Jackson's Dwarves are smarter Dwarves

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Steuard Jensen

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Jul 25, 2011, 9:25:19 PM7/25/11
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A few days ago, I watched one of the behind the scenes production
videos for the new /Hobbit/ movie. One topic mentioned was that they
have gone to a lot of trouble to give the various Dwarves distinct
fighting styles. That seems sensible to me: one of the biggest
challenges in filming /The Hobbit/ is that the 13 Dwarves can seem
pretty redundant at times.[1] (They've also given them all very
distinct looks, perhaps most notably in beard styles.)

But to illustrate the different fighting styles, they showed the
filming of a big green-screen battle sequence labeled "Trollshaws". A
whole bunch of Dwarves charged in at once and started attacking big
punching bag things that I assume were standing in for the Trolls. My
immediate reaction was, "Hey, wait, that's not right! Awwww, as
usual, Jackson has warped the book to create yet another big battle
scene." I rolled my eyes, and started to worry about just how many
other unnecessary fight scenes he was going to cram in.

But then I paused and thought about it for a minute. In the book, the
scene with the Dwarves getting bagged by the Trolls is utterly
ridiculous. I mean, sure, if Bilbo disappears they could send a single
Dwarf to look for him. But the thought that the whole troop of them
would walk up one at a time is quite simply impossible to believe.
Thorin and Co. weren't always brilliant, but they weren't suicidal!
After Bilbo and one Dwarf failed to report back, they should have
known something was wrong and taken advantage of their numbers. (I
could imagine sending one, then two or three, but after that the rest
shouldn't have split up for any reason.)

Reading the book, I suspect that it's possible to overlook the
insanity of what's being described just because it's brushed over
fairly quickly in the text. But I don't think it would work on film at
all. So despite the fact that it plays right into some of my biggest
complaints about Jackson's style, I think I support what this change
appears to be. (In fact, if I were a historian in Middle-earth, I'd
probably hypothesize that something of the sort was what really
happened, and chalk up the story in the book to Bilbo trying to write
a better story.)

What do the rest of you think?

Steuard Jensen


P.S. Just under three weeks ago, my wife and I had a wonderful little
daughter. I'm not sharing too many details in fully public places like
this one, but we're delighted (if sleep deprived).


[1] Having just reread /The Hobbit/ recently, I might suggest the
following "distinct Dwarves":

{Thorin}: leader,
{Bombur}: fat,
{Balin}: lookout,
{Fili, Kili}: young,
{Oin, Gloin}: tinderboxes,
{Dwalin, Bifur, Bofur, Dori, Nori, Ori}: filler??

It's quite possible that I've neglected another notable distinction,
but I doubt that I've missed two. (I'm not counting "different musical
instruments" as significant, for the record, nor am I considering
differences that aren't mentioned until LotR.)

Glenn Holliday

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Jul 25, 2011, 10:46:01 PM7/25/11
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On 7/25/2011 9:25 PM, Steuard Jensen wrote:
> (In fact, if I were a historian in Middle-earth, I'd
> probably hypothesize that something of the sort was what really
> happened, and chalk up the story in the book to Bilbo trying to write
> a better story.)

Also, sending reinforcements out singly is too much like
Gandalf's business of introducing them one or two at a time
to Beorn. It comes across as trying to use the same gag a
second time, and lessens the ability of the sequence with Beorn
to work or to be funny. It's probably a good choice to approach
the trolls more realistically, and keep the gag for Beorn.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Glenn Holliday

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Jul 25, 2011, 10:50:33 PM7/25/11
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On 7/25/2011 9:25 PM, Steuard Jensen wrote:

> P.S. Just under three weeks ago, my wife and I had a wonderful little
> daughter. I'm not sharing too many details in fully public places like
> this one, but we're delighted (if sleep deprived).

Congratulations. May the Jensenlings live long and prosper.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Paul S. Person

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Jul 26, 2011, 12:57:26 PM7/26/11
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On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
<ste...@slimy.com> wrote:

>A few days ago, I watched one of the behind the scenes production
>videos for the new /Hobbit/ movie. One topic mentioned was that they
>have gone to a lot of trouble to give the various Dwarves distinct
>fighting styles. That seems sensible to me: one of the biggest
>challenges in filming /The Hobbit/ is that the 13 Dwarves can seem
>pretty redundant at times.[1] (They've also given them all very
>distinct looks, perhaps most notably in beard styles.)

I'm beginning to wonder if this is really on topic.

Yes, JRRT's works are on topic. All of them.

Yes, adaptations of JRRT's works are on topic.

But is this an adaptation? Or more of a deliberate attempt to
completely rewrite the story?

>But to illustrate the different fighting styles, they showed the
>filming of a big green-screen battle sequence labeled "Trollshaws". A
>whole bunch of Dwarves charged in at once and started attacking big
>punching bag things that I assume were standing in for the Trolls. My
>immediate reaction was, "Hey, wait, that's not right! Awwww, as
>usual, Jackson has warped the book to create yet another big battle
>scene." I rolled my eyes, and started to worry about just how many
>other unnecessary fight scenes he was going to cram in.

There is no point to worrying about an atrocity that cannot be
prevented by anything short of a total economic meltdown. And who
would want that just to stop production of a movie?

>But then I paused and thought about it for a minute. In the book, the
>scene with the Dwarves getting bagged by the Trolls is utterly
>ridiculous. I mean, sure, if Bilbo disappears they could send a single
>Dwarf to look for him. But the thought that the whole troop of them
>would walk up one at a time is quite simply impossible to believe.
>Thorin and Co. weren't always brilliant, but they weren't suicidal!
>After Bilbo and one Dwarf failed to report back, they should have
>known something was wrong and taken advantage of their numbers. (I
>could imagine sending one, then two or three, but after that the rest
>shouldn't have split up for any reason.)

I think the Dwarves behaved /exactly/ as JRRT wanted them to.

If they behaved like idiots, it is because they /were/ idiots. At
least at that point in the book.

Perhaps they underwent significant character development while
imprisoned by the Wood Elves. Or something.

>Reading the book, I suspect that it's possible to overlook the
>insanity of what's being described just because it's brushed over
>fairly quickly in the text. But I don't think it would work on film at
>all. So despite the fact that it plays right into some of my biggest
>complaints about Jackson's style, I think I support what this change
>appears to be. (In fact, if I were a historian in Middle-earth, I'd
>probably hypothesize that something of the sort was what really
>happened, and chalk up the story in the book to Bilbo trying to write
>a better story.)

Or perhaps he couldn't see what was happening very well -- wasn't he
in a sack by that time himself?

<snippo, and congratulations>

>[1] Having just reread /The Hobbit/ recently, I might suggest the
>following "distinct Dwarves":
>
>{Thorin}: leader,
>{Bombur}: fat,
>{Balin}: lookout,
>{Fili, Kili}: young,
>{Oin, Gloin}: tinderboxes,
>{Dwalin, Bifur, Bofur, Dori, Nori, Ori}: filler??
>
>It's quite possible that I've neglected another notable distinction,
>but I doubt that I've missed two. (I'm not counting "different musical
>instruments" as significant, for the record, nor am I considering
>differences that aren't mentioned until LotR.)

The Rankin-Bass (I hope I got that right) version also used garment
and (IIRC) beard colors. The sets of brothers tended to look more like
each other than like the other Dwarves, to the point where some looked
like twins (which they may have been, in the book, I don't recall).

The good news here is that we will actually /see/ 12 Dwarves. Since
"12 Dwarves" isn't an Action Sequence, it is, of course, of secondary
importance to PJ.
--
"'If God foreknew that this would happen,
it will happen.'"

Noel Q. von Schneiffel

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Jul 28, 2011, 10:39:49 AM7/28/11
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On Jul 26, 6:57 pm, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
wrote:

> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
>
> <steu...@slimy.com> wrote:
>
> >But to illustrate the different fighting styles, they showed the
> >filming of a big green-screen battle sequence labeled "Trollshaws". A
> >whole bunch of Dwarves charged in at once and started attacking big
> >punching bag things that I assume were standing in for the Trolls. My
> >immediate reaction was, "Hey, wait, that's not right! Awwww, as
> >usual, Jackson has warped the book to create yet another big battle
> >scene." I rolled my eyes, and started to worry about just how many
> >other unnecessary fight scenes he was going to cram in.
>
> There is no point to worrying about an atrocity that cannot be
> prevented by anything short of a total economic meltdown. And who
> would want that just to stop production of a movie?

(raises a finger)
Me!

Would that not be a small price to pay for preventing such a horrible
sin? What are "economy" and worldly possessions good for anyway? What
counts in the end is how much you respected Tolkien and lived
according to his teachings.

I *am* working on that meltdown, by the way. John Boehner is an actor
whom I hired to sabotage the US debt talks. He was on PJ's wish list
to play Denethor, but got dumped in the last possible moment for
looking too sane, which is why he burns with such a hate against
Jackson that he will do anything to scuttle the economy and hence the
film's completion. I find him useful.

Noel

tenworld

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Jul 28, 2011, 11:30:21 AM7/28/11
to
On Jul 26, 9:57 am, Paul S. Person <psper...@ix.netscom.com.invalid>
wrote:

> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
>
> <steu...@slimy.com> wrote:
> >A few days ago, I watched one of the behind the scenes production
> >videos for the new /Hobbit/ movie. One topic mentioned was that they
> >have gone to a lot of trouble to give the various Dwarves distinct
> >fighting styles. That seems sensible to me: one of the biggest
> >challenges in filming /The Hobbit/ is that the 13 Dwarves can seem
> >pretty redundant at times.[1] (They've also given them all very
> >distinct looks, perhaps most notably in beard styles.)
>
> I'm beginning to wonder if this is really on topic.
>
> Yes, JRRT's works are on topic. All of them.
>
> Yes, adaptations of JRRT's works are on topic.
>
> But is this an adaptation? Or more of a deliberate attempt to
> completely rewrite the story?
>
to quote the King of the Rohan: "And so it begins"

NY Teacher

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Jul 28, 2011, 12:11:32 PM7/28/11
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"Glenn Holliday" wrote in message news:j0l9pb$8k4$1...@speranza.aioe.org...

