Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:17 am

Eldorion wrote: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 didn't say anything about it needing to be identical to my mental image. Just following the book, at least in certain parts, like this one, would be enough. You can put as much artistic spin on it as you want, just follow the story and be logical about it.

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.
You're inferring far too much from my comments. I don't think Jackson owes me anything and I don't think I ever said so. I certainly never meant to. If there were no live action LotR films, that would be just fine with me.

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.
Sorry, but this is just a curious statement. A whip around Gandalf's legs with a Balrog at the other end pulling on him (and probably causing intense pain) is less dramatic than his falling for no reason at all?

And I'm not playing coy. I'm honestly curious about what fans of this movie think of that part.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Eldorion on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:29 am

Radaghast wrote: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?

I didn't say it was unfilmable nor do I think that it was.  If you re-read my post you may notice that "the movies" had different sensibilities, as in "these movies, made by these specific filmmakers" before separately noting that there are some inherent differences in the mediums.  I'll admit I could have been a little clearer, but my basic point here is that I don't give a shit that PJ approached the story with different goals and interests than Tolkien did.

Radaghast wrote:I didn't say anything about it needing to be identical to my mental image. Just following the book, at least in certain parts, like this one, would be enough. You can put as much artistic spin on it as you want, just follow the story and be logical about it.

...

You're inferring far too much from my comments. I don't think Jackson owes me anything and I don't think I ever said so. I certainly never meant to. If there were no live action LotR films, that would be just fine with me.

I think the big disconnect here is that I watch the movies wanting to see good movies regardless of whether they're faithful to the books, and while I have no problem calling out divergences from the source material, it's ultimately not my main concern.  The films can be good as stand-alone entertainment regardless of whether the book was better or different.  Whereas -- and I apologize if I'm putting words into your mouth -- you seem to be more interested in comparing everything in the films to their book equivalents rather than seeing if they are effective on their own terms.

Sorry, but this is just a curious statement. A whip around Gandalf's legs with a Balrog at the other end pulling on him (and probably causing intense pain) is less dramatic than his falling for no reason at all?

And I'm not playing coy. I'm honestly curious about what fans of this movie think of that part.

I said that PJ wanted the dramatic close-up of Gandalf.  PJ fucking loves close-ups of people's faces; the trilogy is full of them.  He wanted one of Gandalf for this moment so he tweaked the sequence of events in a way that doesn't make much sense if you think about it but is still emotionally effective for the majority of viewers.
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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:29 pm

Eldorion wrote:
Radaghast wrote: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?

I didn't say it was unfilmable nor do I think that it was.  If you re-read my post you may notice that "the movies" had different sensibilities, as in "these movies, made by these specific filmmakers" before separately noting that there are some inherent differences in the mediums.  I'll admit I could have been a little clearer, but my basic point here is that I don't give a shit that PJ approached the story with different goals and interests than Tolkien did.
I didn't say you said it was unfilmable, I was asking if you thought so. But, fair enough, you don't care one way or another.

Eldorion wrote:I think the big disconnect here is that I watch the movies wanting to see good movies regardless of whether they're faithful to the books, and while I have no problem calling out divergences from the source material, it's ultimately not my main concern.  The films can be good as stand-alone entertainment regardless of whether the book was better or different.  Whereas -- and I apologize if I'm putting words into your mouth -- you seem to be more interested in comparing everything in the films to their book equivalents rather than seeing if they are effective on their own terms.
Actually, I think I've rather extensively been making the point, that Jackson's version doesn't work from a logical standpoint. If I've compared it to the book, it's because the book makes more sense and is more interesting, to me anyway. I don't understand what these terms are that determine that scenes should make less sense and be less interesting. I also don't think things should be changed for change's sake.

I don't think this particular novel is one that anyone should be allowed to played fast and loose with. It is the second-most popular, if not esteemed book in the world, after all. You've brought up the point that there would be no live action movie without Peter Jackson. Well, where would Peter Jackson be without The Lord of the Rings? Some of us actually do give a shit, and think he could have shown a bit more respect to the author's intent.

