Adapting Lord of the Rings

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:19 pm

Part of what made it successful was attracting new fans to the property as well.  Obviously it wouldn't have been made without the fans of the book, but its success came from both book readers and Middle-earth newbies.- Eldo

I am sure new folks went to see Bakshi too. PJ apparently among them as he had ever read the book before the he saw Bakshis version.
And if what Viggo said about the poor state of the second and third films before New Line let PJ go back and shoot a lot more does indicate that had Pj suffered the same issues Bakshi had- the studio stopping the funding and refusing any more mid-production- PJ's version may have ended up with just as many production issues as Bakshi's version has.

'His (Bakshi's) last concern was on his mistreatment by United Artists and how his “LOTR” was not properly marketed to the public.....is upset at how things went down in 1978 understandable when you realize how the studio screwed him over, to be blunt....Bakshi professed that the studio’s top brass didn’t understand the property at all.'- TORn interview

As to the change in studio it was form United Artisit putting the money in to Zaentz- 'after one key player at U.A. was fired and the deal almost called off, Bakshi got Saul Zaentz to come on board. Zaentz’s label Fantasy Records had released the soundtracks for Bakshi’s previous films but now he brought hard money to the table to buy out United Artists’ interest and actually produce “Rings.”- Zaentz also set up as abyproduct of thios the Tolkien Estate to hadle the rights- and they still do.

And I never aid he was fighting with Zaentz I said there were issues- mainly around the funding as prior to Rings Zaentz was a producer of soundtrack albums. He brought the money to the table but it was not the sort of money that UA had to bring to the deal before it all fell through and Zaentz had to buy them out to keep it going at all.

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Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:36 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:And if what Viggo said about the poor state of the second and third films before New Line let PJ go back and shoot a lot more does indicate that had Pj suffered the same issues Bakshi had- the studio stopping the funding and refusing any more mid-production- PJ's version may have ended up with just as many production issues as Bakshi's version has.

I've heard such things from sources other than the Viggo interview, so yeah, I think you have a point here.  But at least PJ's FOTR was released to the public as a finished film, even if it was only the first installment.  Bakshi's was not (obviously that's not the director's fault).

'His (Bakshi's) last concern was on his mistreatment by United Artists and how his “LOTR” was not properly marketed to the public.....is upset at how things went down in 1978 understandable when you realize how the studio screwed him over, to be blunt....Bakshi professed that the studio’s top brass didn’t understand the property at all.'- TORn interview

So actually reading those snippets in context, his only specific complaint is that the studio excluded the "Part 1" bit and marketed the film as the complete LOTR.  Which I agree was shitty of them, but it's not the same thing as the production itself being screwed over.

As to the change in studio it was form United Artisit putting the money in to Zaentz- 'after one key player at U.A. was fired and the deal almost called off, Bakshi got Saul Zaentz to come on board. Zaentz’s label Fantasy Records had released the soundtracks for Bakshi’s previous films but now he brought hard money to the table to buy out United Artists’ interest and actually produce “Rings.”- Zaentz also set up as abyproduct of thios the Tolkien Estate to hadle the rights- and they still do.

Okay, but that all happened before production began.  You said that, and I quote, "Bakshi on the otherhand had a studio change hands mid production on him".

And I never aid he was fighting with Zaentz I said there were issues- mainly around the funding as prior to Rings Zaentz was a producer of soundtrack albums. He brought the money to the table but it was not the sort of money that UA had to bring to the deal before it all fell through and Zaentz had to buy them out to keep it going at all.

They obviously ran out of money at some point since they didn't finish animating the film, but the bolded is not stated in TORn's interview with Bakshi so without knowing the source I can't really comment on this.  United Artists stayed on as the distributor at the very least.  The only specific thing about this that I can find on Wikipedia is a line about Zaentz not wanting (or being able?) to pay for the rights to a Led Zeppelin soundtrack.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:48 pm

UA also changed hands in 1978- which is the mid production bit I was talking about- unfortunately the relevant material on it- a series of books about UA that actually is in two parts- with the break being 1978 when it changed hands- but you have to pay for it so I cant get the info directly about who left and who took over. But Bakshi has referenced it before as I have read it somewhere- trying to track it down now (thats on top of the Zaentz stuff).
As to the cash- well once Zaentz took over production UA pretty much washed their hands of the cash side of it, they were no longer producing it- and Zaentz's company, a producer of soundtracks simply did not have the sort of money a huge established film studio like UA would have had- that seems pretty self evident it would be the case. And when you couple it with complaints over the years from Bakshi about funding, not just the marketing, it seems to fit.

