The Hobbit

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AuthorTopic: The Hobbit
Lifecrafter
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quote:
Originally written by Clavicle:

if it was Lewis' intention to fix Christian convictions within me, he failed miserably...
Unless you know the man personally, I seriously doubt he was trying to fix Christian convictions within you. I think he was simply expressing the same story in a completely different light. You know… a creative retelling of an already existing story.

People do it with Shakespeare's works all the time. And Faust. And probably a bunch of other stuff.

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Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
Warrior
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Indicative:
Yes, I can see all that now, but when I was a young kid it went right by me. Aslan was just Aslan, he wasn't a stand-in for Jesus Christ.

Gavin:
Right, I don't actually know, since I haven't studied the man biographically. You're right that he could've been simply retelling an old story, as Shakespeare and his company did... or the Christian allegory could've simply emerged naturally as artistic expression... or he could've had an agenda. Until somebody sets me straight (or I look it up on Wiki?): I don't know.... .

It's all a great big mystery!!!

[ Tuesday, April 29, 2008 20:36: Message edited by: Clavicle ]
Posts: 178 | Registered: Saturday, March 8 2008 08:00
Agent
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I've only seen the second Lord of the Rings movie, and though I thought the screenplay was impressive, it was rather lacking in the plot's progression. I'm not sure if I'd want to see this upcoming film, and I personally prefer C.S. Lewis over J.R.R. Tolkien.

quote:
Unless you know the man personally, I seriously doubt he was trying to fix Christian convictions within you. I think he was simply expressing the same story in a completely different light. You know… a creative retelling of an already existing story.

I think there is a little bit of Christian conviction withing the series, but yes, it is basically just an allegorical series having a fair amount based upon the bible (especially The Last Battle).

[ Wednesday, April 30, 2008 18:46: Message edited by: Excalibur ]

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Originally by Excalibur:

quote:
I've only seen the second Lord of the Rings movie, and though I thought the screenplay was impressive, it was rather lacking in the plot's progression.
The Two Towers was by far the worst movie in terms of following the book. Or even in having a plot that made much sense.

Dikiyoba.

Edit: Fixed quote.

[ Wednesday, April 30, 2008 19:19: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]

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I will say this in regard to the Rings trilogy; particularly the first which is the one I'm the most familiar with: I was disappointed that the technology and in particular the soundtrack (were I the director I wouldn't've had a soundtrack) overwhelmed the story, which, if I'm not mistaken, was the whole point? What I mean is: I was interested in the characters. I wanted to know more about them (especially since I did not read the books); I wasn't as interested in watching spectacular special effects, and I like to think I know how to watch a movie; I don't need a soundtrack to tell me how to feel at a given moment.

So... for me, The Fellowship of the Rings film was a bitter disappointment. I knew Jackson's potential and I knew he had a passion for the books... so... ...why?

Enough of me.
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Originally by Clavicle:

quote:
(were I the director I wouldn't've had a soundtrack)
Heathen.

Dikiyoba.

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Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
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I agree with Diki. Soundtracks are absolutely imperative for a good movie. Especially considering the adventurous mood of the whole movie. Having no soundtrack would kill a lot of the moods.

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ET reminds me of myself before I was taken into a small chatroom by TM, Alec, and various other members. They then proceeded to beat some sense into me...
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Hollywood's view of the soundtrack is to direct the audience how to feel at any given moment. They treat their audience like children. If they stopped doing that, then the audience would grow up. They'd start accepting things like... (shudder) ...widescreen.

There're two filmmakers that come to mind who really know how to use soundtracks.

The first is David Lynch: This man, for all his faults (and I love Lynch) is an absolute master of sound.

The second is Ingmar Bergman. Ingmar Bergman suggested the superiority of incidental sound over imposed sound. Bergman was interested in telling stories and exploring human character, not shallowly manipulating an audience.

As for "mood": this is supposed to be created -- as in literature and the visual arts -- by the story and the characters. If a film is well written and and the characters are well-explored and well-played, then you do not need any music whatsoever... unless the music itself makes an inherent comment on the character. (The brilliant French film "L'Eau Froid" (literally "The Cold Water") comes to mind, in the latter case... one of my favorite films of all time.

Also, there are a lot of directors... even American ones... who know very well how to use sound, and it's not imposed sound intended to manipulate the audience.

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 20:28: Message edited by: Clavicle ]
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Oh, come on. Middle Earth is meant to be a musical place--even the books have songs. Tom Bombadil (who does not appear in the movie) has a lot of power in his songs. Treebeard and the other ents are described as having musical voices. The LotR is as much about the world of Middle Earth as it is the story of Frodo and the Fellowship, and the soundtrack is meant to help convey the world.

Dikiyoba.

