• Member Since 25th Dec, 2012
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Born again Christian, film and pony nerd who also writes non-pony stories and reviews of movies. I do have aspergers so I'm a bit of a space monkey but i'm also brutally honest. Just a warning.

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Countdown to BOFTA: How Warner Bros. Destroyed The Hobbit · 5:24am Aug 16th, 2015

Oh yeah you knew this was coming. Sorry it took so long but I was terrified of ravenous Tolkien purists. But then again, seeing as how they get a near sadistic pleasure out of bullying movie fans and blaming Peter Jackson for why everything went wrong and seeing as how Warner Bros. doesn't want anybody to know this, I think it's time for some payback.

Granted, the meddling your about to read about isn't quite as bad as Apocalypse Now or like the cinematic hell that was the 2015 Fantastic Four movie (which I have to review, oh yippee skippie), but still it's pretty jaw dropping. The meddling stuff will be high-lighted to separate it from the rest of the post.

It all started way back in 2008, when Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema both, for some unfathomable reason, refused to pay the Tolkien Estate the money they owed them from The Lord of the Rings and for this. What resulted was two and half years of a pretty nasty brawl where everything spiraled out of control and forced Guillermo del Toro to leave the project, not helped by the fact that del Toro's schedule had become too busy.

In fact it got so bad that it would have taken the production out of New Zealand entirely. Only when Peter Jackson finally came back to the directors chair in 2009 was everything finally settled and the film got back on track.

Because you know when you're adapting a book like this, you want to piss of the people who made it.

It's also somewhat ironic that Tolkien purists have labeled Jackson "a greedy asshole" and yet he was the one who saved The Hobbit from being canceled. Moving on:

When it was finally green-lit, the studio gave Jackson and Weta only six months to start pre-production and to start filming immediately after that or else. And then right as production was finally about to begin, Peter Jackson had to be hospitalized for perforated stomach ulcer, one of the causes of Tolkien's death. But thankfully it was caught on time and was treated successfully.

But both production and principal photography were halted for a month as a result.

Talk about bad timing.

Filming itself actually went smoothly and was mostly problem free, as evidenced in the production vlogs for An Unexpected Journey. But then the most infamous decision in the series happened: they decided to make it three movies half-way through filming the second film. The sound editors and mixed explained that they had to create and design whole new sounds half-way through production.

So what did Warner Bros. do? They exploited the hell out of this.

Even before that there was the oh-so ingenuous decision

to CGI Azog, Bolg and the rest of the orcs, even though they'd already gotten actors in prosthetics and make-up. In fact, the decision to CGI Bolg in particular was done so suddenly that entire sequences had to be re-shot.

This is why in the trailers it's Azog chasing the dwarves in the barrel scene but then in the film it's Bolg.

And now we get to the real nitty gritty.

The barrel scene and the meeting with Bard at the river were intended to be the climax of the first film with Azog's attack on Thorin in the Misty Mountains being a skirmish. In fact, everything from the shot of Bilbo peeking his head up from the rock at the start of The Desolation of Smaug to meeting Bard was intended to be the third act of the first film. But when the decision was made to make three instead of two, those got moved to the second film.

The romance between Kili and Tauriel was ALWAYS intended to be in these films, as far back as 2009-2010 and possibly even in del Toro's draft. However, it was played more subtle when originally shot before the three movie split and her relationship with Legolas being strictly like siblings. But come re-shoot time, Warner Bros. forced them to write Legolas into the love story and turn it into a love-triangle. Both Peter Jackson and Evangeline Lilly have stated they hated the idea of the love triangle and just wanted to tell a simple love story. Tauriel's backstory was written and would have been mentioned at one point but was removed during shooting.

So yeah, that love triangle and the forsaking of a possibly heartwarming platonic relationship between Legolas and Tauriel? All Warner Bros. fault.

More evidence of the suddenness of switching from two movies to three: you know that scene where the dwarves tried to kill Smaug in the forges and bury him in molten gold?

That and the Legolas vs. Bolg fight in Lake-town were only added because they needed a cliff-hanger (they confirmed this when asked) and many of the actors and some of the crew literally had no idea what they were filming until the finished film.

The sub-plot also of Kili being hit with an arrow by Bolg was one of the additions during re-shoots. The healing scene DID happen but with someone else (I'll keep it hush hush until a later blog post), but when it came time to expand the films, it was changed to Kili.

And then there was the third film. Hooo boy the third film:

When it finally came around to do the third film (which also used what footage they'd shot when it was two movies), Warner Bros. took the film away from Jackson and forced him to edit it down in a way he didn't approve of, forcing him to cut tons of footage, take the love story and blow it Up to an Eleven and demanding more Alfrid scenes.

So just recap, nearly every single scene involving Alfrid in the third film (along with his comedy which clashed with the drama) and the reason why the theatrical cut is so terribly edited? Warner Bros. my friends.

Top notch guys.

Among the scenes that Warner Bros. forced them to cut were the funeral scene, nearly all the Dol Guldur stuff, every Beorn scene, Thranduil's backstory and Evangeline Lilly's favorite Tauriel scene.

And in the end, while the trilogy was a big hit, it became divisive for fans and the Tolkien Estate has relinquished the film rights until further notice. And all of the meddling was confirmed by actors Graham McTavish and Evangeline Lilly, with McTavish elaborating on it at Hobbitcon and saying that Jackson's cut (i.e. the upcoming extended cut) was more character based and that the extended cuts overall are closer to what Jackson intended.

Yikes indeed.

And now, Warner Bros. has cut 10 of the promised 30 minutes of footage from the third film's extended cut, seemingly without asking Jackson.

