Greetings. This is my first post here, although I've been a passive reader of these boards for quite a few years. I've finally been moved to become a member here by the insane debates that I've been participating in over at TORN. As many of you know, TORN is generally a place where "film-philes" go, and where purists like me seem to be in short supply. Okay, all fine, but recently I've been stunned at the standards of debate going on over there, especially in relation to all these changes that are apparently going on in order to LOTR-ify The Hobbit. People are offering all sorts of maddening excuses, but fundementally they seem to be questioning the efficacy of adapting the Hobbit in any faithfull way to begin with.
Even if they don't realise it, they're espousing the same kind of philosophy that we heard spout from the mouth of Phillipa Boyens in the Appendix disks.
How do we respond to these kinds of arguments. Go over and have a look at the TORN boards if you like, but check out this forum; it encapsulates what I've been saying:
Welcome indeed, and you might go to Eldorion for some well-reasoned ammunition.
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~- I am in too great doubt to rule. To prepare or to let be? To prepare for war, which is yet only guessed: train craftsmen and tillers in the midst of peace for bloodspilling and battle: put iron in the hands of greedy captains who will love only conquest, and count the slain as their glory? Will they say to Eru: At least your enemies were amongst them? Or to fold hands, while friends die unjustly: let men live in blind peace, until the ravisher is at the gate? What then will they do: match naked hands against iron and die in vain, or flee leaving the cries of women behind them? Will they say to Eru: At least I spilled no blood? 'When either way may lead to evil, of what worth is choice? Let the Valar rule under Eru! - Tar Meneldur [UT 2 II:173-174]
From: Amsterdam, Netherlands | Registered: Sep 2005
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"The Necessities of Adaptation This argument runs, essentially, that the fact that some changes must be made during adaptation is a carte blanche for the filmmakers, explaining any alterations in the name of necessity. Both the writers for Jackson’s films and fan revisionists commonly use this argument."
Maybe if one is a slave to stupidity, but typically I can think of a dozen ways to be true to the book-- but then that requires one understand the book; those who make and defend the films, typically don't. For example, I can think of absolutly no necessity whatsoever, which could possibly have inescapably compelled the inclusion of "Dwarf-tossing--" though the one named Peter Jackson I would have gladly accepted, preferably from the highest mountain-peak on site.
[ 12-26-2010, 05:13 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]
From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010
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Exactly, and I never cease to be surprised at the sheer survivability of this particular meme (changes are necessary because book to film; ergo, all changes can be explained away) despite its obvious intellectual vacuity.
Invariably at places like ToRN, people who defend the films insist on making ever more sophisticated versions of the argument by twisting logic and affording all sorts of erroneous excuses for why certain changes were "necessitated".
From: Canberra, Australia | Registered: Dec 2010
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I'm reminded of this exchange from Saruman in The Council of Elrond, whereby we see that truth is indeed stranger than fiction:
quote: “The Elder Days are gone. The Middle Days are passing. The Younger Days are beginning. The time of the Elves is over, but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see. ‘ “And listen, Gandalf, my old friend and helper!” he said, coming near and speaking now in a softer voice. “I said we, for we it may be, if you will join with me. A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Númenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.” ‘ “Saruman,” I said, “I have heard speeches of this kind before, but only in the mouths of emissaries sent from Mordor to deceive the ignorant.
I.e. the designs justify the changes-- and the ignorant eat it up and beg for more.
It's pure reverse-snob modernism, whereby they disdain the social-messages that the values and themes espoused in Tolkien's literature are ignorant and passé; it's the age-old trend by which stability was denounced as stagnation, and values were believed to represent bondage rather than simply value.
Agitators typically appeal to ignorance as a value in itself, by deriding traditional values in this manner-- similar, interestingly, to the manner in which Sauon appealed to Ar-pharazon, claiming that the Valar were simply lying to him in order to keep him from siezing immortality as his right: i.e. basically killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Here, Jackson gives the opposite message of the book, showing that that one doesn't need courage, faith or expertise, or even wisdom and dignity, but rather to reject of all these things as tricks by those in power, and they need to be ignored and driven out as fools-- similar to the manner in which secularists destroyed all order in the early 20th centuries, and the whole world went to hell in the communist and liberal revolutions.
