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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Which of the Battles of Beleriand do you think could be made into successful films


Mar 27 2017, 2:26pm

Post #1 of 15 (1821 views)
Which of the Battles of Beleriand do you think could be made into successful films Can't Post


I think the entire War of The Jewels saga could be spectacular.

Of the others - certainly The Battle of Tumhalad and the The Sack of Nargothrond, The Sack of Doriath, The Fall of Gondolin,

Sure, I would love to see all of them...but from a commercial point of view some are more likely to sell than others.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Mar 27 2017, 2:27pm)


Mar 27 2017, 5:13pm

Post #2 of 15 (1785 views)
When is a battle the basis for a successful film? [In reply to] Can't Post

In my experience, any war film is just a vehicle for a good writer and director to tell a story. How the film is made, rather than whether the battle had this feature or that (tanks, soldiers of different/ similar/ identical race, swords, big rocks, dragons, children, biplanes, catapults, space ships, etc.), is the thing that makes it worth seeing. Because of war's inherent violence, it's almost never possible or advisable to show a battle as it would truly be experienced by those in it. The resulting art of distracting the viewers from what's really going on, to have them focus on a story with an artistically redeeming conclusion which the filmic violence contributes to rather than demolishes, is tough to pull off and many directors fail at it.

So, since no one outside a very limited number of Tolkien fans has read the Silmarillion, and the Silm really has nothing to do with the existing LotR/Hobbit films by Jackson, much less the other filmed versions of Tolkien, I should think it wouldn't make any difference commercially which battle was chosen to be the centerpiece of a proposed film. The key would be the script, and the filmmakers' ability to involve the audience in the action and the outcome.

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Mar 27 2017, 5:30pm

Post #3 of 15 (1779 views)
Of course, but the drama of those events is eminently scriptable [In reply to] Can't Post

.....nobody has read unwritten Star Wars films or new Potterverse stuff but they will sell well...Tolkien (realizing none of this will happen in our lifetimes - this is just conjecture) has similar draw.

300, Tora Tora Tora, Black Hawk Down, A Bridge Too Far, Zulu, Battle of the Bulge, Troy, Spartacus, We Were Soldiers, Sands of Iwo Jima, Gettysburg, Gallipoli, Charge of the Light Brigade, Waterloo.....

A series of films "War of the Jewels".....would draw.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Mar 27 2017, 5:31pm)


Mar 27 2017, 5:53pm

Post #4 of 15 (1767 views)
A series of films... [In reply to] Can't Post

OK, let's dig deeper into what you're thinking when you refer to "a series of films" -- taking the current Star Wars franchise as a reference point. Not a perfect analogy since we don't know how many movies we're talking about, but hopefully helpful.

Would you envision this "War of the Jewels" to be similar to the current SW Episodes 7,8,9 (or really the prequels 1,2,3)? Where there is a connectivity between the various movies, building upon each other and creating a kind of singular experience when viewed together? And each movie would then be best viewed in some kind of 'order'?

Or would you envision these as more episodic events, like what the recent SW Rogue One was in some regards? A self-contained tale (of course resident in the global universe), stand-alone and accessible to a relative newbie?

Mostly asking this just to better see what aspects of each of these Battles might be important. If we're trying to string together a set of battles that provides some semblance of continuity and thematic cohesiveness, that seems different than picking which battles have the coolest "wow" factor that would translate artistically to the big screen for mass consumption.


Mar 27 2017, 5:56pm

Post #5 of 15 (1764 views)
A series of films in historical progression...they all have big wow factor action [In reply to] Can't Post

centered battles. They tie in to the same world as LOTR but of course as far earlier events and different lands.

There are some potential stand alones or two film pieces in the other list of battles.

A long series of films based on the Children of Hurin could cover much of the same ground....it might take 3-5 films if all of the back stories are included.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Mar 27 2017, 6:00pm)


Mar 28 2017, 2:04am

Post #6 of 15 (1741 views)
I would guess Gondolin as having the most chances of success [In reply to] Can't Post

Not only is it fantastically beautiful, it's hidden & forbidden. I would think a movie could make a lot of buildup of how hard it is to get there, then you do get there and you are totally WOW with the visuals, and then your heart is broken when Morgoth's army later wipes it out.

As a reader, the Battle of Unnumbered Tears has a lot of emotional impact on me, but I don't know how you'd translate that to the screen with enough backstory to know who's who and why they all matter. Why does it matter that Turgon suddenly appears with 10,000 soldiers? Who's Turgon, and why should I care as a movie goer? There's just so much to cover, I think it might be tedious. So though it's an important battle to me, I don't see it doing well. Unless, as enanito suggested, you're thinking of a series of films, and it would have prequels where the backstory could be developed. Then it would make a great movie.

If we're going with the series idea, then the Valar's last battle with Morgoth in Beleriand would be a great movie, and I'd love to see Earendil turning the tide and defeating the dragons. Can you imagine that one!?!?!?! It would be amazing.


