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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
(The Middle Earth Era) - From Ancient Realism to CGI -> #positivity
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mikeybobaggins
The Shire

Jun 16 2013, 10:50pm

Post #1 of 31 (972 views)
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(The Middle Earth Era) - From Ancient Realism to CGI -> #positivity Can't Post

so................................. i'm going to skip my feelings regarding THE HOBBIT vs THE LORD OF THE RINGS as much as I can. I LOVE the hobbit film and cannot wait for the next, but i've still been struggling with what i loved about LOTR films. Realism and how I felt it actually happened, the antiquity.

So how can I start accepting this and begin to move forward??? I don't want it to ruin these movies for me, because they really are good. I love them and will love them.. It just stings a little to see all the CGI, the fakeness. Because I wanted these to match what I loved about the prior middle earth I was used to. I missed the ART.

Any suggestions??

when we show these movies to our kids one day, they will be buttered up more by all the video game feels to better want to sit through to LOTR films?

lol... i'm just free talking I guess. I just want to get over this CGI disaster and see the positive somehow and could use some help. It burns a little. But, i'm still very greatful for how amazing these movie are and i loved it and loved this new trailer. AMAZING, simply amazing. I just miss my old atmosphere and the realism. :(


mikeybobaggins
The Shire

Jun 16 2013, 10:57pm

Post #2 of 31 (580 views)
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i forgot! [In reply to] Can't Post

i have another point i forgot to mention. Remember in all those BEHIND THE SCENES bonus material we received for the LOTR, how they said they wanted to keep CGI to a minimal and capture the realism, so people could identify and feel like this actually happened. So, what happened to that great idea this time around? I don't get why they left it?


glor
Rohan

Jun 16 2013, 11:34pm

Post #3 of 31 (552 views)
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well.. [In reply to] Can't Post

Different books with different tones.

The LOTR films actually looked old fashioned when they were released, they looked more David Lean epic than turn of the 21st century blockbuster. This is because the source material has more basis in reality than that of The Hobbit.

LOTR especially the FOTR, largely featured humanoid characters which could be played by actors in costumes and make up with minimal use of size doubles and forced perspective. The scenery and locations of LOTR are also more grounded in reality, than many in The Hobbit; fortresses, hill tops, towns, even Lothlorien an eloborate realm built around art nouveau 'treehouses'.

In the Hobbit you have a far greater number of fantastical places and characters, Beorn, Goblin Town, Mirkwood, Smaug, Erebor with it's immense halls and gold aplenty.

Now take these differences with the source material and add to that High Definition as the current standard format for TV and cinema viewing and you have a problem as a film maker. Forget about 3d, or HFR, watch a blu-ray of LOTR on a decent standard sized (42") HD Tv and most of the bigatures, models and 'sets' look like what they are; Helm's Deep does look like styrofoam painted to look like masonry for instance. I personally own the Theatrical releases on Blu-ray but haven't bothered replacing my DVD EEs with the HD format because LOTR loses something in HD because it highlights every flaw of 'old fashion' non-CGI SFX.

How do you make Beorn or Smaug come alive on screen without CGI, or ironically Gollum? You could theoretically create full scale believable sets that stand up to the scrutiny of HD, of Mirkwood and Goblin town amongst other Hobbit places but, even if you left out the thorny issue of perspective and character size, the cost of doing so would mean that The Hobbit films would have needed triple the budget of what they currently cost to make. That effectively means that they wouldn't have been made, far too expensive for any film company and too expensive to make a decent profit on.

My second point is something, I would like you to consider and consider it is comeing from a 45 year old woman whom doesn't really play console games herself but whose 25 year old son does.

Modern video games represent some of the most creative and imaginative products of popular culture, there is more creativity in the video games industry than there currently is in Hollywood, a place where churning out comic book films, remakes and cash in sequels (Pirates of the Caribbean 5 or is it 6 now..) are the norm, or pop music where shows like X factor and Pop Idol have demystified popular music and manufactured overdressed puppets perform songs by numbers for 10 year olds. The use of the term video game as a general perjorative is lazy(not accusing you of that, just making the general comment) and represents archaic views based on cultural snobbery rather than, reality. I would rather watch my son playing Skyrim than watch a Marvel Comic Movie( I am saying that from experience, Skyrim looks better and has a more interesting plot)

Thirdly, most films are based on sets, manufactured and unreal locations made to look like the real thing as much as possible. What difference does it make if the set is CGI or built out of plasterboard and painted wood?

Well, I for one will tell you there is one major difference; a lot of actors and directors struggle to give half decent performances with CGI because they are not directly interacting with the set. So, like you I usually have an issue with CGI based films, not because of the CGI itself, but because the acting is usually lousy. Now with The Hobbit that is definitely not the case.

