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Old 08-24-2016, 02:10 AM   #1
Greybeard
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Best Lotr/hobbit movies

What do you reckon to this list? They got the order right?

http://whatculture.com/film/lord-rin...ked-worst-best
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:18 PM   #2
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I've never seen the Bakshi film, but of the Peter Jackson ones, I've had a think, and I would probably order them something like this, from worst to best: [EDIT: I mean "from best to worst", don't I?]

1. The Fellowship of the Ring (closest to the books, decent atmosphere)
2/3. The Two Towers/The Return of the King (not sure which is worse; they're both bad)
4. The Battle of (the) Five Armies (I actually thought the first half was okay, the second half is dire)
5. An Unexpected Journey (could have been good if they'd bothered to, you know, make it good, but they didn't, so it's a huge disappointment)
6. The Desolation of Smaug (complete nonsense from start to finish)
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Old 08-26-2016, 04:58 AM   #3
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I think you mean "from best to worst", don't you?
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Old 08-26-2016, 05:01 AM   #4
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I think you mean "from best to worst", don't you?
I do indeed.
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:16 AM   #5
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Boots This is really kind of sad...

The Fellowship of the Ring - Peter Jackson - the only decent one

The Return of the King - Peter Jackson

The Lord of the Rings - Ralph Bakshi (which should just show how much I hate the rest of the list given how high this one is...)

An Unexpected Journey - Peter Jackson

The Two Towers - Peter Jackson

The Hobbit - Rankin/Bass

The Return of the King - Rankin/Bass

The Desolation of Smaug/The Battle of Five Armies - Peter Jackson - They were both so horrible that one can't really be ranked over the other.

This list is one of the most convincing arguments I've seen that Tolkien's work is not fit for the big screen.

However, Fellowship was good, so there is hope that it can be done right if the ego of the director and producers can somehow be kept in check...

EDIT: And I take back the subject line...it isn't kind of sad, it is REALLY sad.
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Old 08-26-2016, 10:09 AM   #6
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Nice to see the Rankin/Bass entries, Kuru.

I haven't seen the live action Hobbit films, but I'd put the R/B ROTK over Jackson's epics in terms of my enjoyment.
It has a childlike charm, free of pretension or calculated earnings potential that I found sorely lacking in PJ's movies, despite (or actually because of, more likely) their gargantuan budgets.
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Old 08-26-2016, 02:59 PM   #7
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I haven't seen the live action Hobbit films, but I'd put the R/B ROTK over Jackson's epics in terms of my enjoyment.
It has a childlike charm, free of pretension or calculated earnings potential that I found sorely lacking in PJ's movies, despite (or actually because of, more likely) their gargantuan budgets.
Looking back, I regret implying that I "hate" the Rankin/Bass cartoons as much as the rubbish offerings of Jackson in the lower portion of my list.

I do not hate the Rankin/Bass cartoons, I rather enjoy them, but I hold them to a different standard. They are more lighthearted fare, not intended to be taken so seriously. And you have no soul if you hate Where there's a whip, there's a way.

In fact, I probably enjoy the Rankin/Bass cartoons more than Bakshi's version but I think (I almost can't bring myself to say this) that Bakshi's version has more artistic merit than the cartoons.

That sentence right there is a scathing critique of the state of Tolkien filmdom.

EDIT: I'm seriously tempted to amend my list to move The Two Towers below the Rankin/Bass Hobbit...
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Old 10-03-2016, 09:33 PM   #8
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It's been a long time since I've seen either the R/B or Bakshi versions, so it wouldn't be fair to judge them without so good or fresh of a memory. I completely agree with Kuru about Where there's a whip, there's a way though. Also, I just don't think it's fair to compare them to PJ's films simply because of the vast differences in time and money invested. Here's a general outline of Best to worst, for all of PJs films...

I think they basically just kept getting worse and worse after the Fellowship. The drop off from the 3 LOTR films isn't as severe as with The Hobbit films, which completely tanked and went into the trash, after a relatively decent first film.

