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Thread: Battle of the Pelennor Fields

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Couple questions about this scene from PJ's LOTR:

1. How do you guys feel about the Army of the Dead arriving at the battle instead of reinforcements from southern Gondor like in the book?
2. Does anyone else find the Rohirrim charging head long into the mumakil to be completely asinine?
In brief;
1. Awful.
2. Yes.

To be a little more specific the RoTK the film suffers overall from a complete lack of politics, without mention of Dol Amroth, or any of the other Captains or the aid for Gondor being drawn off in defence of their own lands by the Corsairs, there was no way for PJ to introduce where Aragorn got the men from so they copped out and just had him bring the dead along (besides when the green glowing dead swarm through the streets of the white Minas Tirith it looks like an advert for a toilet cleaner).
And whilst the charging of the Mumakil is certainly exciting and an excuse for PJ to recreate the Hoth battle from Empire Strikes Back but with elephants, it is stupid. In the books the horses won't go anywhere near the mumakil and they serve as safe havens and rallying points for the enemy. They never charge although occasionally one of them does go berserk and trample friend an foe alike. But I guess that's not as exciting as having Legolas single handedly taking them down or Eowyn slicing the legs from under them. (You've made me depressed just thinking about it).
[quote="Ancalagon":q615q0q3]1. How do you guys feel about the Army of the Dead arriving at the battle instead of reinforcements from southern Gondor like in the book?[/quote:q615q0q3]

It cheapens the whole battle. In the book the southern reinforcements helped turn the tide, but there was still a lot of fighting to be done. In the movie the Green Mouthwash Mary-Sues just come in, mop up in a matter of minutes, and render meaningless all the sacrifices made to that point. The book-reinforcements alone could not have won the battle, but the Mouthwash would have been just as effective if everyone else had just hidden for a few extra hours.

[quote:q615q0q3]2. Does anyone else find the Rohirrim charging head long into the mumakil to be completely asinine?[/quote:q615q0q3]

Yes. The horses (and probably the riders) should have been freaked out, like the book and common sense dictates they would be by strange, giant creatures. I also got very sick of the stomping [i:q615q0q3]very[/i:q615q0q3] fast. As a semi-related rant: I cannot stand that Eowyn was able to take down a mumak with a couple light slashes against its legs when the mumak apparently had a thick enough hide that it could have arrows sticking out of it like a ladder. Inconsistency much? :roll:
It was freakin' brilliant :mrgreen: . I loved every minute of that epic battle sequence. Not like the book? You betcha! Do I care? Not really, it still was Awesome 8-) .

Legolas takes out an oliphaunt and surfs its trunk WOW! Loved the Eowyn ankle slicing scene. Army of the Dead...Epic save in the nick of time...Nice bit of real Fantasy there. Jackson's Battle Kicks Arse!

If I wanted another "realistic" medieval battle movie I'd just watch Braveheart again. No thanks :P !

[b:dq9nmafs]GB[/b:dq9nmafs]
Theoden exhorting his Rohirrim on the ridge top, riding along battering those spears was a FANTASTIC scene. Stirring, what! Loved that bit!

After that, yeah, it was a bit of a let down (LotR book speaking), but as pure cinema... oh my God.... I agree with GB (in part)! I even liked the Legolas climbing up the arrows bit! Shame! Shame on me! Sorry Mr Tyrant!

I agree, however, about the green cleansing liquid. Though I guess Minas Tirith did need a good wash, what with all those foul orcs despoiling and soiling it!
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":3smdten9]If I wanted another "realistic" medieval battle movie I'd just watch Braveheart again. No thanks :P ! [/quote:3smdten9]

I just prefer fantasy that makes sense by a certain set of rules. They'll be its own rules to a large degree, sure, but being fantasy doesn't mean anything can happen. That's my preference, at any rate.
I also love how the seige towers were exactly the correct height to open onto the wall as if the orcs had a full blueprint of the city :lol:
With regard to siege towers and the like I've always found it difficult, given how orcs seem to interact with one another, to envisage orc carpenters and orc draughtsmen- I can but assume the design and building must have been done by the men of Harad or somewhere.
Orc weaponry and armour is another one, I suspect a lot is just plunder but they do seem to have their own distinctive styles which raises the thought of orc blacksmiths etc.
[quote="Ancalagon":2dv2cj4g]I also love how the seige towers were exactly the correct height to open onto the wall as if the orcs had a full blueprint of the city :lol:[/quote:2dv2cj4g]

I don't think it could have been too hard for them to guesstimate the height of the walls. Sauron is known for having spies, after all.
It's a wonder the orcs could achieve anything collectively! When they weren't getting slain by the good guys, they were slaying each other! :lol:
Same could be said for humans <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

