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Old 10-01-2007, 03:16 PM   #41
Sauron the White
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davem..... based on presentations I have seen in person with various illustrators plus personal conversations, it is my belief that the Estate likes to have a strong hand in these matters. Obviously, the Estate, as gaurdians for the work of JRRT, would consider that a good quality that they posess. It seems that you do also. And that is fine. I do feel that this "not too many monsters" approach is an unnecessary sanitizing of the actual stories that JRRT wrote. Not that the stories themselves are edited, but that the visual portrayal of them is. So what we end up with is a less than honest visual presentation in book form of what was actually written.

Again, I refer you to the website of Nasmith and several score of color rough paintings he did as suggestions for full illustrations. The ones that did not make it were either action sequences of the darker side of JRRT's work. Some have speculated that this is a reaction to the Jackson films. But this was in motion before the films ever came out.

I refer you to the recent CofH and the near absence of the areas I am concerned with despite their obvious presence throughout the text.

My problem is what we end up with is a less than honest approach to selection of illustration material in that several areas that JRRT wrote about seem off limits to illustrators. As a consumer, and as a fan of illustration, this is less than satisfying to me.

I simply disagree with the Estate policy on this matter. That does not make them bad people. That does not make them evil. For me, that just makes them wrong. I do not know as much about JRRT as you do. I admit that. However, I do love his work expecially the Middle-earth stories. I also happen to love illustration and illustrated books. I simply think that the policy of the Estate as it pertains to "monsters" and the darker side of the material is wrong and is depriving consumers of what could be a better package.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:36 PM   #42
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I've had the idea for a while now that probably the best way to make any sort of live action account of The Silmarillion would be rather though something not too dissimilar than a History Documentary. It would be amusing if nothing else. I mean, the Quenta Silmarillion more than Ainulindule, really. Little dramatisations of key scenes in between short narrations by a presenter (probably Simon Schama or someone like that) stood in a field saying 'and it was here in Beleriand that the outlaws discovered that things wouldn't always go their way.'

I did, a while back, write a script for such a venture, but due to lack of time and attention span, it never got past a few pages.
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Old 10-01-2007, 04:04 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White View Post
davem..... based on presentations I have seen in person with various illustrators plus personal conversations, it is my belief that the Estate likes to have a strong hand in these matters. Obviously, the Estate, as gaurdians for the work of JRRT, would consider that a good quality that they posess. It seems that you do also. And that is fine. I do feel that this "not too many monsters" approach is an unnecessary sanitizing of the actual stories that JRRT wrote. Not that the stories themselves are edited, but that the visual portrayal of them is. So what we end up with is a less than honest visual presentation in book form of what was actually written.
There are monsters on the covers - I've mentioned the various H0M-e covers that depict dragons, Morgoth & Shelob. The UK hb of Unfinished Tales has Tolkien's own picture of Glaurung. But they don't depict extreme violence or cruelty - & neither do the books. Tolkien didn't go in for graphic depictions of such things - Most new readers of Tolkien's work (particularly in the post movie period) are surprised (not to mention disappointed in many cases) at the lack of 'action'. The CoH illustrations, both colour & b&w, are as 'graphic' as the text - which means they aren't very graphic at all. What kind of images, exactly, do you want to see? Do you want to see Elves being burned alive by Glaurung? Do you want a graphic close up of Hurin slicing up Trolls, or on of Turin with the sword stuck through him & blood spurting in all directions - 'cos that ain't described in such detail in the text.

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Again, I refer you to the website of Nasmith and several score of color rough paintings he did as suggestions for full illustrations. The ones that did not make it were either action sequences of the darker side of JRRT's work. Some have speculated that this is a reaction to the Jackson films. But this was in motion before the films ever came out.
And I refer you to the fact that Naismith has them on his website for all to see & he's still getting commissions from the Estate - all they've said is that they don't want them in the books.
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I refer you to the recent CofH and the near absence of the areas I am concerned with despite their obvious presence throughout the text.
No - as I've pointed out, the kind of graphic violence & destruction you mention is absent from the book - Tolkien does not go in for that kind of thing. He may tell you that thousands died horribly in the Nirnaeth, or that Glaurung slew 'x' number of Elves, but he doesn't describe the deaths in detail.

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My problem is what we end up with is a less than honest approach to selection of illustration material in that several areas that JRRT wrote about seem off limits to illustrators. As a consumer, and as a fan of illustration, this is less than satisfying to me.
But as I've said, its there if you want it. The kind of graphic violence & close up depictions of monsters in all their horrible 'majesty' is available on numerous sites. The Estate just don't want it in the books, mainly because they feel it is not representative (for the reasons I've given)

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I simply think that the policy of the Estate as it pertains to "monsters" and the darker side of the material is wrong and is depriving consumers of what could be a better package.
But, as Tolkien stated in LotR:

