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Re: "The Hunt for Gollum" movie

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  • Jason Fisher
    All I ll say for now is I appreciated the effort (to a point), but honestly, I found it boring. And not quite as lush and impressive as advance word had led me
    Message 1 of 13 , May 5, 2009
      All I'll say for now is I appreciated the effort (to a point), but honestly, I found it boring. And not quite as lush and impressive as advance word had led me to expect. And I say this as a fan of the Peter Jackson films, FWIW.


      Jason

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Doug Kane
      I too am a fan of the Jackson films, at least as compared to David. Of course, that is damning with faint praise. ; ) Alana, I ll wait a couple of days and
      Message 2 of 13 , May 5, 2009
        I too am a fan of the Jackson films, at least as compared to David. Of course, that is damning with faint praise. ; )

        Alana, I'll wait a couple of days and then post some further thoughts if no one states that that they mind. The particular point that I was referring to comes almost at the very end, and while I doubt that it would seriously ruin anyone's viewing experiences, I have seen some awfully strong reactions to what I thought was fairly innocuous spoilers before.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Jason Fisher
        To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 3:04 PM
        Subject: [mythsoc] Re: "The Hunt for Gollum" movie





        All I'll say for now is I appreciated the effort (to a point), but honestly, I found it boring. And not quite as lush and impressive as advance word had led me to expect. And I say this as a fan of the Peter Jackson films, FWIW.

        Jason

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





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Alana Joli Abbott
        Definitely, waiting a few days seems like a good idea. I m not anti-spoiler myself, but I don t want to step on anyone s spoiler-free toes! ;) -Alana ... --
        Message 3 of 13 , May 5, 2009
          Definitely, waiting a few days seems like a good idea. I'm not anti-spoiler
          myself, but I don't want to step on anyone's spoiler-free toes! ;)

          -Alana

          On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 6:30 PM, Doug Kane <dougkane@...>wrote:

          > Alana, I'll wait a couple of days and then post some further thoughts if
          > no one states that that they mind. The particular point that I was referring
          > to comes almost at the very end, and while I doubt that it would seriously
          > ruin anyone's viewing experiences, I have seen some awfully strong reactions
          > to what I thought was fairly innocuous spoilers before.
          >
          > .
          >
          >
          >



          --
          Alana Joli Abbott, Freelance Writer and Editor (
          http://www.virgilandbeatrice.com)
          Author of "Nomi's Wish" (
          http://coyotewildmag.com/2008/august/abbott_nomis_wish.html), featured in
          Coyote Wild Magazine
          Contributor to Serenity Adventures: http://tinyurl.com/serenity-adventures
          Contributor to Ransom: The Anthology: http://tinyurl.com/ransombook
          --
          For updates on my writings, join my mailing list at
          http://groups.google.com/group/alanajoliabbottfans


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • John D Rateliff
          I think it s telling that they went to great lengths to reproduce the look of the Peter Jackson films, to the extent of casting actors based on their
          Message 4 of 13 , May 5, 2009
            I think it's telling that they went to great lengths to reproduce the
            look of the Peter Jackson films, to the extent of casting actors
            based on their resemblance to Jackson's cast. I'm reminded of The
            Mamas and the Papas, who at one point fired Michelle Phillips and
            replaced her with a woman who looked like her, not one who sounded
            like her.

            I think these people spent an enormous amount of time and effort
            producing a 34-minute piece of fan-fiction; if it were in print
            rather than on film it wouldn't stand out from among thousands of
            other examples.

            An amazing piece of mimicry, though.

            __JDR


            On May 5, 2009, at 2:17 PM, David Bratman wrote:
            > It is online at <http://thehuntforgollum.s3.amazonaws.com/
            > index.html>. Anyone interested in sharing or reading reactions, or
            > would that still be spoilers at this point? (Not that the outcome
            > is a big surprise or anything like that.)
          • David Bratman
            One-line review: Don t bother. More boring than Peter Jackson at only a quarter the length. How to make a movie of The Hunt for Gollum (down below, spoiler
            Message 5 of 13 , May 7, 2009
              One-line review: Don't bother. More boring than Peter Jackson at only a
              quarter the length.

