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The Hobbit - There in 1977 and Back Again in 2012
December 20, 2011 7:31 PM   Subscribe

As the trailer for Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Hobbit premieres online, it's worth remembering that this isn't the first take on the journey of one Bilbo Baggins. There was the 1977 animated version as well. Here's some screencaps and a trailer. Of course, if that's not enough for you, you could just watch it on Youtube (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). And before it was a film, it was something called... a book? Here's pictures of the cover of this 'book' thing from all over the world.
posted by Effigy2000 (126 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dammit I want spiders
posted by New England Cultist at 7:37 PM on December 20, 2011


The animated version is horrific. It's like the animation has Parkinsons.
posted by Roman Graves at 7:38 PM on December 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


My first copy of The Hobbit was the Rankin-Bass tie-in version. It was gloriously huge, the text was left untouched, and the illustrations (eg animation cels) were fantastically awesome.

I'm gonna go look on Abebooks now. I bet it costs a bajillion dollars.
posted by mightygodking at 7:39 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, how I love that Rankin Bass film. At one point after it came out, I find the audiotrack for the show on vinyl at my local library, taped it, and listened to it until I had it memorized. I still can quote long stretches of it. The songs in it were quite good and very catchy, in a 1970s guitar folk kind of way. It's all out there online if you're willing to dig around for it. I downloaded it a while back and it was like a journey back in time for me.
posted by hippybear at 7:39 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


UPDATE: Yes, surviving copies of the Rankin Bass tie-in edition are a bajillion dollars.
posted by mightygodking at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


The Apple trailer page isn't loading for me. Is it not released yet, or is the server being slammed?
posted by codacorolla at 7:43 PM on December 20, 2011


The greatest little hobbit of them all
posted by Trurl at 7:44 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.
The greatest adventure is there if you're bold.
Let go of the moment that life makes you hold.
To measure the meaning can make you delay;
It's time you stop thinkin' and wasting the day.
The man who's a dreamer and never takes leave
Who thinks of a world that is just make-believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain.
Who sits by the window will one day see rain.
The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.
The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
posted by GavinR at 7:45 PM on December 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


Post needs a "thegreatestadventure" tag.

Also, on the book thing, previously.

I love the 1977 animated, and all its songs.
posted by curious nu at 7:45 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


The animated version is great, I think. If you're going to chop that book into animated-movie format with those time constraints, that was a great way to do it. It's got character and its own perspective, yet keeps the essence of Tolkien's tale intact.
posted by cribcage at 7:46 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the 1977 animators were smoking when they decided to draw Gandalf more frightening and grotesque than friggin' Gollum. I still shudder when I think about that horrible wizard-demon.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:46 PM on December 20, 2011


The artwork was phenomenal - they pulled out the stops for this, like they had been waiting their whole existence for it. The animation was above par for '77 - which is to say, abysmal by '40s and '90s standards, but better than "Frosty the Snowman." It was my absolute favorite TV special as a kid, and propelled me into reading the novel while I was still in grade-school.

Also, Leonard Nimoy as Gandalf.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:47 PM on December 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


For the record, this is what I was talking about, not the "read-along" album, nor the Glenn Yarborough album of songs from the film and more inspired by The Hobbit.

And huh... the guy who wrote the adaptation also did so many of the holiday specials we hold dear (Rudolph, Frosty, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town).

AND, the show won a Peabody Award for Excellence In Television.
posted by hippybear at 7:47 PM on December 20, 2011


*drool*

For those who worship Jackson's LotR trilogy and repeatedly spent the entirety of The Return of the King bawling their eyes out -- i.e., me -- it's hard to express how much of a gift it is to be getting two more films, and the goosebumps elicited by this trailer.
posted by eugenen at 7:48 PM on December 20, 2011 [7 favorites]


OMG, I am SO GAY FOR DWARVES AND HOBBITSES... (can I be "gay" for them as a tall-person female? Because I mean OMG.)
posted by The otter lady at 7:48 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Down, Down To Goblin Town
posted by stinkycheese at 7:50 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The whole Rankin-Bass soundtrack is on Youtube FYI.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:51 PM on December 20, 2011


I don't know what Galadriel is doing in the trailer for The Hobbit, but then after the debacle that was the Peter Jackson adaptation of The Two Towers, I can't really be surprised when he takes liberties with the source material, can I? Still, it looks pretty awesome!
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:52 PM on December 20, 2011


"An Unexpected Journey" is weak sauce, Jackson.

Part One should have been "There" and Part Two "Back Again."
posted by R. Schlock at 7:52 PM on December 20, 2011 [30 favorites]


The '77 animated version completely fired nine-year-old me up, along with all the other nine-year-olds. There was a long, long waiting list for the two copies at the school library. I have fond memories of it, and watched it with my seven-year-old who also loved it.

