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Old 07-29-2014, 09:32 PM   #931
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I think they are good films, but certainly not on level of LOTR. Well acted, impeccable production design, amazing special effects, fun fantasy story with characters that carry it well (although only a few are fleshed out in any truly interesting way, especially when looking at how much depth so many characters have in LOTR). Over reliance on special effects, over-the-top action scenes that seem strangely unrealistic and out of place compared to the movies they are a prequel too, and pacing issues are definitely a problem but I honestly don't think "they're not very good".
I wouldn't have a problem with the CGI if it didn't look so silly half the time. The thirty minute (or however long) introduction of Smaug looked amazing and the barrel scene was one of the best action scenes I saw last year. The background shots and scenery of the cities on the other hand look overblown in contrast to the story and feel of the world established in The Lord of the Rings. I try not to compare the two since The Hobbit films were never going to top them but instead of the more grounded, epic fantasy tales those were, we get two films that wouldn't feel out of place in an extremely exaggerated adaption of a children's novel. You mention the acting, set design, and effects as being strengths but when you really look at the films, they feel like a play. Cliffs look cardboard, the creatures were no longer monstrous, the backgrounds look weird, and the story itself is more stupid than fun and lighthearted, which I assume is what Jackson wanted. The scope of the world established in LOTR is massive, but there was always a subtlety to every shade, prop, or character. Everybody in The Hobbit feels inflated beyond means.

THAT SAID

I had a hell of a time with both An Unexpected Journey and Smaug in theaters. Still, we shouldn't ignore that what is a mostly enjoyable fantasy ride for us can be a very frustrating and inconsistent watch for others.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:37 PM   #932
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I wouldn't have a problem with the CGI if it didn't look so silly half the time. The thirty minute (or however long) introduction of Smaug looked amazing and the barrel scene was one of the best action scenes I saw last year. The background shots and scenery of the cities on the other hand look overblown in contrast to the story and feel of the world established in The Lord of the Rings. I try not to compare the two since The Hobbit films were never going to top them but instead of the more grounded, epic fantasy tales those were, we get two films that wouldn't feel out of place in an extremely exaggerated adaption of a children's novel. You mention the acting, set design, and effects as being strengths but when you really look at the films, they feel like a play. Cliffs look cardboard, the creatures were no longer monstrous, the backgrounds look weird, and the story itself is more stupid than fun and lighthearted, which I assume is what Jackson wanted. The scope of the world established in LOTR is massive, but there was always a subtlety to every shade, prop, or character. Everybody in The Hobbit feels inflated beyond means.

THAT SAID

I had a hell of a time with both An Unexpected Journey and Smaug in theaters. Still, we shouldn't ignore that what is a mostly enjoyable fantasy ride for us can be a very frustrating and inconsistent watch for others.

I don't have any of those issues with the effects at all... a lot of the creatures look more cartoonish since they are mostly CGI but I have absolutely no problems with any of the sets or locals... it all looks amazing to me. You make it sound significantly worse than it actually is. I think its more polished and bright as a whole, but I'm fairly certain this was a conscious decision to give the world a more innocent atmosphere (as well as a result of fancy new fx techniques).

I wouldn't call the story "stupid" either... the only stupid thing going on is how over-the-top some of the action is )and some of the humor). What's so stupid about the story


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I agree though, it would have looked way better if he used more physical effects and real locations (especially for more sweeping scenes). Gives the whole ordeal a very artificial feeling. Still the style of the buildings, armor etc... fits with the previously established Middle Earth. Definitely the biggest comparison to Lucas is how much of a boner computer effects must give him... it isn't hard imaging a lot of these scenes looking much more realistic.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:48 PM   #933
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You make it sound significantly worse than it actually is.
Not my intention

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I wouldn't call the story "stupid" either... the only stupid thing going on is how over-the-top some of the action is )and some of the humor). What's so stupid about the story
The Orc vs. Thorin stuff, the dwarf/elf love story, LEGOLAS showing up are all very blah things that didn't work for me at all. The dwarf characters and Bilbo are all very slap-sticky and then the film gets darker for the Orc/Thorin conflict, only to get over-the-top again with the goblins, to get serious AGAIN with the Orcs. This whole time we're supposed to believe these characters are in massive danger but Jackson never plays it out one way. One scene might have Bilbo & crew having a jolly good time acting like fools when insane shit is happening to them and the next they act all dramatic and serious as if they weren't just in bigger trouble the scene before.
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:56 PM   #934
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Yeah these films are definitely more light-hearted and goofy than LOTR. Again, a conscious decision but it ends up being more uneven (especially since he tried to bring a lot more dark, intense elements to this story than was intended in the original source material). I didn't think it was overly jarring, though.


The entire Thorin vs. Azog story is sort of in the Hobbit/LOTR appendices (although the lineage of the orc is different) but it definitely doesn't play as big a role. They wanted to build the whole sub-plot as very dramatic and vengeful but it isn't super interesting and I'm sure the payoff will be kind of meh in the end. Azog just isn't that great of a character and their entire hatred/rivalry whatever story is very middling, I agree. Don't think its stupid, but it definitely feels watered down.

I actually liked the added character of Tauriel and found the romance between her and Kili surprisingly enjoyable. Was it necessary? No way, but at the same time I didn't mind it being there (and without spoiling things... how that romance will end up given what happens in the next part of the story will bring Legolas' and Tauriel's stories together in an excellent way). Its hard to describe unless you know what happens to certain characters.

But yeah, I can see how it would be frustrating for people. I, for the most part, loved almost every second. For a story so embellished I'm surprised how well the different stories seem to be blending together.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:04 PM   #935
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But yeah, I can see how it would be frustrating for people. I, for the most part, loved almost every second. For a story so embellished I'm surprised how well the different stories seem to be blending together.


I've said from the beginning the trilogy will be looked better upon when all is said and done. People are still reeling from the Lord of the Rings and needlessly comparing these new ones to what may be the three best blockbusters ever. When you take them for what they are, The Hobbit films are mildly entertaining at the very least. How anyone could go to Smaug and not walk out of the cinema with a smile on their face is beyond me. I know the people I was with (and the rest of the crowd) were buzzing after the previous two.

I got a feeling the same will happen with Five Armies
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