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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:32 pm 
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Aagragaah
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That doesn't make me hate it any less.

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:51 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
Very glad to hear that they made use of John Rateliff's extensive knowledge about The Hobbit in the appendices this time!

http://sacnoths.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/ ... xtras.html

Edited to add: Also interested to learn that the fabulous golden statue of Thror (which so many hated) was Alan Lee's idea.


The golden state of Thror was, IMO, one of the best parts of DOS (despite the silly preceding sequence of dwarf grenades, wheel-barrow riding, and mining assembly lines). It had "mythic moment" written all over it, and is one of those times when cinema can trump the written word. It was pure visual language, communicating central themes of the story. It doesn't surprise me that it was Alan Lee's idea, as it seemed too "outside the box" for Jackson and company. They are very conventional scriptwriters, embracing cinematic tropes and film-making 101 concepts with zeal and abandon. And the Thror statue didn't fit that mold (see what I did there? :))


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:06 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
Edited to add: Also interested to learn that the fabulous golden statue of Thror (which so many hated) was Alan Lee's idea.


Was it also his idea to have it be ridiculous, nonsensical, and confusing?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:01 pm 
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I'm not sure what was ridiculous or nonsensical about it. It communicates a whole lot visually, without any dialogue needed. Powerful visual storytelling, IMO.

But you're right that it was confusing for many, and I think that was PJ and company's fault. They seemingly did not have the time to set it up properly. Would have been good to telegraph, in the AUJ prologue perhaps, that Thror had begun a great project to create a huge image of himself in gold. But since it was such a late-term decision, as a good chunk of importance plot points in these films were (driven primarily, I think, by the three-film decision) there simply wasn't an opportunity to lay the foundations for this. Though I suppose Thorin could have explained to the others, with a few lines of dialogue, what he was thinking.

Nonetheless, I'm glad the dwarf statue was in. For me at least, it made me temporarily forgive the previous ten or fifteen minutes of Tom and Jerry in the Mountain.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:48 pm 
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I see you prefer Wile E. Coyote-style traps. :P

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:13 pm 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
The golden state of Thror was, IMO, one of the best parts of DOS (despite the silly preceding sequence of dwarf grenades, wheel-barrow riding, and mining assembly lines). It had "mythic moment" written all over it, and is one of those times when cinema can trump the written word. It was pure visual language, communicating central themes of the story.


Well said.

Quote:
It doesn't surprise me that it was Alan Lee's idea, as it seemed too "outside the box" for Jackson and company. They are very conventional scriptwriters, embracing cinematic tropes and film-making 101 concepts with zeal and abandon. And the Thror statue didn't fit that mold (see what I did there? :))


Part of Peter Jackson's genius (yes, I said genius) is his willingness to accept input from the people he collaborates with. So many of the individuals that have worked on both of these sets of films, from the actors, to the designers, to WETA, and others, have commented on it. It is one reason why, IMO, he WAS the right man for the job.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:23 pm 
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I agree that part of being a leader in a collaborative artistic effort is recognizing good ideas when you see one. But the other part of being a leader in such an effort is producing great ideas at the start: ideas that spark other great ideas from the rest of the team. And IMO, PB and J's scripts are so unoriginal and by-the-numbers, that I feel they generally failed in this regard, only to be saved by the occasionally excellent concepts that bubbled up from the broader team (and that they were at least wise enough to see as great ideas). In the Hobbit films, I feel that only a few great ideas made it through, while the films were very poorly served by an incoherent, thin and generally uninspired script. And IMO, the fault rests at the top.

In that context, I would hardly call Jackson a genius. He's got a great imagination, and a fertile mind, but he's too often bogged down by his obsession with the conventions of modern blockbusters and vintage horror and monster films. He's far less an observer of life, than he is a genre movie geek. And that limits the aperture for these films.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:38 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
I see you prefer Wile E. Coyote-style traps. :P


I care nothing for the "trap" element of the scene. :) I'm only talking about the visual language of the golden statue, which is reminiscent of many such figures in mythology (including the Biblical kind), and communicates Thorin's delusion of grandeur, what is essentially his worship of a false material god, and the folly that can flow from the allure of great (and temporal) wealth. And in that way, it connects Smaug with Thorin in a rather intimate (and interesting) way. They are, in essence, the same. Thorin also sits by/on the statue's shoulder, which shows that he is indeed Thror's son, in body and in mind. This appropriately telegraphs Thorin's descent into madness in film 3.

The purely "plot" element of the scene (i.e. Smaug is trapped by Thorin's use of the gold statue as bait) might be somewhat silly, but that is completely overwhelmed by the visual language of the scene, which is much more important, IMO.

