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Werthead

The Hobbit: A Long-Expected Spoiler Movie Thread

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Only just saw this for the first time yesterday, in 2D. I'd heard dreadful things about the high frame rate so avoided that - would any of you recommend it?

I was honestly quite worried that it would be a let down because of all the mixed reviews, but I actually loved it. Apart from Radagast. I have to agree with whoever it was who dubbed him as the JarJar Binks of Middle Earth. After all the intricate work Tolkien put into naming his Middle Earth creations, there is a hedgehog called Sebastian? Sebastian? On the whole Radagast was just too in-your-face and I just... couldn't stand him. He's supposed to be quaint and earthy, not a boss-eyed mushroom-guzzling Professor Farnsworth, covered in bird crap, who saves the day on his (obviously green-screened) rabbit sleigh. And his transport-speed is akin to GoT's Littlefinger, who just casually teleports around Westeros. How did Radagast get from Mirkwood/Dol Goldur to Rivendell's borders so quickly?

But that's actually my only big complaint. It's a much jauntier, lighter tone than any of the LOTR films, as is the way with the books, but it was a great ride. I was honestly very sceptical regarding the decision to make the Hobbit a trilogy, but the film didn't feel too long for me at all, and the second half was just one great scene after another. And I loved the glimpses of Smaug. That was genius.

I didn't find any of the additions too jarring, but there was a lot of unrecognisable material there for the Tolkein purists to nerdrage about. I'm not a book purist, but Tolkien's work is very important to me, so I'm very invested in all of these films, while being able to view them as separate entities. That said, when it comes to the Hobbit, it's easier to let any changes slide, because it's a much more light-hearted story. I'm going to hold of judgement on the Azog storyline until I can see where exactly they're going with it. As long as it doesn't get too much in the way, I'm fine with it. Although, I couldn't help thinking that a more interesting backstory to throw in would be why the elves and dwarves don't get on, specifically the Thingol/Dwarves of Nogrod disaster explained in the Simarilion. There's enough focus on Thorin's grudge against the elves for that to be relevant. But I suppose digging into the Simarilion could be rather complicated, and Jackson would probably get carried away.

The dwarves were on the whole, very well handled, despite only Thorin (an amazing, powerful performance from Richard Armitage), Balin, Kili/Fili, Ori and Bofur getting notable screen time. And of course Bombur, who slays goblins with his mighty belly. Still, that was always going to be a problem with so many of them, and PJ's obviously gone to some length of trouble in distinguishing each dwarf from the others, so on my next viewing I'll probably be able to pick out a couple more notable dwarves. As a company, they really worked well. Thorin was handled very, very well, Balin's character stood out, and Kili is so, so fine. :drool:

Gandalf was given a lot more to do than he does in the book, if I remember correctly, but in the hands of Ian McKellen it all went down well. And Martin Freeman really is excellent. Bilbo is essentially a better character than Frodo at the end of the day, and was always going to make a great protagonist. They really nailed the casting again. I'm so glad PJ went to all that trouble to get Freeman, he really aced it.

Regarding the Eagles, in a way I'm glad they didn't talk. Talking animals in fantasy is usually a major turn-off of mine, and there's no way it could have come across well on screen. But when the eagles talk in the book, it really explains quite a lot of their nature, and how they are not just a Middle Earth taxi service but a proud, haughty and powerful race. What with all the "eagles save the day" criticism I noticed for ROTK, maybe a little exposition could have done some good here. But like I said. Talking animals. :stillsick:

The first half dragged a bit, but I didn't have too much of a problem with the pacing because the second half was just so much fun. I liked the Erebor prologue, both of the dwarf songs, the Troll scene and subsequent Warg skirmishes in the first half. But Radagast... :bang: Rivendell was good, and I'm very interested to see how Dol Goldur will happen. I just hope they keep the Necromancer as chilling and mystical as possible, I like him as a shapeless shadow and I don't want him showing up at the Bo5A. (Came across a very worrying Cumberbatch interview that hinted at this possibility).

