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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Letís talk about directors. Or not.
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Imladris18
Lorien

Jul 17 2013, 7:49pm

Post #76 of 90 (377 views)
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AFI [In reply to] Can't Post

They have FotR listed as the second best fantasy of all time, next to The Wizard of Oz.

The FotR is the only film released in the 21st century that is even ranked in the top 100.

FotR wasn't even listed UNTIL their latest list, so it's not slipping at all, if anything it's rising.

Ben-Hur has the 100 spot. FotR holds the 50.


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jul 17 2013, 8:48pm

Post #77 of 90 (357 views)
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afi's top 100 is a questionable yardstick [In reply to] Can't Post

 
it clearly favors "male" films over "female" films, epics over intimates, and dramas over comedies.

as much as i enjoy star wars, i don't think it deserves to be ranked #13, above raiders of the lost ark, sunset boulevard, all about eve, and more.

and there are quite a few, like tootsie, that i question being on the list at all.

and some glaring absences, like the awful truth (probably the best screwball comedy ever made), and out of africa.

i'll also add that hollywood, like the literary world, has a harder time respecting the genre of fantasy that it does the genre of, say, gangster films. there are so many films set in an environment of violence and lawbreakers that are actually of questionable merit, but that get a pass because the violence and exploitation pass for gravitas and depth.

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo

(This post was edited by Maciliel on Jul 17 2013, 8:54pm)


cats16
Valinor

Jul 17 2013, 9:31pm

Post #78 of 90 (347 views)
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Interesting that... [In reply to] Can't Post

you end your first paragraph talking about how directors should rely:


In Reply To
on his own imagination and talent rather than the lastest special effects' bells-and-whistles

And yet finish by talking about two directors, Spiellberg and Lucas, who are very well known for such characteristics in their work. If an artist is given new means (in this case, computer technology) to better express his vision, wouldn't these bells and whistles be beneficial to him? Whether or not his vision is well-received by audiences is a separate thing. But I don't see the correlation between a director being deemed 'great' because he refrains from using certain tools at his disposal. Is he talented because he doesn't use these things? I've always considered cinema an art rooted in technology. Therefore, I see no problem with artists in this field incorporating new technology that aids them. If they don't like it/do not believe it enhances their vision, then they won't use it. But I do not believe that their "talent" results from direct avoidance of technology.

Would Lucas say his vision for Star Wars would have been impossible without CGI? I'd bet so. Regardless of how we feel about the films, special effects have changed the game with how directors and storytellers can keep cinema an engaging visual and sonical experience rooted in the power of modern technology. New doors have been opened for people like James Cameron, PJ, and yes, even those like Christopher Nolan (although I know he prefers practical effects). But it's hard to compare modern filmmakers to the likes of Wyler and Lean because they didn't have this technology. What these directors lacked in computers, they made up for in set design. So I think there was that same thought, of fully expressing their vision, which transcends all eras of filmmaking. The means to achieve this always have, and will, change as technology changes.

And about the AFI...one could also easily point out that Empire has LOTR ranked #24, 54, and 32, respectively in the trilogy. And Lawrence of Arabia ranks #57 there. Nothing is set in stone. (I know Empire' s poll was largely based on reader polls and wasn't administered the same way as AFI's.) My point is just that lists like these don't always reach the same conclusions. And there's another poll...done by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. To me, it's hard to win 17 out of 30 Oscars (including an 11 for 11 sweep with one film) and not be considered a 'classic' film in hindsight. Especially because in so many instances are a film's Academy Awards mentioned when discussing it's greatness. (And btw, Ben Hur actually won the AA for Best Visual Effects back in 1960. Probably a few bells and whistles needed for that chariot race...CoolWink)

Smile

Edit: I see Maciliel has already addressed the AFI point. Oh well (especially since it took me 10 minutes to get my computer to load up the Empire list so I could find LOTR's exact spots lol!) Angelic


(This post was edited by cats16 on Jul 17 2013, 9:33pm)


Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 17 2013, 9:45pm

Post #79 of 90 (339 views)
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Absolutely! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It truly is amazing what a great director can create when he relies on his own imagination and talent rather than the lastest special effects' bells-and-whistles'.


