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hobbit

A Second Viewing of The Hobbit

Posted on 2012.12.18 at 00:25
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Saw The Hobbit for a second time today and I liked it better than the first time. Well for one thing we showed up 15 minutes early and were the first people in the theater! That's what going on a Monday at 1 p.m. will do for you. Also, my friends weren't so keen on the IMAX 3D so we went to the regular theater. I really liked that a lot better. I think the 3D was just too much in the face. (Having to sit one row away from the very front didn't help either). This time though I was actually able to see what they were talking about with the 48 frames per second. It looked awesome. The pacing worked better for me this time too. I think I was thrown off the first time not only because of the in-the-face 3D but also because this time I wasn't constantly anticipating what was next and comparing it to bookverse in my head. I found this was true of the LOTR movies too. Generally I liked it better the second go-round when I could relax and watch it on its own terms.
Since some people haven't yet seen it, more discussion under the cut:

Things I liked just as well or better than last time:
*All the scenery and sets -- just stunning. Oh Rivendell! And that wonderful entry by Elrond. The whole Smaug smokes Erebor and Dale scene was amazing too. Notice that we never get to see much of the dragon. He's kept mysterious. We just see little bits of him.
*The little nods to LOTR in a number of places. For example, when Thorin pulls the arrow from the orc and says, "Elves," which obviously echos back to Legolas doing the same thing but saying, "Orcs!" when they first enter Moria. The Goblin King falling on the dwarves and their reaction reminded me of the warg falling on Gimli. Any other little nods to LOTR that you can think of? I can't think of others off-hand but I remember noticing and appreciating a number of them.
*Thranduil, especially on his elk. Actually that's not a modern day elk. It looks more like a beast called an Irish Elk (google it) that became extinct at the end of the last ice age, between 11-8,000 years ago. I guess that's okay in M-e since they have mammoths.
I checked out the Thranduil bowing to Thror scene which was under discussion before. From what I can gather it was simply being said that Thror was so powerful that he held dominion over everyone in the region, including the elves. But Thranduil clearly has some pride and didn't take too well to it. I wonder if there will be more in the Extended Edition. (Which will only be released once we've all bought the DVD of the theater version.) Anyhow, clearly we've got more enmity set up here in order to make more sense of the dwarves' capture later. I do like the authors thinking through and strengthening motivations for actions. Makes for a more coherent narrative.
*I liked the Azog set up better this time. I still think he looks too cartoonish, but I can see where this is going better.
*The whole opening scene with old Bilbo writing the story. Loved how that tied into LOTR. And the dwarf dinner at Bilbo's. I laughed even more this time. Great stuff there. Bilbo's valiant attempt not to faint and then that little, "Nope."
*Thorin, Thorin, Thorin. Oh my, that is one hot dwarf. I think I might have a voice kink and Richard Armitage's voice really does it for me. Kili is a close second for hotness. He's sort of the scruffy Legolas substitute with that bow. Note the twins as practical jokers bit there, reminiscent of the Weasley twins.
*The whole Bilbo/Gollum scene was just as good the second viewing. I better appreciated the scene where Bilbo chooses not to kill Gollum. This time it felt like the pacing was right.
*Radagast's Rhosgobel's rabbit sleigh. It's a bit absurd, but I liked the silliness of it.
*I'll add more as I think about it.

Stuff I still didn't like:
*Some of the stuff that just seemed OTT. The bird poo in Radagast's hair (if that is poo) the stick insect in his mouth.
*The OTT falling from high places in the Goblin kingdom scene as well as the number of high-speed tricks by the dwarves. It's so unreal as to be cartoonish. Same goes for the Goblin King. He didn't have to be so huge.
*Galadriel teleporting herself away from Rivendell. Huh. That's not a skill she should have. Perhaps the idea is that her ring can also make her invisible. But really I'm not liking it.

I have to say I can't wait for the next two movies and more elves. Plus Smaug and the Necromancer. There's that voice kink again. Can't wait to hear Benedict Cumberbatch.

Okay, that's it from this reviewer. Thoughts?

Comments:


Laurelin (who wants to be a spatula)
pilgrimskiss at 2012-12-18 08:01 (UTC) (Link)
Interesting! I'm sure I'll go for my second viewing pretty soon, but in 2D this time. I just can't get used to 3D.

Any other little nods to LOTR that you can think of?

I had a geeky moment when Gandalf used the butterfly to communicate a message to the eagles. But yes, there were definitely more. The sound of the elf horn reminded me of the elves' arrival at Helm's Deep in TTT. It was the exact same sound.

