Posts Tagged With: The Hobbit

The Morning After: A DoS Review

Last night, or to be more exact around 4 this morning, I shared my knee jerk reaction to The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug on ItsJSforMe’s blog. Having slept, I’m more clearly able to see why exactly I walked out of the theater pretty darn pissed off with Peter Jackson.

So here’s my two cents on the movie and I’ll do my best to remain spoiler free.

When I saw UAJ last year, I felt like the movie moved too slowly for the first 45 minutes. That is certainly not a problem this time. The prologue will please Armitage fans and then we jump right into the action. Beorn’s screen time was shorter than I would have liked, but still enjoyable. The time in Mirkwood gave us a chance to see Thranduil in all of his glory. Lee Pace is excellent in this role. The character isn’t even remotely likeable, but Pace’s performance gives him the ancient feel he needed along with a clear disdain for the dwarves that read true.

It’s in Mirkwood that things started to go wrong for me. In general I’m not flat out opposed to the edition of a female elf. I disagree with the oft repeated stance that she was necessary, but I know there are a lot of people who feel such a character was required. So add a she-elf, just give her a decent story. I felt like the writer’s really fell down on the job here. There was nothing relevant about Tauriel’s character. Her story  recycled stuff from other places in Tolkien’s work. Then of course there was the triangle we’d been warned about. Basically it felt like a waste of time we could have been spending with characters central to the story.

Luke Evan’s was enjoyable as Bard the Bowman and if I decide to see the third film, his character will be one of the reasons why. He was a character that I found myself sympathizing with and rooting for, even when and possibly especially when he challenged Thorin. He seemed to be the only clearheaded person in that scene.

Gandalf’s jaunt away from the dwarves was basically what I expected. Nothing spectacular, but I can see how it helps set up where the story is going in the third movie.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bilbo’s time in the mountain with Smaug. The digital artists are truly masters of their craft. The dragon really was stunning. Benedict Cumberbatch really got the voice right too. It just fit so well.

Then we got to the last 30  minutes of the film. I won’t go into detail about what happens, but it was a complete departure from Tolkien’s story. It was not The Hobbit. It was three screenwriters turning badly written fanfiction into a movie. I’ve always thought Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh are at their weakest when they depart from the original. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you’ll know that I’m a big proponent of a high level of fidelity to the source material. So I was highly unlikely to like these changes even if they were well done. The fact that there were poorly done made it even more frustrating. Cheesy, hokey, and oh good grief are some of the sentiments that come to mind when I think of some of the things that took place.

As the movie cut to the credits a woman in the front of the theater shouted out, “Peter Jackson, you’re a jerk!” In that moment, I was in total sympathy with her. All I could see was that gawd awful last 30 minutes and the parts I liked about the film were filed away at the back of my mind. I actually wondered if the film ended where it did as a calculated ploy to lure pissed off book fans back for a third film they might no longer want to see.

So to wrap this all up, I think this movie is going to be hard for Tolkien fans, at least those who are purists in any way, shape or form. While there’s a lot of good, that last part has you walking away with a sour taste in your mouth.

This is a Richard Armitage fan blog. And I know that many of his fans see these movies more for him than because of any particular tie to Tolkien’s work. For those fans this movie will go over extremely well. Richard’s performance is what we always expect from him–layered, nuanced. He makes me care about a character that I don’t particularly like.

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Simplistic Armitage

I’m back. At least for a minute. And yeah, not to talk about how gorgeous Richard is, although boyfriend has been working it on this PR tour. Nope, I’m here to pick a bone with the guy.

I know you’re probably wondering what in the world I could have to be annoyed by. So let me tell you: it’s his simplistic division of those who will see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I’ve watched two interviews* with him so far where he divides viewers into those who are just along for the ride and those who only want to see the simple book brought to life just as it is from the page.

I get that this is probably a little thing, but as someone who has been a Tolkien fan for much longer than an Armitage fan, it doesn’t sit well with me. The guy has a movie to sell, that’s his whole role in the PR blitz. I get that. But were I not already his fan, it would not endear him to me. Because here’s the thing, it way too simplistic. It basically puts all the blame on the fans who love the books if they dislike parts of the movie, rather than putting any of that responsibility on the filmmakers for possibly having fucked up a beloved story. Oops. Did I just say fuck? Yes, yes I did.

