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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:51 am 
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So I haven't watched any of TH movies since Battle of Five Armies' release. I guess I generally soured on the project as it went - as they came out I watched AUJ three times in theaters and once at home, DoS twice in theaters, B5A once. I will say that while Battle of Five Armies had its strong points, the dual Legolas/Thorin boss fights largely superseding the interesting and highly filmable battle in the books really soured me on the entire trilogy. I never saw the EEs.

Well, having rewatched the LotR movies and following the hype for Amazon I guess I'm in the right mood, so I watched AUJ EE for the first time and enjoyed it enough that I will be watching the others.

I might post a more detailed review later. My short impressions are that the first and third acts are solid (besides one major scene), and actually spectacular in their best moments. The second act, however, is really bad and honestly a case study in sloggy aimless storytelling.

Overall I suppose I am a transcendentalist with revisionist sympathies regarding the LotR movies, so I could take the good with the bad, though I will probably skip through much of the middle third in the future. The extended scenes are minor, but almost all help the movie.

I unfortunately can't find any way of watching the EEs of the other two for cheap or free, so I will need to order them (the library only has AUJ EE and doesn't do interlibrary on DVDs, and I can't find the EEs for rent anywhere). I might also reread The Hobbit and Durin's Folk before continuing the rest.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:05 am 
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kzer_za wrote:
Overall I suppose I am a transcendentalist with revisionist sympathies regarding the LotR movies ...


I'm happy to see the term "transcendentalist" to continue to get used!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:27 am 
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Like you, kzer, I had only watched the Hobbit movies once or twice. They weren't worth more than that IMO. But a couple months ago I watched kind of the opposite of EEs - a fan edit that tried to seemlessly cut out a lot of the worst, most bloated or obnoxious parts of the movie. It turned AUJ from a movie I found largely dull and tedious to a movie I solidly enjoyed. The increased focus of Freeman's wonderful Bilbo made for something genuinely good.

Unfortunately, the edits could not, IMO, save the next two movies, despite the editor's best intentions. It turns out that if you remove most of the obnoxious or unnecessary stuff from the latter two movies, what's left is still kind of a mess, and there's no kind of edit that's going to make the final battles something worth enduring.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:58 pm 
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I have a tendency to be long-winded, but here is my attempt at a "brief" review of AUJ EE:

First Act:
  • Almost everything in the prologue is great. The main "almost" is Frodo's awkward inclusion, which I have never liked.
  • The fireworks are a beautiful addition and make the prologue flow better.
  • The party and everything in the Shire is great (enjoyed the new market scene). The extension of the Misty Mountains song, one of the best parts of the TE, is welcomed.
  • Azanulbizar is the final high point before the movie falls apart, at least for awhile.

Second Act:
Boy, what a disaster...
  • I remember not minding Radagast but man, is he annoying (though I do like the visuals at Dol Guldur).
  • The troll scene is painful on many levels - the book version is probably unfilmable, but PJ's really overdoses on the gross-out humor. And combined with missing ponies before and the cave after, it just drags on and on and on. On a less purist note, it's the easiest chapter to cut too - it's very hard to film as written and the only real story payoff is Sting.
  • The chase is a drag and Radagast's part is ridiculous - maybe it could have worked in much shorter form.
  • Rivendell is good in parts but maybe not as a whole. I like Bofur/Frodo's song, Bilbo's conversation with Elrond where he says Frodo's "elves...will say yes and no", and a few other bits. Bathing dwarves are too much. The white council is a real drag, even if it's nice to see Lee and Blanchett again.

After setting up Bilbo and Thorin nicely in the first 50 minutes, the movie's momentum completely stalls and it wastes an hour on rabbit trails and subplots. Much of which is non-book padding, but also not knowing what to cut from the book.

