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  #981  
Old February 6th, 2013, 10:28 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

Long time, no posting!

Well, the Hobbit was a complete catastrophe from a commercial standpoint. Given the popularity and ticket sales of King, this things should have easily sold nearly double the tickets that it is going to sell in N. America, the UK, Europe, etc. It's going to make $1B world-wide, but with 3D tickets, ticket price increases, the expanded markets, and the low value of the dollar relative to what it was 5+ years ago, that does not mean much anymore.

As some of us feared, the biggest hit was in the female audience: whereas King actually had more women than men see it (52:48, if I recall the numbers from 9 years ago), the Hobbit plummeted to the same low levels of female attendance that Fellowship had with approximately 40:60 split, at least in N. America. Yeah, that's right: American women were less enthusiastic about the Hobbit than they were about Mitt Romney.

Now, the failure to create any interesting female characters likely accounts for the greater audience drop in women than men (would it really have been so tough to make a few of the dwarves women? They could keep the beards!), but that cannot account for the fact that the male audience is going to be only about 60% of what it was for King, and only about 60% of what the next film in this franchise should have had. The critical reviews cannot explain it: as Pirates, Transformers and Harry Potter have shown, audiences ignore critics (for good or ill) when they already have an opinion on a franchise.

I have read the contradictory claims that The Hobbit relied too much on "prequel to Lord fo the Rings" and thus was written off as nothing new, and The Hobbit failed to connect itself to Lord of the Rings, and thus people failed to realize that a movie they wanted to see was out. Neither really holds water.

Instead, it seems most likely that the culprit is the 9 years. Rings was very popular among young audiences, and the huge expansion in the female audience was concentrated on women from 15-29. Well, a decade later and these people probably have moved on to other interests in life. Had this film come out, say, 5 years ago, then I think that it would have gotten nearly 100% return: but it didn't, and it's not coming close.


That said, and as I noted, the critics certainly did not like this! And I have to agree: this was not a good film. Now, I enjoyed it immensely! I was rather vocal about being opposed to splitting The Hobbit and Deathly Hallows into 2 films, as some of you might recall, and in both cases, my fears were met. Now, The Hobbit 1 was not as bad as DH1: if nothing else, then TH:UJ communicates Tolkien's story quite well, whereas DH1 was as devoid of story as the first HP films.

Moreover, I really like how they expanded the story: Tolkien's book really is about how one person (Bilbo Baggins) discovers that he is both more and less than he thought he was. The film recasts both Thorin and Gandalf as protagonists. We get much greater development of Thorin than we do in the books, and we see a fallen King who has had the world turn its back on him, and who carries the legacy of a beloved grandfather on his shoulders. We get to see him realize that being a King might be more than that, but also that he's not quite the mythic figure that he assumed. (Man, Tolkien would have hated that!)

Gandalf's trek is even more amusing for a Tolkien fan: in the original versions of the Hobbit, Gandalf was just a fairly buffoonish human wizard who's spells often went awry. That character less evolved than metamorphosed into the White Council leading, Elven Ring wearing, James Bond/Sherlock Holmes of Middle earth Istari & Gray Wizard, etc. In the film, Gandalf himself does not seem to hold himself in the highest regard, but it starts to become clear that he's actually on to things that the other people of wisdom are not.

And the performances were great. Martin Freeman is a great Bilbo, Richard Armitage makes Thorin absolutely lordly, and the returning cast is superb. I was even impressed by the development the film was able to provide for Balin, Dwalin, Bofur, Ori, Kili and Fili: it was like I could identify 6 (or 5.5) different peronalities in that crowd! (The other dwarves were lost in the jumble, but I expected them all to be.)

So, what went wrong? This film was easily an hour longer than necessary. Bag End in particular seemed to never end. The troll scene just did not work for me: and I realize that it was not so much the interpretation as the sheer ridiculousness of it. The Goblin-King did not work for me: and where it failed was in stuff too close to what was in the book. Unfortunately, the origins of the tale as a children's story just could not be escaped.

All of that said, I liked it a lot and I cannot wait to get the BluRay: I'll probably watch it 2-3 times the first week! I really wonder what the box office for Part II will be: despite the evisceration by the critics, audiences are giving it high marks (8.3 at IMDB) of the sort that portend big return audiences. But, after all: the critics did not say that the film was unenjoyable, they just said that it was bad.


