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Kor

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WeirdRaptor's Lord of the Rings Adapt. Face-Off:
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2010, 01:08:35 AM »
Maybe motion capture, or film those scenes in Lee's home.

Nick22

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« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2010, 01:09:35 AM »
very good idea kor
 that is quite possible..
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Kor

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« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2010, 02:25:24 AM »
It is possible. not sure how they'll do that.

WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2010, 03:54:38 AM »
Well, time will tell. Anyway, here's the next part:

Part Fifteen: The Game Attempts: Part Thirteen:

Part One: The Fellowship of the Ring: Going into the theater, I was sure that the films would begin with loud orchestral music that would bombast the audience with drums and trumpets right from the beginning. That’s always been the established way of opening an epic going on back in the days of Cecil B. De Mille. Although the epic film did die after a while, it was still reestablished by the Star Wars films what with their infamous opening crawls and the official Star Wars theme music. On top of that Bakshi and Rankin-Bass both followed a similar pattern of using either very loud or very magnificent music at the opening part of their renderings.

So to hear more low-key music mostly involving a softly chanting female choir backed up by flutes and various spring instruments for a change was a nice break from the norm. Make no mistake, the loud bombastic style film scores are fine and will always have their place in cinema and stage, but that style of First Act Opening was so overused by the time of Fellowship’s release that it was time for a change.

As credits fade in and out over a black screen Cate Blanchett as Lady Gladriel of Lothlorien begins narrating. This is another break from the norm as most fantasy film narrations have used deep voiced elder men like Christopher Lee, James Earl Jones, Charlton Heston, or Sean Connery voice acting it as melodramatically as possible while the orchestra plays behind them. This is also another common tool both the Bakshi and Rankin-Bass adaptations utilized as if checking off a list of common story-telling devices for epics. In fact, I think both actually used their respective voice actors for Gandalf.

Blanchett’s narration is played as low-key as the music and it works. She cryptically talks about how the how times have changed in Middle Earth (or perhaps she’s even speaking directly to the audience as if she has returned to tell us about Sauron and the Ring of Power) “because none now live who remember it.” With that, title of the series The Lord of the Rings, appears over a haunting melody, successfully setting the tone and pace.

The film fades to the forging of the Rings in which the narration makes the correct assertion that Sauron tricked the other races into the creating them for him to be distributed amongst the leaders of each of the three Free Peoples. Three for the elf lords, seven for the dwarves (Hi hoe! Hi hoe! It’s off to work we go…), and nine for human kings, "who above all else, desire power".

Sauron returned to his home base to craft the One Ring. I timed it how long it took her to say that, by the way. It took Jackson and co. 1 minute 12 seconds to state that it was all Sauron’s idea and Bakhi’s incorrect claim about Sauron learning from the elves took 50 seconds. Thus, the difference is so insignificant that Bakshi might as well have not altered it. I suppose Bakshi’s rationale might have been to make Sauron look more craven and less magnificent or something, but it only serves to diminish his menace. Consider this: a villain who is clever enough to fool the elves into making the Rings which will allow him to take control of the other races' leaders, or a villain who stole the idea from the elves and tried to make his own Ring to rule all others. The latter just isn't as menacing, is he? In Jackson’s Fellowship, though, the audience knows Sauron is someone you don’t want to have in the same universe as them, because he was able to follow the former's actions.

Cutting away from the Rings’ creation, a map of Middle Earth is seen (and looking identical to the ones seen in the books) with a red shaded circle originating from Mordor and spreading outwards forms like a festering malignancy. Footage of villagers running in terror from orc armies torching their village half faded in. Then the scene cuts away to the Battle of the Last Alliance. The audience actually gets to see the armies march at each other and in huge numbers to fight out for the sake of Middle Earth. We're see quite clearly Elendil leading the humans armies, who are the closest to the screen in the shot.
We see some orcs snarling nastily and rushing forward in their own charge.

Arrows are fired, taking a good bit of the orcs’ side before the two sides clash and it shows the Last Alliance on the verge of winning before Sauron shows in person to take care of the invading army himself. Again, this was how it was in the books. No, the Last Alliance did not “fall beneath [Sauron’s] power” and then luck out when Isildur snuck up on Sauron and dispatched him from behind. Here, the Alliance would have won, if not only for one problem: Sauron himself, and his Ring, which was the point. The armies of the men and elves could defeat orcs all day,but it wouldn't change the fact that it was the Ring that was keeping them from victory. The Bakshi film missed so many of book's nuances that it’s a wonder anyone defends him.

