The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Six years ago....



weaver
Half-elven

Dec 14 2007, 4:12pm


Views: 4981
Six years ago....

Bucky's answer in the QTNA post below about the films being the best Tolkien Christmas gifts ever got me thinking, so I headed over to Rotten Tomatoes for reviews of FOTR when it first came out in 2001 (has it really been six years?)

Anyway, here's a really great review that I thought I'd share:

FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – A MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

In my experience, very few films leave you with the
immediate impression, after the very first viewing,
that you have witnessed one of the great films,
something timeless and classic in every sense of those
overused terms. “Fellowship of the Ring,” however—the
first segment in the beloved J.R.R. Tolkien
fantasy/adventure Lord of the Rings trilogy—did just
that to me. I have no qualms about calling it one of
the best films of the year, and I highly suspect it is
much, much more than that.

This is the spectacular thrill ride so many of us had
hoped for, but were just too darn afraid to expect.
After such 2001 disasters as “Pearl Harbor,” “Planet
of the Apes,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” and—to a lesser
extent—“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” I
suspect many people were becoming rather accustomed to
mediocrity or, even worse, inferiority. Indeed, the
label “event movie” has been something of a curse in
recent years, insofar as quality cinema goes, sort of
like getting your picture on the cover of Sports
Illustrated.

But “Fellowship of the Ring,” from New Line Cinema
and director Peter Jackson, breaks the curse, reaching
new heights in entertainment for the eyes, ears, mind,
and soul. The sets are spectacular. The special
effects are dazzling, magical, and fun (without being
excessive). The music is moving and appropriate. The
dialogue is a well-balanced mixture of that
overly-dramatic Tolkien-speak, some informative
exposition, tableside chit-chat, and well-timed
zingers. Add to this a highly-cinematic story, told
at the right pace, and you have something truly
significant.

“Fellowship of the Ring” is also plump with heartfelt
emotion. We experience joy, laughter, palpable fear,
and true sorrow during the course of the film’s
three-hour run. And when it’s all over, we
immediately wish we could do it all over again... at
least I did.

It seems almost silly to explain so familiar a story.
Suffice it to say that Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a
Hobbit (i.e., a hairy-footed creature who is smaller
than a man, but large than dwarf, sort of like Woody
Allen), is given a mysterious ring by his uncle Bilbo
(played charmingly by Ian Holm). The ring is
powerful and evil and is being sought out by the evil
Lord Sauron, a being similar in evil designs to such
other villains as the Emperor in “Stars Wars,” the
Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” and Voldemort in
the Harry Potter series. Sauron and his evil cohorts
are thus pursuing poor Frodo and his rag-tag group of
friends, who collectively hope to find some way to
destroy the ring before it falls into the wrong hands.


I wish I could articulate what it is that makes
“Fellowship of the Ring” a vastly superior film to
Harry Potter’s first installment. Such things cannot,
however, be so easily explained, for there is a
certain magical mystery in any great film. But part
of the reason, I believe, is that Fellowship tells
most its back-story in the first five minutes of the
film, while Harry Potter took about two hours to do
the same. With Fellowship, you know soon after the
film begins that Frodo is running for his life. With
Harry Potter, it is likely you never fully understood
what the Sorcerer’s Stone was all about.

Additionally, “Fellowship of the Ring,” a novel that
I enjoyed less than the first Harry Potter book, is,
in my opinion, a more visual tale, one that is
particularly cinematic. It transfers well to the
screen. And, whether you agree with me or not on
which is the better book, a good argument can be made
that lesser novels make better films, for the director
and writer are given more space for interpretation.

Of course all films live or die by their directors.
I was not particularly pleased to discover director
Peter Jackson is a kind of Tolkien junkie. I pictured
him at one of those Trekkie-like gatherings,
Tolkien-style of course, complete with hair glued to
his feet. I wondered if Jackson was too close to the
material and whether he might go on and on about
Middle-Earth, Hobbit ancestry, the history of the
Shire, or other things 99% of the world does not care
about.

But those fears were unfounded. Jackson does a
wonderful job of showing us Tolkien’s fantasy world,
not simply telling us about how it. His knowledge has
been transferred into images, and his vision is an
impressive one. He has taken some risks here, the
kind of risks that were avoided in the Harry Potter
film. Some characters and scenes were omitted.
Others were combined or enhanced. (Liv Tyler’s Arwen,
for instance.) One particularly important scene
sequence, involving a chase scene to surging river,
will raise the ire of Tolkien fanatics, I’m sure, for
this is one of the key events in the first novel.
Here, it has been altered.

The spirit of the novel has been effectively captured,
however, and the film stands on it own, apart from the
written word. In so doing, it will, I think, be more
able to stand the test of time. The book will live,
and so will the film.

As for performances, they were all good. Like Harry
Potter, this is an extremely well-cast film. However,
I will mention three performances that moved me. Ian
McKellan, as the wizard Gandalf, is the foundation
upon which all the other performances build. He is
magnificent, every bit as magical in his performance
as his character is in deed. Elijah Wood proves he
was the worthy choice for Frodo. He was an
instrumental part in all of the most moving scenes,
and their emotional effect on me is the best testimony
to Wood’s efforts. Lastly, Sean Astin was great as
Sam Gangee, the friend each of us needs by our side.

At this point, I have no negative criticism to offer.
I am speechless.

This film is rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and
some scary images. It is not, I assure, suitable for
the faint of heart.

RATING A + © 2001. Jim Chastain II

It's fun to read through the reviews and get a bit of the "magic" back for those of us who like and celebrate the films. Here's the link to the review page for FOTR if you want to read more:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/...lowship_of_the_ring/

Weaver



DunedainRonin
The Shire

Dec 14 2007, 4:44pm


Views: 4396
Hmm...

I remember the reviews and how they were all bright and glowing..

did anyone EVER find anything wrong with the movies? besides something silly like it didnt follow the books exactly...etc..etc


Elven
Valinor


Dec 14 2007, 5:08pm


Views: 4369
Loved the Woody Allen reference ...

ROFL ... but I DO remember thinking ... I cant read any of them ... Im too darn scared! Wink

Not that I thought they would not be brilliant, but just the that critics have a tendency sometimes to be ... well, 'critical' ... which is not such a bad thing, but I was so expectant of what the movie should look like ... I wanted to assess it myself without another opinion in my headspace ...

That was a great article ...
It is nice to look back .... now I don't give two hoots what anyone writes - I have my opinion firmly grounded about the films and everything that goes with that, and Im still learning more about them all the time ... they only get more amazing with age and viewings!

Thanks for the article ...
Elven x


The Road Goes Ever On and On ...
Happy 70th Birthday to The Hobbit!!



Tolkien was a Capricorn!
..*sing & sway* "All we are saying ..Is Give Pete A Chance" ...
"Your friends are with you Peter"
Let the Hobbit Happen!!!


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 14 2007, 5:29pm


Views: 4369
Oh, yes, definitely

The boards were quite heated in those days between those who loved the movie and those who did not, and many people still dislike the films, either in whole or in part. They aren't perfect, but in my opinion they're pretty darn good.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Lily Fairbairn
Half-elven


Dec 14 2007, 6:29pm


Views: 4396
It's been six years?!?!

Good grief.

There are times I'd love to start the viewing cycle all over again. How well I remember the first time I saw a preview for FotR, that shot of the fellowship walking up and over a hilltop, between two rocks. It was like getting an electric jolt. I'd pretty much ignored all the news about PJ etc until then, thinking that there was no way he could do it right. But at that instant, I knew.

Thanks for posting the review -- although I have to take issue when its author implies that LotR is a "lesser" book. No way.

* * * * * * *
Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?

A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!"


Patty
Immortal


Dec 14 2007, 6:34pm


Views: 4362
It kind of makes me think about...

Roger Ebert and his saying that the story was too silly. However, he has given The Golden Compass 4 stars. He's pretty much alone in both those opinions, as far as the critical reviews go.

For Gondor!

(This post was edited by Patty on Dec 14 2007, 6:35pm)


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 14 2007, 6:41pm


Views: 4403
"Ocean's Eleven" wasn't a disaster.

The remake was an enjoyable lark and a vast improvement on the lazy Rat Pack original.

Thanks, weaver, for sharing that historical artifact; it is interesting to look back. But as a review, it's poor. Chastain explicitly cops out on any serious attempt to explain the film's merits or flaws, admitting he is unable to "articulate what it is that makes [FotR] a vastly superior film", and mostly gushes about "spectacular" sets, "dazzling, magical, and fun (without being excessive)" effects, "moving and appropriate" music, "well-balanced" dialogue, and "a highly-cinematic story, told at the right pace".

I agree with Chastain that "a good argument can be made that lesser novels make better films" but certainly not with his use of that argument here: FotR is for him just such a lesser novel with "overly dramatic Tolkien-speak" from which he feared the director might select material that "99% of the world does not care about", and he feels the film is an improvement.

I also wondered: why does he use Pearl Harbor and Planet of the Apes as points of comparison for a Tolkien adaptation? And what makes Sauron "a being similar in evil designs to" Emperor Palpatine, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Voldemort?

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 10-16 for "Fog on the Barrow-downs".


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 14 2007, 6:43pm


Views: 4365
Ebert said that the film of FotR was less than the book.

He felt that it underemphasized the hobbits, but he gave three stars.

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 10-16 for "Fog on the Barrow-downs".


Patty
Immortal


Dec 14 2007, 6:51pm


Views: 4383
I was referring to his comment here...

