Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Was Saruman portrayed as too evil?
First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All

AshNazg
Rohan


Feb 23 2013, 12:56pm

Post #1 of 31 (1859 views)
Shortcut
Was Saruman portrayed as too evil? Can't Post

 
On thinking back to my first viewing I liked the subtle way that Gandalf doesn't really like Saruman in The Hobbit; perhaps because he finds him too intimidating? And I thought that was a cool way to get the audience to dislike him even before his corruption.

I then thought should the audience dislike him? Doesn't that ruin the surprise (at least for newbies) when he becomes corrupt in Lotr? Wouldn't it have been a better move to show Saruman as wise and kindly so that Gandalf's decision to visit him in LotR makes more sense?

Anyway, I remembered Gandalf's reaction to Saruman being quite subtle in The Hobbit, so on my second viewing I looked out to see if the rivalry was too apparent and I noticed something I didn't like at all. When Saruman is introduced the Mordor theme plays!

I assume this theme was supposed to be some sort of foreshadowing. But in my opinion it takes it a step too far. Is it really necessary to spell out to the audience that Saruman is going to become evil? It was a big part of LotR, people aren't going to forget!

IMO They've wasted a good chance to show another side to Saruman just so they can point out the obvious to fans and spoil LotR for newcomers.

**rant over**

Sorry! Blush


(This post was edited by AshNazg on Feb 23 2013, 12:58pm)


Tigero
Rivendell


Feb 23 2013, 1:42pm

Post #2 of 31 (1168 views)
Shortcut
Christopher's performance wasn't really striking [In reply to] Can't Post

It was very effortful and I couldn't really figure out what Saruman was really thinking. Or he's acting was like that on purpose, like a little too obvious false reasoning. Tho i can't think of a proper reason for that, maybe he had some dark thaughts in his mind already...

Pessimists have no disappointments.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Feb 23 2013, 1:55pm

Post #3 of 31 (1087 views)
Shortcut
Well [In reply to] Can't Post

If I remember rightly (which is pretty likely given how many times I've seen LOTR) that theme was used in Isengard before it is heard in Mordor. You first here part of that tune in the moth scene.

Regardless of that, I have to say that I couldn't agree more: Saruman needed to come across in a different light in The Hobbit, and he didn't. The only bit of kindness we saw was when he said to Gandalf "You've been busy of late, my friend" before giving the grey wizard a run down about his "schemes". Surely the all-powerful Galadriel as she is in the films would have been able to read his mind and see his obvious intentions. You don't even need mind-reading skills: Gandalf and Elrond should have been able to work it out as well.

However, it was important to see a bit of evil in him: after all he is searching for the Ring around this time frame. Nevertheless I really must agree and say that they missed an opportunity here.

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."



(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Feb 23 2013, 1:56pm)


Lightice
Lorien

Feb 23 2013, 2:05pm

Post #4 of 31 (1121 views)
Shortcut
You are wrong on many counts. [In reply to] Can't Post

Mordor theme does not play when Saruman appears. It's Saruman's own theme from the LotR-trilogy, softened up.

And the way Saruman is presented is nothing compared to Tolkien's own depiction of him in The Unfinished Tales, which features a meeting of the White Council where he acts like a sneering bastard all the way through, belittling and insulting Gandalf at every possible turn. This is toned down considerably in the film, where Saruman is simply depicted as a difficult, conservative superior who doesn't want to have his peers make plans without his involvement and consent. Rather than cruelly mock Radagast, he simply expresses disapproval of his lifestyle and rather than openly insult Gandalf's efforts, he just admonishes him for working behind his back.

No, Saruman is not presented as evil in Peter Jackson's version of The Hobbit. So far he hasn't done or said anything that could be interpreted as such; it's still completely in the open if PJ even intends to bring up the fact from the books, that Saruman is already desiring the One Ring for himself at this point of the timeline. My guess would be not, since this would needlessly convolute the plot with a storyline that doesn't go anywhere.


