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xanakis
08-30-2001, 05:53 AM
ok so theres a movie of LotR coming out later this year. The thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat.

There is just no way that LotR can be successfully made into a film. I shudder to imagine what it will be like.

Is there any way, any way at all, that this film can be anything but total shite?

Believe me, I want to like it, I really do.

Supplementary question: Does anybody think the book left any room at all for the Ents to find the Entwives? This has been bothering me all my life. Ive even mailed the director of the film pleading with him to allow them to be reunited in the movie version just for the sake of a happy ending.

Oh my God, I just got a picture in my mind of how they're going to portray an Ent. It'll be some guy dressed up like a huge tree with a hole where his face is. His face will be painted "tree-colour" a la Wizard of Oz. Or else it'll be some really cheesy computer graphic.

Oh God,

Sorry I have to go and weep somewhere.

pldennison
08-30-2001, 07:14 AM
Obviously, nobody can predict in advance precisely how good a film of this nature will be, but ever since I first heard about this project two years ago, I've had high hopes.

xanakis, are you at all familiar with any of the other films by director Peter Jackson? If not, you should at least check out a couple, especially Heavenly Creatures and Dead Alive. He has shown himself to be a man of enormous imagination, great directorial instincts, and fully up to the task of tackling Tolkein.

In his movies, you'll find interesting blends of fantasy, romance, comedy, splattery horror, and always good characterization. Frankly, I think these are exactly what one needs to properly approach Tolkein.

If you haven't already, please also check out the website http://www.theonering.net . It's got ongoing coverage of the movies' production, with all kinds of photos and interviews and links.

You can see a frame-by-frame description of the official trailer here (http://www.theonering.net/movie/preview/fotr_trailer01.html). It looks pretty damned good to me!

Erroneous
08-30-2001, 07:24 AM
I'm looking forward to the films. The buzz has been entirely positive so far (although not much finished footage has been shown to anyone). Also, I'm one of those people who just couldn't get through the books. Just not my style at all, and it kind of put me right off the whole fantasy genre. But the concept of the whole story appeals to me (if that makes sense), so maybe I'll like the condensed, movie versions. That being said, I'm really glad they movies aren't going to be little 90-minute waifs. 2.75 hours seems much more reasonable.

Also, maybe a hardcore Tolkien fan person could clear something up for me - is it proper to refer to The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy? I vaugely remember reading in the preface to the books, when I tried to read them, that it was actually six individual books that were only commonly distributed in three volumes for the sake of convienience. What's up with that?

Drastic
08-30-2001, 08:40 AM
I'm likewise looking forward to the films; I think Peter Jackson just might be able to pull it off.


Supplementary question: Does anybody think the book left any room at all for the Ents to find the Entwives? This has been bothering me all my life. Ive even mailed the director of the film pleading with him to allow them to be reunited in the movie version just for the sake of a happy ending.

Welll...I've got to say that rewriting chunks of it to make things happier is not going to be the best way to avoid making the end result total shite. A major theme throughout the LoTR is that Middle Earth is passing on; the magical races are dwindling and disappearing and withdrawing from the world, and humanity's time is dawning. This becomes overt at the ending after the One Ring is destroyed, but it doesn't come out of nowhere at that point, it's been being built up towards. That the Ents are going to die out, while sad, is part of that.

TheThill
08-30-2001, 08:49 AM
Originally posted by Erroneous
Also, I'm one of those people who just couldn't get through the books. Just not my style at all, and it kind of put me right off the whole fantasy genre.

Maybe give it another chance. I did after a couple of earlier attempts and was pleasantly surprised. Once I got into the rhythm of Tolkien's writing, it wasa great joy to read.

Maeglin
08-30-2001, 08:50 AM
Also, maybe a hardcore Tolkien fan person could clear something up for me - is it proper to refer to The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy? I vaugely remember reading in the preface to the books, when I tried to read them, that it was actually six individual books that were only commonly distributed in three volumes for the sake of convienience. What's up with that?

LOTR was intended to be one book, divided into six sections. The publisher, perhaps rightly, believed that such a book would never sell. Tolkien initially resisted when they asked him to divide it in three, but obviously he relented. Now HarperCollins has released a single LOTR volume, honoring Tolkien's original wish to see the book published whole.

lucie
08-30-2001, 08:54 AM
My fondest hope is that he doesn't weenie out on the ending to make it more upbeat. I know certain changes have been made to change it from a written to a visual medium. You could hardly do otherwise, but as pld pointed out, Peter Jackson is just the man to do it. He is not a maker of children's movies, won't be dumbing anything down, and is experienced at dark adult fantasy and cathartic endings. It's got a PG-13 rating, which means he's holding himself back on the gore a bit, I understand the nearly complete Moria sequence shown at Cannes had the audience on the edge of their seats. A great reaction from a pretty jaded crowd of critics and industry bigwigs.

