Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Eldorion on Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:22 pm

Radaghast wrote:I'm not sure that was his motivation for leaving the wargs out. Again, he didn't have the same limitations as Bakshi and, after all, didn't copy Bakshi's movie note for note. I think he just wanted his warg scene in the second movie.

Yeah, I'd agree with this.  FOTR is more the adventure/road trip movie.  There's plenty of fighting in it, but the film took long enough as it is with the Company debating which path to take.  The wargs would have been kind of superfluous.  On the other hand, TTT is the most "war movie" of the bunch, so adding another battle there makes sense as a preliminary to the major battle that most of the film builds towards. (Execution leaves plenty to be desired though.)
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:59 pm

I would have shortened the protracted Moria battle in favor of the wargs in the first film. They are far more important there than in helping orchestrating Aragorn's fake death in Towers.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Eldorion on Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:45 pm

I get what you're saying, but I think the cumulative effect of the Moria set piece(s) was really powerful and one of the highlights of FOTR so I can't really complain about that personally.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by David H on Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:34 am


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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:21 pm

I think less wargs is more. They have never been done well by Weta, not 10 years ago and not in TH. They were forgiveable in TTT because cgi was rudimentary, the crappy wargs in TH was not forgiveable.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by David H on Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:52 pm

Mrs Figg wrote: the crappy wargs in TH was not forgiveable.

I could have forgiven them even then, if they and the goblins had just sung "15 Birds in 5 Fir Trees" to match "Far Over the Misty Mountains" Sad

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:37 am

Making the wargs look like demonic hyena/wombat hybrids was unforgivable Mad


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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by azriel on Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:10 am

My cat in a bad mood is scarier than that !

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:43 pm

Wargs are defo not Weta strongpoints. bless em.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Forest Shepherd on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:27 am

Radaghast wrote:
[*]Outside the Chamber, the party flees only to end up surrounded by orcs that can, rather alarmingly, climb walls. When it looks like they're toast for sure (though I'm not sure what they're worried about; I'm sure Sam still had his mighty frying pan at hand), their bacon is saved by none other than the distant sounds of the Balrog, at the sound of which the orcs scatter like roaches. The key word is 'distant' and we can tell this because the camera plainly tells us it's so. So why they couldn't have just easily outrun the lumbering behemoth is anyone's guess. Of course, thanks to the magic of editing, the pixelated Balrog appears exactly where the script calls for it. But, generally, if I was caught in the same predicament (and without a frying pan), I would have quietly thanked the Balrog for getting rid of those orcs.
[*]I never found the Balrog scary. Impressive, yes, in a technical sense, but not really scary. Aside from the fact that it moves like it's mired in molasses, it looks like a copy of Diablo from the video game. And, of course, it doesn't even come close to the book description which, while somewhat vague, still contains a few key points.
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"Pixelated Balrog"??
"Mired in Molasses"?!?

It is very very good digital work for its time (as I'm sure you know so I don't get the pixelated comment), and if it seems to move slowly that is only because it obeys the constraints that physics places upon physical beings! A creature that large that could, say, swing its arm as quickly as a regular human can would be exerting so much power into said movement that unless their internal structure was incredibly strong they would be in danger of snapping their arm off at the elbow every time they picked up a rock! This is why you don't see elephants jumping around or sperm whales doing back-flips.

I can't help but be made incredibly crabbit by the complaint that the Hobbit films are ridiculous and stupid in the way that they defy physics and place their protagonists into death-defying situations AND at the same time complaining that the way in which the Balrog moves in the Lord of the Rings is "too slow" when it is actually exactly right in terms of its size!

I agree that the Balrogs design does not conform quite right with the book's description, but I am glad that its malevolence (but lack of speech) was included in the film. It feels right, all things considered, even if its relationship to the goblins of Moria is quite mistranslated and its physical characteristics a bit off.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by halfwise on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:42 am

Yeah, I don't have any major complaints about the balrog - though in the book the fact that it had largely a human form made it seem more threatening, likely due to the implication of being governed by thought and intelligent malice.  Movie balrog may as well have been a huge three-headed dog.

Good point about the mechanics of motion, Forest.  I think special effects have inured folks to reality.

