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Some Very Good LORD OF THE RINGS News!

Well I received a phone call today from a bloke who is hanging out at SIGGRAPH that the word is that Mark Stetson has just signed on to be the Visual Effects Supervisor for the entire LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

Who is this Mark Stetson bloke? Well, as best as I can tell he started off as Chief Model Maker on BLADE RUNNER, then worked his way on through the business. In recent years Stetson has been doing what I consider to be some fantastic work at DIGITAL DOMAIN. He was the Visual Effects Supervisor on THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Most recently he's been at work on SUPERNOVA, the troubled MGM film that is now at the splicing table of Francis Ford Coppola. On that film, I hear that the effects work rivals and surpasses the space work done in CONTACT, though the film itself suffers from some script issues.

I've been waiting to hear who Peter and crew would bring on as their VES, but Stetson really is a wonderful choice. One of the aspects that really has me excited about Stetson is his work on BATMAN RETURNS. He was one of those folks responsible for the small level of A.I. that enabled the mass scenes of penguins. I'm sure he'll be injecting some of his expertise into the further development of the CG tools that WETA is wielding like MASSIVE to better create battle scenes the likes of which have not been seen on the silver screen.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 11, 1999, 2:17 a.m. CST

    I'm first (I hopes, I does ......)

    by aule

    Yeah, and I'm in Australia, so I hope to think what hour Harry is up posting stuff in the states .......

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 2:28 a.m. CST

    LoTR SFX

    by BalrogWings

    Well, this bloke sounds as if he's got the background for such a challenging project. I must admit that SFX is the one aspect of the whole huge undertaking that I'm slightly concerned about. I'm not worried about the script or casting (sorry to hear that Ms. Winslett had to pass, however) or P.J.'s ability to bring it an epic fantasy to the big screen. I did see P.J.'s "The Frighteners" however, and the rather "cartoony" cgi effects did break me out of my suspension of disbelief now and again (otherwise I enjoyed the film). with sequences in LoTR that would challenge even ILM or Digital Domain, is WETA up to the task? What a crime it would be to have a fine cast, solid script, lush score and beautiful cinematography undone by subpar SFX like something out of Hercules or Xena. Oh well, don't mind me...I've got to have something to complain about on this dream project. I'm sure WETA will do a bang-up job.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 3:06 a.m. CST

    smoking

    by gstargrave

    I wonder how big a role smoking will play in the movies. They understood that it is an art in the books but I don't know if the people making the film feel the same way.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 3:10 a.m. CST

    lotr-The Frighteners

    by ferny

    I recently rented the last Peter Jackson movie, because i wanted to see some of his makings. There i saw some pretty scaring caracter called 'Death'. My question is to the ones who have seen this movie, was Peter already experimenting, and anticipating for LOTR, since this caracter looks a lot of a Nazgul-like creature to me.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 3:10 a.m. CST

    SFX review

    by Alessan

    Let's go over what we need in rhe way of FX: 1. The Balrog - sure, lots of you don't want to see it at all. So close your eyes. These are the most fearsome monsters ever to live on Middle Earth, and should look as such. 2. The Ents - I get shudders when I think of the bad ways to do them (think Wizard of Oz). These aren't talking trees; these are ancient and powerful keepers of the forests. The march on Isengard has the potential to be one of the greatest FX scenes ever filmed. 3. The Nazgul - Less is more. I think that they will be better portrayed by men in black robes, instead of full CGI creations. The effects should be saved for special occasions, such as the Nine in flight or in combat. 4. The scenery - say what you want about TPM, it had some excellent CGI backgrounds. LotR needs better ones - the Misty mountains, Minas Tirith, Mordor and much more. 5. The battle scenes - I've noticed that lately movie battle scenes have seemed rather small scaled, compared to those of the great spectacles of the 50s and 60s. Even in Braveheart it seemed like there were only a few thousand men onscreen. FX will help rectify this. Think of the scene in MULAN, when the Huns galloped out of the snow. I'd like to see a similar shot of the Rohirrim at the Pellenor fields - only better.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Special Effects in The Lord of the Rings

    by Glorphindel

    Some people may not see this the same way as I do, but I have to say that for this movie, subtlety is going to be the best tool. If you look at some of the recent effects in movies (just got back from the Haunting, and was unimpressed with it) they're really, REALLY overdone. I can understand why there needs to be digital animation for Gollum, and I approve of that, but don't show too much of him too soon!! Part of his mystery and piteous nature is in how he conceals himself. I agree with Alessan that the nazgul should be men with robes (how else could they confuse Merry with a nazgul?). The nazgul's fear is not in their appearance, but in their invisible power that manifests itself in frightening ways. Last comment: save the truly impressive effects for the landscapes (and battles...). J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the beautiful landscapes of Middle-Earth into his story partly from an experience of having his beloved English countryside being taken away from him. It was one of his obsessions in later life, and something we should respect from his most successful work: The Lord of the Rings.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 5:23 a.m. CST

    SFX

    by Goodgulf

    From what I've seen of the landscapes in New Zealand, no special effects will be required to make them any more beautiful. But I agree that the effects should strive to be subtle so that we oooohhh and aaahhh at the story, not the effects. I thought that Jurassic Park did an excellent job of combining several different technologies, such as stop-motion, animatronics, puppetry and computer imaging into a seemless whole. And even though I knew the film was going to be a SFX film, I still ooohhh'd and aaahhh'd at the dinosaurs, not the SFX when I first saw the film. In the Haunting, the SFX were a bit much in spots, and overused to the point of removing the scariness from subsequent scenes. Not only that, but any house that displayed the paranormal so prominantly would have had me packing my bags the first night.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 5:42 a.m. CST

    I'll be the minority then...

    by Ellindar

    I may not need effects through the entire movie but where it is warranted I expect to see some of the most stunning effects ever put to the screen. While the Nazgul are just decayed men in black robes for a good portion of the beginning of the story, they become MUCH more than that later on and I'd expect to see them enchanced greatly. I want the Nazgul to be the scariest things ever to hit the big screen. I want to fear them myself sitting in the theater. As for the Balrog, if someone doesn't want to see it, they're crazy. That should be without a doubt an effect that surpasses anything we've ever seen. I want to see a creature brought to life that has never been attempted. THE most horrifying experience of my life should be that seen, I have to believe Gandalf is facing the end. I want a sound added to this creature that will make all the hair on my neck stand up. Like I said, I don't need effects to carry the whole movie, the story will, but when it's warranted I want it to be the be all-end all in effects.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 5:48 a.m. CST

    FX in LOTR

    by Glaze

    It seems to be the greatest compliment the FX people can get is for people to walk out of the movie and say, "Special effects??? What special effects?" I am hoping that I never question the reality of anything I am seeing, including Gollum and the Balrog. Like someone mentioned above, the dinosaurs looked so good on Jurassic Park that I never questioned their reality during the movie. That is what we need on this film. Well, off to meet Spielberg tonight in D.C..