Third Act:
  • After a bad stone giant fight, Bilbo's conversation with Bofur is a turning point in the movie, after which it gets markedly better with one exception.
  • This might be controversial but I liked the additional Goblin King material, including the song, and I laughed at "Second Age? Couldn't give it away!" It gives Goblintown some much-needed personality beyond the setting for a dumb action scene.
  • And yes, the Goblintown escape is quite bad, PJ at his worst. Though Gandalf's initial rescue is great.
  • Riddles in the Dark and the Pity of Bilbo are of course excellent scenes. "You don't have a home" is a lovely character scene.
  • And then Out of the Frying Pan and the Eagle rescue is the best action sequence in the movie and a good ending. I'd even say the best scene - I was surprised to find that the Eagle rescue, not Riddles or the Party, is my favorite part. It's simply beautiful, and there are shots that are pure cinematic poetry.

General:
  • I remember liking Thorin and especially Balin more - they're fine, but get less moments than I thought. Perhaps it was more in the later movies.
  • Shore's soundtrack is good, but really not on the level of LotR, and the Erebor theme's overuse and lack of variation is grating. However, the eagle song is incredible.
  • I don't like Necromancer/White Council but am undecided on Azog at this point.

I remember the acts basically breaking down for me like this but the bad parts were worse than I remembered, while some of the good ones were better. Overall, the EE is a slight improvement.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:10 pm 
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I pretty much agree with everything you say, with one exception. I think a reasonably faithful troll scene could have been done with a deft touch, and I dearly would have loved to have seen a rendition of Gandalf throwing his voice in order to trick the trolls into facing the sunlight.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:17 pm 
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That one scene where one dwarf is hanging off another dwarf that's hanging off the staff that Gandalf is holding while hanging on a tree that's hanging off a cliff.....bleck, I hate that scene! :nono:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:07 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Like you, kzer, I had only watched the Hobbit movies once or twice. They weren't worth more than that IMO. But a couple months ago I watched kind of the opposite of EEs - a fan edit that tried to seemlessly cut out a lot of the worst, most bloated or obnoxious parts of the movie. It turned AUJ from a movie I found largely dull and tedious to a movie I solidly enjoyed. The increased focus of Freeman's wonderful Bilbo made for something genuinely good.

Unfortunately, the edits could not, IMO, save the next two movies, despite the editor's best intentions. It turns out that if you remove most of the obnoxious or unnecessary stuff from the latter two movies, what's left is still kind of a mess, and there's no kind of edit that's going to make the final battles something worth enduring.

I wonder if a fan edit that condenses the entire trilogy into one book-sized film would work. Or does such a thing already exist?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:20 am 
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Jude wrote:
I wonder if a fan edit that condenses the entire trilogy into one book-sized film would work. Or does such a thing already exist?


The one I watched condensed it into two films and while that sounds like a great idea, I found a lot of the second film really awkward and sloppy storytelling-wise. Lots of weird jumps in story and weird segues and rushed transitions. I think trying to condense it to down further to 3 hours would make it unwatchable.

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Last edited by yovargas on Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:21 am 
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I loved 'The Hobbit' as a book. It's what lured me into reading Fantasy. 'The Hobbit' as a movie ('Trilogy') was disheartening and disappointing, to say the least.

I'll be heading to the Hobbiton lands Down Under (waaaay down under). I don't know if anyone here might be interested in seeing photos? (if I can get wi-fi/figure out how to post photos from my phone.)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:31 am 
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Are you saying you're going to New Zealand????

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:45 am 
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Rose did mention recently that she is going New Zealand (and asked for advise from Túrin, who had been there not long ago).

So no, this is not poppycock! :P

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:04 am 
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Yup. NZ bound. I've also contacted Ax (Axordil) & his lovely wife, L..., who have been there as well as Tiggs, who lives in NZ. I'm hoping we've planned a good trip. It's a bit shorter than we'd have liked 'cause we're not likely to ever make it back that way... but can't have everything, I guess. (what a long flight!) :shock:


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