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Mr Beaks sure doesn't love The Hobbit

Posted by Daltons chin dimple on Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Any truth to the scuttlebutt that Harry shat a kidney and deleted the review then reinstated it?

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/59869

Daltons chin dimple
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Posts: 12800
Posted: 8 years 45 weeks ago

And the 48fps seems to be confirmed as really needing work.

I am thinking a 24fps showing in 2D for me, thanks.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/25695/-hobbit-and-48fps-reviews-pour-forth

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
The Swollen Goi...
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Posts: 14343
Posted: 8 years 38 weeks ago

I never really sat down to do a Hobbit write-up. A friend recently posted a link to this video:



He said he concurred with pretty much everything said there. I didn't, so I wound up writing an excruciatingly long response. (Fear not. It's a good bit shorter than my TDKR review.) Here it is (forgive absence of italics):

I don't. (Surprise, surprise!)

I've never really sat down to write my more detailed impressions of the film. Might as well do so here.

I'm fine with long movies, and I'm fine with lengthy adaptations. The BBC's I, Claudius runs somewhere between ten-twelve hours, and ITV's Brideshead Revisited is as long or longer. I like them both. It depends on how well the time is used.

A lot of people feel The Hobbit didn't use its running time as well as other movies of a similar length have used their running times. You like the movie more than a lot of other people, so it's understandable that you'd be a little defensive about it. (I like The Empire Strikes Back a lot, so I get pretty defensive about it when people tell me it's a boring piece of shit with no real payoffs or ending.)

The video's narrator says he feels "The Hobbit is a much more difficult book to adapt than Lord of The Rings" because it's "extremely complicated" and "awkwardly structured." I don't know about this. Rankin/Bass did it in under eighty minutes, and they even managed to do it despite cutting material.

Over all, the video feels like an apologist's equivocation. It focuses on the length of the movie and acts like that's it's only problem. I'm sure there are people whose major/only gripe is the length, but there are others who feel the movie suffers for other reasons.

The video's narrator also seems to think there's no chaff to be separated from the wheat and that everything there is necessarily there. He does this by focusing on bigger plot points. It's only a five minute video, so it's acceptable for him to do this. For me, though, it was the little touches along the way that made me cringe and pulled me out of the movie.

I think Jackson and I have a different sense of humor. Things like Radagast crossing his eyes, the "Well, that could have been worse"/"You've got to be joking!" exchange, and little toss-away lines like "Do you have any chips?!" really bug me. They stand out in such a way that they taint my perception of the whole when I look back on it. It brings me back to the dwarf tossing and Legolas surfing from Jackson's Lord of the Rings.

(I have a similar problem with Nolan's comedic touches. You know how The Dark Knight has the extremely talkative cop riding up front with Gordon during the chase scene and making Captain Obvious-like observations? I think he's [and/or his brother with maybe some input from Goyer] going for humor here. He does something similar in Rises with the older cop commenting on the action and telling the rookie cop he's in for a real treat now that Batman's back. I heard some light laughter during these scenes in the theater, so it was clear comedy was the intention, but I just didn't find the scenes to be humorous.)

All right. Legolas surfing probably wasn't meant to be funny. It was probably meant to show how badass Legolas is. That's another thing that bothers me a bit about The Hobbit. The Hobbit lacks an Aragorn figure. It feels like maybe Jackson couldn't bear not to have an Aragorn, so they recast Thorin in the Aragorn mold. It's not my prior familiarity with the way Thorin is used in Tolkien's book that bothers me so much as it just bothers me how hard they try to force the badassedness on us. This bothered me with cinematic Aragorn, too. It felt like they were trying too hard to let us know how amazinglysuperawesome he was. Thorin also looks vaguely like Aragorn--and I'm sure this wasn't coincidental. I found myself almost forgetting he was supposed to be a dwarf because of how much they play down the dwarfish features.

Speaking of Thorin being our proxy Aragorn, it felt to me like Jackson & Co. worked a little too hard to finesse The Hobbit so that its thematic relationship to The Lord of the Rings was more apparent. They do it with the score, they do it with the Elrond/Galadriel/Gandalf scene (the whole Rivendell sequence is reworked to bring it tonally and thematically closer to LotR), they do it with Thoragorn, they do it with Azog (who, I think, i is only mentioned in The Hobbit; it's been foreverago since I read it) essentially being recast as Lurtz, they do it by putting the company in the thick of the stone-giant fight instead of having them observe it from a distance (connecting it visually to the Caradhras pass avalanche sequence in Fellowship), they do it by making the Goblin-town chase feel more or less like Moria redone, they do it with the not-so-subtle hint of Smaug's eye looking pretty much like the Jackson representation of the Eye of Sauron, and they do it with the Necromancer encounter.

I thought callbacks like the ones mentioned above were unnecessary, though I admit my perception of how The Hobbit should play out is colored by my having read it as a kid and having seen the Rankin/Bass cartoon a number of times. I'm also a little forgiving, since I understand Jackson has put himself in the awkward position of having made The Lord of the Rings first. There are fans of the films who have not--and likely never will--read the books. These people are in the theater (presumably) because of The Lord of the Rings, so he might as well engage in a little lip service for them.

I'm also a little forgiving because The Lord of the Rings is pretty much a rewritten and expanded version of The Hobbit. Why not have it go both ways, and let the Hobbit borrow a bit from The Lord of the Rings?

That said, it came off to me like they weren't confident in the ability of The Hobbit to stand on its own merit. I can't really view it through the eyes of someone unfamiliar with the source material, so I'm not sure how I'd feel about it if I were going in fresh. I saw it with a friend who had never read any of the books. He felt the hand was overplayed too, and asked me if they had done some maneuvering to connect the two tonally, since he had been told in the past that The Hobbit was significantly more lighthearted than The Lord of the Rings. Of course, I don't speak for every person who has read the books, and my friend doesn't speak for everyone who hasn't.