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:06 a.m. CST

    dammit, another piece of good news

    by creamy goodness

    Forget the dead people in the Sixth Sense, this is the question that pricks me on the back of my neck: "When will Mr. Jackson screw up?" The answer "Nevermore" keeps coming back. ;) ***I'm happy as a jay-bird (who's really happy) with this news. Anybody connected with the creative aspects of Blade Runner is OK in my book. I was talking with some friends yesterday about what seems to be the tone of the movie (from what I could glimpse of Moriarty's lookaside review). I told them how frodo's voice over hit the nail on the head, and set the tone for a movie that doesn't shirk from the darkness. And Blade runner actually came up (though not because of the SFX). Interesting.*** For the poster who wondered aloud about smoking, let's hope it figures prominently. I'm in the midst of rereading LOTR now, and every time smoking comes up, it's an indication of a fleeting peace, a moment's reprieve from the burden of the quest. And it's very effective. (And I'm under the impression that the anti-smoking jihad is only really strong in the US; from what I hear, New Zealand hasn't succumbed... yet.) -CG

  • I think a few posters herehave hit it on the head: FX will be crucial to bringing Middle Earth to Life, yet they shouldn't become the focus of the movie, certainly not in the way they did in THE PHANTOM MENACE. Sometimes there needs to be a payoff - Jackson probably can't get away with just showing the lurking shadow of the Balrog, but sometimes less is more. If Stetson (who sounds very promising) and Jackson do their jobs right, the visual effects should create a seamless world, enveloping the characters and action but not overwhelming them. I suppose we have 22 months or so to find out whether they're up to the job, but somehow I think that if this movie has weaknesses, visual effects won't be among them.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:23 a.m. CST

    The Only bad things is...

    by 7

    The practical, mechanical, model, and composite effects will be subtle, but the digital wizardry (ie CG) won't. Skin, hair, lighting, and fur textures are not that real yet, because of the nature of the way they're "placed" on screen to interact with the actors. Even if you use motion-capture instead of animation or key-frame animation, the result will look something CG, any ways. That's why I totally agree to use less of the CG work as much as possible and a lot of subtlety. For the record, I don't believe the battle of Helm's Deep will be so realistic as many are anticipating it to be. Sure, number wise, it will be huge. But in plausibility (ie. CG becoming more realistic), no, because the software is giving CG an AI, not making a breakthrough for CG's looks. What this translate to is less work for the animators to animate or the motion-capturer to capture and more for the computer to animate and place the Uruk-hais and Saruman's bastard creations and the men of Theoden's men, according to its programming choires.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:29 a.m. CST

    Good point.

    by Oberon

    "7" makes an excellent point.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:12 a.m. CST

    You're behind the times, chum

    by Prankster

    Actually, skin and hair is at a very high level right now (ever seen Mighty Joe Young?) and it is quite possible, almost easy, to recreate hordes of people/things these days. When they are far away, the detail can be less exacting. I mean, look at Forrest Gump or Contact, those were done a number of years ago, but the crowd scenes are still perfectly convincing (almost unnoticable, in the case of Contact). And there's still going to be TWO YEARS before the movies come out, which is ages in terms of how fast CG is improving. I mean, The Phantom Menace belied how good this stuff is now, but that's because it occasionally sacrificed quality for quantity. If you think about LOTR, the use of special FX and CG will be much lower. Even the digital shrinking of the Hobbits won't need to be done very often--the Hobbits are on their own for most of the books, or (in the case of Merry and Pippin) up against CG Ents and Orcs. Whenever there aren't any normal-sized humans around, the hobbit actors can simply be in scaled-up sets. And then there's the Balrog, which has so little screentime that they can afford toget it *AMAZING* looking. All in all, these movies, taken individually, will probably have less CGI than The Frighteners!

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Should the Balrog be there? Cris Tolkien?

    by Happyplague

    I have to tell you that I feel great trepidation in seeing the Balrog - LOTR was one of my first fantasy books when I was young, and I always saw the Balrog as the most powerful (non maia/valar) entity on middle earth. No real descriptions in LOTR other than a tail of fire, and in the Simillarion, unfinished tales, and Christopher's edits, there's not much more. Tell you the truth, I very afraid to be disappointed - since the '30's there has been so much fantasy stuff - comics, books, movies, I be desensitized to grotesque creatures. I look at the orginal Alien and solely go, wow I hope I don't have to meet him - but I'm not in awe. Oi! oi! PS Where is Chrisopher Tolkien in all of this?????? I haven't seen his name mentioned once! Shouldn't he be the head consultant? Last I'd seen he released something like 12 editions/notes...Do you guys even know this man exists? If I missed the threads, sorry, but i'm sure i didn't...

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:34 a.m. CST

    Eternal is either a simpleton or studio exec

    by Happyplague

    Why do you feel the need to go nuts? Fuck it's painful to read posts like yours. Anyway, go watch some hitchcock so see great movies where you don't necessarily have to see the villain. The first friday the 13th never sees jason and that was pretty scary. It's called suspense dipshit. You lack total imagination. And trust me, imagination is important - I bet PJ has a huge one like most great innovative directors. It's to please numbskulls like you that we have to wade through shit like WWWest that studios put out to please masturbators like you And not's not arrogance on the part of LOTR fans, maybe they just appreciate movies as an art and weren't raised on insipid MTV inspired movie action sequences you think rock but are actually so cliched and tired... Maybe LOTR is anticlamactic to you buffoon, but that's because it isn't scripted to please meandering fools like you who get confused if dialogue is more than two sentences long, non monosyllable, and cliched filled, with easily guessable plot lines. Idiot. Life doesn't end in fucking climaxes. go back and watch your Krull. wow, my first ever flame..woohoo

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:38 a.m. CST

    Balrog

    by Sargon

    Umm..happyplague..the Balrog is a Maia :) Chris Tolkein has not been mentioned because this Movie is not being made in affiliation or conjunction with the Tolkein estate in any way. The movie rights were bought from some other film company, or publisher or something, and the Tolkein estate has nothing to do with it. It is rumoured however that so far Chris seems to approve in general of the direction the movie is taking..this is rumor only though, last I heard. Sargon out.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:47 a.m. CST

    Eternal

    by Z

    chill out. Take a deep breath, untwist yer panties. I agree that both Sauron and Balrog should be shown, film being a particularily (is that a word?) visual medium. However, if you think the destruction of the ring (Gollum falling into a volcano, as you so eloquently put it) is an anti-climax, then you have missed the point of the books. It's all about how little affects big (hobbits, being the hero's, even though they're generally thought of as small and portly - get it?) and vice versa (the events of the outside world affecting the shire). P.S. is small and portly an oxymoron? hehe

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8 a.m. CST

    SFX & LOTR

    by EvilNight

    I started listing the possible special effects scenes that LOTR would need so that I could mention them in these posts. I stopped when I realized that there are simply too many to list. When I say SFX scenes, I am not thinking of Balrogs or Helm's Deep. Those are traditional SFX scenes. I am thinking of the background that the characters will be set on. NZ is a good start, but really, we need something along the lines of what was in What Dreams May Come. Middle Earth is our Earth when it was still infused with magic. Everything in it was more colorful, vibrant, and simply more THERE than what remains today. A very subtle degree of effects will be needed to give Middle Earth that otherworldy quality that will capture the viewers. LOTR will have the 'money scenes' where the big guns are used, but how well can they do the little things? Little things like the trees in Lothlorien (if that makes it in), the atmosphere in Moria (the smoke, red light, flames and drums), the setting of Mordor, the look of Orthanc, The Crack of Doom, the fords of Rivendell. I could go on for hours. WETA has a decent track record - they did to the special effects for Contact. Those were pretty good. Not just the wormhole sequence, or that awesome shot of the galaxy from afar, or even the surreal ending sequence on the beach. I mean the parts where they show her walking out over the machine and you see the huge rings moving under the walkway, or when the first machine tears itself apart in the distance (though that was a little cgi-ish). Those are the kinds of effects that matter - the subtle ones that are built into the environment. Those 9 pre-production images look awesome. WETA also does the SFX for Herc/Xena, but remember that those are TV episodes and on a much more rapid production schedule. They have a lot more time and a smaller volume of material (6+ hrs of movie vs 13+ episodes of a tv show) so they can spend more effort on each scene. And really, I'm sure most of them have read LOTR by now, and probably love it. That will compel them to put forth their best effort. I remain optimistic about the effects, however Gollum does worry me a bit. I don't want anything that looks like Jar-Jar near this film. I am all for a quick glimpse of Valinor at the end, shining in the distance, as was suggested by a previous poster. Now, will someone please find out who the hell is being considered for the music? This is my only remaining bitch on this project... the music has to stand apart from what has come before it. I am so worried that it will end up being standard titanic / braveheart / willow / conan music. Granted, that was damn good music (Especially braveheart & willow), but IMO LOTR needs something fresh and original, a score that will fit such a grand epic. The rumors at ringbearer.org are flying like crazy, can anyone tell us what direction the music will take? Deluca? Jackson? Anybody? Helloooo? ;)

