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Old 08-31-2006, 07:44 PM   #1
Rune Son of Bjarne
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The Beard of Théoden

A scene that I really dislike in The movies, is when Gandalf "cures" Théoden from Saruman. The change that happens in Théoden's appearances is simply too dramatic. All of the sudden his hair is brushed and his huge beard pretty much disappears.

I personally imagined the change to be less dramatic. . . More like a man discovering he is not as old as he thought. He would straighten his back, speak with a clearer voice maybe gain some glimpse in his eye. I know that you need to do it a bit more dramatic for it to work on film, but what was done was simply silly.

Is it only me who found this scene to drastic ?
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:01 PM   #2
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Absolutely not! I thought the whole thing was too drastic, and slightly mis-conceived. I prefer the more subtle working of Grima whisperings over years to the demonic-like possesion of Saruman. If Saruman was in such control of Theoden, what did he need Wormtongue for?
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:24 PM   #3
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How could I forget that! You are so right, Grima is to no use in the film. Well exept being nasty and looking at Eowyn.
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:44 AM   #4
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no, we needed grima in the film as movie Theoden was in a stupor and not running his state. so therefore Saruman needed someone in his place to do his bidding.

I think we are caught between a rock and a hard place with these scenes. I've never been entirely happy with tolkien's change to theoden. Gandalf takes him aside and says a few words in private to him then asks him to go outside.

seems a bit 'flimsy' to say the least. whereas jackson has gone the whole hog and read Gandalf's private words to theoden being an exorcism. so we have gone from one extreme to the other to be honest.

But I think it works well 'movie' wise though in having theoden being 'possesed' by Saruman, and gandalf ridding him of this control.

yeah his hair changed back quickly I admit, but then we the whole story is about a magical ring that can make you invisible, so if I believe that I'll believe the change in appearence of Theoden!!!!
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Old 09-01-2006, 06:52 AM   #5
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Well, in principle this is exactly the sort of horror-movie Jackson importation that I loathe, detest, and condemn.

However, I have to admit I loved it and would never change it.

It provided what I found the most comic moment in the whole film trilogy-this exchange-

Gandalf: "The courtesy of your hall is somewhat lessened of late, Théoden King."

Grima: (like a condescending schoolmaster to a dimwitted pupil) "He is not welcome."

Théoden: "Whhhhhyyyy should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow?"

Grima: (like the said schoolmaster giving the said pupil a gold star) "A just question, my liege."

Cracks me up every time...
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Old 09-01-2006, 07:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
when Gandalf "cures" Théoden from Saruman
What I don't like about the scene, and the ones that follow it, is that Gandalf doesn't actually seem to have done more than a cosmetic cure.
Book-Theoden, once his malaise has been lifted, is helpful, positive and cheerfully ready for battle.
Quote:
a kindly old man
, as Gandalf described him.

In the film, the allegedly cured Theoden spends most of the Helms Deep battle sulking in the cellar, muttering surly, unhelpful comments that belong to the Saruman-infected book-Theoden.
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Old 09-01-2006, 08:06 AM   #7
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White Tree

I didn't like the 'exorcism' of Theoden, and the possession of Theoden with a little Saruman inside of him. Grima plays an important role in the deteriation of Theoden's health. Not only through corrupt and evil counsel, but also by administering poison:
Quote:
'may well have been induced or increased by subtle poisons, administered by Gríma. In any case Théoden's sense of weakness and dependence on Gríma was largely due to the cunning and skill of this evil counsellor's suggestions.'~Unfinished Tales, The Fords of Isen
The importance is places on Grima's counseling and an administering of poisons, that is taken away by Peter Jackson's take on Saruman posessing Theoden.

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I personally imagined the change to be less dramatic. . . More like a man discovering he is not as old as he thought. He would straighten his back, speak with a clearer voice maybe gain some glimpse in his eye. I know that you need to do it a bit more dramatic for it to work on film, but what was done was simply silly.~Rune
I think that is fairly accurate, for it still describes Theoden as having 'old and wrinkled' hands. However, he is no longer bent over, and looking as if he's got one foot in the grave. He stands up to his 'full height' and I believe there is a mention of a 'glimmer' in his eyes. Theoden is still an old King, but instead of being bent over and looking like Death itself, he is tall, strong, and renewed.
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Old 09-01-2006, 01:11 PM   #8
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The change that happens in Théoden's appearances is simply too dramatic. All of the sudden his hair is brushed and his huge beard pretty much disappears.

