Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

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Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by El Moose Monstero »

So just got back in from the Hobbit - and the prognosis is pretty mixed.

First of all, the 3D elephant in the room. I'm not going to pretend to be educated on what aspects of the film were filmed with what, but I did not enjoy the 3D and overall quality of the film. That's not to say it was bad quality, it was ultrasharp and crisp, but it was incredible unforgiving. Every set shot and artificial light was as clear as day - particular Spoiler
on the mountaintop with the giants
. Also, it seemed to make any CGI effect stand out a mile and it made, particularly any mass action set piece with a blend of CGI and actors look like a computer game cut scene. The atmosphere of the first 3 when faced with huge combat pieces seemed to have been lost amongst the 3D effects. That's not to say there weren't some good 3D moments, but these were mostly confined to the live action camera work in real environments where the depth of scenery could come through. Much like in Avatar, at least for me, when the best 3D shot of the whole film was some tall grass waving on a hill and it felt like I was there. So for me, anyway, the 3D experience was not a good one and ruined immersion - which is a shame as the tricks with the midget actors and perspectives were not at all noticeable this time around, as they had been since watching the special edition commentaries.

The overall film felt fragmented and overlong. Where as the LotR suffered from a case of too much stuff to cut, and sometimes a 'wtf - why leave that and cut something else' moment, the Hobbit seems to suffer from an abundance of making shit up. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but so much of it felt like padding. For example Spoiler
a lot of the cave scenes, and the white orc chasing Thorin throughout the film - I understand why, because they wanted to have some climax to end the film at the trees and provide personal stakes, but I just find it hard to give a shit, particularly when it seemed to be invented solely to justify the padding to 3 films instead of 2
. The film was at its best when it was following the book - the riddles scene was good and tense, and at its worst when adding in extra stuff. I didn't take to Spoiler
Radagast's bits nor the more childish tone of some parts - I know the book was a kids book, but it didn't seem to sit with the rest of the film, and I think if you're aiming for a prequel to lotr, you could cut down the childish tone rather than add to it, particularly if you're also setting up the return of sauron as a more direct prequel to lotr, which I'm actually in favour of in the context of the PJ films
. Ultimately, this is very much a case of 'not what I wanted from the film, fed by my preconceptions and opinions' - but I note that I had those in the previous films as well, and was not left with the 'meh, it was ok, wouldn't rush to see it again' that I had after the Hobbit. I saw the LotR films about 3 times each in the cinema before they left the big screen!

Overall, much like the dwarves, it's a mixed bunch, and much like bombur, it suffers from a lot of extra weight. 3 out of 5 I think.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by JLTucker »

Did you see it in 48fps? If so, how is it? I'm hearing nothing but hate about it.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by El Moose Monstero »

I think it was in 48 fps, but the cinema was german-signed, so I'm not 100% sure. Would have preferred to have had it in the same cinematic filming style as the previous 3 tbh - felt like it took away more than it added.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by El Moose Monstero »

Was just chatting about it with folks, and we're feeling like it generally lacked atmosphere. It had atmosphere in the opening scenes Spoiler
dwarves turning up
and in the riddles. But Spoiler
the cave encounters just felt like flashes and bangs without substance - I always imagined the cave fights to be claustrophobic tunnels, and Bilbo ending up very far away from everyone. Obviously this is also a product of the padding additions, but the whole experience in the caves lacked the atmosphere that FotR had
. Someone else pointed out that structurally, the hobbit and the LotR trilogy are similar, so they may have made some of these decisions to avoid a feeling of repetition.

A very minor point but one which jarred for me was that Spoiler
they kept forgetting to add blue glows to orcrist and glamdring
. It's a really minor nerdy issue to be bothered by, but I felt like they wouldn't have done it in the previous films. The attention to detail was usually so good.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Mr. Tickle »

More importantly did the film end with Leonard Nimoy's Ballard of Bilbo Baggins?
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Ace Pace »

Well, definitely mixed thoughts.

I'll start with the 3D. After a minor period of getting used to it, I am impressed by the 3D and the HFR thingy. Would see more films like these.

Now for the film itself. It obviously suffered from being turned into 3 films. Nevermind the background, and the sub plots inserted from other books, the opening dragged on, every scene felt like it was a good 20% too long. Every cut just felt subtly longer than necessary.
This was mostly obvious at the start, where from the moment the opening sequence started to the title, took a good 15 minutes or so. I found myself staring at the watch again and again.
From around the halfway point though, the film improved, the drama seemed less forced and it began feeling like LOTR. On one hand, good, on the other hand, the Hobbit wasn't exactly filled with world shattering events, nor with action scenes that were an hour long.

