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Minas Tirith Forums » New Line Cinema's Hobbit » Reviews (Page 4)
Author Topic: Reviews
Cernunnos
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Overall, I enjoyed the movie very much. Won't add much more now, 'cos it's late, but one point: I think PJ (& partner, no doubt), have been at some pains to put in things for the Tolkien-geek, even tho' there are obviously quite a few changes (some justifiable - or at least defensible: you can see what he was trying to do - some less so). Very few film-makers would, I think, have dared to include so many otherwise unexplained names, eg 'Gundabad wargs, Rhosgobel rabbits', Witch-King of Angmar, Trollshaws, Ungoliant; having Gandalf casually addressed as Mithrandir half the time; the Blue Wizards. Also the hardly necessary (but fun) Bullroarer Took and golf-origin anecdote. Also, TWO dwarf-songs!
Also, characterising the dwarves in detail (must have been great fun making stuff up!), making them more individual, less silly; more like the formidable Khazâd of LotR or The Sil, in fact. That was a genuine improvement, and in fact arguably necessary if you're going to make the book into a film at all. Thus Bofur - surely one of the least characterised of all the dwarves in the original book - turns into an interesting, sympathetic character. Of course, James Nesbitt's nice (Northern) Irish accent helps!

By the way, re the deer-riding elf-king, surely Thranduil's mount is meant to be (or suggest) the megaloceros or 'Irish elk' (actually once found throughout northern Eurasia), just as the mumâkil remind one of mammoths or other prehistoric elephant species, and the nazgûls' winged beasts pterosaurs.

[ 06-14-2013, 10:22 PM: Message edited by: Cernunnos ]

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Numenorean Sword Trainer
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Not to mention Dol Guldur being "abandoned," when Gandalf had entered there and gotten the key and map from Thrain there, as prisoner of The Necromancer.

I realize the need for simplification, but this is hardly that.
More like convolution, which inevitably leads to deus ex machina since they write themselves into a corner.

[ 01-07-2013, 02:38 AM: Message edited by: Numenorean Sword Trainer ]

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Tigranes
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quote:
By the way, re the deer-riding elf-king, surely Thranduil's mount is meant to be (or suggest) the megaloceros or 'Irish elk' (actually once found throughout northern Eurasia), just as the mumâkil remind one of mammoths or other prehistoric elephant species, and the nazgûls' winged beasts pterodactyls.
Just like I said...
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Roll of Honor The DarkQueen Iauraearien
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quote:
the nazgûls' winged beasts pterodactyls.
I was a massive dinosaur nerd as a kid and I can't say I've ever looked at a nazgul and thought "zomg it's a pterodactyl!", same goes for the muma-moth.
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Cernunnos
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Tolkien himself suggested this in one of his published letters. Not that they are pterodactyls per se, but 'pterodactylic', suggesting survivors from a more ancient world.

For pterodactyl read pterosaur (approved correct modern usage).

[ 06-14-2013, 10:23 PM: Message edited by: Cernunnos ]

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Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

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Madomir
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In the book I was certainly reminded of pterodactyls, not so much with the movie. Can't find how JRRT described them, but a featherless birdlike thing would definitely conjure the vision of a pterodactyl. The movie beast was different, the snakelike neck blew the pterodactyl image away. I'd like to find Tolkien's description to see if that neck is somewhat accurate.
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Roll of Honor The DarkQueen Iauraearien
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Tolkien may have suggested it, but it would NEVER in a million years have occured to me in either book or film. More wyvern than dinosaur IMO.
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Madomir
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So funny how different people envision different things. I would never have thought of a wyvern, seems too dragonish. I have a tendancy to relate these creatures to what I consider similar real life creatures (live or extinct), so thinking pterodactyl in this instance is a much more natural jump for me than some mythical animal.
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Roll of Honor The DarkQueen Iauraearien
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Well, just about everything else is nicked from Norse myths... []
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Aiwrendel
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As long as this discussion is way off topic, I thought I'd contribute to its derailment. []

I didn't think pterodactyl when I read the book, rather a combination or hybrid of bat, vulture, pterodactyl, eagle, and perhaps more. Something totally different than anything we know (like the Oliphaunt looking like a hybrid of mammoth, mastadon, and elephant.)

