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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Thoughts on Gandalf in the films
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AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Apr 28 2008, 10:43pm

Post #1 of 27 (802 views)
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Thoughts on Gandalf in the films Can't Post

Whom Ian portrayed wonderfully, but whom Peter and the hair team hampered in a few pivotal places

Wherein all concerns about finishing touches to make perfect Ian's wonderful portrayal of our favoured Gray Wander are laid out.

First, to the hair and costume department. . . keep the beard. Make it as long and full as possible without breaking continuity from Fellowship. You can even add an inch or three (it can always be said that an inch was latter lost in battle with The Nine, as he says of it in Moria in the book lol) It was at its best in Fellowship (cinema) when he warned Saruman against the Palantir, and when he caught Bilbo hopping back into Bag End after the party. It should be at least as long and full in The Hobbit. That great grey beard was SO much a part of the old Wizard, and the goatee he sported in the other films was. . . a tad dissapointing. lol

And now the old saw. . . his magic. It has to be in. No ommitting aspects of it. In The Hobbit, Gandalf is first and foremost a great Wizard. In Fellowship he was shown up in magical displays not only by Saruman, which could be understood. . . but by Arwen! And to quote James Brown. . . "That ain't right!"

We have seen Gandalf the unassuming Gray Wanderer, and should continue to ( I love the moment when he steps back through Bilbo's door and first glares at the ring on the floor). Yet, for all those who know and love his displays in the books, and for all the film based and newer fans who still don't properly appreciate all that Gandalf The Gray can do, we need to see that he is modest by choice, but not weak. As Tolkien says "Gandalf. . . though he could not do everything, he could do A GREAT DEAL for friends in a tight corner." Let us have that proper contrast, and see both sides. . . the old, Wandering codger. . . and the mighty Wizard who can "Rise up" and display great power, when there is a great need.

As Saruman is seen to call down storms in the films, and Arwen is given the seeming power of turning a river into a charging wave of horses, so let Gandalf display at last some of that expert skill in "bewitchments of fire and lights" that The Hobbit specifically credits him with.

None of us want goofy scenes with lightning leaping from his eyes, but the scenes the book gives us can be handled with class, and should definitely be showcased. "ALL THE LIGHTS IN THE CAVERN WENT OUT. THE GREAT FIRE WENT OFF. . . INTO A GLOWING PILLAR OF BLUE SMOKE, RIGHT UP TO THE ROOF, THAT SCATTERED PIERCING SPARKS ALL AMONG THE GOBLINS. . .BURNING HOLES IN THE GOBLINS. . ." It is wonderful material, "eye opening", but not overkill either. It will help all viewers to understand why the dwarves were horrified to learn that Gandalf would be parting ways with them. . .as opposed to people wondering what they need him for, and what he can do for them that they cannot do for themselves.


"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."

(This post was edited by Silverlode on Apr 29 2008, 1:08am)


onefan
Registered User

Apr 29 2008, 12:24am

Post #2 of 27 (590 views)
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His Magic [In reply to] Can't Post

i was also wondering about his use of magic in the hobbit film. one can argue that gandalf used his magic more offensively and defensively before the discovery of glamdring. as we all know, gandalf has been around for over 1000 years by the time is aquires the sword. i think PJ and GDT should portray this in the film.....by the time the battle of five armies occurs (and from then onward) gandalf would use his sword more predominately.


Compa_Mighty
Tol Eressea


Apr 29 2008, 1:07am

Post #3 of 27 (583 views)
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I personally like the undertoned magic [In reply to] Can't Post

Several times we've discussed that topic, and I have to say it again: one of the most successful things in the existing PJ trilogy is that Middle Earth was treated in a historical fashion.

Fantastical elemets were presented, but not overdone. More spells could endanger that. Gandalf was perfectly depicted as he was, in my opinion, I see no point in changing him, without harming the "believability" of the movie.

Here's to Del Toro becoming the Irvin Kershner of Middle Earth!

Essay winner of the Show us your Hobbit Pride Giveway!


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Apr 29 2008, 2:37am

Post #4 of 27 (576 views)
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2,000 years. [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
As we all know, Gandalf has been around for over 1,000 years by the time is acquires the sword.


It's almost twice that long.

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We're discussing The Lord of the Rings in the Reading Room, Oct. 15, 2007 - Mar. 22, 2009!

Join us Apr. 28-May 4 for "Treebeard".


onefan
Registered User

Apr 29 2008, 3:21am

Post #5 of 27 (562 views)
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Indeed! [In reply to] Can't Post

like i said over 1,000 years....thanks for enforcing my pointSly


Gethsemane
The Shire


Apr 29 2008, 6:09am

Post #6 of 27 (557 views)
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Old grey beard [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
As Saruman is seen to call down storms in the films, and Arwen is given the seeming power of turning a river into a charging wave of horses, so let Gandalf display at last some of that expert skill in "bewitchments of fire and lights" that The Hobbit specifically credits him with.


