The Big Picture: Is The Hobbit Too Long?

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For all the extra plots that were hinted but got expanded here, they still haven't explained the deux ex machina that are the hawks (they save Gandalf in Two towers as well), in the books it's somewhat explained, but still if you haven't read the books it's a pretty weird occurrence.

It's not that it's too long, but, as mentioned, the episodic sequence of events didn't give me any sense of adventure or epicness, the world feels limited with characters just popping in and out with not much emotional influence on the characters.

Of course you could've made it shorter, please don't bs it can't be done, the whole brown wizard/necromancer plot line could have been removed, as well as the mountain/rock giants fighting (the scene really comes out of nowhere and ends without any influence on the characters, if it was gone you wouldn't notice a thing).
That's not even making the harder cuts, you could remove the whole white orc plotline and still make it a movie (maybe in 2 parts, not 3).

All the extra filling amounts to having people waiting 2 more years for the story to finish and, unlike the LoTR trilogy which really had more definitive endings in each part, this story (in a book that's thinner than any of the LoTR books btw) is stretched out so thinly that it has a story progression of Lost or any other modern series which is extremely annoying if your expectations are different (and bets are they were).

I didn't actually mind the length of the movie, but the movie lacked emotion and atmosphere.

this episode could've been a lot shorter on itself.
just: "No, it was not too long. It was awesome. I'm Bob and that's the big picture"
:D

After I saw this movie I remembered a Joke about the last Star Trek movie: They said JJ was going to release a 5 hour version of the movie with all the discussions of the romulan senate for the "true" star trek fans.

I like Lord of The Rings, I thought the 3 movies were incredible, but for me, it is not so engaging to entertain me for 3 hours straight in a plot that is indeed a series of captures and escapes.

The question of "Is it too long" depends on how much you like to be emersed in Tolkien's universe, even when there isn't much happening. In my humble opinion, it is a resounding YES.

Zachary Amaranth:

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.

For the most part though the 90s had much fewer big release a year, unlike today where there are more movies released a month than for all summer 1992

Nope... plain and simple. The film didn't bore me, I was entertained throughout. And that's all I really need to question if a film is too long.

It felt a bit like the extended LotR films true...but they're the only LotR films I watch now days.

Although the films would probably be the exact same length and even more rushed/packed if they were still doing it as two films. There's so much you need to show.

While I did enjoy the movie, I have to admit that it did feel like it dragged on at points. The riddles in the dark scene felt like it could have ended two riddles sooner with no ill-effect. The beginning scene with older Bilbo and Frodo seemed pretty pointless for how long it lasted (though I suppose we'll see if they tie it in more with the next movies). The beginning of the troll scene was just stupidly padded in my opinion and would be the main area I'd say could have been cut down. Even the final battle felt like sections of it were unnecessary. All and all there were multiple points I felt the movie could have used some trimming to keep pace. But at the same time there weren't many points where I became bored.

Overall it'll be hard to tell what was and was not important until we see the final product (all three movies).

I found it waay too long, especially due to poor action sequences that doesnīt really accomplish anything. I really miss somekind of narrative structure in the action, most of the time itīs just stuff happening for a loooong time. Fellowship of the ring was just as long, but a lot more exciting because every moment has a clear stated purpose.

I really wish they hadnīt added Azog, he was imo the worst part of the movie, and heīs the catalysator of a lot of the worst scenes in the movie. Remove Azog and add more clever suspense scenes like the Riddle scene, and it would be a lot more exciting to watch, as far as iīm concerned.

