I don’t remember war-bats in the book


But I still approve the addition.

With any luck, by the time it’s released, I’ll have purged all the annoying bacteria from my circulatory system, so I can enjoy it.

Comments

  1. says

    If the war-bats take out Radagast’s bunny sleigh, I’ll accept them. Wholeheartedly.

    But it really is too bad Jackson’s hobbit movies stray so far from the book. It/they coulda been a contender. The problem of virtually nonstop action and volume perpetually at 11 is the lack of contrast. Hitchcock wasn’t the only human who understood this about movies. OTOH, I did get to see the first Hobbit movie in Thailand, with reasonably priced 3D IMAX, comfy reserved seats, quiet audience (not that you’d actually hear the audience during the movie), and a pre-movie lounge. They still charge way too much for popcorn and soda; turns out there are cultural universals. :)

  2. Florian Diebold says

    Actually…

    “Halt!” cried Gandalf, […] “Behold! the bats are above his army like a sea of locusts. “

    Soon the thunder passed, rolling away to the South-East; but the bat-cloud came, flying lower, over the shoulder of the Mountain, and whirled above them shutting out the light and filling them with dread.

    Soon actual darkness was coming into a stormy sky; while still the great bats swirled about the heads and ears of elves and men, or fastened vampire-like on the stricken.

  3. jodyp says

    Was gonna say, iirc bats were used by the Orcs to blot out the sun and demoralize opponents.

  4. Doubting Thomas says

    To get three books into three movies they had to leave stuff out. To get one book into three movies they had to add stuff. Go figure.

  5. Holms says

    “The defining moment… of the Middle Earth legend”
    What a load of shit. The battle itself was so unimportant to the story that it was skipped and then told in as a hurried recap, but in another article about this movie I see there is a promise of a 45 minute fight scene. I would have been fine with The Hobbit being a single three hour epic movie, but three? Fuck you Peter Jackson and your obsession with bloat.

  6. Matrim says

    Fuck you Peter Jackson and your obsession with bloat.

    You see, this I just don’t get. I get preferring it had been a single (or two films). I get not caring for the additions. I don’t get the shear vehemence of hatred toward the fact that it’s longer than they’d like. I mean, you’re welcome to feel that way, but I just don’t track at all, man. I mean, I HATED Return of the King for changes that I felt ruined the best moments in the story, but I don’t think I ever wished ill upon the director for it.

    Personally, while I wish it had been two films rather than three and they’d cut back on the cartooniness of the action, I’m mostly ok with they additions and changes (…mostly).

  7. microraptor says

    I’m holding my excitement for The Silmarillion: Part 49.

    I guess they had to take the lifespan of the sun into consideration when deciding how long to drag it out.

    But seriously, I bet he really would make a 72 part version of the Simarillion if he could get the studio and actors on board.

  8. says

    Once Part 3 is released to the home market, we’ll finally get to see the epic one-movie fan edit that is inevitably coming.

    I don’t object to every change or addition made by Jackson, but there’s a lot of fluff that could be trimmed without altering the story in any way. Like most of the barrel chase, or when he plays dominoes with set pieces for the third goddamn time.

  9. Ichthyic says

    Fuck you Peter Jackson and your obsession with bloat.

    You see, this I just don’t get.

    did you ever see Jackson’s remake of King Kong?

    I get it.

    Jackson:

    why have one trex fighting Kong when you could have two! why have them fight straight up, when you can have them fight falling through jungle vines off a cliff!

    um… yeah.

    sorry, but Jackson has a strong tendency to get distracted by scenes instead of themes.

  10. Larry says

    I see there is a promise of a 45 minute fight scene.

    Looks like Jackson is trying to out-Helm’s Deep that interminable fight scene In LOTR. Between that and the pod racing scene in Star Wars, there are 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

  11. Menyambal says

    Yeah, that barrel business was one of the features of the trailer that kept me away from one movie. The book made it sound so damn elegant to just chuck empty barrels into a gentle river, and have them float back. But the trailer featured a whitewater version of the mine-cart cliche. Who would send barrels into a maelstrom, and how did they get upriver in the first place?

    I really did admire the first Rings movie, but the parts that I skip are the action/battle parts that Jackson added in or changed. Not because they aren’t pure, but because they are gratingly annoying in execution. It’s like he knew he was doing wrong. Other parts, the way he expressed them still give me thrills.

    As for the bats, they were in the book, but the battle was not enough to name a movie after, and the bats not enough to feature in a trailer. And not important enough to let Jackson bring in more damn CGI – his genius (or somebody’s) was in live actors and real sets. (And keep the damn things off my lawn.)

  12. Matrim says

    Ichthyic, 13

    sorry, but Jackson has a strong tendency to get distracted by scenes instead of themes.

    Agreed, but again, I wouldn’t curse his name for that.

    Menyambal, 15

    As for the bats, they were in the book

    But…they were…the quote is up above.

  13. says

    Peter Jackson seems to believe that anything that worked well once must be repeated again and again, bigger and louder every time.

    Legolas is a bad-ass with a bow. In one scene in Fellowship, he stabs one orc with an arrow before firing it into another. Yeah! Then in Two Towers, he shoots a bunch of dudes while surfing a shield down some stairs. Seriously? And in Return of the King, of course he scales and kills a mûmak, solo, before once again surfing down its truck. Yawn.

    The stairs collapse around the fellowship in Moria, which was cool enough. So in the hobbit, he does it again in the goblin chase — only to have them also surf down the cliff face at the end! (What is his deal with surfing down things?) And when he sticks them up some trees, he does it again for some reason!

    Make it bigger! More elaborate! Stretch it out longer!

    I’d rather have “appropriate to the situation”, myself.

  14. Ichthyic says

    Agreed, but again, I wouldn’t curse his name for that.

    I would, and do.

    again… King Kong.

    he fucking ruined it.

  15. Ichthyic says

    As for the bats, they were in the book

    But…they were…the quote is up above.

    uh, read what you quoted again. what does it say, exactly?

  16. says

    Mind you, on the Peter Jackson can definitely do it right front, everybody should watch Heavenly Creatures. Also the screen debuts of Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey, and a true story with an amazing IRL twist.

  17. Ichthyic says

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a dragon in there somewhere?

    yeah, come to think of it. I suppose that will be another trailer.