Very mixed impressions, but the new soundtrack has some amazing music.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by JLTucker »

The Hobbit brings you back to Middle Earth in a magnificent fashion. It's sad, tragic, funny, and expertly paced. Plus, it has goddamn themes and seeing Bilbo come to grips with the task ahead of him is nothing short of brilliant. Putting life into dwarves where even the LotR trilogy failed was something of a feat. I found myself more interested in their lore than I did of Aragorn's plight and history.

I also think it's brilliant how lively the color scheme is. It appears that it was purposefully made bright and colorful because of the more light-hearted nature of the story. Compare the pinks, blues, oranges, and whites to the drab depressing look of LotR. In a marathon, the transition to the darker LotR will be quite daunting.

As for the bad, the prologue is a terrible mess and the inclusion of
Spoiler
Old Bilbo and Frodo

is the worst thing in the movie. Talk about inconsistencies in performances that don't even mirror what came in the LotR trilogy. I also would have kept the same footage used in Fellowship when the Ring gets away from Gollum. It would have been a nice touch to add consistency to the trilogy in that regard.

Ah, to not be burdened by having read the book. I am so glad I don't have to complain about changes and additions to the story.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by FSTargetDrone »

I saw the 3D HFR version at an IMAX theater this morning at 11:00 with a packed house. It's very unusual for even brand new movies to have so many people at such an early showing. I saw school-aged kids who should have been in school so many people were definitely interested in seeing it. And it's not even winter break yet around here. At the end of the movie, most of the people applauded. And that is also very unusual. The crowd laughed at the jokes and pratfalls with the dwarves and Bilbo. The songs were fun. The action was exciting and the look of the inside of the Lonely Mountain was amazing.

Is the movie very long? Yes. Do I care? For $18 it better damn well be a long movie and I was satisfied. I was never bored. I have no problems at all with the 48FPS presentation. Does it look markedly different from 24 FPS? Oh yes. It looked amazing. It was fluid and smooth and real and quite unlike anything I've ever seen--and I was sitting at the edge of the screen and while not an ideal viewing angle it looked great. It didn't look "fake" or "unnatural" or anything of the kind. I have no idea what some people are talking about when they say they can see the makeup as looking like makeup on the actors.

At a very few moments, it seemed like the action was slightly and unnaturally sped up, as you see in old James Bond movies, but that was rare. My only real complaint is that the picture seemed a bit dim. Apparently some projectors are run with the bulb at less than full brightness to save power and extend the life of the bulb, but that is a complaint for the theater owners and not the filmmakers.

Gollum has never looked more realistic. The only issue with him is that some of his lines are a little hard to make out but I was able to keep up without too much of an issue.
JLTucker wrote:As for the bad, the prologue is a terrible mess and the inclusion of
Spoiler
Old Bilbo and Frodo

is the worst thing in the movie. Talk about inconsistencies in performances that don't even mirror what came in the LOTR trilogy. I also would have kept the same footage used in Fellowship when the Ring gets away from Gollum. It would have been a nice touch to add consistency to the trilogy in that regard.
Well, to me, Spoiler
Elijah Wood looked noticeably older as compared with him FOTR (though Ian Holm looked just fine--whatever makeup work or CG enhancement they may have used to make him look younger, it worked beautifully) and to be honest I hope they go back when all the movies are done and re-released the footage of Martin Freeman as the younger Bilbo finding the Ring is used in the FOTR flashback. That, so far, when all the films are taken together, the biggest inconsistency in my eyes. The flashback in the new movie could have worked just as well with still showing Ian Holm, his voice-over speech to Frodo but without Elijah Wood at all. He was perhaps the most distracting addition.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by JLTucker »

The narration in the prologue is just off. It doesn't even sound like the character from LotR.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by JLTucker »

You are correct about the projector bulbs, TargetDrone. What's worse is when you see a 2d movie in a room that plays 3d. It's difficult to make out fine detail. This happened to me with Skyfall.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Guardsman Bass »

I just got back from seeing it. I liked the movie, and while there were some parts that felt drawn-out, overall the movie was a breeze in terms of pacing. The acting was solid.

I have really mixed feelings about the combination of 3D and 48 FPS, though. I think either by itself would have been great, but the 3D just made the characters seem even more oddly out of place compared to the environments they were moving through. Some of the CGI looked good (Gollum, the Eagles, the Goblins/Orcs) while other stuff looked terrible and very video-game-quality-looking CGI (the scene where Radagast was getting chased around those rocks by the wolves made me laugh).

