Lord of the Rings Trilogy, revisited


#141

The first book is one of the slowest-paced and clunkiest things I've ever read, so I'm not sure how that can apply to a film version that cut out nearly all the dead wood from the story.

The non-I-hate-Tom-Bombadil answer is that it was A) The most tightly focused of the three films and B) The most pleasant surprise. I had low-to-no expectations walking into Fellowship and it blew me away with how great it was. I was expecting something good for the next two films. The first one will always have that "Holy crap, this is actually good!" element that makes it my favorite.


#142

Sweet mother there is so much wrong on this page but before I fail my next sanity check STOP CALLING THAT CHARACTER THE VOICE OF SARUMAN. It's the Voice of SAURON.

I am not even going to /nerd that. Come on.


#143

Gosh, I wonder why Chapter X of the Two Tower is titled The Voice of Saruman?


#144

Because people are confusing the Mouth of Sauron, which is a somewhat controversial interpretation from the movie Return of the King, and the Voice of Saruman, which is a chapter in Two Towers relating to Saruman and his discussion with Gandalf and Theoden after Saruman's defeat at Helm's Deep but also appears in the movie version of Return of the King. I'm assuming you are referring to the latter.

As for why Jackson made those changes, he argued that the audience would not have really liked seeing the whole "Scouring of the Shire" sequence, which comes in the book after the main threats, the ring and Sauron, have been defeated. I don't disagree with him on that and it should also be noted that there was a lot of complaining about how "the ending" (everything after the destruction of the ring and Sauron) went on too long. On top of that the movie scene does try and include key features of the book's final end for Saruman. Like in the book, it's Wormtongue who stabs Saruman, who was then shot by an arrow (by a hobbit in the book and by Legolas in the movie.) Saruman's fall onto the spike was purely Jackson's inclusion, though, and was meant as a reference to Lee's Dracula movie history.


#145

You are right. It is to my great shame. I didn't even get the name of the character right, its the Mouth of Sauron to which I was referring. <hangs head>.


#146

Are you sure about that?


#147

Ooops.

(Stupid Tolkien using two names that are easy to confuse.)

;-)


#148

Back to the LOTR Trilogy Lovefest:

While there are many emotional scenes, the final scene setting up the journey to the Gray Havens always gets me. After 9 plus hours of film. we see the final (final) end. I even like Annie Lennox's "Into the West," and I think it's clearly the best credits song.


#149

I don't think 'The Lovely Bones' is hacky, although I agree that it's not a great film by any stretch and not a great adaptation (though I'm not sure that anyone would necessarily have done it better). The real-world stuff is quite enjoyable but there's far too much of it set in heaven and earnest depictions of heaven always tend to be self-indulgent messes. Which is sort of conflicting because I like Saoirse Ronan.


#150

I have a hard time labeling anyone who helmed 3 huge movies back-to-back and managed to come out the other side unscathed a hack. You can take issue with some of his choices, but honestly, the amount of work he did and the number of decisions he had to make is staggering.

A hack would have scuttled the project within the first week of shooting.


#151

The mouth scene is in the EE, but it doesn't work well and they discussed in the additional features why it doesn't. In the book, you follow Aragorn & Co. for half the book, then you follow Frodo and Sam for half the book. The time frames are very different as well. In the movie, they split up the cuts so you see what is happening to each within the same time frame.

The problem with the mouth scene is that in the book when they're given Frodo's mithril shirt, you don't know what happened to Frodo. Last time you knew of anything about Frodo, he was "alive but taken by the Enemy." So did he die? What happened? In the movie, the way it's cut, the audience already knows why they have the shirt and that Frodo is already safe from that peril. There's no drama whatsoever in the scene, hence the reason why it was removed from the movie.


#152

Did anyone really think this, though? Obviously Frodo wasn't going to die, and it was a pretty cheap ploy that hinged on the fact that the author was refusing to tell me anything about the other half of the damn story. It always struck me as a really silly way of constructing the book, although obviously it's a product of its time. Interleaving the threads of the plot was a much better way to present the story, certainly to a modern audience.


#153

I'd disagree. We are presented with a situation the same as the characters would perceive it. They don't know what happened for sure, but they are able to guess at least that Sauron doesn't have the ring and they need to continue with their diversion. There is an element of bluff to the Mouth of Sauron, and Gandalf calls the bluff and plays what weak hand is available to him in the hope that Frodo or Sam will draw that inside Royal Flush for him.


#154

Well, I think artistically he's a hack, in that all of his 'choices' pretty much uniformly weakened the story or produced an incoherent narrative or inconsistent characterization. . .usually in an obvious effort to inject Hollywood-ish tension or drama into so many scenes in very hamfisted, sloppy manners. The LOTR or just god awful pieces of amateurish tripe, with the Shore soundtrack being just about the only enjoyable aspect of the end product.


#155

Those 11 Oscars and billions of box office revenue indicate your opinion is very much in the minority.


#156

I thought they said they removed it because they couldn't get the mouth of the character to look good enough.

Although I have to say, the "no drama" criticism is certainly valid.


#157

Rewatched the trailers this morning. Say what you like, this film had some trailers that got me panting for the film, though the editor did love his spoilers; Gandalf in the second trailer, Shelob in the third.

A complaint I missed out the first time was that Jackson's edit seemed to leave a lot of people wondering why Frodo was entrusted with the ring when clearly Sam is about a hundred times better. In the book I recall the Faramir scene showing just how much more suitable Frodo was as a bearer, but I don't get that in the film, it looks like the fates have really shafted everyone by picking his guy.

On the other hand, I do love Worm Tongue. That shot of him looking out across Saruman's army clearly terrified of what he's helping to happen... awesome. It's also a good starting point for making sense of his later actions.

Am I the only fan of Gollum's song?


#158

Titanic

With one word I refute your argument and win this battle, all without breaking a sweat. :)


#159

I love Gollum's song, especially alongside that closing image. It's an especially great piece to play with pathos on piano. [while people are present or perhaps just personally]

The fact that nearly the whole of Quarter to Three disagrees with you, however, breaks the viability of this argument. All roads lead to Mordor.


#160

I'm in the camp that thinks the extended versions of all three films are superior to the theatrical ones, even if they do end up introducing some fluff here and there. Having read the books I know that fluff is something like 20% of what's going on in anyway so it doesn't bother me at all. So overall, I know how crazy the production was and found that they did an amazing job with what they had to work with.

Except for one thing.

The one thing that is just unwatchably bad to me every time I revisit these films is that scene in The Two Towers when Gollum talks to himself. There are a few things he does that irritate me but this scene is the pinnacle of it. I know that, much as with the eye of Sauron, they wanted to visualize a concept that was handled through internal narrative in the book but trying to make Gollum's struggle into something "funny" was absolutely the wrong choice. The worst line out of the entire sequence is where he goes "You don't have any friends, no one likes you!" all sarcastic-like. It looks silly and I didn't appreciate what could have been an interesting, dark moment into a goofy piece of computer animation.

And in case anyone takes issue with my interpretation that it was supposed to be funny, well, I'm forced to think of it that way because of my experience with seeing the movie in theatres. At the time, I must have hit a perfect storm of timing with my friends because due to all these crazy circumstances I saw the movie in theatres five stinking times. Each time (and these were all in different cities, too) the audience laughed uproariously during this scene and it just grated on me more and more that Gollum was seen as an opportunity for comic relief. He's sad and piteous, not a clown.