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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:44 pm 
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I just finished a screening of the film and i can say with certainty,since this is my fifth viewing of the film, that BOTFA is not only the best Hobbit film but rivals and is actually better than ROTK theatrical edition in many ways even with the missing parts(that are presumably in the EE). The characterisation of the main cast such as Thorin,Bilbo,Bard,Thranduil,Balin,Tauriel,Legolas is very rich in most of the above cases.I actually know more for Legolas now for example,than in the 3 LOTR films in which i knew nothing at all.The acting,the production design,the costumes,the outstanding special effects are all top-notch. And yes, the adapted screenplay is fantastic imo and improved considerably on the source material it was based on.The filmmakers succeeded in turning this final film into an all character drama surrounded by a big battle. It was obvious in so many cases,from the insignificant ones, such as Bard and his kids to the most substantial ones concerning Thorin and Bilbo's relationship and the story of the Wood Elves,especially Thranduil and Legolas.

One word for the battle itself. I simply do not happen to agree with the comments from most folks about the battles of LOTR being so much grittier and more impressive than this final one in BOTFA.I can safely claim that the battle in Dale and most segments of the battle outside Erebor and Ravenhill are much more realistic,grittier and with an absolute sense of despair and danger than any of the ROTK ones and easily competes with the seriousness and awesomeness of Helm's Deep.But to be honest, most of the weird editing choices happen during the main battle before Ravenhill and when the Eagles with Beorn arrive.If these two aspects of the battle manage to be fixed in the upcoming Extended Edition i will be one happy fan.

With my use of the forementioned DD surround i can also say that the sound effects and most importantly the brilliant score of Howard Shore really shone in most of the cases such as:1)The whole Laketown sequence 2)The Shores of the Long Lake with an exceptional variation of Feast of Starlight theme plus the great new theme that is heard when the Laketowners accept Bard as a leader,3)The whole Ruins of Dale sequence,from the arrival of Laketowners there to the most epic and bombastic theme when the Dwarves barricade Erebor, 4)The arrival of Dain 5)The charging of the Dwarves 6)The amazing vocals that are heard during the sequence in which the "clouds" are preparing for war, 7)Everything with Tauriel and Kili related and of course the reprise of Erebor and Durin's fok themes throughout the film.

Yes.This film is a gem for the Hobbit trilogy for all the reasons i mentioned above plus so much more that i did not include in this post since it would be ridiculously long. Everything i state here is my opinion of course and i can easily accept some of the criticism with which i so respectfully disagree.

Ultimately,i too want more Beorn,the Funeral of Durin's Folk,Dain's coronation,a clearer resolution of the battle,Bard's fate and some more interaction between the Dwarves plus a fixing ot the editing choices,especially during the main battle. But all of the above will just improve on an already almost masterpiece film of the fantasy genre.I am going to enjoy and savour this trilogy and especially this final film for so many years to come.

As a final note, i would like to make an honest prediction for this film in particular. I am inclined to believe that this final film will be appreciated so much more by many,once the hype is down and once it is judged on its own merits, separated from the Hobbit book and ignoring the comparisons with the original trilogy of LOTR.


Last edited by Necromancer Rising on Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:14 pm 
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Necromancer Rising wrote:
2)The Shores of the Long Lake with an exceptional variation of Feast of Starlight theme plus the great new theme that is heard when the Laketowners accept Bard as a leader


If I may hijack your post a little, that isn't strictly a new theme. It can be called something like "Girion's heirs" or "The Lords of Dale," and plays a couple times during DoS; most notably during the Girion flashback. And a quick fragment of it can actually be heard even earlier in B5A when Bain makes the decision to leave the boat to assist his father (a nice musical touch, I thought, even if hardly anyone will be aware of the significance). The moment you refer to is certainly its fullest realization, though. But it sounds much better on the soundtrack. The actual film cut it and its lead-in short for whatever reason.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:20 am 
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Re Weathertop: the Halloween funhouse lighting, the artificial staging, the running up to stand in the middle of the ring for some reason, the awful actionization of the confrontation with the Ringwraiths, the torch in the face, the completely unscary dudes in robes flailing about, and the in your face version of the Ringworld (which I have always hated). This was a chilling scene in the books, and it feels to me as if it was filmed in my garage with some friends from high school. It completely takes me out of the film. Even more so than Goblintown.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:20 am 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
Re Weathertop: the Halloween funhouse lighting, the artificial staging, the running up to stand in the middle of the ring for some reason, the awful actionization of the confrontation with the Ringwraiths, the torch in the face, the completely unscary dudes in robes flailing about, and the in your face version of the Ringworld (which I have always hated). This was a chilling scene in the books, and it feels to me as if it was filmed in my garage with some friends from high school. It completely takes me out of the film. Even more so than Goblintown.


I find Weathertop to be a middling rather than a bad scene, and I think the blame lies on Tolkien as much as Jackson. Realistically, there is no way that five Ringwraiths are going to try and fail to defeat four Hobbits and a man and not look silly doing so.

