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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Three times is not the charm

The only good thing about The Hobbit III is that it means Peter Jackson and his two-woman Harem of Stank is done squatting and urinating upon the text of Tolkien.
It's a damn shame that the three Hobbit films feature so little of the titular hobbit.

Martin Freeman has established himself as a quietly great actor with serious dramatic and comedic chops, and his scenes in these movies have consistently been the best thing about the films. Bilbo Baggins is the only character capable of eliciting genuine reactions from the audience, which is what Peter Jackson's bloated Hobbit trilogy needed more than anything—Bilbo's scenes form the kernel of what could have been a smaller, quieter, but ultimately more narratively successful series of films, one where Bilbo's personal journey isn't swallowed whole by loud Lord of the Rings-style battle sequences.

Other than Freeman's wonderful, quiet little scenes and a bare handful of others, Battle of the Five Armies is one big two-hour-and-24-minute-long argument against splitting the book up into three films.
The disappointing thing is that Jackson actually got off to a pretty good start. He did a wonderful job bringing the scenery of Middle Earth to life. The Shire and the hobbits were excellent. The first thing he really got wrong, in my opinion, was Arwen Evensong, followed by Rivendell and Elrond. But Arwen was a harbinger for Jackson's lack of respect for the text, which only got worse as the movies went on, culminating in the insane decision to completely vivisect and spread out The Hobbit over three cash-grabbing vehicles.

Verdict: "These movies aren't Star Wars prequel-level unredeemable, but both as a follow up to the Lord of the Rings movies and an adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, this new trilogy misses the mark in just about every possible way."

The movies were not a complete loss. The first three were genuinely enjoyable despite the "improvements" to Tolkien's masterpiece. Perhaps in another generation, a filmmaker will do the sort of justice to his books that the producers of A Game of Thrones have done to George Martin's.

Labels:

130 Comments:

Anonymous Mike M. December 23, 2014 4:57 PM  

Any film adaption of a book will inevitably have edits, but there's a difference between necessary editing and a filmmaker trying to rewrite the story.

The film version of "The Fellowship of the Ring" was excellent. Jackson edited where he HAD to - to get the hobbits to Bree ASAP and get the story moving.

"The Two Towers"? This wasn't edited, it was rewritten, and none of it needed. Nothing that enhanced the story.

"The Return of the King" was worse. Having Aragorn leading the sparkly magic army of the dead isn't NEAR as impressive as the book...in which Tolkien has a breathtakingly lovely scene where the Rohirrim are surrounded, Eomer has picked a likely hill for a last stand, and then they see the ships of the Corsairs of Umbar. Enemy reinforcements. Until a great standard breaks on the first ship...and it's Aragorn, flying the standard of the Kings, with a vast host from the south of Gondor. Magnificent storytelling, and Peter Jackson threw it away for a cheap special effect.

Sometimes, you just have to humble yourself when working with someone's masterpiece. And don't fiddle with it more than absolutely required.

Anonymous Strange Aeons December 23, 2014 5:07 PM  

I masochistically watched them all. There's no particular complaint I could say about these Hobbitravesties that hasn't been said 1000 times or won't be covered better by Honest Trailers/Everything Wrong With.
It just kills me though, that PJ & PB honestly think their shoehorned fanfic is every bit as good as the classic literature, meshes well, and is in keeping with the spirit of JRR Tolkien.
Those two need to be pimpslapped by a cave troll.

Blogger Crowhill December 23, 2014 5:16 PM  

I haven't seen Hobbit III, but my reaction to Jackson is that he does evil characters well (e.g., Gollum, Orcs) but he simply doesn't understand nobility or temptation. He did an absolutely horrible job with Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir and Denethor.

Blogger JCclimber December 23, 2014 5:18 PM  

Cheap special effect I think pretty much summarizes most of the egregious monkeying around with the original text.

Some of the expansions are okay, ah hell, I can think of a single example, so I take that statement back. Oh, wait, I did want to see a little more of the confrontation with the Necromancer, which was quickly brushed over in the Hobbit.

But the original story is just a fantastic story. This COULD have been an Oscar winner, with that actor playing Bilbo and the original story line. The incredible journey of Bilbo Baggins is THE best of fantasy adventures. He starts and ends as a humble, lowly hobbit. He grows, and expands, and becomes the best of what a hobbit (or man) can be, yet still retains the core of himself, which has been purified in the fire of trials.

Now we get interspecies romance. Special effects extravanganzas and battle scenes which don't add much to the story. In fact, watching the Lord of Rings recently, I was fast forwarding through some of the battle scenes, something I would have never imagined doing in the past. Stupid jokes not in the original material but added to appeal to who? Stoners? Retards? The original jokes would still work, still be enough, no need to add the ridiculous fight scene with Smaug in the Mountain.

In Jackson's world, the elves are just more beautiful and long-lived men. The dwarves are just short and swarthy men. The orcs are just stinky and evil men. Sauron is just a very bad and powerful man. The wizards are just magical and long-lived men. Versus the original source material where each race had its own quirks, faults, virtues, motivations, etc. (okay, no virtues for the orcs and Sauron).

Blogger JCclimber December 23, 2014 5:22 PM  

On the same note, Ender's Game and the 3 Narnia movies got the same treatment.

It is pretty obvious that Hollywood movers and shakers really do not get it. They do not understand and resonate with nobility of character. They cannot do it justice. They cannot see beyond the special effects and the chance to dazzle with green screen stuff, and miss the chance to make movies that are timeless.

Is it any wonder Hollywood is having trouble again this year?

Anonymous Steve December 23, 2014 5:24 PM  

What Mike M. said.

The further the LOTR movies diverged from the books, the worse they got. The pea soup ghost army was a particular low point. I didn't mind the extra scenes for Arwen as her expanded role was mainly at the expense of Glorfindel, who was a boring character anyway, and Liv Tyler made a perfectly lovely elf. The omission of Tom Bombadil was a wise one, because there's no way they could have filmed that in a way that wouldn't have been ridiculous.

The casting of Viggo Mortensen was a stroke of either brilliance or good luck, Sir Ian McKellen was excellent as Gandalf (though I wish I could have seen Sean Connery in that role), and Frodo and Sam were well cast even though it made Frodo a lot younger than in the books. Christopher Lee was great as Saruman, and the guy who played Gollum gave an incredible performance that made the CGI come to life.

But there were problems elsewhere: nearly all the male elves looked - and I can't think of a better word for it - gay. Serious, immersion-breaking failure in the costume and makeup department there. I think it was the overly plucked eyebrows and blond hair extensions that did it.

I hated the literal way they interpreted the effect Wormtongue's lies had on Theoden, with that horrible digital effect of the wrinkles lifting off his face when Gandalf appears. Denethor being turned into a drooling madman was another bad choice. Wormtongue was too obvious. Shelob was all wrong.

After I heard they'd decided to split it into three movies, I decided I had no interest in seeing Mr Jackson's take on The Hobbit.

Blogger Josh December 23, 2014 5:24 PM  

Is it any wonder Hollywood is having trouble again this year?

Don't worry, the Entourage movie comes out this summer.

Blogger Josh December 23, 2014 5:25 PM  

But there were problems elsewhere: nearly all the male elves looked - and I can't think of a better word for it - gay. Serious, immersion-breaking failure in the costume and makeup department there. I think it was the overly plucked eyebrows and blond hair extensions that did it.

I don't think it's possible to have elves in a film without them looking a bit gay.

Anonymous Steve Johnson December 23, 2014 5:26 PM  

"The movies were not a complete loss. The first three were genuinely enjoyable despite the "improvements" to Tolkien's masterpiece. Perhaps in another generation, a filmmaker will do the sort of justice to his books that the producers of A Game of Thrones have done to George Martin's."

You have got to be kidding right?

Game of Thrones is a badly written nihilistic horror. It's fiction written to encourage horrid behavior because why not act like a beast since everyone is a beast and the beasts always win anyway.

The show is ridiculous 21st century cultural Marxist propaganda with "strong, empowered" women.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream December 23, 2014 5:27 PM  

I didn't think the first couple were that bad, but I haven't got around to watching the third one, let alone the Hobbit prequels. So, yeah, pretty meh. the visuals taste great, but they're less filling.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 23, 2014 5:29 PM  

Rankin/Bass had more respect for the original material.

Blogger Simon Jester December 23, 2014 5:36 PM  

My own take is that 99% of the time the book is better anyway, so comparisons to source material become a little tiresome. The question is, can the movie stand on its own merits.

