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The King, I say the King, has returned

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  • David Bratman
    Aha! This time I finally did it. I managed to lower my expectations enough that I didn t spend the entire film feeling disappointed. (Just part of it.) I
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 17, 2003
      Aha! This time I finally did it. I managed to lower my expectations
      enough that I didn't spend the entire film feeling disappointed. (Just
      part of it.) I spent the whole morning doing other things, and didn't even
      leave for the theatre until half an hour before showtime, and I hadn't even
      picked up my reserved ticket yet.

      I'd better start with the bad news first:

      What bothered me most was a relentless trivialization of the plot, even
      when it was being faithful to the book. In the Last Debate and the
      subsequent march on the Morannon, for instance, the diversionary attack is
      depicted more as a quick "Hey! Over here!" tactical basketball-style
      attention-grabber than a large-scale strategic move.

      Then there's the lighting of the beacons. A beautiful shot, but they're
      being lit without Denethor's knowledge because he's jealous of Aragorn and
      doesn't want him to come with Rohan. (As if that'd stop him.) Later,
      Denethor accuses Theoden of treachery for _not_ coming, as if he could have
      arrived yet. No explanation for this change of attitude.

      A lot of things seemed to happen in the wrong order. What was with the two
      separate scenes of Pippin swearing fealty? Why does Gandalf say "Thus
      passes Denethor" _before_ Denethor is dead?

      I hated how the King of the Dead asks Aragorn crossly if he's going to
      fulfill his promise to hold the oath fulfilled, as if there were any chance
      he wouldn't. In general, the Dead don't look like faithless men trying to
      redeem themselves, as they should. They look like monsters that happen to
      be on our side.

      Frodo spurning Sam for Gollum was unspeakably bad. So was Gandalf socking
      Denethor in the teeth, which got a cheer from the audience. So was the use
      of the Eagles as a completely unprepared deus ex machina.

      The death of the Lord of the Nazgul was a washout. It's one of my favorite
      scenes in the book, but it just lay there on the screen. There's no
      mystery about Eowyn's identity; the proper tension isn't built up; the
      scene is cut in the middle to insert something else; neither Eowyn nor
      Merry seems seriously injured; and most grievously, it's completely
      overshadowed by the scene of "Legolas he got drunk / and slid down the
      elephant's trunk," which also got a cheer. And didn't that look like a
      paper cutout of Legolas sliding down the elephant's trunk?

      Speaking of bad special effects, nothing that fell into molten lava behaved
      at all like something falling into molten lava.

      After the mostly fine battle scenes of the earlier films, I was sorry to
      see Jackson falling into "stretched space", the bane of all bad war movies.
      For instance, from the speed the mumakil was running, and its position in
      the establishing shot, it should have run all the way through Mount
      Mindolluin and out the other side by the time Legolas downs it. There were
      several problems like that.

      Loved the way the ground collapses in front of the Morannon everywhere
      except where the good guys happen to be standing. What luck!

      Gandalf tells Pippin that Eldamar is the afterlife? What the #@$*??

      The scoring was a disappointment. Listen to the fussy empty music going on
      underneath Sam's fight with Shelob, and the way the music entirely cuts out
      at inappropriate moments in the middle of battles.

      Enough bad news, now for the good:

      Great spectacle, as usual. Gorgeous sets, great Minas Tirith, etc.

      Thank goodness, they did NOT overplay the scene where Sam gives Frodo the
      Ring back. Considering how they overdid the buildup, I thought they were
      going to milk that worse than the Bilbo-in-Rivendell scene.

      Despite being overlong, the charge of the Rohirrim was genuinely exciting,
      the only battle scene that really moved me.

      In general, the battle scenes were only a wee bit overlong or tedious.

      The last parts of the trek to Orodruin were highly effective, except for
      the way that Sam carries Frodo, which was silly.

      Did you notice Faramir and Eowyn standing together and giving each other a
      glance at Aragorn's coronation? I bet there'll be more about that in the
      Extended Edition of this one. Looking forward to it.

      Most of all - MOST of all - the pacing was generally excellent. Despite
      all that had to be crammed into this film, it never, ever, felt rushed, nor
      was there very much of "We must cut all the good stuff in order to fit more
      monsters in."

      This was particularly true of the ending. Despite all the cuts, the parts
      that occurred after the fall of Mordor had sufficient weight to anchor the
      movie. This was as it should be - and for everybody who keeps saying that
      movies obey their own storytelling laws, I must emphasize that ending an
      action film this slowly is a complete violation of the standard
      storytelling principles of action flicks. By those rules, we'd have had
      the reunion scene and the coronation of Aragorn and then we'd be outta there.

