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Thread: The Hobbit.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaniar View Post
    What was that thing, anyway? That part just confused me.
    It might have been PJs interpretation of a mewlip or a dumbeldore, more likely it was just something he had left over from the spider pit in Kong.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Originally Posted by MLai
    His film-only fight with some stupid harmless blind mutant centipede took center stage instead.
    Originally Posted by Athaniar
    What was that thing, anyway? That part just confused me.
    I think it was one of those giant Klingon-eating worms from the Genesis planet.

    Yeah, I had no idea what it was either. Totally out of place, and I couldn't even get a solid visual read on it. Some sort of a cross between a millipede and a giant clawless eurypterid, or maybe Anomalocaris.



    Just came back from seeing the movie. I would have been angry, disgusted, and bitterly disappointed to the point of betrayal--but I saw the first one, so at least I knew what to expect.

    The movie was nearly three hours of overblown, supersized pesudoheroics, utterly unnecessary and often absurdly juvenile. Unlike the Lord of the Rings, where every shot and line mattered to the story, this movie is stuffed with pointless diversions and bloated action sequences that end up being, not gripping, but sadly ridiculous.

    I was ready for the movie to be over long before it was halfway through. I was actively bored with the endless action sequences, most of which weren't in the original book and none of which really contributed to the story.

    Originally Posted by MLai
    The spiders are one of the big antagonists in The Hobbit, just as big as the dragon or the trolls or the goblin. PJ doesn't seem to understand that.
    Peter Jackson doesn't understand much about The Hobbit. Virtually every decision he's made only leaches out the book's essential humility and charm, in favor of nonsensical action and blockbusterized spectacle.

    And throughout it all, the movie assumes that once you're sitting there, it doesn't have to work to hold your attention. This entire movie, just like the entire first hobbit movie, is a dismal exercise in directorial vanity, in which he grants himself carte blanche to every indulgence without the slightest attempt at cinematic discipline.

    The LOTR movies were grand and sprawling because they had a tremendous tale to tell--and yet, every shot and every line made a contribution to that tale. Here, we have invented subplots spiraling far off into new terrain, dragging the entire overblown story into a boggy mush.

    It should have been one movie, concisely and charmingly told. Unfortunately greed and pride took us to where it is today.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Re: Multiple movies.
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    Honestly, I feel multiple movies isn't inherently wrong. The book does have clear stages, after all; Misty Mountains is the clear first one (first outside, then Goblintown & the escape), then Beorn & Mirkwood (the sleep-inducing river, spiders, elves into barrels), then Laketown & Erebor, then finally Battle with Smaug & Battle of the Five Armies.

    If they mixed in the off-screen events of Gandalf & co. (eminently doable, would explain how he got Thrain's key, who the **** Thrain & Thorin are and the evidence that finally forces Saruman to concede to action), they would've had enough material for at least two films, and two stories of very different tones kinda running side-by-side (there should be no doubt the trip of Bilbo and the Dwarves is very much a "because fate says so"-kinda story with a fated Hobbit realizing how much little hands can do, and changing the world - contrast that with the story of the mighty white council assembling their might and attacking the great evil of the time, and Sauron's well-prepared retreat going out without a hitch).