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But Orcs and Trolls spoke as they would, without love of words or things; and their language was actually more degraded and filthy than I have shown it. I do not suppose that any will wish for a closer rendering, though models are easy to find. Much the same sort of talk can still be heard among the orc-minded; dreary and repetitive with hatred and contempt, too long removed from good to retain even verbal rigour, save in the ears of those to whom only the squalid sounds strong.
Which, I think, shows Tolkien's own feelings pretty clearly, & his approach to depictions of violence, darkness & cruelty, in language as in other things. "actually more degraded and filthy than I have shown it. I do not suppose that any will wish for a closer rendering, though models are easy to find." could equally well apply to his approach to depictions of violence & monsters in his own work.
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Old 10-01-2007, 04:20 PM   #44
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Simply because Tolkien does not describe the step by step process in the killing of each of tens of thousands of beings, does not mean that it is not violent in its own right. How can you write a book with all of that killing, battles, wars, destruction, murder and mayhem and then take the high road saying its really not his cup of tea? To suggest otherwise is to put on a nice shiny pair of the rosiest glasses ever invented. The action and darker side of the Middle-earth stories are as much as what Tolkien is as anything else in the books.

I simply disagree with both your sanitized view of what is in the books and the Tolkien Estates carrying out of such a viewpoint creating less than complete illustrated editions.
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Old 10-01-2007, 06:37 PM   #45
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In my book there is a "nice" little drawing of dead elves as well as one of a dead Glaurung. I would say that both these drawings has what you ask for, the first one is quite brutal (but not vulgar) and the second one has a monster.

The conserns about what is potrayed might not be baseless, but they are certainly not as big problems as they are made out to be. . . . We all want different things and most of the time we don't get what we want.
I would have like to see sertain landscapes in the illustrations, but other motives where picked. That is too bad, but I doubt that it is because of some plot against these particular landscapes.

Don't blow things out of porportion

And just for the record: I belive that it does matter if the battles and killings are written in great graphic detail or not. If a writter finds something important they will put extra focus on the event, point it out to you.
Now Tolkien seldom goes into great detail about the killings and battles, but yet there is quite a lot of them. The thing is that war is what drives these kind of stories about heros and their deeds, that Tolkien wanted to write. If you look at what he spends time on, it is what goes on between charachters (and sometimes he likes to descripe a landscape), he seldom uses alot of time on the battle itself. The battle is there because it needs to be in order to drive the story forth.

Yes killings has a place in the story, but the main focus does not lie on how many orcs Turin killed and how he killed them.

At least that is my take on it, not having given it very much thought.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:31 AM   #46
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Simply because Tolkien does not describe the step by step process in the killing of each of tens of thousands of beings, does not mean that it is not violent in its own right. How can you write a book with all of that killing, battles, wars, destruction, murder and mayhem and then take the high road saying its really not his cup of tea? To suggest otherwise is to put on a nice shiny pair of the rosiest glasses ever invented. The action and darker side of the Middle-earth stories are as much as what Tolkien is as anything else in the books.

I simply disagree with both your sanitized view of what is in the books and the Tolkien Estates carrying out of such a viewpoint creating less than complete illustrated editions.
Yes but you still haven't told us exactly what kind of imagery you'd like to se in the books. As Rune points out, there are a number of images of Glaurung, of Orcs of dead warriors in the book, & the imagery (particularly the black & white imagery) is quite dark.

Tolkien made a conscious decision not to go into explicit detail as regards the depiction of violence (& made the same decision as regards 'Orcish' speech) & the Estate have made the same decision as regards its depiction in the imagery used. In fact, he didn't go into much detail in the description of his monsters - hence the arguments re Balrog's wings. Personally, I don't want such lurid images in Tolkien's books so I'm happy with that decision.
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Old 10-02-2007, 10:21 AM   #47
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Yes but you still haven't told us exactly what kind of imagery you'd like to se in the books
Perhaps it would help if I use but a single chapter from the latest book THE CHILDREN OF HURIN. Lets use an early chapter - II The Battle of Unnumbered Tears. The only illustration in this entire chapter is the very small b&w heading peice above the chapter title on page 52 featuring a group of soldiers standing still and doing what? Watching a soccer game? Waiting for the lunchline to move a bit faster? Asked to all say cheese in the group photo? Who knows since there is no story element or drama to this piece of any kind.

Here is a list of possible scenes in this chapter which would make far better illustrations cappturing great moments that JRRT writes of.

p. 53 - Fingon looks north and beholds Thangorodrim
p. 54 the host of Morgoth marching out of Angband
p. 55 Gwindor slaying the heralds of Angband
p. 56 the light of drawing of swords of the Noldor like a filed of reeds
p. 56 fighting in the courts of Angband
p. 57 Turgon hewes through ranks of orcs to get to the side of his brother
p. 58 Turgon vs. Gothmog
p. 59 All the hosts of Angband encircle the House of Haldor
p. 60 Hurin slaying the trolls as they attempt to capture him... or
p. 60 a bound Hurin being led by Gothmog to Angband

There are ten different ideas for illustrations which would be dramatic and have great possibility. I am not suggesting that each be illustrated and the book turned into a comic novel. Any one would have been far better than the lead in illustration which was selected. Several would have made beautiful color plates especially the drawing of swords on page 56.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:03 PM   #48
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There are ten different ideas for illustrations which would be dramatic and have great possibility. I am not suggesting that each be illustrated and the book turned into a comic novel. Any one would have been far better than the lead in illustration which was selected. Several would have made beautiful color plates especially the drawing of swords on page 56.
There is a painting by Lee of the assault on Angband in the CoH Calendar, so its there if you want to see it.

