Tuesday, June 11, 2013

trailer critic: Hobbit part 2

(embedded here if you want to watch it)

The first of the three Hobbit movies actually covered almost exactly one-third of the text. If the second movie also covers a third, it will go through Beorn and Mirkwood and end with Thorin and Company arriving at Laketown. From the trailer, it appears to go further than that, all the way to the Mountain and including at least Bilbo's first and possibly his second journey down into the lair. That might not seem to leave much for no. 3, but that's OK, because the third installment will be mostly battles, and no Jacksonian filmmaker worth his salt can't draw out even the most briefly-described battle into half a movie all by itself.

0.10. Voice-over, apparently Thranduil: "You seek that which would bestow upon you the right to rule." Way to get things backwards, guy. Thorin seeks what he already has the right to, it having been stolen from his grandfather by a dragon. If the treasure were a McGuffin that made anybody who had it into the King Under the Mountain, then Thorin really could be the anonymous ragamuffin that the Lake-men originally take him for. And Smaug's rule (he claims he's the real King Under the Mountain) would be just as legitimate as anyone else's.

0.21. There he is. The "they're supposed to be supernatural non-human creatures, but they look like guys in silly costumes" problem is particularly acute with elves. By the way, why does Thranduil know Thorin's quest? It's essential to the plot that he does not.

0.23. Thorin, with a dark look on his face. Do you not agree that he would make a terrific Aragorn like that, far more like Aragorn than Viggo Mortensen ever was (and, not incidentally, not a bit like book-Thorin)?

0.26. Bilbo with the butterflies. Nice that that moment got in from the book, though the colors are all wrong, and that the movie hasn't completely forgotten that Bilbo is there.

0.30. Wait a minute. First, the dwarves aren't sealed in the barrels. They're going to get drowned! Oh, wait, this is a movie, so they'll be OK. And, are those elves actually chasing them? So the prisoners are not going to escape from the castle unnoticed, and instead there's going to be another frantic chase scene, in which the only reason they don't get caught is because that would completely derail the book's plot.

0.38. Aha, it's Legolas. I appreciate that Jackson refrained from putting ten-year-old Estel in his movie, but yeah, he's got to have Legolas. Who is going to look over a decade older than he did in the movie taking place nearly 80 years later. Elves are immortal, but they don't live backwards.

0.43. And Arwen! All right, if it isn't Arwen, it might as well be. She shoots, she rides, she glowers, she's generic Warrior Elf Princess, which is just what Arwen was in the Fellowship movie. She voice-overs, "When did we allow evil to become stronger than us?" Sometime back in the Elder Days, actually. Didn't you read the Silmarillion, lady?

0.49. And she's going to sweet-talk Legolas into caring. Oh, be still my churning stomach.

0.51. I always hoped a pile of endless gold would be shinier than that. Everything has to be gloomy in Jackson.

0.53. "What if it's a trap?" Any wizard who asked Gandalf such a stupid question would get his staff broken double-quick. The scene might be better, however, if at 0.56 I could make out exactly what Gandalf is saying in response.

1.10. Same orc as in the last movie. Yawn. Ho-hum.

1.14. Exactly how many giant neon billboards out in the wilderness does Rhovanion have?

1.16. "If you awaken that beast, you will destroy us all." This is a good example of a sentiment reasonably derivable from the book, but rephrased into pompous mush, and delivered with a portentious grandeur achievable only by the finest in bad acting.

1.22ff. Wizard-fu! Elf-fu! Dwarf-fu! Barrel-fu!

1.27. OK, by this point it has devolved into another theme-park ride, like the falling bridge in the first movie.

1.31. Oh yeah, now I remember what's been absent from this trailer before now, when not in barrels: all the other dwarves.

1.48. Is that scary or not? I can't tell; it's too dark.


  1. Thank you so much, David, for making me laugh really hard :) Theme park ride, yup. Now that HP is being built even bigger what about that Middle-earth thingy?

  2. I like it, and yes the movies bother me in many ways. I admit they are fun to watch but they could have been so much better.

  3. What Gerry said. It's nice that they're big-budget and don't have cheesy sets and costumes, but ... And I'm already sick and tired of whatever orc that is - Azog? I forget. I don't quite agree with you about Richard Armitage vs. Viggo Mortensen; Armitage would have been fine but I liked Viggo, I thought he was pretty dern good -- and anyway, neither of them lived up to the Aragorn in my subconscious!