‘Lord of the Rings’: Amazon Prime series

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    I'm encouraged by the optimism I'm hearing here, and yes, I'm using the term 'optimism' rather than 'wishful thinking' because I feel there is a hope, however slim - my opinion here and everything else that follows - that Amazon may turn out something that is watchable by people like myself, a self-admitted book purist.

    It is possible to cross the divide between book and screen, and PJ proved that. Some other purists would burn me at the stake for saying that, but despite a few things that make me grind my teeth to this day, Jackson managed to remain true to the essence of Tolkien, and where alterations were made, the ones that were necessary made sense, and the ones that didn't... well, everyone is entitled to have regrets and I think even PJ has a few. At any rate, what matters here is that it is possible to adapt and still cling faithfully to the source material without reinventing it in way that clearly telegraphs that you are only interested in pandering to the audience of the day. This principle had largely fallen by the wayside by the time the Hobbit movies came along, but to be fair, the studio interfered too much in those, and PJ was tired and had already checked out.

    As has been rightly pointed out, this series will differ drastically from those movies in the sense that there is not nearly as much meat to put in the sandwich that is the Second Age as PJ did with three thick books rich with detail at his disposal. Where Amazon can still pull this off is if all the scenes, characters, dialogue, and plots that they are going to be forced to invent don't betray the spirit of the author and the work they are derived from. They are going to have to create a lot of things from scratch, and that's fine, otherwise there is not enough for a dramatic series, only a short documentary, and that is not what they are going to deliver. But the minute you start to go to the well of shows like GoT to start mining for the things that they feel worked, they will have lost before they've even begun. These are two completely separate IPs, that function on very different strengths. To simply lump them as 'fantasy' and think that what worked for one can just be shoe-horned into the other to make it successful is the worst kind of logic at work. This is why I made my earlier comment about nudity and intimate scenes being called for in this series. Though quite shocking and daring at first, it became an integral part of GoT (graphically so in the first half of the series, less so later on) and one of the things that defined it as a show that was willing to take risks with its realism, and have it pay off as a result. However, the works of JRR Tolkien have managed to be at the top of the heap for decades, and doing so in spectacular fashion in terms of cultural impact and longevity, without having gone anywhere near those kinds of storytelling devices. So why would there be a need now? Or have we become so cynically devoid of imagination that we can't conceive of an imaginary world where such things are not necessary to tell a good story?

    I worry, and I think I have cause to, because all I see these days in many shows and movies is a blatant attempt to throw as many ingredients into the soup pot as possible and then see what kind of a face the audience makes when they have their first taste. The hope is then that they will stick around at the table and have some more. Tolkien gave us a very refined recipe, and it is my honest belief that you don't mess with perfection. Don't throw in parsley when cilantro is called for. Just don't.

    So, is there a chance this will work? Of course there is. But not if their hubris is so great that they treat Tolkien's wonderfully complex world as a convenient stepstool to tell their own story that ends up looking like a round peg being forcefully jammed into square hole. Like the aforementioned Star Wars, this is something that is very precious to a lot of people, and it needs to be treated with the reverence and respect that it deserves, not just a cow with dollar signs tattooed on its udder. For me, the last three SW movies failed spectacularly because they were precisely about that: spectacle. There was no care given to characters, story, or proper deference to what had come before. Even for many who were not as invested in SW as hardcore fans, the vibe I got was 'meh, they were ok movies, whatever.' That's not what I want to hear for Middle-earth because there is no room for mediocrity. Deliver deserving excellence, or just don't bother.

    All of the above brought to you by "My two cents".

    Comment


      Originally posted by Valkrist View Post
      I'm encouraged by the optimism I'm hearing here, and yes, I'm using the term 'optimism' rather than 'wishful thinking' because I feel there is a hope, however slim - my opinion here and everything else that follows - that Amazon may turn out something that is watchable by people like myself, a self-admitted book purist.

      It is possible to cross the divide between book and screen, and PJ proved that. Some other purists would burn me at the stake for saying that, but despite a few things that make me grind my teeth to this day, Jackson managed to remain true to the essence of Tolkien, and where alterations were made, the ones that were necessary made sense, and the ones that didn't... well, everyone is entitled to have regrets and I think even PJ has a few. At any rate, what matters here is that it is possible to adapt and still cling faithfully to the source material without reinventing it in way that clearly telegraphs that you are only interested in pandering to the audience of the day. This principle had largely fallen by the wayside by the time the Hobbit movies came along, but to be fair, the studio interfered too much in those, and PJ was tired and had already checked out.