The crashing stairway scene I can be more crabbit about: did nothing to advance the plot and used up time that might have been better spent elsewhere.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:15 am

Forest Shepherd wrote:
Radaghast wrote:
[*]Outside the Chamber, the party flees only to end up surrounded by orcs that can, rather alarmingly, climb walls. When it looks like they're toast for sure (though I'm not sure what they're worried about; I'm sure Sam still had his mighty frying pan at hand), their bacon is saved by none other than the distant sounds of the Balrog, at the sound of which the orcs scatter like roaches. The key word is 'distant' and we can tell this because the camera plainly tells us it's so. So why they couldn't have just easily outrun the lumbering behemoth is anyone's guess. Of course, thanks to the magic of editing, the pixelated Balrog appears exactly where the script calls for it. But, generally, if I was caught in the same predicament (and without a frying pan), I would have quietly thanked the Balrog for getting rid of those orcs.
[*]I never found the Balrog scary. Impressive, yes, in a technical sense, but not really scary. Aside from the fact that it moves like it's mired in molasses, it looks like a copy of Diablo from the video game. And, of course, it doesn't even come close to the book description which, while somewhat vague, still contains a few key points.
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"Pixelated Balrog"??
"Mired in Molasses"?!?

It is very very good digital work for its time (as I'm sure you know so I don't get the pixelated comment), and if it seems to move slowly that is only because it obeys the constraints that physics places upon physical beings! A creature that large that could, say, swing its arm as quickly as a regular human can would be exerting so much power into said movement that unless their internal structure was incredibly strong they would be in danger of snapping their arm off at the elbow every time they picked up a rock! This is why you don't see elephants jumping around or sperm whales doing back-flips.

I can't help but be made incredibly crabbit by the complaint that the Hobbit films are ridiculous and stupid in the way that they defy physics and place their protagonists into death-defying situations AND at the same time complaining that the way in which the Balrog moves in the Lord of the Rings is "too slow" when it is actually exactly right in terms of its size!

I agree that the Balrogs design does not conform quite right with the book's description, but I am glad that its malevolence (but lack of speech) was included in the film. It feels right, all things considered, even if its relationship to the goblins of Moria is quite mistranslated and its physical characteristics a bit off.
I did acknowledge the technical aspect of the Balrog. I just said pixelated because that's what it is and also to emphasize the fact that movies aren't bound by real-life physics. But one of my complaints about the Balrog is indeed that it basically ignores the book description almost point for point and if the thing is too big to move very fast, then that's part of the problem, imo. For my money, a smaller, faster and quieter Balrog (and one accompanied by orcs and trolls) would have been a lot scarier.

We're otherwise sort of disputing taste at this point (an impossibility) but can you deny that the Balrog appears where it's required to be without having to show the intervening steps it needed to get there? I'm watching the scene now and, before anything else (after the orcs conveniently scatter at the sound of the Balrog), the party stands around for a good 40 seconds just plain gawking down the corridor before Gandalf finally lets on that it's "beyond" them and tells them to run—I mean, wow, is this for real? Am I supposed to think this makes sense?. Still, the thing still isn't visible when they start running and they've got what you'd expect is a good head start on it. Then it's through a door and Gandalf tells everybody to run ahead to the bridge. There is no reason displayed on screen, between the time they all stare stupidly down the corridor watching the approaching glow of the Balrog, and the time it takes to get to the bridge (about 1.5 minutes, maybe more) that says why Gandalf couldn't have just run with them and across the bridge before the Balrog could have caught up with them. From what I'm seeing, Gandalf could have been across the bridge and broken it from the other side. And this is even before the absurdity of Gandalf clearly not being caught by the Balrog's whip, yet plummeting anyway. I realize all this is done for dramatic purposes, but it doesn't work logically or optimally, to my eyes. If they followed the book, there wouldn't be a problem. And I see no viable reason why it was not possible to have done just that—from the start of the Moria sequence.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by azriel on Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:46 am

