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Old 10-25-2005, 09:53 AM   #41
Tuor of Gondolin
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I would rather PJ and friends hadn't been overobsessed with "story
arcs" in the theme of the weakness of men/Aragorn and kept more to
the more interesting book Aragorn, who is steadfast in his beliefs despite
the long odds of success. But in the movie's context SPM is quite correct.

I do appreciate PJ's keeping true to the subtle LOTR allusions to Eru's and/or the Valar's interventions in the story (in the prologue the "But something then happened that the Ring did not intend"), and the later Gandalf comment in Moria. Although I do wonder what non-book people made of such observations.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:20 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
These are the kinds of questions that I think that we should be exploring when looking at the changes from book to film.
Nice post, SpM, as it summarizes some of the issues with our first sequence.

Think that my problem (one of many ) is that I cannot recapture that feeling that I had when I first saw FotR. I remember going, as my wife and I see about one movie a year (we rarely go anywhere without our small tribe), but not much detail. Can remember watching Galadriel in Lothlorien and thinking, "we can't be nearing the end of the movie, as I've only been sitting here for 15 minutes - 30 tops!"

And so my analysis is tainted as I've viewed FotR:EE countless times even before I started here at the SbS. I can only speculate how the de-fingering of Sauron was perceived that first time.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:27 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
I can only speculate how the de-fingering of Sauron was perceived that first time.
I remember well my first time and I didn't find it odd in the least. In fact only in the EE do I find anything odd and that is something previously mentioned, by Mister Underhill I believe, and that is when Isildur put on the ring in front of the green screen and the battle is placed after the fact and it looks awful. I can find things now that seem a bit odd but the first time everything seemed perfect in this sequence though by RotK I began to notice I was a bit more jaded.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:41 AM   #44
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Ring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuor of Gondolin
I do appreciate PJ's keeping true to the subtle LOTR allusions to Eru's and/or the Valar's interventions in the story (in the prologue the "But something then happened that the Ring did not intend"), and the later Gandalf comment in Moria. Although I do wonder what non-book people made of such observations.
There is very little to go on as far as the existence of Eru and the Valar are concerned in the films. Gandalf's speech to Pippin in Minas Tirith is the only scene that springs to mind as coming close, although there may be others. Certainly, in the Prologue, there is not much that someone who was not already a fan or who was specifically looking for religious themes would pick up on.

But your noting Galadriel's comment about the Ring's thwarted intention brings another point to mind. In the book, Tolkien establishes the Ring's identity as a character very early on, in Gandalf's discourse with Frodo in The Shadow of the Past. With this line, Jackson does the same. Audiences are encouraged to view the Ring as a character in its own right from the outset which, given its central role, is, I think, vital.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
I can only speculate how the de-fingering of Sauron was perceived that first time.
The only possible significance that I can think of, as far as "non-book fan" viewers are concerned, is the missed opportunity to establish a link between nine-fingered Sauron and nine-fingered Frodo. Although, given the immense time lapse between the films' respective release dates, I am not sure that this would really add much to their appreciation. I suspect that Jackson was more interested in having Isildur vanquish Sauron himself, rather than cut the Ring off his finger ex post facto. It does, I suppose, make for a more tense and exciting climax to the scene.
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Old 10-25-2005, 10:44 AM   #45
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I didn't really notice the fingers or even think about them. The scene really isn't about the fingers at all, except they are gone from Sauron. What's more important is that the Ring, along with the fingers, is apart from Sauron. The focus is that the Ring and Sauron are separated. When watching the scene, a person's eye is drawn to the One in the center and pretty much disregards everything else in the shot.

By the way, Essex, you're right. Sauron being arrogant makes complete sense.

Also, I did see something odd in the Battle scene when Isildur puts on the Ring. It looked odd, but it really didn't bother me too much.
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:09 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by alatar
I can only speculate how the de-fingering of Sauron was perceived that first time.
Note that this scene was meant to serve as an example, meaning that I'm not sure that I can recollect (wonderful word, that) how I viewed the movies the first time.
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Old 10-25-2005, 11:40 AM   #47
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Originally posted by SpM
"There is very little to go on as far as the existence of Eru and the Valar are concerned in the films. Gandalf's speech to Pippin in Minas Tirith is the only scene that springs to mind as coming close, although there may be others."
==============
I was specifically thinking of this instance when the
Fellowship was resting in the Mines of Moria.

"Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work, Frodo, than the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the ring. In which case you also were meant to have it, and that is an encouraging thought. "

And in the book (not, I believe, the movie) Elrond makes an allusion
at the Council of Elrond. Something like: "I believe that this task is appointed
to (for?) you, and that if you fail the quest will fail."
(I think that's one bungled quote
but I don't have the book with me at the moment).
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Old 10-25-2005, 12:07 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPM
For me, however, the main interest lies not in the fact that the differences exist but in their impact on the story told by the film.
Nice moderating work, Sauce -- great points in directing the conversation in a constructive direction.

I've already noted the stylized things that bother me a bit here, and will bother me more later down the (plot)line. As an example, I think Sauron's reach could have been executed in a way that was more believable (he's reaching out of arrogance... okay... but what's he reaching for?) and closer to the books, while still remaining short and to the point. I dashed this off in two seconds, but you get the idea:
Code:
				 GALADRIEL (V.O.)
		  But the power of the Ring could not 
		  be undone. 
 
SAURON swings his mace.  Warriors fly.
 
ISILDUR is knocked down.  His sword clatters out of his grasp. 
 
SAURON swings again.  GIL-GALAD ducks under flying bodies 
and drives Aeglos between the iron plates of Sauron's armor.
SAURON bats him away.
 
ELENDIL attacks from the other flank, but his sword shatters 
when it meets Sauron's mace.  Sauron crushes Elendil with a 
blow that flings him like a rag doll. 
 
THE SHARD OF NARSIL cartwheels through the air and sticks in 
the mud near Isildur.
 
				 GALADRIEL (V.O.)
		  It was in that moment, when all hope 
		  had faded, that Isildur, son of the 
		  king, took up his father's sword.
 
SAURON reaches for the crown on Elendil's bloody head--
 
With a cry, ISILDUR swings the broken blade of Narsil, severing Sauron's 
fingers--
 
The ONE RING flies from his body.
 
[etc.]
This take would be roughly as brief, maybe adding two or three shots, and would at least motivate Sauron's reach.
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Old 10-25-2005, 12:51 PM   #49
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Boots

Or

Sauron falls, mortally wounded by Aiglos, & crawls towards Elendil to grasp the crown. Isildur picks up the hilt shard of Narsil, walks over, stamps down on Sauron's wrist & slices off the ring finger...
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Old 10-25-2005, 01:25 PM   #50
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Right, you could do it that way.

It occurs to me that I can see why Jackson doesn't want to execute it exactly as written in the books. If Sauron were slain and the Ring taken from his dead body, audiences will wonder, "How powerful is this Ring? It couldn't save him." They might not understand why a Sauron who regains his Ring would be so fearsome if he was already killed once while possessing it, a question even book fans might ask.

I think the answer has to do with Tolkien's theme of the overall waning of the greatness of Elves and Men from their glory days. The Last Alliance of Men and Elves could stand up to Sauron w/Ring and even bring him down -- but by the Third Age, most of the Elves have departed and the remaining Men are only shadows of their forebears.

Jackson's take seems to be: if not for a lucky stroke that separated the Ring from Sauron, he would have won. And woe betide the world if he ever gets the Ring back.

I'm not commenting on whether or not I agree with Jackson's perception of the story needs here, just speculating on what his reasoning might have been.
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Old 10-25-2005, 03:55 PM   #51
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I'm not sure that davem's scene would work so well, as it seems to show Sauron as being weakened even with the Ring, and that is pretty much the opposite of what the filmmakers were trying to show. The general idea was that if the Ring is around then uh oh no win for the good guys. So to have him be defeated (or dying) while still wearing it, well it just doesn't work.
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:14 PM   #52
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Please everyone sit down – I’m going to complain about a part of the movie I no longer agree with – Shock Horror!

After reading the Disaster of the Gladden Fields (as reminded to by Mr Underhill) – I now realise the story of Isildur, and not just from a LOTR Book/film perspective – I now know how Isildur himself realised his mistake in keeping the Ring – and that the Ring had to be returned to the ‘Keepers of the Three’ – and that he did not want to leave his men as is shown in the film version, but was almost commanded to by his son (?) into doing so, in effect stopping the forces of Sauron getting hold of the Ring.

But to deflect from this (brief) disagreement with the movie makers, I’d like to show a few points where they did a great job of conveying Tolkien’s story to screen.

Looking back on some comments I put together after LOTR was first released, I now realise how close (and what a good job of swotting up the guys did in some occasions) they came to being spot on with their adaptation.