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8:07 a.m. CST

    showing sauron

    by semuta

    Balrog is fine, but I don't agree with showing Sauron. Just what would they show him as? He's not really described in the book, and if you have some random guy all dressed up all cliche "evil-looking" with a fucking goatee or something, standing up on the dark tower cackeling and spouting crack about taking over middle-earth it will be stupid. Leave that to the Mouth of Sauron. The best thing about Sauron is the unknown factor, he's a shapeless menace. The best depiction of Sauron is the lidless eye. Hopefully Peter will use that somewhere in the movie. The only issue is when Pippin uses the palantir and "speaks" with Sauron. "He looked at me. He saw me." But does Pippin see him? I'll have to re-read the section. If Sauron has to be shown in the film, then my ultimate vision is actually from a painting by H.R. Giger entitled "Lord of the Rings II". I'm not even sure the motivation behind Giger's art, or if he thinks it's Sauron or just some random landscape, but it is named Lord of the Rings, and the Lord is, of course, Sauron. If any of you have access to Giger artwork or a book, check it out. It's freaky. It's like a sick-looking mass of greeny Giger-demented flesh, all in the bottom of this chamber (tower?). looks absolutely menacing and powerful. That's always what I imagined the dark lord as, not actually humanoid in form, but an evil entity.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Happyplague

    by Eriol

    Hooray for Happyplague! Hooray for me! I couldn't have said it better. Eternal must've splooged all over himself when he saw that idiotic metal turantula in WWWest. So I'm an "idiotic fanboy" for not wanting this film to be a special effects bonanza? I think not, I think it indicates a level of taste. Do you know nothing of film techniques? Suspense is so much more scary, dreadful, and taxing on both body and mind than Shock. Think of it this way. Imagine that you had seen the trailers for LOTR (oh I can't wait for them!) and the Balrog had been hinted at - they had showed his shadow enveloping Gandalf as he stood on the bridge. Now imagine that you see the movie and they give you a full shot of your worst nightmare and all of a SUDDEN . . . oh. Thats not what I thought he looked like. oh well. Left to the imagination, he becomes more deadly and frightening than anything that SFX could conjure up, because its your own personal vision of a nightmare, not PJ's or New Line's or anybody elses. I think PJ understands this. This same principle goes for Sauron. Don't think I'm saying he shouldn't be shown at all, I'm saying they should be half-glimpes and shadowy, mysterious lighting. Have you seen The Blair Witch Project yet? Its a lesson in suspense techniques, just like all of Hitchcock's movies . . . remember, the Unknown is the most frightening thing of all, provoking the imagination is a movie's most powerful tool . . . I was more terrified by BWP becuase I hadn't seen anything, bacause the Witch was whatever I imagined it to be. The Monsters in LOTR are supposed to be frightening, not "cool" or "fucking sweet". I think you would hear that from any LOTR reader too, and not just those "elitist self-appointed Tolkien experts". I felt let down by The Haunting. Overloaded SFX didn't scare me at all, what was scary was when they wouldn't show you anything . . . You're right. Movies are a visual medium, but its SFX-hungry apes like you who sponsered and influenced The Haunting or WWWest or even TPM's overdone effects. The power of movies lies not in their ability to show you things, but to inspire what is considered to be your most powerful sense: the sense of sight. Movies make you "see" things in your head that are sometimes very hard to describe in literature. A picture says a thousand words, but imagination says a million . . . think about it. "fanboy". I admit, I AM a fanboy, but I remember an earlier post of yours, Eternal, where you said you always ranted about these movies because you cared about them so much. Are you sure you're pointing that fanboy, Tolkien-freak finding finger in the right direction? Don't be stupid, please, it only makes it harder to share this planet with people like you.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8:29 a.m. CST

    stoned hobbits made of play-doh and popsicle sticks

    by samus22

    I am definitely into seeing how the pipeweed things is handled, but I'd bet it's just going to be an unexplained detail. They'll just light up while kicking back. It'll add an intimacy and a feeling of repose from the road of dangers, but I have a feeling that the VO is going to be used to move the plot and maybe expose back story -- not to delve into the ecccentricities of Hobbit horticulture. As for FX, I am worried, not about the job WETA, the production designer, or PJ will do with visualization and execution, but about what the emergence of serious CGI has done to film and filmgoers' expectations in a larger sense. Sure, I want to be immersed and convinced, but there's a certain magic that has been lost for me in this scramble to hyperrealize the worlds fanatasized by filmmakers using shiny, haloed, somehow-all-similar CGI pieces. Does anyone out there agree with me on this? Even a little bit? I'm not saying I hate CGI, or that the balrog should be a stop-motion Rancor, but something feels wrong here. Remember "Jason and the Argonauts," "The Clash of the Titans," "Alien," and even "Star Wars?" There were so many films from the sixties and seventies that defied logic and created a new environment using monsters and sets and such that the actors could actually act to. When Jar Jar first met the Queen in TPM and she goes, "I'm Padme." I know you know what kind of total suckage i'm talking about. So i guess my question is: Why use this amazing new wonder-tool to make more muppets? I'd rather see a great story with great acting that looked like "The Dark Crystal" than another bunch of de-mystified CGI stuff. Any resonance? No matter. LotR will probably be great.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Eternal Annoyance

    by SKIORDIE

    Little boy, People are calling you an idiot because of the way you speak. When you grow up you may learn how to carry on an intelligent conversation.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Sargon, Re: Balrogs

    by creamy goodness

    Whoever said Balrogs were Maia? They are of the same angelic order as the Maiar and the Valar certainly, but not only do they have lesser powers, but they also have distinct forms and can be slain. As far as I can tell, Maiar can generally choose the form in which they appear, and are immortal (in the super-duper slay-proof sense, not the mere long-living-but-a-whack-to-a-vital-organ-with-a-pointed-object-will-take-me-out variety of the Eldar ;) ). So no, I don't think they are Maia, nor do I think Tolkien ever implied it. They are a certain class of angel/demon that entered the world to serve Morgoth, less powerful than Maiar but still terrible in their own right. -CG

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 9:51 a.m. CST

    are balrogs maiar?

    by metrocon

    I actually DO remember reading in at least one of the books that Balrogs MAY have been Maiar that Morgoth corrupted. I don't think it was made clear either way, but either JRRT or Christopher Tolkien wrote that no one knows where they came from, but they may have been Maiar. Kind of like the Wizards, who probably were lesser Maiar, but it's only hinted at. I don't remember which book, and since I'm at work, I can't find it, but I'm pretty sure the possiblity of Balrogs being Maiar is there. After all, if Saruman was originally a Maia (and i'm not saying he was), didn't he get killed by Wormtongue?

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 10:05 a.m. CST

    About that pipe smokin' weed.

    by kingbun

    I don't know about the rest of y'all. But for me the hobbits love of some good tabac has always seemed classiness and cool all rolled into one. I mean, I don't think that the government jerkoffs would have any problem with the use of tobacco in a classic novel-turned movie. This movie IS after all, not supposed to have all the modern chemicals that they put in tobacco products to get people addicted. I don't think that pj has to make them gargatuan like they were made to be in the animated movies(those pipes were friggin huge!). Let me give this example. Can anyone imagine "The Hobbit" without Gandalf and Bilbo tokin on the pipe and making smoke rings? I can't. Leave a classic the way it should be. As the Pharcyde put it. "The pipe, the pipe! Lets pack the pipe!" LONG LIVE THE PIPE!