Sorry, but this is just a curious statement. A whip around Gandalf's legs with a Balrog at the other end pulling on him (and probably causing intense pain) is less dramatic than his falling for no reason at all?

I said that PJ wanted the dramatic close-up of Gandalf.  PJ fucking loves close-ups of people's faces; the trilogy is full of them.  He wanted one of Gandalf for this moment so he tweaked the sequence of events in a way that doesn't make much sense if you think about it but is still emotionally effective for the majority of viewers.
How does depicting the logical reason for Gandalf falling preclude an extreme close-up on his face? The sequence is the same: Balrog lashes whip, Gandalf falls; PJ just left out the crucial bit about Gandalf being caught by the Balrog's whip.

This discussion kind of reminds me of one I had on YouTube about The Shining, where the other person stated that "the point of visual storytelling is not to make sense or have depth, it's to use visuals to elicit emotional and intellectual responses out of its audience, end of discussion." I'm not saying that's your point, but there is a sort of notion that it's perfectly okay, even necessary to sacrifice story logic for drama (which PJ fails at anywaym imo).

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by halfwise on Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:45 pm

They did show the whip grabbing Gandalf's leg, it's just that it happened several seconds after the balrog fell. Estimating from memory, I think there was at least a 5 second delay. That's 125 meters. If we be generous and say the first 25 meters was falling the length of the balrog, that's still 100 meters. That's a long-ass whip.

We've also got the balrog falling at 50 m/s at that time (a bit less from air resistance I'll concede, let's give it a generous 30 m/s terminal velocity). That's the speed of a car on the expressway. Yet Gandalf manages to dangle for a few seconds before falling - was the whip still around his legs?

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:48 pm

Didn't the Balrog have wings? Obviously not wings that made it able to fly, in the present scenario anyway, but it might have halted to momentum. No?

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:20 pm

cut it anyway people like. The Moria scene was a masterclass in tension, excitement and great storytelling. The sequence is perfectly logical, and if anything, its stripped down to the basics and could have been embroidered and ruined, but wasn't. It builds a sense of dread, tension and exitement to a crescendo at the appearance of the Balrog. The proof in the pudding is every time I watch it, its as thrilling as the first time.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by azriel on Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:26 pm

And I dont really think the Balrog could have suspended his flight downwards by momentarily hanging onto Gandalf's legs. Gandy wouldnt be able to sustain that kind of tug from the weight of Bertie Balrog, who, afterall was SO much bigger & heavier than Gandalf. Gandy was allowed enough seconds to make that scene dramatic with his fearful expression & the words of wisdom..."fly, you fools". Peejers must have thought we needed a moment of heart rendering sorrow & sympathy, something to keep the audience glued because we sure as hell would have been bored how Tolkien wrote it eh ?

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:42 pm

halfwise wrote:They did show the whip grabbing Gandalf's leg, it's just that it happened several seconds after the balrog fell.  Estimating from memory, I think there was at least a 5 second delay.  That's 125 meters.  If we be generous and say the first 25 meters was falling the length of the balrog, that's still 100 meters.  That's a long-ass whip.

We've also got  the balrog falling at 50 m/s at that time (a bit less from air resistance I'll concede, let's give it a generous 30 m/s terminal velocity).  That's the speed of a car on the expressway.  Yet Gandalf manages to dangle for a few seconds before falling - was the whip still around his legs?
No, the whip wraps around Gandalf's right leg at about the 3:40 mark then almost immediately comes off.


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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by azriel on Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:05 pm

So, if there's no imminent threat to Gandalf why the chuff doesnt ANYONE help him ? Why is Frodo being held back ??

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:20 pm

It's bad writing that serves a purpose. It's emotionally stirring, and unproblematic, if you don't think too hard about it. Shrugging

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:39 pm

Radaghast wrote:
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.