Lee's approach to illustrating Tolkien's work has been consistent since he took on LotR - he finds out where the plates will go in the book & paints an image based on the events described on the facing page. This is why one of the illustrations for LotR (facing page 576) is just a painting of a stream, rather than an action shot. In other words, he puts his illustrations in the service of the text.

While your suggestions are interesting, there's no evidence that Lee had any desire to paint those pictures but was stopped from doing so. Lee has stated that his approach is to let the author tell the story, & that his images are designed to help establish the 'mood' of the story rather than dominate it - which I suspect your suggestions would. You have to keep in mind that Lee is providing illustrations for a book, rather than stand alone works of art to be shown in a gallery ( a trap Naismith has a tendency to fall into sometimes - as does John Howe). I honestly feel that the kind of graphic images you're suggesting would have been in danger of overwhelming the text.

Actually, the three paintings which appear only in the calendar (the 'Nargothrond' painting (sans Glaurung), the one of the assault on Angband, & (my personal favourite of all the images Lee produced for CoH) Morwen, Nienor & the Elves riding through an autumn landscape of reeds & willows (no blood or monsters ) are wonderful, & I wish they had been included in the book. None of them 'over emphasise' the dark & monstrous, but they didn't fit with Lee's 'rule' - there wasn't a plate available opposite the pages where those events are described.

What I would say about your choice of images is that none of them 'breaks the rules' - any of those scenes could be depicted - it would depend on how explicit & lurid the images were (Lee has a couple of 'battle scenes' in TH & LotR). My question wasn't what images you wanted to see, but what kind of images - ie, whether you really wanted to see close ups of graphic violence & such or not. All the images you suggest could be depicted in long/medium shot, either just before the actual event, or moments after it - which is more in line with Tolkien's approach - focussing on the effects of violence & exploring its consequences, rather than reveling in the act itself.
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Old 10-02-2007, 12:41 PM   #49
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from davem

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This is why one of the illustrations for LotR (facing page 576) is just a painting of a stream, rather than an action shot. In other words, he puts his illustrations in the service of the text.
If an illustrator does their job correctly, EVERY ILLUSTRATION should be in the service of the text. None of the ones I suggested violate this rule. Perhaps you and I have a different approach to illustration. The Lee illustration in LOTR of a stream may serve as an example. I have no problem with Lee wanting to do that scene. However, I would ask for a simple addition to give it some meaning within the realm of Middle-earth. What makes this stream stand out as something in Middle-earth as opposed to just any old stream illustration that the artist may have had laying in a drawer? In other words, make it related to Middle-earth or something very specific that can be identified by the reader. I do concede that in a massive undertaking such as the illustration of the complete LOTR, one can get away with several purely atmospheric shots that do not necessarily depict key or dramatic moments in the text.

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While your suggestions are interesting, there's no evidence that Lee had any desire to paint those pictures but was stopped from doing so. Lee has stated that his approach is to let the author tell the story, & that his images are designed to help establish the 'mood' of the story rather than dominate it - which I suspect your suggestions would.
My list of suggestions was merely to comply with you asking me what illustrations I would have preferred. I made no charge that Lee wanted to do any of these or was stopped from doing any of the ones on my list of ten. Of course, we do not know if he wanted to do any of these or not. I suspect that you and I want different things in illustration. It seems - and correct me if I am wrong - that you favor some type of setting the mood or getting the atmosphere of the tale. I first want the more dramatic moments depicted and then a minority of mood pieces to flesh things out a bit. Perhaps our priorities are reversed. If so, that would explain some things and why we have such differing opinions.

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None of them 'over emphasise' the dark & monstrous, but they didn't fit with Lee's 'rule' - there wasn't a plate available opposite the pages where those events are described.
While that explaination may suffice for the color plates, there are no such restrictions on the b&w pieces. The illustrator seemed to have a free reign in that regard. The color plates do appear after every 16 pages. I really have no objection to having an illustration on one facing page while the text may be a few pages apart from it. Some of the greatest book illustrators in history such as N.C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham worked that way and it worked out wonderfully for both illustrator and reader. Speaking for myself, I would think it is far more important to come up with a great illustration of a key scene than it is merely to have an illustration fall opposite the text. Are we that stupid that we cannot accept an illustration if the text is not right there with arrows pointing to it? I certainly hope not.

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My question wasn't what images you wanted to see, but what kind of images - ie, whether you really wanted to see close ups of graphic violence & such or not.
That would depend on the scene. Despite your protestations to the contrary, there are some gruesome images and descriptions in JRRT's writings. In CofH, on page 55 -

"And they hewed off Gelmir's arms and legs, and left him". Now that is pretty up front in your face gruesome.