      Those scenes were mostly OK, but what followed them rapidly rose to the
      exquisite. After seeing what Jackson has done with "The Grey Havens", the
      book's final chapter, I'm almost ready to forgive him for anything. It was
      perfect. It might have been changed, here and there, but it could not have
      been made better. It took its time, but not too much time. This was a
      scene from the LOTR movie I always wanted to see. Why didn't he show such
      sensitivity to the rest of the book?

      And then, after the ship sails, when we see that we'll also be getting
      Sam's homecoming, I almost had a thrombosis of joy. I started muttering
      sotto voce, "Say it, say it!" And he said it. Bliss.

      I am, at the end, content. All of my complaints are overshadowed by the
      fine ending. This is not a bad movie. It's a bad movie with a good movie
      inside, trying to get out. And finally it did. Just as in LOTR itself,
      realms of darkness and despair give way to joy at the end.

      - David Bratman
    • Michael Martinez
      ... I m surprised at how no one has noticed how the Mumakil move exactly like Imperial Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back (and they were taken out almost
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 22, 2003
        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@e...> wrote:
        >
        > After the mostly fine battle scenes of the earlier films, I was
        > sorry to see Jackson falling into "stretched space", the bane of
        > all bad war movies. For instance, from the speed the mumakil was
        > running, and its position in the establishing shot, it should have
        > run all the way through Mount Mindolluin and out the other side by
        > the time Legolas downs it. There were several problems like that.

        I'm surprised at how no one has noticed how the Mumakil move exactly
        like Imperial Walkers from "The Empire Strikes Back" (and they were
        taken out almost exactly the same way -- clearly, Legolas is Luke
        Skywalker's love-child).
      • Berni Phillips
        From: Michael Martinez ... Yes, that was how they appeared to me as well. I also thought they were pretty accommodating to
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 22, 2003
          From: "Michael Martinez" <michael_martinez2@...>

          > I'm surprised at how no one has noticed how the Mumakil move exactly
          > like Imperial Walkers from "The Empire Strikes Back" (and they were
          > taken out almost exactly the same way -- clearly, Legolas is Luke
          > Skywalker's love-child).

          Yes, that was how they appeared to me as well. I also thought they were
          pretty accommodating to Legolas, that one lowering its trunk gently so let
          him off again.

          Was I the only one tempted to break into "Goodness gracious, great balls of
          fire!" at the stupid scene when Pippin steals the palantir from Gandalf at
          night? It was like a bad Saturday Night Live skit.

          Berni
        • Nessime
          ... have ... by ... that. ... exactly ... were ... I d like to know if anyone else had a Wizard of Oz moment, seeing the orcs march out of Minas Morgal while
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 23, 2003
            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Martinez"
            <michael_martinez2@y...> wrote:
            > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@e...>
            wrote:
            > >
            > > After the mostly fine battle scenes of the earlier films, I was
            > > sorry to see Jackson falling into "stretched space", the bane of
            > > all bad war movies. For instance, from the speed the mumakil was
            > > running, and its position in the establishing shot, it should
            have
            > > run all the way through Mount Mindolluin and out the other side
            by
            > > the time Legolas downs it. There were several problems like
            that.
            >
            > I'm surprised at how no one has noticed how the Mumakil move
            exactly
            > like Imperial Walkers from "The Empire Strikes Back" (and they
            were
            > taken out almost exactly the same way -- clearly, Legolas is Luke
            > Skywalker's love-child).

            I'd like to know if anyone else had a "Wizard of Oz" moment, seeing
            the orcs march out of Minas Morgal while Frodo, Sam and Gollum
            watched from behind the rocks. My seventeen year old son caught the
            same impression as I did. For a split second I half expeceted to
            hear them break into that chant, "Oh-ee-oh, ee-oh-oh..."

            ~Nessime
          • Joan Marie Verba
            ... Now that you mention it, I did, as well. Joan ****************************************** Joan Marie Verba verba001@tc.umn.edu
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 23, 2003
              Nessime wrote:

              > I'd like to know if anyone else had a "Wizard of Oz" moment, seeing
              > the orcs march out of Minas Morgal while Frodo, Sam and Gollum
              > watched from behind the rocks. My seventeen year old son caught the
              > same impression as I did. For a split second I half expeceted to
              > hear them break into that chant, "Oh-ee-oh, ee-oh-oh..."

              Now that you mention it, I did, as well.

