Sunday 18 January 2015

My Tears for Hobbit III

(I do refer to the ending of Hobbit III, so only read if you already know or have seen the film yourself.)

You know, if you follow my blog for a while, that I am not a hardcore Tolkien or Hobbit fan. I have major reservations against both and don't like the factual writing style of both Tolkien and his friend C.S. Lewis.

So my reservations to go into the third part of "The Hobbit" were major. (Especially when I was already well aware of the necessary ending.)

The only reason, why I follow the trilogy and the filming so closely is RA. Otherwise, only the used new filming technology would have been able to draw me to the project.

So, starting with the hard background facts, I now can go on with the bad things first, what I don't like about the third part, to later get to what I really liked and what brought me to tears at the end (sorry, RA, unfortunately not you).

In this earlier post, Thorin & A Lot More (Relevant part starting quite far down in the last two sectors with: The one thing lots of J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis (Narnia) interpretations don't mention, ...)
I already wrote how I interpret "The Hobbit" and why I only accept a slim way of interpretation.
I also see that my interpreting of the reasons which lead to the conflict and war, are hard to depict in a film. So it was to be expected that Sir Peter Jackson would have to avoid this rather underhanded reasoning and go for the obvious and depictable reasons.

Unfortunately, he did exactly that, but it is nothing I had not anticipated ahead of time. So during the film I took notice of what I found a too strongly stressed 'dragon sickness', which makes Thorin Oakenshield the obvious war-cause. (Which in the book, he is not.)
The ambivalent reasoning and accumulation of war causes is about the only thing I really like about "The Hobbit" book, by the way. The way the build up for war is written into the reasoning of each side and their traditions and commemorations of their ancestors. There is not the one aggressor, the one reason, the one cause, like in the film. You still can glimpse a bit of the original, but the film focuses too much on the dragon sickness of Thorin, to be to my liking. It makes the reason for war too easy, too obvious, too computer game like, too unquestionable, too un-research-worthy, too common place. That takes away from the one thing of reality Tolkien had built into his story line, and makes it a simple film answer.
I know the way film scripts work, I know the things that can be expressed in dialogue and pictures are limited. Still, I miss the ambivalence concerning this question in the film.


As I had anticipated that anyway, with all the focus on the size changing dragon, which by the way still did not impress me, that aspect did not distract from my enjoyment of the last part of "The Hobbit" trilogy.

And what I now really enjoyed about the third part of "The Hobbit", was the homogenous integration of the 3D effects. They worked perfectly and enhanced the film experience greatly for me.
For the first time, they really felt completely comfortable, not added, but as they should be. So I must admit, though I knew the sad ending, I liked the third part best of all.

I just wonder, what stories the dwarves will tell about Thorin in the future, as none of them, not even Bilbo Baggins, have seen his heroic fight. (Or perhaps will they get a copy of Sir Peter Jackson's film, to tell the true story?) No point of critique, just something I wondered about.
I also wondered about the military strategy of the dwarves and elves. In the way the dwarves used Roman formation, they would have killed the elves together with the other opponents without further distinction. That was a film strategy, I clearly did not understand and am sure would not have worked in a real battle environment. (Also most of the other fighting scenes are far from a real setting, but computer game like, where after killing an opponent, one just takes the strength of the killed opponent and can go on fighting forever.)
So I clearly am not the greatest fan of the mass fighting scenes, though they make the most work producing and I see what great effort was put into them. 

The thing which brought me to tears strangely was a role I so far had not much cared about. The king of the elves, Thranduil. Recognising that time and reason is not everything, but that emotion has its place in the world and the working of things. That was a hard process for him to come to that conclusion and a hard mental fight with his 'loved' son.
This emotionally impressed me so much, that Tauriel and Kili, as well as Thorin and Bilbo were pressed into the background.

Sorry, Thorin. But your death scene was good, but I had expected it. I was disappointed that nobody will be able to tell about your true bravery in your last battle (except the watchers of the film, but not your fellow dwarves or hobbits or elves or ...)
And I must admit, for me Bilbo distracted from the severeness of the scene. I just see him as a constant humorist, so the tragic moment was lost on me.

Fili and Kili were more tragic for me (though I knew they had to die as well), but still, the realising of the death of a life concept by Thranduil still beat everything else for me.

Just thinking about it - what I do miss in the three Hobbit-films: 
  • Where is Thorin's father? 
  • Where is the explanation for how Gandalf got the key from Thorin's father?
  • Where is the explanation for how Thorin's father disappeared and no longer has a right to the throne of the dwarves?
  • Who will be able to document the death of Thorin and sing about it to future dwarf generations, when all were either asleep or far away at the time it happened?
  • Where is Thorin's burial ceremony? (Had thought they possibly could take notes for King Richard III's re-burial in Leicester in March 2015. No, nothing. Bilbo just tries to quietly steal away. How unceremonious for a 'dear friend', as he last had proclaimed.)

I did not read any of the other Hobbit III reviews, so if I repeat things or don't refer to anything, that is because of my total ignorance. (I am living on work cloud XX right now)  ;o)


  1. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that the Durins' funeral will be in the extended edition (it's in the design documentation they published and there were glimpses of it in some of the trailers). Good point about the witnessing of Thorin's struggle. My understanding is that while the EE will be about a half hour longer again, there won't be much more Thorin in it -- Armitage has said that almost all of his scenes were included in the theatrical release.

    You have a more sophisticated reading of The Hobbit as an explanation of that battle that I have ever been able to develop -- good for you.

    1. Thank you, Servetus.
      There was indeed lots of Thorin in this third part. Perhaps that is the cause why I like this part best ;o)
      The other dwarves were rather scarce. I hope they get more film time in the EE.
      They were developed so lovely and in the entirety of the three films just got too few screen times to show their fun loving attitudes. I had hoped for more singing and music as well. A battle cry / song would even have done for me. Those are thought to be musical dwarves?

      With the Hobbit and the battle, in a way I see it as Tolkien's struggle to explain why 'small' people who had no reason to fight each other in WWI, went to war and were brought up against each other. People who otherwise would not kill a fly.
      I once asked my grandfather if his time in the war prison was a hard time and he answered, the prison guards were just as motivated to be there as he was and originally were farmers and small crafts men like he was, so they got along just fine. It is this part of the reasoning, which I miss in the film, that people who do not like war, are pressed to fight it. (Good, I did not like the role of the bard in the film, so his reasoning was off for me anyway. Though he would have been the best representative of this war interpretation, but missed it totally in my view. He had the necessary elements of fellow citizens, family, children, etc. to protect But he did not work for me, to get this message across. The focus went too much onto the money - see: dragon sickness - and not the things that should have motivated the bard. The elements were all there, but still ...
      Perhaps they fell short because of the war machine like enemies. I don't know why, but that argument string about the city in the film just did not work for me at all.)