[ Thursday, May 01, 2008 21:32: Message edited by: Dikiyoba ]

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Raven v. Writing Desk
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He chanted a song of wizardry,
Of piercing, opening, of treachery,
Revealing, uncovering, betraying.
Then sudden Felagund there swaying
Sang in answer a song of staying,
Resisting, battling against power,
Of secrets kept, strength like a tower,
And trust unbroken, freedom, escape;
Of changing and of shifting shape
Of snares eluded, broken traps,
The prison opening, the chain that snaps.
Backwards and forwards swayed their song.
Reeling and foundering, as ever more strong
The chanting swelled, Felagund fought,
And all the magic and might he brought
Of Elvenesse into his words.
Softly in the gloom they heard the birds
Singing afar in Nargothrond,
The sighing of the Sea beyond,
Beyond the western world, on sand,
On sand of pearls in Elvenland.
Then the gloom gathered; darkness growing
In Valinor, the red blood flowing
Beside the Sea, where the Noldor slew
The Foamriders, and stealing drew
Their white ships with their white sails
From lamplit havens. The wind wails,
The wolf howls. The ravens flee.
The ice mutters in the mouths of the Sea.
The captives sad in Angband mourn.
Thunder rumbles, the fires burn ---
And Finrod fell before the throne.

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Claiming that a movie's soundtrack shouldn't sway emotions as a rule is absurd; you can as easily claim that authors ought to write using only bare, mechanical prose, as the situations described should either be sufficient to move the reader or not. In any case, I think it's possible for music to agree with and abet emotional content without replacing it. LotR does that. Whatever else its false, the music is well-used.

Clearly this is a difference of aesthetic opinion. I like one thing and you like another. Fair enough, but that doesn't mean that movies all should conform to your aesthetic standards.

—Alorael, who also happens to like the LotR movies' music enough to listen to it on its own. It's not all good, but enough of it is for it to have independent musical merit. And yes, some of it is moving.
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...b10010b...
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quote:
Originally written by Clavicle:

There're two filmmakers that come to mind who really know how to use soundtracks.

The first is David Lynch: This man, for all his faults (and I love Lynch) is an absolute master of sound.

The second is Ingmar Bergman. Ingmar Bergman suggested the superiority of incidental sound over imposed sound. Bergman was interested in telling stories and exploring human character, not shallowly manipulating an audience.

What, no Kubrick? For that matter, no Tarantino?

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Shaper
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quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

Oh, come on. Middle Earth is meant to be a musical place--even the books have songs. Tom Bombadil (who does not appear in the movie) has a lot of power in his songs. Treebeard and the other ents are described as having musical voices. The LotR is as much about the world of Middle Earth as it is the story of Frodo and the Fellowship, and the soundtrack is meant to help convey the world.

Dikiyoba.

You neglected to mention that Arda was created from music...

[ Friday, May 02, 2008 08:10: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

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quote:
Originally written by Clavicle:

Hollywood's view of the soundtrack is to direct the audience how to feel at any given moment. They treat their audience like children.
I feel it is the storyteller's choice how a story is told. Having music accompanying your story is an ancient device from a time when Hollywood truly wasn't on the map.

There are ghastly soundtracks galore, scores without style aplenty, no doubt. But then again: bad storytelling is bad storytelling, and nobody should listen to a badly told story, especially not children.

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When Gone With the Wind was first previewed to a test audience, they didn't have the music so they tacked on music from a similar genre film. It didn't hurt the film's reception. It's only when the soundtrack is significantly different from the audience's anticipation that you have problems. I've had friends watch shows where they turned the TV sound down and substituted their own music with no adverse affects other than they were already weird.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
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Randomizer: Yes; and I've known people who like to watch subtitled movies without any sound at all.

And honestly: Who here hasn't watched The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon substituting?

Aristotle the Hemmed-In: If absurd it is, then thanks, because I love the Absurd! And as far as promoting "mechanical" writing, well, the sort of material I read and promote on my website is quite the opposite; I prefer writing that is psychologically and organically explorative and daring and, most of all, emotional. But this is all sort of beside the point... .

Therefore, back to business... .

Unfortunately, Hollywood has already succeeded in telling its audience what they like and what they do not like. Money is powerful stuff.

That aside... Thuryl: Yes, you're right: Kubrick did know how to use sound, as does Tarantino. And if I remember correctly: wasn't Reservoir Dogs a film containing just about no music, except for that central song which we all remember so vividly, which was critical for character description as well as story development. Tarantino's choice of music for that scene was what made that scene so powerfully memorable. (Tarantino also writes great dialogue. Yet, apart from all of that, he's no Stanley Kubrick. I do not like any of his films, except of course for Pulp Fiction, which is great all the way through (including a very good soundtrack), and also that segment he did for Four Rooms, which was okay (his segment, not the film as a whole).)

