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Old 01-11-2005, 11:39 PM   #81
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At Last! A forum with a thread that I can comment on in detail! I absolutely hated the EE scene of Gandalf and the Witch-king. But alas, I really cannot add to what all you marvelous fans have already nailed it on the head.
First of all, there is no way in Middle-Earth that the Witch-king could have defeated Gandalf so easily. There is a very, very slight possibility that he could have beaten him, but not effortlessly. It is an impossible for the White Wizard, a Miear (sp) spirit to be defeated by a corrupt sprit of a Man. I love the Witch-king as much as the next person, but that was just going overboard. This scene has got to be the worst scene out of the entire movie series. And it really hurts, because PJ and his team worked so tirelessly to bring u an extremely well scripted adaptation of our beloved books, but they just threw this scene away completely. I realize that they added/subtracted/altered certain things in the movies to make things more clear and fluid without losing the overall message of the books. But all this scene did was take away! Us fans really don't have a lot to pain over, becuase we know Gandalf's true strength. But what about countless fans who are only fans of the movie. They will go the rest of their lives thinking of Gandalf (the White, no less) as a weak old man. They should have just cut it out completely even in the EE, if it was going to turn out the way it did. All it does is make Gandalf extremely weak and helpless, and make the Witch-king far too powerful (and foolish, because he could have finished off his greatest adivisary right then and there) . Actually, I thought that throught ROTK, Gandalf seemed less powerful, less assertive, and less determined then he ought to have, but that scene was just the worst and most rediculous. It almost ruinded the entire move experience, and not just for ROTK. It almost shows how careless they were in some of these scenes. In fact what made me stop myself from hating the movies that I have come to love, were all the things that they did get right. But a slip-up of this caliber is almost unforgivable. Actually I really wouldn't have minded the breaking of the staff if Gandalf had actually tried to do something about it. What would have salvaged the scene was if Gandalf had gotten up off the ground, instead of flailing there like a beaten old man, and start to glow a pale white and unsheath Glamdring. Or they could have made it exactly like they did in the book where they just face each other with the utmost tension. Now that I have gotten it all out of my system, I beleive I shall do what Essex said, and live with it. From what I've read from the comments on this thread, there are a few exceptional and beleivable explanations about this scene. But this severe lapse in film-making judgement does make the Witch-king's death a little sweeter, and I almost completely forgot about the whole Gandalf/Witch-king scene when Aragorn and Gimli kill Gothmog.

Last edited by Elessar907; 01-12-2005 at 12:31 AM. Reason: gramatical errors
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:09 AM   #82
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Can it be that the staff-breaking could have affected Movie-Gandalf's state of mind ?
Because in the "Last debate" scene afterwards, he acts totally out of character.

Quote:
Gandalf: "Frodo has passed beyond my sight. The darkness is deepening."
Aragorn: "If Sauron had the Ring, we would know it."
Gandalf: "It's only a matter of time. (.........)
(.........)
Gandalf: " (.....) I've sent him (Frodo) to his death"
I could hardly believe my ears!! What's happened to Gandalf, the kindler of hope, whose credo used to be "Despair is only for those who know the end beyond all doubt - we do not." ? Gandalf may be afraid, yes, but never hopeless and despairing!
Why did they have to change the person of this central character so much ? Perhaps to make a contrast for Aragorns sudden hopefulness and resolution ? In this movie scene, the "diversion" is Aragorn's idea and Gandalf doesn't even believe it'll work!
I really don't mind obliterations and changes that are "in character" (like many in FotR) but this is too much!
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:40 AM   #83
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This is very much like Aragorn taking Theoden's idea to ride out and face the Orcs in one last stand at Helm's Deep.

I think Jackson is giving as much of the decision making to Aragorn as he can. I'm not sure why, and I don't agree with this.

Just another thought as I posted. This change in Gandalf is more believable movie-wise as Saruman has spread the seeds of doubt into his mind at the begining of the EE. This also gives some credence to Gandalf's question of whether Frodo was alive to Aragorn in Edoras.
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Old 01-12-2005, 11:06 AM   #84
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Throughout the trilogy PJ lessened the role of Gandalf. The Grey Pilgrim starts as the prime motivator behind the forces of good and ends up just some kindly old man who carries a big stick - until *that* exploded.

In FOTR, Gandalf gets the Ring moving towards destruction, escapes from the clutches of the most powerful wizard in Middle Earth and takes on a Balrog. (I painfully accepted the change in regards to whose idea it was to go through Moria, among others).

In TTT, after surviving the Balrog fight and supposedly becoming more powerful (as witnessed when he meets the three hunters in Fangorn), he's now an exorcist and an errand rider.

In ROTK, after 'firing' Saruman, Gandalf loses his nerve and has to be reassured about the plan. He can't get the Rohirrim to fight unless there's some watch fire thing message comes from Gondor. Pippin lights the same while Gandalf acts as a distraction.

After using his staff to chase away the Nazgul, Gandalf's in the back of the formation that greets the three trolls that come knocking at the gates and are dressed to kill. Why didn't he use the staff then?

He loses to the Witch-King, then has to find another stick to whack another king in the head. I assume that *he* spurs Shadowfax at Denethor, which is odd in that he spent some time talking with Frodo about 'needlessly dealing out death,' which could and accidentally did happen. Didn't see a lot of pity there. And I realize that Pippin needed something to do, but what does Gandalf really do in the Houses of the Dead?

After the big battle he is again concerned about the plan, but luckily Aragorn has a good idea. During the battle at the Black Gate he seems (to me) to be just another sword, or captain. He does, however, guide the eagles to Mount Doom.

