Thread: Hobbit creatures- silly or not?
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What about the stone giants hurling boulders at one anther in the storm in the misty mountains? Are they needed? Or are they a bit silly?
How about Beorns Disney cast of helpers; dogs on two legs carrying plates, horses setting tables?
Just a few of the examples to get things going.
And if you think these things should remain how would you like to see them handled on film to stop them seeming farcical?
The talking purse could be quite startling, and funny too, given Bilbo's predicament, and surely no less silly than a cliched dwarf-throwing joke! The latter joke, I believe, was in an adult movie! What movie... can't think...? Oh yeah! It was in that most serious movie, "The Two Towers." Aragorn (a big buffoon by all accounts!) makes the joke in the middle of a huge battle to save Helms Deep! Does the humor undermine the tension of the scene? Even for all it's inherent ''absurdity," probably not. In Middle-earth there are magical talismans and other such things (rings come to mind). This purse has been given a fantastical burglar alarm! I can live with it! Indeed, I love it! The purse yelling out its alarm would be quite a shock for those who don't know about it - the wider commercial audience by all accounts! Humor and horror, what!
[i:2532yxaz]What about the stone giants hurling boulders at one anther in the storm in the misty mountains? Are they needed? Or are they a bit silly?[/i:2532yxaz]
Yeah, what about them? Great wild beings born of stone and natural forces? They come out in the night, exhilarated by the powerful forces of climate, they are big and they play, and quite roughly. Can you imagine boulders and rocks sent crashing amongst you? Possibly by huge creatures up the mountain sides, dimly seen in cloud and shadow, occasionally thrown into full view by lightning strikes! Frightening! Probably not very funny either - if you're in the middle of it! Which is where a good film maker will put you.
They were[i:2532yxaz] not[/i:2532yxaz] Disney animals at Beorn's house. They were real animals, though intelligent, who could do wonderful tricks. Also, there is a hint they were something more than the kind of animals as we would know them. (The Hobbit is a fantasy, by the way!)
What I suggest you guys do is erase any thought of Disney from your minds - if you can. Read the book again and think of all those scenes happening in natural settings (real on-location scenery) and allow a little imagination to gloss your thoughts.The scenes in the movie can be funny. They can be fantastical. They don't have to be any more silly than the so-called 'silly' stuff that happened in the LotR movies. Whether we approve of the 'silly' stuff in those movies or not, most people accepted it all gleefully! I had no objection to the 'silly' stuff myself, except where it was not based properly on Tolkien. Even then, I could like some of it as entertainment - it was just misplaced in the wrong movies!
Page by page, I could point out how silly the LotR is - the book I mean! But my disbelief is suspended - and gladly. I apply the same measure to The Hobbit. Fairy-story! Fantasy! That's what this is! Don't ever forget it!
Do we want them to film The Hobbit or some other movie? As to Tolkien changing his mind about things. Well, unfortunately for Tolkien, he put it out there to be seen, and once out there, it was taken from him. Readers own it now. Yes, he tried to take it back by trying a major rewrite, but he couldn't succeed. He gave birth to a marvelous Child, and yes, the Father ceased to love the Child after awhile. Sad that! Losing love for your Child - pitiable! Fortunately for The Child though, other folk still love it! And rightly so, the Child deserves it! Best book ever written. (LotR comes second - sorry!)
NB If I may be allowed to go off at a tangent. The thing that most struck me the first time I read Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone, was how much it reminded me of The Hobbit. Tone, atmosphere, humor, description - I don't exactly know what it was - but to me the effect was striking. I think I read somewhere that JKR had not read The Hobbit before she started writing Harry. If I've got this story right, I don't believe her. (I guess she might have been influenced by the early chapters of Fellowship though - that's feasible I guess).
the animal helpers in Beorn's home dont have to be disney characters,think more Narnia and I believe it would work fine.As far as the trolls, it would be foolish to leave the scene out considering it was referenced at least twice in LOTR and I think onre of the pivotal scenes to Bilbo building the trust of Thorin
REMEMBER THE GREAT EYE SEES ALL
For example in LoTR most of Tolkiens dialogue is substituted by less archaic modern dialogue. Should this be the case for TH? With the trolls as an example should they say till speak like a 1950's university dons idea of the lower classes? Should they still use words like "lumme" or "blighter" which have largely fallen out of use?
In the case of the Stone Giants should they be, as they largely are in the book, a frightening part of the backdrop to the storm in the mountains, or should the filmakers take inspiration from the dwarfs fear of being mistaken for stones and hurled about as an excuse for a cgi action scene?
Same goes for Beorn, how much attention should be given on film to his animal helpers? Should we get to see the meeting of the bears and their pursuit and fight with goblins and wargs or, as in the book, should there only be rumour of it?