"The soul of film - its eloquent and vital silence - is destroyed ď
-Ernest Betts (1928)

"I think that colour has done as much damage to cinema as television."
-Francois Truffaut

"The day they can imitate nature precisely, there will be no more cinema."
-Jean Renoir

******************************************
Revenge is a dish best served with pinto beans and muffins.


Christine Golden
Registered User

Jul 17 2013, 11:02pm

Post #80 of 90 (313 views)
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AFI... [In reply to] Can't Post

1) I bow to your superior knowledge about AFI's top fantasy films as I am not a particular fan of the genre in general. If Jackson's movies were not based on the writings of Tolkien, I doubt I would have ever seen them.
2) I agree, the 21st century has produced few films equal to Citizen Kane, High Noon, The Searchers, or The Best Years of Our Lives. However, the list apparently has not been revised since 2007, which partly explains the dearth of recent releases such as Lincoln.
3) I may be wrong, but I believe that Return of the King was also on the previous list; however, I cannot locate a copy. Since you apparently have, I would appreciate the link. (Yes, that is a serious request, not snark.)
4) Yes, Fellowship holds the position of #50. However, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs , made in 1937 without the benefits of modern computer technology is listed at 34, and The Wizard of Oz is #10.
5) I have always suspected a large part of Ben-Hur's reason for being included in such lists is simply because of the chariot race scene. I find most of the acting to be second-rate, bordering on emotive, and almost everything else - especially the ending - to be floridly overdone. I only included it in my previous post because I was trying to think of "cast of thousands" classic action movies on the scale of Lawrence of Arabia or Bridge on the River Kwai. Personally, I can think of a dozen films more deserving; none, however, were directed or produced by Peter Jackson.

Thank you for your response. Being new to the site, I expected my comments to be 'ignored' as an unknown or possible troll, so it was a pleasant surprise to be so quickly included in the conversation.


Christine Golden
Registered User

Jul 18 2013, 12:48am

Post #81 of 90 (312 views)
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DW Griffith [In reply to] Can't Post

"And yet finish by talking about two directors, Spiellberg and Lucas, who are very well known for such characteristics in their work...."

Oh, that's an easy one, although I just realized the irony.

I wasn't talking about the directors themselves or their filmography, but responding to a comment about the future of television in regard to movie-making. I included their opinions from the interview because they were pertinent to my point, not because I'm a huge fan of special effects for their own sake, mainly because they become so quickly out-dated. I'm more of a Schindler's List fan than Jaws or Star Wars, although I do respect them for their innovations.

Sorry if I gave the impression of being a special-effects Luddite: I believe special effects, if done well and not for their own sake, can turn a good movie into a great one. But I get bored real fast when they threaten to overwhelm the other elements of the movie, especially the story. Or in the case of Tolkien, when their use replaces or destroys canon - yes, I am a semi-filthy purist.

You mention Cameron and I'll have to cede to your judgement. I'm just not a big fan of the kind of stories he makes, so I haven't watched them all or enough times to comment. But I disagree with your opinion for Wyler, Lean, et.al.'s greatness. It was their own talents and artistry, their ability to coordinate the separate elements of a film (screenwriters, actors, designers) into a seamless story that made them ageless legends. Griffith has some of the lamest special effects in his movies by today's standards, yet he is still considered to be immortal 100 years later.

THIS is what I call great cinema: the last moments of the courtroom scene in To Kill A Mockingbird. Gregory Peck stands up from the defendant's table, gathers his things, then walks out of the courtroom without saying a word or looking at another person. The stark white walls contrast sharply with the faces of the black actors in the gallery; the only movement is their standing up in honor of Atticus Finch as he passes. THAT'S great directing... and not one special effect.

I could run on for several more pages - I love talking movies, but I've probably already bored you by now. I'll only add that I consider AFI a more valid source than Empire (owned by WB studios) or the Academy which, to me, is overrun by high school drop-outs and village idiots.

You made me think - I like that in a person. :)



cats16
Valinor

Jul 18 2013, 1:50am

Post #82 of 90 (300 views)
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Glad to hear it! :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't worry, you won't bore me with movie discussion! Thank you for clarifying about special effects. It was hard to write my post because I haven't conversed with you yet (welcome to torn, btw!) so I tried not to make assumptions about your tastes.

