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    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

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    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Guest on December 19th 2012, 4:52 pm

    **Spoilers ahead**

    I was happy to have the chance to see this a day or so ago, and have been mulling over my thoughts on it. About a week or more before I saw it, I indulged a little in an old favorite past time, listening to the new Howard Shore soundtrack, so my thoughts on the music are informed by that as well.

    I'm very happy to have a new full length movie part that features Gandalf the Grey. And this is partly a response to the writers commentaries on the earlier films, they prefer the Grey version of Gandalf, I agree. And I'm happy to have two more sequences of film that will effectively give Grey a larger quantity of content over The White Gandalf. I don't have anything against The White, he's simply the culmination of what The Grey was going to be. But the Grey is less pretentious, more fun to spend time with. And he wears a respectable hat.

    The music is really terrific, what I've come to expect of Howard Shore. He uses the familiar themes, plays with them and innovates, but he is sparing with them (almost hesitant, but that may be my own psyche projecting onto what I hear). He has some new themes to offer us, as well. There's a Misty Mountains theme that draws us in to the Dwarves grave melancholy about their lost home and their journey to reclaim it; they sing it together and it binds their camaraderie and invites young Bilbo to reflect on his life as it is and what the Dwarves and Gandalf are inviting him to participate in. And the accompanying tune for the lyrics forms what becomes to this movie the counterpart to the Fellowship's theme; the one that will grace the travel montage sequences.

    Martin Freeman is wonderful as Bilbo. There are moments when the fim's material loses track of him, but when it's his turn to have the spotlight, I have not a single complaint.

    A random reaction; there's a thread early that develops the emergence of a mysterious menace, those sequences I enjoyed. I also liked the character of Radagast the Brown, played with extraordinary eccentricity by Doctor Who number seven, Sylvester McCoy. I suppose he's not for everybody, but I liked the sequences where he investigates a menace to the aspect of Middle Earth that most preoccupies him. There's an interesting juxtaposition of innocence and vulnerability (or seeming vulnerability) that makes the danger he explores seem more cruel.

    Other components that are additions to what the book explicitly includes are a meeting of the White council. Following along with my commentary about Gandalf the Grey, this sequence gives us an interesting interpretation of The White Council's dynamic, and how Gandalf is regarded in their company. There's a funny moment where Saruman prattles on with a stonewalling, bureaucratic speech that Gandalf and Galadriel tune out to telepathically communicate to get further along to an important point. The movie as it stands is The Hobbit made over with the history of the LotR movies having been made first with this preceding story being depicted later, so there's a nice sense of a "reunion" type of movie in this sequence and the Rivendell scenes, if you like that sort of thing. Generally I don't but there was enough here sort of justify it.

    On the other hand, there's a framing device involving Frodo and old Bilbo that I'm not sure how I feel about. It seems to my eyes a bit fan-ish, the way it ties in so exactly with some stuff in the movie The Fellowship of the Rings. I don't think they had to go that far with detail. And Elijah Wood somehow didn't seem to fit for me. To some extent, the movie feels like it should skip ahead to "Once upon a time, there was a Hobbit and he lived a hole in the ground" and then show Gandalf visiting young Bilbo.

    My impression from what I watch with the movie (and I've seen others post similar sentiments) is that the movie in the theaters is already the "Extended" versions that Peter Jackson would habitually prepare after the theatrical release had had it's time on the big screen and on video. Begging the question, does this mean there's "an even more Extended Extended" version of this movie waiting in the future? And if that's the case, how? Even as a Tolkien/LotR fan, contemplating that makes me worry about it pushing the boundaries of being drawn out. Echoing in my mind are the commentaries from the Fellowship of the Rings: "We wanted to push things forward so that the quest could get started, getting quickly to the moment when Frodo has to leave Bag End" and "We shifted some actions over to Frodo, because it helped provide the FotR with a better focus"; these matters are such curiosities when considering the assembled final product of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

    Overall I liked it. None of these comments are meant to be criticisms per se, except for those that are explicitly stated as such, just curiosities that I felt worth mulling over. I shall be very interested to see how the rest of this newest addition to Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth "saga" will unfold.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Paeter on December 19th 2012, 8:05 pm

    Oh that's right! I forgot to post my review here!

