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Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:40 am

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While on the subject of Silmarillion movies, let’s pretend the lawsuit was over. A very ambitious director was given a green light and a boatload of money to film as much or as little of Silmarillion that they could.
Just how do you envision a film portrayal of the Music of Auir?

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:41 am

Otto's World

Good topic starter.
Knee jerk answer to the music of the Ainur question is that they would do it like the first section of Disney's Fantasia, using music and undergirding it with moving color and having a fabulous narrator reading it. They could start with some kind of totally generic splitting of the light. Maybe "white" and "silence" are parallel, so that Illuvatar's first contribution would look like a blank page with no sound. Start with basic colors and computer tones for music. Then split and show increasing variation and Ainur experimenting and playing using more colors and blends of colors, and textures, and depict sound that way by adding sounds made by different instruments and voices. Anyway, I would try to emphasize the movement from general to particular and do it in stages, trying to make the general as inclusive-seeming as possible so that maybe "violin sound" comes only after trees and varnish and horse hairs have been created. Maybe. "flute sound" comes only after metal has been made and smithed. Hmmm...Maybe not. Maybe all of those sounds are implicit in the beginning of time.

The challenge would be to make it clear that "white" is superior or more inclusive or more the "source" than colors. Otherwise it will look like there is "nothing" and that "stuff" isn't created until the more detailed things are made. Maybe that can be made clear by using images we already kind of know, like splitting "stuff" into basics like "earth," "air," "fire," and "water." Those have associated colors, I'm sure.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:41 am

Beren

Good idea, Otto's World, but if one went for that route, they'd have to keep it as an intro like in FOTR. It just seems like an audience couldn't watch more than 10 min of that without getting bored.

On the other hand, one could film it like it is represented in the books and in pictures. The only problem with that is how cheesy it would look. It just seems like a bunch of what the audience will call "angels" singing, then "God" showing them the earth would look very cheesy. One would have to portray it so it looks more adult and epic. You'd have to have a good imagination and a good visual effects/CG team.

But I'm also debating whether it should be filmed at all. On the one hand, I want to see every story in movie form, but on the other hand, it just seems something that is better in your mind (or in pictures) than it is on screen.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:41 am

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I think (hope) it would represent an ultimate achievement for some composer. Between the different musical themes representing elves and humans, all in contrast to Melkor's introduction of his own themes that clash. Tolkien laid out a nice general ideal for these themes, but visually how they would be represented is hard.
I guess the only thing close that I can think of is the opening for 2001 A space odyssey. And while it has reached an amazing level of status, when I saw it, I dunno, just didn't fully do it for me. The music and related imagery has grown so much that while my wife can laugh every time another TV show or movie lampoons it, she has never seen (or wants to see) 2001.
A voice over narration may make the scenes clearer, but at what cost to the music itself? A narrator, no matter how good, would detract the mind from imagery that the music is supposed to be invoking. Or would it?
I think, especially in America today (it's where I come from, so it's the only place I can say with some degree of personal experience) that the average viewing audience just couldn't grasp the music and visuals by themselves. But PJ and team did show with their prologue that a quick exposition can be done very well. Another example of their ability came with Faramir. Apparently, I forget how, it was determined that the viewing audience (not those who have already read the book) would be asking why armies from Rohan and Gondor are not going to help each other during the actions of Two Towers. A quick fix was made with the scene of Faramir looking over a map while speaking with a "lieutenant". Here is A, here is B, done, move on.
I think a quick explanation right at the start would be all that is needed. Or just a good visual distinction of who is who at the start could clear up some of the difficulty.
Ok, had a thought, and here it goes.

Start with a single star, Eru. Use a narrator to identify him, and then introduce 14(?) other stars as the Valar. You don't even have to name them, just label the group. When the music stars a field of smaller stars can appear to represent the many various (why can I not remember how to spell that, myar, miar, mi-ar) spirits. Let the field of stars work as an overlay of visual/color background that represents the themes of the music. Have the Melkor star swell when he attempts to make his own theme. Then stars can drift towards and away from him. Also the visual in the back can reflect the struggle by having darker reds/blacks/purples invade a spread against the lifelike greens and yellows.
Finish it off with a return of the Narrator, or give Eru a voice, to explain that he has allowed their music to enter the void and become the world of Middle Earth.
I think a lot can be done with that.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:42 am

Durin

Even though I only answer Logical and Possible Questions, I just had to join in on this one Very Happy . I think, even if a director was given the rights to film this movie, I do not see how he could possibly film thousands of years of the Making of Middle Earth, and all that happened before the Hobbit and beyond. They would have to include all of the characters mentioned in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit alike, telling of how they came to be, and how. The Silmarillion is almost impossible to film. And even if they somehow were able to film this, they would have to break it down into nearly 2 Parts or more. Plus, for all the money it would take to hire all the actors, Film, and Computer Animation, and many other needs, I do not think they would even get a profit, if not a deficit from this Movie. First of all, many people would not know much of what the Silmarillion is about except those very interested in Tolkien's work. Second of all, even if some did know of what it was, there is not as much action (Fighting) as there is in ROTK, and The Two Towers. Many people who do not appreciate Tolkien would not be impressed, thus creating a bad review, insulting Tolkien on one of his most Prized Book. And there is not a Law Suit on this for no reason, it is one of the Hardest Books to film. So, I would not even recommend trying to come out with a Movie based on the Silmarillion.