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org


Considering that Gandalf introduced the dwarves one or two at a time to
Bilbo at the start of the book, the gag is a bit overdone by the end.

NYT

Stan Brown

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Jul 28, 2011, 1:47:22 PM7/28/11
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On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:11:32 -0400, NY Teacher wrote:
> Also, sending reinforcements out singly is too much like
> Gandalf's business of introducing them one or two at a time
> to Beorn. It comes across as trying to use the same gag a
> second time, and lessens the ability of the sequence with Beorn
> to work or to be funny. It's probably a good choice to approach
> the trolls more realistically, and keep the gag for Beorn.

Just another data point: I never connected the two till you mentioned
it.

I'm pretty sure there's some classic work of literature or mythology
that depends on he same procedure Gandalf used to introduce the
dwarves to Bjorn, but I can't remember it. Does anyone know?


--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://mysite.verizon.net/aznirb/mtr/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/faqget.htm

Paul S. Person

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Jul 29, 2011, 12:40:20 PM7/29/11
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On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 13:47:22 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:

>On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:11:32 -0400, NY Teacher wrote:
>> Also, sending reinforcements out singly is too much like
>> Gandalf's business of introducing them one or two at a time
>> to Beorn. It comes across as trying to use the same gag a
>> second time, and lessens the ability of the sequence with Beorn
>> to work or to be funny. It's probably a good choice to approach
>> the trolls more realistically, and keep the gag for Beorn.
>
>Just another data point: I never connected the two till you mentioned
>it.
>
>I'm pretty sure there's some classic work of literature or mythology
>that depends on he same procedure Gandalf used to introduce the
>dwarves to Bjorn, but I can't remember it. Does anyone know?

A brief search of /The History of The Hobbit/ didn't turn up anything
relevant, although consideration of Beorn himself produces a
discussion of Bothvar Bjarki, just as Beorn's Hall produces a
reference to the hall in /Beowulf/.

This doesn't mean it isn't in there, somewhere; just that I didn't
find anything.

Glenn Holliday

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Jul 29, 2011, 11:23:15 PM7/29/11
to
On 7/28/2011 1:47 PM, Stan Brown wrote:
> On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:11:32 -0400, NY Teacher wrote:
>> Also, sending reinforcements out singly is too much like
>> Gandalf's business of introducing them one or two at a time
>> to Beorn.
>
> Just another data point: I never connected the two till you mentioned
> it.
>
> I'm pretty sure there's some classic work of literature or mythology
> that depends on he same procedure Gandalf used to introduce the
> dwarves to Bjorn, but I can't remember it. Does anyone know?

I'd have to spend some time looking for an example, but thinking
about it again, it seems like the sort of structure you'd see in
a fairy tale. As NYT points out, Tolkien actually uses the technique
three times. I suspect he is intentionally using it as he does
other techniques that make The Hobbit more fairy-tale-ish than
Tolkien's more mythic-styled works.

--
Glenn Holliday holl...@acm.org

Ronald O. Christian

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Jul 30, 2011, 2:37:15 AM7/30/11
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On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
<ste...@slimy.com> wrote:
>What do the rest of you think?

Well, I think the purists will be out for your blood. Fortunately,
cuddling the original novels doesn't lead to any great grappling
strength, so you're probably going to be ok.


Ron
-
2003 FLHTCUI "Noisy Glide"
http://www.christianfamilywebsite.com
http://www.ronaldchristian.com

Clams Canino

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Jul 30, 2011, 7:20:38 PM7/30/11
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"Ronald O. Christian" <ro...@europa.com> wrote in message news:mh9737l3mn6hait1p...@4ax.com...

> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
> <ste...@slimy.com> wrote:
> >What do the rest of you think?
>
> Well, I think the purists will be out for your blood. Fortunately,
> cuddling the original novels doesn't lead to any great grappling
> strength, so you're probably going to be ok.

Try bench lifting the Red Book of Westmarch before you make such a broad statement!

But seriously, it will come down to a discussion of "changes".
ie what changes were "tolerable" and what was "unforgivable".

I plan to read the hobbit directly before attending the film.
This, to insure that my overall enjoyment of the film is diminished by my keen awareness of the alterations. :)

-W


Steve Hayes

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Jul 30, 2011, 10:04:45 PM7/30/11
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When Gandalf used it, it worked.

When the dwarves tried it on their own, it didn't.

Gandalf used used it:

1. to soften up Bilbo
2. to soften up Beorn

to get them to do something they might otherwise have resisted.

The dwarves were not trying to soften up the trolls.

It wasn't a matter of smarter dwarves, it was a smarter hobbit.


--
Steve Hayes
Web: http://hayesfam.bravehost.com/litmain.htm
http://www.goodreads.com/hayesstw
http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Methodius

Steve Morrison

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Jul 31, 2011, 12:28:15 PM7/31/11
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Stan Brown wrote:

> I'm pretty sure there's some classic work of literature or mythology
> that depends on he same procedure Gandalf used to introduce the
> dwarves to Bjorn, but I can't remember it. Does anyone know?


The closest thing I can think of is "The Three Billy Goats Gruff";
but that's not very close at all. Neither /The Annotated Hobbit/
nor /The History of The Hobbit/ offers any suggestions, either.
Still, I can't quite shake the feeling that these scenes must have
had some kind of antecedent somewhere.

Troels Forchhammer

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Jul 31, 2011, 3:57:02 PM7/31/11
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In message <news:WSfYp.27591$js7....@newsfe01.iad>
"NY Teacher" <nyte...@upstate.ny> spoke these staves:

>
> "Glenn Holliday" wrote in message
> news:j0l9pb$8k4$1...@speranza.aioe.org...
>>
>> On 7/25/2011 9:25 PM, Steuard Jensen wrote:
>>>
>>> Reading the book, I suspect that it's possible to overlook the
>>> insanity of what's being described just because it's brushed
>>> over fairly quickly in the text.

Yes. The first two, perhaps -- after all it was that useless Hobbit
they had sent out at first, and he probably just got stuck with his
foot in a rabbit-hole and fainted, but after the first couple of
/Dwarves/ didn't return, they should have been aware that something was
amiss and have come up as a group.

However, this scene fits well with the narrative style of Tolkien's
children's story: there is a sense of nonsensical lightheartedness to
the story (Dwarven beard-colours, the instruments the Dwarves
apparently carried with them to Bag End, the speaking troll-purse, the
frolicsome Elves etc. etc.) that is, to me, a part of the book's charm,
even if it is also part of what makes the book so difficult to really
reconcile with /LotR/ and /Silm/.

>>> But I don't think it would work on film at all.

Well, I'm not sure it would worse than in the book, but then I am
probably not the right person to say -- I am no good at visual story-
telling: for me the enchantment is in the words themselves, not in any
images that they may conjure in the minds of others.

>>> So despite the fact that it plays right into some of my biggest
>>> complaints about Jackson's style, I think I support what this
>>> change appears to be.

I think -- also based on what little I have seen of the pictures that
have been released -- that Jackson is going to make at least one
fundamental change: his film is /not/ going to be a children's story,
much less a children's story with the kind of light-hearted and
frolicsome frivolity that characterizes Tolkien's story. This, I think,
is unavoidable, since the film is inevitably going to be marketed as a
prequel to his Rings trilogy, and so will (according to conventional
market wisdom) have to be in the same narrative style.

>>> (In fact, if I were a historian in Middle-earth, I'd probably
>>> hypothesize that something of the sort was what really
>>> happened, and chalk up the story in the book to Bilbo trying
>>> to write a better story.)
>>
>> Also, sending reinforcements out singly is too much like
>> Gandalf's business of introducing them one or two at a time
>> to Beorn. It comes across as trying to use the same gag a
>> second time, and lessens the ability of the sequence with Beorn
>> to work or to be funny. It's probably a good choice to approach
>> the trolls more realistically, and keep the gag for Beorn.
>

> Considering that Gandalf introduced the dwarves one or two at a
> time to Bilbo at the start of the book, the gag is a bit overdone
> by the end.

Which of course makes it a kind of running joke ;-)

Why not go the other way, and introduce a couple of additional scenes
of this type -- make this the (rather ludicrous) standard tactics of
the Dwarves or something. Imagine the Dwarves being introduced to
Elrond in this way -- and make it the way they get caught by the wood-
elves :-D

. . . or perhaps not ;-)

--
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com>
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

To make a name for learning
when other roads are barred,
take something very easy
and make it very hard.
- Piet Hein, /Wide Road/

Stan Brown

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Jul 31, 2011, 8:46:18 PM7/31/11
to

Me to. I remember reading the Beorn chapter and thinking of a
specific myth that it was echoing, but now I can't remember what that
myth was.

I still don't see that as the same sort of story as the trolls
episode. In the myth I'm thinking of, a key element was just as it
was in the Beorn chapter: to ensure a welcome for pairs of guests
where a whole troop arriving at once would have been most unwelcome.

