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The UnPopular Opinion: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

03.12.2014

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

Do you remember where you were when STAR WARS: EPISODE I was announced?  Do you remember how excited you got knowing that the man who shepherded a landmark science fiction/fantasy trilogy would be returning to helm a series of prequels?  Do you remember the anticipation as trailers and information leaked out abou the story, plot, and casting of those movies?  Do you remember that feeling that there was no way they could possibly suck?  That is how I felt when Peter Jackson announced THE HOBBIT films.  Sure, I was apprehensive when Guillermo Del Toro left and Jackson had to step back behind the camera, but I still trusted the vision of the man who brought us THE LORD OF THE RINGS.  All of the major players were coming back, including Ian McKellen, to bring THE HOBBIT to life and the trailers were a thing of beauty.  And then, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY hit theaters.

Never in my film-going life have I wanted to love a movie so badly and been so disappointed,  Maybe I set my expectations too high, but how could you not be expecting top notch filmmaking after RETURN OF THE KING won Best Picture at the Academy Awards?  There has always been an excess to THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, something that did not translate as effectively with either THE LOVELY BONES or KING KONG.  While I enjoyed both of those movies, they felt like they were being made grander than they needed to be.  The biggest warning sign with THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY was that it was a slim volume that was made into a 9 hour trilogy.  Making THE LORD OF THE RINGS as three films made sense since the massive scope of the novel could not be contained into a single movie.  But, THE HOBBIT has always been looked at as the "kid friendly" version of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.  Why do we need to mess with that?

Even the lists in this movie are unnecessarily long.  What the hell.

We can say it was in pursuit of the almighty dollar, but that is not fair.  Peter Jackson's ambition to translate THE LORD OF THE RINGS was a massive success, so why not try and do it again.  Neither of his films after RETURN OF THE KING reached the level of acclaim that he gained with his Tolkien trilogy, so why not try and mimic it?  The result is a glossy and unrealistic mess that diminishes the purpose of what he set out to make.  That is without even taking into account the use of 48fps and 3D which reduce the film's quality in their own right.  Something just doesn't feel right about THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and it becomes very apparent on repeat viewings of the movie.

It hurts me to say this, but I think one of the biggest problems is Martin Freeman.  I love everything the guy has been in from the original version of THE OFFICE to THE WORLD'S END and most recently SHERLOCK, but he just does not embody the Bilbo Baggins we came to love in Iam Holm's portrayal.  Freeman's take on Bilbo is a stuttered, anxious, and very British character who doesn't quite embrace the adventure he is going on the way Frodo did in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING.  Where that film got moving after a prologue and introduction to the characters, we do not begin to see Bilbo evolve until the final minutes of AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY.  When expanding a story like THE HOBBIT from a short work to a three volume movie, your first film cannot be over two hours of introduction.

Like about seventy-five minutes of this movie, this scene serves no purpose.

Peter Jackson himself said if he had kept this a two film project, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY would have ended with the barrel chase down the river that serves to open THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG.  Instead, the movie ends with a non-ending.  None of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies ended in an unsatisfying way.  Each had cliffhangers and unresolved plot elements, but they can be watched as distinct films on their own.  THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY serves to function as an opening with no satisfying end.  And that is even with added plot elements from Tolkien's appendices and other works.  So much about THE HOBBIT is beloved that there was no doubt that fans of the original work would be disappointed by the changes, but even those who have never read the novel can see where this film is stretched to what barely passes for a standalone movie.  Yes, it is great seeing Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm, and Elijah Wood back in character, but of all those roles, only McKellen and Serkis are necessary.  The rest seem like box office padding in the event the rest of the "unknown" cast are not good enough to make the movie a hit.