This is where i agree with your ultimate point ... this movie was not a great nor a good movie, just as the Hobbit series was neither good nor great. I am not even convinced that Martin Freeman was a suitable actor to play the role of Bilbo. In fact, the only good casting in this last trilogy was the dragon (Freeman's acting foil in Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen, who was clearly struggling with age a bit in the last installment). Lee Pace is getting typecast into arch bad guys, but his performance was pretty good, if a little stilted (maybe Elven Kings should be stilted).

If the movie had redeeming qualities, it was in its scope and the fun battle sequences. I actually thought the writing got a little tighter in this last installment, as there was clearly some decent literary gymnastics to make the five armies choose sides effectively and in sequence. But that said, one should ask, what was wrong with Tolkien's original vision? On reading it, it doesn't need too much improvement unless you are trying to score points or stretch the material, both of which serve as motivation for Jackson.

That said, there were several parts of the current film that indicate that Jackson knew he was going over the top. The fight sequences were gratuitous and willfully silly in several parts; certainly he wasn't thinking that the Matrix was really inspirational here? Assuming he had the good sense to know he was being outlandish, you could be forgiven for enjoying the fight sequences since the audience is in on the joke. On the other hand, you never know what is hubris and what is license in Hollywood.

I'm glad they are over, and I am at least glad that the first three were true enough to the source material that the movies are recognizable. Of course, their success clouded Peter Jackson's vision of his role here, making him think that he had the one ring of power rather than being the simple story teller.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 23, 2014 5:47 PM  

Ender's Game convinced me that the only way to do justice to a book on film is with a TV series. That book could have made a great 13-episode hourly show, pretty much done by the book. Two hours was just enough for a reasonably entertaining flick with a couple of the main conceits from the book squeezed in, huge parts discarded, and most of the characters turned into cardboard.

Just recently I read that someone's working on a 4-movie version of The Stand. So once again, they're going to take a story that needs at least a couple dozen hours and try to squeeze it down into 8-10. And in this case, that was already done once as a miniseries -- and not too badly, but there's just too much there for that.

Anonymous Michael Maier December 23, 2014 5:51 PM  

I just realized...

I REALLY hate the Star Wars prequels, especially II & III. But I would much rather watch them than ever endure any of these Hobbit abortions ever again.

"Anakin, you're breaking my heart!" is damned Shakespeare next to the Hobbit films.

The first is quite awful (escaping the goblin city is like watching a bad Looney Tunes episode) but the second and third Hobbits are horrific in their utter incompetence as movies. They make The Transformers films seem intelligent. My mind recoiled from the screen multiple times in each. I actually wanted to scream "OH MY GOD!" from the epic stooopid watching "Five Armies" the other night.

Peter Jackson... How in the Hell he managed to make such a great, epic LOTR film (despite its MANY faults) and then rape JRR's memory with the Hobbit is rather astounding.

It's a damned feat.

Aside: Jackson's taking away Frodo's only shining moment of physical courage and giving it to Arwen was and still is worthy of castration. He really is a pussy-whipped bitch.

Anonymous Stickwick December 23, 2014 5:51 PM  

I barely remember The Hobbit II, except that it was a long, tedious, action-packed filler movie without much that was hobbity in it. Seems Jackson listened to the idiot critics who said the first one started off too slow. The beginning of the first Hobbit movie was brilliant -- the scene where the dwarves are singing around the fire at Bag End felt like real Middle-earth stuff.

JCclimber: It is pretty obvious that Hollywood movers and shakers really do not get it. They do not understand and resonate with nobility of character.

That's exactly it. They don't understand nobility. For all their faults, the Rankin-Bass versions of The Hobbit and The Return of the King, as well as the Bakshi version of LOTR, got the noble/heroic parts much better.

Anonymous jack December 23, 2014 5:54 PM  

Saw Hobbit 1 and have not been back since. Some day, perhaps with the amazing and rapid development of computer CGI to the point where you can't tell the difference from CG and real, some hacker/artist will redo the Tolkien masterpieces and feed them to the net anonymously and free. Just to allow Tolkien to stop spinning in his grave.

Anonymous Smokey December 23, 2014 5:55 PM  

I had to roll my eyes when the reviewer called Tauriel, "a welcome if not stupendously compelling addition to a male-dominated cast (hell, a male-dominated fictional universe)", and complained about her character because she had damsel moments and was primarily a love interest for Kili - not because she was an insufferable Mary Sue who managed to outdo even Legolas in that department (seriously, did she EVER get hit? She might as well have been invincible).

The Hobbit trilogy's main failing is that Jackson tried to make it similar to LOTR, whilst keeping it silly (because after all, it is a children's story). So we ended up with a CGI extravaganza that was neither taking itself seriously enough for the on-screen material to work, nor lighthearted enough to be a heartwarming tale of a middle-aged grump who learns to embrace his inner adventurous spirit for the whole family.

Blogger Markku December 23, 2014 5:56 PM  

I still remember back to when we were debating the first trailers of Fellowship of the Ring.

What you young ones need to understand is that at the time, Peter Jackson was known for exactly two things. Splatterhouse parodies Bad Taste and Braindead. And ever since we were kids, we had hoped for a GOOD screen adaptation of LOTR. We had Bakshi's cartoon that wasn't the complete story, and that was it. That was all we had. All our lives we had wanted for more.

Then, we eventually heard that that there would now be more. But it would be done by Peter Jackson. Whose only claim to fame was how much blood and gore he could fit in one frame. This was like the cruelest joke ever played on the universe. And our generation appreciated Bad Taste for what it was, mind you. But only for what it was. THIS guy for friggin' LotR? That's Twilight Zone stuff!

And then we saw the first trailers. And we were forced to admit that it didn't actually look half bad. But obviously this still has to still be a cruel joke on us. Peter. Fucking. Jackson. Bad. Fucking. Taste. Brain. Fucking. Dead.

And then we saw more trailers. And it STILL didn't look half bad.

And then finally the movie premiered. And they said it was not merely not half bad, but truly good. Excellent even. And we were forced to entertain the possibility, for the first time, that it might actually be so. And then we went to see for ourselves, and it was indeed so.

You cannot imagine the feeling. It was like a little taste of Second Coming of Christ. Peter Jackson, director of Bad Taste, making this. Supernatural. Cannot believe it, yet we saw it with our own eyes.

That's why the movies have better IMDB scores than they objectively deserve.

Anonymous Azimus December 23, 2014 5:57 PM  

Fellowship was great; the Battle of Helm's Deep was the apogee of Jackson's creative contribution. Don't remember if it was from the book or not, but Théoden's line "So much death... what can men do against such wreckless hate?" has got to be the best line from a minor character of all 5 films that I've seen. Return of the King was a significant backslide... how many "final battles" can one film have? And then the Hobbit - well, I agree, Freeman single handedly saved Jackson's career. Without him Jackson was ruined, and this film might've gone the way of Narnia. Which - as a side note - I thought the first Narnia film was well done.

Blogger Josh December 23, 2014 5:59 PM  

You have got to be kidding right?

Game of Thrones is a badly written nihilistic horror. It's fiction written to encourage horrid behavior because why not act like a beast since everyone is a beast and the beasts always win anyway.

The show is ridiculous 21st century cultural Marxist propaganda with "strong, empowered" women.


You retard, he's referring to the filmmakers faithfully executing the vision of the author.

Blogger Dewave December 23, 2014 6:02 PM  

"I haven't seen Hobbit III, but my reaction to Jackson is that he does evil characters well (e.g., Gollum, Orcs) but he simply doesn't understand nobility or temptation. He did an absolutely horrible job with Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir and Denethor."

That is because modern man does not understand nobility. Every single Gondorian character other than Boromir was ruined. The travesty of Denethor exceeds all the elven liberties in the two towers combined.

The fellowship of the ring was quite good and an excellent adaptation to screen. Sadly it was by far the strongest of the bunch.

Hobbits 2 was stupid because they cut out Millwood, which is where Bilbo's character development happens.

Anonymous Homesteader December 23, 2014 6:04 PM  

1. The Heart of the Mountain. It really matters until it doesn't. Like my 403b in 6 months, I suppose.
2. Magic Battlefield Mountain Goats. Amazon Drone drop off service, Middle Earth style?
3. Tall Elf chick. Dwarf guy. No.
4. Peter Jackson's obsession with Kate Blanchett's feet. Every film, every opening scene, he channels Quentin Tarantino. Enough with the Not Hobbit Toes!
5. Aging Elf Prequel Syndrome. Legolas pulling a Benjamin Button?

