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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Tibboh eht: Noissucsid Eivom:
In Re to Azog
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dormouse
Nevle-flah


Feb 15 2015, 11:38pm

Post #176 of 202 (758 views)
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     I think you're missing some extraordinarily good storytelling.... [In reply to]  

I was re-watching AUJ this evening and realised something I hadn't noticed before.

The fighting in the goblin tunnels certainly has exaggerated, comic-book elements to it - though I would still argue that the jeopardy is real. It's an exciting, fast-action sequence and the audience is not asked to feel for the goblin deaths any more than Tolkien asked his readers to feel for them. They're simply an enemy that must be overcome.

But, look again and you'll see that all of that has a careful counterpoint in Bilbo's storyline. Left alone when the others are led away, he faces a real and frighening enemy in that one goblin he has to fight. Then, after their fall, the sequence in which Bilbo watches without understanding as Gollum creeps out of the darkness and attacks the wounded goblin before dragging him off: There is real horror there, and that goblin is clearly a victim as the ones fighting the dwarves are not. Goblin though he is, the distant glimpse of Gollum killing him while he is helpless, and his death confirmed by the dying light of Sting - and then the knowledge of what Gollum is killing him for. I defy anyone to say that there's no depth or reality there and - here's the clever part - it's interwoven with the chase sequences on the upper level.

Continuing, there is real tension - real jeopardy and moral complexity too in the riddle game - and moving further on, Gandalf and the dwarves may have to fight their way out, but below them in the tunnels Bilbo sees them run past and just at the moment when you would think the obvious course is for him to kill Gollum and escape with them he shows mercy. Once again, there's the depth and the moral compass - there's Tolkien's vision. So if you simply take the goblin tunnels as your example, as pettytyrant did, you need to take into account the whole sequence - not just the chase on the upper level, but the real struggle going on in the tunnels below, which will be seen to turn the course of the story long after the chase is past and forgotten.

As for your list, I'm afraid I find most of it incomprehensible. 'Ninja Bilbo'?? Bob? Legolas Jones? Billy? Maybe I'm dim, but I haven't a clue what any of these mean.

But I agree with you about Bard's "Look at me". One of the most powerful and moving sequences in all six films, and proof, I'd say, of what a masterful storyteller Peter Jackson is.


pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 15 2015, 11:52pm

Post #177 of 202 (759 views)
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     I dont just object [In reply to]  

to the portrayal of violence in the goblin tunnels, I feel almost all the violence is out of place in TH in the manner it is done.
I thought that from the shot of Azog holding up the severed head at Moria and then throwing it at Thorin onwards.
I once counted up every on screen dismemberment, decapitation and impalement in AUJ and astonishingly there are more up close on screen examples in that one film that in all three LotR's films combined, and LotR's is supposed to be the adult tale about a huge war and TH the children's tale with a single battle.

Can anyone honestly say they would have ever have conceived that, or that the first cut of the final film would come back from the censors with an R rating? TH getting an R rating. That borders on unbelievable.

So yeah, I think the violence is out of place, out of order and inappropriate as depicted for the story and material under adaptation.
Its both glorified in how its shot and far to violent in its execution (pun intended!).

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat

(This post was edited by pettytyrant101 on Feb 15 2015, 11:52pm)


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Ronilav

Feb 16 2015, 12:28am

Post #178 of 202 (749 views)
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     "But it wasn't a dream. It was a place. ... [In reply to]  

... And you and you and you...and you were there. But you couldn't have been could you?"
There's no place like home!

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


arithmancer
SnevaH Yerg


Feb 16 2015, 1:54am

Post #179 of 202 (741 views)
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     Azog is called the Defiler... [In reply to]  

...because in the books he beheaded Thror after torturing him. To suggest a beheading or flauting of it by Azog are not in the spirit of Tolkien makes little sense to me.

In the book Azog carved his own name on Thror's severed head and sent it back to the Dwarves and Thrain - I'd consider throwing it in the general direction of his grandson very much in the same vein!



pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 16 2015, 6:01am

Post #180 of 202 (743 views)
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     I didnt say it wasnt in the spirit of Tolkien [In reply to]  

or indeed mention the spirit of anything. I do think to depict it that way was an inappropriate level of onscreen violence for a film based on a book aimed at 7 year olds. Violence can be just as effective narratively when implied, it doesnt have to be shown in its full glory. But PJ loves his gore.

