A Word on the Desolation of Smaug – Extended Edition Trailer

The blu-ray for the extended edition of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug comes out November 4th in the United States. My copy will hopefully arrive that day but in the meantime here’s a trailer that offer two major bits that got axed from the theatrical edition.

First of all, though he looks a little tall to me in the trailer, that is Thráin, Thorin’s father, confronting Gandalf in Dol Goldur and shouting that Thorin must never enter Erebor. Finally, after getting a name drop in the extended edition of An Unexpected Journey perhaps what has happened to the last dwarven ring of power will be explained. Also, with the jumbling of time Jackson has done I can’t wait to see how he explains Gandalf getting the key and map from Thorin’s father before they’ve actually met in Dol Goldur, that being originally how he got it in the books.

Second, there’s Beorn, barely even in the theatrical release it seem, and this is just my guess, most of what was cut from the film involves Beorn. Before the release of the film there was talks of Beorn hunting down orcs at night to corroborate Thorin and Gandalf’s story. The other part seen in this trailer involving Beorn is in his garden with him chopping wood, possibly for a scene of exposition between Gandalf and Beorn or perhaps the introduction of the dwarves and the telling of what has happened to them so far just as in the books. Also, it looks like a scene in the forest involving Beorn and Gandalf is included as well. It could be possible that Beorn escorts Gandalf part of the way to Dol Goldur considering that the wizard has one of his horses.

Also in the trailer, besides reiterating what was in the theatrical release are scenes involving a conversation between Thorin and Bilbo upon arriving in Laketown and one between the Master of Laketown and Alfred of what Thorin’s quest means to him.

Not included in the trailer but released earlier this summer is extended Mirkwood scene mirroring the one in the book where they have to cross the river and poor Bombur falls into the enchanted water and the company is forced to carry him. You can see most of that scene here:

In interview, Richard Armitage mentions Bilbo and Thorin seeing the white stag, just like in the books, but this stag is projection of Thranduil into the forest. Thorin will try to kill it of course, because dwarf king no like elf king.

It’ll be interesting to see what else was cut that are scenes from the book and what Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh made up for their version of The Hobbit.

Goldman’s The Princess Bride is the best adaptation of Goldman’s The Princess Bride conceivable.

After just finishing reading William Goldman’s The Princess Bride I couldn’t think of anything better to do than to watch the movie that was adapted from it.

The movie, I believe, was better for once. A rare occurrence but one that I will argue my case for.

In my opinion, the movie was better.

In my opinion, the movie was better.

It certainly helps that the screenplay was written by the author of the novel. Most screenplay writers when adapting a book make changes to the story to not streamline the story for time but often change plot points, character motivation and character development that they feel fits better in a film and puts their own twist on the story. Nothing wrong with that mind you, change is part of adaptations. What William Goldman did however was instead take the novel he had written and streamlined it for film without cutting any part of what made the story charming and engaging.

Goldman managed to make a film version of his novel without cutting anything that makes it great.

Goldman managed to make a film version of his novel without cutting anything that makes it great.

Let’s get the negative parts of the adaptation over with that way we don’t have to dwell on it too long.. Out of all the characters the one that suffers most from the change from book to film is Prince Humperdink. His character looms over much of the plot in the book. A  much more intimidating, sociopathic and physically capable figure who poses a major threat to Westley and Buttercup’s romance. His abilities as a great hunter and tracker are explored with greater detail to back up his claim, rather than in the film when the characters just state it as fact. It could be argued that his tracking of Westley and Buttercup in Guilder showcase his hunting skills in the movie but I was never really sold by it too much. 

While Chris Sarandon did a great job as Prince Humperdink he comes off as more of a sniveling schemer who is in fact quite weak compared to the strategic military-like mind of the Prince Humperdink of the book.

What else the reader will get from the book that we don’t get as much in the movie is the backstories of Inigo Montoya and Fezzik. If you love those characters then I highly suggest you read the book. You get both of their upbringings, their trainings and how they end up with Vizzini. Their friendship blossoms in the book as well as Fezzik’s love for rhyming that the film just lightly touches upon.

