Alternative adaptations of LoTR and TH

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Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:05 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:
As to the lines of dialogue you mention Ringdrotten- and they could be interpreted just as you suggest- its a pretty lazy way to go about it- lets not bother showing the developing companionship between these two, we'll just have Frodo come out and say it at the end as if it all happened.

I see your point. The lines, if meant that way, must seem pretty empty to those who haven't read the books, as there isn't much of this development in the films. There is a development in their friendship in the films too, no doubt, but it doesn't compare to development in the books.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:21 pm

Mmm is this something approaching a consensus that the Coven made a mess of the Frodo/Sam arc?
As a purist with a pure view I often find it impossible to get PJ fans and apologists to admit the films are bad, yet I find that its not so rare for them to concede or admit lots of individual bits are bad. The thing I don't get is how a film made of lots of bad bits can be good! Its a purists puzzle only PJ fans know the answer to.

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Post by Ally on Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:46 pm

There is a difference between a bad scene, and one that is a little inaccurate of the original material. Very Happy I watched the movies before I read the books (The Hobbit was the only Tolkien I had read) and I loved the movies so much that I read the books. Very few of the scenes I thought were bad (some of the Gimli & Merry/Pippin scenes weren't exactly the best I admit). Maybe that's the difference, I fell in love with the movies, first. The books secondly. Whatever people may say, it's not a bad film- they are still my favourite movies, and always have been since I watched them as a child! Very Happy
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 6:54 pm

"and always have been since I watched them as a child! "- Ally

Perhaps that's the difference. I was the opposite- I read the books as a child and the movies were much, much later- I saw them as a crabbit adult with years of film watching and scrutiny behind me- and they don't hold up in those circumstances.

on a slight side issue I was commenting to a friend the other day how it was odd there was a time when talking directors I would have mentioned PJ's name in the same breath as Raimi or Carpenter- back when almost no-one had ever heard of him. To think I was over the moon when I first heard he was the man who was to make them! But somewhere down the line he lost the inventiveness and the originality that made his early films so outstanding (or his wife, the chief Coven member is the film equivalent of Yoko Ono).

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Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:26 pm

Had I known that the man behind Bad Taste and Braindead were going to make LotR, I think I would have had a crabbit attack. Hilarious movies, but not quite what I would have looked for in a LotR film Smile

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:39 pm

Very Happy On the surface yes- but there's a lot of originality in those films in use of camera and direction. There's a fair bit of imagination and its clear there's a simple joy at just making films- all good omens at the time. I admired his directorial skills- what I hadn't considered was is inability to make an adaptation- all the stuff he did before was original. Or that much of what I admired turned out not be artistic choice on his part at all but budget. Given a big budget he just goes mad (King Kongs CGI borefest being a classic example- how with a big budget and today's effects he managed to make something a hundred times worse than the original is a mystery).

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Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:24 pm

Ally wrote:There is a difference between a bad scene, and one that is a little inaccurate of the original material. Very Happy

Exactly. Cool There can even be a difference between a bad scene and that is very inaccurate to the source material. I'm more inclined to say that with regards to certain other adaptations, but the point stands. Smile
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Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:31 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Perhaps that's the difference. I was the opposite- I read the books as a child and the movies were much, much later- I saw them as a crabbit adult with years of film watching and scrutiny behind me- and they don't hold up in those circumstances.

I think that's an interesting point. I was a child when I first read the books and when I first watched the films, and nostalgia certainly plays a role in my enjoyment of both. However, there are other reasons I like them too. It'd be interesting to do a survey to see which purists and which liberals fit the model. Very Happy

(or his wife, the chief Coven member is the film equivalent of Yoko Ono).

I thought Philippa Boyens was the chief member of the Coven. She's certainly the most vocal in defending their decisions and criticizing purists, at least. Mad
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Post by Ally on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:40 pm

Yup, remembering the commentary, it was Philippa who came up with the whole lembas scene, and the departure of Sam. I remembering watching them for the first time, and being in awe. I mean what other fantasy movie is there than can compare to LOTR in grandeur and story? Do purists actually not like it- or is the only reason because of the changes? I'd say if PJ had came up with the idea, he would be lauded as one of the best fantasy movie directors ever! Very Happy
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:47 pm

I don't know about other purists but I find the films in their released form pretty much unwatchable. The plot holes are to big to ignore, the inconsistency both in script and direction is poor, many characters are poorly drawn and presented, it lacks any real depth as its been purged of most of the books depths, they are too long and often silly and sometimes boring. They don't come close to my top ten favourite films, or even on a list of top ten films I don't like but recognize the quality of.