    One problem with splitting the book into multiple movies is that the big events are almost all in the end. You have the Misty Mountains as the first big one, then the Mirkwood and then you're already looking at the two greatest events in the book, Smaug and the Battle all in the span of very little time, with very few narrative elements between them to break it up. As such, the natural split of having Smaug be the star of the second movie and the Battle as the focus of the third doesn't work. But two movies, that you could easily do. First movie covers the trip to Erebor or Laketown. The second one covers everything from then on. There's enough meat on both sides and since the trip to Erebor is a challenge in and of itself, the first movie would be a fairly independent whole. Obviously this is not what they chose to do though.
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaniar View Post
    I can't say I see whatever issue people have with Azog being CGI. He looked just fine for me in Journey, and even better in Desolation (and I watched both in HFR 3D).
    My personal issue was that the first time I saw him my thoughts were basically, "Whoa, good video game villain."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sholos View Post
    My personal issue was that the first time I saw him my thoughts were basically, "Whoa, good video game villain."
    See, for me that's a positive thing.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaniar View Post
    What was that thing, anyway? That part just confused me.
    That was PJ thinking "Well as long as we have giant spiders, let's have giant whatever-we-wants as well!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    Apparently not, as they had practical costumes made for both, but for each of them, found they didn't work during filming and had to switch to CGI. Could be a side effect of filming in HFR, the makeup may not hold up as well in the clearer picture as it did in the 24 fps.
    And ofc there's the other excuses, including the actors having heat strokes under the latex, the lack of facial expressions, bla bla bla.
    But at the end of the day, when PJ's production budget is over half a billion USD, I really don't care what technical problems he's having. You asked for half a billion dollars, use it to do something other than pay marketing suits.
    I loved Lurtz and his warband. When they appeared before Aragorn who faced them alone, I had an actual visceral moment of "Oh no Aragorn don't do this, you can't take them all on, you're the king you can't risk yourself!"
    Do you think I felt this way even once, when the actors are dealing with rubbery CGI nonexistent orcs? There's something that can't be replaced about actual sinew, muscle, sweat, and steel. No matter how good the illusion is.

    But what about the latex interfering with Azog's dialogue and expressions? The original actor-Azog does look bad. I was musing on this and... I wonder what would happen if they use a live actor, but use minimal Weta latex for the face and fill out the rest of the facials with CGI? Could that be done?

    (1) Use a black hood or something (like Assassin's Creed) to separate Azog's head/face's lighting from the rest of the natural lighting on his live-action body. This makes the compositing easier.
    (2) It's okay if Azog's face is the most human-like of the orcs, as long as it still looks monstrous/evil. This allows him to have real expressions (from the actor).
    (3) For example, let's say you hire a hypothetical actor who looks like this (what you need is an actor with sharp angular facial architecture that can take some latex without appearing instantly bloated)...

    Then add easy-to-composite features such as bestial pupils that shine in the dark, and a large mouth ala Mouth Of Sauron... and you have a nice orc who can emote, as long as the actor can act.
    Quote Originally Posted by Athaniar View Post
    See, for me that's a positive thing.
    It's a positive thing for me too, but I can get that in literally any other blockbuster movie. I don't need it in a story I consider "special."

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Originally Posted by MLai
    There's something that can't be replaced about actual sinew, muscle, sweat, and steel. No matter how good the illusion is.
    Several times during the movie today, I caught myself thinking how fake and shoddy some of the CGI orc scenes looked. There was one in particular, when brute-leader-orc was directing his warband down along the river, that had the depth, lighting and perspective all slightly off-kilter. It really looked like a video-game orc dropped into a natural landscape.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaniar View Post
    See, for me that's a positive thing.
    It would be for me, too, if I were playing a video game. As I am watching a live-action movie, however, it just detracts from the whole. In comparison, I did not have the same reaction to the wargs, despite knowing that they are also CGI.
    Last edited by Sholos; 2013-12-19 at 05:10 AM.
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sholos View Post
    In comparison, I did not have the same reaction to the wargs, despite knowing that they are also CGI.
    Wargs, and dragons, cannot be imitated realistically with practicals. So I have no problems with the director using CGI for those. For close zoom shots interacting with the actor, however, I still prefer a Weta or Jim Henson muppet for the scene (for example, when a hero is holding a warg's drooling jaws of death inches from his face... use a muppet).

    But viscerally we can accept it because there's no uncanny valley for fantastical creatures. Our reptile brains won't be able to pick out an oddity of CGI movement or texture, and say "Hey that's unnatural, this is BS."

