Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Uh ... no

This photo is supposed to depict Fili and Kili from The Hobbit. I say "supposed to" for the obvious reason that, last time I checked, Fili and Kili were dwarves.
I don't know what these guys are, but they're certainly not dwarves.

96 comments:

  1. Hard to say with just the two of them in the pic and nothing to give them scale.

    Now, the goofy swords are a problem...

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  2. They are supposed to be the youngest of the bunch--perhaps the stereotypical dwarven physique is only acquired with age...

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  3. Perhaps these are production photos, and not publicity photos? IIRC in the LotR Trilogy, didn't they use fancy computer special effects in post production, to make the halfings and dwarf, more... well, halfing and dwarf-like? They really can't do that in photos, ( I don't think they can? ).

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  4. never trust a skinny dwarf...

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  5. And they were doing pretty good up to this point...

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  6. At last I recognise one of them! Kili is played by Aiden Turner from Being Human and Desperate Romantics; he's a fairly tall and skinny chap, so I'm not at all surprised that they've struggled to make him look dwarfish.

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  7. I'm for it; they've got a baker's dozen of dwarves to try to differentiate from each other; veering off what post-DnD people have come to assume all dwarves look like is a-okay. That includes the spiky anime-gnome hair the one in the last batch had.

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  8. Yeah, I'm with Rob Crawford. I can deal with the young dwarf look, but those swords...

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  9. Cool, more 80s hair band, rock and roll Tolkien.

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  10. I'm wondering what giant lock that key fits.

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  11. Oh they are dwarves alright. They are just metrosexual dwarves.

    - Ark

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  12. Yeah, they look young...too young to be trusted with an axe!

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  13. As I recall, Fili and Kili have descriptions in The Hobbit. I believe both of them were blond and had long noses, but it's possible I'm misremembering.

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  14. urgh.

    Next thing you know, instead of being chased up a tree and set on fire without even bothering to put up a fight, they'll be hacking their way through hordes of enemies on the eastern slopes of the misty mountains.

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  15. As someone noted, what's with all the black leather? Didn't they all have wonderfully colourful hooded cloaks in the book?

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  16. What's with all the heavy weaponry? In the book, the dwarves were all a pretty cowardly, sneaky lot - until they got their treasure, at which point their greed made them all mindlessly fierce and combative.

    Jackson is wasting a valuable sub-plot of the Hobbit (and a valuable moral lesson rare in today's money-grubbing reality tv world) if he's going to have these dwarves be combat-monsters right out of the starting gate.

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  17. And here I was hoping that the Hobbit wasn't going to be an action movie. I bought it for Lord of the Rings, but not the Hobbit. It's much too whimsical for that of thing. These dwarves looking hipster-rad like than whimsical to me :(

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  18. I'm with mordicai. These guys look fine to me. I actually prefer some variety: six identical fat guys with long beards would not only be monotonous and confusing, but it would also suggest that dwarven physical appearance is much more uniform than human appearance. I don't remember any suggestion to that effect in the source material.

    These guys are short, and they have beards. They fit the description of dwarves in the source material. Why does every dwarf have to look like Dom Delouise? And if they did, what would be the point of making a movie about a pack of twelve little clones?

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  19. @Picador:

    I'm all for variety among them, but unfortunately what seems to be lost (at least judging by these stills) is exactly what all of the dwarves have in common: that they are generally cowardly and sneaky, more than willing to make bold deals and talk big until it really matters, and then they wimp out or double-cross. A big chunk of it comes from their lack of preparation--like Al says, a major sub-plot of the book is the fact that the dwarves' only real preparation for the journey was remembering to bring lots of ways to carry their treasure back.

    Gandalf handled everything else that required foresight, and even then half the time the dwarves resented anything he suggested that didn't seem to bear directly on them getting their hands on as much loot as possible.

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  20. "both with blue hoods,silver belts, and yellow beards"

    I can concede that perhaps their outfits are from a different part of the book (perhaps after they've caparisoned for the Bo5A?), and that –as the youngest– they're less stocky. But at least have them look like brothers and have the yellow beards. SHEESH!

