Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jackson's Film version of The Hobbit

Let's go ahead and acknowledge the big elephant of current Tolkien news and get going with discussion of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Take this opportunity to rant or rave as you see most fit!


Austin M. said...

I went into the premiere of the film hopeful and left feeling extremely fulfilled. There were, of course, the few moments when Jackson changed some details and the entire audience groaned audibly. However, these were easily offset by the amount of familiar quotes and scenes excellently delivered, which garnished cheers and applause.

A few people with whom I have spoken disliked Jackson's addition of the back story of 'The Necromancer' (whom we all know to be Sauron) but I found it a welcome insight of the rapidly changing landscape of Middle-earth, a glimpse readers don't really see in The Hobbit. In the book, we are simply told that Gandalf left the Company to attend his own business, but I believe Jackson's portrayal of the deeds of the White Council will be an accurate and incredibly entertaining supplement to the original story.

I must, however, rant on the scene in which Bilbo finds The Ring. I found Jackson's portrayal both unnecessary and simply inaccurate. In the film trilogy, Jackson had already directed a scene of Bilbo fumbling about in the darkness of the Misty Mountain tunnels and discovering The Ring. WHY CHANGE IT PETE?

Despite my misgivings, I thought the film was done beautifully and accurately communicated many of the themes and important events within Tolkien's masterpiece. I am very excited for the release of part two and can't wait to see how Jackson handles Beorn and Mirkwood!

P.S. The music that was included was magnificent, especially the Dwarves' song in Bag End!

Megan said...

So I swear to God, I went into this movie TRYING MY HARDEST not to compare it to Tolkien, at all (since that was my main problem with the LOTR films). Also, I've developed an academic interest in the idea of remakes and retellings, and so I feel more open about this sort of thing? I realize it's a different medium, telling a different story, etc.

All that being said, I found myself not quite actively disliking it, but more ambivalent. But I didn't dislike it because of what I feel PJ changed for the worse from the books, but because of what he executed poorly as a movie.

We have 13 dwarves we have to keep straight, and instead of spending time getting to know each of them individually, they all arrive in a heap on Bilbo's door after "the tough dwarf" and "the cute ones" arrive. So, yes, awesome: we have the token Scottish dwarf with tattoos and a drinking problem (Dwalin, who, okay, I liked), the two heartthrob dwarves (Fili and Kili, who I also liked), Thorin, and Bofur who is nice to Bilbo briefly in the cave. The rest of them might as well not have been named, and I feel they could have been introduced properly, but were not.

The mini Council scene was just funny. You know, like the Council of Elrond wasn't enough, PJ has to add a mini-council scene. And basically all it was was Galadriel and Elrond standing around trying to out-diva each other, Saruman and Gandalf trying to, I don't even know, out-something each other. All it does is make Gandalf look like a dweeb Saruman picks on, and should have figured out Saruman was evil like five minutes in? And then the Galadriel-Gandalf sexual tension was just too much. It seemed like an intervention for Gandalf's "hobbit obsession."

They include Lindir, the most racist elf ever to walk the planet of racist elves, when they could have given a cameo to someone who didn't suck (Glorfindel can't catch a break? Or Elrond's sons?).

Martin Freeman was great, Richard Armitage was great, I recognized the changes they made to their characters and motivations for the film genre were necessary, whatever. PJ's LOTR movies were good movies, but not true to the books. The Hobbit was not true to the book and also a lame movie.

Anna Adams said...

Megan, your post made me laugh, especially the whole Galadriel-Gandalf sexual tension comment. It probably was an intervention, ha ha.

Anyway, I liked the Hobbit better than the LOTR films. I really enjoyed the songs, and I also loved Martin Freeman. I thought he did a great job. I liked all of the characters and I wish they had spent more time developing some of the dwarves.

I didn't like the little council with Gandalf. Although it was nice to see some familiar faces, I felt like it really dragged on. I was ready for it to be over about half way through.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie and will probably watch it again soon.

sworland said...

I really enjoyed the movie! Obviously, there were several parts that left me scratching my head, but overall, I thought Pete did a grand job. I completely understand others' frustrations with the movies' (The Hobbit and LOTR) differences from the books, but I've finally learned to appreciate movies for what they are: a couple of hours of fun entertainment, but no matter how good they might be, they will never be better than the books that inspire them. People always tell me, "Oh, I love Lord of the Rings too!" But when I ask them if they've read the books, and they say no, I'm like, "You don't even know the HALF of it." Haha.

