Lots of good. Lots of material that is straight from the mind of Peter Jackson and not from the pages of the Hobbit.
Martin Freeman is so good as Bilbo, he makes the movie for me.
Dain: this guy looks like he's straight from the intro movie to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
skip ahead to 0:55
more after the jump...
One of the big things Jackson tackled was Gandalf's errand to deal with the necromancer. Given that necromancy takes center stage in BG, I was especially looking forward to Jackson's idea about how that might go.
I was a bit disappointed to be honest.
Gandalf is taken prisoner and Galadriel finds him on the brink of death (he may actually have died and she calls him back...which, if true, seems to cheapen him returning as Gandalf the White in LotR). The necromancer, Sauron in spirit form, is there and reminds Galadriel that nine rings were given to mortel men doomed to die. With that, the Nazgul appear in ghost-like form. Galadriel is not alone as Elrond, Saruman, and Radagast seemingly come out of nowhere to fight the ghost-like Nazgul.
Jackson spends exactly zero time developing what a necromancer does and how that power works. Apparently this necromancer is dangerous because he's building an army, which is one of the five armies that will participate in the battle. Apparently this necromancer can give ghost-like Nazgul enough substance for them to fight Galadriel/Elrond/Saruman/Radagast. We already know from the earlier films that the necromancer will use dark magic in an attempt to kill hedghogs and rabbits and such. And that's really all we know about the necromancer.
Back to the "big" fight scene with the necromancer. When the heroes best the ghost-like Nazgul, the shadowy necromancer dances around before turning into Sauron's eye from LotR. Then Galadriel gets super pissed and turns into Beautiful and Terrible as the Morn Galadriel. She uses a lot of her power to banish Sauron who, like a deflating balloon, flies into the distance where we must assume his balloon runs out of air and he lands in the lands of Mordor.
Did that fight scene satisfy anyone? Every element of Sauron is repackaged from LotR. Every element of the fight scene is repackaged from LotR or the other Hobbit movies. Then there's the weird camera work focusing on Gandalf and Galadriel like there's something going on between them. Just odd. Nothing interesting about the whole errand to defeat the necromancer. Cinematically, it looked good. But it was as shallow as anything you'll ever see in a movie. No depth at all. And, like I've been banging on about, there wasn't really anything we haven't seen already in LotR. I guess it was too much to ask for Jackson to create an original conflict with the necromancer that was nuanced and was in Tolkien's tradition. Easier just to mail it in with the frantic action sequence.
I'm thinking I'm going to do a series of blogs that go through and go over the character arcs in Tolkien's Hobbit and compare/contrast them to the character arcs in Jackson's version of Tolkien's Hobbit. I'm particularly interested in sytematically evaluating the parts Jackson added in without any source material like Tauriel.
Also, regarding the changes Jackson made to the existing character arcs, I'll be asking the question: why would Jackson feel the need to change these character arcs?
There's no way I will be able to answer those questions with 100% certainty. My true purpose in doing this series is to discover if my aggravation caused by the Jacksonizings is unreasonable or whether my gut feeling that Jackson was selling out/mailing it in has a basis in reason.
This series will not happen for a while--I'll need to get my paws on copies of all three hobbit films first. Then I'll need to reread the Hobbit. So I'm going to table this endeavor until at least summer 2015 when BG is hopefully complete and being marketed to publishers.
By the way, happy 2015 to everyone! May we all come closer to self-actualization in the coming year.