I personally imagined the change to be less dramatic. . . More like a man discovering he is not as old as he thought. He would straighten his back, speak with a clearer voice maybe gain some glimpse in his eye.
Well, as a reader of the books, of course you would feel that way. But subtlety was never meant for cinema. Everything must be overdone, otherwise the more ignorant audience would not understand the true condition of Theoden.

Perhaps we ought to ask a non-reader if they thought the scene was overdone.

Quote:
In the film, the allegedly cured Theoden spends most of the Helms Deep battle sulking in the cellar, muttering surly, unhelpful comments that belong to the Saruman-infected book-Theoden.
I agree. The one thing I was always bothered about Theoden was his constant negativity not only throughout TTT, but also into RotK...
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Old 09-02-2006, 01:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brinniel
Well, as a reader of the books, of course you would feel that way. But subtlety was never meant for cinema. Everything must be overdone, otherwise the more ignorant audience would not understand the true condition of Theoden.
I disagree. There are plenty of movies I've seen and have not read the books that I hope weren't dumbed down for me. Likewise, all my family and friends that have seen LOTR haven't read it and they are capable of following along.
I do agree that something a little bit more has to be done for the reason that movies are mostly visual, and books can always have background info written in and that's not always possible in a movie.

I do like the possesion/excorcism of Theoden but less would have been more, the straightening up, clearer voice, etc. that Rune brings up. If something more had to be put in perhaps, clearing of the eyes (as if he had cataracts) and being disheveled in his possessed state than next scene(dinnertime) he is clean-implying in between he had sense to bathe and groom himself.
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Old 09-04-2006, 04:24 PM   #10
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I too find that Théoden only seem to be half cured of Saruman in the movies, but for some reason it has never haunted me. Wich is weird, when I can get upset over how fast a guy can remove another guys beard.

Anyways. . .
The points made by Broromir and Lalaith, reminded me of another thing that bothers me about Théoden. His age or rather that he looks very young in the movies.

Have this been brought up before? We have had the Boromir and Legolas discutions, but what about Théoden ?

The fact that he is described as a kindly old man and with old and wrinkled hands, always made me picture him grandfatherish. Now in the movies he looks fairly young to me. He is deffenitly not 71 years (as Encyclopedia of Arda just told me) Théoden is.
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Old 09-04-2006, 05:52 PM   #11
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White Tree

Well the actor that plays him Bernard Hill, would have been approaching 60, but he didn't even look 60 in the movies. They must have given Mr. Hill a wig, or just dyed his hair, because his hair (in real life) is grey. Which I think contributes to the rather young looking Theoden. Had I not known Theoden's age from the books, I would have guessed he was about 50.
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Old 09-04-2006, 11:18 PM   #12
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I think Brinniel alludes to the problem I see. I don't particularly like this scene but understand why it was done.

For the reading audience we have many pages, a chapter perhaps, to get an understanding of the true condition, you can be told the emotions of the character in the book but are not visually shown. That is the major problem in translating literature into cinema, there are certain emotions or thoughts that cannot be acted. This scene is a prime example of that point. There is no way for Bernanrd to 'act' possessed or poisoned as we learn in the book so to make up for it PJ must do some special effects to compensate.

While I'm not overly fond of this scene I think that all in all it was a required element and done well given the medium but generally it is this field of emotions that the cinema looses when translating from a book.
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Old 09-05-2006, 05:16 AM   #13
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would everyone be happy if PJ had filmed the scene as it was in the book?

Gandalf speaks a few words in his ear, leads him outside in the Sun and that's it?

It would have been closer to the book I grant you, which is 99% of the time a good thing, but some things don't work on screen as they do in a book. It is a totally different medium
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Old 09-05-2006, 08:21 AM   #14
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I agree it wouldn't have worked it would(in my opinion) made theoden look gulllible and an idiot I mean this version(again on film) makes it look like theoden believes everything you tell him and was easily twisted as h was easily cured
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Old 09-06-2006, 04:33 PM   #15
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I thought Peter Jackson did a great job of the curing of Theoden .

It also must be said that PJ's entire transposition of a wonderful book in to a wonderful set of films was second to none .
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Old 09-06-2006, 06:18 PM   #16
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would everyone be happy if PJ had filmed the scene as it was in the book?
Not at all. In fact I think PJ does a decent job I just don't like this scene in general. This, as I stated, is something where change was required to remain coherent. I have no proposed method of improving upon it but that doesn't change my general feeling that it was not a favorite aspect of mine...perhaps it was a bit over dramatic is all. However, if it wasn't done so I'm not sure the essence would have been captured.
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:06 PM   #17
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Originally posted by mormegil:
For the reading audience we have many pages, a chapter perhaps, to get an understanding of the true condition, you can be told the emotions of the character in the book but are not visually shown. That is the major problem in translating literature into cinema, there are certain emotions or thoughts that cannot be acted. This scene is a prime example of that point. There is no way for Bernanrd to 'act' possessed or poisoned as we learn in the book so to make up for it PJ must do some special effects to compensate.
Couldn't be better said.

