10 years

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Re: 10 years

Post by chris63 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:11 pm

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Re: 10 years

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:36 pm

An amazing accomplishment. Gollum still looks superb today ten years on.
Shame they royally screwed up his personality and most of his dialogue.

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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:07 pm

They changed a lot of dialogue, but literal wording is less important than the meaning of the dialogue. In fact, the film-makers fall into the trap of not realizing this by taking exact lines from certain characters and settings and transposing them into other scenes where they lack context or sense. With that in mind, what makes Gollum so bad as to single him out for criticism? I thought that he fared pretty well, especially compared to many of the other characters.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:16 pm

I think it comes from my experience with people with mental illness and dementia. Tolkien present a realistic portrayal of somone with mental illness in Gollum. PJ simplifies that until it is a comic portrayal.
And I think the dialogue he alters and what he leaves out is poorly selected. Tolkien through Golum's dialogue gives us glimpses into the person he once was, but he does it in subtle ways compared to PJ, you feel sorry for Gollum not because the story tells you to but because what he lets slip, little glimpses through the chinks into what he once was gets through. Such as in the Dead Marshes when he says ,"There was a great battle here once, long ago...so they told him, when Smeagol was young, when I was young, before the Precious came.'
I also think PJ simply didn't understand the character. When he is fighting Frodo outside MT Doom and Frodo cries "But Smeagol promised". Gollum replies "Smeagol lied!" Something he would never admit, Smeagol's personality is based on denial. Denial of the murder he committed to get the Ring, denial of all the things he has done, people who think like Smeagol would never say they had lied. Its an admmition they could never make as their mental structures are based on lying to themselves.

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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:17 pm

That was very well put. I still think that Gollum was better treated than some, but I have to agree with your take on the character after your elaboration. Thanks, Petty.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Elthir on Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:16 pm

Not sure this is really the place for this question but: anyone have an actual quote from Peter Jackson that the theatrical version of the films are the 'true' versions? Or something like that?

And I'm not sure everything he said about the extended versions necessarily falls in line with at least the implication (as I take it anyway) that 'fair criticism' of the films begins and ends with the theatrical versions. In other words, the theatrical versions are meant to be like the final art form on the (public) gallery wall -- and the rest, while interesting perhaps, and even open to a separate criticism, doesn't really belong in the gallery, so to speak.

Or did Jackson never say, or mean, such a thing?

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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:45 pm

PJ made a comment about the theatrical cuts being the true version of the films in an interview with IGN FilmForce (now IGN Movies) back in 2003 right before The Return of the King was released in theatres. The relevant question and answer on page 4:

Q: What happens on the extended version of this one?

JACKSON: The extended versions are interesting because I do the extended versions for the fans, really. To me every time I put a scene in it, it's mucking up the momentum. The theatrical versions are very carefully worked out. We spent a whole year trying to get the best possible cut. I do the extended cuts because we have 30-40 minutes of footage that people are interested in, fans of the books. It's usually related to something that's in the book. It's a legitimate part of the adaptation of the Lord of the Rings and you can either have it lost forever or you can put an extended cut out. So I do these extended cuts thinking that people will like to see these scenes. But I'm aware every time I put something in [that] the momentum of the scene going to be slow. This is going to slow the first act down. Every time I think I'm spoiling the film, but I'm doing it because people want to see it and they'll see it in their home. The DVD has a different dynamic. You can watch it over two nights or you can pause it and make a cup of tea. The whole pacing on the DVD seems to have a different requirement or level of commitment from the audience. Then I read these reviews that say this is so much better than the theatrical version. And I think, 'Oh God!' The big question is, if you took this 3 hour and 40 minute version of the Two Towers and released it in the cinemas, what would people have thought of it? Everyone would have criticized it for being too long. Yet on video, they think it's better. I'm finding it fascinating because it's new. It's a whole different development in filmmaking that's because of the new technology and the way DVDs are establishing themselves. Packages for fans, the documentary materials, it's interesting. I don't know quite what the rules are.

Q: What's the definitive version of these films?

JACKSON: The theatrical versions are the definitive versions. I regard the extended cuts as being a novelty for the fans that really want to see the extra material.

I've seen a fair bit of debate between TE and EE fans over whether or not what PJ said can be taken seriously. Some allege that since he was speaking just before the final theatrical release he had to speak in favor of the theatrical version. I don't really like second-guessing people like that, but I don't think that the way the EEs were made really suggests that they were intended as a novelty.

