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Old 09-08-2013, 07:30 PM   #1
Agent Purple
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Default The J.R.R. Tolkien Thread

Since I'm totally getting into his stuff (which is more than merely LOTR, as some would think), I decided to just go ahead and create this here topic for proper and contained at-length discussion of his writings.

That out of the way, here are links to my thoughts on The Fellowship and The Two Towers, and I'll at some point in the future follow up with commentary on Return of the King.

But now that I've a little bit of birthday money, I think I might just hunt online and buy a copy of Bakshi's 1977 Hobbit, and Jackson's Extended 2012 version alongside it, if I can find the latter for a cheap price on Blu-ray.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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Yo.

Bakshi's Hobbit was fun, but the book.......that book is my FAVORITE STORY.

EVER.

plz tell me U've read it, or have plans to do so?





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Old 09-08-2013, 08:49 PM   #3
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http://www.thegreenlanterncorps.com/...postcount=1104


Smaug 4 lyfe
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:54 PM   #4
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Good idea for a thread.

The animated Hobbit actually wasn't done by Bakshi, but rather Rankin/Bass. That version of the Hobbit was my first exposure to Tolkien and it wasn't positive. The musical numbers and grotesque designs didn't do much for me. Years later, I had to do a book report or something from the library and I figured it'd be easier if I had some exposure to the book elsewhere. So I read the Hobbit and absolutely loved it. Such an easier read than LotR. I loved everything to do with the dwarves.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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Don't suppose anyone has any advice on which book to grab for a geographical look at Middle-earth?

I know there's Maps of Middle-earth and The Atlas of Middle-earth, but dunno about much else.
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Old 09-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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Yo.

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*brofist*




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Old 09-08-2013, 11:44 PM   #7
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Well, I welcome the thread.

At my old job I edited a couple books by Tolkien scholars so I've engaged in every level of Tolkien talk from "hey, did you like the last Hobbit movie" to the subtextual layers of The Silmarillion. A very rewarding author.

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Good idea for a thread.

The animated Hobbit actually wasn't done by Bakshi, but rather Rankin/Bass. That version of the Hobbit was my first exposure to Tolkien and it wasn't positive. The musical numbers and grotesque designs didn't do much for me. Years later, I had to do a book report or something from the library and I figured it'd be easier if I had some exposure to the book elsewhere. So I read the Hobbit and absolutely loved it. Such an easier read than LotR. I loved everything to do with the dwarves.
I love(d) the cartoon. "That's What Bilbo Baggins Hates" and "The Greatest Adventure" are awesome songs. But the RotK movie's "Where There's a Whip There's a Way" is embedded in my subconscious. It just randomly pops out of me.

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Don't suppose anyone has any advice on which book to grab for a geographical look at Middle-earth?

I know there's Maps of Middle-earth and The Atlas of Middle-earth, but dunno about much else.
Sorry. I've always used the books and the stuff you can get free on the internet (which is a lot).
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:36 AM   #8
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This is a map of Beleriand. It is where most of the stories in The Silmarillion take place. I had a poster of it make. The Silmarillion is one of my favorite books.


And this map shows where all of the land is. During LOTR Beleriand doesn't exsit. Sorry that the words can't be read.
490j.jpg
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:41 AM   #9
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Goddamn, thanks, man.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:50 AM   #10
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I'm a huge Tolkien fan. I am going to love this thread. I'll leave you with some pictures/painting of scenes from the Silmarillion.


This is my favorite picture ever.
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Old 09-09-2013, 11:16 PM   #11
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I have always wanted to read this
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:39 AM   #12
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As one who went to college in the seventies with other scholars who took their notes in elf runes (no $#!t), I too welcome the thread. Ah, the memories. Long before movies were ever contemplated.

However, to ruin your Tolkien life forever, try to get a hold of the Harvard Lampoon's parody, "Bored of the Rings", then follow it with a piece of philosophical drivel called "Lord of the Elves and Eldils" by Dick Purtill (it compared Tolkien to C S Lewis, with varying shades of success).

Stay sane.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:03 PM   #13
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I've read Bored. Don't have it anymore, though.
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:20 PM   #14
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I have always wanted to read this
Thanks for pointing that out. I'd never heard of that, and it sounds interesting. My library has exactly one copy. It's at another branch but it isn't checked out, and mine was the first hold, so it will be in my hands within the week, I expect.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:46 AM   #15
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:02 PM   #16
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:05 AM   #17
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:29 PM   #18
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So I came across a couple of beauties just a short bit ago:

No Right Answer: Best Archer Ever -- Katniss vs Legolas


Rivendell recreated with over 200,000 LEGO pieces
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:15 AM   #19
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So, a fuller review of Desolation of Smaug.

I liked it well enough, but I think they really went overboard with the manufactured subplots.