I did a comparison of the whole movie and where they got their information / words from. For example, I like the way they use text from other books (other than lotr) – and not just the text of LOTR itself, but also the appendicies for info:


"Three were given to the elves, Immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings"

...tying up with the text from Silmarillion
Quote:
Immortal were the Elves, and their wisdom waxed from age to age ……..Quendi shall be the fairest of all earthly creatures
Also:

"Nine rings were gifted to the race of men, who above all else desire power."

...against Silmarillion again…
Quote:
But Sauron gathered into his hands all the remaining Rings of Power; and he dealt them out to the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping thus to bring under his sway all those that desired secret power beyond the measure of their kind
and a final example...

"Darkness crept back into the forest of the world. Rumour grew of a shadow in the east, whispers of a nameless fear."

...paraphrased from Silmarillion
Quote:
A darkness crept slowly through the wood from the southward, and fear walked there in shadowy glades…. It was the Shadow of Sauron and the sign of his return. For coming out of the wastes of the East he took up his abode in the south of the forest
Even the timings Blanchett mentions are very close:


"And for two and a half thousand years the ring passed out of all knowledge"

Time ascertained from the Tale of Years. - 2 Disaster of the Gladden Fields; Isildur and his three elder sons are slain - 2463 Déagol the Stoor finds the One Ring, and is murdered by Sméagol. Which equals 2461 years


"The ring brought to Gollum unnatural long life. For five hundred years it poisoned his mind."

Time ascetained from the Tale of Years - 2470 About this time Sméagol-Gollum hides in the Misty Mountains - 2941 Bilbo meets Sméagol-Gollum and finds the Ring. Which equals 471 years


Not bad! So I can forgive a few inconsistencies! Including one where Galadriel says “But they were all of them deceived. For another ring was made. In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the dark lord Sauron forged in secret a master ring to control all others.”

In fact, in the Silmarillion again, it actually states
Quote:
But the Elves were not so lightly to be caught. As soon as Sauron set the One Ring upon his finger they were aware of him…But he, finding that he was betrayed and that the Elves were not deceived, was filled with wrath
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Old 10-25-2005, 05:23 PM   #53
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alatar, sorry the pic isn't working, I'll try to describe it. The Camera is down low, Isildur's lying in the water, the Ring is sinking and Isildur has his hand and arm out trying to grab it.

Essex, I thought Jackson did pretty good with the dates and times as well. As far as that type of info. When Gandalf reads Isildur's scroll he says " year 3434 of the Second age." In the appendices this is when The Siege of Barad-dur takes place, and Jackson condenses it to one battle and not a big 7 year siege. So, I think Jackson was well aware of the timeline of events.
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Old 10-25-2005, 09:32 PM   #54
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Isildur is a far more complex, interesting, and likable character in the books (including Silmarillion and UT). However, PJ and crew obviously did the right thing by reducing him to arrogant and greedy. The audience doesn't need to see Isildur's character developed; they just need to know that he took Sauron's Ring from him, and that it ensnared him (an important point that is brought up later with Aragorn).

I like Mister Underhill's version of this scene better than the movie's. Not only does it make more sense, but it gives Gil-galad a better cameo!
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Old 11-02-2005, 03:42 AM   #55
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I think we also need to keep in mind the 'fluidity' of Tolkien's back story to LOTR. Inasmuch as, we have a 'concrete' version of LOTR to read (and yes I know there have been some slight changes to the text throughout the years in different versions) - but we don't have this when we look at his other work. As Christopher Tolkien states, there are different versions to his back story, and finding the 'correct' version is hard at times.

We have different stories around Isildur - From Unfinished tales, Silmarillion, and Gandalf's account in LOTR - which all seem to give a different slant to the story. And at times a CONFLICTING slant to the story.
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:53 AM   #56
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Fwoof! The sound of a lost little platy blowing dust off this ole thread...

When I first heard the rumour that PJ was filming a Second Age prologue to the trilogy, I was on location as an Orc extra on the volcanic plateau of the central North Island. I was excited, to say the very least! I was practically drooling with anticipation!

When I finally viewed the prologue years after, I did not feel at all let down. Although I didn't feel too much for the Men of the Last Alliance, I was blown away by the work that Richard Taylor and co did on the Elven armour, weapons and fighting techniques. And I thought that Sauron looked fantastic, especially with his great attacking prowess, batting incarnates out of the way like the powerful fallen Maia he was!

Cate Blanchett's voiceover was enchanting! Particularly lines such as "It abandoned Gollum" or "who above all else, desire power". Her inflection, timing and pitch were just heavenly. In an ideal world, I would have Cate Blanchett read me LOTR, a couple of chapters at each sitting, at bedtime every night!

