Sunday, February 24, 2013

An In-Depth Analysis of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Well, I finally went to see The Hobbit - two days ago, to be precise. So now I can review it and all that good stuff. Just a word of warning - this is more of an analysis than a review, so it's chock FULL of spoilers. If you want a spoiler-free review, go to my review blog. I will post the link to that review when I finish it.

Gollum: But the lover of hobbitses haven't started it yet!
Me: *sigh* You know, they didn't really need to know that...
Gollum: Oopses.

Another warning - I'm going to be going back and forth and around and up and down in this analysis, meaning I will NOT be following the chronological order of how the story goes in the movie. I will be using categories instead. But if I change my mind during the writing of this post, you'll be able to tell. You will also find little tidbits that I think of as words of wisdom from my dad, who went to see the movie with me (and is a Tolkien purist). Just one more warning before I delve in - I'm a big fan of "the books", so I'm going to be very nitpicky and fussy with this analysis. Because as it is, who was the genius who created Middle Earth? Tolkien. So what is better - the books, or the movies? Obviously, the books.


Bilbo Writes a Book and Frodo Re-appears

The introduction to Bilbo's tale is nice and all, but I feel that too much information was given at the beginning. I liked getting the view of Dale (very, very nice architecture there!) and seeing how the dwarves escaped (more about that in a moment) just didn't seem right seeing all of that right there at the start. Then there's the part about the dwarves escaping from Smaug. Point One, I liked that we only saw the effects of Smaug, not actually Smaug himself. Point Two - I read the book several months ago in preparation for watching the movie, and I distinctly remember that Thorin only survived because he wasn't in the dwarf halls at the time. It seems a little too much of a good thing that Thorin would have been there to fight and get away.

The town of Dale

I thought the whole Bilbo-and-Frodo-getting-ready-for-the-party was a really neat idea. I loved seeing Frodo again *teehee*, but then seemed too much of a good thing. I almost feel that Elijah Wood's cameo should have been shorter, but I also liked it...I can't really decide what I think about it, actually. :P

One more thing about this introductory scene - I found it a little odd that Bilbo would have just started writing his book the day of the party. If you know The Lord of the Rings as well that I do (I'm not saying that I know it all by heart because I don't!), you'll know that Bilbo told Frodo the actual version of the story (well, okay, not all of it was true - he still stuck to the "birthday present" bit), not what he told the dwarves. (He also told Gandalf the same version because the wizard forced him to, but that's off topic.) So it seems a little strange that he's writing his book now. According to Tolkien, he would have already started writing it. And that brings me to another thing I remembered - the part about Bilbo keeping from Frodo the truth that he was leaving the Shire. FRODO KNEW. He was in the "joke". Just read the first several pages of The Fellowship of the Ring and you can easily find it.

I feel like this image shows that it's not about Frodo's Bilbo's turn to shine.

Transitions, Transitions, Transitions

I found that some of the transitory scenes in The Hobbit were done poorly. For example...Bilbo learns of Gandalf's plan to enlist his help as burglar on this dwarvish expedition. He says no, no, no, NO WAY. Then the dwarves sing their Misty Mountains song. I was really looking forward to their song, and I still did get those chills, but the whole purpose and beauty of it was lost because Bilbo didn't go, "Whoah...okay, fine, I'm coming with you." It was just like Peter Jackson though, "Hey! Cool song. Let's just put it in the movie somewhere...the fans will go crazy over us. Hmm...where could I put it in? There? Sure, that works. Okay, done. What's next on the agenda?"

Then the next morning, Bilbo wakes up and finds that Gandalf and the dwarves are gone. He finds the contract, witnessed by one of the dwarves (I'm sorry, I'm still confused who is who, so bear with me). Suddenly, Bilbo does something very unexpected and very Took-ish. He does just what he said he couldn't - he "runs off into the blue" after the dwarves, deciding to go along with them after all.


Well...that was sort of cute. When Bilbo runs over to the old dwarf guy (I mean Balin...oh by the way, I'm using a cheat sheet as I write this post so I can use the proper names) and says, "I signed it", it's just one of those moments that I'd like to squish that hobbit because he's too adorable. *ahem* Sorry...I'll get back to the review. *wink wink* But then again, that part wasn't done too well. WHERE THE HECK DID THE GREEN DRAGON SCENE GO?

Bilbo: Oh no, no...STOP! I have to go back! I forgot my pocket hankerchief!!!
Bofur (at least I think it was him): *tears some cloth from his clothing* Here you go!
Me: *snorts*

The Whole Necromancer Thing

Okay, honestly...Thorin and Co. are able to sneak into Rivendell? And while Gandalf is in council with the Great Ones, the dwarves and Bilbo are able to sneak out? Honestly, that's just making yourself look dumb, Peter Jackson. *ahem* Sorry. But it still didn't work.

