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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 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]


              >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 6 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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