I greatly prefer more panoramic shots which get in lots of figures, landscape or architecture and other elements. Alan Lee's Helms Deep illustration is my idea of a perfect battle illustration. I am not looking for a close-up of Gelmir's chopped off limbs in a perfect cross section so we can see blood pumping from veins and see the bone as if in a Christmas ham. But I do not want scenes with violence to be ignored altogether or shoved to the back of the bus. They can be handled with taste and class as JRRT wrote them. Perhaps we can agree on that.
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Old 10-02-2007, 01:04 PM   #50
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Alan Lee:

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My chief concern in illustrating LotR was in attempting to provide a visual accompaniment for the story without interfering with, or dislodging, the pictures the author is carefully building up in the reader's mind. i felt that my task lay in shadowing the heroes on their epic quest, often at a distance, closing in on them at times of heightened emotion but avoiding trying to re-create the dramatic high points of the text.....

Such considerations were made simpler by technical ones. Printed seperately on a coated art paper, the pictures had to be positioned at intervals of sixteen or thirty two pages throughout the book. This limitation was recieved gratefully & probably saved weeks of fruitless agonising over which moments to illustrate.

It was important that every picture should be relevant to the text on the opposite page. (from 'Tolkien's World: Paintings of Middle-earth')
As to the B&W illustrations in CoH, Lee has chosen to top & tail the chapters with 'mood pieces'. Its clearly been his approach to Tolkien illustration all along, so I don't see how we can criticise his choice. If you choose AL to illustrate a Tolkien book this is the kind of illustration you'll get. You can complain about the choice of AL as artist, but not about the way he'll illustrate the book.

As to the 'Gelmir' thing, I find it actually more horrible in Tolkien's stark description than it could ever be in any illustration. Also, & I think this is a significant point, some readers have both a more graphic imagination & a stronger stomach than others, & what would be a perfectly acceptable illustration for some readers would be totally unnacceptable to others. Even reading about the death of Gelmir some readers will visualise that in long shot (or not at all) while others picture it in the most extreme & gory close up with blood spurting, hacked off limbs twitching & Gelmir's face contorted in an agonised scream. The text leaves the reader free to imagine the scene as they will, but any illustration would fix a particular image for the reader - which is why AL prefers (according to what he has said) to 'keep his distance'.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:11 PM   #51
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Interesting discussion (and I guess I posted in it once upon a time), though I'm not sure it's going anywhere. Incidentally, davem, your quote from the JRRT Letter at the end of page 1 made me smile; that letter is one of my absolute favorites. "Why is such a woman let loose?" makes me want to burst out laughing every time I read it. Tolkien is delightful to read in correspondence as well as in mythmaking.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:47 PM   #52
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Interesting discussion (and I guess I posted in it once upon a time), though I'm not sure it's going anywhere.
It doesn't have to go anywhere if its interesting. The utilitarian approach to threads usually leads to a dead end. You discuss till you reach a consensus & then it stops & everyone toddles off to find another topic to reach a consensus on. Humour, challenge, taking your opponents points off at tangents, dismantling them & throwing them right back. Much more interesting. The original point of this thread was left behind a long time ago, because there wasn't much anyone could do with it - or at least there wasn't much anyone wanted to do with it. When StW & I started our little discussion it took off.

Ultimately, of course, our argument can't go anywhere but round in circles, because we're arguing over matters of personal taste. If, however, we manage to do it entertainingly people will read it. Luckily (as you've probably noticed) we're both sharp enough & clever enough (though I say meself, as shouldn't) to be able to keep interest in the debate. I join in debates like this (as I've stated on numerous occasions) because I find them entertaining & because I genuinely like & respect the person I'm arguing with. If I didn't I'd just ignore what they had to say & do something else.

Anyway, back to the topic:

StW is completely wrong about this subject, I'm right & I'm pretty sure Tolkien would agree with me on this one......
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Old 10-02-2007, 06:30 PM   #53
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davem .. I agree with you 100% that JRRT himself would agree with your position on illustration. And as has been well established, JRRT was a first rate writer, a genius when it came to creating worlds, and a rather mediocre to poor illustrator.
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:02 PM   #54
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But we saw with the BBC radio production of LotR that the scripts were sent to CT for approval & he responded positively, & even sent a cassette of pronunciations to enable them to get it right. It strikes me that CT (& by extention the Estate) is not wholly against dramatisations, just that, if they are to be done with his approval they should be done right.

CoH would be a particularly difficult story to adapt, for the reasons I've given. You can't introduce light moments into the story because they would jar, & you can't have any sense of victory at the end because that would destroy the effect. And tacking on a reference to Turin's killing of Morgoth at the end would seem fake (bit like the ending of the original version of Blade Runner)

Beren & Luthien would bring other problems. This story was so personal to JRRT that I suspect CT would be most loathe to see that touched. FoG is most likely to succeed as a movie.

Hollywood is looking for profits, & tends to put any thoughts of art to the back of its mind, & goes out of its way to avoid anything controversial - look at what they've done with the adaptation of Pullman's HDM - the 'anti-Christian' aspect of the story is gone purely to avoid upsetting the Christian lobby in the US. An unpleasant hero who marries his sister & kills himself at the end is hardly likely to appeal to studio execs. Of course, another 'Tolkien' story would attract them, but I suspect that the studios who are probably still desperate to buy the movie rights know nothing about CoH beyond the Tolkien name.
Are you forgetting that a good ending to a movie is subjective? There are many people who look for dark, tenebrous endings in a film. (There are many dark films.)

