Tag Archives: Smaug

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a LitFlix

I’ve been less than impressed with Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Hobbit. That’s why I have written so little about them. I didn’t even see the first movie on the big screen because I had a bad feeling about it.istari

Turns out, I was right. Jackson lost me  early in An Unexpected Journey with his buffonish characterization of Radagast the Brown. He unsuspended my disblief with that unfortunate bit of scripting and never truly regained it. I mean, come on. I’m generous with creative license where film adaptations of books are concerned, but there is no possible world in which one of these guys can be a buffoon.

That said, an invitation to write a LitFlix on the third film for CompGeeks was just too good to pass up. I got myself to the theater on Tuesday and gave it a watch. Then I re-read the last four chapters of The Hobbit on Wednesday night while I awaited the arrival of a certain jolly old elf.

The Battle of the Five Armies is an awesome fantasy action movie. It was more than worth the ticket price – and the two and half hours I spent watching – on the strength of the fight choreography alone. The production is beautiful. It will suck you right into Jackson’s version of Middle Earth. I applaud the artistry, but the adaptation could be better. Do allow me to explain. (That’s the fun part, right?)

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Martin Freeman is the English Everyman

Martin Freeman as Bilbo BagginsMartin Freeman is an actor who’s been getting increasingly more airtime and shows, it seems. Or bigger name ones, going more international. Something. He keeps showing up in these English films, anyway.

And he has a typecast, like so many actors end up in. But Martin Freeman’s is fascinating – his is as the everyman. A common enough idea in storytelling, for sure, and many stories have one. But a really defined everyman? One whose sole purpose is to be the everyman, where their life is so ordinary that it’s absurd anything story-worthy is happening to them. This seems particularly like a British storytelling trait, these uber-everymen.

And of these, why does it seem like Martin Freeman is working his way through playing all of them on screen? That feels like more than a typecast to me. Consider the main examples with me below! And then just consider the question… is Martin Freeman THE English Everyman?

All photos found on http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0293509/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Continue reading

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, A Litflix

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug Movie PosterI finished reading The Hobbit and I have watched the second movie in the trilogy and now it is time to tell you what I thought. I think part of the issue comes out that the story is really a simple adventure, with a lot of action, but it is never as dire as the movies make it out to be. Therefore when you try and turn the book in to three movies you end up having to change a few things. In the first movie I thought they did a pretty good job sticking to the book, even though they only made it a third of the way through. They added some little things, some big things, but there were only a few moments that I felt were not true to the heart of the book. 

Now the problem is that at the beginning you have to start from the same place, but the more you add and change the further away from the book you will get as you move forward. Especially when you add elements that are supposed to stick around for all the movies. In the first movie we start out adding in a group of orcs chasing the dwarves along their quest, because the quest itself was not dangerous enough. Then you also add in Gandalf having suspicions about the dark being on the move and old enemies rising. Once you introduce these, then you have to keep them up, but as in the case of the second movie it means you have to veer further away from the story the book told to focus on the other elements that you have added. Many of the great parts in the book are shortened, Beorn, Spiders, Barrels, to add time for the orcs and Gandalf hunting down the Necromancer.

The other part is that they seemed to want to focus on the epic parts of the story and make them bigger. Someone decided that the scenes with Beorn, the spiders, and others were not interesting enough so we had to either make them shorter or add elements to make them bigger. Then with Smaug they got such a good actor, they decided to make it a much bigger scene. The problem is that the book really does a good job of telling the story that needs to be told and not adding superfluous elements. (Spoilers for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug after the jump) Continue reading