Speaking of Vizzini, while I would never want to lose Wallace Shawn’s portrayal of the character we don’t get a great understanding that he is fact the planner of the trio. He just comes off sort of silly and dimwitted next to Westley. With the use of backstory we learn that the trio had been successful before in doing mercenary work like this in the past using Inigo’s fencing skills, Fezzik’s strength and Vizzini’s plans. Lastly, and this isn’t the movie or the books fault, but if you’ve seen the movie before you read the book the surprise of the Westley being the Man in Black is ruined for you as it is hard to disguise someone’s look and voice to make that surprise work especially considering when it came out.

Details is what is key. If you like details I highly suggest reading the book because you get better details of every main character and some characters who never get named in the movie. That was what was a shocker for me, that those small characters didn’t get cut from the movie at all. Yellin, the man who has the key to the castle, the Albino who helps Count Rugen torture Westley, Miracle Max’s wife, the lady who boos Princess Buttercup and even Prince Humperdink’s parents who do nothing to move the plot along in the book at all still make appearances in the movie. What else is significant is all the best lines from the book make it into the movie as well. In this day and age book readers usually have to prepare themselves for their favorite line or character to be cut. Not so with The Princess Bride, everything from As You Wish down to To The Pain make it into the movie. Reading the book in a sense was like reading more detailed version of the script while also getting new details about all the best characters.

What was removed from the movie that it benefitted from was two things. First of all, while entertaining, the framework of Goldman translating S. Morgenstern’s much longer version of The Princess Bride into the short version his father read to him as a kid tends to go on too long and interrupt the flow of the story. The part the movie uses involving the grandfather and the grandson in place of Goldman and his father still has the great framework of the story being read to a child without so many interruptions like in the book.

The other part that the movie loses from the book is the horrible ending. Not horrible in the sense it was poorly written or ill conceived but it is so anti-climactic and covered in loose ends that it reduces the rating I gave the book by a whole star on Goodreads, all to sell this weird theme of life isn’t fair. The movie has a much more satisfying ending to both cap off the main characters of Inigo, Fezzik, Buttercup and Westley and ends sweetly with the Grandfather and Grandson. The book’s ending fails on on all fronts.

Inconceivable! A movie would actually have a better ending than the book? It's true.

Inconceivable! A movie would actually have a better ending than the book? It’s true.

So do I recommend the book? I certainly do as I am the type of reader who enjoys the little details along with a good plot. Ultimately though I do believe Goldman did a better job of taking his novel and making into a much better screenplay and film.

I keep thinking about Spike Jonze "Her."

    The inability to get Spike Jonze’s Her out of my head doesn’t automatically make it a good film but it is a tell for me that will ultimately be my own conclusion of it.