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  #982  
Old February 7th, 2013, 3:53 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
As some of us feared, the biggest hit was in the female audience: whereas King actually had more women than men see it (52:48, if I recall the numbers from 9 years ago), the Hobbit plummeted to the same low levels of female attendance that Fellowship had with approximately 40:60 split, at least in N. America. Yeah, that's right: American women were less enthusiastic about the Hobbit than they were about Mitt Romney.
That's a low blow.

But it was funny.

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Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
Moreover, I really like how they expanded the story: Tolkien's book really is about how one person (Bilbo Baggins) discovers that he is both more and less than he thought he was. The film recasts both Thorin and Gandalf as protagonists. We get much greater development of Thorin than we do in the books, and we see a fallen King who has had the world turn its back on him, and who carries the legacy of a beloved grandfather on his shoulders. We get to see him realize that being a King might be more than that, but also that he's not quite the mythic figure that he assumed. (Man, Tolkien would have hated that!)
I agree that Thorin's character's expansion was nice but I found during my watching of the film that Thorin became the protagonist far above Bilbo who seemed relegated to an almost Nick Carraway type role: the third party narrator talking about a set of much more interesting characters than himself. The main difference between MovieBilbo and Nick Carraway is that Bilbo has slightly more to do in terms of moving the plot along. Overall I liked Thorin's story but I felt that Bilbo's suffered because of it.

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I really wonder what the box office for Part II will be: despite the evisceration by the critics, audiences are giving it high marks (8.3 at IMDB) of the sort that portend big return audiences.
I'm wondering how much BBC's Sherlock/Benedict-Cumberbatch-having-a-speaking-role will contribute to the audience size/growth of the second film (since film #2 will have both Watson and Sherlock in it). I know that the two things I am personally most looking forward to are Benedict Cumberbatch making a vocal debute in the film (and I know for a fact that everyone else I know is most looking forward to that) and seeing Smaug on screen (Smaug was the impetous for my childhood love of all things dragonesque).


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  #983  
Old February 7th, 2013, 4:34 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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I agree that Thorin's character's expansion was nice but I found during my watching of the film that Thorin became the protagonist far above Bilbo who seemed relegated to an almost Nick Carraway type role
I think that all three protagonists got about equal footing. However, this necessarily came at Bilbo's expense: in the book, he is the sole protagonist. Imagine what Harry Potter films would have been like had they elevated Hermione and Ron to protagonist: instead of every scene focusing on Harry, we would have had nearly equal numbers of scenes focussing on Ron or Hermione. Harry would go from 95+% narrative focus to 33%. By default, Harry would seem diminished.

We see the same thing here. However, I think that it is for the better because, to be brutally honest, Bilbo just is not that interesting by himself. Thorin's character really has the much more interesting trajectory than does Bilbo's, as Thorin goes from very high to very low and has a lot more baggage behind it. (Abandoning gardening and afternoon tea for a little scandalous fun is not quite up there with losing kingdoms, inheritances and social standing, is it!)


One additional element is that the film might have been relying on Rings as development for both Bilbo and Gandalf. Thorin was completely new. That has two effects. One, they had to emphasize his history more than the other two's histories because it was completely novel. Two, if you see one novel and one old thing, the novel thing sticks out in your mind: so one part Thorin, one part Bilbo, one part Gandalf would seem like one part Thorin with Bilbo & Gandalf in the back ground. This probably contributed to the film length: they actually kept almost all fo Bilbo's stuff while adding stuff for Gandalf & Thorin.

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
I'm wondering how much BBC's Sherlock/Benedict-Cumberbatch-having-a-speaking-role will contribute to the audience size/growth of the second film (since film #2 will have both Watson and Sherlock in it).
It will have no effect on the box office for film 2: any growth there will be due to people watching TH:UJ on DVD/BR/pay-per-view, and deciding that they want to see THoS in the theater. Potentially, there is a huge audience for this: it looks like TH:UJ is going to sell about 60% of the tickets that King did in most of the major markets. That 40% (who were satisfied customers at the time for the most part) should be a really good source for ticket sales.

The return of Orlando Bloom might be a bigger draw. However, if Orlie did help bring in the 15-25 year old women 10 years ago, then do not expect that to repeat. Those women are now 25-35, and even the most wall-flowery of them have discovered that real men (or women) are preferable to on-screen ones. It's improbable that he'll have the same effect on the current women in the 15-25 age group because 10 years later, he's just old and skanky to those women.

