Hall of Fire Reviews - Post Them Here! [SPOILERS!]

For discussion of the upcoming films based on The Hobbit and related material, as well as previous films based on Tolkien's work
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kzer_za
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Post by kzer_za »

I like Malick (though I don't know him that well), but I'm pretty sure that barrnig a super truncated story, his take on LotR would leave audiences completely confused - even readers!
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Post by Stranger Wings »

kzer_za wrote:I like Malick (though I don't know him that well), but I'm pretty sure that barrnig a super truncated story, his take on LotR would leave audiences completely confused - even readers!
I agree, and I don't think he should have done it. But his sensibility, and the way in which he films nature (and natural conflict) is, IMO, very Tolkienian.

Honestly, my ideal director would be the child of David Lean and Terrence Malick.

Anyone know where he or she might be? :)
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Post by Stranger Wings »

GollumLover over at TORC said something interesting, which I agree is part of what feels so "ho hum" about the film:
We really need to feel a sense of danger and that Bilbo is frightened and out of his comfort zone for the first time ever. The first time he sees an Orc or a Troll, it should be an absolutely amazing epiphany in the movie.
Indeed. PJ completely missed that with AUJ. Bilbo was on the road for the very first time, and instead of being awed by his surroundings, and places where people "had strange names and sang strange songs" <---paraphrase, he just sort of hangs around like a new recruit to a traveling circus. I can accept that PJ consciously chose that style, but he missed some potentially awesome cinematic sequences as a result.
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Post by Pearly Di »

Prim - I agree with you about Weir's Master and Commander. :).

SA - I am a big fan of Weir, Scott at his best, and Ang Lee ... I agree those directors have a more subtle style than PJ does. And I agree that world-building doesn't have to include 'stuff'.

Be that as it may ... I will always think that PJ deserves a lot of credit, whilst not denying the imperfections in his adaptation. I agree with Jewel - the positive reaction of my non-Tolkien friends to PJ's LotR was enough to drive away all cynicism.

I always point out that the books are even better. ;)
Last edited by Pearly Di on Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ellienor
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Post by Ellienor »

I have seen it twice now. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. In fact in some ways I liked it more than the LOTR trilogy. :) I mean, nothing is ever going to compare (for me) with my first viewing of FOTR in the movie theatre. I went in to the Hobbit knowing that. I also never really cared for the Hobbit anyways. I've reread LOTR over and over again, but I'd rarely reread the Hobbit. Never really was drawn into the story.

But the movie :love: The prologue was amazing. While I didn't much care for the Dale (looked like a Renaissance Fair), Erebor was amazing. The mines with the hanging lights. The gems and jewels being weighed. The awesomeness of the Dwarf King. And the irresistable force of the Dragon crawling in, barely even noticing all of the dwarves in his way. And it was my second viewing that showed that Balin was there, with a lot less gray in his hair. He's good. He's my favorite of them all.
The unexpected party was good. All of it. I could have watched another couple of hours of it. I have to say, the Bag End and Hobbit scenes in FOTR I wasn't crazy about. The whole thing was a bit too cutesy and the hobbits too adorable. But this Bag End was great. I think a lot of it was Martin Freeman. He wasn't cutesy and adorable. He was a fussy bachelor who didn't want any interruptions in his comfortable life. The scene with Gandalf I loved. A lot of the original dialog from Tolkien was there.......I had recently reread the Hobbit and could practically recite it along with Gandalf when he responded to the "good morning" from Bilbo. Just well done.
The entrance of Dwalin with the bald head and tattoos.....he rocked. He just mowed over Bilbo who was left kind of sputtering in his wake. And the dishes scene--I particularly loved Balin's resigned look as he takes on his "role" in the juggling of the dishes to deflect them around the corner--he's seen this shenanigans a few times before!
And the Misty Mountains song. If there was nothing else I liked about the movie, this would still have made the movie for me.
I loved somebody else's perspective that the Middle Earth of this movie was more wild. In LOTR, there seemed to be cities and people to rescue and/or help the Fellowship everywhere they went. Here it was a wild land with nobody around for the most part.
Radagast: I didn't like. Waaaaay over the top. I think McCoy's performance was just too comic and over the top. Highly exaggerated acting style. He just needed to be a shy animal loving wizard. I thought the other thing about Radagast is that he shied away from his "charge" or mission, yet here he was going to the Necromancer's lair and looking for Gandalf. That seemed a bit out of character. I'm going to have to reread the appendices to see if I remembered Radagast correctly. :) But in any case he was too cartoony. I especially hated his eyes crossing when he was trying to save the hedgehog. And when he inhaled Gandalf's pipe. Just plain goofy.
Rivendell: liked. But mostly I just soaked up the eye candy. :)
The rest of the movie was a bunch of videogame fighting. I don't really care for that kind of stuff and just sat through it kind of minding my own business. When I own the DVDs, I'll be fast forwarding through all of that. About the only thing I liked about the Goblin town sequence was the Dwarves working as a unit to pick up poles and use them to charge forward and knocking orcs off of the ledges. The riding the bridge down to the bottom just was silly.
Riddles in the Dark: great scene. Very well done. Pity scene: well done. Martin Freeman=amazing actor.
Over all, I'm very happy with this adaptation. I'm looking forward to more!
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Post by Alatar »