      As has been rightly pointed out, this series will differ drastically from those movies in the sense that there is not nearly as much meat to put in the sandwich that is the Second Age as PJ did with three thick books rich with detail at his disposal. Where Amazon can still pull this off is if all the scenes, characters, dialogue, and plots that they are going to be forced to invent don't betray the spirit of the author and the work they are derived from. They are going to have to create a lot of things from scratch, and that's fine, otherwise there is not enough for a dramatic series, only a short documentary, and that is not what they are going to deliver. But the minute you start to go to the well of shows like GoT to start mining for the things that they feel worked, they will have lost before they've even begun. These are two completely separate IPs, that function on very different strengths. To simply lump them as 'fantasy' and think that what worked for one can just be shoe-horned into the other to make it successful is the worst kind of logic at work. This is why I made my earlier comment about nudity and intimate scenes being called for in this series. Though quite shocking and daring at first, it became an integral part of GoT (graphically so in the first half of the series, less so later on) and one of the things that defined it as a show that was willing to take risks with its realism, and have it pay off as a result. However, the works of JRR Tolkien have managed to be at the top of the heap for decades, and doing so in spectacular fashion in terms of cultural impact and longevity, without having gone anywhere near those kinds of storytelling devices. So why would there be a need now? Or have we become so cynically devoid of imagination that we can't conceive of an imaginary world where such things are not necessary to tell a good story?

      I worry, and I think I have cause to, because all I see these days in many shows and movies is a blatant attempt to throw as many ingredients into the soup pot as possible and then see what kind of a face the audience makes when they have their first taste. The hope is then that they will stick around at the table and have some more. Tolkien gave us a very refined recipe, and it is my honest belief that you don't mess with perfection. Don't throw in parsley when cilantro is called for. Just don't.

      So, is there a chance this will work? Of course there is. But not if their hubris is so great that they treat Tolkien's wonderfully complex world as a convenient stepstool to tell their own story that ends up looking like a round peg being forcefully jammed into square hole. Like the aforementioned Star Wars, this is something that is very precious to a lot of people, and it needs to be treated with the reverence and respect that it deserves, not just a cow with dollar signs tattooed on its udder. For me, the last three SW movies failed spectacularly because they were precisely about that: spectacle. There was no care given to characters, story, or proper deference to what had come before. Even for many who were not as invested in SW as hardcore fans, the vibe I got was 'meh, they were ok movies, whatever.' That's not what I want to hear for Middle-earth because there is no room for mediocrity. Deliver deserving excellence, or just don't bother.

      All of the above brought to you by "My two cents".
      I completely agree! Well done and well said

      Comment


        Originally posted by Valkrist View Post
        I'm encouraged by the optimism I'm hearing here, and yes, I'm using the term 'optimism' rather than 'wishful thinking' because I feel there is a hope, however slim - my opinion here and everything else that follows - that Amazon may turn out something that is watchable by people like myself, a self-admitted book purist.

        It is possible to cross the divide between book and screen, and PJ proved that. Some other purists would burn me at the stake for saying that, but despite a few things that make me grind my teeth to this day, Jackson managed to remain true to the essence of Tolkien, and where alterations were made, the ones that were necessary made sense, and the ones that didn't... well, everyone is entitled to have regrets and I think even PJ has a few. At any rate, what matters here is that it is possible to adapt and still cling faithfully to the source material without reinventing it in way that clearly telegraphs that you are only interested in pandering to the audience of the day. This principle had largely fallen by the wayside by the time the Hobbit movies came along, but to be fair, the studio interfered too much in those, and PJ was tired and had already checked out.