It also struck me as tonally inept coming as it does sandwiched between things like the Chip the Plates song before it, which was perfectly suited to 7 year olds, and followed by Radagast saving a cute cgi hedgehog, equally aimed at children.

And I always got the impression Azog was called the Defiler not for chopping off Thror's head but for then branding it with 'Azog' and shoving a gold purse in his mouth - defiling the dead. None of which happens in the film.
And whilst Azog gets a name check in the book this rather violent and unpleasant story does not get explained in gory detail until the appendices of LotR's where it is perfectly appropriate as that book is not aimed at children.

You may have noticed from my avatar that I am a Doctor Who fan- a family show which has been successfully terrifying children for over 50 years now (and me now for over four decades!) and doing so without as a whole succumbing to this sort of cheap shock gore (it would never get away with it in an early evening Saturday night slot), so it can be done, and be done well and commercially successfully.
In fact after watching PJ's TH films I really hope he doesn't get a gig doing a Who episode as he hopes because on the evidence of TH films he doesn't get how to make something scary for children without just putting the violence and gore right up there onscreen or know the difference between suitable for children and just being childish.

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat


dormouse
Nevle-flah


Feb 16 2015, 8:53am

Post #181 of 202 (716 views)
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     'He drew a deep breath. "Well, I'm back," he said.' [In reply to]  

"If we walk far enough, we shall some time come to someplace," and maybe find a reference to Azog to throw in. I thought of "I am Azog, the Great and Terrible," but then, that was someone else's line.....


arithmancer
SnevaH Yerg


Feb 16 2015, 2:13pm

Post #182 of 202 (694 views)
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     It's not... [In reply to]  

...a film based on a book for 7 year olds. It is a film based on a children's book ( I read it at 6 personally, but the recommended age range nowadays is more pre-teen, its US seller rates it at an 8th grade reading level) AND an epic fantasy novel for adults (LotR, especially its Appendices, from which this entire incident comes). The incident is toned down considerably from the books. As a film with a PG-13 rating (US) and equivalent ones elsewhere, it is explicitly not aimed at younger children. It is aimed at teens and adults, with the understanding that somewhat younger kids may come to see it with their parents.

Jackson and you have different views on what is too gory for older children. He has stated in EEs that he would have loved these films when he was 9 or so (specifically relating to the action scenes). As the mother of a boy who had just turned 8 when AUJ came out, I tend to see things his way. I took my son to see the film, and he loved it.

The scene (with the violence, which is toned down from the book) is important both within AUJ, and within the series, as it adds to our understanding of a main character (Thorin). He hates Azog, and we understand where that is coming from because we see this scene.

The presence of both this (and the occasional similar, "serious" scene) as well as scenes like Blunt the Knives and anything involving Radagast, does not strike me as substantively different from scenes of Hobbits overeating on lembas, Gimli jokes, or Legolas' OTT action scenes, in LotR. I personally do not see why the warm and funny, or even cute, cannot be part of a story that has also scenes of horror and violence. They all occur in the world I (and my children) actually inhabit.



Otaku-sempai
Latrommi


Feb 16 2015, 2:42pm

Post #183 of 202 (686 views)
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     The Defiler [In reply to]  


In Reply To
And I always got the impression Azog was called the Defiler not for chopping off Thror's head but for then branding it with 'Azog' and shoving a gold purse in his mouth - defiling the dead. None of which happens in the film.
And whilst Azog gets a name check in the book this rather violent and unpleasant story does not get explained in gory detail until the appendices of LotR's where it is perfectly appropriate as that book is not aimed at children.



I would have to consider decapitation to count as defilement of a body even if it is also a historically accepted method of execution. I will also note that the films are intended for a more general audience than the book The Hobbit; and that many children are fully capable of being able to handle a fictionalized beheading now and then. Out of all the things in these films that I might consider too much or over-the-top, that was not one of them.