I think back to the scene in Attack of the Clones where the Clone Troopers are loading up and they play the Imperial March. It's one of the only times in Attack of the Clones where I felt the least bit moved, and that feeling came to me only because the score cheated a little emotion out of me by calling me back to The Empire Strikes Back. I don't feel as strongly about Jackson's Lord of the Rings as I do about Empire, so callbacks meant to serve a similar purpose don't move me as much.

Jackson & Co. also force a little more peril onto the company than I felt was necessary. This is probably Spielberg's fault. It's a Spielberg action staple to have action set pieces overlap and unfold nonstop. Every time you think the characters are going to get a breather, boom, they're instantly thrown into a new peril. (Out of the frying pan, into the fire.) You really get this in the Goblin-town chase. So much is going on it seems almost absurd. It has a real video game-like feel to it. The goblins are mowed down with incredible ease and the company keeps getting pushed forward in a barely separable lump.

Disregarding Bilbo's removal from the group, the remainder only ever seems to get halved before being thrust back together into a convenient whole--often by way of their surroundings. This happens in Goblin-town, it happens with the stone-giants, and it happens in the trees. Yes, they're actively trying to stay together as a group, but they stay clumped together with such efficiency (sometimes thanks to nature doing it for them) that it's rendered unbelievable for me. (It's almost like New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Just try and separate those fuckers. Can't be done for more than a second.)

I haven't really looked at any Hobbit reviews, but I imagine others make the video game comparison. It was made with The Lord of the Rings.

There were definite bright spots in the movie. The meeting with Gollum was particularly well done. It also followed the book pretty closely. Following the book isn't a prerequisite for cinematic effectiveness, of course, but sometimes it works well. Sometimes you have to make changes just to keep things lively. Books are books, and movies are movies. I like The Hobbit all right as a book. I like bits and pieces of it as a movie, but I was hoping to like it more.

I feel like there was more there than needed to be. I feel like "It was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort" is nice and succinct. " This was a hobbit hole, and that means good food, a warm hearth, and all the comforts of home" is not.

This is, of course, only my take on it. I'd never dismiss another person's liking of it. I can agree with the person from point to point, but I realize it ultimately comes down to taste. I'm really glad you like it, and I'm glad you like it enough to want to defend it. It's nice to feel passionate about a thing. I have movies I feel passionate about. It may seem like I hate everything, but I swear I don't.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posts: 14343
Posted: 8 years 38 weeks ago

Sorry the imbed's so big. I could fix it, but...

Well, you know.

jraven56
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Posts: 335
Posted: 8 years 38 weeks ago

 *Hobbit Ending spoiler*
Er, end of the first movie, not the book...
So really Hobbit kind of midway spoiler!

 

Regarding the video, if the question about length is to be answered by "Did you get bored?" then the answer, for me, is 'yes.' 

Part of this is a point you bring up, in that Hobbit seems to have been put together to evoke a very strong Fellowship feeling. The only thing really missing was a respite in Lothloren after the mines of goblin town. Upon leaving the theater I had this very same thought.

At times I was simply bored because I felt like I was watching a remake, of a movie I kinda enjoyed (I enjoy LotR more now, being better able to take it separately from the books. Also laughing at the stupid.) but without characterization and useless scenes. In LotR the meeting at Rivendale was intriguing, much was happening and a very real problem seemed to be talked and some great actors were doing things.

In Hobbit we get three people talking about how Sauron might be returning to the world. Which he did, in the last set of movies, so it's not really dramatic. Instead my mind is left to wonder and all I ended up doing was focusing on the cameos.

If I may draw attention back to the video, I think it's interesting that he made mention of Psycho pulling the rug out from the audiences feet. Upon leaving the theater I commented to my girlfriend that the whole movie felt like a remake, and it was thus somewhat surprising when Thorin got his butt handed to him after pulling off the "Aragorn walking towards a bunch of orks" scene. I idly wondered if Jackson had made the entire movie similar to Fellowship simply so the audience would be surprised as I was.

Perhaps the next movies will veer off into new territory and surprise me. More than likely the next film will culminate with a huge increase in Smaug action, with the final of the film featuring the heroes closing in on him. Then the third will pick up shortly after his defeat with little to no mention of him in the film because the director felt it ran to long. Smaug will then read about this in a paper and be very confused because he was never told, also he's not real.

Someone told me I should Blog...jraven56.wordpress.com/
Jakester
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Posts: 5753
Posted: 8 years 38 weeks ago

 My daughter really liked the movie, which surprised me because the thinks the first half of Fellowship is really boring.

About halfway through, my son started asking "how much longer?" I'm like, "dude, it's only about half over!" But he's 6, so sitting quietly for 3 hours is a bit tough, even if goblins get beheaded. Still, when it was over, he recounted all the stuff he liked, and even stuff that happened when I was sure he wasn't paying any attention.

I agree with the pacing issues, and things like Gandalf hitting his head in Bag End seemed silly, but in the chronology of the films, it's sillier that he hit his head in Fellowship. 

I think I'll be a lot less forgiving if the same issues keep croppiing up in the other two movies, though.

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.
Daltons chin dimple
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Posts: 12800
Posted: 8 years 38 weeks ago

 I went to see both FOTR and ROTK twice at the cinema, and I normally NEVER see anything twice in the cinema.

Haven't seen this.  Don't feel a massive need to do anything but wait for the BluRay.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"