The stone-giant battle was fantastic. The goblins under the misty mountains sequence was good, but it was no Moria. There was something really gripping about the use of costumes in stead of CGI for orcs in the LOTR trilogy, and there wasn't that kind of impact in this film's action sequences. Still, the Riddles in the Dark scene was superb. :bowdown: I can't even.... it was just AMAZING. And Bilbo's pity scene? Wow. I also love how the ring was handled. Audiences can recognise it as the antagonist of the LOTR films, yet it's not too dark and terrible when Bilbo wears it, completely in-keeping with the book. If the expanding of the Hobbit into a trilogy results in a couple more of the most focal scenes being handled as well and as thoroughly as the Bilbo/Gollum sequence, it'll all be worth it.

All in all, I'm a very contented nerd. I'm now really, really looking forward to the next one. And the one after.

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But I suppose digging into the Simarilion could be rather complicated, and Jackson would probably get carried away.

More to the point, it would get him sued by the Tolkien Estate. New Line Cinema does not have the rights for the Silmarillion, so he can’t go back to Thingol. That‘s also why Gandalf doesn’t remember the name of the two Istari. (I thought that was very funny.)

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More to the point, it would get him sued by the Tolkien Estate. New Line Cinema does not have the rights for the Silmarillion, so he can’t go back to Thingol. That‘s also why Gandalf doesn’t remember the name of the two Istari. (I thought that was very funny.)

Aah. I see. I just thought it would be an interesting way to flesh out the conflict between the races, so the audience was fully aware the enmity was older than Thorin and Thranduil. Didn't think about rights or anything.

edit: I loved that Gandalf couldn't remember the other wizards' names :)

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And his transport-speed is akin to GoT's Littlefinger, who just casually teleports around Westeros. How did Radagast get from Mirkwood/Dol Goldur to Rivendell's borders so quickly?

Was it that quickly? Time wasn't handled too well in the film but it would have taken the company a few days to get from the trolls to Rivendell, and Radagast has magic rabbits.

I didn't mind him at all tbh. One of the better handled aspects of the film actually, though I could have done without the birdshit- I thought overall that the lighter and calmer aspects were a lot better handled than the epic bits and action scenes, which was totally the opposite to what I was expecting.

I was a lot less concerned with that than with Gandalf's supersonic butterfly at the end, especially since it was completely unnecessary (in the books the eagles just notice the Orcs are up to no good and intervene because they hate them, right?). But then, Middle Earth is a lot smaller in Jackson's version - the gazing out over the forest to Erebor is all very sweet and touching but it reduced what is supposed to be a 600 mile journey to something that could be walked in a day.

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Only just saw this for the first time yesterday, in 2D. I'd heard dreadful things about the high frame rate so avoided that - would any of you recommend it?

I saw it in 48fps and i would recommend it, it takes like the proluge to get used to it but after that it adds to the experience.

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Just one other super-picky thing. We get one quick view of Smaug and his treasure at the very end. I was thinking of Smaug as laying atop his treasure.... but it shows him completely buried in it. Well... (like I said this is super picky) I'm well acquainted with how piles of coins "slish" about and move. The "angle of repose" that a pile of coins can sustain is quite shallow. It's not possible to maintain a steep angle to a pile of coins... as for instance it might be with gravel or sand. Coins slide across each other very easily, and gold.silver coins especially so. So an immense pile of gold coins would have very shallow angles of repose.... I'd have to measure to be sure but certainly less than ten degrees, possibly less than five. But it seemed that I saw a pile with angles more on the order of 35 to 45 degrees. (will have to watch it a third time and bring a protractor).

Like I said... super picky. As you may surmise... if that's all I can come up with to complain about then I liked it a lot!

Tom

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There is no way to write this without it coming off as sarcasm:

MoC, I applaud you. You have taken nit picking to a whole new level, and provided me with very cool new information. I had no idea one could geek out about that. Thank you! (Seriously.)

