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Old 12-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #41
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Hmmm, you should know how adaptations work. Very few are faithful, most are more revisionist than this was.
Hence why many adaptations are bad. I have seen a number of good ones and the best are the ones that keep to the original story.

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I don't think it's an accident that the film critics have been enjoying this one, the first where he stopped worrying about what we think.
The critics have been far from universal in their admiration for the film. This is easily verified. Yes a solid majority of them have given it a positive review, but of the reviews I have read even the positive have come with a list of caveats.

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The characterisation is perfect too, and we can't criticise that (no changed Faramir in this film).
While I haven't seen the movie yet, just on the basis of the other reviews on this very thread I am wondering if everyone is even talking about the same film as you. Characterization, or lack thereof, seems to be a frequent complaint.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:40 PM   #42
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The characterisation is perfect too
Here I would ask: what characterisation? They did a decent job with the children of Ilúvatar, but the dwarves were virtually dummies who had no interpersonal relationships and who delivered cheesy one-liners.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:12 PM   #43
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Here I would ask: what characterisation? They did a decent job with the children of Ilúvatar, but the dwarves were virtually dummies who had no interpersonal relationships and who delivered cheesy one-liners.
They are much more alive as characters than in the book, with individuality. We see much less of them in this film than in the first, and they are mostly involved in action rather than talking, so it is less obvious perhaps than with the new characters. The scene where Thorin was tapping them for coin was one that stood out for me, and also in Lake Town.

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Originally Posted by Kuruharan
While I haven't seen the movie yet, just on the basis of the other reviews on this very thread I am wondering if everyone is even talking about the same film as you. Characterization, or lack thereof, seems to be a frequent complaint.
Sorry, but it really is quite depressing and sad that we need to get into the old ad hominem thing again. Yes, I really did see the same film, do you need to ask?
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:21 PM   #44
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They are much more alive as characters than in the book, with individuality. We see much less of them in this film than in the first, and they are mostly involved in action rather than talking, so it is less obvious perhaps than with the new characters. The scene where Thorin was tapping them for coin was one that stood out for me, and also in Lake Town.
I liked the coin scene too. You're right that they're much more alive in the films, and that's another aspect that I like. I'm just a little disappointed that they opted for endless action instead of exploring the characters further. It wouldn't have been difficult; trading one or two action scenes for dialogue would have made me much happier.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:44 PM   #45
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There was enough characterization in auj. We saw them eating, chatting, debating, singing, drinking, washing dishes, and planning, and then travelling through Eriador and the mountains. We even saw them snoring. Balin gave more backstory on the road and the younger ones listened. Even the troll lead up was talk and characterization. It really was time for action.

I guess I am lucky that I saw the two movies back to back in a double feature. The first was still reverberating when I watched the second.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:16 PM   #46
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I guess I am lucky that I saw the two movies back to back in a double feature. The first was still reverberating when I watched the second.
Yup, that would probably have been a better way to do it. (Then again, I'm not sure I liked AUJ enough to watch it again.) As a stand-alone piece, there's a lot missing from characterisation in DoS.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:10 PM   #47
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I'm lurking so far because I have not seen DoS, but this strikes me as an interesting point and I'd like to hear the take of those who HAVE seen the movie: we know that The Hobbit was initially planned as two movies, rather than three, and everything I've heard would seem to suggest that the decision to stretch to that third blockbuster came rather late. That said, it has ALSO been my impression that the two movies we now have were largely carved out of the first "half" of the original plan--and if you think of The Hobbit as a two-parter, saving Smaug's death for the second half seems like a logical choice, whatever one may think about its place in a three-parter.

Granted there's a lot of additional material that makes this into a six-hour experience, but is it possible that seeing AUJ/DOS together makes more sense than one or other alone?
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:30 AM   #48
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I got to see the film last night and while I did enjoy it, this installment is probably my least favorite of all the movies (including LotR). I loved the first movie; watching it felt something like going home. Meanwhile, this film seemed a bit lacking and more like a filler installment. I'm sure the added changes don't help.

What I liked:

-The barrel ride. It was a lot of fun to watch...enjoyable enough that I didn't mind the added fight scenes.

-Smaug. His introduction in particular was excellent and the visual effects were awesome.

-Thranduil. We didn't see much of him, but I enjoyed his scenes.

-As with all the other films, all the little details which includes the sets, costumes, special effects, visual effects, and so on. Those don't get mentioned often enough because they are separate from the writing, but they are just as important. And in my opinion, it's the details which make the films quality.

So-so:

-Smaug chasing the dwarves. It was fun at first, but I think it dragged on too long.

-Tauriel. I like the actress and she did well with what she was given. But I could've done without her, or at least preferred her in the background rather than an additional storyline.

What I didn't like:

-Dol Guldur. Well, I didn't hate it. The visual used to create Sauron's Eye was (as my sister put it) trippy. It's just that I felt like it drew away from the main plotline. Every time it cut to that scene, I wanted to go back to Smaug.