Radaghast wrote:
Forest Shepherd wrote:
Radaghast wrote:
[*]Outside the Chamber, the party flees only to end up surrounded by orcs that can, rather alarmingly, climb walls. When it looks like they're toast for sure (though I'm not sure what they're worried about; I'm sure Sam still had his mighty frying pan at hand), their bacon is saved by none other than the distant sounds of the Balrog, at the sound of which the orcs scatter like roaches. The key word is 'distant' and we can tell this because the camera plainly tells us it's so. So why they couldn't have just easily outrun the lumbering behemoth is anyone's guess. Of course, thanks to the magic of editing, the pixelated Balrog appears exactly where the script calls for it. But, generally, if I was caught in the same predicament (and without a frying pan), I would have quietly thanked the Balrog for getting rid of those orcs.
[*]I never found the Balrog scary. Impressive, yes, in a technical sense, but not really scary. Aside from the fact that it moves like it's mired in molasses, it looks like a copy of Diablo from the video game. And, of course, it doesn't even come close to the book description which, while somewhat vague, still contains a few key points.
[/list]
Mad

"Pixelated Balrog"??
"Mired in Molasses"?!?

It is very very good digital work for its time (as I'm sure you know so I don't get the pixelated comment), and if it seems to move slowly that is only because it obeys the constraints that physics places upon physical beings! A creature that large that could, say, swing its arm as quickly as a regular human can would be exerting so much power into said movement that unless their internal structure was incredibly strong they would be in danger of snapping their arm off at the elbow every time they picked up a rock! This is why you don't see elephants jumping around or sperm whales doing back-flips.

I can't help but be made incredibly crabbit by the complaint that the Hobbit films are ridiculous and stupid in the way that they defy physics and place their protagonists into death-defying situations AND at the same time complaining that the way in which the Balrog moves in the Lord of the Rings is "too slow" when it is actually exactly right in terms of its size!

I agree that the Balrogs design does not conform quite right with the book's description, but I am glad that its malevolence (but lack of speech) was included in the film. It feels right, all things considered, even if its relationship to the goblins of Moria is quite mistranslated and its physical characteristics a bit off.
I did acknowledge the technical aspect of the Balrog. I just said pixelated because that's what it is and also to emphasize the fact that movies aren't bound by real-life physics. But one of my complaints about the Balrog is indeed that it basically ignores the book description almost point for point and if the thing is too big to move very fast, then that's part of the problem, imo. For my money, a smaller, faster and quieter Balrog (and one accompanied by orcs and trolls) would have been a lot scarier.

We're otherwise sort of disputing taste at this point (an impossibility) but can you deny that the Balrog appears where it's required to be without having to show the intervening steps it needed to get there? I'm watching the scene now and, before anything else (after the orcs conveniently scatter at the sound of the Balrog), the party stands around for a good 40 seconds just plain gawking down the corridor before Gandalf finally lets on that it's "beyond" them and tells them to run—I mean, wow, is this for real? Am I supposed to think this makes sense?. Still, the thing still isn't visible when they start running and they've got what you'd expect is a good head start on it. Then it's through a door and Gandalf tells everybody to run ahead to the bridge. There is no reason displayed on screen, between the time they all stare stupidly down the corridor watching the approaching glow of the Balrog, and the time it takes to get to the bridge (about 1.5 minutes, maybe more) that says why Gandalf couldn't have just run with them and across the bridge before the Balrog could have caught up with them. From what I'm seeing, Gandalf could have been across the bridge and broken it from the other side. And this is even before the absurdity of Gandalf clearly not being caught by the Balrog's whip, yet plummeting anyway. I realize all this is done for dramatic purposes, but it doesn't work logically or optimally, to my eyes. If they followed the book, there wouldn't be a problem. And I see no viable reason why it was not possible to have done just that—from the start of the Moria sequence.