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaniar View Post
    What was that thing, anyway? That part just confused me.
    Looked like a young version of the spiders to me.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlec View Post
    Looked like a young version of the spiders to me.
    I kept thinking crab
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Several times during the movie today, I caught myself thinking how fake and shoddy some of the CGI orc scenes looked. There was one in particular, when brute-leader-orc was directing his warband down along the river, that had the depth, lighting and perspective all slightly off-kilter. It really looked like a video-game orc dropped into a natural landscape.
    This was my main impression of the CGI from the first movie. I don't now if I am getting better at spotting it, or if they screwed up bad. But there were movies made the same year (and a year or two before) with better CGI...
    Last edited by Avilan the Grey; 2013-12-19 at 07:19 AM.
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by MLai View Post
    Wargs, and dragons, cannot be imitated realistically with practicals. So I have no problems with the director using CGI for those. For close zoom shots interacting with the actor, however, I still prefer a Weta or Jim Henson muppet for the scene (for example, when a hero is holding a warg's drooling jaws of death inches from his face... use a muppet).

    But viscerally we can accept it because there's no uncanny valley for fantastical creatures. Our reptile brains won't be able to pick out an oddity of CGI movement or texture, and say "Hey that's unnatural, this is BS."
    I think you missed my point. My point was that objectively speaking, I knew the wargs were CGI. I mean, I'd have to hold some very strong delusions to think they were done with practical effects. My enjoyment of them wasn't lessened by this, though. In addition, when watching them on screen, my brain didn't say, "Ooh, good CGI." It said, "Oh cool, wargs!" As opposed to the first time Azog appeared and I immediately started thinking about how well they had done the CGI on him (not all that great since I've always thought he looked a bit plasticky).
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    I'm pretty undecided about 48 fps in cinema in general, but like CG I think it's a tool…and the Hobbit has convinced me that, at least at present, it is fundamentally unsuited to a fantasy film. Bolg played by the Mountain that Rides would have been incredible on screen. Brilliant bit of casting with the choreography that made fights in LOTR a pleasure to watch? Yes please.

    As it stands, Jackson has sold me against it for this type of thing. The changes he had to make to accommodate it don't look good. That's a mortal sin. Second, it really doesn't work even with his finished product. Legolas prosthetic ears were actually visible in a few shots, something I never parsed in LOTR. The choice between a smokey illusion and amazing clarity that bleeds the film of verisimilitude? The answer is obvious.

    The barrel sequence divided the 6 people I went with. The teenager was laughing in delight at the hijinks. The driver looked like he wanted to fall asleep. The girl to my right thought it was a wonderful bit of escapism. The book reader to the left groaned at the improbable movements. Me? Scene composition? Action sequence good/bad? Nope. I didn't analyze any of that till later. My dominant reaction was…

    Why the hell does this look like it was shot off a cheap ass camcorder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato Endless View Post
    I'm pretty undecided about 48 fps in cinema in general, but like CG I think it's a tool…and the Hobbit has convinced me that, at least at present, it is fundamentally unsuited to a fantasy film.
    I saw the first movie first in normal than in HFR and try as I might I couldn't spot a difference. This weekend I will watch the second one in HFR but I am already doubting I'll notice any difference again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato Endless View Post
    Why the hell does this look like it was shot off a cheap ass camcorder?
    Because camcorders also use a higher frame rate than most movies (standard is 30fps to my knowledge, with some having 60fps options).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverent-One View Post
    Because camcorders also use a higher frame rate than most movies (standard is 30fps to my knowledge, with some having 60fps options).
    But if it were just that, shouldn't the whole film look like that? That specific sequence looks different from the rest of film.

    TvTropes noticed this as well: Look under special effects failure...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venedlor View Post
    Ok so first I want to say that coming from someone who was raised hearing this book read a loud every year around this time and who then read it and the Lord of the Rings once a year sense then it was a big disappointment.
    However it is slightly redeemable by the fact that it is still a fun movie to watch and the acting and visuals are of the same quality as you have seen in all the other LotR movies.
    Felt exactly like this.

    Saw it in 3d yesterday, which was awesome. A few random thoughts.