Ronald O. Christian

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Aug 1, 2011, 2:11:27 AM8/1/11
to
On Sat, 30 Jul 2011 19:20:38 -0400, "Clams Canino"
<cc-m...@earthdink.net> wrote:

>
>"Ronald O. Christian" <ro...@europa.com> wrote in message news:mh9737l3mn6hait1p...@4ax.com...
>> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
>> <ste...@slimy.com> wrote:
>> >What do the rest of you think?
>>
>> Well, I think the purists will be out for your blood. Fortunately,
>> cuddling the original novels doesn't lead to any great grappling
>> strength, so you're probably going to be ok.
>
>Try bench lifting the Red Book of Westmarch before you make such a broad statement!

Well, yes, assuming it actually existed, it might have been fairly
heavy. As a mental exercise, that probably doesn't build up the
triceps overmuch.

>But seriously, it will come down to a discussion of "changes".
>ie what changes were "tolerable" and what was "unforgivable".

But see, you used "tolerable" and "changes" in the same sentence,
which means you could actually consider the concept, (no matter how
unlikely) which makes you not a purist.

>I plan to read the hobbit directly before attending the film.
>This, to insure that my overall enjoyment of the film is diminished by my keen awareness of the alterations. :)

Everyone ... um ... enjoys movies in their own way. I guess.

I have a copy of The Hobbit in the bookcase by my bed. Although I
re-read the trilogy before the movies came out, I will not re-read the
hobbit. The reason is, the book, -c'mon, let's face it- is written in
a light and fluffy ...dare I say silly... manner that detracts from a
decent and sometimes melancholy and sometimes frightening story, and I
don't want that narrative fresh in my head when I see the film.
Because, you see, I didn't enjoy The Hobbit anything like I enjoyed
Lord of the Rings, but I could see that there was a good story in
there. I'm hoping that in the movie, the silliness is kept to a dead
minimum. For example, we don't need a twentieth repetition of the
overly alliterative list of dwarf names. It wasn't funny the first
time.

...and for writing that, the purists who have been exercising their
mental image of themselves by bench pressing a fictional tome will no
doubt be planning evisceration.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 1, 2011, 12:06:23 PM8/1/11
to
On Sun, 31 Jul 2011 23:11:27 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
<ro...@europa.com> wrote:

>I have a copy of The Hobbit in the bookcase by my bed. Although I
>re-read the trilogy before the movies came out, I will not re-read the
>hobbit. The reason is, the book, -c'mon, let's face it- is written in
>a light and fluffy ...dare I say silly... manner that detracts from a
>decent and sometimes melancholy and sometimes frightening story, and I
>don't want that narrative fresh in my head when I see the film.
>Because, you see, I didn't enjoy The Hobbit anything like I enjoyed
>Lord of the Rings, but I could see that there was a good story in
>there. I'm hoping that in the movie, the silliness is kept to a dead
>minimum. For example, we don't need a twentieth repetition of the
>overly alliterative list of dwarf names. It wasn't funny the first
>time.

I don't plan to read /TH/ before seeing the movies either.

I made that mistake with /FOTR/. It took three viewings before I was
actually watching the movie instead of noticing divergences.

OTOH, by all reports, the film is going to be so totally different
from the book that it might not matter -- the film may be so different
that there is nothing to compare.

In which case it would be off-topic here, like any other film clearly
unrelated to any work by JRRT.

Ronald O. Christian

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Aug 1, 2011, 1:09:21 PM8/1/11
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2011 09:06:23 -0700, Paul S. Person
<pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

>I don't plan to read /TH/ before seeing the movies either.
>
>I made that mistake with /FOTR/. It took three viewings before I was
>actually watching the movie instead of noticing divergences.
>
>OTOH, by all reports, the film is going to be so totally different
>from the book that it might not matter -- the film may be so different
>that there is nothing to compare.
>
>In which case it would be off-topic here, like any other film clearly
>unrelated to any work by JRRT.

Oh c'mon, we both know that's hyperbole. Knowing nothing (so far)
except the (a) name of the film(s), (b) the names of the characters,
(c) the creative team involved and what they've done before, (d)
photos of costume tests (the dwarves are currently my PC background)
and (efg) several other things, it's abundantly clear that Jackson and
company are making a film based on Tolkien's "The Hobbit". Note I'm
not saying it will be good or bad, just that there is adequate proof
that a film of the novel is being made.

Now, unless one's measure of "any other film clearly unrelated to any
work by JRRT" is "Gandalf didn't bump his head in the book!!!!!!!!"
(and if so, we don't have a lot to talk about), most reasonable people
would consider the film, no matter how flawed it might end up being,
to be a film based on the book.

Now again, The Hobbit was not my personal favorite of Tolkien's works,
and I think it would benefit from a more grim take, closer to the feel
of Lord of the Rings (the book). But that's just my opinion. I don't
want to see another Rankin-Bass-type film again as long as I live. My
teeth still ache from the last one.

tenworld

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Aug 1, 2011, 1:11:42 PM8/1/11
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On Jul 28, 10:47 am, Stan Brown <the_stan_br...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
> On Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:11:32 -0400, NY Teacher wrote:
> > Also, sending reinforcements out singly is too much like
> > Gandalf's business of introducing them one or two at a time
> > to Beorn.  It comes across as trying to use the same gag a
> > second time, and lessens the ability of the sequence with Beorn
> > to work or to be funny.  It's probably a good choice to approach
> > the trolls more realistically, and keep the gag for Beorn.
>
> Just another data point: I never connected the two till you mentioned
> it.
>
> I'm pretty sure there's some classic work of literature or mythology
> that depends on he same procedure Gandalf used to introduce the
> dwarves to Bjorn, but I can't remember it.  Does anyone know?
>
> --
> Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
>                                  http://OakRoadSystems.com
> Tolkien FAQs:http://Tolkien.slimy.com(Steuard Jensen's site)

I think its from Little Big Man, only its sisters of his wife:)

Ronald O. Christian

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Aug 1, 2011, 2:52:16 PM8/1/11
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2011 10:09:21 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
<ro...@europa.com> wrote:

>Now again, The Hobbit was not my personal favorite of Tolkien's works,
>and I think it would benefit from a more grim take, closer to the feel
>of Lord of the Rings (the book). But that's just my opinion. I don't
>want to see another Rankin-Bass-type film again as long as I live. My
>teeth still ache from the last one.

Before this comment gets leapt-upon, I should say that I'm quite aware
that the R-B version had many of the songs verbatim from the text and
made an effort to faithfully reproduce things like the Elvish runes. I
maintain that this doesn't in and of itself make it a good movie. It
also had a stellar voice cast, and that didn't seem to help either.
Except Richard Boone as Smaug. His scenes were a brilliant gem stuck
in a lump of too-sweet frosting. But anyway.

Stan Brown

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Aug 1, 2011, 4:13:21 PM8/1/11
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On Mon, 01 Aug 2011 10:09:21 -0700, Ronald O. Christian wrote:
> it's abundantly clear that Jackson and
> company are making a film based on Tolkien's "The Hobbit".
>

We must mean very different things by "based on". It's obvious that
he's throwing out much of the plot and, again, intruding his own
discordant elements.

I think it wold be more accurate to say that his is a Peter Jackson
story that includes some characters inspired by /The Hobbit/.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com

Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)

Ronald O. Christian

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Aug 1, 2011, 5:30:27 PM8/1/11
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On Mon, 1 Aug 2011 16:13:21 -0400, Stan Brown
<the_sta...@fastmail.fm> wrote:
>We must mean very different things by "based on". It's obvious that
>he's throwing out much of the plot and, again, intruding his own
>discordant elements.

I would like to see your proof that he's throwing out much of the
plot. I guess, for completeness, I should ask what you mean by
"much". The reason for this request is that for some, the fact that
it's a movie of any kind, is enough in and of itself to claim that
it's some kind of abomination that should be prevented from existing
at all costs. (See articles earlier in this thread.) This, (not
knowing where one stands on whether a movie should exist at all) makes
it difficult to have a conversation.

So you know where I'm coming from, I have no problem with a movie
existing, (including that abomination from 1977) even in the unlikely
event that I choose not to see it. Addressing plot points
specifically, I would not be ok with leaving out Beorn or the trolls.
On the other hand, I'd be thankful for each song they left out,
starting with the "breaking plates" song. But that's just me.

>I think it wold be more accurate to say that his is a Peter Jackson
>story that includes some characters inspired by /The Hobbit/.

I don't think we have enough information at this stage to state that
with authority, besides "it's a movie called The Hobbit". (eek!)

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 1, 2011, 6:42:33 PM8/1/11
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In message <news:MPG.28a0d2eb5...@news.individual.net>
Stan Brown <the_sta...@fastmail.fm> spoke these staves:

>
> On Mon, 01 Aug 2011 10:09:21 -0700, Ronald O. Christian wrote:
>>
>> it's abundantly clear that Jackson and company are making a film
>> based on Tolkien's "The Hobbit".
>
> We must mean very different things by "based on".

I would take it to mean (actually to both of you) pretty much the
same as it does in the sentence, 'Peter Jackson and company made
three films based on Tolkien's /The Lord of the Rings/' . . . ;-)

> It's obvious that he's throwing out much of the plot and, again,
> intruding his own discordant elements.

That is more or less an integral part of the process of adaptation,
it seems. I think that Corey Olsen (also known by his /kilmessi/,
'the Tolkien Professor') is entirely correct when he praises
Jackson's films while pointing out that they tell a different story
from Tolkien's books that happen to different characters from
Tolkien's. That is pretty much the situation, and that is at it
should be. It is, I think, a tribute to how close Jackson's films are
to Tolkien's book that I often find myself unable to regard the films
as such -- my knowledge of Tolkien's story interferes and
occasionally destroys my enjoyment of the film (to my regret!).