-Kili's injury, Tauriel healing him, and some sort of weird attraction between them. Not to mention, the cheesy glowing elf bit (which I didn't like in FotR either). In a different world, I might actually enjoy that storyline. But not here...it strays way too far from Tolkien. It seems pointless to worry so much about Kili's well being when he's just going to die in the end anyway (I assume). But I guess PJ is setting his death up to be a very emotional scene. Btw, why can't Kili have a real beard? Aidan Turner looks just fine with one.

-The pacing. As I mentioned, it felt like a filler installment. A lot of scenes dragged on a bit too long and when I think back on it, not much actually happened (it looks like I'm not the only one who thinks this). And the ended was a little too abrupt. I'm hopeful though that the final film will be stronger.

One thing I would've liked to see that wasn't there is a brief scene of the characters feasting at Laketown, with an added song and Bilbo's "Thag you very buch." I'm hoping this will be added in the EE dvds since there did appear to be the aftermath of a feast and PJ has added songs in the EE dvds in the past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil
I'm lurking so far because I have not seen DoS, but this strikes me as an interesting point and I'd like to hear the take of those who HAVE seen the movie: we know that The Hobbit was initially planned as two movies, rather than three, and everything I've heard would seem to suggest that the decision to stretch to that third blockbuster came rather late. That said, it has ALSO been my impression that the two movies we now have were largely carved out of the first "half" of the original plan--and if you think of The Hobbit as a two-parter, saving Smaug's death for the second half seems like a logical choice, whatever one may think about its place in a three-parter.

Granted there's a lot of additional material that makes this into a six-hour experience, but is it possible that seeing AUJ/DOS together makes more sense than one or other alone?
Yes, it's probably better to watch both films within a close time span. I watched the first film again on dvd before heading to the theatre. With LotR, it was clear on how the films would be divided. And while each installment was an extension of the previous, I think the writers did a better job of bringing us back into Middle-earth after a year away. The Hobbit was never meant to be divided up like this and I think the writers had a rougher time with making the middle film stand on its own. I really think it would've been better if they had just kept the film in two parts, not three. There's a lot that could've been trimmed down and I can't help but feel like the only reason a third was added was to make more money (probably because it's true).

A general comment about films based on books. There is a reason why it's called an adaptation; a film will never be a true representation of a book. Some films stay closer to the books they were based on, and there are some books that are very difficult to adapt to film without making changes. For book fans, it can be difficult for us to see changes made to the books we love, which is why it's sometimes better just to enjoy a film version on its own without nitpicking. Many changes that are made to film adaptations are done for specific reasons and not just because the director and writers thought they could improve what the author wrote (though it seems many of you think of PJ in this way); don't forget that they are not in complete control. Most changes in films are motivated by money. There may be many fans of the book, but like it or not, most of the audience who will pay to see this movie have not read the book and probably never will. And those added scenes...violence, romance, the added characters...they were put there to draw in new non-reading fans. Let's face it...no matter how close they could keep to the book, book fans will never be completely satisfied and many will refuse to watch. The films are more likely to make money from those who haven't read the book and that's the audience the studios market them to. Making movies is just another business, and an expensive one at that.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:16 AM   #49
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One thing I'm not seeing a lot of people mention here (and elsewhere) is Bilbo. Is he as badly sidelined as all that? The lack of focus on him at points in the first film was troubling enough. It seems like most of what people are talking about as regards this film are "Tauriel", Legolas and to a lesser extent Bard.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:24 AM   #50
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One thing I'm not seeing a lot of people mention here (and elsewhere) is Bilbo. Is he as badly sidelined as all that? The lack of focus on him at points in the first film was troubling enough. It seems like most of what people are talking about as regards this film are "Tauriel", Legolas and to a lesser extent Bard.
I think Bilbo was one of the absolute highlights of the film! Martin Freeman does an excellent job, and while he isn't given as much room to develop his character as I'd like, he's still given loads more than most of the others and he uses it well. This time around, in scenes of him and the dwarves, he's clearly the protagonist and the dwarves just sort of hang around.
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Old 12-15-2013, 04:41 AM   #51
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Formie: yes.

And Bilbo was excellent, IMO.
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:21 AM   #52
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One thing I'm not seeing a lot of people mention here (and elsewhere) is Bilbo. Is he as badly sidelined as all that? The lack of focus on him at points in the first film was troubling enough. It seems like most of what people are talking about as regards this film are "Tauriel", Legolas and to a lesser extent Bard.
Personally, I think Bilbo is of course good (Martin Freeman can't really do it badly), but was given a little too little time still, along with the rest of the Dwarves. And he was good, but the space and scenes in which he could truly shine were only a few. Like I mentioned above, the moment when he realizes he's alone with all his friends gone in the barrels was brilliant, possibly my favourite moment of the whole film; but that's like a five-second thing. Okay, maybe fifteen-second, actually And there are similar occassions like that all over the movie: minor highlights, but nothing "big", in my opinion. Which is a pity. Still, he is definitely one of the things that make this film enjoyable.

