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PostPosted: 08 Jan 2013, 13:15 
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So I'm kinda surprised someone hasn't already brought this up, but what did you guys think about The Hobbit?

To make a long story short, I liked it a lot, but not as much as Jackson's Lord of the Rings.
There was too much CGI for my taste, particularly when compared to LotR. A lot of the quality in the original trilogy came from the fact that they spent the time to handcraft the million links of chainmail required and make all the prosthetics for everybody in those movies. I mean, think about how awesome the Pale Orc would have looked if they hadn't jumped on the 3D bandwagon. I'll answer it for you. He would have looked awesome. The orcs and goblins suffered as well, becoming less realistic because they were free from the bounds of prosthetics. Also the Goblin King. I don't think I need to say any more about the Goblin King.
But it's not just that. The overall production quality was lower--Thorin's armor looked like it was made out of spray-painted cloth. Glamdring and the Goblin Cleaver didn't glow like they were supposed to (although to be fair, they might have done it for continuity's sake, because they elided Glamdring's glow in LotR as well). The dwarves were over-the-top ridiculous and became more like caricatures than actual characters. I know that, to keep all 13 from melding into one giant dwarven blob, you have to make the less prominent ones more visually distinct, but I think Jackson could have accomplished that without such giving them such ludicrous appearances.

That said, I honestly enjoyed the movie. I really like Martin Freeman's portrayal of Bilbo (and, more than that, as a young Ian Holm, helping The Hobbit lay the groundwork for Lord of the Rings), the establishment of Erebor (because it looked aaaaaawesooooooome), and most of the effects were well-done, if overdone. Thorin's performance was admirable and Ian McKellen did an amazing job as well (I know, surprise surprise). But perhaps my favorite thing about it is how they filled the time--it kept my attention throughout the entire film, and I loved how they made it about the journey and not just about Bilbo. It really gave me a sense of how their actions fit into the larger scheme of things.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. What did you guys think?



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PostPosted: 08 Jan 2013, 13:30 
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I enjoyed it a great deal and, to be honest, I was too excited to pay any real attention to the CGI. When the extended DVDs come out I will watch all the special features ten times and tell everyone how everything was done.

It was kind of a weird experience because my first memories of The Hobbit (the book) are from when my mom read it to me and brother when I was, I dunno, seven or so, and I didn't have a very good visual memory back then so...it was very interesting seeing the locations as, like, properly epic, because before then I'd been unable to shake my original idea of the places looking a lot like whatever I was familiar with at the age of seven.

The only thing that bothered me in that regard was the Riddles in the Dark scene. I'd always had a very clear image of it as being dark, so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face dark, so dark you could maybe see the light in Gollum's eyes, and to me it always had a bit of surreal feel to it. You know, you're down there in the heart of the earth, you can see almost nothing, and you start to lose your perception of time. I was disappointed that it didn't turn out like that; that scene seemed way too bright. Where was all that light coming from down there anyway?

On the other hand, the opening scene with Bilbo and Gandalf in the garden was so perfect.

Anyway, yeah, overall, I was pleased. I don't mind the dwarves looking a bit over the top because dwarves have been All The Same for years now, so overcompensating in that area is preferable to the alternative, in my mind.


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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 13:10 
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Experiment 1337 wrote:
To make a long story short, I liked it a lot, but not as much as Jackson's Lord of the Rings.


I've just come back from seeing it, and that's exactly my reaction. I didn't object to the CGI per se, but there were certainly aspects that I didn't feel were especially well done. My chief criticism would be that some scenes struck me as rather Disneyesque, with either over-cute animal depictions or things that were either over-caricatured, implausible, or seemed to be trying too hard to be amusing, as though it was being aimed at children.

The film was also a lot less faithful to the book than LotR. I read The Hobbit about 38 years ago (and in German) and consequently can remember very little of it (other than Bilbo's encounter with Gollum, which I still remember very clearly), but Mac, who read The Hobbit quite recently, tells me a lot has been changed, and my son Nic informed me that they padded it out with scenes from The Silmarillion (a book which I found so dull I gave up reading it after the first couple of chapters).



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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 20:41 
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That's not actually strictly true. (AFAIK) New Line doesn't have the movie rights to The Silmarillion-no one does. They got the rights to an LOTR movie (and, apparently, The Hobbit) because someone bought them directly off of Tolkien before his death, and then they were sort of bounced around the industry for a few decades until Jackson managed to secure them. Christopher Tolkien still has the rights to The Silmarillion, and given what is apparently his opinion of the films it's highly unlikely anyone's going to make any kind of adaption of it anytime soon. Aside from the rights issues, it would be like filming the Bible. The Silmarillion is a great book, but it's very...large-scale. I think most of the additions to The Hobbit in the film all come from the Appendices in LOTR, although some stuff was indeed made up whole cloth, or drastically moved around.

The book The Hobbit is itself very different from LOTR. For one thing the two don't sync up very well; it's pretty obvious that even the second edition of The Hobbit was written way before Tolkien had ironed the mythos out (the original draft had to be changed because it had some things that just flat out broke the canon, like Gollum willingly handing over the Ring to Bilbo, and mentioning China and policemen). For instance, there's a couple mentions of fairies, which don't exist in LOTR. So they had that to deal with.

But also, the thing is that, well, The Hobbit is a children's book. It just is. It's a lot more whimsical than LOTR, both in prose and events occurring. The elves sing at the dwarves when they arrive in Rivendell, and not mystical ancient Elvish verse either, but like this:

O! What are you doing,
And where are you going?
Your ponies need shoeing!
The river is flowing!
O! tra-la-la-lally
here down in the valley!


The goblins sing at the dwarves when they herd them into Goblin Town, and speak perfect English, and the Great Goblin is actually called the Great Goblin. One of the dwarves is mentioned as having a blue beard. One of the trolls has a talking wallet. There are talking spiders in Mirkwood that Bilbo sings at to distract them. You see what I mean. I doubt Jackson and co. set out to make a movie specifically aimed at children, but the book they were adapting undoubtedly was aimed at children.

I think, honestly, going into The Hobbit and expecting it to be like LOTR would be a big mistake. LOTR is a massive, sweeping epic about the fate of the world and the nature of good and evil. The Hobbit is a whimsical children's book about adventure. I think that if they had tried to make The Hobbit be like LOTR they would have been doing it wrong. The Hobbit definitely has a different feel to it than LOTR, but I think that feel is very faithful to the book even if some of the content is not, and that had to have been a pretty fine line to tread, to accomplish that but also clearly establish it as being a prequel to the LOTR movies.


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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2013, 20:58 
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By "blue", he probably meant that the Hair was a sort-of blue-black Colour, not literally blue. Other than that, that is a very interesting Thought: I found The Hobbit far easier to follow when I was younger.



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PostPosted: 13 Jan 2013, 19:12 
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Albert Clare wrote:
By "blue", he probably meant that the Hair was a sort-of blue-black Colour, not literally blue.
If he meant blue-black, he would have said blue-black. Tolkein has no qualms about spending lots and lots of time describing exactly what he means.

I wasn't walking in expecting it to be Lord of the Rings, but given that the two take place in the same universe and are movies directed by the same director, I was expecting more of the labor-intensive but highly rewarding work of LotR instead of jumping on the 3D bandwagon at every opportunity.



Living in the limelight, the universal dream for those who wish to seem.
Those who wish to be must put aside the alienation,
Get on with the fascination,
The real relation,
The underlying theme.

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