"At the end of the journey, all men think that their youth was Arcadia..." - Phantom F. Harlock


Otaku-sempai
Latrommi


Feb 16 2015, 2:50pm

Post #184 of 202 (686 views)
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     I can't fully disagree with you, Michelle [In reply to]  

The special effects were often treated more as eye-candy than as being strictly in the service of the story. I do disagree with your blanket statement, "CGI violence lacks a moral compass and depth because there is no reality." It's an over-generalization; taken to its logical conclusion, we could claim that all fictional violence lacks a moral compass and depth because there is no reality. The CGI violence has as much reality as the story-tellers and audience invest in it. That said, the filmmakers could have certainly done better.

"At the end of the journey, all men think that their youth was Arcadia..." - Phantom F. Harlock


pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 16 2015, 3:05pm

Post #185 of 202 (697 views)
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     I am not saying that was what most offended [In reply to]  

but that it was the first violence in the films where I started to think - this isn't right for TH. It got much worse after that.

Regards Azog- heads and limbs get chopped off in battles all the time,yet only Azog gets the title Defiler for doing so.
Given dwarf custom about their dead I am fairly certain it was not the decapitation which earned him the title but what he did next. As it was that act which caused so much offense it united the dwarves in a lengthy bloody war against the orcs.

Some children may be quite capable of watching that level of violence and be fine, some might be more sensitive. Some parents might not mind their children seeing such things, others might.

But I know that I was pained by the fact that my own nieces who had the book read to them as a bedtime story and fell in love with it cannot see the films, they were so disappointed, as my brother judged the levels of violence too high and the tone to unpleasant and dark for their age.
And in my view if you make TH into a film the books target audience should have no issues with being able to watch it. It shouldn't even be a question a parent should have to ask when considering taking their young ones to see TH.

And putting all that aside there is the issue of tone in the films which to me seems to swing wildly about from children's story to adult story in a completely disjointed manner. There is no consistent tone across the piece.
And whilst the books tone slowly changes and grows by degrees as the story reaches its climax the tone of the films hops about all the over the place right from the start. This is no development of tone, its a lack of control of tone.

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat

(This post was edited by pettytyrant101 on Feb 16 2015, 3:15pm)


pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 16 2015, 3:25pm

Post #186 of 202 (682 views)
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     As a fan of Jacksons early work [In reply to]  

I am sure he would have loved as much gore as possible when he was a child- thats how he is wired- its not how everyone is wired however.

Nor do I think it necessary in the way you do. There are loads of childresn films and TV which have either very strong emotions in them (Bambi's mother) or scary monster to terrify them (almost every episode of Doctor Who every made) yet manage to do so without these levels of onscreen violent acts.

Nor does making it suitable for the childrens audience exclude the adult audience- loads of films do that too- anything made by Pixar for example, or again Who. Its quite possible if you are good enough, and clever enough, to make a film which entertains on different levels at the same time.

On your last point, I dislike every single one of the things you mention from LotR's, and for much the same reason, they are uncomfortable shifts of tone for the most part- not the lembas one, its ok, its just a bit of light humour, but I could without the crudeness of it and PJ's fascination with bodily functions, but Gimli is destroyed as a serious character in the films and becomes a parody of the book version and Legolas OTT stunts are the beginning of the spectacle lead rot that plagues TH films.

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Ronilav

Feb 16 2015, 3:58pm

Post #187 of 202 (672 views)
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     ". If any of your people poke their foul beards in here again, they will fare the same. Go and tell them so!" [In reply to]  

Do dormice have beards?

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


arithmancer
SnevaH Yerg


Feb 16 2015, 4:37pm

Post #188 of 202 (665 views)
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     Yes. [In reply to]  

This is what I meant; decapitation is already a defilement of a body, to my mind.



pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 16 2015, 4:46pm

Post #189 of 202 (662 views)
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     I would think [In reply to]  

in the sort of world Tolkien describes decapitation would not be uncommon in violent times. Yet no other orc or anyone else for that matter earns the title The Defiler.
To my mind that suggests that the act of decapitation alone is not enough to justify it and that he must have done more to merit the title- as indeed he did as Tolkien tells us, he then took the head branded his own name on to it, shoved a bag of gold in its mouth and sent it back with a mocking message. And it was these acts more than just the killing itself which so incensed the dwarves that they joined together to engage in war.

For me it seems clear that what merits Azog gaining that title therefore over every one else who ever beheaded another person are the acts he committed after the death on the body. He defiled it. And it is those acts which the title refers to.

