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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Jackson’

I hope you like bravado. We have plenty.

And footpads. We have those, too.

And footpads. We have those, too.

That is to say that the leader of this group of men has stopped Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin on the road, and seems intent on lecturing them about what the Shire needs. It needs guidance, he seems to think, and he and his pals are going to provide it. Their boss, the mysterious Sharkey, has control over Lotho Sackville-Baggins, but he can remove him as “Chief” at any time if he wishes. Frodo reminds this man that his boss (we all know it’s Saruman) has no power anymore. He was thrown down. A new king reigns, and his people will reclaim the land scoured by these ruffians. The man laughs at that.

This makes Pippin mad. As a sworn man of Gondor, he stands up for Aragorn. Swords are drawn.

I want to jump back a bit and cover something that I meant to do earlier. Sharkey is not some random name meant to refer to sea creatures. Very little is made in Middle-earth of sea creatures, so that hardly makes sense as a reasoning. In fact, Sharkey is a bastardization of “sharkû”, meaning “old man” in the orc tongue. Saruman is indeed an old man, and I would expect that these men (part-orc/goblin or not) are using that term in a more colloquial sense. Thus, Sharkey.

However, he's less friendly than Jabberjaw.

However, he’s less friendly than Jabberjaw.

BUT, for those of you who may have super-fanned the films, you may recognize this word. Sharku (note the dropped “û”) is the warg-riding orc who fixes to throw Aragorn of the cliff in Two Towers. This scene is not in the book. Sharku, the character, is not in the book. This is a re-appropriation of a known term into another context.

Of course, you can then make matters worse by noting that the actor who played Sharku also plays Snaga, an orc in the company transporting Merry and Pippin, and…oh, yeah, he’s also the guy who plays Nori in the new Hobbit films. Jed Brophy is Peter Jackson’s…um, BROphy.

No one dies today.

“Fearless hobbits with bright swords and grim faces were a great surprise. And there was a…”

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It’s crawling time. When Frodo and Sam get up to get going once more, Frodo suggests crawling. Okay. Let’s do that.

Move, move, move!

Move, move, move!

The road cuts across Mount Doom before them, a pathway built and maintained that stretches from Barad-dûr to the mountain. Frodo suddenly stops and looks east, seeing Sauron’s fortress before him. Sauron’s attention is turned elsewhere, however, towards the battle brewing with Aragorn’s forces at the Black Gate. Frodo collapses at the sight.

First Mentions:

-Sauron’s Road: Aw, it’s his personal road! I mean, I guess what else are you going to call it?

-the Window of the Eye: This appears to be a window to Sauron’s own chamber in Barad-dûr. This begs the question…

So, what about that Eye of Sauron? Book purists say that Peter Jackson’s depiction of Barad-dûr with a big old flaming eye on top was ridiculous. Sure, it really doesn’t seem to fit with the way magic and structures worked together in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but hear me out a second…I think Jackson’s version was fairly darn faithful to the text. Observe: “One moment only it stared out, but as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red, the flicker of a piercing Eye.”

Does that not sound somewhat like what the film visualized? Now, much is made of similes when comparing the text to the films, such as the balrog’s shadow stretching out “like two vast wings.” Does that mean the balrog has wings, or that its shadow merely acts like wings? Much debate. In the Eye of Sauron’s case, we have another simile: “But as from some great window immeasurably high there stabbed northward a flame of red.” However, this simile doesn’t appear to be talking about some sort of flaming eye. In fact, it mentions the possible existence of a window, but the flame and eye are not included in its comparison. In essence, it says that a flaming eye spouts from something like a window, but does not imply the true existence of a window.

So, yes?

So evil.

So evil.

There isn’t a pure and simple answer here. I didn’t think that there would be anything this notable to debate, though. I had assumed that we never got a clear description of Barad-dûr, and most people simply didn’t envision it having a flaming eye atop it. Not to say that it couldn’t, but no one specifically said that it did. Instead, we do have a description, and it actually seems to indicate this appearance.

And what does it matter? Envision it how you like. I’m reading too much into things, like I do.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Sammath

No, that is not an alternate nickname for Samwise, but maybe it should be.

No one dies today.

“Faint, almost inaudibly, he heard Frodo whis-…”

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Well, now we can get over that moment where Frodo almost attacked Sam, and it’s awkward. Frodo recoils from a vision of Sam as a greedy orc grasping for his treasure. He sees Sam again, and he’s hurt by Frodo’s aggression. They both know it’s the ring’s doing, and though Sam wants to help, this is a burden that Frodo must bear alone.

Alone, huh?

Alone, huh?

Sam breaks the tension by offering to go and scrounge up some clothes and gear for the two of them. Frodo needs new clothes, and they might as well go with matching orc attire so as to better blend into Mordor. Thankfully, there’s plenty of stuff lying around on the dead orcs. Sam goes down to look, and leaves Frodo with instructions to keep the ladder up until he hears Sam’s password.

