorization.) I mostly read it out of a sense of duty to read them "in order" and get to LOTR. When I read it I was like, "Okay, dwarves, mountain, pissing contest over gold, something about a dragon, got it, CAN WE MOVE ON." (Don't hate me.) So I didn't really connect with Thorin or the whole quest for a homeland thing. Until I saw the movie and literally got so homesick I cried (I moved out of state five years ago and haven't been back to visit in FAR too long, during which time both of my dogs, my father, and my best friend all died.) So Thorin's story hit me RIGHT in the feels. It hit me hard enough it wasn't until I was in the car with my husband that I went, "OH MY GOD THORIN DIES AT THE END." I am gonna need BOOZE for that movie. I'm gonna have to find a theater in Utah that sells booze, because seriously, THAT WILL REQUIRE ALCOHOL TO GET THROUGH.

I didn't mind the tonal whiplash. I thought the troll scene was utterly hilarious, especially Thorin's epic EYE ROLL + *SMACK* when they all started protesting they didn't have parasites. I loved how the flashbacks were done, how Balin tells the story. I felt like it was really what Tolkein was trying to accomplish with his stories, for them to become legends, passed along through oral history, and it was just PERFECT.

I'm planning to take each of my stepkids separately so I can see it as many times as humanly possible (and also because while solo they are lovely children who can totally sit through this long of a movie, together they melt down into a puddle of tears and popcorn).

Amen, with the Thorin love. I actually remembered at the end of this movie about his dying, and I was like "oh no... surely not yet?" But yeah. That part will break me.

I loved his eyeroll, and the comic timing was BRILLIANT.

I think Jackson has a gift for distilling and shaping the story into something that would work for a movie, i.e. the Home/Hearth/Friendship themes that really fit with hobbits, and creating the Pale Orc character as an antagonist for this movie, until we meet Cumbersmaug.

I actually overheard the ticket booth employee warning a customer from watching the high frame rate version of the movie because "the human eye can't keep up with that much visual information." Which, duh. Why did they even release a version like that?

Martin Freeman has played two of my favorite literary characters now with Arthur Dent and Bilbo Baggins. Three, actually, counting John Watson (did you know Benedict Cumberbatch played the Necromancer in this movie?!). He played Bilbo so perfectly, too. For me, watching him riddle Gollum (bringing back memories of the cartoon and how they used to play it in the scuba shop my dad got his equipment from) and bide for time with the trolls was just magical.

I almost didn't recognize Lee Pace when he showed up. He was extra pretty and I was slightly distracted by the weird crown and the elvish deer he was riding.

You're right about the weird tonal shifts. The movie is slow to start, as well. The Radagast the Brown stuff lasts far too long (I spent the whole movie wondering where the hell I'd seen him before and it's Sylvester McCoy —the seventh Doctor) and I couldn't stop staring at the bird poo matted in his hair. I feel like, even though the title of the movie is "The Unexpected Journey," we don't spend enough time with Bilbo in the beginning. I did get goosebumps when Richard Armitage started singing, though. That guy has a beautiful voice.

The guy who played Bofur (and his awesome hat) had me thinking of the Beatles for whatever reason. I have no idea why.

And, god, it was long. I don't know how I'm going to be able to sit through all three movies for the whole story... Though I am looking forward to seeing Billy Connolly as Dain in the next one.

I think it's time to break out the Rankin-Bass cartoon again.

Edited at 2012-12-15 07:30 pm (UTC)

The guy who played Bofur (and his awesome hat) had me thinking of the Beatles for whatever reason. I have no idea why.

I was thinking Foo Fighters the whole time, kept reminding me of their lead singer.

Not necessarily a question for Cleolinda, but for everyone here. I keep hearing about how long it is; will my nephews (ages 7 & 9, decent attention spans) enjoy it or will there be too much exposition for them?

