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Old 01-14-2013, 12:23 AM   #1
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The Hobbit: A New Level of CGI

I know there are other threads on The Hobbit, but they all seem too focused on the 48FPS and no one is talking about the movie, and particularly the CGI. I didn't see it in 48 fps and really don't care about that discussion anyway. As for CG, though, I haven't been so impressed by CGI in ages.

First off, I have to wonder about the Orc King. Was he 100% CGI or a guy in a suit with CG enhancements? I really couldn't tell. Clearly he is played by an actor, but that could be in the same vein as Andy Serkis playing Gollum. He looked real to me. I remember in the original trilogy orcs and goblins were guys in suits. I suspect some still were in this one, and if they weren't I am blown away. The goblin king was much more obviously CG. This is not to say he looked less real, just that he is so misshapen that there is no way he was a guy in a suit.

I suspect a lot of the running around under ground was all CG, just like in the original trilogy when they were running from the Balrog, but this time it looked absolutely flawless. I can't believe I read a review that claimed this movie had "video game graphics". I take that to be a great compliment to games today.

Strangely, the animals were the least realistic of the CG elements. The wolves did that much overused twitchy lip thing and their fur was not quite there. They looked better than the previous trilogy, but not as good as the animals in, say, Narnia or Snow White and the Huntsman. Considering how perfect their humanoid CG creatures were, and that should be the hardest thing to do, the animals were a bit of surprise. Don't get me wrong. They were not bad by any means. They were great, and did not pull me out of the film or anything, just not up to level of the other great stuff in this film.

I am guessing I "saw" many matte paintings that I actually didn't see. The world they created was astounding. The sweeping camera was still a bit much, and that might be what led one reviewer to equate it with a video game feel, but it did not detract from the realism for me.

The most important thing for me was that it truly felt like a part of the LOTR series. I mean it felt like just another visit to that world. The music by Howard Short was mostly the same, but the new drawf theme or "Lonely Mountain" theme is amazing and already stuck in my head. It is hard to believe ten years or more have passed since the originals and that this wasn't made together with the others. I read that Del Toro was originally slated to direct and I have to say I am glad he didn't. I love his work, but I don't think it would have been even remotely similar in tone and it would have felt like a different world.

As far as the books, I do have to wonder now, if Tolkien has really planned that the ring Bilbo picks up would have such a history as would lead to LOTR, and if the history of Gollum was equally planned or not. I had heard complaints about how they expanded this short book into three films, but I also know that Tolkien wrote a lot of information in the appendices of LOTR and in many other places, even supposedly unpublished notes about the world and its history and that this was used to expand on the story.

Either way, I loved it, and I am given hope for CGI once again.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teruchan

As far as the books, I do have to wonder now, if Tolkien has really planned that the ring Bilbo picks up would have such a history as would lead to LOTR, and if the history of Gollum was equally planned or not.



Tolkien's world is far more complex than movies are capable to translate, and yes he had every detail carefully planed. You might be confused with some stuff in the movie because they don't have much logic and are made up by screenwriters. Some parts were completely changed from the book for the worse ( Elfs in the prologue, Gandalf that doesn't have authority and lacks his wisdom, Saruman dealing with dwarfs business, made up mountains fighting at the end etc. )
The best part imho is Riddles in the dark, Gollum looks and acts marvelously, definitely material for the oscar.
VFX were fine though, can you expect something different from Weta, I watched movie in 24fps so my point of view is based on that.
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Old 01-14-2013, 01:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyBug
Tolkien's world is far more complex than movies are capable to translate, and yes he had every detail carefully planed. You might be confused with some stuff in the movie because they don't have much logic and are made up by screenwriters. Some parts were completely changed from the book for the worse ( Elfs in the prologue, Gandalf that doesn't have authority and lacks his wisdom, Saruman dealing with dwarfs business, made up mountains fighting at the end etc. )
The best part imho is Riddles in the dark, Gollum looks and acts marvelously, definitely material for the oscar.