     Basic premise: Man falls in love with artificial intelligence. Old hat for fans of science fictions while seen as bizarre fetishised premise from the general public. I suggest both of these audiences see this film because the one could use a bit of science fiction in their life that isn’t big budget explosions and the other should gain a better understanding of how complicated relationships are.
     Relationships are the fundamental premise behind this two hour story of a man falling in love and beginning a relationship with his computer. Throw that in a pot with a list of philosophical questions. What does it mean to be intelligent? What does it mean to have emotions? Most importantly though, if someone is intelligent and has emotions are they human?
     Let’s talk about Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore Twombly who I have seen criticised for being a sensitive asshole. That isn’t something to detract from the film but to be celebrated. Theodore is a introverted, anti-social, artsy, somewhat feminine and pretentious writer type who is afraid of change even when that change means new successful romantic relationships and success in his career. He fails to communicate his problems effectively and has difficulty addressing his own emotional shortcomings. 
     He is basically the girl’s best friend character trope turned into a real human being. We’ve seen countless times the hero who is funny, romantic, in touch with his feminine side who’s shy and artsy overlooked by the love interest for the stupid jock type in movies before but neither one of those men are real people. By injecting Theodore with negative traits along with those positive ones we get a real human being in the movie. You need a real human with flaws to interact with Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, the artificial intelligence he falls in love with in order to see the human qualities within her. You know who Theodore reminds me of? Comedians. Comedians have that balance of emotional problems and asshole behavior mixed with charm and artistic integrity. Just listen to the podcast WTF with Marc Maron or You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes if you don’t believe me.
     While not technically human, the development of Johansson’s character Samantha explores transhumanism that can easily be missed. Samantha has emotions, cognitive reasoning, and the ability to learn from experience like a human but what may be confusing for some is that the audience can forget that she isn’t technically human. Yes, she is female and in love with Theodore but because she is an artificial intelligence that means something entirely different for her. She is self-aware from the moment Theodore install hers, choosing her own name because she likes the way it sounds. This was in a mere moment, between when Theodore asked her what her name was and she answered that out of all the names she could find Samantha was the one she chose.
     I read one review complaining about her verbose nature in the film, the pretentious dialog she sometimes has in exploring her emotions. This is the reviewer looking at the man behind the curtain and asking “This isn’t good dialog based on human dialog” but she is not human. Just because she feels and thinks does not equate to she is human and as human beings who know of no other species who can do this that element of science fiction is important for everyone to think about. She does not learn language over time through experience and interacting with others but is self-aware of language from the beginning. She can process the whole of human literature in the time it takes for Theodore to ask her a question, so yeah, her word choice is going to be quite different from his.
      Let’s not forget the fact that verbal communication is her only form of communication, she has no body language, no faces to tell shorthand how she is feeling rather than using words. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around explaining Samantha, human but not human. The question of monogamy is brought up in the film. How strange must that sound to Samantha, the concept of monogamy when she is capable of so much more. When she tells Theodore how many other people she is talking to and how many others she is in love with I believe her afterwards when she tells him that it doesn’t change how much she loves him just as I completely understand when that isn’t good enough for Theodore. I would not be able to deal with it either but her limitations are different than his as an artificial intelligence. She isn’t human and yet she is.
     There aren’t enough science fiction films like this one. Exploring the human condition and how the rapidly changing technology affects that. It’s a down to Earth story, a story exploring what it means to be a human being rather than being a hero or villain. I can’t even think of the last science fiction movie that I thought about this much. The last movie I thought about this much was There Will Be Blood. Some reviews I read asked questions about the addictive nature of technology, the behind the scenes corporation that created these artificial intelligences and what that means for privacy, what does it mean for feminism when a flawed man can just buy a perfect woman, and then of course the rumor mongering of this being a reactionary film to the break-up of the writer and his wife.
     What I took from the movie is questions. Questions of what does it mean to be human, to be in a relationship, to communicate? What is intelligence and what are emotions and how limited is the human brain? These are the kinds of questions good science fiction asks of us, something that doesn’t often make it to American film and television. This movie was a breath of science fiction fresh air.
     If they were to make another movie based on this premise centering around Amy Adams character who essentially goes through a similar situation as Theodore and titled it Him I would see it in a heartbeat.
     Lastly, I cannot praise enough the score of the film done by Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett sell every emotion of the movie. It’s not available to buy but if you can listen to I highly recommend it. Without it the film would lose part of its emotional core.

Dear 2014: Make me care about movies again.

     BREAKING – A 28-year-old man in Lake Ronkonkoma finds films in 2013 unmemorable, says local 28-year-old man.

     Right now, Groundhog Day (1993) is playing next to me and it reminded me of all of these best of lists sites compose before the new year and my list of films fall short. Besides The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I cannot think of movie from 2013 that I either want to see or want to rewatch. I love movies, I really do. I minored in film, more on the writing side than the producing kind and so my hope for 2014 is that there will be films that make me care again.

     Maybe the issue is me. I mean people change, yes? Here’s a list of movies from last year I thought I would care about, that I’d be dying to see. In fact, a lot of these movies I am pretty sure I saw the trailers for in 2012 or early 2013 and thought hey, I should go see that.
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
  • Elysium
  • Man of Steel
  • Kick-Ass 2
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Wolverine (maybe…)
  • Iron Man 3
  • World War Z
  • Oldboy

     Most of the movies I did see, like Thor: The Dark World, Star Trek Into Darkness and Ender’s Game I have no desire to see again. Those that were highly praised like Gravity, American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, and 12 Years A Slave for some reason I have no desire to see. I know these movies are probably good, worthy of their praise but when I think of going to see them the words not worth it spring to mine.