  18. Ichthyic says

    yeah jackson’s early stuff is fun.

    even “Bad Taste” was fun at least.

    …and Forgotten Silver was very creative.

    he does his best stuff with small budgets IMO.

  19. Matrim says

    drksky 17

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a dragon in there somewhere?

    I’m guessing they’re downplaying the dragon, seeing as how it’ll be dead by the end of the first act.

    Ichthyic 21

    uh, read what you quoted again. what does it say, exactly?

    Blah, reading comprehension failure on my part. For some reason my brain straight up told me “weren’t”

  20. Holms says

    I mean, I HATED Return of the King for changes that I felt ruined the best moments in the story, but I don’t think I ever wished ill upon the director for it.

    But I don’t want anything bad to befall him at all. I just wish he didn’t take a nine hour squat on one of my favourite books, especially one with all those rosy ‘child-learning-to-appreciate-reading-for-the-simple-joy-of-reading’ memories associated with it.

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a dragon in there somewhere?

    I thought he died at the end of movie 2? (I didn’t watch it)

    Oh and hey, does anyone else echo my thought that everything associated with Radagast’s portrayal was abysmal? He may be described as a friend to all that flies (or whatever the specific wording was), but being friends with bords in no way implies letting them shit on his head. Oh and those stupid cartoonish rabbits! Goddamn, they were sad.

  21. says

    @Holms #29

    Nope, at the close of part 2, after the battle with the dwarves in the foundry, Smaug is seen flying off towards Laketown in a fit of rage.

  22. says

    When it comes to Jackson’s Middle Earth films, I really find myself in a minority and it makes me sad. I absolutely adored the LotR trilogy and I’m loving the Hobbit movies.

    I think it helps if you realize that at least some of the additions to the Hobbit movies are from the LotR appendices and other notes and writings by Tolkien bridging the Hobbit and LotR. Not all of it. Jackson’s added his own stuff as well, to be sure.

    I actually do want to see the Silmarillion and the Histories adapted to film and TV.

    There are a lot of differences, of course. I think it helps that it was the first LotR film that actually started me on my Middle Earth obsession, so maybe my perceptions are colored. And yes, before anyone says it, I do like the books better than the films… a lot. But I’m enjoying the films quite a bit and hoping for more.

    So… yeah… anyways…

  23. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I think it helps if you realize that at least some of the additions to the Hobbit movies are from the LotR appendices and other notes and writings by Tolkien bridging the Hobbit and LotR. Not all of it. Jackson’s added his own stuff as well, to be sure.

    And Tolkien himself started rewriting a Darker and Edgier “The Hobbit”, as I recall, but was discouraged from finishing it.

  24. grumpyoldfart says

    So unimaginative (and boring) when movie trailers use the sound of rolling thunder as exclamation points.

  25. eilish says

    It’s always going to be tricky making a much loved classic into a movie.
    You want to tell your story, fans want to see the one they know.

    I loved TFotR ( love your adaptation, Pete!) , and was OK with TTT (I guess there were that many battles in the book, and it was pretty boring come to think of it) , but then Jackson made Sam abandon Frodo out of jealousy over Gollum and cut the Scouring of the Shire from RotK in favour of keeping CGI orc battles. (WORST decision evah, or worst decision EVER?)
    So never going to watch The Hobbit.

  26. Paul K says

    I actually stood up to walk out of Return of the King when Sam left Frodo. My wife made me sit down. Tolkein said himself (in one of his letters, I think) that Sam is the hero of the book.

    I also hated the way Jackson did the scene between the Nazgul and Eowyn. To me, it’s the most kick-ass bit in the book, when she pulls off her helm and coldly says ‘I am no man!’ and strikes him right in his invisible face. There’s no mention of trembling, panicky, teary fear. She’s supposed to be showing cold rage and determination. She finally has something real and plain to fight for (the honor of her fallen uncle and king), where just before she felt despair. She’s come one hundred leagues and three against his orders to die in battle rather than stay at home to wait for death to come to her. It’s all clear in the book, and powerful. And Jackson turned her into a frightened, flinching character who seems to have no good reason to be there other than unrequited love of Aragorn. That’s in the book, too, but her love is based on fantasy; the fantasy of sharing brave deeds. She’s supposed to be defiant, and ready for death, possibly even welcoming it, even then. Because she’s a woman, not a man, and has been told she cannot fight. And the fact that she’s not a man is what allows her to fulfill a prophecy (along with the help of the Nazgul’s hesitation at finding her not a man, and Merry’s Elvin blade). It could have been done well, but it was not, and for no good reason I can see, just like the stupid bit about Sam leaving.

    Yeah, I like the books, and really wanted to like the movies. Jackson did do a lot of good things in them.

    The Hobbit movies, on the other hand, are just about cartoons as far as I’m concerned. Rankin/Bass did some parts better. I am waiting for the spiders.

  27. says

    I enjoyed the books in my twenties and I took them very seriously. I enjoyed LOTR trilogy and both hobbit movies so far and never took seriously a bit of it. I have no idea why, I just did.

    Last time I read LOTR again previous year, I was slightly piffed by how big of a sausage-fest it is, by its racist and elitist subthemes and by its over-the-top pathos and seriousness. lstill enjoyed it, but differently. [Reading pharyngula changed my outlook on a lot of things, including Tolkien. I like addition of woman characters to hobbit (albeit somewhat ham-fisted). ]

    I like to swtich of my brain once in awhile. Jackson provides the oportunity.

  28. Marius says

    I loved The Hobbit for its lighthearted humour and whimsy. LOTR, on the other hand, was just tedious and overblown. The Hobbit films have none of the charm of the book but all of the dirge and overearnestness of LOTR.

  29. says

    There were two things I could not forgive about LoTR:
    Sam abandoning Frodo, though that was a minor point for me (I never liked either of them much) and Faramir trying to take Frodo to Minas Tirith by force. The rest: I accept that other people have different ideas. Either I can enjoy it or I can leave it. This doesn’t mean that criticism isn’t a good and valid thing to do, but I just cannot obsess about it.
    I also happen to like long drawn out battle scenes.