    Great thoughts, Kris! I think I agree with about everything you said! Loved your attention to the scoring and bringing that out in your observations!

    Here are my thoughts:

    I should start by saying that I'm not a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. That's not to say I think they are bad books, but the writing style is too dry and formal for my tastes. I read The Hobbit in Junior High for a reading class I was in, and re-enacted Bilbo's slaying of the giant spider in my book report presentation to the class. But I soon moved on to Terry Brooks, then later Terry Goodkind and Brent Weeks, and have never been able to force feed The Lord Of The Rings books to myself. Today I remember more about presenting that book report than I do about the book itself.

    That said, I'm a huge fan of the fantasy genre, which owes much of its existence to Tolkien. I also loved the Peter Jackson Lord Of The Rings movies. So when I heard that he would be back in the saddle to direct a movie based on The Hobbit, I was more than interested.

    Of course then came the news that his film version of The Hobbit would be split into two movies, which smelled a bit like a money grab from the studio, but ah well. Should have expected as much. However not much later it was announced that The Hobbit would not be two movies, but three. And though I heard that Jackson and company would pull from other Tolkien Middle Earth material to fill things out, I couldn't help but sigh and lower my expecations. It sounded like studio execs were hoping to relive the glory days of the Rings trilogy box office sales, rather than create one really great movie that would perform well for them.

    Trailers looked just as great as the previous Lord Of The Rings films, but I went into the theater wondering if story points and action would just be too spread out to amount to an experience of the same calibre as Jackson's previous Tolkien films. How much would this movie rely on our love of what has come before and how much would it stand on its own merits?

    From the very start it's clear that this is a different story from Lord Of The Rings with a very different feel. From the opening music to the last moments, this is not a "quest" movie as much as it is an "adventure" movie. The visual design, the score, the script, the characters, all have a much lighter feel to them when compared to the largely serious tone of the Lord of The Rings, even though you still see limbs being chopped off now and then to earn that PG-13.

    Much of this shift in tone is because of the underlying motivation for the quest. This movie is not about saving the world or defending against a coming evil. It's about seeing and experiencing the world and reclaiming something that, although wonderful and good, is not vital to anyone's survival. The stakes are much lower and we all know Bilbo will survive the tale. There are also numerous action sequences that are extremely improbable, even in Middle Earth. Much of the film feels more like a funhouse ride than a quest that actually puts anyone in danger.

    Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit scooped up into a quest by Gandalf the wizard, who is traveling with 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland. Although by the end of the film his motives become a little deeper, Bilbo initially joins this quest purely out of a spirit of adventure.

    The displaced Dwarven prince leading the expedition has a much deeper motivation, and I think the story would have been strengthened by making his story more central, perhaps even making him the lead character. Of course then we'd have to call the m ovie "The Dwarven Prince", but honestly I think that has a better ring to it and would have made a more compelling central story. (Yes, yes, Tolkien fans. You may now scream "blasphemy" in response to my ignorance and disrespect.)

    The narrative as a whole also has a slight "anthology of Middle Earth stories" feel to it, as flashbacks are dipped into a little more often than you'd expect. At one point the story even awkwardly shifted to focus on another character in another place, whom I thought might have nothing to do with the main story until he eventually joined the main characters later on.

    The camera work is as superb as ever and the performances, though serving a lighter story, are all high caliber. I'm a little dissapointed that the effects don't look any better considering how many years have passed since Return Of The King was in theaters. Orcs and Goblins were also mostly CG creations instead of using make-up, even in close-ups. A choice I'm confused and let down by. Peter Jackson didn't seem to be putting quite as much effort into this film (though it's hard to blame him as he put his health at risk at times whole working on The Lord Of The Rings).

