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Author Topic: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey  (Read 9773 times)

Varda

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Reply #20 on: February 05, 2015, 06:31:43 PM
Hm. Interesting point about commercial profit driving filmmaking even at the expense of critical acclaim. And how this relates to film length. Kinda like how there's almost no market for novella-length fiction in the pro SFF circuit, but novellas are HUGELY in demand in self-publishing?

I think you could make the argument that TV series / miniseries fill out the film length gap in our media diets, at least to some degree. Especially shows like Breaking Bad and Game Thrones, which are trying to tell one unified story driving toward a clear ending, rather than being episodic. I'd agree that the 2-hour limit is both a) artistically annoying and b) related to both commercial profit *and* the comfort of the human body. I'm all over the idea of seeing a great 4-hour movie, but I'd rather do it at home, where I can have a meal at some point, go to the bathroom comfortable, and maybe even take a stretch break and move around. Even though it's awesome to see things on the big screen, the awesomeness is gonna dilute as physical discomfort rises.

Given that, I know the TV format also changes the way the storytelling has to be done, vs. a 4+ hour film. That's really interesting. Now I wonder if the rise of the Internet / indie production will change this at all. Hard to say. I could see Netflix experimenting with this kind of thing down the line, since their in-house TV series seem to be doing so well. (and as a side note, how interesting is it that they can now release a whole season of a series at once? And how that changes the way we watch episodic shows?)

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Fenrix

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Reply #21 on: February 05, 2015, 07:38:04 PM
<3 u guyz. My faith is restored. I knew we could do better than the equivalent of TL;DW

There's plenty to critique for good intellectual reasons, rather than regret based centered around that 64-oz soda you bought.

With regards to Bilbo's removal from the center, this must be balanced between this being prequel films released after the later trilogy, rather than something written with only nebulous ideas at the greater world it inhabits. The Necromancer has always been in Mirkwood, all the way back to the first published edition. It just received later expansion (and clarification that it was actually Sauron). I'm not sure there could be a satisfying film if we have Bilbo knocked out during the battle and only have the remainder of the action described to him by a third party afterwards. I'm not sure we could have had a successful film with the 13 dwarves conflated into about 4 personalities. 

I'm not sure how much better I feel about fan cuts. One of them has apparently felt the need to remove "Chip the Glasses" which is probably the best chunk of character introduction and development in the whole thing. Something that's worth considering is the evolution of the tone over the course of the novel. The first chapter takes extreme pains to make death seem as light and trivial as possible; at the end we have giant vampire bats sucking the blood out of the cooling corpses strewn across the battlefield.

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Varda

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Reply #22 on: February 05, 2015, 08:07:57 PM
I mean, I totally get that the things added to the film are in fact things already present in Middle Earth (I wouldn't use a handle like "Varda" without being a Tolkien superfan, after all). And I know the history of the Hobbit's revision. I'm just saying that from a storytelling perspective, adding all the unrelated background material into Bilbo's narrative was a poor choice. Just because something interesting is happening elsewhere simultaneously doesn't mean it has any bearing on the story you're trying to tell. It's like making a movie about, I dunno, Christopher Columbus, and then spending 60% of the screentime cutting away to show us interesting but entirely unrelated events in the Ottoman Empire.

Sometimes to tell a better story, you have to murder your darlings and snip out things you think are fascinating, but screw with other elements of storytelling. Once your readers are already fans, they might find these bits interesting, but believe me, they won't be fans to begin with if they're bored to tears trying to hang onto that thin, thin plot thread woven through all the fluff.

Given that, I know Jackson had a VERY tough row to hoe, between pleasing the diehard Tolkien fans, making The Hobbit work as basically a sequel, and just trying to make a good movie. I personally wish he'd just set out to make a good movie, though, like he did with LOTR. Still, I'm glad so many people enjoyed the films anyway, and I did enjoy them at least to some degree, although overall I was disappointed for the reasons I've already mentioned. I'm sure looking forward to watching the whole fan cut, though. :)

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eytanz

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Reply #23 on: February 05, 2015, 11:40:09 PM
(I wouldn't use a handle like "Varda" without being a Tolkien superfan, after all)

Huh. Never realised it was a Tolkien reference. I remember that when you joined the forum I thought it was your real name for a while, until I realized you weren't Jewish.



Varda

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Reply #24 on: February 06, 2015, 01:20:25 AM
(I wouldn't use a handle like "Varda" without being a Tolkien superfan, after all)

Huh. Never realised it was a Tolkien reference. I remember that when you joined the forum I thought it was your real name for a while, until I realized you weren't Jewish.

That's neat--I didn't know it was also a Jewish name! :) In the Tolkienverse at least, "Varda" is an alternate name for Elbereth, the elvish star goddess. So my handle is totally not pretentious or anything. ;)

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