              How to make a movie of "The Hunt for Gollum" (down below, "spoiler" alert):






















              1. Peter Jackson begins his film with a Portentious Backstory, so begin your
              film with a Portentious Backstory.

              2. Peter Jackson makes a solemn action-adventure film while minimizing
              Tolkien's moral underpinnings, so by all means make a solemn
              action-adventure film without any moral underpinnings. You've got your good
              guys and your bad guys, so leave it at that.

              3. Peter Jackson's Aragorn mumbles, so your Aragorn should mumble.

              4. Let's not even talk about the Orcs.

              5. Jackson's Gandalf was too shiny, so dress your Gandalf in an old sack.

              6. When filming an indoor conversation, take your production values from old
              Dr. Who serials, and your extras from science fiction conventions.

              7. When filming two people sneaking up on each other in the woods, take your
              mise-en-scène from the "Those We Do Not Speak Of" sequences of M. Night
              Shyamalan's The Village.

              8. When you finally show Gollum close up, show either your independence from
              Peter Jackson, or your inability to follow him closely enough, by modeling
              Gollum not on Andy Serkis, but on Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter.

              9. Introduce a Ranger whom Aragorn has never met, and who has only vaguely
              heard of his own Chieftain.

              10. Have Aragorn carry Gollum around in a sack that Serkis's (or Tolkien's,
              for that matter) Gollum could easily have torn his way out of in one minute.
              (Tolkien's Aragorn made Gollum walk in front of him with a halter; this is
              obviously impossible if you're using a CGI Gollum and have virtually no CGI
              budget. But then, why does Gollum have to be CGI? Because Peter Jackson is
              God?)

              11. Have Gollum steal fish from the Woodsmen's windowsills instead of
              drinking blood from cradles. Stabbing orcs is one thing, but this is just
              icky. Do not ask what the Woodsmen put the raw fish on the windowsill for.
              To cool off?

              12. Foreshadowing! Have Aragorn see a Nazgul and tell Gandalf about it, even
              though neither of them should have any idea yet that the Nine are abroad.

              13. It's the beginning of a Dark Age, so film everything Really Dark.

              14. It is imperative to follow the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fight rule: if
              the hero must single-handedly defeat a troupe of bad guys, the bad guys are
              required to attack him only one at a time. Everybody else has to stand
              around and wait their turn.


              [previously posted on LiveJournal]
            • Jason Fisher
              Very nice, David; many chuckles, especially #14. _______________________________ From: David Bratman To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent:
              Message 6 of 13 , May 7, 2009
                Very nice, David; many chuckles, especially #14.


                _______________________________
                From: David Bratman <dbratman@...>
                To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Thursday, May 7, 2009 12:20:53 PM
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] "The Hunt for Gollum" movie


                One-line review: Don't bother. More boring than Peter Jackson at only a
                quarter the length.

                How to make a movie of "The Hunt for Gollum" (down below, "spoiler" alert):

                1. Peter Jackson begins his film with a Portentious Backstory, so begin your
                film with a Portentious Backstory.

                2. Peter Jackson makes a solemn action-adventure film while minimizing
                Tolkien's moral underpinnings, so by all means make a solemn
                action-adventure film without any moral underpinnings. You've got your good
                guys and your bad guys, so leave it at that.

                3. Peter Jackson's Aragorn mumbles, so your Aragorn should mumble.

                4. Let's not even talk about the Orcs.

                5. Jackson's Gandalf was too shiny, so dress your Gandalf in an old sack.

                6. When filming an indoor conversation, take your production values from old
                Dr. Who serials, and your extras from science fiction conventions.

                7. When filming two people sneaking up on each other in the woods, take your
                mise-en-scène from the "Those We Do Not Speak Of" sequences of M. Night
                Shyamalan's The Village.

                8. When you finally show Gollum close up, show either your independence from
                Peter Jackson, or your inability to follow him closely enough, by modeling
                Gollum not on Andy Serkis, but on Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter.