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  21. Hey, Norse Gnome and I'm in a goth metal band Gnome have come to say hello. Hi guys!

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  22. I try to hold off on judgment with these types of things and tend to steer clear of spoilers in general. That said, though I haven't been exactly thrilled with the images, this one's starting to give me a bit of a worry.

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  23. Here's my take, fwiw. The guy on the right will be this film's version of Aragorn: tall (for a dwarf), dark and handsome, and designed to attract women to what's otherwise a guy's movie.

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  24. Again, looks great to me.

    In three pictures I've gone from not interested in the Hobbit at all to optimistic.

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  25. Maybe Fili is actually the one on the right - he had to cut most of his beard off because of the spider webs.

    For a second, I thought one of these guys was Seth Green. The horror.

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  26. You apparently did not get the memo that we need sexy dwarves.

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  27. Yes, let's make sure we all voice our concern quickly to Peter Jackson so he can quickly correct the problems of keeping the dwarves fat, carrying no weapons and having their beards tucked into their belts, because no matter how stupid it will probably look, the book says so....sheesh.

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  28. Wow. All I can really say is wow. I guess I can just go back and reread the book.

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  29. They actually look like bearded D&D 4e Halflings.

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  30. I am beginning to wonder if I have read the same book as Peter Jackson and I am a little nervous about cracking the cover again....

    Not even my LOTRO dwarves look that metal.

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  31. Certainly not what I consider stereotypical "dwarves"...but I suppose they are trying to make the dwarves different-looking enough to help keep them separate visually.

    If anything, Fili and Kili are supposed to be the "scouty, sneaky" young ones of the bunch, so making them more elf-like might make some sense in Jackson's world.

    And, drawing on Chris' idea of a "ladies' dwarf", since these two get whacked at the Battle of Five armies, maybe it helps get an emotional connection to them both...making them young, dark and handsome.

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  32. The problem with yellow beards, especially when they're tucked into belts, is that they mess up the CGI. Also the moneymen all wear blue hoods and would have felt insecure seeing their outfits worn by these fine young hotties. Anyway, I'm sure Peter Jackson knew what he was doing.

    James, don't you think it was a little unfair to save this one for last?

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  33. Maybe the one on the right is a female dwarf?

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  34. It seems most people have one of two distinct attitudes about films adapted from books & stories they like:

    1. I'll judge the film by its own merits as a thing unto itself.

    2. I won't like it unless it's exactly the way I would've made it myself.

    I do the former -- and, so, get to enjoy alot more movies than if I did the latter.

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  35. "They are supposed to be the youngest of the bunch--perhaps the stereotypical dwarven physique is only acquired with age..."

    That was my second thought.

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  36. @Aaron E. Steele

    they speak to the Elwita in all of us . . .

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  37. The guy on the left isn't too bad, but the guy on the right looks off. Too thin, tall and angular

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  38. @Ed Dove

    Exactly. When I worked in post-production in the 90s most of the directors, writers, and producers I knew took the approach towards adaptation as from this Wiki description below:

    "Change in adaptation is essential and practically unavoidable, mandated both by the constraints of time and medium, but how much is always a balance. Some film theorists have argued that a director should be entirely unconcerned with the source, as a novel is a novel, while a film is a film, and the two works of art must be seen as separate entities. Since a transcription of a novel into film is impossible, even holding up a goal of "accuracy" is absurd."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_adaptation

    Most filmmakers want to have a 'voice' in their adaptations and don't even let the types of criticisms we've read in posts like this even show up on their radar.

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  39. What's with that hair blowing in the wind, like off the cover of some romance novel.. haha.

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  40. I actually prefer some variety: six identical fat guys with long beards would not only be monotonous and confusing, but it would also suggest that dwarven physical appearance is much more uniform than human appearance. I don't remember any suggestion to that effect in the source material.