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.

Yes, that is what the movie wants to say, but it doesn't show it.

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.

The earlier scene is what I was thinking of when I said that he was already weary despite that contest of wills over the door being absent from the film. I think its important to look at this sequence in terms of what kind of story it tells. Is Jackson trying to simulate events in this scene in terms of D&D practicality in which every second counts? No, he isn't. Is he faithfully following the story as written in the book? No, he isn't either.

What he's trying to do here, and this started all the way back with Saruman's voice-over lines about how Gandalf "fear[s] to enter those mines"; what he's trying to do here is to present an arc in which Gandalf's loss can be most heavily felt by the audience. He's the most likeable character in the film, and his death is very very important to get right. So Jackson foreshadows the Balrog heavily in connection with the wizard. He then introduces the creature in the most dramatic way possible, as the ultimate foe that has frightened off all other foes (and they were horrifying enough already). From the moment that the rumble of the Balrog reaches the company it becomes clear to Gandalf that he must either defeat this new enemy or the Fellowship will fail before it ever even reaches Mordor. At the very least there is a palpable sense of doom that overcomes Gandalf.

Jackson needs to show Gandalf's inner thoughts at this point, and he does so effectively (one can argue the book shows more because it presents actual dialogue, but this way is better suited to the pace of the film). He needs to keep the Balrog in the background longer, so that dread of its appearance can build up in the audience. He uses the silly but cinematic stair-toppling scene for that purpose. And he needs to continue to show us the viewpoint of the characters and how they feel about all of this. And he does. Gandalf's determination to stop the Balrog, the company's reaction to this battle of willpower, Gandalf's expression as he lets go of the ledge, the company's reaction to their loss, etc. etc.

This is all done. It's effective and it hits the beats that Jackson needs to hit for the loss of Gandalf to be emotionally and dramatically impactful. The trade-off is that we don't get the book's events, but that's cinema. It works, and it's still better than Bakshi's presentation of events which is really what this thread is about in the first place.

And so, finally, I think there is a very good reason that changes were made by Jackson. I think the emotions needed for the scenes to work are presented through acting and so on, and I think that Gandalf is very much struggling with internal issues as the looming threat of ones doom is quite an issue and inherently internal.


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The main complaint that Purists have about this scene is that Frodo being held back and Gandalf letting go on his own seems like his death was avoidable, making the whole theme of sacrifice rather flippant. It seems like someone could have gotten to him in time because of the way in which it is filmed in the movie.  Personally, I think running back out onto the bridge would have exposed them to the arrows of the orcs (imagine if Frodo had taken an arrow to the chest and toppled with the ring into the abyss, wouldn't that be a pretty turn of events), Gandalf may not have been able to even hold on long enough for them to reach him (he is very drained at this point), and the bridge might be safe but the company just saw half of it break away (this is a weak explanation, but perhaps that was Boromir's thinking).
So for these reasons I don't think that Gandalf could have been rescued from where he was hanging, and the scene is FAR more effective if he and Frodo can see eachother one last time. Having Gandalf be caught by the whip and falling off into the abyss shouting "FLY You FOooollllss... would not have worked well at all dramatically (or cinematically for that matter. Does one simply have his cry echo up from beneath, or show him falling and yelling?)

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:52 pm

what he's trying to do here is to present an arc in which Gandalf's loss can be most heavily felt by the audience. He's the most likeable character in the film, and his death is very very important to get right. So Jackson foreshadows the Balrog heavily in connection with the wizard. - Forest

This is also done in the book save the foreshadowing comes from Aragorn not Saruman- why would PJ not have used this as part of the excellent discussion over route conversation he makes a mockery of in his film wit no foreshadowing an Frodo making the big decision despite knowing about the least.