Fellowship of the Ring - 8.5/10
The Two Towers - 7/10
Return of the King - 7/10 - a lot of this is based on having a conclusion to the story, and I still remember when first seeing it having an emotional realization the journey was over. There's more trash I don't care for in ROTK than the other two, but this film also contains some of the most powerful moments. The arrival of the Rohirrim to the battle, Aragorn's speech at the Black Gate, and his "My friends, you bow to no one," are more impactful moments for me than really anything in the other two (besides Boromir's last stand). But there's also more garbage...Legolas/Gimli's friendship being thrown to the gutters of comic relief, senseless "Arwen is dying" stuff, the incompetence of Gondor's pride and courage, Frodo sending Sam home.

An Unexpected Journey - 5.5/10 - , A guilty pleasure romp into a fantasy flick, but no depth and this time around the set design and music, which were excellent strengths to the LOTR films were major disappointments. Too much recycled music and too much green screen.
Desolation of Smaug - 2.5/10
Battle of Five Armies - 2/10

I have absolutely nothing positive to say about the last 2 hobbit films. I'd rather watch Hercules in New York with Formendacil and see Arnold Schwartzeneggar beat up a bear...or well obviously an actor in a bear costume:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoNVy759F0U
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Old 10-04-2016, 02:15 AM   #9
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In regards to choosing the worst, it's a tie up between the Bakshi film and Battle of the Five Armies.
For whilst the Bakshi version attempted to be faithful to the book, it is utterly ruined by a shoddy animation style, stilted voice acting which substitutes the dignity of the characters for cheap melodrama, and genuinely embarrassing scenes using interpretive dancers. To have such vivid imaginings of, for example, Gandalf discovering Saruman's treachery, and then to see said Saruman rendered as an evil Father Christmas who shrieks his lines is very disheartening.
But, as I say, their hearts were in the right place. They did the best they could, with the resources they had.

The same cannot be said for the ethos behind Battle of the Five Armies which stands as nothing more than a bauble, a shiny distraction used to eek out another payday. At first, the performances, the score and production values allowed me to overlook the true awfulness of it, but it has since slowly dawned on me how truly terrible and opportunistic the movie was.
Like a mindless hack and slash video game, large parts involve the characters stumbling moronically from one action set-piece to another. The descent of Thorin is not rendered as the result of his personality flaws and the desire for material wealth instead of honour - instead, the Dragon did it.
All the ambiguity and hidden complexity of the book has been thrown out. But hey, we get Billy Connolly gurning for the camera, so that's something, right?

In regards to what the best movie is. In truth, it's hard to pick between the Jackson trilogy. Because whilst there are many quibbles to be had with the story, with inclusions and exclusions, what I cannot deny is that the casting is magnificent. The set design is outstanding, and the score remains as hauntingly beautiful as when I first heard it. It is an incredible project which succeeds in spite of so much forced sappiness and character mishandling.
Take Shelob's Lair as a prime example of this. The stringy, slowly rising music. The grotesque trophies the spider keeps webbed up like carcasses in a butcher shop. The disgusting squelch as Shelob forces her bloated form through every hidden crevice. It's a masterpiece of design and music.
And the series is full of such examples.
So whilst not a patch on the books, I will say that the original trilogy is admirable in many respects.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:16 AM   #10
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Boots Two Towers

I realize there is no arguing taste...but here goes anyway.

I'm surprised to see Two Towers appearing so high on other people's lists.

I had a distinctly visceral and hateful reaction to the film when I first saw it in the theaters (oh so many years ago...)

In some respects, my reaction to that film was emotionally stronger than my reaction to the Hobbit trilogy. I think because this was my first exposure to just how out of control Jackson could get and how stupid he could be. By the time Unexpected Journey came around I expected it.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:11 PM   #11
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I suppose it's the same reason, but different outcome in both cases. I guess TTT just looks tame compared with the new films.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
I realize there is no arguing taste...but here goes anyway.

I'm surprised to see Two Towers appearing so high on other people's lists.

I had a distinctly visceral and hateful reaction to the film when I first saw it in the theaters (oh so many years ago...)