I suppose this is one scene that visually-oriented minds can appreciate, while those who are more interested in tightly logical plots cannot stand it. I understand this, but would encourage people to think of cinema as broader than just a plot told on a screen. Images, on their own, are a key part of the fabric of a film narrative as well.

Could it have been done better, or more subtly, by another director? Almost certainly (and I won't mention who, because Voronwë will have a conniption). But with PJ, we have to accept a lack of subtlety, and applaud him when he does something unconventional and visually interesting. The golden statue does that for me, though I accept the reasons why people hate it as legitimate.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:05 pm 
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I'm fine with lack of subtlety. I'm ridiculously easy to entertain. Stair-surfing, mumak climbing, bunny sleds, barrel hopping? Hilarious. Barely bearded, sexy dwarves? Brilliant idea. Female elf warrior? Makes perfect sense to me. But I can't distract myself with pretty pictures for very long if it requires ignoring the complete lack of internal logic. Snow capped peaks are nice but what the heck is the point of having a beacon above the cloud cover?

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:08 pm 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
The purely "plot" element of the scene (i.e. Smaug is trapped by Thorin's use of the gold statue as bait) might be somewhat silly, but that is completely overwhelmed by the visual language of the scene, which is much more important, IMO.


I'd say any "grandeur" of that one small moment is completely overwhelmed by the vast amounts of silliness preceding it. The image doesn't stand outside of context and the context is mostly silly nonsense. Kinda like how Ride of the Valkyries doesn't feel all that epic when played in a Looney Tunes cartoon.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 9:08 pm 
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At the risk of re-igniting this debate yet again, I am convinced that Cuarón is too in love with his own brilliance to do Tolkien justice.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:36 pm 
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But he is brilliant, so anything he produced, even if less faithful in a literal sense than PJ's output, would have likely been brilliant. :)

Personally, I think he would have done a much better job of capturing the spirit and "atmosphere" of Tolkien's work, if not the letter. I would have found that far more satisfying than either a slavishly literal adaptation, or the mawkish (and very occasionally, beautiful) films that PJ gave us. Camels are horses made in committee. And PJ is a classic "committee" filmmaker, which is why his films always look like camels - awkward, full of spit, but hardy. Cuaron, on the other hand, consistently produces horses - beautiful, elegant and proud.

Nonetheless, I do expect to enjoy BOFA the most out of all five films. Partly because of all the dwarven stuff, which I like.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:44 pm 
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No. No! NO! BotFA will be the worst of the five, an irredeemable mess.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:48 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Passdagas the Brown wrote:
The purely "plot" element of the scene (i.e. Smaug is trapped by Thorin's use of the gold statue as bait) might be somewhat silly, but that is completely overwhelmed by the visual language of the scene, which is much more important, IMO.


I'd say any "grandeur" of that one small moment is completely overwhelmed by the vast amounts of silliness preceding it. The image doesn't stand outside of context and the context is mostly silly nonsense. Kinda like how Ride of the Valkyries doesn't feel all that epic when played in a Looney Tunes cartoon.


I do wish that most of the Tom (Smaug) and Jerry (Bilbo & dwarves) chase scene were removed. Definitely. But my point is that at least it all ended with something visually and thematically interesting. If someone can pull off a fan edit that cuts out a lot of the preceding stuff, while maintaining the statue (and in a way that's coherent, unlike most fan edits) I'll buy it!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:49 pm 
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Voronwë the Faithful wrote:
No. No! NO! BotFA will be the worst of the five, an irredeemable mess.

You're welcome.

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Oh, it will definitely be that. But I'll probably enjoy it anyway. :)

PJ is a mess. He's a sloppy filmmaker, and a sloppy writer. And his films work best when he embraces that sloppiness.

That's what's so frustrating about LOTR, IMO. PJ tries so hard to reach emotional heights, and he's just not very good at it. The LOTR films remind me of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. It's a church that's just trying so hard to be Gothic. Yet it's clearly imitation Gothic. A kitschy version of the great churches of Europe that inspired it.

With DoS, PJ said to hell with it! I'm building a really fun church with a water-park in it. And IMO, that's why it works.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:07 pm 
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Well, I tried to dampen you're expectations, but maybe that is not as necessary this time, since you know what to look for. Although I expect him to 'reach for emotional heights in this upcoming film.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:53 pm 
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I just hope he doesn't try too hard, and lets the story tell itself. That'll elicit a more genuine emotional response than if he goes with slow-rolling tears and such.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:07 am 
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Agreed. I'm cautiously optimistic about that after watching the trailer.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:22 am 
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I will be very, very disappointed if we don't get at least one slow-rolling tear during the movie.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:23 am 
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Why?

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