Best Wishes,

Durin

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:43 am

Beren

I think we have all agreed that it would have to be several parts. In fact, it would not be hard at all, imo, to make 10 films out of it. But I think the most practical money-maker would be just the "Big Three." Beren and Luthien, Turin, and Gondolin. Those would attract people, and would most likely make profit.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:43 am

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Durin poses a good point about the Silmarillion in its entirety being unfilmable. But the same was said about Lord of the Rings. Regardless of the impossibility of it, just look at "The Hunt for Gollum". Unofficial fan-films can be fantastic (and that one looks to be a great contender). Films made by those who love the stories, not box offices. This is why I titled the thread Posibilities, I hoped to hear ideas for what other fans could invision.

I think the Big Three could be set very well between two more films, making a total of five.
Film one being the following:
Prolouge of creation of Ea, introduction of the Valar & Melkor, Bringing the Elves to Valinor/Chaining of Melkor.
This would be one of the largest digressions from the book as this history would be greatly chopped down for time and pacing.
The core of the Film focuses on the Noldor, specifically there relation with Melkor and the creation of the Silmarils.
The sons swear their oath, kill some Teleri, and a whole bunch of folks head back to Middle-Earth. From there we can see a little battle with Orcs and the beginning of the Siege of Angbad (sp?).
Wrap the whole thing up with Men showing up on the scene.

That a big one, not sure if they could pull it off in one, Maybe make the introduction of Men into a second film, but with a great story teller at the helm, I think it's doable.

Then the Big Three, as discussed on the How Many films for Silmarillion thread.

Finish with Earendil taking the Silmaril gained by Beren and sailing to Valinor. The Wrath of the Valar and the final overthrow of Melkor. Finish up with a wonderful ending. Contrast the founding of Numenor with the hiding of Sauron. Setting up the possibility of filming the Akellebeth as well.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:44 am

Beren

I agree that the Oath should be in a movie somewhere. But one must be careful devoting an entire move to "setup." I could see the movie focusing much more on the killing at Swanhaven, the Flight of the Noldor, and the burning of the ships. Then, perhaps, once the elves are getting settled in Middle-Earth, they could find Men.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:44 am

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Effectivley making one film the initial fall of the elves and a second the rise of Men? I like it. I was trying to see a way to make a single film that would adequetly entertain and set up the big three.
The story of Beren and Luthien really needs (in my opinion) a good explanation of the Silmarils. The story is strongly influenced by who has them (Melkor), who wants them (Feanor's sons, and just about everyone else who sees them), and all the desire and doom focused on those three jewels. Not to mention that recovering one of these from Melkor allows for the eventuality of Earendil being able to make the voyage to Valinor.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:44 am

Aureentuluva

I agree with those who have said that one movie cant do justice to the richness and detail of The Silmarillion.Having said that, I dont think we need to really devote so much attention to the Ainulindale and the initial parts of the Valaquenta although,admittedly they are the most fundamental tapestry on which the world Ea, its histories and Doom are woven. Maybe it would suffice to show it as a 10-minute prologue much like one in the LOTR-1 with some of the key elements like a few frames of the angelic Ainur visualized as entities of pure energy and light, creating and yet being part of a cosmic explosion of sentience including the discordant Melkor.Like Galadriel in the earlier movies maybe Varda could be the voice-over for this prologue. It could go on to show the realization of Ea and Arda as proto-worlds much like the creation of the Solar system. It could then move on to the Lamps,Almaren and their destruction. Or,well,maybe the Lamps could be ignored and the prologue could go straight to Valinor and a few frames of the most important among the Aratar like Manwe,Varda,Tulkas,Orome,Ulmo and Aule in their element. It could finish with a scene of the young world in starlit semidarkness,awaiting the Awakening Of The Firstborn .

I guess how it should proceed from here depends on which part of the epic the movie focusses on. For example one movie could recount the Journey from Cuivienen to Valinor , the creation of the Silmarils by the Flame-like Feanor,It could then show scenes of Melkor destroying the Trees of light ,leading to Feanor's Oath and the subsequent Doom of Mandos.This could cover the first half of the movie.

The second could describe the doomed Journey back to Middle-Earth,the First Battle of Beleriand which would lead to the climax battle of the movie,the Dagor-nuin-Giliath in which Melkor unleashes the demonic Balrogs,despite which the Noldor win a glorious victory but at the cost of Feanor's life. It would seem a fitting depiction of the sad irony of the Fate of the Noldor.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:45 am

HObBiTzWiLlEaTyOu

The silmarillion in its entirety cant be done in one movie. Period. I dont think we have to debate that. I personally think the Silmarillion would make an epic animated film.

