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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Revisiting The Hobbit movies
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Noria
Gondor

May 31, 1:29pm

Post #101 of 125 (2312 views)
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What Chen said [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with his words about Osborne and about Jackson’s influences but especially about Fran Walsh.

In terms of film making, when you speak of Peter Jackson, you are also speaking of Fran Walsh. She had been a musician and was a television writer when they met and they have been a creative team ever since 1989”s Meet the Feebles. When Jackson says “we” thought this or “we” did that, he is being literal. That is not to say that they always agree and he, being the director,probably gets the final say.

Walsh didn’t participate in TH commentaries and rarely appears in the extras but that appears to be deliberate. She seems to be literally camera shy, unlike Jackson and Boyens. In the documentaries you can sometimes hear her voice off camera or catch a glimpse of her disappearing as the camera arrives, and at least once PJ calls her to consult about a scene. Walsh was as much a part of TH as she was of LotR.

Boyens, also already a writer, came into the LotR project because they needed someone who knew the books better than they did. She has said she’s not a Tolkien scholar but merely a fan who had read the books many times. Obviously the three of them clicked.

As I understand it, Jackson, Walsh and Boyens (with del Toro in the case of The Hobbit) together craft the story. Walsh and Boyens do a lot of the writing of the dialogue, while Jackson, mostly, shoots the movie. Remember the “Jam bags” thing in BotFA in which some ad hoc dialogue written by Walsh/Boyens was incorrectly translated to the screen by Jackson? Hysterical!

Though some of the stuff Walsh and Boyens write is great, IMO some of their dialogue is pretty clunky too. I don’t believe you can blame that on Boyens alone.


Chen G.
Rohan

May 31, 3:11pm

Post #102 of 125 (2298 views)
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Peter does a lot of writing, too [In reply to] Can't Post

His name wouldn’t be in the script were his contributions to it not substantial.

They also worked with Stephen Sinclair (Fran’s Ex, I believe) on the two-film version of The Lord of the Rings. He’s credited for The Two Towers because his contributions mostly endured in that script.

If you know Del Toro’s style, you can see his influence on The Hobbit, too. Some of it is still there.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 31, 3:12pm)


dormouse
Half-elven


May 31, 3:20pm

Post #103 of 125 (2296 views)
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Funnily enough...... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm revisiting TH right now, and loving the films as much as I did at first - while being fully aware of the bits they added and the bits they altered, and the things I wouldn't have done. But I still say what I said at first - the heart, the core of the the thing is right - the visuals, the performances, the music. I wouldn't be without the Prologue scenes - the dwarves singing 'Far over the Misty Mountains' - Rivendell - 'Riddles in the Dark - 'Into the Fire' and the eagles. And the opening scenes of 'The Desolation of Smaug', especially Beorn's house - and the early Mirkwood scenes - I love the inclusion of the white stag in the EE versions.
And that's as far as I've got right now! Smile

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green. . .


Solicitr
Rohan

Jun 1, 1:00am

Post #104 of 125 (2258 views)
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Fran [In reply to] Can't Post

gets a co-credit on everything, yes. But apparently on TH it was just pro-forma.

---------------------------

Braveheart, a good influence? It manages to pack every single bad Hollywood big-budget historical-blockbuster cliche into one overwrought, hackneyed package. The same shite the industry's been churning out since at least Spartacus- a script so bad even Kubrick couldn't make anything decent of it. Gibson and his co-conspirator Randall Wallace went on to make The Patriot, which if possible checks all the same sad boxes twice over.

Outlaw King was a vastly better movie on a fraction of the budget.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jun 1, 1:03am)


Solicitr
Rohan

Jun 1, 1:03am

Post #105 of 125 (2257 views)
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Hmph! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
His name wouldn’t be in the script were his contributions to it not substantial..


Do you understand how Hollywood works? Token "writing" credits (and attendant royalties) claimed by directors are a scandal as old as Griffith.

In this case, though, Jackson did write most or all of it-- more's the pity. PJ's talent and intellect would be better employed in the MCU.


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 1, 6:14am

Post #106 of 125 (2227 views)
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I don't think that's true [In reply to] Can't Post

Jackson does do his fair share of writing, but certainly during filming the task falls more on Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. So to say that he wrote the whole thing is untrue.

To say that Fran (again, Sir Peter's WIFE!) has a token involvement in this project also strikes me as untrue. She was the one to suggest that the female character be an Elf; she came up with a lot of the titles; she helped restructure the story for three parts. You can hear her especially in costum fittings, as well as helping to direct the actors.


In Reply To
Braveheart, a good influence? It manages to pack every single bad Hollywood big-budget historical-blockbuster cliche into one overwrought, hackneyed package.


Sorry, you're right, its not a good influence.

