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Old 09-08-2000, 01:37 PM   #1
Mister Underhill
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Ring A Long Expected Party -- The Movie

Alright all you armchair quarterbacks who think that Peter Jackson should be tossed into the Cracks of Doom for his mistreatment of the good Prof's work, this is your chance to show how you might have done it better! For those who are reading through LOTR along with the thread "A Long Expected Party" in the Books section, I thought it might be fun to discuss how each chapter might fit into the movie adaptations.

So. You are the screenwriter who must adapt the books. How will you do it? What stays and what goes in each chapter?

It's easy to see at a glance that the writers are already faced with a major challenge. The crucial Gandalf-Bilbo scene in Chapter One presupposes a knowledge of The Hobbit, something that many moviegoers won't have. How do we overcome this? And we obviously can't start the movie off with a twenty-minute party sequence -- we have to cram the whole Fellowship into a two to three hour movie.

I would say that the Gandalf-Bilbo scene is the one scene that we absolutely must have. We also need to set up Hobbits and the Shire, so we must have at least a condensed version of the party. But we won't have a chance to get to some much needed exposition about the Ring's history until we reach the Council of Elrond. This is a tough one.

This sounds like a clumsy solution, and I'm jumping ahead, but perhaps the movie might open near the Council -- maybe even at the fight at the Ford to start off with some action, and then during the Council, we can flash back, not only to the ring's history, but to the early chapters of the book, until we are caught up on all we need to know.

Another solution, one I like better and that might be more in keeping with the Prof's tone, would be to start off with some voice-over narration that could help us get out some exposition quickly. Our narrator might be Bilbo, looking back from after the War of the Ring and telling us the story. As a self-appointed chronicler, he seems a logical choice, and since he's removed for the most part from the events of the story, he could be our narrator when we need to get over tough spots through all three movies.

What's the first image? Maybe it's Gandalf trundling over a hill with a cartload of fireworks on his way to Bag End. Or -- even more appropriate -- a tight shot of the One Ring itself. Pull back, we're in Bilbo's hole in Bag End... Bilbo contemplates the ring, then pockets it... Jump in.
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Old 09-08-2000, 03:36 PM   #2
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<BR><br><br> Let's look at this mathematically. A typical blockbuster movie nowadays is about 2hrs 15 mins long. That's 135 minutes. The Fellowship of the Ring has 22 chapters (not including the prologue). That gives us only an average of 6:08 per chapter.<br> <br> Chapter 1 contains these main scenes:<br> 1) The Party<br> 2) Bilbo and Gandalf<br> 3) Frodo gives away gifts and chases off curious visitors<br> <br> Wow! That's a lot to fit into 6:08. And MisterHobbit is so right about Chapter 1 assuming a lot of knowledge from The Hobbit. Where would all of the pre-info fit in? There are many examples of this dilema that PJ will have to battle.<br> <br> Just for math's sake, let's say only 10% of the filmtime will be used for such educational recollections. That's 37 seconds, which leaves us with only 5:31 per chapter. Ack! Something's gotta go! But not something from this chapter. Everything is neccesary IMO. The additional time needed here will have to come from later chapters that involve lots of described travel. But that's another chapter.<br> <br> <p>The Barrow-Wight (RKittle)<br> I usually haunt <a href="http://www.barrowdowns.com">The Barrow-Downs</a> and The Barrow-Downs <a href="http://www.barrowdowns.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi">Middle-Earth Discussion Board</a>.</p>
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Old 09-09-2000, 07:08 AM   #3
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<BR> Re: A Long Expected Party -- The Movie</b><br><br> Sorry to jump ahead but I think PJ should cut the whole Caradhas scene and simply have Gandalf say to Aragorn that the pass has been choked with snow, as opposed to wasting(??) valuable film time having them actually go up there. That would save some time for more important(??) scenes such as in Chapter one. There are a few scenes like this (if I remember correctly) that could be cut to make room for some critical scenes. <p>"There is no God but what cannot be comprehended. There is nothing that cannot be comprehended, but what is not conceivable. There is nothing conceivable but what is immeasurable. There is nothing immeasurable but God. There is no God but what is not concievable." -Ganymede to Arthur</p>
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Old 09-09-2000, 10:29 PM   #4
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<BR> Re: A Long Expected Party -- The Movie</b><br><br> This is not so hard. Cut the presents; they aren't important. Personalities (especially the Sackville-Bs) can be established at the party. So can any necessary back-story; it can just be spoken by someone. This is stock dramaturgy. The main expository fill-in can occur in the hobbit-hole after the vanishing. Lot's of charm has got to go; no time. What's essential? You've got to make the Shire sympathetic so we care at the end, you've got to establish a few characters and a little situation. That's it. It will occupy more than 6 minutes. Others things will give way. There's too much walking around in the first book and lots of it will be condensed in the movie without great loss to the essential story. <p></p>
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Old 09-13-2000, 12:00 PM   #5
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<BR> Re: A Long Expected Party -- The Movie</b><br><br> Start the movie with a scene at The Green Dragon. Have several hobbits discussing the imminent party at Bag End. This scene wouldn't have to be too long, just enough to introduce hobbits to the uninitiated. It would also be a good way to describe Bilbo and Frodo from a 3rd person perspective. You could have Ted Sandyman (or someone else) talking about how Bilbo is very strange-- going off on &quot;adventures&quot; and how that isn't natural for hobbits. Talk about his &quot;There And Back Again&quot; journey and all the supposed treasure he has. <br> <br> This would set the scene for the party (which wouldn't need to be more than 4 minutes or so). I believe more attention should be paid to Chapters 1 and 2; Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil might have to be cut out if necessary.<br> <br> Just my $0.02.<br> <p></p>
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Old 09-13-2000, 12:46 PM   #6
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<BR> Re: A Long Expected Party -- The Movie</b><br><br> Bombadil is cut, we do not know about Maggot yet. <p></p>
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Old 09-13-2000, 12:50 PM   #7
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<BR> Re: A Long Expected Party -- The Movie</b><br><br> While I like your opening scene idea pretty well, set it in the Ivy Bush. <p></p>
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Old 10-10-2000, 02:58 AM   #8
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<BR> Re: A Long Expected Party -- The Movie</b><br><br> <blockquote><i>Quote:</i></b><hr> The crucial Gandalf-Bilbo scene in Chapter One presupposes a<br> knowledge of The Hobbit, something that many moviegoers won't have.<hr></blockquote><br> <br> Sure, many movie goers won't have read the Hobbit, but then, is the knowledge *that* neccessary? I know that I first read the Lord of the Rings without having read the Hobbit, and I didn't have any problems.<br> <br> Perhaps a better assumption would be that although not all movie-goers know about the Hobbit, they at least know that the film is all about a magic ring which has to be destroyed. From this base the Gandalf-Bilbo scene wouldn't be fully understood in full detail, but it would still make sense.<br> <br> Just a thought. <p></p>
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Old 10-31-2000, 10:21 AM   #9
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<BR> Re: Zoe</b><br><br> Zoe is right i also read the LoTR first and i didnt have any problems at all. i didnt even know what the book was all about (well, not exactly) and it was still fascinating for me how the story developed from just an unexpected party to such great happenings like the war of the ring.<br> i think its better not to know too much if you see the movies , its better to learn about the story as it developes. <p></p>
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