'He then introduces the creature in the most dramatic way possible'

I think that is debatable- I don't have a problem with its big reveal out the flames, but having the 'Beater of the Drums' as a mystery and an unknown power of unknown force is a far more dramatic build up to its reveal in my view. Especially when we see it can at least match Gandalf in power. This also serves to provide the physical/magical drain on Gandalf - so that he cannot even provide light- which heightens the final peril, and does so fa most successfully than Gandalf just being a bit out of breath from jumping over staircases.

'He needs to keep the Balrog in the background longer, so that dread of its appearance can build up in the audience. He uses the silly but cinematic stair-toppling scene for that purpose. '

Again there is a better book version- Tolkiens break between Beater of Drums set up and Balrog reveal is the mystery over the orcs talking of 'fire' and the eventual reveal that the lower halls are aflame and had they come the way they intended they would have been trapped by the flames- this gives a temporary sense of hope, that a bit of luck has gone the companies way right before the reveal that luck is not in fact with them at all.
Much better and more effective than a collapsing staircase ad a mood breaking dwarf tossing joke.

'I don't think that Gandalf could have been rescued from where he was hanging, and the scene is FAR more effective if he and Frodo can see eachother one last time. Having Gandalf be caught by the whip and falling off into the abyss shouting "FLY You FOooollllss... would not have worked well at all dramatically (or cinematically for that matter. Does one simply have his cry echo up from beneath, or show him falling and yelling?)'


If it was me I would have Gandalf look up and smile wearily at Frodo as the Balrog plunges in then the whip round his legs, 'fly you' and pull him in on 'Fools'- then cut to Frodo doing his emotional leap forward screaming "Nooo!" and Boromir holding him back.
You would get both the shock effect of the suddennes of it and the emotional impact of that last look.




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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:59 pm

Bluebottle wrote:It's bad writing that serves a purpose. It's emotionally stirring, and unproblematic, if you don't think too hard about it. Shrugging

It's actually good writing and is why the film is effective, as I have previously argued. Not everything we dislike or feel crabbit about is suddenly "bad writing", now that Season 5 of GoT has let us down so hard.

Gandalf choosing to let go while hanging from the bridge is not a slip-up in the writing or a contrived bit of meaninglessness, but is tied up in his characterization in the movies as more of a Christ-figure. So instead of Gandalf being doomed to die in Moria and mere chance betraying his intentions, we get the arguably more meaningful choice on his part to face that doom, try his hardest, but ultimately give himself up for the sake of the fellowship.

It's a sticky wicket, to be honest. On the one hand I want to argue about how even the possibility of Gandalf making it out was a mistake of Jackson's and he should have just had the entire bridge collapse, but on the other hand I like how the fate of the wizard is decided from the moment that he turns to face the Balrog. It's not a modern sensibility, so much, but there's something rather epic about that interpretation, in the vein of Beowulf and the Ring Cycle or the Romantic writing of the 19th century.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:06 pm

Interesting details you bring up Petty. I have to go get some lunch because I'm really hungry, but I hope either myself or another can discuss the question of whether these "superior" choices are ones that would work in this movie.

Very briefly, the one problem I see immediately is that unless the Balrog was given far more seeming-cunning and an actual leadership role over the goblins the idea of it banging away on a drum down in the deep when disturbed is just silly. Like reshaping a puzzle, if you change the shape and meaning of the Balrog, the pieces that connect to it must be made to fit as well.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Bluebottle on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:16 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:
Bluebottle wrote:It's bad writing that serves a purpose. It's emotionally stirring, and unproblematic, if you don't think too hard about it. Shrugging

It's actually good writing and is why the film is effective, as I have previously argued. Not everything we dislike or feel crabbit about is suddenly "bad writing", now that Season 5 of GoT has let us down so hard.

Gandalf choosing to let go while hanging from the bridge is not a slip-up in the writing or a contrived bit of meaninglessness, but is tied up in his characterization in the movies as more of a Christ-figure. So instead of Gandalf being doomed to die in Moria and mere chance betraying his intentions, we get the arguably more meaningful choice on his part to face that doom, try his hardest, but ultimately give himself up for the sake of the fellowship.