As to Zaentz he bought out UA production rights- they still put it out on the UA name, and it was (appallingly) marketed by UA (who clearly were not interested by this time) but they had no direct hand in the production or funding of the film after the initial pay out and after Zaentz bought in to it.

'now he brought hard money to the table to buy out United Artists’ interest and actually produce “Rings.”'

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Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:51 pm

What you say about Zaentz and budgeting does make sense, and UA as the distributor (not the producer) would have presumably footed the bill for marketing.  I was able to find a reference on the Wikipedia page for United Artists about a major change in executives there in 1978 as a result of meddling from the corporation that owned the studio, so that might be what resulted in the subpar marketing effort. Shrugging
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:55 pm

Quite likely- but Im not dipping into my sporran just to find out!

I think its fair to say had PJ been treated the same way by New Line the outcome of his trilogy would have been very different indeed.

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:02 pm

there's no doubt funding makes a big difference. Not sure how much the Bakshi version would have been improved by better funding as many of the basic choices just seemed wrong headed, but there's no doubt PJ's version would have suffered tremendously if he was undercut.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:14 pm

Bakshi's original pitch was for three films. When I watch his film the biggest thing for me is that it tries to get too much in- had he got the funding for three films, given how much more highly I rate his script for the FotR part versus PJ's- I can only imagine that such a script given the time to just cover fotr would have made a huge difference- would it have meant ugly hobbits? Boromir dressed as viking still- probably yes, I dont think those had anything to do with budget (though the look of some things does have to do with time constraints so maybe it would be different)- but it could have had the time to breath which is what it so badly lacks, it would have had time to properly introduce characters, and as Bakshi had stipulated to use Tolkiens words it would have been a lot more authentic than what PJ gave us.

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Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:17 pm

It sucks for Bakshi but at the end of the day filmmaking is a collaborative artform and no director makes films by themselves. Regardless of whose fault it is, the film we actually got is a mess.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:35 pm

But not all of it- I would take Bakhis' Black Riders over Pj's any day, PJ's just aren't scarey. I would take Bakshi's script characterisations over Pj's- his Frodo is much better, defies the wraiths at the Ford ect doesn't just fall over all the time. His dialogue is better as its all Tolkiens, even if it is truncated Tolkien in many places. And he doesn't make an arse over explaining simple things- like why Frodo is the footstep of doom to the elves or what Balin is doing in Moria. And as they have to condense to much they also have a better grasp of which scenes are actually necessary for characters and have to be kept- so we have the dissension over the route in the company as it showcases each character's viewpoint, and which PJ leaves out despite the much longer running time. Among other examples. And Bakshi doesn't waste screen time on plot and ideas that are entirely of his own creation, unlike PJ who does so to such a degree that that purely invented material takes up an entire 3 hours worth of screen time (based on how much I cut from the purist edits that was pure PJ invention).

So yeah Bakshi didn't get to make the vision he had, and he didn't make a great film as a result- but he didn't make the awful film some others here seem to think either without any merits, and he did a lot better at some things in my view than PJ and the Coven managed with superior budgets, cast and effects.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:48 pm

the only reason the studios refused to fund any more was they realised it wasn't going to make them any money. Maybe it was a labour of love for Bakshi, but at the end of the day its a turkey. and an ugly one at that. PJs version is vastly superior in every way. Animation was never going to cut it, not then, not now, not ever. You need human actors to do it justice, even the most perfect cgi is creepy, take that Christmas Express monstrosity with Tom Hanks, all those dead eyes. *shudder*


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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:52 pm

I dont see the evidence to back that up Figg -the first one  returned them more than four times the expenditure- thats a decent return (and I think those are only US figures, not global sales).
It seem more likely that Bakshi's assessment that the studio just didn't understand the property is more likely, and given they cut and run on it before it was even properly going and then the lacklustre marketing it got I think the problem was their attitude to the product. They simply showed little interest in it.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:05 pm

its very simple, the studios guys watched it. No

There's nothing there to redeem it. Its not charming or quirky, its certainly not pretty or atmospheric, its clunky, amateurish, and those Hobbits are butt ugly. It doesn't have the magic to sustain it, its cheesy, cringeworthy, dated, anachronistic and dull. have I mentioned the horrible backgrounds? stoopid costumes, and Legolas. Rolling Eyes I have seen Russian animation from the 50s and 60s with 100% more charm and life in the first 2 minutes than Baksis version has in the whole film.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:13 pm

That is a matter of opinion- I've already listed some of the things I think Bakshi does better than PJ and I think there are good arguments to back those up. That of course is my opinion.