That said, I was pretty disappointed that Rankin-Bass ended up doing the Return of the King adaptation years later instead of Ralph Bakshi finishing up his version. Even if Rankin-Bass gave us "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way."
posted by mph at 7:55 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there really enough going on the hobbit to justify two movies?
posted by empath at 7:57 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know what Galadriel is doing in the trailer for The Hobbit, but then after the debacle that was the Peter Jackson adaptation of The Two Towers, I can't really be surprised when he takes liberties with the source material, can I?

There's a lot of excess story being added to stretch the material out to two films. Much of it is referenced or implied by Tolkien at various points, but I'm pretty sure we're going to be getting a whole lot of material which simply isn't in the book.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on December 20, 2011


Is there really enough going on the hobbit to justify two movies?

I didn't think there was enough going on to justify a book.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:01 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thorin sits down and starts singing about gold.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:02 PM on December 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Where's Smaug?

DRAGONS ARE SO KEWL.

No, but, seriously, no Smaug? at all?
posted by stroke_count at 8:02 PM on December 20, 2011


Where's Smaug?

DRAGONS ARE SO KEWL.

No, but, seriously, no Smaug? at all?


Not in the first movie.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


While this was in the animated Return of the King, and not The Hobbit... The Wearer of the Ring, The Bearer of the Ring* is what I think of when ever I think of the animated Tolkien canon.

*A dirgey metal band needs to cover this
posted by drezdn at 8:03 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get a "Get Quicktime" request in order to watch this. Get bent, I say.
posted by juiceCake at 8:04 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


There ain't no party like a hobbit party, 'cause a hobbit party don’t stop!
posted by homunculus at 8:05 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Part One should have been "There" and Part Two "Back Again."

This is a great and clever idea, except that, as we learned from Return of the King, Peter Jackson doesn't exactly do "back again."
posted by gauche at 8:06 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just downloaded and installed Quicktime about three times and still NO DICE. Do I need to reboot first or something? Dammit I hate Quicktime.
posted by rahnefan at 8:09 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


cannotwaitcannotwaitcannotwaitcannotWAIT
posted by HostBryan at 8:14 PM on December 20, 2011


I can't wait until I get to read all the beanplating about how hobbit fashion influenced hipster fashion so now hobbits are en vogue and what that means for the stylistic success of these new films.
posted by Mizu at 8:16 PM on December 20, 2011


juiceCake: "I get a "Get Quicktime" request in order to watch this. Get bent, I say."

Someone thoughfully uploaded it to YouTube for the un-quicktimed of us.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 PM on December 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


As far as the "two movies to tell one story" I think they plan on showing some of the stuff Gandalf, Galadriel and the rest of The White Council were doing down in southern Mirkwood fighting The Necromancer, while Bilbo & the dwarves make their way through northern Mirkwood to Erebor, pissing off elves, giant spiders, men and dragons along the way. (The White Council bits are covered in a very dry, boring fashion in Unfinished Tales in the sections on The Quest of Erebor & The Hunt for The Ring).
posted by KingEdRa at 8:28 PM on December 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


The main melody of the movie is the song that Aragorn sings at the end of RoTK, and it's sung by all the dwarves right before the quest??? Color me sucked right back in.
posted by hanoixan at 8:29 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nimoy as Gandalf

Did I miss some cool thing or are you mistakenly referring to John Huston? Huston voiced Gandalf in the Rankin Bass movie, and in Return of the King in 1980.
posted by rahnefan at 8:46 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Next December"? Really? I guess that will give Pete Jackson enough time to answer all the fan mail he'll be getting from fans because of the Tintin movie, which a total of 3 people are going to go and see.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:50 PM on December 20, 2011


Aaaand I'm sold, even if it will be too bloody long.
posted by Artw at 8:56 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess that will give Pete Jackson enough time to answer all the fan mail he'll be getting from fans because of the Tintin movie, which a total of 3 people are going to go and see.

A 1) 3D, 2) CGI, 3) mo-cap movie, 4)by Stephen Spielberg opening over the Christmas holidays? 3 people?

I think that the past contradicts your "only 3 people" theory on so many counts it's ridiculous. If there's anything history tells us, it's that a family-friendly movie which contains any one (if not all 4) of those elements opening over a holiday weekend will be a HUGE success.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 PM on December 20, 2011


So you're one of them then, I guess.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:59 PM on December 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, there's no way in hell I'm installing quicktime. And even worse, there's a 'download' link that takes you to... the iTunes store. Lame. It's probably the same mp4 file I got from youtube, which plays fine in VLC.
posted by delmoi at 8:59 PM on December 20, 2011


I wish one your links was a video of my mom reading it to me as a bedtime story, but I guess that was a different era. Thanks, mom.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:00 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's probably the same mp4 file I got from youtube, which plays fine in VLC.