It's going to be different, but I am so looking forward to seeing Ian McKellen as Gandalf face off against Christopher Lee as Sauruman that it would have to be pretty bad to keep me away.

Ethilrist
08-30-2001, 09:03 AM
I also think that whoever was responsible for casting the movies might just be a freaking genius...

Elijah Wood looks exactly like Frodo Baggins from the Ralph Bakshi version.
Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey.
Liv Tyler as Arwen Undomiel. Okay, I said "might be"...
Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn. That's better.
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel. Much better.
Hugo Weaving as Elrond. This could be weird... "Tell me, Mr. Baggins, what good is a phone call when you are unable to speak?"
Sean Bean as Boromir.
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Christopher Lee as Saruman the White.

My main peeve is that they seem to be rewriting the story so that humbjvhahsndnf spoilers. dang. Sorry. If you're a Tolkien fan, visit the site listed above and the peeve (start with, oh, say, the Liv Tyler pictures {whistling}) will smack you right in the face.

Danimal
08-30-2001, 09:18 AM
Based on the trailer, I can only say that Jackson evidently has a good visual grasp of what Tolkien's world ought to look like. I also thought he had a good idea in bringing John Howe on board as conceptual artist; I'm not so pleased about Alan Lee, but probably Jackson wanted to keep any one artistic style from dominating over his own, and you could hardly pick two more different interpreters of Tolkien's work than Howe and Lee.

Of course, Jackson might still butcher the story. But I don't think he's butchered the look of the movie.

The thing that appears to be worrying the most Tolkien fans is Arwen's expanded role. I don't think a more active, visible Arwen will necessarily hurt the story at all; IMO, the romance between Aragorn and Arwen is pretty anemic in the original books, and it wouldn't hurt to flesh her out some so we can see what Aragorn sees in her. It would hurt if Jackson messes up the characters who are already strong in the original, such as by making Samwise into a buffoon or making Boromir villainous from the start. Yes, things could go wrong. But I have high hopes that they'll go right.

Hello Again
08-30-2001, 10:53 AM
If it makes you feel better, I've read that a member of the cast (Christopher Lee, I think) is a huge LoTR fan, and went about the set with a copy of the books under his arm, hounding Peter Jackson over every little change. :)

From the location shots I've seen of Rohan and Helm's Deep, it is going to be *awesome*. I simply cannot wait.

***Possible Spoilers***



















From what I understand, Some of the changes include:

1)Tom Bombadil has been written out (if you look at the story he only exists to give Merry the sword he will later use to help kill the King of the Nazgul. I have a feeling Merry will get the sword from Elrond in the movie)
2)Events that take place in the appendix "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" have been brought forward into the story. Also Arwen has a new role as a sort warrior princess (not sure, but I imagine they wrote out her brothers Elladan and Elrohir in order to do this).

Fiver
08-30-2001, 12:02 PM
Ethilrist, I can't see how it's a virtue that Elijah Wood resembles Frodo from the awful Ralph Bakshi half-movie. But I do think he looks perfect for the part.

Does anyone know why Peter cast normal-sized actors for the hobbits and then digitally shrank them? A million midget actors are out of work and...

But I do note the four principal hobbit characters are played by relatively short actors: Elijah Wood is 5'6, Sean Astin is 5'5" etc. I wonder if it was important they be short actors, since Jackson was going to shrink them down further anyway?

My biggest concern about the movies is that they're being filmed in New Zealand. Admittedly, I don't know much about the land, but does it have the terrain and flora we associate with Middle-Earth? I don't want to see a palm tree in Rivendell.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-30-2001, 01:17 PM
New Zealand isn't tropical, so I don't think we have to worry about seeing palm trees.

As for the movie, I did see a clip of where Gandalf is showing Frodo the writing around the edge of the Ring. For me, at least, it almost exactly matched the way I'd imagined it, so I have fairly high hopes.

PookahMacPhellimey
08-30-2001, 01:29 PM
Sorry, I have to differ from the consensus here.

I do NOT want any film of it whatsover. Please.

How YOU picture a character is not how I or the director or Tolkien pictured him. Even if we could ask Tolkien, I still think the beauty of a book that everyone has a different image in their head.

I took a look at the website and it does indeed look pretty as a picture, but nothing like the way I imagined it. All of which does not matter, as I will not go and see it. When winter comes I will curl up in front of my fireplace and read the book again.

Chronos
08-30-2001, 01:40 PM
The size of the actors probably didn't matter much, what with the digital shrinking, but the shape would have. In general, tall people are shaped differently than short people, so a 6'2" person shrunk to the size of ahobbit wouldn't have looked right.