In some respects, my reaction to that film was emotionally stronger than my reaction to the Hobbit trilogy. I think because this was my first exposure to just how out of control Jackson could get and how stupid he could be. By the time Unexpected Journey came around I expected it.
For myself, part of it might be influenced that I did a full on Hobbit followed by LOTR marathon, and so I ended seeing the LOTR movies in a lot better light last time around.

I ended up enjoying TTT up through the King of the Golden Hall scene. The Frodo's flashback dream to Gandalf's fall in Moria, the taming of Sméagol and being led through the Dead Marshes, the Three Hunters chase of the Uruks and unexpectedly meeting Gandalf in Fangorn. And even though they portrayed Gandalf-Théoden-Saruman as an exorcism, that worked out better on screen, imo. Movie goes downs hill with the warg attack and Aragorn's "tumble off the cliff" *gasp*...but I came away enjoying the first half the movie.
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Old 10-05-2016, 09:28 PM   #13
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For myself, part of it might be influenced that I did a full on Hobbit followed by LOTR marathon, and so I ended seeing the LOTR movies in a lot better light last time around.

I ended up enjoying TTT up through the King of the Golden Hall scene. The Frodo's flashback dream to Gandalf's fall in Moria, the taming of Sméagol and being led through the Dead Marshes, the Three Hunters chase of the Uruks and unexpectedly meeting Gandalf in Fangorn. And even though they portrayed Gandalf-Théoden-Saruman as an exorcism, that worked out better on screen, imo. Movie goes downs hill with the warg attack and Aragorn's "tumble off the cliff" *gasp*...but I came away enjoying the first half the movie.
That is a good point, the first part of TTT was not as bad as the rest of it.

More than Aragorn's horse went tumbling off the cliff in that scene.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:47 PM   #14
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Out of the ones I've seen, from one to eight, from best to worst for me:

The first two are the only ones I get a hankering to re-watch from time to time.

1. PJ Return of the King - The only visual adaptation I really like, warts and all.
2. PJ Fellowship of the Ring - Middling good.


The next three still show evidence of some love in their making, though they're all deeply flawed.

3. PJ Two Towers
4. Rankin-Bass Return of the King - It's possible I'd flip this and Bakshi. It's been a long time since I've watched the whole thing.
5. Bakshi Lord of the Rings - See above. Interesting visually, and a few things--like its vision of orcs--have stuck with me for decades.

After that, things get ugly fast, shattering my numerical scale...

8. An Unexpected Journey - Very bad, but a few good moments.
13. Battle of Five Armies - Worse, and fewer.
22. Desolation of Smaug - Just horrendous. And painful. And yet dull!
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:54 PM   #15
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Prioritizing Jackson's Middle-earth films is rather like listing in order of preference Dante's Seven Circles of Hell. They are all bad in their own special way, but they do get worse the further one descends.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:37 PM   #16
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Prioritizing Jackson's Middle-earth films is rather like listing in order of preference Dante's Seven Circles of Hell. They are all bad in their own special way, but they do get worse the further one descends.
*cough* Nine, not seven.

Hmmmn... I remember you used to be reasonably positive towards the original trilogy. What changed?
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Old 10-09-2016, 08:24 AM   #17
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*cough* Nine, not seven.

Hmmmn... I remember you used to be reasonably positive towards the original trilogy. What changed?
I don't know why I typed seven. I guess that puts me in the Malebolge, which I skipped. But in retrospect, Jackson would have edited out the last two circles and added in a 10th of his own making and as an appendix grafted on pieces of the Purgatorio.

Also in retrospect, I have come to the conclusion that the only good thing about the films was the original story. Jackson was handed perhaps the greatest fantasy novel (novels if one includes The Hobbit) to work from. He had what amounted to a budget the size of the GDP of any number of small countries, the cinematic backdrop of New Zealand and some of the finest actors available (Ian Holm, Ian Mckellen, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett - they could recite a phone book and I would listen). But what did we get?

Taking the six films in one package, we got unnecessary addenda that became more and more pronounced the further we went into the story, and by the last two films of The Hobbit, the original story was actually no longer reminiscent of the book it was purportedly based on. By then the original story was merely a prop - an occasional marker on a strange road to remind us where we were going.

