Jump to content
Jay

An Unexpected Journey SPOILERS ALLOWED Discussion Thread

Recommended Posts

Thought I was gonna come home all wired and ready to write a bunch about the film, but its 3:45am and I'm far too tired.

Good news: I liked the film a lot. Its not an instant classic like FOTR was but its a very enjoyable film I'll happily see in the theater again. I look forward to the Extended Edition as there were obviously some chunks taken out of the film. Though you could go the other way and have a seriously tight and awesome two-film summation of this story.

Regardless, the three film version they are doing should work just fine. Film 1 was was structured just fine, and they clearly shot enough material all along that they could end it here...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's 3:52 AM here. I still have work to do and I think I'll be pulling an all-nighter. But if I have time, I'll prob have a rewritten review up by the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and one more thing: the music tracking isn't nearly as bad as some would have you believe.... the music used always fits the emotion of the scene, regardless of its thematic integrity or similar to LOTR arrangements.

Yes its a shame so much of Howard's music was removed or moved around, but it doesn't ruin the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although that is largely a matter of opinion, I agree that the tinkering of the music doesn't ruin the film. But it does for a fan of the music come as sort of a surprising jolt when all too familiar arrangements of old themes pop up in the film where Shore wrote something new and that is what you have just heard on the album. And most definitely these quotes of the previous moments in LotR serve the emotional underpinnings of the scenes even though they might be odd deviations from the well laid structure of Shore's scores. To my ears they were a bit disconcerting and puzzling but I am sure masses will take them in without a blink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and one more thing: the music tracking isn't nearly as bad as some would have you believe.... the music used always fits the emotion of the scene, regardless of its thematic integrity or similar to LOTR arrangements.

Yes its a shame so much of Howard's music was removed or moved around, but it doesn't ruin the film.

I said myself it's perfectly serviceable, but no less disappointing.

It's quite fascinating to see the sheer amount of meta reviewing go on here from those saw the 48fps version. "This bit looked fine, but the next bit jarred. The 48fps was cool here, but in the next scene it felt weird etc etc. Other than that I enjoyed the movie"

Sod that for a game of dominoes. What a massive unnecessary distraction it pointedly is. I don't want to watch a movie and feel like I have to work around something just to make it to the end with some semblance of feeling, that was different. I'll definitely see this movie again, with my brother. I'll stick with 2D. I want to immerse myself in the fiction not negotiate its hurdles.

The special effects were wonderful and didn't look any more 'wrong' than they did in LotR. Radagast drawing off the orcs was one of the more effective scenes (among many action sequences) which had a proper sense of urgency and fun. It felt like it something from a book written for children.

Honestly, the part on the swinging bridge in Goblin kingdom and the hanging tree at the end felt like classic Disney. The icing on the cake in those moments was always the same thing, always the little detail which made this more than Disney, made it Tolkien: Gandalf's pointed hat.

Seeing him fleeing across those Goblin walkways with his band of dwarves behind him felt instantly iconic to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The special effects were wonderful and didn't look any more 'wrong' than they did in LotR. Radagast drawing off the orcs was one of the more effective scenes (among many action sequences) which had a proper sense of urgency and fun. It felt like it something from a book written for children.

That particular sequence felt rather aimless in anything but pushing the heroes to Rivendell in a very forceful way. A lot of shouting and running in circles. Radagast was the most awful part of it really. Childish it was. Entertaining, not so much.

And no my soul is not dead and I still see the child's wonder of the world. But I was a bit bored with Radagast at that stage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radagast being chased by Orkses on the plain did not work for me because of the HFR. It felt too sped up.

I don't know anything about that.

Radagast and his sled felt right for this film, it fit in. The overall tone being one of high spirited adventure for all ages.

I suspect those who found LotR too stodgy might be surprised by their enjoyment of The Hobbit.

The special effects were wonderful and didn't look any more 'wrong' than they did in LotR. Radagast drawing off the orcs was one of the more effective scenes (among many action sequences) which had a proper sense of urgency and fun. It felt like it something from a book written for children.

That particular sequence felt rather aimless in anything but pushing the heroes to Rivendell in a very forceful way. A lot of shouting and running in circles. Radagast was the most awful part of it really. Childish it was. Entertaining, not so much.

And no my soul is not dead and I still see the child's wonder of the world. But I was a bit bored with Radagast at that stage.

But Incanus, you had made your feelings toward Radagast very clear here long, long before the movie came out. Naturally I can't value your thoughts on him and his antics after the fact, sorry. I'm sure you understand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Radagast being chased by Orkses on the plain did not work for me because of the HFR. It felt too sped up.

I don't know anything about that.