It occurred to me that the people complaining about PJ/Philippa/Fran not using Saruman's "Radagast the Bird Tamer, Radagast the Simple, Radagast the Fool" are kind of missing the point. The writers knew that line. They knew they had the rights to use it. They chose not to. Not because they thought they could write better dialogue than Tolkien, but because they're not blindly aping him. If Saruman had used that line in The Hobbit, the very same people would be complaining that its out of character for Saruman at that point in his history. And they would be right. When Saruman uses that line, it is effectively the moment when his mask falls and Gandalf sees how he has fallen. It is contemptuous. In AUJ, however, he acts more like a disapproving parent with a wayward son. More exasperated than contemptuous. As I say, it would have been much easier for the writers to simply transplant the line from LotR. They had enough sense to know that it was too strong for this point in time.

I'll never understand why there's so much bile directed at PB in particular. She may have made different decisions to the ones I might have made, but there's no denying that she is well versed in the material. People need to realise that just because they don't agree with her, it doesn't mean that she doesn't understand Tolkien. We afford that courtesy to people we disagree with on the boards. Why is PB not afforded the same courtesy?
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Post by Stranger Wings »

Pearly Di wrote:Prim - I agree with you about Weir's Master and Commander. :).

SA - I am a big fan of Weir, Scott at his best, and Ang Lee ... I agree those directors have a more subtle style than PJ does. And I agree that world-building doesn't have to include 'stuff'.

Be that as it may ... I will always think that PJ deserves a lot of credit, whilst not denying the imperfections in his adaptation. I agree with Jewel - the positive reaction of my non-Tolkien friends to PJ's LotR was enough to drive away all cynicism.

I always point out that the books are even better. ;)
Oh, yes. I forgot about Ang Lee! He would also have been a better choice, IMO. In any event, it seems we have some pretty similar tastes in directors! :)

However, I do give PJ credit for his passion and commitment, and for seeming to be a rather wonderful guy. He also occasionally got Tolkien very right (as in AUJ's Bag End scenes, and scattered moments throughout LOTR), and I will forever be grateful to him for that.

But ultimately, I wish the reins had gone to someone else.
Last edited by Stranger Wings on Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Stranger Wings »

Alatar wrote:It occurred to me that the people complaining about PJ/Philippa/Fran not using Saruman's "Radagast the Bird Tamer, Radagast the Simple, Radagast the Fool" are kind of missing the point. The writers knew that line. They knew they had the rights to use it. They chose not to. Not because they thought they could write better dialogue than Tolkien, but because they're not blindly aping him. If Saruman had used that line in The Hobbit, the very same people would be complaining that its out of character for Saruman at that point in his history. And they would be right. When Saruman uses that line, it is effectively the moment when his mask falls and Gandalf sees how he has fallen. It is contemptuous. In AUJ, however, he acts more like a disapproving parent with a wayward son. More exasperated than contemptuous. As I say, it would have been much easier for the writers to simply transplant the line from LotR. They had enough sense to know that it was too strong for this point in time.

I'll never understand why there's so much bile directed at PB in particular. She may have made different decisions to the ones I might have made, but there's no denying that she is well versed in the material. People need to realise that just because they don't agree with her, it doesn't mean that she doesn't understand Tolkien. We afford that courtesy to people we disagree with on the boards. Why is PB not afforded the same courtesy?
Though I don't direct any bile at PB, my problem with her is not her knowledge of Tolkien, which is extensive enough. For me, it is her constant parroting of the "necessity" of some pretty amateur screen-writing 101 tropes. If I had a dollar for every time she said "dramatic reversal" I would have lots and lots of money.
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Post by JewelSong »

Shelob'sAppetite wrote: it is her [PB] constant parroting of the "necessity" of some pretty amateur screen-writing 101 tropes..
You've mentioned this "Screen Writing 101" a few times now. Do you have screen writing experience yourself? Or some first-hand knowledge of it?

(I am not being sarcastic...just curious.)
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Post by Stranger Wings »

Ok, so I saw it for the 3rd time. This go round, it was in 3D 48fps.

For every scene shot on a set, I felt like I was at the mall, or some glitzy Universal Studios environment. And strangely, the experience made me miss all sorts of emotional cues. Since it felt like behind the scenes footage, I just naturally rejected the story. There was, essentially, zero immersion and zero suspension of disbelief. For example, a scene I loved before - Bilbo's waking up in Bag End, followed by relief and then disappointment, was horrifyingly bad. And throughout the film, the format gives me the odd impression that noone knows how to act! I will, unfortunately, never watch a film in this format again.

But the landscape shots were quite glorious, if occasionally over-bright.

