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Old 03-11-2021, 07:59 PM   #1
Boromir88
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A Middle-earth Movie Marathon

This past weekend was one of the few times I had the entire weekend with absolutely nothing to do or any commitments. What's the best thing to do? Naturally, I decided to watch all 6 movies. Since I've been posting my opinions about all of them on Facebook and they've garnered more conversation than I was expecting, I decided I might as well share on here. (After some prodding from Pitchwife, wilwa and others. Thank you!)

I believe including all the extended editions it comes to about 23 hours. My years of all-nighters is well past so that definitely wasn't going to happen, so I did it over Friday night (watching AUJ), Saturday, and Sunday. I had just this year finished reading The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, so I had my Tolkien fandom saturated. It was fantastic not watching the films or reading the books in a long time, because I felt that "first time reader experience" again, as I was amazed by how much I forgot. My overall feelings over the weekend was "Are these movies Tolkien? No, but I have all the books and I'm always going to have those. So, am I enjoying these movies?" And for the most part...I actually did.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Reading the books first, in an odd way I ended up liking the movies more than I was expecting, particularly with The Hobbit. I can’t remember last time I’ve watched any of The Hobbit movies. I remember being really disappointed by them in theaters because I knew how much time and effort went into making the LOTR trilogy. Despite all the changes from the books, I could really see the passion and commitment from everyone that was involved in making those movies and I just never got that same feeling from The Hobbit. However, not having watched The Hobbit in a long time and not trying to hold them up to the lofty LOTR standards, I was rather happy with An Unexpected Journey. I mean just as your get your mind off stuff for a few hours, entertaining fantasy flick.

-I liked all the scenes in Bag End, and that's a bigger chunk of the movie than I remembered. I particularly liked they included the 2 songs from the 1st chapter. I wish they shot the entire party together though, instead of filming the different actors in different locations and then plugging in CGI dwarves

-This is the first time I’m watching the extended editions and the added Rivendell scenes add some good depth to the characters. Bilbo’s taking in being in Rivendell and being awed by a place that anyone would want to stay. There’s an extra scene between Elrond and Bilbo where Hugo Weaving shakes off the “Agent Smith” stereotype I had every time I see his LOTR Elrond. It’s a touching scene where I get the same impression Bilbo has first meeting Elrond in the book, a warm and “kind as summer” Elf-lord. Then Bilbo tries to slip out in the Misty Mountains and says he wants to go back to Rivendell, that scene makes much more sense, because of the extra scenes in Rivendell.

-I dislike Radagast's outfit and his aesthetics, I don't think he looks like an Istari, especially compared to Gandalf and Saruman. I do like his character though, and Sylvester McCoy. I think it was a good blend of Gandalf calling him a "worthy wizard, in his own way" and Saruman's snobbish disregard of Radagast's worthiness. So, yeah, take out the bird poop in his hair and I'd completely love the character. The rabbit sleigh was cool...which many (at least on my social media pages) disagreed with, saying that it's too far from Tolkien. But my counter argument is The Hobbit has a more whimsical/unrealistic fantasy element to it: the talking troll purse, Beorn's dogs walking in on hind legs and serving food. The Hobbit is a different story from Lord of the Rings and I would give the same rope to the movie and suspend a bit of realism. The Hobbit was a different story, that never completely aligned with Lord of the Rings and there's nothing wrong with that. There's also nothing wrong if talking troll purses and rabbit sleighs aren't anyone's cup of tea. But I do think the criticisms have to be consistent.

-Andy Serkis always puts in a first class performance and The Riddles in the Dark Scene remains the best, and my favorite from all the Hobbit movies.

-The ending is sort of meh, but at least we see Bilbo accepted by Thorin and company now. I’m still left wondering if Azog has a cardboard mace and his warg rubber teeth? Because those two really smashed up Thorin and he just gets up a few minutes later without a scratch. It probably would have been better, and made more sense to kill Azog at the end of the first movie, then Smaug at the end of the 2nd (sorry spoilers)
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I think I'll pause and conclude for there. That's basically my comments from watching AUJ. I'm curious to read what everyone's thoughts and opinions are. Basically, a free for all, anything and everything about An Unexpected Journey. And after a bit of time, I'll continue with the rest of the movies, but this opening post got very long, very fast.
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Old 03-13-2021, 09:30 AM   #2
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I generally disliked all of the Hobbit movies and can barely watch them. My criticisms of AUJ would generally mirror yours. To expand briefly, I hated all of the Radagast scenes, disliked the depiction of the Great Goblin, and was not fond of the White Council-ish scenes. I did like the Riddle Game. All else I could take or leave and, in my view, AUJ was the best of the three. This says little for the balance.

I agree that the expansion of a medium sized book into three movies was ill-advised, at best, and naked profiteering at worst. I also agree that PJ seems to have attempted to maintain the different tones presented by The Hobbit and LOTR; children's story vs. adult myth. But PJ's depictions of the characters and the story seemed simultaneously too juvenile generally and overly exaggerated where action scenes were shown. For example, I thought that the Dwarves were too buffoonish and the Goblin Town escape overblown.
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Old 03-15-2021, 01:12 PM   #3
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I'm going to make the polemical argument that this thread is lacking in replies not because the forum is very tree-ish these days, but because Boro made the mistake of starting with TH:AUJ, which is the most boring entry in the PJ-canon. Unlike the LotR movies, it's not good enough to rally the movie fans to defend its honour. Unlike THOS, it's not a fun, wild--is it even Tolkien anymore?--ride. And unlike TH:B5A, it's not BAD. So the cavalry isn't galloping in to save it and its foes aren't salivating to skewer it.