The only physical descriptions Tolkien made of the beast that I know are in RotK, Chapter 6, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields:
"...if bird, then greater than all other birds, and it was naked, and neither quill nor feather did it bear, and its vast pinions were as webs of hide between horned fingers..."
"...settled upon the body of Snowmane, digging in its claws, stooping its long naked neck."
"...then swiftly fell down upon Éowyn, shrieking, striking with beak and claw."

I'm not sure Tolkien meant "beak" literally or metaphorically (like Balrog "wings" [] ) He also doesn't say how long its neck was so the movie version could be close. :shrug:

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Cernunnos
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Two or three points re the movie:

From the first, it seems to have been determined to tie TH into the (in the Middle-earth 'universe') 'later' films: from this certain changes and additions inevitably flowed. I have no objection to making TH less childish - JRRT himself seems to have 'grown up' as he wrote it, moving from an often tedious archness to an epic tone which anticipates LotR at its noblest (eg the death of Thorin). I once did an exercise whereby I went thro' the text of TH, crossing out every un-needed/patronising expression (such as the innumerable times Bilbo is described as 'little'), and I flatter myself, considerably improved the text! I hasten to add, it was a well-thumbed paperback from a charity shop that I used! Actually, there is sufficient light-heartedness retained in the earlier part of the film (more than I thought there would be, in fact) to echo Tolkien's 'tone' when Bilbo first meets the dwarves and 'doesn't realise how fatuous they thought him' (a phrase from a post-LotR work that I am sure PJ must have kept in mind). Bringing in Radagast as a 'devise' to explain the Necromancer/Dol Guldur/the shadow on Mirkwood I think works, tho' of course the chronology is much compressed. It would have been very difficult to show everything Tolkien describes (or hints at) in a film already very long. Radagast was well characterised by Sylvester McCoy (did I hear right - he called one of the hedgehogs 'Sylvester'?): a being who so identifies with the natural world he has practically become part of the landscape.

Second point is less positive, and perhaps paradoxical: there was FAR TOO MUCH ACTION! Showing the storm giants fighting (I'm quite surprised they WERE shown, by the way) would have been enough. The Company didn't have to be almost cast over the cliff AS WELL! Thorin did not have to rescue Bilbo almost going over the edge. All of them being threatened by wolves and fire would have been enough. They didn't have to have the 'last tree' almost falling over the cliff/Thorin fighting Azog/Bilbo trying to rescue him AS WELL! It flattens everything out, and makes the whole thing less plausible. Ironically, when such exquisite care has been given to carefully ageing costumes/props, making sure everyone looks the 'right size' (as the dwarves - admirably - did all the time), putting in barely-glimpsed scenery, artefacts, etc.

One truly dreadful error, for which I can see there were reasons, but for which there can be no excuse: Bilbo SEES GOLLUM LOSE THE RING. He does not put his hand out and find it 'blindly, in the dark'. I don't object to it not being 'dark' - obviously, a source of light (all the better for being unspecified) had to be introduced in a film. But that he does not find it 'by chance (as we say in Middle-earth)' alters the whole moral tone of the story. This is all the worse as the excellently-realised riddle-scene immediately follows (how many other directors would have put in so many of the riddles?).

There were at least three truly dreadful errors of the same kind in TTT/RotK: firstly, Frodo LIES TO FARAMIR; this was a terrible betrayal of his character. It was bad enough he got dragged off to Osgiliath, but this was unforgivable. Secondly, HE TURNS AGAINST SAM BECAUSE OF GOLLUM'S TRICKERY. Even tho' temporary, this was appaling. Lastly, the 'Dead Army' actually has PHYSICAL power to overcome the enemies at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, as opposed to merely sowing terror - turning Sauron's own best weapon against him. Aragorn would never have used anything so vile. Particularly jarring following the utterly sublime charge of the Rohirrim - surely one of the most uplifting and moving sequences ever put on film (as indeed it is in the book). The 'flattening' effect mentioned above was also manifest in RotK - eg it should have been enough for Frodo to lose his finger, and the Ring. He didn't have to (almost) fall into the fiery abyss AS WELL. It should have been enough for Sauron's army to be put to flight after the fall of Barad-dûr: they didn't have to be swallowed up by an earthquake!

