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Re: [mythsoc] On "LOTR: The Two Towers"; "improvement"?

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  • David S Bratman
    ... That s very well put; I had a hard time explaining clearly what bothered me about that, but you ve done so. Bringing Sauron onstage in the prologue,
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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      At 08:49 PM 12/31/2002 +0000, Jan Theodore Galkowski wrote:

      >The rendering of Sauron's eye is the more serious gaff, because it both
      >breaks with a strong impression given in the "Fellowship" movie and
      >because it trivializes Sauron's power. In "Fellowship" the all-seeing eye
      >was very much a spiritual or psychological artifact, something you
      >couldn't really run away from because those who were sensitive to it knew
      >it followed them wherever they were. How do you run away from
      >yourself? By putting the eye atop Barad-Dur or wherever it is, it seems
      >Jackson has localized it and redefined whatever power of projection or
      >penetration it has to be simply a physical manifestation of great
      >electrical power. I mean, it looks to be like all you need to do is walk
      >up to Barad Dur, pull the plug, and Sauron's done. (Or fail to pay the
      >electric bill....) I don't see all that much gained by limiting him to
      >the top of the tower.

      That's very well put; I had a hard time explaining clearly what bothered me
      about that, but you've done so. Bringing Sauron onstage in the prologue,
      however massive and powerful, also limits him. So does making the Balrog
      clearly visible (in the book he's mostly a vague menacing shape). Tolkien
      has often been criticized for leaving his chief villain offstage, but he
      knew that in a book of this kind, to bring the villain onstage only
      trivializes him. (Read _The Book of Lost Tales_ to see how trivialized
      Melko is.) He showed restraint and wisdom.

      - David Bratman
    • Ernest S. Tomlinson
      On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 10:37:44 -0800, David S Bratman ... I disliked Jackson s decision to retell (and not very well) the story of the Rings of Power, the Last
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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        On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 10:37:44 -0800, "David S Bratman"
        <dbratman@...> said:

        > That's very well put; I had a hard time explaining clearly what bothered
        > me
        > about that, but you've done so. Bringing Sauron onstage in the prologue,
        > however massive and powerful, also limits him.

        I disliked Jackson's decision to retell (and not very well) the story of
        the Rings of Power, the Last Alliance, and the loss of the Ring at the
        beginning of his movie for a different reason. Tolkien's genius in _The
        Lord of the Rings_ was to tell the story from the hobbits' perspective.
        When the story begins, we know as much about the Ring, and about the
        wider political situation of Middle-Earth, as Frodo does. Sauron is a
        distant menace; the Old Forest, the Barrow-Downs, and Bree are at the
        furthest fringes of the hobbits' knowledge of the world. But through
        Gandalf, Tom Bombadil, and Strider successively the hobbits and we slowly
        begin to grasp just how big is the world and how deep is the history
        beyond the Shire.

        Jackson's method is to attempt to give us that broad picture right from
        the start. Because of time constraints, he doesn't do too good a job,
        but more importantly, he straightaway reduces the hobbits to secondary
        players in their own story, and dissipates much of the suspense--we know
        exactly why Gandalf is missing, for example, and we know exactly who the
        Black Riders are.

        I agree that Jackson erred in trying to depict Sauron. I watched the
        first half of the extended cut of _The Fellowship of the Ring_ last
        night, and I giggled (silently, for I had company) when Sauron appears on
        Battle Plain and sends his obviously computer-generated foes flying with
        every swing of his weapon.

        Cheers,

        Ernest.
        --
        Ernest S. Tomlinson
        thiophene@...
      • Carl F. Hostetter
        ... Exactly. Jackson has no trust in the audience s intelligence, patience, and love of wonder. As Tolkien himself foresaw (in commenting on the Zimmerman
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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          On Wednesday, January 1, 2003, at 03:00 PM, Ernest S. Tomlinson wrote:

          > I disliked Jackson's decision to retell (and not very well) the story
          > of
          > the Rings of Power, the Last Alliance, and the loss of the Ring at the
          > beginning of his movie for a different reason. Tolkien's genius in
          > _The
          > Lord of the Rings_ was to tell the story from the hobbits' perspective.
          > When the story begins, we know as much about the Ring, and about the
          > wider political situation of Middle-Earth, as Frodo does.

          Exactly. Jackson has no trust in the audience's intelligence, patience,
          and love of wonder. As Tolkien himself foresaw (in commenting on the
          Zimmerman treatment), Jackson telegraphs everything: the Ring, the
          Palantir, Aragorn's Kingship, etc., etc.
        • JP Massar
          ... Fascinating. I thought the prologue to FoTR was an amazing achievement, one of the really brilliant parts of the movie.
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 1, 2003
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            >
            > > That's very well put; I had a hard time explaining clearly what bothered
            > > me
            > > about that, but you've done so. Bringing Sauron onstage in the prologue,
            > > however massive and powerful, also limits him.
            >
            >I disliked Jackson's decision to retell (and not very well) the story of
            >the Rings of Power, the Last Alliance, and the loss of the Ring at the
            >beginning of his movie for a different reason.