My own TH:AUJ memories are slender: I saw it once in theatres and I haven't seen it since. I didn't like it, exactly, but I left the theatre thinking it was basically another Peter Jackson adaptation: a little further down that road I didn't like from the mostly-excellent FotR toward the "I have a few more problems" RotK, but it didn't leave a strong impression compared with the movies that followed. And my memory of it is that there was more griping over the frame-rate than over the content (frame-rate was a bad idea, but I think the rewatching media are free of it).
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Old 03-15-2021, 01:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
I'm going to make the polemical argument that this thread is lacking in replies not because the forum is very tree-ish these days, but because Boro made the mistake of starting with TH:AUJ, which is the most boring entry in the PJ-canon.
Well, you're not wrong... For my part, the only Hobbit film I've seen since they first came out is the second half of B5A, so my memories of AUJ are just 'yep, that Great Goblin sure was goofy', which didn't seem worth contributing. But when we get to the ones I remember, I'll be here!

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Old 03-18-2021, 03:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
I'm going to make the polemical argument that this thread is lacking in replies not because the forum is very tree-ish these days, but because Boro made the mistake of starting with TH:AUJ, which is the most boring entry in the PJ-canon.
Well, what did you expect...I have to start with chronologically the first one! Star Wars fandom know where I'm coming from. You have to start with Episode I even though I would argue that's probably the most boring. I think though you mentioned elsewhere you have no watched Battle of the Five Armies and that one is the most boring, in my opinion.

Quote:
I agree that the expansion of a medium sized book into three movies was ill-advised, at best, and naked profiteering at worst. I also agree that PJ seems to have attempted to maintain the different tones presented by The Hobbit and LOTR; children's story vs. adult myth. But PJ's depictions of the characters and the story seemed simultaneously too juvenile generally and overly exaggerated where action scenes were shown. For example, I thought that the Dwarves were too buffoonish and the Goblin Town escape overblown. - Mithadan
Indeed. I was going to expand on this for the 2nd and 3rd Hobbit films, because I think that's where it really shows that they were stretching the story out. While AUJ pretty much stuck with the company's journey from Bag End to the eagles' rescue. They did add the White Council scenes (and Azog into the story), it made sense they were at least in Rivendell. It's a minor detail, but I'm glad PJ didn't add any, or create any characters to the White Council. The only confirmed members (from the Silm) were Elrond, Galadriel, Cirdan, and Gandalf and Saruman. Cirdan is excluded entirely, but they kept the White Council to the known confirmed. I got the distinct impression, based on Saruman's reactions that Radagast was not a member.
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Old 03-18-2021, 03:43 PM   #6
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I watched AUJ and DOS, but not B5A. I recall that the first time I watched AUJ, in theatre, it made a good enough impression to make me invested in the movie. However, A few weeks later I tried watching it again with some friends on DVD, and we all got so bored that somewhere in Rivendell we've fully stopped paying attention to the movie and shortly after stopped it and switched to other forms of entertainment. Whatever value it had initially, it didn't hold on a repeat viewing. As for DOS, I didn't find it gripping even in the theatre. I have very little to say about the specific pros and cons, and don't want to party poop on the discussion, but I'm afraid my only contribution can be that the movies had neither enough emotion, nor philosophy, nor adventure to captivate me, despite all the attempts at deep moments and action scenes.

As for B5A, I enjoyed immensely reading everyone else's takes on that, and I believe at some point was joking about a new themed WW game, CGI: The Attack of the Wereworms. That's probably my fondest memory.
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Old 03-18-2021, 04:51 PM   #7
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Star Wars fandom know where I'm coming from. You have to start with Episode I even though I would argue that's probably the most boring.
Heh do you though? My attitude is to just watch the original trilogy and stop! And by Original Trilogy I'm talking about fan-produced versions with the Special Edition changes removed; that's my Star Wars equivalent of Tolkien book purism

Interesting to see people saying B5A is the worst as at the time I thought it was the best, before the battle at least; it seemed to have the most "heart" out of the three to me, but I could be misremembering.

As I said in another thread I tried to watch the "Bilbo Edition" of the Hobbit films last year and got so bored I stopped watching! I'm not sure I could ever watch any of the films again.

That being said as I get older and mellow out a bit I think the Lord of the Rings trilogy is interesting from a technical perspective, when utterly divorced from the question of its nature as an adaptation of the book. I don't like it and don't want to watch it, but I think they're interesting to discuss from a technical and production standpoint, if that makes sense.
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Old 03-18-2021, 06:34 PM   #8
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I watched part of Fellowship of the Ring the other night because it was on free-to-air TV and I was channel-surfing. I caught the Councol of Elrond scene before it went to commercial. It looked like 20 year old tech, and the lines seemed so... contrived. There is a reason the EE DVD set has enough dust on them to grow taters.

As for the Hobbitt films... I thinkI saw each one once... and that was at a premiere screening so I didn't pay a cent for the privelege. I deemed then unwatchable as they seemed like a PJ comedy festival, and had no interest in ever buying them.
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Old 03-26-2021, 05:56 PM   #9
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Maybe slightly off topic but I very recently watched the Cardinal cut of the Hobbit films.

It cuts the 3 films down to about four hours and imo is the best way to try and enjoy these films.
Here's a link with downloads and information about the edit.

https://thehobbitthecardinalcut.wordpress.com/
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