I think the key distinguishing factor was when they moved the camera angle around smoothly. When they did that, the 48 FPS looked really good, and I can see what Jackson meant when saying it creates a more "natural" looking film. But when they were quickly jerking the camera around all over the place, it looked bad, like I was watching a film on fast forward.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by FSTargetDrone »

Guardsman Bass wrote:I have really mixed feelings about the combination of 3D and 48 FPS, though. I think either by itself would have been great, but the 3D just made the characters seem even more oddly out of place compared to the environments they were moving through.
That seems fair. As far as I know there is no HFR/non 3D version being presented, but I would like to be corrected. I really need to see it again while sitting in the center of the screen, too. And I just wish they would run the projectors with the bulbs at a brighter setting. We are paying lots of money to see the movie, so I wish they would just show it the way it was intended to be presented.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by madd0ct0r »

saw it in 2d. can't comment on the frame rate though.

I liked it. Guy I saw it with fell asleep.
Spoiler
Spoiler
the scene in the goblin mountain did seem to go on for a while, and the goblin king was almost bizarrely well spoken, but otherwise almost exactly as I imagined him.

Radaghast was a bit silly, but actually good. There was a bit of Tom Bombadil coming out there, as well as a thick layer of crazy old hippy. The Hobbit has a lighter tone, and I don't think it's a bad thing to come through (the theme of course being the first signs of the gathering dark)

Wargs are wolfy again. good.

I did also really enjoy the exploration of the Dwarves' backstory. You really get a sense of what they lost, and lost again, and lost again. As a kid the raw greed of the burglary always seemed the main factor


Finally - fucking New Zealand. Why must you look so awesome and be so far away?
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Channel72 »

I thought it was pretty good. I had the same reaction as El Moose Monstero regarding the caves. It all seemed like a big messy cartoon action sequence, with the Dwarves arbitrarily surviving impossible falls and what not. It was nowhere near as tight and atmospheric as the Mines of Moria sequence in LOTR (which I think is the best action sequence of the whole trilogy.)

Overall, my biggest complaint is that the movie just felt padded with arbitrary action sequences. I feel like 60% of the movie was just the heros running away from wolves, running away from orcs, running away from goblins, running some more, etc. Also, I think this movie could have been a bit lighter in tone - aside from the opening Dwarf antics, it felt a bit too much like the serious tone of LOTR. But I like Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and the riddle scene with Gollum was probably the best scene in the movie.

Also, Spoiler
they foreshadow the events in LOTR by talking about some "necromancer" which I guess is some early form of Sauron. Presumably, that material is not in Tolkien's Hobbit.

I also like how they only show brief glimpses of Smaug, which builds anticipation for when we actually get to see him.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Ace Pace »

Channel72 wrote: Also, Spoiler
they foreshadow the events in LOTR by talking about some "necromancer" which I guess is some early form of Sauron. Presumably, that material is not in Tolkien's Hobbit.

I also like how they only show brief glimpses of Smaug, which builds anticipation for when we actually get to see him.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by FSTargetDrone »

Bleh, these tags are starting to get tedious. Why are we using them again?
Ace Pace wrote:Spoiler
Spoiler
Saurman specifically Sauron's name during the meeting with Gandalf, Galadriel and Elrond.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Elfdart »

I took my brother, his two boys and my mother to see it last night, and everyone enjoyed it (in spite of the numbskull projectionist leaving the house lights on for the first few minutes). Like The Phantom Menace, it was a lot of fun except for a rather boring part in the middle that could have been cut by 15-20 minutes and not only would nothing have been missed, overall the film would have been improved greatly. The Hobbit also shares with TPM the distinction of being one of the few films I've ever seen where the audience gave it a round of applause at the end (something they didn't do for LOTR). I preferred the slightly goofy, lighthearted tone to the tedious and pretentious LOTR movies. But then, I loved Tolkien's first book with hobbits and found his later epic a total yawner.
JLTucker wrote:The Hobbit brings you back to Middle Earth in a magnificent fashion. It's sad, tragic, funny, and expertly paced. Plus, it has goddamn themes and seeing Bilbo come to grips with the task ahead of him is nothing short of brilliant. Putting life into dwarves where even the LotR trilogy failed was something of a feat. I found myself more interested in their lore than I did of Aragorn's plight and history.
Ditto.