Well you know he added the horses (you see in the waves crest) to Arwen's storm of water? crafty bearded bloke Wink Part of Gandalfs true power his ability to manipulate situations for the greater good or put another way empower others to make the right choices a truly powerful ability....

it's good to have an end to journey towards, but it's the journey that matters in the end


Unspoken_Request
Bree

Apr 29 2008, 1:21pm

Post #7 of 27 (547 views)
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I think the OP has got a point... [In reply to] Can't Post

By bringing up Saruman and Arwen's magics.
Undertoned magic, yes. But why only for Gandalf?

The problem is not undertoned magic. The problem is that Gandalf pales in comparison with others when it comes to magic. For once in the Hobbit, he should do something powerful and impressive (and clearly win while doing it). Gandalf needs to be established once and for all as a very powerful wizard.
For the Hobbit, this would also help the story. One of the defining moment is when Gandalf is not there. Bilbo has to find solutions on his own in the goblin mines and in Myrkwood.

After the first movie, my little 12 years old cousin asked me why Gandalf is so weak. I reassured her by explaining that Gandalf had actually won against the Balrog and I told her to wait for the other movies before making a judgment. I explained to her that in the book Gandalf fought with the Nazgul all by himself on Weathertops

After having seen ROTK, she still thought that Gandalf was weak. I had to agree with her that movie Gandalf didn't live up to what he was supposed to be. Refering to Gandalf's fight scene, she asked me why wasn't he using his magic the way he did with Saruman in FOTR. The only answer I could give her was not logical with the reality of the movie: "the director doesn't like magic". there is really no explanation for this.
Still, losing to the Witchking was the hardest one to stomach for me. (If they wanted to keep the WK's aura of power intact, it could have been a draw).

This is a tendency Jackson, Boyens and Walsh had which I never liked. They never hesitate to belittle the heroes. The same goes with Frodo. He is much more heroic in the books. I know many will argue that Frodo's heroism is an internal battle with the ring, but he still was quite resourceful when he had to.

Unfortunately, this is a major theme of Tolkien that was a bit lost (there is much more to a person than meets the eyes; it applies to both Gandalf and Frodo). Adding to this, I hope they don't tone down Bilbo's heroism the way they did with Frodo. If they keep his heroism, it would give some more meaning to Frodo's line about adventuring in FOTR: "I'm not like you Bilbo".


(This post was edited by Unspoken_Request on Apr 29 2008, 1:26pm)


AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Apr 29 2008, 4:12pm

Post #8 of 27 (556 views)
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The "undertoned for plausability" [In reply to] Can't Post

For one thing, as Unspoken request so astutely points out, ONLY Gandalf is played down. Saruman gets to conjur an entire storm, and in extended ROTK ( which, admiteddly, most of us don't regard as film cannon) Saruman shoots a fire stream from his staff. Arwen calls down the river, and while we know that It was actually Gandalf who made the horses. . the average film goer does not, and that is a huge problem. The end result is a message that some of the Elves have powerful magic, the other Wizard is mighty in spellcraft. . . Gandalf has a nice glow stick. I was very frustrated with this. I too encountered first time viewers who formed an idea of Gandalf that was much weaker than he truly was. THe key to his humility was that it veiled great power. He chose modesty, but was not at all impotent, and could display great power at need.

Now, for all my complaints, Jackon did not close the door on more powerful displays by Gandalf in The Hobbit. Their are glimpses of his power as Gandalf the Gray in Fotr and TTT ( as when he calls the lightning to his sword, or darkens Bilbo's home) but most of them are so brief that you missed them if you blinked, and often were left wondering what really happened. While Arwen and Saruman have langorous, lavish displays of spell casting. Still The omissions of some of Gandalf's most spectacular scenes can be excused as "those scenes were not needed in the plot."

This cannot be said for The Hobbit. The rescue of The Dwarves and Bilbo by Gandalf is essential to the plot of The Hobbit. The entire scene is a must, and it cannot be done without Gandalf's display of blue smoke and fire magic, unless it is to be entirely and shamelessly butchered.

Since the Witch-King Gandalf scene only occurs in EEE, I ignore it entirely, as most average lay viewers have not seen it. But it was a disgrace, and illogical. The Balrog would have been mightier than The Witch-King, for one (consider the history of each), and lines in TTT already speak counter to the theory the extended version puts forth. It also seems odd that Aragorn can drive off five wraiths, including the captain, but. . . well, you know. Hopefully Gandalf's battle with the Nine on Amon Sul with all its light and flame will find its way into the second film and amend the old ills.

