Thursday, July 07, 2016


Without the spiritual magic of Tolkien it is both dry and blood-obsessed


I was very critical of the first part of this trilogy that I saw in the non-extended version. You will find this critique under the first title of this trilogy. Here I am going to consider the full trilogy.

I maintain the idea that it was a bad idea to dilute the very short and dense novel by Tolkien, The Hobbit, into a never ending trilogy. Of course we are told it is not an adaptation of the novel but a film that is realized after the novel by Tolkien, and I must here say the dilution is important and it does not respect the intensity of the original work. But why not after all?

That’s just the right question to ask.

The psychology of the characters is very often reduced to some simple sketches that are more part of the costume the actors wear, part of the characters and not something having any depth, any contradictory inner voice. Even the Hobbit himself is rather sketchy. He is predictable. He is in no way moved by deep sentiments that are expressed in a way or another on the screen. He does not have time to do this since he is absolutely all the time taken in a wild action that has no pause whatsoever, reducing the dialogue to nothing most of the time, grunts and growls most of the rest of the time, and here and there a few words often spoken in vain.

And that is the main characteristic of this trilogy.

It all starts with a Rune written on the Hobbit’s door by the wizard on his first visit. This Rune is “Fehu” under its Germanic name or “Feoh” under its Anglo-Saxon name, and it is not reversed. But we are not explained the meaning of this Rune. The basic meaning is “cattle” which relates it to the post ice age agricultural evolution, the domestication of the wild bovines and thus the evolution of that new species that will provide food and comfort to human beings. It is easy to understand then that it means “wealth” and all that can be derived from that concept, such as ‘”fulfillment,” not only the satisfaction of one’s hunger, but also the satisfaction of all basic needs and further on the satisfaction of one’s call to the wild and adventure. This is basic in the whole vision provided at the beginning, though it is not explained clearly and it is not explained again at the end when the Hobbit arrives home and finds out all his accumulated wealth has been sold to everyone who wanted it. Satisfied in adventure and fate since he fulfilled his destiny, he is totally ruined in his material possessions and his house has been legally and commercially looted. That’s the kind of meaning we do not get and that’s how we can say that this rune represents this motto: “Every beginning has within it the seeds of its own end.” And the seeds can be the negation of the beginning, or its reversal because a Rune can always be drawn upside down, reversed.

In other words it is perfectly representative of the ambiguity of runic culture, the very culture Tolkien is looking for in his novel. This “fehu” rune is the symbol of the call to some fate that leads to a dragon through fire, seas, storms and all other dangers from armies and other species and the “fehu” destiny is to kill the dragon. The killing of Smaug was contained in that rune written on the Hobbit’s door by this visiting wizard. I did not find one moment when this was explained. You can tell me that’s the whole story. Sure. But in Tolkien’s mind and in his creations, there had to be some pondering and understanding of the ambiguity of these missions and of their greatness in their being ambiguous, hence requiring at any moment, at any step a resourcing of oneself into the power of the mission, into the blood of the dragon.

But my main criticism is that action is made dominant. There is nothing but action, meaning danger and violence. Even the Orcs must have a mind and must have some psychology. They are reduced to an army of brutal and brutish automats, the perfect killers who cannot die, though on the screen quite many will die at high speed.

This insistence on the warlike aspect of the story erases the magic of the wizard and even the courage and imagination of the dwarfs and the Hobbit. Then it is all special effects that are supposed to be so striking that we are stunned into deafness, which explains why there is no dialogue. Why should there be in a story that is reduced to calamities and military fighting with in-between all types of other fighting, always for life, always to death. And the thirteen original dwarfs, squared up by the Hobbit who makes them fourteen, and the wizard who makes them fifteen, will only be ten left squared up to twelve by the Hobbit and the wizard. And that dozen is of course so symbolical of perfection that we cannot in any way hesitate: we have reached salvation though there is no prophet, no God, no Son of God, no Holy Virgin either. This parable of Christianity does not find the religious and ritual dimension it could not ignore in Tolkien’s world. This film is alas absolutely deprived of any religious and spiritual dimension.

If you like special effects, that’s your trilogy. If you like spectacular battles, that’s your trilogy. If you like simple people who do not question the universe too much, that’s your trilogy. And to make it square: if you like films that do not contain anything erotic, sexy or even simply fleshy, hence if you like puritanical human beings, that’s your trilogy.

It does not matter if Tolkien is betrayed in this trilogy, since Tolkien’s son made a tremendous amount of money. To defend himself he explained that he had donated a lot to various charities. Good for him. But Tolkien, his father, deserved a better service, more spiritual, more inspired by love, friendship and empathy instead of the light sprinkling of these seven and a half hours with rare and extremely superficial and evanescent references or simple allusions to such human feelings, certainly not actions or behaviors. The dragon is beautiful but he is absolutely unlovable, and actually unhatable because one cannot hate something one does not love.