Seeing what PJ had done to Gandalf, I'm glad that the Scouring of the Shire wasn't filmed. We'd have Gandalf crying after hearing 'sauce' from Ted Sandyman*...

*Yes, I know that that didn't happen, but we're talking PJ's world here.
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Old 01-12-2005, 12:02 PM   #85
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I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here and argue a position I don't agree with with.

That position is PJ is right to weaken Gandalf because by doing so he increases the heroism of the humans (Aragorn and Eowyn). The fact that Gandalf loses to the Witch-King shows how heroic Eowyn was in standing up to him. The fact Gandalf is hesitant gives Aragorn a chance to assume the role of leader.

Now I could almost live with this position if it wasn't for the fact that Aragorn then turns around and tries to confront Sauron with the palantir and ends up running from the orb like a coward.

I think PJ tries to humanize everyone too much and they come off looking weak a great deal. The human element in LotR has, for me, always been the hobbits. Heck, by the end of RotK in the book Aragorn is only ever called Elassar (sp?) and seems much more removed. But it is the hobbits that symbolize the reader in the book, they are normally the ones that you can most relate to in the books.
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Old 01-12-2005, 12:11 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorri Swifthammer
That position is PJ is right to weaken Gandalf because by doing so he increases the heroism of the humans (Aragorn and Eowyn). The fact that Gandalf loses to the Witch-King shows how heroic Eowyn was in standing up to him. The fact Gandalf is hesitant gives Aragorn a chance to assume the role of leader.
I agree; however, one of the many issues I then have is that if W-K was so terribly powerful, why does Eowyn have to be chased by Gothmog after killing W-K? Wasn't that enough, like in the books? She kills the 'boss,' then has to run from the Gimp. Ouch!

What does finally put her in a death-like state, PJ version?
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:35 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snorri Swifthammer

I think PJ tries to humanize everyone too much and they come off looking weak a great deal. The human element in LotR has, for me, always been the hobbits. Heck, by the end of RotK in the book Aragorn is only ever called Elessar and seems much more removed. But it is the hobbits that symbolize the reader in the book, they are normally the ones that you can most relate to in the books.
I agree very much with that!
It seems PJ et al think that movie watchers today would not accept heroes that are "superhuman" :nobler and wiser and less flawed than we are. But by changing these characters they take away something essential.
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:35 PM   #88
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I must say, this has been a fascinating discussion. I think the only unforgivable moment was the shattering of Gandalf's Staff. Otherwise, I think the scene was well done.

1. Gandalf could not have defeated the Witch King. He knew this. The best he could hope for was to dismiss him, only to have him re-emerge again. And that would have taken a monumental battle, which very possibly could have taken Gandalf's life. He was weary, and knew the battle was not for him to win, but must be won by men. Some argued that he fought the Ringwraiths on weathertop... but if you revisit that section, Gandalf did not win. He managed to escape after a long battle and was pursued by 4 wraiths, while the remaining went on after the ring. In the scene, Gandalf looks apprehensive, maybe even fearful... And rightly so.. but I also think he was steadying himself for battle. At this point, the Witch King had the advantage, but left Gandalf to deal with the more immediate threat of the Rohirrim, knowing a direct confrontation with Gandalf would have taken time. He knew he had (supposedly) time to come back and take the city.

I also believe the Witch King was stronger in closer proximity to Mordor, and the will of his master.

2. Some have argued that Aragorn defeated or drove off the Witch King at Weathertop. This is also not true. After the Witch King stabbed Frodo with the Morgul Blade, Frodo cried out "Elbereth" which caused the Witch King to cry out. When Aragorn came with the flaming brands, the Nazgul withdrew rather than fight, believing their work was done. They merely had to wait for the blade to do it's work and send Frodo into the realm of shadows and under Sauron's power.

3. The whole argument of the Witch King not being able to be killed by any living man, I believe, is also a bit bogus. I don't think the Witch King could have been harmed by ANYONE until Merry stabbed him with the blade he got from Tom Bombadill, which had been made for the war against the Witch-king of Angmar by the Men of Westernesse. Only this sword (or the sword which Pippen had also!), could have broken the spell which bound the Witch Kings sinews together, thus rendering him vulnerable to attack. Eowyn just happened to be the closest, and the immediate benefactor of the Merry's attack. Eowyn's attack did fulfill Glorfindel's prophecy, but once the spell was broken, I think anyone could have killed the Witch King.

All in all, we have to remember that the Witch King was Sauron's greatest servant and a powerful being. Gandalf may have been more powerful, and may have been able to drive off the Nazgul Lord, but very possibly would have been killed in the effort himself. I'm sure Gandalf did not look forward to this battle, and knew he was needed to bolster the morale and re-enforce the wills of the men of Gondor, not to mention stopping Denother from burning Faromir alive. I have to say though, other than for the shear dramatic factor, I'm at a loss to explain Peter Jackson's rationale for breaking Gandalf's staff, and that's really the only part that made me cringe....

Anyway, that's my two and a half cents worth....
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:12 PM   #89
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Welcome to the Downs Shire Guy, and very well posted!

Have a look at a few earlier posts on the main reasons I think PJ got rid of Gandalf's staff. I haven't listened to all of the commentaries or appendicies on the EE yet, so maybe something will come from them.
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Old 01-12-2005, 09:04 PM   #90
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Wow! Thank you everyone for all of your positive feedback! Starting this thread, I never expected to arouse the intellect of so many people.

Many points were raised that have never crossed my mind, I think it's time I re-read Tolkien's works .

