03 October 2016

Gods This Hurts

I sat down to give Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy an honest watch.

I can't do it.

Setting aside all of the changes from the source material, it's the narrative choices which would be unneeded if the series was pared down to, at most, three hours total.

Rankin and Bass managed to get the story into just 77 minutes, and they included musical interludes!  They skipped the material that Jackson added back in from the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and remained focused purely on the book.

It's the pacing that kills it more than anything.  The "exciting" chase scenes plod along as filler just as much as the sweeping vistas.  They don't advance the plot and make us wonder why dwarves are afraid of dragons when they can survive all the blunt force trauma of their escapes from Goblin and Elf!

A more focused version would have been able to skip the conceit of the personal feud between Azog and Thorin.  Which is forced in just to pad the run time.

Strangely I also noticed on this watching that Azog shouldn't be speaking Black Speech, but normal Goblin.  Misty Mountain Goblins aren't from Mordor!


  1. It isn't established by Tolkien that Azog is a Misty Mountain orc, although that is the reasonable assumption. He could have been an orc from Dol Guldur, and thus would indeed know Black Speech.

    1. I'm thinking that he should speak Goblin because until Sauron is driven from Dol Guldur, they were trying to keep his return on the down-low and using Black Speech openly, even among fellow Goblins, was a no-go.

      As scanty as mentions of Azog are in the original texts, he could be from Peoria, IL and should be speaking Swahili...

      He's named just once in The Hobbit and alluded to in The Lord of the Rings just a couple of times.

      The film's notes say he's from Gundabad, in the Northern Misty Mountains... so he should be speaking Goblin by their own character notes!

    2. I had to look all that up on fan-geek sites. A wonderful time-wasting experience if you've got some time to waste and love reading labors of true love. I also note that I am quite forgiving compared to some in their dislike of the liberties Jackson took.

    3. Never mind Azog should be 140 years DEAD before the events in The Hobbit! Azog was snuffed by the very same Dáin Ironfoot who comes to Thorin's aid at The Battle of Five Armies.

  2. Ever read the Tolkien pastiches written by Dennis L. McKiernan? McKiernan originally attempted to write a sequel to LOTR, the tale of how the dwarves re-conquered Moria, but the Tolkien heirs nixed it, so he made a few changes and published it anyway. He's written over a dozen books in his Mithgar saga; the first 6 are pure Tolkien pastiche, then he starts incorporating original material of his own. Fun books, and an enchanting universe. To read them in their proper sequence you'd start with the Iron Tower trilogy, which is basically LOTR re-told.


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