But the descent didn't just occur halfway through AUJ and spiral out of control from there. It just became so apparent that it became unwatchable at that juncture. We got superfluity and nonsense that oftentimes took the place of actual story plot that was inexplicably left out, we got characters that were out of character, - and I'm referring to LotR and not just The Hobbit.

Jackson's penchant for meddling and devising his own plot-points basically destroyed The Two Towers for me, and many of the changes in RotK were only redeemed by the fact that Jackson could not ultimately change the fundamental structure of the story in a way so as to wreck what Tolkien wrote, because the original lines and plot were that good. To paraphrase Rossini in regards to Wagner: Jackson had brilliant moments but awful quarter hours. When he adhered to the original story, the scenes were brilliant and the dialogue left one teary-eyed (even when a different character mouthed the line).

But in those quarter hours, we had to balance between heart-wrenching heroism (Eowyn defeating the WitchKing and saying goodbye to Theoden) to banal absurdity (Legolas Heffalump surfing and Scrubbing Bubbles cleansing Minas Tirith). If you really study the films, this type of balancing act between original beauty and improvised banality occurs so often that I can no longer justify watching them. And there is no nuance or subtlety in the way Jackson shat out unjustifiable plotlines in every quarter hour sequence (and I won't belabor the readers to point them out again).

By the time The Hobbit was released Jackson, with his bushel of Oscars (but no creditable films since LotR, not surprisingly), no longer had the restraints that made LotR palatable at most, brilliant in spots, but head-scratching overall. There was no one left to tell Jackson, "Hey, you know making Arwen a warrior-princess and having her fight alongside Aragorn at Helm's Deep is asinine."

No, this lack of restraint is evident in that he literally rewrote The Hobbit in his own image and likeness: juvenile jokes, bad dialogue, explodey things, wacky chase scenes, endless CGI fight sequences and grotesque monsters from his days making cheap horror films (even importing sand worms from Arrakis). Tauriel became the Arwen he wasn't allowed to have in Lord of the Rings. Bilbo's central role is minimized so that GQ handsome dwarves with perfect hair can make sexual jokes with Elves. A bow isn't good enough for Bard (the...ummm...bowman), he needs a giant arbalest and an arrow the size of a cruise ship anchor.

The movies appear on cable regularly, but I can't watch them, not even for a minute.
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:01 AM   #18
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At least the notion that The Hobbit trilogy is awful has percolated out a bit into the larger culture.
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Old 10-09-2016, 02:18 PM   #19
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They were showing The Two Towers on telly today, and I made a somewhat feeble attempt at watching it.

I used to think that the movies were good entertainment, and a nice homage to the books... and that would be it. As an adaptation, I have always found them infuriating and weird.

What struck me today, is that these movies haven't aged as well as I would have thought. A great deal of their appeal back then, was the amount of attention that had gone into detail and the breath taking landscapes... yet this time around it did not seem overly impressive.

I guess I have just grown accustomed to picturesque cinematic experiences.
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:22 AM   #20
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1420!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morthoron View Post
Also in retrospect, I have come to the conclusion that the only good thing about the films was the original story. Jackson was handed perhaps the greatest fantasy novel (novels if one includes The Hobbit) to work from. He had what amounted to a budget the size of the GDP of any number of small countries, the cinematic backdrop of New Zealand and some of the finest actors available (Ian Holm, Ian Mckellen, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett - they could recite a phone book and I would listen). But what did we get?

Taking the six films in one package, we got unnecessary addenda that became more and more pronounced the further we went into the story, and by the last two films of The Hobbit, the original story was actually no longer reminiscent of the book it was purportedly based on. By then the original story was merely a prop - an occasional marker on a strange road to remind us where we were going.

But the descent didn't just occur halfway through AUJ and spiral out of control from there. It just became so apparent that it became unwatchable at that juncture. We got superfluity and nonsense that oftentimes took the place of actual story plot that was inexplicably left out, we got characters that were out of character, - and I'm referring to LotR and not just The Hobbit.
I think you're really overstating it to say the original story is the *only* good thing about the LotR films- there's some pretty good filmmaking in there. Though certainly the invented plotlines are mostly pointless clutter, especially in TTT.