 The Golden Compass
/ / / December 7, 2007

Cast & Credits Marisa Coulter: Nicole Kidman
Lyra Dakota: Blue Richards
Lord Asriel: Daniel Craig
Lee Scoresby: Sam Elliott
Stelmaria: Kristin Scott Thomas
Serafina: Eva Green
First High Councilor: Christopher Lee
Farder Coram: Tom Courtenay
Magisterial Emissary: Derek Jacobi
Fra Pavel: Simon McBurney
With the voices of:
Iorek Byrnison: Ian McKellen
Ragnar Sturlusson: Ian McShane
Pantalaimon: Freddie Highmore
Hester: Kathy Bates

New Line Cinema presents a film written and directed by Chris Weitz. Based on the novels by Philip Pullman. Running time: 114 minutes Rated PG-13 (for sequences of fantasy violence). Opening today at local theaters.

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By Roger Ebert

"The Golden Compass" is a darker, deeper fantasy epic than the "Rings" trilogy, "The Chronicles of Narnia" or the "Potter" films. It springs from the same British world of quasi-philosophical magic, but creates more complex villains and poses more intriguing questions. As a visual experience, it is superb. As an escapist fantasy, it is challenging. Teenagers may be absorbed and younger children may be captivated; some kids in between may be a little conflicted, because its implications are murky.
They weren't murky in the original 1995 novel, part of the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, a best seller in Britain, less so here. Pullman's evil force, called the Magisterium in the books, represents organized religion, and his series is about no less than the death of God, who he depicts as an aged, spent force. This version by New Line Cinema and writer-director Chris Weitz ("About a Boy") leaves aside religion and God, and presents the Magisterium as sort of a Soviet dictatorship or Big Brother. The books have been attacked by American Christians over questions of religion; their popularity in the U.K. may represent more confident believers whose response to other beliefs is to respond, rather than suppress.
For most families, such questions will be beside the point. Attentive as I was, I was unable to find anything anti-religious in the movie, which works above all as an adventure. The film centers on a young girl named Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards), in an alternative universe vaguely like Victorian England. An orphan raised by the scholars of a university not unlike Oxford or Cambridge, she is the niece of Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), who entrusts her with the last surviving Alethiometer, or Golden Compass, a device that quite simply tells the truth. The Magisterium has a horror of the truth, because it represents an alternative to its thought control; the battle in the movie is about no less than man's preservation of free will.
Lyra's friend Roger (Ben Walker) disappears, one of many recently kidnapped children, and Lyra hears rumors that the Magisterium has taken them to an Arctic hideaway. At her college, she meets Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman), who suspiciously offers her a trip to the north aboard one of those fantasy airships that looks like it may be powered by steam. And the adventure proper begins.
I should explain that in this world, everyone has a spirit, or daemon, which is visible, audible and accompanies them everywhere. When they are with children, these spirits are shape-shifters, but gradually they settle into a shape appropriate for the adult who matures. Lyra's is a chattering little creature who can be a ferret, mouse, fox, cat, even a moth. When two characters threaten each other, their daemons lead the fight.
Turns out the Magisterium is experimenting on the captured children by removing their souls and using what's left as obedient servants without free will. Lyra challenges this practice, after taking the advice of the grizzled pilot Lee Scoresby (Sam Elliott) to find herself an armored bear. She enlists the magnificent bear Iorek, who must duel to the death with the top bear of the north. She also finds such friends as a flying witch named Serafina (Eva Green) and some pirate types named Gyptians, whose lifestyle resembles seafaring gypsies.
The struggle involves a mysterious cosmic substance named Dust, which embodies free will and other properties the Magisterium wants to remove from human possibility. By "mysterious," I mean that Dust appears throughout the movie as a cloud of dancing particles, from which emerge people, places and possibilities, but I have no idea under which rules it operates. Possibly it represents our human inheritance if dogma did not interfere.
As Lyra, Dakota Blue Richards is a delightful find, a British-American schoolgirl who was 12 when she was discovered in an audition involving 10,000 girls. She is pretty, plucky, forceful, self-possessed, charismatic, and just about plausible as the mistress of an armored bear and the protector of Dust. Nicole Kidman projects a severe beauty in keeping with the sinister Mrs. Coulter (had Pullman heard about our girl Ann when he wrote his book?), and Daniel Craig and Sam Elliott (with his famous moustache never more formidable) give her refined and rough surfaces to play against.
The cast is jammed with the usual roll call of stage and screen greats, some of them in person, some of them voice-over talent: Christopher Lee, Tom Courtenay, Derek Jacobi, Simon McBurney, Ian McKellen, Ian McShane, Kathy Bates, Kristin Scott Thomas. The British fantasy industry has become a bigger employer even than the old Hammer horror films. And why is it, by the way, that such tales seem to require British accents?
I realize this review itself may be murky, because theological considerations confuse the flow. Let me just say that I think "The Golden Compass" is a wonderfully good-looking movie, with exciting passages and a captivating heroine in Lyra. That the controversy surrounding it obscures its function as a splendid entertainment. That for adults, it will not be boring or too simplistic. And that I still don't understand how they know what the symbols on the Golden Compass represent, but it certainly seems articulate.
------------

From this, it seems to me that he feels the story itself is "less".
I don't remember where I read it, but he did say the LOTR story was "too silly" to be taken seriously. Come on, most fantasy could be called "silly" in that it couldn't happen. He just missed the deeper story, I think.

For Gondor!

(This post was edited by Patty on Dec 14 2007, 6:53pm)


Nuradar
Rohan


Dec 14 2007, 6:58pm


Views: 4352
thanks, weaver...

that was really cool to read that six years after it was printed. It did take me back and remind me of the magic of that time.

To answer DunedainRonin's question (did anyone ever not like the film?), I'm afriad that Richard Roeper (of Ebert & Roeper) gave it a bad review. He clearly did not appreciate that the film was based on an extremely successful book. He criticized it for being too over-the-top and for not having closure at the end. Roger Ebert was quick to remind him (and correctly so) that the film was based on a FANTASY book and that it was the first part of a trilogy. Basically, Richard Roeper, who I think is generally a good flim critic, by the way, sort of made a fool of himself. It appeared that he was puposefully trying to find something about the movie to criticize for whatever reason(s). I'm glad Roger Ebert gave him a dose of perspective and context, because I remember being amazed at what Roeper had said. Anyway, there were other critics, but that is the one I remembered. I think it's safe to say that those who liked it far out-weighed those who didn't.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, weaver.


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 14 2007, 7:24pm


Views: 4336
I remember

being thoroughly sick of comparisons with Harry Potter in the lead-up to FOTR - and I loved that they just fell by the wayside as FOTR steam-rollered through the world's cinema screens!

Thanks for posting this weaver. :)

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


squire
Half-elven


Dec 15 2007, 2:32am


Views: 4324
Sauron vs. The Wicked Witch of the West

Similarities:

Both created as characters before WW II made all villains into Hitler-manque
Sauron probably has green skin and hooked schnoz too
Both use a palantir to terrify innocent youths
Flying Monkeys, Flying Nazgul - right?
Both like to gloat a lot but don't actually do very much
Margaret Hamilton, like Sauron deep inside, actually very attractive
Effective use of fire
Sauron probably travels in a poof of colored smoke, too.
Afraid of water
Live in big dark castle that can be observed from behind a nearby ridge while troops march by singing Oh - Ee - Oh!
Heroes must disguise themselves as bad guys to get into the castle
Desperately want magic dingus that is held by innocent hero/heroine
Big ending involves melting

Differences:

Sauron does not use broomstick to demand that Denethor "surrender Frodo"
Wicked Witch has all ten fingers
Annatar, Lord of Gifts, did not travel by bicycle
Sauron's big death scene takes place offstage



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


stormcrow20
Gondor


Dec 15 2007, 5:37am


Views: 4343
Critics....*sigh*


Quote
By Roger Ebert "The Golden Compass" is a darker, deeper fantasy epic than the "Rings" trilogy, "The Chronicles of Narnia" or the "Potter" films. It springs from the same British world of quasi-philosophical magic, but creates more complex villains...."



What!? I have not read the Compass books or seen the film, and do not plan to at this time, but I simply cannot imagine a fantasy film that is deeper or darker than LotR or HP, while simultaneously maintaining any trace of believability, kid-friendliness and a PG-13 rating.

Maybe a GC fan could enlighten me with a few examples...

More complex villains? Are you kidding me? Show me more movie-firsters than I can count on my hands, that could truly grasp the complexity of even the film version of Sauron!Crazy


Behold the magic of the Holiday Season!

Before: After:


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Dec 15 2007, 7:58am


Views: 4321
I'm not so sure.


In Reply To
Similarities:

Both created as characters before WW II made all villains into Hitler-manque

As I recall (and my serious read of HoME on this subject was a couple of years ago) by1939 things were still pretty unformed... JRRT was still fussing over how many hobbits were heading where and the guy they met in Bree was an eccentric hobbit named Trotter with wooden feet. Then he went part-time for several years during the war effort, and *presto* it was a struggle against a Hitler-manque.




Son of Elizabeth in Frodo's tree
March, 2007


Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 15 2007, 9:51am


Views: 4339
Yes, but...

he also made it fairly clear that he'd read the book only once, many years ago. From various comments he made at the time, I concluded that he remembered only the "highlights" version that a quick first/sole reading gives (I know my subsequent readings gave me a vastly different and much deeper impression than my first) and found the difference between the movie and his memories slightly jarring. The darkness of some parts of the story and the battles seemed to surprise him.