            Fascinating.

            I thought the prologue to FoTR was an amazing achievement, one of the
            really brilliant parts of the movie.
          • disneylogic <disneylogic@yahoo.com>
            On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 23:50:42 -0800 David S Bratman wrote in part: [snip] ... go ... purposes ... may ... [snip] Well, the balrogs have
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 2, 2003
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              On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 23:50:42 -0800 David S Bratman
              <dbratman@...> wrote in part:

              [snip]

              >Shelob is an obvious example. Aragorn mentions this
              >principle in the discussion of Caradhras: "There are many evil and
              >unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that
              go
              >on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have
              purposes
              >of their own. Some have been in this world longer than he." They
              may
              >be roused by Sauron or his activities, though: apparently the Balrog
              >was, for instance.

              [snip]

              Well, the balrogs have a history with Sauron, or at least his
              spiritual predecessors. Gandalf among others took on a large group
              of them dispatched from Angband during a major battle in the Second
              Age (*). And Ungoliant, the spider Maiar, helped destroy the Two
              Trees.

              Frankly, I'm not sure I agree with Aragorn that they are properly
              judged as evil. They could simply be independent actors whose
              interests may conflict with "those that go on two legs". There are
              many powers in Middle-earth, in fact the place seems to be teeming
              with them. I doubt they can be classified so simply as evil or good.

              On (*), I thought this was odd. I mean, the balrogs don't exactly
              impress me as team players. In that respect, in Jackson's
              "Fellowship", I think he drew them better than Tolkien did. If I
              recall (don't have the text handy), the Moria balrog first appears
              with orcs nearby, if not actually at his side. Jackson's painting of
              them as running in fear of the balrog seems to me more like their
              nature.

              Indeed, if anything distinguishes "good folk" from "bad folk" in LORD
              OF THE RINGS (the book, not the movie, necessarily) apart from
              expression of compassion, it is the practical feature that "good
              folk" seem to be able to work together whereas "bad folk" seek their
              personal self-interest first. The latter induces chaos and leads to
              their disruption. Of course, "good folk" have faults, too. I think
              Il├║vatar is a tad intolerant of disharmony, at least as related in
              Ainulindale, and that intolerance encourages it.

              --jtg
            • disneylogic <disneylogic@yahoo.com>
              On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 23:50:42 -0800 David S Bratman wrote in part: [snip] ... Oh, I m not trying to be consistent. I am, like I think
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 2, 2003
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                On Wed, 01 Jan 2003 23:50:42 -0800 David S Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote in part:

                [snip]


                >True, but that was what I was saying, so I can't square this with
                >your earlier statement that you thought the LOTR text did not support
                >some of my points.

                >- DB

                Oh, I'm not trying to be consistent. I am, like I think many here, just exploring the possibilities. LOTR is just _so_ evocative.

                --jtg

                [snip]
              • David J Finnamore
                ... [snip] ... Thank you for putting your finger right on something that had been bothering me just beyond the reach of my tongue for months. ... It makes me
                Message 7 of 8 , Jan 4, 2003
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                  Ernest S. Tomlinson wrote:

                  > Tolkien's genius in _The
                  > Lord of the Rings_ was to tell the story from the hobbits' perspective.

                  [snip]

                  > Jackson's method is to attempt to give us that broad picture right from
                  > the start. Because of time constraints, he doesn't do too good a job,
                  > but more importantly, he straightaway reduces the hobbits to secondary
                  > players in their own story, and dissipates much of the suspense--we know
                  > exactly why Gandalf is missing, for example, and we know exactly who the
                  > Black Riders are.

                  Thank you for putting your finger right on something that had been bothering me just
                  beyond the reach of my tongue for months.


                  > I watched the
                  > first half of the extended cut of _The Fellowship of the Ring_ last
                  > night, and I giggled (silently, for I had company) when Sauron appears on
                  > Battle Plain and sends his obviously computer-generated foes flying with
                  > every swing of his weapon.

                  It makes me want to cry out, "It's the finger! Go for the finger!" Yeah,
                  trivialized. That's the word. Thank you Earnest and David B.

                  --
                  David J. Finnamore
                  Nashville, TN, USA
                  http://www.elvenminstrel.com
                  --
                  "A story must be told or there'll be no story, yet it is the untold stories that are
                  most moving: mountains seen far away, never to be climbed, distant trees (like
                  Niggle's) never to be approached." - J.R.R. Tolkien, letters
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