|This is me when there were orc closeups. Take the glasses off, orcs go bye-bye and there's just a bunch of blurry movements.|
Spoilers ahoy and fangirling ahead. Motorists, proceed with caution.
Speaking of orcs, that is one thing I was not super happy about. As most of you know, the whole Azog thing was not in the original book. He was killed, by Dain, I believe, but I guess the producers wanted to have a present and tangible villain. It makes sense. I didn't mind for most of the time, but I felt the deviation from the fifteen birds in five fir-trees scene to be dramatic license overkill, just to bulk up the drama. The pathetic "fight" between Thorin and Azog was just not necessary, and to have Gandalf either heal Thorin or bring him back to life (which it was, I couldn't decide) just doesn't make sense. If he could heal like that, why didn't he heal all those who fell in the Battle of Five Armies, and later, Faramir, Eowyn, and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings? The only good thing that fiery Azog/Thorin/Bilbo fight scene did was to give Richard Armitage a chance to melt his poor fans with his ability to act pain and dismay with such heartbreaking perfection. All the man has to do is look.
Also, I wish they had kept the original Hobbit way of calling them goblins instead of orcs. The "orcs" in The Hobbit are a bit different than the LOTR ones, and anyway I just like the word "goblin."
I didn't realize it while I watching the film, but they really cut a lot of good dialogue. What happened to "I am Mr. Bilbo Baggins, and I have lost my dwarves, my wizard, and my way?" That's just one example. Of course, I do understand that as I was not personally consulted by the producers (an insufferable slight, but what can I do?), I cannot blame them for skipping my personal favorites. They've got a lot of fans to please. BUT. They added dialogue, some of which made me laugh, some of which I found quite unnecessary, so why couldn't they keep more of the original dialogue?
The trolls were actually better then I expected, but the...er...use of Bilbo as a handkerchief was just flat-out gross. I don't know why they had to do that.
One more thing before I'm done complaining. Radagast. Though we hear next to nothing about him in the books, I'm sure Tolkien didn't mean for him to be a dirty, mentally unstable kook. In my mind, Radagast was a clean-shaved, brown-haired, introverted man who just quietly went about the job of being a steward of the forest. Also, I don't see why he had to meet up with the dwarves. I was hoping to just see Gandalf go to visit him and talk about wizardy stuff, and I do hope that he's not going to replace Beorn, as Rosamund suggests.
Well, that's all for my complaints. It looks more extensive than it should be.
I actually didn't mind the little White Council meeting at Rivendell. Galadriel looked gorgeous and wasn't as creepy as she usually is. Also, I didn't see the supposed flirtation between her and Gandalf as a flirtation at all, just friendship. I think it could be interpreted either way.
Another deviation that I actually liked was the insertion of Gollum's split-personality problem into the riddle-game. I especially enjoyed how he kept telling himself to shut up. I feel for you, Gollum. My internal monologues go kinda the same way. And, I never thought I'd say this, EVER, but his expression when Bilbo's about to smite him was really almost heart-wrenching. Another thing I loved about the Gollum encounter was the line "if Baggins loses, we eats it whole," accompanied my a matter-of-fact shrug. And then Bilbo replies, "Eh...fair enough." I LOVE IT.
That brings me to the Hobbit himself. Guys. I don't think they could have found a more perfect actor for the part then Martin Freeman. He was just Bilbo all over, exactly how I imagined. Of course, there was a certain act of almost-disloyalty which was not true to the character at all, but that is not Mr. Freeman's fault. I just can't get over what perfect casting it was.
I'm going to be just be honest here and say that yes, I do find Fili and Kili to be annoyingly attractive. I like that Kili's not just a pretty face like Legolas, though - his character actually has depth.