No, it's a .mov file. That's Quicktime, baby.

So you're one of them then, I guess.

There's nothing in my comment to lead you to that conclusion. I haven't seen any of the Transformers movies, but they were all huge successes and contained at least 2 if not more of those elements. (Hint: none of them were directed by Spielberg)
posted by hippybear at 9:02 PM on December 20, 2011


No, it's a .mov file. That's Quicktime, baby.

Well, either way VLC will play it.
posted by delmoi at 9:04 PM on December 20, 2011


Well, either way VLC will play it.

Indeed it will.
posted by hippybear at 9:05 PM on December 20, 2011


I think that the past contradicts your "only 3 people" theory on so many counts it's ridiculous.

It's too European for North American audiences and it's already under-performed in Europe - - it's too adult for kids, too kiddie for adults - - it features creepy eyed zombie animation.

Mark my words, it'll be lucky to make $100 million in North America.
posted by fairmettle at 9:06 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh, wait, was it implied that Gandalf fancied Gladriel? 'Cause I don't remember that from the book.
posted by angrycat at 9:13 PM on December 20, 2011


Oh, it's a tacked-on maybe-fancying, got it.
posted by angrycat at 9:15 PM on December 20, 2011


Someone thoughfully uploaded yt it to YouTube for the un-quicktimed of us.

Indeed. I went there right after. Getting that QuickTime message was like 1999 all over again. Almost as bad as a new Who episode.
posted by juiceCake at 9:18 PM on December 20, 2011


Ok I was excited when I read Martin Freeman was going to be Bilbo, but HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS MARTIN FREEMAN IS BILBO!!!!!!

That said, I hope making it two movies doesn't make things too drawn out.
posted by grapesaresour at 9:22 PM on December 20, 2011


Why must everything always be bathed in that extremely fake golden (alternatively, steel-blue) light? SF&F book cover artists went through this "autumn twilight" phase back in the 1990s, movies should wrap it up too.
posted by Nomyte at 9:23 PM on December 20, 2011


Holy hell, Trurl, that Nimoy video is classic. Tay Zonday needs to cover that immediately. Nimoy performing "Chocolate Rain" would work, too.
posted by xigxag at 9:24 PM on December 20, 2011


Nimoy as Gandalf

Did I miss some cool thing or are you mistakenly referring to John Huston? Huston voiced Gandalf in the Rankin Bass movie, and in Return of the King in 1980.


True, but Nimoy did give us this gem.
posted by juiceCake at 9:24 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The headmaster showed that animated movie to my whole grade school one year and invoked the wrath of the entire village. There were kids having nightmares for weeks. He showed us Watership Down and read us Animal Farm the same year. Then he went away.
posted by fshgrl at 9:25 PM on December 20, 2011 [18 favorites]


I just recently replayed my old (1974) four record version performed by Nicol Williamson. It holds up remarkably well. Williamson does all the voices in a roughly four hour abridgement that captures the feel of the entire book. His take on "Riddles In The Dark" is exceptionally nice.
posted by TDavis at 9:31 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


The headmaster showed that animated movie to my whole grade school one year and invoked the wrath of the entire village. There were kids having nightmares for weeks. He showed us Watership Down and read us Animal Farm the same year. Then he went away.
"My work here is done."
posted by The otter lady at 9:32 PM on December 20, 2011 [17 favorites]


Third grade, Miss Kelly read The Hobbit to us in class, complete with *gollum* throat sounds!

Now THAT was a teacher!
posted by darkstar at 9:42 PM on December 20, 2011


The Soviet Hobbit
posted by Artw at 9:51 PM on December 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Holy. Crap. That looks like someone hand-painted a lavish Michael Hague meets Arthur Rackham book edition at 24 frames a second. I'm actually already impressed with the look and feel. It's lush and bright and more innocent/green looking than the preceding film trilogy. As it should be. It'll just make Mirkwood and Smaug even more terrifying and dark.

As for Galadriel, wasn't she actually in or referenced in the Hobbit? I thought she made a brief appearance at the stopover in Rivendell... or was it during one of the side tales or perhals one of Gandalf's expositions? Was it the tale of how the Ring was lost and Gollum's origination story? (It's been too long.

(If you're having troubles with the official Apple site it's now all over YouTube if you search for it.)
posted by loquacious at 10:00 PM on December 20, 2011


YouTube user Mulgorea has 4 of the video blogs on the production of the Hobbit.

Jackson is using 48 of the new Red Epic cameras.
posted by gen at 10:21 PM on December 20, 2011


I was just going to recommend the video blogs that gen linked to - especially #4 if you're a film nerd

I can't wait for this to come out.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:48 PM on December 20, 2011


Uh, wait, was it implied that Gandalf fancied Gladriel? 'Cause I don't remember that from the book.

