The Big Picture: Is The Hobbit Too Long?

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Is The Hobbit Too Long?

MovieBob ponders if The Hobbit is longer than it needed to be.

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I'd have to completely agree with what Bob said. It's long, but held my interest the whole time. Then again, I could eat this fantasy stuff up all the time, so I might not be the best metric for judging it.

A lot of my friends say that it's too long but like you said, I was never bored.
I can put up with some uncomfortableness for a good movie.

Short answer: no. Long answer: nooooooooo.

To me the length of epic movies such as LotR and The Hobbit helps to create that feeling that the world is big and events take a lot of time to happen... Middle earth is huge, and it took 2 year (I think) to get the ring from the Shire to Mt. Doom.

So the length of such movies enhances that feel of adventure and "epicness".

Most of the actions scenes could have been shortened down a bit and been less over the top (The Dwarves' escape from the goblins was really trying too hard to out do the escape from Moria in the Fellowship) One thing I think they could have completely left out? The White Orc subplot.

I was never bored while I watched this movie, but I did role my eyes a few times.

I loved the Hobbit, and besides the climactic battle with the dragon I'm also interested to see what becomes of that necromancer plot thread.

I dunno... I think I could have trimmed a solid minute or two from some of the goblin-full-tilt-kinetic-CGI-o-rama without feeling I'd lost much, but perhaps I'd have felt differently if I'd gotten to see the movie in 48 FPS 3D.

Still, by and large I agree that there isn't that much "fat" to the movie, and I enjoyed it.

It still probably could have been trimmed up in some parts. It's never going to be "too long" for nerds whose first love was The Hobbit and/or similar fantasy stories, but for others an effort should be made to make it a bit more enjoyable/palatable. Obviously a lot of people and critics had a different opinion, and it made the movie less appealing to them.

The only time I really got restless during the movie was Bilbo's house but that was still workable, the one scene that really needed to be shortened was the riddle contest with Golem it just seemed to drag needlessly.

I didn't think it was too long at all. At no part of it did I feel bored or unabsorbed. Then again, I'm much more forgiving than most it seems so take that for what it's worth. ___

Re: how will the content of the book be divided among the next two movies? {beware of spoilers, I guess}

I think the second one will (and/or should) deal with the dwarves meeting Beorn, getting through Mirkwood, making it to Lake Town, and setting off for the Lonely Mountain, while Gandalf leaves them at the edge of Mirkwood and takes care of all or most of the "Necromancer in Mirkwood" plot with the rest of the Wise*. The third movie would then wrap up the Necromancer stuff (if necessary), get all the dragon stuff in, with the destruction of Lake Town and the death of Smaug as the mid-way mini-climax, and then all of the political arguing and Battle of Five Armies happens as the real climax. I like Bob's division, but I'm not sure there's enough material to make the third one seem like it wasn't just tacked on at the end.

*I really hope this is tied in with the dwarves' imprisonment by Thranduil in some way like in the book (sort of). Along the lines of 'these guys are kind of xenophobic because the forest is going all giant spiders and evil sorcery on them,' I guess. I didn't like how Thranduil just seemed like a totally compassionless asshat in the first movie...he wasn't really like that in the book (the way I read it, anyway).

Is it just me or did Bob talk abit faster as in trying to cram in as much as he want to say within his video time?

While you did bring up good point but I did read that parts of the films were like extended scene version in the book, e.g some extended scenes with Radagast and he never had a sled of rabbit nor was he the one who distracted the orc for being the bait.

My concern while part 3 is while it definitely will have that battle (I read the summary of the book) but will the entire film be the battle itself? I mean at least with the Two Tower and Return of the King. during the battle scene it still at least cut away to show Frodo and Sam. If I did read correctly, there isn't another thing that also going on at the same time as the battle, maybe they will show different character perspectives?

I do think the movie is too long. Not that I would remove entirely any part in particular (since some can foreshadow events in the next movies) and I wasn't bored, but I think some of them were longer that they should (and some ended abruptly)... Put in another way, many of the scenes I would have expected in the "Extended Edition".