Silverlode

"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


squire
Half-elven


Dec 15 2007, 2:18pm


Views: 4321
You're probably right. He never once says "my pretty" in this scene:

In a low hesitating voice Pippin began again, and slowly his words grew clearer and stronger. 'I saw a dark sky, and a blacked-out city,' he said. 'And searchlights. It seemed very far away and long ago, yet hard and clear. Then the stars went in and out - they were cut off by things with wings. Very big, I think, really; but in the glass they looked Stukas wheeling round the capital. I thought there were nine of them. One began to fly straight towards me, getting bigger and bigger. It had a swastika - no, no! I can't say.

'I tried to get away, because I thought it would fly out; but when it had covered all the globe, it disappeared. Then "he" came. He did not speak so that I could hear words. He just looked, and I understood.

'"Zo, you haf come back, jah? Vhy have you neglected to report for zo long?"

'I did not answer. He said: "Wer bist du?" I still did not answer, but it hurt me horribly; and he pressed me, so I said: "A hobbit."

'Then suddenly he seemed to see me, and he laughed at me. It was cruel. It was like being stabbed with knives. I struggled. But he said: "Augenblick! Ve shall meet again soon. Tell Il Duce zis dainty ist not for him. I vill zend for it at vonce. Verstehen Sie, was ich meine? Sieg Heil!"

'Then he gloated over me. I felt I was falling to pieces. No, no! I can't say any more. I don't remember anything else.'



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
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Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 15 2007, 4:28pm


Views: 4301
"a vulgar and ignorant little cad"

(Letter #81 to Christopher T.) and "ruddy little ignaoramus" (Letter #45 to Michael T.): Tolkien held a very low opinion of Hitler, and was more irked at him for "Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light." His Sauron, on the other hand, was the "incarnation of Evil", something against which Hitler paled.

By mid-1939, the nature of the Necromancer was already in place; it was at that point more a matter of who was to go where, and when, and how. This was more a retelling of the struggle against that evil nature of man which causes war, such as the one Tolkien saw active duty in!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 15 2007, 5:07pm


Views: 4299
Jawohl, mein Herr!

..."Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves...But none were unmoved; none rejected its pleas and its commands without an effort of mind and will, so long as its master had control of it.

...'Well?' it said now with gentle question. 'Why-a must you disturb-a my rest? Will-a you give-a me no-a peace at all by notte or giorno?' Its tone was that of a kindly heart aggrieved by injuries undeserved.

...They looked up, astonished, for they had heard no sound of his coming; and they saw a figure standing at the rail, looking down upon them: an older man, swathed in a great general's jacket and riding pants, the colour of which was not easy to tell, for it changed in the sparkle of the medals he wore. His face was square, with a high forehead, he had deep darkling eyes, hard to fathom, though the look that they now bore was grave and benevolent, and a little weary. His hair and beard were sparse, but lines of scowl still showed about his lips and eyes.

... 'Not like at all,' muttered Gimli.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

"It struck me last night that you might write a fearfully good romantic drama, with as much of the 'supernatural' as you cared to introduce. Have you ever thought of it?"
-Geoffrey B. Smith, letter to JRR Tolkien, 1915


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 15 2007, 8:04pm


Views: 4302
Ach, who needs alternate realities

when we have squire to spin us around? Cool

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 16 2007, 2:53am


Views: 4284
"the battles seemed to surprise him"

Well, if Ebert was referring to the battle that opens the film, he was right to be surprised, as Tolkien never portrays that directly, but merely has it described (in vague terms) in characters' dialogue.

If Ebert was referring to the battle that closed the film, he was right again, as that skirmish comes from the next book.

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Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 7:15am


Views: 4282
No.

IIRC, he was surprised by all of them - their very existence as well as their frequency. I got the strong impression that he was expecting The Great Hobbit Adventure but got The War of the Ring instead, and was rather thrown by it. Perhaps the brevity of the battle descriptions in the book caused less of a lasting impression than the hobbit travelogue, as hobbits were what he seemed to chiefly remember.

I'd love to be able to provide a link, but my memories of his comments stem from a combination of sources - not just the print review quoted here, but his tv review, and a couple of pre-Oscar interviews on Letterman and other late night shows.

Roeper, IIRC, said he found FOTR too long, confusing and boring to sit through but gushed about Harry Potter. I shan't bother to comment. Angelic

Silverlode

"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 16 2007, 7:42am


Views: 4298
"a well-crafted and sometimes stirring adventure"

Just for the record, this was Ebert's positive review of FotR, where he acknowledges not having read the book since the 1970s, apart from skimming it for an hour in preparation as he wrote his review.

I like his comment that Tolkien's book is "mostly about leaving places, going places, being places, and going on to other places, all amid fearful portents and speculations". However, he is somewhat inconsistent: first he says that the film alters the book by abandoning this aspect for action (and I agree with him) but later he seems to feel that both book and film suffer because "it does go on, and on, and on--more vistas, more forests, more sounds in the night, more fearsome creatures, more prophecies, more visions, more dire warnings, more close calls, until we realize this sort of thing can continue indefinitely ... it's as if Tolkien, and now Jackson, grew so fond of the journey, they dreaded the destination."

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entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 3:02pm


Views: 4233
I've always suspected

that Ebert read The Hobbit in the 1970s, not LOTR. Then, when skimming FOTR before reviewing the movie, he mixed the two books together. That's why he was suspecting a hobbit adventure and had few memories of battle scenes. The Battle of Five Armies is very brief in The Hobbit.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 16 2007, 4:50pm


Views: 4230
I doubt it.

Ebert here is quite clear that he is referring ot the skirmish in Moria, and he is not the only one who has pointed out that it takes up a larger proportion of screen time than page time. Likewise the film begins and ends with battles that are not in the book. Arguably Tolkien's fight scenes are one of those elements that can't be filmed faithfully, because they have to be expanded when adapted from page to screen. Arguably Jackson & co. managed them quite well. But Ebert is entirely correct to note the difference.

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

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entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 5:13pm


Views: 4224
All that means

is that Ebert is comparing the movie to the book, but since he flipped through the book prior to reviewing the movie, that doesn't necessarily mean he read the book years ago. I'm basing my suspicion on Ebert's statement that the movie didn't focus as much on the hobbits as he remembered.

I remember watching the television review of the movie and don't think I read his newspaper review. I remember Ebert being petulant that the movie didn't turn out the way he remembered the books, and that his memory of the books seemed flawed. Of course, Roeper was trying to be intellectually superior and ended up looking ridiculous.

I don't think much of Ebert's opinions on movies in general, and his review of FOTR cemented my feelings that he thinks children's movies need to be charming. He clearly considered FOTR to be a children's movie and since it didn't fit within his expectations of a children's movie he bashed it. Roeper just didn't get it.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Patty
Immortal


Dec 16 2007, 8:38pm


Views: 1819
That's my problem, too, Silverlode...

it was too long ago and I don't remember the sources.

But I distinctly remember reading where he said the story was too silly to take seriously. It may not have been in his "official" review, it may have been in a review comparing this with a later fantasy movie--just don't recall where. But that he said it stuck with me.

For Gondor!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 16 2007, 10:30pm


Views: 1834
Transcript of Ebert/Roeper review, and link to video of their comments.

You can view their original TV reviews of FotR here. I have transcribed the conversation:


Quote
[clip: Gandalf – “Sauron needs only this Ring to cover all the lands in darkness.” Frodo – “What must I do?”]

Roger Ebert: A young hobbit embarks on a journey through a magical but dangerous world in The Lord of the Rings, one of six holiday movies we’ll review this week. I’m Roger Ebert.

Richard Roeper: And I’m Richard Roeper. The Fellowship of the Ring, the first installment of the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy, is an epic in every sense, a marvelous looking movie with jaw-dropping sets and impressive special effects, but it repeats itself too often and drones on for nearly three hours.

[assorted clips play]

The brooding Elijah Wood of The Ice Storm and the husky Sean Astin from Rudy are curious choices to play Frodo and Samwise, who must destroy the ring that is the source of all evil in a land called Middle-earth.

[clip: Frodo – “It’s some form of Elvish. I can’t read it.” Gandalf – “There are few who can. The language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here.”]

That’s Ian McKellan as Gandalf the Grey, the good-hearted wizard who guides Frodo through his perilous quest. Viggo Mortensen is Aragorn, aka Strider.

[clip: Aragorn – “Are you frightened?” Frodo – “Yes.” Aragorn – “Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you.”]

Frodo and his band of hobbits are relentlessly pursued by the dark ringwraiths.

[clip: Frodo’s race to Bucklebury Ferry]

Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books have enchanted tens of millions of readers, but as a movie, The Fellowship of the Ring gets bogged down under the weight of all those mystical speeches and self-consciously quirky characters. You’ve got nine members of the Fellowship, dueling wizards, you’ve got an elf princess played by Liv Tyler, an elf queen played by Cate Blanchett: just too many characters for me to care about. On an on it goes, only to reach an abrupt non-ending straight out of a Saturday afternoon serial.

Ebert: So you’re giving it thumbs down?

Roeper: I’m giving it thumbs down.

Ebert: Whoa! Uhhh, well I liked it. I think it indicates a return by Hollywood to the kind of courage that led to great epics like Lawrence of Arabia, and, uh, the Star Wars trilogy—

Roeper: (unintelligible demurral)

Ebert: —a really out-there, kind of large-scale ambitious undertaking—

Roeper: Well…

Ebert: —that is too long: I agree with you—

Roeper: OK.

Ebert: —it’s too long, except for the people who are gonna go see it, and they won’t find it to be too long. Oddly enough—

Roeper: Well, you know what, “Frodo the hobbit” ain’t Lawrence of Arabia, first of all, OK.

Ebert: —the people, I think the people, the people, the people who have your objections to this film are not the kinds of people that will ever go to see it in the first place.

