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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
PJ and 'Magic' in Middle Earth

BornOutOfTheWest
Rivendell


Sep 18 2013, 5:07pm

Post #1 of 11 (690 views)
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PJ and 'Magic' in Middle Earth Can't Post

One of the things that always stuck me about LOTR was how un-fantasy it felt, for a fantasy film - it was as though we were watching something that actually happened, rather than just a story. I think one of the reasons for this is because of PJ's limited use of 'Overt Magic.' PJ himself has said on the commentaries how he dislikes the typical view of wizards i.e "Lightening shooting out of fingertips" and I'm glad that he didn't go down this route where he could have eg - Saruman vs Gandalf.

Despite this, it now seems as though PJ is going back on himself. I was reading spoilers for the DOS annual when I noticed this...

- "Gandalf may do some of the following in Dol Guldur: unlock a gate; see things that arenít really there/things appear other than they are; cast a spell making it look like thereís more than one of him; cast a protection spell; have to work out where to walk as there are trick stones that lead to traps."

Although I don't have a problem with people who can display some form of magic in Middle Earth doing so, it seems as though PJ is now going down the road of typical/generic magic use rather than the more grounded, realistic approach in LOTR. Now this may be because the Hobbit is a more of a fantasy story than Lord of the Rings but I just hope PJ keeps it grounded.

Thoughts?


Semper Fi
Rohan


Sep 18 2013, 5:24pm

Post #2 of 11 (365 views)
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Wizard Breakdance, Gandalf's staff, Nuclear Boo Galadriel, Water Horses [In reply to] Can't Post

aren't very grounded in reality either. So I wouldn't say that he is straying from LOTR-like magic since there were scenes of over the top magic there already.

Perosnally, I don't mind such magic because it's a fantasy movie and it felt as fantasy land to me which is what it should be after all. I know some people complain that ME looked too much NZ but that's what ME's supposed to look like. So it's perfect, IMO.

"RadagaStoner deserves no mercy!" Tauriel the Radagast Slayer, the Chief of Inglorious Elfguards

Tauriel saved us from Itaril. Never forget.



BornOutOfTheWest
Rivendell


Sep 18 2013, 5:42pm

Post #3 of 11 (326 views)
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I know they're not very grounded.... [In reply to] Can't Post

but how many times in a fantasy film/programme have you seen someone making it appear that their are multiple versions of themselves compared to water-horses? It just feels as though PJ is going down the typical magic route .


architecthis
Lorien


Sep 18 2013, 5:42pm

Post #4 of 11 (328 views)
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agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

PJ portrayed Gandalf as a wise and powerful being but also vulnerable in some strange way in LOTR and it really worked for me. His magic, like the light from his staff at Helm's Deep and blocking the attack from the Balrog were impressive but believable and when combined with his moral temperament, dignity and the occasional assistance of providence he truly came across as a maiar.

I don't like the descriptions in the annual - they seem juvenile - but well have to wait and see how it's executed I guess.

Sometimes less is more.


Darkstone
Immortal


Sep 18 2013, 6:00pm

Post #5 of 11 (336 views)
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Here's the full quote [In reply to] Can't Post

Gandalf's magic I see as being subtle - I hate seeing fantasy movies where wizards are portrayed having sort of lightning bolts coming out of their fingertips, and having all these tricks - and so we made a deliberate attempt to really not give Gandalf any pyrotechnic, sort of visually cliched, magical powers. I mean he does have an enormous power, and his magic is I guess more psychological than it is visual, and that was really a decision that I think was more in keeping with Tolkien. And there's not a lot of places in the movies where Gandalf's magic is really that visually used - it's often more a question of a power than a sort of pyrotechnic display.
-Q&A, lordoftherings.net

******************************************
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Sometime hours and hours hence:
In The Green Dragon two ales could buy
And drank the one less filling I
And that has made all the difference.
- The Ale Less Filling, by Robert Frostymug


BornOutOfTheWest
Rivendell


Sep 18 2013, 6:06pm

Post #6 of 11 (287 views)
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Thanks! [In reply to] Can't Post

If casting a spell making it look like there is more than one of him isn't "visually cliched", then I don't know what is...



vexx801
Rivendell


Sep 18 2013, 6:18pm

Post #7 of 11 (272 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

Although I don't mind the usage of magic in The Hobbit trilogy (not so far, at least), seeing what PJ said about LotR - although I realize LotR and The Hobbit are different in tone - makes me think of how much magic was in AUJ. Consider:

- Gandalf puts a magic mark on Bilbo's door
- Gandalf lights his pipe with his finger.
- Gandalf darkens the halls of Bag-End and his voice distorts
- Radagast uses a number of different methods before using a spell on Sebastion
- Gandalf uses his wizard staff to break the rock in order to bring daylight and turn the trolls to stone
- Similar to the Maia explosion seen in the LotR Prologue, Gandalf creates a blast of energy in Goblin-Town
- Gandalf uses his staff to set a boulder rolling down a hill
- Gandalf uses his staff to set fire to the pinecones (although sadly, only one color)

Let me know if I'm missing something - or if we consider the use of the One Ring to be an instance of magic. Now granted, 3/8 of the above items were in the book. But the others were added in. As noted, I have little problem with the usage of magic in these films. But I can see your point - maybe we should compile a list of the instances where magic is used in the LotR and Hobbit films? That would be lovely and insightful.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Sep 19 2013, 1:05am

Post #8 of 11 (170 views)
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What grounded? Electrons can be in more than one place at a time, ESP has, in limited [In reply to] Can't Post

forms, been scientifically proven (as much as anything can be "proven" anyway), an entire universe popped into existence out of nothing, or so we are told. . . lightning from fingertips is uncommon, but a lot less difficult to get one's mind around than those crazy, magical electrons and their mystifying antics.

