Why the Hobbit movies were such a mess


#1

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#2

Why would such a high budget, highly anticipated film be developed this way? I really wished it hadn’t been called The Hobbit. I might have enjoyed it more.


#3

The Hobbit movies were a mess because they didn’t allow the fan (and actor) pushback that they got for the Lord of the Rings, pushback that invariably blunted their worst instincts. Reports and leaked scripts from the early development of the Lord of the Rings suggest that their worst instincts were terrible indeed, and without that pushback, it would have been very much like the Hobbit.

For all of Peter’s talk of “respect for the source”, it was clear from the Hobbit that he had none whatsoever. And it’s a shame, because he (or perhaps it was Guillermo del Toro) did a great job designing the dwarves. And Radagast.


#4

“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing” — Peter Jackson.

That explains a lot!


#5

So what about the aspect “It should have been just one movie goshdarnit”?


#6

I was hugely disappointed by this massively overdone production–I understand the studio wanted to duplicate the financial success of LotR, but there was never going to be enough source material to make three extremely long films, even after borrowing a bunch of stuff from the Silmarillion and other fragments. There’s probably something good that could be made by cutting about 80% of the film down to 60 minutes of the best bits, but even that would be difficult given how over-the-top most of the set pieces were. I always thought a better approach would have been to present the story as something the older Bilbo was relating to a group of children (ie, have Ian Holm sitting on a stump telling the “there and back again” tale to the children of Hobbiton, with flashbacks to the events he’s describing)–that way, much of the story could be appropriately exaggerated or fantastical or just plain silly (considering the audience), without the need of making the events 100% consistent (in tone especially) with the LotR master narrative. I mean, sure, a lot of the stuff in The Hobbit is the basis for the events depicted in the LotR, but you could always forgive the silliness and exaggeration and, yes, even the unreliability of the narrator if the understanding is that an old man is telling a tale in a way that is intended to entertain a more gullible audience. But that would have been a much shorter movie, maybe, and would have risked alienating those whose only experience of the LotR universe was through Jackson’s movies.


#7

That was neat to see. I’ve never really understood the vitriol the Hobbit movies brought out in some folks. It’s not up to LotR standards, but the source material is so different that I never expected the same movie. Pulling one book across three movies instead of the other way around, well… it’s too little butter dragged across too much bread, as somebody once said.

Sorry to see Jackson had such a rough time of it and it would’ve been neat to see what he would’ve done otherwise but… the final product as it was? Quite enjoyable.


#8

Those movies sucked too.


#9

I listened to the director commentary for Alien 3. Which wasn’t the director because he pretends that film never existed. It is amazing the millions involved and they built sets and starting shooting with no script.

Honestly, I still liked Alien 3, but it could have been sooo much better.


#10

Among the many other flaws of the films, splitting the Smaug sequence/attack across the 2nd and 3rd films felt very artificial & unnecessarily cliff-hanger-y. It should have all occurred within a single film.


#11

Ah,but if they’d made one good film, it would have taken about a billion at the box office, instead of the three billion the three crappy films they did make took.


#12

There is much to dislike (and a fair bit to like) about the the movies, but in my view it mainly just needed to be darker and more bleak. The dwarves and hobbits were far too invincible. An ever-dwindling band of increasingly exhausted and discouraged protagonists right to the end would have made for a more moving adventure.


#13

Very true – especially since Smaug was dead before one finished crunching their first bite of popcorn in #3.


#14

They should have been one film. I’m thinking Bad Taste but with fuzzy toes.


#15

The 3 biggest problems were (IMHO) they felt the need to tie it in more directly with LOTR and Sauron, a love story to try and be able to market it as a date movie, and expanding it to 3 films. Who knows, but I have a feeling all of them were studio directives.

Kind of makes you wonder if that’s why del Toro left.


#16

The worst bits for me were all the physics-ignoring, bullet-time action sequences that felt like something from a cheesy video game. Especially the “dwarf barrel ride” and “Legolas hopping up falling stones as building collapses” scenes.


#17

Yes! Totally. The problem in general with action in the CGI world is the completely absurd, cartoony action. My meat and potatoes dad has even figured it out. “If it is a cartoon then all the crazy stuff is fine. It’s not real. But live action has to have some grounding in reality.”

So your physics busting hoping is just one of many, many examples out there. It gets absurd and it loses all tension. That and when Legolas shoots 2 orcs at once - cool if done once, especially at a dramatic time. But becomes boring if used more than once.

I have only seen the first 2 Hobbit films, and it was a far cry from the cartoon I remember in the 70s. Gollum creeped me the fuck out.


#18

But it’s a kids book! It should have been a kids film. It’s a shame it turned out the way it did.


#19

Why the Hobbit movies were such a mess.


#20

They could have made on 3 hour long movie and it would have made bank. Instead they threw in extra crap, cranked up the CGI and tried to link the whole thing to LotR. I watched all three movies and to be honest, I won’t ever bothering owning them. They fail in so many ways (though Smaug was well done).