So... what I'm saying is not that 'soundtracks are bad', but that there are good soundtracks and there are bad soundtracks. Good soundtracks are the result of thought and sensitivity, and they're used to describe a character or a scene, or even mood (but it has to be done right), wherever those things cannot be described independently. A great actor, for example, can convey volumes without music, gimmicks or explanatory dialogue. The sort of full orchestration that people like Spielberg use are useless, phony and manipulative. They're about as valuable as laugh tracks.

Remember laugh tracks? Does anybody here think that laugh tracks are still valuable? I mean... apart from trying to make an unfunny show seem to be funny?

And Dikiyoba: Any music inherent in the Rings books should have been expresed in the films on their own merit, without any external imposition.

By artistic necessity: the audience members should be the conductors and interpreters of the film; the film should not be conducting and describing the audience. Can anybody here honestly tell me that all that orchestral crap in the Rings films truly added to the movie, that it actually enriched your feeling for the characters and the story?
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Originally by Clavicle:

quote:
And Dikiyoba: Any music inherent in the Rings books should have been expresed in the films on their own merit, without any external imposition.
Well, no, not really. There was a lot of I'm-going-to-stop-the-story-and-sing-a-long-song-which-is-only-barely-related-to-the-plot-now. It would have made the movie unbearably long.

(But they did put it in for at least one occasion. Some of the background music in the FotR while the fellowship was in Lothlorien was actually a song in the book, which they expanded on a bit in the extended addition. Actually, there was at least one other case in the extended edition.)

quote:
Can anybody here honestly tell me that all that orchestral crap in the Rings films truly added to the movie, that it actually enriched your feeling for the characters and the story?
Well, obviously, I wouldn't be arguing with you if it didn't.

We obviously have very different expectations when it comes to movies. Characters and plot are really nice, but if that's all I cared about, I would read a book instead. If I'm going to bother watching a movie, I expect things that I can't get from reading, otherwise it's not worth my time. One of my expectations is a solid soundtrack. Heck, I would watch a movie with no characters or plot whatsoever if the music and visuals, etc. were good enough. I might as well complain against actors. Why wouldn't you be content to just imagine what a character looks like or how they deliver a piece of dialogue?

To give a specific example: the scene where Sam, Frodo, and Gollum are at Minas Morgul in RotK. I was starting to lose focus the first time I watched it since I was a bit tired, but cue the sudden loud scary music and suddenly I'm wide awake and involved with the story again. By the way, Frodo, this is just the beginning of how powerful Mordor is. The good guys are pretty much doomed if you don't hurry up.

It also makes Dikiyoba wish Dikiyoba owned a fell beast and could be death on wings. Women, children, and hobbits first!

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By Committee
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quote:
Originally written by Clavicle:

By artistic necessity: the audience members should be the conductors and interpreters of the film; the film should not be conducting and describing the audience.
Well why stop with the music then? Why not just have the script appear on the screen by itself? After all, we don't want the actors interpreting the material too obviously for you as an audience member. Also, make sure that the words aren't any strange colors or anything - that might convey emotion that takes away from your opportunity to interpret the text, to "have it your way," as the old Burger King commercial goes. Oh, also, make sure not to have the text scroll too quickly - wouldn't want to create a sense of urgency in the readers - that might be too heavy-handed as well. :rolleyes:

--

You are perfectly entitled to disagree with a director's vision, let alone decisions on scoring. I'm not a big Howard Shore fan myself, but I thought that the score definitely didn't take away from the film. All you have to say though is "I didn't particularly care for the score."

Would you say the same thing though about orchestral scores for other films? How about John Williams, or Danny Elfman's work? I can't imagine you would object strongly to the anthem for "Batman," for example. But then, maybe you will.
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Raven v. Writing Desk
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Sometimes I feel like Clavicle does. Drew's description of blank words on a screen, put out as a joke viewpoint, is in fact exactly what I start wishing for when I watch a production of Shakespeare (whether on stage or on the screen) -- I usually find it unbearably less interesting than the text. But there are exceptions; I've seen a few kickass Hamlets, and Julie Taymor's big-screen 'Titus' remains one of my two favourite movies ever, despite taking far more liberties with the play than most productions would dream of.

But Titus follows the spirit of the play wonderfully. I think that's the issue, and what distinguishes the things that make Clavicle and I wish for blank text from the things that make Dikiyoba and I say 'ooh, great storytelling'. When I watched LOTR, I found myself surprisingly untroubled by all the factual changes and omissions. I ended up really liking Arwen replacing Glorfindel at the Ford, for example. But I hated the things that defied the spirit of the books. I hated the things that completely missed the point of the story-world laws that bounded Tolkien's sub-created world (to use his language). To me, it was kind of like it would be if Hamlet broke from the script and told Horatio there's no such thing as ghosts, and ended the play right there.