     The biggest disappointment though was Edgar Wright’s The World’s End I had so much hope for this movie, as Hot Fuzz is up there with one of my most watched and favorite movies of all time. So when Edgar Wright promises this film was Shaun of the Dead x Hot Fuzz I had high hopes for what I thought would be another British comedy exploring science fiction survival genre the way the other explored the zombie and buddy cop genre. The movie starts off slow, with Simon Pegg’s narration from his unlikeable character. Shaun was a loser that made us laugh. Gary King is a loser who never moved on after high school and that’s somehow supposed to be tragic. What actually happens is he comes off as annoying and unsympathetic. That’s not what makes the movie a disappointment to me. 
     What was the biggest disappointment is that it barely made me laugh, barely. Maybe three audible laughs compared to the holding my chest in laughter pain that both Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead gave me. Spoilers for the three funny parts, when Nick Frost’s character Andy yells “I hate this town!”, when Andy finally gets drunk and just walks through the glass window, and the fight scene in which Simon Pegg’s character consistently keeps getting interrupted from drinking his beer. Everything else comes off as rushed and sloppy, the romantic tension, the disappearance of Martin Freeman’s character, the chase through the forest, the big reveal about the town, and Gary King’s emotional reveal towards the end. All of this topped off with the big climactic moment with the “villains” and the ending that I wish I could forget. I will give this movie two complements. 
  1. All of the choreography for the fight scenes were very well done and very well entertaining.
  2. After mostly playing the funny man to Simon Pegg’s straight man, Frost was great in this film as the straight man. Easily the only character in the film that was memorable, likeable and funny.
     However, I didn’t write this blog entry to mostly slam The World’s End but to look towards the film of 2014 and hope they’ll get me to buy a ticket. Looking at Most Popular Feature Films (to be) Released In 2014 these are the movies I am most hopeful about.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Godzilla
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Muppets Most Wanted
  • Winter’s Tale
  • Her (getting a wide release this year)
  • Interstellar
      Mostly big pop-culture films, which I thought I wanted to see in 2013 so who knows what I’ll end up actually seeing. My early prediction: either Her will be my favorite movie of the year or another movie I will hear about later will take it. I believe Guardians of the Galaxy will be a surprisingly good movie despite many people not recognizing the characters. The last thing I will say about 2013 is I still have not seen Inside Llewyn Davis and I cannot recall ever being disappointed with a Coen brothers movie. I obviously did not list The Hobbit: There and Back Again because I even enjoyed the first film, which most people disliked immensely so I believe liking the third one is probably a given. Here’s hoping the films of 2014 make me care about new movies where 2013 failed. 

An Experiment in Willpower – Not Previewing Anything

     On the April 22nd edition of The Indoor Kids podcast with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon they discuss Bioshock Infinite. One of their guest Film Crit Hulk on the discussion of spoilers planted in my brain this radical idea that he’s been doing. The idea is that he doesn’t watch or read previews for television, movies, or video games.

     I tried this with Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg’s new film The World’s End trailer only to give in within hours of it being posted online. Similarly when I saw on Reddit that the trailer was going to be posted for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on the following Tuesday I am pretty sure a noise came out of my mouth that registered a lot of happiness. This was for a trailer, not the movie itself. That’s kind of sad, though honestly if it was the movie itself I probably would of made the same squee sound.
      After hearing this random guy talk about avoiding trailers and how it changed his excitement and reevaluated the idea of watching trailers at all.
     It’s somehow easier for books because there’s no real videos and I am not a fan of reading online. I know there’s preview chapters of Neil Gaiman’s new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane and that George R.R. Martin has posted preview chapters for The Winds of Winter but they’re easier to avoid. Some previews are unavoidable with the websites I visit. Just for an example, there is a new Super Smash Bros. in development for Wii U. I don’t own a Wii U yet because there hasn’t been any software that’s really caught my eye. It’ll be impossible for me to visit Tumblr, IGN, or Twitter without hearing of a character included in the game but I can avoid any video previewing what they’re like. I’ll apply this to other websites as wlel. Some of the subreddits I am subscribe to will have to be unsubscribed to I am sure.
      Unrelated but sort of related is something I realized about this year in movies. This year has been the least amount of times I’ve been to the movies than any year I can remember. So far this year I’ve seen the horror movie Mama and Star Trek Into Darkness. I think that’s about it. I didn’t see Iron Man 3 or The Great Gatsby and I probably won’t see Man of Steel
     The only movies I know I will 100% go see is The World’s End and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I definitely have interest in Pacific Rim, Elysium, Anchorman 2, Thor: The Dark World, Ender’s Game, Oldboy, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For but I was interested in those other three film I didn’t go see and I don’t know if I will be compelled to see these in the theater either.

