Thread: Lets talk directors vision
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Perhaps slightly off-topic (might as well try to keep the White Council discussion in the existing thread), but this and other scenes from Unfinished Tales cannot legally be used by the filmmakers (though if they're subtle in taking elements from them I doubt anything could be proven). The only Tolkien books to which the film rights were sold were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. All other material is, or at the very least should be off-limits to the film-makers.
A couple of the fragments relating to the White Council are included in LotR (and it is very briefly mentioned in The Hobbit itself; though the Bandobras 'Bullroarer' Took gets more attention than it). For that reason I don't think they will have to entirely invent it. However, even if they included the UT material, they would still have almost nothing to go on. Therefore I think the question is somewhat moot, as the filmmakers will have a very, [i:6xl1w564]very[/i:6xl1w564] basic outline of what happens from Tolkien, but will have to resort to writing fanfiction to flesh it out.
As the head lopping is one of those more childish asides of the hobbit it might be a good place to mention something from letter 153 regarding the trolls in the hobbit;
"I night not (if TH had been more carefully written, and my world so much thought about 20 years ago) have used the expression "poor little blighter", just as I should not have called the troll William."
Given the cave troll scene in Moria and the trolls on the battlefield would the trolls of TH fit for an audience that has only the LoTR film as reference? are Tolkiens own later misgivings about some of the more childish aspects of TH legitimate excuse to alter the work to bring it more in line with the adult world of LoTR? I'm unsure on the point, and there are some (not naming any Australians) who I am sure will be appalled to lose the comic aspect of the trolls to a sense of adult reality. But I am a realist and we already know with the inclusion of the WC they are catering more to the film audience of LoTR than to the book readers of TH. So would it not make sense to apply this LoTRaztion to the whole piece rather than just parts of it?
Let the arguing commence!
Not very child-like, perhaps, but it's dealt with in such a way that I think children can handle it. And, if they read the book again after growing up a bit, they will realize and absorb so much more! The Hobbit (and, I think, TLoR) is one of those books that offers something new each time you read it, especially if you're matured a bit in the interim.
[quote:1airj1n3]The book itself changes tone quite significantly towards the end and the director would I think have enough on their plate keeping this tone change working in a film without complicating matters further with an entire side story, which although it happens in same time period, the book makes only hints towards.[/quote:1airj1n3]
I can see the problem if they parallel storylines with different tones. I assume they will try to keep the relative tones of the storylines similar (start off fairly light, get darker, get to the darkest point), which leads me to think that the expulsion of the Necromancer will occur in mid or late film two.
And let's not be put off by the songs (or mislead by the lack of them in the latest part of the book).
Example: the merriness of the Elves singing does not have to be silly. Yes, the Elves are humorous, but they don't have to sing in silly voices and the tune does not have to be flippant (and I mean tunefulness of voice, actual performed music is something distinct here). It may just show a lighter side of the Elvish character. Even 'chip the plates' back at the start could be conducted in a teasing (bullying?) 'blokey' way, not as caricature, cartoon or carnival. The tone of "Far over the Misty Mountains" is exactly the tone of the later book, moodily atmospheric and stirring - sung right. What the goblins chant when they're caught could come across as the worst kind of cynicism you could ever hear - a chant full of threat and intimidation sang in foul goblin voices. I can imagine kids scared out of their boots and adults not only amused but a little thrilled and scared themselves - if done right!
If one examines the songs closely, you see that they are none of them absurd, and they add atmosphere, whether lightness (Rivendell), sardonic humor (Goblins in Misty Mountains and the pine tree scene), sadness and anger ('Far over the Misty Mountains'), thrilling facetiousness ('Lazy Lobb, Crazy Cobb'). Need I go on.
Hey! Bilbo and Smaug's conversation is amusing but thrilling as they battle wits, and it ends with much excitement and Bilbo's near incineration (not unlike the pine tree scene, come to think of it). Bilbo and Gollum's riddle contest is no different.
Thorin's character is firmly established in the first chapter - he does not become something different at the end of the book. And the Dwarves are generally not keen on Bilbo, resentful in fact, I'd hazard, though Balin (God bless him) warms to him very early. Anyway, need I go on?