I do NOT mean animated like the old hobbit cartoon, or disney animation. If you want to see great graphics, look to video games or Japan. Anyone see Paprika. Watch Speed Racer (yes, I kow its a kids movie but Im in love with it) Half the time I cant tell whether things have been filmed or created. That technique applied to a fantasy world would be superb. Think of what happens in the book. Think of the worlds and the sights. Think of the Two Trees and the wars between the valar and Melkor. They skew, destroy, and recreate the geography of the WORLD at least twice. How about the first dawn of the sun? "Than Anar arose in glory, and the first dawn of the Sun was like a great fire upon the great towers of the Pelori; and the coulds of Middle Earth were kindled, and there was heard the sound of many waterfalls." (silmarillion, Of the Sun and Moon) I found this picture and thought it would be perfect for that scene: http://airage.deviantart.com/art/Foreign-skies-39355081

Not even to get into the denziens that inhabit populate the story. Who would play Luthien? How about Manwe?

Maybe Its just because Im an artist, but Ive seen the incredible pictures and scenes that can be created digitally and have full faith in animators to create an utterly stunning film of the SIlmarillion. For the beginning, the music of Iluvatar, I think a close up on fenorian letters ( not the tengwar, the older versions of script) would work well. For images, I think something like a simulation of the Big Bang (obviously, slowed down) and the unfurling of the music and the ainur might suffice. Ive always found pictures of galaxies and nebulas a calling to the imagination. Okay, Ive kinda ran on a bit but Im being chased off the internet. Peace~

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:46 am

Beren

I think that, with today's technology, they could do a much better job just using CGI along with live action, like they did with LOTR. An entirely animated version just doesn't appeal to me. The more live-action, the more real it is. I realize that the CGI (although the best of the time) in LOTR is starting to look dated. So think of how much better the technology is now, and think about what they could do. But, like Jackson, I am for as much live-action as possible. Instead of building CGI versions, Jackson filmed miniatures of Helms Deep, Isenguard, Minas Tirith, Osgiliath, etc. I think that the more film you actually use, the better. There is no substitute for real-life, no matter how real CGI looks.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:46 am

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And if you watch the extras with the movies, there was a lot of good and fun with the miniatures. Or bigatures as they came to be known.
I liked Jackson's approach. He didn't go with just one choice, he used whatever would work better for the shot. So the Watcher's tentacles were CGI. Animatronics or mini's just couldn't get the dynamics he wanted. But adding the water and splashing took a real extra umpf of work.
Then look at things like the water horses in FotR when they crossed the ford by Rivendell. I can not fathom how that could be done in a practical sense with mini's.

What about using a strictly motion capture system like they did for Beowulf? Motion capture really worked well for Gollum. If memory serves Gollum was redesigned to bring in all the facial contortions and physicality that Andy Serkis was doing when he would perform his lines. So not only did he provide the voice, but he really did provide the physical performance for the character as well.

In truth, animated may be (in my mind) the safest road for Silmarillion. Especially for continuity purposes. Many of the elves are left unchanged from beginning to end. And yet many men characters have to age a lot throughout the entire story. I personally think it would work better than using makeup to achieve all the age changes. But maybe I'm wrong. Also it will take time and funding to convince any studio to create films for the entirety of the story. Digital animation would allow character to remain visually intact, even if voice actors do not. There is also a potential for cost effectiveness for later films to avoid returning actor cost. (This may be a jaded comment, but it could easily happen)

There is no substitute for real-life, no matter how real CGI looks.

This may be true, but then perhaps adding CGI into the middle of a real shot would look worse than a pure CGI shot without any real elements? Just a thought.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:47 am

Beren

Well, take your example of the water horses in FOTR. Of course, that cannot be done with a miniature. But it's a great example of how you can meld CGI with live-action. Another example with water would be the river-god in Prince Caspian. The river and surrounding elements were from real footage, but they used CGI water to create the river god rising out of the river. I'm not sure if the CGI was the best (you could tell at points which water droplets were real and which were CGI), but it's an example of how it's done. I just feel like using just animation limits the depth of the story, and it takes away from the realism. If the movie-makers have every option open to them (live-action, bigatures, CGI, motion capture, everything), then they will be most able to bring it to life.

I know I'm being kind of intolerant to the animated option, but this is something that I feel strongly about.

I agree that, if they want to do the WHOLE Silmarillion, then it would be difficult using the same actor over and over again, especially for the Elves. But, personally, I think it would work best all around if they didn't try to do the whole book, but only did the big three. If they filmed these like they filmed LOTR (simultaniously), then people who are in all three (Thingol, for example) would not age all that much.

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Re: Filming Possibilities

Post by Old Forum on Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:47 am

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Ok, OK! I got it!

You make the big three:
Beren and Luthien
Turin Turimbar
Fall of Gondolin
You do these three in live action with all the trimmings, LotR style with the actors and the whole shebang.

Then you have smaller (re:2-2 1/2 hours) animated films that fill the rest of the novel!

Similar to the use of Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury and the Animatrix films.

You just need the some of the same people running the show to maintain a visual continuity.

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