Speaking of geeky moments, I had another one when I recognized Saruman's voice before he was shown. Galadriel teleporting was a bit unnecessary, but dear God how stunning she looked. Cate Blanchett's screen presence and voice are perfect for the role.
spiced_wine
spiced_wine at 2012-12-18 12:06 (UTC) (Link)
The sound of the elf horn reminded me of the elves' arrival at Helm's Deep in TTT. It was the exact same sound.
Oh yes! I forgot until you mentioned it! Squee!

Galadriel is actually just playing an actress called Cate Blanchett for a while - I would say, oh, make up and CGI, but she looks stunning and ethereal all the time: interviews, premiers, you name it.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 03:51 (UTC) (Link)
Cate Blanchett makes a perfect Galadriel for sure.
Oshun
heartofoshun at 2012-12-19 14:51 (UTC) (Link)
I adore Cate Blanchett and cannot wait to see her again, but would have directed her a little differently as Galadriel. A little more like the way she played Elizabeth I in those films and less eery and not really human. She is a a Finwean--super-human maybe, but always and forever human. But I already knew that PJ and I see elves differently. My concept includes a lot more pbvious heat.
spiced_wine
spiced_wine at 2012-12-19 18:54 (UTC) (Link)
My concept includes a lot more pbvious heat.

So would mine be, for all Elves.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 18:55 (UTC) (Link)
Heh heh. I guess we agree on that one.
spiced_wine
spiced_wine at 2012-12-19 19:01 (UTC) (Link)
My Elves will always be the Silmarillion Elves with all their passions and faults, rather than the LOTR Elves. (:
Laurelin (who wants to be a spatula)
pilgrimskiss at 2012-12-19 15:04 (UTC) (Link)
I remembered another one!

Dwarf doors are invisible when closed...

That's not a little, but a big fat nod to the people who have seen the FOTR EE. :)
spiced_wine
spiced_wine at 2012-12-19 18:53 (UTC) (Link)
I did notice that! I grinned. (:
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 03:50 (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes Gandalf and the moth and the elf horn. Definitely. Cate did look stunning. So did Hugo I have to say. Wonder how much CGI was involved?
Oshun
heartofoshun at 2012-12-19 14:52 (UTC) (Link)
Wonder how much CGI was involved?

A fair amount I am guessing! He is no spring chicken.
spiced_wine
spiced_wine at 2012-12-18 08:45 (UTC) (Link)
But Thranduil clearly has some pride and didn't take too well to it. I wonder if there will be more in the Extended Edition. (Which will only be released once we've all bought the DVD of the theater version.) Anyhow, clearly we've got more enmity set up here in order to make more sense of the dwarves' capture later. I do like the authors thinking through and strengthening motivations for actions. Makes for a more coherent narrative.

These are my own thoughts, and yes, I also like the more personal enmity. I do hope there is more on the EE.

I want to go again!

Bilbo's fainting after the valiant attempt not to and then that little, "Nope."

His expressions are wonderful.

*Thorin, Thorin, Thorin. Oh my, that is one hot dwarf. I think I might have a voice kink and Richard Armitage's voice really does it for me.

Yes, I fell hard for Thorin myself, and love what I have seen/read of Richard Armitage talking about his role. He can't wait to film the final scenes (his final scenes) next year. And his saying he pretty much forgot there was a film at the end of it, and if he never got any roles after this (unlikely!) he would be happy. It seems he loves playing Thorin, and we love watching, so it's all good (:



Edited at 2012-12-18 01:54 pm (UTC)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 03:53 (UTC) (Link)
There are more scenes to shoot? I thought they were all done with it. Richard A. does such a good job.
spiced_wine
spiced_wine at 2012-12-19 09:02 (UTC) (Link)
There are a few weeks of filming next year, Peter Jackson said, which seems to be borne out by RA's comments.
engarian
engarian at 2012-12-18 11:18 (UTC) (Link)
When Gandalf was speaking to the moth I remember clearly thinking "Is this the only flying character that he can talk to? What about a bird or a honeybee or something else?"

I agree that it is not really an elk as we have them today. I had forgotten about the Irish Elk - good tie-in there.

The Goblin King bothered me a lot until I saw some of the older illustrations that Lee and Howe had done for Tolkien. And there, in his light green glory, was Howe's Goblin King and it was very, very similar to what PJ used for the movie. So now I understood.

