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Old 02-02-2008, 11:21 AM   #1
Lalwendë
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Pipe One Hobbit Good, Two Hobbits Bad

There's an interesting item on the Grauniad website here: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/film/200..._will_the.html

Now this brings up the real sticking point for me about the films of The Hobbit. That it's 'films', not 'film'.

Despite all the fun I have griping about the films of LotR, I did enjoy them as films. It was enjoyable if nerve wracking to finally see the books 'brought to life' as the cliche goes. Despite all this somewhere at the back of my mind and at the root of the films is the knowledge that they simply would not have existed without the books; they are not divisible from the original stories. The stories are the films.

It will be equally as enjoyable and nerve wracking to see a film of The Hobbit.

But as for this in-betweenie? No. It pushes the whole thing right over the brink from Hollywood into greedy Mammon. The word 'franchise' is used everywhere and rightly. The very concept of making this 'bridge' film is no more than another branch of Tesco, Starbucks or McDonalds in a long line of others. And that takes it right out of the magical world of Tolkien which was so special. Who feels the same?
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:00 PM   #2
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The fifth film really does smell a bit like it's only going to be made for the sake of money-making, along the lines of "As long as there's some material left that could make a buck or two, we're going to use it." It's a bit sad.

There surely is a decent amount of interesting material for that second film, but how all that is going to form a continuous storyline, with climax and everything, is a mystery to me. Yet worse, almost the entire dialogue would have to be written new by the screenwriters, who didn't do the best job at capturing Tolkien's language when inventing something for the LotR.

If they know a way to manage themselves through these obstacles, then, sure, why not? But I can't imagine they'll be able to. The film might turn out to be passable, but you have to think about how it is going to measure up to the other four films. It seems like even in the best case, the 'franchise' is going to end with a disappointment, especially for those who haven't read the books and don't know that the film-makers are working with source material which is, in all probability, unsuitable for such a film.

In another thread, somebody suggested that the Appendices would make a good 'Animatrix'-type collection of short films. I would very much prefer that.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:37 PM   #3
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Prudence dictates that it is best to judge the pie after it has been eaten.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:43 PM   #4
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Prudence dictates that it is best to judge the pie after it has been eaten.
Even if you already know the ingredients?
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:01 PM   #5
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Prudence dictates that it is best to judge the pie after it has been eaten.
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Even if you already know the ingredients?
Well, guys, if we use that simile, then consider these threads to be discussions of recipes! A very valid topic, yet reading a recipe cannot substitute for the actual experience of tasting the finished product. Therefore this is a preliminary to the meal - enjoy it for what it is. When we've eaten, we'll come back to discuss how it tasted!


Oh, and check out this thread for further discussion of the second film idea...
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:00 PM   #6
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Note, this is not about what it may or may not contain, it's about the 'ethics' of making such a film, about if it's a good idea or not.

For me, it's not a film I'm looking forwards to seeing at all. Unlike The Hobbit (even if it does turn out to feature a Greek chorus of eructating Dwarves) which I will certainly go and see.

It's odd. I lapped up the merchandise produced for the LotR films, even the dodgy content of books like Weapons & Warfare was something I could skim over just for the sheer fun of it all. It was all based on characters I loved, in situations I'd read about, in places I quite fancied visiting. An adventure. But I'm quite the opposite about the 'bridge' film. It feels like treading on Tolkien's grave somehow.

There isn't that sense of seeing a much-loved story brought to life.

Do we want to see Tolkien's stories on screen or just see more of Legolas and Galadriel like they're soap characters?