              Joan
              ******************************************
              Joan Marie Verba
              verba001@...
              http://www.sff.net/people/Joan.Marie.Verba
            • Berni Phillips
              From: Nessime ... Yes, but this is not the only post-Oz movie I ve seen that in. I suspect it s become a filmic convention. It
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 23, 2003
                From: "Nessime" <fifthchildg3@...>
                >
                > I'd like to know if anyone else had a "Wizard of Oz" moment, seeing
                > the orcs march out of Minas Morgal while Frodo, Sam and Gollum
                > watched from behind the rocks. My seventeen year old son caught the
                > same impression as I did. For a split second I half expeceted to
                > hear them break into that chant, "Oh-ee-oh, ee-oh-oh..."

                Yes, but this is not the only post-Oz movie I've seen that in. I suspect
                it's become a filmic convention. It doesn't stop the chant from going
                through my mind, though.

                Berni
              • Michael Martinez
                ... I could have sworn I heard the horn section blasting in the same tempo for a brief moment.
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 23, 2003
                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Nessime" <fifthchildg3@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I'd like to know if anyone else had a "Wizard of Oz" moment, seeing
                  > the orcs march out of Minas Morgal while Frodo, Sam and Gollum
                  > watched from behind the rocks. My seventeen year old son caught the
                  > same impression as I did. For a split second I half expeceted to
                  > hear them break into that chant, "Oh-ee-oh, ee-oh-oh..."

                  I could have sworn I heard the horn section blasting in the same
                  tempo for a brief moment.

                  :)
                • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
                  They used Elephants to model the walking for Imperial Walkers. They used Elephants to make the Oliphants. In other words the Walkers walk like the Mumakil, not
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 23, 2003
                    They used Elephants to model the walking for Imperial Walkers. They used
                    Elephants to make the Oliphants. In other words the Walkers walk like
                    the Mumakil, not the other way around.

                    Sorry that one is a non-starter. Next time watch a Making of Star Wars
                    special like I did some 20 odd years ago.

                    And Legolas shot his in the head. Luke tripped one up and rammed a
                    granade inside another one. And to get to the top of his, Luke used a
                    harpoon and some sort of mechanical lifting device. Legolas climbed his
                    like a tree (funny thing you think he grew up in the forest or
                    something). They are not at all alike. By that definition no one should
                    fight with swords it's too much like lightsabers.

                    Remember Lucas Read Tolkien (and dozens of other SF&F writers), not the
                    other way around.

                    Mythically yours,
                    Lisa

                    Michael Martinez wrote:

                    >I'm surprised at how no one has noticed how the Mumakil move exactly
                    >like Imperial Walkers from "The Empire Strikes Back" (and they were
                    >taken out almost exactly the same way -- clearly, Legolas is Luke
                    >Skywalker's love-child).
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • David Bratman
                    ... Good point, Lisa. We should always try to be clear on who is imitating whom (or what). - David Bratman
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 24, 2003
                      At 09:32 PM 12/23/2003 -0800, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan wrote:
                      >They used Elephants to model the walking for Imperial Walkers. They used
                      >Elephants to make the Oliphants. In other words the Walkers walk like
                      >the Mumakil, not the other way around.

                      Good point, Lisa. We should always try to be clear on who is imitating
                      whom (or what).

                      - David Bratman
                    • Michael Martinez
                      ... Just get a copy of The Empire Strikes Back and watch how they take out the Imperial Walkers. Then go see The Return of the King again. You should see
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 24, 2003
                        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan <lisa@h...>
                        wrote:
                        > They used Elephants to model the walking for Imperial Walkers. They
                        > used Elephants to make the Oliphants. In other words the Walkers
                        > walk like the Mumakil, not the other way around.

                        Just get a copy of "The Empire Strikes Back" and watch how they take
                        out the Imperial Walkers. Then go see "The Return of the King"
                        again. You should see what I am referring to (it has nothing to do
                        with the way the Mumakil move, much less the walkers).

                        Legolas wasn't the only warriors to take out a Mumak. In fact,
                        Theoden is a good one to watch.

                        Tolkien could not possibly have had any impact on Lucas' action. But
                        Lucas clearly had an influence on Peter Jackson's "Return of the
                        King".
                      • Larry Swain
                        ... Oh, I don t know. In Empire, they trip them, generally. Luke lifts himself up with a winch attached to his suit, opens a hole in the bottom, puts in a
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 24, 2003
                          > Just get a copy of "The Empire Strikes Back" and watch how they take
                          > out the Imperial Walkers. Then go see "The Return of the King"
                          > again. You should see what I am referring to (it has nothing to do
                          > with the way the Mumakil move, much less the walkers).

