The Hobbit


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I think that's the reason it was split into three films: they wanted to get EVERYTHING into the theater.

No, this was split into three films because New Line and/or Jackson want your $36, not your $12.

They could have easily gotten everything in the book onto the screen and STILL have it be shorter than this was. What the planet of fuck was Radagast doing here? He barely merits a mention in the books but gets a 45-minute subplot here? On a rabbit sled? Seriously? All Hail McCoy, don't get me wrong, but seriously?

The thing is, the vast vast majority of shooting was finished before they actually made the decision to make it three movies instead of two. I'm pretty sure Jackson and friends just threw literally everything they could think of into the script, then Jackson shot it so it took far far longer than even THAT needed. If the box office was all they were concerned about with making it a trilogy, then they could have edited this down, kept all the important parts, and had a two-hour film that would be able to play more times per day in the theater.

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The spectacle was good, but it felt clunky in a lot of spots. The 1 movie vs trilogy argument depends on what movie you are going for, if it's a journeyman type thing, it could easily have been one movie. If it's a big war type adventure that you are looking for, then the trilogy makes sense. As always the fight scenes are amazing, but the dialogue was average at best.I thought the guy from Spooks who played Thorin was pretty good though.

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  • 10 months later...

So I saw The Desolation of Smaug last night. In short, I liked it a lot.

I wasn't too thrilled with the first Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey. Not that it was bad, per se, just that it was incredibly long and boring. And this is coming from me, an extremely dedicated Tolkien fan who believes that no one should ever watch anything less than the full extended editions of The Lord of the Rings. I once read a review of An Unexpected Journey that compared it to a calm, leisurely drive through Middle-Earth, as opposed to the masterful action drama of The Lord of the Rings. If that's the case, then The Desolation of Smaug is akin to jumping into a Ferrari and blasting through Middle Earth, engine screaming and adrenaline pumping.

TDOS takes quite a few liberties with the book, adding in natural context in some areas, altering select moments, and sometimes creating things that are entirely new. The end result is something that seems like it should infuriate a Tolkien diehard like myself, but it's all handled with so much love—and so much fun—that it's easy to accept. After all, The Hobbit, as a book, was a largely shallow story, focused more on entertaining children than delivering a powerful dramatic narrative. The fact that the dramatic context of The Lord of the Rings is retroactively applied to The Hobbit's story in these films—something that Tolkien himself attempted to do in written form but never finished in full—is a welcome change.

When the Hobbit film trilogy is finished, TDOS will probably be labeled "the action film." There's about as much fighting in this movie as there was walking and eating in the last film—which is, to say, a metric ton of it. If you walk into TDOS expecting or wanting to see lots and lots of epic fantasy action (as I did), you will be very pleased. Furthermore, even though the movie is just over 2.5 hours, it clips along at a rather quick pace, all things considered. When watching An Unexpected Journey, I felt that it needed trimming, but with TDOS I constantly felt that it was cutting from scene to scene unusually quickly. I suspect quite a lot of the movie is on the cutting room floor; the extended edition is sure to be much longer.

Some notes on the characters:
-Legolas shows up and kicks all the orc asses. Hooray!
-Thranduil was wonderfully venomous.
-Tauriel was enjoyable to watch, though without knowing where her story is going it's hard to tell what her purpose is. She seems to represent the opposing philosophical viewpoint to Thranduil, but given that there isn't any payoff for that yet, her story isn't satisfied as of yet. But, like Legolas, she also kicks all the orc asses, so hooray!
-Bard the Bowman was really well-acted and -written; I look forward to seeing how his story progresses. It's great to have so much depth given to a character that was totally underdeveloped in the book.
-Smaug the dragon is incredible. Seriously, this has to be the best movie dragon of all time. I'm still more than a little in awe of how well-realized he is in this movie.

Now, as positive as I've been on this film, I do want to clarify that it is not, in any way, on the same level as The Lord of the Rings. This is not the triumphant return to the epic cinematic mastery of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is, quite simply, a very fun chapter in a three-part story. But on that level, it's really enjoyable. I plan on seeing it again as soon as possible.

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All right. *rubs hands together*

First off, I actually agree with you on a few points! *GASP* Smaug was probably one of the few parts of the movie I was actually engaged in. The action sequences with him, while ultimately more to show off the CGI, were fun. The T elves (Thranduil and Tauriel) were fantastic, and I'm really happy that Tauriel ended up being more than just The Love Interest. Also cute: Stephen Colbert's cameo in Laketown. And the barrel escape scene was fantastic.

However, the points where I actively enjoyed the movie were way outweighed by me wanting to throw things at the screen. Post taken below spoilers.

This movie is REALLY showing signs of scrambling to find material to fill the third movie and the fact of just how big a role Legolas plays in this film is probably the key area where this shows. Mirkwood, (the part that actually involves Bilbo, the Dwarves, and their escape), is done and over with by one hour into the movie. One third of the remaining movie is spent going back to Mirkwood, focusing on Legolas and his angst eyes at Tauriel and his dad, and having him show up for whatever fucking reason in Laketown to take out the Pale Orc's subcommander (who spends the entirety of this movie stalking and attacking the party). I know that the original LotR films were what got Bloom his big break, along with Pirates, but there was absolutely no need to have him play as big a role in this as he did. Brief cameo in Mirkwood was all that he needed to do, especially the cute bit with lol he made fun of bitty Gimli. His role in this film should've ended when the dwarves escaped via barrel. To sum up, a friend of mine on Tumblr said something to the effect of HE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE.