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 10:42 a.m. CST

    cheese, voodoo and hobbit navel discharge

    by avo

    My final orc scrotum of old toby has just been anointed with a stream of urine by that twat bill ferney - i'll have that scurrulous dogs guts for garters....how i wish i was back in the prancing pony, flaggon of ale in one hand, cake of black bread in the other. Oh by the way i've just heard that sauron is being played by a fried egg and four sheets of dachund flavoured A4......woof, fish, crackle.....my head hurts and i want to play the game witH THE aXE AGaIn!!!!!!

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 11:23 a.m. CST

    metrocon, Re: Wizards and Balrogs

    by creamy goodness

    The Wizards (Istari) were Maiar. Their powers were diminished, or at least they were forbidden to use them to their fullest potential. They were sent by the Valar to encourage the people of Middle-earth to resist Sauron with their own might. They were therefore given bodies that were frail and subject to hurt and pain. And the bodies could be slain and discarded (like the physical bodies of all Maiar and Valar), but not the spirit. *** So Wormtongue didn't kill Saruman, just his body. Remember that strange cloud that mists up over Saruman after Wormtongue slits his throat, and then is blown away by a wind from the west. That was a metaphorical passage that I took to mean that Saruman's spirit was no longer welcome in the Uttermost West. And not even Sauron was killed when the ring was destroyed, but he became a spirit forever unable to take shape again, gnawing itself in the darkness. Balrogs however seem to be able to be slain in the same manner as the Eldar; and therefore seem to be of a different order than Maiar. -CG

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Eternal, Happyplague, and such

    by Dale Cooper

    You people are really beginning to get on my nerves. Eternal has an opinion, which I know is not popular but is an opinion nonetheless, and you feel the need to attack him this viciously for it. He in no way ever came off as ignorant in his posts, but you told him he was because he didn't like something? That's the most ignorant shit I ever heard. I have not read the books, but I know a lot about them and plan on getting to them eventually. I want to see some kickass shit on screen, however, and the bad guys are really important to me. I want to see pure evil, as well as feel it. Hitchcock movies work great, but most eventually reveal a villian, and LOTR should eventually show me the sources of evil. If you don't like that, don't see the movie. Spend the next eight years of your life rereading the books. That's your prerogative, and mine is to see these movies no matter what they do to the books because the shit they are proposing sounds so fucking cool. I never really had the urge to enter the LOTR talkbacks, but the way you people knock dissenting opinions is frightening. You're crazy.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 11:31 a.m. CST

    CGs will be CGs

    by 7

    Mark Stetson is a good choice for VFX Supervisor, but who are the other supervisors? With 1500 effects shots on three films and on the span of 18 months, there must be more FX supervisors - one man can't do it alone! Guess I'm getting ahead of myself here. Any ways, I love Stetson's work on the Fifth Element and, because he's involved, they're probably going to shoot the film in super 35. The only question I have is he still with Digital Domain or not? If the production falls behind, will he go to them to complete the shots? Not that DD isn't bad or anything. I just want to know, that's all.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 11:39 a.m. CST

    The Frighteners

    by Cineman

    I thought this was a pretty good film but the effects did look a little cheap at times. The grim reaper looked good but the ghosts were a little shoddy looking. I'm glad they are not taking that cheap route with LOTR. Also, what's the deal with Supernova? Why are they wasting so much time on it and what is Coppola doing? Is the film really worth saving at this point. It sounds like another Event Horizon/Virus piece of crap with a decent cast and it will probably bomb no matter how long even Coppola works on it.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Correction

    by 7

    Because of my idle hands, I wrote "Not that DD isn't bad or anything." A double negative resulting in the meaning that DD IS bad. What I meant to say is "Not that DD is bad or anything." My apologies, both from me and my idle hands.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Balrogs, Sauron, and Maiar

    by Dr_Frankenevil

    Greamy goodness is quite right. Lest we not forget, Sauron was also a Maiar in the beginning as well. He was corrupted by Morgoth(Melkor), who was also a Valar. Balrogs were not Maiar, as they were created by Morgoth. Just thought I'd throw that in for clarification. Also... I've read alot of the Tolkein newbies referring to the Silmarillion. For those of you who haven't read it, it's exciting and it's like nothing you've read before... but it also isn't for everyone. It's kind of like reading the Middle Earth version of the Bible... not because of content (though there are parallels) but because of format and sentence structure. It's written like a fantasy bible. But if you've got the patience to stick with it, it's very very rewarding.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Peter Jackson's resume with SFX

    by GrouchLord

    Let's See: DEAD/ALIVE-Zombie effects, cheesy huge puppet, bloody and gorey. I wish I had the uncut version:-) Heavenly Creatures: Fantasy scenes with claylike statues, lesbian love scene. I need to see this again.:-) The Frightners: mucho grosso, the Judge walking around with his mid-section missing, my fave the eternal Jeffery Combs losing his head, and CGI effects that were primitive but effect. The "reveal" of the killer from the black slime is cool, a good mix of CGI and practical effects. All of these movies have flaws in story, pacing, and special effects but considering the singular originality and resourcefullness of Jackson, I trust that whatever he comes out with will be worth watching. It won't please everybody, it might not even be the defintive "version" of LOTR. Hell, I might not even like it and I'm not a LOTR purist at all. We'll just have to wait and see.:-(

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Balrogs (my $0.02)

    by Alessan

    I don't have my copy of the Silmarillion on me, but according to what I remember it states quitr clearly that the Balrogs are Maiar. But even if I'm wrong, I don't think that anything previous posters have written clearly contradicts this possibility. The principle poits presented have been that Balrogs cannot change their shape, and that they can be killed. Now, consider Melkor\Morgoth. There's no argument over his being of the same stock as the Valar, originally the mightiest of them all. Yet after his flight from Valinor, he could no longer change to a pleasing form, but was trapped with a terrible, monsterous visage for the rest of his days on Endor. We also know that he could be wounded: first by the Slimarils burning his hands, then by the sword of Fingolfin (cleaving his foot in half). These wounds were painful and incurable, even for one as powerful as he. But could he be killed? I believe so, otherwise why would the high king of the Noldor - wise in the ways of the west - rush to confront him? Why, if he knew that his enemy could not be killed? So, I believe that the Balrogs could very well be Maiar, fallen from the grace of Eru like their master. By the way, a cure for your reading troubles: once encountering the word Eternal, move your mouse to the bottom right of the screen and press until discomfort passes. Trust me, I've been doing this for some time and I am a happier, more relaxed indevidual. Thank you.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Balrogs (my $0.02 U.S.)

    by Alessan

    I don't have my copy of the Silmarillion on me, but according to what I remember it states quitr clearly that the Balrogs are Maiar. But even if I'm wrong, I don't think that anything previous posters have written clearly contradicts this possibility. The principle poits presented have been that Balrogs cannot change their shape, and that they can be killed. Now, consider Melkor\Morgoth. There's no argument over his being of the same stock as the Valar, originally the mightiest of them all. Yet after his flight from Valinor, he could no longer change to a pleasing form, but was trapped with a terrible, monsterous visage for the rest of his days on Endor. We also know that he could be wounded: first by the Slimarils burning his hands, then by the sword of Fingolfin (cleaving his foot in half). These wounds were painful and incurable, even for one as powerful as he. But could he be killed? I believe so, otherwise why would the high king of the Noldor - wise in the ways of the west - rush to confront him? Why, if he knew that his enemy could not be killed? So, I believe that the Balrogs could very well be Maiar, fallen from the grace of Eru like their master. By the way, a cure for your reading troubles: once encountering the word Eternal, move your mouse to the bottom right of the screen and press until discomfort passes. Trust me, I've been doing this for some time and I am a happier, more relaxed indevidual. Thank you.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:31 p.m. CST

    pipeweed

    by semuta

    they gotta use this in the films. especially for the early connection between saruman and the shire. besides, what is the prancing pony without some good smoke?

