The Hobbit Trilogy is like wine (The Battle of the Five Blogs)

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies logo

I’m currently participating in a fascinating online event between several other blogs and their awesome authors.

This “battle” pits our discussions together across several countries, with one goal: sharing our thoughts on anything Tolkien.

In the meantime, you should absolutely go check out the other participating blogs:

Brenton Dickieson of A Pilgrim in Narnia
Sørina Higgins of The Oddest Inkling
Crystal Hurd of CrystalHurd.com
Matthew Rettino at The Vinciolo Journal
Kat Sas of Raving Sanity

 ***

So, before posting an in-depth review of The Battle of the Five Armies (coming soon), I just wanted to talk briefly about something I’ve come to terms with in the last two years …

The Hobbit trilogy is like wine … it gets better with age

Whilst I’ve enjoyed each and every one of the three films, I soon realised that the pleasures of the viewing experiences increased each time. Particular aspects which had bothered me due to changes, absurdities or others, became no longer any concern.

On the contrary … I started to appreciate them all the more.

The behind the scenes features helped immensely in understanding the work that was undertaken and the “justification” (if you prefer to call it that) on why certain things turned out the way they did.

It might be a combination of brainwashing and denial, but I have to admit that multiple viewings of the first two films have hugely boosted my attraction towards Peter Jacksonthem (an attraction having already been strongly established upon first viewing, mind you).

That is not to say that they are perfect. I still have some issues which, if ever I meet Peter Jackson in person, I’d stand my ground and fire my arguments in his direction.

However, I can easily make my peace with them now.

Even with this final film, which out of all three contained most elements I wasn’t too much convinced about, after the second viewing everything appeared to be more comprehensible and appealing.

No doubt this feeling will grow once I get my hands on the DVD … and the Extended Editions …

Of course, it’s ultimately a subjective argument. I can only speak for myself about how I feel towards repeated viewings; but I’ve encountered other fans who have often described similar experiences.

Could it be something woven deep into Peter Jackson’s filmmaking DNA? Or perhaps it is Tolkien’s themes themselves – no matter how unrecognisable they may have become once processed through the director’s mind?

Most likely it is the alluring qualities of Middle-earth: both cinematic and literary. A world that just radiates its appeal and makes us go back to it again and again.

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31 thoughts on “The Hobbit Trilogy is like wine (The Battle of the Five Blogs)

  1. I’ve felt the same way about The Hobbit films. The more I watch them the more I come to understand many of the embellishments/changes. The first time I saw each of the films I was incredibly excited and the book was fresh in my mind. During my first viewing(s) the parts changed from the book stuck out like a sore thumb and I was so excited the rest of the time much of it flew by. With the second viewing I knew what to expect and I could sit back a bit more and look at the film without the same kind of surge of excitement, anticipation, or even disgust. I could evaluate it better and think about why they did what they did. Perhaps many other fans experience a combination of these two things too, a love for Tolkien’s story and tremendous excitement, excitement that anticipates something very similar (and sometimes too similar) to the book.

    • I’m pretty sure that my first-time viewings of The Lord of the Rings (which blew me away on the first round), all boiled down to the fact that I hadn’t read the books – nor knew anything about Middle-earth.

      From then on, I’ve immersed myself into Tolkien’s stories that I came to see the hobbit from a book perspective – which made all the difference …

  2. Yes, my experience has been similar. I’m also better prepared for the preposterous on a second viewing so I can savor the more Tolkienesque beats. I’ve liked both of the first two more with repeated viewings and hope the same will be true of the third. After once through, all I can say is that it has a ways to go!

    • “I’m also better prepared for the preposterous on a second viewing so I can savor the more Tolkienesque beats.”

      An spot-on statement that pretty much sums up this post.

      Let the repeat viewings come! 😀

  3. Everyone’s been talking about epic performances by Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman, and I definitely agree with them, but there was one other scene which I thought was really moving.

    Tauriel: If this is love, I don’t want it. Take it away, please! Why does it hurt so much?
    Thranduil: Because it was real.

    Holeee schiddttt!!! Them feels!

      • Agreed Joshua. I didn’t mind Tauriel’s character as it fitted seamlessly into the world and I believe much of the emotion of the third film was derived from her performance (no matter our reservations towards the love interest) 🙂

    • That was a “flooring” I didn’t require. I held pretty strong up to that point, but yeah, with Thranduil’s response, I was wondering how the he could remain so calm conveying such a deep message. Wow.

  4. The same happens to me. Every time I rewatch the Hobbit films I enjoy them more and more. I don’t like some changes, of course. But as you stated, you just realise why some changes were made and embrace them as a good thing to the narrative.

  5. I feel like you can’t fully understand the films with one or two viewings. There are way too many references, foreshadowing, interwoven musical cues, scenery, and background information to process all of it. I think what makes repeating viewings so rewarding is that there is logic behind everything. Even if you disagree with some of the liberties taken, they are always there for a discernible purpose (even if occasionally it’s just Jackson wanting to do something different or offbeat. )

    • I fully agree, Marc.

