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Author Topic: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  (Read 30402 times)
Khaldun
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Reply #245 on: September 12, 2015, 03:03:29 PM

I'm all over the place in my feelings about PJ's tweaks to LOTR.

Good, imho: Making Aragorn a more interesting character with a better dramatic arc. Tweakings of Eowyn and Eowyn's attraction to Aragorn. Dropping Tom Bombadil and the Scouring. Improvements to Theoden's characterization and arc. Some rewriting/restaging of the Sam-Frodo-Gollum relationship to make it more three-sided and to magnify Gollum's pathos.

Neutral: Trying to make Faramir have a bit more dramatic depth. (I know some folks hate it, but I still think book Faramir is a lifeless, dull Mary Sue mouthpiece for Tolkien's version of nostalgia). Dropping the dark cloud coming out of Mordor. Some of the shifts to the battle of Minas Tirith (e.g., getting rid of some of the stuff about the battle in front of the gates *before* the use of Grond). Having the elves show up at Helm's Deep. Having the Olympic torch carrier orc be the guy to ignite the explosives. Some of the scenes inside the Paths of the Dead (Tolkien's template here is a bit weak already).

Bad: Making Denethor a bit more cartoonishly evil, esp. with the heavy-handed eating of the lunch scene while Pippin sings that shitty song. Losing the incredibly perfect cinematic sequencing of the Grond-Gandalf-Witch King part of the battle for Minas Tirith, which is possibly the second-best bit of action Tolkien ever wrote (Moria being the best, with maybe the rest of the battle on Pelennor Fields being just as good as the Grond-Gandalf-Witch King scene). Making Sauron's eye a literal searchlight. The abrupt compression of the cross-Mordor journey. The sequencing and staging of the conclusion(s) to ROTK.

Agonizingly Bad: The Ents. So badly fucked up in multiple ways. The fact that Pippin and Merry have to trick them into attacking Isengard is just 100% unnecessary and a good example of where the effort to give EVERY CHARACTER a dramatic arc is a mistake. Sorry, PJ and company, some people are just supporting cast, treat them that way.

And I think it's right to say that you can see PJ's bad decisions multiplying by ROTK in a way that clearly presages most of the bad decisions he's made since, including in The Hobbit.
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Reply #246 on: September 12, 2015, 11:13:41 PM

You forget Legolas under REALLY REALLY FUCKING BAD. PJ needs an assistant who's job is to everyone once and while tell the 6 year old version of PJ to go back in the corner and play with his legos.

I also found some of the special effects to be fucking awful as well, specifically the Ent attack on Isengard and the army of the dead. Fucking super speed green slime? Really?

gah.  King Theoden's speech gets me every time though.

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Reply #247 on: September 13, 2015, 10:54:08 AM

gah.  King Theoden's speech gets me every time though.

I'm not positive about that one, but my guess is that it's one of the parts where the dialogue was lifted directly from the book and therefore is head and shoulders above anything the movie writers came up with.

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Threash
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Reply #248 on: September 13, 2015, 07:55:56 PM

gah.  King Theoden's speech gets me every time though.

I'm not positive about that one, but my guess is that it's one of the parts where the dialogue was lifted directly from the book and therefore is head and shoulders above anything the movie writers came up with.

It was lifted directly from the book, he even tells Grimbold "take your company right, after you pass the wall" when the wall wasn't even in the movie.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 08:04:44 PM by Threash »

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Khaldun
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Reply #249 on: September 13, 2015, 10:10:49 PM

I will say that the screenwriters often did a great job of stitching Tolkien's best lines to scenes where they played better than in the original books, and in making those lines silghtly less stilted.