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:42 p.m. CST

    sound of the Nazgul

    by T0d

    there has been alot of talk about the visual effects, but what about the audio? The screams of the Nazgul sound be the scariest, most blood curdling screech ever heard. If they mess that up, it'll be just as bad as messing up the visuals. just my 2 cents

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Balrogs

    by SKIORDIE

    Dr. Frankenevil, Balrogs were not created by Melkor/Morgoth , but were spirits which were corrupted by him. To quote from the 'Valequenta': " Yet so great was the power of his uprising that in ages forgotten he contended with Manwe and all the Valar, and through long years in Arda held dominion over most of the lands of the Earth. But he was not alone. For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valaraukar, the scourges of fire that in Middle-earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror."

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:56 p.m. CST

    No Sauron

    by Natalie

    Hi, everybody, seems i've heard most of you just recently. _Eternal_, as they say in my country - poshel ty na h... - The Lork of the Rings DOESN'T HAVE ANY FAULTS except that it could be longer :)I'm happy you have your 'honest fucking opinion' but i have my honest fucking opinion too. And in my honest fucking opinion i don't wanna see any Sauron in the movie. Balrog is o.k. ofcourse we should see him, but Sauron? Did you see that Bakshi's film where Sauron appers as a tall bad guy in black cloak ala Darth Vader? No thanx, i don't want that. Did you ever see God? And Sauron is kinda God (Maiar, but it's almost the same). He's out of flesh. Gandalf is also Maiar but he has a body. In the book we see Sauron only as his eye or as a big shadow when when the ring is distructed. And that's enough for the book and for the movie. Tolkien knew what he did better than you and he never described Sauron. Sauron is present in ME and we feel his presence while reading the book. If i see him in flesh i won't believe my eyes. He's just impossible to imagine and that's most terrible about him. C'mon this movie won't be understood by those who hadn't read the book. Sorry, but it's mostly for readers. So what if occasional moviegoers won't understand nothing? I don't mind if they and assholes like you just stand up and come out of the theaters. There'll be just more rooms for real fans. There're enough of them all over the world to return New Line Cinema all their $120.000.000 several times even if only they're gonna watch it. Personally i'm going to see every installment at least twice (but only in case i totally dislike it, but i doubt that)

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 12:58 p.m. CST

    What Should Be Seen?

    by Goodgulf

    I suppose some people would prefer that Jackson just opened the book and literally filmed each page and just let us go to the theater and read it. A few Alan Lee illustrations could be inserted - with a word of warning that you may want to avert your eyes lest your imagination be corrupted by some one elses vision. But for the majority of us, we want to see a live action movie in which the characters and places we love come to life. My opinion of whether to show the Balrog is in the way Tolkien wrote the scene. The Balrog is seen by Gandalf, by Aragorn and by the rest of the company. So it would seem like a cheat if WE were the only folks not allowed to see the Balrog. Yes, I think the Balrog should be seen. If it is seen, then we can only hope that it's the most awesome thing ever. Sauron is a different issue. We never really see him in the book. But if he must be seen, well, again I hope he's done well (he's already well done - LOL). This is one time where I can see the points made by every one here, and semi-agree with you all. As for the climax in which Gollum falls with the ring into Mt. Doom, and the battle falters, actually that occurs before Gollum's demise, when Sauron realizes that Frodo has claimed the Ring. A minor point really, but all battles must end somehow, someway. How great that episode will be will be determined by how Jackson films it and where he puts the emphasis. I could be a let down, or it could be very exciting. I'm all for exciting and cheering for the good guys. As for making wholesale changes for the non-fans, what's the sense of that? If the non-fans want to see what the fans have been raving about for the last 50 years, let'em see it the way it was written (as much as possible). As for changes, there are several battles that could be filmed that are only talked about in the book. Some of the scenes with Frodo and Sam plodding along near death could be shortened a bit without losing the dramatic effect of what they are going through.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 1:23 p.m. CST

    To show or not to show...

    by Glaze

    Well, at least with the balrog I believe its a moot point. Go check out the official LOTR movie website which has the nine pictures with captions. One is Gandalf facing the balrog on the bridge and the caption says that they put a big shadow over the balrog that in no way represents it because they wanted their balrog design to be a secret for the movie. Seems pretty clear that this means the balrog will be shown. I'm more interested in whether or not it will have wings. I personally don't buy the metaphor arguments that are always used. I want to see wings on it. Sauron, personally I would prefer that he not be shown but if they do, I still think they should make him as dark and enigmatic a form as possible.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 1:27 p.m. CST

    What's going on?

    by Natalie

    Harry, something is wrong with this talkback, the posts are mixed up. At least that's what i see - my first post is at the top when it was one of the last. Well, about SFX in Lotr. I've alwais thought it's one of the books that are impossible to make into the movie simply because of special effects. I thought only animation could help but this Bakshi's film was mainly a letdown. Now we have all this computer stuff so i don't worry about SFX. I think PJ and Stetson will create together something really incredible. I saw some pics of New Zealand. They're really beautiful, ME indeed. There're mountains there and some volcanos (but i'm not very good at geography). So i'm more worried with casting and scripts. There're not so many scenes with SFX (i mean big ones)so you will see mainly heroes and if you for example think Elija Wood is bastard and a wrong actor to play Frodo (i don't)or you think smth is not convicing in the plot or in actors' playing than you can't help it.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Eternal

    by Dandy Warhol

    You guys can ignore Eternal's posts all you want, but it won't make what he has to say any less relevant. Do you people practice self-censorship, or are you trying to be funny? Just because you all disagree with something won't make it go away. And scanning past his posts is hypocritical crap to say the least. Do you all like to avoid things you don't want to read? Perhaps you should bury your heads in the sand instead? Or maybe even consider moving to China where they definitely regard and respect opinions like yours?

  • especially if said speaker is a jerk.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 2:59 p.m. CST

    morGoth is indeed the ma, 'twould seem

    by Dr_Frankenevil

    I must differ to morGoth's findings. Since reading his posts, I have actually found it and realize I was in error... which means that Balrogs are Maiar right along with Sauron and the Istari (the Wizards, including Gandalf and Saruman and Radagast the Brown, Radagast the Simple, Radagast the Bird-Tamer, Radagast the FOOL! Umm.. sorry, got carried away.) Kudos to morGoth.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 2:59 p.m. CST

    morGoth is indeed the man, 'twould seem

    by Dr_Frankenevil

    I must differ to morGoth's findings. Since reading his posts, I have actually found it and realize I was in error... which means that Balrogs are Maiar right along with Sauron and the Istari (the Wizards, including Gandalf and Saruman and Radagast the Brown, Radagast the Simple, Radagast the Bird-Tamer, Radagast the FOOL! Umm.. sorry, got carried away.) Kudos to morGoth.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Opinions

    by Smeagol

    As far as people and their opinions go, I have complete respect for what their opinion is! But is is really necessary to shout it at everyone in such an abusive manner? Won't a simple - "I think it would add to the movie to make the Hobbits walk on their hands for the whole thing" - with a few reasons, do? I personally don't enjoy reading though a whole load of ranting and I don't believe its necessary to get a point across. If the person is trying to get the point across does it in a more rational manner then I for one am much more likely to take them seriously! Well, that's my comment for the day. ;) You can go about your business, move along! ~Smeagol

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 3:13 p.m. CST

    CHRONICLES of NARNIA kicks LOTR's ass!!!!!

    by theman#1

    C.S. lEWIS CAN OUTWRITE Tolkien anyday!!!