It looked like she might fancy him, which would be shocking behavior for an elf in Tolkien's world. Middle Earth isn't like Iceland (nsfw), you know.
posted by homunculus at 11:16 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait - that preview said december - this is december - THIS IS DECEMBER!!!
posted by ianhattwick at 11:24 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


> THIS IS DECEMBER!!!

Da. Never forget the Decemberists. Oh wait, wrong December.
posted by stbalbach at 11:38 PM on December 20, 2011


Re: justifying two movies, and the "wait, I don't remember *that* from The Hobbit stuff--in these two films, just as in the others, Jackson is pulling not just from the main narrative, but from several other texts that make up the legendarium of Middle-earth. A good deal went on during The Hobbit that wasn't in the book itself--for example:

angrycat: Uh, wait, was it implied that Gandalf fancied Gladriel?

Galadriel did "fancy" Gandalf, but only in that she wanted Mithrandir (aka Gandalf) to lead The White Council (i.e. The Second White Council), and the fact that she favored Gandalf over Curunír (aka Saruman), who ended up leading the council, really pissed Saruman off.

WHY DO I KNOW THIS I AM NOT EVEN THAT MUCH OF A TOLKIEN FAN

(okay yes I am I can say "turn off your cell phones" in Elvish AH BUT IN QUENYA OR SINDARIN YOU MAY ASK however if you ask I shall say both YES and NO)
posted by tzikeh at 11:46 PM on December 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


oh ffs "both NO and YES" (sacrifices all geek cred)
posted by tzikeh at 11:52 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


The new trailer looks OK. Seems like they're keeping continuity with the look and feel, but I was a little disturbed when Gandalf was all "midichlorians blah blah" and Thorin kept on about "yousa takea me to the dragon-place". But the Eagle-pod race should be sweet.
posted by Metro Gnome at 12:23 AM on December 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


That looks like someone hand-painted a lavish Michael Hague meets Arthur Rackham book edition at 24 frames a second.

That tricksy Peter Jackson, he's filming The Hobbit at 48 frames a second.
posted by crossoverman at 12:56 AM on December 21, 2011


The animated version is horrific. It's like the animation has Parkinsons.

Heh. If you think that's bad, you should see the original Bakshi version of Lord of the Rings. It's enough to put you off fantasy, animation, or movies for the rest of your life.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:59 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I were Peter Jackson, I would put Tom Bombadil in this movie, and keep it a secret until the premiere.
posted by No-sword at 1:42 AM on December 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


This hobbit hole has seen a lot of action - dusting mainly.
posted by panboi at 3:01 AM on December 21, 2011


Seconding the Nicol Williamson reading - I remember listening to it in one epic session perhaps thirty-five years ago, slightly feverish from some illness, wrapped in a duvet, only getting up to change sides. Seemed a lot longer than four discs, but I was young at the time.
posted by Grangousier at 3:21 AM on December 21, 2011


If I were Peter Jackson, I would put Tom Bombadil in this movie, and keep it a secret until the premiere.

This.
posted by Fizz at 4:27 AM on December 21, 2011


Heh. If you think that's bad, you should see the original Bakshi version of Lord of the Rings. It's enough to put you off fantasy, animation, or movies for the rest of your life.

I disagree - - imho it is more true to the novels than the overrated Jackson maladaptation. It was tragic that Ralph Bakshi was denied funding to complete the second half. I encourage true LOTR fans who haven't seen it to make it their quest to seek it out and form their own opinion.
posted by fairmettle at 4:33 AM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Smaug? Bombadil? Hell. Where's Beorn?
posted by steef at 5:53 AM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


fshgrl: "The headmaster showed that animated movie to my whole grade school one year and invoked the wrath of the entire village. There were kids having nightmares for weeks. He showed us Watership Down and read us Animal Farm the same year. Then he went away."

What no Plague Dogs? Discovered that one on the children's shelf of the video store when I was 8.
posted by the_artificer at 5:55 AM on December 21, 2011


Is it just me, or does Thorin look really tall?
posted by Chrysostom at 6:21 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


the overrated Jackson maladaptation

I think that's a bit rough, but I understand where you are coming from, and I am more worried about The Hobbit than I'd like to be. Really, the LotR movies were better and more lovingly made than I had any hope for. They botched some extremely important things but they also excised some chaff and tightened some things up. On the whole I like the movies a lot, but the things that stick with me from the movies are totally different than the ones from the book(s).

For instance, the lighting of the signal fires scene is one of my favorite scenes in any movie ever, it hits just right (and has the best music of the trilogy!) and really adds a lot to the film, and yet it is totally different, to the point of basically being Jackson's invention, than it is in the books. Score one for Pete. There are other places where he gets it right in a way the book did not, or gets it right in a way the book was not right FOR THE MOVIE.