That's enough for now.

[ 01-14-2013, 12:08 AM: Message edited by: Cernunnos ]

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Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

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Madomir
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PJ's displayed this tendancy to overdo it from the start. He has no sense of subtlety whatsoever, opting rather to attempt to give everything a 'blockbuster' quality.

In LotR, It's not enough to bring down the mumakil, Legolas has to do it with laws-of-physics defying, Spidermanesque flair. Same with Sauron's flaming eyeball, and of course the Mouth of Sauron. Nowhere is he described as a monster but the concept of appearing fair and feeling foul seems to have been completely lost on PJ.

The Army of the Dead just made no sense on so many levels. In addition to the moral dilemma Cernunnos raised, it also makes absolutely no sense strategically. If the Army of the Dead can simply eradicate an entire enemy force with no loss of life for the 'good guys' (since they're already dead); why then would Aragorn or any commander send live men into battle? It's utterly ridiculous. Bring the Dead to the Black Gate (they're still fighting Sauron so the Dead are still bound by oath) wipe out Sauron's forces, save thousands of lives for the Westerners and THEN release the Dead from their oath. The whole sequence is simply maddening.

In the Hobbit, the tree scene was one of the worst in this regard; trailing perhaps only the stone transformers. It's just so over the top, a pack of wild dogs somehow toppling and uprooting trees like dominos, all except the most vulnerable one of course, the one nearest the cliff (why a cliff anyway?), somehow this one tree miraculously hangs on til the last possible second. Of course Thorin battles a long dead one handed orc with a 140 year old stick. Then naturally, in one of the casualties of splitting this into a trilogy, Bilbo's character arc is completely rushed and he prematurely becomes a hero. Apparently PJ lacked the patience to allow Bilbo to develop slowly, couldn't have the little Hobbit thought of as weak at the end of episode one, so where does he go from here? Does Bilbo play the role of Wonder Hobbit for the last 2 installments? Does he ascend to such a level that he eventually defeats Smaug himself?

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Roll of Honor The DarkQueen Iauraearien
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quote:
In LotR, It's not enough to bring down the mumakil, Legolas has to do it with laws-of-physics defying, Spidermanesque flair. Same with Sauron's flaming eyeball, and of course the Mouth of Sauron. Nowhere is he described as a monster but the concept of appearing fair and feeling foul seems to have been completely lost on PJ.
quote:
A tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse... - Return of the King

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Cernunnos
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quote:
Bilbo . . . the Wonder Hobbit
LOL!

[ 01-14-2013, 12:04 AM: Message edited by: Cernunnos ]

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Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

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Numenorean Sword Trainer
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Madomir:
quote:
In the book I was certainly reminded of pterodactyls, not so much with the movie. Can't find how JRRT described them, but a featherless birdlike thing would definitely conjure the vision of a pterodactyl. The movie beast was different, the snakelike neck blew the pterodactyl image away. I'd like to find Tolkien's description to see if that neck is somewhat accurate.
From Letters 211: "Did the Witch-king ride a pterodactyl at the siege of Gondor?"


Answer: "Yes and no. I did not intend the steed of the Witch-King to be what is now called a 'pterodactyl', and often is drawn (with rather less shadowy evidence than lies behind many monsters of the new and fascinating semi-scientific mythology of the 'Prehistoric'). But obviously it is pterodactylic and owes much to the new mythology, and its description even provides a sort of way in which it could be a last survivor of older geological eras."

Giving my own input, pterodactyls were very small dinosaurs,being about 1 meter in wingspan; and so the fell-beasts would be pterosaurs of similar form but great dimensions, apparently capable of carrying two people for great distances at high speeds, while looking like a great carrion-bird and having eagle-like vision as Frodo intoned.
So a Tolkien-image of the steed might look somewhat like a pterodactyl but at about 15 times the scale, similar to a velociraptor vs. a T-Rex.