Not since they completed every single SFX shot for the added material (which runs over two hours for all three films) and recorded entirely new music so they could reconstruct the soundtrack to accomodate the longer length. The EEs may have been intended just for fans, but they are every bit as finished as the theatrical versions. In fact they are arguably more finished because the theatrical cuts were all rushed as the film-makers hurried to have them ready for the release date.

Additionally, the film-makers seem to have relied on the EEs increasingly throughout the trilogy to give crucial character development and explanation of the story, and I think this is, as you said, inconsistent with the idea that the EEs are supposed to be separate. The character of Faramir is a particularly good example: there was (obviously) a lot of backlash against the changes to his character and so a number of people, including actor David Wenham, adopted the "wait and watch the EE" approach, saying that would give a better portrayal of Faramir. I think it did, but that's a very strange way to defend a film, particularly if the EE is "non-definitive".

Similarly, I think that PJ had his priorities mixed up when deciding what to include in the theatrical versions. He cut the death of Saruman from ROTK for reasons of length but as a result he gave no resolution to the principle villain of the first two movies. I think stuff like this is why so many people prefer the EEs and either overlook or like the slower pacing.

In the end though, I'm not entirely sure what the significance of PJ saying one version is "definitive" is. PJ gave us two versions and as such we can watch, appreciate, prefer, and criticize either or both of the two versions. In my experience dedicated Tolkien and Jackson fans tend to prefer the EEs by a wide margin. I think this is largely because they bother to go into more depth for both characters and story and they don't rush things along. While I know some people think they drag (especially the ending of ROTK), I think the EEs come closer (relatively speaking) to capture the tone of the book by having down time in between all the action.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:13 pm

I for one dont watch the theatrical versions anymore even when they are on tv, I find them unsatisfying and I really miss all the cut scenes, like you said Eldo, the death of Saruman, even though it was invented. I also miss the House of Healing scenes as it shows the meeting of Eowyn and Faramir. and in FOTR the scene of the elves walking through the Shire, there are so many great scenes, including The Mouth of Sauron, which I think should not be cut.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:02 pm

I of course only watch my own edits, but from doing the edits I have watched Pj's a lot- its a sort of curse. But as I edit from the extended editions I get the best of both worlds- the good stuf flike th eelves in the woods and none of the bad stuff like Denethor running about on fire or elves at Helms Deep.

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Re: 10 years

Post by Elthir on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:46 pm

Thanks Eldorion and all!

Films can do things books can't, and books can do things films can't, but Jackson was at least hired to make theatrical films, and one constructs the final product given the parameters of the medium. At some point the piece is conceived as a whole, and especially with a long book as a source, the process of adaptation is very much about what to cut, what to emphasize, what to spend time on, and so on.

But things can change notably (especially in theory) if the project is originally and primarily meant for relaxed home viewing, and Jackson is clearly aware of this, as he should be. If one is going to generalize and call it all 'filmmaking' -- well, that has a truth to it of course, but I still think these animals, theater and 'home theater', are only related.

I try to put myself in a film director's shoes, and again, it seems to me that the tools and parameters shape the final product a certain way. If a magazine publisher hires you to write a short story, you can write a much longer one of course, but should not the definitive product (the art) be the story given the constraints of word count? as I would think that that would shape a number of myriad decisions in the process of creation.


But even that aside, perhaps a director is almost forced to characterize the theatrical versions as definitive. If they are not the definitive versions, then what are they? It might be a hard sell to say that the definitive version only comes later. I know some films go straight to DVD, but I haven't heard much in the way of directors skipping theaters because they feel the time needed would be too problematic -- although obviously monetary considerations loom large in the business in any case!

As Eldorion noted, Jackson might have felt he needed to say what he said due to the timing of things (which I was not aware of in any event), but what if he were to say, ten years later, that the extended editions are the true, definitive versions upon which fair criticism should be based?

Or is there a middle stance that doesn't seem overly convenient as far as criticism goes?
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Re: 10 years

Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:24 am

I think some Directors have their preferred edits and call them The Directors Cut, like for such films as Bladerunner, but I have never heard the EE called such. and I have not heard that the studio imposed the theatrical version over the EE for any commercial reasons, so as far as I know Jackson prefers the theatrical versions. I think its down to our own preference at the end of the day.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:45 am

I think the quote from Jackson illustrates some of the differences between theatrical and home video films, which I agree with you about. However, in this day and age it is expected that films released in theatres will also be released on home video. I'm sure this is largely a commercial reality but as the Extended Editions prove (along with revisions of other movies, such as the Director's Cuts of Blade Runner and Kingdom of Heaven prove), it is also an artistic reality. The differences in the medium have implications on film as an art form, even if that doesn't effect many films.

