Adapting Lord of the Rings

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Post by Mrs Figg on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:58 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:It doesn't make me giggle.
Yes there is stuff Im not keen on, the orc fangs are a bit much and hard to do and get them not to look stuck on. But the direction is good, the 'performances' are good, the rotoscoping on Boromir is very well done, and the look on Aragorns face is a very nice bit of animation indeed.
I also actually in general prefer the orcs here, they are more animalistic, more threatening, and I like how they are almost a dark mass of bodies rather than individual orcs, but when you do see individual ones they come in different shapes and sizes. Also hair. They have hairy backs and arms, and longer apish arms. Tolkien mention the arm thing, and the hair when Pippin has his face pressed into it when being carried. Better than those waxed pretenders of PJ's!

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:54 am

Grrrrrr! Mad I am being serious woman! Evil or Very Mad

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Post by Radaghast on Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:31 am

PJ's orcs are the Stormtroopers of the fantasy world. As for Boromir's death scene in his version, apart from everything else, it's pretty silly that only one guy would have a bow and arrows.

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Post by halfwise on Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:03 am

And yet it was perfectly timed for dramatic effect: the bouts of action, the inexorable drumbeats of arrows slamming home. Petty may complain about it pulling every dramatic heartstring in the book, but it was a tour de force, and perhaps the most effective scene in the whole movie.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:59 am

Oh it is a good bit of cinema PJ's Boromir death scene, I've cited it before as one of my favourite Pj scenes, but its not subtle in its deivces.
But I also like the Bakshi version, I like its suddenness, I like its brutality and it feels more gritty and realistic to me despite being the cartoon. It has an effective starkness to it that works for me.

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Post by Radaghast on Tue Jul 14, 2015 3:57 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Oh it is a good bit of cinema PJ's Boromir death scene, I've cited it before as one of my favourite Pj scenes, but its not subtle in its deivces.
Not believable either. That's just my opinion (a minority one, I know).

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Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:52 am

"Mind if I cut in?
Slice of you to stop by!"
Razz

But anyway, some of Jackson's scene is borrowed from Bakshi of course, shot-for-shot in some cases. Look, for example, at the way the camera goes back and forth between Boromir getting hit by the arrows and the orc's response to Boromir getting hit. An arrow thunks into his chest, and an orc snarls in approval, back and forth. We get that same cadence in FotR. Albeit far more polished, dramatic, and (honestly) affective.

I still like some of what Petty talks about here, but unlike some of the other passages in the two movies, I don't think there's any competition on which is more moving and well-made (and not just in terms of budget).

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:14 am

That's just my opinion (a minority one, I know).- Radaghast

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'unlike some of the other passages in the two movies, I don't think there's any competition on which is more moving and well-made (and not just in terms of budget).'

I'm not sure how to judge 'well-made', certainly the Bakshi version suffers form a couple of unfinished animation shots, most notable when the hobbits run into the orcs the full animation has not been overlaid on the actors (whenever Bakshi resorts to the all red filter its usually to help mask the unfinished bits they ran out of budget to complete), but most other aspects are exceptionally well made, and the performances for the voice actors are also well done. Facial animation is superb at conveying the emotion of the piece too. I genuinely feel that one look of anguish form Aragorn to Gimli and Legolas says more about Aragorn feelings at that moment, both the loss and his own sense of failure and responsibility for it, than we get from PJ's Aragorn full stop.

PJ's version is an editing room creation, and nothing wrong with that, lots of films only come together in the editing suite (famously Star Wars among them) but there is a certain ease to being able to pick in an editing room from a hundred different shots and knowing if you want a different shot a team of actors, rotoscopers and artists are going to have go make it. So I think its a hard one to judge on the basis of which is 'better made'. But it is without a doubt more polished.

There is no doubt PJ's version works and is effective, even if for my tastes it is a bit melodramatic. I do like the suddeness of it in the Bakshi version, it has a shock factor that I don't feel the PJ version does have.

In short I actually don't mind either version for the most part, there are small bits in both I could do without, but I feel both are equally valid, and more importantly effective, ways to portray his death on screen.
My own personal taste tends to lean just slightly to Bakshi for the variety of reasons I've already outlined, but I don't object to either version (much!).

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:51 pm

Here's where I have my biggest problem with PJ's version- its about the wrong thing.
There is a massive gulf of difference between PJ and Tolkien Aragorn, and Bormoir's death is one of those places it really shows up for me.
In the book Bormoir's death is a crucial moment for Aragorn.
Book Aragorn has no doubts over his right to be King, he is 100% certain about that- but Parth Galen is the first time we see him doubting his ability to fulfil that role. Its about Aragorn questioning his own judgement, taking on responsibility for his choices, including that of Boromir's death and the hobbits capture by orcs, and then making a choice of who to follow.  And any King will have to be able to make those sort of decisions and live with their consequences. We are seeing Aragorn's potential King being tested for the first time.
And in the end that choice is not made by logic or reason. but by following his heart- "My heart speaks clearly at last." And that's crucial, as its that inner strength, that heart of Numenor, that will be where Aragorn rules justly from. Not decisions taken for personal gain (following Frodo and making sure he succeeds is the surer way there) but doing what he feels within is the right thing to do regardless of whether that benefits his own ambition or not.