BUT... (and this is a big butt... sorry I mean but)... however nice the prologue is, I agree with Reg that it is not necessary, and in fact detracts from the story as I would have liked to have seen it. I much prefer the way the book reveals the background story, one piece at a time, as the story dictates that we need to know it. The mystery behind the origins of Bilbo's magic ring is completely destroyed, and when Gandalf makes the "final test" and discovers that it is the One, the audience is left saying "well, duh, we already knew that". I like the way that in the book we largely see events through the eyes of the hobbits (similar to the original Star Wars trilogy, which is told mainly from the droids' perspective), and I don't like the fact that the audience should know so much before the actual players do.

I have similar gripes throughout the FOTR movie, as a matter of fact. As an example, the Black Riders were revealed as servants of the Dark Lord when we see them issuing from "baddie central", whereas in the book their origins are ambiguous until Frodo finds out more information. I'll leave my non-prologue gripes there for the time being; plenty of time to discuss them in the other sequence discussions.

I thought that Sauron's reaching for Isildur was ridiculous, and I daresay I would have felt the same whether I was a lover of the book or not. It just doesn't make sense. He has had such success with battering people a la mace... why change now? What is so special about Isildur that Sauron wants to just pick him up? Is he cute and cuddly like Tickle Me Elmo?! No!

Let me say that I am not entirely opposed to changes from the book. But like Gaffer Gamgee (or is it Barliman Butterbur?), I can't abide "changes for the worst". IMHO, the book version of Sauron's demise at the hands of the two greatest heroes of the Second Age leading the overwhelming armies of the Last Alliance is endlessly more plausible than the movie version. I think PJ would have been better off sticking to the material as written, even if he only gets to show Isildur cutting the Ring from Sauron's dead hand. Here endeth the prologue gripe.
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Old 05-27-2008, 09:31 AM   #57
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This thought is late in coming, but I was wondering why the forces of the Last Alliance didn't pepper Sauron - still with lidded eyes (and fingers, toes, legs, head, etc) - with a bunch of arrows. To me it would have been an easy way for Jackson to show that Sauron would have turned the battle, as we could watched the elven arrows harmlessly ricochet and/or break when they struck the Dark Lord. The audience could see that this new foe upon the battle field would be something different, and trouble, and only by losing the Ring could he be hindered.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:03 AM   #58
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This thought is late in coming, but I was wondering why the forces of the Last Alliance didn't pepper Sauron - still with lidded eyes (and fingers, toes, legs, head, etc) - with a bunch of arrows. To me it would have been an easy way for Jackson to show that Sauron would have turned the battle, as we could watched the elven arrows harmlessly ricochet and/or break when they struck the Dark Lord. The audience could see that this new foe upon the battle field would be something different, and trouble, and only by losing the Ring could he be hindered.
I think that PJ really wanted to show us how fearsome and unstoppable Sauron really was by having him hack his way through the foot soldiers. Still, your idea would be cool to watch! Though I do have to admit that facing a nine foot tall dark lord would be enough to strike fear into anyones heart! I doubt that anyone could have the courage to actually go against him.

Also, if you look at the movie the archers were near the rear of the army while the swordsmen, spearman, ext. were in the front when Sauron appeared. I don't think that the archers would want to fire into the midst of their own men, especially since their leaders, Gil-Galad and Elendil, were right near Sauron.
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:43 AM   #59
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I think that PJ really wanted to show us how fearsome and unstoppable Sauron really was by having him hack his way through the foot soldiers. Still, your idea would be cool to watch! Though I do have to admit that facing a nine foot tall dark lord would be enough to strike fear into anyones heart! I doubt that anyone could have the courage to actually go against him.
I'd finally gotten round to watching '300' and noted that King Leonidas's last act was to scratch Xerxes, showing to all that Xerxes wasn't a god (And, another movie quote, from Predator, "If it bleeds, we can kill it."). Xerxes too was larger than life, and yet that one scratch...

Quote:
Also, if you look at the movie the archers were near the rear of the army while the swordsmen, spearman, ext. were in the front when Sauron appeared. I don't think that the archers would want to fire into the midst of their own men, especially since their leaders, Gil-Galad and Elendil, were right near Sauron.
These same archers shoot just over Elrond's head (even messing his hair, which can be fatal to elves (Thanks Mith!)), and so I don't see why they couldn't have targeted Sauron, who, as you note, was larger than those that stood close by.

I just thought that it would have been an easy way to show that this was no ordinary giant creature we were dealing with.
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