Roeper: The characters are getting tedious after a while. They go on one adventure after another, and this, and this—

Ebert: This is Lord of the Rings! I mean, you know…

Roeper: —Frodo the hobbit character, who is in this little, ho—, you know, elfin world or whatever, and he goes from one place to another, and he’s wide-eyed, and he’s wide-eyed, and you’d think after the fifteenth beast or the fourteenth elf or the little sprite that he wouldn’t be so—

[clips: Gandalf’s return to Bag-End, and the Ring in Frodo’s fire]

Ebert: Well OK, OK.

Roeper: —amazed by Middle-earth. It’s obviously this magical land—

Ebert: I would not be…

Roeper: —and they’re all going after this silly little ring that makes people go –ooh!– evil stuff. And it’s a pretty simple story.

Ebert: Yeah, OK, OK. I would not be completely honest if I didn’t say that I could understand where you’re coming from. On the other hand, if you’re going to start talking about The Lord of the Rings on the grounds that they’re going after “this silly little ring”—

Roeper: Yeah.

Ebert: —then I think you’re kind of missing the whole point of the book. The ring is what sets the entire plot in motion—

Roeper: So we can see all these (unintelligible) “magical” characters.

Ebert: —that’s right, that’s right. I thought it was a visually powerful epic, and I enjoyed it, but I gotta say my enjoyment was tempered by a little sadness that the innocence or naiveté of the original books has kinda been lost in the middle of a high-tech special effects adventure picture. One thing that bothers me is that the hobbits are the heroes of the books, but in the movie the tall people, the men, the wizards, and the elves, take the initiative and give the orders.

[clip: Aragorn – “Boromir, give the Ring to Frodo”]

Ebert: So my thumb is up for The Lord of the Rings. It’s an impressive achievement, but I am a little melancholy that the movie is a violent action picture, and the books by Tolkien come from a kinder and gentler time, but Richard: at a time when Hollywood has such small visions, the purity, the ambition, the scope, the vastness of this film, those guards protecting the way down that river passage—

[clip: scenes at Caradhras and Argonath]

Roeper: I agree! All of that is impressive.

Ebert: —this is all well done!

Roeper: Hey, they spent a ton of money on this movie, and you can see the money on the screen. It looks great—

Ebert: Yeah.

Roeper: —and the little people don’t look like they’re superimposed against the regular-sized people—

Ebert: Mm-hm.

Roeper: —and the giants look like giants, and all that good stuff, but Roger, it goes on for ever—

Ebert: OK, well I’m gonna say…

Roeper: —and then, and I understand that movies, you know, Harry Potter is part of a series, but it ends on a satisfactory note.

Ebert: OK.

Roeper: This thing, it’s like, after three hours and they kinda look at each other—

Ebert: OK.

Roeper: —and they almost look at the, at the, at the viewers and go—

Ebert: OK, well I’m gonna tell ya…

Roeper: “See you next Christmas for another big commercial movie!”

Ebert: Well, of course, because it is, it’s a trilogy. It is a trilogy, so it doesn’t end after the first book. That’s what a tri—

Roeper: It’s, uh, it’s gonna be a $27 trilogy for people, though.

Ebert: —OK, OK.

Roeper: I think for nine bucks you should get some kind of closure.

Ebert: Well, I feel, I do feel, for myself, that Harry Potter is a better movie.

Roeper: Absolutely. Without question.

Ebert: Again, I do know that there are some people that are not true believers who are gonna say what you said about Fellowship of the Ring, but I believe in the quest.

Roeper: Oh, all right. Fine.

Ebert: OK.



What I mostly get from reading this is how terrible the program is for serious film commentary: Taking out the "OKs" and "ums", each of them utters a little more than 400 words, or one-third of what Ebert's print review includes. And maybe 100 of those words are unprepared responses to each others' comments. That said:


Quote
I'm basing my suspicion on Ebert's statement that the movie didn't focus as much on the hobbits as he remembered.



He's right, so there's no need to suppose that he'd never read LotR.


Quote
I remember watching the television review of the movie ... I remember Ebert being petulant that the movie didn't turn out the way he remembered the books, and that his memory of the books seemed flawed.


Nothing in the transcript above suggests a flaw in his memory, though I imagine there are some. As for "petulant": my dictionary defines that as "impatient or irritable, especially over a peevish annoyance; peevish; bad-tempered", and that could apply here only to his defense of the film against Roeper's comments: his "sadness" about the aspects of the film that disappointed him is moderately expressed.


Quote
I don't think much of Ebert's opinions on movies in general


I generally agree, though he's better in print than on television. Before his illness, he simply reviewed far too many films: who could possibly write 200-300 good full-length film reviews per year? And our tastes differ, to be sure.


Quote
and his review of FOTR cemented my feelings that he thinks children's movies need to be charming. He clearly considered FOTR to be a children's movie and since it didn't fit within his expectations of a children's movie he bashed it.


Well, neither Ebert nor Roeper never mentions children's movies or books in these reviews. In Ebert's print review, he did write that hobbits "are like children grown up or grown old, and when they rise to an occasion, it takes true heroism, for they are timid by nature and would rather avoid a fight." I see nothing controversial in those remarks; we discussed the childishness of hobbits at some length in our 2005 pass through "A Conspiracy Unmasked", and many other writings on Tolkien's books say the same. For myself, I think that Tolkien's books are much more charming than Jackson's films.


Quote
Of course, Roeper was trying to be intellectually superior and ended up looking ridiculous ... Roeper just didn't get it.


It's obvious that Roeper, unlike Ebert, has not read the books. I don't know if he'd read the first Harry Potter story, whose film version he prefers to FotR. His comments sound a bit like Edmund Wilson's infamous review of LotR (discussed in the Reading Room here, here and here last year) and Vincent Canby's New York Times review of Bakshi's animated version (Canby seems to blame Tolkien's book for the film's flaws). That said, Roeper is hardly the only critic to be disappointed by Wood's performance, the film's length, or its abrubt ending. Ebert mentioned Star Wars, but missed a chance to note that The Empire Strikes Back, which is considered by most critics to be the best of the trilogy (because it is the most "adult"), has a similarly unresolved conclusion.

I certainly agree with Roeper that FotR (or the trilogy as a whole0 is a lesser film than Lawrence of Arabia.

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Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 11:37pm


Views: 1818
They made

plenty of other comments about LOTR outside of their official reviews. They were fairly guarded here, but considerably less so later when comparing with other movies (of far lesser caliber than Lawrence of Arabia) and when talking Oscar consideration. For instance, I distinctly remember Ebert using the word "twee" to describe the Shire in one pre-Oscar tv interview (not his own show, I think it might have been Letterman) and thought it was rather inconsistent with his earlier repeated complaints about lack of fun-loving Hobbits. I found myself being very sarcastic at the tv screen about that. Tongue

I've often thought that his having read the books only once hindered rather than helped him to understand (or enjoy) the movies. He might have liked them better had he never read the book at all - or if he had read it several times. His recollections seemed to be so at odds with the elements of the story - and strangely enough, not in the same places as the various irate book-firsters all through the fan community. In other words, he didn't seem upset because of the changes from book to movie, he was upset because he didn't remember the book accurately. Of all the complaints that can be made about the movie adaptations, many of his just seemed like they came out of left field...especially so the closer it got to Oscar season. I can't remember which movie he was backing, but I gathered that he was also generally annoyed that LOTR overshadowed much of its competition.

I don't mind if people don't like the movies; no one is required to share my tastes (Ebert rarely does, anyway). But he has clout - deserved or not - and I didn't appreciate the inconsistencies and occasional cheap shots in passing over the course of all three films. Roeper I just try to ignore.

I'd love to know what Gene Siskel would have thought of the movies.

Silverlode

"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 12:07am


Views: 1814
Three stars.

Let me stress that I don't disbelieve Entmaiden, Patty or you: I trust that you correctly remember other comments by Ebert about FotR that I simply haven't been able to find. In fact, what you say about him downplaying the achievement of FotR, when discussing the Oscar race for that year, makes complete sense: he only gave FotR three out of four stars, and given that he normally gives four-star reviews to roughly fifteen films out of the 200-300 that he sees in a year, it only makes sense that he preferred other Oscar contenders to FotR, and that in the context of those films, he would emphasize FotR's failing where when giving it a postive review he stressed its achivements (with caveats). And quite possibly, if we had all his public remarks on FotR to hand, we would note more serious inconsistencies.

In fact, this was Ebert's top ten list for 2001:


Quote
1. Monster's Ball
2. Black Hawk Down
3. In the Bedroom
4. Ghost World
5. Mulholland Drive
6. Waking Life
7. Innocence
8. Wit
9. A Beautiful Mind
10. Gosford Park



I have never seen #4,#5, #7, or #8. Of the others, I feel that FotR is at about the same quality as Black Hawk Down and Waking Life, superior to Monster's Ball, A Beautiful Mind, and Gosford Park, and inferior to In the Bedroom. (I haven't seen any of those films since early 2002.) But Ebert's reviews of all but Wit are available at the link above, so it would be quite possible to consider his arguments at more length.

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vtboyarc
Lorien


Dec 17 2007, 12:15am


Views: 1807
wow

I can't believe its been 6 years since the Fellowship came out.

Theres some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and its worth fighting for.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 12:26am


Views: 1802
I remembered much of that

and here's the origin of my suspicions that Ebert mixed up The Hobbit and LOTR

"...that the innocence or naiveté of the original books has kinda been lost in the middle of a high-tech special effects adventure picture. One thing that bothers me is that the hobbits are the heroes of the books, but in the movie the tall people, the men, the wizards, and the elves, take the initiative and give the orders."