If they can sit through any of LOTR movies, they should be able to handle this fine. There's a lot more humor in this (the dwarves descending on Bilbo's house, the bit with the trolls, etc) that I think it'll keep them up.

So I watched it twice in a row (I DO WHAT I WANT) and I kind of dealt with some of the weird tonal shifts a bit better the second time because I knew they were coming. Radagast's "I'd like to see them TRY", especially, swung from silly to badass for me on the second viewing. A lot of the Lol Dwarves shenanigans were still a bit silly, though.

MOAR ARMITAGE. forging things if possible please ARRRRRMS

I notice you make no mention of Riddles in the Dark. Did it blow your mind straight out of your ears?

I loved the movie. The extended bits I took with a grain of salt since they are making 3 movies here of one book. It was fun and fit the movie.

Andy, Andy, Andy. If Hollywood has paid attention at all and realized that is his performance with some digital makeup, he should at least be nominated if not win the supporting actor nomination.

Thorin was awesome. And the message of the movie, about not defeating darkness with power but with the little things we strive to do each day, perfect after the events of yesterday. I left reminded to believe in the kindness of others and while I can't do anything sweeping or grand in its own way, I can take time to be kind and brave in my everyday life, and hope I inspire others

*Not seen it yet but...*

The important question - does, at any point, Thorin sit down and start singing about gold? (niche joke ahoy!)

I hate 3D, and I was not even a little bit bothered by the HFR thing. I just explained why in detail on my review post, but the upshot is that once my brain figured out it needed another perceptual category to go with "film," "video" and "right in front of me," everything was copacetic. Basically it spent most of the prologue flipping back and forth between interpreting what I was seeing as "video" or "right in front of me," but it all settled down by the time Bilbo was accumulating Dwarves in his dining room.

The tonal whiplash thing makes sense as what people mean by "pacing problems," now that you mention it. So thanks for clearing that up, because I was genuinely puzzled.

I am, of course, now trying to figure out why it didn't really bother me, and I think the answer is that the world outside the Shire is just starting to become a really terrifying place. So Thorin & Co. are sort of traipsing through the middle of the transition. Or at least, that's the only way I can rationalize why I had no in-the-moment WTF response whatsoever. I dunno.

The Hot Dwarf Controversy will no doubt be a source of fannish draaaaahma entertainment for years and years to come. I plan to eat lots of popcorn and occasionally point out what I've been saying since the first promo portraits came out: If Thorin's sister had a bit on the side who happened to be a Man or an Elf, I'm sure it's none of my business. And I'm certainly not going to be the one to mention it to Thorin. ;-)

HA!!! I've always wanted to know more of Dis' story.

My brain couldn't make itself love Thorin Hair-Breezing it over to fight Azog because it was so caught off-guard by the music they chose for it. I was just like I SEE WUT UR DOIN and I don't like iiiit! Like, I was mentally cringing.

Also mentally cringed during the scene in which Thorin is yelling at Bilbo like I SAID YOU'D NEVER FIT AMONG US and I was so wrong. Like, I knew it was coming, I knew the tone would have this sharp shift, but gaaah I couldn't handle it.

I actually really didn't like that either. The hug seemed overdone and out of character. Maybe they're trying to set up the character as mercurial?

Hm, just came back from viewing it, and your review helped me understand my own reactions a bit better.

Tentatively, I think I liked this one more than LOTR, mostly though because ROTK in particular just messed too much with characters as they are and continue to be in my head - Faramir and Denethor in particular - and also because of completely unnecessary plot changes. I don't mind the additions in the Hobbit all that much as they so far didn't take out anything essential that I really enjoyed. Also, I really, really didn't like Elijah Wood's Frodo, which meant about half of the movies was slightly irritating. Bilbo is perhaps a shade too petulant (not sure if that's the English word I mean) for my taste, but on the whole I like him far better.