Tolkien's world is very, very thoroughly planned, but the overwhelming majority of that planning took place after he wrote the Hobbit, so there are some inconsistencies between the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and the Silmirillion. In fact, Tolkien actually changed the Riddles in the Dark passage of the Hobbit between the first and second print runs in order to bring it more in line with Lord of the Rings: originally, Gollum gave Bilbo the Ring willingly, which of course makes no sense given Gollum's character in LoTR.

Also, while it's been a while since I've read the Hobbit, I'm almost certain the storm giants are in it.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:55 AM   #4
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I haven't read this stuff since I was a kid, but yeah, I was commenting on how The Hobbit was written first and everything else came after, which would have allowed him time to expand on everything.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:16 AM   #5
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I found the film to be...average. Honestly, it FELT like they were stretching 1 story over 3 movies.
Visually it was amazing, but I have to say I found Prometheus to be the best film (visually speaking only) of 2012. The Hobbit felt a little too...over designed. The dwarves for instance...their costumes felt like they were designed for characters-whereas in LOTR, Aragorns costume (for example) felt like clothing someone had lived in. They felt worn, and built up-not designed.

There was also not enough characterization of the dwarves. Quickly, name 6, and tell me about them (other than 'The fat one, the joking one, the one with the star shaped hair').

For me, I had the same feeling when watching this as I did when watching the new SW Prequels...that a bit of the randomness and magic had been taken away. That the happy mistakes weren't there anymore. It almost felt like a beautifully designed, and immensely rehearsed stage play.

CGI wise, as always, WETA were at the top of their game. I just wish the rest of the movie held up!
 
Old 01-14-2013, 06:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyBug
Tolkien's world is far more complex than movies are capable to translate, and yes he had every detail carefully planed. You might be confused with some stuff in the movie because they don't have much logic and are made up by screenwriters. Some parts were completely changed from the book for the worse ( Elfs in the prologue, Gandalf that doesn't have authority and lacks his wisdom, Saruman dealing with dwarfs business, made up mountains fighting at the end etc. )


Tolkien's world is far more complex than just the book itself too it seems you need to read more of his work. The fighting mountains while not quite how I've ever imagined or seen them previously depicted are the Stone giants (not storm but close enough) The were tossing rocks back and fourth not fighting wrestling. It is the very reason they took shelter in the cave.

The appendices slimarillion and such have been integrated into the story, which is why it is not simply being stretched into two movies but three. There's that much extra stuff. Int he book, Gandalf constantly disappears and even acknowledges more important matters he has to attend to, with a lot of references to Necromancer and such. These are all covered in other places and for the first time that I know being integrated into the fold. While nice in that respect it is drawing it out for profit, and also making for a much more complex story to follow. It was the same in LOTR, the relationship between Aragorn and Arwen is nowhere near that level of detail in the books, its the appendices that contain a more detailed history and explanation of that relationship.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:48 PM   #7
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Obviously we read different books because in mine those were regular giants throwing rocks and not clashing mountains capable of destroying everything and anything.
Also Gandalf was dealing with something else and not necromancer and was much wiser in the book. The only reason why they are making 3 movies is simple and thats money othervise they wouldnt make such a mess.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:29 PM   #8
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Overall I liked the movie a lot. The orcs chasing the lads through the cavern was my favourite part. Also I was glad to see the old master Christopher Lee included in the film. Deleting the key scene with his character and Gandalf fighting in LOTR was bad form in my opinion.

A couple of things in Hobbit threw me off. The elves in the cottage singing and throwing plates was unexpected and irritating for me, it made that part of the film feel like it was for 5 year olds. The trolls in the forest were well done, but their dialog was terribly dumb and reminded me of something from Hansel & Gretel.
To be fair, only having a couple of annoyances in a 3 hour film is pretty good in my book.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillster
Overall I liked the movie a lot. The orcs chasing the lads through the cavern was my favourite part. Also I was glad to see the old master Christopher Lee included in the film. Deleting the key scene with his character and Gandalf fighting in LOTR was bad form in my opinion.


I must not have seen the theatrical version of Return of the King! To my memory, Gandalf and Saruman fighting was always in the movie.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:33 PM   #10
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