    I'm all for variety too. I think variety is possible even within the parameters Tolkien established for the appearance of dwarves without having to present guys like this who look sufficiently unlike their fellows as to make me question if they're really the same race.

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  41. James, don't you think it was a little unfair to save this one for last?

    I'm not sure I understand the question. I posted this pic third because it was the third one released.

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  42. Maybe the one on the right is a female dwarf?

    Hah! I thought the same thing and almost included that comment my original post, but relented at the last minute.

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  43. Perhaps they'll look more dwarf-like when you see them next to Galdalf or Elrond.

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  44. Trying to faithfully adapt a story or novel for screenplay while making the film something worth watching, is difficult, and probably something few if any on this thread or site have attempted. Ask Stephen King and Norman Mailer what a cluster it is. PJ hits a lot more than he misses, in my book. And yeah, I think some skinny dwarves to go with the stout ones, works just fine. I could go without the Fabio hair effect, though.

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  45. "Hah! I thought the same thing and almost included that comment my original post, but relented at the last minute"

    Which is fortunate, as the gaming community already has a perception of being a wee bit sexist. Nothing says manly man like impugning someone because you think they look effeminate. That's about as classy as suggesting there was something wrong with "Omar" as a hypothetical DM for Gamma World. Why? Too ethnic for you? Gotta wonder what's going through your head to say stuff like this.

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  46. I don't mind the pretty-boy dwarf look. It's not likely to have a serious effect on the tone of the movie, or, I think, a necessarily negative one. A film needs major, instantly recognisable difference between its characters, especially with thirteen in the band, and this is certainly one way of achieving that.
    I think we can charitably assume the meat cleavers and the pig-poker are for the Battle of the Five Armies, and that the dwarves will not be chopping up foo's on the slopes of the Misty Mountains. The Hobbit as an action movie would be tedious, yes, but these are publicity photos, after all, and a weapon makes a nice fashion statement.

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  47. Gotta wonder what's going through your head to say stuff like this.

    Terrible, terrible things, of course. You've no doubt read on the Internet that I am a miserable human being and it's sadly true.

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  48. I think variety is possible even within the parameters Tolkien established for the appearance of dwarves without having to present guys like this who look sufficiently unlike their fellows as to make me question if they're really the same race.

    One looks less greedy than the other?

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  49. @imago: The background to his joke is that, according to Tolkien, dwarf females look so similar to dwarf males that other races usually mistake them for males - thus the idea that a dwarf who lacks the traditional long-beard-and-moustache look could be a female. So your offence was probably misplaced.
    And what does Gamma World have to do with anything?

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  50. I think this is brilliant: the different bloodlines have different looks.

    It's not a stretch for me to imagine elves having such variation that at one extreme they can look like a slender, beautiful human, and at the other, disconcertingly alien. (I'm thinking of Moorcock's different variations: Vadhagh, Melniboneans, Eldren, etc.)

    We accept variation among hobbits/halflings as a matter of course: Tallfellows, Hairfoots and Stouts which to me suggest a human to typical to dwarfish scale.

    So: dwarf variation. Bravo!

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  51. Ilúvatar protect us from Political Correctness.

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  52. "Terrible, terrible things, of course. You've no doubt read on the Internet that I am a miserable human being and it's sadly true."

    Facetious, yeah; guilty of acting like what was cute in 1981 is cool today, yeah; miserable nah.

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  53. Is the sky going to fall in because we've got dwarfs that don't look like barrels with beards?

    I'm not a fan off the odd swords, but the different looks they are going for with all the dwarfs seem fine to me so far. Because you won't be able to tell them apart on-screen otherwise, that's for sure. There's thirteen dwarfs in the book... Way too many for the film unless they are very distinct from one another.

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  54. It's amazing how racist we allow ourselves to be when it comes to fantasy. Imagine the reaction were someone to say, "A movie with thirteen Asians has to have some with blue eyes and a few others with blonde hair, otherwise no one could tell them apart."