In my 2nd half of youth *cough* Ive become a bit of a lazy viewer I do admit. I get het up if something really pisses me off but on the whole I largely like to let these very young whippersnappers find out the plot holes & fuck ups all for themselves, ( does the mind good ! ) On this occasion I agree with Raddy, spot on Id say. Glad he noticed it by now Laughing

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:44 pm

Very Happy

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:37 pm

I loved the Balrog effects. the way the fire and heat throbs and shimmers from its mouth is pretty amazing, even today they would be hard pushed to make a creature as unique and unforgettable.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by azriel on Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:04 pm

I loved the Balrog also, when he opened his mouth it was like someone left a Bunsun Burner on full pelt, He was great, I loved the opening scene with The Balrog & Gandy hurtling down into the enormous abyss, loved it ! I loved the colours, the choral singing, itty bitty Gandalf & Balrog looking larger as they fall, but, I also agree with Raddy's observations. It happens within battle scenes also. You get that moment when, for only the main character/s time goes on a major "go-slow" & they are rendered unaffected by all the carnage around them, so much so that they can afford to look around, go shopping, cook a meal etc etc & then, "whoosh" they snap too & continue to defy all rhyme,reason & logic to fight on unscathed. I do love it all but, I see the daftness of it too. Very Happy tho I still enjoy it ! Very Happy ( Im going round the bend Laughing )

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Forest Shepherd on Mon Sep 21, 2015 6:28 pm

There are many places where one can bemoan the disturbing of the source material, but the Moria sequence works well enough as movie-making that deviation from the source material is acceptable. The pause of which Raddy speaks when the fellowship sits there instead of running away may clunk a little bit because to some it might feel like a contrived way to force a pause in the action. However, and this goes beyond taste I feel, it works well from an editing and acting standpoint.

Firstly, the editing of this sequence is very good. Irregardless of how silly the spider-orcs are, the wide-angle shots of the fellowship running away from the goblins are dramatic images that give a sense of the party becoming surrounded. There are point-of-view shots interspersed in there as the fellowship runs, which shows the goblins gaining on them and are frightening.
The goblins encircle them, and the wide-angle shots lead to close-up beats of the creatures snarling at them and the fellowship's reaction. Jackson has worked himself into an "oh crap they are going to die" moment that is not found in the book, and this is where purists are probably most uncomfortable with the pacing, as this scene forces the Balrog into becoming more of a deus ex machina to resolve this impossible situation. So it does, the goblins scatter like roaches when someone has turned on the light, and there is a pause in the action. A moment of reorientation. This is not illogical story-telling, but good pacing. If there were no pause here before the Balrog appears, its effect would be lessened. The anticipation of a thing is usually far worse than the thing itself. So this interval is necessary to the pacing of the film, even if the sudden transition back into the action ("This foe is beyond any of you... Run!") may appear to be clunky.

Secondly, the scene contains excellent acting. As stated previously the back-and-forth shots of the encircling goblins and the faces of the fellowship ups the tension of the scene by showing real human emotion in this terrifying situation. The face of someone who is about to die is a powerful thing to portray. The highlight of the scene in terms of acting, not very surprisingly, is the way in which Ian McKellen portrays Gandalf's weariness.
The battle of wills over the door from the book is missing from the film, but Gandalf is weary anyway from the battle and the flight. When the orcs scatter and he realizes what they are about to face you can see his shoulders slump and his eyes close involuntarily. The fellowship is not "gawking"; the fellowship is being presented as actual people and not video-game figures. They are reacting to their sudden deliverance from a horrible end, and the appearance of a new horror. In practical terms, they are waiting for their leader to tell them what to do. He is busy struggling with some very heavy internal issues.

From the perspective of the veteran Tolkien-reader we know that in the book this moment has been presaged by Aragorn's sense that some doom awaits Gandalf in Moria. The gist of this line is given to Saruman in the film for one of his strange telepathic messages, but you get the sense watching this scene that Gandalf is not terribly surprised about the Balrog. We get several ideas from McKellen's acting here:
He is weary, the prospect of this foe is almost enough to drive him to despair, he had a foreboding that something like this might happen, and yet he remembers his responsibility to the company and steels himself for what lies ahead.

Really, if we compare the Moria sequence to any scene from The Hobbit films the superior film-making stands out brilliantly clear. There is a natural progression to everything that is happening here. The events that occur have been foreshadowed or at least can be somewhat anticipated by earlier scenes in the movie, and the ramifications of this sequence are felt throughout the rest of the film and onward into the next. Everything that happens here matters. You absolutely could not cut out this section from the movie and have the same basic story unlike, say, 75% of all the action scenes from The Desolation of Smaug or Battle of the Five Armies.