[b:xvt22szl]GB[/b:xvt22szl]
It is tricky to conceive of orcs working together to achieve anything but isn't their mention somewhere of Sauron having slaves around the lake in SW Mordor? Maybe they did all the manufacturing.
On the point of swinging room for long and broad swords I know that in Scottish clan battles one of the main weapons was the claymore, a two handed broadsword used for hacking and slashing. And these battles were simply two forces rushing at each other and colliding- much like I envisage many of the battles in LoTR, so it is possible.
[quote="pettytyrant101":2jww8iuo]It is tricky to conceive of orcs working together to achieve anything but isn't their mention somewhere of Sauron having slaves around the lake in SW Mordor? Maybe they did all the manufacturing.[/quote:2jww8iuo]

He did, though they were specifically mentioned as working largely in agriculture. There's no reason he couldn't have had human slaves working on construction though, or that he couldn't have gotten some of the Easterlings or Haradrim to do it. For that matter, I see no reason why the Orcs themselves couldn't have; I don't think they're as unruly as you guys suggest. They had their own cultures, sometimes even independent of Sauron (like the reigns of Azog and Bolg in the North, and as was the ambition of Shagrat and Gorbag), and had women and children who had to be organized and supported somehow.
Yes, I think I met a few orc gals in discos in about 1980. Didn't realize it until now! Oh my gosh! I woke up next to one of them in a dingey motel room, with my arm around her, one hungover morning.... that's why I've only got one arm... <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />
I thought the substitute of the men with the ghostys was a good idea. It worked, it didn't funk up the flow of the movie and it didn't confuse the unlearned audience (unlearned in Tolkein that is...) I thought it was awesome! but as soon as they got there, it was over. And also, when they first get off the boats, and Aragron is hacking away with the ghostys next to him, before they showed him being able to TOUCH the ghosts. So... if he was hacking like that with them right next to him, wouldn't that cause problems????

And I LOVED it when the Rohirium charged the mumaks!!!!!! It was like "Yay we won!" then "Oh *%$@!, that's a problem!!" And then, there was big epic music as they rode to meet each other, then as soon as someone's hit, BOOM! no more music!!! I think Pelennor was the best part of the movie!
You say of the army of the dead Tinuviel "as soon as they got there, it was over"- this I find is typical of PJ. He makes changes then finds he doesn't know what to do afterwards because Tolkien had everything so well worked out. He has the same problem at Helm's Deep with the elves, they turn up, fight and not a one of them survives because in order to get the story back on track PJ has to get rid of them all, no matte how unlikely.
The solidity of the dead is another issue PJ muddles- I don't think in the book they kill anyone with violence- its fear that's their chief weapon.
Yes, but death by fear doesn't work in films (at least not for large battles). And modern audiences don't have any issues with ghosts or poltergeists having physical effects when they want to. That has been a mainstay of Horror (and at least one "Ghostly" romance <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ) for decades in film. I don't know anyone that had a problem with that aspect (until now :roll: ).

In any case, the battle had gone on long enough, the Army of the Dead was an excellent way to bring it to a close, and give the film enough time for the rest of the story.

[b:i12cu595]GB[/b:i12cu595]
[quote="pettytyrant101":6rxqq8ga]He makes changes then finds he doesn't know what to do afterwards because Tolkien had everything so well worked out. He has the same problem at Helm's Deep with the elves, they turn up, fight and not a one of them survives because in order to get the story back on track PJ has to get rid of them all, no matte how unlikely.[/quote:6rxqq8ga]

I wonder how much of that is simply due to the chaotic nature of filming, with the script being written and re-written so late into production that the actors did not, in some cases, even read certain scenes before doing them. It's possible that the disappearing Elves was just lazy storytelling, but I think it might have been simple sloppiness. In any event, continuity errors of that sort irk me. :|
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":q4evtgru]Yes, but death by fear doesn't work in films (at least not for large battles).[/quote:q4evtgru]

Why not? Perhaps more to the point though, the 'death by fear' bit shouldn't have occurred at the [i:q4evtgru]big[/i:q4evtgru] battle, but in the south. :P

[quote:q4evtgru]In any case, the battle had gone on long enough, the Army of the Dead was an excellent way to bring it to a close, and give the film enough time for the rest of the story.[/quote:q4evtgru]

I can understand wanting to get on with the story, but I don't think that excuses the incredibly lazy method by which PJ ended the battle. If he had cut, say, Legolas on the mumak and maybe a few of the siege scenes (or flaming Denethor) he would have been able to show a few wide shots of the battle raging (with the implication, perhaps aided by a setting sun, that it lasted for hours) before moving on. Even if he didn't make room by cutting other elements, it wouldn't take that much longer.
Booooooring :P .