At any rate, as Richard Armitage showed for the 371st or so time, damn fine looking men actually do not draw women to theaters. (Shockingly, they like actual dialog and character development: how shallow of them!)

And, of course, the Sherlock audience is fine for TV: but it's a decimal point for films.

That said, a really good Smaug could boost the audience for Film #3 after BR/DVD/PPV, etc.


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  #984  
Old February 7th, 2013, 7:02 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
As some of us feared, the biggest hit was in the female audience: whereas King actually had more women than men see it (52:48, if I recall the numbers from 9 years ago), the Hobbit plummeted to the same low levels of female attendance that Fellowship had with approximately 40:60 split, at least in N. America. Yeah, that's right: American women were less enthusiastic about the Hobbit than they were about Mitt Romney.
Oh please, am I really the only one who couldn't care less about the lack of women in this movie. Even the few that appeared (esp. Galadriel) annoyed me. I really could do without her. All this complaining about the missing women is annoying and that women don't watch it because of that. It's a story about a Hobbit and a bunch of dwarves. There were not many women in the book. There were not many in the movies. Basta. The only thing I can think of that there was a lower women audience was because there were a lack of sexy men in it.

I am a woman. I'm allowed to have this oppinion.


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  #985  
Old February 7th, 2013, 8:55 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

tbh, I'm not surprised this didn't do nearly as well as the LoTR movies. The Hobbit is not the LoTR, it's something else serious, targeted at a younger audience, and, quite frankly, not as epic. The split into three movies probably didnt help either. The first movie is bound to be the most boring as its the beginning of the journey without the true substance.


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Old February 7th, 2013, 9:06 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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Oh please, am I really the only one who couldn't care less about the lack of women in this movie.
Only? No: after all, about 40% of the audience was female. However, the plunge from 52% women watching King says that something made women even less interested in the Hobbit than men were. The lack of strong female characters is a parsimonious explanation because it's been well-documented in countless studies that women respond strongly and favorably to strong female characters.

And, quite frankly, it really would not have been tough to make some of the dwarves women. It would have made for a better in joke than "I forgot their names" (regarding the two blue wizards) because, after all, dwarvish women are supposed to look enough like the men that other races don't know that they are women. A little: "No one will every believe me" from Bilbo would have been hysterical.

(I did laugh very loudly at the "I've forgotten their names" line: my wife had no idea why!

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Originally Posted by Lord Godric View Post
tbh, I'm not surprised this didn't do nearly as well as the LoTR movies. The Hobbit is not the LoTR, it's something else serious, targeted at a younger audience, and, quite frankly, not as epic. The split into three movies probably didnt help either. The first movie is bound to be the most boring as its the beginning of the journey without the true substance.
Franchise is franchise insofar as most people are concerned. Remember, as far as people who are not fantasy fans are concerned (which is most of the film audiences), all of these are "unserious" and somewhat childish films. However, they enjoyed Rings: and customer satisfaction usually gets people back.

However, waiting 9 years is not part of the "customer satisfaction" plan most of the time. (In my analyses on the HP box offices, I did occassionally note that there probably ought to be a correlation between how quickly the next installment of a franchise arrived and how well it did, but nobody waited more than 3 years, so it was tough to tell.)


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  #987  
Old February 7th, 2013, 10:10 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

But RotK was just a great movie all around, hell it won best picture and 10 other awards at the Oscars whereas the Hobbit didnt get a best picture nod and no nominations based on acting or writing. I think RoTK brought in a lot more fans than just typical fantasy fans because it was a great movie. The Hobbit doesn't have that appeal. Partly, again, because it's the first in an extended trilogy without much action but also, IMO, because it was marketed not as something epic but something light and funny and typical fantasy with little appeal to those who aren't genre fans. I expect to see the next two movies do better because it'll have the fame of the first one to sit on, and also some action. But I don't expect any of these movies to have the draw or critical acclaim of RotK.



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  #988  
Old February 7th, 2013, 10:46 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

Ok so I'll put my few thoughts into this - I'm female and soon to be 65 - so I'm not sure which groups of people watching the films I'm supposed to be grouped with. Good looking though Thorin and (next film) - Legolas are - I'm not sure they would make me buy the ticket and go to the cinema if I didn't have the background knowledge.

BUT - I'm a Tolkien fan. Well - as I've read the books almost every year since I first laid hands on them - probably a Tolkien nut.