                9. Introduce a Ranger whom Aragorn has never met, and who has only vaguely
                heard of his own Chieftain.

                10. Have Aragorn carry Gollum around in a sack that Serkis's (or Tolkien's,
                for that matter) Gollum could easily have torn his way out of in one minute.
                (Tolkien's Aragorn made Gollum walk in front of him with a halter; this is
                obviously impossible if you're using a CGI Gollum and have virtually no CGI
                budget. But then, why does Gollum have to be CGI? Because Peter Jackson is
                God?)

                11. Have Gollum steal fish from the Woodsmen's windowsills instead of
                drinking blood from cradles. Stabbing orcs is one thing, but this is just
                icky. Do not ask what the Woodsmen put the raw fish on the windowsill for.
                To cool off?

                12. Foreshadowing! Have Aragorn see a Nazgul and tell Gandalf about it, even
                though neither of them should have any idea yet that the Nine are abroad.

                13. It's the beginning of a Dark Age, so film everything Really Dark.

                14. It is imperative to follow the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fight rule: if
                the hero must single-handedly defeat a troupe of bad guys, the bad guys are
                required to attack him only one at a time. Everybody else has to stand
                around and wait their turn.

                [previously posted on LiveJournal]

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Doug Kane
                It occurs to me that I never did add my additional thoughts. David said much of what I wanted to say (in a much more entertaining fashion than I would have).
                Message 7 of 13 , May 10, 2009
                  It occurs to me that I never did add my additional thoughts. David said
                  much of what I wanted to say (in a much more entertaining fashion than I
                  would have). I'll add just a couple of more comments, particularly the
                  specific item that I mentioned previously that I thought directly
                  contradicted Tolkien in an important way. Anyone who is still trying to
                  avoid spoilers don't read the final paragraph.

                  Before I get to that, I'll just mention that on a number of occasions I
                  noticed a number of scenes where there were either shots that mimicked shots
                  from the Jackson films or characters saying fragments of lines that were
                  said by other characters in the Jackson films that seemed to be done not to
                  serve the film in any way but simply as some kind of homage to Jackson's
                  films. I thought that was ridiculous. I'm sorry that I don't have any
                  specific examples to point; I didn't write them down at the time and it was
                  too long ago now and too unmemorable for me to remember any of them.

                  But at the end of the film, after Gollum is finally captured, Gandalf tells
                  Aragorn that Gollum's wretchedness was beyond their power to heal. That
                  contradicts what Gandalf actually says in the book, that there is not much
                  hope for his cure, but there is still some. And, of course, that small hope
                  of Gollum's cure is of critical importance to the story. The fact that these
                  filmmakers blithely contradict that (for no good reason that I can see)
                  shows a real disregard for Tolkien's work. They don't even have the bad
                  excuse that Jackson and company had for most of their deviations from
                  Tolkien's story that in some way the deviation served the plot that they
                  were telling in their movie (misguided though they might have been). This
                  line didn't serve the plot of this mini film in any way. It was just thrown
                  in their film as a throwaway line, I guess because they believed that in
                  Jackson's story it was true that Gollum was beyond redemption (which is
                  debatable in and of itself, though it still infuriates me that they left out
                  the tragic scene of Gollum's near redemption at the stairs of Cirith Ungol).

                  _____

                  From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  David Bratman
                  Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2009 10:21 AM
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] "The Hunt for Gollum" movie





                  One-line review: Don't bother. More boring than Peter Jackson at only a
                  quarter the length.

                  How to make a movie of "The Hunt for Gollum" (down below, "spoiler" alert):

                  1. Peter Jackson begins his film with a Portentious Backstory, so begin your

                  film with a Portentious Backstory.

                  2. Peter Jackson makes a solemn action-adventure film while minimizing
                  Tolkien's moral underpinnings, so by all means make a solemn
                  action-adventure film without any moral underpinnings. You've got your good
                  guys and your bad guys, so leave it at that.

                  3. Peter Jackson's Aragorn mumbles, so your Aragorn should mumble.

                  4. Let's not even talk about the Orcs.

                  5. Jackson's Gandalf was too shiny, so dress your Gandalf in an old sack.

                  6. When filming an indoor conversation, take your production values from old

                  Dr. Who serials, and your extras from science fiction conventions.

