The Single Biggest Flaw with the Entire Hobbit Trilogy

Alternatively Titled: Yeah, Well... Sorry Guys, But This is Just True, and You All Know it, or: You're a Cock! You're a Cock! You're a Cock! ... Cock!

Follow Albie:
By Albie - 12/28/2012
Okay, calm down. First, yes there are spoilers here, kinda, so know that, but remember: let's be rational about this, there's no reason not to be. Personally, I loved the first Hobbit movie, and any questions that were in my head about how effectively Peter Jackson et al. were going to flesh out The Hobbit into a full trilogy without it feeling like bullshit are gone. And we barely saw Smaug at all, which I was really worried they might do too early. A few flashes, kind of, sure, and we do need to establish his horrific destructive force early, so that all worked great for me. His snout at the end? Honestly, I would've preferred we not get the eye, too, but it was still minimal; we still haven't seen his full body even once. Once again, 90% of the cast are either unknowns (for now, that is; can anyone honestly remember ever hearing the name "Orlando Bloom" before LOTR? Anyone else like me and still remember reading the early LOTR cast reports and saying, "What the shit is an 'Orlando Bloom'? That sounds like a gayer Knott's Berry Farm in Florida..."), and of course some are recurring, what-with your Sir Ian McKellen, and Hugo Weaving, and etc.

But tucked in amongst the familiar and unfamiliar faces alike is our old friend Martin Freeman, aka Watson, aka Ricky C. of the Westside, aka Tim Canterbury, the man with the hat... FM.



Y'know what, this one depresses even me, so I'll try to keep it short. We do need to backtrack to LOTR for a moment at this point, though, and back to a man named Ian Holm.



So now most of you have probably skipped ahead in your minds already and know what I'm about to say: Why is Martin Freeman playing a part that's already been cast? Because Ian Holm looks too old now? Do you realize we're talking about the same movies in which Andy Serkis' entire face and body are replaced in post? This is called a face-palm moment.



This is also why I said calm down at the beginning and bothered to gush for a minute about how much I did love the first Hobbit movie, because I do! Really, this should be a bonus for me, because I'm also a big fan of Martin Freeman, but I simply have to say that, number one, Ian Holm was already excellent casting, and in LOTR, we got to see him at different times go from a younger Bilbo, to an older Bilbo, to a deceitful Bilbo, and those of us who were forward-thinkers couldn't wait to see his own adventure across Middle-Earth to take back Smaug's ill-gotten gains.




And, number two, it will never not stick out to me the dramatic shift in facial proportions that we're supposed to believe Bilbo went through in the what, 50, 60 years or so in between The Hobbit and The Fellowship? Who has that arched of a brow well into their 40s, and then grows out of it? All of a sudden that's a distinct Hobbit characteristic, they look more like monkeys when they're young and then less so as they age? Yet after the character's second facial change, the one during LOTR that makes sense because he gives up the one ring and finally starts to show his full age, he, shockingly, seems to have kept the same face! I guess he just got lucky the second time around? Certainly got unlucky the first time we're supposed to believe his face changed; Martin Freeman may not be an every-GQ-cover type looker, but he's a decent step up from Ian Holm. But I can only say this stuff because I'm an ugly bastard, too, so I know the pain.


Calm down, fake Bilbo! It's just an odd and unnecessary choice, but I'm still gonna see all 3!
DISCLAIMER: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE.
1
LIKE!
24 Comments
iuhgluiblbjjkhkjhkljh - 12/28/2012, 11:18 AM
You're forgetting that Ian Holm looked to old to play young Bilbo, during Fellowship. Martin Freeman looks close enough to Holm.

I think you're just trying to find reasons to hate this fantastic movie.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 11:26 AM
I'm not gonna bother repeating myself too much, but if there's one thing I'm clearly not doing, it's looking for reasons to hate the movie, I f'ing loved it.