You guys over-exaggerate this 'tone' business. The songs, which seem to be the worst sticking point for a lot of (grown-up?) people, are important to Tolkien's fairy-story in building atmosphere and often tension (and amusement). Used wisely they will work brilliantly without making the movie absurd. Poetry and song derive different responses from the listener depending on how the performer interprets them.
Hey! Legolas killing an Oliphaunt (sorry if I spell that wrong) is no less absurd than singing cheeky songs about Spiders while you're stabbing at their eyes - it's all in the wrist action, surely? (Though surely not canon, it worked on film. Absurd? Amusing? Thrilling? Name your choice - it might be all three! And in an adult movie! Hell's bells!)
I leave you with this song of Keats (from his "Gremlins Collection".
[i:21tybzud]Punch up the director with yammers and hammers,
Dig out his heart with a blunt spoon,
Rip out his intestines, rake them and plait them,
Slice out his tongue - it can't be too soon![/i:21tybzud]
I hope that's just silliness and not some Purist Resistance song! (Amusing but chilling, what!)
However, I think you are missing the obvious tonal changes towards the end of The Hobbit. Sure there is Danger aplenty for Bilbo and Company in the form of Giant Spiders, Trolls, Goblins, and a Dragon, but it's well within the Fantastical Nature of Fairy Adventure Tales. Petty is quite right. The tone at the end of the book has less to do with Fairy Tale Dangers, and more to do Real World type Politics, War and Death; rather adult themes for a "children's book". It can't be missed, or glossed over ("child's eyes" or not), and it does indeed presage the more adult nature of LotR.
So Del Toro will merely have the added challenge of segueing into some of this sort of material earlier in the films rather than later. Anyone who has seen Hellboy 1 and 2 (especially 2) can see that DT has little problem with smoothing the tonal shifts to the point of seamlessness. Pan's Labyrinth was clearly even more challenging with its far more extreme shifts, and yet DT made it look effortless. The much more moderate shifts in tone in The Hobbit Films should be much easier for a director with DT's skill set.
It's the context that makes the difference Odo. Death and Violence (and I dare say Sex too) in the context of the Fantastic is mediated. Death and Violence in the realm of Real-Politik is much less mediated by its more Real World context; it inherently takes on a more adult tone.
An example of how contextual mediation works is my own ability to put up with Ugly situations and bloodshed: I dislike most war movies that deal with modern warfare, or even historical warfare to a large degree because it's too realistic. However; throw it into a Sci Fi or Fantasy setting (or Mystical Martial Arts setting), and the bloodshed becomes much less disconcerting. The Magic Mediates the Violence. I'll take Starship Troopers over Black Hawk Down, or LotR over Braveheart.
And I haven't even addressed how politicking of the sort enumerated in last pages of The Hobbit is hardly "kid-stuff".
Fairy-stories are rarely kids stuff when you look carefully at them.
I read the whole of The Hobbit many times. I have never been struck by any significant change of tone. I think you Tonists are overstating the case - that's if you aren't actually imagining it in the first place. I still hold that if you film the early parts of the book with a careful eye it's [i:18jwwzhu]"tone" [/i:18jwwzhu]need be no different than that at the end.
That's the trouble with some people on this thread, you sub-create things using your own imaginations, and then transpose them on the book. You want The Hobbit to be a Prelude to LotR, so that's what you read into it. That's [i:18jwwzhu]mediating [/i:18jwwzhu]for you!
But if anyone can pull it off its Del Toro. And just to add I'd like some songs in there too.
And on a final point Odo, I think you might be mis-reading some intentions, mine at any rate, I would love to see a film of TH the book, unchanged and as is- but I see little point of speculating on such a film because it will never be made. So whilst I would rather there was no LoTRizing of TH I find it more productive to comment on how it might be done well than to stick my head in the sand and hope it will go away.
Petty is quite right to acknowledge that Bilbo's Tale was retconned into Tolkien's larger "More Realistic" world even before finishing the book. I couldn't agree more with his analysis. Though I am personally quite delighted to have the additional material of Gandalf's Adventures inserted into the films (but that's an entirely subjective thing).