The novel WAS a masterpiece,
Tolkien's masterpiece deserves better, 22 December 2012

That's not a serious film about Tolkien and his "The Hobbit" novel, the novel before the "Lord of the Rings" series. That's a movie for young teenagers. Action is primary and slightly primitive too. And what's more they cut up a one volume book into slices.

Apart from that disappointment, we have to say it is well done and the special effects are perfect but they are nothing but special effects and they produce no sympathy, empathy or compassion. They just produce surprise and movement.

So what about that Hobbit Bilbon Sacquet, one of these simple short men who live somewhere underground among the roots of some trees, who dedicate their lives to studying and accumulating knowledge about everything and the rest. Scholars, savants, scientists, how can he go on roads and run after adventure? Hobbits just can't, full stop, period, endgame and endpoint.

So what about this particular Hobbit who is literally kidnapped by shame into joining an adventure in which he is not really wanted but just opportunistically needed. But his presence is resented by some of these dwarfs he is supposed to travel with and help re-conquer their own kingdom out of which they have been ousted by a fiery dragon Smaug a long time ago and are since then chased by all kinds of monsters like trolls, goblins, orcs or whatever these monstrous monsters are.

The elves are beautiful and charming, grand and elegant, cultivated and prudent and yet they are not used to the utmost level they could have served. They are just nearly an obstacle on the road, along the way, that has to be pushed aside and then a beautiful butterfly will bring the big birds who will save the situation in its last dire strait but nothing is made as clear as it should be. We are just piling up or stringing down one event after another in some kind of pearl necklace.

Too bad because this novel by Tolkien is by far a masterpiece, but not the film, in spite of its length for just a first slice.


La Bouteille sans l'Elixir, le 22 décembre 2012

J’attendais beaucoup mieux de ce court roman, l’ancêtre du Seigneur des Anneaux, par Tolkien, le grand Tolkien, et ce court roman est un chef d’œuvre qui devient un film pour jeunes ados pas même encore boutonneux.

S’il n’y avait pas les effets spéciaux, ce serait un bien pauvre film. Les effets spéciaux sauve la chose mais ils ne donnent ni profondeur ni densité au film et ils ne créent ni sympathie, ni empathie, ni compassion. Ils n’apportent que de l’action et de la vitesse. Rien de bien sublime pour les spectateurs qui aiment les émotions humaines et fortes.

Ce Hobbit Bilbon Sacquet, un petit homme qui vit dans les racines de quelque arbre, en totale isolation du monde, ou presque, consacrant sa vie au savoir et à sa collecte, un savant, un lettré, un érudit, un maître de l’esprit, un philosophe, et quoi encore ? Tout le reste. Il n’a aucune envie d’aller à l’aventure mais il est piégé par une bande de nains qui le provoquent dans sa dignité et sa vanité.

Et en plus il n’est pas vraiment désiré. Il est simplement nécessaire dans la mission de ces nains qui se sont fixé l’objectif de reconquérir leur royaume perdu sous les flammes d’un dragon Smaug il y a longtemps et qui sont pourchassés par des gobelins, des orques et quelques wargs sans compter les toutes nouvelles araignées géantes et quelques sorciers maléfiques, ainsi risquant de mourir sous les dents de ces êtres monstrueux qui n’ont d’esprit que de grandes gueules et de cerveau que de grandes dents, et je ne dirait rien de leur psychisme réduit à leur salive et leurs crachats de morve mortelle et vénéneuse.

Et c’est pourtant ce petit voleur de Hobbit qui va donner une leçon de courage aux nains trop rapidement découragés devant l’hostilité du monde.

Mais ce que je regrette le plus c’est que malgré la longueur du film le réalisateur a réussi à couper un petit roman en tranches et vous n’aurez donc que la première étape cette année, en espérant que celle de l’an prochain sera la dernière, mais je n’en jurerait pas si j’étais vous.

Alors allez jouir des effets spéciaux et des cabrioles numériques et numérisées, et d’ailleurs fort nombreuses, sorties tout droit des ordinateurs des studios d’Hollywood. Même les beaux (et enfin une femme dans tout ce film, on ne peut pas dire que l’on soit envahi par la sexualité et le désir), graciles, légers, élégants mais aussi prudents qu’une bande d’ermites au fond de leur caverne dorée ne sont pas utilisés comme ils le devraient et le papillon qui va chercher les grands oiseaux qui sauvent la mise n’est ni clair ni expliqué. Dommage. On aurait pu faire tellement mieux sur ce chef d’œuvre de littérature fantastique.


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