I just kept expecting Martin Freeman to call Gandalf a cock in a high-pitched voice, or stare right at the camera for a second while the dwarves were singing in his house. Just took me out of the moment at times.
TheRaven20 - 12/28/2012, 12:34 PM
This is what worried me before they cast Biblo. I thought they're wasn't anyone who would look remotely close to Holm and could act. The they cats Freeman and that problem went right out the window. I think Freeman was perfect casting. As close as you can get to resembling Ian Holm and he played Bilbo to perfection. Even if you don't think he looks like Holm, (which I think the resemblance is uncanny) what did you think of him as Bilbo? Cause the fact that he doesn't look like Ian to you shouldn't take away from his performance.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 1:27 PM
If you think at any point that I'm saying I didn't like the movie, or Martin Freeman in the role, just read it again and work on your comprehension is all I can say.

But it's an entirely unnecessary flaw, that's what really drives me nuts about it; Bilbo is really hardly the most active one in the books. Some running, some dodging, some swinging a little sword, it's really not that crazy. Gandalf, the dwarves, and the orcs on the other hand, they're real damn active, they have the epic battles that Bilbo dodges his way through/around.

I loved the movie, Martin Freeman does a great job (and, as an aside, he's an actor that really does deserve an awesome role like this, in spite of how much it does take me out of the Middle-Earth world when I'm watching), but it's just unnecessary. If it turned out Ian Holm preferred not to do a Hobbit trilogy because of his age or any reason, my opinion is that would've been my first question upon casting him in LOTR--are you ready to film The Hobbit, as well, because if LOTR makes no money, is unpopular, fine, no Hobbit movies, but if it catches on, let's go for hobbit consistency.

What, you're telling me they couldn't have seen this coming when they were making LOTR? Pft.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 2:41 PM
@Levitikuz

Nobody else remembers Martin Freeman always saying "You're a cock!" to Gareth on The Office?
Facade - 12/28/2012, 2:50 PM
@Albie...Dr. Cox sums it up nicely.

Albie - 12/28/2012, 3:05 PM
@Levitikuz

There's a creepy thought; I might have to swap out the Milhouse avatar already.

In other news:
Parker2017 - 12/28/2012, 3:08 PM
@LEVITKUZ I do read your post in benders vocie its funny actully, and now to the article!

The Hobbit to me and I mean this in a GOOD WAY, is like the Star wars prequals it's nto as good as the frist trilogy, but it's good enough, and whiule it did get pretty boring i loved Everyone.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 3:26 PM
This is why I can only really write editorials right here, but this is also why I enjoy opinionated stuff more than facts; I mean, you can't argue facts, the sky just is blue, end of discussion.

@JokerFanHAhaHA

But so, like I said, Martin Freeman rules. Unnecessarily making the choice to cast anyone in a role that's already cast itself is the flaw. We already had our Bilbo set up for us, if they wanted Martin Freeman, he should've been Bilbo in LOTR, too, sorry. (And don't turn around and say "They can't make him look that old as he was supposed to be in LOTR!" These are the movies with f'ing Gollum, there are no makeup or CGI excuses here.)
Albie - 12/28/2012, 3:28 PM
The real question here is, would anyone here be okay with somebody other than Harrison Ford if we see Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars sequels?
Albie - 12/28/2012, 3:37 PM
Marvelgeek219 said:

"@Albie

'But it's an entirely unnecessary flaw'

This is an entirely unnecessary article"


Well played, sir. I think that may be one of the more defining comments both of and on any nerdy-ass website to date.

Completely different example. Harrison Ford IS Han Solo. He made that character who he is. Ian Holm on the other hand didn't do such an amazing job as Bilbo for me to say he's the only one.

I would've said the exact same thing up until that scene in Rivendell in LOTR when Bilbo goes into a rage outside his control and attacks Frodo for the ring. It was short, but rock solid and it nailed him 100% into Bilbo for me.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 4:32 PM
@Marvelgeek219

But we're talking about Ian Holms' acting as Bilbo. The premise is the ring's controlling the character, sure, but Ian Holms' performance then has to sell us on two levels simultaneously, and he does so both effortlessly and seamlessly, most especially in his transitions to and from being controlled by the ring.