Everyone here is so well mannered and thoughtful and I am looking forward to a long stay in this community. Thanks again for the kind input!

P.S. - Just curious, how many times have all of you read the books? I have read The Hobbit three times, The Lord of the Rings twice, Tree and Leaf once, Letters From Father Christmas once, Farmer Giles of Ham once, Smith of Wootton Major once, and the Silmarillion half-way. (I put it on hold to Terry Brooks' Shannara series which I recommend to all of you.)
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:15 PM   #91
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Quote:
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P.S. - Just curious, how many times have all of you read the books? I have read The Hobbit three times, The Lord of the Rings twice
Not sure where this puts me on the fan scale of things, but I've read LOTR 25+ times, and the Hobbit maybe half that. Less than ten on the Silmarillion. Have the unabridged LOTR on CD for long commutes, and have the dramatized Hobbit and LOTR, but the latter is on cassette, which is now next to useless.

Some people find comfort in other things, but every now and then I take a vacation to Middle Earth.

Anyway, in regards to Gandalf and the W-K, I think that Gandalf's purpose is inspire others, not to do everything himself. Note that he holds off the Nazgul while Faramir et al retreat over the fields. It would seem that Gandalf makes sure that there is a level 'playing' field, and only gets involved when a bigger baddy tries to throw the game (Balrog, Saruman, Sauron).

Yes, he fights in Moria, but mainly against the Balrog (book world). And he burns some wargs, but they aren't wolves. In TTT he helps the Rohirrim reform under Erkenbrand, de-staffs Saruman. In ROTK he keeps the Nazgul at bay, reduces the effect of their fear, saves Faramir repeatedly and helps Frodo during the last day of Sauron.

So Tolkien never had him as a Samurai.
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Old 01-13-2005, 05:25 PM   #92
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Pipe

I agree alatar. Gandalf's primary mission in ME was to help it's people face the onslaught of Sauron. He was not there to assasinate the Dark Lord. He was not there to marshal all of the West under his command to face Mordor. He was simply there to prod and guide the leaders of Middle Earth so that they would have a chance of defeating Sauron.

He did make sure that the main players stayed alive, and also took on any immediate threat that would have spelled doom for the whole thing. (Such as the Balrog, or forcing Frodo to start his journey.) Basically, he always seemed to take a counselor's approach (on the sidelines) to the war, until things started to get ugly. Then he would rush in at the last minute and save the day. Very dramatic.
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:10 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snorri Swifthammer
I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here and argue a position I don't agree with with.

That position is PJ is right to weaken Gandalf because by doing so he increases the heroism of the humans (Aragorn and Eowyn). The fact that Gandalf loses to the Witch-King shows how heroic Eowyn was in standing up to him. The fact Gandalf is hesitant gives Aragorn a chance to assume the role of leader.

Now I could almost live with this position if it wasn't for the fact that Aragorn then turns around and tries to confront Sauron with the palantir and ends up running from the orb like a coward.
It also doesn't help increase "the heroism of the humans" when the army of the dead finishes up the battle of the pelennor fields (but that's a little off topic).
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Old 01-14-2005, 03:17 AM   #94
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actually they WERE humans (albeit 'dead') who redeemed themselves by fighting with Aragorn (yes, I know they fought against the corsairs only, but this change in the movie was understandable)
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Old 01-14-2005, 02:35 PM   #95
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Quote:
I think PJ tries to humanize everyone too much and they come off looking weak a great deal.
Quote:
It seems PJ et al think that movie watchers today would not accept heroes that are "superhuman" :nobler and wiser and less flawed than we are. But by changing these characters they take away something essential.
Both of you are 100% correct. Check out davem's New movie article- anyone agree?.
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Old 01-14-2005, 10:33 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essex
actually they WERE humans (albeit 'dead') who redeemed themselves by fighting with Aragorn (yes, I know they fought against the corsairs only, but this change in the movie was understandable)
Yes, the change was understandable (if only to wrap up the battle more quickly) but I definitely could have done without it.
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:30 AM   #97
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Allright!

Allright. Forgive me for being blunt, crass, or otherwise untoward.

What in the world was Peter Jackson thinking? I understand that there are budget limitations, union people, and other pains in the rear end to contend with, but yes, that scene was the pinnacle of irritation for me, the ultimate and most horrible bastardization to feed the masses I have ever seen. Now, keep in mind that I realize I am a raving fanatic, and that I have been a fan of the series since grade school. Now, in essence and bearing in mind that I have actually read the books and the Silmarillion, people will forgive me if I think that they have no right to be upset or not upset if they haven;t read the world's most contemporary masterpieces that set the foundation for this series of films.

I realize that it makes me sound like a pompous *** or a total looser to some and others. I don't care. That scene really just lights my fuse at both ends. I mean, lets face it, Gandalf as a character has practically taken on a life of his own. His overall demeanor with most potent creatures is laconic until provoked.

In spite of some of the other somewhat less irritating flukes in the movie (No Tom Bombadil, Haldir's Death, Saruman's heinously discarded character, and a few others), I liked, no LOVED these movies. I think Peter Jackson is a Genius, and I give him credit for even trying to undertake something that most directors would not (surely, until now, when Hollywood re-hashes it, sooner or later) have DARED to pick up, likely knowing that it could have made or broken their career, however (un)established they may or may not have been. Tolkeins work commands respect for any of a host of reasons.