The entire substance of character development surrounding the death of Boromir is on Aragorn, his doubts, his regrets, his questioning of himself. Afterall if he cannot make the right decisions in becoming King it matters not a jot if he is destined to it or not, he will either fail to achieve it or not be able to live up to it if he does.
And Tolkien as author knows Aragorn is going to e essentially the lead character for several upcoming chapters as they pursue the orcs and go to Eodras and Helms Deep. We need this development of Aragorn, not only to know he may be fallible, but more importantly that he is capable of doubt, regret and of self questioning. It sets the character up for what is to follow.

Now none of this self doubt exists in PJ's version. His Aragorn doesn't believe he has a right to be King, he is reluctant to wield that power and doubts that his ancestry his a good thing but instead fears it means he will succumb as Isildur did. He does not however question his actions, PJ's version cannot because narratively his arc now has to be- reluctance overcome by him proving himself to himself by his actions. He has to always succeed in his own mind.

So instead of the death of Boromir being about Aragorn's development in PJ's quickly goes from Boromir is dead, to hero gets to fight films big bad guy and kill him.
There is no reluctance or regret or angst shown by PJ's Aragorn over the decision to follow Merry and Pippin, there is no blaming himself -"This is a bitter end. Now the Company is all in ruin. It is I that have failed. Vain was Gandalf's trust in me. What shall I do now? Boromir has laid it on me to go to Minas Tirith, and my heart desires it; but where are the Ring and the Bearer? How shall I find them and save the Quest from disaster?" - none of that, there is in fact nothing but what Hollywood would expect- a big hero v villain fight for a rousing finale. And even worse the one strong emotion PJ Aragorn is displaying is revenge- he wants to kill the orc who killed Boromir and avenge himself on it. Which he does in limb chopping head chopping style. It couldn't be more different from the books focus at the same point in the narrative if they tried, and they seem to have tried very hard indeed.

So for me PJ's meddling in Aragorn's character means Boromir's death scene, whilst a fine bit of cinema technically serves a purpose utterly other than it should do in the narrative. And the purpose it does serve is far, far weaker and less crucial to the story and to Aragorns character in particular than Tolkiens.
Like the Mirror of Galadriel scene its another example of where all the pretty is in place but the script completely misses the point of the scene.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:51 pm

I'll let you get on with your quixotic quest. Rolling Eyes

where's those windmills?!!!1

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 4:39 pm

I think its backed up by the text Shrugging (and obviously what's in the text is not in PJ's version).

I mean if you think about it, at the exact same moment in the story in the book Aragorn is lamenting his own perceived failings, in the film he is chopping up an orc to rousing cheers and swelling triumphant music. They are at opposite ends in sentiment and meaning.

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Post by halfwise on Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:38 pm

Interesting point bout the shift of emphasis with Aragorn, but not completely right as I think in Viggo's acting he shows some of what did not come through in the script.

I like the yell Boromir gives in the Bakshi version and all the orcs back off in a panic before realising he s no longer a threat and dealing the final arrow- that one gesture where they act like a pack captured something about orcs for me PJ's never did about them.

Actually, Bakshi's orcs remind me of Jawas.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:48 pm

Credit to Viggo in that he does that at a few points throughout the films- brings book Aragorn out in a look or gesture from behind the script, but its still not the focus of PJ's narrative, that's elsewhere.
Its no more than a nod and a wink to book fans at the end of the day, its not what the film is interested in saying, it has a different Aragorn story to tell- so after the Hollywood fight scene Boromir's death conversation with Aragorn becomes in service to the reluctant king thing instead. Then they give Boromir to the river, then Aragorn decides without showing any signs to this point that he is unsure, has lamented his decisions that day, or felt that Gandalf's trust him was misplaced.

A looks or two is nice enough, but its not the same thing.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:48 pm

talking of animation reminded me of my favourite animator Yuriy Norshteyn


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Post by azriel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:36 am

That was a lovely animation Nod really liked that.
This, was on TV last Christmas......