It's a sticky wicket, to be honest. On the one hand I want to argue about how even the possibility of Gandalf making it out was a mistake of Jackson's and he should have just had the entire bridge collapse, but on the other hand I like how the fate of the wizard is decided from the moment that he turns to face the Balrog. It's not a modern sensibility, so much, but there's something rather epic about that interpretation, in the vein of Beowulf and the Ring Cycle or the Romantic writing of the 19th century.

No, it's bad writing because it introduces paradoxes and logical inconsistencies. (Gandalf not holding on, the Fellowship not jogging over to drag him up.) It's good writing because it resonates emotionally. Please don't confuse the two.

Now what do you get when you put good and bad writing together? Definitely not good. Mediocre, perhaps. But the scene in question is not that. It's bad writing that's emotionally stirring, as I said.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:24 pm

You're seeing something different than I am, FS. We'll just have to agree to disagree (if you'll pardon the cliche). I'll just say that not every moment has to be drawn out to be dramatic.

As far, as the threat from the orc arrows, that was part of the reason why Gandalf was telling them to run. Of course, in the movie, it looked like the orcs were trying to miss.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:29 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:Interesting details you bring up Petty. I have to go get some lunch because I'm really hungry, but I hope either myself or another can discuss the question of whether these "superior" choices are ones that would work in this movie.

Very briefly, the one problem I see immediately is that unless the Balrog was given far more seeming-cunning and an actual leadership role over the goblins the idea of it banging away on a drum down in the deep when disturbed is just silly. Like reshaping a puzzle, if you change the shape and meaning of the Balrog, the pieces that connect to it must be made to fit as well.
Why do you think the Balrog was beating the drums?

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:30 pm

the one problem I see immediately is that unless the Balrog was given far more seeming-cunning and an actual leadership role over the goblins the idea of it banging away on a drum down in the deep when disturbed is just silly.- Forest

Reinstating Aragforns foreshadowing over Sarumans would allude better to the books more complex role for the Balrog.
Also all the elements from the book are there- the reference to the Beater of the Drums and indeed the beating of drums- though PJ just turns into a rabble rather than a single ominous drum beater.
And as in the book you don't know for certain the Beater of the Drums and the Balrog are the same thing, I like that ambiguity- I personally don't think they are, more like the Balrog has a herald. Gandalf in his explanation of what happened at the door says he felt something powerful enter the chamber after the drums- this gives on film a great opportunity for tension as something we cant see but only glimpse appears in the chamber through the last crack in the door as Gandalf tries to magically close it and then the door starts to grind back open and we get the contest of wills- then the whole door exploding the ceiling seeming to collapse in on the chamber and Gandalf thrown backwards down the staircase- all great drama of a higher standard than collapsing staircase, and all providing a visceral reason for Gandalf's weariness and so notching up the peril.
And more importantly, whilst the staircase is just a break, a pause in the narrative, the door scene is directly related to upping the sense of unnerving mystery as to what is after them down in the dark of Moria.

Imagine having that scene followed by the mystery over fire, then emerging into the final chamber and seeing the great chasms of flame- then the seeming joy and even slight mocking tone of the Company at the realisation the orcs have got themselves stuck on the wrong side- swiftly followed by the appearance of several cave trolls with slabs of stone to make bridges across, over which the orcs then pour- thats cinematic gold that is.

I also prefer the Balrog entrance in the book- I think that would be cinema gold too if tricky- it would have to be just a massive not really clear or distinct shadow, then as it leaps across one of the fire chasms and the flames rise up to great it, it ignites revealing its shape.