> I think it wold be more accurate to say that his is a Peter Jackson
> story that includes some characters inspired by /The Hobbit/.

It is certainly a Peter Jackson et Al. story that is happening to
Peter Jackson et Al. characters. The story and the characters will,
of course, have a large surface similarity to Tolkien's story and
Tolkien's characters (such as names and visual appearance), but since
this is Jackson's art, it is only right that he tells his own story
and create his own characters for it. Those of us who are then unable
to separate the two stories because of their surface similarities may
then lament this inability since it will, for us, seriously detract
from our enjoyment of Jackson's story, but I would stress that this
is no fault of Jackson's.

The only thing that I can really fault Jackson for with respect to
the three films based on /The Lord of the Rings/ is that he tried to
lure us into the cinema with a lie when he made claims about being
true to Tolkien's themes and stating that it should be _Tolkien's_
films, not the film makers'. I really ought to have known better, and
I feel a bit stupid for actually believing him, but there you are --
I did.

--
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com>
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

"He deserves death."
"Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve
death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to
them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in
judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."
- Frodo and Gandalf, /The Fellowship of the Ring/ (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 2, 2011, 4:00:50 AM8/2/11
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In message <iqld37d0km9fh1dt4...@4ax.com>, Ronald O

Christian <ro...@europa.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 01 Aug 2011 09:06:23 -0700, Paul S. Person
><pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
>>In which case it would be off-topic here, like any other film clearly
>>unrelated to any work by JRRT.

> Oh c'mon, we both know that's hyperbole. Knowing nothing (so far)

> except [snip]

(Pssst! You don't need to actually spend time justifying the claim
that Paul's statement is hyperbole. It's a ridiculous statement from
the get-go.) (Note that I'm only comfortable calling it ridiculous
because I'm pretty sure Paul knows it is, too.)

Steuard Jensen

Geza Giedke

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Aug 2, 2011, 9:05:29 AM8/2/11
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Troels Forchhammer schrieb am 02.08.2011 00:42:
> It is certainly a Peter Jackson et Al. story that is happening to
> Peter Jackson et Al. characters. The story and the characters will,
> of course, have a large surface similarity to Tolkien's story and
> Tolkien's characters (such as names and visual appearance), but since
> this is Jackson's art, it is only right that he tells his own story
> and create his own characters for it. Those of us who are then unable
> to separate the two stories because of their surface similarities may
> then lament this inability since it will, for us, seriously detract
> from our enjoyment of Jackson's story, but I would stress that this
> is no fault of Jackson's.

Of course it is! He should have made any movie he liked (about warriors,
warrior-wizards, and warrior princesses with as much comic relief as he
saw necessary), called his characters, for all I care, Bingo, Trotter,
Moxie, Gandolt, Pipsqueak or Peter and not abused the Books to fill the
void in his head with pieces of half-understood story and background and
Tolkien's name to lure unsuspecting people into his sad excuses of
fantasy films.

> The only thing that I can really fault Jackson for with respect to
> the three films based on /The Lord of the Rings/ is that he tried to
> lure us into the cinema with a lie when he made claims about being
> true to Tolkien's themes and stating that it should be _Tolkien's_
> films, not the film makers'.

right on! Fact is that PJ had to leech on Tolkien genius to make people
pay big bucks for his mediocre ideas and poor storytelling. In the
process he confused and bewildered a whole generation of potential
lovers of the Books planting outrageous plot-twists and mutilated quotes
in their minds.
As has been stated here before, PJ's works are an abomination, but
unfortunately the evil cannot be wholly cured or made as if it had not
been. This has ever been the fate of Arda Marred:
"`Always after a defeat and a respite the Movie takes another shape and
rises again.' -- 'I wish it need not have happened in my time! I wish
it had never been made, and that I had not seen it.'"

regards
Geza

--
Now come ye all,
who have courage and hope! My call harken
to flight, to freedom in far places!
Lays of Beleriand

Paul S. Person

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Aug 2, 2011, 12:11:34 PM8/2/11
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This is true.

It may turn out that the characters in the movie and the characters in
the book have only one thing in common -- their names.

It may turn out that the characters in the movie were not inspired by
or related to the characters in the book at all.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 2, 2011, 12:19:53 PM8/2/11
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Ridiculous or not, the topic ("is PJs /TH/ on-topic just because it
has the same name as the book by JRRT") itself is certainly on-topic,
whether the film turns out to be or not.

And, of course, until both films are seen, it will not be possible to
say for sure whether they are on-topic, or only their on-topic-ness is
on-topic.

I mean, suppose they turn out to be based on /Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs/, with six of the 13 Dwarves being the wives of 6 of the 7
Dwarves and Bilbo replacing Snow White, Smaug the Evil Queen, and
Gandalf showing up at the end like Prince Charming? Would such a film
be on-topic in r.a.b.t?

Ronald O. Christian

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Aug 2, 2011, 4:27:50 PM8/2/11
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Perhaps, but realistically, I'm pretty sure you will be able to
identify many plot elements, character traits and dialog (hopefully
not songs) from the book.

Unless you don't want to.

Ronald O. Christian

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Aug 2, 2011, 4:30:27 PM8/2/11
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On Tue, 02 Aug 2011 09:19:53 -0700, Paul S. Person
<pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:


>Ridiculous or not, the topic ("is PJs /TH/ on-topic just because it
>has the same name as the book by JRRT") itself is certainly on-topic,
>whether the film turns out to be or not.

The thing is, "just because it has the same name as the book" is so
patently unlikely for most values of intellectual honesty that the
topic qualifies as a work of fiction in and of itself, requiring a new
group in which to reside. Lessee, what shall we call it?

tenworld

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Aug 2, 2011, 4:49:20 PM8/2/11
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To deny that LOTR or TH cannot claim to be based on Tolkien's books is
both peevish and naive. Whether you like Peter Jackson's interpretion
or not, the characters, the venue and much of the story line is
directly from the books. If you rated all the movies produced by
Hollywood on a scale of 1-10 where 1=no connection other than the
title, then PJ is closer to 8 than 1.

Look at Tom Clancy novels. The first movie THfRO was probably a 9,
but the Sum of all Fears kept the main character name and the title
and was both a horrible movie and a poor adaptation (1 or even 0).
Disney's version of Davy Crockett (much as I love it) is not an
accurate interpretation of the real person (who preferred to be called
David) or many of the events, but that doesnt mean its not really
based on the historical person.

I get it that many readers here did not like PJ's version (I have
issues with some of what he did myself, but I enjoy the movies) but be
honest - you could not have visualized many of the scenes in movies
better than what he did (the Riders of Rohan cavalry charge is my
favorite).

Sandman

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Aug 2, 2011, 6:31:17 PM8/2/11
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In article <slrnj2s5rv...@steuard.local>,
Steuard Jensen <ste...@slimy.com> wrote:

> A few days ago, I watched one of the behind the scenes production
> videos for the new /Hobbit/ movie. One topic mentioned was that they
> have gone to a lot of trouble to give the various Dwarves distinct
> fighting styles. That seems sensible to me: one of the biggest
> challenges in filming /The Hobbit/ is that the 13 Dwarves can seem
> pretty redundant at times.[1] (They've also given them all very
> distinct looks, perhaps most notably in beard styles.)
>
> But to illustrate the different fighting styles, they showed the
> filming of a big green-screen battle sequence labeled "Trollshaws". A
> whole bunch of Dwarves charged in at once and started attacking big
> punching bag things that I assume were standing in for the Trolls. My
> immediate reaction was, "Hey, wait, that's not right! Awwww, as
> usual, Jackson has warped the book to create yet another big battle
> scene." I rolled my eyes, and started to worry about just how many
> other unnecessary fight scenes he was going to cram in.
>
> But then I paused and thought about it for a minute. In the book, the
> scene with the Dwarves getting bagged by the Trolls is utterly
> ridiculous. I mean, sure, if Bilbo disappears they could send a single
> Dwarf to look for him. But the thought that the whole troop of them
> would walk up one at a time is quite simply impossible to believe.
> Thorin and Co. weren't always brilliant, but they weren't suicidal!
> After Bilbo and one Dwarf failed to report back, they should have
> known something was wrong and taken advantage of their numbers. (I
> could imagine sending one, then two or three, but after that the rest
> shouldn't have split up for any reason.)


>
> Reading the book, I suspect that it's possible to overlook the
> insanity of what's being described just because it's brushed over

> fairly quickly in the text. But I don't think it would work on film at
> all. So despite the fact that it plays right into some of my biggest


> complaints about Jackson's style, I think I support what this change

> appears to be. (In fact, if I were a historian in Middle-earth, I'd


> probably hypothesize that something of the sort was what really
> happened, and chalk up the story in the book to Bilbo trying to write
> a better story.)
>

> What do the rest of you think?

Well, they way it's written in the book is one of the many "fairy
tale" styles Tolkien used in this book. Since it's a children story,
the events takes place in a way where a child would be most intrigued
by it. That's not to say that it's simplistic or dumb, it's just
another way to render the same events as a more realistic approach
would.

The classic old stories do this all the time, talking about those big
ears, the big hands, the big mouth instead of the wolf just devouring
here there and then. If told as a parent to the kids, it get's a whole
lot more interesting (again, to the child).

Plus, the events that follow, with Gandalf doing his ventriloquist
party trick to delay the trolls for them to turn into stone - also
very accessible as a told story for younger children.