The reason why I e.g. put so much emphasis on how good the Wood-Elves or the Master of Lake-Town are was that I had expected especially Tauriel to be a total uncanonical infiltration of wannabe-female character who in reality is just Xena, Warrior Princess or somesuch with badly written lines and no personality. While the opposite is true; in this movie, it's Thorin who is Xenophobe, the Wheelbarrow-Rider, with badly written lines and no personality for most of the time.
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:30 AM   #53
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I read the Hobbit earlier this year after watching an Unexpected Journey to remind myself what really happened in the story, and I was surprised how flimsy the book actually was. In my opinion, the dwarves weren’t distinguishable from each other except for Thorin, who seemed to be quite an unpleasant fellow and Bombur who was really fat (ha-ha). Tolkien’s bedtime story-like narration made me cringe a few times, and overall I found the dwarves to be quite helpless and dislikeable.

In comparison, the movies portray the dwarves as individuals who are quite capable fighters (as they should be) and really sympathetic characters. All in all, the casting is superb. Like Lalwendë said:
Quote:
while Tolkien's story may have been stripped out, Tolkien's characters are there, very much big and bold and perfectly done.

As for the changes in the story, I believe that they have sincerely put thought into it. For example, I initially disliked the idea of splitting the dwarves into two groups in Laketown. Then I saw a video where PJ explained (when asked about the battle of five armies) that you can’t portray a battle and keep the audience interested without showing some of the main characters often enough. I believe this is true and this decision will play out very well once Smaug attacks Laketown.

Of course, the movie wasn’t perfect. I agree with the comments that the lack of new material in the score was a let-down. Also, some things could have been done a bit differently (or left out, like the athelas scene), and I have more ominous forest growing in my backyard than the Mirkwood we saw...but then again, this is just a movie. If you didn’t like it, you can always go back to the book. However, I’m sure that having seen both films will actually improve my future reading experiences with the Hobbit.
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:35 AM   #54
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I haven't seen the films because apart from the visual aspects I didn't like much about the LOTR films..so if the had another prop exhibiton I would go but ....... but the point is that Jackson took two of the most popular and sucessful books in history. and I bet that more people were attracted to FOTR by Tolkien's name than Jackson's and now we book lovers are being basically told to shut up or get lost.

You know we aren't half wits we know flms are adaptations and noone expects a literal word for word reproduction ~ though I note that the bits people seem to like ARE from the books ~ but does that mean we may not query why a shortish and simple children's story needs hours of extraneous material and, as a bbc reviewer put it, "knob jokes". How far can you deviate and still have the nerve to market the product as the Hobbit? It is like the sometimes surreal substitutions supermarkets make if you order online, like ordering a bottle of amontillado and getting not even British Fortified Wine but a Sherry Trifle and being told not to make a fuss because there IS sherry in and hey they have thrown in jelly and custard and cream too.

So i will shut up now and toddle lactose\Jackson intolerantly off back to the delightful sub 2.5 hour Jackanory adaptation that introduced me to Tolkien oh so many years ago and provided such a great introduction to the book.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:28 AM   #55
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First of all: Hello SPAWN!!!!

Secondly:

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A general comment about films based on books. There is a reason why it's called an adaptation; a film will never be a true representation of a book. Some films stay closer to the books they were based on, and there are some books that are very difficult to adapt to film without making changes. For book fans, it can be difficult for us to see changes made to the books we love, which is why it's sometimes better just to enjoy a film version on its own without nitpicking. Many changes that are made to film adaptations are done for specific reasons and not just because the director and writers thought they could improve what the author wrote (though it seems many of you think of PJ in this way); don't forget that they are not in complete control. Most changes in films are motivated by money. There may be many fans of the book, but like it or not, most of the audience who will pay to see this movie have not read the book and probably never will. And those added scenes...violence, romance, the added characters...they were put there to draw in new non-reading fans. Let's face it...no matter how close they could keep to the book, book fans will never be completely satisfied and many will refuse to watch. The films are more likely to make money from those who haven't read the book and that's the audience the studios market them to. Making movies is just another business, and an expensive one at that.
It would not be difficult to see reasonable changes to the story to make it flow better and keep it within reasonable limits given the limited time available in the visual medium.

However, that is not what we are seeing Jackson do here in his hexilogy. He has repeatedly tinkered with characters, changing the nature of who the character is, altered storylines and events in ways that can charitably be called strange, and added storylines and set-pieces straight out of his own mind to the point that it overwhelms the original story.

I've seen enough good adaptations to know that Jackson did not have to do it this way and be successful.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:57 AM   #56
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A couple things I wanted to comment on...