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 4:58 p.m. CST

    why am I doing this? + a more serious question

    by Amalthea

    I've gone almost nine months without feeling compeled to address these menial arguments, but darnit, the chaos has gotten to me. So everyone needs to observe everyone else's holy opinion. Sure. I presume this rule is meant to go *both ways*? Because I have a sneaking suspicion that if people didn't start out by insulting everyone else who's opinion is contrary to theirs, while giving *no specific reason* for their disagreement, other than the other people's supposed personal deficiencies, they would be recieved much more respectfully in turn. BTW, I don't buy the notion that non-fans' opinions are more critical to the commercial success of this movie at all. The movie phenomenons of history have shown that the general public generally doesn't know what it wants. It was a lucky turn only that got the original Star Wars produced, by an industry that had one trusting fan of Lucas' one previous film. Even now tastes seem to be dictated by what the industry has to give. We are deprived of long epics for however many years for whatever alleged reasons about the box office, then are innundated with Titanic and suddenly everyone goes nuts. But since I'm here, let me ask: hey, is anyone else concerned that PJ's approach might get *too* caught up in the darkness? I'm certainly glad that he takes it seriously, but there are two points in which an overzealous emphasis of it might undermine his intent. From the voice over we have read, it looks like the introduction is going to center around the value of recalling dark history. I happen to feel that the introduction to a film has a great deal to do with how it is remembered. While Braveheart is a movie almost entirely spent in war, the opening shots of Scotland and the sequence with the girl leave a more lyrical overall aura to it. When I say the name "Braveheart," I think of those scenes. But when folks retrospect over the Fellowship while waiting for Towers to come out, do we want them to think doom and gloom? That may summon our sympathies within context, but out of it it is likey to summon only exhaustion. The key, which Tolkien was well aware of, is a fair contrast between the serious threat and the lightness of the hobbits' character and the beauty still alive in M.E. This is one of the reasons why I think it is essential that we stay with the hobbits' perspective, especially in the beginning, and why I don't like the idea of seeing Saruman's troops before we have seen even the black riders. This later move shows an ecess of excitement in getting to the nitty gritty... but the fact is, the hobbits don't encounter those things for quite sometime yet. This undermines the precious innocence with which their journey is begun. And this in turn undermines the seriousness meant to be associated with the dark characters; because the black riders will seem like a joke when we've already seen troops of orcs out there. The gradual beginning, like the gradual ending, is one of the devices that maintains a sense of reality beyond the main conflict, which we all know is one of the most unique and brilliant aspects of the work. This is the second point on which an entirely dark film might fail. The film makers, the story tellers, have somewhat of a presence in their work, which is somewhat god-like at that. If that presence appears so preoccupied with the current events that it forgets the big picture, it will essentially make that big picture non-existant. And this would be tragic not merely for it's own sake, but again, because it will undermine the film's attempted seriousness. Because every reader and film goer knows somewhere in their heart that this is not really the end of the world, as much as Tolkien himself did; and when this inextricable intuition is sided against instead of with, it becomes the undoing of every other fantasy film ever attempted.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 5:05 p.m. CST

    gandalf (natalie and dr_frankenevil)

    by gorlab

    um...natalie and dr_frankenevil?? What are you talking about?...where in the hell does it say that Gandalf is a Maia?!? He's one of the Istari...as far as i know these 2 things are NOT the same...the Silmarillion tells us that he came from the west with 4 of the other 5 Istari...sent by the Valar...this does not in any way make him a Maia...they were the servants of the Valar...the fact is that we're not told a lot about the Istari at all but nowhere does it say that they were Maiar.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 5:27 p.m. CST

    That was the good news?

    by King Mob

    Man, I hope there won't be any BAD news. But I really hope that they'll cast Christopher Walken as the voice of the CG Balrog. Something to ponder: Will Gollum be CG?

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Istari ARE Maiar....

    by Kingasaurus

    Read the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales again, gorlab. The Istari were Maiar. We even know their names in Valinor. Saruman was Curumo. Gandalf the Grey (who we all know) and Olorin the Maia (mentioned in the Sil) are THE SAME GUY.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Dandy Warhol: This coming from someone who has to have an opinio

    by Revelare

    You are one to talk. Just a few days ago you were writing posts on this film being the worst thing that could ever exist in time, and now you have come to defend someone who is being flamed by others for saying it will `suck', and you try to tell us to respect his/her opinion? Pardon my rudeness, but that's so f*cked up. This was your post on 1999-08 04:15:02 Article: Moriarty's report on LORD OF THE RINGS!!! <quote> LOTR sucks! Tolkien sucks! These movies will suck! And you all suck for being stupid geeks! Tolkien was a mediocre author and had no talent whatsoever. BigLarz! is right, the man was a "hack" and his books were boring. Why you guys worship him like he's some sort of God is beyond me? Idiots! <end quote> I still have yet to see a post from you that intelligently explains why Tolkein is a `hack writer', and how his books are `boring'. I, for one, have already stated I have yet to read the books, but I'm not so close-mided that I'm going to say this film, or the books `suck' before reading them. I'm at least trying to locate the novels so I *CAN* post my opinion on the subject, and tell what I like, or dislike about them. I can assure you, that when I do, it won't be a simple `it sucked' review, but one that addresses exactly why I would think so. And after, maybe someone will tell me why something I thought `sucked' was that way, and I won't hate it anymore. I happen to have a open mind on such things. Yes, you and everyone else, has the right to post your opinions. And I respect Eternal for his/hers, but not yours. He/She might not have gone into too much detail about why he/she disliked parts in the novels, but at least he/she *DID* go into *some* details. He/She posted his/her original opinion on them, which is something you have yet to do. Want to talk about hypocritical? That would be you. You post that we shouldn't ignore him simply because he states his opinion and we don't agree with it. When you have an actual opinion other than `this/they/it will suck', then you tell us whom we can, and cannot ignore. Until then, I don't think you have the right to tell anyone they shouldn't ignore someone for articulatly stating their opinion. At least he/she did. Have you? No.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:16 p.m. CST

    For what it's worth.

    by Revelare

    I'm still a `stupid geek' (though that's an oxymoron). How about everyone else?

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:22 p.m. CST

    oops

    by Revelare

    everyone else, has the right - That should have been `have the right' not `has'. Sorry, but that just bugged me.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Ruminations

    by noillusions

    These comments are aimed at no one in particular - they are simply blanket statements from a rather uninvolved occasional visitor. The most disturbing trend I see in this forum is the continued attempts by many to lay claim to the title of Ultimate Tolkien Expert and Interpreter. LOTR is actually rather vague and undescriptive in many places, much like (though not to the same degree) as Asimov's Foundation works. NO ONE, not even his family, can tell us what scenes, motions, and colors were present in Tolkien's mind as he wrote the words many of us hold so dear. Even his own diaries are at best unreliable - I am a writer myself, and I can assure you that the way you saw something in your mind's eye at the beginning of a book is often radically different from the image you have at the end. This is a discussion forum, folks - it is not meant to be a place where people try to beat other people's opinions into the dirt with their own. If you have feelings of inadequacy that need to be addressed, there are many other more appropriate places to go for release. Wow, look at that - I wrote a whole long paragraph and didn't use a single profanity, and my message still got across. Amazing, isn't it? Vaarwel, voorlezeres....