While I won't comment on whether the events you saw really depict this
scene in the book (I'm sure PJ can cram one or two troll fights
outside of this event if he wanted to), I sincerely hope the film
version won't follow the book version in this instance. :)


--
Sandman[.net]

Steve Hayes

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Aug 2, 2011, 9:28:59 PM8/2/11
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On Tue, 2 Aug 2011 13:49:20 -0700 (PDT), tenworld <t...@world.std.com> wrote:

>To deny that LOTR or TH cannot claim to be based on Tolkien's books is
>both peevish and naive. Whether you like Peter Jackson's interpretion
>or not, the characters, the venue and much of the story line is
>directly from the books.

Yer WHAT?

Taemon

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Aug 3, 2011, 5:42:38 AM8/3/11
to
Ronald O. Christian wrote:

> The thing is, "just because it has the same name as the book" is so
> patently unlikely for most values of intellectual honesty that the
> topic qualifies as a work of fiction in and of itself, requiring a new
> group in which to reside. Lessee, what shall we call it?

I like you :-) (That was not a suggestion for a name.)

T.


Paul S. Person

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Aug 3, 2011, 12:55:47 PM8/3/11
to
On Tue, 2 Aug 2011 13:49:20 -0700 (PDT), tenworld <t...@world.std.com>
wrote:

>To deny that LOTR or TH cannot claim to be based on Tolkien's books is


>both peevish and naive. Whether you like Peter Jackson's interpretion
>or not, the characters, the venue and much of the story line is
>directly from the books. If you rated all the movies produced by
>Hollywood on a scale of 1-10 where 1=no connection other than the
>title, then PJ is closer to 8 than 1.

1) /LOTR/ is not the issue. I agree that PJ's /LOTR/ can be called an
adaptation of JRRT's /LOTR/ -- at least, it can if you forget as much
of JRRT's /LOTR/ as possible before watching it. And, on a scale of
1-10, as an adaptation, PJ's /LOTR/ is, overall, about a 5; the
physical setting (that is, Middle-Earth itself) is a 10 or very close
to it; the characters average about 3, although if a few are
considerably higher, many are much worse. As a story, it is about 1:
on an extremely abstract level it looks something like JRRT's story,
but at any level of detail is clearly is not. Overall, it simply is
not JRRT's story.

2) Since PJ's /TH/ is not out yet, it is premature to assert that it
is an adaptation of JRRT's /TH/. However, since JRRT's book is a
fairly short children's book, and PJ's /TH/ will, it appears, be
neither short nor a children's film, it seem unlikely that it will be
an adaptation, even by the very broad standard that allows PJ's /LOTR/
to claim that status with respect to JRRT's /LOTR/. And, if it is not
an adaptation, it may not be on-topic in r.a.b.t.

>Look at Tom Clancy novels. The first movie THfRO was probably a 9,
>but the Sum of all Fears kept the main character name and the title
>and was both a horrible movie and a poor adaptation (1 or even 0).

Actually, /The Sum of All Fears/ managed to tell the story of the book
pretty well, certainly much better than PJ managed it in /LOTR/.
Granted, using it to reboot the series when the book itself is much
further along was a bit startling, and the apparent point of the book
was lost, but, when I finally saw it on DVD, I was pleasantly
surprised by how well it was done. It was Clancy's story, albeit
rethought a bit.

>Disney's version of Davy Crockett (much as I love it) is not an
>accurate interpretation of the real person (who preferred to be called
>David) or many of the events, but that doesnt mean its not really
>based on the historical person.

The same could be said of, say, /Gladiator/, but that doesn't make
/Gladiator/ anything more than a brain-dead chick flick disguised as a
historical drama. In that respect, /Gladiator/ is sort of like
/Inception/, except that /Inception/ was a brain-dead chick flick
disguised as a Type 2 Caper Movie (that is, a caper movie that starts
near the end and then tells the bulk of the story as a flashback) and,
of course, makes no pretence of historical reference.

Disney's live action was designed for families with young children. I
found it increasingly less entertaining as I grew older. And it owed
far more to what people wanted to believe about the old frontier than
to history. As such, it was an integral part of the 50's, which, of
course, means that it had no integrity of any sort or kind.

>I get it that many readers here did not like PJ's version (I have
>issues with some of what he did myself, but I enjoy the movies) but be
>honest - you could not have visualized many of the scenes in movies
>better than what he did (the Riders of Rohan cavalry charge is my
>favorite).

Oh, I think I could have visualized many of the scenes far better than
PJ did, mostly by not showing those that were not from the book and
the rest by showing them as they were described in the book. In fact,
I think I already have -- in my mind. The films, the second and third
in particular, would have been a /lot/ shorter -- perhaps short enough
to include the Gandalf-Saruman confrontation (the one in the book, not
the Wizard's Battle in the film).

Paul S. Person

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Aug 3, 2011, 1:03:31 PM8/3/11
to
On Tue, 02 Aug 2011 13:30:27 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
<ro...@europa.com> wrote:

>On Tue, 02 Aug 2011 09:19:53 -0700, Paul S. Person
><pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
>
>
>>Ridiculous or not, the topic ("is PJs /TH/ on-topic just because it
>>has the same name as the book by JRRT") itself is certainly on-topic,
>>whether the film turns out to be or not.
>
>The thing is, "just because it has the same name as the book" is so
>patently unlikely for most values of intellectual honesty that the
>topic qualifies as a work of fiction in and of itself, requiring a new
>group in which to reside. Lessee, what shall we call it?

I'm sorry, you appear to be drivelling here.

Perhaps you could clarify what you meant. If anything.

A movie I bought because Willis O'Brien did the special effects, /The
Last Days of Pompeii/ begins with a screen explaining to the audience
that it is /not/ based on a more famous story of the same name. So,
films which have the same name as a book or another film and nothing
else whatsoever in common with them do exist -- and, if PJ's /TH/
turns out to be the same, it's being on-topic in r.a.b.t. would be
debatable.

Sandman

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Aug 3, 2011, 4:43:25 PM8/3/11
to
In article <vuti37h04v1b4aj80...@4ax.com>,

Paul S. Person <pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

> >To deny that LOTR or TH cannot claim to be based on Tolkien's books is
> >both peevish and naive. Whether you like Peter Jackson's interpretion
> >or not, the characters, the venue and much of the story line is
> >directly from the books. If you rated all the movies produced by
> >Hollywood on a scale of 1-10 where 1=no connection other than the
> >title, then PJ is closer to 8 than 1.
>
> 1) /LOTR/ is not the issue. I agree that PJ's /LOTR/ can be called an
> adaptation of JRRT's /LOTR/ -- at least, it can if you forget as much
> of JRRT's /LOTR/ as possible before watching it. And, on a scale of
> 1-10, as an adaptation, PJ's /LOTR/ is, overall, about a 5; the
> physical setting (that is, Middle-Earth itself) is a 10 or very close
> to it; the characters average about 3, although if a few are
> considerably higher, many are much worse. As a story, it is about 1:
> on an extremely abstract level it looks something like JRRT's story,
> but at any level of detail is clearly is not. Overall, it simply is
> not JRRT's story.

I recently wrote a rather lengthy (swedish) blog post about "being
true to the book" and whether it is possible or not. It started with
establishing that no film could ever be literally true to any book,
given the difference in medium. An image doesn't always tell the same
tale as a thousand words.

So, if one is so inclined to take this position, than no movie could
ever be true to LotR, and the term "being true to the book" a misnomer.

But, if one is able to accept the differences in medium and
*production* none the less, you can start to have both reasonable
expectations and reasonable debate about an adaptation.

So, I think asking what book adaption that you have seen that you *do*
consider to be not only good, but perhaps great? because either no
such adaptations exist or perhaps LotR is so neat and dear to you that
no adaptation that won't fit into your internal mold would be
undesirable to you?

> 2) Since PJ's /TH/ is not out yet, it is premature to assert that it
> is an adaptation of JRRT's /TH/. However, since JRRT's book is a
> fairly short children's book, and PJ's /TH/ will, it appears, be
> neither short nor a children's film, it seem unlikely that it will be
> an adaptation, even by the very broad standard that allows PJ's /LOTR/
> to claim that status with respect to JRRT's /LOTR/. And, if it is not
> an adaptation, it may not be on-topic in r.a.b.t.

Whether or not it's an adaptation is not defined by you or me. It is
defined by the person creating the work. You are free to regard it as
a poor or a misguided adaption, or even claim that you subjectively
feel that it is not an adaptation in spite of the artists claim, but
that won't change anything of course.

I'm only assuming that your comment about it perhaps not being an
adaptation is just a disguised premature commentary on your trust in
the production to create an adaptation that you personally feel would
be a valid one, but you seem to project this to include whether or not
it would be in topic in a discussion forum based on these subjective
feelings of yours. I feel that it is misguided.


--
Sandman[.net]

Troels Forchhammer

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Aug 3, 2011, 7:06:40 PM8/3/11
to
In message <news:mr-F74696.22...@News.Individual.NET>
Sandman <m...@sandman.net> spoke these staves:
>

<snip>

> I recently wrote a rather lengthy (swedish) blog post about "being
> true to the book" and whether it is possible or not.

Would you mind linking to it? Many of us here can read Swedish.

> It started with establishing that no film could ever be literally
> true to any book,

That, of course, depends entirely on what you mean by that. A film
can certainly be 'literally true' to a book in all but the most
trivial matters (no book that I would wish to read will ever describe
the scenery in the level of detail that is attainable on film, but
that is what I consider trivial).

> given the difference in medium.

And that is also not entirely true. The differences in medium has
very little /actual/ influence -- the difference is in the minds of
those who tell stories in book or film respectively: film-makers are
caught in a story-telling tradition that is different from the
tradition in which book-authors' minds are set, but that has little
to do with the actual capabilities of either medium. I will not
attempt to judge whether it would work on film to use the same
narrative style as in a book, but I am firmly disinclined to believe
the mere claim that 'it cannot be done' just because it is repeated
without any rational argument for the umpteenth time.