I worried about the films - could anyone translate Tolkien's imagined world into film? From the first few moments of 'Fellowship' I relaxed, sat back and enjoyed the experience - of all three movies - they were brilliant! For me. Jackson had it nailed. I believed in his vision of Middle Earth, and his sympathy with the characters that inhabited it.

And then the Hobbit problem surfaced. Well I certainly didn't want them in anyone else's hands than Peter Jackson's - breathed a sigh of relief when Del Toro disappeared - and awaited (with trepidation) the telling of a much simpler story - this was a children's book - a bedtime story told to sons who liked bears.

So I don't know how I fit into the figures - I loved the movie (probably half an hour too long - I would have pruned Radagast) - but I don't need female characters, don't need stereotype heroes - just need Jackson to tell the story and take us back to a land we love - Middle Earth. And Martin Freeman's Bilbo is a casting triumph.


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Old February 8th, 2013, 11:15 am
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

I thought it was proven women aren't drawn to the theaters by female characters.. Also.. if I remember it correctly more men than women went to FotR. Women started going as the series progressed.

Opinions about this film are quite varied. On the one hand there is a group that says the film isn't faithful enough to the book, on the other hand there are people who say PJ should have added chararcters (female or otherwise) to make it more relatable. The same discussions went on 12 years ago when LotR first came out and it continued for three years (and still does). There are people out there who are never satisfied.
As far as I see it... this is no different. It's the start of a journey and I like this start. I agree with most of the changes even though I think Radagast could have been left out. But this is not my film and I don't think I could've done a better job.


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Old February 8th, 2013, 3:50 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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The return of Orlando Bloom might be a bigger draw. However, if Orlie did help bring in the 15-25 year old women 10 years ago, then do not expect that to repeat. Those women are now 25-35, and even the most wall-flowery of them have discovered that real men (or women) are preferable to on-screen ones. It's improbable that he'll have the same effect on the current women in the 15-25 age group because 10 years later, he's just old and skanky to those women.
As a former teenaged girl I can tell you categorically that age played no role in which Hollywood stars I had crushes on. Good looks are good looks no matter what age the actor is at. I quite vividly remember when I found out how old Johnny Depp was (when he was in his mid-thirties and I in my mid teens) and my first thought was "Who cares? He's hot!"

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Oh please, am I really the only one who couldn't care less about the lack of women in this movie. Even the few that appeared (esp. Galadriel) annoyed me. I really could do without her. All this complaining about the missing women is annoying and that women don't watch it because of that. It's a story about a Hobbit and a bunch of dwarves. There were not many women in the book. There were not many in the movies. Basta. The only thing I can think of that there was a lower women audience was because there were a lack of sexy men in it.
I pretty much agree. Female characters are not necessary for me to enjoy a film. In fact I'd almost say that having an all or mostly male cast can be an enormous draw for women, especially if that male cast is adequately hunky. The LOTR series had a man to suit every woman's taste: the brooding, reluctant leader coming into his own (Aragorn), the wise older man (Gandalf), the statuesque, beautiful man (Legolas), the burly, man's man (Gimli), the caring, loyal man (Sam), the fixer-upper (Frodo) the traditional, stalwart King (Theodan), the defender of his family (Eomer), the unloved son (Faramir), the favored son (Boromir), I could go on! A man for every woman. The Hobbit, by contrast, had a bunch of silly-looking dwarves. Dwarves are not that hunky. Unless you're the type of woman who's into bushy beards and beer bellies. (There's a reason they let Richard Armitage remain pretty good-looking, even under all his dwarf makeup)

(As for women annoying female audiences, I sympathise. I was deeply irritated by Eowyn in the LOTR movies and likely would have become equally irritated by Arwen and Galadiel had they had larger roles)

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Only? No: after all, about 40% of the audience was female. However, the plunge from 52% women watching King says that something made women even less interested in the Hobbit than men were.
Could it be, I don't know, that women on the whole aren't as big a fan group of fantasy movies? Nah, that couldn't be. :eyebrow:

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I thought it was proven women aren't drawn to the theaters by female characters.. Also.. if I remember it correctly more men than women went to FotR. Women started going as the series progressed.
(And they discovered the plethora of hot guys in it - never claim that women aren't as shallow as men!)


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  #991  
Old February 8th, 2013, 6:49 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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(And they discovered the plethora of hot guys in it - never claim that women aren't as shallow as men!)
I admit it... I'm extremely shallow..