It was clear from the moment we heard Gollum's return in the trailer that THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY was going to be a nostalgic return to those bygone days of 2003 when the world fell in love for the hilarious little monster.  But, while Andy Serkis lent a humanity to Gollum rarely seen in CGI creations, the rest of the characters in this movie feel two dimensional.  We love Gandalf because we know him.  We tolerate Bilbo because we have met him before.  But, the cast of dwarves here are all interchangeable and do not feel distinct enough to be unique characters.  I defy you to name any of them aside from Thorin Oakenshield.  Thorin is portrayed as a stand-in for Viggo Mortensen as there truly is not character on par with Aragorn since Bard the Bowman was relegated to THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG.  But, Thorin is remarkably unlikeable, no matter how hard Richard Armitage tries.  Even Radagast the Brown, a minor character in the books, is bulked up to be more than necessary to further the enhanced Necromancer storyline for the films.

I love this cartoon!

From the sweeping landscape shots of beautiful New Zealand to the innovative character and set design, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY feels like a welcome return to Middle-Earth, despite the fact that it is now a hyper-colored, CGI-laden mess.  THE LORD OF THE RINGS injected the viewer into the world of trolls, orcs, and elves without the need for gimmicks like 3D or High Frame Rate.  The special effects work from WETA was mind-boggling in how amazing it looked in those films that it is a damn shame to see what looks like shoddy work in THE HOBBIT films.  Suddenly, every non-human character looks computer-generated whereas they felt seamless and part of the world in the prior films.  Add in the High Frame Rate and you suddenly remove any hope for this movie to look real.  Taking the layer of film we have been accustomed to away, HFR makes the picture crystal clear and amazingly crisp.  That is all fine and dandy, but it also takes away the buffer that allows visual effects artists to blend their creations with the physically filmed footage.  Now, you can clearly see what was added and manipulated which also removes any magic from the screen.

Where Peter Jackson was once able to create the impossible on the big screen, that curtain has been pulled away.  It feels that with THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, Jackson has used up the last cinematic tricks he had up his sleeve.  He got a taste of what success can afford a talented filmmaker and parlayed that into a pair of films that did not reach those same heights.  But, now with what was essentially a blank check to make a movie greater and grander than THE LORD OF THE RINGS, he has instead done what many accused George Lucas of doing with his prequels: he has gotten in his own way.  Guillermo Del Toro directing THE HOBBIT would have afforded another director the chance to realize magic on screen with Jackson's guidance.  Instead, Jackson has no one to slap his hand and tell him when enough is enough.  The result is an utter disappointment for a project that should have been on par with it's predecessors.  Don't even get me started on THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to alexmaidy@joblo.com, spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!

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6:44PM on 03/13/2014
As someone who enjoys these movies I can understand a majority of the criticisms and even find myself siding with them as well. The Lord of the Rings are my favorite movies of all-time and The Hobbit movies are nowhere close to those, let alone in the same breath. The complaints of too much CGI, a cartoonish atmosphere and a less grounded realism are completely valid IMO. I understand the source material of The Hobbit was aimed more towards children but it just doesn't work when you go
As someone who enjoys these movies I can understand a majority of the criticisms and even find myself siding with them as well. The Lord of the Rings are my favorite movies of all-time and The Hobbit movies are nowhere close to those, let alone in the same breath. The complaints of too much CGI, a cartoonish atmosphere and a less grounded realism are completely valid IMO. I understand the source material of The Hobbit was aimed more towards children but it just doesn't work when you go backwards in the storytelling that way. You're right about the continuity as it feels that there is no chance a scene like Amon Hen would EVER WORK in the tone of An Unexpected Journey. When you have characters cutting down hordes upon hordes of orcs and goblins it completely takes the tension away from the action and you're left with something that looks too much like a video-game. While there are more than enough bright spots for me there are a handful (or more) of pitfalls that always prevented me from truly embracing them without scratching my head and wondering what Jackson was thinking.
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10:13AM on 03/13/2014

Agreed on all points!

I have so many Die Hard Tolkien fans in my circle of family and friends and I've had to have this debate so many times. I was disappointed. Not because it wasn't all so beautiful to look at... Set design, costuming, new Zealand! but we've been here before, why change what works. Gollum was the most entertaining part to me. I was worried when they stated it was going to be another trilogy, why? why stretch it out? I was bored by the end, which sucked. I still haven't seen Desolation of Smaug for
I have so many Die Hard Tolkien fans in my circle of family and friends and I've had to have this debate so many times. I was disappointed. Not because it wasn't all so beautiful to look at... Set design, costuming, new Zealand! but we've been here before, why change what works. Gollum was the most entertaining part to me. I was worried when they stated it was going to be another trilogy, why? why stretch it out? I was bored by the end, which sucked. I still haven't seen Desolation of Smaug for those reasons, as tempting as seeing the dragon is I can't fork over the money knowing that the first one left me wanting more by seeing less.
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7:04AM on 03/13/2014

I wanted to like this movie so much but......