And really, in the three movies they got several scenes so perfectly right that it really made me almost weep:

1) Gandalf v. Balrog
2) Watcher in the Water
3) Gandalf & Rohan riders rescuing the ensieged at Helm's Deep
4) Eowyn v. Witch-King
5) Rohan arrives at Pelennor and attacks

I think this is what makes me so sad about The Hobbit. There isn't a damn thing in all three movies that really seems pitch-perfect right to me like that except Bilbo's riddle game with Gollum, which nails it, and the dwarves singing "Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold" nails it. Everything else that could be nailed isn't: the trolls aren't quite right, the Great Goblin confrontation isn't right, the chaotic dinner at Bilbo's isn't right, the scene at Beorn's isn't right, the journey through Mirkwood isn't right, the barrel-riding isn't right, the killing of Smaug by Bard is not awful but not quite right (the cartoon got it better), the Battle of the Five Armies and the farewell to Thorin is totally not right. Maybe the conversation between Smaug and Bilbo is kind of right, I guess, but it's quickly forgotten because of the crazy hijincks inside the Lonely Mountain that follow.  For all of his impulses, PJ got a lot of LOTR just right and almost none of The Hobbit felt right to me.
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Reply #250 on: September 13, 2015, 10:21:25 PM

The Hobbit is one short childrens book stretched into three movies, there was no way it was ever going to compare to the first trilogy.

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Samwise
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Reply #251 on: September 13, 2015, 10:41:57 PM

I'm looking forward to the fan edit.  I bet that if you took out all the extra crap and pared down the goofy physical comedy scenes you'd have a decent movie.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
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Reply #252 on: September 14, 2015, 03:17:01 AM

Dropping ... and the Scouring.

No.  You're not right here.  It was, in my mind, the BIGGEST mistake.  You can't even say it was cut for time.

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Cyrrex
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Reply #253 on: September 14, 2015, 06:00:51 AM

I will say that the screenwriters often did a great job of stitching Tolkien's best lines to scenes where they played better than in the original books, and in making those lines silghtly less stilted.

And really, in the three movies they got several scenes so perfectly right that it really made me almost weep:

1) Gandalf v. Balrog
2) Watcher in the Water
3) Gandalf & Rohan riders rescuing the ensieged at Helm's Deep
4) Eowyn v. Witch-King
5) Rohan arrives at Pelennor and attacks

I think this is what makes me so sad about The Hobbit. There isn't a damn thing in all three movies that really seems pitch-perfect right to me like that except Bilbo's riddle game with Gollum, which nails it, and the dwarves singing "Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold" nails it. Everything else that could be nailed isn't: the trolls aren't quite right, the Great Goblin confrontation isn't right, the chaotic dinner at Bilbo's isn't right, the scene at Beorn's isn't right, the journey through Mirkwood isn't right, the barrel-riding isn't right, the killing of Smaug by Bard is not awful but not quite right (the cartoon got it better), the Battle of the Five Armies and the farewell to Thorin is totally not right. Maybe the conversation between Smaug and Bilbo is kind of right, I guess, but it's quickly forgotten because of the crazy hijincks inside the Lonely Mountain that follow.  For all of his impulses, PJ got a lot of LOTR just right and almost none of The Hobbit felt right to me.


Pretty much my sentiments as well.  I will add that not only did many of those things "not feel right" in the context of the book, but they also felt....foolish, somehow.  Like I had a feeling of embarrassment while watching them.  And that goes double for all the new fluff they added.

And goddamit, make the dwarfs look dwarfy.  How fucking hard is that?

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Khaldun
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Reply #254 on: September 14, 2015, 06:25:52 AM

Dropping ... and the Scouring.

No.  You're not right here.  It was, in my mind, the BIGGEST mistake.  You can't even say it was cut for time.


But it was, a bit, and I would have done the same. To do it properly adds another 20 minutes on, because:

1) you *have* to see Saruman on the road home and have some sort of scene, in addition to sticking a line in there about how odd it is that there's pipeweed in Isengard
2) you *have* to have the hobbits stop in Bree and Gandalf give his speech about he doesn't set things to right any more
3) you *have* to have most of the narrative sequencing of Scouring: overnight at the gatehouse, raising the rebellion, two battles, the sad march through Hobbiton, the conversation with Saruman and his death, the healing of the Shire by Sam and other hobbits. You can montage some of it but it's still a lot.

I mean, I missed it too, it's my favorite bit of all three books and a perfect closing, but I don't begrudge PJ thinking, rationally, that you had to lop it off. A bit of that also reflects the degree to which he decided to make the entire set of films less about Frodo and Sam's hero's journey and doled out a bit more character development to the rest.
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Reply #255 on: September 14, 2015, 06:26:54 AM

Your argument only works if you accept the shite he stuffed in there that didn't NEED to be.  20 minutes would be fucking EASY to find.