I watched the 3D version, not that I wanted particularly, but it was the only non-dubbed version available in my nearby city of a million inhabitants. It worked fairly well for me, because they also used it on non-action scenes, such as the ones in the beginning at Bag End etc, so it felt a bit less like a gimmick

I do feel compelled to point out that the pine cones are in the book as well - but Beorn's reaction is more or less like your "okay, sure", so you're in excellent company.

Apart from Thorin's hero shot, my favourite scene was probably the White Council. There is just something about it that should ring familiar to anyone who has ever been in a highly frustrating committee meeting; Gandalf's mental conversations with Galadriel are (with a somewhat more exalted subject matter and a lot more precision) more or less what some friends of mine and myself do by eye contact in a certain recurring meeting where everyone else is just incredibly obstructive and annoying.

They had to hit a really narrow line in that scene, by showing that Saruman is arrogant and dismissive of sources of lore he considers inferiour, that Gandalf really is the wiser of the two at that point already, that Galadriel would have preferred Gandalf to head the council, but they had to achieve that without raising red flags about Saruman's intentions that would anyone watching the movies later in chronological order shout at Gandalf in FOTR not to go to Isengard because any fool should see that Saruman is evil. I'm looking forward to how they solve that problem in the coming movies, what with attacking the necromancer etc.

A question to any other movie watchers: Did I see things or was there a rather obviously female-looking dwarf running out of the mountain in the starting scenes? I could swear I saw one that didn't at all look like a male dwarf, and I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Perhaps one can interpret the books as meaning that female dwarves only choose to appear like males when they leave their homes, which this one obviously didn't expect to have to do, but perhaps there are some dwarf-custom scholars here who could educate me?

Finally: I like that we have yet to see the whole dragon. Far more threatening the way they did it, and helps us to be as surprised as poor Mr. Baggins is presumably going to be when he sees him for the first time.

Yes, there were (visually obvious) female dwarfs! Also in the marketplace in Dale, I think. What do the books say about them?

And Peter Jackson no longer has a working relationship with subtlety

He's gone back to his roots, then?

*still hasn't seen Braindead*

I know, right? He had, however, gotten kind of subtle with the LOTR movies... wait, maybe it's (some of the) actors who are subtle and I'm just giving him the credit. Still, I feel like Aragorn's big scene at Amon Hen was still A LITTLE less overblown than Thorin charging Azog.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, although I wasn't a fan of the book or the cartoon (both put me to sleep at an age where I was regularly reading and enjoying adult fiction and non-fiction).

Can we talk about how Elijah Wood is still adorable and does not age? Please? I mostly just really want to rewatch Fellowship now.

I think my biggest issue with The Hobbit was this moment when they're doing the traditional Helicopter Shot of Everyone Walking In A Line On A Hill, and suddenly I found myself wanting a lot more character development. By the time we got Massive Group Quest Shots in LotR we had already established the relationships between the characters. We'd had hobbit giggling and devotion and Boromir wrestling Merry and Pippin and Elf/Dwarf Snark Banter, and we were attached not just to the characters but to the developing bonds between them.

And then in The Hobbit there wasn't so much of that, and you know Bilbo and Gandalf won't die because they're in LotR, so whenever something goes wrong you're like "Noooo, I hope nothing happens to... that pretty one." Who literally has no characterization so far except Pretty One Who Shoots Arrows.

i don't know, i felt they did a pretty good job differentiating the dwarves. i can tell them all apart now, whereas in the book they had essentially no character development at all aside from thorin and balin (and bombur, i guess). i loved ori's "i'm not afraid" bit, dori's endless politeness, bofur's obliviousness and yet complete sincerity, and the way fili and kili played off one another so well and showed themselves to be a little naive and callous sometimes (the thing about the orcs that leads into thorin's Tragic Backstory). i think we could have gotten more out of gloin, bifur, and nori, but i'm sure they'll have more introductory material in the extended dvd. (not to count my chickens before they hatch, but we all know it's going to happen.