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Balrog, Nazgul, Sauron, shown or not?? My .02

    by devil0509

    I'm a huge fan of Tolkein's world and books, but I don't consider myself a purist as to the movie. Jackson's most intelligent comment was that this is his version, his view and only his view of the LOTR series. Changes have to be made. However, as for showing or not showing Balrog, Nazgul, and Sauron, I think Tolkein's method would work wonderfully on screen. The Balrog should be shown. Jackson should just ride that big bad monster for all it's worth. The fight at the bridge could and will be totally awesome with the Balrog shown in all his nastiness. As for the Nazgul, they appeared as bent over men in robes until the ROTK, EXCEPT for the one scene in FOTR when Frodo puts on the ring and he sees their true form. That would be so perfect. A hint at how terrifying these creatures are in FOTR just to whet the viewer's appetite, then the Nazgul in full force in ROTK to kick the viewer's ass. Finally, Sauron. The less shown the better. He operates through his minions and feels so much more powerful behind the scenes. Just glimpses, through the Palantir, and his eye at the end. Remember how scary the scene with Cpt. Dallas in the pipes was in Alien? Classic scene from the whole movie. Why? Because the Alien's presence dominated the scene, but it was not seen until a brief glimpse at the very end. Another example: Blair Witch...all the fear in that movie is generated by the presence of whatever is stalking them...to show it would have blown the movie totally.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 7:55 p.m. CST

    Istari and box office

    by Natalie

    _gorlab_though Kingasaurus has already told that, i'm still gonna explain it myself. Istari were Maiar send to Middle Earth after the first millenium of the 3d age. Five of them went to the north-western part of ME. Their names were Saruman the White, Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown, Alatar and Pallando (the Blue Wizards). Saruman was slain, Gandalf sailed to Valinor, the fate of others is unknown. Alatar and Pallando travelled to the East with Saruman, the latter returned and they don't. Tolkien thinks in one of his letters that they probably failed like Saruman and founded magic cults in the East which outlasted Sauron. That's it._Obi-Wan_ I don't mind if Sauron will be shown as some vague figure, i only don't want to see his face, that will really kill me. I'm sure it will be as commercially successful as Star Wars even if it will be seen mosly by fans. Do you know many people who didn't read Lotr? I don't. This book was named #1 of the 20th century.Many people are gonna read Lotr now when they heard about the movie. If PJ thinks only about average movie-goers it won't simply be working because it won't be deep. It's good if this the Lotr movie looks enjoyable but i don't want it to be another entertaining blockbuster movie, hundreds of which you can see every year. And i'm sure, Professor wouldn't like that either.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Sound of the Nazgul

    by Malkav

    I think something similar to the screeching of Shadow ships from Babylon 5 would be quite affective.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Balrog etc

    by Agges

    I was just thinking about the sound that the balrog could make, someone mentioned it above,...I thought that maybe as we will hear the high screeching from the Nazgul and the huge battles etc this may be the time to put in some really quiet whispered sound of evil...something like a wind but soft that makes you back away from that sound...before you even see anything..and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up...and a chill runs down your arms and back...something that makes you step back and back and nothing in the world could make you stand there and you look up and see that Gandalf is standing there...

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Sauron

    by Agges

    Dufustye your scenario for Sauron and the eye was great, thats how Sauron should be portrayed, on the edge of your vision, the focus in on the eye and gradual change to the struggle between Frodo and Gollum...but maybe add some earth shattering scream as a call to the Nazgul...if we are in the tower with him we have to see him do something in reaction...maybe see the sight wrenched away from the armies searching panning quickly for the point from which the challenge from Frodo was coming..the focus in... Its very difficult to picture..but I agree that the main part of the picture should be the view/eye panning and very little of the physical Sauron. and definitely not a showdown between Sauron and anyone ( though I hope this was never an option )

  • Bombadil and the Witch King are the same person! Check out: http://www.speakeasy.org/~ohh/bombadil.htm For the whole story! PS: I know it's a joke. I'm not that dumb!

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Eternal Has Point!

    by Goodgulf

    The Balrog should be seen. There has to be a payoff scene or the audience (me) will feel cheated. After all, Gandalf sees the Balrog. Aragorn sees the Balrog. Every body at the bridge sees the Balrog, and now your telling me that I'm not allowed? The emotion shouldn't be centered on whether or not the Balrog is the scariest monster ever conceived. It should be horror over the fate of Gandalf. Our emotions should be concerned with his welfare. For those that spout film technique, recall Terminator II. Was the evil Terminator the most frightening Terminator you ever saw? Nope. He was a normal looking guy. It wasn't his appearance or shock value, it was our knowledge of his abilities and our fear that he would use those abilities to do harm to the heros. So as far as I'm concerned the Balrog can look like Mr. Bean, but still be lethal, cunning and powerful. And let's face it, by the time the film comes out we'll have hyped the Balrog's appearance to the point that if Satan himself played the part we'd be disappointed and telling each other the Balrog sucked - not as scary as I thought it would be. And one more point about Hitchcock. Every one has been citing scenes where Hitchcock didn't show this or that. But he was also famous for SHOWING things, like the bomb ticking in the trunk and then the interior of the car as the passengers chat unknowingly. BUT WE KNOW. We SEE the tick tick tick of the bomb. Will the passengers find out in time? Tick tick tick...Hitchcock was a master at manipulating the audience.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Re:Goodgulf

    by Natalie

    C'mon Goodgulf, who ever said he doesn't want to see Balrog? I do want. I really wanna be scared. I only don't like that Eternal is too bitchy. He (or she?) thinks he's the smartest person in the world and all others who don't agree with him are geeks. His comments could be more intelligent in my opinion.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 9:56 p.m. CST

    by Dark One

    When I first heard that LOT was being attemted as a live-action film (not to mention a trilogy) I couldn't believe my ear/eyes, because I've been dreaming about the undertaking for the last couple of years! However, I am fully aware that all hangs balanced, and that there is a more than healthy chance that I'll be bitterly disappointed with this film as I have been with some other FX-driven films of recent days, such as Dragonheart and TPM. Will Jackson fall prey to temptation of over-using CGI? Will the yank actors spoil the show with obnoxious accents? (How many non-Americans auralized Sam Gamgee with a California-boy drawl?) I hope Jackson looks beyond the box-office success of TPM and recognizes some of its many faults (shit script, Jar-Jar, crap acting, ridiculously fake battle scenes, etc) and indeed learns from them. A couple of hints: regardless of whether Gollum is to be CGI, please let us not see all of him in broad daylight! The human brain is just too good at recognizing the fake textures, play of light, misdirected gazes of real actors, etc inevitably associated with the use of CGI. Likewise for orcs, Nazgul (rider & steed), etc, whether or not they are CGI. Jackson should follow the examples of ALIEN and PREDATOR for flawless use of fantastic creatures. Finally, few minor opinions: Sauron should not be shown - how can he compete with the Balrog for sheer terror factor on screen? The Balrog should be wreathed in shadow and flame and wield a flail (as in book). All actresses should be good looking - fuck of skanks like Kate Winslet. I'd back Nicole Kidman for Eowyn (though of course she's a tad expensive). Anyway all the elves have to be bone-thin. Scene I'm most looking forward too? Sam & Frodo versus Shelob. This has the potential to be (one of)the scariest scenes in cinematic history- combination of ALIEN, Silence of the Lambs (night vision scene), the Relic, etc. Thanks for your time.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 10:15 p.m. CST

    You people need to get laid.

    by SnifflesQ

    Let me start off by saying that I love LOTR. It is so brilliant, so gleamingly original that if you didn't know it was fiction, you'd take it as real history. I'm also greatly looking forward to the movies. I know they'll be awesome, even if they don't get in every little detail. Okay, that said, I have to say that the nature of these talkbacks makes me alternately giggle and rub my temples at the idiocy of modern life. Is this the best you people can come up with? Ranting and raving about the color of Gandalf's nut hair? Can't you possibly just be happy for the fact that these movies are being made at all? No, of course you cant. That's the nature of life in these sick days we live in. Nothing is magical anymore. Nothing is even remotely good. This is the best the bright youth can come up with anymore. So go on, flame each other over bullshit differences of opinion. I'm going to go read about that long gone land where there is goodness amid a sea of evil.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 10:31 p.m. CST

    To show or not to show . . .

    by 374774

    First of all, I want to see the Balrog! It sent shivers up my spine when I read the book, and I want it to be just as chilling and horrifying in the movie theatre. Sauron should be shown, I guess, but in that case less is definitely better. I always like the way Tolkein depicted him, as a dark shadowy entity, with the lidless eye of malice- somehow to the terror and dread of what cannot be seen is much more effective than what is seen. Call me a purist or a fanboy, I don't care. I would hate it if Sauron was some kind of horned, shadowy wannabe Darth Vader pacing around in Barad-Dur! You might as well throw in some kind of final fight between Frodo and the Dark Lord. Frodo can shoot some kind of cheasy laser beam out of the Ring, and THEN you would have your great climax. Ta da! Gimme a break. Well I guess in all fairness Eternal IS entitled to his opinons. Even though they are completely lame.