This probably gets to me more, because I was and still am excited about some of the changes we were told early on were going to happen. Tying in parts of the Appendices to make the films more cohesive with LOTRs? Bring it on! Reintroduce Legolas, since the elvenking was his father? Awesome! Most Tolkien fans I know felt that way too.

But then we get reviews from people like  Quickbeam that indicate major changes to the plot. Some of Quickbeam’s spoilers sound like PJ and company decided they’d just substitute fanfic for Tolkien’s work in this expensive flick. Changes like he’s talking about are not something that only diehard purists are going to be upset by. Even those of us who are willing to see the story stretched and expanded upon aren’t going to be cool with such changes.

So yeah, Richard’s simplification of the types of people who will see the film and what their reactions will be is frustrating. And his seemingly dismissive attitude towards purists is to be honest, obnoxious.

Dude, I get you only have a few minutes with these interviewers, so you have to condense your thoughts. But give the book fans a little more respect. They aren’t all already your fans like I am.

*I didn’t save the links for these interview and couldn’t even begin to tell you which ones they are. If anyone knows feel free to drop me a line.

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Vlog 11 + Thorin Plays Air Guitar!

We’ve all been waiting for the new vlog, so hurray! There was a lot to love about this one. The dwarf exercise routine was hilarious. But my favorite part was the little snippet of Richard Armitage in costume playing air guitar on Orcrist. Naturally I had to make a GIF so I could watch this bit on repeat. 😉

Air-Guitar

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@merilyn066 and @lady0akenshield on Aussie TV!

We’ve all been squeeing over the pics on twitter of @merilyn066 and @lady0akenshield getting to meet Richard. Then the video of RA on Mornings (Is that the name of the show?) became available and I found myself squeeing all over again when I saw that they were actually in the segment!

Y’all should know by now that I like to make gifs out of the videos, so I made one of from the video that has both the ladies and RA:

Lady0akenshield-and-Meri-with-RA

 

One of the caps was really cool I thought, with the silhouette of the ladies and Richard in the same frame:

Lady0akenshield and Meri Silhouette

We’re all just so excited for you both! May the rest of the day be just as amazing for you and the rest of the Aussie fans attending the Q&A tonight.

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What happened to, “I don’t really drink beer?”

Can Richard Armitage not keep his story straight? Did his tastes change this much between the November/December press tour and the end of April? Is he taking one for the team in trying to get the beard to grow back faster?

It really does crack me up when he contradicts himself in interviews that aren’t all that far apart. Kind of like how he was 6’2, 6’2 and 1/2 and so on during The Hobbit press tour. And now he’s done it again. At around 41 seconds into the below interview he says: “…pints of wine though, I don’t really drink beer.”

And now just a few months later he’s touting beer as the way to quickly grow his beard back.

Thanks to RANet for the scan. Highlights added by me.

Thanks to RANet for the scan. Highlighting added by me.

So does beer really help with facial hair growth? I did a quick, far from exhaustive search of Google and the only information I found seems to indicate the opposite. Apparently alcohol reduces testosterone levels and therefore slows beard growth! Maybe it’s an urban legend?

Oh well, as long as he keeps looking like this, he can say whatever he wants! 😉

AAP 5 Cropped

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RA Interviewed by TORn

Okay, I’m sure everyone got the link to this in their email, but if not, you can read it here.

Lucky Greendragon!

There are some great new tidbits we haven’t really heard him speak about yet, Richard talking about the emotion of the shoot and his excitement over what happens in the end. It is one of my favorite interviews in the last couple of days. Maybe because there wasn’t just more of the same. Plus, Greendragon understands what we want to know besides the movie tidbits:

Let me start by answering the question which I know will be on the minds of many readers…  Yes, he really is that handsome.  Yes, he really is that charming; he has the ability to make you feel, as he talks to you, that you are the only person who matters.  This skill in focusing and being ‘in the moment’ is an important part of the intensity he brings to his acting; and it gives him that reputation for making interviewers go weak at the knees.  (I’m pleased to report that my knees were reliable throughout the interview!)  And yes, he really was wearing black, leather trousers – Guy of Gisborne lives on!

Oh, and for the beard lovers like myself, it was great to hear him talk about regrowing the beard:

God I can’t wait!  I miss that beard!

