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January 12, 2005



Abysmal failure: Sauron's Eye in The Return of the King. Why a visible ray of light?? Admittedly, this concept was hard to visualize in the film. I always thought the Eye "sees" by Sauron's mental powers, not by literally "seeing".

Triumphant success: The Shire. I just loved the scene when Gandalf first arrives to the Shire with firecrackers. Nice use of colors.


Noloin minusta oli aika moneen otteeseen kuolleiden armeija joka levisi kuin vihreä mönjä pitkin paikkoja. Tuo olisi voitu toteuttaa niin paljon tyylikkäämmin. Ja se saatanan kallovyöry... Niin kauan kun kuolleet seisoivat paikallaan, ne olivat suht ok, mutta taistelussa... Ei, ei herran jestas...

Loistelias onnistuminen voisi olla vaikkapa herra X:n poisjättö... mutta siis mitä mukaan tuli? Moria oli hyvä, mutta tuollakin oli heikompia kohtia joten rajottaudun siltakohtaukseen balrogin ja Gandalfin välillä, se putoaminen (kahdessa tornissa) ei sitten enää aivan niin toiminut, sillä Gandalfin miekan kiinni sukellus oli aika paksua...

Itse pidän kokonaisuutta kuitenkin hyvin onnistuneena ja vaikka sielä olikin muutamia noloja kohtauksia, niin hyvää oli paljon enemmän (varsinkin pitkissä versioissa).


For this once I get on the barricades for this insignificant detail that for some completely obscure reason annoyed me so much: the orc-army that actually invaded Minas Tirith! Somehow the part in the Book has always been very symbolic for me: "In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed..." And now some 5,000 orcs storm the gate and people need GHOSTS to drive them off... Whole Battle of the Pelennor Fields looked great but went all wrong.

Triumphant success: Edoras and Rohirrim. They were just like I have imagined them, and I strongly believed that the big T himself thought them to be just like those: Anglo-Saxons on horse.


Abysmal failure: Skitsophrenic Arwen. Started out as a gutsy in-the-world elf princess with enough presence to make her own choices and take her own risks in life. Then in Two Towers the writers realize both that the audience is flipping its lid ("Tolkien didn't write her like that!") and that she would overlap too much with Eowyn. Result: a complete u-turn that makes her a weepy will-o-the-wisp who spends films two AND three making up her mind about whether to go or stay and whining to daddy-Elrond. I can see that keeping the first Arwen would have been a 'courageous move' (and we know how those usually end up), but the second is a total disaster, ascerbated by the fact that, as far as Aragorn and Arwen are concerned, we now have a story-line that just does not make any kind of sense. Not to mention an emotionally extremely disappointing reunification during the coronation scene, where I found myself disbelieving entirely that Aragorn could possibly love such a tittering idiot...

Triumphant success: Théoden (who, as my sister is fond of pointing out, kicks almighty arse). Not the way they did his infirmity - that was a total cop-out - but the way he found his feet again as a king but kept his self-doubt as a man. The scene at Théodred's grave... The charge out of Helm's deep... And, of course, the charge of the Rohirrim at Pelennor. Aragorn's speech at the Black Gates had nothing on old gray-beard. DEATH!! DEATH!!!


Yes, it bears repeating: Theoden rules. He owns my ass and yours, he is cooler than absolute zero, he has the best speech writers on Middle Earth, and enough magnetism to give people dirty wrong thoughts. He is Stendec of Middle Earth, darn it.


Abysmal failure: Denethor. Haven't yet heard anyone say anything particularly ingenious in his defence, so I'm content to sulk and grumble. In the book he was such a noble, self-assured, arrogant and severe character that I can't find it in myself to forgive the cowardly cretin they made of him. They kept some of the arrogance, but in an offensive way. Above all, he wasn't self-indulgent (the cherry tomato scene makes my hair hurt).

Triumphant success: I liked many places, but perhaps especially Rivendell, in part I. It was elvish and etheric but not too sugary. A sweet northern place in the mountains, pines and all, and compared nicely to e.g. Lothlorien (which I didn't like).


Failures are many and I'm afraid I can't really pick anything really that bad that hasn't already been said. - Wait, yes I can.