Edited at 2012-12-16 02:17 am (UTC)

I, too, imprinted early on the Rankin-Bass version, with my brother and I listening to the record version over and over. So I was stuck on the Hans Conreid characterization of Thorin as Grumpy Old Man Who Wants His Money Back.

Bitter Prince in Exile Who Wants His Homeland Back and To Lead His People to Their Former Glory -- somehow I was blindsided.

Sure, we were all ready for the Hotness of Men in LOTR. And we pretty much expected the Hotness of Elves, too. But John Rhys Davies, bless his heart and long may he wave, really did not prepare us for the Hotness of Dwarves. UNF.

Oh, god, I'd almost forgotten he dies. I WILL NOT BE PREPARED.

Somehow, I didn't care about the tonal shifts. I found myself totally enchanted and wanting to spend nine hours in Middle Earth. With RABBITS. And Fili and Kili. I REGRET NOTHING.

(My 5 year-old niece: "I like the one with the braids." We eventually narrowed this down to Thorin. This is a child who will always take the Hotness of Dwarves as a given. Lucky girl.)

tl;dr: Thorin is hot, I need to see this again. And again.

all of the hot dwarves die - fili and kili get it in the end, too. NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. :( just kill off all of my favorites, then, why don't you, tolkien. (disclaimer: fili and kili were my faves for some reason long before their casting, i didn't just jump on the hot dwarf bandwagon like i did with legolas back in the day, rofl.)

Just swinging by to say Happy (late) Birthday! You and one of my (not so) younglings share one!

As for the Hobbit, well, I think everyone has covered my feelings on the matter.


Thank you! The movie opening Friday worked pretty well for me. :)

I totally agree with the whole 'Good Fantasy Movie but not Good Hobbit Adaptation' description; that's how I've been talking about it ever since I saw it. Perhaps once all three are out we'll cut scenes from all three down into one movie's worth of time and have a decent adaptation of the book.

Also, I agree about Elrond on a Horse, he looks pretty fantastic. But the whole Gandalf/Galadriel thing was way overdone, I mean.. seriously Peter Jackson does know she's got a husband right, he even put the guy in the other movies.

I really don't approve of what they did to Radagast though. There's nothing in the books that suggests he's anything like.. that. Sure, he's a protector of animals, and sure Saruman didn't like him, but he's one of the Maiar for fuck's sake, not some three-stooges idiot in a forest.

The interesting thing to me about Gandalf/Galadriel is that I didn't really read it as romance. I was intrigued because I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. Like, it wasn't quite maternal, but... as far as I remember, Gandalf, as a Maia, is actually far more powerful than Galadriel, and yet he's the one who has to run around with everyone, standing there tired and aged with dirty nails. It seemed like some kind of respectful sympathy and gratitude on Galadriel's part, and Gandalf seemed surprised and touched. She's kind of a caretaker type anyway, I think.

I haven't seen it yet, but Hugo Weaving as Elrond? I found him attractive in LotR, so I suspect I'll find him attractive in The Hobbit. :)

Hee, yeah. I do too anyway, and I like him a lot, but... it just goes to a completely different level with the horse. I liked his armor in the first movie's flashbacks as well. I don't know, the elvish armor is just really cool anyway.

I see what you're saying, but I didn't actually mind the whiplash that much. I mean, since you basically have Merry and Pippin times six, it makes sense that the comedy would increase from the LOTR movies. Of course, I saw it at midnight and was pretty much nerdgasming every three seconds, so it's pretty difficult for me to be objective. At any rate, I spent the whole movie with a huge grin on my face, clapping silently with joy at random intervals, so I do not know what all the negative reviewers were smoking. Definitely not hobbit-grown pipeweed, that's for sure.

SPOILERS, SORT OF:

I see what you're saying with the tonal shift, and even so, I feel like the Shit has't really Gotten Real for Bilbo yet. Even when it does, the narrative is still fundamentally different: "I'm helping these people get their homes back, and possibly get some treasure" rather than "Shit, if I mess up, the world basically ends."