I don't think that there's any chance that the movie will be as good as the books (since when is any movie? Well, OK, aside from [i]The Princess Bride[i]). On the other hand, there isn't much of anything that's as good as LotR, and it's promising to be a very good movie, indeed.

Jester
08-30-2001, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by PookahMacPhellimey


Sorry, I have to differ from the consensus here.

I do NOT want any film of it whatsover. Please.

How YOU picture a character is not how I or the director or Tolkien pictured him. Even if we could ask Tolkien, I still think the beauty of a book that everyone has a different image in their head.

I took a look at the website and it does indeed look pretty as a picture, but nothing like the way I imagined it. All of which does not matter, as I will not go and see it. When winter comes I will curl up in front of my fireplace and read the book again.

You make a good point, and if that's the way that you feel, then not seeing the movie is the right move. However, I and a lot of others will be seeing it.
You're absolutely correct saying that nobody's interpretation of the books will match anybody else's. However, it is sometimes interesting to see what somebody else's interpretation looks like, especially if it's an interesting one. I'm positive that there will be some things in the movie that don't agree with my mental picture of LotR, and some of those I will not like. However, I'm going to leave myself open to the different take on things, and maybe even have my image of the books be enhanced because of it.

Balance
08-30-2001, 01:52 PM
Originally posted by Fiver
But I do note the four principal hobbit characters are played by relatively short actors: Elijah Wood is 5'6, Sean Astin is 5'5" etc. I wonder if it was important they be short actors, since Jackson was going to shrink them down further anyway?
Hey! I resemble that remark!
In addition to what Chronos said, having the hobbit-actors shorter than the others might help avoid some miscues, like an character looking well over a hobbit's head when talking to him.

PookahMacPhellimey
08-30-2001, 02:10 PM
In reply to Jester's post.

I had not really thought about it that way. I suppose that you could see it as someone's interpretation rather than an absolute statement about what characters/landscape etc. ought to look like.
Nevertheless, there is still an issue about films making peoples's imagination a bit lazy. So I hope that the film will encourage people to read the book as well. I think that's important.

SL

P.S. On a matter of taste rather than principle. The lad playing Aragorn does not cut it for me at all. But maybe it is because I had a massive adolescent crush on the "Aragorn as I imagined him" and that crush still lingers making it very tricky to accept any actor.

Danimal
08-30-2001, 02:31 PM
Originally posted by PookahMacPhellimey

P.S. On a matter of taste rather than principle. The lad playing Aragorn does not cut it for me at all. But maybe it is because I had a massive adolescent crush on the "Aragorn as I imagined him" and that crush still lingers making it very tricky to accept any actor.

I have seen Viggo Mortensen in three movies: Crimson Tide, G.I. Jane and The Perfect Murder. Leaving aside the quality of those films, he impressed the hell out of me in all three of them, simply because he plays three completely different characters and looks exactly right for each of them. In one he's perfect as a weak, easily bullied man who can't stand up for his convictions, even though his convictions are good ones, in the next he's perfect as a tough-as-nails martinet, and in the third he's perfect as an amoral sleazeball. I don't know any other actor on screen today who's so thoroughly versatile. He doesn't look like my idea of Aragorn either, but I'm trusting him to convince me.

Hiyruu
08-30-2001, 02:35 PM
After looking at the cast pictures I was amazed, it was like they were plucked from my imagination.

Have you guys listened to the 13 part cassette (BBC) Lord of the rings? The voices in that are incredible and Ian Holm played Frodo...could of been a different Ian Holm though. And Michael Hordon as Gandalf was so perfect it isn't even funny. I recommend you listen to it very highly! It is a masterpiece in itself.

FriendRob
08-30-2001, 03:19 PM
About the Supplementary Question (possible SPOILER?):



















I'm embarassed to admit it, but even after reading LOTR at least a dozen times, I never noticed the answer to this one until a friend pointed it out to me. The Entwives are in the Shire! At the very beginning of the book , a character (Sam?) mentions the "treemen" that someone saw striding across the downs that looked like an elm tree. Then, when Frodo and Sam are taking leave of Fangorn before returning to the Shire, he tells them that the Shire sounds like a place the Entwives would like, and makes them promise to send him word if they ever hear of them. It's the kind of small detail that gives LOTR such depth.

Bartman
08-30-2001, 04:12 PM
Hiyruu, Ian Holm is the same as the BBC radio drama.