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey December 23, 2014 6:07 PM  

Some of you chaps need to lighten up. I enjoyed it. Great effects, fast-paced action scenes, and a wonderfully-rendered Smaug. We're not talking High Art here. Not a faithful rendition of the book, but it doesn't claim to be. And yet it's entertaining in its own right.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 23, 2014 6:10 PM  

I don't know how much blame Fran Walsh bears for this because I don't know who really decided that The Hobbit would be turned into a nine hour epic monstrosity . Mrs. Peter Jackson seemed to do well enough on the Lord of the Rings and she seemed to be doing the same job here.

Except she was clearly not doing the same thing here.

I was really looking forward to seeing or at least hearing, Cumberbatch deliver Smaug's Boasting:

"Revenge! Revenge! The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead, and I have eaten his people like a wolf among sheep, and where are his sons' sons that dare approach me? I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, strong, strong, Thief in the Shadows!"

Instead we were treated to the prolonged cinematographic mastubation of Peter Jackson. Which resulted in the cardinal sin of the story teller. Kicking the audience out of the story

Okay, okay. I will grant the Lord of the Rings created a major continuity problem. And it was J.R.R. Tolkien that created it. The Hobbit was the first thing published and clearly the ring was not...The Ring. It was just a standard invisibility ring like any other, quite readily available in Lankhmar, The Cobweb Palace and the Unseen University's gift shoppe in Ankh-Morpork. In the first book is was clearly and obviously benign magic. In the trilogy it damn well wasn't.

Retcon time and Jackson get's the blame.

I get that.

But why in hell would anyone pull off The Ring right in front of The Dragon!?!?!?

For a better written castigation of this blight on both Tolkien and Jackson's legacies. Read Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright.

#stupidityhammer

Blogger Cail Corishev December 23, 2014 6:12 PM  

My own take is that 99% of the time the book is better anyway, so comparisons to source material become a little tiresome. The question is, can the movie stand on its own merits.

I don't think you can separate the two that neatly. Yes, there are things a book can do that a movie can't, and vice versa, so a good movie will always have to differ from the book somewhat. But we're not talking about alternative ways to present the same story through different media. We're talking about wholesale changes to story and characters.

The problem with that is that books are rarely turned into movies unless a lot of people liked the book. So there's already a mass of people out there (certainly in the case of The Hobbit or Ender's Game) saying, "This is a great story, as it was put down on paper. I loved the story/characters/setting/situations. As-is, it's one of my favorite top-X stories." So....why wouldn't you trust that judgment? Or...why would you trust them enough to film the book, but not enough to try to keep as much as possible of the story that charmed so many people?

It just seems to me that great stories don't come along that often. A story that continues to appeal to multiple generations is something really special. So if you have the rights to one, why tinker with it any more than necessary? Is it just arrogance: I think I can tell a better story than Tolkien/Card, but I need their name to get buzz?

Blogger Beefy Levinson December 23, 2014 6:15 PM  

Theoden King got the most badass lines in the LOTR trilogy, hands down.

It was a reckless butchering of the book. It made no narrative sense. Christopher Lee must have wept between takes. But I have to admit, I was thrilled to watch Saruman and Elrond go toe to toe with the Nazgul.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan December 23, 2014 6:18 PM  

LBF strikes out, I watched the Hobbit on an overseas flight, a freaking clown show, not high art as Tolkien deserves.

As far as Narnia is concerned the first one I can watch till I draw my last breath, but the other two are just plain bad.

They simply cannot do nobility, hell they hate it.

Anonymous Daniel December 23, 2014 6:24 PM  

I actually enjoyed The Battle of Five Hormones quite a bit. I didn't realize it was inspired by a book. How quaint.

In its own right, it was a really funny movie. There's this part where this anorexic lady carries an old guy around until she fights a strobe light with an evil ring. There's this other part where a savage warrior guy with botox falls in love with a skinny hobbit but confuses him for a dwarf. The coolest part is that before the movie started, a hobbit invented golf using a goblin head, and every single warrior plays like Tiger Woods in his prime. Should have called it Hobbit: Augusta National.

A lot of good laughs in that movie, and at least two or three were intentional. Only thing it was missing was a Morgan Freeman monologue.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 23, 2014 6:43 PM  

The Hobbit is no less than the film equivalent of menstrual blood on canvas.

At least the art direction was good, although it bugs me that the elves are supposed to be merry. To demonstrate this problem, imagine Hugo Weaving singing "Oh, tra-la-la-lally / Here down in the valley, ha! ha!"

Blogger JCclimber December 23, 2014 6:52 PM  

For example, I just re-watched Ender's Game on dvd, this morning.

I get that they HAD to modify the original story (Card freely admitted as much) because so much of it was internal to Ender and other characters and that just does not translate to a movie format.

But Major Anderson being a psychologist black woman? Having all different ages in the Launchie groups instead of 5 and 6 year olds? Ender kicking the butt of a clearly 16-18 year old bully before he went to Battle school?

I'm not knocking the actor playing Ender, he did a great job within the limitations imposed on him. In fact, I'm more impressed while rewatching the movie.

They totally mucked up the fight scenes with Bonzo Madrid, it makes Ender look weak. And the final battle scene was like watching the end of one of the Star Trek movies where the original cast comes out for some final bows.

I think that the Power that is behind Hollywood (Satan) does what he can to pervert the message of these tales. Kind of like the new Christian Bale playing Moses movie coming out soon.

I am certain there will be a huge focus on:
Moses as a kick-butt Prince of Egypt with a rivalry with another prince.
A love interest somewhere (other than his wife).
The special effects of the plagues and the Red Sea crossing.

Zero emphasis on a loving and long-suffering God using a very meek and humble man as his instrument to bring the stubborn people out of captivity. Moses was described as the most meek and humble of men. I really don't see Christian Bale having the acting chops to pull that one off.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 23, 2014 6:55 PM  

Examples of good art direction: Laketown looked the way Laketown ought to look. Mirkwood was the best possible film interpretation of "a really dark place where you can't see anything". Minas Tirith was also perfect, if a little cramped.

But yeah, lotsa menstrual blood in the Hobbit.

Anonymous kh123 December 23, 2014 7:02 PM  

"Not a faithful rendition of the book, but it doesn't claim to be."

Does it want the fame and acclaim associated with the books, or is it shielded from criticism for its divergence from and sloppy handling of because it is it's own thing? They can't really have it - or market it - both ways.

Anonymous Dirtnapninja December 23, 2014 7:02 PM  

The hobbit movies had two good things, Martin Freeman and Smaug, They should have had Bilbo trick Smaug into eating Legolas and the Elven action girl. Now THAT would be worth paying for.

Blogger GX3Blogger December 23, 2014 7:09 PM  

Why in the hell can't anyone give Beorn his due??? The first time I read through both books, Sam was my favorite in LOTR and Beorn in The Hobbit. Over 40 years I've waited for his dramatic and heroic last minute entrance to save the day. With CGI as it is today, a most glorious battle could have, should have been made. F$@#+*%&CK!!! 45 minutes wasted on a SJW wet dream battle sequence and all of 7 seconds of Beorn ON AN EAGLE flying into battle.

Remember how Azog felt when the eagles stole Thorin from his wrath? That's how I felt when Jackson stole Beorn's glory at the end.

Blogger GX3Blogger December 23, 2014 7:11 PM  

And what the hell was with the 70's feedback SFX with Sauron???

Blogger grendel December 23, 2014 7:17 PM  

Screw obligatory love interests crammed awkwardly into everything. Formulaic crap salad. And it only goes one way, with bad romance shitting in the middle of action/adventure movies. The equivalent would be if directors decided that fights must occur in each movie, regardless of context. It would be like some director deciding to make the definitive Pride and Prejudice and then using Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for a script, because everyone knows them idjit, emotionally stunted retards known as men won't watch a movie whut ain't got fightin' in it. Romance shitting is sexist as hell.

And don't get me started on female warrior shit. Why not just turn it around and have John Mcclane make omg just the most perfectly stitched embroideries, to show that men can do girl stuff too.

Blogger JCclimber December 23, 2014 7:19 PM  

well, I kind of expected Beorn to get trashed in this movie, as he is a man's man type character, not the type that SJW Jackson's writing team would understand nor be able to portray in any way true to the book.

Anonymous Sun Xhu December 23, 2014 7:22 PM  

The CGI/animated cut-scenes in LoTRO are better than all of the Peter Jackson Tolkiens put together.

Anonymous Daniel December 23, 2014 8:02 PM  

But I have to admit, I was thrilled to watch Saruman and Elrond go toe to toe with the Nazgul.