My only quizzical moment is why Sam and Frodo are even worried about orcs sneaking around and surprising them in Cirith Ungol. When Sam pulls Sting out to show Frodo that it also has been kept safe, they notice that the blade isn’t glowing. So…no orcs! Yeah, that’s what that usually means.

But, yeah. I feel like maybe I’m losing steam. Let’s move on to something that I’ve been thinking a lot about.

THIS THE POINT WHERE YOU STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO SPOIL THINGS ABOUT THE NEW HOBBIT MOVIE. BUT IF YOU READ THIS BLOG, YOU MAY KNOW THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN ANYWAY BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BOOK. BUT JUST IN CASE.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, And Why Some Little Things Can Make a Good Thing Confusing: A Special Feature:

So, to start, this is still a good movie. Now, this new trilogy will always fall short when compared to the original Lord of the Rings films, but one can’t be surprised. Overall, I think I liked this movie better than An Unexpected Journey, but I also found more problems with it.

I found the departures from the original story more jarring here. No, Tauriel isn’t my problem. I actually fully support creating another wood elf to hang around with Legolas, because you know what? Those characters aren’t really named in The Hobbit. Obviously, in connecting that story to the canon of Lord of the Rings, Legolas has to be there, because he’s the son of Thranduil, king of the woodland realm. Sure, make up someone like Tauriel, because you need more than just Legolas and Thranduil to connect to when you’re hanging out with the elves in Mirkwood, especially when Thranduil’s being a jerk and Legolas is pretty blindly following his orders, at least at the start. However, it’s the nature of Tauriel’s storyline as it evolves that makes me cringe. Really? She’s falling in love with Kili? What? Add on to that the fact that we now have Fili, Kili, Óin, and Bofur awkwardly staying behind in Lake-town, and suddenly the dwarves are all split up instead of going to gaze upon their treasured lost kingdom. And you know what? I see an easy way to fix this: don’t have Kili get hit by a poisoned arrow and get sick. Newsflash: Fili and Kili die in the end. What’s the point of having Kili fall ill now? I certainly don’t want to see the storyline changed so much that we have dead characters not dying. Legolas and Tauriel still have plenty of reason to follow the orcs to Lake-town, and then that’s not deliberately changing anything from the book. Just because it doesn’t mention that this happened doesn’t mean it necessarily didn’t. I can handle that. However, it does mention that all the dwarves go to the Lonely Mountain. Don’t change that.

But you know who’s gonna die? Tauriel. She gonna die. Why else wouldn’t she show up in some way with Legolas in Lord of the Rings? She’s going to die, and in some way that can be fuel for Legolas to go on this crazy quest later on in his life. And maybe, since she loved a dwarf, he understands the value of befriending them? I don’t know. This is weird.

Filler image to break up the text!

Filler image to break up the text!

Meanwhile, there’s something that worked in the first film that is suddenly complicated here. I had liked the addition of Azog (even though he’s not really around during the time of The Hobbit) to provide a consistent and known antagonist. Suddenly, in this film, he goes away. Instead, he places Bolg in his place to hunt Thorin and the dwarves down. Azog goes and hangs out in Dol Guldur. So, what was the point of building Azog up in the first film if he’s not going to continue in that role? Since Bolg is the orc who actually makes sense in established canon to be the one doing the hunting, why not have him doing that from the beginning? In textual canon, Bolg is Azog’s son, and ends up leading the orcs in the Battle of Five Armies at the end. Sure, have him show up sooner, whatever. Again, known antagonists are a good thing, but having a whole film of Azog and then discarding him is silly. And, truly (again in textual canon), Azog was killed by Dáin long ago. We could still have that happen, because Dáin shows up later at the Bo5A (I made that up just now)! Why not have Dáin kill him then? Ah, but probably not. We’ve established Azog as Thorin’s mortal enemy, so Thorin will probably get the honors. See why this gets confusing? And it could have been avoided if this was all just Bolg from the start. Bah.

Among other things I found jarring were the extended chase and battle with Smaug in Erebor (extended action sequences sell, you know) and the business about Bard having to using some silly contraption with the black arrow (which isn’t really a true arrow – more of a bolt) to fire at dragons. In the book he uses a bow. Bows are simple. A bow shouldn’t be able to bring down a dragon, but it does, and that’s what’s cool. When Bard inevitably shoots Smaug down in the next film with this wind lance thing, it’s not going to be as impressive as if he had done it with his modest bow. Also, Bard in the book is a soldier of Lake-town, not some smuggling miscreant. Why not let him have some honor?

