If The Hobbit Was 10 Times Shorter and 100 Times More Honest
INT. IAN HOLM'S HOUSE
IAN HOLM sits down to write a book. Or if you're reading this in 48 FPS, a GIANT IAN-HOLM-SHAPED BLOB OF MAKEUP sits down to write a book.
IAN HOLM (voice-over)
Once upon a time, a city of dwarfs built a completely unsustainable economy based on gathering precious raw materials and then keeping them. To avoid the debt ceiling, they dug deep fiscal cliffs into the earth, until the city was finally conquered by the great and terrible dragon Cleverdick Humphersnatch.
Or was it Smaug.
HI, UNCLE BILBO! Look, kids, it's me, Frodo!
Um, yeah, trying to start an epic trilogy here. Did you stop by to do anything useful?
Not really, except to position this scene right before the beginning of Fellowship, which means we're about to take nine hours of film to tell a story that you wrote down in about two. Better settle in and get fucking comfy.
The hell I will. I'm turning into Martin Freeman.
EXT. HOBBITON - YEARS EARLIER
MARTIN FREEMAN is practicing his puzzled-blinking skills when IAN MCKELLEN arrives.
Hello! You may remember me as the old man who does fireworks at birthdays.
Yeah, like in Fellowship. So do you just crash parties whenever you need only a handful of XP to level up?
Ha ha, of course not. Now prepare yourself, I've come to bring you on a thrilling adventure! Please don't let the fact that I perform 90 percent of this movie on a green screen make you feel like I'm phoning it in.
I decline your offer of adventure. There, all done, movie's over.
IAN announces a PARTY at MARTIN'S HOUSE on his DWARFBOOK PAGE and sets it to PUBLIC, causing the house to be instantly swarmed by DWARF PRINCE RICHARD ARMITAGE and his TRAVELING CAVALCADE of RIDICULOUSLY BEARDED WARRIOR-CALLIGRAPHERS.
Dick move, Ian. Dick move.
Lalala, I'm three studios away and I can't hear you.
The DWARFS act rudely and MARTIN stutters an objection. This repeats for roughly ETERNITY until finally IAN MCKELLEN throws a TANTRUM in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY as he did in FELLOWSHIP. It feels CHEAP and CONTRIVED. The AUDIENCE begins to sense a PATTERN developing.
OK everyone, settle down. Martin, we need your help to steal a jewel from the dragon who took my kingdom. And we must act soon, as there are rumors that the dragon is gone, and others may try to seize our homeland.
I'm a bit confused. If the dragon's gone, there's no problem. If we're just stealing a jewel from it, you don't get your kingdom back. And if the plan is to kill it, you don't need me to steal the jewel, instead you need about 3,000 more dwarfs.
Look, we need your help to sneak past the dragon that we're going to kill anyway that doesn't even exist! Is that so hard to understand?!
Well, you did a song about what an uptight asshole I am, so I was going to say no. But then you sang about being really sad, so OK. I'll go with you.
MARTIN takes ONE STEP FORWARD.
NO, NO FUCKING WALKING, STOP RIGHT GODDAMN THERE. For YEARS this franchise has taken NO END of shit about the walking. "Waah waah waah, they just walk everywhere, it's all walking, waaaah," in every single goddamn comment thread, every last fucking online forum. Well THAT ENDS NOW. If we're going to travel in THIS movie, it's going to be COOL and AWESOME and NOT AT ALL LEISURELY.
Now, choose your pony.
Ooh, Rainbow Dash, please!
SYLVESTER MCCOY, nobody's favorite DOCTOR WHO, arrives as nobody's favorite wizard, PEDERAST THE BROWN. He demonstrates his wizardly prowess to the audience by having a FACE covered in BIRDSHIT.
Some nefarious evil has arisen in Mirkwood! I must go warn Ian McKellen while still having SHIT ALL OVER MY FACE.
MARTIN has a word with GRIZZLED OLD DWARF KEN STOTT.
So what's the deal with Richard Armitage? Besides being our Viggo surrogate, I mean.
Hm? Is somebody about to relate my epic backstory? I'll go stare nobly into the distance while you do that, don't want to intrude.
Right then. Long ago, Richard and some of the dwarfs from the prologue decided to retake the kingdom of Moria. You remember, from the other movies. However, they were thwarted by a computer-generated albino named Manu Bennett, but not before Richard cut off his hand, kind of like what happened to Sauron in the prologue to the other movies.
Don't worry, though, I'm sure he won't show up later in a desperately transparent bid to give this movie its very own big bad.
Do the rest of you have backstories?