I would probably also have ditched everything related to the Goblin king and focused on Bilbo instead, thatīs also a lot stronger as the movies climax than whatever the dwarves are doing. They didnīt really accomplish much, we didnīt learn anything, so really there wasnīt much reason to show it, or to even have anything happen to them. Donīt they just travel alone without Bilbo in the book, in that segment? I donīt really remember the book focussing on anything outside of Bilbos meeting with Gollum (I realize i was wrong, the it just needed to be better, a lot better.), and then later he teams up and they get attacked by wolves. Oh and by removing Azog you also fix one of my other main issues with the film, the entire chase scene with Radagast and the orcs sucked and seemed rather pointless and illogical (he keeps returning to the people who he is trying to protect by leading the orcs away from them). Probably the worst action scene iīve seen all year alongside the stuff with the Goblin King. Which is a shame, because there are soo many great things in the Hobbit.

Meh, I've seen it two times now, not once was I bored or fidgety during the run time of the movie. Great movie, looking forward to the next instalments :D

Callate:
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.

That wouldn't really have made the movie feel any shorter, though, because as you said and as Bob argued in this video, the film just doesn't have a lot of extra "film fluff" to it. It's got a lot of filler, sure, the book did too, but that's the entire point. The filler doesn't feel excessive or overdone, because it was mostly the entire point to begin with.

I'm actually glad it's being stretched out to three films. People say that less happens in The Hobbit comparatively to The Lord of the Rings, and yes, that's true, but a lot more happens in The Hobbit than happened in, say, The Fellowship of the Ring. I can't see how they would have shortened the narrative structure of The Hobbit in to one three-hour film and still maintained the charm and wonder that the book captured, and I appreciate seeing how much they've actually managed to adapt from the book simply because it's being stretched out over so many films.

OtherSideofSky:

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).

That would have been pretty cool, that way they could also maintain the mystery a bit longer, instead of spilling the beans right away. When we watch the movie, we know why the dwarves are there, because we basically just saw why they came.

First time I've watched a full one of these, but I don't think I will again. I don't get all these black-and-white faces MovieBob uses. Totally random and embarrassing, to be frank. What is he expecting us to do or think while watching these stupid faces flash up? Shows contempt for his audience.

Bravo, Bob. I completely agree. It's comforting to know at least somebody in the critic field understands.

Add to what you said the fact that huge chunks of the audience are Tolkien fans who are less concerned with the film's runtime, pacing, or structure than with the experience of being immersed in that world. Many of us wouldn't mind if the film were 30 hours longer, conventional cinema be damned, especially when you take into account the laborious and beautiful locations, cinematography, acting, sets, costumes, props, and score that accompany the journey.

It's apparent that Jackson is walking a tightrope trying to please Tolkien fans, critics, and general movie-goers alike, and he knows that the better product (for most) is the one with all the fat cut out, which makes it all the more important that he's released the Special Extended Editions for the rest of us who don't really care about that stuff (when it comes to Middle Earth, anyway; I could bitch about pacing all day if it were any other film).

I saw this pointless article feature on Rotten Tomatoes a couple of months ago where some film critics reviewed the LOTR Special Editions to see how they held up as actual films, which was hilarious and stupid because they weren't meant to (Jackson's stated that he thinks the theatrical cuts work better as films and that's why they were released that way). They kept complaining about scenes that should have been left on the cutting room floor which originally were left on the cutting room floor. Geniuses.

So if there are people out there who feel The Hobbit ran too long, maybe Jackson failed a little bit at trimming the fat. Though as you said, it's hard to imagine what would have been cut other than action scenes that ran a bit long (never been a fan of wargs). It doesn't bother me in the slightest, since I still anxiously await The Super Special Extended Radically Embiggened Longitudinally Enhanced Double-Double Panoramic 50-Hour Complete Completionist Collector's Set of the entire series...

...even if it means a stupid CGI musical number at Jabba's Palace in Return Of The King that nobody asked for.

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!"

15 minutes wasted.

I completely agree. A lot of the Rivendell stuff is nothing more than a tie-in to the Lord of the Rings movies. While it's well-shot, interesting fan-wank, it is still pure fan-wank; it does nothing to service the plot of The Hobbit. That Morgul blade that they made such a big deal about will likely never be seen or talked about in the remaining two movies, and yet Gandalf can't seem to STFU about it. Whatever happened to Chekhov's gun? Christopher Lee and Cate Blanchett could have been cut from the movie entirely without any impact at all. I suppose Bob's defense would be "hey, people are paying to see shameless fan-wank! Gotta give people what they want!"

