Movie Thread – Hobbits! An Unexpected Journey

Chally, Mary and the tigtogmob went to see The Hobbit today. I know that several other Hoyden authors and regular commentors have also seen the film recently.

It’s time to dish and spill. What did you think?

I was very happy to see Frodo and Gandalf and Galadriel and Elrond and Gollum again, Martin Freeman was heartbreaking, Richard Armitage was FINE, James Nesbitt was hilarious, Sylvester McCoy was delightful, and I called it wrong on who was playing the Chief Goblin – it wasn’t Chief Inspector Dalziel of the Yorkshire Constabulary at all!

I didn’t reread the book before the viewing, mostly because I couldn’t easily find it, but I’m glad I didn’t now – it meant that I couldn’t exactly remember which characters are wearing metaphorical red shirts. I also understand why some reviewers are calling the film padded, but personally? I enjoyed the complex details, and am looking forward to the next two films.

Categories: arts & entertainment

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17 replies

  1. I enjoyed it and loved all the extra bits but I am very annoyed that the waistcoat buttons scene was ALL WRONG. (Which is shorthand for me not understanding why some of the little things that could have been done true to the book, weren’t.)

  2. I was very disappointed, particularly as they completely rewrote Thorin’s character to be much more noble than in the book. He’s pretty self-important and long-winded in the novel and is very nasty and greedy after Smaug is killed. Too much Warging and not enough attention to detail!

  3. I had so much fun in that movie. I couldn’t understand why they changed a few things from the book, like the goblin rescuing bit (they could have made Bilbo a bit cleverer and the movie a bit shorter). Will definitely watch and rewatch once it comes to DVD.

  4. I thought the scenes with Gollum were superb, especially where Bilbo is nearly out, and Gollum is blocking his way.
    Also, the pantry raiding scene – some great one-liners there. And Bilbo the morning after the party…. all the excitement gone, and he’s back to ordinary life. It was beautifully realised.
    Thorin as great and noble – yes, it’s not exactly true to the book. On the other hand, hte rewrite of his character is much more consistent with his back story, and with the wider world of The Lord of the Rings.

  5. I am not especially familiar with book canon now (I am much more of a LotR fan and even that is fading now: I read it about 50 times in my teens and I think I have not read it again since Jackson’s trilogy was in cinemas). So these reactions are from the perspective of being more interested in the universe than the particular book:
    * I thought Bilbo did a good job of being likable and sympathetic whilst not wanting to be an adventurer. It’s very rational and he’s polite about it without being walked all over constantly. He’s much the same about Thorin’s distrust of him. So far I like the portrayal of Bilbo very much.
    * I am not a fan of Jackson’s huge fight and escape set pieces. I much preferred the Bilbo and Gollum scene to the simultaneous escape-from-goblins hijinks. How many times did people (dwarves) survive a drop of several hundred metres, in this movie?
    * I enjoyed Balin too: the less rash counselor of Thorin, and the one old enough to be keeping the faith in Thrór’s grandson and spreading tales of his deeds. Every time he was on-screen I was sad about his later thoroughly ill-advised and ill-fated attempt to re-take Moria. (I also wonder how strongly it will end up being motivated, after all, they’re all being set up to have a strong emotional connection with Erebor, not Moria, which is kind of the second-choice homeland here.)
    * I would have liked to see Saruman fall further: here he’s already portrayed as overly risk-averse in the moment and at the same time unwilling to act on major threats, and in addition he’s easily undermined, and fairly openly too. I would like to have seen some hint of Gandalf having reason to respect him. (It’s also not clear why he cannot tell or at least suspect that Galadriel and Gandalf can converse mind-to-mind. The book canon explanation would be that they — and Elrond, who also shows no sign of knowing about the mental speech — each have one of the Three Rings and Saruman does not. I don’t recall whether that’s movie canon or not.)
    * I also wanted some more screentime for or about Dáin, because he’s got such a major role to play soon. So far, as far as people who are insufficiently committed allies go, Thorin’s relationship with Thrainduil has been dealt with in far more detail.
    * The old eagles conundrum is alive and well in The Hobbit too!

