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Battlefronts

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  • spark654@aol.com
    In a message dated 1/6/03 9:32:37 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... I m sure, Janet, but I m talking purely about the movie situation; in the movie, the war takes
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 6, 2003
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      In a message dated 1/6/03 9:32:37 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      mythsoc@yahoogroups.com writes:


      > I think you will get more of a
      > sense of "the war happening on numerous fronts" if you do so, and
      > especially
      > if you read the appendixes and find out about a few things which were going
      > on but didn't make it into Tolkien's main text. If you can't stand
      > anything
      > else, at least read the chronology in Appendix B to find out the bare facts
      > of what was happening when and where.

      I'm sure, Janet, but I'm talking purely about the movie situation; in the
      movie, the war takes place at Helm's Deep, Isengard, etc. I liked that, it
      makes the world seem so much bigger when it's difficult to get from one place
      to another.

      I'm still stymied over why--after the avalanche moment in FOTR and the wraith
      seeing Frodo with the ring--Saruman and Sauran can't just send everything
      they've got at the person with the ring.


      >
      > The Huorns, trees that were almost Ent-like, were sent to Helm's Deep with
      > a
      > few Ents to herd them. The bulk of the Ents were at Isengard. These
      > battles
      > were taking place at almost the same time. While I am not a big fan of the
      > movies, I found many of the visuals in the battle of Isengard effective --
      > though showing the battle at this point, rather than in a flashback later
      > as
      > Merry and Pippin narrate it to Theoden and company when they come to
      > Isengard, reduces the suspense.
      >

      IMHO, flashbacks lessen suspense--they've already happened, whereas in the
      film we see the battles in "real time" so to speak.

      Sparkdog


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Stolzi@aol.com
      In a message dated 1/6/2003 8:41:14 PM Central Standard Time, ... Well, see, there s where you need to have read the book! Throughout most of it, the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 7, 2003
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        In a message dated 1/6/2003 8:41:14 PM Central Standard Time,
        spark654@... writes:


        >
        > I'm still stymied over why--after the avalanche moment in FOTR and the
        > wraith
        > seeing Frodo with the ring--Saruman and Sauran can't just send everything
        > they've got at the person with the ring.

        Well, see, there's where you need to have read the book! Throughout most of
        it, the Ringbearer and Company are =sneaking around= keeping S&S from FINDING
        OUT where the person with the ring is.

        Jackson loses this point.

        As another member of this list has said elsewhere:

        The only reason that Frodo and Sam get as far as they do into
        Mordor is that the bad guys don't know where the Ring is. They imagine
        it to be in Gondor, hence the attention of the "Eye" is diverted thither.
        Only at the last moment, when Frodo claims the Ring in the Sammath Naur,
        does Sauron grasp the truth.


        Diamond Proudbrook


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Croft, Janet B
        ... From: spark654@aol.com [mailto:spark654@aol.com] Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 8:39 PM To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: [mythsoc] Battlefronts In a
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 7, 2003
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          -----Original Message-----
          From: spark654@... [mailto:spark654@...]
          Sent: Monday, January 06, 2003 8:39 PM
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [mythsoc] Battlefronts


          In a message dated 1/6/03 9:32:37 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          mythsoc@yahoogroups.com writes:


          > I think you will get more of a
          > sense of "the war happening on numerous fronts" if you do so, and
          > especially
          > if you read the appendixes and find out about a few things which were
          going
          > on but didn't make it into Tolkien's main text. If you can't stand
          > anything
          > else, at least read the chronology in Appendix B to find out the bare
          facts
          > of what was happening when and where.

          I'm sure, Janet, but I'm talking purely about the movie situation; in the
          movie, the war takes place at Helm's Deep, Isengard, etc. I liked that, it
          makes the world seem so much bigger when it's difficult to get from one
          place
          to another.

          <snip> Aurghhh! Read the darned book already!!! (scuse me, lost control for
          a minute).

          One of the things Tolkien conveys *very well indeed* in the book is the
          sense of distance and the effort it takes to travel from one place to
          another in a medieval world. And at the same time, the sense of destiny, I
          guess you'd have to call it, when so many important events are taking place
          at the same time and weaving together -- what Tom Shippey called interlace.

          >
          <snip> showing the battle at this point, rather than in a flashback later
          > as
          > Merry and Pippin narrate it to Theoden and company when they come to
          > Isengard, reduces the suspense.
          >

          IMHO, flashbacks lessen suspense--they've already happened, whereas in the
          film we see the battles in "real time" so to speak.

          <snip> The way I see it, the flashback increases, then relieves, suspense.
          You know something has happened, but you don't know what until the flashback
          goes into the details. In the book, the reader arrives at Isengard in the
          company of the survivors of Helm's Deep, who think they are going to have to
          mop up Saruman and any orcs he kept back from the battle. The (first-time)
          reader knows no more than they do at this point. Along with Theoden and
          Aragorn and company, the reader sees a vast steaming lake and signs of
          destruction everywhere, then notices two small figures lying at ease by the
          path, one smoking a pipe .... So why wouldn't it have worked for Jackson to
          show us the destruction of Isengard as Pippin and Merry narrate it, just
          like in the book? I'll grant that cutting back and forth between the two
          battles is an interesting effect, but I like it better the way it is in the
          book.

