Feb 12 2013, 11:00pm
it isn't an entirely accurate representation of him. And you fail, I think, to take into account that the lay viewer does not have your background knowledge. The lay viewer is more inclined to see things like Dori, i.e. "You are a Wizard right? Can you do anything extraordinary? And if not why not?" And the end result is, they think of him as something less than what he is, even in his limited incarnation.
No, that is your forced perspective. That is how you WANT him to behave, even if
I know you perfer him as little more than a wise man. That isn't what I prefer, though I think that is an essential and dominant part of who and what he is. That said, our prefferences are not the sole matter of debate. What is written is. You seem to want them to delete an entire aspect of his character and power as the book relates it so that the aspects of him that you prefer are made even more dominant, nevermind if it makes him appear virtually powerless, or useless as anything other than a guide. That is NOT how the book depicts him, however. If Bombadil were in the films, one might say, "I don't like that he is so jolly and sings all the time. . . he should be more grim and dangerous, because he is so ancient and powerful." Well, to each his own, but the fact is, Bombadil is jolly and he sings alot.
Now, I feel Thorin should have put up a MUCH better fight against Azog, especially wielding Orcrist. I also felt Gandalf's fire assault on the orcs and wargs should have been slightly more impressive (and blue in its beginning).
Yet his rescue of the dwarves worked much better BECAUSE they are portrayed as more warriorlike in the films. It enhances him without diminishing them. He gets them out of situations that NO normal person, even a valiant warrior, could easily escape. And, in that sense, he is only putting forth his power when necessary. We are shown that the dwarves can fight. At least against goblins (not so well against larger orcs ). I do wish the dwarves showed more prowess against the orcs. But, regarding Gandalf, what you see as him being reserved, I see as a neutering of his powers as the book describes them, and the lay viewer would see as him being an ineffective, and seemingly all but impotent Power. . . a great advisor, perhaps, but a piss poor wizard. I thank God that did not happen.
But whether the movie copies the book as closely as possible in every detail is not the measure of the movie's worth.
In this case, I think the filmmakers had to include this scene as is, but it's not very dramatically satisfying. Neither in the book or the movie. I think it's more of a problem in the movie because the dwarves are portrayed more heroically, so it feels pretty lame for them to keep having to be rescued. Especially from the biggest bad they've encountered so far, who has them trapped. The audience wonders how they'll get out... oh, Gandalf will save the day!
Except when fighting terrible evils worthy of him (the fight against the Balrog is perfect in both the book and the movies), I prefer Gandalf when he's a bit more subtle and more of an advisor. Making voices to trick the trolls or creating flaming pinecones works just fine, but coming in to fight the Great Goblin for the the Dwarves isn't very fun. I think, perhaps, the biggest problem is that the Great Goblin isn't a worthy foe for Gandalf. It feels unfair. The Dwarves shoulda been able to handle that one themselves.
"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"
"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."