I'd be interested to know if anything similar has worked?
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:09 PM   #7
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Many beloved and great films have been made from a great deal less than the material contained in the LOTR appendicies. ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE was adapted from a holiday greeting card.
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:25 PM   #8
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Many beloved and great films have been made from a great deal less than the material contained in the LOTR appendicies. ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE was adapted from a holiday greeting card.
Hmmm, it was at least original though. I'm thinking about "spin-offs", which this will be. In the main, spin-offs are not great. One which does work is Torchwood, taken from Doctor Who, but then firstly they have the character of Captain Jack and John Barrowman's personality to use, and secondly, Doctor Who was always written by 'committee' anyway, and wouldn't exist independently of the TV scripts. Whereas Tolkien's world does exist independently and it comes from one mind.
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:36 PM   #9
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Well BELLS OF ST. MARYS was spun off from GOING MY WAY and that was pretty good. On tv we had MORK AND MINDY which was spun off from a one shot HAPPY DAYS appearance. And then there were a whole slew of successful shows spun off from both ALL IN THE FAMILY and MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.

Is that what you are looking for?

here is a rather lengthy list of TV spinoffs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sion_spin-offs

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Old 02-02-2008, 03:45 PM   #10
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Well BELLS OF ST. MARYS was spun off from GOING MY WAY and that was pretty good. On tv we had MORK AND MINDY which was spun off from a one shot HAPPY DAYS appearance. And then there were a whole slew of successful shows spun off from both ALL IN THE FAMILY and MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.

Is that what you are looking for?

here is a rather lengthy list of TV spinoffs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...sion_spin-offs
Not sure I know all those apart from Mork and Mindy (nanu nanu .... awesome ) and Happy Days. But like I say, TV spin offs and originals can't exist independently of the TV itself (same with films), but this Tolkien spin-off comes from something which already exists (i.e. Tolkien's stories), whether a film is made or not.

It's as if seeing the success of the Colin Firth Pride & Prejudice, the BBC decided to make a sequel...has that kind of thing been done before? Has it worked? Is it OK to do that?
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:46 PM   #11
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As far as I'm concerned, two films are better than one.

Perhaps the second one (and it does seem like there's little material to make a good full length movie) will be crap. This would of course be disapointing but it wouldn't take anything away from Tolkien's written works. People who enjoy reading the books can keep on enjoying them even if the movie fails to meet their high standards. Besides, a movie is something all together different from a book, and can't be judged by the same standards. So, the way I see it, if the second movie is poor, nothing is lost really, exept perhaps a moderate sum of money and a couple of hours of your precious time which you probably would have wasted anyway.

Then again, it just might be really good too. Even if much of it is invented by the filmmakers and not by Tolkien himself. Then all the better.

I really enjoyed the trilogy despite lots of flaws and quite annoying simplifications of the storyline. I expect to enjoy the coming movies as well.

One thing though, there isn't much Hobbit stuff in the appendixes, is there?
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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Lalwende....Maybe I am being dense but I do not completely get what you mean. And I am trying.

If a film is based on books or stories - like the Hobbit Bridge movie will be- then its a clear adaption regardless of how many dots need to be connected or additional dialogue written. ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE would be an example of something where the source material was rather brief and it had to be extensively rewritten and fleshed out.

Its is a spinoff like a TV show, you can look over the wikipedia list and see that - like most TV shows - most are forgettable. However, if you look at the ALL IN THE FAMILY and MARY TYLER MOORE spinoffs they were of good quality and successful.

My personal favorite was FERNWOOD TONIGHT which was a spinoff of MARY HARTMAN MARY HARTMAN in the early 70's. And then they spunoff AMERICA TONIGHT from that with a bigger budget and more big name stars. Excellent American TV from that period.

I think when you deal with adaptions or spinoffs, the old Sturgeons Law comes into play. Theodore Sturgeon the sci-fi writer said "90% of everything is crap".
But its the other 10% that we like to remember.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:02 PM   #13
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But this is what I mean - there is no story written for the 'bridge' film, nothing in the way of one of Tolkien's tales to adapt for the screen. All we have are a few notes and ideas, that's it. LotR and The Hobbit were/will be based on very well written stories, near perfect in terms of narrative structure. However the 'bridge' film has nothing like this and much of it will have to be invented - which is why I made an analogy to making a sequel to an adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Has there ever been anything like that which was successful? In other words, a broadly new story following on from a successful adaptation of a famous novel?
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:16 AM   #14
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Ok, so from the looks of this article it sounds like the first film is going to be strictly The Hobbit and the second is going to be connecting the dots in that "gap" between The Hobbit and LOTR? Do I have that right?