Quote
]Surely the all-powerful Galadriel as she is in the films would have been able to read his mind and see his obvious intentions. You don't even need mind-reading skills: Gandalf and Elrond should have been able to work it out as well


Since when has Galadriel been "all powerful" or capable of reading minds? Especially minds as closed and strong as Saruman's? And seriously, have you read The Unfinished Tales Because Saruman in the film doesn't act remotely evil, but he most definately does in that book.

Try to understand that Gandalf and Saruman have never been close and have never gotten along well. Their philosophies didn't mesh together even when they were on the same side, and Saruman has always been secretly jealous of Gandalf and eager to see conspiracies and schemes where none exist.


(This post was edited by Lightice on Feb 23 2013, 2:09pm)


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Feb 23 2013, 2:28pm

Post #5 of 31 (1072 views)
Shortcut
Boyens described Galadriel as "the most powerful being in Middle-Earth at this time", that's where I got that from [In reply to] Can't Post

Believe me, I do not agree with the way the filmmakers have portrayed Galadriel, but they have done so nonetheless. Galadriel reads Gandalf's mind in the film, as she knows that he knew the Dwarves were leaving. As I said in my last post, mind-reading is quite irrelevant: a casual viewer can tell that Saruman is standing on the traitor's doorstep without needing to watch or read LOTR, and that as far as I am concerned is not a good way to portray a "good" character onscreen. I want to have some sympathy for Saruman's fall which I don't currently have.

For your information I have read The Unfinished Tales at least seven or eight times even if it was a while ago. Regardless of how he acts in the account of the meeting in Unfinished Tales I still hold to my point that he could have been portrayed in a subtler manner. Christopher Lee said that he looked forward to playing Saruman as a good and noble man. Regardless of your opinion, I do not think he or the screenwriters achieved that in the film.

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."



Angharad73
Rohan


Feb 23 2013, 3:20pm

Post #6 of 31 (1013 views)
Shortcut
I thought him a bit over the top [In reply to] Can't Post

This rant about Radagast and his 'shroom habit, going on and on about how the blade could not possibly mean that there was true evil lurking anywhere... It was a bit too much. If anything, I found it funny, actually.

For me, he wasn't evil enough. For me, to really show him as evil, Saruman should have been more subtle and sly. He was a bit too obvious about it. Have to dig out the Unfinished Tales and re-read to compare Wink


CathrineB
Rohan


Feb 23 2013, 4:07pm

Post #7 of 31 (964 views)
Shortcut
Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I found them playing too much on him as someone that will become evil. They should have been much more subtle than that. In FOTR when we first meet him he seemed kinder, even if falsley.
Even though Lee's a legend really that scene just did not work for me. It felt forced.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Feb 23 2013, 4:22pm

Post #8 of 31 (960 views)
Shortcut
Yes I agree, that's precisely the problem [In reply to] Can't Post

It was too obvious. In a way, a subtler approach could have made him seem more evil without making it blatantly clear.

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."



Glorfindela
Valinor

Feb 23 2013, 5:01pm

Post #9 of 31 (936 views)
Shortcut
Possibly [In reply to] Can't Post

You know, it might be something to do with Sir Christopher's age (he is, after all, 91). It may be that they could only give him a relatively simple script because anything more could have been too much for him. He seems quite frail.

I am just pleased that they managed to use him at all. It would have been awful if another actor had been used.


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Feb 23 2013, 5:10pm

Post #10 of 31 (953 views)
Shortcut
Not to my way of thinking [In reply to] Can't Post

He came across as an effete snob. He doesn't like Radagast. As you remember he was forced to take Radagast with him from Valinor at the insistence of Yavanna. This scene shows Saruman's barely concealed contempt for one he considers beneath him. And of course his harping on Radagast could have been a ruse to keep his intentions concerning the ring concealed.

Because the fact of the matter is that all these people could communicate telepathically. We know this from the end of ROTK. Elrond, Galadriel and Gandalf sat and spoke with each other for a week on the way home from Gondor and they did it telepathically as Frodo describes. Their eyes shining as their thoughts flickered from mind to mind, but no words were spoken. It could be that Saruman was trying to conceal his thoughts from all the other Council members. Gandalf had no such desire. He and Galadriel were perfectly happy to "whisper" to each other during the WC especially as this concealed their thoughst from Saruman.

the big question here is what was Elrond thinking?