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  #992  
Old February 13th, 2013, 1:45 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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As a former teenaged girl I can tell you categorically that age played no role in which Hollywood stars I had crushes on. Good looks are good looks no matter what age the actor is at. I quite vividly remember when I found out how old Johnny Depp was (when he was in his mid-thirties and I in my mid teens) and my first thought was "Who cares? He's hot!"
That doesn't appear to be universal though. Look at teenage heartthrobs - young Leo DiCaprio, the Hanson brothers, Nick from The Backstreet Boys in the 90s, and Justin Bieber, One Direction, Robert Pattinson today - it's always boys who lean feminine. Tween girls don't find Tom Hardy or Ryan Gosling (sine he grew up) as appealing as grown women seem to do.

I'm a woman too and I'd like to offer the opposite opinion on female characters here, for balance - I'm something like 100% more likely to go see a film if I know there's an interesting female character in it (because it doesn't happen that often), and I have no interest in cinematic sausage fests because I've seen enough of those to last me a lifetime.



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Old February 13th, 2013, 7:06 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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I'm a woman too and I'd like to offer the opposite opinion on female characters here, for balance - I'm something like 100% more likely to go see a film if I know there's an interesting female character in it (because it doesn't happen that often), and I have no interest in cinematic sausage fests because I've seen enough of those to last me a lifetime.
I go for the plot. I don't care how many good looking men or women are in a film, if I don't like what it's about I won't go. Sure.. I love it when there are good looking men in a film, but that is just the icing on the cake. Not the cake itself.


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Old February 16th, 2013, 5:49 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

Quite enjoyed the movie -- saw Thorin and the Dwarves in a new light. It's been years since I read The Hobbit but I remembered the Dwarves as being more caricatures than anything (possibly due to my youth when I read it), and this made them feel more real.

Also love the actor playing Bilbo, fantastic job there in my opinion, and of course Gandalf FTW.


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Old February 17th, 2013, 12:43 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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Also love the actor playing Bilbo, fantastic job there in my opinion, and of course Gandalf FTW.
Martin Freeman is indeed a remarkable actor (in my opinion).


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Old March 5th, 2013, 1:18 am
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

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So I think the film has helped me to get a better picture of Thorin and understand what's really driving him on this quest. Also, this film has given me (an elf fan) a better understanding of the dwarves' grievance against elves. It's not that I didn't understand it intellectually. It's more that I just couldn't see it through the dwarves' eyes. Thanks to the film, now I can.
The same is true for me. I've read The Hobbit a number of times, but until I saw the movie, it wasn't as easy to see things from the Dwarves' perspective. Also, if I recall correctly, the books don't give a very detailed description of each dwarf (aside from Bombur being really fat and Kili and Fili being the younger ones of the bunch). The film also helped to individualize the dwarves and give me some basis to picture what each one might look like instead of picturing a nondescript guy with a large beard every time. That's not to say I remembered who all of them were while watching the movie.

In general, I'd agree The Hobbit wasn't as epic as LotR, but I wasn't expecting it to be. It was still entertaining. I loved the music, and the casting was great. Martin Freeman was spot on, and Ian McKellan was great as usual. Also loved Thorin. Looking forward to seeing more of Smaug.

As an aside, did anyone see The Colbert Report where they had a Hobbit-themed week for the show? That was quite entertaining. He had a map of "Middle America" with things like "The Mines of Astoria" (wish I could remember more).


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Old March 5th, 2013, 3:19 am
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit week on Colbert was awesome. The intro map was a nice (and amusing) touch.


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  #998  
Old April 6th, 2013, 4:46 pm
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

Hey Wimsey! Long time no see!

I thought TH too long, too meandering, too slow and contained too much filler.

Riddles in the Dark was the best scene by a country mile.

The endless chases and fights were repetitive and video-gamish and carried no sense of threat.

I enjoyed Thorin's backstory very much and am looking forward to Smaug.

I thought the acting was only OK. Nothing special.


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Old April 24th, 2013, 4:22 am
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

Still have to see this movie. Don't have a dvd player to play it on though . Dang it. Must get one soon, so I can see it. Hopefully I'll have one in the near future.

Especially looking forward to the second movie, since Smaug will be in it.


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Old May 20th, 2013, 3:55 am
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Re: The Hobbit movie news: An Unexpected Journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fawkesfan1 View Post
Especially looking forward to the second movie, since Smaug will be in it.
I'm looking forward to seeing Smaug too. I expect Benedict Cumberbatch will do a great job with the voice.


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