10 fantastic moments from "The Hobbit" trilogy that prove it is not inferior to "The Lord of the Rings"

By SSPDaily editionJan 10, 2024 22:41 PMEntertainment
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10 moments from "The Hobbit" trilogy that prove it is not inferior to "The Lord of the Rings"
10 moments from ''The Hobbit'' trilogy that prove it is not inferior to ''The Lord of the Rings''. Source: kotaku.com.au

After the incredible success of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy in the early 2000s, audiences were eagerly awaiting a return to Middle Earth. The interest was fueled by the fact that all this time, work was underway on the film adaptation of The Hobbit, the first short part of Tolkien's epic that preceded The Lord of the Rings.

"This project," writes Movie Web, "went through many difficult stages. Guillermo del Toro was involved in it for some time before Peter Jackson returned and directed the book's adaptation, which consists of three feature films."

Why did Tolkien's fans criticize Jackson's The Hobbit?

Jackson's trilogy based on The Hobbit was released in the early 2010s and became one of the largest and most financially successful films of its time. At the same time, the Hobbit films were subjected to quite harsh criticism, which The Lord of the Rings generally managed to avoid.

It is hard to say how objective this was. In this article, we would like to point out the opposite. In our opinion, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit has many wonderful moments that are in no way inferior to The Lord of the Rings.

And to prove it, we offer you to get acquainted with the list of 10 episodes with an explanation of why they are unsurpassed.

Return to Hobbiton - An Unexpected Journey

The first of the three Hobbit movies, 2012's An Unexpected Journey, wastes no time in taking viewers back to what they loved most about The Lord of the Rings. Like The Fellowship of the Ring, the first Hobbit movie opens with a prologue that tells the backstory necessary to set up the plot.

The story in this prologue is again narrated by the old Bilbo Baggins, whose role was reprised by Ian Holm, as in the second half of the prologue of The Lord of the Rings (part of The Hobbit). In fact, the image of Bilbo writing this story for Frodo shows a similar moment, if not the same one, as the one shown at the beginning of Fellowship.

Why this moment made the list

This opening of the movie directly follows the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, and it is as effective in An Unexpected Journey as it was in the decade-old movie. The episode returns viewers to the world of Middle Earth and then reintroduces them to the bizarre nature and life of the hobbits in the Shire.

Elijah Wood even makes a brief appearance as Frodo Baggins, in a scene that seamlessly transitions into the beginning of Fellowship.

The script also wisely weaves into Bilbo's text the iconic opening line of the original novel The Hobbit and the beginning of Tolkien's own journey to write his favorite stories: "Once upon a time there was a hobbit in a hole under the earth."

This nuance perfectly conveys the beginning of the novel with great respect for Tolkien's work and at the same time returns the audience to their favorite fantasy world.

Thranduil's kingdom - Smaug's Waste Land

In the second Hobbit movie, the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and the dwarves of Erebor continue as they approach the main goal - the Lonely Mountain. Circumstances force Gandalf to leave the company, after which the dwarves and Bilbo set off for the dangerous Mirkwood.

Eventually, they are captured by the forest elves, and then in the kingdom where the elven lord Thranduil (Lee Pace) lives.

This kingdom of Middle Earth was mentioned only in The Lord of the Rings because Legolas lives there, but it was first shown in detail in The Hobbit.

What's so great about it?

A large part of what makes Jackson's various on-screen depictions of Middle-earth so fascinating is the outstanding world-building behind it. Visiting the Forest Kingdom and Thranduil's kingdom is one of the best examples of the awe of Middle Earth in The Hobbit.

While in The Lord of the Rings the audience got to know the elven houses of Rivendell and Lothlórien, the Forest Kingdom shown in The Desolation of Smaug is noticeably different, but at the same time conveys the wonder that you so often feel in the company of elves.

This is one of the most beautiful places shown in the Hobbit films, and Jackson and his team of production designers have brilliantly transferred all the details from Tolkien's works to the screen.

Sauron reveals himself to the White Council - The Battle of the Five Armies

One of the main reasons that caused a lot of criticism from fans of The Lord of the Rings was the degree of deviation of the Hobbit films from the original.

Although the plot of the book is entirely focused on Bilbo's adventures, Jackson is not afraid to expand the story to show what was happening in Middle-earth at the time. In particular, this is Gandalf's investigation of the dark fortress of Dol Guldur, with the assistance of other members of the White Council - Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman.

