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

Dec 14 2007, 4:12pm

Post #1 of 90 (993 views)
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Six years ago.... Can't Post

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

Post #2 of 90 (413 views)
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Hmm... [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #3 of 90 (386 views)
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Loved the Woody Allen reference ... [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #4 of 90 (386 views)
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Oh, yes, definitely [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #5 of 90 (413 views)
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It's been six years?!?! [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #6 of 90 (379 views)
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It kind of makes me think about... [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #7 of 90 (418 views)
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"Ocean's Eleven" wasn't a disaster. [In reply to] Can't Post

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?

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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

Post #8 of 90 (381 views)
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Ebert said that the film of FotR was less than the book. [In reply to] Can't Post

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

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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

Post #9 of 90 (399 views)
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I was referring to his comment here... [In reply to] Can't Post

 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

Post #10 of 90 (369 views)
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thanks, weaver... [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #11 of 90 (353 views)
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I remember [In reply to] Can't Post

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
Valinor


Dec 15 2007, 2:32am

Post #12 of 90 (339 views)
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Sauron vs. The Wicked Witch of the West [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #13 of 90 (358 views)
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Critics....*sigh* [In reply to] Can't Post


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
Valinor


Dec 15 2007, 7:58am

Post #14 of 90 (335 views)
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I'm not so sure. [In reply to] Can't Post


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

Post #15 of 90 (354 views)
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Yes, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

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
Valinor


Dec 15 2007, 2:18pm

Post #16 of 90 (335 views)
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You're probably right. He never once says "my pretty" in this scene: [In reply to] Can't Post

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
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


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 15 2007, 4:28pm

Post #17 of 90 (317 views)
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"a vulgar and ignorant little cad" [In reply to] Can't Post

(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

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Jawohl, mein Herr! [In reply to] Can't Post

..."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

Post #19 of 90 (317 views)
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Ach, who needs alternate realities [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #20 of 90 (299 views)
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"the battles seemed to surprise him" [In reply to] Can't Post

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.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
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".


Silverlode
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 7:15am

Post #21 of 90 (298 views)
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No. [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #22 of 90 (313 views)
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"a well-crafted and sometimes stirring adventure" [In reply to] Can't Post

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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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".


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 3:02pm

Post #23 of 90 (250 views)
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I've always suspected [In reply to] Can't Post

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

Post #24 of 90 (245 views)
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I doubt it. [In reply to] Can't Post

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!

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


entmaiden
Forum Admin / Moderator


Dec 16 2007, 5:13pm

Post #25 of 90 (241 views)
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All that means [In reply to] Can't Post

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

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