I am not even sure that I accept Tolkien's own word that fairy-
stories cannot be told in any dramatic form (whether on stage or
film), though admittedly his is the only cogent argument I have seen
(and that only applies to fairy-stories, not to other kinds of
stories).

> An image doesn't always tell the same tale as a thousand words.

I use to say 'only if the words are written by a /very/ poor
writer' ;-)

> So, if one is so inclined to take this position, than no movie
> could ever be true to LotR, and the term "being true to the book"
> a misnomer.

Of course it isn't. Even if you accept the position (which I do not),
it is still a matter of grading -- it is not a dichotomy and you can
speak of being more or less 'true' to the book (personally I am not
particular fond of the phrase to be 'true to the book', but that's a
different matter entirely).

> But, if one is able to accept the differences in medium and
> *production* none the less, you can start to have both reasonable
> expectations and reasonable debate about an adaptation.

Well, if you cannot accept that there is a difference between a book
and a film, then I think you need to have your mind examined ;-) I
suspect, however, that this is not actually what you mean -- what you
mean appears to me to be if one is willing to accept that the
differences between the two media /necessarily/ and /inevitably/ by
their basic nature impose large differences in narrative style, and
that is of course considerably more controversial than the statement
that book and film are different media, and it is, first and
foremost, a claim that I have never seen any cogent and rational
argument for.

> So, I think asking what book adaption that you have seen that you
> *do* consider to be not only good, but perhaps great? because
> either no such adaptations exist or perhaps LotR is so neat and
> dear to you that no adaptation that won't fit into your internal
> mold would be undesirable to you?

Well, personally I think that riduculing the moral position of the
original work (and the original artist) is not a very nice thing to
do in an adaptation. I care less about the surface elements of the
story than I do about the underlying themes. To say that the LotR
films of Mr. Jackson and his cohorts is 'a fundamentally religious
and Catholic work' would be a lie -- in many ways Mr. Jackson's
version of the story is in opposition to the Catholic undercurrents
that were so important to Tolkien, and at times he turns to ridicule
of the very Catholic virtues that Tolkien felt very strongly about.

I know that Jackson claimed to have wanted to honour Tolkien's themes
and to translate them directly into his film, but all I can say to
that claim is that he either lied (quite possible -- after all he
wanted to get all us Tolkien geeks to watch his films) or he has
extremely poor reading skills. In any case getting it that much wrong
also requires a wilfull disregard for all that experts have said
about the book. I know that Tolkien acknowledged the reader's right
to applicability, but Jackson gets it at least as wrong as those who
see Tolkien as supporting authoritarian fascism.

<snip>

> Whether or not it's an adaptation is not defined by you or me. It
> is defined by the person creating the work.

Nonsense. He may attempt to arrogate to himself the rights of Humpty
Dumpty, but that kind of arrogance is not to my liking. The meaning
of a word is defined by common understanding in the context in which
it appears, and in that sense it can very well be used incorrectly --
if I were to say that Jackson is making a children's picture book
called /The Hobbit/, I would be wrong.

The lines between 'adapted from', 'based on' and 'inspired by' are
somewhat blurry, and little agreement can be found about the border-
line cases, so I think it is legitimate to question, and certainly to
withold judgement on, whether Jackson's /The Hobbit/ films will
qualify as adaptations.

Personally I really don't care what we call it -- it is, in my
opinion, clear that Jackson is basing his work on Tolkien's stories
(the very close similarity of surface elements such as names etc.
makes this, in my view, incontrovertible), and what we call it is not
very interesting for me.

> but you seem to project this to include whether or not it would
> be in topic in a discussion forum based on these subjective
> feelings of yours.

The charter of RABT expressly states that '[t]he group would be open
to discussion about art works which are based on Tolkien's works' --
and I think that it will be much more difficult to argue that
Jackon's works are not 'based on Tolkien's works' even if one feels
they do not qualify as adaptations. AFT, of course, does not have a
charter.

<http://tolkien.slimy.com/newsgroups/RABTcharter.txt>

--
Troels Forchhammer <troelsfo(a)googlewave.com>
Valid e-mail is <troelsfo(a)gmail.com>
Please put [AFT], [RABT] or 'Tolkien' in subject.

People are self-centered
to a nauseous degree.
They will keep on about themselves
while I'm explaining me.
- Piet Hein, /The Egocentrics/

Ronald O. Christian

unread,
Aug 3, 2011, 8:35:50 PM8/3/11
to

>2) Since PJ's /TH/ is not out yet, it is premature to assert that it
>is an adaptation of JRRT's /TH/. However, since JRRT's book is a
>fairly short children's book, and PJ's /TH/ will, it appears, be
>neither short nor a children's film

Hang on, point of order here.

When you say "JRRT's book", (bear with me here, I do have a point) do
you mean JRRT's original 1937 edition, where Gollum freely bargains
away the ring, and it's *not* the One Ring, the 1951 edition which has
a "riddles in the dark" more closely matching the current, but overall
still doesn't really match up with the events of LotR, the 1966
edition that has more detail and some changes to bring it more in
align with Fellowship of the Ring, or do you mean the version he began
in 1960 that was to better fit the *tone* of FOTR, and which he
(tragically) was argued out of completing? This revision, which he
clearly *wanted* to write, would probably not be considered a
"children's book" (that being one of the criticisms). I submit that
since he *wanted* to write it, and had written at least some of it,
it's a valid version, arguably every bit as much as anything
Christopher has published since, and incidentally I'd love to have the
honor of reading it.

Or are you talking about some completely different book? Just
wondering.

If you mean, whatever text happens to be in the most common version
you can find at Borders, I'd say you're just as much reading what the
publishers at Ballantine wanted you to read, as what Tolkien
(ultimately) wanted you to read. Yes, it's a book called "The
Hobbit", but it is neither what Tolkien originally wrote, nor is it
the story Tolkien wanted it to become.

Parenthetically, the "children's book" has already been made into a
short, children's movie, in 1977. It stank. And it didn't have
Beorn. And the wood elves were stupid looking. But I digress.

Now, regarding "short". So just to make things clear, you are *not*
among Tolkien's fans that fervently believe that LotR (for instance)
could not have been made in anything less than a 22 hour miniseries,
with all the songs and every inch of the landscape included, and the
elves rendered in CGI because no human would be beautiful enough, and
anything shorter than that would be an abomination? By speaking of
Jackson's Hobbit film(s) derogatorily as being "long", are you
conceding that in the process of making a movie from a novel, it is
*not* necessary to put every word on the screen? Because this point
might be important later.

Ronald O. Christian

unread,
Aug 3, 2011, 10:49:03 PM8/3/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 17:35:50 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
<ro...@europa.com> wrote:
>By speaking of
>Jackson's Hobbit film(s) derogatorily as being "long", are you
>conceding that in the process of making a movie from a novel, it is
>*not* necessary to put every word on the screen? Because this point
>might be important later.

And just to stir things up even more, I suspect since Elijah Wood is
in it, and considering the rumor that Frodo's conversation with...
someone... will provide bookends to the story, I strongly suspect that
Jackson might actually be making (or at least, including many elements
from) The Quest of Erebor, which is really Gandalf's story, containing
Bilbo's narrative within it. This allows much more alignment with
Lord of the Rings, goes along with Jackson's previous practice of
dipping into the appendices and other sources for additional material,
and would help explain the talk about "bridging with FOTR" and also
why it's two films. Moreover, it gives the script writers an excuse
to make part of the story (the part Gandalf narrates) rather dark, and
still gives room for cutesy stuff (shudder) in Bilbo's part of the
story. But of course, this is mostly speculation on my part.

(Oh and incidentally, we might actually see part of Gandalf's struggle
with The Necromancer, rather than have it happen mysteriously off
stage.)

Discuss. In what way does this make Jackson's The Hobbit even more an
abomination? (Sigh...)

Ronald O. Christian

unread,
Aug 3, 2011, 11:54:50 PM8/3/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 10:03:31 -0700, Paul S. Person
<pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

>On Tue, 02 Aug 2011 13:30:27 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
><ro...@europa.com> wrote:
>
>>On Tue, 02 Aug 2011 09:19:53 -0700, Paul S. Person
>><pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Ridiculous or not, the topic ("is PJs /TH/ on-topic just because it
>>>has the same name as the book by JRRT") itself is certainly on-topic,
>>>whether the film turns out to be or not.
>>
>>The thing is, "just because it has the same name as the book" is so
>>patently unlikely for most values of intellectual honesty that the
>>topic qualifies as a work of fiction in and of itself, requiring a new
>>group in which to reside. Lessee, what shall we call it?
>
>I'm sorry, you appear to be drivelling here.

It seems that way because you are working from a value of intellectual
honesty that is not included in "most values". This is common amongst
Tolkien literary purists, so I'm not offended at all by your personal
attacks.

>Perhaps you could clarify what you meant. If anything.
>
>A movie I bought because Willis O'Brien did the special effects, /The
>Last Days of Pompeii/ begins with a screen explaining to the audience
>that it is /not/ based on a more famous story of the same name. So,
>films which have the same name as a book or another film and nothing
>else whatsoever in common with them do exist -- and, if PJ's /TH/
>turns out to be the same, it's being on-topic in r.a.b.t. would be
>debatable.

Steve Hayes

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 1:18:33 AM8/4/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:43:25 +0200, Sandman <m...@sandman.net> wrote:

>I recently wrote a rather lengthy (swedish) blog post about "being
>true to the book" and whether it is possible or not. It started with
>establishing that no film could ever be literally true to any book,
>given the difference in medium. An image doesn't always tell the same
>tale as a thousand words.