Lightice
Lorien

Feb 23 2013, 5:21pm

Post #11 of 31 (988 views)
Shortcut
Strange interpretation, if you ask me. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Believe me, I do not agree with the way the filmmakers have portrayed Galadriel, but they have done so nonetheless. Galadriel reads Gandalf's mind in the film, as she knows that he knew the Dwarves were leaving.


How was that supposed to be mind-reading? I didn't get such an impression from that scene even for a second. It was a perfectly straightforward educated guess from Galadriel's part. It was supposed to signify that Galadriel knows Gandalf well and understands how he thinks. I am continuously baffled at just how strange interpretations people make from very basic scenes in these films.


Quote
Regardless of how he acts in the account of the meeting in Unfinished Tales I still hold to my point that he could have been portrayed in a subtler manner.


Tolkien himself wasn't exactly subtle about Saruman. Peter Jackson was moreso. I seriously don't get any villainous vibe from Saruman as he was presented in PJ's The Hobbit. An obstructive, annoying superior yes, a future villain, only if you're actually familiar with what's going to happen.

Trying to portray Saruman as everybody's best buddy and overall nice guy would have seriously conflicted against the character that Tolkien had created. Saruman is not subtle person when it comes to his attitudes about "lesser" people. He openly (and hypocritically, considering his pipeweed addictions) considers hobbits beneath his notice and perceives the Free People's in general as pawns against Sauron, first and foremost, even before he changes sides. He is subtle in other ways, however; he keeps openly mocking Gandalf and any advice he gives, for example, but actually he listens everything carefully and puts notice to anything that Gandalf says and does.

I really don't see what else PJ could have done and still stayed true to Saruman's character. He couldn't play up Saruman's actual ambitions in the books' timeline, since that would have created a subplot that leads nowhere, but he still had to include the difficult and strained relationship that Saruman has with Gandalf at the best of times.


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Feb 23 2013, 5:33pm

Post #12 of 31 (929 views)
Shortcut
Very well [In reply to] Can't Post

I never said or tried to suggest that Saruman should be portrayed as everyone's best buddy. That would be utterly stupid and contradicting of what we already know. All I wanted was a little bit of subtlety.

If my interpretation is "strange" then so be it. I'm not going to argue about it with you and waste any more time on this subject, since my opinion is clearly so baffling to you.

It's a shame that this particular board is no longer an enjoyable place to have an interesting conversation without the risk of somebody undermining and effectively belittling my opinion.

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."



Lightice
Lorien

Feb 23 2013, 5:54pm

Post #13 of 31 (927 views)
Shortcut
Hostile attitudes reflect [In reply to] Can't Post

I personally am annoyed at the way people take convoluted, downright contradictory interpretations of films/games/books/politics/whatever seemingly for no other reason than to have something to gripe about. Complaints for the sake of complaining, hatedoms that have no content but unified desire to bash at something rub me the very wrong way, even in times when I actually agree with their annoyances. When somebody starts a thread exclusively for the purpose of gathering people to bash and hate something I don't take it well even if there is something worth of criticism. Constructive criticism wherre people simply gather together to discuss something and find mutual subjects of annoyance is one thing, but when the sole point of the thread is to pile hatred on something you need to ask yourself is there really any point to it.

In this subject matter, Peter Jackson is being more subtle than J.R.R. Tolkien himself was, yet people complain that he isn't subtle enough. If he was more subtle, people would come together to complain how he's not true to Tolkien's characterisations. He can't win, here. And as such, I find this kind of bashing to be depressing, pointless and annoying waste of time. All it does is produce more aimless, purposeless anger in place of constructive criticism and meaningful conversation. There's my two cents to having an enjoyable community and friendly communication with fellow fans.


Esmeralda
Bree


Feb 23 2013, 9:04pm

Post #14 of 31 (868 views)
Shortcut
It was my assumption [In reply to] Can't Post

that the telepathy, or 'far-speak' portrayed in LotR and now in the Hobbit during the White Council only occurred between the three elven ring-bearers. I remember the fear of Sauron obtaining the One Ring was expressed as something like 'their minds being revealed to the enemy', which sounds similar.