                          Oh, I don't know. In Empire, they trip them, generally. Luke lifts himself up with a winch attached to his suit, opens a hole in the bottom, puts in a bomb. Blooie. Don't recall any tripping and explosions of mumakil in J-RoTK. See below.



                          > Legolas wasn't the only warriors to take out a Mumak. In fact,
                          > Theoden is a good one to watch.

                          He as I recall takes out one of the drivers, entirely logical. Yes, I do recall that happening in the assault on Hoth in Empire too. But I also recall it in Tolkien--in the battle in Ithilien, the driver is hanging on a rope as the mumak careens wildly, taking out men and trees. Jackson simply adapted that scene to the Fields of Pellenor.
                          Considering the relative proximity of a number of mumlak, such wild careening would naturally take out the next mumlak or walker, and if both directors are right handed they would naturally direct the action to the right, not the left. QED. I also don't recall Luke or Han Solo or company surfing down the front of a walker.


                          > Tolkien could not possibly have had any impact on Lucas' action. But
                          > Lucas clearly had an influence on Peter Jackson's "Return of the
                          > King".
                          >

                          Why couldn't he? Tolkien has a scene of a elephant in battle, and he was certainly published before Star Wars came out, there is some possibility of influence there depending on how the director conceives of Tolkien's scene. And I'll grant that there may be some indirect influence there, but I doubt that Jackson sat down and decided to copy Lucas' scene, more likely that both did some checking on how elephants were used in ancient warfare and went from there.

                          Larry Swain
                          --
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                        • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
                          And that battle tactic is older than both of them! Which is why they both use it. Trip wires are an ancient technique. Last time I checked no one used in LotR
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 24, 2003
                            And that battle tactic is older than both of them! Which is why they
                            both use it. Trip wires are an ancient technique. Last time I checked no
                            one used in LotR used a flying machine, they used various tripping
                            techniques, something which was not new when Lucas used it. Again, the
                            references are superficial and only because you want to force them. You
                            trip a four legged beast at it will look similar. I've seen the same
                            thing in films when they snare elephants.

                            I have Empire memorized. (I've seen it so many times I've lost count)

                            Mythically yours,
                            Lisa

                            Michael Martinez wrote:

                            >--- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan <lisa@h...>
                            >wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            >>They used Elephants to model the walking for Imperial Walkers. They
                            >>used Elephants to make the Oliphants. In other words the Walkers
                            >>walk like the Mumakil, not the other way around.
                            >>
                            >>
                            >
                            >Just get a copy of "The Empire Strikes Back" and watch how they take
                            >out the Imperial Walkers. Then go see "The Return of the King"
                            >again. You should see what I am referring to (it has nothing to do
                            >with the way the Mumakil move, much less the walkers).
                            >
                            >Legolas wasn't the only warriors to take out a Mumak. In fact,
                            >Theoden is a good one to watch.
                            >
                            >Tolkien could not possibly have had any impact on Lucas' action. But
                            >Lucas clearly had an influence on Peter Jackson's "Return of the
                            >King".
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Michael Martinez
                            [snippage for brevity throughout] ... There aren t any Samurai in The Magnificent Seven , either. ... There are several shots with the Mumakil that are
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 26, 2003
                              [snippage for brevity throughout]

                              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Swain" <theswain@o...> wrote:
                              > Oh, I don't know. In Empire, they trip them, generally.
                              > Luke lifts himself up with a winch attached to his suit,
                              > opens a hole in the bottom, puts in a bomb. Blooie.
                              > Don't recall any tripping and explosions of mumakil
                              > in J-RoTK. See below.

                              There aren't any Samurai in "The Magnificent Seven", either.

                              > > Legolas wasn't the only warriors to take out a Mumak. In fact,
                              > > Theoden is a good one to watch.
                              >
                              > He as I recall takes out one of the drivers, entirely logical.

                              There are several shots with the Mumakil that are evocative of the
                              ice battle in "Empire Strikes Back", including the shot with the
                              Mumakil attacking Minas Tirith (and all the infantry coming around
                              them).

                              The Rohirrim circling around the Mumakil is another shot that evokes
                              the flyers buzzing the walkers.

                              > > Tolkien could not possibly have had any impact on Lucas' action.

                              > Why couldn't he?