And while I am often a critic of the 'book and film are a different medium so things have to be different' argument, I think a degree of 'actionisation' and 'in your face' would have been necessary regardless. I always liked Jackson's interpretation of the Wraith-world, though.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:43 am 
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The reason I dislike the scene in the film has nothing to do with the fact that the Ringwraiths fail. It has everything to do with atmosphere. Roughly the same thing happens in both the book and film, but they couldn't be more different, IMO.

In the book, the uncertainty and the buildup send shivers up the spine. The slow approach of the Nazgûl in the wild at night, with Sam and Merry running back to the fire to say they saw and felt something, but could not guess what. And then they make something out at "the lip of the dell," and slowly, shadows "like black holes in the shade behind them" approach. It's like a scene out of one's worst nightmares as a child. I think it should have been approached as a genuinely slow-building horror moment, not an action set piece. These are wraiths. Horrifying beings that hover in an awful limbo between life and death. And we get a bunch of dudes with upraised swords stomping into a brightly-lit battle arena? It just felt so wrong. And the unfortunate thing is that PJ got their essence just right when he had Aragorn speak of them in the Prancing Pony (and we get that short montage of the black riders still against the landscape - where they do indeed look like black holes ripped into the otherwise pleasant landscape). Missed opportunity, and at least for me, one of the worst scenes across all six films precisely because of how much cinematic potential it had.

ETA: Here's the buildup in the book, which is simply made for cinema. Even if there are similarities between what happens in the book and film, the tone and feel of the two couldn't be more different.

Quote:
At that moment Sam came running back from the edge of the dell. ‘I don’t know what it is,’ he said, ‘but I suddenly felt afraid. I durstn’t go outside this dell for any money; I felt that something was creeping up the slope.’

‘Did you see anything?’ asked Frodo, springing to his feet.

‘No, sir. I saw nothing, but I didn’t stop to look.’

‘I saw something,’ said Merry; ‘or I thought I did – away westwards where the moonlight was falling on the flats beyond the shadow of the hill-tops, I thought there were two or three black shapes. They seemed to be moving this way.’

‘Keep close to the fire, with your faces outward!’ cried Strider. ‘Get some of the longer sticks ready in your hands!’ For a breathless time they sat there, silent and alert, with their backs turned to the wood-fire, each gazing into the shadows that encircled them. Nothing happened. There was no sound or movement in the night. Frodo stirred, feeling that he must break the silence: he longed to shout out aloud. ‘Hush!’ whispered Strider. ‘What’s that?’ gasped Pippin at the same moment.

Over the lip of the little dell, on the side away from the hill, they felt, rather than saw, a shadow rise, one shadow or more than one. They strained their eyes, and the shadows seemed to grow. Soon there could be no doubt: three or four tall black figures were standing there on the slope, looking down on them. So black were they that they seemed like black holes in the deep shade behind them. Frodo thought that he heard a faint hiss as of venomous breath and felt a thin piercing chill. Then the shapes slowly advanced.


Filmmakers dream of having a scene like that in a script. After watching it the first time, I really could not believe how bad it was. I was stunned, and in some ways, I still am!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:47 am 
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In short, you dislike the scene because of your expectations based upon the book's scene.
But to see it as a scene on it's own, you'd have to let go of the book.

Curiously enough, I have the same criticisms for the Goblintown sequence, Beorn's theatrical introduction and Gandalf's investigation of Dol Guldur. Preferring action over suspense. I wonder if that's because I'd already read Tolkien by then.

Anyway, I'm quite certain that very few people who saw the film before reading the books (and thus not having any notion of what was going to follow) have much of a problem with that scene.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:07 am 
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I also recall that it was the very first scene that Viggo filmed - literally thrown into it on his first day. Not using that to excuse any of PtB's complaints, but if it was that early on in the filming one could suggest that PJ was also finding his feet with regards to how the Ringwraiths were to work on screen. We also know that the sound effects weren't finalized until the 11th hour, either (with Fran recording her own screams!)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:46 am 
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I get what Passdagas is saying, that Canon Weathertop cries out for more of a 'horror' film treatment than action film treatment. At least at first ... because V-man is quite right in saying that this scene in the book (which chilled my blood, the Nazgûl are so creepy!) does have a logical problem, as fans have pointed out for years. ;) The Nazgûl are scared off with far too much ease! - a Dúnadan with a BROKEN sword and four hobbits? This should have been a pushover! :D Stylistically, the scene is a triumph. :) Plotwise, it's problematic. ;) In essence, they are scared off by 'the power of prayer', Frodo's invocation of Elbereth. Which I can just about accept. ;)

In defence of PJ - and to prove Smaug's point - friends of mine who hadn't read the book found Movie Weathertop genuinely alarming and scary! Which it would be if you had no idea what was going to happen. As Smaug's voice points out, us fans bring a bunch of expectations to the film treatment ... expectations which are perfectly reasonable in this case because, like Passdagas, I think that silent, hissing Nazgûl are more frightening than shrieky ones.