  30. madtom1999 says

    @Matrim 10 – you dont get the hate? I read the book 10 or so times before puberty – many other Tolkien fans did too. Its not like a normal book! To mess with the story points to a lack of ability at film making or pure stupidity.
    I dont hate for it but, when the films come round to be on public broadcast telly I will watch them with interest but I will not expect them to be ‘The Hobbit’ in the same way ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series bore little resemblance to the the books I read many times over 30 years or so.
    It provokes the same reaction as people besmirching the Bible in some – but at least most Hobbit fans have read it.

  31. anym says

    #28 Microraptor:

    he does his best stuff with small budgets IMO.

    He’s the next George Lucas?

    Lucas did his best stuff when other people called him out on his mistakes. The awful Kingdom of the Crystal Skull basically came about because even Spielberg couldn’t say no to him anymore. Strangling the budgets wouldn’t have saved any of his recent creations by itself; the money just amplifies the problems.

    Maybe Jackson’s problem is the same.

  32. Arawhon, So Tired of Everything says

    For me at least, I love the movies. Then again I don’t have that terrible drug nostalgia clouding my view of the movies. You still have your silly cartoon made by Bakshi (which a saw when I was a child and loved), and the book still exists (though it is incredibly boring in large parts of it), and Im pretty sure the movie will be remade with a fan edit version. But I plan on going to see this as a birthday present to me and loving every action filled moment.

    I really dont get this utter hatred that arises from a different interpretation of a story. Must stories always be told in the same way every time? Can they emphasize different aspects, add things in, takes things out, mix it up to be something new or even better?

    As for the Sam and Frodo thing, Gollum had poisoned his view of Sam and his attempts to help Frodo as a friend. That was plainly evident in the movie. After the telling off and almost severing of the friendship from Frodo, what else was Sam to do? And Faramir wanted to secure the ring, thinking that his impenetrable fortress of a city would be a better way to protect the ring. All of this stuff makes sense in the story and how the characters see it.

  33. anym says

    #46, Arawhon, So Tired of Everything

    Can they emphasize different aspects, add things in, takes things out, mix it up to be something new or even better?

    Evidence suggests that the answer is almost always, “No.”

    Outside of the medium of film though, I can actually think of one good counterexample… the Lego Starwars computer games for the prequel trilogy. They made several sweeping changes to the story: 1. there’s no dialogue, at all. 2. even Jar Jar is made a useful character with practical skills. 3. a fair amount of the waffle was stripped away, leaving a much leaner and more interesting story behind.

    Given that game tie-ins with movies are generally a disaster, making one that was actually fun whilst simultaneously fixing the source material was a startling achievement, even with the weirdness of adapting a physical toy into a computer game. (no idea if they managed the same achievement with later lego film franchise games, mind you)

  34. says

    madtom1999

    you dont get the hate? I read the book 10 or so times before puberty – many other Tolkien fans did too.

    Yes, we did.

    Its not like a normal book!

    No, it will always be dear to my heart and I frequently re-read passages. I love the world building. But yes, it’s also just a book and people have different views on it. Would you believe thatthere are people who started reading it and then didn’t finish? I also remember spending hours discussing certain passages with my friends. Points I thought to be Totally Interesting!!! were deemed unimportant or even Fuck annoying!!! by them. We still managed not to hate each other.

    To mess with the story points to a lack of ability at film making or pure stupidity.

    Or simply a different take on it, as different interpretation, a different version of what is Totaly Interesting and what is Fuck Annoying.

    I dont hate for it but, when the films come round to be on public broadcast telly I will watch them with interest but I will not expect them to be ‘The Hobbit’ in the same way ‘The Lord of the Rings’ series bore little resemblance to the the books I read many times over 30 years or so.

    That’s OK, you know, we’re all allowed to like and dislike things. And to criticise.

    It provokes the same reaction as people besmirching the Bible in some – but at least most Hobbit fans have read it.

    You know, anybody who reacts like this to ANY book needs to take a long walk, cool bath and chill the fuck out. Peter Jackson managed to make every bookish schoolchild’s dream come true, take his favourite books and turn them into the movies he thought they should be. Yes, I am a bit envious. But he has not taken anything from me. Even if I thought the movies were the worst thing ever he would still not have taken anything from me. Because my books didn’t magically rewrite themselves to reflect the Peter Jackson version of events.

    +++
    Oh, and one thing I really loved about the movies as well was the attention to detail and the world building. Tolkien tried to create a world that was old and deep, with different people who had their own, many layered cultures and histories and I liked how they tried to capture that in the movies. Something Harry Potter is, for example, completely lacking, because you must never scratch the surface of the books there unless you want to fall into a borromless pit of “this doesn’t make sense”.

  35. says

    Arwahan, “As for the Sam and Frodo thing, Gollum had poisoned his view…”

    Yeah, we understand that, but thanks for the patronizing reiteration of what was plainly obvious in the movie. We object to the extra-biblical addition of this event. The relationship between Sam and Frodo was apparently something for the screen writers to trifle with, whereas to a legion of LotR’s fans it was a core element of what made the story great, rather than just another adventure novel. What you just Don’t Get is that the whole concept of Frodo spurning Sam for Gollum is pretty abhorrent. Wherever there was a good, strong relationship in the book, Jackson undermined that to create dramatic conflict in the movies. Seriously cliche’d dramatic conflict.

    But I think I see the real problem:
    “…book still exists (though it is incredibly boring in large parts of it)”

    If you think LoTR was boring where do you get off wagging your finger at the book’s fans for the contempt some hold Jackson in? I’d say you’re pretty much disqualified from inveighing on any comparisons between LotR and the movies once you declare large parts of LotR to be boring (and I desperately recommend you up your reading game with the time you’ll save).

    I posit this question to you: Can’t someone make a movie about one of the most popular books of the 20th century without mixing it up where it’s totally unnecessary to making the translation to screen?

  36. laurentweppe says

    With any luck, by the time it’s released, I’ll have purged all the annoying bacteria from my circulatory system, so I can enjoy it.

    At worst, you can still wait for the director’s cut trilogy, then spend 24 hours watching the extended Hobbit/LoTR instead of grading tests.

  37. says

    Michael Anderburg
    Well, thank you for playing “no true LoTR fan” with us.
    We can play “fake gamer girl” and “fake geek girl” next, if you want to.