I whole heartedly agree with Greenie's point about how violence gets depicted in this film. I think the LOTR films (most noticeably in ROTK) started portraying violence as some sort of glorious fun game, but you still get a sense of loss, death, and ugliness as some of the movies' heroes get killed and the whole war seems in vain unless Frodo can manage to destroy the Ring.

Desolation of Smaug...the way violence is depicted is honestly disturbing. The parts that got the most applause and laughs were Legolas going on one of his many orc-sliding killing sprees and I can't be mad at the audience, because it's honestly the way Jackson decided to glorify violence. It's a spectacle, it's for oohs and ahhs as Legolas and Tauriel show all the ways to spin around and decapitate something. Watch the Deathly Hallows Part II and watch Desolation of Smaug, maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but it's remarkable how different those two films depict war.

I mean I don't expect The Hobbit movies to be as morbid and dark as Thrones where the Hound has his spat before the Blackwater about all the boys he's killed...but not depicting violence as a fun game with cool spinny moves would be appreciated.

As far as character development in the 2nd movie...I watched Part I the night before going to the theaters and I remembered for the most part I enjoyed the movie as a whole. I think the reason Agan (myself and many others included) were hoping for more of the dwarves to be fleshed out is because that was one of the whole justifications for making it 3 films. We had to expect Jackson would have to make up and create a lot to fill 3 movies, but one of his excuses was to flesh out all 13 dwarves the way that really the book didn't accomplish.

AUJ was done well with Thorin, Balin and Kili. There were smaller interesting moments where we got glimpses into Dori, Dwalin, and Bofur and I was expecting DoS to just keep going with some of the other dwarves (there is the moment where Gloin won't give his money and when Legolas sees a picture of Gloin's wife and Gimli), but it just doesn't happen.

Thorin's development takes several steps back. Dori, Dwalin and Bofur stagnates. In nearly 6 hours of film Bombur and Nori have had no dialogue and all Bifur can do is inaudibly grunt because PJ wanted to have a funny pun with "Bifurcate." I'd say only Balin, Kili and one bit with Fili ("My place is with my brother") are done well amongst the dwarves.

I will say Thorin's character starts getting developed better towards the end, but I'm not sure if it makes up for the aggrivating rinse and repeat lines that Agan brought up.

Even if it was a major divurgence to have Kili injured with a morgul wound and stay behind in Lake-town it's a good moment to show Thorin's greed and "sickness." Thorin says something like "I will not let one dwarf risk the success of my quest" and makes Kili stay behind. Kili's actor plays his role well as he was just stabbed in the heart by Thorin and smashed to a pulp on the docks. Fili also has a wonderful moment running to Kili and defiantly telling Thorin his place is with his brother. But we start seeing some Denethor in Thorin. Denethor would use his sons as pawns if it meant keeping his seat of power in Gondor. Here, Thorin won't even let his family stop him from the riches under Erebor.

And later, as Bilbo is trying to steal the arkenstone from Smaug, Smaug re-awakens. It cuts to Thorin and Balin. Balin says they have to go in after Bilbo and Thorin says "I will not let the loss of one burglar stop us now." Balin's actor delivers his line absolutely perfect: "It's Bilbo. His name is Bilbo." A simple reminder that he is not a nameless burglar to be used, it is Bilbo. His name is Bilbo. It was great and fitting for Balin's character, and towards the end was are seeing Thorin's greed affect his judgement. He will reclaim his "right" no matter the cost.
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:34 PM   #57
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Bethberry, regarding the score for the movies. I found out that for both An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug, Shore composed a new fresh score for the films. However, unfortunately, Jackson decided to scrap most of it to put the recycled LOTR music in. I guess you have to buy the soundtrack to get Shore's score for The Hobbit movies.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #58
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I mean I don't expect The Hobbit movies to be as morbid and dark as Thrones where the Hound has his spat before the Blackwater about all the boys he's killed...but not depicting violence as a fun game with cool spinny moves would be appreciated.
The thing that is quite unique in GoT is that it’s not easy to say who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy. The story is told from everyone’s perspective and we get to know the characters’ backgrounds and motives quite well. In Middle-earth it seems to be more black and white: orcs and their ilk are pure evil and that’s it. In a sense, it's not "necessary" to feel sympathy for their death. (I find it more disturbing that killing has been viewed as a fun game in real life - gladiators come into mind.)

Also, an orc attack is a plausible reason why Legolas and Tauriel can’t just bundle the darwes back into Thranduil’s dungeons from the barrels or from Laketown. Even though the attacks contained a lot of swashbuckling, I felt the action flowed quite nicely and was choreographed creatively.

On anoter note, this thought came into my mind after watching Puccini’s Turandot the other day. The story is just several paragraphs long, there’s hardly any character development, the musical themes are repetitive and the whole thing lasts about 2,5 hours. Yet no-one seemed to complain that the opera was dragged out. I thought it was quite excellent, actually, but maybe I’m just easily entertained.

ps. Hi, Kuru and other old friends as well!
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:57 PM   #59
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But we start seeing some Denethor in Thorin.
You mean, "If this is to end in fire, then we shall all burn together!"?