Hollywood, the film industry is also looking for innovatory, inventive ways of approaching a film. CoH would present a challenge.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:07 AM   #55
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I was wondering what the legality would be behind a non-profit, fan based project based on one or more stories from The Silmarillion?

Looking around I've found conflicting views on it. Some say it's fine as long as you don't quote directly from the books. But then again the Tolkien Estate has taken people to court simply for having part of a "Tolkien" name in a web address. ("Shire" supposidly being exclusively the intellectual property of Tolkien Estate. Wonder if my beloved home of Ayrshire knows this?)

I know that this may have been discussed in several topics already, but it would take far longer to look through this massive forum than to just dredge it up here. ^^
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:19 PM   #56
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White Tree Your right on

Those are two really good ideas and they both are ideas that i have thought of it is interesting to think how long it would take to make them. Probably the only major roadblock i could for see is putting the first two parts of the book on to the creeen, but can you imagine how awsome they would look if the creators weould be able to succeed in that attempt.
I have not finished the book yet but it really seems like just what i have read could be turned into a number of moivies.
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Old 09-10-2008, 06:06 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Lothriel View Post
I was wondering what the legality would be behind a non-profit, fan based project based on one or more stories from The Silmarillion?

Looking around I've found conflicting views on it. Some say it's fine as long as you don't quote directly from the books. But then again the Tolkien Estate has taken people to court simply for having part of a "Tolkien" name in a web address. ("Shire" supposidly being exclusively the intellectual property of Tolkien Estate. Wonder if my beloved home of Ayrshire knows this?)

I know that this may have been discussed in several topics already, but it would take far longer to look through this massive forum than to just dredge it up here. ^^

I think that all the name trademarks belong to Saul Zaentz - however as to fan projects this is from the ESTATE's website http://www.tolkienestate.com/faq/p_2/

Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)
The simple answer is NO.
You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".
Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.
The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment.


So the answer is that you can do what you like as long as it is purely for your own amusement but try to profit from it in anyway and the estate will come down on you like a ton of bricks. Which is fair enough - especially since the recent legislation seems to indicate that the Jackson trilogy was non-profit.
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:30 PM   #58
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THAT WOULD BE SOOOO EPIC!

OME I so want to see that
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:55 PM   #59
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No more adaptations!

Regarding an adaptation of the Silmarillion - and not to offend those who want to see an adaption - but can I suggest taking a moment for a different perspective?

A couple of things:

The basic danger with "purple" material, ie., well-known and much loved: Any attempt by an individual to cinematically define the world of the Silmarillion will invariably be at odds with some part of the existing fan base. What can a film adaptation do that the novel doesn't do? Bring the world to life? I don't know about others, but the film adaptation of LOTR, while a fun adventure film, was in no way, shape or form representative of the To me, it was a cartoonish monster movie, exactly like the rest of Jackson's work. I'm not knocking PJ & crew - that's just his style, and what makes his films fun to watch. But it's not LOTR by any stretch. I would be horrified to do that to someone's favorite book.

Secondly, why is having this wonderful literature not enough? As a filmmaker, I more than understand the overwhelming desire to express my love of literary material by adapting it into film. But, as a filmmaker, I have to ask: Given a the nearly limitless toolset of modern filmmaking and a (very) ample budget, could I equal or improve on the richness and complexity of Tolkien's work in some way? Of course not, and I would feel foolish to try.

So why not let these wonderful books be what they are? Are we really that unimaginative that we can do nothing else but strip-mine the literary world for all it's worth? I know the film rights to Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony and many others' work is trading high on Sunset Blvd., given the financial success of LOTR. Rather than trying to adapt Tolkien's work, why can't we simply be inspired by it and turn that creative energy into developing our own stories?

I know I am.
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:44 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Moophopolis View Post
Secondly, why is having this wonderful literature not enough? As a filmmaker, I more than understand the overwhelming desire to express my love of literary material by adapting it into film. But, as a filmmaker, I have to ask: Given a the nearly limitless toolset of modern filmmaking and a (very) ample budget, could I equal or improve on the richness and complexity of Tolkien's work in some way? Of course not, and I would feel foolish to try.
I agree completely. There are some stories that lend themselves very well to film adaptations, the LotR trilogy being among them (as we all know ). However, there are others that do not. The Simarillion is one of them. Yes, it would be absolutely epic. However, there most likely isn't the fan base necessary to be able to justify pouring the kind of money that such a production would require into something that isn't going to sell. Besides, like Moophopolis said, would it even be possible to equal or improve on the richness and complexity of Tolkien's work? Methinks not.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:08 PM   #61
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To me, it was a cartoonish monster movie, exactly like the rest of Jackson's work. I'm not knocking PJ & crew - that's just his style, and what makes his films fun to watch. But it's not LOTR by any stretch.
I am glad to hear another film-person say it.
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Old 01-13-2009, 03:48 AM   #62
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It is funny how much fans can protest when their favourit books gets made into movies, yet we hear no cries of dispair when they are made into theater plays. . .