If so, there is one big problem I see, not that there is a lack of "filmable events," but the vagueness of those events and a lack of a story. There is a boat load of events that happen between The Hobbit and LOTR, but it is not a detailed story like The Hobbit or LOTR. Mostly it's just a listing, or summary, of things that happened in that "gap." I believe as Mac mentioned where's the dialogue going to come from? Not that Walsh and Boyens did that fantastic of a job with a script, but there was still a lot of dialogue at their disposal.

Another problem I see is if they are interested in making this a successful, watchable (which I'm not convinced they are), film than they will have to choose a main character to follow. Who will it be? Bilbo? Frodo? Aragorn? I will have no desire to see a film if they are just going to show all these events that bridge LOTR and The Hobbit. It will need to have a main character, support characters, the trials/conflicts of the main character, the growth of the main character, and a final resolution...pretty much I'm saying there will have to be a plot, or a purpose to the second film, and more than just "bridging a gap" if I will have any desire to see it.

Lal, you asked if there are any examples someone could think of where something like this has been done, and none really spring to mind. Or, not in the way that I think you (and the article in the Guardian) are thinking about. I'm sure there are cases out there, but right now nothing comes to mind. I will say though that I am reminded of what George Lucas attempted to do with Star Wars: Episode III and transitioning to Episode IV.

If you are familiar with those movies, the last 10 minutes or so of Episode III pretty much just bridge everything to Episode IV. Luke is sent to his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, Leia is taken in by Senator Organa, Obi-Wan stays on Tatooine to watch over Luke, we see Anakin's transformation from a human to Darth Vader (almost completely "machine"). And I really enjoyed Episode III (much more than I did The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars), but I found the last 10 minutes of Episode III all too unnecessary and a drag, because I already knew what happened. The story Lucas showed in Anakin's fall, his broken relationships with Padme and Obi-Wan, the rise of Emperor Palpatine was emotional and well done, but the end where Lucas was connecting the dots from III to IV I just thought was a waste of time. It was something that wasn't necessary and could have been cut.

If I am reading this correctly (and if this is indeed how the two films are going to be) I feel the same way as I did by the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. It's unecessary to "bridge the gap" between The Hobbit and LOTR, because we know how LOTR begins. If they want to foreshadow how things in The Hobbit lead up to LOTR, they can subtetly do that in the first film. There is no reason to make an entire second film to "bridge the gap."
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Old 02-10-2008, 09:28 AM   #15
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In another thread, somebody suggested that the Appendices would make a good 'Animatrix'-type collection of short films. I would very much prefer that.
Seconded. Now that could be seriously cool. (Although I found the "Animatrix" to be uneven.)
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:08 AM   #16
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The silmarillion (including chunks from BoLT, UT and HoME) would be amazing. Especially the ones that don't include the Ainur (As that would spoil it a bit), welll, maybe Beren and Luthien (But except that , no AInur)
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Old 02-10-2008, 04:03 PM   #17
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So, Boro, don't fancy sitting through three hours of Bilbo hiding from his neighbours with the tense point being the death of Frodo's parents? Nor me. The Star Wars analogy is spot on.

What really troubles me is that the reader needs absolutely NO extra information than what Tolkien gave us in both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings - he was saying "Move along, nothing to see here" and it worked. What's more, Jackson pulled off something very, very difficult in getting the 'prologue' scenes in Lord of the Rings to work, to convey all the information even the most casual viewer might need.