    What you just Don’t Get is that the whole concept of Frodo spurning Sam for Gollum is pretty abhorrent.

    What you don’t get is that while it may be abhorrent for some legions of LoTR fans, it is also pretty meh for others. That doesn’t make them less “fans”, doesn’t make them stupid or lack understanding.
    And see above: Even if you think those movies were the worst movies ever, you are still not worse off than you were in 2000 before you’d ever seen a trailer of them. They’re movies, FFS.

  38. gussnarp says

    I cannot approve of anything about Peter Jackson’s desecration of the Hobbit. The man never should have been let near that book. He ripped the heart out of the story and burned it on a pyre of sacrifice to his own monumental ego before Thorin’s company left the Shire.

  39. gussnarp says

    FTR, while I find the additions shoehorned in to turn a 200 page book into three epic movies annoying, they’re not actually the biggest problem I have with Peter Jackson’s Hobbit. Maybe I’d have liked it if I was comparing it to my childhood memories of the Hobbit, instead of having literally just read the book to my son three times in a row. But here’s the bit (and this is an example that is resonant of an ongoing issue with the movie): in the book the dwarves arrive at Bilbo’s carrying musical instruments. That’s the only thing they’re carrying that gets mentioned, aside from their cloaks. In the movie they’re carrying an array of terrifying weapons.

    @Azkyroth (#34)

    And Tolkien himself started rewriting a Darker and Edgier “The Hobbit”, as I recall, but was discouraged from finishing it.

    And I have to say that I’m not the least concerned with being true or loyal to Tolkien, but rather with being true to the story and theme of the Hobbit. If he was considering a darker and edgier Hobbit, then those who discouraged him were right and he was wise to listen to their advice. He was also originally resistant to the idea of linking the Hobbit with the Lord of the Rings in the first place, but was talked into it by his publisher, which required him to rewrite sections of the Hobbit to make it work.

    But then, I also come from a place of loving the Hobbit and never really caring much for the Lord of the Rings or having any interest left after them to read the Silmarillion.

  40. gussnarp says

    @Arawhon (#46):

    For me at least, I love the movies. Then again I don’t have that terrible drug nostalgia clouding my view of the movies. You still have your silly cartoon made by Bakshi (which a saw when I was a child and loved), and the book still exists (though it is incredibly boring in large parts of it), and Im pretty sure the movie will be remade with a fan edit version. But I plan on going to see this as a birthday present to me and loving every action filled moment.

    Are we talking now about the Hobbit, or the Lord of the Rings? I honestly feel it’s important to separate these two discussions. Because, while set in the same world, the character and style of the books is utterly different. If we’re talking about the Hobbit, then I don’t see how you could be bored with that book. Sure, some people will be bored by just about anything, but the Hobbit is about 200 pages in which quite a bit happens. If you’re bored, stick it out through the paragraph and you’ll be on to something else. If you’re talking about LotR, then frankly, I agree. As for a fan edit: A fan edit can’t fix the Hobbit movie. No amount of cutting can cure that rot.

  41. Holms says

    #46 Arawhon
    For me at least, I love the movies. Then again I don’t have that terrible drug nostalgia clouding my view of the movies.

    Yes, way to write off the opinions that disagree with yours.

    Must stories always be told in the same way every time? Can they emphasize different aspects, add things in, takes things out, mix it up to be something new or even better?

    Sure, and those elements can be criticised. For example: the biggest beef I have with the LOTR movies was that almost every character aside from Aragorn and Gandalf was changed to be less trusting, less intelligent and more greedy purely to increase the level of antagonism. Treebeard shows this by becoming an insular idiot who needs to be tricked into defending his own forest, Faramir loses the judgement and restraint of his that distinuished him from his more headstrong brother and simply becomes Boromir 2.0, Eowyn loses her grim determination to become a Helpless Damsel…

    The big one though was Frodo befriending Gollum over Sam. It not only threw away the theme of trust that was central to their branch of the quest, but was woefully unjustified. Throwing away the trust of a friend of many years for a fairly poor ruse played by a dude he only grudingly trusts out of circumstance? Yeeesh. It reminded me of the way Anakin from the Star Wars prequel showed his growing dark side by… standing in poorer light than usual, and glowering at people.

    #52 Giliel
    Well, thank you for playing “no true LoTR fan” with us.
    We can play “fake gamer girl” and “fake geek girl” next, if you want to.

    I would ordinarily agree, if not for the fact that Michael Anderburg’s casual condescension is in reply to an even much more overtly condescending post.

    And see above: Even if you think those movies were the worst movies ever, you are still not worse off than you were in 2000 before you’d ever seen a trailer of them. They’re movies, FFS.

    …Yes? No one is getting antagonistic over this that I can see.

  42. frog says

    I must say, it’s very nice to have my magical gift where I can view the movies as an entirely separate entity from the books. I check my brain at the door and go in assuming I am about to watch some really cool fanfic of books I love.

    (That said, the changes to Faramir were hard for me to get past. In the book he’s portrayed as almost a proto-wizard, and realizes humans under no curcumstances should be allowed near the Ring. He’s set up as an intellectual, in contrast to all the other guys in the book (most specifically Boromir).)

    Most (not all) of the changes to LOTR made sense for the different medium. You can summarize a giant battle in five pages of a book, but you don’t get to skip the dire situation at Helm’s Deep in a visual medium. You can skip a giant battle in a book by knocking out your POV character at the beginning of it, but that can ONLY work because of the tight POV and cosy feel of the narration. Jackson could have made that sort of movie, but then we would be complaining about how he left out all the grandeur and sweep.

    Could he have balanced The Hobbit differently? Sure. But he made his choice what way he wanted to go, and pursued it as hard as he could. A lot of creatives prefer a glorious failure of overreach to a safe success. It’s rare one gets that opportunity in film, and however irritated I am by some of Jackson’s choices (the barrel scene, ugh), I can’t fault him for his aspirations.

  43. says

    Holms

    I would ordinarily agree, if not for the fact that Michael Anderburg’s casual condescension is in reply to an even much more overtly condescending post.

    Oh, wait, because you and Michael Anderburg disagree with Arawhon it’s OK for him to shit on all other people? When did that become acceptable?