I recently saw "The girl with the dragon tattoo", which was made in Sweden,
and it was pretty true to the book.

Perhaps the people who made that could make one of LotR and The Hobbit as
well.

I'm not generally in favour of remakes, especially if a film was good to start
with, but perhaps in this case...

Sandman

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 3:05:04 AM8/4/11
to
In article <0nak37lq212qlarqa...@4ax.com>,
Steve Hayes <haye...@telkomsa.net> wrote:

> On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:43:25 +0200, Sandman <m...@sandman.net> wrote:
>
> >I recently wrote a rather lengthy (swedish) blog post about "being
> >true to the book" and whether it is possible or not. It started with
> >establishing that no film could ever be literally true to any book,
> >given the difference in medium. An image doesn't always tell the same
> >tale as a thousand words.
>
> I recently saw "The girl with the dragon tattoo", which was made in Sweden,
> and it was pretty true to the book.

I haven't read those books, can't comment.

> Perhaps the people who made that could make one of LotR and The Hobbit as
> well.
>
> I'm not generally in favour of remakes, especially if a film was good to start
> with, but perhaps in this case...


--
Sandman[.net]

Sandman

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 3:22:13 AM8/4/11
to
In article <Xns9F37B4DD...@130.133.4.11>,
Troels Forchhammer <Tro...@ThisIsFake.invalid> wrote:

> > I recently wrote a rather lengthy (swedish) blog post about "being
> > true to the book" and whether it is possible or not.
>
> Would you mind linking to it? Many of us here can read Swedish.

http://sandman.net/pages/Boksann

> > It started with establishing that no film could ever be literally
> > true to any book,
>
> That, of course, depends entirely on what you mean by that. A film
> can certainly be 'literally true' to a book in all but the most
> trivial matters (no book that I would wish to read will ever describe
> the scenery in the level of detail that is attainable on film, but
> that is what I consider trivial).

What I meant, and wrote about in the blog post, is that a book
describes events with words and a movie describes them with images.
The thoughts of a character can't always be narrated in a film, so it
is conveyed using the actors ability to portray said thoughts and
feelings, which is a lesser medium than just using words.

There are things that a movie portrays *better* than a book could, but
in the context whether a movie is true to a book, that's not the
problem.

<snip>

> > So, if one is so inclined to take this position, than no movie
> > could ever be true to LotR, and the term "being true to the book"
> > a misnomer.
>
> Of course it isn't. Even if you accept the position (which I do not),
> it is still a matter of grading

Well, I was in reference to it in a more binary manner, rather than
"how true is it to the book" I wanted to establish that being "true to
the book" was impossible if one expected 100% of the book to be
portrayed by the movie.

> > But, if one is able to accept the differences in medium and
> > *production* none the less, you can start to have both reasonable
> > expectations and reasonable debate about an adaptation.
>
> Well, if you cannot accept that there is a difference between a book
> and a film, then I think you need to have your mind examined ;-)

As I'm sure you realize, there are plenty here that have difficulty
with that concept :-D

> > So, I think asking what book adaption that you have seen that you
> > *do* consider to be not only good, but perhaps great? because
> > either no such adaptations exist or perhaps LotR is so neat and
> > dear to you that no adaptation that won't fit into your internal
> > mold would be undesirable to you?
>
> Well, personally I think that riduculing the moral position of the
> original work (and the original artist) is not a very nice thing to
> do in an adaptation.

While I am not aware of any such event in regards to LotR, I fail to
see how it is relevant to the question?

> I know that Jackson claimed to have wanted to honour Tolkien's themes
> and to translate them directly into his film, but all I can say to
> that claim is that he either lied (quite possible -- after all he
> wanted to get all us Tolkien geeks to watch his films) or he has
> extremely poor reading skills.

Again, this has nothing to do with the question being asked, but I
have to interject and just state that intentions aside - the
interpretation of said "underlying theme" may differ between you,
Peter Jackson and Tolkien himself.

Plus, stop referring to the movies as a brainchild of just one man.
These three movies took over five years to produce and included the
creative minds of hundreds, if not thousands, minds. I know that the
director is the front figure and ultimately bears the responsibility
of the end result, but he was far from omniscient in the production
and had some tremendous help from a lot of people.

<snip>

> > Whether or not it's an adaptation is not defined by you or me. It
> > is defined by the person creating the work.
>
> Nonsense. He may attempt to arrogate to himself the rights of Humpty
> Dumpty, but that kind of arrogance is not to my liking. The meaning
> of a word is defined by common understanding in the context in which
> it appears, and in that sense it can very well be used incorrectly --
> if I were to say that Jackson is making a children's picture book
> called /The Hobbit/, I would be wrong.

Huh? Your example is again you passing judgement on another mans work,
which is exactly what I was in reference to. Whether or not he is
making an adaption is decided by him (or rather, the collected minds
of the creative work in the production crew of The Hobbit). They may
adapt it too loosely for your tastes, but it would still be an
adaption.

> The lines between 'adapted from', 'based on' and 'inspired by' are
> somewhat blurry, and little agreement can be found about the border-
> line cases, so I think it is legitimate to question, and certainly to
> withold judgement on, whether Jackson's /The Hobbit/ films will
> qualify as adaptations.

Whether or not something "qualifies as an adaptation" presupposes that
the word "adaptation" is defined by a given set of quality rules which
needs to be met for the word to be used. It is not. It's just a word
that has a very loose and open-ended meaning. The only qualifiers you
can attach to it are your subjectives view on how good or bad the
adaptation was.


--
Sandman[.net]

Sandman

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 3:27:17 AM8/4/11
to
In article <m91k37p6m8vsp9hgl...@4ax.com>,

Ronald O. Christian <ro...@europa.com> wrote:

> (Oh and incidentally, we might actually see part of Gandalf's struggle
> with The Necromancer, rather than have it happen mysteriously off
> stage.)

Just to clarify here - The Necromancer, as described in The Hobbit,
was Sauron - right? I know that the identity of the Necromancer was
unknown for a long time, but I'm not sure whether it was revealed in
the timeframe of The Hobbit (and yes, I'm actually reading the book
right now, to catch up).


--
Sandman[.net]

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 7:13:40 AM8/4/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 09:55:47 -0700, Paul S. Person
<pspe...@ix.netscom.com.invalid> wrote:

>>Disney's version of Davy Crockett (much as I love it) is not an
>>accurate interpretation of the real person (who preferred to be called
>>David) or many of the events, but that doesnt mean its not really
>>based on the historical person.
>
>The same could be said of, say, /Gladiator/, but that doesn't make
>/Gladiator/ anything more than a brain-dead chick flick disguised as a
>historical drama. In that respect, /Gladiator/ is sort of like
>/Inception/, except that /Inception/ was a brain-dead chick flick
>disguised as a Type 2 Caper Movie (that is, a caper movie that starts
>near the end and then tells the bulk of the story as a flashback) and,
>of course, makes no pretence of historical reference.

< blink >

This is certainly the first time I ever saw anyone describe
"Gladiator" as a "chick flick."

Ignorance truly is bliss. The more you know, the harder it is to
enjoy certain movies. ("Braveheart" is one example.) As many have
observed over the years, it is the people who are most familiar with
Tolkien's works that are the most critical of the films. I suspect
that it is because we are only too aware of how much richer the tale
could be.

Morgoth's Curse

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 7:33:12 AM8/4/11
to

The fact that Jackson must necessarily invent additional
characters and dialogue which will then be mistaken as the work of
Tolkien. (I can still recall people wondering where Lurtz appears in
the Lord of the Rings.) It's also a blatant attempt to exploit the
love, labor and knowledge that Tolkien put into his works. Jackson
has profited enormously from Tolkien's long labor and yet contributed
nothing to his artistic legacy. As Steuard Jensen has somewhat
ironically noted, Jackson's version is mostly flash and dazzle.
Eliminate the spectacular scenery and I am sure that most people would
agree that Jackson's version is an inferior version indeed.

Morgoth's Curse

Morgoth's Curse

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 7:49:28 AM8/4/11
to
On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 01:25:19 +0000 (UTC), Steuard Jensen
<ste...@slimy.com> wrote:

>But then I paused and thought about it for a minute. In the book, the
>scene with the Dwarves getting bagged by the Trolls is utterly
>ridiculous. I mean, sure, if Bilbo disappears they could send a single
>Dwarf to look for him. But the thought that the whole troop of them
>would walk up one at a time is quite simply impossible to believe.
>Thorin and Co. weren't always brilliant, but they weren't suicidal!
>After Bilbo and one Dwarf failed to report back, they should have
>known something was wrong and taken advantage of their numbers. (I
>could imagine sending one, then two or three, but after that the rest
>shouldn't have split up for any reason.)

In addition to the other reasons that have been raised, I am
wondering if there is a factor that you may have overlooked--magic.
William's talking purse is perhaps the most prominent example, but
there is also the fact that Oin and Gloin were unable to light a fire
that night and also one of the ponies bolted from fright. Moreover,
how is it that three such dimwits as Tom, Bert and Bill come into the
possession of such powerful swords as Glamdring and Orcrist? I am not
saying that the trolls were sorcerers, of course, but they must have
had some sort of small magic to be able to successfully waylay so many
travelers.
Toss in the fact that the dwarves were seriously sleep-deprived
and hungry and their bad judgment is not so surprising. It may not
necessarily be enough to explain their absurd behavior, of course, but
it does reduce the degree of implausibility.

Morgoth's Curse

Ronald O. Christian

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 11:43:28 AM8/4/11
to

My understanding is that at the time Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, The
Necromancer was his own character. Later retconned into Sauron to
bring The Hobbit more in line with LotR. So yes, as of about 1966,
The Necromancer is Sauron.