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  55. Fili is carrying weapons that resemble the seax/scramaseax/langsax family of weapons. These were widely used among Nordic types and the Saxons got their name from them. So it's all perfectly cromulent except for the fact that dual-wielding is profoundly stupid and his brother wandered into the wrong movie.

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  56. "It's amazing how racist we allow ourselves to be when it comes to fantasy. Imagine the reaction were someone to say, 'A movie with thirteen Asians has to have some with blue eyes and a few others with blonde hair, otherwise no one could tell them apart.'"--Chris

    I think there's definitely something to what you say. But I think the roots of the problem are in fantasy literature itself though. Too much fantasy literature has assumed that all members of each fantasy "race" look pretty much the same as each other. So, when adapting those works to film, you run into the problem of how to visually distinguish each character from all the others of their "race".

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  57. James, don't you think it was a little unfair to save this one for last?

    I'm not sure I understand the question. I posted this pic third because it was the third one released.


    The argument about Peter Jackson has polarized into those who think he's terrible (I find myself being pulled that way) and those who think he can do no wrong. I feel a little sorry for those in the second camp having to explain this picture. How far are they going to have to stretch the, "Groovy Gospel for Today's Teens" thing.

    But I was joking. I know that you roll all your dice in the open and figured that while your ordering appeared capricous, it was probably not.

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  58. @EdDove: I agree, in the abstract, that that could be a problem, but I don't see it as a problem with these particular characters. They could easily have been made visually distinct from the other dwarves by their youthful appearance (which is exactly how Tolkien distinguishes them) while still retaining a Tolkienesque dwarvishness. Also, physicality is not the only way to make a character memorable. Jackson could have emphasized their brash "adolescent" personalities to make them stand out from the other, more mature dwarves, which (again) is what Tolkien does.

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  59. Man, remember when 'dwarf' was a synonym for 'elf'? Those were the days...

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  60. @Chris

    I can't think of any visually immediately obvious ways to make Fili & Kili look younger other than making them slimmer with shorter beards, which is what Jackson has done. Anybody have any other ideas?

    I don't think distinguishing them by personality would work well enough on film. I'm thinking of Alien 3, in which each of the prisoners had distinct personalities, but it was still almost impossible to keep track of who was who because they all looked too much the same.

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  61. "The Hobbit as an action movie would be tedious, yes ..."

    I was rather assuming that The Hobbit was being made as an action movie. Other than slapstick or gross-out comedies, there really aren't a lot of other movie-types made these days for "youngish" audiences.

    I've accepted the fact that no matter how close Jackson adheres to the novel - or veers from it - it's pretty much a fait accompli that the movie is going to have a fair measure of Hollywood-style action extravaganza. The real question is whether the other elements from the novel get a fair shake too.

    To be honest, though, in order to have this movie make sense in the context of LOTR (novels and films), one imagines that Jackson will have to import a lot of the more serious themes and atmosphere from the trilogy. The more I reflect on it, the more complicated/impossible the task seems (I’m almost glad I don’t have to make these choices).

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  62. @EdDove: But there's the further question of whether it's really necessary to try to make all thirteen memorable. Again, Tolkien himself doesn't do that. He more or less treats them en masse as "Thorin & Co." or just "the dwarves," and only really singles a few out for special consideration: Thorin because he's the leader, Kili and Fili because they're young, Bombur because he's fat, and Balin because he and Bilbo become pretty good friends. Is there anything memorable about Bifur and Bofur, or Ori and Nori, or any of the others? Not really. So why should they be made memorable on screen? So what if people come out of the movie unable to remember one from the other? That's pretty much how it is with the book.

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  64. Sometimes, you have to be entertained by other people's assumptions: in this case, that image01 was just sure I was being sexist, when I'd never say the man to the right was feminine, looking at him as a human. John hit the anvil squarely re all the ambiguity about dwarven women (my joke wouldn't make sense if the figure to the right was very feminine). If I'm now criticized in the opposite direction, well, that's just too bad.

