The Hobbit Review Part Three ~ Goblin Town & The Great Goblin!
In Part Three of Mordor’s Review of The Hobbit, we will continue our look at of the Dark Creatures in the film. There will be Spoilers… so if you have not seen the films yet beware!
In Part One of the Mordor’s Review of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” I discussed the over all look and pacing of the film, focusing on the story line which I believe should receive a very high score! I touched on many of the areas that critics and reviewers have mentioned and hopefully addressed most of them. In Part Three of this review we are turning our lens on Goblin Town, the Goblins themselves and of course the Goblin King! For those who have not seen the film… there are spoilers in the remaining six reviews.
Let’s Take a trip to Goblin Town! Spoiler Warning! Goblin Town screen caps seen nowhere else on the web!!
Please go HERE to our Hobbit Review Page for all seven parts of the Mordor review!
I loved this entire sequence… the look of the Goblins… the beautifully conceptualized vision of the cavernous Goblin Town, with it’s wild pathways and rickety bridges…. and most of all The Great Goblin himself!
At this point in the film, the company has left Rivendell and are making their way over the dangerous passes of the Misty Mountains. They encounter a violent lighting storm which brings out the Stone-giants! After escaping a rather cataclysmic encounter with the giants, Bilbo and the Dwarves find a cave in which to take shelter.
Once inside the cave… which of course is the Front Porch to Goblin Town… Bilbo is told by Thorin, that he should never have come on this journey. You can see how hurt Bilbo is and that he is ready for this adventure to come to an end! When the others have fallen asleep, he packs his bag and prepares to leave the company for good. However, he is interrupted by the sound of grinding rocks, that open up and swallow the entire company into a long shoot the ends in the heart of Goblin Town!
Lets take a look at Goblin Town
Peter Jackson is in his element here… he takes us on a non-stop thrill ride as hordes of goblins hustle the frightened dwarves through tunnels and across narrow bridges. Bilbo is left behind and after fighting a lone orc, falls into the depths of Goblin Town, only to meet his own fate in the heart of the Misty Mountains with Gollum… but more on that later.
The Goblin Tunnels are intricately designed, visually complex and beautifully lit. You get a real sense of atmosphere here… you can almost smell the acrid smoke and reeking stench of this darkly lit and expansive cavern. No simple rock tunnels for Peter Jackson… he takes this opportunity to creates an cavernous underworld, with heart stopping plummets and precarious paths on rope bridges over which the camera weaves as it follows the company of dwarves being hustled along by the goblins.
This massive interior space must have taken months of work to create from conceptual ideas to fully realized digital environments, combined with live action shots… this is truly a stunning achievement for Weta and Peter Jackson’s creative team.
The Goblins are wonderfully rendered…. you get the feeling that the creative team at Weta chose the orcs of Moria as their conceptual starting point for these evil minions of Goblin Town. However, you can really see the advancement in technology that has been made over the last ten years. The creatures have a truly grotesque and other worldly appearance, with facial features that are twisted and evil looking, and yet are completely believable. You get a sense that a lot of time was spent on making these creatures look ugly, deformed and yet very real.
Motion Capture was also used for these creatures, with the actors in prosthetic body suits and motion capture head gear used on faces in order to get the performances. Then the Digital Effects Department went to work creating truly grotesque goblin features.
In the Fellowship of the Ring the Orcs and Goblins of Moria were fully suited actors with face make-up and prosthetics, Weta Digital then enlarged the eyes to give them a monstrous inhuman look… with the advancement in technology, the orcs of Goblin Town have their entire heads and facial features transformed and twisted to give these goblins a truly unique look among the orcs of Middle-earth.
In terms of story-telling, the Goblins of the Misty Mountains bring a unique flavor to the dark minions of Middle-earth… with a bit more whimsy than the orcs of Moria, yet still dark and evil… they hit just the right balance for the tone of The Hobbit, which is not as dark as the Lord of the Rings.
The Great Goblin
It is the visage of the Goblin King or The Great Goblin to fans of the book, where Peter Jackson brings us one of his truly inventive creations. I only wish he had more dialogue, before Gandalf appears with a big bang and knocks him headlong into the abyss. Perhaps in the extended edition we will see more!
Barry Humphries brings a stage actors comedic timing to this great beast of an orc that fits the character well… this huge ugly beast commands with a sarcastically genteel manner. Humprhies breaths life into this much beloved and wicked character, who by the looks of his great belly, has had his share of tasty morsels from the Front Porch of Goblin Town!
I just re-read this chapter in The Hobbit and I must say Berry Humphries really captures the essence of the character from the book. My only complaint is that he doesn’t get enough screen time to really bring forth the stately menace of this character. The Great Goblin knows of Thorin and hates him because of the Goblin Wars. When Thorin is brought forth, he names him and then he says to Thorin (and this is a departure from the book) that there are some who would pay a very high price for information about him… alluding to Azog, whom he calls the Pale Orc. Thorin than says that Azog is dead, but the Goblin King simply gives Thorin a knowing look. When questioned more about his quest, and Thorin refuses to speak, the Goblin King calls for instruments of torture to be brought. We see the the huge devices being wheeled to the Throne… they are works of metal and wood and the goblins are positively giddy over the prospect of using them. That is… until one of the goblins discovers Thorin’s sword… Orcrist, the Goblin-cleaver… to the goblins, it is simply know as “Biter”
At the sight of the sword The Great Goblin goes in to a foul rage calling on the goblins to tear them apart… then Gandalf appears. I will say no more about his entrance here… but the moment is truly wonderful!
The environment of Goblin Town is pure Peter Jackson at his best! The action is a veritable thrill ride as the camera swoops and weaves around the company as they try to flee, seeking a way out of this hellish cavern and out to daylight. There are moments in this sequence that remind me of the dramatic scenes in Moria… but with a slightly lighter tone. However… I think this sequence owes a great debt to King Kong. Watching it makes me think about the T-Rex battle scene as Kong falls down along the vines. I won’t give away the final confrontation scene or it’s climatic ending… but it’s truly a classic moment in action movie history!