I am not against adaptation and change to a purpose, but as often with Pj the changed  version often seems to miss the point and structuring and aims of the superior original, making the need for many of the changes hard to fathom.
I would probably agree with you in general that what Pj made is good dramatic, if overly milked, blockbuster cinema scene, if it was an original piece.
But its not and we have another version to imagine, the original, and it strikes me as superior in every way, whether on the page or imagined to screen.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:33 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:what he's trying to do here is to present an arc in which Gandalf's loss can be most heavily felt by the audience. He's the most likeable character in the film, and his death is very very important to get right. So Jackson foreshadows the Balrog heavily in connection with the wizard. - Forest

This is also done in the book save the foreshadowing comes from Aragorn not Saruman- why would PJ not have used this as part of the excellent discussion over route conversation he makes a mockery of in his film wit no foreshadowing an Frodo making the big decision despite knowing about the least.

Because to a film audience its far more natural for a wizard to have supernatural powers than a warrior who has not demonstrated any capabilityof such foretelling powers. Its much more logical for Saruman to taunt Gandalf with this knowledge.

'He then introduces the creature in the most dramatic way possible'

I think that is debatable- I don't have a problem with its big reveal out the flames, but having the 'Beater of the Drums' as a mystery and an unknown power of unknown force is a far more dramatic build up to its reveal in my view. Especially when we see it can at least match Gandalf in power. This also serves to provide the physical/magical drain on Gandalf - so that he cannot even provide light- which heightens the final peril, and does so fa most successfully than Gandalf just being a bit out of breath from jumping over staircases.

so you are saying an absence of power is better than demonstrating power in a visual medium? I beg to differ.

'He needs to keep the Balrog in the background longer, so that dread of its appearance can build up in the audience. He uses the silly but cinematic stair-toppling scene for that purpose. '

Again there is a better book version- Tolkiens break between Beater of Drums set up and Balrog reveal is the mystery over the orcs talking of 'fire' and the eventual reveal that the lower halls are aflame and had they come the way they intended they would have been trapped by the flames- this gives a temporary sense of hope, that a bit of luck has gone the companies way right before the reveal that luck is not in fact with them at all.
Much better and more effective than a collapsing staircase ad a mood breaking dwarf tossing joke.

that totally breaks up the flow of the film and ruins the growing tension of the film. having a cut away to orcs chatting is not good cinema.

'I don't think that Gandalf could have been rescued from where he was hanging, and the scene is FAR more effective if he and Frodo can see eachother one last time. Having Gandalf be caught by the whip and falling off into the abyss shouting "FLY You FOooollllss... would not have worked well at all dramatically (or cinematically for that matter. Does one simply have his cry echo up from beneath, or show him falling and yelling?)'


If it was me I would have Gandalf look up and smile wearily at Frodo as the Balrog plunges in then the whip round his legs, 'fly you' and pull him in on 'Fools'- then cut to Frodo doing his emotional leap forward screaming "Nooo!" and Boromir holding him back.
You would get both the shock effect of the suddennes of it and the emotional impact of that last look.

that sounds like the parody version.




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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:35 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:the one problem I see immediately is that unless the Balrog was given far more seeming-cunning and an actual leadership role over the goblins the idea of it banging away on a drum down in the deep when disturbed is just silly.- Forest

Reinstating Aragforns foreshadowing over Sarumans would allude better to the books more complex role for the Balrog.
Also all the elements from the book are there- the reference to the Beater of the Drums and indeed the beating of drums- though PJ just turns into a rabble rather than a single ominous drum beater.
And as in the book you don't know for certain the Beater of the Drums and the Balrog are the same thing, I like that ambiguity- I personally don't think they are, more like the Balrog has a herald. Gandalf in his explanation of what happened at the door says he felt something powerful enter the chamber after the drums- this gives on film a great opportunity for tension as something we cant see but only glimpse appears in the chamber through the last crack in the door as Gandalf tries to magically close it and then the door starts to grind back open and we get the contest of wills- then the whole door exploding the ceiling seeming to collapse in on the chamber and Gandalf thrown backwards down the staircase- all great drama of a higher standard than collapsing staircase, and all providing a visceral reason for Gandalf's weariness and so notching up the peril.
And more importantly, whilst the staircase is just a break, a pause in the narrative, the door scene is directly related to upping the sense of unnerving mystery as to what is after them down in the dark of Moria.