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Reply #256 on: September 14, 2015, 07:54:25 AM

I just had a realization reading Khaldun's summary.

Watching LOTR I never believed that PJ was the same guy who did The Frighteners.

Watching the first of The Hobbit movies I not only believed it but saw it as being done at around the same time. As if the director hadn't grown at all in almost 16 years.

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Khaldun
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Reply #257 on: September 14, 2015, 09:01:39 AM

You know, I have the same feeling. I think actually that all the fan pressure and attention to LOTR actually forced Jackson to operate within some limits, and those eased after he stuck the landing in Fellowship. And since ROTK wrapped, he's been off his chain entirely, with consistently bad results that almost entirely reproduce the wretched excess that compromised The Frighteners. He needs to make a film with someone who can tell him 'no' in a forceful way.
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Reply #258 on: September 14, 2015, 09:24:15 AM

gah.  King Theoden's speech gets me every time though.

I'm not positive about that one, but my guess is that it's one of the parts where the dialogue was lifted directly from the book and therefore is head and shoulders above anything the movie writers came up with.

It was lifted directly from the book, he even tells Grimbold "take your company right, after you pass the wall" when the wall wasn't even in the movie.

Oh wow, I thought Shannow meant the speech in the Two Towers (where is the horse and the rider?) but he actually had two great speeches, probably the best moments in the films.

On the subject of speeches, I also liked Gandalf's little homily about not killing Gollum (Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life). And Faramir telling Sam not to judge "the enemy", even though I think the film gives that exchange to different characters than the books.

Also great is Elrond's warning to Arwen about how miserable she'll be if she marries a mortal (you will linger on in darkness and in doubt as nightfall in winter that comes without a star).

For some reason when I first saw the dark rider flying in the Two Towers it also seemed really magical, especially with Gollum's absolute terror (wraiths on wings!!)

A lot of this could potentially have been hokey but it all seemed to work. I agree with the comment that the Hobbit films sometimes felt foolish, and the LoTR films were generally much better in this regard.
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Reply #259 on: September 14, 2015, 10:07:15 AM

I may very well be off my rocker, but there are parallels in the feel of these movies vs the Star Wars movies. The first three movies of both stories seemed to be geared more to the tune of teenagers viewing the movie and the prequel movies felt like they took a step into late childhood/pre-teen. In other words the first trilogy felt more dark and foreboding with this overall sense of justice coming and good winning out after a struggle and the second trilogy felt more silly with a stretched story looking to entertain coupled with a few dark parts.

The Hobbit movies beat out the SW prequel movies though... those SW movies were just blech.

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Reply #260 on: September 14, 2015, 10:11:53 AM

Yeah, Théoden was yozzer Hughes. Anyone expecting bad speeches or acting doesn't know the history.  awesome, for real

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Shannow
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Reply #261 on: September 14, 2015, 10:27:58 AM


The Hobbit movies beat out the SW prequel movies though... those SW movies were just blech.

Hrrm question for the day: You have to watch a film and your choices are Revenge of the Sith or Battle of the 5 Armies. Which do you watch? (Killing oneself is not an option)


The Legolas scenes in Battle were so bad I actually wondered if PJ was just trolling us.

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Reply #262 on: September 14, 2015, 10:48:41 AM

Your argument only works if you accept the shite he stuffed in there that didn't NEED to be.  20 minutes would be fucking EASY to find.

 Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

This. The Scouring is pretty critical and it actually adds weight to the end of the book. It would have been a shitton better than the long slow bed bouncing hobbit pr0n scene we got, and would have made Frodo's leaving on the boat at the end make so much more sense.

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Reply #263 on: September 14, 2015, 10:58:45 AM

Your argument only works if you accept the shite he stuffed in there that didn't NEED to be.  20 minutes would be fucking EASY to find.

 Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

This. The Scouring is pretty critical and it actually adds weight to the end of the book. It would have been a shitton better than the long slow bed bouncing hobbit pr0n scene we got, and would have made Frodo's leaving on the boat at the end make so much more sense.