I freakin love the start of the movie which is odd as thats the part everyone seems to call out. Granted I didn't really feel the Ian Holms/Elijah Woods cameo's were really necessary but I sure as hell wasn't complaining.

I don't know why it doubled posted there, my bad.

The scene with Gollum could have be nicer without him mugging to the camera most of the time.

I don't agree they could have cut some stuff like the saruman scene or the radagast stuff and saved that for the extended edition I don't mind it myself but I can see how some people would find it irritating.
One thing I'm really looking forward to in the next movie is more smaug I didn't think they could make a dragon a credible villain but in the opening scene Where he just annihilates all the dwarfs showed me how underpowered dragons are in video games.

You are right. Length of a movie is subjective. When I watched Titanic, Avatar and Abyss, I was not bored with them even though they are marathon sits and I have to get up and walk around a few time. I was thoroughly engaged in the movies. However, Eight Crazy Nights is barely 60 minutes long and I was checking my watch every 5 minutes to see if it's over yet.

I could not get through Lord of the Rings trilogy because of the length. I thought if the party scene at the beginning of the movie was 20 minutes shorter, and they cut 25 minutes out of the rest of the movie, I could enjoy this. I feel the same thing about Hobbit. If it were an hour shorter, it would be better. We did not need all that time negotiating a contract. You could have cut some of the travel log aspect. You could have cut some of the Shire stuff, you could have removed some of the stuff Jackson added to this one.

With something like this, the simplest solution is to cut the characters. The more characters you have, the more time you need to devote to them. Sorry, but the movie did not need as many characters as it did. It is very possible to combine characters and still have a good movie. Do you need 12 dwarves, or can you get away with 6 or 8 and still do a capable job? I think yes.

Yeah, except I'm NOT intending to pay to watch action scenes. The Hobbit was not about action scenes and fighting. Frankly, you're not helping me want to see this movie. It sounds like I'm going to have the same complaint about this as I had with the Narnia movies - namely, the director is trying to turn the film into something the story was never meant to be.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Hobbit 1 beats LotR 1 (my favorite of the bunch), 2 and 3 as a Tolkien film adaptation. 10 years ago I really disliked Peter Jackson's take on Middle-Earth, as it lacked that personal touch of the book. The world seemed fake and the people seemed fake too. All those extra scenes were boringly Hollywood-ish and too much emphasis was laid on battle scenes which in the book where chaotic and blurry, the focus in the book being the journey and the terror of the situation.

The Hobbit however, hits the spot better than I could've hoped for, especially since the book lacks the magnitude of the later trilogy. The extra scenes are superbly done and feature the gloomy secrets of the book. The characters are splendid, the actors perfectly cast, the action scenes (as few as they were) are a wonder to behold. Middle Earth seems more real than before. 3 hours passed by me without noticing (and I'm a heavy smoker so you can imagine what an achievement that was) and I left the cinema hall with a huge smile on my face and the regret that I have to wait for one year to see the rest. When one of my friends later told me that he didn't like the movie because he found it boring, I almost punched him in the face. Granted, he has never read a book in his entire life (not joking here) so...

Thus, when I saw Bob's title, I almost felt rage. How could anyone (not Bob) think that the Hobbit is "too long"? Guys, the Hobbit is a geek movie. LotR was not. As a geek, I say screw the rest. If they feel that the movie is too long, boo hoo to them. I only hope that Jackson continues in this line. My only regret is that I won't see Gollum again. And yeah, this Gollum freakin rocked! :D

I have seen this movie four times already, because all my friends asked me to go see it, but they all went on different days. First two times was amazing, third time was good, fourth time I was getting a bit bored. Of course, this is because I saw the movie four times in a span of a week, so I was just burned out.