Radagast and his sled felt right for this film, it fit in. The overall tone being one of high spirited adventure for all ages.

I suspect those who found LotR too stodgy might be surprised by their enjoyment of The Hobbit.

The special effects were wonderful and didn't look any more 'wrong' than they did in LotR. Radagast drawing off the orcs was one of the more effective scenes (among many action sequences) which had a proper sense of urgency and fun. It felt like it something from a book written for children.

That particular sequence felt rather aimless in anything but pushing the heroes to Rivendell in a very forceful way. A lot of shouting and running in circles. Radagast was the most awful part of it really. Childish it was. Entertaining, not so much.

And no my soul is not dead and I still see the child's wonder of the world. But I was a bit bored with Radagast at that stage.

But Incanus, you had made your feelings toward Radagast very clear here long, long before the movie came out. Naturally I can't value your thoughts on him and his antics after the fact, sorry. I'm sure you understand.

Yes of course. I went to see the film with open mind, even to Radagast, but the movie mostly confirmed my fears about his character rather than allaying them. E.g. Radagast's appearance on the East Road as a sort of messenger is a nice homage to his scene in LotR but the manner of his arrival again is something more akin to Disney than Tolkien.

This film is a strange attempt at directing a serious epic, a humorous road movie and a children's fantasy all in one package. Sometimes these elements are at odds with each other and sometimes work like gangbusters but I have to say I was entertained even if I can't take this film purely on its own terms as I know too damn much about Tolkien's creation and am bothered by needless deviations from the novel or its spirit. Especially when a solution closer to Tolkien could have been found.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Out of curiosity what score would you give it? Did you enjoy it?

Whilst my gf liked the movie, she did admit to being a bit disappointed by what she called "weird but understandable changes to the book", which she read again a few weeks ago. Just asked her now before replying.

As far as my own ties with the book go (vague memories of the details but a clear recollection of the key points), I'm still absolutely BAFFLED as to why Jackson feels we need three very long movies. It's madness, judging by what we've seen so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wish me luck guys....

Karol

Good luck Karol! I hope you enjoy the film! :)

Out of curiosity what score would you give it? Did you enjoy it?

Whilst my gf liked the movie, she did admit to being a bit disappointed by what she called "weird but understandable changes to the book", which she read again a few weeks ago. Just asked her now before replying.

I would probably give it a tentative 4/5. It captured the light hearted fun of the novel and Jackson pulled me back to Middle Earth with ease. Aside from the deviations from the book and some pacing issues and at time a bit too overt humor I thought several of the set pieces well conceived and especially the Dwarven history well depicted and the film was a visual feast with a great soundtrack to match.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good for you! 4 out of 5 is a great reaction.

Edit: Hang on - I just noticed you 'Liked' Marian's post - in which he concludes the movie was a "strange mess".

4 out of 5, really??

Then again I could be interpreting you wrong and that you're just saying you enjoyed reading his post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good for you! 4 out of 5 is a great reaction.

Edit: Hang on - I just noticed you 'Liked' Marian's post - in which he concludes the movie was a "strange mess".

4 out of 5, really??

Well even though it is a strange mess at times, it is still entertaining. ;)

I forgot to praise a superb detail in the film: Gollum's eyes in the dark! Man those were spot on before we saw those ol' blue eyes again. The creepy pale light reflected from their surface in the darkness. Just as I imagined his eyes from the books! Creepy as hell! I am a bit miffed he was too much humanized for the movies as that particular look just nailed his "blind fish under the mountains" existence!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I loved the design of the goblin king, and pretty much his personality as well. It gave him more of a children's book quality than the standard goblins in the films, and yet kept him menacing. Fantastic design on some of the other goblins there, too. Unfortunately, that part also had some of the worst comic relief offenders...like Gandalf knocking the head off a goblin, and the king's own behaviour right before his death.

Heh, I liked both of those parts and laughed out loud at Humphries' "That'll do it" line. My kind of humour, very Pythonesque. Very quirky and unexpected. Are you sure you weren't expecting LotR 2?

The appearance of the stone giants would have been cool, had they not been extended into a way too long copy of the Moria staircase scenario.

Probably the worst action sequence in the whole movie for me. It was just too much. They should have skipped that part entirely and saved it for the EE, but after the studio spent all that money on it Jackson possibly felt obliged.

Good for you! 4 out of 5 is a great reaction.

Edit: Hang on - I just noticed you 'Liked' Marian's post - in which he concludes the movie was a "strange mess".

4 out of 5, really??