But then at the same time, the entire emotional core of the story is missing from the end of the movies. The fucking barb on the hook of the whole god damn thing is just cut off. Baffling. Appalling. Several demerits for young Mr. Jackson there, particularly because that stuff would have been great cinema. I think that the tinkering he did with Galadriel's gifts and with Saruman's death in the first and second film, with the noble intention of making those films more taut and satisfying on their own, screwed himself out of the correct ending for the trilogy which would have made the entire trilogy more taut and satisfying.

And that's the key peril of the Hobbit: there are some unfilmable things in the story. There's just not going to be a satisfying cinematic version of Bilbo in the wine barrel, or the thing with the trolls at sunrise, or (ffs) Riddles in the Dark. So Jackson (et al) are going to switch things around, and change emphasis (and add a bunch of shit (from whole cloth or from other Tolkien) in order to pad a shortish book into two full films) and the results will very likely be a good movie, Jackson has shown he can do that, but it probably won't be moving in the same ways as the book, because Jackson has shown he CAN'T do that. And, well, that's a drag.

But the trailer looks great. I'll still be there for the premiere, and am excited as hell.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:44 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm trying so hard not to think of this as "Adventures of Tiny Watson!"
I'll also try to keep my mouth shut in the theater when the seventh Doctor shows up.
posted by charred husk at 6:51 AM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gandalf & Galadriel?

It's going to be more awkward having Bilbo mooning over Dawn all the time.
posted by R. Schlock at 7:04 AM on December 21, 2011


I'm pretty thrilled that they're keeping with what was one of the best parts about the Jackson trilogy -- the super classic super awesome Wagnerian leitmotifs in the scoring.

Kick the trailer off with a little Shire Theme, let it get a little sour, introduce the brand new Misty Mountains Theme (totally going to play over the movie's title credits), let it turn a little militaristic, and close it out with the Spooky Ring Theme. Awesome. Stoked.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 7:37 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Galadriel is definitely part of the White Council, so yeah, I wasn't surprised to see her here. Looks like we'll be getting Gandalf's adventures post-Beorn (the White Council meets, maybe the driving out of the Necromancer from Mirkwood) before he shows up at the Battle of the Five Armies.

There's just not going to be a satisfying cinematic version of Bilbo in the wine barrel, or the thing with the trolls at sunrise, or (ffs) Riddles in the Dark.

Honestly, the wine barrel and Riddles in the Dark seem like they'd be pretty easy to do cinematically. Peter Jackson's shown he can do dark, creepy tension in the Mines of Moria and Shelob's Lair sequences already, while the wine barrel scene seems similar to when Pippin lights the beacon - Hobbit shenanigans, lighthearted but with a serious purpose.

The trolls will be interesting to see. The trolls in the Hobbit talk a great deal and always seemed like Tolkien's crack at a lower-class stereotype. I don't think that would work as well post-LotR, in which trolls are basically ferocious, mindless grunting monsters. And the dwarves act like total idiots in the book - I'm really hoping that they all don't get turned into comic relief for Thorin and Bilbo, as Gimli essentially was in the second two films of the trilogy.
posted by AdamCSnider at 8:16 AM on December 21, 2011


Smaug? Bombadil? Hell. Where's Beorn?

He's definitely in the movie, so we'll probably see him in another trailer. I imagine they'll be releasing a bunch of teasers over the next year.
posted by homunculus at 8:46 AM on December 21, 2011


If I were Peter Jackson, I would put Tom Bombadil in this movie

Tolkien plotted the book in two parts, the one mirroring the other. It goes as such:

A. Safe place (Home)
B. Danger place (trolls)
C. Safe place (Rivendale)
D. Danger place (goblins)

A. Safe place (Tom Bombadil)
B. Danger place (Mirkwood)
C. Safe place (River town)
D. Danger place (Smog etc)

A. Safe place (home)
B. (new adventures yet untold)

Notice how the danger increases as they go, with the first danger place (B) being more benign than the second one (D). Between each danger is a safe place. So my guess is you are right he might use Bombadil as an ending and starting point, a logical seam to join the two movies.
posted by stbalbach at 8:53 AM on December 21, 2011


Sorry I meant "Beorn" above, not Tom Bombadil.
posted by stbalbach at 8:56 AM on December 21, 2011


I think that the tinkering he did with Galadriel's gifts and with Saruman's death in the first and second film, with the noble intention of making those films more taut and satisfying on their own, screwed himself out of the correct ending for the trilogy which would have made the entire trilogy more taut and satisfying.

The original ending of the book is pretty terrible, to be honest.
posted by empath at 9:03 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm old. I've read The Hobbit a few times. Jackson pretty much destroys whatever subject matter he commits to film.