I hope to see it a second time before the end of the year, but I'm so cramped on time that it may be 2013 before I have the chance.

- Erulisse (one L)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 03:55 (UTC) (Link)
Oh well, I think they used the moth again so people would go, oh yeah, I remember that. Not sure why a moth can talk to eagles so well, but hey this is fantasy anyway. I hadn't seen Howe's goblin king. Interesting. I just didn't buy how big he was. Was he on steroids or what?
engarian
engarian at 2012-12-19 20:50 (UTC) (Link)
I have a pic of John Howe's Goblin King (two different versions) on my blog post today, so go and take a peek and you'll see what I mean. There's a lot of similarity.

- Erulisse (one L)
trying to track down some Miruvor for the holidays...
russandol
nelyo_russandol at 2012-12-18 14:13 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad to hear it stands a second viewing and that you enjoyed it even more than the first time. I was hoping to watch it again before Xmas, but there isn't a chance of that.

The thing that tied it most to LOTR for me was to see the same landscapes, the same shape of the Misty Mountains in the background, the same rugged hills where Aragorn and the fellowship travelled, and of course, the same Rivendell, though it seemed even grander and more beautiful.

I missed "beam me up" Galadriel, probably because my Orcling#1 was asking me something at the time - I was the equivalent of the footnotes for her, LOL. But I'm amazed they fell for something like that, when there was no need. It's this annoying thing about the heroes struggling to overcome the obstacles on their route while everyone else moves around in a flash, like Radagast and his magic Rhosgobel rabbits. My suspicion is that she will feature again several times in assorted places during the movies and it would be difficult to explain this ubiquitous presence without her Amazing Super-power. I dislike it, even if I failed to notice.

I agree with all of your squees and dislikes, except for radagast, I'm still annoyed they've made him into such a cartoonish tree-hugging fool. I'm even tempted to agree with Saruman on this point! ;o)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-18 18:37 (UTC) (Link)
I've found that most of the departures from the book can be explained by storytelling practicalities. I think they needed a mechanism to visually show the changes in Mirkwood wrought by the Necromancer and then needed someone to come tell them about it. They decided on Radagast. I suppose one could say that the scene with Radagast actually took place earlier, giving him time to seek out Gandalf on his sleigh. Also, as we know, PJ & co. seem to have no problem with characters suddenly traversing great distance, i.e. the one that bugged me most, Elrond showing up at the muster of Rohan to bring Aragorn his reforged sword. Um yeah. I don't think so.
And yes, same landscapes. Really stunning. I'm willing to forgive PJ & Co. for most of their changes just because they so thoroughly get the presence of M-e as almost another character. The sets are so gorgeous. LOL.
Hugs.
Salix
salixbabylon at 2012-12-18 17:13 (UTC) (Link)
I don't have anything to add, but I love reading your/everyone's thoughts about the movie. It's exciting and nostalgic and gives me warm feelings inside. :)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 03:56 (UTC) (Link)
It's fun to chat about for sure.
Aglarien
aglarien1 at 2012-12-19 03:36 (UTC) (Link)
Great points - I am so looking forward to seeing it Friday, even if I have to go by myself.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 03:56 (UTC) (Link)
Oh definitely go. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Oshun
heartofoshun at 2012-12-19 15:00 (UTC) (Link)
I was laughing when Alex showed up yesterday in my room to tell me that I needed to know that ". . . on TV they just said that the first part The Unexpected Journey is out now!! When are we going to see it? Mommy said we all would go!!!" We had not told him it was in the theaters because it is hectic around here this week. Maybe Friday night or Saturday. It is 2D all the way for us. Not a one among the three of us can tolerate 3D--the faster film speed on top of that would probably give me a seizure.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 18:31 (UTC) (Link)
I thought it interesting that I enjoyed the traditional format better and that I actually appreciated the 48 frames per second better without the 3D. Have fun!
Thranduil Oropherion Redux aka Randy
randy_o at 2012-12-19 16:01 (UTC) (Link)
I checked out the Thranduil bowing to Thror scene which was under discussion before. From what I can gather it was simply being said that Thror was so powerful that he held dominion over everyone in the region, including the elves. But Thranduil clearly has some pride and didn't take too well to it. I wonder if there will be more in the Extended Edition. (Which will only be released once we've all bought the DVD of the theater version.) Anyhow, clearly we've got more enmity set up here in order to make more sense of the dwarves' capture later. I do like the authors thinking through and strengthening motivations for actions. Makes for a more coherent narrative.