Just wanted to point out the irony of Spielberg and Lucas. I understood where you were coming from on that. Smile

No shame in being a purist here. I know many on torn, some of whom are stern purists, who are very vocal on their criticisms of the first Hobbit film. I can honestly say I'm not one of them, but I appreciate their opinions nonetheless. So you're in fine company! I know that much of the discussion of things like the amount of special effects and departures from original text get prickly at times, mostly because we all feel our own thresholds are the standard (not saying this about you, of course. Just a general statement on subjectivity and taste). But good discussion is fun, nevertheless.

On Cameron, I'm with you. I only brought him up because of the impossibility of Avatar's existence without special effects, thus fulfilling his creative vision. We may have to agree to disagree with the 'greats' of cinema. I think, for example that Peter Jackson was able to add in the latest special effects in a way to enhance the story, acting, and designing done by his team. For me, none of them are better or worse because of their differences. They're just different, based on the technology of their times. (Btw, I do really love Wyler, Lean, etc. I don't want to sound like I'm a hater of these sorts of films. They're actually among my favorites. Smile)

I love your thoughts on To Kill a Mockingbird. Great analysis. I think these kinds of discussions are especially hard when you're trying to compare different genres. Perhaps I could just add in something to this concept, which might be the best example of special effects' benefits that I can think of at the moment. I think it has a very similar simplicity, an almost 'stage-like' feeling, which I find incredible: Riddles in the Dark, in An Unexpected Journey.

The way motion capture has allowed Jackson to create Gollum in such a realistic, believable way makes it possible for the natural environment (the set itself) and the special effect (Gollum, here) to coexist in a way that the two become one. No 'painted over the scene'. I know I've seen numerous posters here comment on the fantastic way in which this scene was portrayed, and executed via motion capture to enhance the story and performances.

Ok, now I'm rambling...Crazy But I hope you've followed that bit at the end, and what I was trying to guess across. This is fun, though. It's great having this discussion!

Smile

Edit: Also, based on your love for talking movies, you should try looking in the 'Off-Topic' forum of TORn, if you haven't already. There's a weekly thread about what movies you watched over the week/weekend, with plenty of discussions sprouting from it! This week's thread is still going on, if you're interested. Smile


(This post was edited by cats16 on Jul 18 2013, 1:59am)


Imladris18
Lorien

Jul 18 2013, 12:24pm

Post #83 of 90 (241 views)
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Welcome! [In reply to] Can't Post

I wasn't trying to be snarky or anything, just mounting a defense for my favorite movie!

Each of the LotR movies has made AFI's top ten for their respective release year, but I do not believe RotK was on the top 100 of all time list.

Side note, I found it amusing that The Two Towers made the best movie quotes list with just simply, "My precious."


dormouse
Half-elven


Jul 18 2013, 1:01pm

Post #84 of 90 (246 views)
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Without wanting to take anything from [In reply to] Can't Post

... To Kill a Mockingbird, which is an extraordinary film, I think you have to allow for the fact that the basic subject matter of The Hobbit is so different that the comparison between the two is almost meaningless. The first is a real-world, human story, which needed no special effects at all and could be made in that simple, stripped down way which is so moving if done right. The second is a child of the computer age. Without modern special effects The Hobbit and many of the other big films of today simply couldn't be made, and if you could call back any of the great directors of the past to make The Hobbit, they would use them too.


Darkstone
Immortal


Jul 18 2013, 2:25pm

Post #85 of 90 (236 views)
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Yep [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of William Wylerís best films won (Ben Hur -1959) or were at least nominated for (Mrs. Miniver -1943) an Academy Award for Best Special Effects.

Lean's Blithe Spririt won a Best Visual Effects Oscar in 1947.

Further, Leanís three arguably greatest films were Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago whose success were in large part to wide screen technology. The technology was flawed, introducing artifacts and distortions to the films, and turned the films into cinematographic abominations when they were transfered into 4:3 ration for television. Imagine how much better they would have been if Lean hadnít been seduced by fancy smancy technology!

******************************************
Revenge is a dish best served with pinto beans and muffins.


Bumblingidiot
Rohan

Jul 18 2013, 6:32pm

Post #86 of 90 (214 views)
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Only ten minutes in so far. [In reply to] Can't Post

and will try to finish it tonight. I'm watching the European version - orchestral score, and not the version I've seen before, which is the US one with the Tangerine Dream score - apparently a very different edit. Initial thoughts are that the photography is very good and the tone is fine - but I haven't met Mr Cruise yet. Chief goblin is awful - over made-up and bad, melodramatic performance - definitely a Hollywood goblin. Devil is good, although not made his full entrance yet. Will report back when I finish it.