Its a fantastic one. Braveheart is an amazing feat of cinema, and one of the greatest pieces of drama ever concieved. The Lord of the Rings shares with it so much of its DNA, and I'm so glad it does! Outlaw King doesn't hold a candle to it. Even Gladiator - a fantastic film in its own right - doesn't reach that level of excellence.

I think you fail to understand that there's nothing wrong with cliche. You just need to earn them. Braveheart does it, and so too does The Lord of the Rings.

As for The Patriot: that was written and directed by completely different people!


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jun 1, 6:21am)


Solicitr
Rohan

Jun 1, 3:46pm

Post #107 of 125 (2175 views)
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Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Jackson does do his fair share of writing, but certainly during filming the task falls more on Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. So to say that he wrote the whole thing is untrue.

To say that Fran (again, Sir Peter's WIFE!) has a token involvement in this project also strikes me as untrue. She was the one to suggest that the female character be an Elf; she came up with a lot of the titles; she helped restructure the story for three parts. You can hear her especially in costum fittings, as well as helping to direct the actors.


In Reply To
Braveheart, a good influence? It manages to pack every single bad Hollywood big-budget historical-blockbuster cliche into one overwrought, hackneyed package.


Sorry, you're right, its not a good influence.

Its a fantastic one. Braveheart is an amazing feat of cinema, and one of the greatest pieces of drama ever concieved. The Lord of the Rings shares with it so much of its DNA, and I'm so glad it does! Outlaw King doesn't hold a candle to it. Even Gladiator - a fantastic film in its own right - doesn't reach that level of excellence.

I think you fail to understand that there's nothing wrong with cliche. You just need to earn them. Braveheart does it, and so too does The Lord of the Rings.

As for The Patriot: that was written and directed by completely different people!



The Patriot: exactly the same movie as Braveheart. Emmerich was playing copycat.

They both stink, as does Gladiator (a measure of how low the once-great Ridley Scott has fallen). Splashy visuals do not make up for plots constructed of pure bathos and tired cliches. (Let's toss in Titanic and Avatar: the AMPAS is always a sucker for big-budget dreck).

The fact that PJs movies owe a lot to Braveheart is, yes, true. And they appeal to exactly the sort of audience that not only likes Braveheart but thinks it's "good cinema." While PJ may have namechecked Leone and Lean and Kurosawa, you couldn't tell it by his movies, which owe more to Gibson, Harryhausen and (look for it, it's there) Wes Craven. He might as well have made empty callouts to Eisenstein, Murnau and Godard while he was at it; it's just his bogus as his claim to be a "lifetime fan of Tolkien."

______________________

IF Fran had any significant input into TH, then it's a long, sad comedown for the woman who wrote Heavenly Creatures.


(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jun 1, 3:48pm)


Noria
Gondor

Jun 2, 8:25pm

Post #108 of 125 (2117 views)
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Solicitr, Walsh and Jackson co-wrote Heavenly Creatures [In reply to] Can't Post

just as they have every movie they’ve made together in the last thirty years.

Where did you hear that Walsh’s involvement in The Hobbit was pro-forma? And that Jackson wrote most of it without her? Neither scenario seems likely,

He is the director and she is primarily a writer but Walsh and Jackson seem to be a film making team in every sense and those lines are often blurred, especially as producers. I don’t know why Walsh didn’t participate in the Hobbit commentaries, but it’s clear that she was involved in most aspects of the making of those films from the script to the costumes to the music. In TH documentaries we see PJ call her to ask a question about the script during an on-set discussion he was having with McKellen and Blanchett and there are other references to revisions by Walsh and Boyens.

Jackson is unashamed of his background and influences, and has said that he makes movies of a kind that he would like to see. The latter somewhat reminds me of a guy who wrote stories of the kind he would like to read.


kzer_za
Lorien

Jun 2, 9:15pm

Post #109 of 125 (2114 views)
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Has Jackson ever claimed to be a lifelong Tolkien fan? [In reply to] Can't Post

He's pretty upfront with the fact that he first read LotR on a train as an adult.

I definitely see some Leone influence in Jackson's photography at least, such as the juxtaposition of sweeping wide shots and (sometimes extreme) close-ups. And even the use of music, though a lot of that can be chalked up to Morricone influencing Shore at least as much (however, Shore was PJ's not-at-all-obvious pick). That PJ has an eclectic range of influences both high and low is, I think, pretty obvious from the movies. In many ways I think it works well, though it does produce some cringey moments and questionable writing at times too.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jun 2, 9:23pm)


kzer_za
Lorien

Jun 2, 9:32pm

Post #110 of 125 (2099 views)
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And I will say PJ is better as a director than as a writer [In reply to] Can't Post

Where he is more uneven, can indulge his lowbrow side too much, and sometimes does stupid things. Though even there, writing a script that makes LotR's story accessible to a general audience is no minor task, and (however you want to divide the trio's credit) there are still some lovely invented scenes like Theodred's funeral and Bilbo's acorn.