However, seeing this four times has allowed me to memorize pretty much every scene, and I noticed something in this video Bob. There were a LOT of scenes in this video that were not in the movie. Mainly involving the ones with Gandalf. So, I have some questions for you:

How did you get your hands on the Extended Edition already, and can I borrow it or can you at least tell me where to pick it up? Please? :-)

RJ Dalton:
Yeah, except I'm NOT intending to pay to watch action scenes. The Hobbit was not about action scenes and fighting. Frankly, you're not helping me want to see this movie. It sounds like I'm going to have the same complaint about this as I had with the Narnia movies - namely, the director is trying to turn the film into something the story was never meant to be.

Personally i would compare the movie to King Kong or Tintin. Itīs defineately an action movie at heart, an extreme action movie where shit happens constantly, extreme shit! You canīt just have a sword fight, itīs a supercharged sword fight with ladders and moving platforms and whatever else you can think of. I guess thereīs also a bit of Pirate of The Carribean thrown in there for good meassure.

But yeah, itīs also a geek movie, and when you make geek movies (or should we say, an immersive experience), quality doesnīt matter. It just needs to match your average video game cutscene, to be satisfyingly awesome. :D

Well the obvious answer is to cut out the framing various other items that were added to build the overall franchise rather the movie. The morgul knife, Radagast the brown, Gandalf's meeting with the big wigs of Middle Earth in Rivendale, etc. They all build the world but don't advance the story and its likely they never will since they pertain to events in the Lord of the Rings and not the Hobbit. They could easily be cut, though its obvious the film makers wanted to include that world building. It's really more relevant to people who have already seen the Lord of Rings though as to someone who knows nothing, these scenes would be pointless and confusing.

But the real question is: Is Bob going to title every video from now on with a question?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMXRxNbPvGI

Funny you should mention run time, I watched Fellowship of the Ring the other day, for almost the first time since the cinema, and the whole story (particularly with Gandalf and Saruman) feels really badly paced and rushed. I know the pace of Return of the King is somewhat of an ongoing joke (haven't seen that one since cinema either), so it made me wonder if a better policy with these epic trilogy type things to film the whole damn thing, then edit it to where it feels comfortable? I know LOTR was supposedly filmed almost simultaneously... but I don't know toss about film making, so it's probably not as easy as all that

The Hobbit was neither too long nor too short. It was precisely the length it should be. ... Yeah that was pretty bad.

I think it was a good length. It was well paced, it held my attention the whole time. I loved it and I would love to go and see it again.

being a guy who has never read any of the LOTR books or the hobbit, I say the film was just right in length. I found Fellowship to be a bit long because of the lack of action in it (I'm a action junkie) but I still liked the film.

I actually think the helicopter shots and the travel time are some of the most important things about LOTR and The Hobbit series as well.

I was thinking to myself what exactly it is about these series that make them so appealing. What i concluded was that what Tolkien did so incredibly well was to create an amazing world people would want to see more of. He laid out the landscape and then wrote a story of people travelling through it, stopping to show the different people and sights along the way. It really does allow for some much needed escapism, and Middle-Earth is by now a place a lot of people feel familiar with (at least the ideas of the races in them).

Personally i love LOTR and The Hobbit and so long as i'm not bored during a movie i'm not going to complain about length.

What the HELL, Bob?!
I'm halfway through, interested and BOOM: without warning you start about ending of the movie and what the NEXT ones will be about.... SPOILERS, dude!

Not everyone lives in the US where this might have been out for a long time, you know?

:(

I thought it was too long, and though I wasn't bored, I was fucking frustrated. "Bilbo, stop fucking around and let the story start!"

I think there are parts that are easy to cut without destroying the important mood, or story points, or vital character rapport. For instance, did we really need to see a ten minute scene involving the old Bilbo and Frodo? All that needed to be established was that this was Bilbo's story, and it starts at Bag End, long before the Lord of the Rings. That only needs to take a minute at the most.