Oh yeah! That was pretty fun, especially considering that Christopher Lee is about a hundred years old. They ruined it with the anorexic evil skeleton lady saving the day with the ring, but that scene was apocrypha that I enjoyed.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 23, 2014 8:03 PM  

You retard, he's referring to the filmmakers faithfully executing the vision of the author.

Perhaps the real point is that it's easier for horrid, nihlistic people who believe in "ridiculous 21st century cultural Marxist propaganda" to stick faithfully to source material from GRRM than from JRRT.

Perhaps in another generation will have more noble filmmakers?

Hahahahahaha. Well, maybe. At least people who pretend to be.

Anonymous Dr. J December 23, 2014 8:06 PM  

And don't get me started on female warrior shit. Why not just turn it around and have John Mcclane make omg just the most perfectly stitched embroideries, to show that men can do girl stuff too.

I admit it - I laughed.

Blogger Nate December 23, 2014 8:07 PM  

I sum it up like this...

The Battle of the Five Armies was signficantly worse than The Phantom Menace.

Blogger Nate December 23, 2014 8:14 PM  

And honestly... its not even the female warrior shit that is the worst of it. I mean that's enough to ruin it in and of itself... sure... but that's nothing compared to the many other offenses. Such as:

1) Elf - Elf - Dwarf love triangle? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

2) Legolas is old and fat...and doesn't fight very well. In fact he gets his ass kicked over and over by a single orc.

3) The movies totally ruin Fellowship... because Gandalf now looks like a total moron for somehow forgetting that Sauron is back. And he also looks like an idiot for not considering that maybe it wasn't a coincidence that Sauron returned at the same time Bilbo just happened to find a magic ring.

4) Gandalf does nothing. He spends the whole time getting his ass kicked. His character accomplishes nothing... if anything... he stirs up all of the trouble to begin with.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 23, 2014 8:15 PM  

*snort*

Timmay bores me into posting references to H3 reviews ... and 13 minutes later Vox is using my provided links to make a post.

you know, i might be available to be hired to do your show prep, Vox.

[ bows ]

anyways, this comment from the Ars forum thread was the best characterization of H2 and projection for what H3 was going to be like that i've seen:
"How many CGI barrels is the town attacked by? Does the CGI barrel-dragon throw CGI barrels at the town? Do the CGI Barrel Town's CGI barrel inhabitants rise up in a masterful 380-minute CGI barrel waterfall ride finale?

The second movie wasn't even good enough to watch while I was trapped on an airplane. The third one...no thanks.
"

i will say that my opinion of the LotR trilogy is closer to the above opinion than Vox's thumbs up.

but then, i'm just a curmudgeon.

Blogger Nate December 23, 2014 8:21 PM  

"These movies aren't Star Wars prequel-level unredeemable, but both as a follow up to the Lord of the Rings movies and an adaptation of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, this new trilogy misses the mark in just about every possible way."

I find this to be quite false. The worst of the Star Wars Prequels was far better than the worst of these Hobbit abominations. The best of the prequels... was likely better than the best of the Hobbit abominations as well.

Anonymous Jill December 23, 2014 8:24 PM  

I haven't yet seen the third Hobbit, will see it this weekend. But I've found all five Jackson films to be entertaining in their own right, with all kinds of silly nonsense thrown in for eye-rolling effect. But they were still entertaining--and then, good fun family time, in which the kids can rant with mortification afterward at how Jackson changed Tolkien's stories.

Blogger Nate December 23, 2014 8:26 PM  

Jill... In the interest of christian mercy I beg you... don't put yourself through this. I have walked the path before you and I know its pain. I would spare you. heed my words. You'd have more fun staying home jamming hot needles under your fingernails.

Anonymous Hoss December 23, 2014 8:43 PM  

I would have liked to see del Toro handle it in two installments.

Blogger Nate December 23, 2014 8:44 PM  

'I would have liked to see del Toro handle it in two installments."

Micheal Bay would've done a better job on these movies than Peter Jackson did.

Anonymous Hoss December 23, 2014 8:46 PM  

My 13 year-old son read the books, so I've had to have a discussion with him about "artistic license."

Anonymous Daniel December 23, 2014 8:48 PM  

Nate wields the One Ring of VPFL: don't heed a word he writes. The movie is a riot. Legolastfordodgeball swooning over a man-chick who only has nearsighted eyes for a doe-eyed hobb-dwarf is worth the 2nd mortgage ticket to ride.

The plot point that hinges on a jewelry swap meet is a riot, and I couldn't have been more pleased to watch the scenery chewing wicked transvestite make off with more treasure than Bilbo earned to pursue his dreams in cabaret.

Toss in old Poophead flying in at random like the cops in Holy Grail at the end, and you have an absurdist fantasy the entire (Manson) family can enjoy.

Go. It is so worth it. Bring a newspaper and some toast and a sense of humor. By the time I got into it, I thought that the marginal references to the original book were nearly accidental.

Anonymous karsten December 23, 2014 8:56 PM  

"I had to roll my eyes when the reviewer called Tauriel, "a welcome if not stupendously compelling addition to a male-dominated cast (hell, a male-dominated fictional universe)", and complained about her character because she had damsel moments and was primarily a love interest for Kili - not because she was an insufferable Mary Sue who managed to outdo even Legolas in that department (seriously, did she EVER get hit? She might as well have been invincible)."

Exactly. Tauriel was the worst element by far in the second and third movies, much as Radagast was the ruination of the first.

Only the second film even came close to LOTR territory, and was still a long ways off.

Anonymous karsten December 23, 2014 9:06 PM  

You have got to be kidding right?

"Game of Thrones is a badly written nihilistic horror. It's fiction written to encourage horrid behavior because why not act like a beast since everyone is a beast and the beasts always win anyway.

"The show is ridiculous 21st century cultural Marxist propaganda with "strong, empowered" women.

You retard, he's referring to the filmmakers faithfully executing the vision of the author.


You [insult slur here]. The only reason GOT was faithfully executed is BECAUSE it's Cultural Marxist propaganda.

That's rather the point.

The odds of any future LOTR adaptation being even more faithful to Tolkien are nil, short of a new Traditionalist/NS government taking power in Germany.

Any future Tolkien adaptations will be so Judified, they'll curl your beard. Count on black heroes, homo heroes, feminist heroes, etc.

It's little less than a miracle that the LOTR trilogy is as free from Cultural Marxism as it is (and it isn't entirely free of it at that).

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben December 23, 2014 9:10 PM  

Jackson could've of made a good trilogy if he stuck to:

A) Actually developing the characters that belonged in the book (dwarves, bilbo, and gandalf) like the Fellowship.
B) Took out the ridiculous love triangle as well as Tauriel.
C) Only used real actors and pared back the CGI substantially.

Anonymous Viidad December 23, 2014 9:19 PM  

Wes Anderson would've done a better job.

Anonymous ut unum sint December 23, 2014 9:19 PM  

On the bright side, the apparently repeated artistic failures of Jackson make it likely that there will be a Gen-X directed major version of the Tolkien works, starting in about 10 years, to replace the pre- Gen- X- directed- versions. Unless you think Hollywood is going to be super prosperous in 10 years or so, and the Hollywood finance people of the future will be able to dismiss, out of nostalgic considerations, remaking the hallowed Jackson versions with the 100x better CGI available in the 2020s and with dozens of actors and actresses wanting to measure themselves against Jackson's cast. Just like they stopped remaking the Wizard of Oz after the legendary silent versions.

Blogger Nate December 23, 2014 9:22 PM  

'
You [insult slur here]. The only reason GOT was faithfully executed is BECAUSE it's Cultural Marxist propaganda."

It actually isn't faithfully executed. Much of the idiocy is no where to be found (zombieKate? where for art thou ZombieKate?).

That's what's enthralling about the HBO production. It is the first time in living memory that a filmed production is actually better than the source material.

Blogger MidKnight December 23, 2014 9:53 PM  

@Hoss
I would have liked to see del Toro handle it in two installments.


He may be a communist sympathizer (look at the good guys and bad guys in Pans Labyrinth) insofar as the Spanish Civil War, but her can make an effective and scary movie.

He also can do completely unironic "humanity, F*ck yeah!" movies that are just huge, unabashed anime love letters and popcorn tests like Pacific Rim.

I dunno if he would have "gotten" LOTR, but he understands restraint a lot better.