    I've got no problem with the dwarf on the left, actually, but as has been alluded to, I hope they get re-armed or they're in trouble.

    Edit: Re-posted to get my directions straight.

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  65. @Chris

    The only problem I see with not memorably differentiating all the dwarves from each other is that, if you don't, the audience will likely not care much about the ones they can't remember which are which. So the audience won't care much when those ones get hurt or die. And that could drasically reduce the emotional effectiveness of the story. And that gut emotional effectiveness is one of the few things that film as a medium really has going for it.

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  66. Going back to @Ed Dove's comments about being able to enjoy a film just as a piece of work unto itself.

    I wish that was as easily done as said. We all negotiate with a work of art to come to a final opinion. Do I like the acting but not the design? What about the plotting or the plot itself? And what about any sort of world view the director's got?

    What decisions we reach are going to be based on who we are and what are our tastes. Prior interactions with all sorts of other art will cause us to see things in a certain way as well. Our final view will definitely include our reading of the book underlying a movie.

    Just because a director is able to discard much of his source material doesn't mean a viewer can. Simply willing them out of one's mind doesn't work. No matter how hard I try I can expunge umpteen readings of LotR from my brain when I'm watching the movie.

    If a director drastically changes the themes or look of a book he chooses to adapt and I'm familiar with said book it will have some sort of impact on my viewing. Sometimes directorial changes are an improvement (ex. "Jaws") and sometimes they're not (ex. LotR).

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  67. Only Thorin, Fili and Kili die, and I think other than those only Bombur gets in any kind of peril that isn't shared by all the dwarves. They're the most strongly differentiated of the dwarves, not coincidentally. But I agree about the value of a varied cast and I'm willing to put up with slim sexy dwarves for the greater good.

    @JBM: I'm probably using a narrower definition of action than you are. The scene where the fifteen friends hide in trees from wolves is conceivably an action scene. For the sake of narrative flow, I fully expect it'll be turned into a running pursuit from the Misty Mountains, the party ending up surrounded and trapped before climbing the trees, or something of that sort. With some minor modifications it could become a high tension scene.
    What I don't want to see is a giant melee with dwarves cutting up goblins like firewood for twenty minutes, because that's boring as sin and we've already seen that with LOTR.
    Basically, other than the BoFA, where it's an important part of the narrative and people die, I would rather not watch any bolted-on paddded out fight scenes. A little added violence here and there is perfectly acceptable.

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  68. Nothing says dwarves cannot sexy and happy. Though the ones in The Hobbit should not be good at adventuring.

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  69. How far are they going to have to stretch the, "Groovy Gospel for Today's Teens" thing.

    Hah! You have no idea how amusing I find this comment.

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  70. I've now put the three dwarf pictures all in a row. I see seven of them, if I'm counting correctly. I think it's a good, motley bunch that certainly looks greedy, avaricious, and not entirely capable (all though well armed).

    One looks like Kelsey Grammer. Another looks like the lead singer of Gogol Bordello. Two look like kids, one who is going to get in trouble, and the other drunk enough to follow the one who gets in trouble. Another looks like Kelsey Grammer's dad.

    I kinda like it. Do they all look like Gimli? Well, no. Good.

    They aren't bright and colorful, they have different hair and eyes, but you know what? They look like 7 treasure hunters who are going to get in big, big trouble unless someone really helps them along. Which is kinda what happens, if I recall.

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  72. All I can say is, this is from the same team that decided there weren't enough Bishie Elves, so added a whole bunch of them at Helm's Deep, and made Figwit into a speaking part. The same team who decided Aragorn being a confident, focused, determined leader of men into a reluctant, self-conscious sensitive soul was totally a great idea. The same team who did... that to Faramir.

    Par for the course, people. Par for the course.

    It's amazing how racist we allow ourselves to be when it comes to fantasy. Imagine the reaction were someone to say, "A movie with thirteen Asians has to have some with blue eyes and a few others with blonde hair, otherwise no one could tell them apart."