But this Gandalf vs. the Witch King scene?! We waited YEARS for this last installment, and, to me (forgive my vulgarity, don't read any further if you can't handle the analogy), its like finding a big piece of petrified cat crap at the center of what I thought was a tootsie roll pop! DAMN IT! DAMN IT DAMN IT! Peter Jackson, if you are reading this, I really really have to know: What were you thinking?! Sir Ian: What were YOU thinking? How could you have let this happen? Didn;t you come to own the character to some degree on stage? I'm sure you're nowhere near as arrogant as some of the other accomplished (or grossly less accomplished) actors of this day and age, but...WHY?!

Ahh well, let the hate mail pour in:

saint_povis_the_insane@yahoo.com
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Old 01-16-2005, 07:07 PM   #98
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Well there it is in a nut shell. Thank you St Povis. So it is up to you, are you in the Witch-King does a number on Gandalf ala (Jacksons lets take as many liberties as we can film) camp or have are you in the ones who have actually read the written word of Tolkien (not just LotR). The choice is yours readers, the two versions are incomparable. In fact I might just go and write a book called The Lord of the Rings, based on the blockbuster movie, it is certainly a story I have never read

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Old 01-17-2005, 06:47 AM   #99
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The Gospel According to J.R.R.

I'll probably burn in Hell for the title, but...

I've read everything that's accessible/available. Hobbit, LOTR Trilogy, Silm, and all of the currently published Lost Tales. If there are others pertinent to this particular scene, I am unaware of them.

There are people who would argue, especially here, that I am in the wrong for thinking as I do, but, lets face it, Gandalf would not have had it that rough with that damnable ****candle.

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Old 01-17-2005, 09:52 AM   #100
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St. Povis

I'm with you.

What kills me is that Jackson put this scene in for the Tolkien fans, but left it out of the theatrical cut as so...what...not to confuse my illiterate sister who had a hard time keeping up with the story anyway?

I'm going to let go now.
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Old 01-17-2005, 02:01 PM   #101
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I've finally realised why Jackson (and Boyens) made Gandalf's Staff break.

They realised what a storm this would cause if they did this, especially in the EE DVD. They decided to make this change and then secretly visit all the major Tolkien Forum sites and have a good giggle at the vast majority of people blowing their tops at the Sacriligeous Change they made.

Just imagine the scene:

Jackson: I know we can't do this to the cinematic edition, 'cos a whole load of people would be so disgusted they wouldn't buy either version on DVD and we'll be WELL out of pocket. Let's put it on the EE and it'll be too late!!!!

Boyens: Yeah! It'll serve them right for having a go at me for the ohter Changes. Faramir taking the hobbits to Osgillaith!!! HA, that's nothing compared to this! I knew I'd have the final laugh. Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!!

Walsh: Yeah, but you can look smug explaining 'Book to Script' on the Appendicies when I have to stay in the background. NOT FAIR! Hey, but what the heck, it'll really annoy the nerds out there.

Jackson: Yeah, and if they're THAT annoyed all they have to do is buy a DVD Recorder with a hard disk (well, I can afford one), remove the few seconds of Sacriligeous Content and make their own copy. Problem solved!

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Old 01-17-2005, 07:17 PM   #102
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It makes me wonder

Yeah, I should probably let go, too. I can't help but wonder whether or not there's yet another DVD forthcoming along those very same lines. (Knowing that the nerds/fanatics/whatever, like myself, will RUSH out to buy it to quench the flame they put inside of that camp of thinkers for one last payroll check.) If that were the case, the sickest thing about it is that I would actually feel compelled to thank him for giving me this disease, just so the cure could be so relieving. I just can't believe that the production and direction staff let that slip at the very end of the series, unless they are SERIOUSLY twisted, or passive agressive individuals hoping to send the message that they are absolutely-never-to-pick-up-the-torch-ever-again-done making tolkein films.

It really is a puzzling piece of work that way.

I don't know. I'm not going to let it ruin my life or anything, but it is REALLY perplexing to me, and seems like a loose end.
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Old 01-19-2005, 04:47 PM   #103
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Just curious... has anyone found or read an interview with Peter Jackson explaining his reasoning behind this scene?? I haven't been able to find anything, though I've looked quite a bit. He never really seems to comment on it anywhere on the DVDs that I could find. So if you've seen an interview, clip, article, etc. please post it!!
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Old 01-19-2005, 04:58 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by St. Povis
Allright. Forgive me for being blunt, crass, or otherwise untoward.

What in the world was Peter Jackson thinking? I understand that there are budget limitations, union people, and other pains in the rear end to contend with, but yes, that scene was the pinnacle of irritation for me, the ultimate and most horrible bastardization to feed the masses I have ever seen. Now, keep in mind that I realize I am a raving fanatic, and that I have been a fan of the series since grade school. Now, in essence and bearing in mind that I have actually read the books and the Silmarillion, people will forgive me if I think that they have no right to be upset or not upset if they haven;t read the world's most contemporary masterpieces that set the foundation for this series of films.

I realize that it makes me sound like a pompous *** or a total looser to some and others. I don't care. That scene really just lights my fuse at both ends. I mean, lets face it, Gandalf as a character has practically taken on a life of his own. His overall demeanor with most potent creatures is laconic until provoked.

In spite of some of the other somewhat less irritating flukes in the movie (No Tom Bombadil, Haldir's Death, Saruman's heinously discarded character, and a few others), I liked, no LOVED these movies. I think Peter Jackson is a Genius, and I give him credit for even trying to undertake something that most directors would not (surely, until now, when Hollywood re-hashes it, sooner or later) have DARED to pick up, likely knowing that it could have made or broken their career, however (un)established they may or may not have been. Tolkeins work commands respect for any of a host of reasons.