This is seriously a "beat the guy when he's down" moment if ever I saw one. This also becomes incredibly tragic when this was uncovered by someone on Tumblr for me (I can't remember who):

"I will see it, but not now. I'm not sure what the studio has done with it." - Peter Jackson to an interviewer at The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies premiere.

Meddling confirmed.

The best way, I think, to sum up what Warner Bros. did to The Hobbit is to qoute the TV Tropes page YMMV in the They Just Didn't Care segment:

"Well Peter Jackson cared, but it's clear that the executives at Warner Bros didn't with all their demands: (abandon the original plans to make a dulogy and turn the fims into a trilogy which caused the plot to be really stretched thin, and the love triangle between Kili, Legolas, Tauriel that both Jackson and Evangeline Lilly have spoken out against and the expansion of Alfrid in the third film) they just wanted to make money while at the same time not having enough faith in Jackson to make the films a success, even though the success of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy should've been enough to prove Jackson knows how to make good movies. This is why this trilogy has been so divise among fans, though strangely not many fans know this." - TV Tropes, The Hobbit Film Trilogy YMMV

There you have it. Executive Meddling on a scale that wouldn't be rivaled until 20th Century Fox and The Fantastic Four. I admit, I'm not a professional expert. My info on this comes from articles, behind the scenes videos, interviews, cons, TheOneRing.net and so forth. But I just wanted you to know how really was at fault. I don't expect to change people's opinions overnight but I do hope the mis-blaming of Peter Jackson stops.

Thank you for reading. Just remember: no rudeness in the comments. Rudeness is not cool.

Report Jabberwocky1996 · 7,450 views ·
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Comments ( 24 )

I'm trying to recall if I have blamed Jackson at any point, either online or just to myself. If I have, my past-self apologizes; I'm still trying to figure out why they would screw with such a good thing. Why do we need to remind Warner Bros. that Return of the King WON THE MOST OSCARS OF ALL TIME (tied with Ben-Hur and Titanic, of course)?!?! I think that should go without saying. You don't buck with the creative process of a guy who did that! Geez lois, what a mess. I still like the first two films ultimately, I do, and gosh dang it at least the crew was trying with the third film. So as much of a mess as the trilogy ultimately is, the best I can say is that at least effort is apparent even in the messiest bits; unlike Fantastic Four, which was just the perfect storm of horrible production process + studio meddling.

3338054 Fantastic Four (2015) is pretty much The Hobbit without the effort. At least the cast and crew with Jackson were having fun doing what they did even with the studio breathing down their necks.

Really the only things that are Jackson's fault are the CGI indulgence, that 48 frames per second and the mere expansion of Azog and Bolg.

oh yippee skippie

Haven't heard THAT one before.
Anyway, so my two biggest complaints, the three film format and the overreliance on CG, were both at least partly WB's fault.

3341294 I hope this DOES come in handy when your reviews of the last two films arrive. Which versions are you reviewing? Extended edition?

3341548 Whichever I can find at convenience. I don't own a car, and I don't have much income. :applejackunsure:
But, yes, I'll bear this in mind.

3341855 Extended versions are the best. You get more of the titular hobbit, more Beorn, more other awesome scenes and you get great bonus features.

3342927 Well, if I can get a hold of them, I will. :twilightsmile:

3343198 Awesome! They'll be re-released in theatres this October for a limited time so that's another way to see them.

3343359 *crossing fingers thatI'll have gotten to those reviews by/before then now that school's started*

3346423 I wish you luck my friend. You're certainly trying harder then the Tolkien purists.

3342927 Man, this whole Theatrical Cut of BOTFA was all Warner Bros. fault, no wonder why it got low ratings. I am now fully anticipated on this R-rated Extended Edition that is going to Peter Jackson's Director's Cut. But now this I hear about the Extended Edition now being 20 minutes longer instead of 30 minutes longer is kind of a letdown, what we're those 10 minutes that weren't added? Hmm, we shall see how these 20 minutes are able to change this movie's rating and see Peter Jackson's true vision of the third and final Hobbit.

3352781 Preach it! Also apprently some people Tolkien purists included still think PG-13 instead of R.

Are you sure about Hollywood forcing the love triangle thing? I recall reading somewhere that it was Phillpia's idea. Evangeline said so I believe.

3653392 No I checked. I always double check. It was the studio.

What is the source of this?

3654126 She explained it here, she mentions WB.

Ah! I see now. Thanks for the link. Now I believe it, and it makes sense that Hollywood would want to do that. They figure it would get some more cash like expanding the films into a trilogy. It just didn't seem right when people said it was Peter and Co's decision. Just doesn't seem like something they would want to do.

Also, in quite a few recent interviews Orlando and Peter described Tauriel and Legolas still as a sibling relationship, despite the known change... So I guess that is their subtle of way of doing the love triangle but NOT doing it, if that makes sense lol

3656054 Yeah. Oooh that's neat info. :) Guess that was their way of passive-aggressively defying the studio.

One more thing... How did you hear about Evangeline Lilly's favorite Tauriel scene being cut out? That was the one that I am mostly curious about.

Wow, poor Evangeline. I need to watch interviews more often. I just watch the special features on each Hobbit and Lotr so I don't know many of this. Besides, I didn't know that Peter Jackson hated the love triangle too, but I definetly knew that Evangeline and Orlando did.

3662816 Yeah Warner Bros. seems to really have a beef against The Hobbit or something.

Just ONE more lol

What is the source of Peter Jackson saying he didn't like the idea of the love triangle?

3676181 I wasn't actually able to find one but TV Tropes (one of the most reliable sources out there) along with a few others, confirmed that Peter Jackson didn't like the idea of a love triangle.

In the Extended Cut bonus features, that's acknowledged by the fact that NO ONE mentions the existence of the love triangle.

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