The Hobbit is a children's book that contains a lot of fantastical creatures and places that are incredibly hard/expensive/impossible to create on screen without CGI, the LOTR is an adult themed book with a minimal amount of fantastical creatures and places and therefore needs less CGI.


Aragorn the Elfstone
Grey Havens


Jun 16 2013, 11:38pm

Post #4 of 31 (537 views)
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Film is higher resolution than HD. [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't mean to pick on you, but this argument gets on my nerves. Film is far and away higher resolution than Blu-ray. If something holds up on film, it holds up in HD.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence


glor
Rohan

Jun 16 2013, 11:56pm

Post #5 of 31 (516 views)
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well actually [In reply to] Can't Post

It doesn't, film itself may be higher resolution than HD but is it isn't broadcast/screened in the same resolution it was filmed in. HD is the viewing experience, not the format in which something is shot.
So my my argumemt still stands, although I get your point. Leans Lawrence of Arabia filmed as it was in the early 1960s was shot in a higher resolution (probably) than my full HD screen can show but, it wasn't intended to be viewed in the resolution it was shot in because the technology didn't exist.

I have seen Bladerunner more times than I can count (that includes several viewings in good old fashioned normal old school cinema projection) However, when I went to one of the cinema HD screenings back in the early days of digital cinema screenings I was blown away by the viewing experience, and the amount of detail that was present on the screen. Ridley Scott himself, reshot some scenes and remastered his original so that it would stand up to the rigours of the HD viewing experience both in cinema and on screen because the original film was shot with the good old anologue viewing experience in mind.

So yes you correct that 35 mm film is high resolution however, a film is shot with the viewing experience and technology in mind, and how much detail is actually viewable on screen by the audience especially when it comes to SFX


(This post was edited by glor on Jun 17 2013, 12:01am)


Aragorn the Elfstone
Grey Havens


Jun 17 2013, 12:31am

Post #6 of 31 (458 views)
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Fair enough. [In reply to] Can't Post

Still, I don't agree that the effects in LotR look less realistic on Blu-ray than in the theaters. IMO, they look just as marvelous. I only wish PJ had shot The Hobbit in 2D so that he could have utilized miniatures again.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence


glor
Rohan

Jun 17 2013, 12:50am

Post #7 of 31 (472 views)
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I will try not to spoil it for you but.. [In reply to] Can't Post

I disagree, I do notice the SFX, as SFX as slightly off in LOTR, even shoddy (Helms Deep and the sweeping shot of Minas Tirith in ROTK definitely screams minature in HD) However, in some ways it fits with the old fashioned retro feel and shooting style of LOTR. Like I said, LOTR looked and felt more like lean's Lawrence, than most films released a decade ago.


Aragorn the Elfstone
Grey Havens


Jun 17 2013, 12:55am

Post #8 of 31 (441 views)
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Different strokes for different folks... [In reply to] Can't Post

I adore the sweeping shots of Minas Tirith in RotK. I'll take that over the CGI of The Hobbit any day. For me, even if you can tell it's a miniature, I prefer it - because it exists in the real, physical world. It's tangible. CGI is non-existent. It doesn't have any sense of weight or touch.

As I said, to each their own.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence


(This post was edited by Aragorn the Elfstone on Jun 17 2013, 12:55am)


glor
Rohan

Jun 17 2013, 12:59am

Post #9 of 31 (447 views)
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Miniatures, perhaps not... [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the issue with Miniatures in TH isn't just about the 3D, it's about scale, or specifically character scale.

The Hobbit requires precise and elaborate scaling thanks to the fact there are 13 dwarves a Hobbit and a wizard, plus the upcoming elves and humans, surely if one was to use scale miniatures or bigatures as sets then one would not require one, as was needed for LOTR but several each scaled to the appropriate size to make the cast look in turn the right height to be a Hobbit, Dwarf. Human, Elf, Wizard etc.

JRD spent an awful lot of screen time in LOTR standing still, actually he was kneeling and being shot from the upper torso upwards, so that he was the correct height for a dwarf, that simply wouldn't work in the Hobbit, it would look awful, spending 3 hours plus watching Dwarves standing still every time they had something to say and only seeing them speaking from the shoulders up, it would look incredibly stilted and wooden.

(Just a thought)


glor
Rohan

Jun 17 2013, 1:03am

Post #10 of 31 (438 views)
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I too adore the sweeping shots but only on DVD.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't find CGI lacks weight, or reality if done properly. I give you Gollum in AUJ as evidenceWink

I suppose it's about what takes you out of a film, for me it's bad or so so acting, so as far as AUJ was concerned I found myself more immersed than in LOTR.


JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Jun 17 2013, 5:57am

Post #11 of 31 (397 views)
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Irony Of HFR [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
i have another point i forgot to mention. Remember in all those BEHIND THE SCENES bonus material we received for the LOTR, how they said they wanted to keep CGI to a minimal and capture the realism, so people could identify and feel like this actually happened. So, what happened to that great idea this time around? I don't get why they left it?


Thanks. You've just made me realize how ironic it is that HFR has been touted by Peter Jackson as "removing the window" that you were looking through so that you feel you are actually there. Then they go ahead and add all the cartoony CGI to turn it more into fantasy than historical realism. Doesn't make sense, does it.


Elenorflower
Gondor


Jun 17 2013, 11:43am

Post #12 of 31 (303 views)
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its the same world [In reply to] Can't Post

its all ME so why should LOTR be more 'real'? Its should flow seamlessly its even taking part in nearly exactly the same parts of ME, ie Hobbiton, Rivendell, Trollshaws. Its no more fantastical than LOTR, which had Balrogs, Elven kingdoms, watchers in the water and wights.

also you seem to suggest that fim is no longer an option because of blue-ray concerns, well the director is not making the films to make blue ray look good, he should be making the film look like Middle Earth as first priority, marketing and selling blue ray editions should be way down the list of making these films.

''Thirdly, most films are based on sets, manufactured and unreal locations made to look like the real thing as much as possible. What difference does it make if the set is CGI or built out of plasterboard and painted wood?''

the difference is that you can tell its cgi, and sets made out of wood look real.


(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Jun 17 2013, 11:50am)


dave_lf
Gondor

Jun 17 2013, 1:15pm

Post #13 of 31 (282 views)
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One place where I feel the flaws of CGI are actually an asset [In reply to] Can't Post

is with the elves. The movement of an elf, particularly when it's "in action", should look oddly weightless, overprecise, and inertia-defying to a mortal without prior experience of them.


LordGawain
Rivendell

Jun 17 2013, 3:26pm

Post #14 of 31 (242 views)
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I have to disagree on the point you make about LOTR on blu-ray [In reply to] Can't Post

The extended edition blu-ray looks amazing, and although some of the CGI looks a bit weak,especially the digital models of the actors, the miniatures hold up amazingly well, in my opinion. Also, The Lord of the Rings was one of the last big movies shot on actual film, and believe me, that means that the original projection in theaters was very crisp and clear, and on par with today's HD. I'm sure you'll admit that you didn't notice the miniatures when seeing the movies in theaters? Maybe you just notice it more because youare very aware you're watching blu-rays, and by now know where to look for the miniatures? Similar things have happened to me. ;)

And you're right abut Laurence of Arabia, but in the period LotR was shot, HD was very much a thing already. It was a novelty, and not on the market yet, but I'm sure that PJ, who is very keen on new technology, had the HD experience in mind, and also had in mind the high resolution the film would have in theaters.


(This post was edited by LordGawain on Jun 17 2013, 3:29pm)


IdrilofGondolin
Rohan

Jun 17 2013, 4:16pm

Post #15 of 31 (224 views)
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Great Discussion [In reply to] Can't Post

and very helpful for those of us with less knowledge of the technology than some. One other thing to consider. When one has watched something numerous times and has seen the "making of" videos it is pretty easy to spot the tricks. The scale doubles of the hobbits in the "running toward Lorien" scene in FOTR are very obvious now. So is Pippin's double in the "Pyre of Denethor" scene. That doesn't just come from the differences in technology. It comes from familiarity. Just my opionion, but I thought AUJ looked better in blu-ray on my big TV than it did in the theater.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 17 2013, 7:34pm

Post #16 of 31 (204 views)
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I think that most of the 'realism' in the LotR films is visual... [In reply to] Can't Post

Peter Jackson's LotR films remain a highly romanticized story even when he gives some book-characters more detailed character arcs (Aragorn, Faramir). It seems to me that most of this so-called realism comes down to the physical portrayal of Tolkien's Middle-earth--the time and effort spent to make sets, costumes, weapons and equipment look used, functional and authentic to each culture to which they belong.

This does bring out one of my problems with the The Hobbit films: To me, Goblin-town should be dark and claustrophobic and surrounded by low, narrow tunnels. Jackson opens things up to a ridiculous degree, filling the set with catwalks and spans that rival the Moria sets. I have a similar problem with the visuals for both the Erebor and Woodland Realm sets (especially the throne rooms). We see vast, open spaces with narrow bridges; they seem too similar to each other in that respect.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Jun 17 2013, 8:21pm

Post #17 of 31 (186 views)
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To me, Goblin-town should be dark and claustrophobic and surrounded by low, narrow tunnels. Jackson opens things up to a ridiculous degree, filling the set with catwalks and spans that rival the Moria sets [In reply to] Can't Post

But...but....