I just learned about this scene, and I'm afraid it's designed to get my back up. Mostly because it gets the politics of the region wrong. Why would a king who had ruled Eryn Galen for almost three thousand years (and his father for two and a half thousand years before that) accept the domination of a Dwarf in exile who had been chucked out of Moria by a balrog a little over a thousand years previously? I know my response to a demand for fealty under circumstances like that would be, "You and what army?" and I've been inside Thranduil's head a lot.

I could see Thranduil being courteous to the ruler of a neighboring realm, so I wish they had skipped the commentary. It makes for better drama, but there's very little in the canon to support it.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 18:35 (UTC) (Link)
Well, just like in the LOTR movies, they've manipulated a number of things from canon. This is just one of a bunch that messed with my head on the first viewing. I'm still upset about all the elves showing up at Helms Deep. And if Galadriel can still teleport, well, I'm not liking that so much either. (It's only fanfic after all.) I'll be curious whether or not Thranduil ends up a bad guy. I'll bet he doesn't in the end.
pandemonium_213
pandemonium_213 at 2012-12-19 16:42 (UTC) (Link)
I guess that's okay in M-e since they have mammoths.

*Warning for pedantic Pandë-ism*

Wait. What? Mammoths? As in woolly mammoths? Maybe in George R. R. Martin's world, but the descriptions of the oliphaunts in Tolkienian source texts don't fit those Ice Age beasts. PJ's outlandishly oversized critters in RotK the Movie resembled Lucasian Imperial Walkers imagined as pachyderms...but not woolly mammoths.

I take JRRT's remarks of the chronology of events occuring 12,000 years ago with several kilograms of salt. However, I do dig PJ's nod to JRRT's love of paleontology.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 18:26 (UTC) (Link)
Imperial mammoths as in the ones who used to live in the American Southwest generally weren't thought to be woolly - not like the ones we've seen frozen in ice. They were also huge. Check out Columbian mammoths also. It seems like what PJ was imitating in LOTR. You're right Tolkien's oliphaunts are probably just outsized elephants.

Hey don't I get any kudos for identifying the Irish elk? I know something about Pleistocene megafauna.

Edited at 2012-12-19 06:45 pm (UTC)
engarian
engarian at 2012-12-19 20:56 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I'll give you full credit for the Irish Elk, I had completely forgotten about it. As for the Columbian Mammoth - good call there too. You'd think I would have pinned that one faster having toured several mammoth kill sites that friends were directing in eastern Colorado while I was an archaeology student there. Silly me :-)

Good call!

- Erulisse (one L)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-19 21:57 (UTC) (Link)
I have to say that no mammoths either woolly or otherwise were as big as PJ envisioned in RotK. I loved them though.
pandemonium_213
pandemonium_213 at 2012-12-19 23:07 (UTC) (Link)
Ahhhh, I see - Columbian mammoths! So a sub-species of the critters that lived closer to the glaciers? Thanks for the clarification. That said, I still don't think "mammoth," wooly or Columbian, when I see PJ's creatures. PJ's ultra-pachyderms have a morphology (ludicrous size aside) that appears more akin to a modern elephant but with very dramatic tusks. The source texts do not specify the exact species of pachyderm when the "oliphaunts" appear. Just that their girth and majesty are greater than their modern kin; Tolkien, per usual, lets us know the past is better than modern times. ;^) Anyway, that may be why I see PJ's interpretation as (very) oversized modern elephants.

Yes, you, along with the hundreds (thousands?) of other paleontologocally-inclined Tolkien fans, get points for identifying Megaloceros. :^D
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-20 01:22 (UTC) (Link)
Ah crap and here I thought I was original. Hadn't come across it anywhere else. But not surprised others noticed it.
malinorne2003
malinorne2003 at 2012-12-22 10:01 (UTC) (Link)
Loved reading what you and everyone else thought. I've so far watched the movie only once, in 3D but without the 48 frame thing. I don't think the 3D was necessary - I'd removed that, along with a lot of the detailed fighting and running and falling, but then slow sequences where little happens and every detail matters tend to get my attention a lot more than a ton of action thrown in my face.

Liked the most: Mr Hobbit himself, landscapes, dwarf song, Smaug shown enough to be scary but not so much he'd turn cartoonish, Thorin, Elrond, Gollum riddle scene.