A box without hinges, key, or lid – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Part 2

     If you read my last post about 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey then you know the jist of what this one was about. Also, I suggest reading my posts about adapting books to movies for my views on that sort of thing. Let’s get right to it.

Parts of the book I was glad wasn’t in the film.

The bits of children’s magic – I can honestly say I didn’t miss the mentioning of the Old Took’s magic studs that never came undone and fastened themselves. Nor did I miss William’s mischievous purse that Bilbo tries to steal, alerting the trolls to Bilbo’s presence when the hobbit tries to prove himself as a burglar.

The bit with the hoods – In the book, everyone of the dwarves has their own uniquely colored hood that distinguishes them from each other with eventually loaning Bilbo one that is too big for him. Instead of using brightly colored hoods to make them look different the movies give them different personalities, clothing, speech, appearance and ways of fighting. 

Parts of the book I was surprised to find in the film.

Good morning! – The banter between Gandalf and Bilbo in the beginning just screams “I don’t advance the plot! Cut me!” so I was highly surprised it wasn’t cut.

The Songs – Although changed a little bit, I was highly surprised to find any of Tolkien’s songs in the movie at all. Of course Blunt the Knives is on my top 100 songs played on my iTunes now. I’m wondering if there will be any songs in the next two films, who knows?

This turned out a lot shorter than I thought it would, so I’ll post it shortly after Part I.

More like a grocer than a burglar – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Part I

     Last year’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was met with mixed reviews ranging from people who were either expecting the book, or people who were expecting The Lord of the Rings films. I, on the other hand, loved it. I saw it three times in the theater and about eight times repeatedly on blu-ray. The movie is a strange case for movie adaptations because it takes a lot of liberties with the story of the book, but it manages to keep in little aspects of the book that you’d think would be cut day one for a movie script. What else it manages to do is keep to key themes Tolkien often included in his books.

      Let’s get the negative out of the way first.

Three changes from the books I disliked.

Grocer vs. Burglar – I want to note the distinction really quickly that I used “dislike” instead of “hate”, two very different meanings. In the film when the line “He looks more like a grocer than a burglar” is delivered by Thorin, everyone has a nice laugh and Bilbo looks at Thorin and then to Gandalf in confusion, as he has yet to be informed he’s to be hired for burglarious activities. The entire dinner scene after Thorin’s arrival has Bilbo basically trying to get out of whatever adventure Gandalf is planning. 
     Switching the line from Gloin after hearing the details of the adventure to when Thorin makes his entrance not only takes away a good line from one of the secondary dwares of the film but makes the line seem more cliche movie-like. By that I mean, “hey Thorin’s the main dwarf so he gets the best lines as soon as he makes his entrance.” My bigger problem though is Bilbo’s reaction, and this might be one of those changes that without the inner monologue the screenwriter’s felt it would be hard to convey. In the book, we see Bilbo’s inner conflict with the two sides of him, the bookish Baggins side and the adventurous Took side. In the film there’s is no conflict at all until the argument between Gandalf and Bilbo in his sitting room where the family line is mentioned. We don’t get any visual confirmation of Bilbo’s inner conflict until the brief scene of Bilbo awake in his bedroom listening to the dwarves singing Thorin’s song. I have no doubt that Martin Freeman would have been able to give a performance to show this inner conflict beforehand as someone else said “Martin Freeman might be the best hobbit who ever hobbited.

Azog’s Hand – I honestly don’t mind Azog the Defiler not being killed off and his son taking his place. This might confuse moviegoers who didn’t see the difference between Saruman’s orcs and Sauron’s orcs with how they created, given the scene with the Uruk-hai basically being born from mud and slime of the ground, the question of how orcs reproduce would come into question. The scene I bring into question is the flashback to the Battle of Moria, in which Thorin Oakenshield earns his nickname. It’s all fine and good until Thorin cuts off Azog’s hand. I get what they’re trying to do, link the evil of Azog to the evil of Sauron, raising the unexpected villain up to the level of the Dark Lord and foreboding the darkness settling in on Middle-Earth. The problem is, it seems rehashed more than repeating thematic and not only does it not raise up Azog as a villain, but lessens the scene in the Fellowship prologue with Isildur and Sauron, putting Sauron on the same level as an orc.