One comment before I do: re. Hobbit: the beginning of Legend is beautifully shot, but seems to represent a generic fairytale forest. If Scott were to treat The Hobbit like that, we'd lose that sense of everywhere being a real solid place, with its own history, that we got with the LOTR films. It would depend on how he saw it - PJ choose to treat Middle Earth as a historical place, and if Scott did the same, he'd be treating it more like Gladiator than Legend, so he might give us the sense of reality that I think it needs.

Having seen Robin Hood and Prometheus, though, I can't help but feel that Mr Scott has mislaid his genius - Blade Runner and Alien were classics, Gladiator was excellent and I still defend Kingdom of Heaven, although the cliches and plot inconsistencies that plague his recent films had started to creep in.


In Reply To
its always worth while to watch in hindsight. Some films I dismissed in the past as cheese, now look pretty good. Legend captures the essense of Faerie in some ways, because Faerie is a beautiful but dangerous realm. Its also visually ravishing.



Bumblingidiot
Rohan

Jul 18 2013, 7:05pm

Post #87 of 90 (208 views)
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Going back to the original question, [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Bergman would have been excellent for a B&W Hobbit adaptation - or possibly one using the subdued colour I think suits it best, I realise that being dead has taken the edge of his skills.

So, how about a combination of Ang Lee and Emma Thompson? The screenplay needs someone who really understands the English culture that Tolkien referenced, and lived through - so I'd put Ms Thompson on screenwriting duties and Mr Lee to do the rest. It worked well the last time they worked together.

Or, Werner Herzog??


Elenorflower
Gondor


Jul 18 2013, 7:42pm

Post #88 of 90 (211 views)
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I hope you enjoy the rest of the film [In reply to] Can't Post

it is the photography that I like the most, I think the fairy tale tone wouldnt be so bad for the Hobbit, although it obviously wouldnt have worked for LOTR, but I would like to see Mirkwood more enchanting than I think PJ may give us. will have to wait and see. Just as a fun thing I like to make a list of directors that in combination would make my perfect Hobbit film. For getting the characters soul shining behind the eyes, I would go for Jane Campion, she did that in The Piano and Bright Star. Stanley Kubrick.for ravishing visuals and score thinking of Barry Lyndon here. Ridley Scott for battle and military scenes ie Gladiator, and of course thistledown in the air. Cuaron for a charismatic fairy tale quality with quirky elements. and to round it all off a good dose of Terry Gilliam during his Brazil days. 'that should do it'. Tongue


demnation
Rohan

Jul 19 2013, 1:37am

Post #89 of 90 (179 views)
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All I have to say is [In reply to] Can't Post

I can be critical of PJ when I want (which is pretty much all the time) but I find him infinitely preferable to all the other directors mentioned so far in this thread.

My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflexion of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and recognized as so far superior to myself- J.R.R. Tolkien


Maciliel
Tol Eressea


Jul 19 2013, 1:50am

Post #90 of 90 (183 views)
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jane campion [In reply to] Can't Post

 
i really loved "the piano" and i quite liked "bright star," but after seeing her (incomprehensible) treatment of "portrait of a lady," i would not trust her with any tolkien (which i think is not her thing anyway). she started "lady" off with a long, languorous, black and white shot of a lot of half-clad women lounging around. it looked like a bad calvin klein ad, or.... frankly -- i don't know what it was. it looked like an accident.

also, fwiw, kubrick was notorious for doing what he wanted, rather than what the text stated (see "the shining"). we might have gotten interesting results ("the shining") or we might have gotten (the execrable) "eyes wide shut."

cheers --

.


aka. fili orc-enshield
+++++++++++++++++++
the scene, as i understand it, is exceptionally well-written. fili (in sort of a callback to the scene with the eagles), calls out "thorRIIIIIIN!!!" just as he sees the pale orc veer in for the kill. he picks up the severed arm of an orc which is lying on the ground, swings it up in desperation, effectively blocking the pale orc's blow. and thus, forever after, fili is known as "fili orc-enshield."

this earns him deep respect from his hard-to-please uncle. as well as a hug. kili wipes his boots on the pale orc's glory box. -- maciliel telpemairo

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