Gosh, I’m going on and on here, but here’s the thing: this move is entertaining. I can live with changes, though these are paining me more than some others have. Thankfully, I still have the wherewithal to be able to separate those feelings from my enjoyment of a film. May that never cease.

And, we all just have to laugh when Bombur presses Z or R twice and barrel rolls a score of orcs down.

In looking ahead, how is the last film going to start?! Smaug is literally seconds away from attacking Lake-town. That’s no place to just jump back into a story. Ball’s in your court, Jackson.

No one dies today.

“Then he got up, drew the grey elven-cloak…”

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Mrow?

Oh noes!

Oh noes!

With such fanfare, this very short chapter ends. Frodo, Sam, and Gollum have sneaked into the grove of tress that marks the crossroads. The sun sets over Gondor to the west, and a darkness hangs in the east. In the center of the grove sits a kingly statue. Its head has been torn off, replaced with a grinning red-eyed mockery. However, Frodo sees the old head sitting by the roadside, crowned in the light with a ring of white flowers. With the setting of the sun, blackness envelops all.

Today’s Gollum Meter: 56 – “Nothing wrong here.”

People will always argue about the changes that the movies have made. (Oh, that stop in Osgiliath with Faramir? Nope.) However, some moments are just so perfectly captured. This isn’t a major moment in the book, by any stretch of the imagination. This chapter was short and relatively inconsequential, but the mood of this ending, where Frodo sees the crown on the stone king’s brow, is hit right on the head in the film. I’ve seen book purists ask if Peter Jackson has even read the book. As you can see today, yes, yes he has.

Cats have always taken issue with page 702.

Cats have always taken issue with page 702.

Let’s move along to the next chapter, shall we? This one was pretty boring, anyway.

No one dies today.

“The Sun dipped and vanished, and as if at the shuttering of a lamp, black night fell.”

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Late night blog post! Weeeeeeee!

I always feel like I'm letting someone down when this happens.

I always feel like I’m letting someone down when this happens.

More battle! Excitement!

Sam watches the battle of man against man, realizing that it is the first time that he’s seen two peoples of the same race have at it. That’s not a common thing in Middle-earth. Yikes. He doesn’t like it. However, that all goes away with one view of an oliphaunt.

First Mentions:

-the Valar: Have we not officially mentioned the Valar? They’re like gods around these parts! Big deal! Beings created by Eru himself!

Oliphaunt?! Oh, boy!

Yes, indeed. An oliphaunt thunders through the forest wildly. It’s enormous, and a single Southron warrior tries to control it, to no avail, and it’s headed straight towards Frodo and Sam’s hiding place. Fortunately, it swerves off, and Sam gets to hypothesize about what happens to it after this battle. Does it live? Die? We’ll never know.

Oliphaunt, you guys!

...you guys?

…you guys?

All in all, the scene from the movie comes in full right now. Frodo and Sam (mostly Sam) watch the battle from the ridge, and the oliphaunt charges towards them, though it changes course just in time. Good job, Peter Jackson, that’s just what happens! Although, it is all in a different order.

Details…

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Valar

-Mûmak

There’s thunder outside, you guys. I guess that means it’s officially spring. I like thunder. I mean, I used to hate it, but now I’ve grown up. I like rain. Rain is cool.

So are bowties.

Anyway, bask in the glory that is the oliphaunt, just like Sam is, and we’ll all be alright. He doesn’t seem to realize the danger that he’s in. Maybe one day.

“What became of him Sam never heard: whether he escaped to roam the wild for a time, until he perished far from his home or was trapped in some deep pit; or whether he raged on until he plunged in the Great River and was swallowed up.”

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When was the last time I posted one of these actually after midnight? Will I be able to hammer this out in 15 minutes? Questions of our times.

STOP.

STOP.

Frodo and Sam praise the rope. Good on those elves. By this point, the rain has basically stopped, and Frodo really wants to try to climb down this cliff tonight. Sam doesn’t think that’s the greatest idea, but when has Sam ever stopped anyone?

Then, there’s this weird paragraph talking about the movements of the storm, with the strange inkling that Sauron has something to do with it.

I mean…I guess that’s possible. It’s been said that Sauron has control of weather near to him, but this storm extends out over Gondor and Rohan. He is said to be stretching out his power to intimidate the armies of men before the coming war. Yes? Maybe. There’s nothing that says that isn’t possible, so I’m going to go with the path of least resistance.

Which is how things like the Grand Canyon are formed, so there must be something good there.

Which is how things like the Grand Canyon are formed, so there must be something good there.

Is that enough? MUST WRITE MORE.

I don’t think The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey won any Oscars tonight. Well, I don’t think that was really…unexpected. When you’re being measured up against the earlier films, it’s going to be hard to come out on top. You set the bar too high, Peter Jackson. You have two more movies to get back to that mountaintop. That very Lonely Mountain…top.