I just couldn't do it. Were my expectations too high? They might have been, seeing as how I believe the LOTR trilogy was one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history. But TH:AUJ simply bored me to tears. And I feel that the reason for that is simplicity itself: the movie was WAAYYY too padded out, which makes sense given the slim tome it was based off of. Any way you look at it, you gotta admit that the original trilogy's epic scope was justified by the epic scope of the THREE novels
I just couldn't do it. Were my expectations too high? They might have been, seeing as how I believe the LOTR trilogy was one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history. But TH:AUJ simply bored me to tears. And I feel that the reason for that is simplicity itself: the movie was WAAYYY too padded out, which makes sense given the slim tome it was based off of. Any way you look at it, you gotta admit that the original trilogy's epic scope was justified by the epic scope of the THREE novels they were based on. Also, I agree 100% with you on the fact that Peter Jackson should've been involved strictly in a screenwriter/producer capacity, with either del Toro or Sam Raimi (another early possibility) directing. As things stand, this feels somewhat like a cash grab for both Jackson and New Line. I can't help but feel that if I were a Tolkien enthusiast, this would have been more entertaining. But I'm not, and therefore it wasn't.
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+0
2:15AM on 03/13/2014

Worse than I had thought

Completely agree. What a bore fest. So many scenes that are obviously there to simply pad out the run time. And there's two more? I won't bother. Maybe someone can cut all three when they're out into a nice 2 - 2.5hour flick - just as this should have been.
Completely agree. What a bore fest. So many scenes that are obviously there to simply pad out the run time. And there's two more? I won't bother. Maybe someone can cut all three when they're out into a nice 2 - 2.5hour flick - just as this should have been.
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10:32PM on 03/12/2014
This is one of those movies where I personally like it but I can understand where people are coming from if they're harder on it. It's hard to argue against most criticisms, but I like it. What I strongly disagree with though is Martin Freeman. He's the heart and soul of the movie. His performance elevates it and imo helps in taking attention away from its faults. As the main character, Freeman brings a gravity and genuine personality to Bilbo, as opposed to Elijah Wood's Frodo, who was just
This is one of those movies where I personally like it but I can understand where people are coming from if they're harder on it. It's hard to argue against most criticisms, but I like it. What I strongly disagree with though is Martin Freeman. He's the heart and soul of the movie. His performance elevates it and imo helps in taking attention away from its faults. As the main character, Freeman brings a gravity and genuine personality to Bilbo, as opposed to Elijah Wood's Frodo, who was just annoying. So I don't know. I feel like I can ignore the broader aspects of the film that have faults and enjoy Freeman's performance in specific the same way I can enjoy the broader aspects of the LOTR films, done superbly, and ignore the faults with Wood in specific. I don't know. End of the day, you can like The Hobbit movies all you want but it can't touch LOTR.
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7:58PM on 03/12/2014
Agree
Agree
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6:34PM on 03/12/2014
The films are fine, and great as they are. The biggest mistake you made, and the best choice that I made, was going into the theater and expecting it to be superior than LOTR. I knew from the get-go it wouldn't be, because the book isn't as great, no matter what the length of either is. So HOBBIT will never be greater than LOTR. I wanted to see the book brought to life as close visually to LOTR as it is and that's what I got, so I love these films. I can't name all the dwarves in the films, but
The films are fine, and great as they are. The biggest mistake you made, and the best choice that I made, was going into the theater and expecting it to be superior than LOTR. I knew from the get-go it wouldn't be, because the book isn't as great, no matter what the length of either is. So HOBBIT will never be greater than LOTR. I wanted to see the book brought to life as close visually to LOTR as it is and that's what I got, so I love these films. I can't name all the dwarves in the films, but I can name more from the films than I can from the book, because if you think the dwarves in the films are bland, read the book. The dwarves in the book are pretty much the same just with different colored hats. Only Thorin stands out. If anything, my biggest complaint is I think PJ went too far with making them distinctive, some of them look like dwarves like Gimli, others are close, others just do not look like dwarves. As for the effects, as great LOTR's are and were, some need to be updated to HOBBIT's standard, like in "Fellowship" with Legolas jumping the troll. I get your points but I take a far different perspective and love them as is. I will say this though to conclude, I do not like the STAR WARS prequels and comparing them to the HOBBIT is inaccurate and, well, stupid. If there is a similarity, it would be this: you went in expectations that couldn't be met no matter what. This time, however, you only fooled yourself.
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+0
6:22PM on 03/12/2014
"But, the cast of dwarves here are all interchangeable and do not feel distinct enough to be unique characters."