Bilbo’s Sword – This one stems from my study of Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor’s criticism of The Hobbit but has been so ingrained into my understanding of the book now that I can’t shy away from it. In the book, Bilbo’s discover the knife he would later call Sting on his own in the Troll’s cave along with Gandalf taking Glamdring and Thorin taking Orcrist while in the film Gandalf discovers Sting on his own, handing it to Bilbo with a bit of exposition and how it’ll glow blue. Gandalf’s explanation takes away from the development of Bilbo later on in what Corey Olsen and I believe is the turning point for Bilbo.

But in slapping all his pockets and feeling all round himself for matches his hand came on the hilt of his little sword – the little dagger that he got from the trolls, and that he had quite forgotten; nor fortunately had the goblins noticed it; as he wore it inside his breeches. Now he drew it out. It shone pale and dim before his eyes. “So it is an elvish blade, too,” he thought; “and goblins are not very near, and yet not far enough.” But somehow he was comforted. It was rather splendid to be wearing a blade made in Gondolin for the goblin-wars of which so many songs had sung; and also he had noticed that such weapons made a great impression on goblins that came upon them suddenly.

The scene in the film yet again establishes Bilbo as a humble hobbit and not an adventurer or someone who intends to use a sword, setting up the scene in which he shows Gollum mercy, but it takes this turning point away from Bilbo in the film. It’s after he realizes his sword is the stuff of legends that he decides there’s no going back. It’s an important moment for him, on his own, without Gandalf or the dwarves to help him when he encounters Gollum. Sting is just as important to Bilbo’s development as is the One Ring and the film sort of fails to establish this.

Additions to the film I enjoyed.

Radagast the Brown – Even though he does a terrible job of drawing off the Wargs and Orcs the addition of Radagast the Brown imbeds An Unexpected Journey with a theme very familiar to Tolkien’s work that the Lord of the Rings film trilogy failed to realize at times. The theme of nature and the natural world being affected by the dark power infected Dol Guldur as well as the theme Gandalf mentions to Galadriel later in the film.

Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.

His addition also brings a lighter tone to the film that I believe is refreshing.

Dol Guldur, The Necromancer, The Witch-king of Angmar and the Morgul Blade –  While everyone was complaining that they turned the Hobbit into three films, I got excited because this meant everything only mentioned in the appendix of The Lord of the Rings would come to fruition in these movies. In the book Gandalf just disappears for a bit, says he took care of the Necromancer and wanders back into story. Now in these films we have Sauron in his Necromancer body bringing back the Nazgul, including the Witch-king of Angmar who I believe was underused in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Gandalf and the White Council basically on their own side-quest that will have grave repercussions for The Lord of the Rings. I really hope we get to see the Necromancer in the two films, as we know Benedict Cumberbatch did some acting for it.

Everything changed about the dwarves (so far)- Until the very end of the Hobbit, after Smaug has been taken down the dwarves are kind of goofy, falling over each other, getting captured by trolls, orcs, and elves. None of them are very distinctive at all except with a line or two here and there until later on when Thorin becomes infected with dragon-sickness. In the films, they’re much more unique with drastically different physical appearances, personalities, speech patterns and motivations though sometimes subtle. In the film you can see Balin and Bofur taking a liking to Bilbo, and how Fili and Kili are young warriors trying to prove themselves to their Uncle Thorin, with a bit of youthful mischief still in them. You can see Ori as the baby of the group, a bit more naive than the rest of them and Balin is the eldest, wise grandpa dwarf, friendly but a bit cynical and cantankerous.
     Then there is Thorin Oakenshield, the tragic king of the likes of Hamlet or Macbeth as compared to Aragorn’s King Arthur. Thorin is kingly but filled with anger and mistrust, unable to discern friend from foe, easily holding grudges against those who have wronged him. His progression from dismissing Bilbo to embracing him was great for this story and I am even more excited to see his development in the next two movies.
     Keep reading for Part 2 in which I discuss what I am glad they left out from the books and what I was surprised to find they put in.