But this Gandalf vs. the Witch King scene?! We waited YEARS for this last installment, and, to me (forgive my vulgarity, don't read any further if you can't handle the analogy), its like finding a big piece of petrified cat crap at the center of what I thought was a tootsie roll pop! DAMN IT! DAMN IT DAMN IT! Peter Jackson, if you are reading this, I really really have to know: What were you thinking?! Sir Ian: What were YOU thinking? How could you have let this happen? Didn;t you come to own the character to some degree on stage? I'm sure you're nowhere near as arrogant as some of the other accomplished (or grossly less accomplished) actors of this day and age, but...WHY?!
I agree with your post in its totality.
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Old 01-19-2005, 07:03 PM   #105
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Allright. Forgive me for being blunt, crass, or otherwise untoward.

What in the world was Peter Jackson thinking? I understand that there are budget limitations, union people, and other pains in the rear end to contend with, but yes, that scene was the pinnacle of irritation for me, the ultimate and most horrible bastardization to feed the masses I have ever seen. Now, keep in mind that I realize I am a raving fanatic, and that I have been a fan of the series since grade school. Now, in essence and bearing in mind that I have actually read the books and the Silmarillion, people will forgive me if I think that they have no right to be upset or not upset if they haven;t read the world's most contemporary masterpieces that set the foundation for this series of films.

I realize that it makes me sound like a pompous *** or a total looser to some and others. I don't care. That scene really just lights my fuse at both ends. I mean, lets face it, Gandalf as a character has practically taken on a life of his own. His overall demeanor with most potent creatures is laconic until provoked.

In spite of some of the other somewhat less irritating flukes in the movie (No Tom Bombadil, Haldir's Death, Saruman's heinously discarded character, and a few others), I liked, no LOVED these movies. I think Peter Jackson is a Genius, and I give him credit for even trying to undertake something that most directors would not (surely, until now, when Hollywood re-hashes it, sooner or later) have DARED to pick up, likely knowing that it could have made or broken their career, however (un)established they may or may not have been. Tolkeins work commands respect for any of a host of reasons.

But this Gandalf vs. the Witch King scene?! We waited YEARS for this last installment, and, to me (forgive my vulgarity, don't read any further if you can't handle the analogy), its like finding a big piece of petrified cat crap at the center of what I thought was a tootsie roll pop! DAMN IT! DAMN IT DAMN IT! Peter Jackson, if you are reading this, I really really have to know: What were you thinking?! Sir Ian: What were YOU thinking? How could you have let this happen? Didn;t you come to own the character to some degree on stage? I'm sure you're nowhere near as arrogant as some of the other accomplished (or grossly less accomplished) actors of this day and age, but...WHY?!
Forgive me for being the second in a row to quote this rather longish post, but I've got to add something here.

Although I agree that it was worthless to add Gandalf's staff being broken (the book version of the confrontation would've worked better in each & every faze of the scene, I'll acknowledge that), I think that there has been some gross over-reacting of late. The scene is bothersome, but if you are not going to complain--no, rant, rather--about every other deviation from the books than you really should be lightening the mood of your posts. Of course I'm all for discussion & I understand that this is a forum devoted to debatings, but surely this topic can be talked over without any blood pressure-raising bellowings in the room.

I mean, if you do not have a problem with other big changes (Bombadil, Faramir, etc.) because you 'understand it's a part of the movie', or because you 'try to keep the book & movie seperate' than you should consider this scene the same way--a matter for discussion & debate, but not a matter of sacrilege that deserves such ranting.

I don't see why this change is so horrible that it has been lifted up above all the others as the single-largest mistake/change in the whole trilogy...
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Old 01-19-2005, 08:48 PM   #106
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You are entirely right, of course. It is futile to get upset about it. Its almost as silly to get upset about the people who get upset in the first place. Truth in my eyes: Its just what it is. Gandalf, for a lot of people I think is almost like grandfather figure. Certain types of people grow to love him in the books because of his bravery. His mere presence bolsters morale. Some people focus more on other characters. For instance, The Witch King. Some people have an admiration for the Dark threads of Sauron. Some people think its just plain stupid to invest so much of one's self into a story. Who cares? It takes all kinds, doesn't it? I don't expect that everyone here will agree with me, anymore than I expect people to expect me to agree with them. I can see your point, but, in truth, my blood pressure didn't sail through the roof, and, so far I can tell, I'm in no danger of a heart attack or stroke as a result of having witnessed this movie. Haldir's death is irritating to me for no other reason than that it deviates from the book.

Tom Bombadil: Well, can't say that his character touched me much when I read about him the first time around. In fact, I think the first time I read it, I must have drifted off into other thoughts while reading about it, because when I picked it up for the second time, I had no memory of him at all. None. It was like a totally new character which put a whole new spin on the book. I read the books in 5th and 6th grade (thereby dooming me to my nerd-dom, if there's anything to 'formative years' theories). But re-reading and then discovering his charater added a totally new dimension to the experience. I can almost equate with some of the reasons I imagine Jackson to not want to 'go there', so it doesn;t frustrate me all that much.

Now, the other scenes just don't hit people like myself (Remember, even being one in a million still means there are at least 61/2 thousand out there exactly like you) with the same strength. Its like watching your grandpa get his *** kicked in a subway or something. Maybe not as traumatizing, but still an unpleasant experience for those with the emotional investment in his character. I'm sure Gandalf isn;t the only one with fanatics.

Face it, Tolkein's work touches people in ways that most contemporary pieces of literature do not. I don't expect you to understand, or even to want to understand. IT just irked a lot of us because of all the things that Big G stands for to them.