So I disagree with your comments that "it doesn't work logically or optimally" and that "there is no reason displayed on screen...that says why Gandalf couldn't have just run with them and across the bridge before the Balrog could have caught up with them" or that "we're sort of disputing taste at this point".

If we were playing D&D I would agree that events do not work out optimally as no time would have been wasted on being feeling and mortal creatures. But if we view this as a character-driven series of actions, then its logical and unavoidable qualities come forth. The Fellowship could not have simply outrun the Balrog. It moves faster than they do (I mean it covers more ground, relatively speaking its limbs move slower of course) and would simply catch up with them either inside Moria or on the slopes outside. The single-file pathway was the best place for Gandalf to stand and face the Balrog.
And, really, the idea of this Balrog being Gandalf's doom is found in both the book and the movie, so I totally disagree that the company running away faster would have been more logical and "follow[ing] the book".

It's really good, and I like it. And I feel like this is just more of the same double-standard judgement that the Hobbit action sequences feel empty and meaningless because the feelings of the characters are ignored for spectacle (*cough*goblintown*cough*) but the Lord of the Rings' action sequences are not optimal and illogical because the focus of the scene is on the characters and their inner struggles (acting over spectacle).

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:55 pm

I enjoyed reading your analysis Forest and I agree with you 100%. I think your observations about McKellens acting are spot on.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:54 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:The battle of wills over the door from the book is missing from the film, but Gandalf is weary anyway from the battle and the flight. When the orcs scatter and he realizes what they are about to face you can see his shoulders slump and his eyes close involuntarily. The fellowship is not "gawking"; the fellowship is being presented as actual people and not video-game figures. They are reacting to their sudden deliverance from a horrible end, and the appearance of a new horror. In practical terms, they are waiting for their leader to tell them what to do. He is busy struggling with some very heavy internal issues.
I know Gandalf is weary and the book Gandalf says as much, which brings to mind another scene Jackson left on the proverbial cutting room floor, the part where Gandalf is violently hurled down the stairs by an unseen menace after he tries to bar the passage the Fellowship just left. I think moviegoers were deprived of a potentially thrilling scene there. And I don't buy that he's struggling with internal issues, not when time is of the utmost essence, and the movie-Fellowship just squandered a full 40 seconds of it.

From the perspective of the veteran Tolkien-reader we know that in the book this moment has been presaged by Aragorn's sense that some doom awaits Gandalf in Moria. The gist of this line is given to Saruman in the film for one of his strange telepathic messages, but you get the sense watching this scene that Gandalf is not terribly surprised about the Balrog. We get several ideas from McKellen's acting here:
He is weary, the prospect of this foe is almost enough to drive him to despair, he had a foreboding that something like this might happen, and yet he remembers his responsibility to the company and steels himself for what lies ahead.
All more ably conveyed in the book and not at all impossible to convey in a movie. And none of that excuses (in my mind) the changes made to the source material.

Really, if we compare the Moria sequence to any scene from The Hobbit films the superior film-making stands out brilliantly clear. There is a natural progression to everything that is happening here. The events that occur have been foreshadowed or at least can be somewhat anticipated by earlier scenes in the movie, and the ramifications of this sequence are felt throughout the rest of the film and onward into the next. Everything that happens here matters. You absolutely could not cut out this section from the movie and have the same basic story unlike, say, 75% of all the action scenes from The Desolation of Smaug or Battle of the Five Armies.
If you're saying the Moria sequence is better than anything in The Hobbit trilogy, then readily agreed Shrugging

If we were playing D&D I would agree that events do not work out optimally as no time would have been wasted on being feeling and mortal creatures. But if we view this as a character-driven series of actions, then its logical and unavoidable qualities come forth. The Fellowship could not have simply outrun the Balrog. It moves faster than they do (I mean it covers more ground, relatively speaking its limbs move slower of course) and would simply catch up with them either inside Moria or on the slopes outside.
Yes, that is what the movie wants to say, but it doesn't show it. As far as D&D, that's pretty much what some of the encounters feel like. The staged battle with the troll for instance, and only a select group of orcs, rather than a stream of them.