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Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:50 pm

Ally wrote:Yup, remembering the commentary, it was Philippa who came up with the whole lembas scene, and the departure of Sam.

I think it was actually Fran Walsh who wanted Frodo to enter Shelob's Lair alone. I haven't watched that commentary in a while though so I could be mistaken.

I mean what other fantasy movie is there than can compare to LOTR in grandeur and story? Do purists actually not like it- or is the only reason because of the changes? I'd say if PJ had came up with the idea, he would be lauded as one of the best fantasy movie directors ever! Very Happy

Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I do like the films, I just think that they fail to tell a faithful adaptation of Tolkien's story. I think they are very good, and they are certainly head and shoulders above all other fantasy films (or at least all other epic fantasy films). Part of that is because it's a pretty small field, though there is Harry Potter, the most profitable film franchise of all time. I think that most of the HP films are fairly meh though.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:14 pm

There's loads of great fantasy films! Almost anything with special effects by the late great Ray Harrhausen is better than LotR. I'd watch Jason and the Argonauts or the original Clash of the Titans over PJ's efforts any day.

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Post by Eldorion on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:16 pm

Jason and the Argonauts was a HORRIBLE movie. Mad Whoever the lead actor was could not act. To be fair, one could make a similar criticism of Elijah Wood, but he at least shared the spotlight with Viggo Mortensen and had a stellar ensemble cast around him. And EW is better than I remember the actor who played Jason being, but it's been a while.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:47 pm

Yeah the acting could be ropey but they had bucket loads of inventiveness and charm to them. And they weren't afraid to be oddly adult, something the remake of Clash could have done with. For example in the original film when Perseus first arrives the Princess is having a competition to see who can answer a riddle and win her hand in marriage and half her kingdom. The film introduces this to the viewer with a conversation with a guard, about the burning body in the middle of the town and the stench of burning flesh- its what happens to suitors who guess wrong. Its oddly adult and quite disturbing, the image of the burning man is as unpleasant as you'd expect such a thing. That grown up, mature feel the scripts have modern fantasy (LotR films included) lack. As if they don't expect to be taking seriously so don't bother trying.
The complete lack of maturity given to adapting the characters of Merry and Pippin are prime examples of this in LotR's.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:19 am

More things to be crabbit about! Whilst doing the rediting of RotK I finally noticed what it was about a couple of scenes visually which were bugging me.
First up was the Pelennor Fields. In the book these are actual fields; farmsteads, crops, orchards, barns, outhouses etc. In the films its just a big flat bit of land noone apparently lives on. But the thing that seemed really annoying was during the Haradrim bit with the Oliphaunts it turns into a huge plain of sand like a desert for some reason (maybe the Haradrim brought their desert with them!) with the odd bit of scrub grass. What's going on there?
And the other bit was the Black Gate (or gates as they are in the film!). When Aragorn and his army turn up at the end its a huge wide open space before the gates but when Frodo is there he is on top of a cliff just opposite, and a little south of the gate, overlooking it. Where's it gone? Did the orcs do some landscaping in the meantime?
For a film of such expense and given the detail put in by so many on costumes etc its amazing how lazily some of it seems to have been done and how inconsistent is it. If PJ didn't just say I want a big open space for the end just change it to suit (I wouldn't put it past him, consistency of character, plot or visuals does not seem to matter much to him).

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:57 pm

One of the best examples of how PJ couldn't give two hoots for continuity, sense, logic or anything else where a 'cool' effect is concerned.
Here's the two establishing shots for the location in Minas Tirith of the Houses of the Dead;

[img]Alternative adaptations of LoTR and TH - Page 3 Vlcsnap-850278[/img]
Pippin following Denethor.

Alternative adaptations of LoTR and TH - Page 3 Vlcsnap-849429
The bridge joining the Houses of Dead to the main city.

This is the distance Denethor runs, on fire, and up all the stairs to the Courtyard, then the length of the courtyard to throw himself off the top.
Could some of you PJ apologists defend this? Really?
I expect equal disregard for the source or anything else in TH, given the track record on display here.