    ... Would it be more or less the same as the current reaction? Besides, this isn't about race, it's about fidelity to the source material. Tolkien described the characters in a certain way: these two characters (Kili in particular) don't square up. That's the problem.

    And, again, I'd like to think there's a middle ground between "absolute slavish adaptation to the source material" (as if that's automatically a bad thing) and "deciding to do whatever the hell they like." Thus, I think there's a middle ground between making dwarves look like, well, dwarves, that doesn't necessarily make them Gimli clones.

    Since a transcription of a novel into film is impossible, even holding up a goal of "accuracy" is absurd."

    God, that argument missed the point so much it ended up in a different galaxy.

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  73. @taranaich
    "God, that argument missed the point so much it ended up in a different galaxy."

    Actually, that argument indicates that filmmakers who engage in adaptation, especially when huge budgets and mass market success are ultimate goals, will at best put accuracy to the source material lower than other priorities and at worst will completely disregard it as something not even to strive for.

    So holding zealous fan expectations as something to hope for or as a litmus test for the skill of a director/adaptor is to a great degree pointless because that isn't the game *they* are playing and isn't the criteria they, their peers, or their investors use to judge that adaptor or the success of the adaptation.

    For every adaptation, there will be fans who hate the choices the person with the responsibility made (going back at least as far as "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Big Sleep"). And the person, on the front lines of the production who *has* that responsibility is never going to pander to fan expectations but to their own instincts - whether fans like those choices or not.

    The only way to approach an adaptation without being disappointed over what is changed, is to approach the adaptation as it's own thing.

    I'm not a Jackson fanboy but I did enjoy the films for what they were... but the vehement hatred for his work in these threads and the labelling him as a 'hack' reminds me of this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

    "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

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  74. David Belasco's arguments about "why I changed the source material" made sense in terms of theatrical strengths and weaknesses, clear story, and audience enjoyment.

    Peter Jackson's arguments for changing LOTR mostly amounted to "I've got this glass slipper I made, and Cinderella's sisters need shoes. So I'll take a chopper to one sister's heels and toes, and a rack-stretcher to the other one's. And if the prince doesn't like their fit, he's just overly picky."

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  75. Really, guys? Freakin' really?
    If any dwarves need to have distinct, singled-out appearances, it's these two. They need to look younger, and I can't think how else to go about it. They've still got stocky, dwarvish proportions and clearly visible beards.

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  76. This just in: Peter Jackson turns Tolkien story into gonzo action flick, completely misses the point and ruins any literary merit. Film at 11.

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  77. Emma Thompson modified Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility when she wrote her script - she had to, since a film is not a book - but her modifications adjusted the plot to reinforce the tone, characters, and story of the novel as a film. Most of the lines she added, for example, sound very Jane Austenish.

    There are plenty of other examples of careful conversions of books into films.

    So.

    Let's not create a false war between fidelity to source and doing justice to the medium of film.

    Fili and Kili could both have been blonde as they were in the book. It would have cost the filmmakers nothing to respect the source material in this.

    Also, they could have been dwarves. I don't know what those are, but even young dwarves look sturdy. The one on the right suffers from the dwarven version of anorexia. He also suffers from glam. He's entirely too elvish.

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  78. 'Imagine the reaction were someone to say, "A movie with thirteen Asians has to have some with blue eyes and a few others with blonde hair, otherwise no one could tell them apart." '

    This would only be shocking if a white person said it in some politically correct country.

    If anyone, white, black, or otherwise, said it in Asia, there would be very little reaction. Asians are happy to dye their hair when they feel like it, and wear color-changing contact lenses when they feel like it.

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  79. Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur's picture just got released. Bombur has a long hair braid instead of a long beard, but the other two actually have beards of respectable length.

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  80. "...but even young dwarves look sturdy."

    Source please. I'd like to see the research done on how all young dwarves look.