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    1. Wish they could have had Beorn longer.
    2. Loved the Scottish Highland Cattle
    3. Love triangle has horrible
    4. They took a summary of the film and imagined up the rest
    5. It was a good movie
    6. The ending was horribly annoying
    7. I fliched every time someone shot an arrow at the screen
    8. And in 3d that bee was funny.
    9. I enjoyed it
    10. But…. meh
    11. Wish they could have stayed truer to the story.
    12. Ah well.
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    I think people are quick to blame the high frame rate for the terrible special effects when really there were just terrible special effects.
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xondoure View Post
    I think people are quick to blame the high frame rate for the terrible special effects when really there were just terrible special effects.
    That's certainly possible. I just prefer some sort of explanation over…bad effects were bad. Perhaps there were production issues of some sort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato Endless View Post
    But if it were just that, shouldn't the whole film look like that? That specific sequence looks different from the rest of film.
    Ah, just that scene. Sorry, I misunderstood.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xondoure View Post
    I think people are quick to blame the high frame rate for the terrible special effects when really there were just terrible special effects.
    A mix of both is possible as well. There were delays and such that rushed production (and were responsible for Del Toro leaving in the first place), at least for AUJ, and any imperfect CGI would only look worse in better picture quality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dehro View Post
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    I recently tried reading the Hobbit again, and saw the movie earlier tonight.

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    All in all, I was happy to see all the major events I remembered from the book being present, though the situation with Kili and Tauriel and the extra stuff in Erebor caught me off guard. Looking back though, while I was OUTRAGED at the cliffhanger, I really liked the epicness of the scenes in Erebor. I'm also glad the elves didn't lead the dwarves off the path like in the book, because the way it is presented it doesn't make sense in a movie catered more towards adults than children. You really need to keep in mind that the Hobbit was a children's book, whereas the movie is not a children's movie.

    The Kili/Tauriel romance was cute and unexpected. While on the one hand I feel it fleshed out both characters, on the other it makes me feel a little like Tauriel was added largely for romance subplot reasons rather than simply adding in a badass elven warrior lady. But, as I said, it does flesh out her character more, making her not just a badass elven warrior lady. It made me worry about Kili's fate for a while, thinking he might be killed off too soon, or that he might survive the trilogy entirely, making his fate entirely different from the book. Now I'm all for changes between book and movie if it's about the small things, or expanding things rather than cutting things (at least cutting big things, small cuts are okay if they're not that significant in the big picture), but deaths are always a big thing. I wonder if they'll be able to kill off Fili and Kili in the next one, considering they're a pair of the most popular dwarves in the entire ensemble.

    Also the scene with the dwarf/elf vs orc fight while the dwarves are floating in the barrels felt kinda out there. It was really hilarious, and in line with the feel of the film (at least up to that point, and certainly with the previous movie), but it still felt a bit weird.
    Last edited by Morph Bark; 2013-12-19 at 06:18 PM.
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    So I saw the movie again. The stuff I initially complained about wasn't THAT bad, truth be told. A few half a second shots need way more polish and if nothing else the river fight's camera work was consistent, if weird.

    The Dwarf/Elf romance could have worked ...if those two had any chemistry. Seriously, they stand so damn rigid and almost force their lines out to the point where I almost thing the actors plain didn't even like each other.

    Laketown is also ...weird. It doesn't feel like it's a part of Middle Earth. It's art direction puts it like five hundred years ahead of the other human places, and it's origins as a tiny town near some ruins in the north of pseudo-europe don't really mesh with a crowd so diverse it looks like they were ripped from the streets of modern New York. It's almost like Jackson just reused the set pieces, props, and extras from a different movie alltogether.

    Though it becomes obvious the second go-round exactly how overwrought the whole thing is. There's enough little moments that don't quite click that you notice exactly how long this thing runs.