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:15 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:its very simple, the studios guys watched it.  No

I have to agree.  Even though it turned a profit I wouldn't have backed a second half.  It's a matter of pride. Look how many voices on here can't stand it versus the few who like it. Statistically I think the studio would have gone the same way: about 3 to 1 against it.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:25 pm

Studious arent known for making decisions on artistic merits (then or now sadly) usually its the bottom line.
I think Bakhsi himself might be part of the reason- in interviews he seems, rather difficult to say the least.

And I dont get the complaint about the backgrounds- do I like them all or all the choices? No, but there are some very nice backgrounds in there-

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Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:27 pm

aaaaaaarg! take Legolas away! affraid

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:31 pm

I like Aragorn, apart from the red indian clothes but I do like he is not handsome but rugged and craggy and looks like someone who has spent most of their adult life living in the wilds. Just as Tolkien describes him- with a rascally look not to be trusted at first glance- All that is gold does not glitter!  And he looks intelligent- which is quite tricky to capture in animation. And John Hurt as Aragorn- come on!

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Post by halfwise on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:35 pm

Aragorn has no charisma, and that belt buckle hardly helps.

I do agree those are nice backgrounds, but in other places they were just odd. And they don't fit with the cartoonish characters.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:57 pm

The backgrounds follow the same general artistic choice the character design does I outlined earlier- fidelity to source description does not seem so important to them as trying to evoke the mood of the source at each turn- how successful that is will of course vary person to person.
Take the Boromir shot above- he is leaning against a tree as he is in the book when Aragorn finds him but the rest of the surrounds do not look as much like the book description of Parth Galen as Pj's location does- but it evokes the mood of the moment very well through the art and lighting of it.
Some of the more extreme backgrounds appear when the Ring is worn to represent he Ring world and they can be quite outlandish- and one of the more extreme cases of background occurs at Helms Deep with its total red smoke 'effect' over the whole thing. But its the same basic idea behind the choices.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:47 pm

the backgrounds are muddy and grubby looking, Aragorn looks like a white van driver from Eastenders, the ones that shout a lot.

Bakshis Aragorn sings at his coronation. eat your heart out viggo. Laughing


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Post by Eldorion on Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:20 pm

Whatever that thing that Boromir is leaning against is, it does not look like a tree. It appears to have horned skulls ringing it where there should be branches.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:32 pm

Those arent skulls- you get lots of trees like that round here, theres a name for it but it escapes me at the moment, its when you get a tree that either partly being uprooted or has been cut high enough up the trunk or snapped in storm that its not dead, then you get those sort of bulbous growth bits you are mistaking for the skulls out of which new branches grow upwards from- they look just like that.

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Post by malickfan on Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:00 pm

The backgrounds are quite nice, but everything just seems kinda...small...

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Post by David H on Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:16 pm

I got to see Bakshi's version in the college theater when it first came out. Some of the Cinema Arts students were Tolkien fans and somehow managed to get a print of the movie while it was still in first run. We were all terribly excited going in, and horribly disappointed as we were leaving. I was one of the few who stuck it out to the end.

I think it's clear the Bakshi had a grand vision of something that had never been done before in the history of animation. And there were moments scattered through the movie where you could almost see the grand vision he was reaching for. You're right Petty. I think some of the design work was brilliant. But I also don't blame the studios for reining him in. If they'd given him a blank check and an open calendar, I think he'd have still been working on the project.

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Adapting Lord of the Rings - Page 9 Empty Re: Adapting Lord of the Rings

Post by Radaghast on Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:35 am

As a general rule, I do think it's a bit presumptuous for anyone to put a "Part One" in a movie title, unless perhaps if it's done as satire.

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Adapting Lord of the Rings - Page 9 WiuVcmi
Radaghast
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