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. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I thought of that point about getting from Dol Goldur to Eriador while watching but then forgot about it. Maybe the EE will have a sequence of Radagast on his bionic-rabbit-sled careening through the pass of Caradhras in the snow. :D

    Or on a more serious note, the Eagles?

    And I totally forgot to look for PJ, I will tonight.
     
  2. Wereghost

    Wereghost Part-time poltergeist Rear Admiral

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

    You know, now that you mention it there may be an outside chance. An Academy Award is ostensibly for a specific performance, but in reality they seem to take into account a person's other recent work. Serkis was equally great in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and the ten years since The Two Towers should mean not only that Gollum has entered the vernacular but also that the typical Academy voter now has relatively modern sensibilities, with all that that entails. Also, it's almost certainly Serkis' final substantial Gollum performance. Hopefully they'll recognise this exceptional actor before it's time for a lifetime achievement award.

    I'm not sure if by "incredible talent" you mean Lee or the general assembly, but I would agree on either count. I got a real kick out of Saruman and particularly how he was presented as an ally and authority figure. Liked the way he put down Gandalf and pretty much dismissed Radagast in a callback to the infamous comment about Gandalf smoking too much of the Longbottom Leaf. McKellen makes the most of it, showing us a Gandalf who's intimidated by his superior to a somewhat unsettling degree, especially since he seems to consider Saruman to be above reproach.

    I thought that Cate Blanchett pitched it just right, too. This is a Galadriel about whom new viewers should have misgivings come Fellowship, so a certain aloofness was perfectly appropriate. Must admit that I welled up a bit on first seeing her in this movie, but that's partly Howard Shore's doing. :)

    Radagast's apparent speed of travel didn't bother me, as we don't know exactly when his early scenes happen in relation to the chronology of Bilbo's journey. It could easily be a month or two between his first scene and his meeting with Gandalf, unless I'm mistaken.
     
  3. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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

    I don't think it's fair to say it's a gushing review. Instead, I think it's a well-written and well-argued review that describes in detail why the reviewer enjoyed the film so much, but is also not afraid to criticize. I agree with his insights on the expansion of Azog and elevating Thorin into a hero role, but I disagree that An Unexpected Journey is the best Middle-Earth film since Fellowship of the Ring.

    I certainly hope you're right but I was equally disappointed when he wasn't nominated for Rise of the Planet of the Apes as I was The Two Towers. Only time will tell.

    Yes, I meant the whole ensemble. Each one of them was excellent in that scene and I look forward to more White Council scenes in the next film.

    I figured that was what was intended but I felt that the film gave the impression his visit happened concurrent to the Company's time in Eriador
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  4. Brandonv

    Brandonv Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    I was a bit concerned when I heard that the Hobbit was being stretched into three movies, and even more concerned by some of the initial reviews that described the movie as overlong and unexciting.

    I'm glad to say that my fears largely turned out to be wrong. While I did think the pacing felt a bit plodding at times I can't say that I was ever bored. I enjoyed the film, and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the trilogy.

    That said, I don't rate this film as highly as I would the LOTR trilogy. The plot didn't feel like it had quite the same emotional weight as the LOTR films, and I also thought that the action in The Hobbit felt a bit too video game-like in comparison to the previous films. For those reasons I gave An Unexpected Journey a B grade, whereas the previous LOTR films I would rate in the A range.
     
  5. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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

    They could have cut just about every action scene in half without doing the film a bit of harm.
     
  6. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    The action scenes are too long, and the survival rate too high, trying willing suspension of disbelief. I can only rate it a B.

    Cheating Azog as a Big Bad for the movie does no harm, nor does behind the scenes chatter about the Necromancer. Radagast is charming in a way pretty reminiscent of the tone of the book. Making Thorin a tragic hero doesn't hurt, nor does giving Bilbo a temporary save. This kind of padding might have dropped the rating even further, down to C.

    But the big dramatic moments of Bilbo deciding to go and to spare Gollum were done quite effectively and gave the movie some weight to keep it from drifting away on gusts of boring "action" set pieces.