Also, I'm calling it now: Tauriel is going to die in the Battle of the Five Armies, possibly right about the same time as/earlier than Kili. I honestly can't see her story ending any other way at this point, cause then they have to explain where the fuck she went between the end of next movie and Fellowship, and no way will Thranduil see her point any other way at this point. Which, :/.

The second third of the movie is spent on the Necromancer subplot and them being all ZOMG SAURON IS COMING OH NOEZ. The point of the Hobbit, as a book, was that it was a more peaceful time and people had no fucking clue that Sauron was back. Here, THEY POINT BLANK TELL GANDALF HAY GUYS WE'RE BACK. That Gandalf apparently lets the problem fester another fifty to ninety years (what's the gap between the end of the Hobbit and Fellowship again?) when even fucking Tauriel over in Mirkwood can tell HAY GUYZ SAURON'S BACK makes him look like a fucking idiot, and incredibly irresponsible to boot.

Also, the continued Orc bs is just eye-rolling at this point.

Can someone explain the point of having Thranduil secretly being TwoFace? That, and the only reason I knew anything about the White Gems was that I actually found and watched the Extended Edition; if I hadn't, I wouldn't have had any clue what the fuck he was talking about.

That leaves one third of the time left for the characters that are actually the center of the whole plot, and their banter takes a hit for it. The vast majority of the dwarves' time on screen, when not in action sequences, is spent in chess piece storytelling (see the Nostalgia Critic's review of the Last Airbender for a good summary of this) and manufactured drama. What is the point of splitting the party the way that they did, other than to get Kili and Tauriel more screen time? And even then, why the hell would they put him with Bard? If the Master is even a quarter of the schemer they portray him to be, he should've been falling over himself to make sure that Kili gets nothing but the best of care, because you know what that means for upcoming events? HE HAS THE HEIRS TO THE KING HOSTAGE FOR NEGOTIATIONS.

Also, right about the time when Smaug was headed down to Laketown, I realized that oh hey we're running low on screen time, but there's no way they would actually just abruptly end there like that in an attempt at a cliffhanger... and then they did. There was just this stunned silence a minute into the credits in my theater, and someone actually said "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME". Holy god, PACING, people.

I'm willing to bet there's stuff that will address some of my issues in the inevitable extended edition. But this is clearly meant to be the GRIMDARK movie, and it's jumbled as hell and can't seem to figure out what it's about.

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  • 3 months later...

There's just a scene with Bilbo sat on a tree stump eating a Sainsburys meal deal. Straight up, ten minutes long, done between scenes, Chicken and stuffing sandwich, apple slices and a bottle of water. He plays on his phone for a couple of minutes but gets bored.

Gandalf spends 8 minutes trying to fish the cord out of his hoodie. A PA helps. Gandalf comments that he really should have tied knots in the string, this always happens with new hoodies he buys.

Benedict Cumberbatch smokes a cigarette outside the VoiceOver studio. He's trying to look a bit anonymous but a Sherlock fan asks him to take a selfie with her, which he does. He stubs out the cigarette, since it's clear he's not going to get peace outside an returns to the studio.

The makeup lady is filmed for 12 straight minutes dozing in her chair during a night shoot. Someone comes in the room but we don't see them, they leave to avoid waking her.

Peter Jackson brushing his teeth. He hums to himself a little. Practices his Spanish accent pretending like Guillermo Del Toro stayed on the job and was directing instead. The camera cuts away as he takes a piss.

Vigo Mortenson catches a cab in London. He doesn't exchange any conversation with the driver. He's going to an address we don't know. 7 minutes.

Charlie from Lost in a doctors waiting room. He's reading top gear magazine, Jeremy Clarkson is rating the new hot hatchbacks. 22 minutes.

All in the final movie.

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So they're not splitting the finale up; they're just retitling it. From Peter Jackson's Facebook page:

Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo's own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we've gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the "Desolation of Smaug".

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.
And so: "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" it is.

As Professor Tolkien intended, “There and Back Again” encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.

Before then however, we have a film to finish, and much to share with you. It’s been a nice quiet time for us—Jabez and I happily editing away in a dark cave in Wellington—but those halcyon days are quickly coming to an end. It will soon be time to step into the light. Expect to see and hear much about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in the coming months.

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  • 7 months later...

I'm gonna go see this, because mostly I want to see the reactions of everyone in the theater who's never read the book. Someone I respect has actually called it a proper D&D epic, so if nothing else I'm hoping for some fun battle scenes and pretty people to look at.

Ended up watching the extended edition of Smaug all the way through finally. I say finally because the other two times I've watched it it's managed to put me to sleep about a third of the way through. Weirdly enough, there's stuff in the extended edition (stuff with Thorin's dad, what the hell Gandalf is actually up to, etc) that make the second film make sense. Like, if they had cut it so that some of the extended edition stuff was in and they took out some of the padding elsewhere in the film, they might've had a coherent narrative.

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