And then again...Gandalf is in Rivendell and suddenly Galadriel and Saruman come in and Elrond is all, "Great! Now we can have the White Council here and Gandalf won't have to waste time coming back after he's seen those weird dwarf guys out of my dominion!" Really? Life isn't that simple.

I liked how we could see Gandalf's respect (and perhaps a little fear?) of Saruman. Christopher Lee (aka Saruman) pulls off well his "What?! There's nothing strange happening...are you all going bonkers?" thing...except that he did it dignified, like he's supposed to. (Don't pay attention to me...I've read too many LOTR parodies than what is good for me.)

The White Council

But that scene where Radagast goes to the spooky supposed-to-be-abandoned-but-it's-not castle and he finds the Witchking's sword...I didn't really get that part. And then suddenly the Witchking appears in his what-you-see-when-you-put-on-the-Ring form and attacks Radagast...I dunno whether he should have appeared in that form or not. Maybe he does because Radagast is one of the Maia and can see past that invisible form? Or perhaps it was just Peter Jackson making it easier for the audiences of North America to understand what was going on. *rolls eyes*

And suddenly the Necromancer appears. Why didn't he just zap Radagast and have one less wizard to deal with? Maybe he wasn't powerful enough...or he just let Radagast get away on purpose. Muhaha...let them find out who I am. They won't be able to stop me. Saruman will make them think they are wrong, anyway. FINALLY, I will be in power instead of servant to Morgoth.

Two wizards

*cough cough* Sorry...I'm really bad at staying on track, aren't I?

The *Sniff Sniff* Moments

Peter Jackson did change quite a bit to The Hobbit, but that doesn't mean that he did everything wrong. And some of the things that he kept from the book, he did really well with. Let me go into my favourite moments of the movie.

Number One: Gandalf and Galadriel are alone. Ooooh...does that mean we get that Galadriel-moving-Gandalf's-hair-back part we saw from the trailers, precious? Shut up! We didn't actually means that, gollum...we actually hates that part.

Galadriel: Why the halfling?

Then Gandalf goes into this lovely speech that wasn't in the book but, as my dad says, "was so Tolkien that it didn't matter". Perhaps it should have been there. What was the speech about, precious? Smeagol, really? I'm trying to write a review need to let me finish. Sorrys, gollum, gollum. Good thing Smeagol reminded me...the speech was about how it is the little things that keep the goodness in this world. That's it in a nutshell. I wish I had such eloquence as Gandalf...

Perhaps it is because I am afraid and he gives me courage.

Number Two: Bilbo has put on the Ring. Suddenly appearances are different, just like they did when Frodo put on the Ring way back when in The Lord of the Rings. (At first, I actually didn't know what to think about that because in the book Tolkien never described things looking different. But then my dad pointed out to me oh so wisely that it was keeping with consistency. And then I remembered that Tolkien did want to go back and change some things in The Hobbit anyway and...but I digress.) Bilbo is right behind Gollum. Gollum doesn't see him. Here is his chance! Why not stab the vile creature while he has the chance? But then Bilbo stops. He sees how pitiful Gollum looks. He has lost his Precious. He has no one. And then Bilbo changes his mind and instead jumps over Gollum and gets away, leaving Gollum heartbroken, but very much alive. That. Moment. Was. Just. Pure. Beauty.

Sneaky little hobbistses... Oh wait. Wrong movie.

Number Three: Gandalf and the dwarves have escaped from the goblins (the Goblin King was very nicely designed, by the way. I liked the hanging down part from his chin, though it was kind of gross, on the other hand. :P). Suddenly, Gandalf realized Bilbo is not with them. "He won't be back...he abandoned us," Thorin growls. Bilbo appears - "No, I haven't."

Thorin: *shocked* Why did you come back?

Then Bilbo has his own little moment of eloquence. I have missed home. I came back because you don't have one...but I want to help you get it back.

And I will do my best to help you get it back.

Awwww...*sniffles*. Bilbo's so big, going out to fight with dwarves and making eloquent speeches. xD Sorry...that was one of my stupidity flashes. :P

Number Four: This one sort of worked, and sort of didn't. First of all, let me say the whole idea of the "pale orc" (Yeah...Azog. That guy.) seemed just like a way to make drama to me. But then, at this scene, Thorin goes off to fight the pale orc guy...and gets injured. Azog's assistant is ready to kill him...but then Bilbo bravely steps in. On one hand, I'm ready to cheer. Whoo...Bilbo! You're so awesome and sweet and cuddly...*squish*. (Okay, I'm going a little overboard with this...I didn't actually think that. I mean, talking about the squishing part. :P) On the other hand, my dad is smart and thinks - "Wait a second. Bilbo's not a fighter. They're making him a warrior much too early on."