No one dies today.

WOO! Done in time!

“But here, over the desert and the reeking marshes the deep blue sky of evening opened once more, and a few pallid stars…”

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BLERG THE HOBBIT AHHHH!

I have a lot to say about that, but we’ll do that after I get through what I have to say about today’s page.

I'll get there as fast as I can.

I’ll get there as fast as I can.

So…Helm’s Deep battle! Gimli returns to Legolas on the wall, and the death count game is on! Gimli has killed two orcs. Legolas? More like twenty. He’s been shooting arrows at them all night.

Meanwhile, the storm is finally letting up, but the attack isn’t. More orcs are coming, and this time with ladders. They try to scale them up the wall, but most get pushed back down. The dead pile higher and higher. The men of Rohan are getting tired, arrows are running low, and not even Aragorn can continue rallying their confidence.

But some orcs have slipped in. Crawling through the drainage hole in the wall, a group has been hiding in the shadows. Now, they attack the horses and their guards, further up the valley. Gimli leaps to attack there, as does Gamling, bringing men from the Hornburg.

Woo! Things are getting tense. The orcs don’t care about much more than attrition. They clearly know that they have the men outnumbered, so all they have to do is wear the defense down. It’s working. Add in the little things that dismay the men: ramming the gates (new rams have shown up, by the way), sneaking in behind, and just plain persistence. It’s not a bad battle plan, when you don’t care about how many of your own forces you’re going to lose. Evil characters can get away with that.

Ah, the conveniences of nameless henchmen.

Ah, the conveniences of nameless henchmen.

Words My Computer Didn’t Like:

-Ai-oi

-Helmingas

Yes, Helmingas. Like Eorlingas, but from Helm. Sons of Helm. Sons of Helm, helming Helm’s Deep. Helm it, you Helmingas!

But…today was never really about Lord of the Rings

THIS IS THE POINT WHERE YOU STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO SPOIL THINGS ABOUT THE NEW HOBBIT MOVIE. BUT IF YOU READ THIS BLOG, YOU MAY KNOW THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN ANYWAY BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BOOK. BUT JUST IN CASE.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, And Why I Liked It: A Special Feature:

Oh, that was good. Were you worried? Have you been told off by too many people/critics that it doesn’t do the previous movies justice? They’re wrong.

I’m sorry, but were you expecting perfection just like the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? No, that’s not what I expected, and it’s not what I needed. Bring me back, Peter Jackson, just bring me back to that wonderful world you showed us all. And you know what, he did. Easily.

The tone is there. The epic scale, which I’ve heard people gripe about because the story doesn’t necessarily call for it, is also there. Here’s what I think: The Hobbit as a book isn’t grand? No, not quite, but that’s really just because Tolkien wrote it before his world of Middle-earth was crafted. Does it fit into that narrative? Yes, but it wasn’t initially intended to. So, it has always felt a little smaller. However, there’s nothing stopping it from being connected right to that beautiful, grandiose world. It’s right there! So, I don’t have any problem with adding all that backstory. It doesn’t slow down the film too much, and, I like it, so I don’t mind it being there. I read one critic who said that the film was a bit too much like an encyclopedia of Tolkien’s world. And let it be! That sounds great! Let’s watch it.

Filler image to break up the text!

Filler image to break up the text!

That aside, the other complaint I was worried about was this whole frame rate thing. Hands down, this movie is gorgeous. I wasn’t jarred by the higher quality. The 3D was used pretty well, in my limited opinion. Everything just looks so darn good. Success!

As for the little added things, they mostly worked. Azog is everything that Darth Maul should have been. I saw a video about how Episode I could have been better, and it mentioned having Darth Maul live so that Obi Wan has a known antagonist that we get to follow and amp up tension about. Oh, we’re doing a prequel trilogy to a successful trilogy made some time ago? Let’s have that! Peter Jackson did what George Lucas failed to do. At least in that respect.

Other things…Lindir! We made fun of him earlier! He gets to show up. There’s that wonderful story about Bullroarer Took inventing golf, and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins stealing Bilbo’s spoons. Totally happened. Radagast has a rabbit sleigh, which is neat. His favorite hedgehog, Sebastian, may be my favorite character in the film. And why not have Radagast be the first one to notice something strange about Dol Guldur? He lives nearby anyway!

There’s one thing I was sad about: Thorin’s father Thráin isn’t found by Gandalf in the dungeons of Dol Guldur. Instead, the map of the secret door in the Lonely Mountain is obtained some other way. But why not put Thráin in Dol Guldur, thus further connecting this storyline to the “Necromancer” (Sauron) at Dol Guldur? Heck, Sauron takes Thráin’s ring there, one of the Seven.

All in all, I loved it. Was that unclear?

“Their onset was fierce and sudden, and the Orcs gave way before…”

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