But let us drop once and for all this odd notion that in a film with hulking demons (like a certain former captain of Melkor th Morgoth), burning eyeballs sitting likebeacons on a lighthouse, water horses and talking trees, that a Wizard famous throughout Middle-Earth for his skill in explosive blue fires and the manipulation of flame, lightning and smoke, ("a spout of blue-green flame leapt up.. .'If there are any to see, I at least am revealed. I have written Gandalf is Here in signs all can read from Rivendell to the mouths of Anduin") actually performing some fire related magic would detract from the credulity of the film is plain foolishness.

"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."

(This post was edited by Altaira on Apr 30 2008, 2:19am)


Unspoken_Request
Bree

Apr 29 2008, 5:25pm

Post #9 of 27 (517 views)
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I couldn't agree more. Well said!// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Apr 29 2008, 10:51pm

Post #10 of 27 (517 views)
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Blue Lightning [In reply to] Can't Post

What upsets me is an unknown director like Peter Jackson (which he virtually was at the time TLOR was being made) taking a shot at a legend like George Lucas by saying "I don't like wizards who use blue lightning."

In the words of Steve Martin, "Well Excuuuse me!"........

So, PJ takes out Gandalf doing any magic & turns Gandalf the White into an arrogant jerk?

But let's not dwell on the second point now & just the first. Because the director doesn't like Star Wars, he completely changes Tolkien's story to fit what HE likes? Absurd.
He makes up a boxing match between two wizards where they punch each other with magical staff blows instead of fists - original but hardly magical.

As folks have pointed out, one has to point out to the lesser informed viewers that Gandalf actually did this or that in the book & as AinurOlorin has said in the past, Gandalf didn't actually push Denethor into the pyre with Shadowfax - or did he? (good grief)

And, for the record, Gandalf does not defeat the Balrog, he draws with him....

Dying after casting down your enemy is hardly victory and in each of the other two know Balrog deaths, the opponents (Glorfindel & Ecthelion), also died. Defeating a Balrog in battle, it would seem, is not the path to a long & prosperous life without the intervention of the Valar after passing on.......

As far as The Witch-king vs. Gandalf confrontation goes, it was so anti-climactic that it should've just been left out. I understood that PJ was trying to build up TWK's invicibility to 'men', & make Eowyn's "I am no man" moment more dramatic (which he then spoiled by having Merry say "My lady" when getting up on her horse in the mustering of Rohan in Dunharrow).

Still in The Hobbit, Gandalf has many moments of magic: in the Goblin's cave & up in the pine trees with the colored fire pine cones he hurls at the wargs. It's interesting to note these came after he got Glamdring, bnot before, so Glamdring made no effect on his use of magic in my opinion. I don't see anything in either book (s) to back that up.
Let us not forget the werewolves in Hollin where Gandalf hurls the flaming brand into the air & speaks the spell which spreads the flames from tree to tree.......




stormcrow20
Gondor


Apr 30 2008, 5:17am

Post #11 of 27 (503 views)
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Darth Gandalf [In reply to] Can't Post