Yeah, there just isn't any reason for me to see this film. But, that is true for most blockbustery films.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:21 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Where there's a will there's a way, dum dum dum".
posted by mdoar at 9:28 AM on December 21, 2011


I liked the animated/rotoscoped version when I first ran into it as a youth. Although I watched it long after reading it (in grade 2?) the movie left me with a much darker version of the Hobbit.

Picking up some slightly darker vibes from the new Hobbit trailer compared to the LoTR movies, too.

Also, from the new trailer - why do the dwarfs remind me so strongly of Klingons?!
posted by porpoise at 9:58 AM on December 21, 2011


I have mixed feelings here. In most cases, cinematic and novel narratives are two radically different things. So I have little objection to Wash, Boyens, del Toro, and Jackson (WBdT&J) pulling material out of appendices that Tolkien was reluctant to add to his original publication. Starting Lord of the Rings with a few scenes of backstory rather than having Frodo learn it all via stories within stories was a good move, as was giving Aragorn a little more independent depth.

Here, I'm not certain if WBdT&J are really doing the right thing here. Most of the dramatic action portrayed in the trailer seems to focus on Gandalf's actions in Dul Guildor. And while the fall of a great Dwarf lineage is certainly an epic story, it's not the coming-of-age story that's the focus of the Hobbit.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:04 AM on December 21, 2011


Too much singing in the trailer.
And with that many Dwarves...it just looks too kid friendly. Hope I'm wrong.

I'll still see it asap.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:08 AM on December 21, 2011


I disagree - - imho it is more true to the novels than the overrated Jackson maladaptation.

I'm not going to argue this point, because (A) I don't remember the book well enough to know if you're wrong and (B) I don't necessarily think being "true to the novels" is some kind of ideological imperative.

What I do know is that the Bakshi version is nigh on unwatachable. Just one bland battle scene after another. And of course it's full of that gross, oozy animation Baskhi was famous for. His movies were so ugly it basically killed rotoscoping for decades, and you could argue that it still hasn't recovered.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:11 AM on December 21, 2011


I think that's a bit rough, but I understand where you are coming from, and I am more worried about The Hobbit than I'd like to be. Really, the LotR movies were better and more lovingly made than I had any hope for. They botched some extremely important things but they also excised some chaff and tightened some things up. On the whole I like the movies a lot, but the things that stick with me from the movies are totally different than the ones from the book(s).

The main error Jackson made was his emphasis on the human characters over the hobbits.

For me the LOTR is a hobbit star orbited by planets of all the other races.

He won't be able to screw up The Hobbit in the same way, but time will tell - - he's a creative guy with the epic botch.
posted by fairmettle at 10:14 AM on December 21, 2011


And of course it's full of that gross, oozy animation Baskhi was famous for. His movies were so ugly it basically killed rotoscoping for decades, and you could argue that it still hasn't recovered.

I wouldn't say Bakshi was famous for rotoscoping , I'd say he's more famous for his non rotoscoped stuff like Fritz the Cat and Coonskin. He was revolutionary.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:18 AM on December 21, 2011


And with that many Dwarves...it just looks too kid friendly. Hope I'm wrong.

Um. What's kid-friendly about dwarves in particular? I've always thought hobbits were more so, and there's only one significant one in this film. And anyway, dropping the number of dwarves would be a bridge too far even for Jackson, I think, in terms of altering the source material.
posted by AdamCSnider at 10:22 AM on December 21, 2011


And with that many Dwarves...it just looks too kid friendly. Hope I'm wrong.

The Hobbit is a children's book. It's interesting to me how the trailer makes it looks like Jackson is taking the plot points of the book and attempting to recast it as Lord of the Rings Parts 0 and 0.5. I get the feeling that these movies will please LOTR movie fans more than Hobbit book fans.
posted by dfan at 10:33 AM on December 21, 2011


I think that the tinkering he did with Galadriel's gifts and with Saruman's death in the first and second film, with the noble intention of making those films more taut and satisfying on their own, screwed himself out of the correct ending for the trilogy which would have made the entire trilogy more taut and satisfying.

The original ending of the book is pretty terrible, to be honest.


I prefer this version of the death of Saruman anyway.
posted by homunculus at 10:33 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um. What's kid-friendly about dwarves in particular? I've always thought hobbits were more so, and there's only one significant one in this film. And anyway, dropping the number of dwarves would be a bridge too far even for Jackson, I think, in terms of altering the source material.

