The Lonely Moutain
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TantalumCobolt

Since the new movie is being spoken of a but in the DoS topic, I think we should give it a home of its own. So come in and share your thoughts on the lates (and, sadly, final) movie in the Hobbit trilogy.

How many people out there cried when Thorin, Fili and Kili died? I saw the film while one of my best friends and we were both wiping tears from our cheeks for the last 20 minutes or so!! My brother just doesn't understand why I go watch movies that I know will make me cry...

-TaCo

1/27/2015 #1
Doc M

I didn't cry, as I was too F-ing angry! While I enjoyed the film as spectacle, I think there were too many gratuitous changes that weakened it and also some ruthless cutting for the theatrical release that left plot-threads hanging (e.g. having to wait for the EE for the funeral and resolution of the Arkenstone plot).

My father's comment, as we left the cinema, summed up my own feelings also (and please recall he is the person who first read me the books as a bedtime story when I was 6, which is about 44 years ago): "A hatchet-job on poor old Thorin to whitewash that bloody Hobbit!"

While it was well-acted, the overhyping of 'dragon-sickness' into 'madness' was done essentially to exonerate Bilbo's theft of the Arkenstone, his keeping it from Thorin, and ultimately his betrayal. by making out "he's doing it for Thorin's own good". This was a Hobbitwash, and I would have liked to see the film depict the book's more morally questionable Bilbo (indeed, it would have been a good way to hint at the possible influence of the Ring on him). In the book, he keeps the stone (despite knowing he should give it to the king) because it's beautiful and took his fancy, and he tries to self-justify it by the fact Thorin had told him he could keep whatever he fancied as his share of the treasure (though obviously not the Arkenstone!). The film omitted, too, I noted, the fact that when Bilbo takes the stone to Bard and Thranduil (primarily because he's fed up, hungry and wants to go home), he also betrays to them when Dáin's troops are expected to arrive (which he knows about from Roäc the raven's messages) – essentially setting the Iron Hills Dwarves up for an ambush, had the Orcs not attacked when they did.

Thorin doesn't do anything wrong, but plays it very much 'by the book' as a king in his kind of culture should: he has to protect his kingdom, and he cannot give way to threats of force. He offers Bard a way out by asking him to talk without the backing of the army of Elves (who, of course, had recently held him prisoner). Bard refuses (Thranduil probably has been egging him on). And Gandalf provokes him in a way that can only be answered by doing something pretty much suicidal. Tolkien's odd attitude towards the Dwarves, as Eru's unwanted stepchildren (as one of my friends puts it, "In any Elf v. Dwarf situation, a Dwarf's place is in the wrong, as far as Tolkien's concerned!"), means that when you compare what people are actually doing and saying with what the narrator is telling you you should think, there is a contradiction.

I was also unhappy with the portrayal of the deaths. The Heirs of Durin should fight and fall together in the shield-wall, in the thickest part of the main battle. I know it might have been hard to show at a 12 cert, but I felt shortchanged. I can see why they changed the circumstances of Thorin's actual death, making it happen sooner, on the field, because in the book it leaves too many questions as to why he has to be killed off: he's a Dwarf (physically more resilient than a Human, and resistant to infections); he's survived the night, is conscious, talking, not delirious; and Gandalf's present, standing around doing nothing… He should have a better chance of survival and recovery.

While I liked the film's portrayal of Dáin (he went down a treat here in Glasgow – popular local star playing a thoroughly Glaswegian Dwarf!), Tolkien's parachuting him in as a character at the last minute, to reap the benefit of everything that the Dwarves we've followed throughout the story have worked for, still leaves a very bad taste. Despite the back-story of his heroic youth, we simply don't have the emotional investment in him that we do in Thorin and the boys. It's not as if Tolkien does much with him afterwards, either: the role of the heroic Dwarf king in the second battle of Dale mentioned in LotR (Appendices) and the Unfinished Tales could just as easily have been taken by a very elderly Thorin or by one of his heirs (either a nephew or, if he had married, a son).

1/28/2015 #2
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