      Then again, sometimes I wonder about this and ask myself: “But shouldn’t a film be immediately recognised as being good the first time it is viewed? Wouldn’t the necessity of repeat viewings to assert its good qualities put off general audiences?”

      Yet, it is true that these films are one of a kind. They’re all special in their own way and you just keep on unearthing all sorts of layers filled with details – which is what makes them so special 🙂

  6. I totally agree with you!
    Here are my favorite embellishments to this good story (in any order):
    1. Gandalf reminding Bilbo of the ‘young hobbit who would have loved nothing better than to find out what was beyond the borders of the Shire’.
    — This scene is very beautiful and wonderfully shows the relationship between Bilbo and Gandalf.
    2. Bard’s family and his scenes in Lake-town.
    —And I just love how they expanded the background of Girion’s grim-voiced heir while staying true to his character in the book, particularly in the scene where he warns the Company against entering Erebor.
    3. The Importance of the Arkenstone.
    — I think sending a burglar to steal one heirloom jewel makes a lot more sense than sending him to steal the hoard one piece at a time. Also Bilbo keeping it from Thorin to prevent the qorsening of the Dragon sickness is better than just having Bilbo keep his friend’s heirloom for himself because it’s pretty. However (book-wise) I suspect that the hobbit may have done it with a subconscious sense of indignation brought about by his Conversation with Smaug; also perhaps he was not entirely resistant to the dragon-sickness and may have been influenced by the Ring.
    4. Beorn skydiving and skin-changing onto the battlefield. That. Was. Godawesome!!! (which is the opposite of godawful.) 🙂
    My disappointments with the Trilogy:
    1. Bolg should have been the one chasing the company.
    2. The omission of young Dain’s badassery at Aanulbizar.
    3. The lack of Beorn in the theatrical releases along with the lack of the Wilderland wrap-ups shown in the book, along with the lack of Bilbo’s ‘The Road Goes Ever On’. But I guess We’ll just have to wait for the extended edition. Sigh. Also I was kind of hoping that they would add a scene of Bilbo adopting a young Frodo. That would have been sweet. 🙂
    Also are you familiar with the art of James Turner Mohan? He’s got lot’s of wonderful Tolkien artworks on DeviantArt (TurnerMohan). I don’t know how to make links but you should really check ’em out. Thank you for this wonderful blog!!! God Bless!!! 😀

    • Wow, I pretty much agree on both your positive and no-so-positive comments. I’m really hoping the Extended Edition will make a massive difference to the overall feel of this concluding chapter (and I have a feeling Peter Jackson will not disappoint 🙂 )

      As a matter of fact, I am familiar with TurnerMohan’s art. Simply wonderful stuff 😉

    • I wasn’t happy about the whitewashing of Bilbo’s actions. I had feared they’d do something like this from an early stage in the films, and it angered me as much as the narrator’s indulgence towards him did when I was 6 (40-odd years ago). I had hoped that the film would tackle head-on Bilbo’s dishonesty and duplicity over the Arkenstone (it’s a good way of flagging up early on the potential effects of the Ring), and might have allowed him the chance to apologise to Thorin (which he fails to do in the book), rather than making out “he’s doing it for Thorin’s own good”. As my octogenarian father (who read me the books when I was little) remarked as we left the cinema, “Bit of a hatchet-job on poor old Thorin, to whitewash that bloody Hobbit!”

      Didn’t like the way the deaths were handled, either: they should have been together, in the thick of the fight, in a Norse-style shield-wall. But I suppose it would be hard to bring it in at a 12 certificate, the way I imagine it.

  7. I got no idea why I don’t like this movie as much as the others. Acting was flawless, effects great, everything was good. Yet, I left the theater disappointed, even though now when I find clips online of it, bits I felt nothing towards in the theater (fate of a certain dwarf) got me honestly upset and choked up.

    If there was something I could change in the film is that it would have some more dialogue and touching moments. Like the acorn scene.

    And, I really, really hope the second time I see it I will like it more.

    • I think your feelings towards this film are perfectly normal to be honest, Dylan.

      I’m not saying I was disappointed, but I did feel somewhat dissatisfied and that something was missing. That said, copious amounts of re-viewings should help cure this sentiment! 😀

      • That does make sense. I remember when I first saw Desolation of Smaug, I looked away from the screen when Tauriel and Kili spoke in the dungeons because it felt ridiculous to have that. Now when I watch the extended version, I smile the entire time and find them to be adorable.

  8. I agree with this. Except that I’ll never be able to stomach the love triangle. And I was disappointed in lack Fili time (really I should’ve have been surprised) the Durin’s not fighting and falling together. Other than that I’ve enjoyed my two BoFA viewings.

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