    Yes? No one is getting antagonistic over this that I can see.

    Yeah, I mean apart from using words like “desacration”, who’s getting antagonistic?

  44. says

    I liked ’em all as movies separate from the books.

    My only beef with The Hobbit is that Bilbo is much less important than in the book. In the book he takes on the spiders single handed and confronts Smaug entirely alone (the dwarves stay outside). I didn’t care for the foundry action sequence, it made Smaug “less” and the dwarves “more” and it leaves you to wonder how Smaug beat a whole city full of them.

  45. gussnarp says

    Yeah, I mean apart from using words like “desacration”, who’s getting antagonistic?

    Don’t bring me into this. Yes, I’m picking on Peter Jackson’s Hobbit, because I hated it. But when I say a director desecrated a story, I assume people recognize this as standard humorous hyperbole and not as antagonistic (to whom)? And I’ve nothing to do the whole “no true fan” thing. I’m simply stating my opinion and giving reasoning for it. I’ve said nothing antagonistic to anyone in this thread, as far as I can tell, nor made belittling comments. And since I’m the only one who seems to have used that word here, and that in a very late in the thread, throw away kind of comment, I don’t see why I’m the example of anything. I hadn’t even read the comments yet when I posted that. I’m sure you can nit pick my longer comments for some shred of antagonism, but I’d hope you wouldn’t.

  46. says

    I didn’t say that Arawhon wasn’t a fan, Arawhon did. Sorry if pointing out that claiming not to like the book makes you #notafanofthebooks, but it does.

    If that’s shitting “ON ALL OTHER PEOPLE!!!!! “AGH, we’re all gonna die!” (emphasis added) then so be it. Or were you referring to something else I said that you did not refer to in your# 52 post? Honestly, I’m thinking you should reconsider your qualifications as arbiter of What Is and Isn’t “antagonistic.”

    Anyway, I highly recommend Sharky’s purist edit, and will be participating in the de-Jacksonification of the Hobbit when the 3rd extended edition is released if I can still afford a computer.

  47. says

    Meh, I saw the first Hobbit movie in glorious 3D IMAX HFR, and decided I can wait for the rest to come out on Netflix or DVD. I am really, really tired of Peter Jackson “The heroes are about to fall off of something (or it’s collapsing, or burning, beneath them) while the bad guys are attacking them, oh how will they ever get out of this?” scenes. It started with the escape from Moria, reached its absurd climax with the T-rex falling-down-vines sequence in King Kong, and after that has been nothing but excruciatingly bad self-parody (no, scratch that: the T-rex scene was already there).

    LOTR I liked, even with the changes, but in the Hobbit the silliness buried the merits of the original story. Thank you, Peter, for saving me the cost of cinema admission to see a big-budget realization of a franchise I love. (Aside: same goes for J.J.Abrams and the ST reboot). I’ll be seeing the latest Hunger Games flick instead.

  48. says

    I forgot to cite who I was responding to in my post #61 above:

    #58 Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-:
    “Oh, wait, because you and Michael Anderburg disagree with Arawhon it’s OK for him to shit on all other people? When did that become acceptable?”

  49. says

    Michael Anderburg

    Sorry if pointing out that claiming not to like the book makes you #notafanofthebooks, but it does.

    Well, I must have missed that they actually said that. What I read was that they found parts of the books boring. So did I, so did many other people. Guess that makes me #notafanofthebooks by your holy standards*. I’ll add fake Tolkien fan to my collection of titles.
    Yeah, I mean, where do we get when people are allowed to have their own preferences?
    *Hey, let’s do a dick-measuring contest: Who owns more Tolkien books, more versions, translations, has read them more often etc. But I suppose unless I treat those parts of the story you like that much with the same amount of religious piety you do I still lose.

  50. Matrim says

    madtom1999, 44

    you dont get the hate? I read the book 10 or so times before puberty – many other Tolkien fans did too. Its not like a normal book! To mess with the story points to a lack of ability at film making or pure stupidity.

    I disagree whole-heartedly. To “mess” with the story points to the filmmakers wanting to put their own stamp on the material. And, really, if they’re not going to reinterpret the stuff, why bother making a movie? If I want a complete point-for-point adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien, I’ll go read Tolkien.

    And don’t act like being a young fan somehow makes you a zealot about this stuff. I learned to read on the Hobbit. I grew up reading the book, listening to the BBC radio adaption, watching the Rankin/Bass film. The Hobbit (and, to a lesser extent, the Lord of the Rings) was the defining artwork of my childhood. And with all that in mind, I tell you now, that it IS just a book. It’s an extraordinary book that I still read to this day when the mood strikes me. It’s a formative influence in my life, but it is still a book. There is nothing wrong with reinterpretation. You can like or dislike the reinterpretation, you can hate it or love it…that I get. You can even hate the people responsible for it if you so choose, but that I don’t. Now, if the Hobbit films somehow made you stop liking the book, then perhaps I could understand the hate.

    Giliell, 49

    You know, anybody who reacts like this to ANY book needs to take a long walk, cool bath and chill the fuck out. Peter Jackson managed to make every bookish schoolchild’s dream come true, take his favourite books and turn them into the movies he thought they should be. Yes, I am a bit envious. But he has not taken anything from me. Even if I thought the movies were the worst thing ever he would still not have taken anything from me. Because my books didn’t magically rewrite themselves to reflect the Peter Jackson version of events.

    This, so much this.

  51. robertfoster says

    They look suspiciously like the Winged Monkeys in Oz. Okay, so these are bats and not primates, but everything in art is derivative and I think this is no exception.

  52. says

    The second Hobbit movie was one the only of Jackson’s Middle Earth depictions that I actively disliked. I don’t mind deviations from the source material too much, but in this case I had to keep reminding myself what it was that I was watching and what would have been happening if he had tried to stick to the plot. As one reviewer put it, Jackson was writing fan fiction. That’s fine as far as it goes, but it was not what I had come to see. I won’t be seeing the third installment in theaters except in the unlikely event that it gets rave reviews.

