Lord of the Rings Trilogy, revisited


#121

Yes. I meant that I didn't realize he used it so much until I saw that passage. Of course that passage describes the heroic war-deeds of a germanic people, so it's natural that there would be more alliteration there than in some other parts of the books -- natural if the books were written by a philologist, anyway, which oddly enough they were....


#122

Cool, I figured as much. Just wanted to make sure ;)


#123

The Army of the Dead didn't really do anything in the books beyond scaring the bejeebus out of those they faced. Terror and flight are ultimately what wins the field, while but conveying that rather than an unbeatable killing machine might be more difficult, I don't think it impossible. I'm gonna lay that down to lack of skill on Jackson's part. He went for the special effect - and even then, the Army of the Dead cleared out the corsair (oh hey, there's that name!) fleet, which Aragorn and the army he gathered as he passed through the coastal provinces boarded. The Dead were long dismissed before they made it to Pelennor Fields, their oath fulfilled.

Funny, I like Theoden better in the movies than his portrayal in the book. There's no doubt he grows more kingly throughout the movies, until his heroic charge in the face of long odds on Pelennor Fields. Plus, his dying comment, "I go to my fathers, in whose mighty company I shall not now feel ashamed" was the perfect ending to the "lesser son of greater sires". Theoden remains my favorite character of the movie trilogy.

I like Bernhard Hill, but the book is better. Jackson's portrayal of Theodon under the influence of Wormtongue and Saruman is far too overt, and I agree that Theodon's following wisdom and courage were too consistently undermined by Jackson in favor of Aragorn. We don't get that feeling of closeness that he and Merry had, either. But Hill's Theodon shines through at his best at Pelennor Fields, and allowing his final speech to be with Eowyn rather than Merry worked very well.

The Uruk-Hai are built up in the book to be a comparable fighting force to human soldiers and they are portrayed as a bit weak throughout the movies. But considering the story is focused on the heroes and the damage that they do at Helm's Deep, I'm ok with Boromir's death. After all, he was considered a pretty elite soldier at the time. I think taking the arrows from all but one Uruk-Hai was a movie decision to make that battle more epic. If they had archers, it would have been too unrealistic to have the Fellowship in a pitched battle with the Uruks. And the movie needed one at that point, considering we've been watching the Fellowship fleeing from assorted evils even since Gandalf's death.

Uruk-Hai weren't ultimate badasses, as you note. Better than the average Orc, especially so since they could endure the sun, but they were still sword-fodder for a champion of Boromir's quality. I didn't care all that much about Boromir biting it in the books, but Bean's performance brought pathos to the character. So, I'm okay with the depiction on that count in the movie.


#124

I'm sorry to hear that...

Faramir - Tolkien built the ring up to be the epitome of evil and then he has Faramir entirely unaffected by its power. It's not all that believable even as a reader. From a movie standpoint where you don't have 1,000 pages of nuanced backstory trying to explain why he could resist it, it'd be an unmitigated disaster for the audience. Faramir captures Frodo, rejects the ring and then they have some tea and crumpets...doesn't make for exciting stuff in a movie. I'm not a huge fan of the scene, but I like the intent here better than Tolkien's original version.

Faramir isn't unaffected by the rings power the same way Tom Bombadil is. Faramir, unlike his brother, is a throwback to the noble days of Gondor. He rejects the ring as a strength of character. A sign that there is still strength in men. Moreover he succeeds where his brother failed. An important distinction. PJ changed the character completely for the sake of exciting movie stuff...totally awesome!

Ent Moot - There was one. It was boring. Yeah, we need to watch the ents debate Merry and Pippin's origins for 3 days. There's more of that in the extended edition. And it's even more boring.

The actually Ent scenes that play out in the movie are simply...illogical. Treebeard mentions early on how orcs are cutting down the forest...his friends. After the Ent Moot it's decided NOT to go to war. Counter to the book decision to go to war. Treebeard then takes the hobbits to the edge of the forest to let them go...then all of a sudden he sees the destroyed trees he hinted to early, snaps and before you know it all the Ents are going to war...

Ring Goes to Osgiliath - Jackson is trying to direct the movie back towards Minas Tirith (and the coming war) and at the same time trying to give Faramir something to overcome. It doesn't follow the book exactly, but it does help bridge certain things for an uninitiated audience rather than have Frodo leave from Henneth Annun and then try to introduce the siege of Osgiliath later on. From a movie making standpoint, this is a very smart and important scene for the audience - even if they don't realize it.

But it also serves to undermine the entire quest, which is based on absolute secrecy. The Ring is revealed to the enemy at his very doorstep. Internal logic dictates that Sauron would have swarmed the city with his Nazgul/armies and recovered The Ring. Instead a single arrow sends the Nazgul packing. Pathetic.

Voice of Saruman - It's in the extended edition of the 3rd movie and it's pretty damn good. Frankly, I wish they had used that scene to open the movie rather than the Golumn fishing scene.

