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 The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy

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SimianWonder
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PostSubject: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:07 pm

Just been to watch this, saw it in 3D with the much talked about HFR (high frame rate) of 48 fps (frames per second, rather than the usual 24fps), so that's first on the agenda.  And it was pointless.  Unlike a lot of people, I actually like 3D in films, at least when it is used well - obviously Avatar used it to staggering effect, and most of the DreamWorks titles such as How to Train your Dragon and Puss in Boots are very strong - but just as many seem to use it as an afterthought.  I know that wasn't the case here, but the 3D is never particularly noticable, barring one or two shots at the end and while the higher frame rate looks great in Jackson's trademark sweeping shots it others it just looks awkward, making things look too artificial.  I've heard people refer to it as looking too much like a documentary, but it reminded me post of the higher Mhz frame refresh settings on most HDTVs.  (In essence, the TV smooths out the picture by manufacturing and adding additional frames that aren't actually present in the source material.  It works great for games, smoothing out poor frame rates - though there is some digital noise visible during faster paced scenes - but for films I tend to turn it off because it looks artificial and is rather distracting, which is exactly how I felt watching the higher frame rate here.)  So for all the talk of the new technology, I'd suggest sticking with the regular 2D version and a more traditional 24 fps.

Onto the film itself.  

I was a big fan of the LotR films.  They weren't perfect by any means, but they were engrossing and engaging in a way few other fantasy films manage.  The Hobbit tries desperately to remind us of what it is leading towards, and a few knowing nods would have been fine, but here it seems akin to having a fat know-it-all sat next to you constantly jabbing you in the ribs whilst wispering "that leads to something in the LotR films."  It's almost as if Jackson doesn't have the courage to let the film stand on its own two feet and instead must remind us of how great those films were.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how he has stretched six chapters and 110ish pages into a near three hour film, that's not his only self-indulgence either.  The opening scenes are terrific; we see the history of Erebor, great Dwarven city, and see glimpses of Smaug as he lays waste to it.  Then we cut back to Bilbo as the dwarves start to arrive, and here the pacing doesn't so much falter as stop entirely.  Half an hour at least is spent thereafter as other dwarves arrive to eat, drink, sing and generally annoy Bilbo whilst Gandalf tries to secure his reluctant services on their adventure.  Thing is, there's no character development for any of the dwarves here, so the whole thing just seems to drag on and on.  When they do finally get underway, we're an hour into the running time and at least half a dozen people had already walked out.  With a ticket costing in the region of £11, it's not a cheap decision to make either.  

Thankfully, things do pick up.  The scene with the trolls was well done, even if morning seemed to come far too quickly, Bilbo only having to stall for sixty seconds or so before daylight, and the warg chase being quite exciting.  We spend a brief period with Radaghast the Brown, another wizard, who notes the green forest is under attack by evil spirits and uncovers a greater evil at work.  Oh, this whole scene is build up to something in the later films, as well as being another nod to events in LotR, but again it could have been cut with very little lost in terms of story telling.  Following on, there's a decent chase sequence where our party is chased by wargs, ending only when they reach Rivendell.  Cue another pace killing as Gandalf chats to Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond about both his purpose and his greater fears.  Yes, it was quite good to see the White Council in effect, but again it could have been trimmed a little.  Ditto the rock giant fight - I don't remember this being in the book - and the extended scenes in the goblin base inside the misty mountains.  All visually impressive, but they drag on a touch too long.  

Gollum looks as impressive as ever, a reminder of just how far the magic of the One ring can take one person in his twisted state, and both Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis play the scene tremendously.  It really was one of the stand out scenes, matched only perhaps by the warg attack that follows.  Exhausted after escaping from the goblins, the party find themselves running from a horde of wargs and their orc masters, eventually taking refuge in the tree tops before a lot of shit goes down and help finally arrives from a familiar source.  

And that was pretty much it.

So, to sum up;  don't bother with the 3D and higher frame rate, bits of the film are over long, the pacing is poor and too much feels like self-indulgence and filler.  Still, when it's good it's very, very good, the performances are uniformly excellent, and it's a genuine pleasure to spenf time in Middle Earth again.  It's worth watching, though it's no challenge at all to Fellowship in terms of an opening act.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:09 am

Oh good, the Gollum part is the main thing I'm looking forward to in this film.

