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RE: [mythsoc] Digest Number 1438

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  • Liz Milner
    I just saw the movie, and I think Patrick Wynne hit the nail on the head when he wrote, It s just a shame that all these production values were employed in
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2003
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      I just saw the movie, and I think Patrick Wynne hit the nail on the head
      when he wrote,
      "It's just a shame that all these production values were employed in the
      service of a piece-of-crap script."

      I'm curious to find out how Frodo found a hobbit haberdashery in Mordor--did
      he make a side trip to The Gap of Rohan?


      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com]
      > Sent: Sunday, December 21, 2003 1:36 PM
      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [mythsoc] Digest Number 1438
      >
      >
      > There are 5 messages in this issue.
      >
      > Topics in this digest:
      >
      > 1. PJ's LOTR: interesting piece on the music
      > From: Stolzi@...
      > 2. Forgot who asked
      > From: "Liz Milner" <lizmilner@...>
      > 3. Re: My own RotK review
      > From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
      > 4. Re: Forgot who asked
      > From: Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@...>
      > 5. Thoughts on RotK
      > From: Patrick Wynne <pwynne@...>
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 1
      > Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2003 14:26:05 EST
      > From: Stolzi@...
      > Subject: PJ's LOTR: interesting piece on the music
      >
      > http://www.newyorker.com/critics/atlarge/?031222crat_atlarge
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Diamond Proudbrook
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 2
      > Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2003 15:26:00 -0500
      > From: "Liz Milner" <lizmilner@...>
      > Subject: Forgot who asked
      >
      > A while back someone (I forgot who asked and I can't locate the message)
      > asked people to identify what they missed in the movie.
      >
      > It may seem strange, but what I missed most were Frodo's dreams of the sea
      > and the tower. These images haunted me after I'd read the book, and I'd
      > expected them to be used as a visual leitmotiv in the movie. (Sort of the
      > way the film, "Gladiator," used writhing smoke, wind-tossed wheat and
      > guttering flames to suggest the intrusion of the Otherworld into
      > this one).
      >
      > Liz Milner
      > lizmilner@...
      > http://lizmilner.home.mindspring.com
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 3
      > Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2003 18:03:13 -0800
      > From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
      > Subject: Re: My own RotK review
      >
      > At 11:29 AM 12/20/2003 -0500, dianejoy@... wrote:
      >
      > >I'll have to go back and re-read RotK to
      > >determine if the Denethor-Faramir relationship is even as pointed as PJ
      > >makes it seem.
      >
      > Pretty much:
      >
      > "'Do you wish then,' said Faramir, 'that our places had been exchanged?'
      > "'Yes, I wish that indeed,' said Denethor. 'For Boromir was loyal to me
      > and no wizard's pupil. He would have remembered his father's need, and
      > would not have squandered what fortune gave. He would have brought me a
      > mighty gift.'"
      >
      >
      > >I recall Denethor was insane, and of course, Theoden was
      > >under Wormtongue's spell (in TT).
      >
      > That depends on what you mean by "spell". Jackson's Theoden is literally
      > under the control of a magic spell, but Tolkien's is not. It is essential
      > to Tolkien's conception that Theoden discards Wormtongue's
      > blandishments of
      > his own free will, and not because Gandalf releases him from supernatural
      > mind control.
      >
      >
      > >The war scenes are often physically tiresome for me, even in the best
      > >films; I find it difficult to watch them because I'm not sure what I'm
      > >seeing, and who's doing what to whom, esp. with fast scene cuts. I keep
      > >thinking I miss important information, and feel caught up and confused.
      >
      > I found the general outline of the Battle of Helm's Deep to be
      > probably the
      > most confusing part of the book, at least on first reading. The film was
      > pretty clear on what was going on, but there was less intercutting of that
      > kind in Jackson's TT than in his RK.
      >
      >
      > >The scene where the small circle of "our guys" is surrounded
      > >by "their guys" was visually stunning. The scope was amazing.
      >
      > I was distressed, however, by the fact that when the gates of Mordor open,
      > instead of meeting the Mouth of Sauron, our heroes find the whole army of
      > Mordor marching at them, and they _turn and run away_ back to their own
      > army. Not that this would be a dumb thing to do, tactically, but there's
      > way too much running away in these movies, and it's not a dignified thing
      > to show heroes doing. Those few seconds ought to have been cut.
      >
      >
      > >Aragorn's scenes in the mountain were visually striking, but Viggo
      > >Mortensen seemed tired, ready to move on; I didn't feel he had the same
      > >investment of personality in Aragorn as he had at the beginning
      > (watch FotR
      > >and see how energetic he is, as opposed to how he seems in RotK).