LOTR is not innocent nor naive, however The Hobbit is both. In The Hobbit, the hobbits are clearly the only heroes, but in LOTR they share the stage with men. Wizards and elves to a lesser extent, but I can see where that comment is coming from since Gandalf is more prominent in FOTR. Not sure where his "elves as heroes" comment is coming from from just FOTR, but if he's thinking of The Hobbit I can see why he's surprised at the presence of elves that do something other than singing "tra-la-la-la-lally".

Also this:

"movie is a violent action picture, and the books by Tolkien come from a kinder and gentler time."

Huh? Tolkien lived through World Wars I and II - how is that a kinder and gentler time? Where is the voilent action picture in FOTR?

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 12:56am


Views: 1823
"In The Hobbit, the hobbits are clearly the only heroes"

Well, only one hobbit in The Hobbit even has any dialogue. And although as Tolkien wrote that book, he considered having Bilbo stab Smaug, which I think can be identified as a key plot moment, in the finished text that is achieved by a man, in a chapter in which Bilbo appears not once.


Quote
LOTR is not innocent nor naive, however The Hobbit is both.


Ebert didn't say that: he said only that there was innocence and naiveté in LotR, and that it was much reduced in the film. And he was right: the film opens with a body-strewn historical prologue that explains much that in a book which opens in the Shire is revealed only slowly to the hobbits. Later, where the book keeps tightly with the Fellowship as the ride down the Anduin amidst uncertain portents (as Ebert realizes in his print review), the movie reveals the movements of the orcs that Tolkien worked out but deliberately: Jackson ramps up tension where Tolkien, in his apparent naiveté, was content with mystery.


Quote
Not sure where his "elves as heroes" comment is coming from from just FOTR


It could be that where Frodo, say, rides alone on Glorfindel's horse to the Ford of Bruinen, and himself defies the wraiths there, the film opts to put him in Arwen's hands, taunt the wraiths into following, and summon up a flood. Yes, I know that another elf, Elrond, raised the flood in the book. Funny how Tolkien innocently kept that offstage.


Quote
movie is a violent action picture, and the books by Tolkien come from a kinder and gentler time
Huh? Tolkien lived through World Wars I and II -- how is that a kinder and gentler time?



He is, of course, referring to a time of gentler, less violent flms, as his print review's reference to The Wizard of Oz makes clear.


Quote
Where is the violent action picture in FotR?


Compared to many movies, it is a violent action picture. It ain't Howards End! Possibly any adaptation of LotR would have to be: as I said before, it may simply be impossible to film Tolkien's action scenes as written. The fight in the Chamber of Mazarbul, for instance, takes less than two minutes to read: how long does it take on screen?

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frodolives
Lorien

Dec 17 2007, 12:58am


Views: 1819
Roeper changed his mind about FOTR

One thing that bears mentioning: Roeper loved both TTT and ROTK, even to the point that he admitted that ROTK changed his mind about FOTR, now that he saw it as part of a larger whole. Ebert often has his facts wrong, and not just about FOTR and his recollections of the novels. One thing he utterly fails to understand or mention is that, while a chapter in the novels may only take 20 pages, it takes MUCH longer than that to portray the written word on screen in many instances. Pelennor Fields, for example, is told in a very non-detailed manner in the novels. Tolkien can just write very generalized passages about what happened, while a filmmaker must actually show that battles. You can't make a montage of something like Pelennor Fields. Likewise, Tolkien can say "they traveled for two days" before anything happens. He can say "Aragorn slew many orcs". But you have to show that on screen, and it takes longer to portray that on screen. Conversely, small character moments can be different; the written word can take longer to describe what can be understood on screen with one simple shot.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 1:14am


Views: 1846
"He can say 'Aragorn slew many orcs'. But you have to show that onscreen."

I mostly agree; that is a point made elsewhere in this thread: Tolkien describes action briefly, but to show this on screen requires more time. Meanwhile, Tolkien describes images at length, and these can be conveyed on screen briefly. (On the other hand, it certainly is not true that where Tolkien writes "they traveled for two days" that Jackson must show this at length: there are lots of of ways to tell audiences that two days have passed besides showing those two days. But Jackson is very weak on conveying geography anyway, unable even to match the backgrounds of the Shire to the very map presented in the film.)

However, this general statement, if true, simply works to confirm Ebert's claim that the films contain more action and less quiet than the books, merely shifting blame from Jackson & co. to the medium itself.

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frodolives
Lorien

Dec 17 2007, 1:46am


Views: 1808
True, but...


In Reply To
However, this general statement, if true, simply works to confirm Ebert's claim that the films contain more action and less quiet than the books, merely shifting blame from Jackson & co. to the medium itself.

Yes, you could say that the medium is at fault. However I don't think that's what Ebert was thinking -- I believe he was saying he thought the films should have had more quiet and less action. I don't think he stopped to think of the logistics of such a change in terms of "filmic" narrative.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 1:48am


Views: 1809
I'm not sure why we're in this argument

I started by saying I suspected Ebert had mixed up The Hobbit and LOTR in his review - it's clear to me he doesn't have much of a memory of FOTR, and I think his review is unfairly based on that faulty memory. I can't figure out why it's so important that you prove me wrong. Unsure


Quote

It could be that where Frodo, say, rides alone on Glorfindel's horse to the Ford of Bruinen, and himself defies the wraiths there, the film opts to put him in Arwen's hands, taunt the wraiths into following, and summon up a flood. Yes, I know that another elf, Elrond, raised the flood in the book. Funny how Tolkien innocently kept that offstage.



I can't see how the substitution of Arwen for Glorfindel enhances the heroism of the elves. In fact, Glorfindel is pretty darn herioc, in my mind:


Quote

With his last failing senses Frodo heard cries, and it seemed to him that he saw, beyond the Riders that hesitated on the shore, a shining figure of white light; and behind it ran small shadowy forms waving flames, that flared red in the grey mist that was falling over the world.



Emphasis mine. Frodo later learns that the shining figure is Glorfindel. Arwen's summoning of the river in the movie pales in comparison.



Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 1:49am


Views: 1807
"More quiet and less action".

That's certainly what I wanted from the LotR films, whether or not such as thing is impossible. The best that can be done under the circumstances is not necessarily good.

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Join us Dec. 10-16 for "Fog on the Barrow-downs".


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 1:52am


Views: 1815
Roeper realized the train was leaving the station

and he had better jump on. After Fellowship was nominated for many awards, and won several, he suddenly saw merit in what he had previously derided. Some people might give him the benefit of the doubt, but I saw his conversion as nakedly opportunistic. Just reading over the transcript of his review reminded me of his snobbish disdain for FOTR.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 1:52am


Views: 1824
"it *seemed* to him that he saw"...

that entmaiden was getting uncomfortable with the tone of the discussion, so he withdrew, with apologies.

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Join us Dec. 10-16 for "Fog on the Barrow-downs".


frodolives
Lorien

Dec 17 2007, 1:55am


Views: 1812
The best that can be done


In Reply To
That's certainly what I wanted from the LotR films, whether or not such as thing is impossible. The best that can be done under the circumstances is not necessarily good.

Hhhhmmm... by that standard I'm not sure if a LOTR film could be made that would suit completely "purist" tastes. I'm not saying they are perfect films, but I personally don't feel there was too much action -- perhaps the most impressive thing about the films is how they balance emotional content with epic action (IMO). I do wish certain "quieter" scenes were longer, such as the Council of Elrond, the rescue of Theoden from his withering state, etc. But it's a no-win situation: look at how many people complained that the end of ROTK was too protracted. As a fan of the novels, I wish it had been even longer!

I would be curious to see what you think of my re-edited versions of the films. They are edited as closely to the books as I could make them.


(This post was edited by frodolives on Dec 17 2007, 2:00am)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:04am


Views: 1835
No, not uncomfortable, just bewildered

carry on.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:07am


Views: 1805
How would you have shown Helm's Deep,

the Fords of Bruinen, the encounter with the orcs in Moria, the Balrog, Caradhras, the sacking of Isengard and the battle of Pelennor Fields and achieved quieter films?

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 2:36am


Views: 1825
Cut them entirely, in favor of...

many of the quiet things that Jackson chose to omit. Is it not every bit as faithful to the text to keep a song and omit a battle as the reverese?

By your leave, I'll "carry on" just a little further, but not in that portion of the discussion, where I've quite lost my bearings. Here I'm not much better (Pukel-man used to be very good at offering good cinematic alternatives to what Jackson created) but I would say that the onscreen action in Moria includes a cave-troll battle and crumbling staircase, neither of which appear in the books, and thus not subject to frodolives' truism, that it takes more time to show action on film than in print.

The sacking of Isengard could be told and not shown, just like it was in the book. Or if it couldn't, isn't that proof that a film of LotR cannot really be faithful? However, though I strongly disliked Jackson's poor presentation of the Ents (they should speak at length, not slowly) the destruction of Isengard doesn't take an enormous amount of screen time. Unlike Helm's Deep, which dominates TT out of any sense of proportion: it is just one chapter out of twenty in the book.

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Patty
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 2:48am


Views: 1806
Yes, I'd say that was a perfect description of what happened.

He saw that the train was leaving the station and he'd better get aboard. Perfect.

Ebert is mostly standing alone in his opinion of TGC. Just goes to reinforce what I have always thought about critic reviews, although I was very glad they mostly were positive about the Rings movies. It's all too subjective to be believable.

For Gondor!