FriendRob and xanakis, regarding Entwives:

The Letters of JRR Tolkien, #144 to Namoi Mitchison
...I think that in fact the Entwives had disappeared for good, being destroyed with their gardens in the War of the Last Alliance (Second Age 3429-3441) when Sauron pursued a scorched earth policy and burned their land against the advance of the Allies down the Anduin (vol. II p. 79 refers to it). They survived only in the 'agriculture' transmited to Men (and Hobbits). Some, of course, may have fled east or even have become enslaved: tyrants even in such tales must have an economic and agricultural background to their soldiers and metal-workers. If any survived so, they would indeed be far estranged from the Ents, and any rapproachment would be difficult - unless experience of industrialized and miliarized agriculture had made them a little more anarchic. I hope so. I don't know...

It looks to me that the author intended that the Entwives be forever lost. I don't think that the treeman was intended to be anything more than the standard tavern gossip.

As far as short actors are concerned. Jackson is not using digital manipulation in every scene. In quite a few he uses forced perspective and other camera tricks. In fact I believe it is used in the second preview trailer. According to some film major friends of mine, it is visible in the scene where all the characters are shown hiking over a ridge. So using actors who are relatively shorter would help.

On the subject of the quality of the films, I am going to reserve judgement until I see them. I have heard a tremendous number of rumors. Some of them sound like they pander to the worst inclinations of Hollywood. However given Jackson's proclivities I am inclined to think that quite a few rumors have been started by him to keep intrest in the film.

Primaflora
08-30-2001, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by Fiver

My biggest concern about the movies is that they're being filmed in New Zealand. Admittedly, I don't know much about the land, but does it have the terrain and flora we associate with Middle-Earth? I don't want to see a palm tree in Rivendell.

New Zealander checking in. Don't worry about the terrain. Jackson's chosen to film in places which are really astoundingly beautiful and which look like Middle-Earth. NZ's not tropical and the closest we come to palm trees is a cabbage tree.

MovieMogul
08-30-2001, 05:31 PM
Sir Ian McKellan kept a running diary during the filming of the trilogy as well as fielded dozens of questions from die hard LoTR fans, all of which make interesting reading, particularly regarding Jackson's commitment to staying true to Tolkien's intentions. Here (http://www.mckellen.com/cinema/lotr/index.htm)'s the link.

SPOOFE
08-30-2001, 07:03 PM
Personally, I imagine the movie will go over quite well. Certainly it won't mesh perfectly with the books, but that doesn't mean it can't stand up on its own right.

And as for comments like this...

Oh my God, I just got a picture in my mind of how they're going to portray an Ent. It'll be some guy dressed up like a huge tree with a hole where his face is. His face will be painted "tree-colour" a la Wizard of Oz. Or else it'll be some really cheesy computer graphic.
What do you expect them to use? A real Ent?

Yeesh.

Smeghead
08-30-2001, 07:31 PM
I think someone's already posted a link to theonering.net. Let me just add that last time I was there, they had about a dozen video clips of the director answering fans' questions. As far as I'm concerned, he answered every single one in the best possible way. I have yet to hear a single thing negative about these movies.

Well, with one (http://www2.tolkienonline.com/docs/2556.html) exception.

Laughing Lagomorph
08-30-2001, 09:27 PM
I can't remember where I read this (isn't that always the way), but I think New Zealand was chosen as a shooting location because (among other reasons) relatively few people from the rest of the world have been there. Jackson wanted a landscape that would look Earthlike, and yet unfamiliar. You can imagine if they had shot Misty Mountain scenes in the American West. People would be sitting in the theater saying "Oh look, the Rockies". Likewise for the Alps, etc. As someone else has already pointed out, N.Z. is temperate in climate, and the pictures I have seen of it are indeed quite beautiful.
As far as ways the story could be screwed up, I too am quite hopeful that the finished products will not deviate too much from Tolkien's description. There were dark mutterings about "Rosie Cotton: Warrior Hobbitess" on one of the fan boards a few months back, but I am sure that was only a joke. I think. I hope.

pesch
09-01-2001, 08:21 PM
RE: the question about the "three books / one book" LOTR. I've seen the red-bound one-volume edition for decades, since the '70s at least, when I bought the green-bound Hobbit.

Thanks to ArchiveGuy for the link to Ian's site. I never knew he had one. I saw his "Acting Shakespeare" on PBS, and was knocked out by how well he helped me understand (a little) of Shakespeare's plays.

The LOTR trailer I saw (the second one that strung together scenes from the movies) supported my belief that Jackson's on the right track. No miscues that made me wince.

Of course, after Bakshi and Rankin/Bass' glurges, just about anything -- including a cast featuring the Singer Midgets and the Three Stooges -- would have been a step up. But this looks like the real deal.

Best of all, we're discovering it before the major media leaps all over it (like they did with "Pearl Harbor"). I hate being told that something is the greatest thing since, well, the last greatest thing. Jackson and the people around him are obviously comfortable about advance publicity.

Not a perfect post, but it is my 500th. And about one of my favorite authors.