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An Unexpected Journey SPOILERS ALLOWED Discussion Thread

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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.

It feels overwhelmingly fast-paced because there's just too much excessive stuff added to keep the dwarves on the run. Simply removing some stuff would probably give the rest more breathing room.

Tolkien wasn't too fussed with adaptation alterations.

From what I can gather, he was completely open to trimming and perhaps even changing the *plot*. But not the overall structure of his work, or the motivations of his characters. There's a fundamental logic to all his writings, and its integrity is important.

But it has to be said for the Hobbit movie, they managed to introduce Gollum and make him lose his Ring in the way it is described in the book. Rather tight story telling there, although it did not fall off his finger as in the novel.

Having that bit shown as told (or rather, assumed) in the book, with Gollum suddenly appearing out of thin air while he drops the Ring, would probably have looked too gimmicky on screen anyway. Plus, even with the appropriately toned down look of Ring World in this film, it might seem odd how Gollum wouldn't notice losing it.

The scene of Gollum beating to death an Orc is actually pretty intense. Well done!

Both that tiny orc and Gollum's brutality were appropriately creepy. That bit was PJ's bloody side at its best.

Much like in the book, Gandalf disappears for a while. And only reappears to rescue the company from the Cave Trolls. Like the book (at that point) we never learn were he goes too. But in the film is much weirder. I truly expected this part of the film to be dedicated to him checking out Dol Guldur or something.

He goes to Dol Guldur while the company is off to Mirkwood, because it's more or less around the corner from there. Having him go to Dol Guldur from west of the Misty Mountains wouldn't make sense.

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because I just read a review in facebook, and I think it's the only review I've ever seen with such bad comments for a big movie!

You clearly never read a review of the SW prequels!

The general consensus is that it's an enjoyable, if flawed, movie.

But anyway, may I ask why you're interested in knowing that if you don't intend to watch the film?

I wanted to find out if that person was just plain bitter, or if his comments were justified..

It just made a huge impression to me that he had to say only bad things about EVERYTHING in the movie..

(and then I went to imdb and saw 8.8!! :eek: )

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@Marian

Certainly. I was just saying that I'd be quite surprised if Tolkien 'hated' Jackson's LotR movies, had he seen them. Disapproved of parts, yes, but despise them? I can't see it, considering how wildly successful and respectful they are.

And I agree with your point about pacing, as I stated to someone else previously.

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They are already doing that with Bilbo. For me, that was always the danger of doing this in three films. Not that the Thorin story seems unimportant, but that Bilbo as a character is lost somewhere in there. And to some degree, those fears were confirmed. It just seems like the movie is making the point again and again that Bilbo is a hobbit, and not made for adventures, but finds his courage anyway. The point is made when he meets Gandalf, and then in Bag End, and again when he gets Sting, and again after the thunder battle, and again at the end.

I wished Jackson and his writers had left some of that for the other two films.

Basically, they already established now that Bilbo is fit for this kind of adventure, I wonder where they want to go with this over the course of another 6 freaking hours.

I suspect that's part of hurriedly splitting two movies into three. The whole warg/orc battle in the forest seems tagged on. As if they needed some heroics, and some major character moment for Bilbo, to satisfyingly finish film 1.

In a way, that might make the whole spider business seem too insignificant. In the book, it's only there that Bilbo proves his worth to the dwarves.

We don't know where it ends. I dislike most possibilities I've read, Before killing Smaug, after killing Smaug. A possibility is that they'll make up an ending in Lake Town with some action and end with the company leaving for Erebor and the banishment of Sauron.

That's the ending I've been hoping for since the three movie thing was announced. It still makes me wonder how they can do a satisfying part two, but it should keep a nice arc for part three.

It's not so much the length of the film that bothers me. It's that what's in there (the additions mostly) doesn't really advance or even really inform, the main plot. They try hard to justify them (like Smaug being important concern for the safety of Middle Earth, Bilbo having a destiny etc), but that doesn't come off as genuine in my lay eyes. It seems that ever since King Kong I doubt Jackson's ability to tell good story. He just loves his footage a bit too much.

I didn't see much global concern about Smaug in the film, but it would be appropriate - in the appendixes, the reason why Gandalf is behind the whole endeavour in the first place is to get rid of the dragon before the Necromancer could make use of him.

I agree with too much stuff in this film dragging it down, though I disagree with the King Kong comparison. I think KK is pretty much spot on. I love the long introduction there, it makes the whole thing work. Where KK does drag is during the middle part (all the action on Skull Island), but the original had the same issue. I loved the lengthy introduction of The Hobbit, even though its impact is probably much smaller than in KK's case.

And by trying to keep his voice steady you mean because of his age?

Yes. Lee's new year speech video thingy about a year ago shows that his natural way of speaking clearly shows his age (as Holm's does in the prologue). He managed to hide that in his film appearance, but I don't think it was easy for him to do.