For years now, I've read and understood others' complaints about changes in the movies, but as a future filmmaker myself, I can't help but view the situation from PJ and the writers' perspectives. In the process of adapting a novel to screen, there is almost always a reason why something has been changed, even as much as we hate it.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:36 AM   #18
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It is not that the scene ruins the movies for me in any way and I fully understand that you cannot be true to the book, but I still think it looks kind of ridcules when ever I watch that scene.

As I am not a film maker I do not know how to make it different, but is that not what characterize us critics. Never ever pressenting an alternative. . .
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:22 AM   #19
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and that has been one of my main gripes over the last few years on this site

in my honest view you shouldn't criticise a particular movie scene against the book unless you have an alternative. just to say a scene is rubbish is not really much of a statement

to say WHY it was rubbish at least takes you part way to coming up with an alternative and I must concede that at least this is better than just saying 'it's useless'

I always find myself fighting the corner for the movie makers because of the constant bad press the movie gets from quite a few avid book readers. For me the films will never beat the books, but they are still 3 of the best movies ever made. The filmakers make bad decisions, but at least in some ocasions in the commentary they try to explain their reasoning behind the 'changes' - some I agree with some I do not, but I still try to see it from a movie maker's perspective.

this is the main thing I've learnt about movie adaptation over the past few years critiquing the movies on this site - its given me a broader view of what issues/problems movie makers have with adaptations.
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:35 PM   #20
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I'm not a fan of this scene persay, but like most of the ones changed from the book, I've grown to like it and appreciate it. My dad is a bigger purist than I am, and he loves it; can't figure out why. I think it effectively shows how deeply Saruman's claws are in Rohan, and it also gives an opportunity to show the enhancing of Gandalf as the new White Wizard. For the theatrical editions, this scene really takes the place of the Voice of Saruman scene, in terms of showing that a Gandalf who was beaten and imprisoned by Saruman, is now more powerful than him.
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:53 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essex
in my honest view you shouldn't criticise a particular movie scene against the book unless you have an alternative. just to say a scene is rubbish is not really much of a statement
I agree that it is preferable to have an alternative, but the matter of fact is that PJ chose to make his interpretation of LotR. When he do so, I and everybody else has the right to criticise the interpretation. We did not chose to make our interpretation, therefore you cannot ask of us to have an alternative way to make the scene.

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to say WHY it was rubbish at least takes you part way to coming up with an alternative and I must concede that at least this is better than just saying 'it's useless'
Agreed

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I always find myself fighting the corner for the movie makers because of the constant bad press the movie gets from quite a few avid book readers. For me the films will never beat the books, but they are still 3 of the best movies ever made. The filmakers make bad decisions, but at least in some ocasions in the commentary they try to explain their reasoning behind the 'changes' - some I agree with some I do not, but I still try to see it from a movie maker's perspective.

this is the main thing I've learnt about movie adaptation over the past few years critiquing the movies on this site - its given me a broader view of what issues/problems movie makers have with adaptations.
It never hurts to see it from the movie makers perspective. . . I try to do so. But I do not accept all changes the movies, just because it would be difficult to make them work on film.

When you make a book into a movie, then you should try very hard to be true to it. If you just make changes when it becomes difficult, then what is the point in making the movie.

I believe that everybody is entitled to having an opinion about the films and to state this. Even if they don’t have the faintest Idea about how to make a movie and what works well in a book, but is rubbish in a movie.

(general statements)
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Old 09-10-2006, 02:44 PM   #22
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yes, you need to be tru to the book as possible. But let's take the first Harry Potter movie as an example.

Almost exactly the same as the book (but abridged of course) - and in my opinion the movie suffers greatly because it's a lift and shift from the book.

My answer to this criticism is that they should have made it more like the last couple of movies that were much more entertaining (in my opinion)

I would love to try a lift and shift from the lotr books to a visual mode. But this would require 54 hours of work (ive taken that from the amount of time the audio unabridged version is)

that is impossible in 3 movies. So what should we do - cut huge swathes of the story out or abridge it and try to stay true to the story?

In the vast majority of cases, the movie makers got it right. yes, there are a few occasions where I grimace (mainly at how they show gimli esp in rotk) - then I say they did a marvellous job.
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