Imagine having that scene followed by the mystery over fire, then emerging into the final chamber and seeing the great chasms of flame- then the seeming joy and even slight mocking tone of the Company at the realisation the orcs have got themselves stuck on the wrong side- swiftly followed by the appearance of several cave trolls with slabs of stone to make bridges across, over which the orcs then pour- thats cinematic gold that is.

I also prefer the Balrog entrance in the book- I think that would be cinema gold too if tricky- it would have to be just a massive not really clear or distinct shadow, then as it leaps across one of the fire chasms and the flames rise up to great it, it ignites revealing its shape.

I am not against adaptation and change to a purpose, but as often with Pj the changed  version often seems to miss the point and structuring and aims of the superior original, making the need for many of the changes hard to fathom.
I would probably agree with you in general that what Pj made is good dramatic, if overly milked, blockbuster cinema scene, if it was an original piece.
But its not and we have another version to imagine, the original, and it strikes me as superior in every way, whether on the page or imagined to screen.
Quoted for truth.

Re: the drums, didn't they continue to beat after the Balrog fell? If so, then the drummer couldn't have been the Balrog.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:45 pm

Because to a film audience its far more natural for a wizard to have supernatural powers than a warrior who has not demonstrated any capabilityof such foretelling powers.- Figg

Yeah well if PJ had given us book Aragorn that woudld not be an issue. Book Aragorn is more widely travelled than anyone else in the Company and its clear in the book he knows the lands they are passing through and tells us he has even been in Moria before. Had Pj included the route argument scene form the book the film audience would have known that too and why Aragorn would be in a position to give the warning to Gandalf.
Also it increases the dramatic tension for the reader (or viewer) if Aragorn- a character we have come to trust and Gandalf, another character we trust are in disagreement over where they are going.

'so you are saying an absence of power is better than demonstrating power in a visual medium? '

No I am saying Gandalf standing alone at the top of the stairs entering a magical duel over the door and the subsequent violent conclusion to it could be done very visually indeed whilst relating directly to the threat without revealing it, something which in cinema always increases tension- its why you never get a good look at the alien in alien until the final scenes, the glimpses and the imagination is worse

'having a cut away to orcs chatting is not good cinema.'

What cutaway? In the book Gandalf hears the words whilst confronting the Beater of the Drums and tells the Company about it afterwards. There is no cutaway- all you need is the short exchange on the matter from the book.

'that sounds like the parody version.'

I think Pj already gave uis that with his dangling Gandalf,

Frodo- Noooo!

Boromor- grabs him.

Frodo- "But we can still save him!"

Boromir- "No, no he's gone"

Gandalf- "I'm really not you know. I'm right here about two steps away."

Boromir- "Alas, its too late there is nothing we can do."

Gandalf- "Really? Oh bugger! Fly you fools!"




the drums, didn't they continue to beat after the Balrog fell? If so, then the drummer couldn't have been the Balrog.- Radaghast

Quite right, they do indeed, I had forgotten that. They get slower and sonorous, lamenting the Balrogs fall.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:54 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Because to a film audience its far more natural for a wizard to have supernatural powers than a warrior who has not demonstrated any capabilityof such foretelling powers.- Figg

Yeah well if PJ had given us book Aragorn that woudld not be an issue. Book Aragorn is more widely travelled than anyone else in the Company and its clear in the book he knows the lands they are passing through and tells us he has even been in Moria before. Had Pj included the route argument scene form the book the film audience would have known that too and why Aragorn would be in a position to give the warning to Gandalf.
Also it increases the dramatic tension for the reader (or viewer) if Aragorn- a character we have come to trust and Gandalf, another character we trust are in disagreement over where they are going.

er no. theres one thing being an expert Ranger, which is what we did get, and supernatural powers of foretelling the future. its completely different.