Mar 28 2017, 2:40am

Post #7 of 15 (1735 views)
How much detail is there actually in each battle? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have this handy, either in my own memory or in a reference. But I'm wondering how each battle would hold up in a literal text-to-film transition. Could the battles remain orthodox, purely-faithful-to-published-tales, and untarnished by a screenwriter or director's additions... and still be a gripping 90-minute (or 2 1/2 hour!) on-screen experience?

I think most of us would have our own personal favorite additions that PJ made to the original text in LOTR (and even the Hobbit) --
they may be few, but surely everyone can grudgingly admit they've got one or two. But then there's plenty of cases where we feel quite strongly that a more strict adherence to text might have served PJ well. And by most accounts, the Hobbit fared a bit worse since there wasn't as much material there, especially trying to make 3 movies from the one book.

What do others think? Is there enough "there" in these Battles of Beleriand to not need to flesh things out in a movie format with non-Tolkien additions? Or would each movie necessarily need to have multiple battles included?


Mar 28 2017, 3:16am

Post #8 of 15 (1732 views)
One thing about all of these battles is that the West is on the run and [In reply to] Can't Post

loses time after time, while still inflicting damage to Morgoth, but the ultimate battle of The War of Wrath takes things to a level never seen before....Valar and Maia fighting Morgoth and his Maia / Balrogs, Dragons etc. Some of the Valar and Maiar are casualties (whatever that means - outer forms damaged?) by Dragons etc. The somewhat fanciful tale of Earendil and his flying ship taking out Ancalagan (unexplained) does seem out of place.....Silmarillion jewel laser? So, any such movies would be emotionally wrenching and rather gloomy as loss and destruction mounts up film after film....but, for those of us who care - they could be amazing to watch. The battles of the Third Age are puny in comparison.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Mar 28 2017, 3:17am)


Mar 28 2017, 3:21am

Post #9 of 15 (1730 views)
Gondolin and Doriath [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I would guess Gondolin as having the most chances of success
Not only is it fantastically beautiful, it's hidden & forbidden. I would think a movie could make a lot of buildup of how hard it is to get there, then you do get there and you are totally WOW with the visuals, and then your heart is broken when Morgoth's army later wipes it out.

Gondolin also has direct connections to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings through Elrond and the blades Orcrist and Glamdring. That also gives the audience something to connect with. And Doriath connects to the previous works through Thingol and Melian as well as the Tale of Beren and Lúthien.

"He who lies artistically, treads closer to the truth than ever he knows." -- Favorite proverb of the wizard Ningauble of the Seven Eyes


Mar 28 2017, 11:19pm

Post #10 of 15 (1690 views)
I was thinking about lack of detail in the battle of sudden flame [In reply to] Can't Post

Basically, we get Ard-Galen turned into Anfauglith, and we lose people we never knew well, like Angrod & Aegnor, and well, I dunno, the actual known events might take 30 minutes or less on film. So that story would need lots of padding so that the deaths seemed more tragic to viewers, and there wasn't just a wall of flame on grassy fields, then ash.


Mar 28 2017, 11:24pm

Post #11 of 15 (1689 views)
Earendil vs Ancalagon [In reply to] Can't Post

That duel probably works better in poetry and a loose imagination rich with symbolism than in a literal teleplay.

Then again, I remember in Babylon 5 when a few members of two ancient, mystical races collided in battle, the camera showed stylized swirling lights along with the sound of crackling energy, and the whole idea was that this was a battle mere mortals couldn't understand. And it was very satisfying! (I'm admitting that as someone who normally wants to see every detail.) So, maybe some things have to be left to the abstract, then the camera pans to the wreckage of Ancalagon's corpse on the ground while Earendil's ship sails back through the sky with some scorch marks on it as the only signs of battle.

(This post was edited by CuriousG on Mar 28 2017, 11:25pm)


Mar 28 2017, 11:36pm

Post #12 of 15 (1685 views)
Yes, some of those battles could be handled like the LOTR prologue [In reply to] Can't Post


N.E. Brigand

Mar 29 2017, 4:47am

Post #13 of 15 (1676 views)
"Men are more expressive rolling a cigarette than saving the world." [In reply to] Can't Post

A saying attributed to Howard Hawks, one of the most highly regarded directors of Hollywood's Golden Age, whose oeuvre included a good number of action films.

There are four lights.

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Apr 2 2017, 7:14pm

Post #14 of 15 (1485 views)
I'd say any one of them could make the centerpiece of a decent movie, as long as the movie is decent. [In reply to] Can't Post

Seems a bit academic though.

The Tolkien Estate so far hasn't shown much interest in having the Silmarillion turned into movies.


Apr 3 2017, 8:25pm

Post #15 of 15 (1446 views)
Academic? When did the Reading Room make a left turn into reality? // [In reply to] Can't Post



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