        As has been rightly pointed out, this series will differ drastically from those movies in the sense that there is not nearly as much meat to put in the sandwich that is the Second Age as PJ did with three thick books rich with detail at his disposal. Where Amazon can still pull this off is if all the scenes, characters, dialogue, and plots that they are going to be forced to invent don't betray the spirit of the author and the work they are derived from. They are going to have to create a lot of things from scratch, and that's fine, otherwise there is not enough for a dramatic series, only a short documentary, and that is not what they are going to deliver. But the minute you start to go to the well of shows like GoT to start mining for the things that they feel worked, they will have lost before they've even begun. These are two completely separate IPs, that function on very different strengths. To simply lump them as 'fantasy' and think that what worked for one can just be shoe-horned into the other to make it successful is the worst kind of logic at work. This is why I made my earlier comment about nudity and intimate scenes being called for in this series. Though quite shocking and daring at first, it became an integral part of GoT (graphically so in the first half of the series, less so later on) and one of the things that defined it as a show that was willing to take risks with its realism, and have it pay off as a result. However, the works of JRR Tolkien have managed to be at the top of the heap for decades, and doing so in spectacular fashion in terms of cultural impact and longevity, without having gone anywhere near those kinds of storytelling devices. So why would there be a need now? Or have we become so cynically devoid of imagination that we can't conceive of an imaginary world where such things are not necessary to tell a good story?

        I worry, and I think I have cause to, because all I see these days in many shows and movies is a blatant attempt to throw as many ingredients into the soup pot as possible and then see what kind of a face the audience makes when they have their first taste. The hope is then that they will stick around at the table and have some more. Tolkien gave us a very refined recipe, and it is my honest belief that you don't mess with perfection. Don't throw in parsley when cilantro is called for. Just don't.

        So, is there a chance this will work? Of course there is. But not if their hubris is so great that they treat Tolkien's wonderfully complex world as a convenient stepstool to tell their own story that ends up looking like a round peg being forcefully jammed into square hole. Like the aforementioned Star Wars, this is something that is very precious to a lot of people, and it needs to be treated with the reverence and respect that it deserves, not just a cow with dollar signs tattooed on its udder. For me, the last three SW movies failed spectacularly because they were precisely about that: spectacle. There was no care given to characters, story, or proper deference to what had come before. Even for many who were not as invested in SW as hardcore fans, the vibe I got was 'meh, they were ok movies, whatever.' That's not what I want to hear for Middle-earth because there is no room for mediocrity. Deliver deserving excellence, or just don't bother.

        All of the above brought to you by "My two cents".
        Well said Valkrist! I am very excited and optimistic as well that the show will not resort to contemporary story telling devices to draw or keep an audience. I think the show runners and Amazon will keep the text close to their hearts in whatever they put together. Hopefully they are thinking of all fans when it comes to making this show and there is something everyone can take away from it.

        Comment


          Someone mentioned Mandalorian so I will continue One major reason why I like that show is because there is so much more than just the Skywalker family in Star Wars universe and they have realised it and they delve deep into it. A well done tv series is a perfect place to explore the universe outside the major characters. One can concentrate on developing certain things slowly but surely and you can't have a 10 minute discussion by the camp fire in a StaWa movie but you can do it in Mandalorian. Actually can't remember if there was one but you get the point. Same thing in coming Marvel shows and I trust and wish and hope it will happen in Amazon series too. If they have already ordered 3 seasons they will have enough time to really delve into character development and hopefully without nudity, gore or profanity. I love to see more M-E but naturally in a way it makes sense and fits into the "big picture". It would have been really interesting to see how Benicio del Toro would have laid out his vision of Hobbit but that didn't happen. All in all I'm very excited about the Amazon series and I do hope they know what they are doing. They should because they paid a pretty sum for the rights + the overall development will also be very expensive so there will be many heads rolling down the lane if the series is a bust.

          Comment


            Originally posted by MetroMan2000 View Post
            It would have been really interesting to see how Benicio del Toro would have laid out his vision of Hobbit but that didn't happen.
            You mean Guillermo del Toro

            Comment


              Originally posted by Gwindor View Post

              You mean Guillermo del Toro
              Actually, I think it would be fascinating to see a vision of Middle-earth as brought to us by Benicio del Toro.

              As to your point, MetroMan2000 , it is well taken, but don't forget that the Mandalorin is being written and produced by two individuals with a huge, personal investment into the SW universe, and are deeply immersed in the lore, having helped to realize a good portion of it in Filoni's case. While it stands as a good example of storytelling and world-building for the Amazon writers to aspire to, I remain dubious of their ability to steer clear of tropes and social agendas, all the while steering clear of some overriding directive to make this the next event series not only on the scale of Game of Thrones, but also while emulating all the elements that made that series be what it was. Time will tell, I suppose.