1) I like Dol Goldur, it's just kind of a badass fortress and all. The heavy exposition on it, though, really didn't help the film. We already had Radagast explore it and discover the Witch-King's revival and the Necromancer's presence in Unexpected Journey, so revisiting that done-and-over-with plot point by having Gandalf and Radagast visit some ancient mountain tomb to "discover" what they both already know and then have this drawn-out (over two films, Desolation and Back Again) Gandalf-Sauron confrontation is just overkill.

Yes, it was cool to watch: the visuals were certainly nice, a decaying fortress and Sauron's body-within-eye-within-fire bit, but it created some real problems. Gandalf even says in the film his goal from the book, to force Sauron's hand. In the book, when the dwarves and Bilbo are raiding Erebor, the White Council is driving Sauron from Dol Goldur. Given that Sauron feared Saruman's power, it kind of makes little sense that he'd have it out with Gandalf and kick his ass without much effort (admit it, the Orcs weren't exactly threatening Gandalf very well, so he could have put up a damn good fight). The Gray Wizard's capture is adding icing to a cake that already has icing on it, no matter how good it looks or tastes.

2) The not-so-subtle alliance between Smaug and Sauron. Smaug pretty much flat-out states he's in cahoots with Sauron/the Necromancer, because of his line about darkness coming when talking to Bilbo. One of the key plot points in the book was that Gandalf timed things with the dwarves' quest to retake Erebor while having the White Council assault Dol Goldur because Sauron and Smaug would have helped each other against their enemies. Smaug's line indicates that they've formed an alliance, which goes against what the book made pretty damn clear. Seriously, Jackson? Why?

3) The Wood-elves. They're kind of dickish in the book, so I can't really say they're entirely out of character in the film. But a series of problems is created by their portrayal.

3-A) Legolas. Why is he here? I get that he's the Batman/Wolverine of the films, even more so than Gandalf, but I am pretty certain his name doesn't even pop up in the book, let alone the character. All the time wasted on him, no matter the quality of that time, could have been spent on other things, namely not making the film needlessly lengthy with fluff. Yes, I like that he has this romance with Tauriel, hell, I want to see the blond bastard happy with someone he loves, but not in a film where it has no place. It just takes up runtime, like filler in an anime based on a manga.

3-B) Tauriel. I kept thinking of her name as "Tauren," like the bovine race from Warcraft. Her character wasn't that bad (maybe because I have never given a damn about Lost, and never will), but I didn't really feel the gravity they pushed between her and Kili. I got that they were finding common ground, with their star-talk and all, but I just didn't feel the whole forbidden romance element that was being suffused into the film. And speaking of romance, I thought it was cliched (though nice) for Legolas to have feelings for her and she insists he only respects her soldiering skills, with Thranduil telling her to refute any of his advances since she's of a lower caste. Very cliche, but I felt for Legolas a bit about that (but I'm something of a romantic, so yeah...).

3-C) Thranduil. He was a bit more ruthless, perhaps, than in the book. He does treat Thorin pretty coldly when they first meet in the book, although the circumstances between the two mediums are very different. I don't know much of him beyond his moderate role in The Hobbit, so I can't say one thing or another about his scarred face, aside from it being damn surprising when he revealed it. I thought he was pretty dickish telling Tauriel to stay away from his son. His chat with Thorin beyond the face issue had its good bit, where Thorin throws his hospitality back in his face, reminding him of how he turned them away before, but at the same time was not exactly a great scene.

4) The Orcs. Making Azog alive was a confusing-as-shit move, even if it had its cool moments and still does. The introduction of Bolg is at least real here, because I wasn't sure they'd even bother with him since they resurrected Azog and all, but then they squashed any notion of Bolg being more than a pale imitation of dear old dad by having him hunt down Thorin and Company in his place. He's really just a stand-in for Azog, not a character of his own. I guess they needed another Thorin-Azog coupling by pairing Legolas with Bolg, because that's what the thing turns into. Really, they should have just kept Azog out completely and had him command an army like he fucking does in the book. At least there he isn't just a stand-in. For a character you were never supposed to really care much about, you can only feel sorry and angry for the poor bastard.

5) Bard. While I didn't expect to see the mop top/Tom Selleck 'stache from the '77 animated film here, I can't say I expected what we got. The guy actually looks incredibly clean (too clean, in fact) compared to the rest of Laketown, like he's just visiting on his way to a more important film. I swear I remember Bard being described as more rugged-looking, and this guy looks like Timothy Dalton from Flash Gordon, but with a mullet. The whole backstory they fabricate about a wind-bow that's basically a ballista knockoff adds to Bard's black arrow's history, which I can't recall the book detailing, but it just wastes more time and takes away from his skills as an archer, since he doesn't use such manufactured weapons when slaying Smaug. And the Dale flashback was not needed.