I think we have to ask our selves "what is the harm?". Why should we object to a wider audience getting to know the work that we love so much? Obviously it would only be an intepritation of the work, but still. . .
Are we special because we have read the books 47 times and does that make us better judges of what can be turned into a move and what cannot?

Anyways I for one really like the movies, but at the same time I like you find it annoying. There are many weird things in them and they totaly changed the way I imagined some of the characters. If this had been too big an issue for me to accept, then surely I would just stay home with my books and not watch the movies. . .one does not have to watch them, you know.

And a last thing before I leave: I did not get that "cartoonish monster movie" feel from the movies at all, infact I was very impressed with PJ.(except for that skull scene)
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:05 AM   #63
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Ok, now there's a challenge. I can't remember, actually, Turin being mentioned in LotR. But can the many Tolkien scholars here who are wiser than I am, confirm this?
I am currently re-reading LOTR and just came across a passage that mentions Turin in passing--I think there are a couple fleeting references throughout....
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:21 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Moophopolis View Post
Regarding an adaptation of the Silmarillion - and not to offend those who want to see an adaption - but can I suggest taking a moment for a different perspective?

A couple of things:

The basic danger with "purple" material, ie., well-known and much loved: Any attempt by an individual to cinematically define the world of the Silmarillion will invariably be at odds with some part of the existing fan base. What can a film adaptation do that the novel doesn't do? Bring the world to life? I don't know about others, but the film adaptation of LOTR, while a fun adventure film, was in no way, shape or form representative of the To me, it was a cartoonish monster movie, exactly like the rest of Jackson's work. I'm not knocking PJ & crew - that's just his style, and what makes his films fun to watch. But it's not LOTR by any stretch. I would be horrified to do that to someone's favorite book.

Secondly, why is having this wonderful literature not enough? As a filmmaker, I more than understand the overwhelming desire to express my love of literary material by adapting it into film. But, as a filmmaker, I have to ask: Given a the nearly limitless toolset of modern filmmaking and a (very) ample budget, could I equal or improve on the richness and complexity of Tolkien's work in some way? Of course not, and I would feel foolish to try.

So why not let these wonderful books be what they are? Are we really that unimaginative that we can do nothing else but strip-mine the literary world for all it's worth? I know the film rights to Terry Brooks, Piers Anthony and many others' work is trading high on Sunset Blvd., given the financial success of LOTR. Rather than trying to adapt Tolkien's work, why can't we simply be inspired by it and turn that creative energy into developing our own stories?

I know I am.

Excellent point, and one I have considered myself. However, I would love to see a Silmarillion project (my friend Randy and I talk about it incessantly). I know I would inevitably be disappointed, because turning a book into a movie is essentially and act of translation, and the story cannot ever be translated the way I picture it in my head. Nevertheless, my imagination has been captured to such an extent, that I am willing to risk the disappointment if it means I can see the two trees of Valinor, the Silmarils, and Gondolin with my own eyes. I know it isn't logical, but there it is.

I think the story could be served by splitting it into three parts: The first part, the elves waking up through their return to Middle Earth. The second would concentrate on the Beren & Luthien story and end at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (sp?). The third would concentrate on the fall of the Elvish kingdoms and conclude the tale.

I really like the idea someone (sorry no direct quote!) put forth that the project be done as a series ala Rome. That would give so much more time, and you might have a shot at getting all the major characters in the story!

Did anyone else catch PJ's little "joke" on the commentary of FotR about the Silmarillion movie? When he reveals that Fran provided the voice of the Ringwraiths, he said that it was the sound she made when he told her he had bought the rights to the Sil. He WAS joking, wasn't he?
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Old 03-26-2009, 08:56 AM   #65
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Tolkien new news

few whispers here and an unknown director poking their head out there and plans have been put in place to film select stories out of the silmarillion that can make a connection enough to provide a story line that can continue to the hobbit and lotr movies. The unknown director is rumored to be DC Anderson or an AJ Walkin.

(sorry my cousin wont stop bugging me until i write this on every tolkien forum,but i and i'm also speaking for my cousin hope this little rumor she heard from her production team boyfriend is true)
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:17 AM   #66
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few whispers here and an unknown director poking their head out there and plans have been put in place to film select stories out of the silmarillion that can make a connection enough to provide a story line that can continue to the hobbit and lotr movies. The unknown director is rumored to be DC Anderson or an AJ Walkin.
Sorry, not true. The Silmarillion film rights have not been sold and are not for sale. Period. (And, no, that's not going to change when Christopher Tolkien passes Over Sea).
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:30 AM   #67
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The Eye

you know saying something will never happen is just pure ignorance...what will you be doing in ten years and you better be correct.

sorry but people who say something will never happen or that something is impossible really get to me
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:24 AM   #68
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1) The Simarillion rights have not been sold. That's simple fact.

2) Christopher Tolkien has declared that he will never sell them so long as he is alive.

3) Adam Tolkien shares his father's position

Since I'm in personal contact with both Tolkiens, I think I am in a rather better position to know than your cousin with her little rumor she heard from her production team boyfriend.