The single-file pathway was the best place for Gandalf to stand and face the Balrog.
And, really, the idea of this Balrog being Gandalf's doom is found in both the book and the movie, so I totally disagree that the company running away faster would have been more logical and "follow[ing] the book".
I'm not actually arguing that the outcome in the movie should have been different based on the company's running speed, or that Gandalf shouldn't have died in the movie.

It's really good, and I like it. And I feel like this is just more of the same double-standard judgement that the Hobbit action sequences feel empty and meaningless because the feelings of the characters are ignored for spectacle (*cough*goblintown*cough*) but the Lord of the Rings' action sequences are not optimal and illogical because the focus of the scene is on the characters and their inner struggles (acting over spectacle).
I'm not getting the double-standard part of your argument. I don't believe I've ever made an nuanced arguments about how The Hobbit scenes fell flat, etc. at the cost of characters, etc. In any case, the focus on character in the Moria scenes was hardly dependent on Jackson's alteration of the text. It's one of the most straightforward passages in the book. And Jackson changed it for no very good reason.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Eldorion on Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:58 pm

I enjoyed reading Forest's analysis and have to agree with it.  I don't mind occasionally tipping the scales in favor of dramatic import over strict realism (tons of narratives do this to some extent, though yes, PJ does it more than Tolkien), and I don't find the Fellowship stopping and looking at the Balrog's glow to be an egregious example of unreality.  They had already paused, they were braced for a final stand against the goblins but surely also winded.  None of them except Gandalf knew what the Balrog was, and I agree that McKellen was great in this scene.  Plus we got Sean Bean's "what is this new devilry?" line which I also love.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:57 pm

but surely also winded. - Eldo

Based on what? We just saw them have a big fight with orcs and a troll in which most of them get knocked about in ways which should cause them real harm (hell Merry gets tossed overhead by troll onto his back lam into a solid rock floor and just bounces right back up and Frodo stabbed by a troll) then they all go leaping about a ridiculous collapsing staircase and give us a dwarf tossing joke- seriously? Now? That always said to me Pj lacked the balls, felt he had to lighten the moment and the tension before the big confrontation instead of doing what Tolkien does and relentlessly turn the screw of tension.
But I see no reason the films gives us to think any of them are even a bit tired given what they jut went through completely unscathed.

'I don't find the Fellowship stopping and looking at the Balrog's glow to be an egregious example of unreality.'

Nor do I, but its more than that, Frodo reacts and tries to run to Gandalf and Boromir grabs him and prevents him- that takes time, time during which Gandalf is apparently just hanging there staring at them all whilst they all just stare back at him, and no one thinks to take three steps forward and grab him?
There is highlighting the drama and then there is verging into parody.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:21 am

Eldorion wrote:I enjoyed reading Forest's analysis and have to agree with it.  I don't mind occasionally tipping the scales in favor of dramatic import over strict realism (tons of narratives do this to some extent, though yes, PJ does it more than Tolkien), and I don't find the Fellowship stopping and looking at the Balrog's glow to be an egregious example of unreality.  They had already paused, they were braced for a final stand against the goblins but surely also winded.  None of them except Gandalf knew what the Balrog was, and I agree that McKellen was great in this scene.  Plus we got Sean Bean's "what is this new devilry?" line which I also love.
The fact that none besides Gandalf knew what the Balrog was is part of my point. If I didn't know what something was that could kill me was approaching, I'd like for the person who did know to tell me without delay and not wait 40 frickin' seconds. Wouldn't you? Would you accept the excuse of "Sorry, man, but I was really winded!"?

I also think it's lazy storytelling to have the Balrog just appear where you want it to. The thing obviously makes noise when it walks, yet the Company don't ever hear it behind them?

In a story about elves, orcs, etc. it's not a question of realism but believability and story logic. I find these things lacking in the movie scene (and the movies as a whole), done for the purpose of drama. Meaning, what? That the book lacked these things? If you filmed the scenes as written, they would lack drama and tension? That's the big question here. More to the point, do you—or any fans of this scene—think the movie improved on the book here?