This is more the sort of angle I am taking, not dismissing things for being silly but pondering how best some of the 'sillier' stuff might be handled in a film which has to sit alongside LoTR and which will have the darker necromancer story interwoven into it. Apologies if I was not clear enough.
[i:q9mkrc50]"I'm jus abou to burst me boiler,
Lemme tell ya now,
Oo cares what ol' GB thinks,
Eze jus a flamin Beard any-owl!
There aint no sillies, cob,
Zose dogs! Zose clevver horseys!
Ya not playin' straight, Beardy Lad,
Ya tryin ta be saucy!"[/i:q9mkrc50]
... and not even you can argue with the Great Poets, GB! Surely!
Eldo, I found something at the rubbish dump the other day. Have no idea how it got there but it was inside an old tobacco tin. A snippet of paper with the following words scrawled...
[i:1zjo78o6]"When I am gone, I truly long
No one destroys my Greatest Work,
By making a film put through the kiln,
Sanitized beyond the point of hurt!"[/i:1zjo78o6]
It was signed - and here the spidery writing is blurry - J.R. [indecipherable letter] T. But I think we know who wrote it, Eldo! I suspect it was before Tolkien was sent utterly raving mad by listening too much to those Literati child-hating types and began to hate 'The Hobbit." (I guard this precious snippet closely, I keep it hidden, I keep it safe.)
Part of the question of this thread is how to do certain (potentially silly) things on film. Should the trolls look different from those seen in LoTR to differentiate them- should they wear more 'normal' clothes for example to go with their ability to converse- however poorly?
Food for thought: the trolls we saw in the LotR films were pretty much all slaves. The one in Moria had been captured by goblins, and the ones in the service of Mordor were commanded by Orcs (though all of them were slaves of Sauron). I think it quite plausible for "free trolls" to dress and behave differently.
Reminded me of Beorngs house .
The waiter deers (whom I don't actually recall, though I'm assuming we're talking about Beorn's useful animal folk) might be animal-men ie dwelling in two states. I know what I'm suggesting is sliding toward the sub-creative, but why not have some CGI trickery involved and let them seem to have hands when serving, but done subtly so that the audience are not absolutely sure (unless they freeze frame) that they have useful paws/hoofs/hands. I always saw them as Enchanted in some fashion - even as a child I knew that deer did not have hands, nor sheep nor hounds - but JRRT left no accurate description of how animals could serve dinner. When reading it I believed it, used my imagination, suspended disbelief, as you MUST always do with fantasy. We take a lot of silly things for granted, as long as the writer can carry it off expertly. Surely the film makers might here be allowed to use their imaginations to turn the scenes with the enchanted animals into reasonable, and not silly, visuals. Again it could be amusing and a little disturbing. We don't see the noisy creatures who dance outside that night when Bilbo and Co are indoors, having being warned NOT to venture outside. Could they be the same creatures who by day serve dinner and seem so mild? Are they shape-shifters all? JRRT does not suggest that the day creatures and the night creatures ARE the same creatures, but neither does he say they're NOT. It could left to the movie watchers imagination, done with subtlety. Again: not silly!
Talking spiders could be amusing - but hair raising. Play 'em as they are in the book. They're funny all right - but I don't want their fangs jabbing into my neck! The songs Bilbo sings are funny - and cool to this reader at least - but clearly infuriating to dumb old nasty spiders by all accounts. Funny, yes I guess so, but [i:1dppyoz1]silly[/i:1dppyoz1]? Well not at all in the sense of being something that doesn't work on screen.
[quote="pettytyrant101":1dppyoz1]How do you balance talking spiders, purses, deer waiters and the rest with the more serious shades that they are introducing? Or can they happily sit side by side in the same film?[/quote:1dppyoz1]
These scenes have [i:1dppyoz1]more serious shades [/i:1dppyoz1]already within them. They don't need to go 'alongside' in my opinion. The humor (and excitement) are intrinsic.
Fairy-story, guys! It's a fairy-story! I love it, you love it, don't get the whitewash out to make it palatable to perceived mass audiences. The movie will come across as merely 'flat' without the above 'silly' creatures. The movie masses won't know [i:1dppyoz1]what's[/i:1dppyoz1] missing but will sense that [i:1dppyoz1]something [/i:1dppyoz1] very important is missing!
I think they can both be in the film(s) without any major problems, so long as they are not treated [i:1paav9qh]farcically[/i:1paav9qh]. It's a fantasy, a fairy-story as Odo is fond of pointing out, and here are chances to show the fantastic. In at least one of the cases you bring up, talking spiders, it can be quite as serious as many other parts of the film. Remember Aragog from [i:1paav9qh]Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets[/i:1paav9qh]? I thought he was creepy in both the book and the movie; and think that The Hobbit spiders could be creepy as well with the right design. However, I hope the design isn't over-the-top creepy; this isn't a horror film.