    Though lets make it clear, Jackson is still the undisputed master of camera work. If it's an overwrought, bloated movie, it's because it's the kind of movie Jackson is really good at doing. He knows just where the camera needs to go and how it needs to move to make a scene work like no other. Which isn't to say this justifies anything, since some of the scenes could have been done as well regardless, but the sheer level of skill he has still makes this movie enjoyable to me. Not great, but a 6.5-7/10 at least.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    You really need to keep in mind that the Hobbit was a children's book, whereas the movie is not a children's movie.
    So instead of the dwarves singing the entirety (or at least some more) of their emotional Lonely Mountain opus, we get Jar Jar Goiter doing his Don Bluth impromptu musical.

    We don't even get the dwarven song in the end credits. This irritates me something fierce. It is basically the best song/poem in the entire book, the live-action rendition was breathtaking... for how brief it was. That single scene by the fireplace was basically the best part of AUJ, because it's the only thing that evoked the book perfectly.

    I will say this: I am completely convinced now that Armitage is Thorin. The first time he stepped into Erebor again in DoS, I was tearing up.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jayngfet View Post
    Laketown is also ...weird. It doesn't feel like it's a part of Middle Earth... and it's origins as a tiny town near some ruins in the north of pseudo-europe don't really mesh with a crowd so diverse it looks like they were ripped from the streets of modern New York..
    The diverse ethnicity of the town can be explained in that it was the sad remnants of a very prosperous trading town under the shadow of the greatest open-trade dwarven kingdom of the time, during a time when the Southern Peoples weren't influenced by Sauron and thus openly hostile to the North. So lots of Southern traders might have sailed up the rivers and took residence there.

    However, without that being explained by the movie, the "political correctness" would seem very strange as the camera zoomed in lovingly 2-3 times on the same pureblooded African-descent ladies standing amongst a bunch of hairy Teutonics with bad teeth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MLai View Post
    The diverse ethnicity of the town can be explained in that it was the sad remnants of a very prosperous trading town under the shadow of the greatest open-trade dwarven kingdom of the time, during a time when the Southern Peoples weren't influenced by Sauron and thus openly hostile to the North. So lots of Southern traders might have sailed up the rivers and took residence there.

    However, without that being explained by the movie, the "political correctness" would seem very strange as the camera zoomed in lovingly 2-3 times on the same pureblooded African-descent ladies standing amongst a bunch of hairy Teutonics with bad teeth.
    Of course, the issue with this justification is that obviously Smaug has been there for a while. Generations of humans. Any traders who could leave would have done so long ago.

    Though even with "political correctness" it seems a bit odd. I mean is it really worth it go give out the part to half a dozen random extras? I mean it's not like Heimdall in the Thor movie where Idris Elba is that good an actor, since they don't do all that much anyway. You aren't winning any battles or making some kind of bold declaration, you're just giving laketown another difference on top of all the others that makes it seem like it's not even middle earth.

    I mean if it was an original setting or an adaptation of a more diverse novel, I'd get it. If it was a larger cosmopolitan city, I'd get it. If these people had a major role to play that justified them being there, I'd get it. But it's none of those things, they're kinda ...there.
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    Or they just grabbed whoever was around for extras?

    "You can't be an extra in this movie because you're not white!" is kind of a problematic position to take given history.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayngfet View Post
    Of course, the issue with this justification is that obviously Smaug has been there for a while. Generations of humans. Any traders who could leave would have done so long ago.
    If you're an immigrant lugging your family along, settling in a new continent for the promise of gold-paved streets, and then a natural disaster wipes out everything you own... how do you leave?

    What are you going to use to pay for the dangerous trip all the way down the continent? What will you do once you get there, penniless? Those Southerners are basically stuck in Dale 2.0, and their children don't know any better.

    While Tolkien's world is pretty neatly compartmentalized in terms of anthropology, because it's steeped in religious mysticism... real human ethnicities love to mix n' match. I never got the sense that the North and the South interact much while reading Hobbit/LOTR, but now that I think about it a bit it must have happened quite a bit before Sauron isolated the North.