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Not having read the entire thread, my suspicion for the break between books 2 and 3 is the thrush knocking on the secret door, the moonlight revealing the keyhole, the tentative opening of the door into the blackness ... and ... "Directed by Peter Jackson."

It's been ages since I read The Hobbit so I'm sure I'm missing stuff but I think that gives plenty of material for the 2nd movie. We have:

- Probably some sort of stylistic prologue reintroducing Mirkwood. (5 min)

- Gandalf receiving the news that he needs to abandon the dwarves to deal with the threat at Dol Goldur (5 min)

- Beorn's house / reintroduction to the dwarves (10 min)

- Entering Mirkwood / Gandalf's departure (5 min)

- Spider action (15 mins) (likely to be greatly expanded / embellished)

- Captured by the elves (5 min)

- Drama with the elves (5 min)

- Thrown in Jail / Bilbo's rescue (20 min) (expanded / embellished)

- Escape via the barrels (5 mins)

- Drama at Lake Town - reprovisioning, the humans will not help (20 mins) (expanded / embellished)

- Journey to the Lonely Mountain (5 mins)

- Drama at the front door (10 mins)

- Residual drama in Lake Town (5 mins)

- Conclusion (5 mins)

On top of this I expect a good 60 minutes of interspersed action regarding Gandalf & co's journey, since that's mostly going to have to be resolved in the 2nd movie so that Gandalf can meet up with the company before they head home. If the time breakdown goes as I spell out (and, let's face it, it won't, but it's a good try anyway), that's 3 hours, and still leaves Bilbo's negotiation with Smaug, his eventual full awakening, emergence, razing of Lake Town, and eventual killing, and the entirety of the Battle of Five Armies, as well as a return journey, for the 3rd installment.

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Just one other super-picky thing. We get one quick view of Smaug and his treasure at the very end. I was thinking of Smaug as laying atop his treasure.... but it shows him completely buried in it. Well... (like I said this is super picky) I'm well acquainted with how piles of coins "slish" about and move. The "angle of repose" that a pile of coins can sustain is quite shallow. It's not possible to maintain a steep angle to a pile of coins... as for instance it might be with gravel or sand. Coins slide across each other very easily, and gold.silver coins especially so. So an immense pile of gold coins would have very shallow angles of repose.... I'd have to measure to be sure but certainly less than ten degrees, possibly less than five. But it seemed that I saw a pile with angles more on the order of 35 to 45 degrees. (will have to watch it a third time and bring a protractor).

Like I said... super picky. As you may surmise... if that's all I can come up with to complain about then I liked it a lot!

Tom

Little known Middle Earth Fact*: its gold coins have an unusually high coefficient of static friction.

*The reason why this fact is probably so little-known would be because I of course pulled it entirely out of my ass.

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It's not possible to maintain a steep angle to a pile of coins... as for instance it might be with gravel or sand.

This would be a valid nitpick if it were known that Smaug had just dumped all of his gold coins (and only his gold coins) in the middle of a huge flat floor. The reality is he probably just picked a likely corner to pile up all manner of gold treasure. Thus the loose coin pile is bolstered by other items that are less likely to slide; furniture, staffs (staves?), picture frames, raw gold ore, etc etc. All this in addition to whatever the horde is piled on top of which, for all we know, is a huge depression in the floor precisely so that the pile could be made deep enough for a dragon to slither his way into.

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Are you suggesting that Smaug engineered his treasure horde in a such a way as to deliberately maintain a normally unattainable angle of repose for his gold coinage? I suppose it would get rather boring inside of Erebor after you've eaten all the locals, and legends about your terribleness have spread far and wide enough to scare away intruders.

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It's not like the dwarves installed cable, so what else is he gonna do with his time?