Ronald O. Christian

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 11:49:14 AM8/4/11
to
On Thu, 04 Aug 2011 06:33:12 -0500, Morgoth's Curse
<morgoths...@nospam.yahoo.com> wrote:

>On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 19:49:03 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
><ro...@europa.com> wrote:
>
>>Discuss. In what way does this make Jackson's The Hobbit even more an
>>abomination? (Sigh...)
>
> The fact that Jackson must necessarily invent additional
>characters and dialogue which will then be mistaken as the work of
>Tolkien.

Just to clarify, you do realize that at least some of that (in LotR)
was drawn from other Tolkien sources, right? That regardless of what
Jackson might have added in the course of having to make a movie from
a book, he had also added (for instance) material from the appendices
that almost nobody reads in the back of Return of the King. A lot of
people stop reading at "Well, I'm back" and end up missing some
important story points. That Tolkien actually wrote.

Paul S. Person

unread,
Aug 4, 2011, 1:03:38 PM8/4/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 22:43:25 +0200, Sandman <m...@sandman.net> wrote:

If you hadn't snipped it, my comments on /The Sum of All Fears/ would
have provided an answer.

Other films that I consider to be effective adaptions of other forms
include (in no particular order, and restricted to books I have read
or musicals I have seen):
/The Satan Bug/ -- as I have frequently mentioned on r.a.b.t.
any Jack Ryan film so far, no matter who played Jack Ryan
/Evita/ -- quite possibly the best film adaptation of a musical ever
made
/Advise and Consent/
/Seven Days in May/
/Quo Vadis/
/The Prize/
/The Shoes of the Fisherman/
/For Your Eyes Only/ -- for blending the title story and "Risico" into
a satisfying James Bond film
The first five James Bond films, particularly /From Russia With Love/
and /OHMSS/. After that the films began diverging quite seriously from
the books, occasionally literally having only the title in common.
The first three Harry Potter films, and the seventh Harry Potter film
(in two parts). The others are adaptations, but they leave out so much
that they feel more like pastiches.

These are all characterized by telling the story of the original. In
many cases they tell a different version, in some cases they change
darn near everything, but it is still clearly the same story.

They are all also competently done films, and most of them were done
more than just "competently".

There are, of course, many other very good films based on a stage play
or novel that I have not read or seen.

>> 2) Since PJ's /TH/ is not out yet, it is premature to assert that it
>> is an adaptation of JRRT's /TH/. However, since JRRT's book is a
>> fairly short children's book, and PJ's /TH/ will, it appears, be
>> neither short nor a children's film, it seem unlikely that it will be
>> an adaptation, even by the very broad standard that allows PJ's /LOTR/
>> to claim that status with respect to JRRT's /LOTR/. And, if it is not
>> an adaptation, it may not be on-topic in r.a.b.t.
>
>Whether or not it's an adaptation is not defined by you or me. It is
>defined by the person creating the work. You are free to regard it as
>a poor or a misguided adaption, or even claim that you subjectively
>feel that it is not an adaptation in spite of the artists claim, but
>that won't change anything of course.

So, your theory is that, if I made a movie based on, say, /Dick and
Jane/, and /said/ that it was an adaptation of /Bob & Carol & Ted &
Alice/, it would /be/ and adaptation of /Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice/
even though it two characters were named "Dick" and "Jane" and they
did what they do in the children's books that are their natural
habitat?

Sorry. Whether "A" is "B" or "A" is "C" does not depend on what
someone /says/, it depends on what it /is/.

>I'm only assuming that your comment about it perhaps not being an
>adaptation is just a disguised premature commentary on your trust in
>the production to create an adaptation that you personally feel would
>be a valid one, but you seem to project this to include whether or not
>it would be in topic in a discussion forum based on these subjective
>feelings of yours. I feel that it is misguided.

Wow, and I thought I was getting convoluted!

I just think the topic is worth discussing. Apparently, others agree.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 4, 2011, 1:21:39 PM8/4/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 17:35:50 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
<ro...@europa.com> wrote:

>
>>2) Since PJ's /TH/ is not out yet, it is premature to assert that it
>>is an adaptation of JRRT's /TH/. However, since JRRT's book is a
>>fairly short children's book, and PJ's /TH/ will, it appears, be
>>neither short nor a children's film
>
>Hang on, point of order here.
>
>When you say "JRRT's book", (bear with me here, I do have a point) do
>you mean JRRT's original 1937 edition, where Gollum freely bargains
>away the ring, and it's *not* the One Ring, the 1951 edition which has
>a "riddles in the dark" more closely matching the current, but overall
>still doesn't really match up with the events of LotR, the 1966
>edition that has more detail and some changes to bring it more in
>align with Fellowship of the Ring, or do you mean the version he began
>in 1960 that was to better fit the *tone* of FOTR, and which he
>(tragically) was argued out of completing? This revision, which he
>clearly *wanted* to write, would probably not be considered a
>"children's book" (that being one of the criticisms). I submit that
>since he *wanted* to write it, and had written at least some of it,
>it's a valid version, arguably every bit as much as anything
>Christopher has published since, and incidentally I'd love to have the
>honor of reading it.

I mean the commonly-available edition, lightly adjusted to set the
stage for /LOTR/.

If you are talking about the last version of /TH/, so far as I know,
it is present, in its entirety, in /The History of the Hobbit/ (vol
2). Also present is the comment of the Reader, which may be
paraphrased as "it's very good, but it is /not/ /The Hobbit/".

<snippo>


>Parenthetically, the "children's book" has already been made into a
>short, children's movie, in 1977. It stank. And it didn't have
>Beorn. And the wood elves were stupid looking. But I digress.

You mean, of course, that it was proof positive that even the most
unlikely genre (RB animated kiddie shows) could transcend their
limitations and achieve excellence.

The Wood Elves may not have been stupid in the book, but they were
quite rude. Actually, in the movie they have always looked slavic to
me. When their King speaks, it is as if Krushchev were speaking.

Well, they /were/ in the East ... and the Cold War was in full force.

As to Beorn, are we quite sure that he will be in PJ's /TH/? Bombadil
didn't make it into PJ's /LOTR/ (or anybody else's, except JRRT's, for
that matter).

>Now, regarding "short". So just to make things clear, you are *not*
>among Tolkien's fans that fervently believe that LotR (for instance)
>could not have been made in anything less than a 22 hour miniseries,
>with all the songs and every inch of the landscape included, and the
>elves rendered in CGI because no human would be beautiful enough, and
>anything shorter than that would be an abomination? By speaking of
>Jackson's Hobbit film(s) derogatorily as being "long", are you
>conceding that in the process of making a movie from a novel, it is
>*not* necessary to put every word on the screen? Because this point
>might be important later.

I have already stated that one of the benefits of PJ's /LOTR/ is that
it shows that six 3-hour films should be enough to film JRRT's story.
That's 18 hours, not 22. You appear to have me confused with somebody
else. Perhaps a straw man?

And I think the RB version shows that one 2-hour film should be
adequate for /TH/. Anything else is likely to be superfluous. This
will be easier to judge when the PJ films arrive; we can then see how
much of /TH/ actually made it into the film, how much was left out,
and how much additional material was added so PJ could mark it as his
own.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 4, 2011, 1:25:06 PM8/4/11
to
On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 19:49:03 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
<ro...@europa.com> wrote:

>On Wed, 03 Aug 2011 17:35:50 -0700, Ronald O. Christian
><ro...@europa.com> wrote:
>>By speaking of
>>Jackson's Hobbit film(s) derogatorily as being "long", are you
>>conceding that in the process of making a movie from a novel, it is
>>*not* necessary to put every word on the screen? Because this point
>>might be important later.
>
>And just to stir things up even more, I suspect since Elijah Wood is
>in it, and considering the rumor that Frodo's conversation with...
>someone... will provide bookends to the story, I strongly suspect that
>Jackson might actually be making (or at least, including many elements
>from) The Quest of Erebor, which is really Gandalf's story, containing
>Bilbo's narrative within it. This allows much more alignment with
>Lord of the Rings, goes along with Jackson's previous practice of
>dipping into the appendices and other sources for additional material,
>and would help explain the talk about "bridging with FOTR" and also
>why it's two films. Moreover, it gives the script writers an excuse
>to make part of the story (the part Gandalf narrates) rather dark, and
>still gives room for cutesy stuff (shudder) in Bilbo's part of the
>story. But of course, this is mostly speculation on my part.
>
>(Oh and incidentally, we might actually see part of Gandalf's struggle
>with The Necromancer, rather than have it happen mysteriously off
>stage.)

That might make a very interesting film.

It would not, of course, be an adaptation of JRRT's /TH/.

>Discuss. In what way does this make Jackson's The Hobbit even more an
>abomination? (Sigh...)

You mean, of course, even less of an adaptation.

If it is not an adaptation at all, then it will only be an
"abomination" if it is a badly-made film. Which, considering PJ's /TT/
and /ROTK/, is definitely possible.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 4, 2011, 1:28:21 PM8/4/11
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On Thu, 04 Aug 2011 09:27:17 +0200, Sandman <m...@sandman.net> wrote:

Yes and No.

Yes, the Necromancer was revealed to be Sauron, just as the Ring was
revealed to be, well, the Ring, in order to connect /TH/ with /LOTR/.

IIRC, No, this does not appear in /TH/. In fact, IIRC, Gandalf (and
the Wise) did not realize that the Necromancer was Sauron Reforming at
that time. It was only in retrospect that the identification was made.

Paul S. Person

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Aug 4, 2011, 1:30:07 PM8/4/11