6) The fight with Smaug in Erebor. I like seeing more of Erebor, its mechanisms and forge and all, but as cool as it was, and as fun as the cat-and-mouse game between Smaug and the company, it really just felt like it was a few minutes too long. I love the hell out of Smaug, and seeing him go nuts trying to kill the dwarves was great, tearing shit up and burning things, but it felt a little drawn out. Maybe it would have not been minded if the rest of the film didn't feel so heavily padded for length. I did think it was incredibly comical to see him covered in molten gold, a play on his title of "Smaug the Golden," although the gold Thrain statue holding together that long and then bursting the way it did was obviously BS. The ending, with Smaug's line of being fire and death, was a double-edged sword: I can see how it would be a great cliffhanger, but at the same time, what the fuck are they going to do for the next part? It's just him attacking Laketown and then the Battle of Five Armies, along with Bilbo going home; is that shit really going to be three fucking hours long?

7) Laketown. All that boring shit with the Master could have been cut a lot shorter, because it comes off like its own episode of some Game of Thrones wannabe or something. We've got more important shit going on than some loser's gout or his dirtbag henchman's power plays. At least it'll be fun seeing it get wrecked to hell next film (honestly, the way things are going with these films, they'll have Smaug eat the Master rather than have him run away with sacks of money only to die alone...though that would also strangely appeal to me). The whole spy on Bard shit, the crush the growing rebellion stuff, all of that was just a time-sink that distracted from the actual plot of getting into the mountain. Ugh.

Beorn? I didn't mind him quite so much. When reading the book, I imagined him as more of a stereotypical lumberjack kind of guy, a Grizzly Adams sort of man, but what they had wasn't exactly horrible. I can't remember much of the character's history, so what the film presents doesn't bother me a great deal.


So yeah, there's my review of The Desolation of Smaug.
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:24 AM   #20
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I already wrote about this movie in the other thread, but I remembered one more detail: The mood whiplash is back again. On the one hand, you've got giant nightmare spiders, on the other hand, bumbling Bombur. You've got this incredibly bleak Laketown where nobody remembers what joy is, but then Stephen Fry and his Grima 2.0 both look like straight from an Asterix movie.
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:12 PM   #21
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I like your review. I always say that if the book was good enough to make a movie about why change everything in the movie.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:21 PM   #22
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I liked your review Agent Purple. You said a lot of what I'm feeling right now.

I saw it in imax Friday, then again yesterday in a regular theater. I'm sure I'll be seeing it again on the big screen at least one more time this week. I liked it the second time much more than the first. I enjoyed it the first time, but I was experienced serious sensory overload during some of those action sequences that seemed to go on forever. The barrel chase scene needed to be much shorter for instance.

I get that they wanted to add more depth when they came up with this Killi, Evangeline Lilly, Legolas thing, but it just seemed so unnecessary. I felt that way while I was watching it and still do now. It wasn't that it was badly done, just that it was overkill and didn't need to be there.

The purist in me wanted to throw rocks at the screen for all of these characters even showing up on screen. I can justify it to some extent that some of them WOULD be there and Tolkein was just too lazy to show us. It's like, Arwen wasn't used in the books when she clearly should have been considering the strange payoff, but then they go overboard and film scenes of her at Helm's Deep. To me, Legolas' overuse and Lilly's even being there is this film's Arwen at Helm's Deep except cooler heads didn't prevail in time to leave it all on the cutting room floor. Legolas should have shown up and done a fun cameo; that would have made sense as he obviously would have been there. Instead they went all out with him and it's hard for me to buy it.

Too much padding elsewhere in an otherwise terrific movie, or at least enough padding to KEEP it from being truly terrific. The dwarves fight with Smaug at the end is too much; the gold statue was overkill and silly. On top of that I don't think a single drop even clung to Smaug anyway.

I'm against this being three parts, but if there HAS to be three parts, the cliffhanger ending they used couldn't have been any better or more effective. I absolutely LOVED the way they ended it!

I don't want to spend too much time bitching because I DID really like the movie; the pacing felt much better the second time. It's just the things that I don't like about it really stand out in my head. All of the things that really needed to happen did; the spiders, the elves capturing them, the barrel ride, laketown being established, entering Erebor and Smaug. I just think if they trimmed about 20 minutes of fat off this flick it would have been incredible.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:32 AM   #23
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Forgot to post this here after doing so in the Pic 14 thread:

Bob Chipman's "Desolation of Smaug" review. He talks about the film in a more structural way, which is an important lens to view the film through, even if you don't agree with his opinion (I've disagreed a few times with him).
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:36 AM   #24
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:41 PM   #25
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Ha! That's awesome!
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