[b:3jyl48cl]GB[/b:3jyl48cl]
Yes, epic battles between thousands of combatants to decide who will control the world are sooooooooooo much more boring than the glowing green mouthwash with no emotional investment in this war, specifically, winning the battle in a matter of minutes. :roll: :P
Yes they are indeed <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> . I'm glad you finally see my point <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . Mass slaughter without magical and imaginative sequences is boring, pointless, and UGLY.

[b:2jkaqaor]GB[/b:2jkaqaor]
Did you find the charge of the Rohirrim at the film-Pelennor boring, pointless, and ugly, GB? I thought that was one of the best moments of the entire battle (despite the sun rising in the north... :roll: ). I'm not asking for a lingering look at the slaughter, just a few shots to show that the battle didn't end so quickly.
The long shots showing thousands of fighters pouring into the fray was the first time such an effect had been accomplished on-screen, so that was cool 8-) . And the battle was filmed Imaginatively overall.

[b:1msshqdh]GB[/b:1msshqdh]
These are just two more examples of PJ and his screenwriters having delusions of grandeur, presuming to rewrite Tolkien. There is not a director, nor a screenwriter, in Hollywood who has the talent (or the right) to rewrite Tolkien. Everything in LOTR was like a jigsaw puzzle - all of the little pieces fit together perfectly to create the full story. Along comes PJ and a bunch of hacks with word processors, and they took all of those little pieces and butchered them, resulting is a story full of large holes and missing pieces.

The battle of the Pelennor Fields is a small infraction on there part. Look what they did to The Two Towers. It is like the screenwriters made a list of the names of people and places from the book, then threw the book away an wrote their own story using those names. There was little (besides the names) in the movie that resembled the book.
It's true that many events were enormously altered for the movies and that Tolkien's story was extremely intricate. However, I feel that this intricacy which we all love was LOTR's downfall as a filmable story. LOTR is a 1000 page book with numerous other "supporting" books! :shock: It had to be dumbed down or we would still be in the theater.
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":3ogdg4ku]And the battle was filmed Imaginatively overall. [/quote:3ogdg4ku]

I agree, and see no reason why a few closing shots of battle after Aragorn arrived couldn't be imaginative as well. If anything I think it would be less lazy and [i:3ogdg4ku]more[/i:3ogdg4ku] imaginative than the route that he actually took.
[quote="Ancalagon":246jkggp]I feel that this intricacy which we all love was LOTR's downfall as a filmable story. LOTR is a 1000 page book with numerous other "supporting" books! :shock: It had to be dumbed down or we would still be in the theater.[/quote:246jkggp]

I wouldn't say "dumbed down", but you are of course correct. It should be obvious that the dialogue from the book could not simply be copied and pasted onto a script and then used for filming. However, the filmmakers went far beyond what was necessary to make the book work on film (even a very long film).
[quote="Ancalagon":32wcqxnu]It's true that many events were enormously altered for the movies and that Tolkien's story was extremely intricate. However, I feel that this intricacy which we all love was LOTR's downfall as a filmable story. LOTR is a 1000 page book with numerous other "supporting" books! :shock: It had to be dumbed down or we would still be in the theater.[/quote:32wcqxnu]

I agree, absolutely, that the story had to be modified to be filmed. If PJ had filmed the movies using the book as his script, filming it line-by-line, page-for-page, The Fellowship of the Ring would have been a 12 hour movie by itself. No argument - changes had to be made and things had to be left out.

However, there is a huge difference between making necessary changes and completely ignoring the book and writing their own story, as they did with The Two Towers. That movie had almost no resemblance to the book.

The did a pretty good job on the script of The Fellowship of the Ring. For the most part, the things they left out were not overly critical. Most of the changes they made had to be made to make up for the parts left out. I don't know what happened with The Two Towers. I have not looked at the credits - was it a different team of writers? Or maybe when they worked on that script, they decided, "Screw Tolkien, let's get drunk and write this thing!"

In The Return of the King, they came back a little closer to the book, but still some way off.

In all of the movies, there are many examples of things that they changed needlessly. And many of these changes made no sense at all and bent (or broke) the plot of the story. The very nature of some of the main characters are far removed from their counterparts in the book.

As for the ghost army coming to the battle of the Pelennor Fields, I did not like it. The ghost army was NEEDED to clear out the southern regions of Gondor and drive off the Corsairs of Umbar. Having done that, they were not "needed" any further. You could argue that they were needed at the Pelennor Fields, but then you could further argue that they were also needed to storm Mordor. If Aragorn was not going to release them after driving off the Corsairs, why did he not keep them until after Mordor was overrun? And after Mordor was taken, maybe he should have sent them to Harrad to "teach them who the boss is". Where does it end?