To be fair, it's the same way on the book. 13 dwarves, only one of whom (Thorin) has any real importance to the story.
"But, the cast of dwarves here are all interchangeable and do not feel distinct enough to be unique characters."

To be fair, it's the same way on the book. 13 dwarves, only one of whom (Thorin) has any real importance to the story.
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5:43PM on 03/12/2014

Bobs

This film suffers the same fate a lot of movies do in Hollywood nowadays. At least with the first 3 films they had 3 books to translate but this is 1 book yet translated over 3 films ! Whilst I love the 3 LOTR films including the extended special editions - there was enough action and drama to keep the films alive. My view on a good film is whether you can keep your attention span watching it 2nd time round and for me the Hobbit is a total borefest, Hollywood needs to learn that films can still
This film suffers the same fate a lot of movies do in Hollywood nowadays. At least with the first 3 films they had 3 books to translate but this is 1 book yet translated over 3 films ! Whilst I love the 3 LOTR films including the extended special editions - there was enough action and drama to keep the films alive. My view on a good film is whether you can keep your attention span watching it 2nd time round and for me the Hobbit is a total borefest, Hollywood needs to learn that films can still be 90 mins and be fun, Pirates of the Caribbean was another example of overrun sequels and it is becoming more and more evident - transformers another example - where studios believe a good film has to take 3 days to watch !
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3:40PM on 03/12/2014
Don't see how this is the unpopular opinion, maybe retitle the article something like 1 persons opinion that sometimes is a minority.

Don't see how this is the unpopular opinion, maybe retitle the article something like 1 persons opinion that sometimes is a minority.

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3:20PM on 03/12/2014

Been beating this drum ever since the 1st movie came out!

I agree with you 110%! Comparisons to the Star Wars prequels are completely on point and scarily accurate. Think about it: The generally grounded feel of the previous, original trilogy is replaced with a computer, as there's more CGI than practical effects, prosthetics, and make-up. Countless allusions and references to the previous trilogy are thrown in, not because it's natural and fluid, but because the filmmakers want the audience to immediately like the new trilogy because they recognize
I agree with you 110%! Comparisons to the Star Wars prequels are completely on point and scarily accurate. Think about it: The generally grounded feel of the previous, original trilogy is replaced with a computer, as there's more CGI than practical effects, prosthetics, and make-up. Countless allusions and references to the previous trilogy are thrown in, not because it's natural and fluid, but because the filmmakers want the audience to immediately like the new trilogy because they recognize enough things from the old one. Continuity between the two trilogies are completely screwed up through the use of unnecessary backstories that backfire completely. Neither trilogy feels like it could take place in the same universe as the other. Seriously, try imagining that the same movie that gave us Boromir's noble death scene takes place in the same Middle-earth where Bombur flies around in his barrel, taking out hordes of Orcs...BY ACCIDENT. It's the Star Wars prequels all over again, and it's only a matter of time before this unpopular opinion becomes the majority opinion. Great article, Alex!
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-2
3:03PM on 03/12/2014

6/10. Here's why:

Go here [link] and skip to 07:00.
Go here [link] and skip to 07:00.
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1:13PM on 03/12/2014
Unpopular? I think a whole lot of people think these movies are quite bad. Just about every action scene in either movie is so over the top and absurd it takes me out of the movie for 20 minutes or so. I spent the last half hour of Smaug deciding what I was going to do for dinner.
Unpopular? I think a whole lot of people think these movies are quite bad. Just about every action scene in either movie is so over the top and absurd it takes me out of the movie for 20 minutes or so. I spent the last half hour of Smaug deciding what I was going to do for dinner.
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6:16PM on 03/12/2014
I have yet to see the Hobbit prequels, but if they are anything like the LotR trilogy then I fully agree with you. Somebody explain to me how orcs which are bred specifically for fighting are chopped down like chaff?
I have yet to see the Hobbit prequels, but if they are anything like the LotR trilogy then I fully agree with you. Somebody explain to me how orcs which are bred specifically for fighting are chopped down like chaff?
12:59PM on 03/12/2014

I love fantasy, just not Tolkien's version of it.

I'll be honest; I was so hobbited the fuck out after watching marathons of all 3 LotR movies on cable that I've pretty much relegated myself to watching these movies on Netflix (been thru with cable for several years).

I'll be honest; I was so hobbited the fuck out after watching marathons of all 3 LotR movies on cable that I've pretty much relegated myself to watching these movies on Netflix (been thru with cable for several years).

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-3
12:17PM on 03/12/2014

for the record

desolation was fantastic! did you watch any of these in the format they intended you to see them in? or did you go cheap skate? hfr imax 3d is the way to go.
desolation was fantastic! did you watch any of these in the format they intended you to see them in? or did you go cheap skate? hfr imax 3d is the way to go.
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-5
12:15PM on 03/12/2014

disagree %100

oh mr maidy. this whole is article is pointless. picked the wrong movie for this column. this movie was great and it made fellowship that much better. did you watch this movie at all? did you watch it just once?
oh mr maidy. this whole is article is pointless. picked the wrong movie for this column. this movie was great and it made fellowship that much better. did you watch this movie at all? did you watch it just once?
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3:26PM on 03/12/2014
It's a horrible movie and you shouldn't piss all over Maidy just because you disagree.
It's a horrible movie and you shouldn't piss all over Maidy just because you disagree.
9:33AM on 03/13/2014
horrible? peter jackson has done with these movies what no one else could do. to be able to keep up the consistency and piecing together all these movies is amazing. for you to call this movie horrible is mind boggling. but not surprising. because it seems that everyone on these sites thinks it's "cool" to rip movies instead of actually embracing the reason you're on this site to begin with. the fact that you love movies.
horrible? peter jackson has done with these movies what no one else could do. to be able to keep up the consistency and piecing together all these movies is amazing. for you to call this movie horrible is mind boggling. but not surprising. because it seems that everyone on these sites thinks it's "cool" to rip movies instead of actually embracing the reason you're on this site to begin with. the fact that you love movies.
12:30PM on 03/13/2014
@ tugga07, So since we all love movies here, we should automatically love and enjoy every single movie ever?? What the hell kind of logic is that?

No, this movie was pretty terrible. As a long-time Tolkien fan and fan of Jackson's original trilogy (and it has more than it's fair share of flaws), I just can't fathom how someone can praise The Hobbit for "keeping up the consistency." What? If anything, it completely destroys the consistency between the trilogies. Jackson re-wrote and
@ tugga07, So since we all love movies here, we should automatically love and enjoy every single movie ever?? What the hell kind of logic is that?

No, this movie was pretty terrible. As a long-time Tolkien fan and fan of Jackson's original trilogy (and it has more than it's fair share of flaws), I just can't fathom how someone can praise The Hobbit for "keeping up the consistency." What? If anything, it completely destroys the consistency between the trilogies. Jackson re-wrote and completely changed the origins of the Ringwraiths, he shoehorned in an incredibly unnecessary backstory for Sauron/Necromancer and the Eye, he completely changed the scene where Bilbo actually finds the Ring (it has absolutely nothing to do with the brief scene of it shown in Fellowship), and perhaps most importantly, tone-wise and aesthetics-wise it has VERY little in common with the original trilogy. It looks and feels like a video game. I used this example before, try imagining that the movie that shows Boromir's noble, tragic death scene takes place in the same universe where Bombur flies around in a barrel, taking out dozens of Orcs by ACCIDENT. It just doesn't fit at all. And that's just ONE problem with these Hobbit movies. So no, no one should be praising Jackson for his ability to "keep up the consistency" with The Hobbit.
11:25AM on 03/12/2014
So far I like the Hobbit movies better than the LotR films. I think I just like the characters more.
So far I like the Hobbit movies better than the LotR films. I think I just like the characters more.
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11:17AM on 03/12/2014