I am grateful to PJ for giving us such a range of choices...
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Post by yovargas »

Wow, maybe it really was the HFR that ruined it for me...
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Post by Lalaith »

Ellie! :D It's good to see you here!

yovi, you should see it again in a different format. :)
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Hi Ellie! :wave:
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Shelob'sAppetite wrote:I am grateful to PJ for giving us such a range of choices...
I don't know for sure, but I suspect that we may have the studio to thank for that as much if not more than PJ.
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Post by Pearly Di »

Ellienor, great to see you again. :wave: I enjoyed your review! - most of your likes and dislikes are mine. :D I really enjoyed the film. :)

Just not the blasted 48fps. :rofl:
Shelob'sAppetite wrote:Ok, so I saw it for the 3rd time. This go round, it was in 3D 48fps.

For every scene shot on a set, I felt like I was at the mall, or some glitzy Universal Studios environment. And strangely, the experience made me miss all sorts of emotional cues. Since it felt like behind the scenes footage, I just naturally rejected the story.

I, too, had a lot of cognitive dissonance like that when I watched the film last week! :help:

But I was able to enjoy the performances ... a big saving grace that helped enormously. :)
There was, essentially, zero immersion and zero suspension of disbelief. For example, a scene I loved before - Bilbo's waking up in Bag End, followed by relief and then disappointment, was horrifyingly bad. And throughout the film, the format gives me the odd impression that noone knows how to act!
I had no complaints about the acting whatsoever. :) My problem was neurological. :blackeye:
But the landscape shots were quite glorious, if occasionally over-bright.
Oh, they were. :)
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Post by Dave_LF »

Shelob'sAppetite wrote:Ok, so I saw it for the 3rd time.
Wow; other directors can only wish you disapproved of their work so much! ;)
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Post by kzer_za »

Alatar wrote:It occurred to me that the people complaining about PJ/Philippa/Fran not using Saruman's "Radagast the Bird Tamer, Radagast the Simple, Radagast the Fool" are kind of missing the point. The writers knew that line. They knew they had the rights to use it. They chose not to. Not because they thought they could write better dialogue than Tolkien, but because they're not blindly aping him. If Saruman had used that line in The Hobbit, the very same people would be complaining that its out of character for Saruman at that point in his history. And they would be right. When Saruman uses that line, it is effectively the moment when his mask falls and Gandalf sees how he has fallen. It is contemptuous. In AUJ, however, he acts more like a disapproving parent with a wayward son. More exasperated than contemptuous. As I say, it would have been much easier for the writers to simply transplant the line from LotR. They had enough sense to know that it was too strong for this point in time.
Okay, that's a valid point. I think people mainly wish he had used the line because they didn't like the "mushrooms" joke.
I'll never understand why there's so much bile directed at PB in particular. She may have made different decisions to the ones I might have made, but there's no denying that she is well versed in the material. People need to realise that just because they don't agree with her, it doesn't mean that she doesn't understand Tolkien. We afford that courtesy to people we disagree with on the boards. Why is PB not afforded the same courtesy?
Yeah, I agree with this, and I don't think it's fair when people say "PJ and PB have a five-year old's understanding of Tolkien."
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Dave_LF wrote:
Shelob'sAppetite wrote:Ok, so I saw it for the 3rd time.
Wow; other directors can only wish you disapproved of their work so much! ;)
:wooper:
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Post by anthriel »

ELLIE!! <squeeeeeee!!>

Re: Bilbo. I don't think I totally realized how "over the top" I felt the LotR Bilbo was until I saw Martin's Bilbo. I know a lot of you really liked Ian Holm's Bilbo, and I know many of you are familiar with him from other venues. I can't recall ever seeing him before LotR.

But of the two, I am SO going with Martin Freeman. :) Ian's Bilbo was a bit cartoonish for me. He was kind of sputtery and flighty, and even in the weightier moments of his role, still seemed really imbued in "I'm really small, and I'm kinda cute". If any of that makes sense.

I'm beginning to believe that I don't care much for Tolkien's characters depicted in a cartoonish light. :) I didn't like how Gimli was such a comedic character in LotR (although I loved the "little hairy women" comment, I don't know why), and I don't love how Radagast was made to be so "entertaining" in this movie. Yes, as Ellie says, he is supposed to be a shy, hermit-y, animal-loving kind of guy. (Perhaps I take offense because I relate to the guy, in a way!) That eye roll when he saved the hedgehog was ridiculous.

But back to Martin: he made Bilbo a REAL person, I think. Yes, a fussy bachelor, but not sputtery and goofy. He really was a fussy bachelor, to me, not an actor playing a fussy bachelor. And his way of projecting his emotions is so much more subtle than Ian's. I really, really do like that scene of him staying his hand over Gollum. You can see where his compassion takes over, perhaps overtaking his reason.

It is just SO good. :love:
"What do you fear, lady?" Aragorn asked.
"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Post by yovargas »

Anthy!! I think you're the only person I've heard say they didn't like Holm's Bilbo! It's nice to know I'm not totally crazy for thinking that - or if I am, I am crazy in good company. :D :love:


And yes on the "cartoony" criticism. It's entirely possible to be light and playful and humorous without straying into cartoony. (Merry and Pippin hit this really well, IMO.) Gimli was just about my least favorite thing about LOTR because of this and Radagast goes even further. Blech.
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