Your saying that Jackson changed aspects of a project he was working on, simply because of his dislike for another director's work?
I find that difficult to believe. I would be interested in reading more on this if you (or anyone else) could provide more information, or better yet, a source.

~~~~~~
Círdan saw further and deeper than any other in Middle-earth, and he welcomed Mithrandir at the Grey Havens, knowing whence he came and whither he would return.
'Take this ring, master,' he said, 'for your labours will be heavy; but it will support you in the weariness you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill.'


merklynn
Lorien


Apr 30 2008, 12:57pm

Post #12 of 27 (486 views)
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Nobody is perfect, nor PJ or GDT but I suspect they will deliver classy exciting films at the very least [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
What upsets me is an unknown director like Peter Jackson (which he virtually was at the time TLOR was being made) taking a shot at a legend like George Lucas by saying "I don't like wizards who use blue lightning."

In the words of Steve Martin, "Well Excuuuse me!"........
So, PJ takes out Gandalf doing any magic & turns Gandalf the White into an arrogant jerk?

But let's not dwell on the second point now & just the first. Because the director doesn't like Star Wars, he completely changes Tolkien's story to fit what HE likes? Absurd.



I'm a little lost, are you saying that Obi Wan used blue lightning...? The force seems pretty similar to PJs take on the Saruman vs Gandalf fight to me, with no colorful light show other than light sabers in the case of Obi Wan vs Vader. Maybe I'm missing the point here, but what is wrong with PJ not liking "wizards who use blue lightning"? I don't like Hollywood ninjas, but it doesn't mean I'm insulting any director/producer in having that opinion. Show me how PJs comment is directed at Lucas, because I don't believe there is anything there. The two are very amiable and have visited one another's projects and said wonderful things about each other.

I also think saying that PJ completely changed Tolkien's story is ridiculous. Yes there were significant changes throughout, but the "story" remained that of the central characters of Fellowship, and completed their journeys by following a very similar, and in most case the same path. If you don't like the movies, that's fair enough, but I think the above statement is a little extreme! :-)


Quote
As far as The Witch-king vs. Gandalf confrontation goes, it was so anti-climactic that it should've just been left out. I understood that PJ was trying to build up TWK's invicibility to 'men', & make Eowyn's "I am no man" moment more dramatic (which he then spoiled by having Merry say "My lady" when getting up on her horse in the mustering of Rohan in Dunharrow).



He spoiled it with that line? I don't see how myself. These are movies, made in the 21st century for a different audience than the books, so some changes, and this one was mentioned by PJ in his DVD commentary, were made to suit that medium and method of storytelling. I think it was exciting having it made clear to the audience that Eowyn was being defiant and gave the audience more of a connection to the battle scene. I can't remember PJs specific reasons, but I found them to make sense. Perhaps someone can help.

I'm not arguing that you are wrong, I just disagree on these point in my own personal view of the films. I couldn't stand Legolas being a ninja Elf, personally... but obviously I enjoyed the overall LOTR movie package enough to overlook that and a few other smaller points.



AinurOlorin
Half-elven

Apr 30 2008, 3:51pm

Post #13 of 27 (483 views)
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Here is the proplem though merk [In reply to] Can't Post

I understand your point of not having liked Ninja elf Legolas, and all of us can likely find something with the film that we would have done differently. However, since Tolkien never specifically described much of Legolas' fighting style, save to say he was light footed and a good shot, having him move like a Ninja neither counters, contradicts nor omitts any aspect of the original material.

A different story with this Gandalf Business. If Tolkien had said Gandalf was a Wizard of great power but never gave any example of it, then Jackson's interpretation would have been fine. Perhaps not what everyone liked, but hard to argue with.

Yet all who have read the book can know that Gandalf was famed throughout Middle-Earth for his skill in fire enchantments. "In the wavering firelight Gandalf seemed suddenly to grow. He rose up like the monument of some ancient king of stone set upon a hill. Stooping like a cloud he strove to meet the wargs. . . There was a radiance like lightning, and his voice rolled like thunder 'An Amen Edraith dan i Ngaurauth!' the tree above him burst into a leaf and bloom of blinding fire. . . the whole hill was crowned with dazzling light!"

Do I need to go on? Now, as I said, Peter had a little more wiggle room, because the explosive warg scene was not pivotal to the story (though the Marzabul chamber scene where Gandalf's Wizardry strives with the sorcery of The Balrog and the counter spells destroy the chamber would have gone a long way towards enhancing both figures, showing filmgoers the greater power of Gandalf, and also making clear that there was more to the Balrog than flames and brute strength). Yet in the Hobbit, the scenes of his magic are key to the movement of the plot, and if they are altered to fit anyone's personal tastes, it will be a disatrous situation.

"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."


bookgirl13
Lorien


Apr 30 2008, 6:06pm

Post #14 of 27 (473 views)
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Frodo on a horse? [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
As Saruman is seen to call down storms in the films, and Arwen is given the seeming power of turning a river into a charging wave of horses, so let Gandalf display at last some of that expert skill in "bewitchments of fire and lights" that The Hobbit specifically credits him with.


I can understand why PJ used Arwen at this point which did undercut Frodo's developing autonomy, and as a consequence Gandalf's wizarding abilities as well. Logistically it must have been very difficult to have Frodo, a halfling, convincingly outride the Black Riders, controlling a real horse with the required size differentials. I think that even if they had not scaled up Arwen's role in the movies, and retained Glorfindal, it would have still been Glorfindal riding the horse to the ford with 'Frodo' in front. And it would have been Glorfindal's magic that summoned the flood not a plucky Frodo outfacing the Black Riders.