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Also, an orc attack is a plausible reason why Legolas and Tauriel can’t just bundle the darwes back into Thranduil’s dungeons from the barrels or from Laketown.
I think drunkenness would have been a funnier reason though!
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:34 PM   #60
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One thing I'm not seeing a lot of people mention here (and elsewhere) is Bilbo. Is he as badly sidelined as all that? The lack of focus on him at points in the first film was troubling enough.
Bilbo was great. Martin Freeman does a wonderful job portraying him just as the first film. Sure, there could've been more of him, but at the same time, I didn't feel like he was missing from the story.

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AUJ was done well with Thorin, Balin and Kili. There were smaller interesting moments where we got glimpses into Dori, Dwalin, and Bofur and I was expecting DoS to just keep going with some of the other dwarves (there is the moment where Gloin won't give his money and when Legolas sees a picture of Gloin's wife and Gimli), but it just doesn't happen.

Thorin's development takes several steps back. Dori, Dwalin and Bofur stagnates. In nearly 6 hours of film Bombur and Nori have had no dialogue and all Bifur can do is inaudibly grunt because PJ wanted to have a funny pun with "Bifurcate." I'd say only Balin, Kili and one bit with Fili ("My place is with my brother") are done well amongst the dwarves.
I would've like to see more characterization of the dwarves too, though I do realize with 13 of them, being able to feature them all is no easy task. As spawn mentioned, Tolkien didn't give them much personality in the books, so I'm grateful that they at least made an effort to create individual personalities for the films. I found that by watching the special features on the dvds for the first film, I got a much better sense of who each character was (there's a whole hour featurette dedicated to the dwarf characters).

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However, that is not what we are seeing Jackson do here in his hexilogy. He has repeatedly tinkered with characters, changing the nature of who the character is, altered storylines and events in ways that can charitably be called strange, and added storylines and set-pieces straight out of his own mind to the point that it overwhelms the original story.

I've seen enough good adaptations to know that Jackson did not have to do it this way and be successful.
That's your opinion, which is perfectly fine. I'm not happy with all the changes either and think the film would've been better without some of them. But obviously PJ thought otherwise. What I'm saying is I think every change in the film was made because he believed it would draw a bigger audience, not necessarily because it would improve the original story. And of course we're free to agree or disagree with those decisions.

Writing for the screen is difficult enough; adapting a beloved story to the screen is an even bigger challenge. I woke up this morning with a random thought in my head: If you were to write the script, how would you do it? What would be cut, what would stay, what would have to change to make the story flow visually, and can you do all that while keeping it under three hours? There are many roles in the making of the films I would've loved to take on, but writing is certainly not one of them. While PJ's films are a far cry from perfect, they really could've been a lot worse.

Instead focusing on the negative, I appreciate what they do include from the books and Tolkien's world, which is still quite a bit. And I'm not just talking about the writing, but also the little details...in the weapons, the makeup and costumes, the sets. If you ever watch a behind-the-scenes featurette, you'll see there's so much effort made into bringing Tolkien's universe to life. Many people like to just look at the bigger picture, but I love the details. To me, that's what sets PJ's films apart. That, and the fact that everyone involved in these films has so much passion; it's not just another job to them.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:49 PM   #61
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I'm lurking so far because I have not seen DoS, but this strikes me as an interesting point and I'd like to hear the take of those who HAVE seen the movie: we know that The Hobbit was initially planned as two movies, rather than three, and everything I've heard would seem to suggest that the decision to stretch to that third blockbuster came rather late. That said, it has ALSO been my impression that the two movies we now have were largely carved out of the first "half" of the original plan--and if you think of The Hobbit as a two-parter, saving Smaug's death for the second half seems like a logical choice, whatever one may think about its place in a three-parter.

Granted there's a lot of additional material that makes this into a six-hour experience, but is it possible that seeing AUJ/DOS together makes more sense than one or other alone?
Same here. I have yet to see the film due to my work schedule, but i'm getting the impression seeing the two together removes the grating feeling that DoS is extensive action scenes.

If I can use an example of how both films could have been far, far worse, there's always the television adaptation several years back of the first two The Wizard of Earthsea novels. Both were used in a single film and much like AUJ and DoS together they were meant to ease understanding for viewers who may have not read the books, or hadn't recently. Instead of even taking some liberties as PJ did, the film completely veered off into the sunset and skipped most of the set up of the plot (imagine if PJ had cut out that the gold belonged to the dwarves, or even WHY Smaug continued to stick around Erebor).

I absolutely love Le Guin's series, so you can imagine after watching something like that, I was surprised when my mom also saw it (who never read any of the novels) and was disappointed because it was, "hard to follow."