Well, sorry if its too long a read, I usually can't help but to be verbose, especially when I'm trying to give someone a quality answer, and one that they asked for.
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Old 01-19-2005, 09:48 PM   #107
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You are entirely right, of course
Bah. I am never entirely right. I only hope to occasionaly make sense & maybe hit somewhere close to the X that marks 'right'.

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It is futile to get upset about it. Its almost as silly to get upset about the people who get upset in the first place
Ah, if that is how I came across you have my sincerest apologies. I was neither upset at you, nor even particularly upset at any of your post, just a bit puzzled as to the considerable emotion behind it.

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I can see your point, but, in truth, my blood pressure didn't sail through the roof, and, so far I can tell, I'm in no danger of a heart attack or stroke as a result of having witnessed this movie
Good, good. I was only using it as a figure of speech. Still, I remember a year ago or so when I was posting on TTT Movie Faramir; I don't think I could quite swear my blood pressure was at normal levels all the time .

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Its like watching your grandpa get his *** kicked in a subway or something. Maybe not as traumatizing, but still an unpleasant experience for those with the emotional investment in his character

I don't expect you to understand, or even to want to understand. IT just irked a lot of us because of all the things that Big G stands for to them
That explains it to me better, thank you . And I also do understand, at least to a point, your emotions & your frustration with Jackson here. I'm sure I felt much the same thing at a different time--when Frodo sent Sam away. Different parts of the movie touch/irk different people in many different ways, that is certainly a fact of life.

I suppose what I've been trying to say in the last two posts is this in a nutshell:

Everyone has characters that he or she might feel more attached to than others, & everyone will be more upset at times than others. Thank God we are not all carbon-copies of eachother, life would be so boring! But I learned through my old Faramir posts that it is much better (IMO) to discuss dissatisfaction with characters & subplots in a cooler manner, no matter how annoying or personal the change might be.
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Old 01-20-2005, 02:17 AM   #108
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lol

Well I sincerely hope I didn't sound like a snot or anything, its tough to nail down who you're speaking to in a forum. If I came off as 'sassy' or nasty to you, I ask your pardon. I'm told I can be testy at times, and my sense of humor tends to walk the shadows into darker territory. I really do apologize if I came off as sounding off at you. In any case, that's my two cents, in a nutshell.


P.S. Amen to your 'carbon copy' sentiment!

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Old 01-20-2005, 02:30 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by shire guy
Just curious... has anyone found or read an interview with Peter Jackson explaining his reasoning behind this scene?? I haven't been able to find anything, though I've looked quite a bit. He never really seems to comment on it anywhere on the DVDs that I could find. So if you've seen an interview, clip, article, etc. please post it!!
The DVD EE had a lot of commentary. I haven't heard it all, but I did listen to the one with the writers and Jackson. It seems that they are aware of the fact that they took liberties with that scene. Other than that, I haven't read or heard anything about him answering questions about that scene. Anyone else out there have any clues?
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:52 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by The Only Real Estel
I mean, if you do not have a problem with other big changes (Bombadil, Faramir, etc.) because you 'understand it's a part of the movie', or because you 'try to keep the book & movie seperate' than you should consider this scene the same way--a matter for discussion & debate, but not a matter of sacrilege that deserves such ranting.

I don't see why this change is so horrible that it has been lifted up above all the others as the single-largest mistake/change in the whole trilogy...
To add my two cents:

First, note that I will lobotomize myself and pretend to never have read the books. My argument will be based on what I saw in the EE DVDs and on various websites.

Missing Bombadil and Scouring of the Shire etc? Who and what? And I read somewhere that these scenes, whatever they were, weren't filmed. Hard to get torqued up over something I never saw.

Ents and Faramir? A bit odd, as the creatures and the person do some mental flips. One minute, the Ents take hours to say "good morning" and seemingly days to decide on a course of action and then wham! They see a few hacked up tree stumps and it's off to war with a bellows from that Treebeard guy (and aren't these things supposed to be tree shepherds? Not keeping too close an eye on the flock, I guess).

And that Faramir guy decides to bring to the ring to his king dad, then sees a flying Nazgul, hears a speech from Samwise and suddenly changes his decision, placing his life and his father's acceptance in jeopardy. Whatever.

Maybe there's more to the stories but I'm not really emotionally invested in either the Ents (the Ents were too CG) or Faramir, and so let these inconsistencies pass.

Then there's that Gandalf guy. See much of him in FOTR. I like him. Wise, kind, a bit more emotional than that Strider guy - I see Gandalf as a real hero as he sacrifices himself to save his friends from that Balrog thing. Thought that he died, but as we never see the body, and he's in the TTT trailer, I'm assured that he's resurrected. Seems to be the kind of guy that you'd want around, as he'd have your back.

He returns in TTT and ROTK. As posted previously, he now is bigger and badder. Those three running guys can't hurt him in Fangorn. He is now more powerful than that other wizard, not only surviving a fireball blast but also breaking that wizard's staff. Gandalf uses his staff to chase away the flying Nazgul, and he's at the Gates when Grond does its work. Still in the thick of things, and leading from the front. It may look dark, but as I see him on the screen, I know that the good guys are far from being done in.

Then, for some reason he loses his staff to the W-K, who I guess is twice bigger and badder as he now wears a helmet. Okay. But Gandalf on the ground looking fearful? This doesn't make sense, as he beat the Balrog and the Wizard and some trolls and assorted orcs. And with the exception of the helmet, isn't this the same W-K that couldn't catch four hobbits in the Shire, and ran away from a sword- and flame-wielding Aragorn? And Gandalf chased him away with some light from the same staff?

