The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Skywalker, Dec 6, 2012.

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How would you grade [i]The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey[/i]?

  1. A+

    32 vote(s)
    16.6%
  2. A

    52 vote(s)
    26.9%
  3. A-

    38 vote(s)
    19.7%
  4. B+

    28 vote(s)
    14.5%
  5. B

    15 vote(s)
    7.8%
  6. B-

    9 vote(s)
    4.7%
  7. C+

    1 vote(s)
    0.5%
  8. C

    8 vote(s)
    4.1%
  9. C-

    2 vote(s)
    1.0%
  10. D+

    3 vote(s)
    1.6%
  11. D

    1 vote(s)
    0.5%
  12. D-

    3 vote(s)
    1.6%
  13. F

    1 vote(s)
    0.5%
  1. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    I just got back from it. I really wanted to enjoy it but I just couldn't get into it. I gave it a C and I think it would be generous to give it anything higher.

    To me, the editing/pacing of this film is what destroyed it. It's clear that Peter Jackson learned absolutely nothing from King Kong. It took 45 minutes to get to Skull Island in Kong and it took 45 minutes to get out of the Shire in The Hobbit. It was nice to see Ian Holm again but Elijah Woods had one of the most pointless cameos of all-time (although bizarrely, he actually looks younger here than he did in Lord of the Rings). His decision to turn a barely 300-page book into three, nine-hour movies was an awful decision. It was a decision made out of pure ego on Jackson's part and studio greed. This movie is filled with storyline bloat, best left for a special edition DVD. I found the first half of the movie to be boring and while it picked up in the second half, it still wasn't anything great. I also thought that the added stuff took too much away from Bilbo's story. The Hobbit isn't Lord of the Rings...it's the story of its main character Bilbo Baggins.

    Then there's all the CGI. Some of it looks great. Some of it looks very fake. WETA should be absolutely embarrassed to put something as bad as the Radagast chase on-screen. Jackson has become all-CGI, all-the-time now and that contributes to more of a fake feeling in Lord of the Rings. Sorry, fanboys, but when it comes to CGI, Jackson has become the very thing that you hate. That is George Lucas.

    Martin Freeman was terrific as Bilbo. I've a big fan of his from Sherlock and I'm glad to see him starring in this film. He's got great comedic timing. Ian McKellen is great fun once again as Gandalf. Richard Armitage is not bad as Thorin but his character does like more than brood personality-wise and Thorin doesn't have a shred of Aragorn's charisma. It was fun seeing most of the Lord of the Rings actors popping up again with Andy Serkis being the obvious standout. His Gollum is amazing in both look and performance. The riddle scene with Bilbo was definitely the best part of the movie and Bilbo sparing him as really well-done.

    The part where the trolls were trying to cook the dwarves was very entertaining as well. I liked the various flashbacks and the Necromancer addition could be very interesting. I have to admit, I ended up liking Radagast as well. It was cool seeing another wizard and I liked that bit of backstory where Gandalf said he couldn't remember the name of the two blue wizards. Neither could Tolkein. I'm annoyed that Azog wasn't killed because I DO NOT want to see this storyline revisited.

    I'm still going to go to the next two Hobbit films but my expectations are very low. Peter Jackson will not learn his lesson from this film (he didn't learn it from King Kong either) and will only make the next two movies longer and more bloated. He has absolutely no one around him to reign him in. I wonder who that sounds like...oh yeah! George Lucas! As far as I'm concerned, Peter Jackson stopped being a great filmmaker after he won his Oscars for Return of the King.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    I'm sorry, but this movie suuuucked.

    I'm saying this as a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. The movie sucked, and was awful.

    First I'll say what I liked about it. The Gollum part.

    Now, what I didn't like.

    -Worst cast movie of all time. All the good casting decisions are the ones made ten years ago, like Gandalf.

    -Higher framerate makes the seams in the CGI and the bad acting more obvious. Some of the distance shots looked blatantly like models and in some scenes it felt like they were auditioning for the part.

    -Pacing was terrible and tie-ins to Lord of the Rings were out of place, awkward and unnecessary.