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Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:42 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:talking of animation reminded me of my favourite animator Yuriy Norshteyn


I think I posted that in some animation thread ages ago, one of my favourite animated films too Smile

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Post by Tinuviel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 5:46 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Credit to Viggo in that he does that at a few points throughout the films- brings book Aragorn out in a look or gesture from behind the script, but its still not the focus of PJ's narrative, that's elsewhere.
Its no more than a nod and a wink to book fans at the end of the day, its not what the film is interested in saying, it has a different Aragorn story to tell- so after the Hollywood fight scene Boromir's death conversation with Aragorn becomes in service to the reluctant king thing instead. Then they give Boromir to the river, then Aragorn decides without showing any signs to this point that he is unsure, has lamented his decisions that day, or felt that Gandalf's trust him was misplaced.

A looks or two is nice enough, but its not the same thing.

That's a part that I enjoyed in the books, the fact that Aragorn wasn't the reluctant King so much as a King who is way too hard on himself.
I also thought it was (funny?) that he gets distracted up on the seat of Amon Hen (not sure if that's the correct name don't have a book to reference at the moment) and it's broken from the sound of the horn. Then he has that "oh shit" moment.

Also his deciding to let Frodo go in the film is a classic example of PJ's one-movie-full-circle-character-arc. He refused the ring-- Look! He's stronger than he thought! Take that Isildur! And that takes care of the that. We don't see the reluctant King again until ROTK. He seems pretty commanding in TT (as he was in the book, particularly Helms Deep) but then he goes backward again? He's a plot driven action hero esc character in the films. In the books he goes from quirky Strider who hides behind doors and messes with Butterbur to a King commanding two armies. The movies he just goes from gross to less gross looking.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:34 pm

Yes its such a shame Aragorns proper character and arc are not present in PJ's. And I hadn't thought about the 'one-movie-full circle-character-arc' of Aragorn in FotR but you are absolutely right. Nod

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Post by malickfan on Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:16 pm

Reminds me of Thorin's convenient arc resolution in AUJ with the fight with the fork monster 'I've just been very badly injured, I'm rather exhuasted and I should have suffered both substantial bleeding and a severe scolding from the group for my actions...but instead I've finally realized By the way...I've never been more wrong, Let's have a cheesy hug then conveniently forget my injuries in the next film, which starts the very next day chronologically...Oh yeah, I'll turn into a bit of a pillock again later anyway so don't take any of this character bonding stuff too seriously Bilbo'.

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Post by Tinuviel on Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:53 pm

^ Exactly my point. I get that each movie has to have some kind of climax and resolution, but that's plot related, it doesn't need to be character related!

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Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:03 pm

I don't agree that's there is any comparison with Thorins arc which is so obviously resolved by the end of AUJ. Aragorn may be more masterful in the battle of Helms Deep but firstly, he doesn't take charge over the authority of Théoden, he is most definitely just a war captain, NOT a king in that battle, secondly he was swinging into battle mode, something he had trained for all his adult life, ie sorting out weapons, scoping the terrain, he was deferential to the king and didn't 'become' a secondary king at that point.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:41 pm

Aragorn may be more masterful in the battle of Helms Deep but firstly, he doesn't take charge over the authority of Théoden, he is most definitely just a war captain, NOT a king in that battle- Figg

But that's my problem with film Aragorn- he should be acting like a King- Rohan is where we first see him dealing with people on an equal social status- and Aragorn's language changes- he speaks as an equal to Theoden and we have that wonderful exchange between Aragorn and Eomer about legends springing up out the grass and how the grass and the earth itself is a thing of legend, yet visible before us.

Sadly thats not the Aragorn of the film or his story.

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Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:06 pm

and sadly yet again you see what you want to see. Aragorn from the book was very careful to NOT take on the mantle of kingship or even set foot into minas Tirith until his right to the title had been sanctioned. He in no way took on any kingly attributes until that time. Even the younger Hobbits were surprised at the change from their Strider to Aragorn the king at the end of ROTK. He was careful to hide his claim until the very last, so this is totally in keeping with the film.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:17 pm

No he doesn't declare himself as King, but he declares his lineage and therefore his right to claim it. And he makes it clear he is going to.
Its in how he speaks. Gandalf even heralds him at the doors of Edoras as 'the heir of Kings' and when challenged to leave his sword Aragorn argues his position on the basis his lineage is superior- 'It is not clear to me that the will of Theoden son of Thengel even though he be lord of the Mark, should prevail over the will of Aragorn son of Arathorn, Elendil's heir of Gondor.'

There is nothing reluctant about Tolkiens Aragorn when it comes to his certainty over his right to his claim. The reluctant Aragorn proving himself to himself by his actions, in order to overcome his fear that he will succumb as his ancestors did is PJ's story. Buit that change means removing all the points in the book, like Rohan where he declares himself and acts like an equal to other kings and Lords like Eomer.


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Post by David H on Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:34 pm

What always drew me to the Aragorn character was his ambiguity. From the description of Narsil at the first meeting in Bree, my memory is that Tolkien alternately contrasts the nobility with the roughness and brokenness. I think, many things in LotR, Tolkien leaves a lot of room for the reader's imagination.

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