Hmm

I thought I had the unpopular opinion because I liked it. I didn't think a lot of people liked this movie. It's not LOTR and it's not a stand-out great movie, but I enjoyed it.
I thought I had the unpopular opinion because I liked it. I didn't think a lot of people liked this movie. It's not LOTR and it's not a stand-out great movie, but I enjoyed it.
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11:17AM on 03/12/2014
It didnt have the same look and feel as the trilogy and that just disconnects the universe for me
It didnt have the same look and feel as the trilogy and that just disconnects the universe for me
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11:01AM on 03/12/2014
I didn't dislike it but I found it to be nowhere near as good as it's sequal or the LOTRs movies. It felt padded out. I was distracted by the CGI which I didn't notice in LOTRs. But the question that I always ask at the end is, why didn't they just fly the eagles all the way to the mountain? Wouldn't that have been easier? Never read the book so may have missed something here. Is there a logical reason?
I didn't dislike it but I found it to be nowhere near as good as it's sequal or the LOTRs movies. It felt padded out. I was distracted by the CGI which I didn't notice in LOTRs. But the question that I always ask at the end is, why didn't they just fly the eagles all the way to the mountain? Wouldn't that have been easier? Never read the book so may have missed something here. Is there a logical reason?
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11:27AM on 03/12/2014
Not really. Except that it would have made for a very short book. If I remember correctly though, the eagles spoke in the books. So, maybe if Gandalf had asked, they would have just said no in plain English and flown off.
Not really. Except that it would have made for a very short book. If I remember correctly though, the eagles spoke in the books. So, maybe if Gandalf had asked, they would have just said no in plain English and flown off.
1:43PM on 03/12/2014
Lmao! Now that would have been a funny. Thanks.
Lmao! Now that would have been a funny. Thanks.
2:05PM on 03/12/2014
There was a solid explanation in the book but PJ (for some reason) decided not to add it in the movie - apparently the eagles made themselves unpopular by eating people's cattle. That was the one big issue I had with An Unexpected Journey, and I'm very surprised Alex didn't call it out.
There was a solid explanation in the book but PJ (for some reason) decided not to add it in the movie - apparently the eagles made themselves unpopular by eating people's cattle. That was the one big issue I had with An Unexpected Journey, and I'm very surprised Alex didn't call it out.
3:43PM on 03/12/2014
Well there's the obvious "Because then there'd be no movie/books" reason, which honestly is pretty legitimate in it's own right.

In Jackson's movies, it's never explained, partly because he chose to not make the Eagles talk. In the books, it's MUCH clearer. The Eagles are their own entity...they don't just do whatever anyone asks them to do. The only reason they help out Gandalf so much is because they owe him, and because they actually end up being on amiable terms with each other, which is
Well there's the obvious "Because then there'd be no movie/books" reason, which honestly is pretty legitimate in it's own right.