So, as far as I can see, yes there are issues with PJ's adaptation (hence the term...), but it could be far worse. At least fans who have never read the book can identify why the dwarves have a need and determination to win and later, protect the lonely mountain. As long as PJ doesn't cut out Thorin's famous parting words, at least that lesson of Tolkien's story won't be glazed over.

(Sorry, I would add more, but I'm typing this away from my home computer and access to both my copy of the novel, the first film and a proper internet access.)
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:17 AM   #62
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I still have not seen DoS so I shall refrain from any more comments but this article was pointed out to me on FB. It's an interesting perspective and one I haven't seen before about the Jackson films. I think it is quite true that Tolkien was particularly intrigued by how the past remains an influence on the present. And I also know that for me one of the fascinating things about Europe is just how ancient its lands feel--this coming from someone who lives in the (relatively) untouched new world.

This is not Middle-earth.
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:24 AM   #63
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Yes! I'm also in Australia and now, after having read several reviews and seen the pandering, simpering praise the movie's gotten on TORN (as if you'd expect any better) I'm reconsidering my Boxing Day. Maybe I'll go to the Ashes Test after all..
Much better use of your time IMHO (and I actually liked the first movie). I watched it last night and both my wife and I did not like it. Best to wait for the DVD.

For what its worth, my review here
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:19 AM   #64
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That's your opinion, which is perfectly fine. I'm not happy with all the changes either and think the film would've been better without some of them. But obviously PJ thought otherwise. What I'm saying is I think every change in the film was made because he believed it would draw a bigger audience, not necessarily because it would improve the original story.
But this gets back to my fundamental problem with what the film series has turned into. If Tolkien's stories themselves are not enough to stand up on their own without all this re-writing, why not have the courage to do your own script and put your own work out there as your own? I think that would be infinitely better than savaging the work of another.

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While PJ's films are a far cry from perfect, they really could've been a lot worse.
That is true, but they could have been a lot better as well.

Basically I have the sense that Tolkien fans are being cheated with a sub-standard product and there is no real reason why it had to be this way.

Part of me hopes that with this trend of accelerating re-boots to film franchises somebody will come along and do a better job with Tolkien's world...although that hope is partially hypocritical on my part as I'm not too fond of the accelerating trend of re-boots...but still...
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:25 AM   #65
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Much better use of your time IMHO (and I actually liked the first movie). I watched it last night and both my wife and I did not like it. Best to wait for the DVD.

For what its worth, my review here
I know I said I would stay away from here, but I wanted to say I thought your review was good.

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There is nothing more unintelligent than the argument that, since a new interpretation is one particular person's take on older material, it is therefore a valid viewpoint and must be accepted as worthwhile. Artistic license cuts both ways, and while a film producer is, in my opinion, entitled to provide his or her own interpretation, any such producer should also be willing to accept criticism, even if it is withering, if his efforts fall short and the end product should lack wit.
That is a problem I've noticed: critics of the films are pointed to the "artistic license" argument, and basically told that it invalidates calls for more fidelity to the source material.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:08 AM   #66
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And I also know that for me one of the fascinating things about Europe is just how ancient its lands feel--this coming from someone who lives in the (relatively) untouched new world.

This is not Middle-earth.
I find this article quite interesting, as I agree that as picturesque as New Zealand is, it doesn't necessarily capture Professor Tolkien's vision with complete accuracy. I think Rohan is arguably the most egregious example, where the terrain doesn't seem suitable for horses at all (although given that I know nothing about horses that might be completely wrong).

My latest source of frustration is people claiming the accuracy of the film's pronunciation of "Smaug" based on pronunciation guides intended for the pronunciation of Elvish words from which "Smaug" is in no way derived. The pronunciation is, apparently, correct, but "Smaug" was a Dalish (hence Old Norse) word and its pronunciation has nothing to do with the pronunciation of Elvish. It's my own fault, really, for reading internet comments.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #67
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I agreed with a lot of the article too, and I too found it interesting reading.

Whilst on the topic, I suppose dwarf-names should be pronounced according to the Old Norse sounds, too. Can anyone confirm how "Dain" should be pronounced? I used Dain as the answer to a cryptic clue in the Password thread, according to the elvish pronunciations, but this must have been wrong. When I tried to look it up, I found a recorded pronunciation that sounded like "Doin." This might have been on the Tolkien Gateway (I think it was).
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:44 AM   #68
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Whilst on the topic, I suppose dwarf-names should be pronounced according to the Old Norse sounds, too. Can anyone confirm how "Dain" should be pronounced?
Well the "ái" in "Dáin" isn't a diphthong so as far as I'm aware (from studying Old Norse at University) it should be pronounced something like "Daa-in." Similarly "Thráin" should be pronounced "Thraa-in" (not "Thrane") and "Óin" and "Glóin" should be pronounced something like "Awe-in" and "Glawe-in" or "Owin" and "Glowin" (but definitely not to rhyme with "coin" as they do in the films - the 1981 BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, by contrast, pronounces Glóin correctly). The names really aren't any different to Thorin, Balin, Dwalin etc but don't have a consonant between their first and second vowels. The structure is the same. Similarly Óin and Glóin's father's name is much less amusing when you realise it's pronounced something like "Graw-in" and not like the English word "groin."
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:29 PM   #69
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Things must be bad if people on TORN are finally starting to turn on Jackson.