Though it's true that Galadriel was able to go into the minds of the Fellowship, but that may just be her own magic, possibly assisted by her ring. She certainly spoke telepathically to Frodo several times with as much clarity as she did Gandalf, which my theory would support, since he's the Ring-bearer.


(This post was edited by Esmeralda on Feb 23 2013, 9:05pm)


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 23 2013, 9:50pm

Post #15 of 31 (849 views)
Shortcut
Like a mirror? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I personally am annoyed at the way people take convoluted, downright contradictory interpretations of films/games/books/politics/whatever seemingly for no other reason than to have something to gripe about. Complaints for the sake of complaining, hatedoms that have no content but unified desire to bash at something rub me the very wrong way, even in times when I actually agree with their annoyances. When somebody starts a thread exclusively for the purpose of gathering people to bash and hate something I don't take it well even if there is something worth of criticism. Constructive criticism wherre people simply gather together to discuss something and find mutual subjects of annoyance is one thing, but when the sole point of the thread is to pile hatred on something you need to ask yourself is there really any point to it.

In this subject matter, Peter Jackson is being more subtle than J.R.R. Tolkien himself was, yet people complain that he isn't subtle enough. If he was more subtle, people would come together to complain how he's not true to Tolkien's characterisations. He can't win, here. And as such, I find this kind of bashing to be depressing, pointless and annoying waste of time. All it does is produce more aimless, purposeless anger in place of constructive criticism and meaningful conversation. There's my two cents to having an enjoyable community and friendly communication with fellow fans.



I do believe AshNazg asked a sensible, thoughtful question to start this thread. Didn't look like hatred and bashing to me, though I've certainly seen that in other threads. If you find this depressing, pointless and annoying, take a deep breath and try finding something you do like.


Roheryn
Grey Havens

Feb 23 2013, 10:02pm

Post #16 of 31 (850 views)
Shortcut
Not really. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

In Reply To
Believe me, I do not agree with the way the filmmakers have portrayed Galadriel, but they have done so nonetheless. Galadriel reads Gandalf's mind in the film, as she knows that he knew the Dwarves were leaving.


How was that supposed to be mind-reading? I didn't get such an impression from that scene even for a second. It was a perfectly straightforward educated guess from Galadriel's part. It was supposed to signify that Galadriel knows Gandalf well and understands how he thinks. I am continuously baffled at just how strange interpretations people make from very basic scenes in these films.


You must be baffled a lot then. Looked like a decent case of mind-reading to me too. They were having a cozy telepathic chat and she clearly shows she can read minds; so why wouldn't her figuring out that Gandalf knows the Dwarves are leaving come from mind-reading too? Mind-reading here seems a reasonable inference.


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Feb 23 2013, 10:19pm

Post #17 of 31 (841 views)
Shortcut
She is one better! [In reply to] Can't Post

Even Sauron has to use the darned Palantir or the Ring. Galadriel just stands there looking awesome and figures it out for herself. Well we women are like that you know. Reading minds is in our genetic makeup! ;)


Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Feb 23 2013, 10:39pm

Post #18 of 31 (838 views)
Shortcut
I think that would be a bit cliche. [In reply to] Can't Post

  

In Reply To
Wouldn't it have been a better move to show Saruman as wise and kindly so that Gandalf's decision to visit him in LotR makes more sense?


We've seen ingratiating guys be revealed as the big baddie in other stories (Quirrel in HP and the Philosopher's Stone, for instance). Tolkien is about shades of grey - even Gollum isn't entirely a blackened soul - so seeing Saruman, the head of the White Council, as someone who is all-commanding, short-tempered and a little frightening BUT evidently on the side of good gives his character more depth than would a good guy who also appears to be a nice chap.

Heck, a similarity is Aragorn, who looked foul but felt fair.

Having said that, I don't think Saruman came across as someone with neon signs that blinked 'secretly evil'. What I saw was an arrogant personality who will, understandably, fall under the misdirection of Sauron in later years.

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

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís 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 beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


Glorfindela
Valinor

Feb 23 2013, 11:34pm

Post #19 of 31 (814 views)
Shortcut
Yes, that's it [In reply to] Can't Post

'I don't think Saruman came across as someone with neon signs that blinked 'secretly evil'. What I saw was an arrogant personality who will, understandably, fall under the misdirection of Sauron in later years.'

