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

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  • 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 1 of 13 , May 10, 2009
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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 2 of 13 , May 13, 2009
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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 3 of 13 , May 13, 2009
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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 4 of 13 , May 14, 2009
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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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