Disliked the most: Thranduil (elk, bowing to dwarves, plus looking more dead than alive... but I may reconsider when he actually moves and says something. Now he appreared a bit like movie Celeborn, little clever or kingly there, but then he's been my favourite LOTR character since forever so I'm bound to judge PJ hard on this ). I didn't notice the teleporting, it happed too fast. Troll scene was ruined IMHO, was a lot funnier and wittier in the book. Radagast being portrayed like a Russian village fool from the 1800s (but it was nice seeing more of him). The overall feeling of 'more of the same, though not as good' as the LOTR trilogy.

I will certainly watch it again, though :)
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2012-12-23 01:49 (UTC) (Link)
I agree about liking the non-action sequences better and yes didn't think the troll scene was as good as it was in the book. However, I found I liked it better the second time around. I notice that those who are the biggest Thranduil fans tended not to like the scenes with him in them. I watched both the Fellowship and The Two Towers again after I saw the Hobbit and my initial reaction is still the same. I liked LOTR much better. I think part of the problem comes from the source material itself. The Hobbit is a personal journey, there and back again in which Bilbo discovers his own courage and resourcefulness. Not a bad theme, but I think the courage and self-sacrifice of many for a Big Cause makes for a more poignant, satisfying story.
malinorne2003
malinorne2003 at 2012-12-23 13:44 (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps that is the problem, the difference in themes. Maybe The Hobbit should have been left a lighter, more classical fairy-tale story, and not gone through this attempt to make it darker, more violent and adult?
I will watch again, it sure entertained me, even if it isn't LOTR. And I'm looking forward to more of Smaug eventually :)
dodger_sister
dodger_sister at 2013-01-04 02:53 (UTC) (Link)
As I have seen it twice now, I thought I would comment.

My only real complaints were that I still really don't think they needed all the Necromancer v Wizard stuff and they could have just gone with the whole Dwarves & Hobbit storylines (though I completely get why they need to follow both Bilbo and The Dwarves since he gets separated from them a few times). Possibly I feel this way more than I may have because Radagast isn't the type of character that really works for me and I can’t pinpoint why. And like you, I thought The Goblin King was a bit too cartoonist.

But those are mild complaints in the face of all they got right - the varying degrees of the Dwarves, Richard Armitage's voice (yes, hi, I too have a voice kink, let's just embrace it, sister!), Elrond's return to the big screen (Idk what happened but just seeing him again made me almost cry - he is so commanding and yet charming), Martin Freeman's comedic timing (like you mentioned the fainting incident), everything about Andy Serkis' performance and the level of empathy he made me feel for Gollum, the scenery, the score, the whole return to Middle-Earth that warmed my heart.

I too was thrown by the Azog stuff at first but after the initial viewing, I made myself think of it from a writer’s perspective and I understand how they needed a visual bad guy for the audience to see, one specific goblin for them to focus on, especially since we have so much to go before they face the dragon.

I better appreciated the scene where Bilbo chooses not to kill Gollum. This time it felt like the pacing was right.

I actually loved that scene quite a lot, mostly because the emotions that range across Gollum’s face right then made my heart break. True story - took the 6yr old nephew to see it and afterwards he had two scenes he really wanted to talk about; Bilbo saving Thorin (he talked about that to everyone who would listen!) and the scene where Bilbo jumps over Gollum’s head. He informed me that Bilbo could have just chopped off Gollum's head if he wanted to, but Gollum didn't have a weapon and that's not a fair fight. My Boy! We talked then about how Bilbo felt a bit sad for Gollum, all alone with no friends living in a dark hole and that made him hold his sword back as well.

I wonder if there will be more in the Extended Edition. (Which will only be released once we've all bought the DVD of the theater version.)

Oh yeah, suckers know how to bleed us and we go willingly!

I would not mind seeing it a third time, tbh.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2013-01-04 04:18 (UTC) (Link)
I expect I'll see it again, although maybe not in the theater. I enjoyed it, but I have to say it's not sticking with me in the same obsessive way that the Fellowship did, and then the subsequent films. But much of it was very well done. I have a feeling I might like the next two even better.
dodger_sister
dodger_sister at 2013-01-05 02:57 (UTC) (Link)
I enjoyed it, but I have to say it's not sticking with me in the same obsessive way that the Fellowship did, and then the subsequent films.

I agree with this sentiment. I adored it but it didn't steal my heart like LotR. I've heard this from several old fangirls and I wonder if it is the normal feeling or not.
elfscribe5
elfscribe5 at 2013-01-06 02:55 (UTC) (Link)
It seems common to the folks I've talked with about it.
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