"Um". Nothing is inherently kid-friendly about a dwarf. But they do look a little whimsical in the trailer, just my opinion. It's not a big deal and I'm sure they will be fine in the actual film but the whole cliche introduction of naming them one by one in a playful manner as if they're the cast of the Bad News Bears seemed silly to me. And I'm not suggesting he drop any form the book, of course not.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:52 AM on December 21, 2011


Liquidwolf: "It's not a big deal and I'm sure they will be fine in the actual film but the whole cliche introduction of naming them one by one in a playful manner as if they're the cast of the Bad News Bears seemed silly to me."

Do you remember the actual introductions from the book, though? It's a fairly aggressively slapstick-y sequence.

I've read the book several times to my older son recently, and it is a definitely a children's book, with plenty of cutsey and humorous bits. Now, it's a wonderful book, and it also has a lot of dark and serious parts. But it should be remembered that it is not the same thing as LOTR, the Prequel.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the LOTR movies very much, and I'll definitely see these and I imagine I'll probably like them a lot, but the trailer seems kind of... odd. It seems dark, whereas The Hobbit was a very light book sprinkled with lighthearted humor.
posted by Flunkie at 11:19 AM on December 21, 2011


The Hobbit was a very silly book. It really should be funny, not dark.
posted by empath at 11:21 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you remember the actual introductions from the book, though? It's a fairly aggressively slapstick-y sequence.

No I don't, it's been many years.

But now that you mention it I do recall parts of the Hobbit being more lighthearted for the most part than Lord of the Rings which was why I preferred Lord of the Rings.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:24 AM on December 21, 2011


I'm old. I've read The Hobbit a few times. Jackson pretty much destroys whatever subject matter he commits to film.

Yeah, there just isn't any reason for me to see this film. But, that is true for most blockbustery films.


Hey, does anyone know who chugged my Elixir of Hatorade +5? I can't find it anywhere.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:41 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah yeah yeah at the beginning the dwarves totally annoy the shit outta Bilbo; Gandalf introduces gravitas, but nonetheless things are kind of frolic-y until what is it -- spider time? Orcs? That's how the story gets you.

What I don't get is why not start out with The Hobbit as a movie. Make one movie. Get a generation as obsessed with Tolkien's world as they were with Harry Potter's. Then, WHAM LotR, when the kids fed The Hobbit are at an age that they can absorb the darker stuff.
posted by angrycat at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2011


One problem with doing The Hobbit after LotRs is that the Ring became something entirely different between the two novels. In The Hobbit, the ring is pretty much just a nifty bit of magic that allows for Bilbo to save his companions (repeatedly) and to attempt to resolve the conflict in the penultimate chapters. The Hobbit is the story of a passive homebody who becomes a reluctant (but never very valiant) hero, largely in conflict with the greed and grudges of the people around him. It doesn't become a symbol of ultimate evil and temptation until well after Bilbo's Birthday Party in Fellowship. (Tolkien even blatantly retconned chunks of the Hobbit to make it fit the new continuity, and explained it away by noting that Bilbio wasn't exactly an honest narrator.)

Which is always a problem with filming prequels. Since WBdT&J are stuck going from the War of the Ring to the Origin of the Ring, they can't give us the same kind of rollicking adventure story as the literary Hobbit. I suspect that Ian Holm's line at the start isn't just referencing The Hobbit's metanarrative but WBdT&J's announcement that the film Hobbit is going to be darker and more integrated with the War of the Ring.

It's a shame because The Hobbit is a simpler novel than LotR and would have been easier to adapt. But now they're kinda stuck giving it the same treatment as LotR.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:22 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who has seen the LOTR trilogy, let alone read the books, knows very well that Bilbo sets events in motion - so this trailer's approach of highlighting that (gasp!) 'Bilbo may not survive' is rather baffling to me.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:29 PM on December 21, 2011


Now that I think about it, this approach has the potential to open up some continuity problems, because Bilbo and Frodo's ignorance of the ring and what really was going on at Dul Guldur help to drive the conflict at the start of Fellowship of the Ring. I think it really changes both The Hobbit and Bilbo as a character to make him aware of what's really going on.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:44 PM on December 21, 2011


Also, from the new trailer - why do the dwarfs remind me so strongly of Klingons?!

Yep, I got some of that too, from some of them.

In The Hobbit, the ring is pretty much just a nifty bit of magic that allows for Bilbo to save his companions (repeatedly) and to attempt to resolve the conflict in the penultimate chapters.

Yeah, I'm not looking forward to the swell of sinister music each time Bilbo puts the ring on in this production of The Hobbit, not to mention the flash cuts to Sauron/The Necromancer with Galadriel whispering the poem of the rings, and Bilbo looking pained and troubled each time he puts it on so that we can be clobbered over the head with the fact that this ring is the One Ring.

I'll still be there on opening day, hopefully with my 6 year old daughter if reviews indicate it's okay for kids that age.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


this trailer's approach of highlighting that (gasp!) 'Bilbo may not survive' is rather baffling to me

Bilbo's shown as an old hobbit at the start of the trailer.