Sure, the unforseen can always arise. The world might end. Hollywood might get nuked by al-Qaeda. Christopher's lawyer son Simon might launch a campaign to seize control of the estate from his stepmother and half-brother. But the notion that right now, March 2009, anybody in the film industry has 'plans' for a Silmarillion project is, in a word, bogus.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:34 AM   #69
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Excellent point, and one I have considered myself. Nevertheless, my imagination has been captured to such an extent, that I am willing to risk the disappointment if it means I can see the two trees of Valinor, the Silmarils, and Gondolin with my own eyes. I know it isn't logical, but there it is.

I think the story could be served by splitting it into three parts: The first part, the elves waking up through their return to Middle Earth. The second would concentrate on the Beren & Luthien story and end at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (sp?). The third would concentrate on the fall of the Elvish kingdoms and conclude the tale.

I really like the idea someone (sorry no direct quote!) put forth that the project be done as a series ala Rome. That would give so much more time, and you might have a shot at getting all the major characters in the story!
Know the feeling well. I actually did an adaptation in college in 1992, while studying screenwriting (much more fun than actual schoolwork), and upon completion, I came to the conclusion that it simply wasn't a viable piece of cinema. Doing the work was actually really fun, though, and excellent practice. Visualizing these characters coming to life was an insanely cool experience.

I used three primary stories to make up a trilogy (yeah, stuck thinking in trilogies), Beren/Luthien, Tuor and Earendil, with as much reference as I could manage to the earlier parts of the story, and still try to make it somewhat comprehensible. Obviously, this only covered a small fraction of the book. It was really 'Stories from the Silmarillion', rather than any reasonable representation of the book.

The main problem, I came to understand: Dramatizing the Silmarillion is like dramatizing Bullfinches Mythology. LOTR had a similar problem - I don't know if I would have been able to follow the LOTR film if I hadn't been exceedingly familiar with it. As if they didn't have enough material to cover, they added a part of the appendices to further confuse the story - er? Anyway PJ and Co. can always say, "My friend Oscar disagrees with you".

It's heartening to hear that the Tolkien estate seems to be drawing the line here. I've heard things about the Hobbit being two scripts (OMFG), and I'm seriously wondering why these guys didn't just come with a monster movie of their own. I think we saw PJ in his element with King Kong - and hours-long, crashem smashem orgiastic monster movie. I get a distinct feeling that Hobbit is headed in the same direction. That stuff is all good fun, but all of the depth and subtlety that Tolkien has to offer is completely lost.

The obvious question is why the hell doesn't Hollywood, with its legions of scriptwriters come up with some original material, for crying out loud? Sadly, the answer is that the industry does not choose projects based on merit, they choose based on viability studies. So LOTR was greenlit, I'm guessing, based on a study that provided overwhelming evidence that millions of people WILL run out and see this film. Tens of millions, actually, so hell, let's make it 'these films'. This explains not only the strip-mining of the literary world for material, but also delightful cultural contributions like 'Dukes of Hazzard, The Movie'. After all, the cardinal sin in Hollywood is not bringing those dollars back home, preferably with friends.

I guess the point is that seeing something novel at a theater near you is small, while seeing some inane version of The Silmarillion isn't so small, maybe the Renny Harlin or Michael Bay version.

'Hobbits Of The Caribbean' (or more likely 'Jurassic Shire') will be here shortly. Oh what the hell, I know I'm going on opening night. Or both opening nights. Whatever.
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Old 03-27-2009, 11:03 PM   #70
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Tolkien

I've always thought that the most successful adaptation of the Silmarillion would have to be done as a TV mini-series. There is just entirely too much information to cover in one or two or even three movies. I think if the BBC or HBO or something did a mini-series they would be able to pick out one theme or thread and clearly focus on just that one over 6 or whatever episodes and then just introduce the new characters in each episode. There also wouldn't be the enormous pressure from Hollywood for the Silmarillion to make a killing at the box-office, which is obviously the main motivation to dramatize any of Tolkien's works in the first place.

I think that the problem with dramatizing the Silmarillion is just that it doesn't have the same wide appeal as The Hobbit or LOTR because of the sheer amount of information and names etc. I mean, I know many, many people who are fans of LOTR and TH, but when they tried to get into Sil they couldn't. (Incidently, has anyone read the Sillymarillion? They illustrate this point brilliantly by literally just having entire chapters that are just names of places or characters.) And because of this fact, the Sil would never make it as a movie, but something like the BBC adaptation of Hitchhiker's Guide would do just fine. I mean, I think the likelihood of this happening is very close to 0, but for the sake of this thread we'll pretend.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:39 AM   #71
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There are folks who have gone to great lengths to criticize the manner in which Christopher Tolkien edited the published form of the Silmarillion. I can only imagine the fits of apoplexy if the tale (series of tales, rather) was plopped indecorously into a Sci-fi channel mini-series. I still recall how dreadful Sci-fi's take on Dune was.