      >
      > He never seemed very energetic to me, or much of anything else besides
      > tough and sinewy. I kept waiting for the Ranger to turn into the
      > King, but
      > except for washing his hair before the coronation, he never did. The
      > Aragorn who "seemed to have grown in stature while Eomer had
      > shrunk; and in
      > his living face Gimli and Legolas caught a brief vision of the power and
      > majesty of the kings of stone" is the aptly-named Sir Not Appearing In
      > These Films.
      >
      >
      > >Rhys-Davies seemed to keep the energy levels up
      >
      > Even better, the comic side of Gimli's character was toned down, and
      > related to appropriate moments from the book. Tolkien's Gimli really does
      > say "Here is a thing unheard of! An Elf will go underground and a Dwarf
      > dare not!"
      >
      >
      > >Gondor itself was stunning! As was the Grey Havens scene. Sam's garden
      > >looked glorious, and it was neat to see him with wife and children.
      >
      > I concur entirely.
      >
      >
      > - David Bratman
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 4
      > Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2003 22:13:22 -0500
      > From: Carl F. Hostetter <Aelfwine@...>
      > Subject: Re: Forgot who asked
      >
      >
      > On Dec 20, 2003, at 3:26 PM, Liz Milner wrote:
      >
      > > It may seem strange, but what I missed most were Frodo's dreams of the
      > > sea
      > > and the tower. These images haunted me after I'd read the book,
      >
      > Me too! And with it Jackson further robs the film of what I consider to
      > be one of the most poignant passages ever written:
      >
      > "And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West,
      > until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the
      > air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then
      > it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the
      > grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and
      > he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a
      > swift sunrise."
      >
      >
      > --
      > =============================================
      > Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org
      >
      > ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      > Ars longa, vita brevis.
      > The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      > "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      > a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      > Message: 5
      > Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 10:34:07 -0600
      > From: Patrick Wynne <pwynne@...>
      > Subject: Thoughts on RotK
      >
      > **WARNING**
      >
      > The following comments on Peter Jackson's "The Return of the King" are
      > overwhelmingly negative. If this sort of thing is likely to raise your
      > blood pressure, please delete this message NOW and go rewatch your
      > extended version DVD of "The Two Towers" instead.
      >
      > **END OF WARNING**
      >
      > I saw Jackson's "Return of the King" yesterday afternoon and thought
      > I'd share a few impressions.
      >
      > I'm utterly baffled by the overwhelmingly favorable reactions this film
      > has been getting from reviewers. I can only assume that most of them
      > have either never read Tolkien, or only have some dim,
      > marijuana-blurred memory of reading "The Lord of the Rings" once back
      > in their college days. I've appreciated and studied Tolkien's writings
      > for close to 25 years now, and I can't just check that knowledge at the
      > door of the theater, which is unfortunate because watching Jackson's
      > films with an intimate knowledge of the original novel is a painful
      > experience. I began looking at my watch a lot after the first hour.
      >
      > Maybe the reviewers are just overwhelmed by the special effects and
      > production values -- the film is visually stunning, without a doubt.
      > Every penny spent on effects, costumes, etc. is right up there on the
      > screen for us to enjoy. Minas Tirith was gorgeous, and quite faithful
      > to the book. Minas Morgul was also well done, the Emerald City of Oz
      > gone horribly wrong. The battles with their thousands upon thousands of
      > combatants were jaw-dropping, and Grond rocked. The use of CGI was
      > generally masterful throughout: Gollum, Shelob, various and sundry
      > trolls, the AT-AT-like mûmaks, etc. And David Bratman is right, the
      > Grey Havens sequence and Sam's return home, with the classic "I'm
      > back", were wonderful to behold. The only place where Jackson's effects
      > team let him down badly is in the latex appliance department. Gimli's
      > face, as in the other two films, still looks like a third-grader's
      > Pla-Doh sculpture (though at least Jackson spared us Installment #3 of
      > dwarf-tossing). Ditto for the doughy pink-faced orc who led Sauron's
      > troops in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. And Ian Holm's old-age
      > makeup was awful, a stiff and totally unconvincing plastic mask that
      > made Bilbo look like a cross between a Cardassian and Dustin Hoffman's
      > Little Big Man, shrunk in the wash.