As for the rock giant, they were mentioned in the book (I reread it fairly recently) about how a rock fell off the mountain and then some rock giants starting kicking it around. Or something to that effect.

Also I totally called where the first movie ends if the part I think you're talking about is the part you're talking about.

Anyway I'm seeing it on Sunday so I'll post my thoughts then.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:26 pm

I saw it in IMAX, and the 3D was fantastic. Do they have IMAX theaters in England?

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sat Dec 29, 2012 11:18 pm

There are IMAX in England, yes, but I didn't see it in IMAX, not that it seems to make that much difference; I didn't think the 3d was either particularly noticable nor especially effective. The necromancer stuff, I know why they did it, but as a fan of the canon, it's out of place.

Warning; my inner nerd is being channeled!
Spoiler:
 

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:59 pm

I could not disagree more about the switch to 48fps. It was a bit odd at first, mostly because I've never seen a film above 24fps before, but once I adapted to it (took maybe 20 minutes) I really enjoyed the increased clarity and overall smoothness of everything. Action scenes were particularly great, the ones in the caves with goblins were amazing.

I think the reason it hasn't been received as well as it could have been is that most people have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of films in 24fps and, through no fault of their own, have trouble adapting to the 'new' technology. I think people who play video games are in a unique position to judge this sort of thing because they have more experience with >24fps than just about anyone else on the planet - I can personally notice a difference up to about 120fps with a good deal of confidence. If the general public were more experienced in these sort of things I highly doubt this movie would be getting trashed as much as it is, I just hope Jackson doesn't give up on it because if people actually got used to it I'm sure they'd like it more - you don't see many people choosing to play games at 30fps instead of 60 or 60 instead of 120 after all.

It's also worth remembering that the 24fps standard wasn't chosen because there was anything good about it, it was just the bare minimum for people to view something as video instead of a series of stills and film was too expensive in the 1920s to go any higher than that.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:20 pm

Okay I've just gotten back from seeing this, I'll try to order my thoughts somewhat logically and not just splurge but do forgive me if I don't quite succeed - I'm a bit tired.

I should start by saying I really really enjoyed it. I actually think the pacing was just about right, I might have skipped the scene with the crockery being hurled around but really it was fine. It was quite a faithful adaptation and when there were changes they were mostly minor. There is one scene which was changed dramatically, caused mostly by the introduction of a certain character into the story earlier:
Spoiler:
 

I don't recall them being constantly chased by Warg riders in the book, but I guess that's just to make it seem more urgent. They slightly changed the troll scene but not enough to take away from it, they sort of just give the role to a different character.

Moving away from the changes and on to the film in its own right, I thought Martin Freeman gave a great performance as Bilbo, Gandalf was a huge boss as is to be expected, the bloke who played Thorin did a good job and there was a scene with Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee in it at the same time; which is could never be a bad thing.
I like that they made Fili and Kili separate characters instead of basically just being two sides of the same coin as in the book (Kili is the best dwarf in the movie) and I liked that they made Gloin look like Gimli. We never got a proper look at Smaug, though I think it works fine that way. I also was a little taken aback at first as I always read it as Smawg rather than Smowg, but oh well.

As I said the Gollum scene was one thing I was looking forward to in the whole film and it didn't disappoint, it was probably my favourite scene. It's either that or Gandalf and the Dwarves' escape from the mountains. The rock giant fight scene, I can't help but think, was designed to be seen in 3D. It seemed largely to go on for a little too long and pretty much be there to be pretty to look at with all of the movement going on.

I don't know what you're talking about with this, Simian,
Quote :
The Hobbit tries desperately to remind us of what it is leading towards, and a few knowing nods would have been fine, but here it seems akin to having a fat know-it-all sat next to you constantly jabbing you in the ribs whilst wispering "that leads to something in the LotR films."
I didn't think there was any excessive nodding towards the other films. I quite enjoyed when they made a parallel with
Spoiler:
 
and aside from that and the Gollum scene I don't think there were any others; unless I just missed them of course. I also enjoyed the book references, the parts that people who've read the books can smile knowingly at. For instance when they quoted "Out of the frying pan and into the fire" which is the chapter in The Hobbit where that scene takes place and at the start how Bilbo complains about Lobelia Sackville-Baggins stealing his silverware.