I remember loving the book, but I purposely haven't read it over the last couple of years so I didn't have the constant "OMG THE BOOK WAS CHAAAAANGED" narrative running through my head.

No complaints about Richard Armitage over here (gonna have to go watch North and South again soon. Also, humona humona). I think it makes sense that Jackson focused the narrative around the Pale Orc, because that conflict needs an embodiment since we don't meet the dragon until movie 2.

It's possible that Thorin's story could have been cut in a bit more smoothly, maybe as they were going on the journey? I think it would have been better to start out in the hobbit hole, and then have Thorin come in all mysterious, and then have Bilbo be all "what is his deal?" and then the story comes out as they travel, possibly with more parallels with the current journey, like with the Pale Orc bit. But maybe they wanted to give Ian Holm more to do?

I know the tree scene was different and not specifically faithful, but I feel like we'd seen enough of Bilbo being cowardly. It's a great climax for Bilbo to save Thorin and gain his trust and develop a little. Even if it's not exactly faithful, I appreciate that Peter Jackson knows when to shape the narrative and mostly keep the characters intact. Bilbo was cowardly in the book at that point, but because they'd been driving home the Thorin as a Noble Homeless Prince the whole movie, it makes sense to me that Bilbo would see him about to not only die, but be defiled, and come to his defense.

Also, I don't know if he said this in the book or not, but the point of Bilbo really deciding to help the dwarves get their home back was really well done. I teared up at the Bofur scene right before the goblins, and the whole home/hearth/friendship theme just hits me right here, you know?

On a last note: the riddle scene was pretty much the best thing ever. How it was expanded to show riddles as a way to distract and bring out Smeagol over Gollum was excellently done, and of course the way they played off each other was brilliant. And you can't help but feel for Gollum, pathetic, devious, brilliant Gollum.

Also, I don't know if he said this in the book or not, but the point of Bilbo really deciding to help the dwarves get their home back was really well done. I teared up at the Bofur scene right before the goblins, and the whole home/hearth/friendship theme just hits me right here, you know?

On a last note: the riddle scene was pretty much the best thing ever. How it was expanded to show riddles as a way to distract and bring out Smeagol over Gollum was excellently done, and of course the way they played off each other was brilliant. And you can't help but feel for Gollum, pathetic, devious, brilliant Gollum.


AGREE SO HARD on both these points. those particular moments with the dwarves hit me right in the feels, man. and james nesbitt was really great as bofur. when he says "i wish you all the luck in the world," i was like "i'm not crying, there's just, like, a twig in my eye or something. shut up leave me alone!!!" he was so sincere and UGHHHH I LOVE HIM. new favorite dwarf.

and yeah, gollum was the best. the entire audience was cracking up during the riddle scenes, and yet the expressions on his face when he realized he'd lost the ring and bilbo was watching him and about to attempt to kill him... WOW. my heart shattered into a million little pieces. :(

Can I just say I love this post? I love the way you describe it and compare it to FOTR. I still have to see the movie, but I've read the book and know the story, so I can imagine everything you're saying. And I love what you're saying.

Hee, thanks. It may just be that I really, really love FOTR.

What a fantastic post! Almost as great as an m15m. I kind of want an icon that says "like a tiny terrified BOSS" now.

You know, I'm kind of wondering if (after I finish Breaking Dawn) I should try that. I mean, I actually did the original trilogy for the book lo these many years ago. I'm just not sure how I would write up the "Riddles in the Dark" scene. It's too awesome and funny in its own way, maybe.

I actually kind of loved the whole movie.

Here's the thing: I am actually not sure I ever even finished book. I know the story, mind - I just cannot remember finishing the book. I read it as a teenager, right after reading the LOTR trilogy and failing to get past page 25 in the Silmarillion. And it read like a really bad child's book to me. Like, the bad, dumbed-down kind. I just could not get into it, and I am pretty sure I didn't finish it.

I haven't seen the cartoon either.