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat

(This post was edited by pettytyrant101 on Feb 16 2015, 4:50pm)


arithmancer
SnevaH Yerg


Feb 16 2015, 5:17pm

Post #190 of 202 (657 views)
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     Wiring... [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I am sure he would have loved as much gore as possible when he was a child- thats how he is wired- its not how everyone is wired however.


I think all of your objections in the end come down to this. Whether or not acts of "onscreen violence" should be seen by children; whether certain types of humor are "too crude" or a "parody", issues of tone, etc. The films have a sensibility that is Jackson's own. The specific acts of violence that show on screen, the specific jokes and humorous moments, how "serious" or not certain scenes and characters are - none of those choices are "necessary". I agree, the decapitation of Thror is not "necessary" to *some* retelling of "The Hobbit". But in the one Jackson was making, it fits right in.

The thing is, the elements of LotR I cite are things I *liked* in those films (along with more "serious" elements). It seems to me that in LotR you forgave them to some degree because of other things you liked and in TH, you don't, presumably because for you some line of not meeting expectation, or of not enough of what you like, was crossed.

In the books, Gimli is my #2 favorite member of the Fellowship (after Sam, my #1 character over all). I did not find him "destroyed" in LotR; I recognized the character I enjoy in the books. Especially in the EEs (where they gave us the hair of Galadriel moment Heart) I thought they did a good job of balancing his humorous moments with some serious ones, most importantly doing justice to the development of his friendship with Legolas.

I guess you would consider LotR not suitable for children as well. But those films' audience is the audience Jackson made his Hobbit for.



arithmancer
SnevaH Yerg


Feb 16 2015, 5:20pm

Post #191 of 202 (663 views)
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     IN the film... [In reply to]  

the gory details of Tolkien's book are replaced with the gratuitous display and throwing of the severed head.



pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 16 2015, 6:10pm

Post #192 of 202 (651 views)
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     I also feel [In reply to]  

there is some responsibility of care when adapting anothers work which Pj does not display in TH films. And for all my problems with his LotR's films, and yes there are a lot of them, I do feel that it was considerably more respectful and mindful of Tolkien's work than TH films are, which are far more the product of PJ than Tolkien in my view. And probably explains why Tolkiens name disappeared somewhere between the LotR's films and Th films from featuring prominently on the advertising to be replaced by PJ's own name or the legend 'from the director of the Lotr's'.

So if i did forgive them more in LotR's than I do TH its because I don't feel or see the respect for the authors work in TH that I can see, at least in large parts, of the LotRs films.

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat


pettytyrant101
Neirol


Feb 16 2015, 6:12pm

Post #193 of 202 (668 views)
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     My apologies [In reply to]  

I mistook your meaning then and thought you were arguing the broader point about the name in context of the book.

"A lot of our heroes depress me. But when they made this particular hero they didn't give him a gun, they gave him a screwdriver so he could fix things. They didn't give him a tank, or a warship, or an x-wing fighter, they gave him a call box from which you can call for help. And they didn't give him a superpower, or pointy ears or a heat ray, they gave him an extra heart. And that's an extraordinary thing.
There will never come a time when we don't need a hero like the Doctor."- Steven Moffat


Magpie
Latrommi


Feb 16 2015, 6:22pm

Post #194 of 202 (656 views)
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     I just reread a post I wrote a few years back [In reply to]  

I haven't been following this discussion but only reading occasional posts as I click on the 'last post made' arrow.

So I'm really only responding to what you've just written and not to any other points made by anyone in this thread.

But I thought it was serendipitous happening upon it just after I read this older post of mine.

Someone in an ongoing discussion series had posted a series of questions for us to respond to. Here's my answer, written June 2008, to two of them:
1. Has Peter Jackson earned our respect?
Well, I never speak for others. Has he earned mine? Yes.

2. If so, why do you respect Mr. Jackson?
I did not agree with every choice he made, in terms of the movie, but I think he respected the material. Very highly.

I think he wasn't afraid of excellence. Of going full tilt. Of expecting and demanding the best that every soul could give. Many people are afraid of this.

I think he treated the fans with respect. You would think everyone would. But I haven't found that to be the case. We weren't weirdos. We weren't impossible to please irritants. We were people who loved the material as much as he did and he respected that.