                              Because Tolkien did not describe detailed action sequences in "The
                              Battle of the Pelennor Fields".
                            • Michael Martinez
                              ... It would be best to just watch the movies again. But, to each their own. I certainly wouldn t want to ask anyone who didn t enjoy The Return of the King
                              Message 14 of 23 , Dec 26, 2003
                                --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan <lisa@h...>
                                wrote:
                                > And that battle tactic is older than both of them!

                                It would be best to just watch the movies again. But, to each their
                                own.

                                I certainly wouldn't want to ask anyone who didn't enjoy "The Return
                                of the King" to suffer it again too soon just to see a pretty obvious
                                homage in its proper context.

                                I am surprised, however, to see that people are not wondering about
                                Legolas and the Sea. That is, there is nothing of Legolas' longing
                                for the Sea in the movie. That was a very poignant moment in the
                                book for me. But I suppose that, along with Peter's vanishing Elf
                                army, Legolas' sighting of the seagulls is really only a very minor
                                issue.

                                I am considering starting a franchise for "Legolas Still Lives in
                                Middle-earth!" t-shirts, as his departure will obviously now never be
                                part of the cinematic canon.
                              • Nessime
                                ... Actually it was Éomer who cast his spear at the mumakil driver. I m still unclear about exactly what happend after that, whether if in his fall the driver
                                Message 15 of 23 , Dec 26, 2003
                                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Swain" <theswain@o...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > He as I recall takes out one of the drivers, entirely logical. >

                                  Actually it was Éomer who cast his spear at the mumakil driver.
                                  I'm
                                  still unclear about exactly what happend after that, whether if in
                                  his fall the driver caused the beast to stumble or what, but the
                                  mumakil careened into another and the pair fell crashing to the
                                  ground.

                                  I saw RotK again Christmas Day, and I was watching carefully because
                                  in the movies PJ & Co. have nearly made a nonentity of Éomer. All
                                  of
                                  his lines from the book have been given to others. One example:

                                  "Over the field rang his [Éomer's] clear voice calling: 'Death!
                                  Ride, ride to ruin and the world's ending!'And with that the host
                                  began to move. But the Rohirrim sang no more. *Death* they cried
                                  with one voice loud and terrible, and gathering speed like a great
                                  tide their battle swept about their fallen king and passed, roaring
                                  away southwards..."
                                  (LotR: RotK: Book V: Chapter VI: "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields")

                                  PJ even gave away Éomer's rightful place in the charge of the
                                  Rohirrim:

                                  "'Éomer, my son! You lead the first éored,' said Théoden;
                                  'and it
                                  shall go behind the king's banner in the centre. Elfhelm, lead your
                                  company to the right when we pass the wall. And Grimbold shall lead
                                  his towards the left...'"
                                  (LotR: RotK: Book V: Chapter V: "The Ride of the Rohirrim")

                                  In the movie Théoden tells Éomer to go to the left (PJ couldn't
                                  even
                                  let him be Théoden's "right hand man" for pity's sake- did you
                                  notice that in the non-book verse celebration back in Edoras, after
                                  their return from the battle at Helm's Deep, that Eowyn is on the
                                  king's right and Éomer is standing to his left? It struck me quite
                                  forcefully). Grimbold is sent to the right and Gamling, who
                                  shouldn't even be there, is told to follow behind the king's banner.
                                  Did these people even read the book? How hard would it have been to
                                  get at least that much right?

                                  So Éomer never gets named as Théoden's heir, the king's banner
                                  is
                                  never passed to him on the field of the Pelennor after Théoden's
                                  death, he's never hailed as king, and even at Aragorn's cornonation
                                  he is a bit of a cipher, for there is Eowyn, wearing a circlet on
                                  her brow, and even Legolas wears a circlet (okay, so he's the son of
                                  Thranduil, King of Mirkwood - Tolkien never refers to him as
                                  a "prince"). Éomer, however, wears nothing that would indicate his
                                  status as Rohan's new king.

                                  I knew nothing of actor Karl Urban before LotR hit the big screen,
                                  but IMO it is a credit to him that Éomer doesn't totally disappear
                                  into the scenery. I do hope that the EE of RotK will rectify a few
                                  of the omissions, but there too many scenes where Éomer's rightful
                                  place in the story has been lost irrevocably. I do not believe it
                                  would have diminished Eowyn's role one whit to have portrayed her
                                  brother as Tolkien wrote him, yet I would bet this is one of the
                                  reasons his role was so downplayed in the script.

                                  ~Nessime
                                • Larry Swain
                                  ... A. No, but in that particular case there are sufficient similarities in character(s), plot development, themes, etc as to suggest dependence, much less
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Dec 27, 2003
                                    Michael Martinez wrote:

                                    > There aren't any Samurai in "The Magnificent Seven", >either.