    Look at a map of ME, and you'll see the ring of mountains that is Mordor act as a natural barrier between the North and the Southeast if it's populated with evil things. But before Sauron's return, it's just mountains -- with multiple major rivers running almost directly north and south. I can only imagine the ease of trade between gems and spices; the map is custom-built for it.

    If PJ even bothered to show one Saracen-esque noble paying homage to the King Under The Mountain in the intro flashback, this could be explained. Did he? I don't remember.

    Edit: Now I'm imagining an open-world game set up like Age Of Sail, where you're a Haradish captain (who looks like Sinbad) making his mark decades before the events of The Hobbit, where Mordor is still dangerous unsettled lands but nothing an ambitious trader-adventurer can't handle. Gameplay involves you running your river ship up and down the major rivers earning profits by trade with the Northmen, elves, and Erebor. The ships, being river ships, are different from what we typically think of when we see the word "Pirate!" More like these:
    Last edited by MLai; 2013-12-20 at 12:37 AM.

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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by HamHam View Post
    Or they just grabbed whoever was around for extras?

    "You can't be an extra in this movie because you're not white!" is kind of a problematic position to take given history.
    Up to a point. Today people complain, rightly so, about whitewashing of casts when a story should include other etnicities. This isn't working either, albeit in the opposite direction. Case in point, there were no black elves because they wouldn't have made sense. However, there were no africans in lakeside either. Putting them there makes just as little sense.
    Then again... I wouldn't be surprised if some executive had imposed this to somehow make reparations for this charlie-foxtrot.
    Last edited by dehro; 2013-12-20 at 12:28 AM.
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    Default Re: The Hobbit.

    Quote Originally Posted by MLai View Post
    If you're an immigrant lugging your family along, settling in a new continent for the promise of gold-paved streets, and then a natural disaster wipes out everything you own... how do you leave?
    What are you going to use to pay for the dangerous trip all the way down the continent? What will you do once you get there, penniless? Those Southerners are basically stuck in Dale 2.0, and their children don't know any better.
    Right, but there's a difference between traders and immigrants is the thing.

    Traders generally make me think of traveling merchants selling goods from abroad. The kind of person who already has transportation available or lined up before the fact and didn't plan to stay anyway.

    An immigrant would probably stay in whatever the Dale equivalent of Chinatown is, then once things shrink down a whole bunch in laketown one would assume that there's either a smaller community or so few they can't afford to compartmentalize. The first can't be possible since we saw all of laketown and everything is the same size and color with no district markings, and it's not big or active enough to support some kind of community like that. The second also can't be possible since after roughly a hundred and fifty years(going by wiki), you'd basically just get a laketown that's varying degrees of brown, or else everyone who isn't white would be very, very inbred.

    Quote Originally Posted by HamHam View Post
    Or they just grabbed whoever was around for extras?

    "You can't be an extra in this movie because you're not white!" is kind of a problematic position to take given history.
    This is just me talking, but every element of a movie needs to be considered. Especially a movie that's tied to a set of lore as complex and involved and very much based on history and mythology of the type Tolkien used. Things need to follow an internal logic or else the audience starts asking questions you don't want them to and gets distracted from the thing you want them to pay attention to.

    Which is a problem with basically every element of laketown. It's the only diverse part of middle earth and there's no real logical reason for the discrepancy. It's also the only place people use oil painting, with even the reasonably advanced Shire not having anything of the sort. It's got a style of statuary that has nothing to do with the neighboring elves and is painted in a way that has no analogues with either Mirkwood or Lonely Mountain statuary at all.

    I mean, there's a certain internal consistency within itself. Bard's regular arrows obviously come from the same family tree as the super-duper-black arrows. The fashion of The Master looks like it comes from a similar school of design as his guards and weapons. Everything within Laketown seems consistent within itself, it just doesn't look consistent when you compare it to literally anything else in any of the movies. It has no elven influence. It has no dwarven influence. There's no Gondor either.

    Without internal consistency, a movie has nothing. It stops being a movie and starts being a mass of disjointed scenes. If you can't keep internal consistency, I'm not even sure you can say you've made much of a film.
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