Well even though it is a strange mess at times, it is still entertaining. ;)

I forgot to praise a superb detail in the film: Gollum's eyes in the dark! Man those were spot on before we saw those ol' blue eyes again. The creepy pale light reflected from their surface in the darkness. Just as I imagined his eyes from the books! Creepy as hell! I am a bit miffed he was too much humanized for the movies as that particular look just nailed his "blind fish under the mountains" existence!

Shore reprised his motif for his initial entrance which was fine but I was again reminded that I always thought it a shame that Shore didn't come up with a proper signature theme for the character, settling instead on a rather uneventful and frankly boring motif for him. One of the areas in these scores in which a "what might have been" John Williams was missed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shore reprised his motif for his initial entrance which was fine but I was again reminded that I always thought it a shame that Shore didn't come up with a proper signature theme for the key character, settling instead on a rather uneventful and frankly boring motif for him.

This is questionable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as my own ties with the book go (vague memories of the details but a clear recollection of the key points), I'm still absolutely BAFFLED as to why Jackson feels we need three very long movies. It's madness, judging by what we've seen so far.

Yes, my main gripes with the film thus far have to do with the fact that a 2 movie deal turned into a trilogy. This film feels really stretched at times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really does. The really weird contraction of that is the fact that for me it felt really fast-paced. I suppose it's testament to how entertaining Jackson managed to keep it all and so I can only assume he knows there's still plenty of stuff to come which should manage the same trick, have the same desired effect.

Which would suggest he's gone really wild with deviations...

Mentioning no names ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excess is Peter's middle name.

I think Jackson believes that because he made a joke about it by way of Gandalf's "story embellishment" line his indulgences are given a pass.

Which they're not. He needs to sort himself out on that front, seriously.

Luckily for me he in this instance made mostly good, filmic changes; but I appreciate they're not going to be to the tastes of those who swear by the almighty word of Tolkien.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Luckily for me he in this instance made mostly good, filmic changes; but I appreciate they're not going to be to the tastes of those who swear by the almighty word of Tolkien.

True Tolkien purists hate the films, because they take so many liberties.

Tolkien himself would hate Jackson with a passion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think so.

Tolkien wasn't too fussed with adaptation alterations.

Actually he was. You should read his Letters to see how he takes down a writer trying to create an animation script of LotR. Not only he is very conscious about all the themes, he wants his words portrayed right on the screen. He certainly understood adaptation but could be tremendously precise and demanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you know this?

Tolkien was anal to the point of obsessive about his writings, changing so much that and finetuning that he actually had very little published in his life, things were always in development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just remember reading a LotR special in Empire magazine during the making of the trilogy and there was an interview with Saul Bass or one of his associates in which they mentioned the many failed attempts to get a movie off the ground over the years. There was clear mention of the many written back-and-forths between the execs and Tolkien when negotiating budget and adaptation requirements and after eventually exhausting many possibilities (and the professor) and hitting a major stumbling block with Helms Deep (they couldn't afford to stage TWO major battle set pieces) he replied to them, to paraphrase:"just write Helms Deep out then!" The clear implication being that even Tolkien had reached a point where even he was willing to do whatever it took to get a movie green lit, whether out of growing tired of the whole affair or because he badly wanted to see one made I don't know.

But it was certainly a fascinating and revealing insight into the process at the time.

I'm not certain, but I think it was published in Empire's very first LotR cover issue, the one with Frodo and Sting. But I may be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK then, here we go...

The film is not a disaster. In fact I kind of enjoyed it for what it is. The question is what it is exactly? Let me adress some key things here.

48 frames.

I didn't have any problems with adjusting to the new format. It certainly made 3D look better. But... I'm not sure how this is supposed to be anything all that special. If you want a clearly impressive experience go to watch a film shot in a 70 mm IMAX format. Now that is an event. 48 frames don't really make it any worse or better, to be honest. My only concern was that it now looks inconsistent with the other three films and that this extra sharpness doesn't necessarily compliment a more classic fantasy tale. They used to look better in this traditional blurry format. But no matter. Suffice to say, I can't see a real problem here.

The music.

It like Howard Shore had to work really hard to create a new score. I can now spot several themes. The ones that stand out the most in the film are Gandalf's new theme, Smaug's theme and Bilbo's theme. That first one is clearly Jackson's favourite because there are several variations untouched in the film. Of course, then you have the infamous Plan 9 Dwarf music. I have to admit at this point I'm kind of tired of it already. Yes, it is what most audience members will remember from the film, but there is something a bit simple about it. Like it belongs to a Harry Gregson-Williams' Narnia score or something. It's great as a song (the source music one, not that thing at the end). So I'm glad it's not as over-present on the soundtrack album. The score is less prominent in the film, which is disappointing, because for me Shore more or less makes this series. I can sort of understand the diminishment of Radagast's music. It might be a bit too much on top of his antics. And yet I have a real fondness for this material. Same goes for the (otherwise brilliant) music for the Gollum sequence. Maybe it's best when the whole thing plays out more subtly? And I really liked when a soft version of Isengard's theme appeared when we see Saruman. As for the Lothlorien theme appearing I think it more has to do with that we don't know at this point who these Elves are. That theme was always mysterious and it fits here. If we heard that it was Elrong and Rivendell's Elves then there wouldn't be any tension in the scene when they actually meet. (My interpretation still stands, Stefan!)

