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My Head is Swimming. . . .


slaytonf
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I don't know if Peter Jackson was insecure about the material or the actors for keeping up the interest in Lord of the Rings, but he seemed to feel compelled to make up for something with his constant acrobatic and aeronautic camera movement.  How could he have gotten away with being so self-indulgent?  Or maybe that's the style people are looking for today.  Glad I saw it on my TV, instead of a large screen, I might have thrown up from the vertigo.  Anyway, for all it's muscular CGI effects, Lord of the Rings has the ring of any number of epic quest movies.  It's not a bad movie, just, well, the non-stop action and constant acute level of peril gets monotonous and--um--a little boring.  If I remember the books rightly, there was much more variety in pace and intensity.  Of course, you say, books have the expanse for that luxury.  Well, a movie trilogy of this length has a certain expanse, too.  I recorded The Poseidon Adventure today, think I'll watch that.

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I feel this way about the MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE movies with Tom Cruise. Some of these directors use too many dizzying crane shots, because they think it creates excitement and heightens the suspense. They are not varying the shots enough, forgetting the audience needs the camera to remain stationary sometimes. The camera should not be creating all the movement. Characterization-- emotions and subtext-- should be moving the story forward, too.

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Anyone else find 'Return of the King' to be a bit much?

 

Some of it feels redundant after 'Two Towers'. And it certainly drags on too long for my liking - I was bored silly by the time it ended.

 

As with 'The Empire Strikes Back' being the high point of the Star Wars trilogy, 'The Two Towers' seems like a better movie than the award-winning 3rd chapter of the Rings series.

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I love the Lord of the Rings movies, all three of them. I think Peter Jackson and his team did an amazing job of turning Tolkien's epic trilogy into film.

As you probably know, there's a thread right now asking whether people prefer to read the book first, then see the movie, or vice versa.

Although nine times out of ten I prefer the book version (sometimes to the point where I don't even want to see the movie version), the Lord of the Rings film trilogy is an exception for me.

 

I disagree with you, slayton, I think this is one of those rare times when the film is better than the book.

 

Funny you say that you think the films are boring at times and get bogged down - that's exactly my complaint about the books (especially The Two Towers - god, I remember being excruciatingly bored reading that one...)

You say,

"If I remember the books rightly, there was much more variety in pace and intensity."

Interesting, I feel the exact opposite; the books droned on in a way that the films never do (I'm especially thinking of how Tolkien liked to go into boring and unnecessary detail on the history of the various peoples in Middle Earth, and their wars and alliances, etc.)

The first book, "The Fellowship of the Ring", was the best in terms of pace and well, not getting bogged down in the above.

 

TopBilled speaks of "characterization - emotions and subtext", with the implication that these are lacking in LOTR (the movies).

Au contraire, I think the characters are more interesting and more developed in the films than in the books.

 

 

Edit: just read darkblue's comment.

I like  The Return of the King, but I do agree with you that Jackson had the "ending" go on way too long.
 

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We are recording these movies for possible watching if we ever feel the need. To have ten consecutive hours free is rare and so their sole chance is to be watched piecemeal.

 

My husband and I share deep love for the novels but neither feel any great compulsion to watch these movies. We share opinion that there are serious failings. It is for both of us that orcs in movies as seen in advertisement and clips are cute and cuddly compared to orcs in novels.

 

It is difficult to generate enthusiasm for these movies when there is such fundamental error in bringing the story to life.

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SansFin, I have to say that the orcs in LOTR are not "cute and cuddly". At all.

 

I do agree that anything one creates in one's imagination while reading is going to be far more effective (especially in terms of frightening and horrific) than anything that can be rendered on screen.

 

A quibble I have with Jackson, though, concerning the "orcs": In his "Hobbit" trilogy, -  which I will be the first to admit really is not half as good as the book  - he keeps bringing on these "orc" creatures, when, at the time of the events in The Hobbit, which of course precedes the events in LOTR by a good 60 years or more, the "orcs" as such didn't exist, the horrible creatures who dwelt underground were called "goblins".

 

Now, I do agree with you that the way the goblins are depicted in The Hobbit's film version, they're not very scary at all. Maybe not exactly "cute and cuddly", but certainly too goofy to be frightening.

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I love the Lord of the Rings movies, all three of them. I think Peter Jackson and his team did an amazing job of turning Tolkien's epic trilogy into film.

As you probably know, there's a thread right now asking whether people prefer to read the book first, then see the movie, or vice versa.

Although nine times out of ten I prefer the book version (sometimes to the point where I don't even want to see the movie version), the Lord of the Rings film trilogy is an exception for me.

 

I disagree with you, slayton, I think this is one of those rare times when the film is better than the book.

 

Funny you say that you think the films are boring at times and get bogged down - that's exactly my complaint about the books (especially The Two Towers - god, I remember being excruciatingly bored reading that one...)

You say,

"If I remember the books rightly, there was much more variety in pace and intensity."

Interesting, I feel the exact opposite; the books droned on in a way that the films never do (I'm especially thinking of how Tolkien liked to go into boring and unnecessary detail on the history of the various peoples in Middle Earth, and their wars and alliances, etc.)