    Even so, this is a very good movie that fantasy fans will probably enjoy more than most fantasy films released since Return Of The King.

    There are a few relevant moral themes in the film, but they don't stand out too strongly. One I notices was that of courage, and the idea that sometimes courage is about NOT killing your enemy, but letting them live. The principle remains true in less dramatic circumstances as well. Sometimes it takes more courage and strength of character to walk away from verbal fisticuffs than it does to pummel someone in a heated exchange.

    Selflessness also comes into play near the end of the film, as Bilbo's motivation shifts from wanting to have an adventure to wanting to help the dwarves have a place to call home again.

    While you shouldn't let your love of Lord Of The Rings force you into seeing this movie in theaters, if you're a fan of the genre you definitely ought to see it sometime.

    Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images

    Quality: 8.5/10

    Relevance: 6.5/10


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  DNArington on December 19th 2012, 9:38 pm

    Did anyone see it in 48 frames per second? If so what did you think?

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Paeter on December 21st 2012, 1:37 pm

    How would you know if you did? Special ticket?


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  cleireac on December 22nd 2012, 3:23 pm

    Paeter, yours is not the only review to bang on the film's "lack of dramatic tension" due to the fact that we know from the opening sequences that Bilbo survives. This critique really bugs me as anyone who goes to see this movie should ALREADY KNOW THIS even before they buy the ticket. Jackson's film provides the backstory on how Bilbo got the ring in the first place.

    So, to criticize The Hobbit for this "lack" is really unfair. Yes, Bilbo will survive. The interesting thing about the story is not whether he lives or not, but how his character changes over the course of the narrative. If yo want more insight here, check out The Tolkien Professor's podcast.

    Oh, and the dwarves king's (not prince) name? Thorin Oakenshield.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  DNArington on December 25th 2012, 12:35 am

    Paeter wrote:How would you know if you did? Special ticket?

    There are only a select number of theaters that are showing it in 48 fps. I don't know if you have to pay more or anything, but from what I've heard you should be able to tell just by how the film looks.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Rickster on December 28th 2012, 12:21 am

    DNArington wrote:
    Paeter wrote:How would you know if you did? Special ticket?

    There are only a select number of theaters that are showing it in 48 fps. I don't know if you have to pay more or anything, but from what I've heard you should be able to tell just by how the film looks.

    The theater I saw it at said The Hobbit HFR (High Frame Rate) on the marquee and I think Paeter would hate it.
    If this is the future of films then Filmmakers really need to bring their A game. I thought everything from the smoke from their pipes to the sets looked fake. but parts of it looked so real it was almost like i was watching a play

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Guest on December 28th 2012, 5:02 pm

    I've read a fair amount of feedback that the High Frame rate technique tends to be distracting. Maybe it will take off, I don't know. Some have commented it makes the picture look like it was filmed on video (as opposed to film), which some regard as looking comparatively cheap. One guy mentioned it took him half of the movie to acclimate to the look, another mentioned 20 minutes to acclimate except for any scenes where it's raining.

    Without being critical of what being offered, I will only say that when I went to the theater to watch the movie, I went to see The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey. I was not paying to see Higher Frame Rate: The Movie. I deliberately selected a theater that was 2D, normal frame rate. I'm old fashioned, a sort of (but not quite) luddite. I'm the type of person who likes the grainy look of the non-cleaned up theatrical Star Wars original trilogy, because that fogginess increases it's otherworldly quality, that sense of a long time ago and far away, the stuff of legends.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  ComiKate on December 28th 2012, 7:12 pm

    DNArington wrote:Did anyone see it in 48 frames per second? If so what did you think?

    I didn't see it in HFR but IMAX 3D, which was gorgeous.