In Jackson's movies, it's never explained, partly because he chose to not make the Eagles talk. In the books, it's MUCH clearer. The Eagles are their own entity...they don't just do whatever anyone asks them to do. The only reason they help out Gandalf so much is because they owe him, and because they actually end up being on amiable terms with each other, which is extremely rare. But there was no chance they'd ever risk their lives in a pointless effort of trying to fly the Ring into Mordor. They'd have been shot down, attacked, and killed in minutes. It's the exact opposite of sneakily creeping into Mordor unnoticed and stealthily. It just wasn't a logical course of action.
6:26PM on 03/12/2014
I always assumed it'd be unsafe to fly into Mordor (via eagles or any other airborne means) because once the Eye of Sauron spotted them then it's game over. It was only safe to fly to Mt. Doom after the Ring was destroyed and the Eye was gone.
I always assumed it'd be unsafe to fly into Mordor (via eagles or any other airborne means) because once the Eye of Sauron spotted them then it's game over. It was only safe to fly to Mt. Doom after the Ring was destroyed and the Eye was gone.
10:34AM on 03/12/2014
I thought the unpopular opinion was actually liking the movie. The second half was really good but the first half was so fucking boring, it was like watching paint dry. They didn't leave the house for like 45 minutes, and all they did was adding and wash dishes, it was ridiculous. Well that's what you get when you stretch a small book into three movies.
I thought the unpopular opinion was actually liking the movie. The second half was really good but the first half was so fucking boring, it was like watching paint dry. They didn't leave the house for like 45 minutes, and all they did was adding and wash dishes, it was ridiculous. Well that's what you get when you stretch a small book into three movies.
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9:51AM on 03/12/2014

THE HOBBIT: AUJ was a victim ot LOTR's success (SPOILERS!)

I will agree that turning a slim children't story into a 9-hour epic was pushing things, but pretty much everything else was off-base. Martin Freeman makes an excellent Bilbo, IMO, as he embodies the British Everyman hauled on a grand adventure, exactly as Tolkien envisioned him. As for Armitage, at no place did I feel he was an Aragorn substitute: his Thorin is a flawed hero, obsessed with recovering his heritage and bigoted against elves.

As for the Rivindell scene, it was important as
I will agree that turning a slim children't story into a 9-hour epic was pushing things, but pretty much everything else was off-base. Martin Freeman makes an excellent Bilbo, IMO, as he embodies the British Everyman hauled on a grand adventure, exactly as Tolkien envisioned him. As for Armitage, at no place did I feel he was an Aragorn substitute: his Thorin is a flawed hero, obsessed with recovering his heritage and bigoted against elves.

As for the Rivindell scene, it was important as it (a) signaled Saruman's eventual descent into villainy, (b) the fact that the Nazgul have returned and (c) hinting that the Necromancer is in fact Sauron.

Ultimately, this column is a cute attempt to stir up controversy but fails to establish a position.

P.S. - Balin, Dwalin, Dori, Nori, Ori, Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur
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9:33AM on 03/12/2014
Saw this 48fps 3D in the cinema and recently had a chance to watch the extended edition on Blu-Ray in 2D.
Have to say the home viewing experience was better (although 48fps does genuinely seem to improve the 3D clarity). Weird that 24fps makes things look more filmic and 'expensive', but that's the way it felt to me.
With regards to the actual movie, there was really only one part of the movie that didn't work for me, which was Barry Humphries as the Great Goblin. It was an awkwardly comedic
Saw this 48fps 3D in the cinema and recently had a chance to watch the extended edition on Blu-Ray in 2D.
Have to say the home viewing experience was better (although 48fps does genuinely seem to improve the 3D clarity). Weird that 24fps makes things look more filmic and 'expensive', but that's the way it felt to me.
With regards to the actual movie, there was really only one part of the movie that didn't work for me, which was Barry Humphries as the Great Goblin. It was an awkwardly comedic character that just didn't seem to fit. Thought the rest of it was pretty solid.
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9:27AM on 03/12/2014
I am going to say that I agree with you, for the most part. I wont try to compare the movie to the books too much, but coming from someone who has read as much of Tolkien's work as I could as a kid, it never made sense to stretch The Hobbit into 3 movies. The book is not even as long as 1 of the LOTR books. Which means that this movie (and Desolation) have felt very forced and stretched out to me. Most things I felt were handled pretty poorly, but I wont hate on everything.

First of all,
I am going to say that I agree with you, for the most part. I wont try to compare the movie to the books too much, but coming from someone who has read as much of Tolkien's work as I could as a kid, it never made sense to stretch The Hobbit into 3 movies. The book is not even as long as 1 of the LOTR books. Which means that this movie (and Desolation) have felt very forced and stretched out to me. Most things I felt were handled pretty poorly, but I wont hate on everything.