It read more to me as highlighting that Gandalf doesn't know if Bilbo will survive the journey; and that Gandalf maybe doesn't altogether care whether Bilbo survives.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:07 PM on December 21, 2011


I really want a better tag line. How about "I've lost my dwarves, my wizard and my way", say, or "What have I got in my pockets?"
posted by newdaddy at 2:13 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


this trailer's approach of highlighting that (gasp!) 'Bilbo may not survive' is rather baffling to me

I think it's a line that diminishes both of them. Maybe it makes sense in the context of WBdT&J's screenwriting of Gandalf and Bilbo as characters. To my memory of the novel, both the question and the answer strike me as being deeply out of character.

I suspect that Gandalf as an archangelwizard both knows and cares that Bilbo's latent heroism is essential to the quest, hence the elaborate setup behind the dinner party. In spite of Bilbo's bumbling fish-out-of-water narrative, he is something of a chosen one. I suppose it's compatible with Gandalf's minor project of cultivating heroes who can defend the isolated Shire.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:34 PM on December 21, 2011


@FatherDagon, "Hey, does anyone know who chugged my Elixir of Hatorade +5? I can't find it anywhere."

If you are insinuating that I did it, you need to reread my comment. One you reach a certain age, blockbusters are no longer even remotely aimed at you. I've come to terms with that.

And, I'm sorry, but the LotRs movies were terrible and way too long. They rewrote the themes from the original stories, and made it into a cartoon.
posted by clvrmnky at 2:54 PM on December 21, 2011


If there was a special edition of the Lord of the Rings movies that was half the length, rather than twice as long, I would totally buy it.
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on December 21, 2011


Yeah, the number of the dwarves isn't going to change. That's part of the point of why Gandalf gets Bilbo involved -- he makes the party into a lucky number.

If you want to be upset about something which is going to be changed, be upset (with me) about how I read someplace that they're going to have the full Peter Jackson treatment to The Battle Of Five Armies, and apparently it isn't heroic to have Bilbo be knocked on the head and wake up after the battle is done, so the talk is they're going to have him participating in the battle the entire time.

I much prefer the "helpless halfling is useless in this situation and ends up unconscious (and protected) during the entire thing and wakes up to find it is now over" way the book depicts it. But oh well. We'll see how it gets handled.
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


And with that many Dwarves...it just looks too kid friendly. Hope I'm wrong.

Raise your hand if The Hobbit was read to you when you were a kid.

(Or if you read it yourself when you were a kid.)

The Hobbit is a wonderful bedtime story--full of adventures and magic and swords and dragons and elves and riddles and songs.

I'm trying so hard not to think of this as "Adventures of Tiny Watson!"
I'll also try to keep my mouth shut in the theater when the seventh Doctor shows up.

Even moreso when Tiny Watson goes up against the dragon who sounds, and moves, more than a little bit like Holmes....

posted by tzikeh at 5:22 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there was a special edition of the Lord of the Rings movies books that was half the length, rather than twice as long, I would totally buy it.

Fixed that for... those of us for whom that fixes it.
posted by tzikeh at 5:23 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


(argh stupid close-tag failure)

I'm trying so hard not to think of this as "Adventures of Tiny Watson!"
I'll also try to keep my mouth shut in the theater when the seventh Doctor shows up.


Even moreso when Tiny Watson goes up against the dragon who sounds, and moves, more than a little bit like Holmes....
posted by tzikeh at 5:24 PM on December 21, 2011


I'm trying so hard not to think of this as "Adventures of Tiny Watson!"

you know that benny "sherlock" crumbles is going to be Smaug, right?
posted by elizardbits at 5:54 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


*pokes elizardbits to look right above her comment*
posted by tzikeh at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2011


i totally ctrl+F'd for crumblybutts too

i am fail
posted by elizardbits at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2011


Gandalf & Galadriel?

What about Celeborn? Unless he prefers the enchanted rope, if you know what I mean...
posted by nathancaswell at 6:22 PM on December 21, 2011


elizardbits: "you know that benny "sherlock" crumbles is going to be Smaug, right?"

I do now. Ha! I just got to watch the trailer with the sound on last night and he even sounds like an aggrieved Watson. I can only imagine what the second movie is going to be like when they interact.
posted by charred husk at 6:02 AM on December 22, 2011


Sure hope they don't screw around with Del Toro's design work on Smaug too much; that's probably exciting me more than anything else about these films right now.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:47 AM on December 22, 2011


What is the greatest J.R.R. Tolkien-inspired song of them all?
posted by homunculus at 12:24 AM on December 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


THE HOBBIT Production Video #5
posted by homunculus at 10:24 AM on December 24, 2011


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