(I would have edited this in but the time limit closed).


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jun 2, 9:35pm)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 3, 7:46am

Post #111 of 125 (2074 views)
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Ah, so we have another person in the "not-liking-things" club [In reply to] Can't Post

How is that working out for ya?

Braveheart and Gladiator are fantastic. And this isn't me talking about films I'm nostalgic for from my youth: having discovered Braveheart as an adult not two years ago, and having the vaguest of memories of Gladiator when I rewatched it a month ago or so.

Both films weren't ones I was inclined to love: On the face of it, Braveheart seems like a cheesy Last of the Mohicans-type film, and a vanity project to boot. Within a few minutes of watching it, though, it became crystal clear that it was anything but.

Gladiator I thought would be a Braveheart ripoff and while it - like The Lord of the Rings - owes a lot to that film, it has a sensibility all of its own.

Titanic is also very good and Avatar - while I don't think it deserved its huge haul - is also a good film.

The Patriot is a pastiche of Braveheart, and not a particularly good one, at that. But you can't fault the masterpiece for the copycats.

And you have to be joking about not being able to tell the influence of Leone on Jackson. Pick any one of his closeups in random and tell me you don't see it.


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jun 4, 2:55pm

Post #112 of 125 (1918 views)
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Sorry to bring this up again... [In reply to] Can't Post

but what is your evidence that Tolkien kinda 'disliked' Shakespeare?


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 4, 9:09pm

Post #113 of 125 (1827 views)
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Tolkien was quite outspoken on the matter [In reply to] Can't Post

He had a sort of love-hate relationship with Shakespeare.

He hated his treatment of Elves, of the forest invading the castle in Macbeth especially, etcetra.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZMZroD8Gx0


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jun 4, 9:13pm)


dernwyn
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 6, 11:55am

Post #114 of 125 (1401 views)
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Just leaving this link here. [In reply to] Can't Post

https://creativescreenwriting.com/...on-adapting-tolkien/

Philippa Boyens discussing how she and Dame Fran and Sir Peter did their script writing.

Together.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 6, 1:32pm

Post #115 of 125 (1382 views)
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*pedantic* [In reply to] Can't Post

Is Fran Walsh technically a Lady? She isn’t legally married to Sir Peter. They’re “partners”.

It’s the same with Sir Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, and with Howard Shore and Elizabeth Cotnoir.


Noria
Gondor

Jun 6, 2:46pm

Post #116 of 125 (1370 views)
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Yes she is now Dame Fran in her own right. [In reply to] Can't Post

She was so named in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list, for services to film.

Long past due, IMO. Walsh doesn't get the credit she deserves.

I don't know how to post links but there's a congratulatory thread on this site in Off-Topic.

I think that if she was actually married to PJ she'd already have been Lady Fran or Lady Peter - I forget which. Although Canada is a member of the (British) Commonwealth of Nations, as is New Zealand, Canadian law prohibits us from receiving knighthoods and such.

dernwyn, thanks for that link. My (wrong) impression had been that PJ, Walsh and Boyens crafted the story together in great detail and it was the latter two who mostly wrote the spoken words. I probably led myself astray because most of the day to day rewrites during filming seemed to have been done by Walsh and Boyens.


(This post was edited by Noria on Jun 6, 2:54pm)


Noria
Gondor

Jun 6, 3:09pm

Post #117 of 125 (1358 views)
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I was under the impression that Taylor and Roger were actually legally married.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 6, 7:55pm

Post #118 of 125 (1308 views)
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Missed that! [In reply to] Can't Post

Very few people in the field deserve this knighthood more than Walsh. Not only a great writer, but she also directed some wonderful scenes like the first internal conversation between Gollum and Smeagol.

Love the way that's directed!


Lissuin
Valinor


Jun 7, 3:39am

Post #119 of 125 (1249 views)
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Yes, Tania Rodger and Richard Taylor are married. [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know if that makes her Lady __ or not. Tania goes by her own surname. I seem to remember her being on one year's honours list in her own right but couldn't find it. Anybody else know?

https://www.stuff.co.nz/...lingtonian/64315372/


Quote
Is Miramar particularly important to you?

Taylor: We've lived in Hataitai for 28 years, but are big fans of Miramar - as you can see by the infrastructure we've built here and, most importantly, The Roxy. A derelict and broken down old building was turned into a picture palace. My wife felt an incredible need to give something special back because the Miramar community had allowed us to do what we've done here for the last 20-plus years.


https://pukekopictures.com/tania-rodger/


Paulo Gabriel
Rivendell

Jun 7, 12:25pm

Post #120 of 125 (1193 views)
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Thank you... [In reply to] Can't Post

I will watch the video later, although I spotted an error right at the start-- she said the last LOTR book was released in 1949. That's Farmer Giles of Ham. ROTK was released in 1955. Hard to trust someone who made such a blatant blunder.