There's just nothing to add in there and that's what rankles.
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Old 02-10-2008, 04:53 PM   #18
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So, Boro, don't fancy sitting through three hours of Bilbo hiding from his neighbours with the tense point being the death of Frodo's parents? Nor me. The Star Wars analogy is spot on.
I do not think that focus has a snowballs chance of being the second movie.
Sauron, Dol Goldur, and the Council throwing him out of Mirkwood is what I would put my money on. That is far more interesting than Bilbo doing just about anything you can think of.
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Old 02-10-2008, 05:09 PM   #19
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Sauron, Dol Goldur, and the Council throwing him out of Mirkwood is what I would put my money on. .
Yeah, yeah, yeah, a bunch of wizards & Elves take on an evil Dark lord & his Orkish minions & gain a great victory ...or so they think!

Maybe they could get Terry Brooks to write the screenplay?

Honestly, Tolkien had enough smarts to realise that that kind of nonsense was only deserving of an entry in Appendix B & then turn to something more interesting instead. You merely confirm my suspicions that this 'sequel/prequel' will be aimed purely at the fanboys & Leggyboppers. Bloated, dumbed-down nonsense. If that's it - a two-hour sfx fest aimed purely at re-stocking New Line's bare coffers - then it would be best if all concerned just made a Sword of Shannara movie.

However, I'll just get off this particular bus now......
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Old 02-10-2008, 06:20 PM   #20
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from davem

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, a bunch of wizards & Elves take on an evil Dark lord & his Orkish minions & gain a great victory ...or so they think!

Maybe they could get Terry Brooks to write the screenplay?
Terry Brooks?!?!?!?!?!?
All these years I thought those ideas came straight from JRRTolkien himself?

Quote:
Honestly, Tolkien had enough smarts to realise that that kind of nonsense was only deserving of an entry in Appendix B & then turn to something more interesting instead.
What were those things "more interesting" that JRRT turned to after he wrote LOTR? You know much more than I do about the literary career of JRRT davem, but I was under another impression - that after producing LOTR, there were a bunch of rather unproductive months which stretched into years where it was lots of dickering and niggling at the edges of stuff he had alread wrote years ago but could never finish it for some reason. Or maybe you are referring to his love of Patience and wine?

Quote:
You merely confirm my suspicions that this 'sequel/prequel' will be aimed purely at the fanboys & Leggyboppers. Bloated, dumbed-down nonsense.
You praise me with great praise and I blush while thanking you. But really, do not let this humble servant confirm anything you may suspect. I know nothing about this and am only looking at reflections on the cave wall produced by a dimly lit campfire and my perspective is from rather far outside the cave and its rather a foggy night at that.

Is it possible to be so smugly superior and condescending about a film that does not yet even have an outline yet alone a script or cast? I beg your pardon for offering such a dumb question on my part.

Quote:
However, I'll just get off this particular bus now......
Looking forward to your return..... especially when we have more than just speculation to discuss.

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Old 02-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #21
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Actually, (Hobbit II?) could be rather good if they
made the theme Strider's Bio. You could fudge his
age by 10 years to make the first Arwen/Aragorn
meeting take place during Bilbo's trek, and then feature
Strider at Dol Guldur with the White Council and
his early adventures in Rohan and Gondor and below
Gondor (an exciting raid on the Harbor of Umbar
could be a feature). And hints of animosity between
that young lad Denethor and disguised Aragorn,
(with Gandalf around)?
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:27 AM   #22
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Tuor - that would be an excellent idea.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:08 PM   #23
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The point is that none of this would add anything to the story, even to the story as Peter Jackson sees it. Despite the flaws he introduced to the plot line and characterisation in the Rings films, he had at the end of it, a sound product with some integrity. Not Art, but very enjoyable nonetheless. He managed to pull off a Big Film because he already had the Big Story to use. That may work again with The Hobbit, but not with mere notes and scribblings to work with. And Jackson has more or less told us everything already anyway. So there is no point to this unless it's just to make more money as it will spoil what has already been done and what will be done in The Hobbit.
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:16 PM   #24
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Perhaps I am just a bit slower than others here or just do not have the experience that some others do with film since I have only been following it for five decades..... however, common sense seems to say that nobody can really know if a second film will be the greatest film in the history of the cinema or the worst thing since FREDDIE GOT FINGERED or GIGLI. Great movies have been made from holiday greeting cards. Anything is possible.