Anonymous Eowyn December 23, 2014 10:03 PM  

I enjoyed the LOTR films, despite the many edits and additions. Two things I will never forgive, though:

1) Frodo ordering Sam to leave. Frodo would never have treated anyone under him like that and Sam was too loyal to even consider leaving. Jackson severely twisted the master/servant relationship into a shallow, near gay friendship. It throws off their dynamic entirely and does both characters injustice.

2) the treatment of Faramir and Eowyn. Faramir wasn't tempted by the ring and Eowyn saw how cold and dreary her life was spent as a man. Two noble characters downplayed into plot points. Terrible.

Blogger Stephen Notman December 23, 2014 10:14 PM  

I just saw the film tonight and I'm pleased to see Vox commenting on it here. I actually quite liked the first Hobbit prequel but loathed the Desolation of Smaug. I didn't hate the Battle of Five Armies but that's about the best thing I can say about it, although Martin Freeman is wonderful in the five minutes of screen time given to him.

Anonymous ut unum sint December 23, 2014 10:17 PM  

Eowyn - good points, there are several others like that, but the two points you made were good. On the other hand, don't forget that Tolkien himself made several moral mistakes in writing his works. He was not a saint in the Catholic tradition, although I have little to no doubt he has long since been received into heaven.

Anonymous The Observer December 23, 2014 10:17 PM  

OT:

Has anyone seen this particularly hubristic attempt to rewrite the Ten Commandments by atheists?

http://time.com/3582354/heres-a-secular-alternative-to-the-ten-commandments/

Blogger Ken December 23, 2014 10:25 PM  

I hope John C. Wright eviscerates this film the same way that he did the second atrocity/installment of the Hobbit trilogy.

Anonymous Will Best December 23, 2014 10:26 PM  

I boycotted the hobbit trilogy in the theater as I do with every other book/movie they split into multiple parts for straight cash. So I am looking forward to the DVD Box set for my birthday next summer where I will be able to sit down for a weekend and have my childhood violated.

Blogger SirHamster December 23, 2014 10:35 PM  

Has anyone seen this particularly hubristic attempt to rewrite the Ten Commandments by atheists?

Haha, they actually reference God in the commandments. I guess it's a step better than saying, "There is no God".

"5. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life. (John Roso)"

And of course, it contradicts another commandment.

"9. There is no one right way to live. (Eli Chisholm)"

So, be good without God; but there's no "good" to live by.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 23, 2014 10:57 PM  

>I hope John C. Wright eviscerates this film the same way that he did the second atrocity/installment of the Hobbit trilogy.

I'd pay into the kickstarter for his ticket price. Actually, I'll just send him a check for $20, or merely $10 if he's already in a wrathful mood.

Anonymous Ben December 23, 2014 11:00 PM  

I think these movies could be massively improved by a lot of editing. Maybe even down to one movie. I haven't seen the third one and likely wont.

Get rid of madcap stupid chase scenes. Get rid of dumb love triangles. Get rid of invented female power elf characters. Use cgi to get rid of the poo on Radagast. The golden dwarf and goblin king were both really dumb too, not sure how those get fixed. But my point is, these could be made watchable by some major surgery by fans. Just like cutting out jar jar binks can make Star Wars significantly better.

Related: have you guys heard the Nicol Williamson narrated version of the hobbit? Originally released on vinyl. It was abridged (to fit on the records) but *Tolkien himself approved* of it. The narration is fan-freakin-tastic. My dad had these and I listened to them as a kid over and over, now I have a copy too (it's rare, but I found one). You can listen to the recording online gratis, on the internets

Blogger Pseudotsuga December 23, 2014 11:03 PM  

Peter Jackson, George Lucas and J. K. Rowling all suffered from the same problem: they became so successful so quickly that nobody could tell them "No" when they had bad ideas.

Anonymous Harsh December 23, 2014 11:13 PM  

I'd like to see an edit of the three Hobbit films that only included scenes that were actually in the book. I don't know if it would improve the films in any way, shape, or form, but it would be interesting to see how it stacked up against what Jackson put on the screen.

Anonymous Tar Heel December 23, 2014 11:20 PM  

One of the important themes of the book is actually expressed with its ending. Bilbo is just a little hobbit, who is thankful to survive his adventure and return home. Middle Earth goes on without him. Yes, it was the will of Eru Iluvatar that Bilbo find the One Ring, but with the poor state of modern Hollywood, who is even going to try to convey that? Who would even have the skill? No, we're left with a jolly, rural Englishman going on a dangerous adventure... Or we should be, and yet we're not. The rest of Middle Earth, like some spastic, teenage girl, must run into frame and jockey for attention, and it all ends up too loud, and too numbing, and ultimately too empty (much like what a spastic, teenage girl would say or do).

I could go into detail, but I understand that I'm just some random North Carolinian with few new insights. Thank heaven for that!

Anonymous A. Nonymous December 23, 2014 11:25 PM  

@ut unum sint:

On the other hand, don't forget that Tolkien himself made several moral mistakes in writing his works.

How so, out of curiousity?

Anonymous bob k. mando December 23, 2014 11:29 PM  

karsten December 23, 2014 9:06 PM
Any future Tolkien adaptations will be so Judified, they'll curl your beard. Count on black heroes, homo heroes, feminist heroes, etc.




boy, you ain't kidding.

you know those Thor movies that Loki / Sigyn take their schtick from? you know how Heimdall is black in the movies?

you may have thought that Heimdall was just a random 2nd string character that they decided to use to shoehorn in the multicult agenda.

it is that ... but it's much more than that.

you know what one of Heimdall's primary attributes is? from a race of fair haired Nordics, in a group of Nordic Gods who are all pale skinned white boys and girls, Heimdall is famed for being ... "the whitest of the gods", as well as the inventor of social stratification.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heimdallr

in fact, the ONLY part of his Nordic description that would have been appropriate for a Negro Heimdall ( the gold teeth ) was purposefully left out ...

Anonymous brentg December 23, 2014 11:52 PM  

Doesn't #9 invalidiate the rest?

Pretty weak sauce when compared to the original. It is like watching The Hobbit by PJ after reading The Hobbit by JRRT.

Anonymous Scintan December 23, 2014 11:52 PM  

The truly sad part about LOTR, The Hobbit, John Carter, Ender's Game and other such movies is that Hollywood now has the technical capability to make these movies, but it's gone so far into the lefty tank that it can no longer abide the source material.

Hollywood has often taken great liberties with source material, but it's now to the point where source material sometimes might as well be nothing but the title.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 23, 2014 11:57 PM  

A. Nonymous December 23, 2014 11:25 PM
How so, out of curiousity?



it would have been practically impossible for anyone to have maintained continuity on something the size of Tolkein's Middle Earth, at any time.

couple that with the facts that Tolkein:
a - had no computer which he could use to database all of his characters and major plot points
b - couldn't restrain himself from constantly ret-conning his own stories.

so, there are various oddball things throughout the whole 'history of Middle Earth'.

for instance, first published in 1977, The Silmarillion was the first of the Middle Earth stories that JRR started writing ... in *1914*. think on that. Tolkein was, writing, re-writing and changing just the Silmarillion for 60+ years.

however, pretty much the only people who are going to chase these kinds of things down are going to be OCD cos-players. Christopher Tolkein ( and JRR before he died ) have done a pretty good job of sieving most of the published text into a coherent and consistent narrative.




Anonymous Ain December 24, 2014 12:17 AM  

"But there were problems elsewhere: nearly all the male elves looked - and I can't think of a better word for it - gay. Serious, immersion-breaking failure in the costume and makeup department there. I think it was the overly plucked eyebrows and blond hair extensions that did it."

The gayest of all is Wood's portrayal of Frodo. I figured he must have been gay in real life from his performance. Sean Astin was great as Sam, however. He probably would have made a better Frodo too, though EJ's performance can possibly be blamed on the director.

Anonymous Ain December 24, 2014 12:21 AM  

Josh: "I don't think it's possible to have elves in a film without them looking a bit gay."

The Keebler elves don't look gay. But maybe they are.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 24, 2014 12:23 AM  

Peter Jackson, George Lucas and J. K. Rowling all suffered from the same problem: they became so successful so quickly that nobody could tell them "No" when they had bad ideas.

BINGO. After book three, the clear high point of the HP series (which I greatly enjoy, BTW), Rowling was such a success that editors were scared shitless to edit her work, resulting in books that should have been half the length they actually were at least.

Same difference with Lucas and Jackson.