Solicitr
Rohan

Jun 7, 10:54pm

Post #121 of 125 (1135 views)
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Again, [In reply to] Can't Post

directors nearly always also claim a screenwriting credit. Sometimes their actual contribution amounts to a few lines, sometimes it's a lot more. Kenneth Branagh actually claimed a credit- and an Oscar nomination - for his unabridged Hamlet! But one way or another, they are going to stick in for their cut of the money.

The reality of it is, Heavenly Creatures was written by a very, very talented and psychologically sensitive person- ergo it was nearly all Fran. There isn't a trace of her touch in the Hobbit flicks, which are all manifestly Peter (when adolescent) or Philippa (when stupid).


Noria
Gondor

Jun 10, 2:09pm

Post #122 of 125 (858 views)
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I think that you are basing your conclusions on emotion, not logic. [In reply to] Can't Post

Your basic premise - that Peter Jackson is the prince of cinematic darkness, incapable of anything but crassness, and that the angel of light Fran Walsh is the sole originator of anything good in their movies - is seemingly based not on facts but on your own feelings. It appears to me that you are rationalizing and trying to reconcile your liking for Heavenly Creatures and your dislike of The Hobbit movies by creating this fantasy in your head about Walsh and Jackson’s working relationship.

There is no reason, beyond wishful thinking, to suppose that Walsh wasn’t an integral part of the writing and filming of The Hobbit movies. All the evidence of interviews and documentaries included with the LotR and Hobbit TEs, EEs and published elsewhere indicate that she was a driving force in the production, just as she has been for every other co-production with her common-law husband/ movie-making partner.

You also pay Dame Fran no complement by assuming that she is a shrinking violet who defers to her partners. I actually agree with you that Jackson is responsible for a lot of the silliness and excess in the movies, which is there because he enjoys that stuff, but for all we know Walsh loves every bit of it too. Or not. In the end Jackson, as director, is responsible for the movie and gets the final say and the blame. But Walsh and Boyens have sometimes written some pretty awkward dialogue, and Boyens alone can’t be blamed because she and Walsh write together.

It seems to me that they approach every movie in whatever way they feel bests suit the material and the story they want to tell, and that is different every time. So the same team could make Brain Dead, Heavenly Creatures, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

For all that Jackson loves and has been influenced by Hollywood movies, he and Walsh are not part of the Hollywood establishment and it’s evident that for the most part they do things their way.

This thread is about to fall off the front page and into oblivion, so that's all I have to say on this topic.

Have a nice day.


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 10, 7:12pm

Post #123 of 125 (815 views)
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It’s the good ol’ [In reply to] Can't Post

I liked product A; didn’t like product B.

C was a crew member on A but not on B.

Hence, because person C was not involved in the making of B, I didn’t like it.

I mostly hear it with regards to Barrie Osborne (which is nonsense) but with Fran Walsh...that’s a first.

The fact of the matter is that these types of productions are complicated, and you don’t need to blame any one person for them not panning out as well as they should.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Jun 10, 7:13pm)


kzer_za
Lorien

Jun 12, 12:38pm

Post #124 of 125 (405 views)
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A few quotes from the letters [In reply to] Can't Post

"The disastrous debasement of this word ["elves"], in which Shakespeare played an unforgivable part, has really overloaded it with regrettable tones, which are too much to overcome." - Letter 151

"[Talking about his linguistic education in school] Except Shakespeare (which I disliked cordially) the chief contacts with poetry were when one was made to try and translate it into Latin." - Letter 163

"[After seeing Hamlet] But it emphasized more strongly than anything I have ever seen the folly of reading Shakespeare (and annotating him in the study), except as a concomitant of seeing his plays acted." - Letter 88

He also thought Macbeth's ending with the trees was a copout, and the Ents were partly conceived as his answer to it. He didn't hate the Bard (and I am more of a fan than Tolkien was), but he viewed Shakespeare's influence as disproportionate and in some ways harmful.


(This post was edited by kzer_za on Jun 12, 12:39pm)


Chen G.
Rohan

Jun 12, 1:44pm

Post #125 of 125 (388 views)
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I deem it a love-hate relationship [In reply to] Can't Post

Because, while he clearly had his issues with Shakespeare, he couldn't not talk about him, or use him as a touchstone. When he spoke about his dislike of allegory, his go-to examples were Shakespeare plays.

Still, there's no doubt he had profound issues with the Bard's work. Especially Macbeth.

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