Its EPIC!

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 17 2013, 8:23pm

Post #18 of 31 (183 views)
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Yes, granted... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
But...but....


Its EPIC!



It doesn't really match-up with Tolkien's description, though, does it?

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


Eleniel
Tol Eressea


Jun 17 2013, 8:25pm

Post #19 of 31 (179 views)
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Yeah, that bugs me, too... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

This does bring out one of my problems with the The Hobbit films: To me, Goblin-town should be dark and claustrophobic and surrounded by low, narrow tunnels. Jackson opens things up to a ridiculous degree, filling the set with catwalks and spans that rival the Moria sets. I have a similar problem with the visuals for both the Erebor and Woodland Realm sets (especially the throne rooms). We see vast, open spaces with narrow bridges; they seem too similar to each other in that respect.


...maybe it's that problem with "black" again...Wink


"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Victoria Monfort


(This post was edited by Eleniel on Jun 17 2013, 8:26pm)


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Jun 17 2013, 8:29pm

Post #20 of 31 (178 views)
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No, not at all [In reply to] Can't Post

i was being cheeky.

I quite agree with you on this. When i listen to the music for Goblin Town, both of those tracks, i imagine in my head an escape, gritty, scary, through long dark tunnels, where the goblins are actually scary and sneaky creatures, rather than Dwarf fodder, complemented visually with games of shadows, darkness and firelight. Vey hellish, claustrophobic, cavernous, atmospheric.

None of the Theme park - video game style of GT we saw.

Ah Eleniel, but it has been done before and quite successfully Wink

Remember a little film called FOTR? It had darkness in it.

Or that Viking film, 13 Warriors? Plenty of caves there. They all look real and appropriate for an undergound set of tunnels and caves.

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!

(This post was edited by Lusitano on Jun 17 2013, 8:31pm)


Elenorflower
Gondor


Jun 17 2013, 9:48pm

Post #21 of 31 (158 views)
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have you ever read [In reply to] Can't Post

the Weirdstone of Brisingamen, its got one of the most claustrophibic and exciting cave sequences i have ever read. Its quite something for a little kids book from the 60s. Its dark and dank and at close quarters, thats how I imagined it.


jtarkey
Rohan


Jun 17 2013, 9:50pm

Post #22 of 31 (158 views)
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The rule of thumb in film making should be this... [In reply to] Can't Post

Until ALL special effects are totally indistinguishable from real life, use a healthy mixture of practical effects and CGI. Let the CGI be an aid to the film instead of a crutch.

For me, it's really as simple as that.

Films that follow that rule will receive due recognition and praise for their uncanny believability. When a viewer isn't sure what kind of effect they are looking at, they are more apt to accept it. Moderation is key.

"You're love of the halflings leaf has clearly slowed your mind"


Lusitano
Tol Eressea


Jun 17 2013, 10:36pm

Post #23 of 31 (131 views)
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I have not [In reply to] Can't Post

i have looked it up and i think its a promising read. I shall read it, thanks. Wink

Dark and dank, yes. Tolkien described the tunnels very well. And they always were one of the most significant pieces of the hobbits plot that i most looked forward to.

Leave it to a mediocre filmmaker like jackson to create a video game out of it, sigh....

Very much agreed jtarkey. But there is nothing about the hobbit film that says to me, moderation, prudence, discipline...It says jackson wanted to play with his new computers and 3D toys, never mind if it suits the hobbit or not...

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!

(This post was edited by Lusitano on Jun 17 2013, 10:39pm)


dormouse
Half-elven


Jun 17 2013, 10:52pm

Post #24 of 31 (129 views)
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That was the first book I ever bought... [In reply to] Can't Post

...cost three weeks pocket money. But I'd just read 'The Moon of Gomrath' and I needed to know what came before it.

I've always imagined the mines of Moria rather like the first part of the cave sequence in the Weirdstone. But the second part, the Earldelving, the really claustrophobic section where the enemy is the earth itself and it simply doesn't care whether the characters get out alive or not, I agree, that's frightening and exciting, and you never forget it. I''ve never imagined the goblin tunnels in The Hobbit being quite that tight, but it's an interesting idea.


Na Vedui
Rohan


Jun 17 2013, 11:16pm

Post #25 of 31 (121 views)
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Yes! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've had "Weirdstone", and Alan Garner's other books, ever since I was a child, read them to bits. That underground sequence is brilliant.

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