However, with that in mind, I think it's reasonable to assume that while Jackson was hired to make theatrical films, New Line also had it in mind that they would be released on home video as well. I don't know how early the idea of the EEs was developed, but clearly by the time the films were being released it was understood that Jackson would be making two versions. I think that's the best way to approach the EEs: as a parallel version of the trilogy. Jackson actually noted something similar when he pointed out that the scene in which Galadriel gives lembas to the Fellowship is only in FOTR-EE, and in the second film the scene where Frodo and Sam eat lembas is only in TTT-EE, creating a semi-separate continuity.

I'm not sure this model works universally, but I think it is good for LOTR. For a film such as the aforementioned Blade Runner it might make more sense to see the Director's Cut as truly definitive since it is arguable that the artistic integrity of the director's vision was compromised due to meddling by the studio. On the other hand, film-making is by its nature a collaborative nature, so no film is ever purely its director's vision. So perhaps even then there are two legitimate but distinct versions of the film. But with LOTR, where PJ was largely free to make the films the way he wanted both for the TE and EE versions, I think it makes the most sense to look at them as two versions, made to fit different modes of presentation.

However, as a final thought (because I haven't cast doubt on my previous words enough yet Razz) the theatrical editions are still perfectly viewable on home video if you like them, and the EEs work just as well if not better on the big screen (as has been proven during multiple theatrical re-releases) if you don't mind long films. So perhaps the two versions were also made for different audiences: those who can sit through a four hour film and those who can't. Or maybe I'm totally off-base since I'm speculating wildly at this point. Laughing
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Re: 10 years

Post by Elthir on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:25 pm

Hmm, I had once assumed that the attitude was sort of like: the art is the cinematic release, and even though it's known extended editions are coming, they are basically made up of 'cut' material -- in other words: make the extended editions and sell them, yes (and please do, the more jools the better) but one 'can't' just make an action-rich film for the theater, for instance, and add crucial story elements for the extended editions.

But what do I know about how the actual filmmakers approach this!


If the idea really is that there's no definitive version, just two different versions and take your pick, then it seems fair criticism must be compartmentalized. Yet one can hardly say the extended editions are too long -- well, in a sense anyway -- I mean in theory one could make something very much longer and home viewers can approach the thing like a miniseries or whatever.

And it would seem a bit of a dodge for instance (to take your example Eldorion), that when met with the criticism of leaving a death of Saruman out, for someone to respond with something like: 'well then look at the extended edition, it's not out it's in! You probably will prefer the extended editions then.' Not that I can recall the filmmakers taking this line as a 'response', but on the interweb I'm guessing it might happen.

Also, I can think of at least two scenes that -- to my mind -- almost seem like they were really only intended, or ultimately intended let's say, for extended edition humour (whether these scenes are actually 'fittingly humorous' being another question): the drinking game, and the seemingly not quite dead orc scene. I used to think Jackson thought better of these scenes (at least) and rejected them, and then they became 'intended' for the extended edition, or at least ended up there. But maybe not? Or maybe there is a deleted scene section that is variant from the actual extended edition?



As for director's editions: I do get the feeling that with these the director is, if not outright claiming the director's cut is now the definitive version, at least giving this version precedence.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Kafria on Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:03 pm

An interesting topic. I wasn't aware Jackson had ever made such a comment!

I think it is fair to say that at the time the growth in DVD extras was a relatively new film and as recently alluded to the extent of behind the scene footage from this franchise was one of the first and most extensive.

I think both to a certain exten are bi-products of the long film run. I have no source for the following, just me own ideas, but I suspect that the extra footage grew from the uncertainty of how to start the first film. In large part the TT and ROTK the EE just have extra or elongated films slotted into place. This is not the case for FOTR, the difference is quite different and sets a very different tone. I think having edited the first film into the best release (in his eyes) PJ knew he had an alternate that was clearly distinct. This may have started the idea. Also with a year long principal shoot I am sure he was determined to cover as many bases as possible, so the extra footage is filmed to ensure all bases are covered.