When I was watching the film something struck me: maybe the re-recorded material (it's clearly new recording) was done without Shore? Maybe now, that he's approaching 70 he's less willing to go through the same gruelling process again and he gave some assistant material to adapt? It just seems strange that someone would do something like that. I really liked the alternate end rescue music (minus the Gondor statement). I thought it might in fact suit the film better, even if I like the original as well. What's weird the score is mixed quite low in the film like no one has faith in it. There seems to be also less of it. Does anybody find it strange that the very end of the film had no music at all? I'm referring to the Smaug's motif statement.

The film itself.

I enjoyed revisiting Middle Earth, that's for sure. There is something so endearing about seeing that Bad End set again, even in more detail this time (and we spend a lot of time in there as well). I like visiting all these places (or revisiting sometimes). They have a clearly fondness for that. Having said, that it's not necessarily good storytelling or filmmaking. You see, I was actually quite drawn to the Dwarf story. And even Bilbo's journey seems interesting. But everything else... all the references to different stuff... as interesting as they are in their own right... they just don't belong here. So what we get to see signs of Sauron? He doesn't get to do anything really until The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Any normal filmmaker would trim all that. It makes the film more bloated and overlong. And less genuine in its intentions, I might add.

It's nice to see a more human and fallable Gandalf. Ian McKellen own the role once again. And so does Martin Freeeman as Bilbo. I like Thorin as well, even if there is something like cliche about his portrayal. Certainly the best part is the Gollum's cave. We've seen it all before, but what the hell it's still entertaining. The funny thing is when Bilbo takes the Ring the shot from the trilogy doesn't match. Ah well. I don't mind the film being lighter at all. And most of the jokes or even Radagast... well, those things don't bother me at all. It had to be less ominous and more adventurous and that's fine. But there is something random about how it's told. It might makes sense to Tolkien fans, but for a regular moviegoer things just happen for some reason and as such they count as poor writing. It might have seemed like a great idea, but certainly don't come off as such when you see the finished thing. The stone giants? WTF?

It feels like half of it is the actual film with a pretty good story and the rest serves as a kind of National Geographic History of the Middle Earth segments. I'm not sure it works. Lots of the younger people started to play with their phones at the point of White Council meeting. And while you can blame it on their ignorance and (/or) ADHD if you want, they do have a point. It was one film right from the start.

And while I mostly enjoyed it, the question remains: what was the point of making it this way? I knew what I was getting into when starting the Ring trilogy, but here I'm thinking: another two fucking movies?

Karol

P.S. Quint, you want a rating. I give it a 3.5 stars (maybe 3.75) for another visit to Middle Earth. Three stars for a film, scratch off half of it for the treatment of music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of the younger people started to play with their phones at the point of White Council meeting. And while you can blame it on their ignorance and (/or) ADHD if you want, they do have a point. It was one film right from the start.

They should be taken outside and beaten

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh Quint, if you want to enjoy the music, buy the album. Unlike the film, 2 hours flow beautifully. And with much more grace. And there is a lot of material, you just need to give it some time. It's Howard Shore, remember? And he actually took this job seriously, bless him.

I'll see it again just after Christmas, with my sister, as it is our tradition to watch every film in the series together.

Karol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and one more thing: the music tracking isn't nearly as bad as some would have you believe.... the music used always fits the emotion of the scene, regardless of its thematic integrity or similar to LOTR arrangements.

Yes its a shame so much of Howard's music was removed or moved around, but it doesn't ruin the film.

The tracking in TPM never ruined the film for the average moviegoer. For filmscore fans is worse. that's why it is sad :(

And TMP never got tracked music form the OT.

GOing to watch it in one hour! ^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So PJ has no become Lucas yet!

Though I do consider him capable of switching the Ian Holm footage of Bilbo finding the Ring in FOTR with footage from this film for some future release!

That was one shot I was almost certain he would replicate with Freeman in this film but no.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The scene of how Bilbo finds it appears quite different in The Hobbit. For Bilbo to have said "What's this? A Ring" with a Orc eating monster close-by would not have worked.

The scene in FOTR never followed the book anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...