    Loved the movie. 3 hours felt like 1,5!
    I went with my dad, and he even thought that the end of the movie was actually a break to get some drinks and snacks Very Happy



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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Paeter on January 14th 2013, 6:46 pm

    cleireac wrote:Paeter, yours is not the only review to bang on the film's "lack of dramatic tension" due to the fact that we know from the opening sequences that Bilbo survives. This critique really bugs me as anyone who goes to see this movie should ALREADY KNOW THIS even before they buy the ticket. Jackson's film provides the backstory on how Bilbo got the ring in the first place.

    So, to criticize The Hobbit for this "lack" is really unfair.

    True. It's not a fault of the film as much as it is a fault of hollywood not making this movie first. I'd argue that the Hobbit was intended by Tolkien to be read before LOTR. To retain the tension of the book (and therefore more faithfully adapt the source material), I think this story should have been told first. The book doesn't have the bookends based on LOTR and when one starts with The Hobbit as a book we don't know (as far as I remember) that Bilbo will live.

    So despite the adaptation/hollywood timing issues to make allowance for, I don't think the film makes up for this lack of tension regarding Bilbo's safety. I would have loved for a few of the dwarves to get killed. I know, I know. Don't touch the sacred cow. But fidelity to source material aside, it would have been nice to feel that protagonist death was POSSIBLE in this story. I never really felt like it was.


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  CreatorsPixels on January 15th 2013, 8:49 am

    Paeter wrote: I would have loved for a few of the dwarves to get killed. I know, I know. Don't touch the sacred cow. But fidelity to source material aside, it would have been nice to feel that protagonist death was POSSIBLE in this story. I never really felt like it was.

    I don't know, sometimes its good to think that the good guys can 'win' too! I always hate to see the good guys take the hit in a movie. Sure it adds more drama I guess, but sometimes just a cool story is nice too. And plus, its a major classic, there is no way anybody should try to adopt or change it!!!!!

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  cleireac on January 15th 2013, 9:44 am

    At the risk of spoiling, if you really want protagonist death, stick around for the other movies.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  mindspike on January 15th 2013, 7:54 pm

    Paeter wrote:I'd argue that the Hobbit was intended by Tolkien to be read before LOTR. To retain the tension of the book (and therefore more faithfully adapt the source material), I think this story should have been told first. The book doesn't have the bookends based on LOTR and when one starts with The Hobbit as a book we don't know (as far as I remember) that Bilbo will live.

    So despite the adaptation/hollywood timing issues to make allowance for, I don't think the film makes up for this lack of tension regarding Bilbo's safety. I would have loved for a few of the dwarves to get killed. I know, I know. Don't touch the sacred cow. But fidelity to source material aside, it would have been nice to feel that protagonist death was POSSIBLE in this story. I never really felt like it was.

    Paeter, I don't think you quite understand the purpose and origin of dramatic tension in stories. Here's some things to think about:

    Tension does not come from fear for the protagonist's safety, but from the discovery of the challenges facing the protagonist, and the steps he takes to overcome them. This is true in all forms of storytelling, from adventure to romance.

    The purpose of tension in the story is not to cause the reader/viewer/listener (consumer) to wonder if the protagonist will fail, but to cause the consumer to wonder what it is going to cost the protagonist to succeed. This creates emotional investment through comparison of the protagonist to one's self.

    Except for tragedy, no form of storytelling presents protagonist failure as a real possibility, except where failure at a stated goal reveals the value of character growth in others.

    Character death lacks dramatic impact entirely, and does not contribute to dramatic tension, except where the death of a secondary character is part of the cost the protagonist pays for success. This statement may require explanation. Consider the death of Obi-Wan in Star Wars. It is dramatic, not because the viewer is concerned that Obi-Wan lives and overcomes, but because it deprives Luke of a mentor. By contrast, Michael Meyers may kill off the entire cast of Halloween, and it will only provide the momentary thrill of shock without dramatic impact. Neither Jamie Lee Curtis nor Donald Pleasance is invested in the lives of the supporting characters.

