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Old December 24th, 2002, 09:54 PM   #1
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Lord of the Rings: Comments, critiques

What's your take on the 2 movies so far? How would you rate them:

1. Just as movies
2. As adaptation of the books

As a total fanatic I'm very happy with the movies so far, even with the "adjustments" to the main plot, and this is from someone who's nearly memorized all 5 books :-)
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Old December 25th, 2002, 07:40 AM   #2
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I think you have to like the books first. I haven't seen the second one, but I got so bored in the first I ejected the tape during the first hour.

Technically, I don't see how you cannot be anything but impressed by the cinematography.

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Old December 25th, 2002, 09:32 AM   #3
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I tried to read the LOTR books, but stopped after about 250 pages. I have to admit I am not a fan of the triology or the genre. Therefore, I cannot comment on how it follows the books.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the first movie and found it interesting, and in fact - saw the movie twice.

However, I was not pleased with the TWO TOWERS. Yes, it is big, and it is an epic. There is more action than the first one. But, perhaps not reading the books, I found it extremely hard to follow. I'm not a huge fan of computer-generated effects and the TT has quite a bit (though I have no idea how PJ would achieve what he needed without CG FX). I got bored with the final battle scene (I thought it was very long and repetitive), but again, I think that is more of not knowing the books or being a fan, than any technical aspects/flaws of the movie.

From an entertainment standpoint, I was disappointed, but I'm not a fan. From a movie standpoint, both movies seem to be extremely well-made. I thought Gollum (evil-Dobby?) was done very well, but I got tired of seeing him. I did not like the tree walkers, but other effects were very nicely done. I loved the big sweeping views of the landscapes. New Zealand looks to be a very beautiful country.

I thought Ian M was extremely entertaining and wished he could have been shown more. I enjoyed the back-and-forth dialogue between the dwarf 'warrior', Legalos and Arragones (sp?, sorry I don't know the names that well).

Keep in mind, this is only an opinion, from a non-fan - and probably from the person with the least amount of experience on this board! Reading the reviews (and other boards), I think I'm the only person (or one of the few people) who doesn't like the film.

Of course, I should make such a successful film in my lifetime! It's up to what . . . $160M now? It will be interesting to see what PJ's next project is - after the third LOTR film.
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Old December 25th, 2002, 03:50 PM   #4
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The tree walkers (Ents) were better than I expected. This secton of the trilogy is like the book, a little hard to take but a necessary part of the Story. A lot is left hanging, but the actual CG in this movie was better than the first. I guesss they had time to do additonal cleanup.

I like the fact that they didn't take themselves so serious that they were able to throw in a Dwarf tossing joke.

Without reading, knowing the books, this movie will confuse many. The two hobbits with the ents were not given as much time in the movie as they had in the book. Nothing was mentioned about the effects the Ent elixor had on them.

Still, I can hardly wait for the final one. I wish they would put it out this summer instead of next winter.

Then when all is out on DVD, I can watch the entire 9 hour tirlogy in a single sitting, so to speak.
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Old December 29th, 2002, 08:27 PM   #5
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First thing: I haven't read any of the books and I didn't actually
know anything about LoTR. When I saw the fellowship of the ring
in theater I thought it was a tad too long (but I might have been
a bit tired). I do have the movie on DVD (extended edition, adds
another 30 minutes) and it is much more enjoyable there. Even
if you don't like the movie(s) I think we can all say they did an
amazing job in the way they brought it all to the screen (visually).

I really like it thus far. The Two Towers was a lot broader and
I could follow every bit of it (I watched The Fellowship of The Ring
the night before on DVD though). Some things were a tad long
again indeed.

What really amazes me is the DVD set though. What a marvelous
piece of work. I have the 4 disc extended version and there is
very very much to learn about movie making from those discs. And
I haven't even listened to all the commentary tracks yet. Can't
wait for the 4 disc extended DVD of TTT.

Now as for watching the three movies in one go when they are
all out on DVD, consider watching the following movies/series
in one go:
- The Matrix trilogy (when done)
- Godfather trilogy
- Star Wars (when done)
- 24 (in realtime)
- Taken

Interesting stuff to see in one sit. Some things might be quite
challenging to watch in one go too!

