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Re: [mythsoc] "The Hunt for Gollum" movie

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  • 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 1 of 13 , May 7 10:20 AM
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      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 2 of 13 , May 7 10:28 AM
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        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 3 of 13 , May 10 4:38 PM
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          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 4 of 13 , May 13 8:30 PM
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            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 5 of 13 , May 13 10:30 PM
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              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 6 of 13 , May 14 7:52 AM
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                "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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