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Actually thought about Marian when Gandalf mentioned the game of golf....

:thumbup: I liked how they gave the Bullroarer bit to Gandalf as an encouragement for Bilbo, though I was hoping he'd skip the golf bit. Bilbo's comment of him making that part up was a nice touch.

One thing though, Freeman did at no point try and imitate Holm, or if he did he made it not so obvious.

I didn't think of Holm much at all after Freeman came in.

Not even in "I'm going on an adVEN-tcha"?

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I think KK is pretty much spot on. I love the long introduction there, it makes the whole thing work. Where KK does drag is during the middle part (all the action on Skull Island), but the original had the same issue. I loved the lengthy introduction of The Hobbit, even though its impact is probably much smaller than in KK's case.

I don't think KK is ever spot on, to be honest. Most of his posts are just him sharing random thoughts that don't achieve anything. KK always drags, not only in his middle part. He is one of the least interesting members of the forum, if you ask me.

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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.

I just don't see the point of it all. With Radagast's cartoony escape, there was no tension, so why not just have the company find the hidden passage in peace and be done with it? While I find the idea of having Azog survive instead of Bolg seeking revenge for his father's death unnecessary, I wouldn't mind it too much, but it seems to me that much of the movie's unevenness, and perhaps half of what really bothered me about it, was tied to Azog's constant attacks.

I think KK is pretty much spot on. I love the long introduction there, it makes the whole thing work. Where KK does drag is during the middle part (all the action on Skull Island), but the original had the same issue. I loved the lengthy introduction of The Hobbit, even though its impact is probably much smaller than in KK's case.

I don't think KK is ever spot on, to be honest. Most of his posts are just him sharing random thoughts that don't achieve anything. KK always drags, not only in his middle part. He is one of the least interesting members of the forum, if you ask me.

KK of course being an acronym for King Kong in my post.

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.

I'd be hard pressed to give it a clear rating, but if I had to, it'd probably be 3.5/5. Though throughout the film, it varies between at least 2 and 4.5.

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I think KK is pretty much spot on. I love the long introduction there, it makes the whole thing work. Where KK does drag is during the middle part (all the action on Skull Island), but the original had the same issue. I loved the lengthy introduction of The Hobbit, even though its impact is probably much smaller than in KK's case.

I don't think KK is ever spot on, to be honest. Most of his posts are just him sharing random thoughts that don't achieve anything. KK always drags, not only in his middle part. He is one of the least interesting members of the forum, if you ask me.

KK of course being an acronym for King Kong in my post.

My point still stands.

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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?

I was expecting some lighter humour in the right places, and that worked fine in the opening hour. But one thing Tolkien never did as far as I recall is compromise his dark moments by throwing oddball stuff in there for fun. I was expecting some of that, given PJ's Middle-earth history, but it was even harder to ignore than I'd feared.

@Marian

Certainly. I was just saying that I'd be quite surprised if Tolkien 'hated' Jackson's LotR movies, had he seen them. Disapproved of parts, yes, but despise them? I can't see it, considering how wildly successful and respectful they are.

I can imagine him generally approving of PJ's LOTR (with some reservations). I can't really imagine that with The Hobbit.

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This Hobbit is a massive artistic liberty for sure, but I personally don't mind that one bit (seeing as the book never meant that much to me in the first place).

There's nothing inherently wrong with Kong's long intro per se; it just turns what should have definitely been a tight two hour adventure into a three hour swaggering epic bloated on its own blind sincerity.

Ditto on The Hobbit.

Hmm, I'm not sensing the gushing sincerity for the source with these Hobbit movies. It seems to me that Jackson is more concerned with using what he must to tell a much bigger story, leaving barely any room at all for love letters to the original. King Kong on the other hand felt like Jackson was having sexual relations with his favourite childhood movie ever.

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To hit on some of the points that all of you have made, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is no doubt a disjointed work. There may be a few reasons for this, the most notable to me is that the book it's based on is episodic by nature. I like that aspect about the book, but it doesn't lend itself to an easy cinematic treatment, at least when it comes to balance and story structure and such.

The other point that bears mentioning is how the film only covers about six or seven chapters from the book, filling those in with a wealth of other material. Jackson and co. have been criticized for this, but I have no problem with it. As Quint has said in the past, viewers should accept that this is "The Hobbit-plus." To keep consistent with the tone and style of the previous films, this was somewhat inevitable. Now, the extent of their stretching is arguably gratuitous. And that's where this first film summers a bit. The emotional pull simply isn't there to justify such a sprawling work; as these films develop, I have no doubt that Jackson and his co-writers will develop all the thematic and narrative threads they've dutifully introduced here, but whether the arcs we're seeing in this film are truly satisfying is debatable, particularly in light of the somewhat flabby nature of the story and storytelling.