Anonymous 445supermag December 24, 2014 12:31 AM  

Hollywood probably doesn't want a good version, they'd rather have an excuse to "reboot the franchise" every few years like they do with Batman and Spiderman.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 24, 2014 12:32 AM  

>BINGO. After book three, the clear high point of the HP series (which I greatly enjoy, BTW), Rowling was such a success that editors were scared shitless to edit her work, resulting in books that should have been half the length they actually were at least.

Book 4 of HP was my favorite, but I can't even remember what happened in the next three. I think the good guys won.

Blogger Michael Maier December 24, 2014 12:41 AM  

Harry Potter... so much potential, so little success. Nearly everything in them shows that many women should not be allowed to write books.

Mr. Wright's wife wrote a masterful rip--off that far exceeds its inspiration.

Blogger rycamor December 24, 2014 12:44 AM  

Nate December 23, 2014 8:14 PM

And honestly... its not even the female warrior shit that is the worst of it. I mean that's enough to ruin it in and of itself... sure... but that's nothing compared to the many other offenses. Such as:

1) Elf - Elf - Dwarf love triangle? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!


5) Because of 1) , we had to suffer through the post-modern agonizing over feelings which made for the most excruciatingly anachronistic dialog ever. Tauriel: Why does it hurt so much. Thranduil: "Because it was real."

Yeah, of course I had to go to the film anyway. My daughter is a complete Tolkien nerd who made her own elf dress to wear to it (and she looks the part too). So I let her enjoy it even as I rolled my eyes at the dialog.

It's really frustrating, because you get the distinct sense that the actors are doing all they can to rescue this movie from the director's idiocy (except for Evangeline Lily). Handled right, this could have been one of the greatest films in history. Freeman was a better Bilbo than I thought possible, the actors playing the dwarves are were spot on, and I didn't see a really false note from any other characters unless it was forced on them by the writing (Kili).

Anonymous bob k. mando December 24, 2014 12:56 AM  

consider this:
i would much rather watch El Dorado ( Wayne, Mitchum, Caan and a chick with excellent facial structure, Michele Carey ) than any of the PJ Middle Earth movies.

or the boxed set series for The Prisoner.

or Neon Genesis: Evangelion

that should give you a pretty good baseline on where i'm coming from.

Anonymous kfg December 24, 2014 1:01 AM  

Shut up, Shinji.

Anonymous kh123 December 24, 2014 1:27 AM  

"first published in 1977, The Silmarillion was the first of the Middle Earth stories that JRR started writing ... in *1914*. think on that. Tolkein was, writing, re-writing and changing just the Silmarillion for 60+ years."

Solzhenitsyn wrote with the thought that he'd never see any of his work published, that he'd either have been sentenced again or executed by that point.

A bit divergent, but same with Thucydides' books; he wrote - and admitted - knowing that audiences in his time would neither get nor care about what he wrote and why.

Jesus didn't even bother to write. And we have some of the most memorable parables and rhetorical takedowns the world over.

Is it any wonder why most art today sucks. Maybe it is true, given the history of the world, that art can only flourish when society (and the artist) isn't living hand-to-mouth; or conversely, that creative craftsmanship has an inverse relationship to personal and cultural affluence.

In the end though... how can anyone really create or have an inspiring vision if they don't have a mission statement. One that not only transcends the everyday go-along-to-get-along, but their own lifetime as well.

Writing for 60+ years. Because you don't think it's ready. Now that's an artist.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 24, 2014 2:08 AM  

>or Neon Genesis: Evangelion

Haters gonna hate. Pointing out that Evangelion was shallow ignores the deep end, and anyway I enjoyed both.

Blogger Danby December 24, 2014 2:19 AM  

Written and produced under license from The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises (SZC). --poster blurb

And you want to know why it sucks?

Blogger ray December 24, 2014 3:13 AM  

Glorfindel is affirmative-actioned by Arwen, who sneaks up on Aragorn in the wild and bravely saves Frodo and the quest. Not credible and needlessly defaces the novel. Sellout to feminism and money. Disservice to John and his readers.

First two Hobbit films wandered too far away from Bilbo and the basics. Strongest scene was dwarves at Bag End, especially when Bilbo gets up the next morning thinking he's off the hook.

There's huge film potential in the Silmarillion, many ready adaptations there. But not with this crew. Too much ego, money grubbing, and concessions to LCD womanism. And no more female screenwriters to undercut the power of the intact narrative.

Anonymous Scooter December 24, 2014 3:30 AM  

The whole 'cash-grabbing' criticism is not a legitimate dismissal of the films. Every movie is about making money, as is 99% of all art ever made.

Blogger ray December 24, 2014 3:50 AM  

Wes Anderson would've done a better job.

Ridley Scott would have knocked Hobbit outta the park.

Anonymous kh123 December 24, 2014 4:15 AM  

"The whole 'cash-grabbing' criticism is not a legitimate dismissal of the films."

Neither is it for National Socialism, but I'm betting you're not going to go there.

Think: Multiple reasons, independent but sometimes overlapping one another. Money itself is not the root of all evil; but the love of money...

As a general rule, folks who use the above line to discredit criticism tend to be not all that successful in either category.

Blogger John Wright December 24, 2014 4:19 AM  

@Crowhill
"I haven't seen Hobbit III, but my reaction to Jackson is that he does evil characters well (e.g., Gollum, Orcs) but he simply doesn't understand nobility or temptation. He did an absolutely horrible job with Aragorn, Boromir, Faramir and Denethor. "

Hear, hear, and you said it!

If only the writers of my favorite Japanimation had written the script, then we would have had a worthwhile Faramir, and so on. The Japanese understand the English. Something about being an island nation or a ruthless monarchy for so many years, perhaps. They 'get' what nobility is about, how it goes wrong, and when (at least in stories) it goes right.

Anonymous Sensei December 24, 2014 6:24 AM  

If only the writers of my favorite Japanimation had written the script, then we would have had a worthwhile Faramir, and so on.

Funny, I found myself thinking the same thing, though I don't know to which specific anime you are referring. Hollywood is too shallow and cynical, even pagan nobility is now beyond their comprehension. One cannot even convincingly ape that which is utterly outside one's understanding.

Blogger Duke of Earl December 24, 2014 6:58 AM  

They do not understand pagan nobility, where strong men were strong and did mighty deeds, and they do not understand Christian nobility, where the strong champion the weak.

Even a breath of Beowulf (not the movie) or the Voluspo, to which Tolkien owed much would have given it something.

Understanding the stories that Tolkien was shaped by, the stories of heroes who walked as giants, fought like gods, laughed like children and wept like women, understanding those stories would have allowed Jackson to produce a great movie. Instead we got... a pretty but hollow story where all the heart of the books was sacrificed on the alter of the profit margin.

Blogger Cataline Sergius December 24, 2014 7:12 AM  

@John Wright

If only the writers of my favorite Japanimation had written the script,

Well don't hold out on us man. What is it?

Anonymous . December 24, 2014 7:21 AM  

Ridley Scott would have knocked Hobbit outta the park.

After the total dogshit of Prometheus, I am not so sure. Geez the guy can't even remake his own movie and do it right.

Anonymous ut unum sint December 24, 2014 8:02 AM  

in answer to anonymous, who asks what moral mistakes Tolkien made in writing his works:(1) In a post dated 9 Nov 2012, titled What is the point of the Tale of Turin Turumbar, from Bruce Charlton's blog, there is a description of Tolkien's two different ways - one of them apparently morally wrong - of discussing the end or redemption of the titular hero.
(2) Tolkien's letters are a good source, if I remember correctly, for his own misgivings about the origin of the orcs, and the place of apparently irredeemable orc individuals in a world that also includes, if only in prospect, Jesus Christ. At times he appears to believe he made a moral mistake.
(3) Tolkien's letters, as well as several contemporary reminiscences, describe his own disappointment with himself for not treating his own sub-creation of Middle Earth with proper academic respect - procrastination, writing confusing palimpsests, etcetera. A man whose life is devoted to academic excellence might consider those little failures to be a moral mistake.
(4) One I do not hear mentioned often is the fact that he allows his hobbits to get extremely drunk and bear lifelong grudges while still claiming (without the full explanation that should have been made) that they are, by some miracle, morally superior to men with regards to crime. Maybe a moral mistake, maybe not, maybe not even a flaw, but something you can't help noticing if you read carefully. Maybe, though, it is just a satire on the sinful pride of nations regarding their own rectitude.
On these four points, feel free to disagree. People understand Middle Earth in different ways. Tolkien was, like myself, convinced that the Gospels revealed the actual truth of our universe, and he had a lifelong interest in Christian morality and theology. Even if you recognize his literary genius, if you do not appreciate the fact of Tolkien's deep and well-informed faith, you simply cannot understand why he wrote the way he did, and you are unable to look at his achievements in perspective.