    Tolkien subtitled The Hobbit: There and Back Again. The book is Biblo's memoirs. The reader knows from the outset that Bilbo will live.


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Guest on January 16th 2013, 4:28 am

    Paeter wrote:I'd argue that the Hobbit was intended by Tolkien to be read before LOTR.

    I don't think there can be much question of that; LotR was written for people who kept asking for more of the Hobbits. I get the impression that Tolkien still tried to make it accessible to readers who hadn't read The Hobbit. The LotR movies benefits from having Bilbo's history as something that the other characters remember with wonder.

    Paeter wrote:...despite the adaptation/hollywood timing issues to make allowance for, I don't think the film makes up for this lack of tension regarding Bilbo's safety. I would have loved for a few of the dwarves to get killed. I know, I know. Don't touch the sacred cow. But fidelity to source material aside, it would have been nice to feel that protagonist death was POSSIBLE in this story. I never really felt like it was.

    With regard to the issue of story tension, I felt like there were some moments that made me wonder, even having read (and listened to) the book several times. There was a moment with the peculiar "Stone Giants" sequence where it looked like a couple of dwarves had been crushed. When Bilbo gets separated from the company, it looks like he's taking a pretty serious fall...in the moment where he's falling, I personally was locked into the moment of what the movie was showing me, so there was a moment of disconnect when I didn't remember "Bilbo's supposed to live." Or, it may have been a sense of "How can he possibly survive this fall?" Toward the end, it looked like they were really tearing into Thorin Oakenshield. This is only my own personal experience of the movie, though, obviously I can't speak to other moviegoers gut reactions.

    I am familiar with people focusing on foreknowledge as a drain on dramatic tension, and even some who also regard dramatic tension as most evocative and effective when it comes to the mortality of the characters. I would say that the wave of prequel stories that seemed to become popular in the wake of George Lucas's Star Wars prequels has given us, individually, a sense of how well that method of story telling is going to work for us or not. Some people thought it was a terrible idea right from the start, for the reason Paeter mentions. Others wanted the particulars of how the SW history went down, on the notion that tension derives not from the knowledge of which characters die or turn evil, but how those events come about. Naturally some realized that their memories of how they imagined it differently was more satisfying that what was actually shown.

    I watched The Hobbit to see how it compares with the images my mind conjured up when reading the book. As a fan of Peter Jackson's earlier LotR movies, I wanted to see how he has visualized this other story of Tolkien's, what creative decisions PJ makes, ect.

    I'm not going to argue for or against a persons reaction to how well a story is going to convey drama and tension. I've tried to internalize the perspective of foreknowledge as a drain on dramatic effectiveness, as an exercise in empathy, but it doesn't have a hold for me personally, so it's difficult for me to understand the perspective. I realize it is a way that people approach all these stories, even if I don't get it.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Paeter on January 18th 2013, 2:17 am

    mindspike wrote:

    The purpose of tension in the story is not to cause the reader/viewer/listener (consumer) to wonder if the protagonist will fail, but to cause the consumer to wonder what it is going to cost the protagonist to succeed. This creates emotional investment through comparison of the protagonist to one's self.

    Except for tragedy, no form of storytelling presents protagonist failure as a real possibility, except where failure at a stated goal reveals the value of character growth in others.


    Tolkien subtitled The Hobbit: There and Back Again. The book is Biblo's memoirs. The reader knows from the outset that Bilbo will live.

    Some great points, Mindspike! I'd never considered this way of looking at it before. And I have to bow to your (and pretty much everyone else's) better memory and knowledge of Tolkien books. The Hobbit book is foggy in my mind at best.

    I'm not sure that your rule about the possibility of death outside tragedy is still relevant, or how long it will be if it still is. The reason being that I don't know going into a story whether or not it will be a "tragedy", because I haven't studied, nor do I look for, the tropes and clues to indicate the genre or formula of a story.