    PS They seemed to have showed trailers for every big budget 3D FX movie for the next year. The only one that seemed really interesting was Man of Steel, which was unexpected.
     
  7. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I actually thought the movie was pretty good.... although I'll definitely be sticking with standard 24fps for the next two.

    The 48fps was certainly interesting to experience-- and it really did make the 3D feel as natural and smooth as I've ever felt it-- but ultimately it just removed too much of the magic from the screen for my taste. Instead of feeling like I was getting a glimpse into some other, wondrous world, like in LOTR, here it felt most of the time like I was simply watching actors on a movie set. Or like I was watching the most expensive home movie ever made.

    It also had the odd effect of making even the natural scenery look a bit fake. The trees and mountains that passed under us looked as much like models as Rivendell did, which was weird. Although unlike others here, I had no problem with the CGI. I thought most of it was integrated pretty well, and looked fantastic.

    The story did drag in a few places (particularly in the beginning), but no more so than in LOTR. And the action wasn't nearly as cartoony or over the top as I had heard it would be either.

    Ultimately, I'd probably have to give it a B. Although I suspect that'll go up once I see it in 24fps.


    (Oh yeah, the Trek and Man of Steel trailers also looked freakin fantastic as well)
     
  8. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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

    In case no one has said this yet, that is EXACTLY the problem. Filmmakers depend on a certain loss of image quality to help them "sell" sets and costumes. Things look one way in real life and another on film.

    So those wooden walls painted to look like stone or metal? Look like wooden walls with paint, not stone or metal. Hence "fake". Those plastic trees you're using for set decoration? Look like plastic trees. Hence "fake".

    Older TV shows that have recently been rescanned or upconverted for Blu Ray have similar problems. Witness classic Trek, for example.

    HFR projection will make movies hideously more expensive to produce as sets and costumes will have to be constructed to a "real world" standard of quality. A whole new set of design techniques will have to be used in order to restore the "vertias" of the filmed image.

    Or they can just keep cranking out films that look like cheesy film sets and piss off audiences even more than they are now.
     
  9. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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

    What they don't tell you is that they can ADD "grain" in the post-production, and often do.

    And your response is the typical reply you hear every time someone doesn't fall down and worship "the new thing"...

    Sometimes "newer" is not "better", and unbroken things are best left unfixed.

    Because such things DO take you out of the film. Prosthetics and costumes and sets are designed with full knowledge that things look different on film than they do in real life. They COUNT on that to be able to get a realistic look out of a certain type of construction. The prosthetics, etc aren't "crappy", they're designed to be lit and filmed a certain way.

    HFR takes that tool out of the filmmaker's toolbox by changing the underlying assumptions about how things appear in the final product.

    It's easy for you to "armchair produce" and simply tell them "do it better". How do you propose to artificially build a place like Minas Tirith (or the interiors of the Enterprise, to name another example) to real-life levels of realism as opposed to photorealism and not spend a couple of billion bucks even attempting it?



    Like posting on BBSes one might say...;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  10. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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

    Very impressed with this, only the pacing was a distraction at points. Going from a tad slow (but not bothersome slow), to dwarfs running around killing goblins with so much happening all at once it's kinda distracting.

    The biggest deal for me, was Christopher Lee. I almost choked on some tears. For those who saw the BAFTA's about two years ago... Lee was given an award, and when he came on stage, he was so fragile, so thin. Sometimes struggling to find the right word. To see him on screen again, so full of life and energy.... Amazing.

    Gollum.... what to say..... The effects for Gollum where already stunning in LOTR, this was just out there. And Andy's performance. Hilarious, he got the most laughs in the theater we saw it at.


    If there is one thing that bothered me every now and then, it was the lack of an original score. I understand that for some parts, using the same score as used in the LOTR movies make things recognizable. But it also felt slightly... lazy, perhaps?? Not sure what word to use. It still is a great score, don't get me wrong.
     
  11. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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

    There's plenty of original music in the movie (I'm only saying something because I'm actually listening to the soundtrack right now :ouch:). I didn't have a problem with the musical callbacks to LOTR; John Williams did the same thing with the PT.
     