But at least they didn't claim "faith" to those values! Virtually every value is either reversed, or twisted; Gandalf not only says not to kill Gollum, but doesn't even want him captured! and kept safe-- something that even "the Hunt for Gollum" got right, for all its other flaws. In the movie, Gollum isn't even sought by Gandalf, let alone questioned and imprisoned; no, he's free to blunder around into enemy hands, and tell them everything he knows-- a clear message by PJ of "bleeding-heart justice," put in Tolken's mouth.
Here, PJ turns Tolkien's simple espousal against capital punishment, with an all-out carte-blanche to set the little bastards free to commit more crimes, even at the expense of military secrecy! And so it's only telling, when Gandalf-- despite all token "faith to the book," becomes a complete rejection of this treatment in Letter #210:
quote:Gandalf, please, should not 'splutter'. Though he may seem testy at times, has a sense of humour, and adopts a somewhat avuncular attitude to hobbits, he is a person of high and noble authority, and great dignity. The description on I p. 2391 should never be forgotten [i.e. "Frodo looked at them in wonder, for he had never before seen Elrond, of whom so many tales spoke; and as they sat upon his right hand and his left, Glorfindel, and even Gandalf, whom he thought he knew so well, were revealed as lords of dignity and power... his long white hair, his sweeping silver beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. In his aged face under great snowy brows his dark eyes were set like coals that could leap suddenly into fire"].
And so Jackson is "true to the book;" it's "never forgotten," since PJ obviously never knew it. Instead, Gandalf becomes something of a joke, as well as an anti-hero cliché; even when facing the balrog, he presents not a stern angelic lord (think Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments"), but a screaming, raving old lunatic (think Dr. Frankenstein).
Also consider the most telling desecration, regarding the symbolism between authority and wisdom in the book:
quote: What is this, my lord?’ said the wizard. ‘The houses of the dead are no places for the living. And why do men fight here in the Hallows when there is war enough before the Gate? Or has our Enemy come even to Rath Dínen?’ ‘Since when has the Lord of Gondor been answerable to thee?’ said Denethor. ‘Or may I not command my own servants?’ ‘You may,’ said Gandalf. ‘But others may contest your will, when it is turned to madness and evil. --The Pyre of Denethor
But in the film, authority becomes simply the office of bureauctratic fools, who need to be mocked and cast out by the pseudo-wise-- pure texbook socialism and related idolatry. In the book, meanwhile, Theoden says it best when he tells Saruman that "were you ten times as wise, you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired".
So the three monkeys are clearly puppet-stooges for these social-messages, and only ignorance and arrogance can allow them to think that they were faithful to the Tolkien, via the various mental gymnastics at which such minds excel.
And that's just the least of it.... it gets worse from there, as I've expanded in the Purist Rage thread and other threads regarding the outright rejection and mockery of every value presented in the book.
This rabid knee-jerk defense of such changes, is the same sheep-mentality which trades liberty for security. The sad thing is, this type of arrogant folly went out with the 70's with the ousting of Jimmy Carter for Ronald Reagan.
[ 01-02-2011, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]
From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010
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With the Peter/Phillipa/Fran triumvirate of 'masterminds' (who won the Academy Award for best screenplay adaptation*) on the project again, what can we realistically expect?
These are the same folks who who were going to send Arwen to Helm's Deep** with Haldir's co., and who planned to have Sauron appear in the last battle at the Morannon*** in a burst of light wearing his fair and "angelic" Annatar form before suddenly shifting back into his armored Dark Lord form and engaging Aragorn in melee combat!!!
So yes don't be surprised if Arwen is sent with the Dwarves (in a fusion/hybrid/homage of Snow White with the Hobbit), has an affair with Gloin, and secretly gives birth to Gimli at the end of the film!
As with the trilogy, there will be some scenes in these new films which will please everyone, and some that will not, so hardcore purists brace yourselves! There is however no point getting one's nickers in a twist for a faithful adaptation. Accept that it isn't going happen and enjoy what you can of it! Life's too short to spend lots of personal time being upset at the Jackson Three.
*= Apparently the Academy doesn't read books and only watches movies.
**= Two Towers Extended Edition bonus features ***= No joke -see partial scene in Return of the King Extended Edition bonus features
Here's my take on it: do no harm when doing a film adaptation. Don't destroy authorial intent, don't change fundamental themes/characterizations/plots, etc.
BUT: If you must do an adaptation and feels the creative need to eff with the source, it better be a damn good one. I'm thinking of the totally whacked out John Boorman LOTR script from the early 70s. The one in which Gimli gets beaten for the Moria password, Galadriel has sex with Frodo, and other bizarro digressions.