              Comment


                I am pretty sure Benicio would have given us a different view on Middle Earth if he had directed the hobbit movie(s)

                Comment


                  Originally posted by Stig View Post
                  I am pretty sure Benicio would have given us a different view on Middle Earth if he had directed the hobbit movie(s)
                  He was also really energized to take on the project. Instead it was given to someone who didn't want to do it and when it was pushed upon him, just wanted to get it over with. Oh, what could have been.

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Ithildin View Post

                    He was also really energized to take on the project. Instead it was given to someone who didn't want to do it and when it was pushed upon him, just wanted to get it over with. Oh, what could have been.
                    LOL... you guys realize you keep talking about the wrong person, right? It feels like the mistake that has taken on a life of it's own. As Gwindor pointed out, the name of the Hobbit project's original director was Guillermo del Toro, the director, not Benicio del Toro, the actor.

                    Comment


                      I know. And The Hobbit would have been very different ??????

                      I blame Warner more so than PJ for The Hobbit.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Valkrist View Post

                        LOL... you guys realize you keep talking about the wrong person, right? It feels like the mistake that has taken on a life of it's own. As Gwindor pointed out, the name of the Hobbit project's original director was Guillermo del Toro, the director, not Benicio del Toro, the actor.
                        My bad, I saw del Toro and went on my merry way. I'll try to better in the future.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Ithildin View Post

                          My bad, I saw del Toro and went on my merry way. I'll try to better in the future.
                          Oh no, you won't get off that easy.

                          Twenty lashes with a wet noodle shall be thine sentence for the unlawful mistaking of the two del Toros, which is on the list of high crimes against Hollywood. Now go sit in the corner and await your punishment.

                          Comment


                            Either that, or he should send every offended forum member a statue as recompense. In which case I’m very offended

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Valkrist View Post

                              Oh no, you won't get off that easy.

                              Twenty lashes with a wet noodle shall be thine sentence for the unlawful mistaking of the two del Toros, which is on the list of high crimes against Hollywood. Now go sit in the corner and await your punishment.
                              Originally posted by FrodoEyes View Post
                              Either that, or he should send every offended forum member a statue as recompense. In which case I’m very offended




                              I will never make this mistake again!

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Stig View Post
                                I know. And The Hobbit would have been very different

                                I blame Warner more so than PJ for The Hobbit.
                                I was shocked that the studio pushed Jackson to the point of rushing these and drawing them out longer than he wanted them to be. It never fails to surprise me with how they act and completely mishandle films but somehow still have jobs. Just give him money and leave him be, that’s what the studio and producers should have done.

                                Comment


                                  As to the length of the films, I understand it was PJ, Fran and Philippa who proposed the 3 films idea to WB, but yes there’s a lot of interference from WB that hampered PJ and the films. Very strange they didn’t just leave everything upto him and give him complete control after the success of LOTR.

                                  Comment


                                    Originally posted by FrodoEyes View Post
                                    As to the length of the films, I understand it was PJ, Fran and Philippa who proposed the 3 films idea to WB, but yes there’s a lot of interference from WB that hampered PJ and the films. Very strange they didn’t just leave everything upto him and give him complete control after the success of LOTR.
                                    I couldn’t remember if it was Peter/Fran/Phillipa that made the call on a third film or not. I remember early in there was a 2 film Hobbit and a third film that bridged the two series together but that was scrapped early in. You echo my thoughts, why a successful team of filmmakers couldn’t be left to make the films in the time they needed doesn’t make sense given the information we’ve been provided.

                                    Comment


                                      TheOneRing.net had some exclusive news today, the official synopsis of the series:

                                      Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

                                      Comment


                                        they also announced more staff. really growing skeptical of Weta's involvement.

                                        Comment


                                          It's going to be a 'wait and see' thing for me. Nothing that is being revealed has me hopefull or sceptical about it. Weta being involved does not mean they would have artistic control of how it looks as they would only be making stuff as per the directors instructions.

                                          Comment

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