I found this comment extremely biting:



Edit: I also derived a certain morbid sense of amusement from Ostadan's specific predictions of the what, how, and why certain things aren't going to work in the third movie.

I venture that Ostadan will be banned from TORN shortly. Or, given that TORN takes a similar attitude toward dissent as does North Korea, perhaps executed by mortar shell.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:52 PM   #70
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On anoter note, this thought came into my mind after watching Puccini’s Turandot the other day. The story is just several paragraphs long, there’s hardly any character development, the musical themes are repetitive and the whole thing lasts about 2,5 hours. Yet no-one seemed to complain that the opera was dragged out. I thought it was quite excellent, actually, but maybe I’m just easily entertained.
Nobody goes to the opera for the plot (well, except Wagner maybe). Opera is basically highbrow musical revue: performance numbers stitched together with a threadbare 'plot', plus costumes.

And TH: DOS is sort of a "CGI opera", a collection of f/x setpieces there merely for their own sake, with a threadbare plot made of 10% Tolkien and 90% PBJ wibble just to hold the Beheading Ballets together- like a Kill Bill, except without Tarantino's wit.

Or really, the proper comparison is porn, which exists only to present sex scenes with the barest pretense of a plot to string the bonking on, said bonking being the whole reason for the enterprise's existence. What DOS actually is is Violence Porn, just like a cheap kung-fu movie with a bigger budget.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:25 PM   #71
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On anoter note, this thought came into my mind after watching Puccini’s Turandot the other day. The story is just several paragraphs long, there’s hardly any character development, the musical themes are repetitive and the whole thing lasts about 2,5 hours. Yet no-one seemed to complain that the opera was dragged out. I thought it was quite excellent, actually, but maybe I’m just easily entertained.
Nobody goes to the opera for the plot (well, except Wagner maybe). Opera is basically highbrow musical revue: performance numbers stitched together with a threadbare 'plot', plus costumes.
No offence to spawn, but my feeling is that if you need to compare a film to an opera (particularly that one) in order defend its pacing, plot and characterisation... well, there probably is something wrong with it in those areas. On a similar note (hey!) somebody else a while back pointed out that the entire running time of the completed trilogy would be actually quite concise if it were a television serial. I mean– what happened to the “different mediums” argument?

–But please, WCH, lose the porn-comparison. You know it’ll just start a flame-war.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:32 PM   #72
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The Desecration of Tolkien

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Nobody goes to the opera for the plot (well, except Wagner maybe). Opera is basically highbrow musical revue: performance numbers stitched together with a threadbare 'plot', plus costumes.

And TH: DOS is sort of a "CGI opera", a collection of f/x setpieces there merely for their own sake, with a threadbare plot made of 10% Tolkien and 90% PBJ wibble just to hold the Beheading Ballets together- like a Kill Bill, except without Tarantino's wit.

Or really, the proper comparison is porn, which exists only to present sex scenes with the barest pretense of a plot to string the bonking on, said bonking being the whole reason for the enterprise's existence. What DOS actually is is Violence Porn, just like a cheap kung-fu movie with a bigger budget.
Thank you for those excellent -- priceless, actually -- analogies: "Beheading Ballets," "Kill Bilbo," "CGI opera," "Violence Porn," and "cheap kung-fu movie," each -- or all together -- with a bigger budget. Well and succinctly done.
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:50 AM   #73
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–But please, WCH, lose the porn-comparison. You know it’ll just start a flame-war.
Still, you must admit that the porn-comparison is just spot-on
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Old 12-18-2013, 05:11 AM   #74
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(...) My latest source of frustration is people claiming the accuracy of the film's pronunciation of "Smaug" based on pronunciation guides intended for the pronunciation of Elvish words from which "Smaug" is in no way derived. The pronunciation is, apparently, correct, but "Smaug" was a Dalish (hence Old Norse) word and its pronunciation has nothing to do with the pronunciation of Elvish. It's my own fault, really, for reading internet comments.
Not that you aren't aware, but in this Appendix Tolkien also refers back to his guide to Elvish pronunciation to explain some names that are not Elvish.

Emphasis on some names, so some exceptions, but not Smaug I would say [meaning, using the Elvish guide and Tolkien's English 'loud' works well enough for Smaug]. I use Sauron as an example here myself.

Of course if someone also claims the name Smaug is Elvish then that's a different kettle of fishesss.

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Old 12-18-2013, 06:27 AM   #75
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I venture that Ostadan will be banned from TORN shortly. Or, given that TORN takes a similar attitude toward dissent as does North Korea, perhaps executed by mortar shell.
Not bloody likely.