It is during this investigation that the group discovers the return of Sauron, which directly lays the foundation for the plot that will unfold in The Lord of the Rings.

What makes this moment amazing

Although some fans consider this connection to The Lord of the Rings to be a negative aspect of the Hobbit films, there is another opinion on this. The films very wisely and tactfully use other stories that Tolkien wrote into his mythology, even if they are not direct excerpts from The Hobbit.

They show that the world of Middle-earth is much wider than the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, and at the same time demonstrate how his actions affect these events.

Sauron's revelation to the White Council in The Battle of the Five Armies is a fascinating line that allows for a deeper exploration of Gandalf's character, as well as the broader history and lore of Middle Earth. And the silhouette of Sauron standing with the Nazgûl in the center of the Big Eye is a stunning image that is one of the most effective in the film adaptation of Tolkien's world.

The song "The Misty Mountains" - An Unexpected Journey

Returning to "An Unexpected Journey", it should be noted that the main plot of The Hobbit trilogy begins with the arrival of the dwarves to Bilbo's house in Hobbiton. As they all find themselves in the "hole", constantly confusing the respectable hobbit, the audience gets to know their different personalities and characters.

However, it is after all these phenomena, the arrival of Gandalf and Bilbo's offer of adventure, that one of the most profound scenes in The Hobbit takes place. The dwarves smoke their pipes and sing a mournful song about the home they have lost.

Why is this song so memorable?

Anyone who has read The Hobbit will tell you that the book is full of different tales and songs that the dwarves often sing during their journey. One of the most famous is "The Song of the Lonely Mountain," which Jackson and composer Howard Shore brought to life perfectly in An Unexpected Journey.

The song "Far beyond the cold Misty Mountains, in the dungeons of deep and old caves" is not only performed with great feeling, but is also truly memorable. This feature and the way the scene unfolds became one of the most stunning moments in the trilogy and the pinnacle of the skill that could be achieved in adapting the novel.

The Rise of Smaug - The Waste Land of Smaug

Yes, An Unexpected Journey ends with an exciting moment - the awakening of the dragon Smaug, but it is worth noting the continuation of the plot in the second film - The Waste Land.

The audience gets to know Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) in detail as Bilbo uses his magic ring to get to the dragon's treasure. Eventually, he wakes the dragon and they have a long conversation, during which Bilbo hides from the dragon, who is diligently searching for the thief in the shadows.

Why this moment is on the list

Bilbo's first encounter with Smaug is one of the best episodes of the original novel, and Jackson and the team that worked on The Desolation of Smaug have absolutely captured it on screen. There is a real sense of tension and danger in this moment, and Martin Freeman as Bilbo perfectly conveys his character's fear. As for the visual effects that bring Smaug to life, combined with Cumberbatch's voice, they make this dragon one of the best to appear on screen.

The Death of Thorin Oakshield - The Battle of the Five Armies

One of the most powerful moments of the third Hobbit movie, The Battle of the Five Armies, comes right after the climactic battle, when Thorin Oakshield lies dying after fighting the orc leader Azog the Defiler. Although the situation of this moment in the movie differs from the book, it retains its power.

Bilbo is next to Thorin, and the Dwarven king reflects on the mistakes he made after the liberation of Erebor. He apologizes to Bilbo and asks the hobbit to return to a quiet life in the Shire, to his books and gardening.

Why it was important to show Thorin Oakshield's death in this way

What makes this moment so successful in The Battle of the Five Armies is the attention that was paid to building the relationship between Bilbo and Thorin throughout the three films. They were often at odds with each other, as Thorin openly doubted Bilbo's abilities, and Bilbo saw how the treasures of Erebor were changing Thorin's psyche. However, they also shared a deep friendship, which only grew stronger during the journey.

In the end, Thorin and Bilbo were able to truly know and understand each other. And Thorin's last words to Bilbo perfectly reflect the emotional path and storyline that both characters have gone through throughout the story of The Hobbit.

And no matter what people say about how The Battle of the Five Armies coped with Thorin's dragon disease, the movie largely succeeded because of this scene.

Bilbo meets Gandalf - An Unexpected Journey

Going back to the beginning of An Unexpected Journey, another iconic scene from the book that is accurately recreated in the movie is the first meeting between Bilbo Baggins and the wizard Gandalf.

The hobbit is sitting on the porch of his house in Big End, and the wizard approaches him and starts a conversation. When Bilbo shows excessive politeness and aloofness, Gandalf continues to talk to the hobbit in his usual manner, with riddles.