I really hate the term fantasy. I hate it. It used to be Sword and Sorcery, and it should be again, or Enchanted Realms, or Enchantment lit, but for God's sake not Fantasy. So derogatory.

Anyway, I pray that the Gandalf of the films is shown to have all the powers attributed to Gandalf in the books. This means, hell yes he can turn a flame into a blue confrlagration, call down lightnening, and use spells to seal off doors etc. etc.

In Reply To
One of the things that always stuck me about LOTR was how un-fantasy it felt, for a fantasy film - it was as though we were watching something that actually happened, rather than just a story. I think one of the reasons for this is because of PJ's limited use of 'Overt Magic.' PJ himself has said on the commentaries how he dislikes the typical view of wizards i.e "Lightening shooting out of fingertips" and I'm glad that he didn't go down this route where he could have eg - Saruman vs Gandalf.

Despite this, it now seems as though PJ is going back on himself. I was reading spoilers for the DOS annual when I noticed this...

- "Gandalf may do some of the following in Dol Guldur: unlock a gate; see things that arenít really there/things appear other than they are; cast a spell making it look like thereís more than one of him; cast a protection spell; have to work out where to walk as there are trick stones that lead to traps."

Although I don't have a problem with people who can display some form of magic in Middle Earth doing so, it seems as though PJ is now going down the road of typical/generic magic use rather than the more grounded, realistic approach in LOTR. Now this may be because the Hobbit is a more of a fantasy story than Lord of the Rings but I just hope PJ keeps it grounded.

Thoughts?


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Sep 19 2013, 1:11am

Post #9 of 11 (178 views)
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Craziest damned thing ever. "Lets cut the pyromancy from a Wizard specifically described as being especially gifted and skilled with fire enchantments" [In reply to] Can't Post

Frown Ugh. I don't even want to talk about it. They amped up Arewn's powers enormously. . . indeed, they PURLOINED Gandalf and Elrond's powers to make her look more impressive. Those horsewaves were Gandalf's doing, his addition to Elrond's sending forth the river. Saruman summons storms, which was fine. . . but Gandalf's impressive moments with THe Nine and The Wargs dissapeared. Kinda pissed me off, but hey. If those moments can be transposed and moved into place in some fashion in Dol Guldur... good. Galadriel is almost certain to blow Dol Guldur to bits, sooner or later, it would be nice if the Wizards didn't look like amatuers by comparison.

In Reply To
Gandalf's magic I see as being subtle - I hate seeing fantasy movies where wizards are portrayed having sort of lightning bolts coming out of their fingertips, and having all these tricks - and so we made a deliberate attempt to really not give Gandalf any pyrotechnic, sort of visually cliched, magical powers. I mean he does have an enormous power, and his magic is I guess more psychological than it is visual, and that was really a decision that I think was more in keeping with Tolkien. And there's not a lot of places in the movies where Gandalf's magic is really that visually used - it's often more a question of a power than a sort of pyrotechnic display.
-Q&A, lordoftherings.net


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."


Old Pilgrim
Rivendell


Sep 19 2013, 7:14am

Post #10 of 11 (113 views)
Shortcut
True [In reply to] Can't Post

there was quite a lot of magic in AUJ, more than I expected. Perhaps this is a sign that Gandalf will use a lot of magic (much more that we have seen it before) in Dol Guldur and while I don't like that idea very much, it still can be interesting if they will show it in a proper way. Battle between Gandalf and Saruman was shown in a very good way and it is more suitable for Middle Earth then some hocus pocus from some other fantasy movies. Magic can remain subtle yet powerful if it is shown properly but if they will exaggerated with it that can ruin the spirit of Middle Earth.


AinurOlorin
Half-elven


Sep 19 2013, 9:11pm

Post #11 of 11 (60 views)
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Magic can be astoundingly impressive and still believable, convincing and elegant. [In reply to] Can't Post

The horsewaves and the storm of Saruman are perfect examples in Rings. They were not understated events. They were not subtle in effect, but they were subtle in that they were elegant.

The same can be said of the firestorm Albus Dumbledore uses to destroy/drive off the zombies in one of the latter potter films. There is cheesy hocus pocus (lazers from the eyeballs, and the sort of whiz bang often shown in the early potter films) and then there is Ten Commandments level epic displays of power. See Gandalf facing down the Wargs and burning down half the hill in the process. There is no need to exaggerate, but neither is there a need to be subtle to the point of people blinking and missing what happened, or wondering if anything happened at all. Impressive and elegant can both be applied to a well performed display of magic.

In Reply To
there was quite a lot of magic in AUJ, more than I expected. Perhaps this is a sign that Gandalf will use a lot of magic (much more that we have seen it before) in Dol Guldur and while I don't like that idea very much, it still can be interesting if they will show it in a proper way. Battle between Gandalf and Saruman was shown in a very good way and it is more suitable for Middle Earth then some hocus pocus from some other fantasy movies. Magic can remain subtle yet powerful if it is shown properly but if they will exaggerated with it that can ruin the spirit of Middle Earth.


"Hear me, hounds of Sauron, Gandalf is here! Fly if you value your foul skins, I will shrivel you from tail to snout if you step within this circle!"

"Do not be to eager to deal out death in judgement. Even the very wise cannot see all ends."

 
 

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