Right?  I think I knew going in that they'd cut the Scouring, and during the bed jumping scene my thought was "jesus, they cut the Scouring so they could do this shit in slo-mo for five minutes?"

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Khaldun
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Reply #264 on: September 14, 2015, 02:42:59 PM

Well, you definitely have a point there. I fucking hated the Hallmark Card Porn in that scene.
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Reply #265 on: September 16, 2015, 10:15:42 AM

What's worse is The Scouring is THE WHOLE POINT OF ALL 3 MOVIES.

I mean that literally.  The Brave Hobbits left the cosy home to find out there was an important world that could actually touch their lives.  Which it then does in the worst ways before they're able to get things back to normal, even if they get changed in the process.

I mean.  Jesus.  You know ?  The point.  It was the whole fucking Point.

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Reply #266 on: September 16, 2015, 10:18:08 AM

Too much of a downer.  why so serious?

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Reply #267 on: September 16, 2015, 10:22:35 AM

It wouldn't have changed the end one bit mate.  It was still the boat/Sam/I'm back ending.  The Scouring would just have given Merry and Pippin a fucking point.  Which, you'll note, they didn't really get.  Sure, they learned shit along the way, but at the end they're two cheeky fucks drinking beer.  Sam has a family and the COURAGE to have a family.  Frodo is a fucking mess, but knows why.

Merry and Pippin are just cockstabs.

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Reply #268 on: September 16, 2015, 11:10:20 AM

I'm absolutely agreeing with you. I felt they got a little bit of backbone with the parts they played in the Entmoot (though kind of silly) and as helpers to the Riders of Rohan and Denethor but yeah, the Scouring makes their arc complete.

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Reply #269 on: September 16, 2015, 12:47:28 PM

I'd prescribe a Scouring to quite a few story arcs, since we are on the topic.

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Reply #270 on: September 16, 2015, 12:50:47 PM

I'd prescribe a Scouring to quite a few story arcs, since we are on the topic.

Let's have some crossover and scour Endor.

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Reply #271 on: September 16, 2015, 02:17:11 PM

It was such a good start, too.  Fucking ewoks.

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Reply #272 on: September 16, 2015, 05:02:31 PM

I'm fine without the Scouring.  The four heroes went and slew the big bad and now they come home to the Shire to find everything as they left it.  That was their real reward; they had preserved the hobbits way of life.
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Reply #273 on: September 17, 2015, 12:57:56 AM

Except that the underlying theme of the books was that the ways of life for all other races besides Man was quite clearly coming to an end.  The scouring only goes to prove it, the shire was changed and so were the hobbits who came back and cleaned house.

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Reply #274 on: September 17, 2015, 03:19:55 AM

I'm fine without the Scouring.  The four heroes went and slew the big bad and now they come home to the Shire to find everything as they left it.  That was their real reward; they had preserved the hobbits way of life.

Sure, sure, sure.  Yeah.  Except that's not what the book was about.  Changing it to that kinda Chronotope is the worst thing you could do when part of the theme is how War changes things.  So, you know, you kinda highlighted that the movies missed the fucking point.  By, you know, light years.

And stuff.

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Samwise
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Reply #275 on: September 17, 2015, 10:24:11 AM

I thought the whole point was things fighting things, and explosions, and radical skateboarding elves.

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Reply #276 on: September 17, 2015, 10:25:51 AM

I thought the whole point was things fighting things, and explosions, and radical skateboarding elves.

For Peter Jackson, yes. That's why those movies kind of suck..

The adventure elements (especially the first movie) and relationships are cool.
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Reply #277 on: September 17, 2015, 10:28:59 AM

Don't listen to Samwise, Stray. He's glib.

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Reply #278 on: September 17, 2015, 11:05:08 AM

The sarchasm's maw hath opened wide and swallowed up a great portion of the earth.

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Reply #279 on: September 17, 2015, 11:11:01 AM

The sarchasm's maw hath opened wide and swallowed up a great portion of the earth.

Been gone awhile. Just getting my bearings. Hold up.


Seriously though, I disliked that about the originals. I thought the action was more entertaining in these Hobbit films though.
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