Hypothetically, if this scene wasn't inspired by a passage from a book, who knows, I might be as impressed as some of you are. However, remembering the book, and how much better it appears to me, I can't help but think about the things that could have been. That Peter Jackson denied his viewers.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:36 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Nor do I, but its more than that, Frodo reacts and tries to run to Gandalf and Boromir grabs him and prevents him- that takes time, time during which Gandalf is apparently just hanging there staring at them all whilst they all just stare back at him, and no one thinks to take three steps forward and grab him?
There is highlighting the drama and then there is verging into parody.
Yes, I'm curious to know what the justification for the change here is. In the book, it's really very simple: the whip wraps around Gandalf's legs and brings him to his knees, the forces him hold on for dear life until he can no longer do so. Cause and effect. In the movie, the whip does not wrap around Gandalf's legs and the Balrog plummets way ahead of Gandalf, who falls because _______(?)

Shrugging

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Eldorion on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:52 am

Radaghast wrote:More to the point, do you—or any fans of this scene—think the movie improved on the book here?

I (re)watch the movies because I find them to be enjoyable on their own merits, not because I want to see my favorite parts of the book "brought to life".  The movies have a different artistic sensibility and a different set of priorities to them, in addition to the inherent differences in the mediums.  But as someone who likes both books and movies in general, I can roll with the different approaches.

Hypothetically, if this scene wasn't inspired by a passage from a book, who knows, I might be as impressed as some of you are. However, remembering the book, and how much better it appears to me, I can't help but think about the things that could have been. That Peter Jackson denied his viewers.

I'm having flashbacks here because this post is like every negative purist stereotype I used to get slung at me boiled down to their essence.  Of fucking course the movie isn't going to be identical to your mental image of the book.  Denying the film its own artistic existence is just as wrongheaded (IMO) as pretending that the movie has nothing to do with the book at all.

I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the entitlement viewpoint that PJ somehow owed or denied book readers anything.  It isn't like there would have been a live-action LOTR -- faithful or otherwise -- without him, period.

Yes, I'm curious to know what the justification for the change here is. In the book, it's really very simple: the whip wraps around Gandalf's legs and brings him to his knees, the forces him hold on for dear life until he can no longer do so. Cause and effect. In the movie, the whip does not wrap around Gandalf's legs and the Balrog plummets way ahead of Gandalf, who falls because _______(?)

There's no need to play coy, it's pretty clear what happened.  PJ wanted the lingering dramatic close-up of Gandalf for the "fly, you fools" line, but he didn't want to actually change the outcome of the scene.  Again, it's about the drama of the moment over the details of strict realism.  This one has bugged me to varying degrees over the years and I've complained about it numerous times before.  Personally I don't think there is any non-contrived explanation for why Gandalf didn't keep trying to scramble back up onto the bridge, but it's not something I let stand in my way of enjoying an otherwise excellent sequence (not anymore, at least).
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:07 am

Eldorion wrote:
Radaghast wrote:More to the point, do you—or any fans of this scene—think the movie improved on the book here?

I (re)watch the movies because I find them to be enjoyable on their own merits, not because I want to see my favorite parts of the book "brought to life".  The movies have a different artistic sensibility and a different set of priorities to them, in addition to the inherent differences in the mediums.  But as someone who likes both books and movies in general, I can roll with the different approaches.
Let me rephrase: do you think the scene, as written in the book, was un-filmable? You say movies have different sensibilities and priorities, but what about this part of the book gives it a non-movie sensibility and/or priorities? What about the scene, if anything, is untranslatable?

Hypothetically, if this scene wasn't inspired by a passage from a book, who knows, I might be as impressed as some of you are. However, remembering the book, and how much better it appears to me, I can't help but think about the things that could have been. That Peter Jackson denied his viewers.

"Denied his viewers"?  Jesus Christ, can we keep some perspective here?  PJ doesn't owe you (or any other readers) anything.  And there wouldn't have been a live-action LOTR without him anyway so it's not like he was taking the opportunity away from someone else.
I didn't mean that in the sense of being owed anything (I, for one, wish the movies were never made at all). I'm merely saying he left things on the cutting room floor (along with other things) that would have made a better movie, in a general sense. And when I say "his viewers" I don't mean myself.


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