But really, the discussion is academic. As WCH has mentioned, it is unlikely we'll be seeing the Sil in the next few decades.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:13 AM   #72
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But really, the discussion is academic. As WCH has mentioned, it is unlikely we'll be seeing the Sil in the next few decades.
It wouldn't trouble me if it waited a few centuries.
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:22 PM   #73
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It wouldn't trouble me if it waited a few centuries.
Hmmm...I wouldn't mind a film presentation of The Silmarillion in about the year 2019 or 2020. By that time, I will be just about finished bitching about the atrocities strewn through the Hobbit movies, and so will be quite ready to complain about something else.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:48 PM   #74
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Hmmm...I wouldn't mind a film presentation of The Silmarillion in about the year 2019 or 2020. By that time, I will be just about finished bitching about the atrocities strewn through the Hobbit movies, and so will be quite ready to complain about something else.
Hmm, have you finished with the LotR films, then? I know I haven't. I just haven't said much about it on this board. The grief is still too near. (I think I need an emoticon with a lot of tears, here....)
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Old 03-29-2009, 03:32 PM   #75
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Hmm, have you finished with the LotR films, then? I know I haven't.
Reiterating the litany of complaints I have regarding the LotR films would, at this time, be superfluous...redundant even.
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Old 07-03-2010, 06:11 PM   #76
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The best way to do a movie of the Silmarillion is to pick up where LOTR left off: Frodo is on his way to Elvenhome and begins asking quesitons and, soon enough, the stories of the Silmarillion are told to him: Beren and Luthien (told by Gandalf, who was always concerned with Aragorn's ancestry); Turin (told by Galadriel, who was close with Melian in Doriath where Turin was fostered) and The Fall of Gondolin (told by Elron, whose grandfather, Tuor, was involved with. Tolkien, himself, laid out these three stories as the most important of all his Eldar Days legends according to his son, Christopher. Why not follow his own outline with a prologue about Feanor and the making of the jewels to the fall of Fingolfin which would lead to the story of Luthien for the first film? Turin's story is the most completely developed and acts as a natural bridge to the third movie, the Fall of Gondolin and then an epilogue concerning Elrond's father and brother that lay the seeds for the future conflicts with Sauron.

Naturally, it would have to be three movies with the same budget or more that LOTR had.

Or, you could do an HBO series, ala "Rome" and cover everyone.
I guess I wouldn't mind seeing The Silmarillion as a very long miniseries, be it live action or animated (I haven't seen "Rome," but I guess that's the course to take). Any film on the Silmarillion must be given plenty of time for the story to play out or it will be doomed. Never mind making a Hollywood film. That would be nonsense, and I still haven't seen Peter Jacksons' films (though I'll get too it eventually).

I would prefer to see a Silmarillion documentary more so than a movie. In the US, the History Channel has put out some really good documentaries over the last few years, and I think their style could carry over quite well for the Silmarillion. Take the documentary "The Dark Ages" from 2007 as an example. Just round up some Tolkien scholars to tell the stories in the Silmarillion, interweave their interviews with art work and dramatic reenactments with a solid cast. No need for costly actors or anything like that. The budget would mostly go to wardrobe, special effects, and things like that.

No, I'm not going anywhere near the discussion about the Tolkien Estate. It's okay to be hypothetical in conversations like this.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:32 PM   #77
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Silmarillion movie

My personal opinion is that there can` t be created so perfect and unique movie based on the Tolkien` s book (LOTR could have been made much better actually, but I wanna tell to Gothmog that actually the Balrogs have wings ( see the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog in Moria) because so many characters have been missed like Glorfindel, Imrahil, Tom Bombadil and etc . ) In the beginning ( as you know I hope) there is shown the creation of the perfect Tolkien` s world - the Valars and their Heaven from their song; after that begins the whole drama- the betrayal of Melkor ; I dont think someone can imagine who can play the firstborn elves who are the most beautiful creation of Iluvatar And I dont think someone can get into their roles so good as we imagine So, I think that the movie will destroy our idea and conception about the whole meaning
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:12 PM   #78
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My personal opinion is that there can` t be created so perfect and unique movie based on the Tolkien` s book (LOTR could have been made much better actually, but I wanna tell to Gothmog that actually the Balrogs have wings ( see the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog in Moria) because so many characters have been missed like Glorfindel, Imrahil, Tom Bombadil and etc . ) In the beginning ( as you know I hope) there is shown the creation of the perfect Tolkien` s world - the Valars and their Heaven from their song; after that begins the whole drama- the betrayal of Melkor ; I dont think someone can imagine who can play the firstborn elves who are the most beautiful creation of Iluvatar And I dont think someone can get into their roles so good as we imagine So, I think that the movie will destroy our idea and conception about the whole meaning
Ooo, I do hope they hire you to write the screenplay, Vilvarine.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:20 PM   #79
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I can see it now: Leonardo DiCaprio as Melkor, Scarlett Johansson as Varda, and maybe Hugh Jackman as Manwë.
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:00 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Nerwen View Post
Ooo, I do hope they hire you to write the screenplay, Vilvarine.
Mmm, I don`t want to hire me as a scenery writer .. I`m just saying that even Peter Jackson (who I must confess did good job for LOTR but could be better as I said ) can`t make it perfect .. Well , we`ll see how will be The Hobbit But movie based on Silmarillion... I personally find it impossible to make
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