Not poor story-telling but poor editing IMHO. I think the credits should have rolled after Aragorn’s coronation with everyone bowing to the hobbits, but the rest should have been interspersed with the credits, with Frodo’s journey to the West at the very end.
I thought he put that in deliberately as a bladder-break.
I disagree. One of the most poignant things about LOTR is that the heroes don’t just go off, struggle, and win, and then everyone cheers and it’s over. The bittersweet notes at the end, the way Frodo has changed and can’t adjust back to normal life in the Shire, the final end of the Fellowship at the Gray Havens, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of the books.
Then make that the center of the story. My point isn’t that one type of story is good and other types are bad. What I’m saying is stories need to have focus - especially movies, where you’ve only got two or three hours to tell the story. If you try to tell too much, you end up not giving the story the attention it deserves. Thirty minutes is too little time to adequately tell the story you described and it’s too much time to spend on a diversion from a different story.
What? I was hoping that in the Extended Edition Director’s Cut at least, or whatever the 4 hour version was on DVD/Blu-Ray, that there would be some depiction of The Scouring of the Shire in the book - that they come back to find that Saruman’s spent a year or two taking over and mini-Isengarding the Shire in revenge. The message being, not only can you not “go home again” (what happens to Frodo), but after the war often comes rebuilding what home means in the first place. And it showcases how going on the Quest has affected all four hobbits.
I understand why it was cut (it would have taken quite a bit of screen time to depict), but absent that, I think Jackson absolutely had to show at least the alienation of Frodo and his departure to the West to wrap up the story if it was to retain the true spirit of the books.
You see, Aragorn is not the center of the story arc, despite the title “The Return of the King”. He’s a major heroic character, of course, and a major driver of events - but there’s a reason the LotR is told from a hobbit’s POV and not his, just as there was a storytelling reason that the Ring was Frodo’s to bear and not Aragorn (despite Frodo’s own protestation at Rivendell that “Isildur’s Bane” should rightfully go to Isildur’s Heir). The coronation of Aragorn is the culmination of Aragorn’s quest, but not the end of the story for Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. They have to come full circle back to the Shire (whatever they should find there).
I don’t see why you are trying to paint this as a “different story”; It’s NOT. It’s a different THEME, yes, but to show a different theme doesn’t take hours of film. None of the events leading up to the bittersweet sense of loss need to be different. It’s just in how things end. Not on a high note of “Yay, now you’re the king and we live happily ever after!” but on a somewhat sad note of “Well, we’re home… but home doesn’t feel much like home anymore.”
While I agree that the ending feels awkward as it is, I think that’s mostly the result of the repeated fade-to-black “we’re going to make this look like it’s the end” edits, rather than any flaw in the narrative or even the script (and I’m not the biggest fan of the script, overall - I felt it was the weakest part of all three filmts.)
Edit: Anyway, to get back on topic a little, the thing that concerns me most about The Hobbit is actually the tone - the book is much lighter hearted than LotR, and I don’t think it’ll be much fun if it’s portrayed all DarkGrim and “Realistic”; That worked for LotR, but I don’t think it’s the right way to handle The Hobbit, which is suppose to contain some uncomfortable moments for Bilbo, but eventually become something he looks back on with great fondness, providing a contrast in the way HE was changed by his journey versus the way Frodo was changed by his. Making The Hobbit as a “Lord of the Rings Prequel” with a consistent style is probably not going to work out for me. I mean heck, how is Jackson going to handle Bilbo spending days(weeks in the book, though I expect it’ll be cut down to hours in the film) wandering around the Halls of the Elven King while wearing the Ring in that crazy blurry windspace? It just… I dunno. Worrisome.
They couldn’t go back and do the scouring of the Shire by Sauraman when they killed Suaruman at the beginning of the ROTK.
Merry/Pippen finding the stuff (food, pipeweed, etc) in Sauraman’s walls was supposed to indicate that bad things had spread to the Shire as well - but they did not do a good job of letting that be known.
To me, the actual story was the story of Frodo, Sam and the Fellowship, and their quest to destroy the One Ring, and defeat Sauron. Once that’s done, the part that Jackson filmed was to tie everything up with the members of the Fellowship.
The Scouring of the Shire was to me at least, a sort of sidelight political statement by Tolkien about industrialization, etc… and not necessarily an integral part of the story- Sauron had been defeated, so running Saruman & co. out of the Shire was just mopping up.
That’s why Jackson didn’t film it- it didn’t add anything to the primary story, but Aragorn’s coronation, showing Sam back at the Shire did, and showing Frodo & Bilbo going across the sea did.
Yeah, as excited as I’ve been about The Hobbit, I was somewhat aghast to read that the first movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes (or perhaps 2:50 as you indicate). That’s a long movie, particularly when one considers it’s supposed to be one third of a medium-sized book.
This has been my concern pretty much since they announced this to be a ‘trilogy’. Honestly, I think you could give a rollicking good film rendition of the ENTIRETY of The Hobbit in two hours and fourty five minutes. Trying to blow it out to three times that is just going to result in a lot of…filler.
I saw it last night. My favorite parts were the extended and CGI-heavy Radagast sequences in which he zooms around on a sled pulled by rabbits. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant those were my least favorite parts. Really, the movie was three hours of people getting into danger and tension building before being abruptly saved by someone (usually gandalf).
I loved Fellowship because it focused on a small band of dudes on an epic road trip and obviously this is a lot like that. As long as my favorite parts don’t make a return in the next two films they should both be decent, I think.
Jackson also delivered the “Lovely Bones” which was supposed to be a shoe in for an Oscar but was rather dull. Except for Rachel Weisz.
It has also been pointed out in one or two reviews, that Star Wars prequels were produced over several years and they got better, and ROTS was actually better in many ways to the originals. This was all shot at once, its going to be like this.
The Hobbit and LoTR, the books, were supposed to be actual books in the Middle Earth universe that were written by Bilbo and Frodo about what happened. Bilbo supposedly “wrote” the Hobbit based on his experiences, but The Ring influenced him and caused him to falsify parts of the book (i.e. Tolkien’s first edition, before LoTR existed). The “corrected” Hobbit, with Bilbo telling the truth, represented Tolkien’s revisions to bring it into harmony with LoTR.