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  81. I happened to be reading a review of the new Harry Potter movie in this morning’s newspaper and I came across an interesting line, one that recasts this discussion from the perspective of the film critic:

    “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 makes a genuine summer blockbuster out of a fantasy franchise that has at times seemed too wedded to the text of J. K. Rowling’s source novels.”

    The critic (Peter Howell) also mentions that the previous movie “proved to be a bit of a slog” – he doesn’t specifically reiterate his complaint about movies being too true to their source material, but that’s likely the source of his ire as HP7 stuck pretty close to the “depressing” plot and mood of the first half of the final novel.

    In another amusing coincidence, given the direction of this discussion, Howell notes positively that, “the long-anticipated siege of Hogwarts school … gets what can only be called the Lord of the Rings treatment, with visual mayhem and character dynamics writ large.”

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  82. @Rick Marshall
    "Emma Thompson modified Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility when she wrote her script - she had to, since a film is not a book - but her modifications adjusted the plot to reinforce the tone, characters, and story of the novel as a film. Most of the lines she added, for example, sound very Jane Austenish."

    Interesting example, because despite critical and popular acceptance as well as awards from the Academy (all of which Jackson can claim as well) within Jane Austen fandom there is as much disagreement over Thompson's choices as there is in our geeky little world over Jackson.

    Here is a link to an essay written taking Thompson to task for her unnecessary changes that changed the tone and heart of S&S
    http://www.theloiterer.org/ashton/dancer3.html

    Most notably a shift in the type of humor used which, at least in some opinions, changes the thematic thrust of the film entirely.

    Some of the other things that were changed that cause such a condemnation include:

    Thompson's addition of horse defecation

    a 'commotion' turning into a comedic slapstick fight

    Marianne being carried by men multiple times in unrealistic situations.

    The Palmers' being used for comedic effect in the film while they are tragic in the novel.

    The change of the nature of Middleton and Mrs. Jennings.

    The ignoring of Chapter 8 of Vol III.

    The shift of dialogue and resolution at the end subtly but significantly changes the bittersweet cynicism of the novel and replaces it with a more traditional 'chick-flick' ending.

    And here's a criticism about Ang Lee's direction of the same film:
    "Ang Lee directed the film and perhaps he deserves some share of the disapprobation. The directing is hopeless. The worst example is a scene depicting a picnic with the Dashwood women and Willoughby. Ang Lee's Willoughby acts grotesquely, he takes liberties with Marianne's body and he gets in Elinor's face and mocks her in a most offensive manner. If you or I had seen someone treat our sisters like that, it would have been an occasion for trouble—big trouble. Yet, the Ang-Lee version of the Dashwood women seem almost amused."

    My point with all this is that, again, whether one thinks an adaptation or not is 'fathful' is informed more often than not by personal taste and whether or not similar feelings are invoked by the film as by the novel.

    You felt S&S was a good adaptation (I enjoyed it very much as well) and the changes weren't 'deal-breakers' for you. For others those changes were horrid and made for a *bad* adaptation.

    The same thing is true for Jackson and his Tolkein adaptations.

    Cetain technical skills can be analyzed objectively in an artist and his work... other things are subjective to taste and comments like suburbanbanshee's:

    "Peter Jackson's arguments for changing LOTR mostly amounted to "I've got this glass slipper I made, and Cinderella's sisters need shoes. So I'll take a chopper to one sister's heels and toes, and a rack-stretcher to the other one's. And if the prince doesn't like their fit, he's just overly picky.""

    As just an example of some of the vitriol spewed against Jackson in these threads doesn't take into account the difference between personal taste and objectively poorly done work.

    There's a lot of 'I personally like this so I'll praise it and I personally don't like this so I'll insult the artists capabilities' and say that he's a 'hack' going on.

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  83. Korgoth said...
    This just in: Peter Jackson turns Tolkien story into gonzo action flick, completely misses the point and ruins any literary merit. Film at 11.


    Tolkien's books had literary merit?