And Pippin, who was the least brave of any of the characters in the films, at least makes an attempt to stand up to the W-K (he did attempt to fight five Nazgul at Weathertop, and so maybe this explains it) and the flying thing. And though he's small, he's at least standing, making him for once 'taller' than Gandalf.

And later the W-K is taken out by a hobbit and Eowyn, both of which, as far as I know, have little fighting experience. So why was Gandalf so afraid? Where was the wise, kind heroic guy that I admired those past ~9 hours?

So that's a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that the scene/character was not internally consistent, opened huge plot holes and I really like Gandalf.

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Old 01-20-2005, 01:15 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by St. Povis
Gandalf, for a lot of people I think is almost like grandfather figure. Certain types of people grow to love him in the books because of his bravery. His mere presence bolsters morale.
Last time I checked Gandalf was still there in the book, just the same as he always has been.


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Originally Posted by alatar
So that's a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that the scene/character was not internally consistent, opened huge plot holes and I really like Gandalf.
I take your point. The scene does, on the the surface, give rise to internal inconsistency issues. But it can be explained, and I attempted to give an explanation earlier in this thread. To summarise, the actual power of a character is not the only relevant factor to consider in determining the credibility of another character getting the better of him or her. Greater power does not automatically equal victory (just ask Sauron ).

Otherwise, we might as well say that the book was full of inconsistencies in that Merry and Eowyn were able to defeat the Witch King, Pippin was able to kill one of the Olog-Hai and Wormtongue was able to kill Saruman.
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Old 01-20-2005, 04:10 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
I take your point. The scene does, on the the surface, give rise to internal inconsistency issues. But it can be explained, and I attempted to give an explanation earlier in this thread. To summarise, the actual power of a character is not the only relevant factor to consider in determining the credibility of another character getting the better of him or her. Greater power does not automatically equal victory (just ask Sauron ).
Totally agree. However (and you know that there would be a 'however'), up to that point in the movie/trilogy I liked PJ's use of the Gandalf character, with all of the flaws, warts, changes from the book, etc. Afterwards I was like, "what happened?!?"

I assume that I'm an average 'read-the-books' movie viewer, and, as this thread has shown, many like me were bothered by the scene, so I would say that PJ didn't do something right.

Am I wimping out and saying that the scene was 'just wrong?' Probably. Could I give a pretzel-like defense of the scene from any faction (book, movie, etc) you'd choose? Easily. And as posted earlier I would have *enjoyed* the scene if only Gandalf had just smiled before the horns blew.

Thanks for your comments and analysis and apologies if my text causes eye hemorrhages.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:51 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by The Saucepan Man
Last time I checked Gandalf was still there in the book, just the same as he always has been.
.

True Enough, TSM. Its like the tootsie pop analogy. I felt like a little kid who was given this great tasting treat, and right at the end of the experience, the sweet experience of the tootsie roll I expected was replaced with the nauseating experience mentioned earlier. As many others (among those who would admit it, anyway), I am, indeed, selfishly disappointed by not having the scene fit the vision I had for it, or come even close to what I expected.

Disappointing, but...meh. M-E-H.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:13 AM   #114
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Just to let you know, I've added a post to the Book section, Gandalf's staff, to put forward my point that the WK breaking Gandalf's staff can be seen as not that big a problem for the Wizard. Again, for the umpteenth time, I'm not condoning PJ doing this to the scene, I'm just stating that a Wizard's staff isn't the be all and end all of his powers. Take a look at the Gandalf's Staff thread if you're interested in my views at all...................
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Old 01-31-2005, 01:19 PM   #115
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... and for the umpteenth time, it is not only the breaking of the staff that seems "wrong" but the general helpless and hopeless, too human behaviour of Gandalf that bothers me. What about : "But we have the White Wizard. That's got to count for something." It doesn't count so much, apparently...
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Old 01-31-2005, 02:02 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by Guinevere
... and for the umpteenth time, it is not only the breaking of the staff that seems "wrong" but the general helpless and hopeless, too human behaviour of Gandalf that bothers me. What about : "But we have the White Wizard. That's got to count for something." It doesn't count so much, apparently...
Guinevere, thanks for bringing the thread back to the real issue.

Just think - what if the Witch-King took the extra two seconds needed to slay the helplessly prone Gandalf before the Rohirrim blew their horns (It's well known that Nazgul, like Pavlov's dogs, just *have* to go and see what's up when they hear horns blowing...)? We'd have BBQed Faramir, meaning that PJ could cut the Houses of Healing scene entirely (Eowyn who?), making room for yet another cameo and/or more Legolas-Gimli slapstick. Aragorn doesn't need the White Wizard in the 'Last Debate' nor at the Black Gate. And just what does Gandalf accomplish in the scene with the Mouth of Sauron? Wouldn't that scene have been better if the MoS came out, talked threateningly awhile, and, in Indiana Jones fashion, Aragorn just takes him out? Then Gimli could say something funny...

Gandalf doesn't do much afterwards anyway in ROTK except for helping Aragorn put his crown on correctly ("Do the feathery-looking things go in the front or the back?") and helping Frodo board the Last Ship ("Hi, I'm Gandalf, your ship's Steward...").

I'm surprised PJ kept him around as long as he did.
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Old 01-31-2005, 02:34 PM   #117
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Gandalf was not powerless. he was afraid, yes, and on the floor. He was a Wizard with powers without his staff. I know that as a reader of the books.

But I ask again, WHY DID TOLKIEN WRITE THE SCENE THE WAY HE DID? BECAUSE THE ROHIRRIM SAVE THE DAY AND SAVE GANDALF FROM A CONFLICT THAT HE MIGHT NOT HAVE WON.