  53. laurentweppe says

    The second Hobbit movie was one the only of Jackson’s Middle Earth depictions that I actively disliked

    Really? I liked it a lot: it hinted at the skeletons hidden in the elves’ closets, it showed what dwarven craftmanship could do, made clear that this was what Thorin was talking about when he ranted about “birthrights” and “legacy”, and it made Smaug cat-like, and let’s be frank: this dragon always had more in common with the perfidious felines than with reptiles

  54. says

    …it showed what dwarven craftmanship could do…

    Not sure what you’re referring to, but if it’s that scene where the dwarves spontaneously construct a giant semi-molten gold statue, then “attack” Smaug with it by having it fall on him, which he then shakes off without any apparent harm, then that was the part where I resolved not to watch the next one. There was so much wrong with that scene , I don’t even want to get into it (except to say, they weren’t even supposed to be down there). If you liked it, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

  55. frog says

    I agree with laurentweppe @68 regarding the additions/clarification of the dwarf/elf enmity and history.

    But taking focus off Bilbo makes it an entirely different story, and Jackson is failing to keep the good things about the book while he adds these other good things. Most notably is Bilbo’s personal journey. By having Bilbo rescue Thorin at the end of the first film, Jackson level-jumped Bilbo’s growth from timid homebody to worthy descendant of a Took. I adore the progression of Bilbo’s confidence in the book, and his single-handed defeat of the Mirkwood spiders is crucial to that. It’s the moment when not just the dwarves learn that Gandalf was right about him, but Bilbo believes it, too. It’s what gives him the confidence to keep driving the action from that point on.

    I at least have confidence that the rest will go more or less according to the book. There are things Jackson can add or expand on, but not much he can cut or change into something else entirely.

    Though I will be so pissed off if he doesn’t kill all the characters that die in the books.

  56. laurentweppe says

    Not sure what you’re referring to, but if it’s that scene where the dwarves spontaneously construct a giant semi-molten gold statue, then “attack” Smaug with it by having it fall on him, which he then shakes off without any apparent harm

    Nope: I’m talking about the battle of the forges, which comes right before the melting statue.
    I mean, look at all these machines: this is some sexy steampunk, and it completely sold me on the “Dwarves are an advanced culture worthy of respect and awe

    Also remember that Smaug is stated as the last living being in Middle Earth capable of destroying the One Ring, and that fear of Sauron bribing him to join his side his the reason Gandalf joined Thorin mad quest: this is not your low brand RPG drake that can be killed merely by poking him with a sword: this is an amoral, sociopathic demigod whose very existence could have tipped the balance in favor of the Evil Overlord: a ragtag band of Dwarves (and Hobbit) fighting him to a standstill using old reserves of chemicals and blacksmithing apparatus is pretty fucking impressive.

  57. says

    Also remember that Smaug is stated as the last living being in Middle Earth capable of destroying the One Ring, and that fear of Sauron bribing him to join his side his the reason Gandalf joined Thorin mad quest: this is not your low brand RPG drake that can be killed merely by poking him with a sword: this is an amoral, sociopathic demigod whose very existence could have tipped the balance in favor of the Evil Overlord: a ragtag band of Dwarves (and Hobbit) fighting him to a standstill using old reserves of chemicals and blacksmithing apparatus is pretty fucking impressive.

    Jackson made up all that stuff; none of it is in the books. But agreed, Smaug is very hard to kill. So what the hell are the dwarves doing down there playing cat and mouse, why (never mind how) did they make a molten statue that somehow exploded at Smaug if it doesn’t hurt him anyway, and why did Smaug retreat from his treasure when his real enemies are right there for him to kill? Is it too much to ask that deviations from the source material at least make sense?

    If that’s not bad enough, it’s antithetical to the spirit of the story too. In the book, the dwarves are too afraid to face the dragon, and Thorin as usual doesn’t know what to do. So it’s up to Bilbo, with his magic ring, to figure things out. But it’s unclear from the film what Bilbo’s purpose even is if the dwarves are willing to charge right in. Come to think of it, I have no idea how Smaug drove the dwarves out of Erebor in the first place if 13 dwarves and a useless hobbit are enough to drive him out.

  58. laurentweppe says

    Jackson made up all that stuff; none of it is in the books

    Actually it is: in the (much longer than in the movie) gathering at Rivendell, it is stated (by Gandalf if I remember correctly) that the few dragons still alive are too old and weakened to melt the ring: Smaug was the last one in peek physical condition, and that’s why they eventually decide to send the ring back to the volcano where it was made.

    Also, in the Silmarillion, while Glaurung’s first sortie was kinda pathetic (he was still young and inexperienced), he and his spawns soon proved to be formidable forces of destructions (the glassing Ard-Galen, anyone?)

    So nope, Jackson did not crank up Smaug’s power and the danger he represented.

    ***

    why did Smaug retreat from his treasure when his real enemies are right there for him to kill?

    Because he’s a vengeful sociopath: he correctly guessed that the humans living in Lake-Town provided the Dwarves assistance, and he considers that sparing the town was such a massive favor from him that helping Thorin & co is a betrayal so great that genociding the town is the rightful course of action. Which quite frankly overlap perfectly with the personality Tolkien gave Smaug in the first place.

    ***

    Come to think of it, I have no idea how Smaug drove the dwarves out of Erebor in the first place if 13 dwarves and a useless hobbit are enough to drive him out.

    Smaug launched a surprise attack against an indolent and unprepared society convinced of its own safety. Thorin’s company are desperate exiles who assault the dragon when He has grown complacent and became convinced that no one would dare to challenge him, at least not without a full army he could see coming from miles away.

    And they don’t drive him out: they stand their ground for long enough to anger him so much that he leave to go on a murderous rampage against the less resourceful denizens of Lake-Town

  59. Holms says

    #58 Giliell
    Oh, wait, because you and Michael Anderburg disagree with Arawhon it’s OK for him to shit on all other people? When did that become acceptable?

    Yes, kind of like the way you are overlooking Arawhon’s shitting on people due to agreeing with him/her, I guess.

    #65
    I disagree whole-heartedly. To “mess” with the story points to the filmmakers wanting to put their own stamp on the material. And, really, if they’re not going to reinterpret the stuff, why bother making a movie? If I want a complete point-for-point adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien, I’ll go read Tolkien.

    Sure, he can change things if he wishes in his retelling, but those changes can be criticised beyond ‘he changed it now it sucks’.