                                    A. No, but in that particular case there are sufficient similarities in character(s), plot development, themes,
                                    etc as to suggest dependence, much less additional information. The "argument" for the relationship between the two movies does not depend on a single scene.
                                    B. Your specific argument was to note the way in which the mumakil were taken down--"Just get a copy of "The Empire Strikes Back" and watch how they take out the Imperial Walkers." from message http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mythsoc/message/10815. Thus, I would maintain that the analogy you desire to establish here is a false one, and therefore your argument fallacious.


                                    > > > Legolas wasn't the only warriors to take out a Mumak. In fact,
                                    > > > Theoden is a good one to watch.
                                    > >
                                    > > He as I recall takes out one of the drivers, entirely logical.
                                    >
                                    > There are several shots with the Mumakil that are evocative of the
                                    > ice battle in "Empire Strikes Back", including the shot with the
                                    > Mumakil attacking Minas Tirith (and all the infantry coming around
                                    > them).

                                    This is really a different question. The contention you made, quoted above, was that the method of dispatching the mumakil and the walkers was the same, not that the camera angles were similar. I'll deal with both, but it seems like the ground is slippery.

                                    Having just watched this afternoon and evening, both films with my visiting brother, a Star Wars buff and appreciator of Tolkien, and we counted six mumakil being taken down.

                                    The first is Eomer, who grabs spear, kills the driver, who then dangles on a rope and another spear from over the camera's "shoulder" pins the ear of the mumakil to its shoulder, sending it careening into the second. 2 down.
                                    This is similar to the careening mumak in Book IV of LoTR with a driver hanging on to the rope as the animal goes off into the woods destroying everything and everyone in its path.

                                    The closest parallels can find to these are a. one walker's driver is shot through the windshield by the big guns on Hoth and b. the first "tripped" walker falls sideways into a second. These are two different events at two different places in the battle. Similarities, yes, but not evidence of Jackson modeling this scene on Lucas.

                                    2 of 6 mumakil down. The next two are blurry, at least in terms of which came first. BUt I think it is Merry and Eowyn riding between the legs of one and breaking its knee caps, causing it to fall. That's 3.

                                    In Empire, there is an instance of Luke and his wingman flying between the legs of a walker and starting the "tripping" procedure. Similar, yes, the latter based on teh former? Maybe, but it isn't a certain bet.

                                    That's 3 of 6. The fourth, which come to think of it may not be a fourth at all, but the third from a different vantage point, is the case of Theoden. He sits astride his horse, watches a mumak fall in front of him and then sees the Lord of the Nazgul coming at him. We don't really see how this mumak falls, which leads me to think it is simply #3 from Theoden's vantage point.

                                    I can find nothing that parallels this in Empire.

                                    The fifth is Legolas. Legolas climbs up the arrows in the side of the mumak to its hind quarters, proceeds to shoot the archers int eh basket, grab a rope and swing forward, cut the basket supports and then as it falls, allows it to pull him up onto the back of the beast. He then dispatches it with two arrows into the back of its head, and sliding down its trunk as it falls, to land safely in front of Gimli.

                                    The closest parallel here is Luke winching himself up to the bottom of the walker, cutting a hole in it, putting in an explosive, detaching and falling none too gracefully to the ground to watch the thing blow up. Again, some similarties in that both charcters use a rope/cable to get up to where they can do damage, but beyond that, no.

                                    The sixth mumlak is killed in the background as the army of the dead overtake it and its riders. Again, no parallels here.

                                    Thus, at least in terms of how the mumakil are taken out, the similarities are few and superficial and so do not strongly argue in favor of Jackson molding this part of the battle on Empire Strikes Back.

                                    Now to the point of camera angles, I won't go into detail. There are some similarities, but I think those similarities can best be explained by the similar situations: an assault of a well-defended position by infantry (where are the cavalry of the Haradrim?) and elephant-based "creatures" used in fighting. How to best show the main characters and the action of the battle? (Interestingly enough, there are multiple aerial shots of the Pelennor Fields, no aerial shots in Empire). The infantry is different and aligned differently as well. So again, similarities, but not dependence.

                                    >
                                    > The Rohirrim circling around the Mumakil is another shot that evokes
                                    > the flyers buzzing the walkers.

                                    Evokes it for you perhaps, but that certainly was not what I was reminded of when viewing the scene. Rather I was reminded of every ancient movie battle scene in which some party is mounted and the rest are on foot--the "attackers" surround the mounted and seek to either kill the mount or pull the warrior off his mount and even the playing field. The flyers buzzing around the walkers in order to trip them is just the sort of thing needed in such a situation.