The problem isn't the actual runtime: Django was as long, but I never got bored or noticed that it was going on so long.

The problem with The Hobbit is that parts of it, especially the action scenes, are really boring to watch. They play like scaled-down versions of LotR encounters, with no attempt made to make them interesting or unique and set pieces that often we've all seen done better in other films. The film seems terrified of ever letting things be dark, which leaves the meeting with Gollum far less atmospheric than it ought to be and makes the escape from the goblins in the mountain (even with all the we-wish-we-were-Jackie-Chan business with ladders and boards and the humorous interludes that don't quite fit) far less visually interesting than the one described in the book (tense fighting down narrow, twisting passages illuminated only by glowing swords and the occasional goblin torch).

Also, the three consecutive openings were completely unnecessary. It would have been much better to open either with the first old Bilbo segment, fading from the illustration of young Bilbo to his actual face, or to open immediately with young Bilbo and the opening line from the book (which makes no sense in the film's context of Bilbo narrating a story he intends Frodo to read, because Frodo knows exactly what hobbits and hobbit holes are) and then play the Smaug flashback over the dwarves singing about it, with the full song instead of the out-of-place narration (the film immediately cuts to a different narrator, the first narrator never comes back, and enough people fell in love with that song and requested a longer version after seeing the first trailer to demonstrate that audiences would have sat for it).

I do feel like this movie could've used tighter editing. Shorter shots here and there, less Radagast, significantly shorter goblin scenes... but on the whole I feel like it was pretty good. Most of my problems with it are less for length and more for general pacing (it's inconsistant, going back and forth between fast and slow quite suddenly), not too different from the theatrical versions of Lord of the Rings. I hope Jackson releases a Director's Cut (not an extended edition this time around, it doesn't need that) which smooths out the pacing a bit.

P.S. Thanks

yep, bob. couldn't agree more
it's not perfect because nothing's perfect it cant shock you with it's
great cinematography because you've seen it all before and as us regular
movie bob listeners know nostalgia is blindingly effective it's not going
to surpass a technically more robust story that can be told easier
( lord of the rings ) with an heavily exposition laden film
and it had to be what it was because otherwise the rest of the films
would be weaker as a result anyone who knows anything about any artistic
medium knows preparation is everything and without it you have no
context or reason to care

personally i'm excited to see the next films and i rarely bother going
to see anything at the cinema so that says it all really!

I thought the movie was a good length. The other people in the cinema maybe not so much. I mean, they seemed far more entertained by the fruit bat that invaded the cinema while it was playing.

As long as the watcher isn't bored it isn't too long, unless it has like a 5 hour run time with no potty break. Then again I grew up in the 90, when they were all about the 3 to 4 hour movies.

Is one Rivendell scene too long. Serious, the Rivendell "videodcast" really boring me.

"Look you stupid nerd fan boy, characters of the Lord of the Rings cameo, now you can masturbate!"

15 minutes wasted.

MovieBob:
Is The Hobbit Too Long?

MovieBob ponders if The Hobbit is longer than it needed to be.

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There are 13 Dwarves.

I would say the Hobbit was the perfect length. The only time I ever checked my watch was when I was trying to figure out how much more awesome i was going to be able to see.

It didn't feel that long. It felt just right.

Mangue Surfer:
Is one Rivendell scene too long. Serious, the Rivendell "videodcast" really boring me.

"Look you stupid nerd fan boy, characters of the Lord of the Rings cameo, now you can masturbate!"

You're implying I didn't stop after the quote "I am a Baggins - of Bag End."

LotR bored me, and I'm betting these movies will too. The scenery porn was especially boring for me. But if the metric is subjective, than it is probably lost on me anyway.

I just wish "epic" meant more than "long." I'd like bigger movies, but when I read or watch "epic" fantasy, I just find myself thinking about their "quantity over quality" concept.

bdcjacko:
As long as the watcher isn't bored it isn't too long, unless it has like a 5 hour run time with no potty break. Then again I grew up in the 90, when they were all about the 3 to 4 hour movies.

There were like, 10 of them.