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Apr 30 2008, 6:55pm

Post #15 of 27 (475 views)
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Need to Watch [In reply to] Can't Post

This is directed to both posters who responded after me, but I can only hit 'reply' to one....

I'm a little lost, are you saying that Obi Wan used blue lightning...?

No. I'm talking about The Emperor & Count Dooku. It's the act, not the title. Besides, technically, there are no 'wizards' of any kind in Star Wars, but plenty of blue lightning.

Maybe I'm missing the point here, but what is wrong with PJ not liking "wizards who use blue lightning"?

Nothing, but his comment is directly related to him not wanting HIS wizards shooting off any blasts of light from their wands - and let's not count the soft white light that shines from Gandalf towards the Nazgul. It's so vanilla that it hardly counts.

He spoiled it with that line? I don't see how myself.

Do you understand what I'm saying here?
By Merry saying "My lady", it ruins the utter surprise that could've been acheived on the average moviegoer at the moment that Eowyn pulls off her helm.....
Instead, everyone knows it's Eowyn from about 3 things by that point: her yelling "Merry!" after they fall, plus "take the reigns". In the book, Tolkien acheives total surprise at that moment by making you think it's Derhelm.....

Finally, on Legolas:

It's not just acting like a ninja. Remember "He is here" when Pippin looks into the Palantir? See, he has the revelation of a High Elf too.
In all ways, PJ makes him look Glorfindol/Finrod/Fingolfin combined - a little over the top in my opinion.


merklynn
Lorien


Apr 30 2008, 7:47pm

Post #16 of 27 (463 views)
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Light sabers and finger lightning... [In reply to] Can't Post

I already addressed this, and that is that PJ's LOTR chose to keep the audiences in the know about Eowyn / Derhelm, and that IMO it worked well, even if it wasn't acurate to the books. I think there are worse afronts. But personally, I don't care about this one. ;-)

As for blue lightning, I'm fine with it in Star Wars, its a different world and its not based on a novel, but LOTR is PJs adaptation of a novel so it is different. I personally despise the Star Wars prequels (I love Christopher Lee, not Lucas). Something that makes LOTR fairly unique compared to the more traditional sword and sorcery fair that has been produced since Tolkien landmark works, is that LOTR has a historical feel.. a quality and authenticity that sets it apart in a class of its own. The Star Wars prequels (IMO) were far more CGI experimental vanity projects than LOTR. In the case of the latter, it is thanks to excellent novels upon which the movies were based, and they added to the class and quality of the story with similar quality in the production and directing. I do not believe any other movie team would have been able to get the films made, and in doing so realize them with such high values given the pressures of Hollywood. I think its the best we'll ever get for LOTR on the big screen.

My expectation going in to see the films were met in terms of quality, and I knew going in that sacrifices were going to be made to the story due to the nature of movie making. I was thoroughly entertained and loved PJs take despite the differences. For me though it is something separate from the books.

Of course I have my own list of things that I think would have been better, like any fan. I agree that Gandalf should have been more powerful and used more magic, it just doesn't stain the films for me in the way I believe it does for you. I think in that case, it worked to downplay magic, and I think the saturated gloomy colors of the cinematography helped to add a realistic authenticity to the films which helped do the books justice.

At some point you have to either accept the way something is, or move on. Hey, I don't like it that the new BBC Dr Who is so different and modernized (flirtatious young Doctor) from the classic. To me its like making Gandalf in his 30s/40s and having him make out with Galadriel, or something. But I accept that it is just another take, and I do my best to ignore it and dismiss it from my personal canon. In the case of LOTR, I like the alternate take that PJ's team presented.

Someone quoted recently that in Tolkien's words Legolas contributed the least among the fellowship. I believe that is reason enough there to find PJs super elf Legolas an exaggerated interpretation, or even a false representation, but I enjoyed the movies for so many other aspects, that for me this one has been swept under the carpet, much like Gandalf's being blown off Shadowfax by the "super" Witch King, wor his substitution with Aragorn in places. Your own points came across to me like accusations rather than your opinion, which is why I leapt to the films defense.


Sunflower
Valinor

Apr 30 2008, 8:21pm

Post #17 of 27 (454 views)
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"class and quality" [In reply to] Can't Post

Oo, that awful CGI.

So, the fact that PJ's LOTR films were based upon a world-famous work of literature were a magic pill that automatically encouraged productions of class and quality.

Look, I am not automatically defending many of the deficencies in script that Lucas made, or some of the characters. But I am *SICK TO DEATH* of hearing this argument, belittling the Sw films, and stating that the LOTR films are superior.

The two Sagas are as different as night and day.

One is based on a 50-yr old book that was written by a post-Victorian/Edwardian age soldier-turned-Oxford don, scarred by WWI. He had a flawless lasting marriage to a woman he idelaized, a woman who rescued him and healed him from the horrors of war. Edith Bratt is "Luthien" on his tombstone, and they are buried in the same grave. His eternal love for her shines through in every word. Likewise (and by a happy bout of fortune) this relationship is seemingly echoed in the rock-solid relationsip, in work and life, of Peterand Fran. The films are emotional masterpieces, and in production pieces like "Into The West" it could be argued that their love gives the films an emotional resonance as well. But, their work was still taken from someone else's.

The other was by an American Baby Boomer, a product of rich and carefree America at the height of her power.....scarred by little more than a car accident.....and, say, sterility? A beloved wife who divorced him in part b/c he could not have kids? And this happening at the hight of the film's production. Much of the compartive emotional rigidity (until you view the entire Saga multiple times; THEN it all sinks in) is a prodcut of the artist's own tortured soul.