    I've run into enough movies and stories (not tragedies, though I won't name names to avoid spoilers) that bend genre or use twists to thwart my expectations. Because of this I've developed a sense that no one has to be safe, as a rule. Unless I sense the director is just playing it all safe, which is maybe what I was sensing here. Honestly, if it wasn't the lack of the possibility of death that sucked the tension away, I'm at a loss to figure out what it was.


    WHATEVER the cause, (maybe you can tell me better than I can identify it myself) this flick felt like Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, in that it was an amusement park funhouse for the protagonists to stumble their way through most of the time, with little or no concern on my part that anyone would be hurt, let alone killed.

    If your interpretation is valid here, I'd add that I certainly didn't think that Bilbo or anyone else would have to sacrifice much of anything to succeed.


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  BenAvery on January 18th 2013, 10:57 am

    Paeter wrote:
    If your interpretation is valid here, I'd add that I certainly didn't think that Bilbo or anyone else would have to sacrifice much of anything to succeed.

    Again, referring to Hank's post -- many personal sacrifices ARE made, and the characters do/will experience some great losses, made all the more tragic because of the relationships we have seen them have and build.

    For me, tension doesn't just come from watching characters face loss, tragedy, and sacrifice, but also from seeing them change and grow. In The Hobbit, Bilbo loses everything -- this journey breaks his relationships even more than they already were with the people in his home, because he has now experienced the "more" there is outside the Shire; the ring consumes him, and because this is a prequel we are watching the beginnings of what Bilbo becomes in Lord of the Rings, good and bad.

    But, I do agree with you Paeter, that there was not much tension in this movie. It felt like I was watching someone else play a video game -- like watching my buddy play Super Mario Bros. 3 flawlessly. It's amusing, but I have no vested interest in watching pixels jump through fantastical hoops.

    I think I did not feel much tension because I did not see the characters STRUGGLE through, until the end with the big climactic confrontation.

    I also did not feel much tension because that pale Orc (who was NEEDED in the movie, I fully agree with that change from book to movie!) was utilized TERRIBLY! He keeps saying he wants Thorin DEAD . . . and then instead of trying to do it himself, he puts out a bounty. SPOILER: In the final confrontation, he points out Thorin, says, "That one's mine!" Fights Thorin with the biggest of advantages, on his wolf, hardly breaks a sweat getting Thorin down . . . and then, with Thorin, the villain's ONE MOTIVATING GOAL TO BE THIS MOVIE'S VILLAIN, lying lifeless at his feet, the pale Orc tells someone else to kill him!

    Thorin took the pale Orc's HAND, destroyed the pale Orc's plan for domination, and he asks someone else to finish the job?!?!?

    This is a villain who doesn't take his job very seriously.

    Also, the prologue -- it was beautiful, but by putting the dwarves' story, and Thorin's motivation, in Bilbo's mouth, the audience loses that connection with Thorin . . . and Bilbo loses that early connection, which was to be part of his motivation to help. That was one change to the book they should not have made. Thorin should have told us, and Bilbo, what he was doing and why. I think we would care more about seeing Thorin succeed if we had heard, in his own words, why he wanted to succeed.

    That's why I didn't feel much tension. The stakes in this movie just felt low, by everyone, even the filmmakers.

    It is a good movie. I liked watching it both times. But those are two fatal flaws -- the villain is poorly written and the connection to the primary characters is not as strong as it needs to be for us to REALLY care about what happens to them.

    However, this al may change in light of the next two movies.

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  mindspike on January 18th 2013, 7:31 pm

    Paeter wrote:I've run into enough movies and stories (not tragedies, though I won't name names to avoid spoilers) that bend genre or use twists to thwart my expectations. Because of this I've developed a sense that no one has to be safe, as a rule. Unless I sense the director is just playing it all safe, which is maybe what I was sensing here. Honestly, if it wasn't the lack of the possibility of death that sucked the tension away, I'm at a loss to figure out what it was.