  12. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    :cardie:

    There is nothing lazy or unoriginal in Howard Shore's score. The amount of layered detail he includes, the way he provides variations on familiar themes, and the way he weaves them with new themes are all done with high levels of intent and skill. The score is meant to sound familiar because this is the same world, including many of the same locations and some of the same characters, with which we lived for three previous movies. What other theme should he have used when introducing the Shire, Gollum, Rivendell, the Ring? There are plenty of new themes and motifs, too - some of which are still being developed (recall that the Gondor theme made a brief introduction in FOTR but was mostly unnoticed until it played with full fanfae in ROTK).

    On another note (pun intended) I saw the film for a second time yesterday, this time in 48fps. I have to say I loved the clarity, but I never got used to the jerky movements of the characters. Even at the end there were moments when they seemed to be moving cartoonishly fast. Very distracting for me. Not sure what the solution is - if it's just that I need to see it more often to become more accustomed to it, if the movie needs to filmed differently to accommodate the different perception, or what. I'll watch 48fps a few more times, but unless I can get past that barrier, it won't be for me - regardless of how beautifully clear the film looks.
     
  13. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Saw it and love it.

    HFR is indeed a strange experience. It takes some time to become used to, but then I didn't find it distracting or annoying at all. It does have something of a live video feed of a very expensive theater play. The thing is, I think, that they still need to balance the film quality when they shoot in HFR. You can now again clearly see when it's a studio shot, when it's a location shot and when it's digitally enhanced. There were many shots were it looked "normal", and the next shot was hyperreal again. And the hyperrealism is indeed a bit strange to look at in a LOTR prequel.

    I'm going to watch it in 2D again, just to get the good old LOTR film feeling again.

    I would have loved to see Avatar or Prometheus in HFR.


    The very first thing we see is Bilbo putting stuff in a chest, and I thought it was played twice as fast. But then I realized it's just a thing you need to get accustomed to. When you go into a cinema, you expect a film to look a certain way. HFR doesn't look like that at all, which is why your brain needs to learn how it is supposed to work.


    It's like stepping on an escalator that doesn't move. You expect that it moves and you get slightly dizzy for a second.




    I love the advancement of technology. The steadicam shot of all the dwarfs, Bilbo and Gandalf at Bilbo's home, the all CGI Goblins, Gollum,... just to name a few.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  14. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Heh ... I'm jealous. I wanted to not notice the speed issues. Never could quite get over it. Maybe I was overthinking it? :shrug:
     
  15. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Yeah, I didn't notice a speed problem either. They just seemed to be moving at a more natural speed-- which does look a bit weird compared to standard 24fps motion, I'll grant you.

    The ironic thing is, I thought the strongest moments in 48fps were during the flashbacks and slow-motion battles. The image was still super sharp and clear, but the slow-motion got rid of that overly-natural movement and gave the picture more of that magical LOTR feel.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  16. Hugo Rune

    Hugo Rune Commodore Commodore

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

    Just got back from a HFR 3D screening and the thing that is constantly running around my head is: "Must see is in 24fps not in 3D".

    There is no doubt for me that the 48fps is an interesting and suprising piece of tech, and every external shot looks utterly wonderous. Yet, given this film has clearly been made almost solely on sets, here comes the problem. The 48fps is so damned good it makes the 3D actually WORK... which means people seem to be constantly popping out of the sets and at times it almost looked as if the Hobbit-Hole set was in fact a very good green screen. Very odd at times.

    I must admit, I do not like 3D. I see no real point for it and it comes across as an indulgence rather than adding anything truly spectacular. Yet, the 48fps completely took away the headache, furry-edge issues I've had with it. The quality of the images were striking, yet the comparisons to watching a "stage-play recorded for TV airing" is apt. The lighting can look off and the dimensions oddly too rich. In the end, I must say the whole technique is likely not for me (currently) but it was a fascinating experience.