  60. Esteleth is Groot says

    Jackson made up all that stuff; none of it is in the books

    Actually it is: in the (much longer than in the movie) gathering at Rivendell, it is stated (by Gandalf if I remember correctly) that the few dragons still alive are too old and weakened to melt the ring: Smaug was the last one in peek physical condition, and that’s why they eventually decide to send the ring back to the volcano where it was made.

    I just re-read that chapter, and I did not find the conversation you mention. There is a discussion of Smaug in the appendices to Return of the King, but the only references to dragons and the Ring in the main text is in “The Shadow of the Past,” early in Fellowship of the Ring. Gandalf says this:

    Your small fire, of course, could not melt even ordinary gold. This Ring has already passed through it unscathed, and even unheated. But there is no smith’s forge in this Shire that could change it at all. Not even the anvils and furnaces of the Dwarves could do that. It has been said that dragon-fire could melt and consume the Rings of Power, but there is not now any dragon left on earth in which the old fire is hot enough; nor was there any dragon, not even Ancalagon the Black, who could have harmed the One Ring, the Ruling Ring, for that was made by Sauron himself.

    (bolding mine)

    Which is to say:
    (1) Dragons are hypothesized to have been capable of destroying some Rings
    but
    (2) The One Ring would have been beyond the power of even the nastiest dragon in history.

    Smaug’s danger lay in his ability to dive-bomb and burn the shit out of things Sauron would have wanted destroyed, as confirmed by Appendix A of Return of the King, which includes Gandalf saying this (in reply to a report of the devastation in and around Dale and the Lonely Mountain from a battle that occurred roughly simultaneous with the Battle of Pelennor):

    Yet things might have gone far otherwise and far worse. When you think of the great Battle of the Pelennor, do not forget the battles in Dale and the valour of Durin’s Folk. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador, night in Rivendell. There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now hope to return from the victory here only to ruin and ash. But that has been averted-because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring in Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth.

    Smaug’s danger was not related to the Ring, and he would have been powerless in that regard.

  61. chigau (違う) says

    If I had read The Hobbit first, I would never have read LotR.
    I have read The Hobbit … twice, I think …
    Most recently, about 25 years ago. I should probably see the movies, because sticking to the story wouldn’t matter much to me.
    (Lord of the Rings is a different story.)

  62. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @76: My LotR-related reading timeline went like this;

    1) Bored of the Rings
    2) The Lord of the Rings
    3) The Hobbit

    Jackson should’ve gone with (1). More in line with his strengths, I’d say. When Dildo met Goddam;

    “He would have finished him off then and there, but pity stayed his hand. It’s a pity I’ve run out of bullets, he thought, as he went back up the tunnel…”

  63. chigau (違う) says

    Rob Grigjanis #77
    OMG!!!
    Bored of the Rings!!!
    I was sooo mad at them. (while reading and laughing and laughing and laughing)
    and you are absolutely correct. BotR NEEDS to be made into a movie.
    but Bakshi might be a better choice.

  64. says

    So nope, Jackson did not crank up Smaug’s power and the danger he represented.

    I never said he cranked up Smaug’s power. In fact, Smaug’s being so powerful is precisely why that half-hour cat and mouse chase was ridiculous. Every dwarf should have been roasted within the first five seconds.

    Because he’s a vengeful sociopath: he correctly guessed that the humans living in Lake-Town provided the Dwarves assistance, and he considers that sparing the town was such a massive favor from him that helping Thorin & co is a betrayal so great that genociding the town is the rightful course of action.

    This question is not why he wanted to destroy the town! That part is true to the book (at least until Jackson makes a mess of act 3). The question is why he left his main quarry sitting right in front of him. In the book, the dwarves are hiding out on the mountain where Smaug can’t get at them (in fact, they never even see each other except briefly when Thorin slams the secret door shut), but he’s eaten their ponies and blocked their door so he knows they can’t escape. So he goes to destroy Esgaroth for a bit of fun. Yet in the film, the dwarves are right in front of his nose (literally!), in a place from which they can easily escape and cart off whatever treasure they can carry, and yet Smaug just gives up and leaves them there. It makes no sense. They’re the ones he really wants.

    Smaug launched a surprise attack against an indolent and unprepared society convinced of its own safety. Thorin’s company are desperate exiles who assault the dragon when He has grown complacent and became convinced that no one would dare to challenge him, at least not without a full army he could see coming from miles away.

    Sorry, but this smacks of special pleading. It’s not believable that Thorin and company were better able to fight the dragon than the hundreds (thousands?) of dwarves who inhabited the place during Thror’s day, not to mention the men of Dale. More importantly, in the book the dwarves never confront Smaug. This is not a minor detail; several chapters of plot and the theme of Bilbo’s heroics proceed directly from the fact that challenging the dragon would be plainly suicidal. Having them run around pulling MacGuyvers on Smaug wrecked the whole thing for me. It made Smaug look like a boob, Bilbo look like dead weight, and the dwarves look like they belonged in a Warner Bros. cartoon. But I’m glad some people enjoyed it.

  65. chigau (違う) says

    Rob Grigjanis
    Bored of the Rings
    by Edgar Wright
    with Simon Pegg
    .
    .
    I’ll be in my bunk

  66. pharyngsd says

    Having them run around pulling MacGuyvers on Smaug wrecked the whole thing for me. It made Smaug look like a boob, Bilbo look like dead weight, and the dwarves look like they belonged in a Warner Bros. cartoon.
    Yep.

    He did the same thing in the LOTR trilogy. Gimli and Treebeard were buffoons. Elrond thought Men had come to the end of their tether (tough view for someone that is half human,) Frodo does a Linda Blair impersonation when chased by the Nazgul to the fords (Note to Jackson: Hobbits are supposed to be tough and resistant to corruption, that’s why they make good ring bearers,) and Aragorn really isn’t too sure about this whole “Return of the King” thing. Aragorn as a reluctant king is the most asinine of all his decisions: the whole *reason* Aragorn is accompanying the fellowship is so that he can reclaim his kingship and marry Arwen, since Elrond wouldn’t allow his daughter to marry anyone less than a king. In addition to, of course, protecting the weak and overcoming evil, it’s the primary essence of his motivation. Why is he even going on the journey if he doesn’t give a crap about asserting his right to the throne?