In the end, the scene ends with Bilbo getting bored and going into the house, leaving Gandalf at the front door, where he leaves a sign to show the dwarves where the hobbit lives.

What made this episode memorable

There are two key aspects that make this scene as great as it could be. First, it was the incredible performances of Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Ian McKellen as Gandalf. McKellen had already established himself as Gandalf throughout The Lord of the Rings, but the first scene with Freeman immediately proved that he was perfect for the role of the hobbit.

These two play perfectly together and perfectly convey the energy of the relationship between the characters that fans have already seen in The Lord of the Rings.

The second aspect is how true the scene is to the book, because most of the dialogues in it are taken from Tolkien's works. The entire conversation, especially when they argue about the meaning of the phrase "good morning," is full of the charm and wit that often make Tolkien's dialogues so appealing.

Bilbo and the Dwarves Meet Legolas - The Waste Land of Smaug

Another way in which the Hobbit trilogy maintains a connection to The Lord of the Rings is through the inclusion of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) in the story.

This character was first introduced to the audience in The Fellowship of the Ring, which made Bloom famous in Hollywood, and his Legolas became a fan favorite. In the movie The Desolation of Smaug, Bloom reappears in this character, and appears when the dwarves and Bilbo enter the wilds of Mirkwood.

He and the elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) save the dwarves from the huge spiders that have settled in Mirkwood, but then the elves take the travelers prisoner.

Why this moment is interesting

Many fans of Tolkien's work were extremely dissatisfied with the decision to include Legolas in The Hobbit, as this character was not in the book. However, we believe that this was a creative choice that successfully complemented the plot and further connected the world and history of Middle-earth.

Obviously, it would be logical for Legolas to be in Mirkwood during The Hobbit, as it was his home and the elven king Thranduil was his father. What makes the introduction to Legolas in The Desolation of Smaug so successful is that he is far from the hero that fans met in The Fellowship of the Ring.

The young Legolas is more reckless and less sympathetic to the dwarves traveling through his country.

Bloom does a good job with this role, bringing an intensity to it that was not present in The Lord of the Rings. Although the overall portrayal of this character in The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies may not have been the most successful, the general approach to him was a great starting point.

Smaug's attack on Lake City - The Battle of the Five Armies

Despite the fact that Smaug does not play a big role in The Battle of the Five Armies, the movie opens with an incredibly exciting scene when the dragon destroys Esgaroth (the Lake-town). Throughout the first two Hobbit films, much has been said about the terrible destructive power of Smaug. And although it was shown in The Desolation of Smaug, it is in the opening of The Battle of the Five Armies that the dragon's terrifying power is fully revealed.

Why Smaug's attack on Lake-town looks great in the movie

There's more to this moment than the stunningly shot footage of the dragon destroying the city. In fact, the episode makes such an impression because of the man at its center.

The Bard (Luke Evans) tries to protect the city and his family amidst all this destruction, despite the slim chances of survival. Cumberbatch does a great job voicing Smaug throughout the movie, but it's Evans' incredible performance that really makes the episode.

The Bard is a determined and desperate man, and Evans manages to convey a lot of sincere emotions in his performance, despite the chaos and nightmare that reign around him.

Riddles in the Dark - An Unexpected Journey

And finally, of course, the most famous scene in both the book and the movie. The chapter "Riddles in the Dark" in The Hobbit is one of the most important and memorable of all the stories written by Tolkien.

In it, Bilbo is introduced to Gollum, and finds himself locked in a cave deep in the Misty Mountains with this strange creature. Though Gollum wants to eat Bilbo, the hobbit engages in a game of riddles with the grim creature (Andy Serkis). The events that follow are pivotal for Bilbo and Gollum, and they directly set the stage for The Lord of the Rings.

Why this is the best moment in Jackson's trilogy

This is not the first scene in which An Unexpected Journey adapts a Tolkien novel almost word for word, but Riddles in the Dark surpasses all the others. The dialogues in this scene are some of the best the author has ever written, and Jackson (as well as screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) knew full well that they shouldn't make any changes to them. In addition, Freeman and Serkis did an excellent job.

In addition, Howard Shore's score throughout the film is one of his strongest works, and the digital effects that brought Gollum to life were more realistic and impressive than anything done in The Lord of the Rings.

In short, one episode of A Riddle in the Dark is already a reason to watch The Hobbit, and it alone justifies all the titanic work that Peter Jackson did in making these films.

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