Friday, October 06, 2017

why "The Hobbit Sucks," parts 1-5

I found an interesting video series narrated by a Canuck who has many a bone to pick with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. The first video, Part One, goes over problems of characterization and always returns to the basic premise that expanding the story into a nine-hour trilogy was a fundamental mistake, an opinion with which I heartily agree, even if I did end up liking parts of that trilogy. I've watched Part 1 of the series and will soon delve into Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5. For your edification and delectation, I've embedded all five videos here.

Annoyingly, the title of the video series seems to depend on which label you're reading. The videos themselves seem to be titled "The Hobbit Sucks," if the thumbnail images are to be believed. Meanwhile, the titles below the videos and superimposed on their frames say "Why The Hobbit Sucks," so you're on your own when it comes to nomenclature.


  1. Just by looking at the video subtitles, I can tell that I'm going to agree with a lot of what is said. In my original reviews of the films (and in what I wrote in the lead-up to the films, outlining why I thought the trilogy was going to be disappointing) I also came back to the fundamental flaw of taking a book like The Hobbit and trying to stretch it into an LOTR-style trilogy. That is, to borrow a phrase, the root of all the evil we end up seeing on the screen. Also, I'm guessing the video about the dwarves has something to do with the fact that the dwarves weren't really thirteen individual characters in the books, but they needed to be individual (and interesting!) characters for the films. Oh, and Tauriel... dear God.

    I'm not sure if I should watch these. I've made my peace with the Hobbit films... I don't know if I want to go digging in that graveyard again.

  2. Oh, go on and watch. Such delicious self-torture.

  3. So I did watch... and it wasn't as torturous as I thought it would be. The dude had a lot of interesting stuff to say. There was some stuff that I instinctively rebelled against (like the idea that more should have been done with Tauriel rather than less), but he argued all his points rather well and was quite convincing. Good stuff all around.

  4. Yeah, I watched the rest of the episodes last night. This does raise the meta-question of how Peter Jackson forgot all of his storytelling wisdom in moving from one trilogy to the next. Alas, I think it does come down to a cynical cash grab.

    Like you, I rebelled at some of what the critic was saying, e.g., don't be so beholden to the books. Would the story have worked better with, say, only seven dwarves(!) instead of thirteen? Who knows? I did, however, appreciate the critic's pining for a Guillermo del Toro version of the story. I'd like to have seen that, too. Hélas.

  5. I'd like to think that it wasn't a cynical cash grab, but I have no foundation for that, other than wishful thinking.

    Yeah, the dwarves thing threw me for a loop when I first heard it, too... but he kind of has a point. I mean, this was something that I latched on to early on, the fact that it was just never going to work with thirteen dwarves on film. The whole reason Tolkien chose that number in the first place was simply to have a reason to invite Bilbo along, other than to be the burglar. So I guess you really do have two choices. Either you stick with the thirteen dwarves because you want to be faithful to the book and just deal with the fact that it's never really going to work, or you "adapt" the number to work on film. I was thinking about this last night, actually. What if we had six dwarves, and Bilbo was chosen to make the lucky number seven? You would have Thorin, of course, and Balin as well, and you would need an heir to Thorin, too. Fili and Kili are more or less interchangeable, so you just have one heir instead of two. Bombur is a fairly important character at certain points in the book, so that's four. I guess you kind of have to have Gloin as well, being the father of Gimli (and also one of the fire starters). For the final dwarf, I guess you could go with one of the Ori/Nori/Dori trio, or just scrap that bunch entirely and go with Dwalin, being that he was a closer kinsman than Ori/Nori/Dori anyway.

    Hmm. The wheels are turning now, but I've got to get going.



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