The moment Freddo stands on the walls of Osgiliath and is giving away the Onering. Now that was a bit... off. And what does Faramir do? Now let me think what I'd do with this little runt who has just tried to give away the most powerful artifact in entire world to the Bad Gyus(TM)...? I know, I'd let him and his suspicious looking cronies free and point the way towards the sewer that runs under the river. Eh?

As too the successes, they are many to choose from. I remember seeing the 13th Warrior and looking the visuals on that one and thinking to myself: "Finally a film that has the Look I had in my mind when reading The Book!" And then Jackson goes and does it even better. And still, despite the beauty if it all, the lavishness of detailed costuming and accoutremants, I think I still have to choose Sean Bean's Boromir. "Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king!" And then he dies (Not right away of course, but when he does, stoopid).

There are some excellent actors ( all the three sir's, The All-Mighty-Ass-Kicking-King, Andy Serkis, Viggo) in the ensemble cast and some that just portray their respective characters very well (yes, I think Elijah Wood is good in that respect), but Sean Bean just IS Boromir. From the moments he craves for the Onering, the part where he realises he isn't worth it, the moment when he realises he is going to die... Spellbinding stuff. And heroic fantasy as it's best. Sean Bean ought to be Waylander.

Judas H. Priest! Sean Bean is Waylander!!! Make it so, now!

In short: I love the films. They're not perfect, but as I see it, they're as close to honest-to-good brilliance as my imagination allows Hollywood-sized film production to be. I've grown weary of people telling me how this should've been done and how that is wrong. I'm ready just to start enjoying the whole thing, as is.

As to Denethor. I agree he was given a lot less dignified persona and treatment than in The Book, but I look at this a bit same way as I have managed to reason myself with the "Gimli is a buffoon" -fiasco. Gimli is reduced to comic sidekick in The Two Towers, because the bloody hobbits have to grow up and be all serious and stuff. Denethor has to be more "human", more brutal, 'cause everybody and their cousins are all so high-falutin' noble and good. It is a price one has to pay for the rest.

Not saying that is right, mind you.


Abysmal failure: All the bloody continuity errors that could have been fixed if somebody had taken the time to do it. You want examples? In the first movie: Gimli by the tomb of whomever in Moria: one second he is hitting his hed on the tomb the second he is sitting one meter from it. In the third movie: The horses in the battle at the Black gates: they ride up to the gates and when they start fighting there are no horses. Where the heck did the horses go? Did Gandalf do a magic thingie and poof no more horses?

Triumphant success: The look of the movie and the absolutely stupendous attention detail in everything (costumes, miniatures, fx and so on). Everyone who worked on the movie should get a medal and be declared a true hero of the fantastic! :)


Abysmal failure: Trying to make things more exciting by adding things story doesn't need at all. There seems to be lots of small additions just to make the viewer thrilled for a little while. Will everybody be able to jump across those broken stairs? Did Aragorn really die when falling off that cliff? Will those southron soldiers see Frodo and Sam? Will the mission fail because of Faramir intending to take Frodo to his father? Will Sam really leave Frodo? And so on. Why? Is the averige american viewer's attention span too short to hold without constant stimuli?
Not to mention many pointless or stupid or even distasteful details - both alterations and additions. Those sculls were definitely THE WORST. Did you really have to?!

Thriumphant success: The view. I have never been good at visualising things so the Fellowship of the Ring was the first time I was able to see the Shire, Rivendell and the Misty Mountains, Moria, Golden woods of Lorien, Minas Tirith and others, and I liked what I saw, I liked it very much. Especially I loved to see the Argonath. I have no problem with the fact that my Middle-Earth looks like the one in the movies.


Sculls? As in paddles, right? I have to disagree with this one, as I really liked all the myriad of little things that were designed for the utter and complete visual splendor that is the movie trilogy.

But then again, I kind of need to agree with the added thrillness of it all. The Book builds it's momentum little by little, until finally it goes all BOOM! and everything happens at once, but in the movie they just "had" to add these little extra thrilling moments (like the stairs-scene in Moria)... Maybe I can't uphold my own decision of just liking the films and giving a toss about the failures... :-(

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