This film is so bad that even the folks over at The One Ring are griping about it. Here are some examples

"While I know the makers will no doubt earn billions of dollars from DoS and will be laughing all the way to the bank as it were, (and that makes me a little ill I suppose) I got to believe that down the road with time DoS will be known as the pile of nonsense and fecal material that it in fact it is. "

"I finally know what it is to be a Purist after being a huge fan of the LOTR movies and even "The Unexpected Journey". I walked out of DoS stunned in a bad way. ... I don't know what happened, suddenly I've found myself untethered from the PJ's Tolkienverse with this film and I hate feeling this way."
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:34 AM   #76
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Haven't seen the DoS yet. Am going to do it with rather low expectations, just due to some positive moments mentioned. As for "violence porn", even one who likes porn can probably get slightly bored if it gets too repetitive and predictable

Btw, my way to make peace with PJ is an "idea" that his interpretation follows not Tolkien's books, but a weird version of The Red Book, much altered by scribes of later ages. Tolken's books are based on a different version of The Red Book. Imagine a difference between the Dark Ages Britain how it appears in De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae by Gildas and in Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Lots of thanks for the reviews.
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:36 AM   #77
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Tragically, though, we know that it was Geoffrey's version that won......
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Old 12-18-2013, 09:55 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brinniel
That's your opinion, which is perfectly fine. I'm not happy with all the changes either and think the film would've been better without some of them. But obviously PJ thought otherwise. What I'm saying is I think every change in the film was made because he believed it would draw a bigger audience, not necessarily because it would improve the original story.
But this gets back to my fundamental problem with what the film series has turned into. If Tolkien's stories themselves are not enough to stand up on their own without all this re-writing, why not have the courage to do your own script and put your own work out there as your own? I think that would be infinitely better than savaging the work of another.
Indeed– but these days studios greatly prefer to back adaptations of books (best-selling ones, naturally). They’re considered to be more marketable and generally safer than original screenplays.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:05 AM   #79
Kuruharan
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Indeed– but these days studios greatly prefer to back adaptations of books (best-selling ones, naturally). They’re considered to be more marketable and generally safer than original screenplays.
Indubitably, however, if they are going to not have enough confidence in their own work or defer to the work of another artist as their setting, then they ought to treat the work of the other artist with respect and not trash it.

I think it is a biting condemnation of DoS that even people who are reviewing the film favorably are admitting that Tolkien almost certainly would have hated it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:39 PM   #80
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According to Lommy I am missed around these parts. At her suggestion I'm going to reproduce something I wrote on Tumblr a few days ago, which was just my very off-hand comments and impressions about the film. As it was a really hastily written entry for my blog I apologize for lack of depth. Anyway....

I have to say I think that the movie was really, really awful.

It’s not that it digressed from the book. I loved the first Hobbit movie, and that certainly digressed from the book. It’s that as a film, it was awful. The action scenes were far too silly to fit the otherwise super serious tone of the film and overall, as a movie, it felt really bloated. Like, it felt like the rough first draft of something where you pour everything into it, before you go back and edit the great stinking pile into something decent.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy parts. I think the spiders were magnificently creepy and horrific (though I missed Bilbo actually, you know, taunting them) and generally the whole getting lost in Mirkwood bit was well done.

I genuinely loved Tauriel as a character and I appreciate the attempt to make The Hobbit less of a sausage fest by having her in it. But I disliked that the romantic subplot between her and The Hot Dwarf was so… badly done. I’ll hold off on having an opinion whether a Dwarf/Elf romance works outside of Gimli/Legolas fanfiction because that’s not really the case here. The Hot Dwarf made an inappropriate joke about his trousers and then they had a nice conversation about mothers and stars, and suddenly it’s “Do you think she could have loved me?” That line really put me over the top. I mean, let’s not have any subtlety at all. Just in case you were unsure that there was a romance subplot, DO YOU THINK SHE COULD HAVE LOVED ME?

Also Legolas. My God. Jealous brooding love triangle glowering does not look good on him. What the hell was up with his eyes? They were brown in LOTR and now they’re a sickly shade of cataract covered blue. My boyfriend says this was on purpose to illustrate that the elves of Mirkwood are plagued by evil, and I guess that makes more sense than anything else. But it was still weird and unnecessary.

(Sidenote, I didn't expect a real answer to this on Tumblr but if anyone on the Downs knows, what actually was up with Legolas' eyes? Has Jackson made any comments about them?)

I really liked Bard and his family. Beorn was awful. Smaug was fun to watch, but the entire sequence still suffered from the bloated, unnecessary, “we must stretch this into three movies” syndrome that Hobbit #2 suffers from far more than Hobbit #1 did.

I went to see An Unexpected Journey twice in theatres but needless to say I have no desire to watch The Desolation of Smaug again.
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