But it all came from his own head. Whatever the deficiencies in storytelling, the power of the story itself, an origional work, is IMO no less. Could someone else have told it better? Maybe. But as it is, a product of its creator, it has a depth and richness that will not fade. As for the CGI....can't people understand that the Old Republic, at the height of her power in the Prequels, was SUPPOSED to look all bright and clean and new and shiny, as opposed to the impovershed galaxy of the 4, 5 and 6, when the Emperor was plundering the galaxy for the rescources to keep his Empire functioning? I would have been disappointed if I had seen the celebrated "used universe" from the older films in the {requels...even on Tatooine. The later films have a bigger impact, now, precisely b/c of the clean CGI-landscapes of the Prequels. The fall from Grace is that much farther. (and I speak as a 38 yr old who saw grew up with the films as child....one of that First Generation.)

(I am not excusing Jar-Jar BTW. But he is largely confined t the first film; and we know his devestating political function. But is he any better than Gimli's drinking manners, the avalnche of skulls, or "Sam, go home"? )

I am sick and tired of Tolkien fans exhibiting literary snobbery, in pretending that great works of Film Art are lesser than great works of literature. SW is a great origional work of Art, defencts and all, a story of staggering literary complexity ( no matter WHEN he made verious parts of it up) ALL the films as whole, and should one day be branded as American National Treasures,as The Wizard of Oz is. And it is a product of its time. It emerged at a time when great origional works of art could be distributed. For now, that area, (in Hollywood and America) has passed. Others in the world, like Del Toro with PL and his compaions Cuaron and Inarritu, are keeping the flame alive, and hopefully one day, we can catch the spark again, when the Multi-national coproratediease has been burned out of Hollywood.


(This post was edited by Sunflower on Apr 30 2008, 8:30pm)


Unspoken_Request
Bree

Apr 30 2008, 8:49pm

Post #18 of 27 (443 views)
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The point AinurOlorin and I are trying to make... [In reply to] Can't Post

is that The Hobbit has lots of magic done by Gandalf. Some bits of it are very important. The making of this movie is a great opportunity to finally establish the truth about this character: that he is a powefull wizard.

Gandalf should get his moment where his magical ability shines, just the way Legolas' super-elf stunts make him shine on more than one occasion.

BTW, PJ finds hocus pocus magic cheesy. Yet the Legolas stunts are also cheesy. I don't see why he's got so much problem with the former, while he has no problem with the later.
Personally I can cope with both. I just think that it is probably easier to make magic less cheesy (who thinks the water horses were cheesy?) than a surfing stunt clearly inspired by today's skate and snowboard culture...

Using everyday life materials can do a lot to reduce the image of a guy shooting lightning with his fingers. For instance, during the fight against the Wargs in FOTR-books, Gandalf uses a branch with many twigs (from what I recall) to start streams of fire that kill many Wargs. Since the fire is coming from some wood that is burning, I think it wouldn't look as bad as PJ thinks.


merklynn
Lorien


Apr 30 2008, 8:55pm

Post #19 of 27 (441 views)
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Fantasy Wars... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't really know where this argument came from, but that is not my opinion. I love the original Star Wars trilogy, but I don't like the prequels. I wonder if your argument is based on a long past of hearing others criticizing the films. I didn't say that I thought LOTR is "better" because it is based on a classy trilogy of books. I was saying the film benefitted from that feeling of historical authenticity that those books had. In fact I was drawing attention to the differences between Star Wars and LOTR in my post and how they are both different. Like I pointed out, in Lucas' case the movies came straight from his mind to film. In the case of the LOTR films they came as an adaptation of someone elses work.

So in the case of LOTR any work by anyone other than the author is going to be someone elses interpretation, a "what if" an "elseworlds", an "alternative". Some will hit closer to the mark when analyzed against the books, and others will fall far shot, but as films are what they are, LOTR did an excellent job to be as classy in production, and in keeping in so much of the material as it did. I don't want to beat that point to death, but I don't want anyone thinking I'm calling Star Wars inferior because it has to be directly compared to LOTR. So maybe your post is not meant in reference to mine, but hopefully I'm not being lumped in unfairly with some crowd that you don't like. :-)


(This post was edited by merklynn on Apr 30 2008, 8:58pm)


merklynn
Lorien


Apr 30 2008, 8:57pm

Post #20 of 27 (439 views)
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I totally agree with you. - NT [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Tolkien Forever
Gondor

Apr 30 2008, 10:01pm

Post #21 of 27 (443 views)
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Well Put [In reply to] Can't Post

Sunflower sums things up pretty well on Star Wars versus TLOR......

There's such hatred towards the Prequels that I just don't understand......

The 'OT' has it's share of Jar-Jar Binks types too - see the Ewoks & tell me they aren't hokey too.
And, the cheesey lines, especially in the 'classic' Empire Strikes Back' are just a plethora, you walking carpet (I know, it's from Episode 4).

I too grew up on Star Wars (actually 16 when it came out) & saw it one month or so after seeing 'The Hobbit' cartoon on NBC in May 1977 & beginning to read Tolkien's works. Strange coincidence & probably why I fell in love with both.

The final Episode, while not 'fun', is dark & a necessary part of the story & kudos to Lucas for having the guts to make a movie that isn't consumer freindly, i.e., where there's no happy ending & the heroes mostly die and/or end in tragedy.

Now just a few comments on Merklynn's reply to me:

As for blue lightning, I'm fine with it in Star Wars, its a different world and its not based on a novel, but LOTR is PJs adaptation of a novel so it is different. I personally despise the Star Wars prequels (I love Christopher Lee, not Lucas).

Did you love Christopher Lee before he was in TLOR or is it because of that?

Something that makes LOTR fairly unique compared to the more traditional sword and sorcery fair that has been produced since Tolkien landmark works, is that LOTR has a historical feel.. a quality and authenticity that sets it apart in a class of its own.