                                    >
                                    > > > Tolkien could not possibly have had any impact on Lucas' action.
                                    >
                                    > > Why couldn't he?
                                    >
                                    > Because Tolkien did not describe detailed action sequences in "The
                                    > Battle of the Pelennor Fields".
                                    >

                                    I'm not suggesting that there was influence there, but there certainly could have been. Think of how the situations are similar---nowhere else in the Star Wars triology do we have an assault on a defended position, and the walkers are known to be based on "elephants"....there are as many superficial similarities here as what you claim there to be between Empire and RoTK. And Tolkien gives enough details of the battle to draw schematics and tactics from. Perhaps we'll just have to agree to differ.

                                    Larry Swain
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
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                                  • The Yeti !
                                    It should be remembered that George Lucas & Peter Jackson are actually friends, and during the filming of their recent (sort of) trilogies, they visited each
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Dec 27, 2003
                                      It should be remembered that George Lucas & Peter Jackson are
                                      actually friends, and during the filming of their recent (sort of)
                                      trilogies, they visited each others sets (the latter two Star Wars
                                      films are filmed in Queensland, Australia).
                                      It is therefore not impossible that PJ deliberately filmed a couple
                                      of scenes of the Mumakil charge to be similar to those in The Empire
                                      Strikes Back, as a sort of homage to GL & the Star War films.

                                      Yeti.

                                      http://www.tolkienonline.com/docs/8810.html

                                      'Lucas also told me that he and Lord of the Rings director Peter
                                      Jackson have become good friends, commiserating with each other in
                                      Australia and New Zealand on their shoots about making their two
                                      series.

                                      "Essentially, Peter is making three three-hour movies out of one
                                      book," Lucas said. "And I'm making nine two-hour movies from one
                                      book." Of course, Lucas wrote his own book, but the mythology
                                      harkens back to Lord of the Rings. "We discuss it a lot because they
                                      are similar in nature," said Lucas.'
                                    • David Bratman
                                      ... Based on my previous experience with complexly plotted films, I expect that if I didn t know the book I would have no idea, from seeing these films, who
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Dec 27, 2003
                                        At 11:51 PM 12/26/2003 +0000, Nessime wrote:

                                        >I knew nothing of actor Karl Urban before LotR hit the big screen,
                                        >but IMO it is a credit to him that Éomer doesn't totally disappear
                                        >into the scenery.

                                        Based on my previous experience with complexly plotted films, I expect that
                                        if I didn't know the book I would have no idea, from seeing these films,
                                        who the heck Éomer was unless I went back to see it with somebody willing
                                        repeatedly to point and say "Him! That guy right there!" That his various
                                        appearances were all the same guy, and distinguishable from several other
                                        guys, would probably have eluded me.

                                        As it is, don't worry, I got him.


                                        >there too many scenes where Éomer's rightful
                                        >place in the story has been lost irrevocably. I do not believe it
                                        >would have diminished Eowyn's role one whit to have portrayed her
                                        >brother as Tolkien wrote him, yet I would bet this is one of the
                                        >reasons his role was so downplayed in the script.

                                        I fear this is true.

                                        - David Bratman
                                      • Larry Swain
                                        Tolkien and Lewis were friends too, but that doesn t mean that Voyage of the Dawn Treader is based on The Hobbit or that Farmer Giles of Ham owes something to
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Dec 28, 2003
                                          Tolkien and Lewis were friends too, but that doesn't mean that Voyage of the Dawn Treader is based on The Hobbit or that Farmer Giles of Ham owes something to Perelandra in contrast to That Hideous Strength being influenced by the fiction of Charles Williams (though influenced by and based on are two different things. I understand Michael as suggesting that Jackson's scene is Lucas' scene redone at least in part, not merely influenced by Lucas' scene). It is not sufficient to point to the relationship and say "Ah HA!"

                                          On the other hand, we might ask why the mumakil scene is in the picture to begin with, other than as one of my students put it last week, "it was wicked cool". Tolkien mentions mumakil on Pelennor only once, and that is as beasts pulling the towers and the battering ram slowly across the field, not as assault "vehicles" themselves, unlike the apparent use in the episode in Ithilien with Faramir. So their presence in this latter battle scene may owe something to Lucas in a general way. But I don't see that either in terms of how the mumakil are "taken out" nor in terms of camera angles and shot, that Jackson is copying from Empire so much as in the few similarities there are, they are there because of similar subject matter, not because of copying.