Recognizing these issues, I still enjoyed the film quite a bit. I was ambivalent early-on, but I found myself more drawn to the characters as it went on. Once the company arrives at Rivendell and beyond, I felt the movie was beginning to find its footing. It was the Gandalf-Galadriel interaction that finally convinced me that Jackson still had something to say. That's when I begun to feel that I was back in a Middle Earth and that Jackson was going to earnestly give us a more fully realized vision of it. The dwarves plot also begins to pick up after Rivendell. I particularly liked Bilbo's attempted escape from the cave before they end up in Goblin Town. Again, it's not the same kind of emotional pull we had in the earlier films. But that's ok. I think Jackson's only hinting at a larger emotional canvas.

I might have more to say about individual scenes or my thoughts on the characters and such, but I just wanted to offer a general reflection now. It's helping as I begin crafting my actual review of the film!

As for the score, I was disappointed with the overuse of the Misty Mountains theme and "greatest hits" quality it had regarding older themes. Having listened to the album, I can assume this was Jackson's doing. The theme itself is fine, but I didn't care for the heroic bursts of it (of which there were several). I rather liked its original use to underscore the journey. Shore will probably develop the Erebor material and other motifs, but I should also note that I am disappointed that the new Bilbo/Shire theme was all but removed from the movie completely. All in all, I was disappointed with the amount of re-scoring that took place and would have preferred Shore's original compositions.

Ted

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The final pan inside Erebor with Smaug...was one of the worst scenes of CGI. I have EVER laid eyes on. I don't know what happened at Weta for that one. But everything looked like a 90s CGI render...plastic. Plastic gold. Plastic stone. Plastic dragon.

In his interview with Ain't It Cool News PJ said it was literally the last shot they did for the film. Harry Knowles wondered about why would they set it to be the last one and PJ joked that he and Weta wondered the exact same thing. So I guess it was executed in a rush.

That makes sense. I look forward to it being fixed in the Extended Edition!

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I enjoyed reading your comments tpigeon, thank you for chiming in!

Animatronics are dead!

del Toro would have fought against that had he not abandoned ship! Ah, what might have been, with his two movies...

It's like imagining what John Williams would have done with LotR all over again.

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We ended up going to see The Hobbit last night instead of tonight. We saw it in IMAX 3D non-HFR, because our local GIANT SCREEN IMAX doesn't do HFR. So my view count is two. Sadly I don't have time to do a full on Incanus style paragraphical sweeping thesis review for you all to read and scoff at and go about your business so here's a quick blow by blow.

Color coded ratings! BLUE = EXCELLENT! RED=SHIT.

Writing: 8.5/10

There are moments that really shine in the writing. The entire dwarves arrival scene for example is wonderfully done. Loved the wonderful scene by the fireplace between Gandalf and Bilbo. Overall considering the vast extraneous story elements included I have to hand it to them, they did a very high quality job. The gags and slapstick was too much. Points deducted for that.

Art, Costumes, and Set Design: 8.5/10

Everything was really well done here, but it's very obvious they didn't give it the extra mile. There are no fantastic bigatures and sets like in the LotR. Really loved Bilbo's corduroy jacket, had this lovely warm texture that worked really well for the Hobbit.

Editing: 6.0/10

This is where the film is let down. While I can honestly say every scene in the film feels justified (YOU LIKE THIS SENTENCE STRUCTURE?!), I can't say the length of the scenes feels justified. Especially action sequences that drag on and on. It's a real shame. Were it not for length, most of the scenes were really nicely woven into the story with full justification. But the editing fucked it up.

Editing for artistic effect is dreadful as well. Thorin slowmo man at the end, I'm looking at you. God that was awkward and will not age well.

Visual Effects: 8.0/10

Strong, but nothing special. WETA continues to suffer from composition issues, they cant' take 5 to 10 sources and make them fit. This has been a rather weak year for visual effects for all movies involved in 2012. So still, The Hobbit is at the top of a boring and unspecial pack this year.

There was one scene that took my breath away: Gollum's first appearance, his eyes twinkling with the small reflection of light. FANTASTIC! It made me feel terrified and excited at the same time. Which is what great CGI is supposed to do...tell a story, sometimes an emotional one. Best CGI this year.

Cinematography/Color Grading: 6.5/10

The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers are the standards against which I judge the rest of the series. Watch the Fellowship scene in Bree. It is the moment where I fell completely into the world of Middle Earth. The cinematography and color grading ooze texture...you feel the rain on your face, you feel the warmth in the firelit windows, you feel the warmth of the fireplaces. You want to be there.

In FoTR and TT They managed to be completely mystical and fantastical without delving into candy colors and Alice in Wonderland territory.

Return of the King completely dropped the ball. It became a fucking color fest of every color imaginable, with swoops of camera all over the place, and just gaudy.