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It really is starting to sound like Clavicle is struggling against some of the fundamental properties of film as a medium. I tend to agree with Roger Ebert about what films can and should do: they're supposed to be emotionally manipulative, because playing with the audience's emotions is what the medium is best at. Films can be used to convey intellectual content and allow the audience to think for themselves, of course, but they're generally ill-suited to it, and if that's what you want your artwork to be you should consider making it in a different medium.

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I like oral storytelling, as it uses the imagination of both the teller and the listener, and creates something unique and bigger than either one on their own. Unfortunately, the best oral stories wouldn't translate well to the big screen. Perhaps on the radio, but that lacks the interpersonal interaction.

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Funny how that is. I was just looking again through a book I gave up on a while ago, a history of classical physics by some apparently famous Oxford professor. It's a topic that really interests me, but for some reason this book just seemed terribly poorly written, to the point that it was painful to keep reading. It was too packed with frivolous bantering asides, like some kind of Mystery Science Theater version of a proper book. But the main topic between all the casual interruptions was completely serious, so the whole thing was just really tedious.

But it finally occurred to me now that this book is simply a transcribed lecture series, with no more editing than whatever might have been needed to render it into grammatical sentences and reasonable paragraphs. A quick and dirty way to publish your lectures, and the result was indeed a lousy book. But the lectures were probably fantastic! I can almost hear someone with good stage presence holding an audience rapt for hours, with exactly these same words that I can barely keep reading for a few minutes. The guy should really have made an audiobook.

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Imagine Feynman on DVD. That would have been awesome. I think they have some of his stuff in Portland at the Wanderers club. I should check it out sometime.

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To be sure, there is an added challenge to presenting materials in one medium that are already long-loved in another. I *love* Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, and although "Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World" was a great film, to me it could never do the 20-book series justice (although I would note that the music chosen for the film, taken pretty much directly from references in the books, is fantastic).
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Warrior
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"Playing with the audience's emotions" is little more than a substutute for good writing and adept directing. When the writing cannot compel the audience into thought: always turn to the soundtrack and Hollywood gimmicks. Essentially, Hollywood has dumbed down their movies so much that the audience has become nearly incapable of independent thought when they're in the theater: They need everything spelled out for them and they need a soundtrack to tell them how to feel. Any symbolism that is presented in a film must be "gotten" by the audience in the first viewing.

If Roger Ebert truly does feel that films should be manipulative: Then as a 'seasoned' critic he's either a fool or an idiot. Of course, I haven't a high respect for very many film critics, anyhow. Their brains mystify me.

As I've said.. does anybody here miss laugh tracks?

Anyhow, it's obvious that some of the people here do not understand what I'm trying to say. I'm speaking as an artist and a lover of film. So... any suggestion that I want to rid the world of the art of film is just a little bit more than silly.

First: The beauty of film is the fact that it combines the human senses in a way that no other art form -- even plays -- can. I believe that a film should neglect nothing. And this means treating every element of the film with sensitivity, intelligence and imagination. A bad sounddtrack can kill a film far more easily than a good soundtrack can make a film.

In regard to the "artist's vision": it's so common for people to want to know "what the artist is trying to say". We all do it, but it's really a futile desire, because the point of art is to promote thought. (Forgive this second plug, but if you go here (bottom of the page), I think you'll find a decent explanation.

Art, by necessity, is interpreted by the audience, and is incapable of being dictated by the artist. If communication is the your intention -- or providing some sort of immutable 'message', then the artistic route is a very, very impractical one. Better to try essay or, if you're into film, documentary.

In short: The ART is not in the artist, it is within YOU, THE AUDIENCE.

Slarty: I saw Titus, too, and I've always had great respect for Julie Taymor. I think that her choosing to adapt what is widely considered Shakespeare's worst play is the height of guts... unfortunately, even she wasn't able to save it, oh well; but there was a good deal of interesting stuff in there. It was definitely a gutsy, imaginitive, even over-the-top film.

Now here's the problem that I have with Shakespearean productions: I think that these plays were meant to be performed like real dramas (and comedies). These actors who intone Shakespeare's lines as if they were holy text, in the most phony manners conjurable, drive me crazy. I'm one of these people who think that a Shakespearean play should be felt by the audience, not simply 'appreciated'. Take a really violent play like Macbeth: If I'm watching a performance of this play, I don't want to be awed by the actors' enunciation or the beauty of the lines. The text is a vital part of it, sure... but as far as the performance goes: I want to be curled up in my seat, anxious and terrified.

But is it any soundtrack that does that to you? Of course not: It's the performance, and the writing. That is the point I'm trying to make, here.

Sorry to be so expansive, but the scale of misunderstanding here is... oppressive.
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