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  84. There's a lot of 'I personally like this so I'll praise it and I personally don't like this so I'll insult the artists capabilities' and say that he's a 'hack' going on.

    No kidding! Of all the ridiculous reasons to pan a movie (putting aside that the film hasn't even been made yet), not liking the hair color of one of the actors takes the cake -and the ice cream, too.

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  85. "Tolkien's books had literary merit?"

    Obviously not as they're enjoyable and intelligent and creative instead of being one long dirge about how awful it is to be alive.

    Anyway. The problem with a movie compared to a book is that in a book the author is actually writing the characters' names on the page when they're doing or saying things. Unless you use a bizarre type of subtitling, that's not an option. So making the dwarves look different - even to the point of making each have a clear visual "hook" - is really the only sensible way to handle so many characters in a group.

    Look at The Magnificent Seven - even there it's pretty obvious that someone was trying for visual individuality, and there's twice as many core characters in The Hobbit!

    I do think Kili has a problem in that he looks tall but it might be this photo, which actually makes his right ear look a bit elven too.

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  86. Tolkien's books had literary merit?

    Maybe you could enlighten us as to what constitutes "literary merit," oh warder of the gates of the English literary canon.

    I'd say a hundred or more works of literary criticism, conferences, peer-reviewed academic journals, accredited college courses, doctoral dissertations, etc., pretty much answers your question. Unless you're just trolling, as I suspect is the case.

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  87. Oh please: there are college courses about Madonna for heaven's sake! Literary criticism? Most literary critics think LOTR is a joke and think the books' fans are like Trekkies -only without discerning taste. You can find endless doctoral dissertations, conferences, journal articles and so on about other bad novels and bad writers, such as:

    Ayn Rand
    Mickey Spillane
    L.Ron Hubbard
    James Michener (not really a bad writer, he just wrote the same novel over and over)
    Michael Crichton
    Truman Capote
    Joyce Carol Oates

    There are countless others.

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  88. Again, you need to enlighten me as to what makes a work literary.

    Who are these "literary critics?" I can point to Tom Shippey, scholar of medieval literature at Oxford University. Michael Drout, chair of the department of English at Wheaton College. Verlyn Flieger, Professor at the University of Maryland. Not to mention critics and authors like C.S. Lewis and W.H. Auden. Time Magazine critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo released their 100 best english language novels since 1923, which included J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

    We'll see if Madonna has a peer-reviewed academic journal being published about her songs 40 years after her death.

    What are you going to say... it's not realistic, or too "fantastic?" So now works like 1984 and Moby Dick don't qualify as literature? If you think literature must engage "reality" to be taken seriously, The Lord of the Rings can be read as a reaction to the rise of modernism, or as a commentary on the events of World War 2. It ain't just about elves and dwarves, as I'm sure a discerning reader like you knows.

    Now give me your definition of literature and we'll work from there.

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  89. “the long-anticipated siege of Hogwarts school … gets what can only be called the Lord of the Rings treatment, with visual mayhem and character dynamics writ large.”

    Wow.

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  90. Meh. Some exec in some meeting asked "Can we get Legolas in this movie? A certain demographic really liked Legolas, and we wanna cash in on that. Our people can call Orlando Bloom's people and make it happen."

    After several more long, drawn out, and frustrating meetings attempting to explain to said exec that no, Legolas wasn't in "The Hobbit" and a much more committed demographic wouldn't stand for that big a bending of the story, this was the compromise they probably came up with...

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  91. @BigFella

    Actually, despite not being mentioned in the book, Legolas will be in The Hobbit, as will Frodo and Galadriel too.

    I'm guessing that Legolas and Galadriel will be in Mirkwood, and that Legolas probably will take part in The Battle Of Five Armies too.

    Because Ian Holm is set to appear as "Old Bilbo", my best guess as to how they'll work Frodo in, considering that he wasn't even born when the events of The Hobbit took place, is that there'll be some sort of 'frame' in which an older Bilbo tells him the story.

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