Some of this here is really spooky in fanatic sort of way. Some will concede that HOBBIT may be a good film since they have the book to go on. But there is no other book (for the second film) other than some shorthand version of events as jotted down by JRRT. So the conclusion is drawn that it is the book itself which will make or break the film.

An existing book written by JRRT = good movie.
Some ideas far short of a whole book from JRRT = bad movie.

First of all, somebody already made a TV film from HOBBIT and it certainly did not even come close to writing a new chapter in cinematic excellence. Second, really crappy books have been turned into good movies. FOREST GUMP comes to mind.
So why don't we wait and see before we start making announcements as if they came from the hieghts of Mt. Olympus?

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Old 02-11-2008, 03:13 PM   #25
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I would like to add that POC was taken from a Disney ride. So if a Disney ride can inspire three movies, whats to say Tolkiens work in the appendicies couldn't make a good movie?
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Old 02-11-2008, 04:58 PM   #26
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That Disney ride inspired one so-so movie and two really bad ones....
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:13 PM   #27
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To this whole bridge thing --- bad idea, in my opinion. Leave some things for the imagination!
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Old 02-11-2008, 08:47 PM   #28
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MatthewM, I heartily agree with you. I believe that anything the people at New Line could write would remain only footnotes between the two major events.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:33 PM   #29
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I would like to add that POC was taken from a Disney ride. So if a Disney ride can inspire three movies, whats to say Tolkiens work in the appendicies couldn't make a good movie?

There's no Jack Sparrow that I can recall from the Disney ride. It's a fun ride but there's nooo . . . . Johnny.

What is the artistic/aesthetic rationale for a two-flick Hobbit? It is merely to make more money? How can it be justified/explained in terms of story need?
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:26 AM   #30
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What is the artistic/aesthetic rationale for a two-flick Hobbit? It is merely to make more money? How can it be justified/explained in terms of story need?
That's just what I'm getting at! The story in itself is perfect with just The Hobbit and Rings - it's worked for millions of people so far so why does it need any extra padding?

Not that this will likely be an issue anyway now...
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:16 AM   #31
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That's just what I'm getting at! The story in itself is perfect with just The Hobbit and Rings - it's worked for millions of people so far so why does it need any extra padding?~Lal
To continue with the Star Wars analogy if I may...

It would be like if _________ (insert name of director) decided to make a movie in between The Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, filming the 20 (or however long it is) year gap between the two movies.

Let's forget about copyrights and all that legal stuff, why wouldn't some one attempt to insert another Star Wars movie between Episodes III and IV? Because there is no story, and one is not needed, to do so would being trying to suck every penny out of the successful franchise. Episode III told the story it wanted to tell, it shows Anakins fall to becoming Darth Vader and how Padme, the Jedi...etc were all caught up in it. Episode IV had another story to tell, who cares if it was ___ (insert number of years) later? To try to "force" a story showing those years of Luke and Leia growing up and Obi-Wan wandering a desert is pointless. It doesn't add to, nor does it matter, in the "big picture."

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I would like to add that POC was taken from a Disney ride. So if a Disney ride can inspire three movies, whats to say Tolkiens work in the appendicies couldn't make a good movie?~Quempel
Yes, but they had free reign to make up whatever story they wanted. Someone can come in and do a little potpourri of scenes from all the various events between The Hobbit and LOTR, but they will still have to put it together and make a story out of it. I think the point is that since there is no story, one is going to have to be "invented." However, just because they would use the same names and have it set in Middle-earth and call it The Lord of the Rings, doesn't make it The Lord of the Rings.

