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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:36 pm 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
It's a good review, and sums up some of my feelings (though I disagree strongly with the assertion that when myth goes from the page to the screen, it becomes "fact," and that this automatically diminishes it - there are excellent filmmakers out there, IMO, who are able to maintain the flavor and essence of myth, without degrading it to the degree that PJ has). After all, by her argument, one could conclude that the "written" myth is also a degraded and more "factualized" form of the "oral" myths of our ancestors. And while one could make a case for that, I don't think it's a strong one. I also disagree with her objections to the many plots left unresolved, as I didn't have a problem with that. But generally, she makes some important points.


A film can have a "mythic" look and feel to it, but when translating a written myth to screen, you're inevitably going to lose something due to the requirement that all visual details be nailed down. To quote the article again:

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the filming of any given scene puts it into the particular: into one specific setting of landscape, weather, lighting, music, staging, blocking, and so forth


When you commit a scene to film, you collapse all the myriad possibilities it offers down into a single point of visual, aural, and temporal actuality. Tolkien's argument against allegory applies here--the viewer, instead of being free to apply his or own concepts to the scene, is suddenly forced by the filmmaker to visualize things in the one particular way that he intends.

Of course, for total applicability you shouldn't tell a story at all--just let everyone imagine their own! It's a continuum, and each point has its own benefits and drawbacks.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:32 pm 
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When you commit a scene to film, you collapse all the myriad possibilities it offers down into a single point of visual, aural, and temporal actuality.


But a similar thing happens when you translate a story from mind to voice, and from voice to page. You create linguistic narrative constructs that contain the imagination.

The trick is to use language in such a way that it sets the mind off into other places - depths and heights beyond the page.

The same can be done with visual language. A great film director can combine lighting, composition, dialogue, music and motion in such a way that it inspires the imagination to continue beyond the edge of the screen, not stay fixed within it.

That's generally what I have objected to regarding PJ's style. He wants to draw you into HIS temporal world, and immerse you in his sets, and his New Zealand. In effect, he is the "tyrant storyteller" that Tolkien objected to. He embraces the philosophy of the "purposed domination of the author" that Tolkien objected to in allegory.

I much prefer filmmakers that treat their audiences as observers, rather than participants, in their creation. And as such, aspire to "applicability," as Tolkien described it, where audience members draw myriad conclusions. With such films, we can look at the picture and appreciate it, but in such a way that allows our minds to wander. PJ achieves this with powerful, yet for many, ambiguous scenes, such as the moment that Bilbo decides to run out of Bag End, Bilbo's and Gandalf's conversation after the battle of five armies, and the glorious visuals of the eagle scenes, who are either harbingers of life or death. It's unclear. And in those moments, PJ creates myth rather than fact.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:56 pm 
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A rave review from the Wall Street Journal:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-hobbit- ... 1418841781

ETA: And a panning from Rolling Stone:

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/revi ... s-20141217

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:42 pm 
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"The doomed romance between Amazonian elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and the besotted dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner) doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

Hahahahahaha...! Love the "Casablanca" reference.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:32 pm 
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Back down to 60%, and the "critics consensus" was changed to "Though somewhat overwhelmed by its own spectacle, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ends Peter Jackson's second Middle-earth trilogy on a reasonably satisfying note."

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:14 pm 
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60% really does seem about right.

A bit of speculation: Is it possible that the running time for BOFA was so much shorter than the others, because without cutting it down to that size, there wasn't enough material to justify an EE?

After all, if there are only an extra 25-30 minutes in the EE, that will bring it to about 2hrs and 40-45 minutes. That is around the running time of both the AUJ and DOS theatrical editions.

IMO, that would be a rather cynical move. If there wasn't enough material for an EE, but there was enough material for a longer TE, PJ and company should have gone with a fuller TE, and foregone the EE. This would have likely made for a more satisfying theatrical version, IMO, and may have elevated its critical score to at least the levels of AUJ and DOS. As it stands, the critical consensus seems to be: "it's one long battle scene." A longer version of the film, with additional character beats, may have alleviated that perception.

I understand that the EEs can bring in some additional revenue, and that fans essentially expect them. But if my speculation reflects reality, I will find it to be a very disappointing decision.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:28 pm 
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I think that theory is completely bonkers. The EE for AUJ has only ten extra minutes, and I have not read anywhere that it sold less copies than the DOS EE because of that. If Peter Jackson was as cynical and money-hungry as you are implying here, he would have just cut one single scene, and kept the rest in. And besides, people do not just buy the EE for the extra film minutes, but also for the appendices.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 5:30 pm 
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I also agree that that theory is "bonkers".

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:10 pm 
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Feel free to rail about straw men here. We can continue a substantive discussion on this thread.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:23 pm 
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Quote:
If Peter Jackson was as cynical and money-hungry as you are implying here


I never implied that Peter Jackson is either cynical or money-hungry. If this theory is correct, the decision could have been made by any number of individuals at Warner Bros. And if Peter Jackson was a core part of the decision, he may very well be trying to fulfill fan expectations, rather than make more money. As I said, fans expect these, and PJ may be conscious of the opinion among lots of fans that the AUJ EE was too slight. The fact that the EEs bring in additional revenue was stated as fact, not as evidence that PJ is "money-hungry." I don't believe he has the money-hungry bone in his body (nor does he have the cynical bone). I come to that conclusion based on the Appendices. And unlike many in the fan-rage world, I do NOT believe the three-film split was motivated by money. I believe PJ, Philippa and Fran initiated that decision for creative reasons, and WB saw no financial reason to object!