I dunno. Possibly. We're pretty bland actually, I mean three of us are doing double duty as evil trolls.
AS US! YOINK!
Now listen up, dwarfs, three of whom are also us! If you fight, we'll kill Martin; but if you surrender, we'll eat all of you, including Martin.
Well that is the stupidest choice ever, no way will we ...
The TROLLS commence a display of COMIC BANTER and TROLL TAINT while the AUDIENCE struggles to decide which is more NAUSEATING.
God, but this sucks. If I wanted to see ugly green monsters make jokes about bodily functions, I'd be watching Shrek.
Time to display the wits and cunning that justify making me the hero of this story!
But instead IAN MCKELLEN shows up in the NICK OF TIME and SAVES EVERYONE, a device that is already BEYOND OLD and isn't even the last time it happens IN THIS MOVIE. They prepare to move on when SYLVESTER MCCOY arrives with his SHIT FACE.
Look, Ian, I found this sinister necro-blade in my forest. Also, my face is covered in shit.
My word, this could be terribly important. I am in your debt and YOU HAVE SHIT ALL OVER YOUR GODDAMN FACE.
Uh-oh, wargs are attacking! Don't worry, I'll distract them and MY ENTIRE FUCKING FACE IS UTTERLY CRUSTED OVER WITH FUCKING BIRDSHIT.
SHITVESTER MCFACE gets on his MAGIC RABBIT SLED and attempts to re-enact RETURN OF THE JEDI.
Seriously. A fucking rabbit sled?
Yeah, it's part of a game we play to see who can piss off more people on the Internet.
That is the worst chase sequence I've ever seen. How is it possible for special effects to look less convincing than they did 10 years ago?
MARTIN, IAN, RICHARD, KEN, and 10 OTHER CHARACTERS THAT WE HAVE HAD ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO EVEN MENTION THEIR NAMES YET AND GUESS WHAT, WE NEVER WILL, arrive to see HUGO WEAVING.
Hello, Hugo. It turns out we need your help, because I just realized my entire plan hinges on a map I cannot even fucking read.
Ah, that's only because you don't have the latest backlit touchscreen RuneReader, as I do. Observe!
Wow, it shows where the secret door we need is, and that it can only be found during a stupidly long laundry list of circumstances, and guess what, they're all happening now! Thanks, Hugo!
Yes, it's the RuneReader Glow, only $149.99 at major retailers everywhere. Why not make this Christmas a special one? WE'RE sure as hell failing at it.
INT. RIVENDELL - MYSTICAL COUNCIL ROOM
The COUNCIL OF FAMOUS ACTORS gathers to DISCUSS SHIT.
Welcome, Ian. Did you like how I turned in place, creating a pretty spiral pattern with my crazy long dress? If you missed it, don't worry, I do it in every fucking shot.
I have disturbing news. There is a shadowy threat that is manipulating events while remaining unseen.
So you mean to tell me we're facing some kind of phantom mena-
Oh crap. Not again.
Hold on a moment, Ian. All we have to go on is the word of someone who's been smoking chronic and watching too much late night "Marble Hornets." You really made Christopher Lee fly all the way to New Zealand at his age for this?
Actually, I filmed my scenes in London, to be composited in later.
Thus ruining my only chance at having one scene where I didn't have to act at tennis balls on a stick. Thanks, dickhole.
Well, although we've all run out of information, I think we should discuss this further. In fact, I'll use my telepathic powers so that we can have TWO of the most excruciatingly boring conversations ever filmed, AT THE SAME TIME.
Excellent idea, Cate. Commence the droning!
The COUNCIL indulges in roughly NINE PAKISTANS WORTH of DRONING until everyone is COMATOSE.
Fuck it, we might as well walk now.
EXT. MISTY MOUNTAINS
MARTIN and the DWARFS get caught in a battle of GIANT ROCK'EM SOCK'EM STONE GIANTS!
WHY AM I FALLING IN SLOOOW MOOOOTIOOOOONNNN?
You guys wouldn't even BE fighting if you knew how much butthurt this was going to cause among fans of the book.
Half the dwarfs get BODY SLAMMED by 20 TONS OF ROCK but are FINE. Then they all trip a FLOOR TRAP and fall 10 MILES DOWN A JAGGED STONE PIT and are still TOTALLY FINE because Tolkien hadn't invented CRUSHING DAMAGE yet.
HUNDREDS OF GOBLINS capture the DWARFS, but not MARTIN, because he DUCKS. Then ONE GOBLIN finds MARTIN and they FIGHT!