                  7. When filming two people sneaking up on each other in the woods, take your

                  mise-en-scène from the "Those We Do Not Speak Of" sequences of M. Night
                  Shyamalan's The Village.

                  8. When you finally show Gollum close up, show either your independence from

                  Peter Jackson, or your inability to follow him closely enough, by modeling
                  Gollum not on Andy Serkis, but on Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter.

                  9. Introduce a Ranger whom Aragorn has never met, and who has only vaguely
                  heard of his own Chieftain.

                  10. Have Aragorn carry Gollum around in a sack that Serkis's (or Tolkien's,
                  for that matter) Gollum could easily have torn his way out of in one minute.

                  (Tolkien's Aragorn made Gollum walk in front of him with a halter; this is
                  obviously impossible if you're using a CGI Gollum and have virtually no CGI
                  budget. But then, why does Gollum have to be CGI? Because Peter Jackson is
                  God?)

                  11. Have Gollum steal fish from the Woodsmen's windowsills instead of
                  drinking blood from cradles. Stabbing orcs is one thing, but this is just
                  icky. Do not ask what the Woodsmen put the raw fish on the windowsill for.
                  To cool off?

                  12. Foreshadowing! Have Aragorn see a Nazgul and tell Gandalf about it, even

                  though neither of them should have any idea yet that the Nine are abroad.

                  13. It's the beginning of a Dark Age, so film everything Really Dark.

                  14. It is imperative to follow the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fight rule: if
                  the hero must single-handedly defeat a troupe of bad guys, the bad guys are
                  required to attack him only one at a time. Everybody else has to stand
                  around and wait their turn.

                  [previously posted on LiveJournal]






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • David Bratman
                  ... I don t remember exactly what the film says, either, but I don t see those two points as contradictory. Gandalf says that there is little hope, but not no
                  Message 8 of 13 , May 13, 2009
                    From: "Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:

                    >But at the end of the film, after Gollum is finally captured, Gandalf tells
                    >Aragorn that Gollum's wretchedness was beyond their power to heal. That
                    >contradicts what Gandalf actually says in the book, that there is not much
                    >hope for his cure, but there is still some.

                    I don't remember exactly what the film says, either, but I don't see those
                    two points as contradictory. Gandalf says that there is little hope, but
                    not no hope, that the evil part of Gollum can be cured; but he doesn't say
                    that he can cure him. Gollum has to do that for himself.

                    I think of Frodo's comment on Saruman: "He is fallen, and his cure is beyond
                    us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it."

                    In the end, of course, Frodo's learning the meaning of Bilbo's pity has
                    tremendous effects on Gollum; and it is tremendously misleading for
                    Amateur-Film-Gandalf to say _only_ that he and Aragorn cannot heal Gollum.
                    But I see this as more a sin of omission than of commission.
                  • Doug Kane
                    I mostly agree with you, David. It is true that Gandalf doesn t say that he specifically can cure Gollum, but he does make it clear that humane treatment of
                    Message 9 of 13 , May 13, 2009
                      I mostly agree with you, David. It is true that Gandalf doesn't say that he
                      specifically can cure Gollum, but he does make it clear that humane
                      treatment of Gollum might help facillitate his finding a cure. He tells
                      Frodo that not only did they not kill Gollum, but that the Wood-elves "treat
                      him with such kindness as they can find in their wise hearts." Later,
                      Legolas clarifies that this was partly because "Gandalf bade us hope still
                      for his cure." And, of course, Frodo takes Gandalf's words to him about
                      pitying Gollum to heart, and his kind treatment of Gollum due to his pity
                      for him was very much instrumental in Gollum's near-redemption (but for
                      Sam's failure to follow Frodo's lead in this, as Tolkien discusses in Letter
                      246). To me at least, all of this is contradicted at least in spirit by
                      Gandalf's flat statement in the "Hunt for Gollum" film that Gollum's
                      wretchedness was beyond their power to heal. It reminded me a little bit of
                      the argument between Frodo and Sam in the Jackson films in which it seems to
                      be implied that Frodo was deluded in believing that he could help Gollum,
                      and that Sam was correct in saying that there was no hope of Gollum ever
                      finding any redemption. (As an aside, the fact that in the films Frodo's
                      desire to help Gollum was actually based on his concern for himself rather
                      than actual pity for Gollum misses the point that Tolkien was making, but
                      that is another issue altogether.)