    -Goblin king looked super-goofy, reminded me of that sea people king from Phantom Menace.

    -All the humor was slapstick. There was no Gimli/Legolas character humor, it was strictly physical humor.

    -At times I felt I was watching a BBC TV series

    -At no point did I feel invested in a single one of the characters.

    I'm not saying this movie is as bad as Phantom Menace, but it is certainly the franchise's Phantom Meance.

    *sigh* Yeah, I'm going to see the next two movies in the theater. Damn it.

    --

    On the subject of critics, I think the people who really hate them are the people who devote themselves to one genre and love anything from that genre regardless of its quality. I disagree with them a lot, and given a choice between a critic and a friend whose taste I trust I go with the friend. But give me one movie with a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and one with a 10%, I'd lay heavy odds on preferring the former.
     
  3. Mach5

    Mach5 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    EXACTLY the thing I was afraid of. King Kong would have been an amazing movie, were it not for the piss poor editing. As Richard Roeper said, every scene was too long and in need of trimming.

    Jackson is a good director, but studios should stop letting him produce his movies. This guy needs his Gary Kurtz.
     
  4. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Why is everyone giving Jackson crap about this being a trilogy when that was entirely a studio decision?
     
  5. Mach5

    Mach5 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Stretching it into three movies was all WB, sure. Too much extra money to be made.

    But why did all three movies need to be nearly three hours long? Two-hour format would have worked as well.
     
  6. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Because, to hear Jackson tell it, he decided to speak to WB about three movies after seeing the material he had on hand while cutting AUJ. It was a decision, Jackson says, that was entirely artistic in nature (for him). WB, of course, saw the $$$ and heartily agreed. Personally, I thought, for the most part, the film worked very well as a story about how Bilbo's personal journey fit into a larger tapestry of events on Middle Earth. To that end, I think the complaints about how long it takes to get out of The Shire are bunk. The film follows the beats of the book very closely early on (Ian-Holm-based scenes and Azog-flashbacks notwithstanding). You need that time to establish the dwarves, their story, their motivations - not to mention Bilbo, too. I don't see any of scenes inside Bag End as unnecessary. And in the book, there's no action until the roast mutton scene anyway.

    There were some superfluous-feeling moments in the film, though. Azog serves as a foil for both Thorin and Bilbo, but was unremarkable in that role. The White Council felt awkward - mostly because it seemed obvious that Christopher Lee was filmed in isolation from the other performers. But they both serve a purpose with respect to the story Jackson is telling. And otherwise, I thought the movie was a lot of fun and, outside the backstory sequences for Azog, well-paced. Jackson has created an interestingly hybrid movie - one that is more serious than The Hobbit book, but more cartoonish and light-hearted than LOTR - fitting, considering his stated intent for these movies. Personally, I loved this film, can't wait to see it again, and am excited for the next two.

    And as a side note, I saw this in 2D 24fps. I'll be going to the 3D 48fps presentation this weekend. My biggest complaint? How the ADR synced with the actors' lips. It seemed really off.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  7. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Wow, the criticism is nearly unanimous. Does this mean Jackson would re-tool and combine the final two? Or are those sorts of things too late to stop?

    To the people that saw this: what if it was trimmed down to 2 hours? Still way too long?

    Forbes has a review that gushes:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkai...dle-earth-movie-since-fellowship-of-the-ring/
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  8. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Why on Middle Earth would he retool and combine the next two? Regardless of the criticisms, it's making gobs if money. Many of the people in this thread who hated it, thought it sucked admitted they are STILL. Going to see the next two. Why would anyone change course?
     
  9. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    That's fandom for you. The anticipated movie can disappoint but we'll all be back to see it.

    I would think Peter Jackson didn't have to do three movies if he didn't want to. But when someone like him is offered three movies, it's like giving a heorin addict another hit. If he was going to commit to three movies, he should have cut the films to two hours each. That decision would make more sense monetarily as well, as it would allow for more showings at movie theaters. But Jackson is pretending this is an artistic decision instead of an egotistical and money-grabbing one.