I reread that recently after looking for something else and it made me pause. Because, if I were asked that today, I woudn't answer in the same way. I suspect I would have just moved on and not answered at all. I can't say I don't respect Jackson. But I don't have the level of respect for him now as in 2008. And I would never be moved to say he respected the material, 'very highly'.

This isn't an attempt to argue the point about whether he does or doesn't respect the material. It's only to reflect on the fact that, pre-Hobbit, I felt he did 'very highly'. I know that post-Hobbit, I wouldn't say that, and pressed to respond, couldn't say that.


LOTR soundtrack website ~ magpie avatar gallery
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Voronwë_the_Faithful
Ronilav

Feb 16 2015, 7:58pm

Post #195 of 202 (650 views)
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     Not completely [In reply to]  

Azog does in fact carve his name in Thror's head in the film. You can barely see it in the screencaps, but you can see it much better in these pictures of the prop used:
https://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/untitled-1.png
https://heirsofdurin.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/untitled-31.png

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Michelle Johnston
NahoR


Feb 16 2015, 9:41pm

Post #196 of 202 (627 views)
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     Thats a bit selective DM [In reply to]  

Several exchanges ago i held up two elements of story telling to you as well crafted. Gollum and The Master.

In story feeling terms once Gandalf has blasted the Goblin King (which could have killed him) to the company intersecting with the Gollum/Bilbo story line the plot story line makes no advancement. Gandalf's blast achieves everything. All they need to do was run, two warrior dwarves destroy the wooden bridge behind them and dash through the tunnels to the exit. In PJ's tory that would have made sense because the greater peril at the cones lay before them.

Take out the cartoon chase and nothing happens to the story leave it and you begin the first of many examples of choreographed set piece CGI sequences which have no real sense of jeopardy..

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Feb 16 2015, 9:43pm)


Michelle Johnston
NahoR


Feb 16 2015, 9:51pm

Post #197 of 202 (633 views)
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     My apologies [In reply to]  

if my statement seemed all embracing.

What i should have said is many of the set piece CGI laden sequences in the Hobbit Trilogy have no sense of reality or jeopardy and to take PT's view can lead to people thinking these are modern day examples where violence is seen to be safe without any consequences. I would argue that the following are empty spectacles which if removed have no affect on the story.

Scene 88 (Radagast before Rivendell).

The Stone Giants

The post Goblin King Chase.

The Barrels

The Forges

The cartoonish Trolls butting Dales walls.

The Legolas Bolg sequences.

Where CGI works well as a tool for story telling is in the magnificent exchanges with

Bilbo Gollum

Bilbo Smaug

Thorin/Azog

These scenes are invested with real tension and most importantly have story feeling consequences.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.

(This post was edited by Michelle Johnston on Feb 16 2015, 9:52pm)


Otaku-sempai
Latrommi


Feb 16 2015, 9:55pm

Post #198 of 202 (625 views)
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     Apology accepted. [In reply to]  

I really don't think an apology was needed, though. I think I caught the gist of what you were saying.

"At the end of the journey, all men think that their youth was Arcadia..." - Phantom F. Harlock


Michelle Johnston
NahoR


Feb 16 2015, 10:05pm

Post #199 of 202 (620 views)
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     Clariification of my list [In reply to]  

Ninja Bilbo - when he hurtles himself through the air to save Thorin's life.

Bobsleighs are used in action movies and on two occasions in the forges sequence we see Bilbo and Thorin shooting across molton gold in the same fashion in barrows.

Legolas is portrayed as middle earths Indiana Jones the action sequences with Bolg and Legolas's facial reactions
work generically just like an Indiana Jones movie. This is supposed to be a a world of myth and old fashioned heroism, sometimes it is at a fairy tale level Beren and Luthien and sometimes grim (Boromir, Halibrad) the CGI gymnastics do not feel like that to me at all, they trivialise and desensitise .

Billy Connolly is the actor who played Dain and he also played an important cameo in the Last Samarai which involved a short but highly impactive performance. In the Last Samarai it was heroic and tragic in BOFA he played it as comedy and at best grim comedy.

My Dear Bilbo something is the matter with you! you are not the same hobbit that you were.


dormouse
Nevle-flah


Feb 16 2015, 11:20pm

Post #200 of 202 (604 views)
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     No, just whiskers..... [In reply to]  

"Oh, my ears and whiskers"

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