The point I was trying to make, not very clearly, is that I wish the decision was made to have a fuller theatrical cut, even if it meant either no EE, or a very slim EE. And this time, leading up to the film's release, PJ said on a number of occasions that they had a cut, but that he was committed to shortening it further (and getting it down to 2hrs and 20 minutes, I believe he said). I don't know what led to that decision. It could have been WB clamoring for the opportunity to provide more showings, it could have been PJ's feeling that the longer cuts were too long, and that he wanted a brisk ending to the trilogy, it could have been a studio and PJ reaction to past critics who complained about bloat and length, or it could have been PJ's determination to give fans a more substantial EE. That final rationale, IMO, is perfectly plausible. But not because PJ is either cynical or money-grubbing. He may just want the fans to have a good experience, this last time round.

Quote:
Feel free to rail about straw men here. We can continue a substantive discussion on this thread.


Understood. Though some might question whether the following can be characterized as "substantive:"
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I also agree that that theory is "bonkers".


;)


Last edited by Passdagas the Brown on Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:33 pm 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
The point I was trying to make, not very clearly, is that I wish the decision was made to have a fuller theatrical cut, even if it meant either no EE, or a very slim EE.


I have mixed feelings about this, based on my limited experience of only one viewing. I tend to like the fact that he left a lot of things open to the imagination. As a certain author that we all love once wrote, "A story must be told or there'll be no story, yet it is the untold stories that are most moving." On the other hand, I agree that there are certain places where the film would be better if fleshed out some more. However, what I think is "bonkers" is the idea that Jackson purposefully held things back for the EE. I think that he made the decision that he made because he thought that it would make a stronger theatrical release (as aimed for a general audience, not "us"). Whether or not we think that he made the right decision, I don't see any basis for accusing him of duplicity. You have no clarified that you did not mean to imply that, so I withdraw the "bonkers" agreement.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:47 pm 
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Quote:
However, what I think is "bonkers" is the idea that Jackson purposefully held things back for the EE.


I think it's perfectly plausible that PJ had the EE (as well as critics, the studio AND his own sensibilities about pacing) in mind, when cutting the film down to its theatrical length. To parpahrase Whitman, the man "contains multitudes," and there doesn't have to be one singular reason for all his decisions. I just disagree with the interpretation of holding back material for the EE as "duplicitous." It's a perfectly OK thing for PJ to have been considering the substance of the EE while cutting this film. I think for the AUJ TE, PJ left a lot of stuff in there that he may have left out, were he to have been clairvoyant (and could foresee the critical and general public reaction to "all those interminable songs," that most Tolkien fans loved...). It's very reasonable to assume that when cutting both the DOS and BOFA TEs, he would be conscious of the kind of things that might not play well with a general audience (and critics), such as two-by-two dwarf introductions to Beorn, funerals with singing, etc., but would play well with Tolkien fans. And so, he cuts those elements from the TE, and reserves them for the EE.

I see nothing "bonkers" about that. In fact, I think it's highly likely.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:55 pm 
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It would be duplicitous because he has said several times in the past that he does not work that way.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:08 pm 
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I've never heard him say that, so I have no comment there. I would imagine that he certainly doesn't ONLY have the EE in mind when creating a theatrical cut. But I'm almost certain that there are some scenes, such as the two-by-two dwarf intros to Beorn, that cause him to say to himself: "Let's leave that one for the EE. The fans will love it, but it's not necessary for telling this story to a general audience." He has said numerous times publicly that his greatest fear is "boring" audiences, and I can see why he makes some cuts (including the Beorn one) in that context.

So, even if he says he "doesn't work that way," it doesn't make it duplicitous for him to have the EE in mind when cutting the TE, along with other perhaps more prominent rationales.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:30 pm 
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But there is a big difference between noting that the fans would like something, even though he deems it not appropriate for the theatrical release, and leaving something out not because he doesn't think it is appropriate for the theatrical release but rather to leave something available for the EE, which is what you originally said, and which I agreed was 'bonkers'.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:55 pm 
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I think that's also possible, and not at all bonkers. But it depends on what you mean by "appropriate." He may excise a scene that would have been perfectly welcome to a general public, but that isn't absolutely necessary. And he could justify such a cut in a number of ways, including getting the run-time down to something that WB is most happy with, giving the film a brisker pace, or keeping more material for the EE. I don't see what's far-fetched about the "leave more for the EE' rationale, particularly if that rationale bolsters other factors, such as more screenings, a critical appreciation for a brisk pace, etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 4:40 pm 
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John Rateliff's review of BOFA:

http://sacnoths.blogspot.in/2014/12/the ... e.html?m=1

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 8:42 pm 
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A strangely slight review....


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 6:20 am 
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True that.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:40 am 
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A rave review from The Australian, following the Christmas release down under.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/re ... 1eb0fa06e8

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