                                          Larry Swain


                                          > It should be remembered that George Lucas & Peter Jackson are
                                          > actually friends, and during the filming of their recent (sort of)
                                          > trilogies, they visited each others sets (the latter two Star Wars
                                          > films are filmed in Queensland, Australia).
                                          > It is therefore not impossible that PJ deliberately filmed a couple
                                          > of scenes of the Mumakil charge to be similar to those in The Empire
                                          > Strikes Back, as a sort of homage to GL & the Star War films.
                                          >
                                          > Yeti.
                                          >
                                          > http://www.tolkienonline.com/docs/8810.html
                                          >
                                          > 'Lucas also told me that he and Lord of the Rings director Peter
                                          > Jackson have become good friends, commiserating with each other in
                                          > Australia and New Zealand on their shoots about making their two
                                          > series.
                                          >
                                          > "Essentially, Peter is making three three-hour movies out of one
                                          > book," Lucas said. "And I'm making nine two-hour movies from one
                                          > book." Of course, Lucas wrote his own book, but the mythology
                                          > harkens back to Lord of the Rings. "We discuss it a lot because they
                                          > are similar in nature," said Lucas.'
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                                          >
                                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                          >
                                          > To visit your group on the web, go to:
                                          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mythsoc/
                                          >
                                          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                          > mythsoc-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                                          >
                                          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
                                          > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                                          >
                                          >

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                                        • WendellWag@aol.com
                                          In a message dated 12/27/2003 6:13:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... Say what? Has Lucas suddenly reverted to his original plan to make nine Star Wars films?
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Dec 28, 2003
                                            In a message dated 12/27/2003 6:13:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                                            jadeyeti@... writes:

                                            > "Essentially, Peter is making three three-hour movies out of one
                                            > book," Lucas said. "And I'm making nine two-hour movies from one
                                            > book."

                                            Say what? Has Lucas suddenly reverted to his original plan to make nine Star
                                            Wars films?

                                            Wendell Wagner


                                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          • Michael Martinez
                                            ... Empire ... Peter has included homages to many movies in his trilogy. He s not just singling Lucas out for special notice.
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Dec 30, 2003
                                              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "The Yeti !" <jadeyeti@y...> wrote:
                                              > It should be remembered that George Lucas & Peter Jackson are
                                              > actually friends, and during the filming of their recent (sort of)
                                              > trilogies, they visited each others sets (the latter two Star Wars
                                              > films are filmed in Queensland, Australia).
                                              > It is therefore not impossible that PJ deliberately filmed a couple
                                              > of scenes of the Mumakil charge to be similar to those in The
                                              Empire
                                              > Strikes Back, as a sort of homage to GL & the Star War films.

                                              Peter has included homages to many movies in his trilogy. He's not
                                              just singling Lucas out for special notice.
                                            • WendellWag@aol.com
                                              In a message dated 12/27/2003 6:13:19 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... I never received a reply to my question. Has Lucas suddenly reverted to his original plan
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Dec 31, 2003
                                                In a message dated 12/27/2003 6:13:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                                                jadeyeti@... writes:

                                                > "Essentially, Peter is making three three-hour movies out of one
                                                > book," Lucas said. "And I'm making nine two-hour movies from one
                                                > book."

                                                I never received a reply to my question. Has Lucas suddenly reverted to his
                                                original plan to make nine Star Wars films instead of six?

                                                Wendell Wagner


                                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                              • darancgrissom@sbcglobal.net
                                                I have heard nothing at all about another three. I can only hope they are made after he is good and dead. Whatever talent he once had as a director seems to
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Jan 1, 2004
                                                  I have heard nothing at all about another three. I can only hope they are
                                                  made after he is good and dead. Whatever talent he once had as a director
                                                  seems to have been replaced be ego and special effects mongering. I spent
                                                  my High school years in heavy contemplation of Star Wars, I knew every movie
                                                  by heart and my friends and I could carry on conversations entirely in
                                                  quotes from the movies. But after the last two movies I can honesty say the
                                                  only thing I can look forward to with any enthusiasm is the cartoon made by
                                                  the guy who does "Samurai Jack."
                                                  -----Original Message-----
                                                  From: WendellWag@... [mailto:WendellWag@...]
                                                  Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 2:37 AM
                                                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                                                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: The King, I say the King, has returned

                                                  I never received a reply to my question. Has Lucas suddenly reverted to
                                                  his
                                                  original plan to make nine Star Wars films instead of six?

                                                  Wendell Wagner


                                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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