    WHATEVER the cause, (maybe you can tell me better than I can identify it myself) this flick felt like Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, in that it was an amusement park funhouse for the protagonists to stumble their way through most of the time, with little or no concern on my part that anyone would be hurt, let alone killed.

    If your interpretation is valid here, I'd add that I certainly didn't think that Bilbo or anyone else would have to sacrifice much of anything to succeed.

    On the subject of "no character is safe", let's consider the role of titular characters in comic books. Not only do you know going in that the lead character is going to live, but they're going to win. This is a particular type of continuity storytelling necessary to series fiction like comic books, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, etc. Dramatic tension must come from somewhere else in the story: the bad guys, the hero's suffering, changes in essential character type, or consequences to the supporting cast, for example.

    As for the lack of tension you experienced in The Hobbit - it appears you felt that the heroes simply didn't have to expend enough effort in order to overcome the obstacles in front of them. I can understand that; after all, we don't want our heroes to fail, we want them to suffer. This is the essence of good storytelling. I quite enjoyed The Hobbit part 1, took the action scenes in stride just as the dwarves did, winced along with Bilbo as his comforts were stripped away, and wondered just what it was going to take to get Thorin to accept Bilbo. This is series fiction, look for your drama within the character growth and interaction, and wait for part three before you start looking for casualties. I predict you will enjoy the films more.

    In the case of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, well, I feel that film strayed too far into camp and away from its pulp roots to be taken seriously.


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Paeter on January 18th 2013, 8:07 pm

    mindspike wrote:This is series fiction, look for your drama within the character growth and interaction, and wait for part three before you start looking for casualties. I predict you will enjoy the films more.

    I suspect you're right. Just would have loved to have enjoyed this one more.

    On a somewhat related note, does anyone think this story could've been told better in one or two parts rather than three? Too soon to say?


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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    Post  Guest on January 18th 2013, 10:55 pm

    Paeter wrote:On a somewhat related note, does anyone think this story could've been told better in one or two parts rather than three? Too soon to say?

    Yes. If there had to be a two-way split, there's a great cut-off spot having to do with the dragon, following which there was still a lot of story going on. I suspect this exact same cut-off will turn out to be the second movie's cut off.

    Frankly, I think they could have done The Hobbit in one movie. A look at the editions I've had for ages breaks down like this: The Hobbit has a page count that goes slightly over 300 pages. The Fellowship of the Ring volume goes slightly over the 500 pages mark. It's clear, too what stretches out The Hobbit in translation. Regarding The Hobbit and The Fellowship movies in contrast; Peter Jackson states on LotR commentaries that for the Fellowship he and his writing team pushed events as much as they could to get to the point where Frodo has to leave as quickly as they thought they could get away with it. Throughout the subsequent LotR movies, there's a little bit of a relaxation of that writing-push-tension to cut through fluff and get to the point, so that when getting to RotK, it takes the fullness of time that the film makers felt they wanted to, to the point where some reviewers have commented on fatigue from multiple endings. The Hobbit is in a sense a fourth movie continuing on from this trend, Peter Jackson forgot the sensibilities that made The Fellowship movie so dynamic. We didn't need to hit on every small point of Bilbo's Unexpected party (with added bit) from The Hobbit. We didn't need Stone-Giants, which is a couple paragraphs of the text, which happens so fast that it leaves the reader blinking and say, "What just happened? Did I just read what I think I just read, or was that a dream? Stone-Giants? Is he talking metaphorically about the storm?"

    The original break down was more to my liking; they planned to do The Hobbit as one movie, and then have a bridging movie that operates partly alongside the events of The Hobbit but off-screen, but also fills in the gap between The Hobbit and LotR. So a movie that functions as a "side"-quel/sequel to The Hobbit and prequel to LotR. That's what I wanted to see.

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