'so you are saying an absence of power is better than demonstrating power in a visual medium? '

No I am saying Gandalf standing alone at the top of the stairs entering a magical duel over the door and the subsequent violent conclusion to it could be done very visually indeed whilst relating directly to the threat without revealing it, something which in cinema always increases tension- its why you never get a good look at the alien in alien until the final scenes, the glimpses and the imagination is worse

er no again. having Gandalf straining against a door like he is going to have a dump, and then said door blowing up, is not subtle cinema.

'having a cut away to orcs chatting is not good cinema.'

What cutaway? In the book Gandalf hears the words whilst confronting the Beater of the Drums and tells the Company about it afterwards. There is no cutaway- all you need is the short exchange on the matter from the book.

when could he hear the words in the film? unless they do a cut away to orcs chattering, which is very silly.

'that sounds like the parody version.'

I think Pj already gave uis that with his dangling Gandalf,

Frodo- Noooo!

Boromor- grabs him.

Frodo- "But we can still save him!"

Boromir- "No, no he's gone"

Gandalf- "I'm really not you know. I'm right here about two steps away."

Boromir- "Alas, its too late there is nothing we can do."

Gandalf- "Really? Oh bugger! Fly you fools!"


Rolling Eyes

the drums, didn't they continue to beat after the Balrog fell? If so, then the drummer couldn't have been the Balrog.- Radaghast

Quite right, they do indeed, I had forgotten that. They get slower and sonorous, lamenting the Balrogs fall.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by David H on Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:56 pm

As for me, on first viewing of FotR I was really quite pleased with how Gandalf and the Balrog was handled. The scene was both recognizable and effective. But I'm afraid that with each successive cliff-dangle that PJ gave us, I found my eyes rolling more and more. It's as if he thinks the term "suspense" needs to be taken literally. Rolling Eyes

(it's not that some of them aren't very well crafted scenes. It's just that it seems to always go back to the same trick.)


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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:16 am

theres one thing being an expert Ranger, which is what we did get, and supernatural powers of foretelling the future. its completely different.- Figg

Aragorn is Numenorian, he has extra powers, such as those of healing. But just have it pay out as it does in the book- Aragorns initial objections to Moria are simple- he has been there before, it was fucking horrible and dreadful and he doesn't want to go. He has also clearly had bad feelings about it for a while (the debate over which of the two routes being an old one)- when he finally says he will go he does so stating that Gandalf has put no blame on him for the failure of his chosen route over, and its only then Aragorn goes onto say that maybe his final words on the matter will change Gandalfs mind- that its not for the Company he fears but for Gandalf personally if they enter the mines.
Now a viewer, just like the reader is free to see his as foresight on Aragorns part or just a bad feeling in his gut, but it works either way. Just as it works in the book to create a sense of jeopardy focused on Gandalf personally.

PJ only uses Saruman in his version as its a way to shoehorn Saruman into the story when he is absent, necessary for Pj as he had made Saruman the main bad guy of the first two films.

'having Gandalf straining against a door like he is going to have a dump, and then said door blowing up, is not subtle cinema.'

If that is what you see in your head when you read that scene then you have a shockingly poor imagination.

'when could he hear the words in the film? unless they do a cut away to orcs chattering, which is very silly.'

As I already said there is no need for any cutaway- it could be just orcs cries in the background, the information about it what it means is revealed in dialogue by Gandalf- there is no cut away in the book either.

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Re: Bakshi v PJ A Contest of Scripts

Post by Radaghast on Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:42 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I think Pj already gave uis that with his dangling Gandalf,

Frodo- Noooo!

Boromor- grabs him.

Frodo- "But we can still save him!"

Boromir- "No, no he's gone"

Gandalf- "I'm really not you know. I'm right here about two steps away."

Boromir- "Alas, its too late there is nothing we can do."

Gandalf- "Really? Oh bugger! Fly you fools!"

Very Happy The 11th dumbest moment:


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