Star Wars has a great deal of historical background to it too, but of course, nothing comes close to Middle-earth in the depth & scope of historical background.

The Star Wars prequels (IMO) were far more CGI experimental vanity projects than LOTR.

TLOR had quite a bit too.

In the case of the latter, it is thanks to excellent novels upon which the movies were based, and they added to the class and quality of the story with similar quality in the production and directing. I do not believe any other movie team would have been able to get the films made,

I read this all the time, but how do we know when nobody else had a chance?

and in doing so realize them with such high values given the pressures of Hollywood. I think its the best we'll ever get for LOTR on the big screen.

My expectation going in to see the films were met in terms of quality, and I knew going in that sacrifices were going to be made to the story due to the nature of movie making. I was thoroughly entertained and loved PJs take despite the differences. For me though it is something separate from the books.


I enjoyed the films too & understood the need to make changes, but there is a difference between changes that were needed & changes that were optional.



Of course I have my own list of things that I think would have been better, like any fan. I agree that Gandalf should have been more powerful and used more magic, it just doesn't stain the films for me in the way I believe it does for you. I think in that case, it worked to downplay magic, and I think the saturated gloomy colors of the cinematography helped to add a realistic authenticity to the films which helped do the books justice.

At some point you have to either accept the way something is, or move on.

We're talking about a movie here, not a grudge I'm holding where I need to grant forgiveness..... Crazy

Hey, I don't like it that the new BBC Dr Who is so different and modernized (flirtatious young Doctor) from the classic. To me its like making Gandalf in his 30s/40s and having him make out with Galadriel, or something. But I accept that it is just another take, and I do my best to ignore it and dismiss it from my personal canon. In the case of LOTR, I like the alternate take that PJ's team presented.

Someone quoted recently that in Tolkien's words Legolas contributed the least among the fellowship. I believe that is reason enough there to find PJs super elf Legolas an exaggerated interpretation, or even a false representation, but I enjoyed the movies for so many other aspects, that for me this one has been swept under the carpet, much like Gandalf's being blown off Shadowfax by the "super" Witch King, wor his substitution with Aragorn in places. Your own points came across to me like accusations rather than your opinion, which is why I leapt to the films defense.

Believe me, I'm used to people leaping to PJ's defense if you say one bad word about him or the movies.
It's rather funny that someone can't have a negative opinion of the films without offending those who love them.

BTW: I like the movies alot, just don't think they are perfect & those imperfections are mostly in choices that didn't need to be made, like character of the individuals in the story being changed from humility to arrogance (Gandalf the White) or Aragorn not wanting to be king, etc......




merklynn
Lorien


Apr 30 2008, 10:52pm

Post #22 of 27 (439 views)
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Ok, this is me done with this thread :-) [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
Did you love Christopher Lee before he was in TLOR or is it because of that?



Yes, I love him almost as much as Peter Cushing. I have a large Hammer Horror collection, mostly pre-1964 before IMO it got tacky. I like the cozy old fashioned charm and the comparative lightness of the horror back in the late 50s to 60s. But I've always loved the pair, particularly Cushing, as well as Lee's voice work as Death in the animated Discworld series. Very few of the LOTR cast or Star Wars cast were new to me other than the obvious new faces like Hayden Christensen (sp?), or Dom and Billy. The prequels did nothing for me sadly, and I felt Lee was wasted in a role that should have been bigger. Personally I felt the films were a mess. That's just my opinion though, not some kind of critical analysis. I don't care about them enough to get into it. And I never did want to get into it, because I didn't see myself as comparing the two negatively, I just wanted to respond to what sounded more like acusations than opinions. All is good and I'm ready to move on to a new topic. ;-)


Quote
In the case of the latter, it is thanks to excellent novels upon which the movies were based, and they added to the class and quality of the story with similar quality in the production and directing. I do not believe any other movie team would have been able to get the films made,

I read this all the time, but how do we know when nobody else had a chance?



I really don't want to get into a back and forth, and there's a lot of points that I can argue... In this case, I would say the fact that LOTR would not be touched by any studios if PJ hadn't had the personal drive and passion for the books to work his charms and when it finally did click he managed to get it to be three films not two. I think there was a lot of resistance to the idea and risk that these films would take and it was an unusual alignment that brought them together. I don't know of any other fantasy films that hold a candle to the quality of the production and the effort that was made to translate books with respect and care into commercially viable "Hollywood" movies.

I doubt I'm some one who will jump to PJs defense. I don't like the label of being a Star Wars hater, or the insinuation that I'm something that maybe others have been. I'm just trying to be rational and engage in conversation. As I said before, the points being made sounded less like opinions, and more like outright acusations of wrong doing on the part of the film makers. Perhaps if I posted more regularly on TORN I would know better. :-)



(This post was edited by merklynn on Apr 30 2008, 10:54pm)


stormcrow20
Gondor


May 1 2008, 12:03am

Post #23 of 27 (436 views)
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Concerning negative opinions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It's rather funny that someone can't have a negative opinion of the films without offending those who love them.



It is not the negative opinion that offends, it is the words used and the manner in which the opinion is expressed.

People here have tried to explain that fact on numerous occasions. I don't want to start another heated discussion or argument, but I felt that needed to be pointed out once again.