The Hobbit suffers from the same problem. It's overdone in terms of cinematography and color grading. The blue darkness against fire became old after the 20th time in the same god damn movie. Every god damned sunset and sunrise is a god damned explosion of complementary colors and pretty clouds floating in the distance.

Remember the opening of Two Towers where you had this gorgeous sunrise they camped out to capture? What happened to that kind of awesome sunset/sunrise?

Music: 8.5/10

Howard Shore's original work is lovely. There is a timbre of innocence and sadness for the poor little Hobbit and his poor little Homeless band that permeates the score that I love. The editing in the film is terrible.

Sound: 5.0/10

There seemed to be a lot less detail and textural sounds than in LotR. Are the sound guys different?. Hobbiton was fairly well done...but not the rest. Is it just me? Rarely do we get to hear rustling grass, crackling fire, or creaking chairs or someone cooking in an iron pot. The world doesn't feel alive in the soundtrack. I'm not sure why.

Acting: 9.0/10

Freeman, McKellen, and Serkis are leagues ahead of everyone else. Balin was good too.

Trueness to the Hobbit by Tolkien: 9.0/10

I'm a huge reader of Tolkien's books. Read 'em multiple times. There were a couple of minor missteps. But overall I would say everyone stayed true to the spirit of Tolkien's work. I didn't doubt that, since the LotR trilogy did so well in this regard despite huge changes.

OVERALL: 7.7/10

Which is actually pretty close to my 3.75/5 (7.5/10 on the 10 point scale) stars I initially gave. So my opinion didn't change much on the second viewing.

For Comparison, I would rate:

FotR: 9.5/10

TT: 9.3/10

RotK: 8.9/10

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Yeah, but I can't get off to the thought of John's bald head and orchestral film music.

I have, though there was a woman present in the room though.

That actually helped a lot!

Editing: 6.0/10

This is where the film is let down. While I can honestly say every scene in the film feels justified (YOU LIKE THIS SENTENCE STRUCTURE?!), I can't say the length of the scenes feels justified. Especially action sequences that drag on and on. It's a real shame. Were it not for length, most of the scenes were really nicely woven into the story with full justification. But the editing fucked it up.

Agreed!

Almost every scene felt like it lasted just a tad longer then it was supposed to.

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I wonder what Manuel thought of the story and characters. Actually, no I don't.

Well i liked the film, to it speaks high of it...

I forgot to mention the music. From comments here i thought music was tracked from LOTR. But it wasnt, thank god, and the re-scorings were well spotted. I didnt feel anything out of place. Except nazgul music for the thorin confrontation. WHY PJ, Why? there are several evil-orc themes in LOTR... and you wanted nazgul music. Incredible.

Nature's reclamation theme when the butterfly and eagles appear is not on the CD OST Right?... i dont remember a bold statement like that (heard the score a couple of times)

I'm wondering. What is the distance between the place with the Eagles and Erebor, and how high should Erebor be to be seen that big from there?

I dont know you can see the pyrinees from the Moncayo and they are sepparated about 200 km...

There was one scene that took my breath away: Gollum's first appearance, his eyes twinkling with the small reflection of light. FANTASTIC! It made me feel terrified and excited at the same time.

It would be great... if hobbits had tapetum lucidum on their eyes... :P

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ROTFLMAO at the tapetum lucidum comment.

When I read The Hobbit I didn't imagine Gollum as Hobbit-like at all.

I noticed a funny difference between the book and the film. Gollum says he has six teeth in the book, but here they changed the line according to the movie design.

I dont know you can see the pyrinees from the Moncayo and they are sepparated about 200 km...

Ah that's true. But it looked so high from that distance, at the moment.

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I'm wondering. What is the distance between the place with the Eagles and Erebor, and how high should Erebor be to be seen that big from there?

I dont know you can see the pyrinees from the Moncayo and they are sepparated about 200 km...

Yeah, but you can't see the Moncayo from the Pyrenees.

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Ok, finally saw the film.

In a nutshell: The Hobbit is a FANTASTIC film..! I was completely taken by it and I really, REALLY don't understand the critic that's been floating around.

The movie reminded me what I like about films in the first place. Last film I saw in the movie theater: Prometheus. I hated the experience. I really thought afterwards that I just couldn't relate anymore to any modern film.

Until The Hobbit.

Thanks Peter Jackson.

My only complaint would be the use (or misuse) of Howard Shore's score. It worked wonderfully well, but I think a lot of Shore's original intentions got lost along the way.

That beautiful theme he wrote for Bilbo for example. Where was it..?

But besides that: what a great movie. :)

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And gollum had those Eyes in Fellowship too. Nothing new...

Gollum didn't have the "lamp-like" quality in his eyes in Fellowship. He has that here, following the book's description.

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