Viva la beard! 😉

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Can we please stop calling The Hobbit a prequel?

With the embargo over on reviews for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I’ve seen numerous reviews pop up in my email. Several of which discuss The Hobbit as being a prequel. In some ways I suppose this is true. As far as the movies go, an argument can be made that since The Hobbit was made after the LOTRs films, that it is indeed a prequel. The inclusion of Elijah Wood’s Frodo as something of a bridge between the two series also gives credence to the idea.

However, I’ve been frustrated reading some of the reviews, because they seem to be taking the prequel concept too far. More than one article has compared the film to George Lucas’ three Star Wars prequels. Excuse me, but this is like comparing apples and oranges. On the one hand, we have a beloved series of books that were adapted for the big screen. These films were lauded by fans and critics alike and in some ways opened the door for their predecessor to be adapted as well. On the other had, we have a well loved trilogy, so popular throughout the decades that three prequels were created from scratch (or at least close to) to capitalize on the huge fan base and to take advantage of the newer technology that befits such fantasy films.

So what’s the problem with the comparison? The Hobbit is a literary treasure. Even those who don’t care for it can at least concede that it has stood the test of time. People love this book and pass it on from parent to child. Adapting the book to film wasn’t just a money making scheme. Don’t get me wrong, I know studios and directors aren’t going to get behind a film they think will fail, but this was a project that came to the table with solid material to begin with. We aren’t walking into the theater expecting to have the back story of LOTRs filled in for us. Rather, we are going to see Tolkien’s original foray into Middle Earth take shape. We know the story and want to see Peter Jackson put his magical touch on it (at least those of us who have read the books and liked the trilogy).

The same can’t be said for something like Star Wars. Studios were trading on the name there. George Lucas had a few bits and pieces to take from the original trilogy, but essentially he started from scratch with three new movies. There was no tried and true material loved by fans for decades to prop the new movies up–just nostalgia and the hopes of fans of the original.

Yes, there will be comparisons between The Hobbit and LOTRs, it is only natural with the same screenwriters and film makers at the helm. But film critics, please try and remember that The Hobbit came first. This wasn’t one of Hollywood’s “we’re fresh out of ideas, let’s make a prequel” maneuvers. This is a work that people have waited a long time to see adapted. Not because it precedes LOTRs, but because we love it in its own right.

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Thorin’s Weapons

I don’t know about you all, but the amount of Hobbit related stuff that is in my email each day has just become too much to keep up with. I’m finding myself having to decided which articles and videos are interesting enough that I can make time for them. This video was in my email when I woke up this morning and made the keep list.  The most interesting part for me was being able to see how the weapons had been scaled–particularly how large the Orcrist carried by Richard Armitage was to account for the smaller size of his character.

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Japanese Hobbit Press Conference: The RA Bits

I tried watching the press conference live and the whole thing was so stop and go that I barely heard a word anyone said. On top of that my computer was running crazy slow. Well it turned out that I had a program running in the background that downloaded the whole thing! I was so excited about this. Obviously there was the excitement about being able to hear what was said. But there was also the thought of screencaps, possibly some gifs, and the ability to clip out Richard’s parts. I started with clipping Richard’s parts.

I included some of the bits from the end where they were having their photos taken, because well, can we really get enough of the man? 😉

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“Hot Dwarf” Interview Gifs

I’m not very tech savvy. So it took me ages to get the video from ZMTV with Richard responding to the hot dwarf questions.  @bff222 over on Twitter told me she was anxiously waiting for someone to make some gifs, and since I finally got my hands on the video, I went ahead and made some. So, @bff222, these are for you.

There he goes with the TOC again.

ZMTV1Martin sure does crack everybody up.

ZMTV5

Richard’s so modest…but dude, you’re hot. Get used to it!

ZMTV6

The second time she called him hot:ZMTV7

You know what: actually he was hot, literally:

ZMTV8

Did you just say Thorin’s hot but Richard isn’t? Come on lady!

ZMTV9Yes, Martin! That is what she said.

ZMTV10Look at that thumb action in the last gif, Serv. 😉

This was probably my favorite interview from the press junket. I hope you enjoy the gifs. And now, seeing as it is 2:30 in the morning, I’m off to bed. 😉

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