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Thank you SO much... really. It's wonderful to geek out among the like-minded who are willing to take things to absurd lengths! Poor Smaug... so bored with his treasure that he has got to engineer the piling of the hoard.

By the way, there are two different words here... pronounced the same but with different spellings and meanings.

Hoard (noun) a large amount of something valuable that is kept hidden

(verb) transitive verb 1: to lay up a hoard of

2

:
to keep (as one's thoughts) to oneself

intransitive verb
:
to lay up a hoard

Horde (noun) 1 a : a political subdivision of central Asian nomads

b
:
a people or tribe of nomadic life

2

:
a teeming crowd or throng
:

So we have hordes of orcs seeking hoards of gold.

I know... English is awful. In Spanish it would be much simpler.

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Are you suggesting that Smaug engineered his treasure horde in a such a way as to deliberately maintain a normally unattainable angle of repose for his gold coinage?

Well its sure as shit going to cut into his "lounging on a bed of gold" time if he has to keep sweeping errant coins back onto the pile. But, I dunno, maybe thats part of the fun.

"My goodness, I just have so much gold I can hardly keep it all together" *preens*

or

"Oooohhh, you pesky coins with your unusually high coefficient of static friction" *fusses*

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But seriously (if that is now even possible in this conversation) there is an enormously satisfying and even (dare I say it) sensuous pleasure in the act of playing with piles of coins. I have a small wooden treasure chest with a space about 12" x 6" x 5" deep. It will easily hold about five thousand small coins. If the coins are clean (the coefficient of static friction is significantly increased by the oxides and grime on dirty coins)... if the coins are clean and freshly tumbled you can stick your hands into the box and lift out piles which slish and slither over each other with a slushy tinkling sound that is most pleasant and can cause you to involuntarily chortle in piratical glee. Oh yes my precious, you can even feel the dragon-sickness tugging at the edges of the mind. You can understand the sickness that befell Thorins grandfather Thror which made him pay more attention to his hoard than to the business at hand.

And if such sensuous pleasure is possible for mere humans in our day, playing with fifty dollars worth of mere pennies... It is very easy to imagine the dragon (who is by nature much more susceptible to this peculiar pleasure) falling completely into the grasp of it... so that dear old Smaug could literally spend hundreds of years just lounging about in the sheer magnificence of a hoard that must have been valued (in today's dollars) in the trillions, without EVER becoming bored. You'd have to be a dragon to grasp how it's possible to not get bored for so long, or Scrooge McDuck I suppose.

It is said that (in our world) the total amount of gold ever mined from ancient times to today would be about 160,000 metric tonnes. That's

160,000,000 kilograms, or 160,000,000,000 grams. Today's price of about $1300/ troy ounce = ~$42/gram, or about $6.7 trillion USD. (note: Since the world GDP is about 70 trillion USD/year it's easy to see why a fully gold backed currency is no longer physically possible)

But back to Smaug and his hoard... this 160,000 metric tonnes of gold has a volume which would fill about three Olympic swimming pools. I dare say that the hoard shown in the film would be rather more than that... suggesting perhaps that Middle Earth is quite a bit richer in metals than our own planet. Indeed... the veins of gold that they shewed being worked by Dwarves hanging on ropes under the mountain were rich beyond anything ever seen on this planet. So that the sheer magnitude of Smaug's hoard can be grasped only by realizing that it utterly dwarfs the value of all the precious metals on earth... many times over. Such is the power of wealth of that scale, that it can immobilize the mind... at least... the mind of a dragon. Until of course... somebody touches even the smallest bit of it.

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I'm not a book purist, but Tolkein's work is very important to me,

Then please do him the courtesy of spelling his name correctly. :) It's Tolkien, with ie, not ei. Why do so many people get this wrong??

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Then please do him the courtesy of spelling his name correctly. :) It's Tolkien, with ie, not ei. Why do so many people get this wrong??

Because they're used to English rules of pronunication, perhaps? Whereas Tolkien is spelled using the Germanic rules.

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