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Old 03-22-2013, 04:18 AM   #4
Legate of Amon Lanc
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Originally Posted by Zigūr View Post
I have seen the feature about this on the Return of the King Extended DVD. When I was younger I didn't object to the films nearly as much and as such I do have the Extended Editions but I haven't watched them all the way through/with much attention for years. Anyway, frankly I find it absurd that this concept made it all the way to being filmed. As you say, it's totally inconsistent with their own characterisation of Sauron: as a wholly, indeed arbitrarily dark and evil figure, as a giant eyeball, as a hidden menace who never leaves his tower. And while I think it was the right decision for them to replace Sauron with a troll in the end, where's Pippin's heroic slaying of the troll?

It reminds me of the idea that apparently at one point they wanted the Mouth of Sauron to appear as an attractive woman (Kate Winslet possibly?) to "represent the temptations Aragorn is facing" or something. What temptations? And why Aragorn? Frodo and Sam are toiling up Mount Doom and they're worried about how they characterise Aragorn. I guess common sense tended to triumph somewhat in the long run, albeit in the Sauron case later than you might expect.
Well, it just shows how much, despite the whole "you bow to no one" fuss and attempt to show the Hobbits as the heroes and trying to keep the basic idea of LotR that one does not win by the strength of arms, the filmmakers were affected by the common mentality of cheap heroic-movie expectations. Therefore, who cares about Pippin, we want surfing Legolases; who cares about Frodo and Sam, we want to see Aragorn dueling Sauron.

And whereas the idea of Mouth of Sauron being a woman would have been interesting especially in a story consisting mostly of male characters, I am afraid that it would be no win and it would just slip into some "dark seductress" film stereotype. Besides, I think at this point, Aragorn is already past all temptations. At least where the Ring is concerned, and also where sitting at home and trying to just preserve his new kingdom a la Denethor is concerned. His final decision to march to the Black Gate was the final act of bravery and possibly even self-sacrifice in order to help Frodo's mission to succeed. He can't even run anymore. So what could Sauron still tempt him with? Sure, Sauron could not have known he did not have the Ring, so maybe in his mind Aragorn falling to it could still be an option, but I doubt PJ would think so far.

It really makes me wonder why Sauron-as-Annatar never appeared in the opening sequence of Fellowship, yet they wanted him to appear that way at the Black Gate.
Exactly. But then again, not sure how much the development of the script went, maybe the idea came only later than when the opening had been already made? I don't know.

Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
-It probably follows some half-baked set of rules that says there must be a one-on-one fight between the Villain and the Hero (i.e. Aragorn, Frodo having been pretty much fired as the hero by that point- but that's a whole other issue). There are things that made it through to the final cut that reflect that kind of "Screenwriting 101" thinking, too. I know this all sounds pretty belittling. Okay, I'm not saying everything about the script's terrible, by any means- but I believe the writers were relatively inexperienced, and at times it shows.
Indeed. They even basically say as much in there. That's why I think they decided they have to keep the part of Aragorn fighting someone, even if it were to be a totally random troll (which is even a bit downgrading to Aragorn already at that point, in my opinion. After all, he had fought a troll before already in Moria. I think one would have expected at least a Nazgul, but I guess that comes from the fact that they had only the material of him fighting Sauron, and Nazgul would probably be at least slightly smaller enemy).

-It also seems like a very misguided attempt at canonicity or fan-service, using the same "anything Tolkien wrote can be inserted seamlessly into anything else he wrote" reasoning that now has Azog all over "The Hobbit". They might even have had some notion that the "Annatar" nonsense would balance the otherwise uncomplicated portrayal of the evil side. Without thinking it through, of course.
Yep, I would say you are right on this one probably as well. (But that isn't a very good defense of it, right )

-Finally, I wonder how serious Peter Jackson ever was about including the scene in the finished version? He's one of those directors who always shoot vast amounts of extra material, just on the off-chance they might find some use for it.
That is possible, but the more it surprises me that he actually didn't shoot at least a short scene of Aragorn fighting a troll, or something similar they could replace it with. It is clear that they were all the time totally and absolutely serious about having the Sauron-fight, it was a no-question thing, nobody even dared to assume it would not happen. Because if they did, then they would have had some backup option of having Aragorn fighting something else, in order to make the proper "one on one, hero vs. villain" epic ending.
"But it is not your own Shire," said Gildor. "Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out."
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