In an effort to bridge the two stories (TH and LOTR) I can imagine the wild inconsistancies that would arise. We saw what some of Jackson's tweakings did and how it caused inconsistancies within the movies themselves. Just give Hollywood reign to force a story, where there is none, and then you'll see inconsistant.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:32 AM   #32
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They make successful movies from notes on napkins, theme park rides, greeting cards, pop songs and heaven only knows what else was the inspiration for other successful and beloved movies. You do not need a completed 400 page book to make a good movie folks.

And for those of you offering these sage predictions of failure for that second movie, could you please throw a few date specific lottery numbers my way?

And for those invoking the evil god of making money - film studios are in business to make money. That applies to virtually every movie made outside of the rare artfilm made by somebody to show a few friends or win some festival recognition.
A movie being made to make money!!!!! I never.

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Old 02-12-2008, 08:58 AM   #33
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Certainly we can forecast based on historical data!

In the three existing movies, when PJ & Co attempted to insert 'original' material they made up, it was almost without exception bad. I think that's a reasonable basis for a prediction.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:06 AM   #34
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from WCH

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In the three existing movies, when PJ & Co attempted to insert 'original' material they made up, it was almost without exception bad. I think that's a reasonable basis for a prediction.
Would you be good enough to fill us in on the standards of measurement you or others are employing when you declare those three movies as "without exception bad"?
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:14 AM   #35
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STW, WCH didn't saying the movies were "without exception bad" (though I suspect he thinks so), he said the original material was "almost without exception bad". There is a difference.

I hope you two aren't going to start bickering yet again.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:22 AM   #36
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Yes, but they had free reign to make up whatever story they wanted. Someone can come in and do a little potpourri of scenes from all the various events between The Hobbit and LOTR, but they will still have to put it together and make a story out of it. I think the point is that since there is no story, one is going to have to be "invented." However, just because they would use the same names and have it set in Middle-earth and call it The Lord of the Rings, doesn't make it The Lord of the Rings.
Indeed, it would be that Lord of the Rings was just another brand name like Coke or Gap that could be sold to make more money. The reason people love Tolkien is that he gave us these great stories, why would people want to see something that wasn't one of his stories but had all the right Brand Names in place?

A lot of things that are good were halted at their height - Fawlty Towers, Father Ted, Mr Benn, etc. They never became stale or boring. Compare that with the ongoing flogging of a dead horse that you get from things like Mr Bean; even The Simpsons is way less harp than it used to be - they even have Ricky "I'm in everything" Gervais in it reprising his David Brent persona for the 1000th time.

A film of The Hobbit would be worthwhile. A film of random notes is pushing it way too far - like butter scraped over too much bread.

Maybe the thought of this morphing of the characters into mere brand names has been the straw which broke the Estate's back and they have finally laid the smack down?
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:25 AM   #37
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I am merely trying to understand the point being advocated by another.

Original material: so in the books the lighting of the beacons is merely mentioned as a quick almost cast aside reference. In the film Jackson took that short mention, fleshed it out, gave it detail and depth and turned it into moments of awe and beauty. Is that what you mean?

Or would it be the change in a character like taking Boromir of the books who many say is a rather unsympathetic character who borders on arrogance and haughtiness but in the films Jackson gave him a soul and feelings that touched audience members. Is that what you mean?

Just trying to understand.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:27 AM   #38
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I think they're going to film the Appendices. Wouldn't that be good!
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:43 AM   #39
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I think they're going to film the Appendices. Wouldn't that be good!
I actually like the way that Peter Jackson made the introduction to the Fellowship of the Ring with going through all the past history leading up to the War of the Ring. I actually wishe that he would have expanded on that part.

Yes, adding the Appendices to the film would be awsome, but than the fillm really shoudn't be called the Hobbit.
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:52 AM   #40
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I think they're going to film the Appendices. Wouldn't that be good!
I know there's a movie called The Ten Commandments, but has Leviticus ever been made into a movie?
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