The first book, "The Fellowship of the Ring", was the best in terms of pace and well, not getting bogged down in the above.

 

TopBilled speaks of "characterization - emotions and subtext", with the implication that these are lacking in LOTR (the movies).

Au contraire, I think the characters are more interesting and more developed in the films than in the books

 

 

Edit: just read darkblue's comment.

I like  The Return of the King, but I do agree with you that Jackson had the "ending" go on way too long.

 

 

I love the books as well. My 11th grade English teacher turned me on to them. He stood in front of the class and praised them, telling us he'd award good points to anyone who book-reported on them.

 

I've read them 4 times in my life. Not gonna read them again, though - running out of time now.

 

The movies did a fantastic job of bringing the novels to the screen. I was never able to imagine it could ever be done so well - but we live now in an age where all things are possible in movies.

 

When reading 'Return of the King' I never became bored by the long ending (what's known as descending action which happens after the climax, I believe). But for some reason, I did with the movie.

 

I don't agree that the movies are better than the books - but it's very close - as close as anyone could want. I don't think many Tolkien fans will be disappointed by them.

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I think I may have come across more emphatically than I meant to about the books.

 

I did in fact love Tolkien's wonderful fantasy trilogy. I remember when I read them, it was like I was in that world. My main preoccupation was Middle Earth and what was happening in it; they were the kind of books that when real life called and I had to do other things,  I couldn't wait to get back to.

 

I do remember getting bored with a lot of the explicatory passages in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. But the story was so compelling, I got through those parts and on to the exciting story without too much trouble.

 

Both the books and the films evoke so much in terms of "big" themes, like friendship, power, loyalty, fear, sacrifice, and of course the universal tale of good versus evil.

 

And then there's Gollum, vile, pathetic, torn, funny, tragic, and doomed. I think Andy Serkis did a fantastic job of bringing this unique character to life in film.

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You two geniuses should have pointed out that the eagles could have flown Frodo to Mount Doom and cut out most of the journey, then accuse Gandalf of being dumb for not thinking of it, lol.

 

It was the eagles' day off. They don't punch in until the Tuesday, and they work only a three day week. Damn unions.

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TopBilled speaks of "characterization - emotions and subtext", with the implication that these are lacking in LOTR (the movies).

Au contraire, I think the characters are more interesting and more developed in the films than in the books.

 

My comment was more about deficiencies in characterization of the M:I movies and the overall trend of recent filmmakers to get so wrapped up in elaborate camera movement that basic simple storytelling is lost. The Lord of the Rings films spring from Tolkien's solid (perhaps dense) storytelling, filled with all kinds of fascinating characters.

 

Still, as the OP said, the vertigo-inducing camera movement gets to be a bit much at times and ultimately takes us out of the story.

 

My theory is that a lot of today's movie-making uses miniatures and computer-generated simulations. When a filmmaker has that kind of latitude, they may almost abuse the fluidity it brings to the story. Hitchcock used miniatures for Manderley in REBECCA, but he didn't feel the need to swoop down and swoop around and swoop through the windows to the point it disorients the viewer. In fact, during the climactic fire scene, he comes up to the window and lets Judith Anderson's assured acting guide the scene. Then he pushes in for the final shot on the pillow. He keeps it simple. He does not need to show and remind the audience they are watching a movie filled with glorious special effects.

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I think I may have come across more emphatically than I meant to about the books.

 

I did in fact love Tokien's wonderful fantasy trilogy. I remember when I read them, it was like I was in that world. My main preoccupation was Middle Earth and what was happening in it; they were the kind of books that when real life called and I had to do other things,  I couldn't wait to get back to.

 

I do remember getting bored with a lot of the explicatory passages in The Two Towers and The Return of the King. But the story was so compelling, I got through those parts and on to the exciting story without too much trouble.

 

Both the books and the films evoke so much in terms of "big" themes, like friendship, power, loyalty, fear, sacrifice, and of course the universal tale of good versus evil.

 

And then there's Gollum, vile, pathetic, torn, funny, tragic, and doomed. I think Andy Serkis did a fantastic job of bringing this unique character to life in film.

 

I respect your admiration for the movies.  I also read the books a long time ago, two or three times.  I even read the Silmarillion, which will give you an idea of how much I was into it.  Don't know if I'd like 'em now.  I liked how Tolkien made the geography of Middle Earth so prominent a feature in the narrative.  And how he integrated the passage of time, daily and seasonally, into the action.

 

One thing that puts me off these and other movies with CGI figures is their posturing and movement.  It's hard to describe, but they all seem to hold themselves and move in the same way.  They all snarl, and mug, and drool for the camera in the same predictable, predictable way.  And they all have bad teeth.  It's as if there were only one studio that did the animation for all the movies.

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...And they all have bad teeth.  It's as if there were only one studio that did the animation for all the movies.

 

Well, I never got into this whole movie series at all, but from what I've fleetingly observed, there ARE a lot of British actors in 'em, aren't there???

 

(...and so maybe that could explain this whole "bad teeth" thing!) ;)

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