Lo, The Dark Lord then appears in all of his terrifying glory and begins using his power to blast the Allied armies with a wave of his arms, several soldiers at a time. This is what Sauron is implied to be just like in the books. Not some average sized guy in a Viking Helmet who can be taken out be a back-stabbing sneak, but a great and terrible force that’s nigh untouchable in battle. Try to get close, he’ll just let use a dose of dark power and kill you instantly. This is, in fact, what he does to Elendil when the Gondorian King tries to do just that. Isildur runs over to his father and takes up his sword. Before he can rise to his feet, though, he is greeted by Sauron’s foot, which smashed down on the sword, Narsil, breaking it. Not exactly how it happened in the book, but that's all right. At least it's shown getting broken. Then instead of just using his magic to blast Isildur into oblivion, Sauron reaches down to grab him likely in some fit of arrogance and Isildur responses by slashing wildly at his hand and cutting off Sauron’s fingers, including the one bearing the Ring. Having been deprived of the the center of his power Sauron’s physical form collapses and explodes, knocking the orcs and Alliance all off of their feet.

Then Isildur takes the Ring for himself, allowing Sauron's continued existance. Galadriel narrates that although Isildur had the chance to destroy it, the Ring is sentient and will corrupt its bearers, and that “The hearts of men are easily corrupted”. The film fades from the climax of the battle to Isildur leading some men on a road when they’re ambushed by orcs. Isildur slips the Ring on and escapes into the river, but “It betrayed [him]”. The Ring slips off of his finger and two orcish archers put arrows into his back. All of this is spot on with the books, the production values couldn’t be better if they tried, and the timing, editing, and writing is perfect, and it just sucks the viewer in without obstacle or catch.

From here, the narration follows the Ring as it is swept along the bottom of the river and it is explained that over the course of two and a half thousand years, the thing was forgotten until it was found by Deagol. The narration skips the scene between Smeagol and Deagol, unfortunately, and it just shows a hand retrieving the Ring from the bottom of the river and then the film switches over to the Misty Mountains, where it exclaims Gollum took the Ring and where it completely took him over.

To this day, I do not understand why Jackson and company didn’t just put the scene with Smeagol and his cousin in right here and just start The Return of the King with Frodo and Sam. According to Jackson, they didn’t do it because they didn’t want to paint Gollum as an unsympathetic character, which is just bullshit. For one thing, the way they tell the scene, the two cousins end up just about killing each other over the dumb thing, making their rendering of Deagol every bit as much at fault for what happened (though that is not what happened in the book in which Deagol didn’t even leave where he sitting on a log while looking at it when Smeagol strangled him), so I frankly believe the whole reason for the reveal of Smeagol’s part of the story was just stupid and should have been restored to the Fellowship Extended Edition’s opening narration. This is one round I am sorry to say that Bakshi wins…somewhat. He still gets points taken off for having the scene shot behind a red curtain, giving both Deagol and SmÈagol the exact same voice and actor, and making them as over the top as everyone else in his version.

Anyway, onto the Misty Mountains, the audience gets a scene in which Gollum is only visible by a small bit of sunlight shining in through the ceiling of the cave as the now vile thing rants about how he loves his precious. Then Gollum suddenly hears something and clasps the Ring to his chest while giving the direction the noise came from a good, long stare before returning to staring at the Ring. This scene did an excellent job of showing Gollum’s obsession with it and thus his need for the accursed thing is established for the audience long before his first official appearance. The scene itself is probably not even a minute long, but it sums the character so perfectly.

The narration lets out that the Ring brought Gollum a lifespan longer than intended for his race (five hundred years, actually). Then Galadriel continues to inform us that Sauron eventually returned to the world, but remained mostly anonymous as a “whisper of a shadow” and “nameless fear”. The Ring detects that it’s time to move onto a new bearer, but unfortunately for it, it’s found by Bilbo Bagginse. Unfortunately, just what Bilbo is even doing in the cave is not established, though parts of his journey are implied throughout the films. It only tells us who he and what he is. Another round that Bakshi wins is right here since his opening narration at least briefly summarizes that Bilbo was on an adventure with some dwarves and the wizard Gandalf before getting lost. Of course, Bakshi also still gets points deducted for Gollum looking like the Grinch. Yes, I’m spiteful and will take anything I can get to mock Bakshiës version. Not that it needs my help, of  course.

Returning to the relevant subject, the underlying problem here is that any audience members of Jackson’s films not familiar with either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings will have no idea what Bilbo is even doing in Gollum’s cave. Also, it depicts Bilbo finding the Ring then having Gollum cry out for the lost precious right then and there whereas Gollum didn’t discover his precious Ring was missing until a good while after Bilbo found it.

I understand this was done for brevity’s sake, but how on earth are they going to justify this for the upcoming Hobbit adaptation? If the Ring was right under Bilbo and Gollum’s feet while they were in the riddling contest as depicted here, then how did Gollum miss it? Or, how did Bilbo come up with the question (technically not a riddle) “What do I have in my pocket?“ to thwart Gollum? In the book, it dropped off of the scuttler’s finger when his attention was otherwise occupied whilst wandering the caverns. Then Bilbo found the Ring long before he encountered itës previous owner. I can buy that Gollum didnët notice it laying in a tunnel far from his own lair, but right there where he dwelled the whole time? Also, just what will the be riddle or question that thwarts Gollum in Jackson and Del Toro’s The Hobbit? Oh well, at least Gollum doesn’t look like the Grinch. Again, this is but a minor annoyance in an otherwise great adaptation of Tolkien’s work.
Note: The reason I’m being kind here instead of going off on another rant like I would be if this were Bakshi’s or Rankin-Bass’s is because The Good about this prologue and the rest of the adaptation overall so overwhelms The Bad that there’s really no point to getting bent out of shape over it.

