I was very unhappy with some of these changes. The ones that immediately stood out to me were:
1) Azog. As soon as he was presented as being in this film I stopped taking it seriously, because as you stated, he's be dead a while, and I don't think zombies were ever featured in Tolkien's books haha.
2) The butchery of the history of the Dwarves. I was annoyed that Thror's death was depicted at the battle of azanulbizar. We both know his death was what caused the war of the dwarves and orcs and culminated in that battle (7?) years later.
3) Radagast discovering the evil in Mirkwood/White council not already knowing (or suspecting) that the necromancer was Sauron/Radagast's bunny driven sleigh saving the day against the zombie orc, Azog after sleighing all the way from Mirkwood to the Trollshaws to warn Gandalf in what was depicted as a VERY short trip....Geographical continuity bugs me.
4) The stone giant scene was ridiculous. Reminded me of Rock 'em Sock 'em robots and I literally laughed when I saw it.
I'm totally fine with all of the stuff that didn't appear in the book. For the first time in years, I'm reading The Hobbit through again and I must say that the events differ a lot from the movie, but like I said. It's all fine.
I'm not taking part in endless discussions about how the film could've been better. It's good the way it is and I'll gladly await for the other two movies.
But I must say that Radagast was awesome. He was just like good wizards should be. A bit crazy, carefree and full of strange ideas, but still able to handle tough situations.
I praise Peter Jackson for creating such good movies. Even all of his splatter styled movies are awesome.
To add something more, I think that all of those comedy/funny parts were a good extra to the overall experience. That's all.
I'm with Oerath on this one. I'd say the only change that really bothered me was the eunanimous one, aka Azog. All they had to do was make it Bolg instead. That's it. Just change the name in the script. The audience wouldn't know any better and the purists would've been way happier. It also baffles me.
Regardless, I freakin' loved it. Some of my favorite "little things" from the book aren't in the movie, but the way they captured certain scenes make up for anything that might've bothered me. Can't wait for number 2. If it's anything like the LOTR trilogy, it's set to just get better and better....as long as accuracy isn't your main appeal.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the hell out of the film, enough to see it 3 times. And bird-crap-on-the-face and rabbit-drawn sleds notwithstanding, I LIKED Radagast, and I totally support his role being expanded (so long as they keep it to a bare minimum).
Like I said, the White Council/Dol Guldur/Radagast stuff was totally not true to lore, but I liked it - 1. because it's cool to see Radagast on film, and 2. we need an introduction to the White Council's attack on Dol Guldur. It would have been pretty ridiculous if we got to the edge of the forest and all of a sudden Gandalf leaves with some vague explanation (like what happened in the book). Plus, the majority of the information regarding Gandalf's interest in dealing with Smaug would have come from Unfinished Tales, which Peter Jackson does not have film rights for. He would have been treading a slippery slope had he been too accurate there. So I'm fine with the way they handled that.
Most of the dwarves were awesome - Dwalin, Balin, Gloin, and even axe-in-the-head Bifur looked awesome. Bombur looked perfect. Thorin and, especially, Kili looked like freakin Dunedain Rangers, but I take it that PJ made Kili look that way because he was the youngest of the bunch and hadn't yet developed his dwarven features. I also liked the stone giants. Not at all what I pictured when reading the book, but a creative take on it. It DID look like rock 'em sock 'em robots though LOL.
I do think that they used a bit too much CGI, especially with the orcs/goblins. Peter Jackson already established a certain visual aesthetic with the LOTR films, so he should have stuck with people in orc costumes instead of the totally fake-looking CGI-rendered orcs. And don't get me started on the goblins - they looked like something out of a Harry Potter film. But it was the Azog sub-plot that just took it over the line for me. If the film was shorter, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But the film was almost 3 hours long, and a good half hour of that was stuff that had nothing to do with Tolkien's writing. I just don't see their point in adding that in when we would have gotten a much more accurate 2 hour-plus film without it.
Guess you can't please everybody all the time. It's still WAY better than the average crap out there, but it is nowhere near as good a trilogy opener as Fellowship of the Ring was. The PJ fan-fiction didn't quite ruin it, but it kept the film from being as great as it could have been.
The Istari don't come into ME until the third age, whereas Galadriel has not only been in ME since the First Age but was born in Valinor. Also there isn't really an authority when it comes to the good guys, it's almost always....strong suggestions from a council of some sort. So I'm sure Gandalf wouldn't even think twice of doing something Galadriel said to do. In fact, he'd be a fool not to!
Oh and keep in mind there have been several elves who fought against Maiar or Vala and sort of won. Of course you have Isildur, a man, defeating Sauron. And I can't think of who it was (Maedros perhaps? I know it was an M name...), but he challenged Morgoth to single combat right outside of Angband. He very possibly would've won if Morgoth wasn't so evil and called out his minions to fight for him when he started losing.
So moral of the story is don't discredit the power of the elves!!
Yes, I always found it odd how easily Sauron and Morgoth always seemed to get their asses handed to them in single-combat, by supposedly lesser beings.
In any case, Tolkien made abundantly clear that Saruman was the chief of the White Council, but that Galadriel secretly wanted Gandalf to be the chief. What happened in the film was that half of the writing team are females who were a bit dismayed with the lack of female characters in the story, so they decided to portray Galadriel as more powerful than she was. This is also the reason they invented Evangeline Lilly's character "Tauriel". I'm not against the invention of Tauriel, just as long as she's not made into a crucial part of the story.
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