That is also how I saw Saruman in the film.


Salmacis81
Grey Havens


Feb 23 2013, 11:44pm

Post #20 of 31 (807 views)
Shortcut
I agree with Lightice on this. [In reply to] Can't Post

Book Saruman was much more of a jerk during the WC stuff than film Saruman. Saruman, even when he was still a good guy, was still an arrogant jerk. I felt the portrayal was appropriate.


Lieutenant of Dol Guldur
Gondor


Feb 23 2013, 11:47pm

Post #21 of 31 (840 views)
Shortcut
Arrogant? Yes! Evil? No! And it's his own theme ;) [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
[..] that theme was used in Isengard before it is heard in Mordor

That theme never appears in Mordor ;) It's Sarumans own theme. Sometimes called Isengard theme sometimes Sarumans theme. What you're talking about is the Orc Theme (a industrial pattern rhythm) which appears first alongside the Saruman theme in Isengard (e.g. the moth scene or almost every scene you see Isengard or the Uruk-hai) and later in Mordor when the Orc army leaves Mordor. You can also hear this rhythm in AUJ in Goblin Town.


Quote
Saruman needed to come across in a different light in The Hobbit, and he didn't.

Of course he did. In LOTR (movies) he appears as a corrupt and evil wizard. As a puppet of Sauron and as someone who seeks power. He fears Saurons power and that's why he joins him. In AUJ he is portrayed as an arrogant bureaucrat. He sees himself as the head of everything (which he is in a way as head of the Istari and the White Council) and wants to be informed about everything what's going on in Middle-earth. He feels a bit overlooked. That's what bosses are like. Arrogance isn't a strenght but it isn't the same as being evil. As a bureaucrat he wants proof and not possible options. A necromancer? It's even He can't and don't want to believe that Sauron is back. He thinks that the Enemy is defeated. Why? Because he is arrogant and doesn't want to be wrong.


"There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power."


billzy2
The Shire


Feb 24 2013, 3:14am

Post #22 of 31 (830 views)
Shortcut
Saruman and evil [In reply to] Can't Post

 Saruman at the time of the Hobbit had turned to evil and thusly was accurately portrayed as so. He had his own agents scouring middle earth and especially the river area where the ring was lost and only decided to aide the white council when he became aware that Sauron was now searching that area also. Professor Tolkien also spoke of a tension between Gandalf and Saruman at this time. Saruman had become to view the other Istari as an impediment to his gaining dominion over middle earth and were therefore to be mistrusted. Yes he had turned to evil and as an eventual lackey of Sauron he earned the theme of Mordor and would soo do much more to that end.



Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Feb 24 2013, 8:26am

Post #23 of 31 (752 views)
Shortcut
Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

I had the notion that it was only used with Saruman, but lack of exact recollection meant I added "before Mordor" in an attempt to avoid an argument with the OP.

"These are Gundabad Wargs! They will outrun you!"

"THESE are Rhosgobel Rabbits! I'd like to see them try...."



BalrogTrainer
Rivendell

Feb 24 2013, 12:21pm

Post #24 of 31 (738 views)
Shortcut
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

If you want blatantly-evil-from-the-get-go Saruman, you need go no further than Ralph Bakshi's animated LOTR film. Gandalf returns to a very sinister-looking Orthanc under a blood-red sky, Saruman immediately starts speaking in an almost reptilian voice (and has long fingernails like some Disney villainess), yet Gandalf had no idea this treachery was coming!? Crazy


SķlimŽ
Rivendell


Feb 24 2013, 2:13pm

Post #25 of 31 (697 views)
Shortcut
I don't think the OP was in any way 'bashing' the movie [In reply to] Can't Post

I thought most of the discussion had been friendly and constructive -- nothing even close to hostile.

I understand why you feel that way, though, because I sometimes feel the same way when people have problems with issues I thought were non-issues, and sometimes I feel that they are being irrational and harsh even when they have no such intent.

First page Previous page 1 2 Next page Last page  View All
 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.