In particular, I'd have loved to have seen del Toro Elves portrayed more like his Tuatha de Danaan in Hellboy II than Jackson's 'Humans with pointy ears'. It is obvious that Tolkien's Elves were at least influenced by those demigods of Celtic Mythology.
Maybe it can still happen.
Wow it's definitely time I read the hobbit again
I'd love to have some more songs worked in to the movie too, weren't there some amazing voices in the lord of the rings? It will be amazing to go back to middle earth, but it's ok if the hobbit is from a different perspective - it is a story in its own right, not just the prequel to the lord of the rings. Can't wait to see the trolls and how they work the voices so that they all get tricked into being caught out in the sun - that could either be worked as really scary or a bit silly (trolls being more than a bit stupid...). The next installments should be fantastic movies, can't wait, just wish I could go to NZ to be a hobbit extra!
[quote="took":3fs3cfs1]it's ok if the hobbit is from a different perspective - it is a story in its own right, not just the prequel to the lord of the rings.[/quote:3fs3cfs1]
I absolutely agree that The Hobbit is a story in its own right, and in fact I think it's a bit of a stretch to call it a prequel to TLOTR (this is something I see a lot of, so please don't take it personally; this just bugs me ). Most definitions of prequel include a mention of the chronologically earlier work being published after the chronologically later work. So while TLOTR is certainly a [i:3fs3cfs1]sequel[/i:3fs3cfs1] to TH, TH is not really a prequel.
That said, the movies might change enough that trying to talk about them and the book at the same time becomes near impossible.
Off to the dwarf thread I go,
Hi ho hi ho,
Hi ho, hi ho
Hi - ho, hi ho...![/i:1gvevynv]
(Sorry about all those ' highs' and 'hoes." Once you start it's damn hard to stop!)
"To brighten them too much might slant The Hobbit toward farce."
Mmmmmm, there as lot of stuff a liberal could argue in TH that such a belief could be applied to. Compared to LoTR there's a lot of TH could be seen as farce. You seem to be arguing that even if the text says one thing- blue beard for example, you would rather it was changed, bluish in this case, to reduce it from farce. What about trolls called William and Bert? Talking purses? What you consider fundamental and purist might seem to others to be bordering on farce. Would your argument still apply then?
Hi Took- I suspect TH might be narrated but surely Bilbo would be the natural choice? Get Ian Holm to do it as old Bilbo in Rivendell setting down 'There and Back Again.'
This comment interests me. I agree that there are a lot of things in The Hobbit that would probably be viewed as 'farce'. Some of them might work better in a book than on film, and some could be cut; but others could not without some fairly drastic changes. This is a big reason why The Hobbit is a children's story, though fairly mature so far as children's stories go. It's simply not 'serious' like LotR, though I expect that the film will change that a good deal.
Actually, I'm not hugely thrilled by the idea of adapting The Hobbit. I like The Hobbit, certainly, but the goofy aspects would be much more obvious on screen. It's a great children's story for all ages, but as a movie it would either seem really childish to most audiences or would have to abandon some of its core elements such as the lighthearted tone and silly aspects (for instance, can [b:1ux15i5u]you[/b:1ux15i5u] imagine PJ and GDT letting the Elves 'tra la la lally'?). It's just not an epic story like LotR.
Btw it seems I must repeat myself!
Mr Tyrant, I'm only suggesting the dwarves' beards should not be phosphorescent blue, or neon yellow, nor any other 'absurd' color. This indeed would be farce! Blue beard - fine! And bright blue if you must, as long as it is not [i:218zp1yc]deliberately stupid[/i:218zp1yc] blue. I can happily live with blue, providing it looks like real hair, natural looking. Remember! The dwarves are a serious race - and not at all buffoons!
Actually, their distinctively colored beards might be a good way to know who's who...!
Mr Tyrant, the more respectable people among us do discuss DWARVEN matters on the DWARVES thread. Would you like me to explain to you how to get there?