We already saw a part of Bilbo's relationship with the ring, and those of us that were excited since Fellowship to see more of Ian Holms' bringing that relationship to life, the man whose physical interpretation I knew from that scene on hit the nail right on the head, we get none of it, for no good reason. It's silly.
AC1 - 12/28/2012, 5:02 PM
Sorry, but this does seem a little bit nit-picky.
1) Martin Freeman actually looks quite close to Holm, enough to be very good visual casting in terms of 'younger versions of a character'.
2) Freeman plays Bilbo incredibly well, and completely embodies the character from the book and is completely believable as a younger version of Holm's character from the LOTR trilogy (in terms of acting at the very least). Plus, Holm had a considerably smaller role.
3) Holm is 81 years old. No amount of CGI or motion capture technology is going to give him the energy or youthful vigor to play the younger Bilbo (in fact, I think they did use de-aging CGI in his scenes, at least it looked that way to me due to the texture of his skin in the film). Can you honestly imagine Ian Holm running through the Shire to catch up with the dwarves like Freeman did at the beginning of the film? Or dodging and fighting the three trolls? Or jumping over Gollum toward the end?

I also think you (or maybe Martin Freeman?) are falling victim to being unable to disassociate the actor with a previous character, like how many people always saw Christopher Reeve as Superman no matter what role he played, or will see David Tennant as The Doctor from Doctor Who no matter what role he plays in the future. In this case, it seems more like you're having trouble thinking of Freeman as Bilbo in comparison to the other roles he's played. It's a problem most of the fan-casters have on this site too, as they always cast actors based on their past roles rather than their ability.
AC1 - 12/28/2012, 5:14 PM
You know the big fault with this arguement? It's like saying "In Looper, Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Bruce Willis should've played both versions of the character", "Kate Winslet should've played the older Rose in Titanic", "Leonard Nimoy should've played Spock/William Shatner should've played Kirk/etc. in JJ Abrams' Star Trek films", "Tommy Lee Jones should've been young K in MIB3".

The fact is the two actors play the same character at two significantly different ages in his life, which is something that happens almost all the time in films. It's necessary, because the different actors bring different qualities to the character in order to distinguish the two ages, but are similar enough that they're believable as the same person within the context of the film.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 5:29 PM
@ACira

The difference is, we don't need to believe any of those characters also grow from 40-something to 111+ over the course of six films, the latter being the most important part. You have to make and keep a relationship with an actor and character to care about them through six nearly three hour movies, not make and develop a relationship to squash later.

It would've been effortlessly easy to, when making LOTR, look ahead and cast the Bilbo then that you can get/would want to still be Bilbo now. This is exactly why people stopped giving a shit about Terminator, the writers stopped giving a shit about any continuity in the franchise, so if you loved the first two, shut up, here's the third one! Did you love the first three somehow? Then let's shit on it by focussing on an ex-con instead of John Connor in part four! I forget who currently owns the Terminator rights, but wiki it, cause it's hilarious. They can't sell them to anybody at the moment.

But c'mon, all I would've been looking for is Martin Freeman being Bilbo from the start of LOTR, and obviously made to look old the whole time to different degrees, and then The Hobbit, he can be free of the old people makeup. It's that simple.
AC1 - 12/28/2012, 5:34 PM
"The difference is, we don't need to believe any of those characters also grow from 40-something to 111+ over the course of six films"

I don't really understand your point. For one thing, the age gap from 40 - 111+ occurs between the last Hobbit film and the first LOTR film, off screen. Second, the age gap is far bigger than that of any of the characters/actors I've listed above, which means the actors I've listed should look closer to each other than Martin Freeman and Ian Holm do, so surely the case of Bilbo's two actors should be more acceptable (as a bigger age gap means more physical aging and difference)?
AC1 - 12/28/2012, 5:37 PM
And I think the reason people stopped giving a shit about the Terminator franchise had more to do with the films progressively becoming more shit. I've never liked them anyway, but I'm sure most people would say the most recent Terminator is the worst, and that either the first or second is the best.
Albie - 12/28/2012, 5:45 PM
"The difference is, we don't need to believe any of those characters also grow from 40-something to 111+ over the course of six films, the latter being the most important part."

Latter means second, as in not first, first is former. The first thing in that sentence is the 40-111+, the second thing is that we have six films in which to watch this growth and keep the relationship with the same character. Which is why I noted the second part is the most important.

A six-film franchise is a unique situation; it's not Looper, or MiB3, or Titanic, or Star Trek, you don't see just pieces, you see expansive amounts of different times all across the LOTR universe, and it would've been that simple to keep it consistent.