Gandalf was on the floor, yes. But do you think this scene would have worked dramatically in a film if the two of them stood there and no action happened between them, and then the WK just leaves? Film goers would have been asking the quesiton, what on earth was that all for? Why did they have that scene? They're about to fight and then the WK leaves. What was the point of it? PJ had to add some dramatic tension into the film with Gandalf in a prone position to have a REASON for the scene. The Rohirrim saved Gandalf. Along with this, they also aided Gandalf in saving the life of Faramir as he was able to go to his aid instead of battling the WK.

As for his staff breaking (which is the main starting point for people's anger on this thread, Alatar), I've explained my reasoning behind it not being that great a deal in the Gandalf's staff thread in the books section.

I can honestly say when I read the books, I feel that the Witch King has the upper hand. The film has not changed my feelings on this. The Rohirrim saved the day. Yes, Jackson upped the anti somewhat in this scene by using Gandalf's prone position and his staff breaking. For us book lovers, it would have been perfect for it to follow the scene in the book word for word. But to the average movie goer IT WOULD NOT HAVE WORKED.

Jackson did not write the movies just for us Book readers. He ALSO wrote it for the general movie going public who pay the vast majority of his and his crew's wages. I am grateful for his adaptation and admire his work and dedication greatly. I have learnt over the past 3 years not to let scenes I disagree with cloud the movie for me.
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Old 01-31-2005, 02:54 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by Essex
Gandalf was on the floor, yes. But do you think this scene would have worked dramatically in a film if the two of them stood there and no action happened between them, and then the WK just leaves?
Almost every Western I've ever seen suggests a scene like this would work. The WK and Gandalf staring each other down is pretty much equivalent to the scene in every Western were the two gunfighters stare each other down across the main road and the tumbleweed rolls between them.

The scene PJ cut out where the WK reveals himself is equivalent to the part in the gunfight where the gunfighters pull back their coats and show what guns they are packing.

The dramatic tension in such scenes is incredible. The viewer is left wondering when the guns will be drawn and who will be left standing.

In this case, however, the tension is cut when the horns sound and the WK leaves the duel without a gun being fired (or a spell being flung).
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:27 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Essex
Gandalf was on the floor, yes. But do you think this scene would have worked dramatically in a film if the two of them stood there and no action happened between them, and then the WK just leaves? Film goers would have been asking the quesiton, what on earth was that all for? Why did they have that scene? They're about to fight and then the WK leaves. What was the point of it? PJ had to add some dramatic tension into the film with Gandalf in a prone position to have a REASON for the scene. The Rohirrim saved Gandalf. Along with this, they also aided Gandalf in saving the life of Faramir as he was able to go to his aid instead of battling the WK.
Your assumption is that there are two possibilities for this scene, the one that we saw and another where Gandalf and the Witch-King stare at each other in a 'harsh' manner. I see many other possibilities - my personal favorite (as stated earlier) has Gandalf smiling right before the Rohirrim appear. One could think of many others. The Witch-King could shoot fire from his fiery sword and Gandalf could duck, hide, whatever (sans Staff) or block the same with Staff. Shadowfax could threaten the Fell Beast and Gandalf could try to menace the WK with Glamdring from the flank. What if Gandalf with Staff on Shadowfax have a brief stand-off with the WK, the WK looks like he's going to do something bad, and Gandalf decides to rush him anyway, yet has to withdraw in order to shield Pippin, who got bumped off and was hiding around the corner? Anyway, whatever could have been filmed is a moot point, as you know I'm just not happy with what was filmed (it's my one note I keep tooting ).


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Originally Posted by Essex
As for his staff breaking (which is the main starting point for people's anger on this thread, Alatar), I've explained my reasoning behind it not being that great a deal in the Gandalf's staff thread in the books section.
Went there - nice post regarding Gandalf's staff. I posted regarding the same. And note that I equate 'staff-breaking' with 'making Gandalf look weak.' Sorry.


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Originally Posted by Essex
I can honestly say when I read the books, I feel that the Witch King has the upper hand. The film has not changed my feelings on this. The Rohirrim saved the day. Yes, Jackson upped the anti somewhat in this scene by using Gandalf's prone position and his staff breaking. For us book lovers, it would have been perfect for it to follow the scene in the book word for word. But to the average movie goer IT WOULD NOT HAVE WORKED.
I always felt that it was Gandalf (and he alone) that prevented any of Sauron's Army (WK included) from entering the city. IMO, it was the WK that blinked and went after the Rohirrim as he saw an enemy that he could handle/hamper. Opinions differ.

And wasn't it Pippin that kept Gandalf from riding after the WK? Not that this has anything to do with the scene in the movie.

And it's been my assumption that the EE DVDs have been for the fans, not for the average movie-goers.


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Originally Posted by Essex
Jackson did not write the movies just for us Book readers. He ALSO wrote it for the general movie going public who pay the vast majority of his and his crew's wages. I am grateful for his adaptation and admire his work and dedication greatly. I have learnt over the past 3 years not to let scenes I disagree with cloud the movie for me.
Agreed. But as I stated earlier, if it weren't for gripes about the movies, we wouldn't be reading anything here, and though I really appreciate the work that PJ et al have done, this does not mean that I need don my chearleader outfit and rah-rah every individual frame.

Note that I appreciate your comments.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:33 PM   #120
Snorri Swifthammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Agreed. But as I stated earlier, if it weren't for gripes about the movies, we wouldn't be reading anything here, and though I really appreciate the work that PJ et al have done, this does not mean that I need don my chearleader outfit and rah-rah every individual frame.
Rah! Rah!

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