I found the dwarves far more interesting than the Fellowship, and Thorin is a MUCH more compelling character than Aragorn -though it helps that Richard Armitage is a better actor than the severely charisma-deficient Viggo Mortensen. It also helps that the leitmotif for the dwarves is a rousing piece of music that sounds like a tribute to John Barry's Zulu score by way of Basil Poledouris. Even though the dwarves are a silly bunch and most of them look ridiculous, they manage to pull off taking themselves and their quest seriously without causing eyes to roll. The wizened old dwarf who looks like James Whitmore comes across as quite noble even to this sneering cynic, when in almost any other film he'd be made into a clownish figure. When the burly, bald-headed dwarf who looks like Mike Pinder charged at the orcs and wargs to save Thorin, and Howard Shore's score welled up in the background, I almost let out a "FUCK YEAH!" in the theater.
I also think it's brilliant how lively the color scheme is. It appears that it was purposefully made bright and colorful because of the more light-hearted nature of the story. Compare the pinks, blues, oranges, and whites to the drab depressing look of LotR. In a marathon, the transition to the darker LotR will be quite daunting.
When I saw the first commercial last Christmas, I thought "Thank goodness someone is giving up on that washed-out color scheme Spielberg and Kaminski made so popular". What I also enjoyed is that Peter Jackson (or possibly his DP Lesnie?) has the best eye for widescreen panoramic shots than anyone since William Wyler. So many modern filmmakers grew up with TV and pan & scanned movies that all those detailed sets and choreographed action are wasted with all the closeups. The chase scene on the open plains would have looked right at home in The Big Country.
Spoiler
If Wyler had made a movie with orcs, giant prehistoric wolves and a supercharged bunny sled, that is. The chase also reminded me of Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner.
I did roll my eyes at the main villain, Darth Drogo. But that's minor. All in all, this was the best movie of 2012.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Block »

Everything that included the "White Orc" sucked and sucked hard. It's a meaningless subplot that takes away from "The Hobbit" and just adds more fluff to drag one movie out into three. Also the Elves, why are they so very dark? Weren't they at this point supposed to be a joyful contrast to the dour dwarves? It was a decent movie, but all of the stuff added stood out in a bad way, didn't really seem to fit in with the main theme of reclaiming the Lonely Mountain for the Dwarves and made the movie overly long.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Rogue 9 »

Block wrote:Everything that included the "White Orc" sucked and sucked hard. It's a meaningless subplot that takes away from "The Hobbit" and just adds more fluff to drag one movie out into three. Also the Elves, why are they so very dark? Weren't they at this point supposed to be a joyful contrast to the dour dwarves? It was a decent movie, but all of the stuff added stood out in a bad way, didn't really seem to fit in with the main theme of reclaiming the Lonely Mountain for the Dwarves and made the movie overly long.
Just got back from seeing it. Azog is actually a character in the books, and did kill Thrór, but he was killed by Dáin of the Iron Hills years before the start of The Hobbit.
Spoiler
His son Bolg was the leader of the goblins that attacked the Lonely Mountain at the Battle of Five Armies; I presume Bolg is going to be cut entirely and Azog will plague them all the way to the end and take his son's place at the climax.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Block »

Oh I'm aware of the background, it's just not needed, the Goblins chasing Thorin and Company out of revenge was motivation enough is all.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Elfdart »

Rogue 9 wrote:
Block wrote:Everything that included the "White Orc" sucked and sucked hard. It's a meaningless subplot that takes away from "The Hobbit" and just adds more fluff to drag one movie out into three. Also the Elves, why are they so very dark? Weren't they at this point supposed to be a joyful contrast to the dour dwarves? It was a decent movie, but all of the stuff added stood out in a bad way, didn't really seem to fit in with the main theme of reclaiming the Lonely Mountain for the Dwarves and made the movie overly long.
Just got back from seeing it. Azog is actually a character in the books, and did kill Thrór, but he was killed by Dáin of the Iron Hills years before the start of The Hobbit.
Spoiler
His son Bolg was the leader of the goblins that attacked the Lonely Mountain at the Battle of Five Armies; I presume Bolg is going to be cut entirely and Azog will plague them all the way to the end and take his son's place at the climax.
I wouldn't say the character sucked, but it was a "WTF?" moment. He talks like Khal Drogo (in what sounded like Dothraki -in LOTR, orcs spoke English) and kills subordinates who fail -like Vader did.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by madd0ct0r »

He wasn't really much of a character at all. Just a walking spiky plot device.
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by El Moose Monstero »

Yeh, this was my issue. I can see why, because they need to have some immediate personal stakes during any climactic battles that might happen to show up in the third film and they may be responding to criticisms about Sauron being a villain lacking in presence other than as a giant lighthouse at the end of RotK. As anyone who has seen the special edition commentaries will know, they initially had plans to have Sauron come on down to bitch slap Aragorn in RotK, taking the place of the giant troll, so this may be more of the same.