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:50am


Views: 1798
I think it's a question of balance

I agree that the movie version of Helm's Deep was too long, but I don't think the movies would be better if all the battles were cut and all the singing added and we had three days of Ent-moot. The movies should have the proper balance between action and quiet, and I'm sure each of us have a different approach to achieving that balance. I would hate to lose the Balrog and the sacking of Isengard, and Pelennor, and Denethor's attempt to burn Faramir (although I would gladly lose jumping Denethor from the movie) so that I could get Tom Bombadil and the eagles singing. However, I would have loved to have the lament of Boromir sung by Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. I would have loved to see Eomer enhanced and Theoden diminished and we could see Eomer and Aragorn meet on the field of battle. I wanted to see the Houses of Healing as it should be seen. But I have to say the mumakil in the movies were amazing.

We're probably not that far apart on what we would would like to see in the movies. I think I'm just more accepting of what we do have.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:52am


Views: 1795
Remember how

Ebert and Roeper's "Thumbs Up" quotes were conspicuously missing from the TTT and ROTK ads? I think there were good and properly snubbed by New Line, and they both hated being outsiders to the party.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 3:00am


Views: 1802
Sorry, weaver, we seem to have completely hijacked your thread

It seems like so much less than six years ago that FOTR opened. Wow - that means my sixth Torniversary is coming up!

I remember all the chatter about the Harry Potter movie that was being released a few weeks before FOTR. HP was THE movie of the holiday season and FOTR stayed pretty much under the radar. I was fine with that, having been burned by Bakshi. The initial reviews were so positive, and the momentum started to build, and I finally let myself get excited. Then I saw the movie, and never looked back.

It's amazing now, but FOTR stayed in theaters in large cities well into March, and I saw it in a theater as late as May. It was the number one film for WEEKS, and the box office actually climbed a couple times from one week to the next, unheard of these days. Tampa Phil was on the message boards each Monday with a box office report, tabulating the previous weekend and looking ahead to the competition for the upcoming weekend and predicting the results. We would all post each time we saw the movie again, reporting something new we saw (I didn't see the trolls the first five times I saw FOTR, although I saw the car the first time).

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Loresilme
Valinor


Dec 17 2007, 3:06am


Views: 1799
Hee hee

Love your footer Sly!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 3:19am


Views: 1793
Tolkien was a critic.

Most movie critics, like most critics and most writers (and most everyone? is 90% of everything crab?), are not very good at what they do (and the more often a reviewer's name appears in advertisements, the less good s/he probably is). But the best criticism, like the film reviews of James Agee, Dwight MacDonald, John Simon, Stanley Kauffmann, is plain good reading (even if you've never seen the film in question, even if you have seen it and disagree). And remember that Tolkien himself wrote a fair bit of criticism, from the three "Philology: General Works" summaries in The Year's Work in English Studies of 1923-1925, to his response to earlier scholarship in "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" to "MS. Bodley 34: A Re-collation of a Collation", which rather harshly repudiates an article by Ragnar Furuskog.

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Patty
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 3:19am


Views: 1797
I do distinctly remember

Ebert and Roeper being interviewed after RotK swept the Oscars, and they said something (joking) to the tune of "guess we're going to have to see those movies." I let that pass, but then one of them, don't remember which, had the nerve to actually say that 11 Oscars indicated, as it did with Titanic and Ben Hur, a "respect" for the movie, not love. I can't see how that, plus over a billion dollars in box office (which it had already achieved) could only be respect. But, whatever.

For Gondor!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 3:26am


Views: 1912
Do you love "Ben Hur"?

It's now generally thought to have been far from the best picture of its year. The same was true of Titanic even before it won all those awards. Both were big box office hits, too. (And isn't Gone With the Wind, a lousy film, still the all-time champ, when box office is adjusted for inflation?)

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Loresilme
Valinor


Dec 17 2007, 3:29am


Views: 1904
Great thread, and now I'm curious to know about FIVE years ago...

That is ... when TTT was released. Because I want to know -- all you poor souls that saw FOTR in the theaters, and then had to wait an entire year to see TTT - how did you manage the wait? By the next year, were you in more of a frenzy of anticipation for TTT than you had been for FOTR?


Patty
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 3:48am


Views: 1891
I did love Ben Hur, yes...until

I developed a true loathing for Charlton Heston. But that's fodder for another thread, a discussion I don't want to have.
But the movie itself, yes, it moved me greatly and I did love it.

Not so with Titanic, I'm afraid.

And I don't think it fair to "look back" and decide a movie is not the best of the year for a year long gone by. I think current mood of the voters enters in to that, for good or ill. I was just watching Chariots of Fire a few days ago, a movie that I love, and thinking that if it were released today (even with the same competition) it would never win.

For Gondor!


frodolives
Lorien

Dec 17 2007, 4:06am


Views: 1875
Where are you getting that from?


In Reply To
It's now generally thought to have been far from the best picture of its year.

I'm not sure where you're getting that from. The Oscars were just one of countless organizations that gave it best film of the year. It's still ranked in the top 5 of imdb's database, and still ranked in the 90's percentiles on Rotten Tomatoes.


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 4:12am


Views: 1881
We had a preview in March.

Peter added a 5-minute preview for TTT to the end of FOTR, and there were lots of theaters still showing FOTR that many months after it was released in December. We were all on edge waiting for that, and I took the day off so I could see the first showing at noon, then I saw it again that day at the IMAX theater.

We measured time in increments. First it was the awards season, and the first TORN Oscar party. Many of us learned about the whole awards process, how the guilds nominate the categories except Best Picture for Oscars, and that the guild awards are often precursors. We watched the BAFTAs, many of us for the first time and cheered on "our" movie. We were following the editing and re-shooting progress as much as possible, speculating about the extra scenes in the extended edition. Then the DVDs were released, with the extended scenes and all the wonderful extra features.

And of course we were arguing about FOTR, and speculating about what was going to be in TTT. We got to know John Noble and David Wenham, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban and Bernard Hill.

The best thing about waiting for TTT, for most of us, was that our worry that the movie would crash and burn was mostly gone and we could focus on our excitement. For FOTR, those of us who loved the books were awaiting the movies with an equal mixutre of anticipation and trepidation. We were exhilirated at what we were hearing, but still terrified it would be awful. For TTT, most of what we felt was joy.

I wouldn't trade all that time waiting for the next movie for anything. It was a spectacular ride.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 4:13am


Views: 1893
Have you ever seen/read "The Celluloid Closet"?

A book that was later a documentary survey of representations of homosexuality in Hollywood films; I saw but did not read it. Gore Vidal did a little script work on Ben-Hur, and offers an amusing interpretatoin of one scene with Heston. (I later saw Heston on a talk show, amicably arguing that Vidal was at least exaggerating his role in the filmmaking; and in this context it would be worth noting that Heston once wrote in praise of The Crying Game, in particular of Jaye Davidson's performance.)

I haven't actually seen Ben-Hur, in either of its two feature film versions. I liked some of Titanic, but would have given the Oscar to The Full Monty that year. Or Welcome to Sarajevo or Hana-bi, had either been nominated.

Chariots of Fire was a surprise winner back in April 1982. As I recall, Siskel and Ebert predicted that the winner would be Reds and Raiders of the Lost Ark, respectively, even though Chariots of Fire was number two on Ebert's list, following only My Dinner With André. (Curiously, the film that Ebert ranked third that year he has since put on his top ten list of all time: Errol Morris' documentary, Gates of Heaven.) Chariots of Fire didn't appear on Siskel's list; he had Ragtime first and My Dinner With André second.

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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 4:22am


Views: 1919
"Anatomy of a Murder", "Fires on the Plain", "Floating Weeds", "The Four Hundred Blows"...

Hiroshima mon amour, The Human Condition, Nazarin, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot, at least, all appear more regularly on all-time ten best lists than does Ben-Hur (which almost never does). Most film history books are dismissive. I haven't seen most of these films, but I can say that Ben-Hur could at least not be a better movie than either The Four Hundred Blows or North by Northwest. I have mixed feelings about Some Like It Hot, and find Floating Weeds (one of Ebert's favorites) to be lesser Ozu: see Early Summer (1953) instead.

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frodolives
Lorien

Dec 17 2007, 4:25am


Views: 1878
Er... aren't we discussing LOTR?


In Reply To
Hiroshima mon amour, The Human Condition, Nazarin, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot, at least, all appear more regularly on all-time ten best lists than does Ben-Hur (which almost never does).

True, but ROTK is not Ben Hur.


Sunflower
Valinor

Dec 17 2007, 4:45am


Views: 1883
*Yawn*.

I stopped taking these two guys seriously sometime after 1996. Ebert in particular is little better than an egg-suck dog....for sale to the highest bidder. My favorite expression for him right now, in fact, is "running dog of New Line." That expression was (I believe) Chairman Mao's invention, and I really never knew what it really meant until I read some of his reviews this year, and this one for TGC took the cake.

As for our continuing debate over the flaws or non-flaws of the films....this issue will not only never die but escalate ten-fold once The Hobbit is announced.

For better or worse, Brigand, like I've said a million times, this is Hollywood we are dealing with here. The only way you will sacrifice a potential onscreen battle for a song in an American-produced film is, well, never. Even Coppola thought it wise to throw in the dancing Playboy Bunnies into Apocolyse Now (with full-blown sex scenes under preposterous circumstances, in the origional uncut version) . Correct me if I;m wrong but I very much doubt there was a love scene in Heart of Darkness, the classic novel AN was not so loosely based on. The director knew the cultural mindset of his audience.

The only way LOTR would have suited your tastes is if it was made by the likes of, say, Sergei Eisenstein. Which would have been just as good in its way--but you would have had to get into a totally different mindframe to watch it. Russian audiences are still unique in "Western" culture (if such a term may be used in an artistic sense) in that they still do prefer the poetry over the action, and even with Western culture (slightly) penetrating this past decade and half, if he were alive today, I think he would have made War And Peace the same way.