                      _____

                      From: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mythsoc@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                      David Bratman
                      Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 8:30 PM
                      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] "The Hunt for Gollum" movie





                      From: "Doug Kane" <dougkane@protecting
                      <mailto:dougkane%40protectingrights.net> rights.net> wrote:

                      >But at the end of the film, after Gollum is finally captured, Gandalf tells
                      >Aragorn that Gollum's wretchedness was beyond their power to heal. That
                      >contradicts what Gandalf actually says in the book, that there is not much
                      >hope for his cure, but there is still some.

                      I don't remember exactly what the film says, either, but I don't see those
                      two points as contradictory. Gandalf says that there is little hope, but
                      not no hope, that the evil part of Gollum can be cured; but he doesn't say
                      that he can cure him. Gollum has to do that for himself.

                      I think of Frodo's comment on Saruman: "He is fallen, and his cure is beyond

                      us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it."

                      In the end, of course, Frodo's learning the meaning of Bilbo's pity has
                      tremendous effects on Gollum; and it is tremendously misleading for
                      Amateur-Film-Gandalf to say _only_ that he and Aragorn cannot heal Gollum.
                      But I see this as more a sin of omission than of commission.






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • David Bratman
                      ... It does, but I see it as more a contradiction in spirit than a change in the facts of the story. But this difference in our view of it is exceedingly
                      Message 10 of 13 , May 14, 2009
                        "Doug Kane" <dougkane@...> wrote:

                        > I mostly agree with you, David. It is true that Gandalf doesn't say that
                        > he
                        > specifically can cure Gollum, but he does make it clear that humane
                        > treatment of Gollum might help facillitate his finding a cure. He tells
                        > Frodo that not only did they not kill Gollum, but that the Wood-elves
                        > "treat
                        > him with such kindness as they can find in their wise hearts." Later,
                        > Legolas clarifies that this was partly because "Gandalf bade us hope still
                        > for his cure." And, of course, Frodo takes Gandalf's words to him about
                        > pitying Gollum to heart, and his kind treatment of Gollum due to his pity
                        > for him was very much instrumental in Gollum's near-redemption (but for
                        > Sam's failure to follow Frodo's lead in this, as Tolkien discusses in
                        > Letter
                        > 246). To me at least, all of this is contradicted at least in spirit by
                        > Gandalf's flat statement in the "Hunt for Gollum" film that Gollum's
                        > wretchedness was beyond their power to heal.

                        It does, but I see it as more a contradiction in spirit than a change in the
                        facts of the story. But this difference in our view of it is exceedingly
                        minor, and rendered more perilous by the fact that neither of us remembers
                        the film's exact wording.

                        > It reminded me a little bit of
                        > the argument between Frodo and Sam in the Jackson films in which it seems
                        > to
                        > be implied that Frodo was deluded in believing that he could help Gollum,
                        > and that Sam was correct in saying that there was no hope of Gollum ever
                        > finding any redemption. (As an aside, the fact that in the films Frodo's
                        > desire to help Gollum was actually based on his concern for himself rather
                        > than actual pity for Gollum misses the point that Tolkien was making, but
                        > that is another issue altogether.)

                        Just one, or two, examples of Jackson's massive Not Getting It, so massive
                        as to render ludicrous any defense on the grounds that the deviations serve
                        the plot of the story he's trying to tell. If he's trying to tell a story
                        _that_ different from Tolkien's, it's a grave injury to pretend that it's
                        based on Tolkien's in any way, and an insult supreme to be as devoutly
                        copying of Tolkien as he was in more surface elements. When Tolkien had the
                        trees really march to war, he was _trying_ to thumb his nose at Shakespeare.
                        When Jackson thumbs his nose at Tolkien, and does so incompetently, he
                        doesn't have that excuse.
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