So the whole whiplash thing? The whole "oh, god, they ruined it!!!" I keep seeing in reviews? Not there for me. And it didn't feel too long at all - I didn't actually realize it was nearly 3 hours until it ended. And aside from a few minutes of WTF-ing at Radagast and the hedgehog and that whole thing - I'd always thought of him as a pacifist, not so much a demented, daft little man on speed - really, there wasn't anything that bothered me.

See, I can explain why the tone "doesn't work," but I kind of don't actually care? Kind of the way I can tell you why Prometheus is stupid but I adore it anyway.

Your last point is exactly what I was trying to explain to my husband on the way back from seeing it a second time tonight. I couldn't quite pinpoint why it wasn't resonating with me as much as FotR did, and I think that's because of the shifts in tone, from SUPER SRS BACKSTORY to ahaha we are having fun :D But I also think those problems will iron themselves out in the next two films because I don't think we'll need to make as many trips to the department of backstory, and hopefully those films will keep their lightness, because at the end of the day, The Hobbit is a lighthearted story, whereas LotR is... kind of serious business.

Peter Jackson no longer has a working relationship with subtlety so it's totally awesome.

works for me!

The tonal shifts didn't bother me because I was on the lookout for them. One of my students saw it at midnight and talked about it, so that gave me a heads up as well as friends and reviews. I know the book so I wasn't expecting it to be as serious as the other movies and the shifts worked for me. They weren't perfect, some of them were awkward, but I really enjoyed it and it was what I needed today. The dwarves sang, Bilbo was unsure of himself, Gandalf was Gandalf and it clicked.

I also saw it in 3D, mainly because it was the soonest showing, nothing else and liked it. It made me forget it was 3D, but on my next watch, I probably won't pay the extra money for it.

I was laughing out loud and crying, because this is my favorite Tolkien book and it hit all of what I love about it. The pacing is a little odd but as this movie has been coming closer, I've been thinking about the story and three movies makes sense. Tolkien gets a lot in those pages but I look forward to seeing it all play out and I want to go back to New Zealand.

Having not read the book beforehand (although I might now since I heard it's an easier read than the LOTR trilogy), I had no expectations going in. Still, I had a damn good time.

I loved the Rankin-Bass cartoon

I did too! I had the book with the record that you played as you read it too. I dragged that out a LOT! i also remember the ROTK version by Rankin-Bass as well, which was waaaaay short IIRC.

And I saw it in plain vanilla 24 FPS 2D

Same here. I was debating on seeing it in 3D, but I thought I'd see it in regular 2D first.

Obviously Cate Blanchett is a goddess, although now she apparently has a little turntable for all her turning-around-slowly needs, particularly so that her long flowing train will twist perfectly around her feet (not once but twice), because obviously.

I noticed that too. I thought "Is she in a fashion magazine? She looks so well put together in every. single. scene. Even the way her train is draped. It's not natural." Maybe it's because she's Galadriel?

Martin Freeman is perfection. I think we all knew he would be.

THIS! When I found out he was cast, I thought, "Yes. He's perfect as Bilbo. It's just... right."

Richard Armitage is great, although the whole Thorin as Hot Warrior Dwarf is super weird, given that I grew up with Rankin-Bass Cartoon Thorin as pissy little old man.

I thought this was a little disturbing. Him and a few of the other Dwarves. Dwarves are not supposed to be that good looking.

RADAGAST is your proof that Sauron's back? RADAGAST is on SHROOMS.

I found this hilarious. Plus the fact he's played by one of the Doctor Who's. And he has a nest of birds in his hair. And lichen on the side of his face.

OBVIOUSLY I'M POSING FOR MY HERO SHOT (*HAIR BREEZE*).

LOVED THIS! Yeah, you go Thorin! Kick ass! Oh...

"Emergency hedgehog procedures" is a phrase I AM going to somehow work into conversation more often.

Do comedy trolls eat comedy sheep?

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