BTW, if anyone is interested there are some great film clips of the "War And Peace:" films...you have to Google Eisenstein or "War And Peace--Films" to get to them.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 4:49am


Views: 1882
Ha! Only sometimes.

Patty noted Ebert/Roeper's comment that winning eleven Oscars might only indicate "respect" not "love" for a film, a la Titanic and Ben-Hur; she responded by pointing out the LotR films' significant box office earnings. I replied by observing that not only had Titanic and Ben-Hur won Oscars, but they had both been very successful financially, yet like other award-winning moneymakers, neither was held in the highest of esteem nowadays. I wrote: "Do you love Ben-Hur? It's now generally thought to have been far from the best picture of its year." As you responded to that comment, I assumed you too were referring to Ben-Hur, and so I showed, as you requested, where I was "getting that from". (See what I said about losing one's bearings in the lower reaches of a discussion?)

I have no doubt that a mere four-to-six years after the release of LotR that it still holds a firm place on the various critical rankings, and may very well continue to do so forever. It doesn't help my case (yet) that relatively few people see older films. Does The Shawshank Redemption continue to hold its bizarrely high position on the IMDb lists? That was a case where neither box office nor awards had predictive power concerning audience appeal, at least ten years on.

As for the best film of 2003, I'd say maybe it was Finding Nemo or Shattered Glass or Touching the Void.

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Magpie
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 4:50am


Views: 1879
well...

From May until early August, I watched FOTR 7 times in my neighborhood theater. (I saw it twice in the previous December) Then I bought the DVD and watched all of the fight sequences in slow-motion. Then I anxiously waited for December. I had a rip roaring online community to wait with which ramped the excitement even more.

I can remember how they released a series of trailers for TTT the week before the movie came out and each one of them showed a few seconds more of footage. Often, we'd be given a heads up about when and where they would appear (on TV) so we'd all be waiting for them. About the 3rd of 4th one released, they suddenly showed the Ents striding across the land towards Isengard (it was the first time we'd had more than that glimpse of Treebeard waking up) and I spontaneously stood up and screamed. That's how excited I was.



Patty
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 4:56am


Views: 1884
Finding Nemo?

okay. I officially give up.

For Gondor!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 5:04am


Views: 1876
Sergei Bondarchuk's 1967 "War and Peace" just showed here.

I've long wanted to see it, but alas, I could not spare that many hours. Eisenstein having died in 1948, I guess it was not him you meant? I really like Potemkin (1925).

You guess correctly that Conrad did not include sex scenes in Heart of Darkness. On the other hand, Apocalypse Now could hardly be considered a literal-minded adaptation of that book, beginning with the change in setting from the Congo c. 1890 to Vietnam c. 1970.


Quote
I stopped taking these two guys seriously sometime after 1996.


Roeper, of course, joined Ebert only many months after Siskel's death in early 1999.


Quote
Ebert in particular is little better than an egg-suck dog....for sale to the highest bidder.


I have no reason to believe that. His opinions, often as I disagree with him, seem to be his own.

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 10-16 for "Fog on the Barrow-downs".


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 17 2007, 5:07am


Views: 1872
"Mine!"

What, doesn't everyone agree that Ellen Degeneres gives a better performance than Andy Serkis?

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Patty
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 5:08am


Views: 1881
Indeed it was a spectacular ride...

I was thinking of a poster who used to post on the then "Oscarwatch"--I don't remember who it was, and I don't go there now. But she felt the need to constantly defend "A Beautiful Mind" and just didn't "get" FotR. She went back to see it, after so many more on Oscarwatch loved it so fiercely, and ended up being one of the biggest LotR fans on those message boards. She said she was so glad she had come to love it, because she would have missed a "spectacular ride", her exact words.

For Gondor!


Sunflower
Valinor

Dec 17 2007, 6:34am


Views: 1872
Dangit.

Sergei Bondarchuk. I get them mixed up all the time. I mean, not the films of course but the directors. (Battleship Potemkin is one of the alltime greats--just for the Odessa Steps sequence alone).

Let me get that link for you NE Brigand. May I warn you, you'll need to set aside some time to watch them. There are 4 films and for each one there are 5 or 6 clips that are ten minutes long.

Interestingly, Bondarchuk also stars in the film. How he manged to direct this, esp the battle scenes with literally tens of thousands of extras, is incredible. What I always loved the most about this masterpiece was Natasha Rostovya....she puts Audrey Hepburn in the shade. The Hunt Sequence, which ends with her winning the love of the peasants by dancing in the hunting lodge, is one of the great magical scenes of all time, on SO many levels. Back in a minute....


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 7:13am


Views: 1862
I still haven't seen that flipping car.

I know where to look for it on the screen, and I know which appendix it still appears in, but I can't see it for love nor money.

Mind you I used to be able to spot Frodo, Sam and Gollum in the long shot of the Dead Marshes, but on the television screen they're utterly lost to me. Maybe I'm just blind.

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 7:29am


Views: 1909
I remember the fury on the discussion boards

a couple of months before TTT was released. I knew only that it had something to do with Faramir, but I kept away from those threads because I wanted to be spoiler-free for the movie - but I was dying to know what it was all about.

And then finally, there I was in the cinema...

Faramir: "The Ring will go to Gondor."

Me: "WHAT!?"

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Sunflower
Valinor

Dec 17 2007, 8:26am


Views: 1881
And as for me....

..I was upset with how Jackson had likewise beatified Sam....how Faramir and Sam's characters had switched. How in the film, Faramir is the one tempted by the Ring and Sam never is. I would have liked to see Sam's "visions" of Mordor turned into a garden of Paradise. But no. However I have learned to live with this as Faramir goes through a character arc, and if PJ sees Sam as his alter ego, just as Tolkien did with Faramir, that's OK.

I have tried to find the Google link to the War And Peace Film clips, Brigand, but couldn't find it. So I went to YouTube.

To find them, go to YouTube and type Sergei Bondarchuk's "War And Peace" in the search engine.

And the first clip is actually the one I was talking about. I call it the "Portrait of Mother Russia As a Young Girl" scene. You could write a dissertation on this scene, it works on SO many levels. The other clips are unfortunately not in order. But they'll give you a taste of the film. You'll have to follow the pages on the right to watch them all.

As for my personal Top 10--they are (not in order)

Metropolis
Silence of the Lambs (as a femenist polemic, it's fantastic)
Pinocchio (still Disney's greatest, though Bambi is close behind and Beauty And the Beast will grow in importance over time)
Bondarchuk's War And Peace
Cocteau's Beauty And The Beast
Ken Burns's "The Civil War" (the greatest 19th-century film never made)
The Snake Pit
Pather Panchali
All Quiet On the Western Front
The Battle of Algiers
Lawrence of Arabia
LOTR Okay, that's 12, with the Star Wars Saga (as one story) honorable mention...yikes, this is murderously difficult, can I make it my Top 20?:)

As to Oscars and greatness, I think LOTR's official greatness in film history will depend on American historians tastes of cinema. Will they make an exception for LOTr as they do now, or will the film version of LOTR follow the critical tastes of LOTR the books. I think LOTR the films will live on, if only b/c they are a trilogy....and one film which is greater than the sum of its parts, otherwise they'd follow Ben Hur and Titanic.

As to Ben Hur....I've learned to seperate the artist from the politics. His National Rifle Association ties and politics don't pervent me from watching something he made 50 yrs ago. If that had been filmed today however.....

And as for Finding Nemo..that's actually a really great film. It isn't better than ROTK of course (!!!) but it's almost as good. I think it deserved a BP nomination. But as The Academy purposely created the Best Animated Picture category in the mid 90's to ghettoize animated films b/c the Screen Actors Guild was rightly afraid of films without actors getting the best screenplays, supposedly saving money on films by not using "expensive": actors, etc....it's a shame.


(This post was edited by Sunflower on Dec 17 2007, 8:33am)


Magpie
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 2:15pm


Views: 1860
have you seen this web page?

Fellowship of the Ring Car



weaver
Half-elven

Dec 17 2007, 2:25pm


Views: 1848
Not to worry...

I posted the review to give us some discussion fodder, since many of our regular features (SCOD, GOLD, etc) are on a break.

It seems to have worked! We haven't had a good point/counterpoint like this on this board for awhile -- please, take a bow, all of you who made this a very interesting discussion. I didn't have time to do more than get things started, but glad so many of you did.

Weaver



entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:52pm


Views: 1857
Most of what you see

is the dust that's kicked by the car driving. You do see a very blurred outline, but it's mostly the dust that's the clue. It's moving much too fast to be anything but a car, and it has a clearly defined beginning point that moves across the screen, so you know it's not just wind kicking up the dust.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows

(This post was edited by entmaiden on Dec 17 2007, 2:53pm)


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:55pm


Views: 1840
I remember that

although I can't remember the name, either. She was a fierce defender of "A Beautiful Mind" and it was so great to see her finally "get" FOTR. She immediately dove into the books, too.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 17 2007, 2:57pm


Views: 1894
Wasn't that ROTK

when Nim started the rumor that David Wenham had quit the movie because he didn't like how his character was developed? That actually gained some traction and started a mini-buzz on the internet.

Each cloak was fastened about the neck with a brooch like a green leaf veined with silver.
`Are these magic cloaks?' asked Pippin, looking at them with wonder.
`I do not know what you mean by that,' answered the leader of the Elves.


NARF since 1974.
Balin Bows


Patty
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 4:31pm


Views: 1863
Don't you just love internet scuttlebutt?

really, the whole Figwit thing was just too much fun for words, too.