  6. He changed Thorin? Noooooooooo! But what can be expected of a man who couldn’t get Faramir right, and changed Sam’s unshakeable fidelity.
    I don’t know why the man who made The Fellowship so wonderful can’t get the characters and waistcoat buttons right.

  7. I’m wondering how long it will be before the internets deliver some Very Secret Diaries of pervy dwarf fanciers. [VSDs of various pervy hobbit fanciers here]

  8. Andy Serkis. Quite remarkable.

  9. I felt that we had The Kili Problem in this film where we’d had The Legolas Problem in LotR, but partly in reverse. By which I mean: Jackson got rid of a lot of Legolas’ gorgeous characterisation in favour of making him eye candy, and Kili ended up with a whole lot more screen time, and a little more character, than in the book because far too many shots were positioned to figure Aidan Turner as eye candy. Which makes me sad because a) Aidan Turner is actually a real talent and b) in what is ostensibly an ensemble piece, there was far too much focus on some dwarves at the expense of others.

  10. I think they made Thorin heroic, yes, but he was still kind of a jerk to Bilbo, and clearly far too deeply in thrall to his obsessions – which are basically revenging injuries to his pride.
    Saruman’s dismissal of the evidence for the Necromancer reminded me a lot of the sort of arguments denying people put up when presented with evidence of discrimination (‘it’s just one morghul blade’ = ‘it’s just one or two women being harassed’ etc).
    Also annoyed by people falling great distances on to pointy rocks with no apparent injury. Note from the laws of physics: sitting in something while you fall does not help at all!

  11. I agree with angharad, I thought Saruman’s arguments for inaction rang really true. I enjoyed Gollum very much and was otherwise bored and disappointed. Too much stupid running around in scenery and not enough funny. Also I didn’t get the feel at all of Bilbo’s journey from grocer to burglar. He is already a hero, so where is there for his character arc to go now? How will the arkenstone episode have any meaning?

  12. I was mostly happy to ignore all the re-writing, but all those orcs running around in daylight was getting up my nose. I can understand that Jackson didn’t want to shoot the entire movie in the dark, but it grated.
    I agree with Mary that I would have liked to see Saruman as the great wizard he is supposed to have been. I read his total dismissal of threat as him having already gone to the dark side (to mix my lore) and discouraging the council from doing anything to stop the growing darkness. That may not have been the intention, but he was certainly well past great, wise wizard.
    Also agree that gravity was highly variable – but I mostly took the action sequences to be the comedy, so figured they were running on cartoon physics.

  13. Snuck off to see it in broad daylight today, while the wee fella was at pre-school, and felt really decadent. Was amazed at how much I was able to switch off my director brain and just accept whatever I was offered. I came out with no complaints because I was just so happy to be back amongst old friends.
    @Chally, my hunch is that all the extra screen time for Kili probably came less from a simple desire for eye candy than from Jackson discovering he had an actor with extremely high level physical skills, and deciding to make the most of it. Did you notice how often we saw him catch a thrown weapon, or do a trick spin with a sword? Those are moments you can’t count on getting from your actors, but if you find you have one who can do that, you milk it for all it’s worth!

  14. Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one who thought it was padded and overly long. IMHO it could have done with a bloody good edit. That could however, have something to do with us going to see it at 8.45pm when I was already tired and looking forward to sleep. But still as someone who doesn’t remember much of the story I don’t feel like I really know much about it from having seen the movie. Unlike LoTR where it sort of swept you up and carried you along anyway.

  15. Honestly, if they’d told me they were going to make it into twelve movies and each would be four hours, I would have said “okey dokey, hand ‘em over then”.

  16. I suspect, Orlando, that people like me will be in the minority and Jackson will still make a healthy profit 🙂

  17. James Daly analyses the movie’s contract between Bilbo and the dwarves, finding it surprisingly solid for a prop! (What Bilbo holds up in the movie isn’t just a piece of paper, it is in fact actually a giant contract.) There’s a couple of legal concerns, and one plot concern in that a part that isn’t read aloud probably invalidates Bilbo’s claim to his… particular piece of treasure, but pretty impressive devotion from the props department there!

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