    The big problem with Jackson is that he just sucks at showing a real dramatic turning point in a story. Unless it involves swarming 100,000 orcs all over the place. There were so many missed moments: Aragorn declaring himself to Eomer when they meet for the first time in Rohan” Grond breaking the Gate of Minis Tirith*, the devotion of Gimli to Lady Galadriel, Faramir resisting the temptation of the Ring, etc, etc, etc.

    But no. Jackson had to have Orcs swarming over Minis Tirith (and everywhere else) like flies on poop. He had to have a patently ridiculous fight on some steps inside Moria, Aragorn gets dragged off by a friggin’ Warg prior to Helms deep, Legolas is “surfer boy,” and, thanks to a cunning use of CGI, a bunch of ghosts wipe the battlefield clean of countless foes in front of Minis Tirith, while Sauron has a private searchlight coming out of Bara dur with which to “discover” for his foes. Pathetic doesn’t begin to describe it.

    It wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for the fact that these movies will never be made again in our lifetime. If ever. What a friggin’ wasted opportunity.

    *Yes, I know Grond broke down the gate in the movies, but I challenge you to read the same passage in the novel and compare it to what Jackson did with the scene in the movie. It is quite simply one of the most dramatic moments *period* in the entire trilogy, and Jackson responded to the challenge by throwing Orc blood all over it. Stupid, stupid, stupid…

  67. says

    Michael Anderburg

    “Well, I must have missed that they actually said that.”

    Sea Lioning? Please.

    Oh, cute, you learned a term!
    Next time, try learning what it means. Hint: It does not mean somebody snarkily telling you that you are making shit up to suit your argument.
    OK, again in easier terms:
    Arawhon did not say they didn’t like the books. They said, and I quote:

    For me at least, I love the movies. Then again I don’t have that terrible drug nostalgia clouding my view of the movies. You still have your silly cartoon made by Bakshi (which a saw when I was a child and loved), and the book still exists (though it is incredibly boring in large parts of it), and Im pretty sure the movie will be remade with a fan edit version. But I plan on going to see this as a birthday present to me and loving every action filled moment.

    I really dont get this utter hatred that arises from a different interpretation of a story. Must stories always be told in the same way every time? Can they emphasize different aspects, add things in, takes things out, mix it up to be something new or even better?

    As for the Sam and Frodo thing, Gollum had poisoned his view of Sam and his attempts to help Frodo as a friend. That was plainly evident in the movie. After the telling off and almost severing of the friendship from Frodo, what else was Sam to do? And Faramir wanted to secure the ring, thinking that his impenetrable fortress of a city would be a better way to protect the ring. All of this stuff makes sense in the story and how the characters see it.

    Now YOU show where they said they don’t like the books.
    And once you’ve done that you show your reasoning why only True Fans™ (as apparently decided by you as the ultimate arbiter) are allowed to argue about this and why those True Fans™’ fee-fees are so damn important.

  68. Holms says

    Now YOU show where they said they don’t like the books.

    OK:
    “For me at least, I love the movies. Then again I don’t have that terrible drug nostalgia [for the books] clouding my view of the movies. You still have your silly cartoon made by Bakshi (which a saw when I was a child and loved), and the book still exists (though it is incredibly boring in large parts of it)…”
    If you claim not to see how the bolded portions might give the impression of having a low opinion (or the possibility of outright dislike) of the books, then you are being obtuse. As for the remainder of your post, a) Arawhon appears not to be a fan of the book at all, meaning between Arawhon and Michael Anderburg, MA is probably the True Fan (whatever that means) by virtue of being a fan at all; b) they aren’t, but that is no reason to be a patronising arse.

    Your turn. Can you see from the text you quoted where we might get the idea that Arawhon was being said patronising arse?

  69. says

    “Now YOU show where they said they don’t like the books.
    And once you’ve done that you show your reasoning why only True Fans™ (as apparently decided by you as the ultimate arbiter) are allowed to argue about this and why those True Fans™’ fee-fees are so damn important.”

    I don’t see any point in dogpiling, apparently Holms saw the exact same thing I did when they read the post, but allow me to articulate the following: 1a) True Fans™ is your term, I reject it as resolutely as you. But if my articulation of why many, many fans of the BOOK didn’t like an element of the movie is an articulation that one fan is a true fan and another is not, then fuck off. It’s a bad faith argument, plain and simple, and you have no business spewing it on a skeptic blog. 1b) “If you think LoTR [the book] was boring… I’d say you’re pretty much disqualified from inveighing on any comparisons between LotR and the movies” 2) I don’t need a single dog-gone reason to justify my feelings to you, but if you are trying to cash in by making a movie using a source material I adore, well, New Line probably made Thousand$ off of me in the last decade over the 1st trilogy, and they’ve made about $15 (opening night of the 1st Hobbit movie) this decade and that’s all they’re gonna get. Hence, my Fee-fees and those of a lot of other fans of the Books are important for that reason.

    Finally Sea Lioning: You were correct. It was late and I was making a hasty post on my phone after work. I should have slept on it.

  70. rq says

    I hate the Hobbit movies because I was expecting an adaptation (preferably single-film, since it’s one short book) of a children’s story about greedy dwarves and a timid hobbit who (a) learn to share and (b) learns of his own worth, through adventures and lots of good times, a fight with a dragon and a giant battle over a pile of gold. I love the charm of the book, and the humour – and while the book is an all-male cast, I see no issues with, say, making half the dwarves into women-dwarves, or having a queen of the woodelves, or heck, Beorn. The point being, that I would have made a different movie, but I doubt anyone’s going to give me the money and the resources and the skills to do so anytime soon.
    However, I guess Peter Jackson saw things differently, and wanted an adult movie with more conflict (the extra orcs?) and more action, and he had the money and the opportunity to do so. Yes, I think he overdid it, tried to add too much adrenalin most of the time, but at the same time, he’s been able to fulfill his own vision and dream (presumably). It’s been worthwhile to my enjoyment of the films to completely separate them from the book (in my mind). Not easy, but the movies are easier to bear, and can actually be kind of fun (though far too long). Not sure how I feel about the third one, I’d have to rewatch the first two – and I admit, I fell asleep during the second one and missed the exciting dragon-battle-ending. Oh well.