    He won't learn from his creative failings here just like he didn't learn from King Kong. The next two films will be longer and more bloated. That's simply all you expect from Peter Jackson nowadays.

    If Jackson could have shown all 13 dwarves wiping their ass one at a time after eating at Bilbo's, he would have in a heartbeat.
     
  10. Blue_Trek

    Blue_Trek Captain Captain

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    :guffaw::rofl:

    Yeah if you are going to make three movies that were going to be one, they absolutely need to be no longer than 2 hours, bloated indeed.

    It is possible he may trim the next two when he see's the reaction, they will make just as much money even if they are 2 hours and maybe more people will see them.
     
  11. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    In truth, the film only needs some minor editing and two hours would have been too short. First, Ian-Holm-Bilbo's monologue is a bit dusty, particularly with Frodo's cameo. I happen to like it, I enjoy the complete immersion, but it could have been left for an EE. And the tie-in with Azog was clumisily handled. Other than that, though, the film is fine. You could argue, I suppose, that they spend a lot of time at Bag End - but it's all in good fun, and necessary to boot. And Radagast, despite his awkward performance, is brief and instrumental.

    On the flipside of that, consider the one scene getting the most praise: Riddles In The Dark. Jackson just lets that scene run. It takes several minutes of screen time. It's barely edited. And it's brilliant. So there's an argument in favor of letting the book material have enough room to breathe on screen.
     
  12. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Nothing prevents the Extended Edition from having more scenes and also being trimmed here and there. Would be a first, but it's possible, if Jackson reacts to the criticism.
     
  13. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    I could have watched even more of the riddle scene. It is brilliant, I completely agree.

    I think having Ian Holm return as Bilbo to "introduce" the Hobbit was a good idea but that takes too long and so do the scenes in The Shire. That would have helped.

    Another problem is this film just doesn't have the emotion of the Lord of the Rings. It's not supposed to. The Hobbit is a children's book, a fun adventure. Lord of the Rings is an epic and a more emotional book. There was more to work with. I still think one of the best decisions Jackson made with LOTR's was moving Boromir's death scene to the end of Fellowship. If he had shown it at the beginning of The Two Towers, it would have lost all its emotional momentum.
     
  14. The Evil Dead

    The Evil Dead Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    I refuse to pay money to see this film and support their dumb decision to make it three movies. I'm very curious about the 48fps though.
     
  15. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    I wouldn't be surprised if Cameron decides to use it. So, if you liked Avatar, there's always 2 and 3.

    I understand the criticisms of 48, there were some funky moments, but I think it's beautiful and like all tools will get better as the filmmakers learn to use it better.
     
  16. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    I liked it a lot, gave it an A-... it is very deliberately paced, and I agree some of the action sequences went on a bit too long, in a can-you-top-this spirit that we saw in King Kong [and always brings Temple of Doom to mind for me]. I don't agree w/the "bloated" description, and while the Azog stuff wan't my favorite part I can see why they did it, to give an "enemy" for the first movie.

    I'm surprised more folks haven't mentioned the scaling-up of Bilbo's heroism, in how he is the one who delays the trolls until Gandalf arrives and in his going after Azog to defend Thorin. I liked the former but I thought the latter was a bit too much of a leap... even if he'd decided to do it one of the Dwarves would've gone first.

    Gollum looks awesome, and it makes clearer just how much of this performance is Serkis'... the riddle-scene is supposed to be the highlight of this movie and it was for me. Freeman and Serkis did a great job, and particularly since [as revealed on Colbert's Hobbit Week] it was the first scene Freeman filmed.

    I liked the White Council scene, great to see them all together... and for the complaint that you could tell Lee was filmed separately, the end of the conversation between Gandalf and Galadriel shows that he needn't have been there either. We know the mighty Elves can speak mind-to-mind... maybe Lorien's "magic hologram" tech works better than Isengard's! :lol:

    Nice to see the Dwarves center stage a bit, and to see the Battle of Azanulbizar onscreen. I thought the trolls were well-realized and amusingly dumb. I liked Radagast, though his running the wargs around was a bit much.