... Yeah, I'm not kidding... But it's Boorman. And however much of a crazy deconstruction/insult to the book, I bet it would have been pretty damn interesting to watch. (That said, if one has such creative impulses, then write your own script! Which is pretty much what Boorman/Pallenberg did with Excalibur).
At least [/i]The Hobbit[/i] isn't as thematically dense as LOTR. But that may mean more for the Wingnut Trio to screw with.
I wonder if creative differences (instead of scheduling) was the real reason Del Toro left the production... I can see him more interested in mining the archetypes and subtext, making parts of it seem more dark and fairy tale-like: Gollum, the trolls, the wolves and goblins as age-old horrors manifest in our cultural psyche.
Instead, we'll get a neo-hippie road movie with at least 12 times the chances for fart jokes, a Twilight-esque Elvish romance that's borderline slash fiction, and FRIKKIN TIN WHISTLE MUSIC!!!!!
From: Vinya-Tárilos | Registered: Aug 2004
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Being a strict capitalist, I don't mind the money-angle: I realize that "it's not my train-set." However I am also of the belief that people pay more for quality, and they know crap when they see it. LotR was a purile adolescent pulp-film, and so its hype and fanfare was extremely short-lived; meanwhile a faithful adaptation would be an instant classic, and would easily out-earn the Potter films (which I originally believed it would, before I learned that the plot, rather than the moral, was based on "Deliverance").
quote: BUT: If you must do an adaptation and feels the creative need to eff with the source, it better be a damn good one. I'm thinking of the totally whacked out John Boorman LOTR script from the early 70s. The one in which Gimli gets beaten for the Moria password, Galadriel has sex with Frodo, and other bizarro digressions.
In the PJ film, Denethor gets beaten by Gandalf for control of Minas Tirith, Aragorn practically has sex with Eowyn (and a horse), and far more bizarro digressions than the other scripts combined-- particularly since it's expressly stated that Sauron thinks Pippin has the Ring, but Sauron never thinks that Aragorn has it even after he looks in the palantir! No, it's all about Sauron not wanting a king among men-- obviously forgetting the story title! (And I mean Lord of the Rings," not "Return of the King." Sauron just wanted his fricking RING back, he couldn't have cared less about some dipstick with a stupid fairy-crown!)
But in the end, the Ring ceased to matter... as did all logic or reason.
quote: (That said, if one has such creative impulses, then write your own script! Which is pretty much what Boorman/Pallenberg did with Excalibur).
And what PJ did with LotR. Obviously you're forgetting the one key factor: MONEY. If they wrote their own story, they would lose money, and wouldn't get a dime in backing to even start it. Obviously they only want the story for its salvage-value, not its soul.
quote: At least [/i]The Hobbit[/i] isn't as thematically dense as LOTR. But that may mean more for the Wingnut Trio to screw with.
As well as to arrogantly disdain Tolkien's original intent, like they did in LotR, saying "it's even stupider."
quote: I wonder if creative differences (instead of scheduling) was the real reason Del Toro left the production... I can see him more interested in mining the archetypes and subtext, making parts of it seem more dark and fairy tale-like: Gollum, the trolls, the wolves and goblins as age-old horrors manifest in our cultural psyche.
I can't imagine anyone in Hollywood turning down tens of millions for reasons of integrity-- let alone someone whose hame literally means "from the bull."
quote: Instead, we'll get a neo-hippie road movie with at least 12 times the chances for fart jokes, a Twilight-esque Elvish romance that's borderline slash fiction, and FRIKKIN TIN WHISTLE MUSIC!!!!!
Rumour has it the film will include this scene:
Three very large persons sitting round a very large fire of beech-logs. They were toasting Peter Jackson on long spits of wood, and licking the gravy off their fingers. There was a fine toothsome smell.
Or was I just dreaming a wonderful dream again?
From: The Niagara Frontier | Registered: Jan 2006
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Interesting to read this thread... I, personally, enjoyed [most, but definitely not all of] the Lord of the Rings movies, but I am absolutely dreading the "adaptation" of The Hobbit. I will probably see both parts at least once (it doesn't feel fair critiquing it if I haven't seen it), but I do not expect to like them and will almost certainly not watch them in the theater.
From: Home. For now. | Registered: Apr 2003
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quote: Three very large persons sitting round a very large fire of beech-logs. They were toasting Peter Jackson on long spits of wood, and licking the gravy off their fingers. There was a fine toothsome smell.
From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000
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