    Given the above, the 48fps screening I watched no longer felt like a "film". There is no doubt that Jackson was attempting to create a new visual style, and he's done so, but the "filmic" look is one I enjoy massively and hence why I am now gagging to watch the film in non 3D at 24fps. I spent far too much time analysing the scene, the sets etc and strangely, given the formats original intent, didn't feel immersed in the film.

    All very strange. But on with the rest of the content.

    The biggest failing of this film in fact lies with the text. The Hobbit was a trial run in a new world for Tolkein which he then expanded upon in Lord of the Rings. Hence, watching the films Sequel-then-Prequel, you realise how much of The Hobbit was in fact then re-developed and refined into The Lord of the Rings. The film of The Hobbit in fact shares probably too much DNA with the film of The Fellowship of the Ring:

    An introduction of Hobbiton
    A humerous gathering/party
    A Journey/long walk begins
    Fisticuffs in the hills
    A meeting with the Elves
    Running away from mountains (quite literally in The Hobbit)
    A vertiginous action sequence running away from orcs/goblins
    Chased by Orcs to a showdown

    The only things in The Hobbit that really stand as unique is "Riddles in the Dark" - which in fact now sits up there in the pantheon of wonderful quiet LOTR scenes. Gollum was astounding to watch and in fact in THIS scene I felt not only did the HFR work best, but so did Freeman. A perfect rich centrepiece to a best-of-buffet.

    Yet, though the DNA is the same, between TH and LOTF the psyche is wholly different. Throughout all of the LOTR films, even FOTR, there is a constant air of sadness, of longing (elves leaving, Aragorns soulful past and unwanted future, the frailty of man) a shade wholly missing from The Hobbit. It IS a different story, I get that, but the tinges of sadness and mournfulness resonate with me. The Hobbit is a happier, frillier book and film and the emotional weight of Thorin and the Dwarve's quest never quite sang for me.

    It is a fractured film, one that would have happily lost 15 or so minutes of material and still kept the pertinent parts, and still kept it a trilogy. Clearly a large bulk of the original two films is in here as the Appendices material on show was slim and fleeting. One assumes films 2/3 will have larger sections drawn out of the back of ROTK.

    This is a fine film, but really does feel only like a beginning, whilst FOTR felt like its own complete story.

    Other grumbles:

    The score felt somewhat flat this time around, with only one distinctive new theme developed. One hopes that as these films begin to diverge from the mirroring of FOTR/LOTR so the score will allow for new ideas and themes.

    Too many sets. Yes, I know, there are hundreds of sets used in LOTR to replace the outside, but in The Hobbit there simply wasn't ENOUGH outside. Think the battle at Amon Hen, the scaling of the Misty Mountains were Frodo loses the ring, running from the Riders. Perhaps is the was the perpetual sunrise/dawn that The Hobbit seemed to be shot in once it left the shire, but I was longing to see the actors out in New Zealand! ;-)

    The Trolls and The Goblin King - nice CGI, fun fights, poor poor childish humour

    The pacing was sluggish at times.

    Yet, still, for all of the above gripes, the acting, the world, the scale of the Dward flashbacks, the Dwarves themselves, the possibilities thrown up surrounding The Necromancer... all kinds of wonderful.

    So a very flawed film, but still enjoyable none-the-less and a solid 6/10


    Hugo - no doubt most of you stopped reading well before the end of that...
     
  17. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    At least a BBS is a discussion board. And there's conversations and stuff. So... really....nothing like posting on a BBS.
     
  18. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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

    I highly enjoyed it, and the 48 frame rate looked great! I don't get what people are complaining about it, nothing looked fake or cheap, it looked really crisp with no motion blur!

    I really enjoyed the new scenes too, particularly Radagast the Brown! And the Witch King! And the Necromancer!
     
  19. Mr Light

    Mr Light Admiral Admiral

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

    I felt the exact same way! Bilbo's hands seemed to be moving at super speed!
     
  20. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    I think i'll just stick with the 2D, 24fps version thanks. I'd rather be able to enjoy the beauty of the sets, scenery, and FX rather than being distracted by cinematic tricks.

    Not to mention saving myself a few bucks.