Blogger Max Johnson December 24, 2014 8:13 AM  

I actually enjoyed the new Hobbit; but my ego isn't the size of the Vatican.

Blogger Max Johnson December 24, 2014 8:17 AM  

With all of these sci-fi nerds drooling over Star Wars, it's no wonder they obsess over "game" and needing help getting some squish mitten. Showing up for a date in a Yoda costume is usually a deal breaker.

Anonymous Eric Ashley December 24, 2014 8:31 AM  

I think the Ring encouraged Bilbo to lie after he escaped the goblin mine. And Faramir was tempted. The Ring tempts all except for Bombadil.

Anonymous Joe Author December 24, 2014 8:34 AM  

"You retard, he's referring to the filmmakers faithfully executing the vision of the author."

It's the filmmaker's vision. Not yours, not mine, the filmmaker's. Did Jackson go over the top? Absolutely. Are their significant flaws that justify criticism? Absolutely. But HIS vision. Not yours, not mine.

Creating something he wants to create based on his own unique interpretation. Exactly how things should be.

Blogger Nate December 24, 2014 8:40 AM  

"Creating something he wants to create based on his own unique interpretation. Exactly how things should be. "

/facepalm

His idiotic vision is precisely what we're mocking him for.

Blogger Tank December 24, 2014 8:51 AM  

My initial reaction to hearing the Hobbit was to have three parts was ... uh oh. I knew that would not be a good thing, and they made it worse with all the PC crap.

But LOTR, I remember when I first heard that they were making those movies, and I was sure they could not do a good job. The result was much better than I anticipated. Three thoroughly enjoyable films, a vast audience (including, but definitely not limited to, fanatics such as comment here), and really an epic feel. When you channel surf and land on one of these movies, you get sucked right back in.

I'm not saying they were perfect, but I also don't expect a film maker to follow any book exactly. It's usually not possible, and much of what occurs in books does not translate well on film. Overall, the LOTR was very well done, and it's going to be near impossible to do a better job.

I have NO problem with making money, or trying to, but what they've done with the Hobbit is a travesty.

Add a bit more "love interest" to try to attract the ladies to a movie, no problem, but when you start in with the "women warrior' BS, that jolts you right out of the movie.

Anonymous hoosiertoo December 24, 2014 9:11 AM  

My reaction upon leaving the theater, in a remark to my wife:

"You know, I still haven't seen "The Hobbit" made into a movie."

Blogger jimmy-jimbo December 24, 2014 9:54 AM  

If not for The Hobbit, why bother with the movie? Literalists will never get their movie. Even I felt the short book The Hobbit wasn't particularly interesting or adaptable to film. Maybe one day someone will redo it, but I won't be alive to see it and it is more likely that I won't bother. Maybe audio books is perhaps the right medium. You get the story word for word and some dramatic enhancements.

Anonymous Aeoli December 24, 2014 10:35 AM  

I believe the anime in question is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

New CAPTCHA is not working well for mobile device.

Blogger Cail Corishev December 24, 2014 10:45 AM  

Creating something he wants to create based on his own unique interpretation.

No, he took something that someone else created, and then changed it to suit himself. There's no difference between what he did and fan fiction, except that he had backers with millions of dollars to make his fan fiction official and put it up on the big screen. And fan fiction sucks.

Charges of "literalist" are straw men. No one's saying you have to (or could) film the book line-for-line. A certain amount of adaptation to film is necessary. But necessary adaptation doesn't include creating an entirely new character because you (or your wife) think the original didn't have enough girls in it. If you want to create a story with girl warriors, then fine, create one. Don't take someone else's classic and insert your politics in it via fan fiction.

Blogger Simon Jester December 24, 2014 11:10 AM  

Anyone else notice that movies in Hollywood got worse after lifting the MPPC? Just in general.

I happen to like old movies, and I completely grok that it wasn't a panacea pre 1968. But without being nostalgic for nostalgia's sake, I think the movies then were of higher quality. Briefly, it seems like with the censors in place, they railed against the censorship which didn't seem to interfere with movie making.

But without the MPPC, guys like Jackson feel the need to punch every damned #SJW ticket in order to make the movie. It's censorship of a different stripe.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 24, 2014 11:35 AM  

Simon Jester December 24, 2014 11:10 AM
Anyone else notice that movies in Hollywood got worse after lifting the MPPC?



you think movies have gotten worse since 1918? day-um son, that's some fine curmudgeoning you've got going on there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Patents_Company

i thought i was a crotchety old bastard ( at 25 ), you're putting me to shame.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_Picture_Production_Code



kfg December 24, 2014 1:01 AM
Shut up, Shinji.



*shrugs*

part of the reason why i used the three examples i did IS BECAUSE THEY ALL HAVE SERIOUS FLAWS ... but i enjoy them anyways.

Shinji, in particular, needs punched in the face.

the last ep of both Prisoner and Neon is well past terribad and into hillaribad territory.

all three of them are still better love stories than the Hobbit movies, though.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 24, 2014 11:35 AM  

test

Anonymous karsten December 24, 2014 11:55 AM  

"Ridley Scott would have knocked Hobbit outta the park."

Only the most ridiculous comment of this entire thread.

Ridley Scott is somewhere to the Left of Marcuse, when it comes to filmmaking. Every time he blights a period subject with his brand of filmmaking, he makes CultMarx propaganda out of it. He's way, WAY to the left of Peter Jackson and his harem, even to the Left of where they went with the Hobbit films.

Mel Gibson hasn't taken on fantasy subjects, but you can bet that he would at least get the moral/political/philosophical/religious values right. Pretty much the only Hollywood director who would.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 24, 2014 1:29 PM  

kfg December 24, 2014 1:01 AM
Shut up, Shinji.



*shrugs*

the reason that i chose those three examples is BECAUSE THEY ALL HAVE FLAWS ... but i enjoyed them anyways.

sure, Shinji needs his ass beaten.

and the last ep of both Prisoner and Neon requires the ingestion of large quantities of illicit drugs.

but all three movies are still better love stories than Twilight. which is not a claim you can make about the Hobbit movies.

the idea that we're even discussing the Hobbit as a 'love story' being so gob-smackingly stupid as to be beyond comprehension.

Anonymous bob k. mando December 24, 2014 1:31 PM  

baleet protection

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis December 24, 2014 2:06 PM  

I think Voxs title nails it on the head. No charm. What is really sad when you compare the first trilogy with this bastard second, other than the extreme lengths of butchering of the story, is the utter proliferation of CGI. The orcs being the most visible example, in the original trilogy the Orcs were a guy in a costume made excellent via classic movie magic. Moreover those orcs looked great, menacing, wretched and real! The Orcs in the Hobbit trilogy look like low budget Sci-Fi utterly lacking anything organic. So instead of this epic larger than life movie, like what we got in LOTR, we have a mundane action fantasy movie with stock evil monster number 17.

There isn't anything wrong with CGI or even CGI characters in and of itself but for the most part they lack something; Smeagol is one of the rare, rare exceptions. All that excessive CGI is going to do is make the movie age before it's time, but lack any of the charm that makes it beloved. Just look at the original star wars versus the prequels. The original series is approaching 40 years old, and though it looks like a product of it's time, it still looks fantastic and feels very real. Then we have the prequels, with all their supposedly fantastic CGI, which hokey and dated only few years out because it's bereft of all charm.

Anonymous Scooter December 24, 2014 2:08 PM  

And fan fiction sucks.

Most of the Western Literature canon is fan fiction.

He took something that someone else created, and then changed it to suit himself.

Shakespeare. Milton. The list goes on.

Blogger Lovekraft December 24, 2014 2:50 PM  

Hollywood either won't or can't produce a deep sense of dread and heroism on a vast scale. Thus the amusement park rides called the Hobbit and LOTR.

But the original LOTR were released in a post 9/11 context, so there was some deeper allure. But the Hobbit? In today's vapid culture, these movies seem contrived and superficial.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 24, 2014 3:18 PM  

And fan fiction sucks.

Most of the Western Literature canon is fan fiction.

He took something that someone else created, and then changed it to suit himself.

Shakespeare. Milton. The list goes on.


Yes. Let's not forget "Awake in the Night Land". Shakespeare stole shamelessly from older works. Blatantly stole, too - like, plots and characters and even titles. Back then nobody batted an eye.