Yes, but I speaking to my original theatrical experience. No Voice of Saruman until the extended DVD came out. :(


#125

Jackson (and his wife and Boyens) discuss this issue quite a bit in the extended edition commentary track and as Blackadar notes the problem is that after setting up the ring as this malevolent force that none can resist, the trilogy is chock full of examples of people touching it and giving it back. In a movie that has to work for people who've never read the books, its far simpler to just make it seem like only Hobbits have that ability. So Faramir being super awesome as well would just raise questions. I don't like the Osgiliath thing either, but it works on a movie watching level that Faramir would take them there, even if the decision to let them go at that point is rather weak.

You know we could turn this around and criticize the books for their stuipd choices. That Tolkien totally messed up so much! Like that part where Frodo hems and haws for months after finding out he has the ring before going through the whole "sell the house and move" side story and then, when the Nazgul have shown up, finally deciding its time to head to Rivendell.

In other words, no version is perfect.


#126

Which would be fine, except he's on his knees, and they then put it in slow motion. You can see him literally sweeping the sword left and right, nothing more, just left and right and they run onto it.

WTF?


#127

Faramir never actually touches The Ring in the book, and the idea that only hobbits can resist The Ring is the wrong message. The Ring's power is enhanced by the power of the person who wields it. This is communicated by both Gandalf and Galadriel who resist it in the movies. Hobbits are the perfect candidates because their weakass halflings with no power of their own.

As for Frodo not leaving the Shire promptly, he's a fucking hobbit. Re-read "What is a Hobbit"


#128

No, that's not accurate at all. Unless you're arguing that this was Jackson's take in the movies.


#129

Faramir is vastly improved in the EE of Two Towers.

Ent Moot - There was one. It was boring. Yeah, we need to watch the ents debate Merry and Pippin's origins for 3 days. There's more of that in the extended edition. And it's even more boring.

Yes, yes. I mean an Ent moot is trees, swaying, going 'HRRRMMMRRMMRMMRRMMR'. That's it.

Ring Goes to Osgiliath - Jackson is trying to direct the movie back towards Minas Tirith (and the coming war) and at the same time trying to give Faramir something to overcome. It doesn't follow the book exactly, but it does help bridge certain things for an uninitiated audience rather than have Frodo leave from Henneth Annun and then try to introduce the siege of Osgiliath later on. From a movie making standpoint, this is a very smart and important scene for the audience - even if they don't realize it.

Yes, and as above it's defintely better in the EE. And that image of frodo and the Nazgul is pretty amazing.

Voice of Saruman - It's in the extended edition of the 3rd movie and it's pretty damn good. Frankly, I wish they had used that scene to open the movie rather than the Golumn fishing scene.

See, I think it's a dreadful scene that plays like a cheap D&D knock off and they were right to skip it in the initial release.


#130

Just watched the Saruman Voice scene on Youtube, have never seen it before. Wow, and people actually criticize me when I've repeatedly said what a f'n hack Jackson is. Some of the best dialogue in the book, if not the best, and Jackson chucks it right out the window for his craptastic 'image' of that scene.


#131

Can you please elaborate on this thought? There isn't any meat to chew on here.

Hobbits are like short humans who may have high evil resistance by virtue of being sheltered from the horrors of Middle-earth but have no real power in the literal sense. Meaning The Ring in the hands of a Maia or ancient elf queen would be many times more dangerous than any hobbit.

Case in point: Gollum


#132

I misread your post. I took it to mean that hobbits are weak and can't resist the ring as well as others.


#133

Oh.

Heh, I was totally going to say The Ring can't make a Dark Lord out of a hobbit...


#134

I have issues with Peter Jackson's overuse of slow motion: Frodo getting constantly stabbed, jabbed, and otherwise penetrated in slow motion. It became trite rather quickly. Once is fine - handle it differently for repeated assaults. As to Boromir, I don't have a problem with the scene. I have more a problem with the slash to the gut that comes to a full stop, and then the melodramatic continuation.


#135

That would be because he's not. You can dislike the man's directorial choices without inaccurately terming him something he is very clearly not.


#136

His remake of Kong begs to differ.


#137

No, it doesn't. Kong is an example of being blinded by one's own love for the subject matter to the point that he really shouldn't have been that directly involved.

The only movie that I could possibly see being used as evidence for hackery on Jackson's party would be The Lovely Bones, which was absolutely putrid. Really, though, it was just a bad film and an awful adaptation. No hack director made the LotR trilogy. He's uneven, but he's not a hack, and calling him one makes me wonder if you know what the word actually means.


#138

I actually thought that his Kong was one of the best popcorn munchers ever.


#139

I have a hard time referring to anyone who's movies have brought in billions worldwide and has won academy awards a "hack." I wonder what other academy award winning movies John would consider to have been directed by "hack" directors? (RotK, among it's 11 Oscars, included Best Picture and Best Director).


#140

What is it about the first movie in the trilogy that people love? To me, a huge fan of the books, it seemed slow paced and a bit clunky at times.