          Janet Croft



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        • David S. Bratman
          ... A good example of a relatively subtle change on the plot level that makes a tremendous difference in the character and style of the story. It needs to be
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 7, 2003
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            At 06:05 AM 1/7/2003 , Stolzi wrote:

            >Well, see, there's where you need to have read the book! Throughout most of
            >it, the Ringbearer and Company are =sneaking around= keeping S&S from FINDING
            >OUT where the person with the ring is.
            >
            >Jackson loses this point.

            A good example of a relatively subtle change on the plot level that makes a
            tremendous difference in the character and style of the story.

            It needs to be clarified, however. Sauron can vaguely sense the Ring's
            existence even if it's not being used. The Nazgul can sense it even better
            if they're close to it. When Frodo puts the Ring on, both Sauron and the
            Nazgul can sense this instantly, and even if they're far distant start
            groping in that direction: eventually they'll pin him down if he doesn't
            move and take off the Ring. But this is partly because they're looking for
            it: they know someone has it. To Frodo, Sauron's eye feels like a
            searchlight hunting for him. (That doesn't make Sauron physically a giant
            eye, as one might guess from the film.) But Bilbo, and Gollum before him,
            never had that sense of Sauron's eye hunting him down, perhaps in part
            because Sauron was less powerful then, but also because Sauron thought the
            Ring was lost and wasn't actively hunting for it.


            At 06:23 AM 1/7/2003 , Croft, Janet B wrote:

            >One of the things Tolkien conveys *very well indeed* in the book is the
            >sense of distance and the effort it takes to travel from one place to
            >another in a medieval world. And at the same time, the sense of destiny, I
            >guess you'd have to call it, when so many important events are taking place
            >at the same time and weaving together -- what Tom Shippey called interlace.

            I believe the first scholar to discuss the interlace weaving structure of
            LOTR was Richard C. West.

            >In the book, the reader arrives at Isengard in the
            >company of the survivors of Helm's Deep, who think they are going to have to
            >mop up Saruman and any orcs he kept back from the battle. The (first-time)
            >reader knows no more than they do at this point. Along with Theoden and
            >Aragorn and company, the reader sees a vast steaming lake and signs of
            >destruction everywhere, then notices two small figures lying at ease by the
            >path, one smoking a pipe ....

            Gandalf has already been to Isengard since the Ents arrived, and knows what
            they'll find when they get there, but he's in his delightfully stroppy
            cryptic mode, and isn't telling Theoden or Aragorn anything more than he
            wants to.

            >So why wouldn't it have worked for Jackson to
            >show us the destruction of Isengard as Pippin and Merry narrate it, just
            >like in the book? I'll grant that cutting back and forth between the two
            >battles is an interesting effect, but I like it better the way it is in the
            >book.

            This is one type of change that I think movies are generally bound to make.
            Simple flashbacks can be handled in movies, but the laying out of
            simultaneous stories as continuous entities, as Tolkien does it in his
            book, just doesn't work too well in film storytelling: it's too hard for
            the viewer to figure out what's happening when. Intercutting works a lot
            better.

            I have seen flash intercutting employed in books - among them, Peretti's
            _This Present Darkness_ - but while it works in films I do not think it
            normally works well in books. What movies do better than books is present
            scenes: you don't need any authorial descriptive lumps to tell you where
            you are, or who's present. Flash intercutting in books would be slowed
            down by such lumps, but without them it can be weirdly vague and cryptic.
            I have seen it done well, but only by masters and with relatively long cuts.


            - David Bratman
          • Croft, Janet B
            ... From: David S. Bratman [mailto:dbratman@stanford.edu] Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 12:35 PM To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [mythsoc]
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 7, 2003
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              -----Original Message-----
              From: David S. Bratman [mailto:dbratman@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2003 12:35 PM
              To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Battlefronts




              At 06:23 AM 1/7/2003 , Croft, Janet B wrote:


              >So why wouldn't it have worked for Jackson to
              >show us the destruction of Isengard as Pippin and Merry narrate it, just
              >like in the book? I'll grant that cutting back and forth between the two
              >battles is an interesting effect, but I like it better the way it is in the
              >book.

              This is one type of change that I think movies are generally bound to make.
              Simple flashbacks can be handled in movies, but the laying out of
              simultaneous stories as continuous entities, as Tolkien does it in his
              book, just doesn't work too well in film storytelling: it's too hard for
              the viewer to figure out what's happening when. Intercutting works a lot
              better.

              I have seen flash intercutting employed in books - among them, Peretti's
              _This Present Darkness_ - but while it works in films I do not think it
              normally works well in books. What movies do better than books is present
              scenes: you don't need any authorial descriptive lumps to tell you where
              you are, or who's present. Flash intercutting in books would be slowed
              down by such lumps, but without them it can be weirdly vague and cryptic.
              I have seen it done well, but only by masters and with relatively long cuts.


              - David Bratman

              You're right, and I can think of several examples of intercutting in film
              that work beautifully. But I still missed seeing the moment of sheer
              bafflement as the company sees the lake and the two hobbits... Of course
              Jackson is saving whatever he decided to keep of this sequence for the next
              movie, so who knows what we'll actually see. I still want to see Merry
              lecturing Theoden on pipe-weed!



              Janet Croft


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