Casting Martin Freeman from the beginning of LOTR would've been a mistake? Really?
AmazingFantasy - 12/28/2012, 8:48 PM
Dumbest [frick]ing argument for this film.
MikeKus34 - 12/28/2012, 10:44 PM
Sorry man, but your arguement for this being a six movie deal doesnt hold up either. Did it take you out of the movies at all when you learned the guy playing Anakin in the prequels wasnt going to be the guy who played Darth Vader in the original three?
Albie - 12/28/2012, 11:43 PM
@MikeKus34

No, because Darth Vader's face is always covered. The brief moment you catch it in Jedi, you also get to see all the metal shit on the inside of his mask that's been jabbing into his face for decades under there, plus you know his skin hasn't seen any light in decades.

If you wanna make the Star Wars comparison, the only character you could make it with is Obi Wan, which is actually the only thing that the prequels really got 100% correct in every way--Ewan McGregor is not only a phenomenal actor, but once he has the beard going, too, he both looks and sounds exactly like Sir Alec Guiness.

It is an editorial guys, at least get that much out of it.
xcrementus - 12/29/2012, 4:04 AM
So you want somebody else to play Bilbo in the Hobbit prequel...and then digitally add Ian Holm's "too-old-for-Bilbo's) face post-production?

Gollum was an entirely CGI creature, with a head model based around Serkis face while acting.

Seeing as Ian Holm can't actually run around, you'd want the animators to digitally add and manipulate an Ian Holm face onto ANOTHER actor...for every single frame of the movie. Of which he, being THE HOBBIT, would be in the majority of?

Do you realise the cost of this? just to keep less than 30 seconds of the original trilogy consistent,
when you can simply recast the actor to someone who kinda resembles a younger version of Holm?

If you were on the effects team and suggested that, you'd be fired on the spot.
Albie - 12/29/2012, 8:50 AM
Albie - 12/29/2012, 11:51 PM
Let me copy + paste what I said earlier again then:

"If it turned out Ian Holm preferred not to can't do a Hobbit trilogy because of his age or any reason, my opinion is that would've been my first question upon casting him in LOTR--are you ready to film The Hobbit, as well, because if LOTR makes no money, is unpopular, fine, no Hobbit movies, but if it catches on, let's go for hobbit consistency."

"It would've been effortlessly easy to, when making LOTR, look ahead and cast the Bilbo then that you can get/would want to still be Bilbo now."

"...all I would've been looking for is Martin Freeman being Bilbo from the start of LOTR, and obviously made to look old the whole time to different degrees, and then The Hobbit, he can be free of the old people makeup. It's that simple."

And it is that simple. Look, I don't really wanna go over all the flaws in The Hobbit/LOTR (if I did, why would I start with this?), because there's just an innumerable amount depending on the criteria you go with. Obviously this is a nitpick, but unlike keeping the pale orc alive a bit longer, this won't distract me in one movie for a minute or two, it'll distract me constantly through all three, which will in turn make all the rest of the changes stick out twice as much. All it would've taken is the casting director for LOTR suggesting they cast a guy in his mid-30s for Bilbo then, so they could make him look older with makeup and if they still got to do The Hobbit trilogy after, they'd already have someone established with the audience that can continue to be Bilbo. As opposed to filming cutaways to scenes from The Hobbit in LOTR with Ian Holm (when he finds the ring, anyone?) just so we can go back and make real damn sure the movie that's meant to have that scene in it looks nothing like the cutaway we were already shown multiple times. This being my opinion, and nothing more, is the reason this was filed under editorials.

Oh, and the age difference thing? Gandalf is 7,000 years old, and I'll bet you anything he gets played by Ian McKellen every single time Peter Jackson adapts anything by Tolkien. "Oh, but when it all starts, Gandalf starts out old!" So does Bilbo, he's in his 40s or 50s in The Hobbit, so cast a middle-aged actor and slap old people makeup on him until the scenes where his character is middle-aged, and it's never a distraction. Done. Anybody with any professional casting experience would've had this thought immediately, whether or not they were vocal about it.

...Aaaaaand, I'm done with this one. Clarified myself way too many times already.

Please log in to post comments.

Don't have an account?
Please Register.