    Overall I agree that the feel on balance is a little more kid-like than LotR, which is appropriate given the source material. Even though there are a lot of them, the kills seem a lot less bloody. The songs are nicely used without being overdone. [What, no "Tra-la-la-lally, the Elves of the valley"? :rolleyes:]

    I don't think it's 45 minutes too long, but it could use about 15 min of trimming in my opinion. Less time at Bag End, less Radagast cross-country sledding, less running through the caverns from goblins, fewer falling trees. That'd do it for me.

    I think one's opinion of King Kong will be a good predictor here... I thought Kong was certainly overindulgent as hell, but not the ego-run-wild disaster some people do. My analog is Temple of Doom, while some folks here would say Battlefield Earth :lol:. [My biggest complaint is the removal of any admirable qualities from Carl Denham... PJ's Denham is not one who'll go back to Skull Island to find Kong's son out of guilt, that's for sure. But I digress :D] If you hate Kong, bring stimulants to see this one. :p

    So I marked it down to an A- for inflation and dodgy Warg cgi... and I saw it in regular 2D. I'm going to see it again tonight in 48fps 3D, so I'll comment on that tomorrow.
     
  17. Tums

    Tums Ensign Newbie

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Gave it an A+! Will probably give it a review of some sorts when I see the movie for a second time.
     
  18. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    On 48fps:
    I was largely a supporter of it going into the movie, because the criticisms I read sometimes seemed contradictory (it's too real to the point its realness becomes fake). While it may have a point that heightened reality will only show the artifice of the film, I didn't think that was much of an argument against 48ps as a process and more that special effects would just have to get better to keep up with it.

    But having actually seen it?

    It was noticably jumpy in a number of scenes with movement, as if the projector was playing them slightly too fast. When it happened - which was like four or five times during the movie - it was pretty obvious and pretty distracting. Other than that I had no problems with it or the 3D, Unexpected Journey largely succeeded as spectacle (perhaps less 'woah' moments than Avatar, which I'm also going to go ahead and say was the better film overall). At no point however did the 48fps take me out of the fiction the film had generated via costuming, sets, miniatures, CGI and the like. Not that everything was convincing, but the problems were more your typical 'oh, that's clearly CGI' and less 'hah, I can see the seams in Gandalf's fake nose!'

    With the right box office numbers, he would have.
     
  19. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    ^^:lol: Oh of course he'd have gone back... but not from guilt, from profit just like the boss. :D
     
  20. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    Re: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Grading & Discussion (Spoilers

    Just got back from watching the IMAX 3D 24fps version. I have to say it's crazy that there are so many different versions to see. I might just have to go watch each one. :lol:

    Did I love it? That goes without saying. The real question is what about the film did I love? In no particular order:


    • Martin Freeman. By and large the star of the film and brilliantly performs Bilbo Baggins. He manages to capture every facet of Bilbo's character; his stubbornness, his fears, his uncertainties, his modesty, and above all else, his courage. If anyone from the cast has a chance for an Oscar nomination, it's Freeman (although Andy Serkis really should have a greater chance than he will, but more of that later). I look forward to his performances in the next two films more than anything else (along with Smaug, of course).
    • Ian McKellan. Seeing McKellan as Gandalf once again after all this years is like seeing on old friend returning home. It's one thing to be back in the familiar lands of Middle-Earth, but it's a whole another to return with Gandalf. And not just Gandalf, but Gandalf the Grey who has always been my favorite version of the wizard (and apparently McKellan's as well). McKellan slips back into the role like ten years ago was yesterday and brings with him all of the charm, wisdom, and understated power with him. Just prior to the Council of White scene, I suddenly realized that he and Cate Blanchett never shared a single scene of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm glad we finally got the opportunity here because the two of them were brilliant together.
    • Andy Serkis. Just as he stole the show in The Two Towers, he does it again in An Unexpected Journey, and if nothing else, he manages to up his game even further. While Tolkien hadn't yet developed Gollum's schizophrenic nature in The Hobbit, Serkis manages to brilliantly weave it into the "Riddles in the Dark" scene as if Tolkien himself had written the chapter that way. As I said before, Serkis should have a greater chance at getting an Oscar nomination than he actually has, but I can only pray that the Academy will finally come to their senses and recognize Serkis' incredible acting.
    • "Riddles in the Dark" was a major highlight of the film as I expected it would be. I'm thankful they managed to get most of the riddles into the final cut with five out of seven appearing, not counting Bilbo's non-riddle question. I can only hope they filmed the other two riddles (dark, fish) and they're included in the inevitable Extended Edition.
    • Sylvester McCoy. As a life-long Doctor Who fan and having grown up on him (and Tom Baker, of course), I was absolutely thrilled by McCoy's casting as Radagast. Even though Radagast doesn't appear in The Hobbit, nor is he greatly detailed upon in The Return of the King appendices, McCoy wonderfully invokes Radagast's love for nature and all things living. Although he has an odd and abrupt introduction to the narrative, Radagast's appearance quickly proves to be vital by delivering information (and proof) to Gandalf of the Necromancer's presence in Dol Guldur.
    • The Council of White. I'm so happy that Christopher Lee was able to return as Saruman in this film if only for one scene, but a scene with such incredible talent. However, I couldn't help but notice that the scene was green screen in order to accommodate Lee's health (so he didn't have to fly to New Zealand) and I wonder what kind of role Saruman will have in the seize of Dol Guldur in the next film.
    • On a side note, am I the only one who was not only relieved but also thrilled to see a calmer, less Mr. Smith-esque Elrond?
    • While I didn't expect to see Smaug in all of his glory, I was excited to see small glimpses of him at both the beginning, and unexpectedly, at the end. Peter Jackson manages to perfectly tease the audience with just enough of Smaug's power without showing too much. It's going to be a long year to finally see (and hear!) Smaug in his entirety.
    • I was very impressed how Jackson was also able to give most of the dwarves distinctive personalities and individual screen time so that they didn't disappear into the mix. In this case, I'm grateful that Jackson greatly expanded on Tolkien's work because the author doesn't provide much in the novel beyond Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Bombur, and Kili and Fili as a pair. In fact, most of the dwarves don't even have dialogue in the novel. And yet, between Jackson's directing and writing and the actors' performances, most of the dwarves stand out very well. Only Nori, Dori, Oin, and Bifur seem to disappear a little (and even Bombur, too, if not for all of the understated fat jokes).
    • In regards to the adaption, I have to say I'm very pleased how loyal it is to the novel and appendices with the only major change being the expansion of Azog (who actually died prior to The Hobbit, although his son plays a small role in the book) as an adversary to Thorin.
    • In fact, as loyal as the film is to its sources, there doesn't seem to be much left for the inevitable Expanded Edition. I only noticed two scenes missing from the film that we saw in the trailers: Bilbo visiting the Shards of Anduril and Gandalf walking through dark passages (presumably Dol Guldur). I'm sure these scenes will be included along with the two missing riddles. Honestly, I can't think of what else show up.
    • Tragically, I missed Peter Jackson's cameo even though I know roughly where it is (somewhere in the first six or seven minutes of the film). At least Stephen Colbert isn't the only person to miss it. Speaking of which, is Colbert's cameo in this film or another? Anyone notice?
    Only one thing nags me about the whole film and it's really minor: We see Radagast visit Dol Guldur and quickly finds Gandalf. The problem with that is Dol Guldur is on the southwest border of Mirkwood, and when he meets Gandalf and company, they haven't even reached the Misty Mountains yet! Unless Radagast has some secret shortcut through the mountains or his rabbit sled can fly, there's no way he would have gotten to them so quickly. I don't doubt Peter Jackson knows Middle-Earth geography, but I think he made a misstep in narration by making Radagast's visit to Dol Guldur appear to have occurred concurrently to the Company's present adventures.

    In closing, while Jackson can be a bit over dramatic at times, especially at the climax (just as he was in the trilogy), Jackson has brilliantly brought us all back to Middle-Earth with great splendor and I cannot wait until next year for The Desolation of Smaug.
     

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