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Old December 30th, 2002, 12:57 AM   #6
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I'm glad someone else has pointed out the obvious Dobby-Gollum relationship. I found the movies okay. . .not nearly as good as the hype would have you believe. Found the eyes on some of the CG characters a tad more cartoonish than fit the tone of the movie (the Ents and Gollum). Have not read the books. Tried to work my way through Fellowship, and found Tolkien's writing style drier than dried crap. Very pretty though, the movie. Next PJ project? Definitely "Bad Taste II: Worse Taste."
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Old December 30th, 2002, 01:50 AM   #7
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Well, being an avid Tolkien fan i must say im thrilled watching these films. Ever since i was a wee lad of 10 when i first read LOTR, i've longed to see a movie made of them. After the first attempt (the semi-cartoon version) failed (they ran out of money i think), things just didn't look to good for this to happen. And now, 20 years later, i get to sit down and watch the places and people i've read about so many times.

Now i thought i'd load off some feedback :)

Tolkiens writing & the movies "accuracy"
Tolkien was not the worlds greatest writer. The LOTR is not an easy book (it was 1 from the beginning) to go through, and he has a tendancy to drift off in his story, making it hard to follow. This is very evident in his later work (and mostly the work based on his drafts & notes) such as Silmarillion & Book of the lost tales.

In the movie adaptation they opted to shift around some of the story elements to make them fit better, and remove others which did not really fit into the story scope (Tom Bombadill for example). This made a good story even better i think. The movies have more logical "endings" and such than the books, allthough some people have commented that since its a trilogy, they wont have an ending until the 3.rd film.

Whenever you try to adapt a book, especially a Sci-Fi or fantasy book, you are litterarely battling the minds of every reader who picked up that book. We all form our own images in our minds when we read these books, and no matter how well described the scenery and events are, their interpretation will differ. Me, personally, were very happy with how they have shown things in LOTR. If i have any objection it would be with the Ents, as i had a more humanoid image in my own mind. Though I do think they work in the context of the film. Furthermore, i really liked the way they depicted Gollum. And coming from the 3D VFX arena myself, i was really impressed with the work they had done.

The cinematography
What can i say. I wonder if this may not be the most beautiful picture i've seen so far. I can pop in the DVD and just sit and admire the lighting, the colourshiftings, the settings. If anything, i just wished he had refrained from doing all those "impossible" camera moves when doing 3D/Minature scenes, but thats just my personal preference.

The acting
Isn't this Sean Beans best performance ever? And Frodo works soo well with Elijah's semi-panic state when he has to make decisions for the fellowship. Im no actor/acting expert and as a leyman(spelling?) i definately enjoyed their performance.

The conclusion
I get the feel, that these movies are made by people who had one goal before any others; To give life to Prof. Tolkiens world. Not to make a bucket of money, or they would most likely have made it more "mainstream". These movies demand quite a lot out of its viewers just like the books. But those who preserve and dives into the story get a whole new world of characters and astounding cultures.

Henrik "HuBBa" Bengtsson, Imaginara Fotographia,http://www.imaginara.se
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Old December 30th, 2002, 11:08 AM   #8
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I've seen both movies, but the only Tolkien book I've read straight through is The Hobbit.

I think in the future we'll marvel at audiences' patience for these films. The two films released thus far are already a mess of contradictions: at once slow and action-reliant; too tame yet too violent; overlong but corner-cutting; goal-driven though inconclusive; fantasy-prone but adult in theme and execution; thought sparse, still way too wordy; environmentally inclined yet war-mongering; simultaneously visually fulfilling and rife with hokey fakery; at once preachy and demoralizing.

The Two Towers follows three sets of characters that never once meet each other, entertains a romance between two characters that don't come into contact with each other while shunning a romance between two characters that are in contact with each other, and fails to explain the significance of its title.

And yet these films manage to escape the criticisms of racial stereotyping that plagued early and recent entries in the STAR WARS franchise, for example, the Lord of the Rings films feature characters of only caucasian ethnicity and Gollum is a slave who alternately dotes adoringly on his "master" and deliberates insurrection. Jar Jar Binks should have been so lucky.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 12:36 PM   #9
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I would say that the contradictions are what have made millions of readers of the original books so enchanted for so many years. It's much deeper than your average fantasy type story, with much more involved characters. Life is full of little contradictions, and I think that is what attracts so many to this story.

Also, it's important to note, that The Hobbit is a completely different animal. In comparing them, you will find the Hobbit to be more of a children's book, with much lighter themes. The Lord of the Rings is almost a different story altogether.

And sure, the three stories by themselves don't mean much. The first is a beginning with no ending, the second has neither a beginning nor an ending, and the third has no beginning, but an ending. But in the end, it's all ONE story, with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Just very detailed and intricate, and for the sake of marketability and 'ingestability', divided into 3 parts.

As far as the film escaping the criticisms of racism and such... It would be important to note that Tolkein vehemently disagreed with interpretations of his stories as relating to politics and warfare of his time, and his history. It would behoove anyone who wishes for a greater understanding to watch some of the documentaries in the extended DVD of The Fellowship. It explains most criticisms away, through detailed literary discussion.