So the long, ponderous stretches with no dialogue and extensive focus on the characters, where we're supposed to glean their inner thoughts for ourselves, is a deliberate design choice in 2001, and not actually boring?

What's Kubrick's excuse in all his other films, save Clockwork Orange?

My only complaint so far?

"Now we discuss our plans, our ways, means, policies, and devices."

It's my favorite line from the book and they didn't use it. I mean, I know when trying to fit such a slender book into nine hours of superlative cinema you inevitably do not have room for everything but I really miss the line.

Still, if that's the worst I can say about it then that's pretty good.

I wasn't really bored either (other than the house party part, though I never enjoyed all this singsong stuff) and overall really enjoyed the movie.

However, after a while I needed to pee really hard... too much coke.
so a better question imo is:
Should breaks be used again for long(er than normal) movies?

I mean it would probably increase the amount of snacks the theaters sell, right?

As I've said before I think the problem was the 3D. To be honest a huge amount of the set up and wasted time seems to be in contreiving reasons to have the dwarves dangling over chasms or whatever and then panning the camera around to show off all of that "dazzling 3d". As someone who gets headaches from 3d, I watched this movie without it, and to be honest without those FX you can actually see how much of it was drawn out to create these scenes that are largely only worthwhile in light of the 3D gimmick.

Truthfully, 3D is sticking around longer than I thought it would, as Hollywood sticks with it in a dogged effort to not see it die out again as a useless gimmick, but I think it will die out again. Something I'm happy for because when I see a 3D movie I have to pre-dose with painkillers and then usually lay down afterwards, and I'm hardly alone in that it seems, which means Hollywood is cutting out a decent portion of their audience by pushing this. It also means that I think a lot of movies like this one are going to be panned in the long run when people view them without the 3D bells and whistles.

Or in short form... I think it's the 3D that made the movie too long, and there is probably a divide between movie goers who saw it in 2D and 3D that influances this. I haven't complained too much overall because I'm a huge sword and sorcery fan, and am glad to see the movie, but I stand by how they should have subtiled the movie "The Misadventures Of The Dangling Dwarves" rather than "The Unexpected Journey" because really the dangling and swinging around is kind of the point of a lot of the scenes of the movie and if your not getting the 3D pay off, it's a lot of wasted space.

I think I just understood 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unfortunately, as I now understand it, the parts where I wanted to kill myself and also slit the throat of the fabric of space so that everything would sort of spill out in a disgusting, agonizing, chaotic way culminating in the utter destruction of the entire universe and most especially of any existence I once had or would have had in the future, actually did their job well. But I still don't want to kill myself, or horribly murder time and space, so I'd say the movie still failed to provide a useful experience to me. However, as I have not yet seen the Hobbit, I am glad to know that it is not, in fact, too long, and Bob's analysis of the content of the next two movies leaves me reasonably comfortable with the notion that those won't be too long or unnecessary either. I'm especially excited to see how they develop the final battle, with the hope that there will be enough world-building going on during the first two movies to allow the third to consist almost entirely of action, rather than exposition.

artanis_neravar:

MovieBob:
Is The Hobbit Too Long?

MovieBob ponders if The Hobbit is longer than it needed to be.

Watch Video

There are 13 Dwarves.

I would say the Hobbit was the perfect length. The only time I ever checked my watch was when I was trying to figure out how much more awesome i was going to be able to see.

Bob has a weird blind spot when it comes to the number of dwarves. He was corrected before. It bugs me because Tolkien stressed it as a justification for adding Bilbo to the party. Thirteen is an unlucky number, and since Gandalf can't be with them all of the time, they need a 14th member.

Im a huge fantasy geek, so movies like The Hobbit just holds my interest the whole lenght of the movie. I eat stuff like this up.

OtherSideofSky:
The problem isn't the actual runtime: Django was as long, but I never got bored or noticed that it was going on so long.

This. Cloud Atlas was also as long, but I never got bored with it either (I could see how someone else would be confused by that one though).

I mostly found the pacing problems to be in the first hour. Once they finally leave Bag End, the rest of the movie pretty much clicked for me.