      >
      > It's just a shame that all these production values were employed in the
      > service of a piece-of-crap script. This time around, the character most
      > ill-served was Denethor, virtually unrecognizable from the Steward of
      > Gondor in the book. Movie Denethor is an ineffectual, crazy old wuss
      > who refuses to summon Rohan's aid -- Gandalf must send Pippin to sneak
      > up to the Minas Tirith signal fire and set it alight (because, you see,
      > the only way the Good Guys will do anything to combat Sauron in these
      > movies is if the Hobbits trick them, as with the Ents in the previous
      > film -- nasty tricksy Hobbitses!) Not that Theoden is any better -- he
      > sits on his ass in Rohan, refusing to prepare for war until he gets an
      > engraved invitation from Denethor. When the signal fires are finally
      > spotted -- in the movie they extend all the way from Minas Tirith to
      > Meduseld -- _THEN_ he orders a muster of the Rohirrim, to be completed
      > within two days. No wonder they arrive at the Pelennor fashionably
      > late.
      >
      > At one point, Denethor is kvetching madly about how they're all going
      > to die etc., and Gandalf coldcocks him in the face with his staff,
      > followed by a couple more blows to the head and shoulders, completely
      > knocking the Steward of Gondor flat on the ground, unconscious. It was
      > as if something from a "Return of the King" blooper reel had been put
      > in the film by mistake -- if Gandalf had actually tried this in the
      > world Tolkien portrayed, Gandalf would have been cut to ribbons by the
      > Guards of the Citadel before he was able to deliver a second blow. And
      > Gandalf's abuse of the Steward did not end there. In the Pyre of
      > Denethor scene, once Pippin has rolled Faramir to safety from the
      > conflagration and Denethor is attempting to give the meddlesome Hobbit
      > some retaliatory whupass, Shadowfax with Gandalf astride rears up and
      > kicks Denethor back onto the burning pyre. Denethor ignites like he's
      > made of rice paper and -- get this! -- runs outside, blazing like a
      > torch, somehow manages to make it all the way to the very end of the
      > ship-like pier of rock jutting out from the Citadel (a couple hundred
      > yards, at least) and throws himself off the end like a burning tennis
      > ball.
      >
      > Oh, and let's not forget the bizarre "My Dinner with Denethor" scene,
      > when Pippin sings to Denethor while the Steward eats. Jackson cuts back
      > and forth between Faramir's doomed final assault on Osgiliath and
      > grotesque closeups of Denethor's mouth noshing loudly and messily, with
      > bits of half-chewed chicken flying about and berry juice running down
      > his chin -- and the berry juice looks like _blood_ (how clever -- NOT).
      >
      > Meanwhile, back in Mordor, Jackson fabricates a ludicrous plotline in
      > which Gollum manages to turn Frodo against Sam. Gollum waits until the
      > Hobbits are sleeping, then takes the last of their lembas from their
      > bag, crumbles one over Sam, then tosses the rest off a cliff. When Sam
      > wakes up and loudly blames Gollum for stealing their waybread, Gollum
      > says Sam has been snacking on their vittles while Frodo's asleep and
      > points to the crumbs on Sam as proof. And since everybody in Jackson's
      > Middle-earth is an idiot, Frodo believes Gollum, orders Sam to go home,
      > and then continues on to Shelob's Lair with Gollum alone, where he is
      > promptly attacked and incapacitated by a giant CGI effect, and it
      > serves him right.
      >
      > And since Jackson must direct every scene with the volume turned up to
      > 11, he "improves" the Cracks of Doom sequence by having Frodo attack
      > Gollum after Gollum has bitten off his finger, so that _both_
      > combatants end up plummeting over the edge. Oh, but Sam runs up and
      > finds -- what a surprise! -- that Frodo is miraculously clinging to the
      > edge, waiting to be pulled up to safety by good old lembas-stealing
      > Sam. Did Jackson seriously think that any viewer over the age of five
      > would find this remotely suspenseful?
      >
      > Some have commented here that Viggo's performance in this installment
      > seems flat. I agree -- his performance is of the phoned-in variety
      > (perhaps they should have called this movie "The Lord of the Rings,
      > Part III: So Very Tired"). The only time he shows real enthusiasm is
      > when he kisses Arwen at his coronation -- he lunges at her, mouth agape
      > and tongue at the ready, like a hungry Rottweiler going for a bowl of
      > fresh beef liver. I think Brego gave Aragorn a more tasteful kiss in
      > the last movie.
      >
      > Well enough, you get the picture. For those of you who are able to
      > enjoy these movies, I truly envy you. I simply find them painful and
      > depressing. As my friend Carl Hostetter has said, "These movies can't
      > end enough for me."
      >
      > -- Patrick H. Wynne
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      > ________________________________________________________________________
      >
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      >
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