Final words: Good film. I liked it. Probably more than my first viewing of Fellowship of the Ring. I don't really want to compare it with the other films though until I've seen it a million times like the other three. Will watch it again.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:20 pm

the scene with the three trolls was a nod to the other films, as Bilbo tells the story to some kids in The Fellowship.. and I think they stop by the trolls turned to stone somewhere in the fellowship too..

I think there were a couple more..
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:26 pm

The troll scene was in the book and was the first major event in Bilbo's adventures.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:27 pm

Eevil-Psycho wrote:
the scene with the three trolls was a nod to the other films, as Bilbo tells the story to some kids in The Fellowship.. and I think they stop by the trolls turned to stone somewhere in the fellowship too..

I think there were a couple more..
You've not read The Hobbit, have you Psycho? You can't count things that happened in the book which are referenced in LotR, because The Hobbit came out before they did, regardless of this film order.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:30 pm

haha, yeah, i was just gonna edit my post and say that those things in LOTR is actually a nod to the Hobbit... I realised my mistake a bit too late.


but, I do think there were a couple of other nods, can't quite remember though, been 2 weeks since I seen it.



EDIT: and no, I haven't read the book, or any of the LOTR books for that matter. I'm not really a book person, A Song Of Ice And Fire is like the only thing I read because I really like it. I like LOTR, but not enough to buy the books.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:11 pm

Skip wrote:
I don't recall them being constantly chased by Warg riders in the book, but I guess that's just to make it seem more urgent.

They were just wolves in the book, definitely no riders, though Azog (the big orc) wasn't in the book either. It was a way of trying to squeeze a villain character into the film.

Quote :
They slightly changed the troll scene but not enough to take away from it, they sort of just give the role to a different character.

I took it as simply trying to put more emphasis on Bilbo and less on Gandalf.

Quote :
I also was a little taken aback at first as I always read it as Smawg rather than Smowg, but oh well.

I did the same with Sauron in LotR. I always read Saw-ron rather than Sour-on.

Quote :
The rock giant fight scene, I can't help but think, was designed to be seen in 3D. It seemed largely to go on for a little too long and pretty much be there to be pretty to look at with all of the movement going on.

That was a good example of a scene feeling like padding, almost like a filler section in an anime.

Quote :
I don't know what you're talking about with this, Simian,
Quote :
The Hobbit tries desperately to remind us of what it is leading towards, and a few knowing nods would have been fine, but here it seems akin to having a fat know-it-all sat next to you constantly jabbing you in the ribs whilst wispering "that leads to something in the LotR films."
I didn't think there was any excessive nodding towards the other films. I quite enjoyed when they made a parallel with
Spoiler:
 
and aside from that and the Gollum scene I don't think there were any others; unless I just missed them of course. I also enjoyed the book references, the parts that people who've read the books can smile knowingly at. For instance when they quoted "Out of the frying pan and into the fire" which is the chapter in The Hobbit where that scene takes place and at the start how Bilbo complains about Lobelia Sackville-Baggins stealing his silverware.

Having Ian Holm as Bilbo and Elijah Wood as Frodo appearing at the start, making it quite plain that today was Bilbo's birthday and Gandalf was visiting. In other words, the day The Fellowship of the Ring begins, the fact that they'd moved around the appearance of the necromancer making it quite apparent (if you had the nous to read between the lines) it was Sauron in the early stages of re-establishing himself... there were more, I don't recall them all off the top of my head.

If I go see it again, I'll make a note of them.

Quote :
Final words: Good film. I liked it. Probably more than my first viewing of Fellowship of the Ring. I don't really want to compare it with the other films though until I've seen it a million times like the other three. Will watch it again.