Also, Megan, I laughed at your heartthrob dwarves comment. So true!

And finally, since when has Gollum been SO funny. I was actually laughing at some points in the movie. I guess since Gimli isn't in this movie, Pete needed someone to fill the "comic relief" role. As always, well done Andy Serkis!

Lorin said...

I overall really liked the movie! I think at first I was hostile towards it because this time around I actually knew the book really well BEFORE the movie came out (as opposed to my seeing 2 of the LOTR movies before reading the books), so I had really strong feelings about how things should've gone down. That being said, I've had a lot of discussions with people since then and feel that I understand why PJ and crew made some of the changes they did.

I still really dislike them stretching out the "pale orc" Azog thing (he was supposed to have been killed in that final battle before Moria!), and some places felt a little too stretched out (the Bilbo-Frodo intro, Radagast and his hedgehogs [though don't get me wrong, I actually really like Radagast!]). Also, I didn't like how Bilbo became suddenly all heroic in that last stand against Azog (save those heroics for later - he's supposed to still be a little, whiny, tired hobbit at this point! haha).

But, I think the reason they only focused on some of the dwarves in this movie is so they could do the same for the next two movies so that, by the end of the trilogy, we "know" each dwarf better than if they had tried to flesh out all 13 of them in EVERY single movie - if that makes sense, haha.

I thought Martin Freeman was pretty much the PERFECT Bilbo, though. I also LOVED the unexpected party scene, the music (of course!), and the riddles in the dark scene.

Overall I really liked the movie and am excited to see the next two!

S. M. said...

When I saw the opening scene of the movie, I was surprised to see that it was a prologue. However, I actually liked how they put the backstory of the quest upfront because it made the film’s storyline coherent. Considering that the actual novel is only one volume long, Jackson did a fairly good job of arranging the events in the movie to make having a sequel to it a plausible option. The one major problem I had with the movie was the pacing. I think that the film’s plotline could have been condensed into an hour and a half –two hours at max. All in all, I enjoyed watching the movie even though it was significantly different from the book.

Richard Wentworth said...

I think I liked it better than the Lord of the Rings films (and I like them a lot). Something about the tone made the questionable parts perfectly acceptable to me.

One of them was even my favorite funny moment of the whole movie. Gandalf and Galadriel have their mind conversation over Saruman's ranting; it seems like they have no respect for him at all. Isn't he the head of the White Council? Doesn't Gandalf go to him for advice in The Fellowship of the Ring because he's supposed to be wise?

I didn't care about any of this, because it was funny. Likewise with the rabbit sled. Generally it was more entertaining than the Lord of the Rings films, so I'm willing to forgive it just about everything. A little sad to see Bilbo kill an orc at the end, though.

Troy Wells said...

Overall, I thought PJ did a great job. I was especially impressed that he managed to incorporate the songs without it coming off as cheesy. If I had to pick something to whine about though (and as an "Advanced Tolkien Studies" student I feel the obligation to be nit-picky) I would have to say Saruman and the Orcs.

First, I agree with Richard that Gandalf was suprisingly disrespectful towards the head of his order. Also I did not like that it was pretty clear that Saruman was a bad guy. It would have been much more interesting if Saruman had been portrayed as a nice guy, that way it would be left to us to wonder if he had already betrayed them or not.

Dragon lady said...

AS has been said i lliked the movie overall. Personally i have no problem seperating the movie from the book. That being said i aslo have some thigns to say comparing the two. I like the galadriel Gandalf thing i think theyre perfect for eachother, but im a hopeless romantic, sorry megan. Secnd i love what they did to the music. Third the characters. I love that Jackson actually turned the characters likable. I love that Bilbo isnt a whiny little *****, as in the book he actually is honorable and likeable and just pain fun. I also love that Thorin is epic instead of just another dwarf. i dont think JAckson had the time to expand on the other dwarves also theyre characters were never much expanded n the book either so theres that. I like the addition of the necromancer i think it adds a nice depth since it only gets mentioned at the end of the book. I love that Jackson added Rhadaghast and the rabbits it was some amazign comic relief in an other wise tense movie. With all that being said I very much dislike the addition of the whole Thorin vs the pale orc as of yet it makes no sense why it was added in. why jackson why. Overall as uch as it is painful to say it i actually liek the movie more than the book. (though 60% of that is because in the movie Bilbo is bamf, whereas in the book i juat want to smack up side the head and say buck up or get off the truck).