As for "The Hobbit".... no, I'd say it's reminiscent of the book.

Quote:
No, this lack of restraint is evident in that he literally rewrote The Hobbit in his own image and likeness: juvenile jokes, bad dialogue, explodey things, wacky chase scenes, endless CGI fight sequences and grotesque monsters from his days making cheap horror films (even importing sand worms from Arrakis). Tauriel became the Arwen he wasn't allowed to have in Lord of the Rings. Bilbo's central role is minimized so that GQ handsome dwarves with perfect hair can make sexual jokes with Elves. A bow isn't good enough for Bard (the...ummm...bowman), he needs a giant arbalest and an arrow the size of a cruise ship anchor.
Ah, but wouldn't you have liked to be a fly on the wall during their brainstorming sessions?

Also Tauriel is certainly in the spirit of Tolkien fandom.
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Old 10-10-2016, 02:47 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
At least the notion that The Hobbit trilogy is awful has percolated out a bit into the larger culture.
If you mean "larger nerd culture", I fear this is merely the snowballing effect of something coming to be seen as "cool thing to bash". I mean, rather than it being the case of each and every nerd independently casting a thoughtful, critical eye over the movies and finding them appreciably lacking in crucial cinematic and narrative qualities.

Could be that the behaviour of some of the fanboys early on didn't help, either.
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Old 10-10-2016, 08:41 AM   #22
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Ah, but wouldn't you have liked to be a fly on the wall during their brainstorming sessions?
No. I'm surrounded by rampant idiocy and egomania on a daily basis. I don't need exposure to more.

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If you mean "larger nerd culture", I fear this is merely the snowballing effect of something coming to be seen as "cool thing to bash". I mean, rather than it being the case of each and every nerd independently casting a thoughtful, critical eye over the movies and finding them appreciably lacking in crucial cinematic and narrative qualities.
There might be something to that. However, the nerds had the opportunity to see the films for themselves and I've never known nerds to be shy with their opinions on whatever topic. I think there is just a hostile consensus against the films.
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Old 10-10-2016, 04:48 PM   #23
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I think you're really overstating it to say the original story is the *only* good thing about the LotR films- there's some pretty good filmmaking in there. Though certainly the invented plotlines are mostly pointless clutter, especially in TTT.
In the context of not wanting to watch them ever again, I wouldn't necessarily call it an overstatement. There's any number of great films I'll watch yearly - I cringe even when I am randomly clicking by a LotR film with my TV remote.

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As for "The Hobbit".... no, I'd say it's reminiscent of the book.
However vaguely, yes.

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Also Tauriel is certainly in the spirit of Tolkien fandom.
Okay, you got me there. Elfess.
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:35 PM   #24
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No. I'm surrounded by rampant idiocy and egomania on a daily basis. I don't need exposure to more.
But the gold dwarf statue/dragon trap! Surely you'd have liked to witness the creative ferment that led to that glorious invention? No?

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There might be something to that. However, the nerds had the opportunity to see the films for themselves and I've never known nerds to be shy with their opinions on whatever topic. I think there is just a hostile consensus against the films.
Indeed, but how many of these people were yelling "BOX OFFICE! BOX OFFICE! HEART AND SOUL!!! APPENDICES!!!!" back in the day? Quite a few, I'd bet. Saving our august presences, a lot of nerds are really rather dumb, you know. I mean I don't think they tend to be all that good at forming their own opinions in the first place.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:25 AM   #25
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But the gold dwarf statue/dragon trap! Surely you'd have liked to witness the creative ferment that led to that glorious invention? No?
Decency prohibits me to name that particular kind of ferment that I think that process could be best likened to.

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a lot of nerds are really rather dumb, you know. I mean I don't think they tend to be all that good at forming their own opinions in the first place.
But that holds true for every topic across human history.
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Old 10-11-2016, 03:50 PM   #26
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Decency prohibits me to name that particular kind of ferment that I think that process could be best likened to.