I'm very reluctant to make predictions about what will happen in the future, but I think it's certain that no matter what The Hobbit films will not be a universal hit. I can't imagine any film appealing to [i:7rmpcopd]everyone[/i:7rmpcopd]. Sadly, I can see a lot of filmgoers, especially filmgoers who also go on the internet, preferring a LotRized version, but I think there are a lot of people (especially kids) who would like a true-to-the-book version.
Hey! Look at Tim Burton. His stuff - after the initial impressiveness of his 'wow' factor color and pomp - is dull - [i:yhzgiijn]flat,[/i:yhzgiijn] dare I say. Too serious. Doesn't smile at himself like Tolkien did. The humor is too clever by half - and shallow. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull.... Alice in Wonderland... yaaaaaaawn (I know this just by the trailers!) Roald Dahl was a genius like Tolkien - or unlike Tolkien, if you like. And Jack Vance.... bellissima!
Where was I? I don't care!
Far too much is made of "High" and "Low" Fantasy distinctions. They are frankly so arbitrary as to be rendered meaningless. There are ways, as both Odo and Eldo have suggested, to present the certain critters in a more or less realistic manner. And let us not forget that the Narnia films quite happily have Beavers and Badgers serving tea and crumpets without any cognitive dissonance. This alongside some rather more mature material such as extended battle sequences.
And again, I don't see any real problem for a skilled director such as DT in balancing the tonal differences between the White Council/Dol Guldur events and the rest of The Hobbit.
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":194u1d4x]Far too much is made of "High" and "Low" Fantasy distinctions. They are frankly so arbitrary as to be rendered meaningless. There are ways, as both Odo and Eldo have suggested, to present the certain critters in a more or less realistic manner. [/quote:194u1d4x]
.. but then out comes:
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":194u1d4x]And let us not forget that the Narnia films quite happily have Beavers and Badgers serving tea and crumpets without any cognitive dissonance. [/quote:194u1d4x]
which is well and fine up until:
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":194u1d4x]cognitive dissonance[/quote:194u1d4x]
which is a fancy term for [i:194u1d4x]flatulence of the brain[/i:194u1d4x], isn't it, and so actually distracts one from your argument. I presume you threw it in as plain intellectual [i:194u1d4x]'showing off'[/i:194u1d4x], and you seem indifferent to the said distraction (fore-mentioned) that it causes. And you know how much I hate people showing off!
And then there comes to coo de grass (that's French - relating to cheeky doves, I think):
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":194u1d4x]And again, I don't see any real problem for a skilled director such as DT in balancing the tonal differences between the White Council/Dol Guldur events and the rest of The Hobbit.[/quote:194u1d4x]
...GB, when did you replace [i:194u1d4x]reason[/i:194u1d4x] for[i:194u1d4x] madness[/i:194u1d4x]!? ...No, on this issue you've always been a fruitcake with lots of nutty ingredients! I mean it kindly.
Now, now, Odo, don't make any fox passes
PS: I believe YOU meant "Brain Farts", you and your fancy "Flatulence"
What the dickens is [i:22hte2ox]300[/i:22hte2ox]?
It was a fairly major war movie a few years back, based on a graphic novel that was based on the Battle of Thermopylae. Quite [i:1h8vsstn]loosely[/i:1h8vsstn] based, I must add. It's the film that gained a good deal of fame on the Internet because of the line "This. Is. SPARTA!"
trolls are not silly but spiders...you know they can talk in TH book...I think that's funny!!!!and silly of course I don't like it...
Due to foggy memory I can't quite remember but do the eagles in TH talk? I know they do in LoTR and they just ignored it and left that out the film, presumably because they thought it would be silly or too difficult (how do you lip-sync a beak to english?).
Hey! Elves don't exist. Talking elves, therefore, don't exist. Are they sillier then at face value than talking spiders?
We are dealing with a fairy-story! Hasn't that already been said? If we don't want to watch The (actual) Hobbit, then go watch Avatar, or LotR, or Clash of the Titans. They're fantasy films. They don't have talking creatures or quirky (but quite serious) songs either!
Let's just film the actual book - that's my [i:zwhq53l3]furious[/i:zwhq53l3] point!
But when we take TH as written suddenly its disjointed, suddenly we can see where the world has been altered over writing, we can see early ideas that would later be absent, its got things that don't quite fit. And the problem with this is that it breaks our fantasy, it gives a glimpse of the hand of the writer and we're confronted with the fact that its not real, its not history, its a story made up by someone and therefore flawed. It breaks the illusion a little.
I think a film version of TH exactly like the book would be as disjointed from the films of LoTR as the books from each other. And that's a dilemma for the film makers, TH, the film of the book, could stand as a great film, but not as an extension of LoTR the films, so I think we will lose a lot of the fairytale and get more of the grit which will be a shame.