Speaking of attractiveness and perfect casting....THORIN. You knew this was coming, internet. As a North & South fan, I can't help but be a Thorin fan. Richard Armitage plays the role to PERFECTION. (Chills-inducing voice, check. Glowering expression, check. Regal bearing, check. Ability to convey volumes with a look, check. All-round awesomeness, triple-check.) I was a little worried as to how he was going to be transformed into a dwarf, but I had nothing to worry about. There's an internet meme going around about Thorin's majesticness (which isn't even a word), and I think that just about sums it up. Thorin is majestic. He's just...gah. I always loved the character (and would cry at a Certain Tragic Event which will happen in the third movie), and then to bring Mr. Thornton into it was the icing on the cake. Absolutely perfect icing, too.
Now for my very favorite aspects of the film: the music and the scenery.
They did a lovely job with creating the right atmosphere for each place...can I just live in them all at once, please? Bag End was so homey and cozy, you could definitely see why Bilbo missed it on his Adventure. It was the nicest home a hobbit (or a human) could wish for.
Then there's Erebor. (Quick note: wasn't Erebor the Elves' name for Lonely Mountain? Why would Thorin, who hates Elves, use the elvish name for his home?) I've never been able to imagine what the Mountain looked like in Thror's day, so I was uncritical. And it was breathtaking, as was the astounding amount of gold. In a story with goblins, elves, wizards, and dragons, the amount of gold was the only thing I couldn't believe.
The sweeping panoramas of plains and mountains and green fields just made me want to book a plane ticket to New Zealand on the spot. It was beautiful.
Then Rivendell. Once again, I don't know what to say. It was just lovely. All the little waterfalls catching the moonlight and the sunrise...just...ahhh. The sunrise scene especially was just unbelievably lovely.
And finally, the music. They included Crack the Plates and, of course, the beloved Misty Mountains song from the book. I did miss the tra-la-la-lally song from the entrance into Rivendell, but I am not surprised that they omitted it, as it doesn't quite fit with the more solemn portrayal of the Elves in LOTR, and thus with Peter Jackson's portrayal of them. Once again, if they had consulted me....
There's also the fifteen birds in five fir-trees song that the goblins sing, but since the fifteen birds were stuck in one tree, it wouldn't have made sense. Also, I'm not sure I really wanted to hear goblins sing. It might have given me nightmares for life.
I thought that the Crack the Plates song was well done - rowdy enough for a bunch of rather unmannerly dwarves, but with a melody that made it pleasant to listen to. As a matter of fact, I thought the whole dish-washing scene particularly well-done.
I needn't even say how lovely and perfect the Misty Mountains song was, especially since it would include more squeeing over a certain individual and his voice. I shall simply say that it was just as I had always imagined it and I can't think how it could possibly be bettered. That's saying a lot, too, because I've always loved it to bits. They carried it over instrumentally throughout the film, which I think was a perfect artistic decision, as it conveys the sense of the deep longing and sadness of the dwarves for their lost homeland. And of course it sounds gorgeous.
I haven't even actually seen all of the three LOTR movies, but when they played the theme Concerning Hobbits I could have cried. I love that theme. Howard Shore is wonderful. The end.
*dies of excessive fangirling*
I think I shall go before I embarrass myself further. Long story short, the book is always better, but the film was very lovely and OBVIOUSLY good enough to warrant an excessive post such as this.
Oh, wait. One word of warning before I resume dying. As you may have noticed, I'm a Tolkien fan. You're probably a Tolkien fan too, if you've read this far. However, if by some chance you're not, I will say that the film will not be as bright and shiny and perfect to a non-fan. The thing is three hours long, people. My dad, who, unfortunately, is at best a casual fan, was not amused. So if you're not a fan, consider carefully. If you are, and you haven't seen it yet, WHAT IN MIDDLE-EARTH ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Four-and-a-half out of five stars, and I'd say suitable for ages 13 and up. If you've seen LOTR, you'll be fine. We didn't take my eleven-year-old sister, and I was glad we didn't. There's nothing sinful, just what the rating association calls "disturbing images." LIKE ORCSES. AND GOLLUMS, PRECIOUS.
Editor's note: re-reading this review-ish thing, it is not as good as I at first hoped. However, I shall not continue to edit it cause life calls. So sorry if I am at all unintelligible or uninformative. It's hard to make sense when you're dying of an excess of fangirling.