A few tidbits from the first panel discussion, Tolkien's The Hobbit: The Book and the Movies. The panelists involved were Paul Genesse, David Farland, Blake Casselman, and Tracy Hickman, with Paul acting as moderator.
At one point, the topic was raised of "What were your quibbles with the movie?" David Farland leaped in with some minor complaints about the pacing, particularly focusing on the scenes in Bag End. He said that he went into the movie really wanting to love the dwarves...and came away not having fallen in love with them at all. He pointed out that too much time was spent at Bag End. Then he made the mistake of using the word "pacing."
The microphone was passed to Tracy Hickman and the question repeated, "What were your quibbles? What was there about the movie that made you mad?" He smiled and said, "What made me mad was the audience." There was rousing applause to this sentiment. "All the cell phones, the texting, the little lights all over the theater. It made me want to throw popcorn at them all." Again: rousing applause. "This is why the 'free refill Coke' is such a good thing; that way you can dump your drink on them and...." Laughs and applause.
Then Tracy continued: "Seriously, though, my problem with the movie is with people who have a problem with the pacing." At which he and David Farland looked eyes and David laughed. Back to Tracy, with a few tidbits of wisdom from him.
- We are so inured to the Bruce Lee, fast-paced...action-from-a-firehose movies that we have lost the art of enjoying the journey.
- Look at The Maltese Falcon: that one didn't truck along. Casablanca wasn't action-packed or fast-paced.
- As writers, the audience expects us to write our prose cinematically.
- Enjoy the pace--the journey--rather than worry how long it takes to get there.
Blake Casselman made a comment in passing that he really appreciated the whole Moby Dick theme included in the movie, meaning Azog, the White Orc. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of time to develop that idea, but it's an idea worthy of a number of essays itself.
Paul Genesse had a good, pithy observation on Radaghast: "Look, I know you like ALL like Radaghast, but when the smoke came out of his ears, I rolled my eyes. Radaghast is my Jar Jar Binks." Even though I really liked the Radaghast character, I had to laugh. I can respect his opinion.
O.K. Off to another panel discussion. More later.