Blogger JCclimber December 24, 2014 8:05 PM  

exactly, a little more dread as Bilbo approached Smaug would have been perfect. There is no dread in any of the Hobbit movies.

Blogger Joshua Sinistar December 24, 2014 8:41 PM  

Peter Jackson is a Hollyweird Whore who has delusions of grandeur. He wants so badly to be Cecil B. DeMille, but lets face it Cecil wouldn't be let in the door of today's Burbank. Look what they did to Noah and now Moses. Its bad enough trying to shoehorn Bible Morality into today's Satanic Burlesque Show, but this dicersity cult would have killed anything.
Its surprising how good The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was when you see the rancid crap that came out in adjoining theatres. Lets face reality. When you were a kid, your mom probably said what mine did and told you that Comic Books were a ridiculous waste of time. Now half of Cinema is newsprint big-boobed musclehead comic book fiction.
Peter Jackson is trying to make a New Hollywood away from the Cesspool of Burbank where homosexual peadophiles turn everything into Soft-Porn Anti-White Hate Speech. He wants to make New Zealand into a White Bollywood away from the Cosmic Horror of Sociological Illogic.
Diversity was the tribute he had to pay to The Bankrollers of Burbank to make The Hobbit, and there just isn't enough good fiction he can get past those low-brow half-wits who want to see Lesbian Superheroes and Fabulously Gay Heartthrobs. Sure The Hobbit sucks, but would you rather see Michael Keaton play Harvey Birdman, esquire?
Someday when the Evil sinks like the Titanic, maybe someone will take an editing team to The Hobbit and cut it down to a reasonable approximation of The Great Book by J.R.R. Tolkein.

Anonymous Tar Heel December 24, 2014 11:53 PM  

Now half of Cinema is newsprint big-boobed musclehead comic book fiction.

As opposed to some decades ago, where half of it was shoot bangs and rednecks in ten gallon hats? Yes, superheroes are the new schlockbuster fodder. That in itself is not a bad thing in essence, but yes, Joshua, I'll gladly grant that Hollyweird is a literal den of whores.

[...] those low-brow half-wits who want to see Lesbian Superheroes and Fabulously Gay Heartthrobs.

It hasn't happened, which may be a benefit to Marvel Studios and their World's Slowest Television Program a.k.a. The Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is actually surprising to me, as a lot of superhero funnybooks were engineered by Leftists, particularly from the sixties on. That said, simmer down. It's actually a genre they haven't corrupted (though not for lack of trying).

Blogger ray December 25, 2014 3:30 AM  

'After the total dogshit of Prometheus, I am not so sure. Geez the guy can't even remake his own movie and do it right.'


Baffled by that one too. After Kingdom of Heaven, I thought he had the knack. But

Rong again! Possibly Prometheus was a make-money effort?

Anonymous Joe Author December 25, 2014 12:11 PM  

/facepalm

“His idiotic vision is precisely what we're mocking him for.”



Idiotic is how YOU describe it. Some labeled it “magical”, others characterized it as “breathtaking”. To each their own. Regardless of the labels, it is HIS vision.


“No, he took something that someone else created, and then changed it to suit himself.”

Which is the liberty and discretion of artists. Perhaps Jackson in the future should ask you for his blessing. Would that be gatekeeping?


“ And fan fiction sucks.”



It’s Christmas, the time for giving!


“But necessary adaptation doesn't include creating an entirely new character because you (or your wife) think the original didn't have enough girls in it.”

This statement wreaks of elitism. It is not YOUR creative decision to add or subject to HIS interpretation of the narrative.


“Don't take someone else's classic and insert your politics in it via fan fiction.”

Don’t? You mean, as in “ought not to”? And your sentiments are not gatekeeping how?


Write what you want to write. Read what you want to read. Make what you want to make.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 25, 2014 12:32 PM  

Don’t? You mean, as in “ought not to”? And your sentiments are not gatekeeping how?

I didn't say they shouldn't be allowed to. I said it's stupid and arrogant to take a story that struck gold in its original form and think you're going to improve on it by removing critical elements and inserting your own Mary Sues.

If you want to film The Iliad, film The Iliad. If you want to take Achilles and Odysseus and write a different story with them as characters, do that and give it its own title. Just don't tell everyone you're filming The Iliad, call it "The Iliad," and then turn it into something else by (for instance) taking Agamemnon out of the story and turning Patroclus into a girl who comes back from the dead and saves Achilles in the end. Yes, you're allowed to. It just seems like a bad idea.

Anonymous Scooter December 25, 2014 2:56 PM  

If you want to film The Iliad, film The Iliad.

Tolkien had this to say on adaptations:
"The canons of narrative art in any medium cannot be wholly different; and the failure of poor films is often precisely in exaggeration, and in the intrusion of unwarranted matter owing to not perceiving where the core of the original lies."

The tricky part is determining what the core is. However, adaptation ultimately comes down to mastery. One could invent or change characters/plot points in the Iliad and still have a great story, if one happens to be as masterful as Homer.

I agree that changing titles helps create distance from the source material and is more respectful. Hence, "Troy" and "Helen of Troy" instead of "The Iliad".

Anonymous Joe Author December 25, 2014 5:15 PM  

"Just don't tell everyone you're filming The Iliad, call it "The Iliad," and then turn it into something else by (for instance) taking Agamemnon..."

"Don't" is a gatekeeping word.


"Yes, you're allowed to. It just seems like a bad idea."

Bad idea to YOU, certainly. To those making the film, no. They are making what they want to make.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 25, 2014 5:30 PM  

"Don't" is a gatekeeping word.

Only if the person saying it has the power to stop you, which I don't, so it's not. If I say, "Joe, don't pick your nose in public," that's not gatekeeping, it's just good advice.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo December 25, 2014 8:06 PM  

I wonder how much effort can a Tolkien fan edit all the non-essential parts of the movie and make it truer to the source material. More than six hours of footage and $1 billion budget should provide ample resources to exploit. Perhaps cut it down from six hours to 2.5 hours. The $1 billion budget is why I doubt anyone should remake it, yet "The Ten Commandments" was just remade as "Exodus" so who knows.

Anonymous Joe Author December 25, 2014 10:36 PM  

"Only if the person saying it has the power to stop you, which I don't, so it's not."

You assuredly have the power to stop the "Pink SF" crowd. You can use your blog to influence people not support nor purchase their wares. More power to you to convince them. Regardless, you actions are gatekeeping, no matter how you spin it.


"If I say, "Joe, don't pick your nose in public," that's not gatekeeping, it's just good advice."

It's just like when the Ilk says "vibrant". We know what that word means. "Advice" is also a substitute word.

We are not talking about "nosepicking", we are talking about literature. When you offer advice in this context--it is "advisable" not to write what you want to write, one is explicitly telling someone "Don't do it". It is clear when you say to the "Pink SF" crowd "I advise you not interpret past works in a particular manner", you are requesting they should refrain from their actions. That is gatekeeping. Dress it up how you like.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 25, 2014 11:12 PM  

Nope. It was clear from everything I said that I meant, "I don't like this and wish they wouldn't do it," not, "There oughta be a law." You're doing the usual lefty thing of projecting your own tendencies onto my points and then trying to shame me by implying that I'm using leftist tactics. Not surprising, but it's not gonna work, and I'm confident that it's not gonna fool anyone reading this whose opinion matters to me. Besides, it's still Christmas for a couple hours, so that's the last word I'll bother to say about it.

Anonymous Joe Author December 26, 2014 1:55 PM  

“Nope. It was clear from everything I said that I meant, "I don't like this and wish they wouldn't do it," not, "There oughta be a law.”

Classic case of moving the goalposts. Here are the key phrases YOU made—DON’T take someone else's classic and insert your politics in it via fan fiction; Just DON’T tell everyone you're filming The Iliad, call it "The Iliad," and then turn it into something else by (for instance) taking Agamemnon out of the story.”

DON’T clearly refers to as in “ought not to” or “you must stop now”. You are engaging in the same conduct as the SJW’s. You would think you would realize how similar you are in relation to their tendencies.


“…not, "There oughta be a law."

I am merely pointing out YOUR insistence that artists DON’T do something. You may support their liberty to be creative in their endeavors, but ultimately, you would be content if they refrained from pursuing their liberty, not on their own volition, but due to outside pressure. Which, in essence, is gatekeeping.


“You're doing the usual lefty thing of projecting your own tendencies onto my points…”

Projecting your projection. Neat trick, Alinsky.


“and then trying to shame me by implying that I'm using leftist tactics.”

I am actually trying to appeal to your Christian sensibilities in this matter.

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