Literally not one hour ago, I specifically mentioned that I've never handled a sword before, and I'm holding my own against a fucking monster. This is just lazy.
MARTIN and the GOBLIN fall ANOTHER 10 MILES DOWN A ROCKY CREVASSE, but MARTIN lands on a TWO-INCH MUSHROOM and is ENTIRELY, UTTERLY, NOT EVEN A FUCKING SCRATCH, FINE.
INT. ANDY SERKIS' CAVE
MARTIN finds THE ONE RING in a manner COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from how we saw it happen in FELLOWSHIP.
The one time it would be a good idea to imitate that movie, and we DON'T do it. Right.
Greetings, hobbits! We challenges you to a battle of questionses! Smssh fplssh GOLLUM, ssghsss indecipherables gibberishes preciousnesses!
Ah, FINALLY, I can display the wits and cunning that justify making me the hero of this story!
Except that I'll have all my answers spoon-fed to me by our surroundings, or your own words. And I'll stumble onto the winning question entirely by accident.
That's OK, it's still the best scene in the movie. HOBBITS-EATING TIME!!!
But thanks to the ONE RING and a SILLY 3D EFFECT, MARTIN ESCAPES and finds his way OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN even though the WHOLE POINT of the question game was to get ANDY to show him the way OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN.
INT. ELSEWHERE IN THE CAVE
Just as all seems hopeless for the DWARFS, they are rescued by IAN MCKELLEN, in the NICK OF TIME, YET A-FUCKING-GAIN, and begin fighting their way out of the mountain in a CHASE SEQUENCE copied FRAME-BY-FRAME from PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2. However, their way is blocked by the enormous, hideous
DAME EDNA GOBLIN KING!
Not so fast! You must first defeat ME, a villain not one-tenth as scary as the Balrog that we've already seen you defeat!
IAN MCKELLEN, with all the collected writings of Middle-Earth at his command, decides to KILL the GOBLIN KING using a joke stolen from JASON X, the FRIDAY THE 13TH IN SPACE movie.
CORPSE OF J.R.R. TOLKIEN
Then everyone falls ANOTHER 30 MILES and the 12-ton GOBLIN KING falls ON TOP OF THEM and THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, TOO, WHY THE FUCK NOT.
EXT. BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN
The COMPANY regroups.
There you are, Ian! Did everybody get out safely?
Alas, we have paid a high price for our freedom. Prepare thy tears as I relate the noble sacrifice of ... wait a minute ...
... holy fuck, ALL the dwarfs are still alive. All goddamn 12 of them. Do I have to start putting red shirts on these assholes?
Ian, thank God you only show up exactly when we need you.
I am a Knight of the fucking Realm, and if I want to sit out all the parts where you're just walking to places, I will sit those parts out, dammit.
Howdy everyone! I'm here to take my revenge on Richard.
I'm surprised it took you until now. I mean, how long does it take to shove a barbecue fork through your forearm?
Everyone runs up a TREE the way HEROES DO until IAN remembers he can SET FIRE TO SHIT, except they waste it on PINE CONES. MANU hacks down the TREES, so now our heroes are dangling over a CLIFF!
Oh no, he's threatening us with falling. Has he not been paying attention?
That does it, Manu, I'm challenging you! There's no way we'd do an entire movie without accomplishing SOME benchmark, so either YOU'RE gonna die, or I'M gonna die, or at least SOMEONE will ACTUALLY ACHIEVE SOMETHING!
Hey, check this out, guys, now that the trees are flat, we can walk off them.
WALKING! How the fuck did we not think of THAT?!
MARTIN walks off the TREE and SAVES RICHARD. Meanwhile IAN summons the EAGLES the EXACT SAME GODDAMN WAY HE DID IN THE OTHER MOVIES.
Somebody should really tell Peter Jackson that all of these allusions aren't making this movie more resonant, they're just robbing the originals of a lot of their impact.
(curled up half-asleep on a giant pile of money)
It's OK, Peter. Go back to sleep.
The COMPANY is flown out of DANGER and left at the TOP of a TALL, NARROW PEAK, instead of at, oh let's say, the BOTTOM, because EAGLES ARE ASSHOLES.
Martin, you showed great courage, and I now respect you.
Meaning both of our character arcs have been compressed into one film. You would think, with TWO MORE TO GO, they could've given that a little more time to develop.
Well, we still have to get all the way to the Lonely Mountain ...
Hey, there it is.
For more abridged goodness from The Editing Room, check out If 'Django' Was 10 Times Shorter and 100 Times More Honest and If 'Dark Knight Rises' Was 10 Times Shorter and More Honest.