If it were me planning out this version of the Hobbit Spoiler
I'd have been inclined to cut the white orc, still have the reveal about Thorin's battle with him, maybe a few more nuggets of information about the orc delivered in the second and third one, and then have him revealed as still being alive and at the head of the battle of the five armies. That way, it would have been a lot more of a 'holy shit, it's you!' in the middle of a crowded fight with some established personal stakes and a villain with an established reputation rather than just 'hey, I'm a different colour from the rest of them so I am more fearsome'.

As a result of that, I'd have cut most of the chase related stuff, and would probably have had Thorin actually give in to Gandalf on Rivendell (after appropriate verbal fighting). It would have shown him as a potentially wise leader and it might have been a good contrast, especially if you could bring up the stuff about the dwarves having no home there, to then be faced with elves prancing and frolicking (not Elrond, but that would have been where I would have gone) in their own home when they wouldn't help the dwarves recover theirs. I think not having Elrond going off to kick Orc ass and instead making a bit more of the 'homely house' and frolicking might have made the bit about the rise of Sauron and the morgul blade...(I didn't care for that as a form of evidence - what kind of witchking drops his sword? and why didn't it go all vanishy like in FotR?)...more powerful. The elves have been enjoying and revelling in peace, and are unwilling to go back to war where they could actually be killed rather than going on to the undying lands. Elrond accepting the knowledge of Sauron's return would then be a lot more meaningful in terms of the choice he has to make in terms of facing dark times again. That change might also have made the Elf decision not to get involved with the dragon fight due to not wanting to risk their own lives a bit more nuanced rather than 'oh hey, we turned up with this army just for the fun of it, now we're going because we're giant dicks, enjoy your burning relatives'.

Even if you wanted Elrond kicking orc ass as foreshadowing to appear at the battle of the five armies (was he there? I forget.), you could still have foreshadowed that with some sort of reflective scene with him in the chamber with the sword and the mural. Maybe even have that chamber initially locked and gathering dust, to be opened by Elrond after that meeting with the White Council, heralding an end to elven prancing and more to serious things. Particularly given that Jackson has said that he wants you to have all 6 films on your shelf, it implies that he envisions a continuity, so that would have been a good initiator for the broader plot across the 6 films, and would also have then shown the difference between the Elves, Gondor and Saruman when faced with the same choice about what to do when facing Sauron's return. I don't even think that these changes would have overburdened the film with making it too prequelly, as they're all still within the context of what they're already doing.

Anyway, from there, I'd have changed the goblin cave bit so that it's less like something from Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and more something that was dark and claustrophobic, something like a cross between the feeling in Shelob's tunnels and the earlier parts of Moria. I'd then have had them actually escaping out of what would now be a fortified goblin gate with only a little breathing room before the goblins came swarming out to chase them into the trees. Bilbo could still have intervened to defend Thorin from a swarm of goblins rather than the white orc. I think that might have flowed better than swapping between multiple enemy groups.
But your mileage may vary. This is a book which I grew up with, so I have a lot invested in it and may be subject to fanboyism.
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Bedlam
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by Bedlam »

I wasn't to keen on how they did the Riddles in the Dark scene, the main problem was that it was to light! I can see why they did it Golum was one of the triumphs of the LotR movies and they wanted to get him centre stage for his bits but I think it would have been so much better if you didn't see all of him until the end, just know that there's something out there in the water, hear it quitely paddling he boat towards Bilbo then just the odd glimse as he circles while asking riddles.

Generally run the scene for more suspence than comedy.
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El Moose Monstero
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Re: Hobbit (spoilers, with tags)

Post by El Moose Monstero »

Yeh, that would have been good. It wasn't as if there was a light source anywhere - Gandalf had his staff in FotR to cast light, but Bilbo on his own and away from goblins should be in the dark. I think they make a thing in the book about the fact that all Bilbo could see of Gollum was his eyes coming towards him. Still the best scene in the movie, but I'd have happily seen it taken up a notch. As an aside, one of my minor criticisms of LotR was that I would have preferred a bit more ambiguity in Gollum talking to himself. Just a hint, but just enough to blur the line between a conversation and a monologue.

Would be interested to hear from anyone who has seen it in 2D standard and 3D HFR, btw. I'm thinking about going with my family at Christmas but I seem to be an overopinionated ass at the moment.
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"...a fountain of mirth, issuing forth from the penis of a cupid..." ~ Dalton / Winner of the 'Frank Hipper Most Horrific Drag EVAR' award - 2004 / The artist formerly known as The_Lumberjack.

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