Note that the text also said that Sauron "took it, and nursed it with fell meats, until it grew beyond the measure of all other things that fly;" and so it was a pterosaur of size unseen in all real-world paleontology, but more like dinosaur-movies.
I'd venture that Tolkien was not implying that even Sauron could grow something to a scale of 15 or more simply by careful feeding, therefore this would be a larger variant of pterosaur.
In any case, I hope that answers your question.

[ 01-14-2013, 01:57 AM: Message edited by: Numenorean Sword Trainer ]

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Numenorean Sword Trainer
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Again I have to issue the question: when the orcs simply dragged Azog into Khazad-dum, why did the Dwarves not follow him? This would have been a good set-up of why Gandalf didn't want to pass through Moria in Fellowship, but for some unknown reason they just let Azog go rather than re-taking Kkazad-dum, which was their entire purpose for being there.

I'd say the reason for this failure, is that the Fellowship movie implied that the balrog was the enemy of the orcs as well as of the Dwarves, since they had the Fellowship surrounded, but all ran scurrying when the balrog appeared.
However this is a mistake, since it was their commander; but the balrog was so terrifying that the orcs were afraid of it, even though it was on their side, just like the orcs of Cirith Ungol said regarding the Nazgul.

Of course this is doesn't explain why Azog's army wasn't afraid of the balrog, but that's another story.

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Roll of Honor Éomer
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It's possible they might explain it later in the trilogy, maybe after Dáin shows up.
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Radagast the Squib
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I feel like crying...

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Sing all ye people!

A simple task!

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Cernunnos
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Hand that wizard a hankie . . .

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Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

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Numenorean Sword Trainer
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Squibs aren't wizards! []
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eldon
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I've seen the Hobbit twice now and say the movie is worth the price of admission for the New Zealand landscapes alone. There are detrimental additions, as others have noted, but at least the gist of the story is in movie form for the public at large.

The costumes and workmanship of detail were fantastic in the Shire, Erebor and Rivendell even though the elves are too stodgy. Saruman's disdain for Radagast makes me like the brown wizard all the more, though there could have been several impovements made in his representation.

Like others I hope better for the next installments, though two movies certainly would have sufficed. The mountain trolls were also well done, though Gandalf is robbed of his tricky insertions into their dispute, yet credited with splitting a stone with his staff to reveal the sunrise.

Though the Hobbit was somewhere around 70% of the movie it should have been, that 70% still holds more interest for me than anything else presently on the big screen.

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Cernunnos
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quote:
70% of the movie it should have been
Sounds about right.

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Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

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Madomir
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quote:
Madomir: and of course the Mouth of Sauron. Nowhere is he described as a monster but the concept of appearing fair and feeling foul seems to have been completely lost on PJ.

quote:
DQ: A tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse
DQ that quote is misleading taken out of context like that. The 'tall and evil shape' describes the image the good guys see from a distance of the Mouth in his black robe and "lofty helm". It hardly describes him as a poster child for gingivitis as PJ portrayed him.

Return of the King also goes on to describe the Mouth as a living man, possibly a Black Numenorean, it never describes him as hideous or monsterous. In fact most descriptions of Numenoreans in general have them as very fair.

Again, evil need not be ugly (just look at Ted Bundy), but PJ's Mouth doesn't even appear to be completely human.

[ 01-17-2013, 08:00 AM: Message edited by: Madomir ]

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Roll of Honor The DarkQueen Iauraearien
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Nor is he ever described as being "fair", Madomir. Personally, I doubt anyone would remain fair after skulking around in Mordor for any length of time, Numenorean or no.

[ 01-17-2013, 08:11 PM: Message edited by: The DarkQueen Iauraearien ]

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Maia Olorin
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PJ did go over the top on MoS, which is possibly why he didn't make the cut on the theatrical version. Anyways, wrong movie.
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