The very beginning bothered me a bit, and I went and watched the opening of Fellowship of the Ring to figure out why. At the beginning of Fellowship, it takes about 5 minutes to tell the story of the War of the Last Alliance, the Siege of Barad-dur, Isildur failing to destroy the One Ring, the Ring being lost when Isildur is ambushed, and Gollum finding it. Meanwhile, the beginning of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey takes about 15 minutes to explain who Smaug is, why the dwarves want him dead, and why Thorin hates the elves. Most of that time is spent showing Ian Holm and Elijah Wood. I felt that could have been cut back somewhat.

Too long, period.

I saw this film twice and I was bored 30 minutes before the ending; coming from a big Tolkien fan that's not exactly something I'm proud to state.

I agree with Bob that the establishing scenes in Bilbo's home were necessary. I enjoyed that part of the film and think it was incredibly well done. I also agree that they ended the movie exactly where it should have ended, utilising a significantly climactic encounter as the big finale.

I do however disagree that certain scenes couldn't be cut. As much as I love Sylvester McCoy and his portrayal of Radaghast The Brown, it didn't need to be in the movie. His scenes in the forest, the discovery of the necromancer, Gandalf's visit to the White Council... none of this content added any value to the story. It was all just tenuous throwbacks to a trilogy that won't happen in that world for another 80 odd years. As a fan, I didn't appreciate the references as much as I thought I might.

The Pale Orc however? I actually liked that sub-plot. It helped to bulk out Thorin's character, something that was very much needed. In the book Thorin isn't much different from the other dwarves, apart from being in charge, and considering what he does when they finally reclaim the mountain... yeah you needed a stronger personality for that to seem even remotely possible. I feel that his vengeance towards the Pale Orc and his entirely overblown hatred of the Elves (compared to the book) are all completely necessary additions.

I was never completely bored and enjoyed the movie, but it couldn't hurt to have some trimming here and there.

It has been mentioned a couple of times already, but the goblin chase scene really dragged on. The shots in that scene also jumped around constantly and made trying to keep any cohesive spatial relationships nearly impossible.

Was it too long? Yes. Period. He is pulling stuff from the Similarion to pad the story on and milk money from the content. Star wars anyone?

quantum mechanic:
Re: how will the content of the book be divided among the next two movies? {beware of spoilers, I guess}

I think the second one will (and/or should) deal with the dwarves meeting Beorn, getting through Mirkwood, making it to Lake Town, and setting off for the Lonely Mountain, while Gandalf leaves them at the edge of Mirkwood and takes care of all or most of the "Necromancer in Mirkwood" plot with the rest of the Wise*. The third movie would then wrap up the Necromancer stuff (if necessary), get all the dragon stuff in, with the destruction of Lake Town and the death of Smaug as the mid-way mini-climax, and then all of the political arguing and Battle of Five Armies happens as the real climax. I like Bob's division, but I'm not sure there's enough material to make the third one seem like it wasn't just tacked on at the end.

*I really hope this is tied in with the dwarves' imprisonment by Thranduil in some way like in the book (sort of). Along the lines of 'these guys are kind of xenophobic because the forest is going all giant spiders and evil sorcery on them,' I guess. I didn't like how Thranduil just seemed like a totally compassionless asshat in the first movie...he wasn't really like that in the book (the way I read it, anyway).

I think they are going to make the second movie take care of most of the build-up of getting to Smaug (including sneaking into the cave) and gathering the Wise. Then, the third movie has a structure built around three battles:

1) Smaug comes in, wrecks Laketown, and is killed; a good 30 minutes of action to kick it off.

2) The dwarves and Bilbo spend most of this time talking; negotiating with the elves and humans, summoning the rest of the dwarf clan, etc. To prevent people from getting bored, this is intercut with the Wise going into the depths of Mirkwood and banishing the Necromancer.

3) Gandalf drops out of the movie for a bit so it can focus on the rising tensions at the Mountain. The "good races" start squaring off, then the Orcs come in for a nice final battle sequence.

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