Thorin confronts Azog.

Me:'re right.

But Bilbo was so warrior-like and saved the day anyway. *girly giggle*

We all know I'm not like that...right? *worried look*

Let's Get Technical

The priest from our church in Edmonton came over for supper one night and, as usual, the NOT secret that I love The Lord of the Rings came out. *wink wink* Father said he saw the movie and he really liked it, but with the new technology, some things seemed so real that they almost seemed un-real. I heard people on the Internet say the same thing and more - that the whole magic of movies had been ruined. So I was a little worried.

All in all, I didn't really see too much of that. There were a few times that it seemed as if the characters in the movie were sticking out the screen - that the scenery was just a screen behind them, but I didn't notice a whole lot of that.

What else can I say about this movie? The makeup, costumes, scenery, and music by Howard Shore were perfection, as expected. I liked how music from The Lord of the Rings was fit in - such as the tiny piece of the "Ring theme" put in when Bilbo finds the Ring. Of course, The Hobbit has its own theme - and a very beautiful piece of music that is.

Hey, how come we never got this scene yet? Oh movie. *sigh*

Martin Freeman was an amazing Bilbo. Richard Armitage was perfect for Thorin. I don't even need to say anything about Gandalf, Galadriel, Saruman, and Elrond's actors/actress because it was already made obvious with The Lord of the Rings.

But what about Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh and the rest? How did they do? Yeah, I found some things that irked me. But it was the same way with The Lord of the Rings. I know that not everything can be kept the same way. So all in all, P.J. did a job that was not too shabby. As fan creations go, the world of Middle Earth put on the screen by this very talented filmmaker is at the very top. You can give yourself a pat on the back, P.J. & Co.

Dwarves at...I forget where. I mean "I forgets". Actually...forget it. ;)

What do I think about The Hobbit being made into three movies? One one hand, I'm a little mad that The Lord of the Rings wasn't made into six. But on the other, more hobbity-y movies is more hobbit-y movies.

I'm looking forward to The Desolation of Smaug. And I think I shall go write some An Unexpected Journey fanfiction.

Everyone else: Uh-oh...


Hannah said...

I agree with almost everything you said here! I must admit, the first time I saw it the changes bothered me more than the later times I saw it. With Azog for example I was kind of torn between whether I like him being in the movie or not, but I almost think it was the right choice because they needed to end the movie on a climax instead of the company being rescued again and boom, end of movie. The one thing that still bothers me is the whole Radagast/warg/on the way to Rivendell scene, which I think could have been left out.

But yes, spot on review, and well, Martin Freeman IS Bilbo Baggins. :) And the riddles in the dark scene was worth the price of admission in and of itself.

Alyianna said...

Very true! Yesterday, I put down a rating of 7.5 as my rating on my reviews blog, but I changed it to 8 can already see that I'm getting more or less used to some of the changes. :P

Definitely...I completely forgot to put in my review that I found the whole wargs-chasing-Radagast-on-his-bunny-sled thing kind of strange/weird.

Oh, yes, yes, YES! The Riddles in the Dark scene was just A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

James The Movie Reviewer said...

You made some really good points. :) The Gollum parts are hilarious! Great job sounding like him in your writing. The only thing I think you didn't cover was the three trolls scene, so what did you think of it? I really liked it. The scene was hilarious! XD
The only slight negative I with the Hobbit was the slight over-use of Computer generated effects opposed to the LOTR. Most of the Goblins in LOTR were real people in make-up, which looked so realistic, but the Hobbit had too many CGI characters. Other than that, I loved it! Can't wait to see it again.
Also for two comments on your other blog, I thought there was an error so I re-wrote my comment. :)


Alyianna said...

haha Thank you, James!

*sigh* Yeah, every now and then I realize that I forgot to put this or that in my review. Honestly, it's not really possible to say EVERYTHING. But, anyway, I really liked the trolls scene. I'm glad that the trolls talked, and had Cockney accents. :) And I enjoyed the part when Bilbo was about to be used as a troll handkerchief, though I'm sure poor Bilbo didn't enjoy that experience!

That's true, though I didn't really notice that, actually. I payed more attention to the diversions from the books, really. *wink wink*

I can't wait until The Hobbit comes out on DVD - then I can watch it with my mom. AND I'll probably buy it on iTunes, as well...then I can watch it whenever I want. ;)

- Alyianna