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Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:10 pm

Not to worry, I hate that scene too Wink Makes absolutely no sense, and the falling fireball that is Denethor isn't even that cool scratch

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:26 pm

Then you will be pleased to know you won't have to suffer it when you watch my edit! Very Happy
Although remarkably its not the worst thing about that scene in my view- its Gandalf whacking Denethor first off the pire with a staff then getting Shadowfax to kick him back on (and incredibly upwards). Alongside Gandalf twatting Denethor in front of all his guards earlier and telling Faramir in front of half the population of Minas Tirith and a lot of soldiers that "his father has lost his mind" it all sucks.
Script? What script?

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Post by Ringdrotten on Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:59 pm

Ah, but it isn't his staff, it's a spear he took from one of the guards - his own staff was broken by the Witch King Mad I suppose (hope) you removed that scene too? What a fantastic scene it would have been had Jackson followed the book description. And the worst part is, Gandalf's got an identical staff in the Grey Havens scene Mad Mad There are things that even I cannot forgive Evil or Very Mad

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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:07 pm

Ive edited round as much as possible- Denethor dies uninterferred with on the pire-Gandalf no longer smacks him one on the battlements- the scene with Faramir I had to leave in. The Witch-king shattering staff scene is still there- no way to avoid it- but I'd much rather have, as in the book, the Witch-king riding in over the corpses and ruins of the gates to meet Gandalf all alone sitting on Shadowfax. I've no idea why they moved that scene to a nondescript balcony somewhere and thought replacing the Witch-king entering through the gates 'which no enemy had dared enter' with a bunch of trolls was a good idea. Because its not!

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Post by Saradoc on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:45 pm

Compared to some of the dismal special effects he's done in other films (Lovely Bones I'm thinking of here) the scenes mentioned are amazing pieces of cinematic art. I suppose some people (myself included to tell you the truth) like overblown CGI and flamboyant visuals...and superfluous changes from the source material... Smile
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:08 pm

Your not using your imagination enough Saradoc. Imagine the scene.
Grond smashes through the gate, the bodies of the dead orcs at the gate (which PJ shows earlier) all piled up. Flaming dark sky behind. Smoke and dirt fill the air from the collapsed gate and a huge mounted shadow appears in the smoke. As the Witch-king enters the shadow condenses to reveal a dark obed figure on a black horse, climbing slowly up the mounds of slain and down through the broken gate into the dark, ruined empty courtyard beyond. Empty but for a single figure, a figure in white upon a white horse.
Gandalf- "You cannot enter here. Go back to the abyss prepared for you! Go back!Fall into the nothingness that awaits you and your Master. Go!"
The Witchking casts back his hood to reveal a crown but no visible head.
Witchking (laughing) "Old fool! Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!
He raises his sword and flame runs down the blade.
In the distance a cockerel crows and then in answer the horns of the Rohirrim ring out.

That or more trolls? Id take the book version over PJ's predicatable dull as ditch water version any day. The taking of the gates which no foe has ever breached is a big thing, PJ makes nothing of it.

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Post by Eldorion on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:11 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Could some of you PJ apologists defend this? Really?

I'm not a PJ apologist, but it'd be awfully hard to defend that given that PJ's own defense of the scene was pretty much just "Rule of Cool, QED". I agree with Ringdrotten that it's not particularly cool, though, nor is it in keeping with Tolkien's idea of sub-creation or even the film-makers (arguably half-hearted) attempt to keep designs plausible (i.e., no goofy fantasy armor and weapons, flying creatures with large wings, etc.). This is an example of them coming up short, though I wonder how many of these examples were PJ overriding his concept and design artists.
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Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:18 pm

Good question Eldo. I suspect the answer is 'a lot'.
While we are on the subject of the Witch-king, whilst for the most part I think the costumes etc were superb, a hell of a lot better than the script, what possessed them to give the Witch-king an iron version of the mask from Scream?

[img]Alternative adaptations of LoTR and TH - Page 3 Norm-452d874e1c493-LordoftheRings2001[/img]


[img]Alternative adaptations of LoTR and TH - Page 3 Scream-Mask-GID[/img]

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Post by Eldorion on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:11 am

I'm not sure, but I know the Witch-king's ludicrous flail (which the burly stunt actor could barely drag around, much less swing) was a victim of PJ's inability to grasp realism, subtlety, or common sense. Mad
Eldorion
Eldorion
You're Gonna Carry That Weight

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