But I still don't think that shrieky Nazgûl, and Movie Weathertop, are the worst things PJ has ever done. Far from it. He clearly did something right for the non-Tolkien audience. My caveat being that it could have been scarier. But either Frodo or Aragorn had to do something in the film to effectively drive the Nazgûl away ... and we know they fear fire!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:44 pm 
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I love everything about Weathertop right until those torches show up. And even then I only really dislike that torch to the (non)face. But like LM said, I put the blame there more on Tolkien then PJ for writing a pivotal scene with no good way out of it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:34 pm 
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Elentári wrote:
I also recall that it was the very first scene that Viggo filmed - literally thrown into it on his first day. Not using that to excuse any of PtB's complaints, but if it was that early on in the filming one could suggest that PJ was also finding his feet with regards to how the Ringwraiths were to work on screen. We also know that the sound effects weren't finalized until the 11th hour, either (with Fran recording her own screams!)


In the director's commentary, they openly admit that this was one of the first scenes they filmed, that they hadn't quite figured out how everything was going to work yet, and that they're not satisfied with the way it turned out.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:51 pm 
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The main thing I dislike about the Weathertop scene is that while Merry and Pippin and Sam try to resist, Frodo just collapses in a heap of terrorized goo.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:39 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
The main thing I dislike about the Weathertop scene is that while Merry and Pippin and Sam try to resist, Frodo just collapses in a heap of terrorized goo.


YES.

In the book, it's the three younger hobbits who resort to wimp-mode, whereas Frodo is the one who hits out at the Witch-King.

Now, I have no problem with PJ making the three younger hobbits braver in the film. 8) But we should have seen Film Frodo try to resist the terror of the Nazgûl as best he might.

:rage: :D

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:42 pm 
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I'm not crazy about that either and would certainly have preferred Frodo show a bit more nerve but I get what they were going for - Frodo, as the ringbearer, felt their preference and the fear of it much more intensely than the others did.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:44 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
I'm not crazy about that either and would certainly have preferred Frodo show a bit more nerve but I get what they were going for - Frodo, as the ringbearer, felt their preference and the fear of it much more intensely than the others did.


I do think that's what PJ was trying to convey. :)

I once posted on another forum, now sadly defunct, where there was a really thoughtful thread about this very issue, entitled 'PJ struggles mightily with Tolkien's ambivalence.' Which was a great thread title. :) Of course I can't remember any of our awesome arguments ... this would have been around summer 2002. :D Neither can I attach the link, because that great discussion is now lost in the Void.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:11 pm 
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The depiction of movie Frodo is an interesting topic. He's often criticized for being too weak and not standing up for himself enough compared to the book. Well, to an extent I agree with that. Also, his carefree Hobbit-ness is over very quickly, and he smiles and jokes less than the books - this is largely a side effect of the movie-Ring being more powerful and Book I being greatly abbreviated. Also, his painfully drawn-out collapse against the cave troll is undoubtedly the weakest part of Moria.

Still, his weakness shouldn't be overstated - movie Frodo really does show courage at times. Such as his volunteering at the Council, or the lovely moment as Parth Galen, or going through Shelob's lair alone (even if the way they set that up isn't so great). Also great moral strength and mercy in his treatment of Gollum - there's even a non-book scene where he wants to spare Gollum's life after his treachery is fully known.

And they really do capture the tragic side of his suffering and sacrifice. Actually, I think movie Frodo is the way he is largely because both Wood and Philippa/Fran/PJ chose to highlight suffering as the center of his character. While it would have been nice to see other sides of Frodo more, this is perhaps the most important thing about him and they got it right. I find him particularly impressive in RotK (Cirith Ungol aside) - Elijah Wood shows a lot of range there.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 8:57 pm 
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I largely agree with that, and I think it is well said.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:02 pm 
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I of course have expectations based on the book. But my objection to Weathertop would stand, even based on the logic of the films alone, and what the Nazgûl are presented as within it (as described by Aragorn, for example). That scene kills their creepiness for me, because I just don't buy the staging. Up until then, I think the film had done a pretty good job of making them pretty scary, especially in Bree (though I also think the hiding from the one Nazgûl scene was not as good as it could have been, based on the look of the rider).

Basically, my objection is purely artistic. I find Weathertop false-looking and inauthentic, with especially bad lighting. It's the worst lit scene of the whole trilogy, and that sort of thing really does effect my enjoyment. It really feels to me like a scene from a Bruce Campbell film, minus the humor, has fallen from the sky and landed in the film.

Finally, I'd like to say something that won't increase my popularity, but does strike at the heart of why I have so many objections to PJ's films: I believe I could make better films. My own artistic vision for these adaptations, both on a visual and narrative level, are far too strong to allow for a judgment of PJ's films within the parameters of his own style and sensibilities. I think he's a slightly above average storyteller and movie-maker, with well above-average passion and dedication. And I can't help but constantly think about how I would improve on his films. Alas. Perhaps I should have pursued a career in film!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:19 pm 
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I could make better films too, in the sense that the films that I would make would match my sensibilities better than Peter Jackson's films would. However, I would not be able to do all the things necessary to make such films happen.

And neither would you.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:22 pm 
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How do you know that, exactly?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:25 pm 
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A. You haven't.
B. You do not, so far as I know, have any experience making large-scale films.
C. [deleted]

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