Though the Bag End scene needed to be long enough to contain all that characterisation and place a sense of value on the Shire, I think we got the point that Bilbo wanted to stay at home far quicker than the movie assumes. You see, most movies have reluctant heroes: Indiana Jones and Blade Runner, for instance, make it clear that Dr Jones isn't all that interested in getting bogged down in chasing the Holy Grail or shooting robots. It makes that clear within just a few lines of dialogue and a minute of screen time. Bilbo takes forever, and time is devoted to restating his reluctance over and over. First you have him reading of some contract, and then he has to listen to some dwarves, and then he has to listen to two lectures from Gandalf, and then finally having a change of heart after everyone left.

Then there is all that business beefing up the knife the Nazgul will eventually use to stab Frodo in that one scene. It was quite the anti-climax when it was revealed, because whilst it is important to have some potent of Sauron's return, we already got that long ago with Radaghast's recount of the creepy crypt.

Twilight_guy:
Well the obvious answer is to cut out the framing various other items that were added to build the overall franchise rather the movie. The morgul knife, Radagast the brown, Gandalf's meeting with the big wigs of Middle Earth in Rivendale, etc. They all build the world but don't advance the story and its likely they never will since they pertain to events in the Lord of the Rings and not the Hobbit. They could easily be cut, though its obvious the film makers wanted to include that world building. It's really more relevant to people who have already seen the Lord of Rings though as to someone who knows nothing, these scenes would be pointless and confusing.

Actually, they did go off and kick the Necromancer out of Dol Guldor, it happens when Gandalf leaves them. He doesn't specifically tell you, nor does Gandalf specifically tell the Dwarves, but that's what him and the others are going to go do. I'm not sure if Elrond and Galadriel had anything to do with it, but why not add them in for the movie?

Twilight_guy:
Well the obvious answer is to cut out the framing various other items that were added to build the overall franchise rather the movie. The morgul knife, Radagast the brown, Gandalf's meeting with the big wigs of Middle Earth in Rivendale, etc. They all build the world but don't advance the story and its likely they never will since they pertain to events in the Lord of the Rings and not the Hobbit. They could easily be cut, though its obvious the film makers wanted to include that world building. It's really more relevant to people who have already seen the Lord of Rings though as to someone who knows nothing, these scenes would be pointless and confusing.

I think they needed the meeting, if in a somewhat truncated form, just so that the movie can actually have a female character appear at some point. It's a serious sausagefest, which is something you don't get in big budget movies these days. It's that sort of thing that makes my girlfriend dismiss this (and Star Wars) as some boy story...it totally is, but normally these movies make some kind of effort to appeal to the average woman in the audience, even if it means sticking in as much female empowerment as possible into a franchise which barely even has women.

I thought the length of the movie was just right if anything. It help my interest up until the very end.

My only problem was with the Rock giants fighting scene. It just felt unnecessary and if it were taken out, nothing would've changed.

Satosuke:
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.

It is interesting that the first feature length film (Birth of a Nation aka Clansman 1915) clocks in at 190 Minutes (3 1/6 hours). Napoléon (April 1927) is 4 hours 10 minutes but there is an even longer 9 hour 22 minute version from May of that year. The Ten Commandments (1956) clocks in at 4 hours, Gone with the Wind (1939) is 3 Hours 46 Minutes long, and so on. If you have enough there your movie is not too long or too short.

While the pictures of it were used I am surprised that the comparison to Rankin/Bass 1977 made for TV version (77 minutes long) wasn't made.

Was I bored? No. Was it too long? YES. Even though I was enjoying myself, I started anticipating the end and got anxious when it wasn't happening. I kind of would preferred it if they broke it into 4, shorter movies instead of 3 looong ones (assuming the others are as long as this one). I knew my thinking the movie was too long coloured my opinion of the movie negatively.

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