In fact, this opening narration here could be used to sum up the quality of Jackson’s rendering altogether: Really, really good, but flawed.
Moving on, the narration comes to close with Galadriel saying, “For the time will soon come when hobbits will shape the fortunes of all.” Nicely put.

Oh, by the way, the young Bilbo we see here is actually played by Ian Holm, who plays Bilbo in the rest of the trilogy. The Make-Up Department used some sort of clips to pull his skin back so he wouldn’t look like the wrinkle faced seventy-year-old that he was at the time. You might also note that he looks just a ever so slightly like Billy Boyd as Pippin Took here. Well, Bilbo’s mother was a Took. It would not be surprising if Jackson went so far in the casting as to find two actors who can be made to look distantly related. That, ladies and gentlemen, is just a taste of the attention to detail that this adaptation gives us.

End of part Fifteen.

Kor

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« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2010, 04:06:49 AM »
& fun read, thanks for posting it, and gives one things to think about also.  Odd how they didn't want to put Gollum in a bad light when he is pretty evil, though a victim of the ring, he was corrupt.

WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2010, 05:15:31 PM »
Thank you. I don't know whenthe next part is coming, fair warning. I'm tryig to be detailed, but there's so much detail int he Extended Edition's concerning hobbits prologue that I'm wondering if I shouldn't gloss over some things for brevity's sake.

Nick22

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« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2010, 11:24:45 PM »
thats fine. even the most detailed story is going to miss things, as there is no such thing as a perfect movie..  being a lotr nut myself   i saw where they missed things, but as you said the good so overwhelms the bad that to  harp on it is imo nitpicking
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Kor

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« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2010, 11:52:46 PM »
I wonder what the extended edition of the hobbit will have and cut out.  

With the lotr if they wanted to do a complete type of thing they'd have to have done it as an annual mini series, not as an annual movie.  Since the books are pretty thick.

Nick22

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« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2010, 04:07:21 PM »
both films will likely be lengthy.. but the book "the Hobbit' is shorter than any book in the trilogy..
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WeirdRaptor

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« Reply #49 on: February 11, 2010, 06:59:17 PM »
I hate to cut in like this, but I have an update. I think I will be able to get the rest part in on Feb. 15th.

Kor

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« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2010, 10:58:34 PM »
No hurry.  Do it when you have time and are happy with it.

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« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2010, 11:52:24 PM »
I'm not hurrying myself. The next part just covers Bilbo's Concerning Hobbits Narration, Frodo and Gandalf's talk while riding the wagon, and Bilbo's subsequent scene with Gandalf in Bag End when he talks about how he needs a "long holiday".

Then the part after that will cover everything from Gandalf and Bilbo smoking their pipes while over-looking the party to when Gandalf takes off to investigate the Ring.

Kor

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« Reply #52 on: February 12, 2010, 12:07:03 AM »
Sounds interesting.  I look forward to reading it.

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« Reply #53 on: February 12, 2010, 03:54:07 AM »
sounds really interesting WR, you're doing a fantastic job..
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« Reply #54 on: February 12, 2010, 03:00:53 PM »
Thanks.

Actually, I've already completed the rough draft of this next part. I'm just taking the weekend to edit and rewatch and the relevant portions of the film to make sure I'm getting the details right.

Kor

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« Reply #55 on: February 12, 2010, 03:08:13 PM »
Sounds like quite a bit of work  you are doing.

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« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2010, 07:50:47 PM »
Yes it is, but it is worth it if the paper he produces is really really good...
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« Reply #57 on: February 12, 2010, 07:51:31 PM »
Not really. I rewatch the relevant bits, fix any wrong observations I made, then run through again spell and grammar checking. The hard part was getting it typed up to begin with. Watching a film going play by play with the laptop at hand can take a lot of fun out of it sometimes. ...Or, in the case of the Bakshi and Rankin-Bass films, make a misery experience more painful by having to pay more attention.

Edit: sorry I got my edit in after you guys replied.

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« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2010, 07:53:30 PM »
well said. as filmmaking, there is no question the Jackson's films were better. as far as getting things right, well no film gets every little thing right..
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« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2010, 11:37:48 PM »
Hey, guys. Sorry about the lateness of the update, but my internet access went straight to Hades on Sunday and Monday.

The next part will be up tomorrow, because I don't feel like touching up the next part to make it more readable in Chatroom form.