The two Middle Earth trilogies (spoilers)


#1

Now that the final Hobbit film is out, I’m curious to hear your thoughts are on the two Middle Earth trilogies.

I liked the Rings trilogy better. The attempt to make the Hobbit films darker to fit in with the Rings world was appreciated, but the cartoonish battle sequences let the second trilogy down. They did a good job at joining the two stories together and making it feel like one big story set in the same world. There was perhaps a bit too much fan service though.

If the other books (The Silmarillion and Children of Hurin) are made into films (as they most likely will be), I think it’s time to pass the torch over to another director. Those stories are a lot darker than LOTR and could make for some epic fantasy viewing.


#2

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favourite of all time. The subject matter is so fiercely respected it becomes a true conversion of the book; things are either included or left out, with almost nothing rewritten to better fit the story to the big screen.

The Hobbit is a completely different affair. They’ve taken a small book and expanded it, as opposed to taking a big book and condensing it like with Rings. This means there is far to much filler. Scenes that we’re not in the book at all and scenes that were only alluded to appear when they don’t need to. It becomes more of story about Middle-earth than a company of dwarves retaking their home land.

It’s just so unnecessary when they couldve made two great Hobbit films instead of three mediocre ones. The films were okay, but could’ve been so much more if greed hadn’t got in the way and made it a trilogy. I know the Hobbit was originally supposed to be only two films, and that’s the way it should’ve stayed.


#3

My favorite Tolkien piece will always be the Silmarillion, and during the time when LOTR trilogy was out in the theatre, my husband (then boyfriend) and I would get excited at the idea that maybe the stories in the Silmarillion would be on screen too. That battle between Melkor and Fingolfin? The tragic story of Hurin and his family? Feanor’s oath? Yes please!

After watching the first two Hobbit films… I find myself feeling the opposite. While some of the extra stuff is canon and can be found in Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, (mentioned briefly) etc, etc I just find the movies so far too convoluted and too light hearted at times. Fan service indeed! It nowhere invokes the same feeling of joy I felt when I watched LOTR and made me kinda wince. Of course, I will still end up seeing the final movie like the tool that I am.

I do not want a Silmarillion movie(s) after this.

Also how they did Radagast. UGH. I would be horrified to see how Jackson would handle the blue wizards, seeing how open their stories could be.


#4

Nice to hear from you Atolm :smile:

I too was pretty horrified by the portrayal of Radagast. The wizards are meant to be powerful, graceful even, and he was mostly a bumbling fool. It makes you wonder how anyone like that could ever be a wizard…


#5

Likewise Shadow. Hope all is well.

Radagast was one of my favorite wizards. Little known, kept to himself and enjoyed nature. Seemed like a cool guy to me all these years and I absolutely dislike how he is portrayed in the film. Not at all what I had in mind. My friend saw the film last night, and was very pleased with it. I think bitterly in my head, “We will see. We will see.” I am excited to see the battle but hope it is not over the top.

I will probably watch LOTR extended to make me feel better.


#6

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favourite film trilogy as well, @Shadow. The experience of seeing Fellowship at the cinema in 2001 was magical. Having a read the book a number of times now, I did notice the changes though, particularly in the later films. Some of those changes were quite large (Faramir trying to take the ring and Sam turning back being two major ones). For the most part I thought the changes fit the format well and kept the story focused on the ring, but some were overdramatised. Also film was never the ideal format to capture the depth of Tolkien’s world. I’ve always thought a TV series would be a more suitable format (imagine LOTR with a Game of Thrones budget - it could easily be better the movies). The BBC Radio Play was an episodic version of The Lord of the Rings done very well.

I didn’t mind that The Hobbit was more than just the story of the book. Adding the Dol Guldur story made sense, although some parts of it (e.g. Thrain) felt forced. Three movies could have worked had there been more character development or story scenes to justify it. There was plenty of material to create the larger story from. The problem was that there wasn’t additional story to justify three movies, but rather lots and lots of extra battles. Just from the first two films we saw the battle with the trolls, the battle before entering Rivendell, the battle in the Goblin cave, the battle while riding the barrels, and the battle with Smaug inside Erebor - these were all invented and none were neccessary to advance the plot. The first film was originally intended to finish after the barrels sequence; arguably they would not have needed to cut out any actual plot to keep the story as two films. Had those unnecessary battle scenes been cut, the story could have been told in two films, 3 to 3.5 hours each.

@Atolm Nice to see you posting here as well. I personally feel that if the First Age Tolkien stories are adapted, they should be done in a different style. Those stories were of a darker tone than The Lord of the Rings and belonged to a more mythological era. Perhaps a different colour palette and overall artistic style could be used to differentiate them from Jackson’s work.


#7

I just watched a version of The Hobbit called “The Tolkien Edit”. It’s the Hobbit trilogy reduced to a single four and half hour movie.

No white council scenes or Gandalf side quest, no love triangle, less over the top action sequences, less Azog and Legolas, less filler. The main downside is that the framerate of the third film scenes is a bit choppy. But overall I thought the story worked better than the actual Hobbit trilogy!

A stand alone film about Gandalf’s side story is planned.


#8

If I hadn’t only watched them recently, I’d be all over this. Although maybe two two hour movies would’ve been better!