But that holds true for every topic across human history.
In a way... but you must know the particular nerd-fanboy mentality I'm talking about. We're not talking about some genuinely complex issue that most people couldn't be expected to really understand, after all- it's just whether or not they liked a given movie. What I'm saying is, I don't really feel like patting myself on the back just because nerd consensus happens to have swung my way for the moment, since I just don't think it means much.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:54 AM   #27
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Best movies?

1) FR
2 (tie) TT, RK

That's the end of the list; since "best" is the superlative of "good", one can't include movies about which there is nothing good. Perhaps if the variable term were "least abysmal....." or "descending order of suckitude".......
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:04 PM   #28
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Best movies?

1) FR
2 (tie) TT, RK

That's the end of the list; since "best" is the superlative of "good", one can't include movies about which there is nothing good. Perhaps if the variable term were "least abysmal....." or "descending order of suckitude".......
Okay- what's your descending order of suckitude, then?
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:53 AM   #29
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Okay- what's your descending order of suckitude, then?

∞) AUJ
∞+1 (tie) DOS, BOFA
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:07 PM   #30
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∞) AUJ
∞+1 (tie) DOS, BOFA
The suckitude is strong with those, my young Padawan.

I would say...

1) FotR
2) RotK



3) TTT



...And then the rest fall into the Bromidic Abyss of Banal Prequelity.
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:20 PM   #31
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So following in the footsteps of the Star Wars franchise, what are the odds that Jackson will come back again with some..."midquels" to milk out some more money?

(Is there an accepted neologism for "new movies between the original and the prequels or sequels" yet?)
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Old 12-26-2016, 07:38 PM   #32
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So following in the footsteps of the Star Wars franchise, what are the odds that Jackson will come back again with some..."midquels" to milk out some more money?

(Is there an accepted neologism for "new movies between the original and the prequels or sequels" yet?)
I have heard the usage "interquel" before--at least for "during an installation of a series." It would seem to apply here.
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Old 12-26-2016, 08:14 PM   #33
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I have heard the usage "interquel" before--at least for "during an installation of a series." It would seem to apply here.
Thank you, sir.

That does have a nicer ring to it...at least as nice as something like this can have.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:11 AM   #34
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So following in the footsteps of the Star Wars franchise, what are the odds that Jackson will come back again with some..."midquels" to milk out some more money?

(Is there an accepted neologism for "new movies between the original and the prequels or sequels" yet?)
Well, there is the one about Gandalf and Aragorn hunting Gollum, forget what it's called. I can totally see some more spin offs happening.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:16 AM   #35
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Well, there is the one about Gandalf and Aragorn hunting Gollum, forget what it's called. I can totally see some more spin offs happening.
If there's money to be had, and legal issues are surmountable, I have no doubt anything to which the name Tolkien can be attached will be released on the world.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:00 PM   #36
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Well, there is the one about Gandalf and Aragorn hunting Gollum, forget what it's called. I can totally see some more spin offs happening.
That was fan made, and not too bad.

Can't remember the name of it...
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Old 12-28-2016, 06:03 AM   #37
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Well, there is the one about Gandalf and Aragorn hunting Gollum, forget what it's called. I can totally see some more spin offs happening.
Ah, yes, the one in which Gandalf and Aragorn hunt for Gollum. It is certainly very, very hard to imagine what title such a film might have. Quite a puzzle, indeed!
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:53 AM   #38
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Ah, yes, the one in which Gandalf and Aragorn hunt for Gollum. It is certainly very, very hard to imagine what title such a film might have. Quite a puzzle, indeed!
*laughing*
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:08 AM   #39
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:33 AM   #40
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So following in the footsteps of the Star Wars franchise, what are the odds that Jackson will come back again with some..."midquels" to milk out some more money?
Refresh my memory- wasn't that basically the original plan? Before it was realised that the sheer epic vastness, or vast epicness, that is "The Hobbit" could not possibly be contained in anything less than a trilogy, wasn't it going to be one "Hobbit" film + an unspecified "bridging" movie?
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