I don't object to omissions and necessary changes as the result of the omissions. I object to completely senseless and drastic changes made to the story just because a bunch of hack screenwriters thought they had a better idea than Tolkien.
While I agree with you on several points, Bookworm, I think you overstate the differrences with TTT. Yes, they were quite drastic, but there were things that resembled the book. That doesn't minomize what they did, but I wouldn't go as far as you in my statements. Also, I don't think the screenwriters were hacks. I think they did a poor job adapting the book and I prefer Tolkien's dialogue, but I think they were able to write some pretty good movies.
Hi Bookworm- 90% of what you say I agree with entirely, as a quick scan of my posts in the LoTR section will show. Well put sir! (or Madam)
[quote:2invuy0c][b:2invuy0c]Eldorion:[/b:2invuy0c]
I agree, and see no reason why a few closing shots of battle after Aragorn arrived couldn't be imaginative as well. If anything I think it would be less lazy and more imaginative than the route that he actually took.[/quote:2invuy0c]

Well, i wouldn't use the term "lazy", but I can't disagree with this statement. Some closing shots of the battle [b:2invuy0c]including [/b:2invuy0c]the "ghostys" in hand to hand combat rather than just a wave of green WOULD have been even more imaginative.

Bookworm, I profoundly disagree with many of your points, but having debated many of those issues on other threads I am just going to leave it at that. And Eldo, I appreciate very much your "middle road" position regarding Jackson's films. I know it's hard to take such a position and still maintain your "Purist" cred.

[b:2invuy0c]GB[/b:2invuy0c]
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":kw1s371s]Well, i wouldn't use the term "lazy", but I can't disagree with this statement. Some closing shots of the battle [b:kw1s371s]including [/b:kw1s371s]the "ghostys" in hand to hand combat rather than just a wave of green WOULD have been even more imaginative.[/quote:kw1s371s]

I don't think either of us are going to budge more than this. :lol: Thanks for a fundebate, though. <img src='/images/smileys/smile.gif' border='0' alt='Smile Smilie' />

[quote:kw1s371s]And Eldo, I appreciate very much your "middle road" position regarding Jackson's films. I know it's hard to take such a position and still maintain your "Purist" cred.[/quote:kw1s371s]

I just think that the ideas "credit where credit is due" and "no credit where credit is not due" are equally valid (and, of course, equally subjective). Since I'm in a minority (at least on other boards, not sure about this one) in thinking that PJ failed in making faithful adaptations I come off as far more negative than most, but I have no problem acknowleding the good that I see. I really do like the movies, after all, when considering them as movies and not as adaptations.
Galileo was in the minority, Eldo. Never forget that!

(...and while there are out-out- diehead stubborn-heads like Mr Tyrant and myself about, the War shall go on! It's like we're on a foolhardy quest, but because of our true hearts we continue on while others turn to water and dribble away into the muddy puddle of Liberalism... They take the gentle stream... the drip-drip route... not knowing only the shallow puddle awaits - and the hot sun too.... But must we dribble away with them? Quests are never easy, the results never certain... does what I say have a certain Resonanace... a certain Ring to it...?)
Well if anyone is in the minority of [b:2ryphevy]active[/b:2ryphevy] posters on THIS board, it is apparently me :roll: . I think I am nearly the only unabashed "non-purist" currently posting :P :lol: .

[b:2ryphevy]GB[/b:2ryphevy]
I am rather surprised, though pleasantly, at the number of "purists" on this board (though I don't think all use that label). I'm quite used to being in a minority so it's nice to not be. I hope we're not mean to you, GB. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />
Purist or no, I love chatting Tolkien with you all <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' />
Same. <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> I'm really glad this community has been able to grow up and hold - at times - a pretty high level of discussion despite being a latecomer to the 'scene', as it were.
Providing people end up agreeing with me on all points, I can tolerate all sorts of silly theories, arguments and discussions. It's the occasional lapses of [i:113xix37]'respectability' [/i:113xix37]on this forum that I find difficult to countenance! :x
Pithy Aphorism #215--Variety is the spice of life. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />

In other words I love a good debate, and it's nice to agree on occasion too 8-) . And you guys and gals are my favourite bunch to hang out with on the web :mrgreen: .

[b:2k4yhase]GB[/b:2k4yhase]
I don't mind the [i:31y8gp6p]'agreeing with Odo' [/i:31y8gp6p]aspect. It's the other [i:31y8gp6p]aspects [/i:31y8gp6p]I find disreputable! :x
Shocked I'm sure <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> .

[b:12sf5vxm]GB[/b:12sf5vxm]