Very good deal, that DVD.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 02:00 PM   #10
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I'm sorry, missed the racist implications in LOTR, someone explain? Definitely saw it in star wars though.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 04:02 PM   #11
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Well, i gues its the same old debate that if a story shows a lot of caucasian people all around, and no other ethnical groups it is considered racist. Then add the fact that the orc's are of a dark complexion you can interpret that as coloured ethnical groups are evil and such. That is how some people would interpret it.

The funny thing is that you can basically interpret it as you please. Another interpretation is that all different races, humans, dwarves, elves, hobbits need to work together in the face of evil. And you can also add that orc's are not evil in nature, but rather have been created /shaped (references in the movie and books) by evil lords (Sauron & Saruman). LOTR also contains a lot of morals that you should protect the weak, and not judge others. Friendship is the most important part and without it all is lost.

You can do this treatment with just about any book. And interpretation of religious books have even started wars (and still do btw).

I personally feel that these interpretations are about as interesting as trying to decide what is art and what is not.

Ps. and Robert. Tolkiens work has been accused of both satanistic propaganda and racism since they were released. I guess the accuser have yet to see the movies =)
Henrik "HuBBa" Bengtsson, Imaginara Fotographia,http://www.imaginara.se
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Old December 30th, 2002, 04:26 PM   #12
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I missed Tom Bombadil. I know he doesn't add too much to the story and understand removing him but I liked him in the books. He had that below the surface "kick arseness" which I liked.

It's great he removed all that poetry. I hated it and when I read the books I ended up skipping all that stuff after reading the first few.

I thought some of the CGI was badly done in TTT. The scene where they ride out of the keep and orcs fly everywhere. They sort of rode "through" some orcs.. Gollum on the other hand was done as good as I've seen, although still not perfect.

I don't like Elijah wood, or at least something about Frodo. Whenever he looks serious and said and says something to Sam It just doesn't look like he's truly there. It looks fake.

I think it was paced well. Neither of the 2 movies bored me at all.

I didn't like the ents. When I read the books, I was imagining something much bigger and thicker. They didn't seem to be too huge when the hobbits were sitting on TreeBeard's shoulders..OH, was it me or did the size of them change when they got to Isengard? They looked a lot bigger there.

As far as movies of that type go, it's great and I think a pretty damned good adaptation of a legendary work.

If any of you haven't seen Peter's other works, like Bad Taste and Brain dead (Think it was called Dead Alive in the US), then go see them. They are great movies. If you can rent the DVD of Bad Taste and see the mini docco on making it, it's well worth it. Inspiring stuff.
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Old December 30th, 2002, 04:40 PM   #13
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Old December 30th, 2002, 04:45 PM   #14
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I personally think both movies have been absolutely fantastic, and are certainly some of the best films to come out in this generation. As a long time Peter Jackson fan, i was very excited to see what he'd do with this trilogy, and i think he's hitting the nail right on the head. I don't think he meant for any racist implications, although it may have slipped out subconsciously (we are all subconsciously racist, are we not?).

The problem with CG is that it always doesn't look real, period. Jackson is using it in the right way... i feel like he's not letting the SFX control him like most big budget hollywood movies might do. The CG in both films is some of the best i've seen in any movie, but it's still CG. I seriously wonder if CG will ever be able to look "real."

Can someone explain to me how they have those shots of the Hobbits standing next to, say, Gandolf? I mean the actors aren't that short in reality... I guess it's probably some blue screening/compositing technique, but i'd like to know how they do it in more detail. Any one?
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Old December 30th, 2002, 05:08 PM   #15
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Well, if you haven't yet, get the 4 dvd spec. edition of Fellowship of the ring and you will learn everything about the techniques used. But a short rundown is:

1) pushed perspective.
Put the actors at different distance from the camera. If you put the props and camera angles right, it will look like the actor further away is smaller.

2) Blue screen
Simple digital scaling.

3) Scale doubles
Short people & even one kid (12) was dressed up similar to the actors and used in the scene. Mostly filmed from behind / side or wide shots, but one or two face replacements were made too (Moria sequence where frodo is dragged away from Gandalf's fight with the Balrog)

4) Giant suits.
Where it wasn't good to use scale doubles but they had to have the hobbit walk next to a human, they built giant suits to mimick the human.

The extra material on the 4 DVD edition of Fellowship of the ring explains in a lot more detail how this effect was made.

Henrik "HuBBa" Bengtsson, Imaginara Fotographia,http://www.imaginara.se
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