For Gondor!


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 9:54pm


Views: 2769
Danged if you do, danged if you don't.

...offering good cinematic alternatives to what Jackson created)

I've noticed many of the alternatives that book purists offer boil down to "He shoulda put *my* favorite bits in the movie!" Yeah, I'll agree with that. The trilogy would have been much much better with more Eowyn. Especially if she was in a few shower scenes. The movies would have been perfect!!! (As always, it really depends on whose toes are being stepped on.)


....I would say that the onscreen action in Moria includes a cave-troll battle and crumbling staircase,
neither of which appear in the books, and thus not subject to frodolives' truism, that it takes more time to show action on film than in print.


There were fissures and chasms in the walls and floor, and every now and then a crack would open right before their feet. The widest was more than seven feet across, and it was long before Pippin could summon enough courage to leap over the dreadful gap.

As for the cave troll, yes, Jackson could have done like Tolkien did, mentioning it, and then not saying what happened to it. But then, look at all the flak that Jackson took for being slavishly faithful with the vanishing horses at the Morannon.


Unlike Helm's Deep, which dominates TT out of any sense of proportion: it is just one chapter out of twenty in the book.

Actually the book has 21 chapters. One chapter out of twenty-one. That's 4.8%. In the movie it's 20 minutes out of 180 minutes. That's 11%.

Though actually the movie omits "The Departure of Boromir", "Journey to the Cross-roads", "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol", "Shelob's Lair", and "The Choices of Master Samwise." So we're talking about one chapter out of 16. That's 6.25%.

Well, yeah, I'd quibble over a difference of 4.75% in interest rates with credit cards or home mortgages, so I'll concede the point.

But Jackson's Battle of Helm's Deep encapsulates so many of Tolkien's themes of duty, death, immortality, brotherhood, self-sacrifice, plus has wonderous moments of exquisite eucatastrophe. Best of all it has Elves!

Yeah, the book could do with more Elves. And an army of Dwarves.

Still:

It was now past midnight. The sky was utterly dark, and the stillness of the heavy air foreboded storm. Suddenly the clouds were seared by a blinding flash. Branched lightning smote down upon the eastward hills. For a staring moment the watchers on the walls saw all the space between them and the Dike lit with white light: it was boiling and crawling with black shapes. some squat and broad, some tall and grim, with high helms and sable shields. Hundreds and hundreds more were pouring over the Dike and through the breach. The dark tide flowed up to the walls from cliff to cliff. Thunder rolled in the valley. Rain came lashing down.
Arrows thick as the rain came whistling over the battlements, and fell clinking and glancing on the stones. Some found a mark. The assault on Helm's Deep had begun, but no sound or challenge was heard within; no answering arrows came.
The assailing hosts halted, foiled by the silent menace of rock and wall. Ever and again the lightning tore aside the darkness. Then the Orcs screamed, waving spear and sword, and shooting a cloud of arrows at any that stood revealed upon the battlements; and the men of the Mark amazed looked out, as it seemed to them, upon a great field of dark corn, tossed by a tempest of war, and every ear glinted with barbed light.


Wonderful!!! Jackson got it so right!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 17 2007, 10:44pm


Views: 2663
Of course!

How can anyone *not* love *any* film by William Wyler?

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 18 2007, 12:18am


Views: 2686
Nice to have you back.

Your suggestion that Jackson's crumbling staircase was inspired by the fissures the book-Fellowship encountered just a little earlier in the story is reasonable, but it also shows the vast difference in tone between book and film: could the film ever pause for this quiet moment where nothing more happens than Pippin trying to work up the courage to leap over a gap in the floor? You know, without the place falling down and without enemies hot on their heels?

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 17-23 for "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony".


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 18 2007, 3:12am


Views: 2650
Thanks.

I'll try to check out those clips.

That's a fascinating list! Pather Panchali is a favorite of mine as well. Beauty and the Beast, not so much. The Silence of the Lambs was covered in the only film class I've ever taken, where its feminist aspects were downplayed in favor of its (possible) commentary on American foreign policy.

I think that European film critics and historians are as influential as the Americans.

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 17-23 for "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony".


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 18 2007, 3:12am


Views: 2671
I doubt it.

Not necessarily because of an antipathy toward quiet moments, of which LOTR has an unusually large proportion for an action-heavy movie, but because a quiet moment where one simply watches a hobbit trying to summon up courage to jump over a chasm that everyone else has jumped without incident would be...boring to watch.

Just visit a summer camp and take a look at the faces of the campers watching the one timid one on the ropes course. It's incredibly tense for the poor kid afraid of heights, but for everyone else: utter boredom. In a book you can acknowledge and move on; reading about the long time Pippin stood there takes a second or so, and doesn't require that you settle down on that sentence for the actual length of time. In a movie, you must experience everything as the characters do, and I don't see an audience being too enthralled by that scenario. However, with the whole Fellowship in peril, it becomes compelling to watch.

Not that I'm a huge fan of the falling staircase, myself. But it certainly beats watching a vacillating hobbit without any immediate motivation to make up his mind.

Silverlode

"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 18 2007, 3:45am


Views: 2665
I understand.

We've just come back to the idea that some written passages can't be commited to film in any, um, literal way. But is it possible to convey the tone of something like the leaping-Pippin passage on film? Is there some other scene in the LotR films that conveys that sort of emotion? Or is that beyond cinema's grasp?

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 17-23 for "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony".


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 18 2007, 3:49am


Views: 2674
Thanks!

I'm still sleepy alla time.

Well, the thing is, instead of a character moment just for Pippin, Jackson gives us nine character moments (ten if you count the orc getting shot in the forehead) *and* the place falling down and enemies on their heels. In a film one scene usually has to do multiple things, especially if it's an adaptation of a loooong book.

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 18 2007, 3:57am


Views: 2667
ZZZ.

Why do we need "the place falling down"?

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 17-23 for "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony".


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 18 2007, 4:17am


Views: 2687
Lotsa moments like that

Frodo hesitating just before he asks "What must I do?", Sam hesitating in the cornfield, Merry hesitating just before "Right.... Buckelberry Ferry! This way!!", and Frodo at the Anduin. Oddly enough, in FOTR Pippin acts just the opposite, He acts instantly and implusively, like when he breaks cover at the Council of Elrond (""We're coming too!") and again when he breaks cover at Amon Hen. (Merry: "He's leavin'." Pippin: "No!!!") However, being captured by the Uruks (especially with an unconscious Merry) is a pivotal moment for him. In the next two films his decision processes become more thoughtful. In TTT look at his face as he works to a decision between Merry's fierce "There won't be a Shire, Pippin!" and his "Wait! Stop! Stop! Turn around. Turn around. Take us south!" to Treebeard. And later in ROTK watch his face as he watches the Battle of the Titans (Gandalf and Denethor), thinks hard,works up his courage, then steps forward with "Boromir died to save us, my kinsmen and me. He fell defending us from many foes. I offer you my service, such as it is, in payment of this debt."

Whoa! There's more to this hobbit than meets the eye! Talk about your long moments (both quiet and not so quiet) with Pippin trying to work up the courage to leap over a (metaphorical) gap!!

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



Patty
Immortal


Dec 18 2007, 4:25am


Views: 2662
Darkstone, I love you.

you are so right. (uh, except for Eowyn shower scenes.)

For Gondor!


Darkstone
Immortal


Dec 18 2007, 4:30am


Views: 2678
Cause it's in the book.

The place *was* falling down!

'What it was I cannot guess, but I have never felt such a challenge. The counter-spell was terrible. It nearly broke me. For an instant the door left my control and began to open! I had to speak a word of Command. That proved too great a strain. The door burst in pieces. Something dark as a cloud was blocking out all the light inside, and I was thrown backwards down the stairs. All the wall gave way, and the roof of the chamber as well, I think.'

******************************************
The audacious proposal stirred his heart. And the stirring became a song, and it mingled with the songs of Gil-galad and Celebrian, and with those of Feanor and Fingon. The song-weaving created a larger song, and then another, until suddenly it was as if a long forgotten memory woke and for one breathtaking moment the Music of the Ainur revealed itself in all glory. He opened his lips to sing and share this song. Then he realized that the others would not understand. Not even Mithrandir given his current state of mind. So he smiled and simply said "A diversion.”



N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Dec 18 2007, 4:39am


Views: 2687
I am in awe...

of your ability to identify transpositions of this sort (even though I doubt the filmmakers intended them, usually, but why should I subscribe to the intentional fallacy?) but the thing is, it seems like one could apply your astounding logical efforts to show that almost any work was actually a secretly faithful adaptation of another. But don't stop! Any disbelief on my part is my problem.

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Dec. 17-23 for "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony".


stormcrow20
Gondor


Dec 18 2007, 8:11am


Views: 2637
Thanks, glad it gave you a giggle! :-D //

 

Behold the magic of the Holiday Season!

Before: After:


Owlyross
Rohan


Dec 18 2007, 10:17am


Views: 2661
I love Finding Nemo too

But I like Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna Everage) as Bruce the Shark...

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
Benjamin Franklin
The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
Horace Walpole (1717 - 1797)


FarFromHome
Valinor


Dec 18 2007, 7:55pm


Views: 2897
Not to deny Darkstone's awesomeness

but I don't think his "astounding logical efforts" are above and beyond what the filmmakers were actually doing. Darkstone's exceedingly good at figuring out the parallels and patterns that link the movies to the book, but I don't think he's making them up. The complex interweaving of ideas and imagery between the films and the book seems to become more impressive the more you look at it.

...and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew,
and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth;
and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore
glimmered and was lost.