First of all, I LOVED Martin Freeman as Bilbo. I thought that he was probably the best hobbit that we have met from any of the films. Much less annoying than Sam, Pippen, and Merri. Also, I thought that he nailed the scene where Bilbo meets Gollum perfectly. Finally, I did actually enjoy the dwarves song.

Now on to the hate. The troll scene was handled so poorly. And Rhadagast annoyed the hell out of me and couldnt hold his own. We are supposed to believe that this goofy wizard with bird poo in his hair is on the same level as Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee? Please... Another thing, is the same reason why I have a lot of hate for the Star Wars prequels. In the original films, Orcs and other creatures were done mostly with makeup (wherever possible), and it looked realistic and GREAT. The overuse of CGI in this film is horrible. The goblin king looked like a scrotum monster. A log falls down and knocks over 30 goblins like bowling pins. And finally, I HATE how he tries to make the story all about the ring again. The ring isnt really supposed to really be evil yet, it just turns Bilbo invisible at this point.

The Hobbit is a more lighthearted book than the LOTR trilogy. I always thought that Fellowship of the Ring nailed the tone of what I wanted out of a Hobbit movie. But it has seemed that Jackson, for whatever reason, cant decide if the movie should be kinda silly or epic and dark. It's a shame, seeing as how I love the LOTR movies like I love Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc. And I do still think that Jackson is an excellent filmmaker. King Kong was GREAT. But I think he just scooped up the paycheck and free vacation to New Zealand on this one.
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3:08PM on 03/12/2014
In PJs defense. The ring was never evil in The Hobbit nor was it intended to be "the one ring" at the time. When he wrote LOTR thats when he decided that the ring bilbo found would be the dark lords property. Tolkien even expressed interest in going back and slightly rewritting The Hobbit for that reason alone and make it more in line with LOTR but never got to it.
In PJs defense. The ring was never evil in The Hobbit nor was it intended to be "the one ring" at the time. When he wrote LOTR thats when he decided that the ring bilbo found would be the dark lords property. Tolkien even expressed interest in going back and slightly rewritting The Hobbit for that reason alone and make it more in line with LOTR but never got to it.
9:15AM on 03/12/2014
For me, the whole movie feels uneven. At some point, it seems to move very slow. On the other hand, the movie can move pretty fast at times. It's just uneven.
For me, the whole movie feels uneven. At some point, it seems to move very slow. On the other hand, the movie can move pretty fast at times. It's just uneven.
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+2
9:10AM on 03/12/2014

48 fps

I've seen both movies multiple times. I never once thought "Boy, this 48 fps is really killing the movie and reducing its quality". Never really noticed it.
I've seen both movies multiple times. I never once thought "Boy, this 48 fps is really killing the movie and reducing its quality". Never really noticed it.
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8:56AM on 03/12/2014
I politely disagree with you. While all the points you make are understandable, I found both Hobbit movies to be entertaining and visually arresting. The first movie IS an introduction, the story has a lot of really indistinguishable dwarf characters, and that is an element of the story rather than the film. The big dinner scene was as fun as they could make it, albeit it felt a little rushed. But Jackson slowed it down enough to set mood. The Riddles scene also felt rushed to me, but the
I politely disagree with you. While all the points you make are understandable, I found both Hobbit movies to be entertaining and visually arresting. The first movie IS an introduction, the story has a lot of really indistinguishable dwarf characters, and that is an element of the story rather than the film. The big dinner scene was as fun as they could make it, albeit it felt a little rushed. But Jackson slowed it down enough to set mood. The Riddles scene also felt rushed to me, but the performances were memorable and the mood was fun as well as tense. The Troll scene also felt rushed but it was once again FUN. Azog the Defiler subplot was meaty. I felt as the first of a trilogy it was a wonderful film. As a standalone film, well it is deficient.
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8:50AM on 03/12/2014
I did very desperately want it to get a move on. The pace did feel really padded out. I'm glad Desolation of Smaug did have a lot more going on in it.
I did very desperately want it to get a move on. The pace did feel really padded out. I'm glad Desolation of Smaug did have a lot more going on in it.
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