I re-watched the extended cut of Fellowship yesterday (and did likewise with Two Towers today), and while Fellowship is considerably less "action-packed" than Towers, it was still more consistently entertaining and better paced. At least, that's how I felt. The Hobbit was sadly a bit... dull in places. Blasphemy, I know.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:16 am

Oh I definitely agree that the fellowship is an amazing film, especially the extended version. It just took me more than my first viewing to fully appreciate it, probably because the entertainment doesn't come largely from action scenes like the latter two

Yeah I suppose on reflection that was a bit of an odd way to start it. With Bilbo reminiscing rather than the story being in the present, which I thought at the time too. I quickly forgot it though as it started properly and kept me entertained.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:07 am

SimianWonder wrote:
Having Ian Holm as Bilbo and Elijah Wood as Frodo appearing at the start, making it quite plain that today was Bilbo's birthday and Gandalf was visiting. In other words, the day The Fellowship of the Ring begins, the fact that they'd moved around the appearance of the necromancer making it quite apparent (if you had the nous to read between the lines) it was Sauron in the early stages of re-establishing himself... there were more, I don't recall them all off the top of my head.

If I go see it again, I'll make a note of them.

Them awkwardly shoving in the Nazgul and Gondor Reborn musical cues is another. And it wasn't even for thematic reasons as those motifs had nothing to do with the parts they were used in. They were just tracked for the sake of reminding people of LOTR. A bit of a shame too, since Shore already had composed new and more fitting music for those scenes before Jackson and whoever else changed it.

Anyway, looking forward to the next part now.
Spoiler:
 

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:32 pm

SOK wrote:
SimianWonder wrote:
Having Ian Holm as Bilbo and Elijah Wood as Frodo appearing at the start, making it quite plain that today was Bilbo's birthday and Gandalf was visiting. In other words, the day The Fellowship of the Ring begins, the fact that they'd moved around the appearance of the necromancer making it quite apparent (if you had the nous to read between the lines) it was Sauron in the early stages of re-establishing himself... there were more, I don't recall them all off the top of my head.

If I go see it again, I'll make a note of them.

Them awkwardly shoving in the Nazgul and Gondor Reborn musical cues is another. And it wasn't even for thematic reasons as those motifs had nothing to do with the parts they were used in. They were just tracked for the sake of reminding people of LOTR. A bit of a shame too, since Shore already had composed new and more fitting music for those scenes before Jackson and whoever else changed it.

Anyway, looking forward to the next part now.
Spoiler:
 
You're definitely the only person who noticed that, haha.

Regarding the next films though:
Don't read this if you haven't read the book:
 

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:59 pm

Skip wrote:
You're definitely the only person who noticed that, haha.

Nah, even people on gfaqs' movie board mentioned that little nitpick. And it goes without saying, score and Shore fanatics complained about that on some other sites too. Assuming it wasn't Shore himself that made the decision to make the change, I hope Jackson doesn't jerk Shore around with the two sequels' music again. Having the guy compose some really decent new material and then butchering it just to shove in out of place old cues is pretty unfair.

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Don't read this if you haven't read the book:
 

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:03 pm

Oh I don't meant tacked onto the end as an after thought, it's just because that's how it happens in the timeline.

Spoiler:
 

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:34 am


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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:06 am

SOK wrote:

Yes, just yes.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:13 am

My God I don't think any other movie has ever wasted as much of it's own time as well as mine. It took them 45 minutes just to fucking get out Bag End! It would probably take less time to just read the book.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:25 am

The whole film covers only six chapters of the book. Hence the complaints about parts of it feeling like needless padding or filler.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:45 am

To be fair they couldn't have had it go:

"Hey Bilbo, you should come with us on adventure."
"Yeah, sure!"

Since that's really not what happened.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:04 pm

Yeah, but it still could have been a lot quicker. The stuff with old Bilbo at the start was pointless, and the backstory of the dragon could have been done over the dwarves' song (the second song that is, not the one about doing the dishes). That's nearly 15 minutes shaved off already.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:06 pm

Id say cut the song. after dinner and just leave the prolonge at the start. i felt that whole dinner scene dragged on wayyy too long.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:30 pm

Yeah, old Bilbo and dishes song could have been cut.

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PostSubject: Re: The Hobbit: An Unwarranted Trilogy   Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:23 pm

Skip wrote:
Yeah, old Bilbo and dishes song could have been cut.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, doing the dishes is an essential daily task. I think what we should really be thinking about is how does Jack Bauer go 24 hours in 8 seperate days and never does them or go for a piss.

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