I actually think the idea that the TE are the 'true art' is a fair point in that they are the releases that he made for experience in the cinema as three distinct parts released a year apart. These are the storys he wanted to tell (yes with his own revisions, this is a man who came to the story frm the cartoon and this is bound to have an effect on how he sees the story!), the character arcs he sees.

That does not in anyway make the EE less valuable. For those fans who wanted more from the books they deliver a lot and gave the studio and PJ a way to placate these fans, (and a cash cow to milk). It is true that a lot of effort went into finishing these off, good on the studio - I think it would be difficult for anyone having spent over ten years on a project to allow the last stuff that went out to be unfinished and cast a poor reflection on the rest of the work.

For comparison, should we release an edited version of LOTR with all the alternate scriblings and extended notes and then judge the story by that book. (I know people read, enjoy and debate from these ideas, but I don't think many judge the book itself as a read from this information.)

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Re: 10 years

Post by Elthir on Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:38 pm

By the way can anyone confirm or deny that there are available 'deleted scenes' that are separate from even the extended versions?

On youtube there are a number of deleted scenes available (currently), but I'm wondering if they are really part of the extended versions, and so only deleted in comparison to theatrical versions. I mean, I'm guessing there must be scenes filmed that, as they turned out, even Jackson didn't like, or that didn't work in either version for some reason?

It seems possible in theory anyway Wink
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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:12 pm

Elthir wrote:By the way can anyone confirm or deny that there are available 'deleted scenes' that are separate from even the extended versions?

I did a search for The Lord of the Rings deleted scenes on YouTube and all of the results that came back were of Extended Edition scenes. There are of course many scenes that were shot but that were unused in either version, but there has never to my knowledge been a list of deleted scenes strung together made available to the public, despite such a feature being standard for most movie documentary featurettes. The closest you'll get is a few unfinished snippets, such as Sauron vs. Aragorn or Arwen at Helm's Deep, that have been included in the context of the larger documentaries, but no full scenes.
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Re: 10 years

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:32 pm

Can't remeber where- migh tbe the commentary on the FotR EE's but there is mention that they shot a lot mor eof ormoris speech when he tries to take the Ring- as its one of my favourite speeches in FotR (thhe bbc4 version gives me goosebumps everytime) I would love to get my hand on that for inclusion in the megaedit.
Its also clear from how its been edited that they also shot Sam defeating the Watchers at the orc tower, another scene I would love to have restored into the megaedit.

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Re: 10 years

Post by Elthir on Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:50 pm

I guess I should have said 'available for viewing on the DVDs' themselves -- that is, a section of the DVD outside of the extended edition film that shows deleted scenes not used anywhere. But anyway I get the feeling that maybe I was clear enough, and that the youtube examples are truly part of the extended versions, even if they are referred to as 'deleted'.

Or so I take it Very Happy On youtube I saw a scene with Peter Jackson in it, in a ship. I guess it's part of the extended edition!
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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:04 pm

You are correct, there are not any deleted scenes (unused in both versions of the films) available on DVD or Blu-ray. All the YouTube videos of "deleted" scenes that I saw earlier were of EE clips, but if you were wondering about any of them in particular I can comment on those specifically if you link to them. Smile I take it you haven't seen the EEs?
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Re: 10 years

Post by Tinuviel on Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:33 am

I've seen a couple blurbs of scenes in the appendices. One was of Eowyn fighting in the glittering caves, and another was of Legolas in Ithilien and Gimli inspecting a jewel. They're really just blurbs though, showing them filming things that never made the final cuts of either movies.

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Re: 10 years

Post by Elthir on Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:17 am

Ah I see, thanks Tinuviel and Eldorion. And here's the one I referred to, if anyone is wondering which one I meant anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXyxpMGRD3c&feature=related


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Re: 10 years

Post by Eldorion on Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:52 am

That's the very first scene on the second disc of The Return of the King EE. I watch the EEs exclusively these days and it's been so long since I saw the theatrical cut that I had forgotten that was an EE-only scene. Laughing
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Re: 10 years

Post by Norc on Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:28 pm

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Re: 10 years

Post by Semiramis on Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:09 pm

Eldorion wrote: I watch the EEs exclusively these days and it's been so long since I saw the theatrical cut that I had forgotten that was an EE-only scene. Laughing
That's my problem too Laughing Last week they showed the Fellowship on tv and I was really shocked how short it was.... Rolling Eyes
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Re: 10 years

Post by Tinuviel on Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:30 pm


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