~~~~~~
Círdan saw further and deeper than any other in Middle-earth, and he welcomed Mithrandir at the Grey Havens, knowing whence he came and whither he would return.
'Take this ring, master,' he said, 'for your labours will be heavy; but it will support you in the weariness you have taken upon yourself. For this is the Ring of Fire, and with it you may rekindle hearts in a world that grows chill.'


Sunflower
Valinor

May 1 2008, 1:23am

Post #24 of 27 (426 views)
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Historical authenticity [In reply to] Can't Post

is something that (as you seem to imply) can only come from books. Thus, when we pick up FOTR and sit down and begin reading "Concerning Hobbits" , 3 pages in, we feel as if we are not reading fantasy, but a National Geographic article--from a 1920 edition of the mag, that is. We half expect a grainy color-tinted photo of a hobbit taken by an intrepid NG photographer of the era. That's how real ME already seems, right from the start.

In the case of SW, that historical authenticity is there, too. Only it can't be rendered in words. You only have to be able to sit in a theater and feel that this world is a real place. I remember the sense of wonder I felt as a 7 yr old kid, of learning that Owen Lars was a farmer. But his place was in a desert, and I saw no crops. What did he grow? I didn't understand what moisture vaporators were, nor of course, power converters (oh, Mark Hammill was so adorable then.) And reading the novelization, I understood. But all I had to do was get sucked into this fantastic world. Lucas didn't spend 2 minutes on a character explaning what they were; nor, later, did he explain about the insect planet. But CGI landscapes and all, it was REAL. You looked in the background when Padme talked, you saw blurs of evening traffic in the window. That's the same as literary convention. Obviously, a film-maker is limited in his or her choice of tools; but this goes back to an argument is posted in a thread on Mian, (art or literature?) what is a higher form of art--film or literature? Just b/c the filmmaker's plaette is limited IMO does not limit its scope.

The best I can sayis, the Star Wards novels themselves--the Extended Universe---are a curious phenomenon of people doing the opposite of Tolkien; inspired by the "historical authenticity" of the world, Lucas's seriousness of it, they are building upon it--writing the Appendices. Thus, you learn that in the SW Universe, bathrooms are called "refresher units", or "'freshers" for short.

As to arguments....I wasn't criticizing you, Merklynn; but you're right, I HAVE been burned on SW forums by this very conceit. Back when the prequels were coming out, I posted a lot on Jedinet.com. Strange time....LOTR was coming; the Prequels too; and U2 were on tour in 2001...and I saw them play in NYC 5 weeks after 9/11.(WHAT A SHOW....) Ah, great memories, and we are about to have them again!


(This post was edited by Sunflower on May 1 2008, 1:25am)


Sunflower
Valinor

May 1 2008, 1:48am

Post #25 of 27 (430 views)
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PS. [In reply to] Can't Post

Would it shock you to know, that I have gone back to the beloved origional Trilogy and found many flaws.As a story; even the Trilogy is holy to me, but as art, it has, now, more holes than Swiss cheese. (Except Empire..which, I have to admit, remains as pretty darn flawless a piece of film art as anything. Not a single wasted frame or word. The only thing that would have been better would have been Irvin Kershner's origional rumored nearly 3-hr cut, that Lucas--as Executive Producer--came in an chopped down to 2 hrs--he was afraid of it turning into a big drama--more's the pity!!! Curiously, we hope that PJand GDT don't have Editing Wars like this. Thaqt IS the Salon article's one true point.)

I always wonder if many of these "Lucas raped my childhood" reviews come from jaded fanboys (many of whom were forced to grow up fast, as I was, as products of Houseolds of Divorce/latchkey kids who are trying to recapture the sense of lost innocence of youth. They nitpcik and look for flaws that they'd have NEVER looked for in childhood....(BTw, I *DO NOT* mean Merklynn or anyone on here...thinking more of people that post *ahem* on sites like the Aint It Cool News Talkbacks...)

BTW, I'm getting this off-topic. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming:)


(This post was edited by Sunflower on May 1 2008, 1:53am)

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