  • Aug. 11, 1999, 10:39 p.m. CST

    The "Yank" accents

    by 374774

    In response to 2208891, I'm a yank. And a Calfornian one a that. And a "Californian drawl" as you put it, would not ruin the movie. I think the movie should have a variety of accents. It would be a truer representation of Middle Earth if say the Elves were to speak the Common Speech differently than the Hobbits. So there should be an assortment of accents, from British to, yes the "California drawl."

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 1:18 a.m. CST

    weed

    by aule

    No wonder LOTR was such a hit with the 60's/70's counterculture ... half the characters seem to have a serious 'weed' addiction. By the way, I agree with Eternal that the Balrog should be shown. However, I agree with everyone else that Eternal is a walnut-brained neanderthal moron. Eternal, let this be a lesson in how to make friends ....... insult everyone equally. Including those with whom you agree. I thank you. Now bugger off before I drop a mountain on you.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 3:16 a.m. CST

    Creepy...that's what we want

    by Magoa

    Remember the scenes from Alien 3? (The same scene can probably be found in all the flicks) When the Alien is about to round a corner you first get to see it's head and then it slowly turns it against you and you feel that eerie feeling going all the way from your lower ass region up to your scalp? I'd like to see an entrance like that, when it's Balrog-time. How he puts fear into the fellowship and us as well..and how little respect he has for Gandalf and the rest of the group...Taking his time, knowing that there's no escape... I hope they will put up alot of time and effort to make this scene something to remember... /Magoa

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 4:03 a.m. CST

    re;grogar

    by morpheus

    prophetic words!But LOTR is going to make money despite the suppoetrs and the detractors.Because LOTR IS going to be a great movie,it's just the mean and nasty Orc in us thats gojng to nitpick the movie.........

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 4:07 a.m. CST

    voice of Balrog should,IMHO,..

    by morpheus

    sound like a roaring waterfall,the rush of a great crowd,a peal of thunder...........

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 4:45 a.m. CST

    ...Brought forth an infant form,

    by morpheus

    Where there was a worm before ...When Enitharmon groans, Produc'd a man Child to the light, ...A shriek ran thro' Eternity, And a paralytic stroke, At the birth of the Human shadow, ....Howling the child with fierce flames, Issued from Enitharmon, In his handsche siez'd the infant, He batheed him in springs of sorrows, ...They named the Child Orc,he grew, Fed with the milk of Enitharmon.......

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 5:21 a.m. CST

    Balrogs ARE Maiar....oh, beat me to the punch

    by Vanyar

    Well, I was just getting ready to expound on how Balrogs (Valaraukar) are Maiar, but I see that morGoth, and Allessan, and Kingasaurus, and Natalie have all got there before me. Eglerio to all of you -- especially you Morgy for quoting chapter and verse! Also great commentary by Natalie (?)--I hope it was Natalie and I didn't mess up)-- on the backgrounds of the five Istari (Maiar). I always found it fascinating how the Istari's personalities reflected the Valar with whom they were associated -- Saruman (Curumo) with Aule (and therefore the gathering of knowledge), Gandalf (Olorin) with Manwe and Varda (and therefore Wisdom, patience, and compassion), Radagast (Aiwendil) with Yavanna (and therefore a love of birds and beasts), etc. Tolkien is da man! Namarie.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 6:33 a.m. CST

    So far

    by Eomund

    Geeeesh! It took me over two hours to catch up on a days worth of posts! I refuse to post, unlike others, until I've read it all, though. Isn't it great that so many Tolkein fans have assembled here and are so damn excited. It's like being in a Baptist church during the Second Coming. *** Yknow, before Eternal's most recent posts someone mentioned that he or she has taken to scrolling right past anything that begins with Eternal's name. Well, I've been offended a number of time by that wizard of tact and master of subtlety, as has just about everyone else, so I took the advice. And you know what? It worked! I got the gist of what he said through the fallout posts, heard the reasoned discussion, and am much, much happier to have not subjected myself to his foamy spittle. It really works! I feel great! *** Yes, the balrogs are Maia, and it is STRONGLY hinted, though not expressly stated in the books that the istari are too. (CG: how could you miss that one? You who are so wise?) JRRT seems to allow all spirits to be "clothed" in bodies from time to time, but at a very significant cost of life energy, and at a certain diminishment of "sight" or "wisdom". That body is a physical thing and can be hurt and "killed". Such it is with the istari (including Gandalf - remember his death and "rebirth"), Sauron, Morgoth, the balrogs, and just about everything else. Elves even, as has been discussed in the posts about Glorfindel and elven rebirth. For the deity types, choosing a form seems to be either simply a means of appearing to other visually centered creatures (eg., Ulmo), or a means to better interact with a physical world (how else would Sauron have made the rings in the first place or used it without some kind of "finger"). But doing this was a great burden on the spirit, to the extent that one might begin to "forget" that the spirit was the true essence of its being and be forever locked into the body. This is how Saruman fell. He forgot his mission, allowing worldly, or "bodily" concerns overshadow his spiritual mission. A very religious idea, don't you think? And this is why I think Gandalf is indeed a true hero of the book. He does struggle with his humanity, his frailty, and his desire and greed (recall his reaction to Frodo when he suggests Gandalf take the ring), as we all do, every day. He is decidedly not "above it" until his renewal, where he gets a "lighter body". He is the only istari to keep his mission faithfully, and that is an incredible victory of spirit over body. And that is, after all, a metaphor for the real heroism in our own lives, isn't it?: when our spirit and morality can triumph over our petty concerns of greed or sex or ennui. Here Gandalf is shown to be very Christ-like, no? Sent to earth in the body of the locals to experience pain in order to help the people...and having his wisdom clouded (not knowing for sure from whence he came). Well, religious parallels aside, bodies are baggage in a way, but a means of containing and focusing the spirit. If you are searching for something, then become an "eye". I think sometimes the spirit is so taxed by this that there isn't enough energy left to "change back" without great loss. *** Now, the cool extrapolation of this viewpoint is about Sauron. He lost is body in Numenor, but was strong enough to create a second form in the third age, with which he made the ring. He put a majority of his life force, or spirit, into this ring as a means of "focusing" his raw power to act as a particular weapon. Then he lost the ring, and with it some huge portion of what was his own life force, his spirit. Deprived of this, he is unable to "take shape" as much more than a shapeless mass: a shadow and an eye. Obtaining the ring would allow him the power to reform himself and be the Sauron he once was. When it's gone, though, the majority of his life force is gone with it, and he never again will be able to take shape. Anyway, this leads me to comment on the string about the possibility of seeing Sauron. Any form more defined than a dark fog with a red eye or a shapeless shadow will contradict the book, which PJ promised not to do. In this case, I hope he sticks to his bargain. No defined face or features, just smoky aspects that call to mind a pointing finger, a grasping hand, a laughing face, or whatever is called for. Now, this doesn't say he cannot have a voice. In fact, he must have one if he is to talk to Pippin. I think the dark cloud and red eye, coupled with a chilling and distinctive voice will be enough to engender the kind of ominousness necessary for a film villian. Like a storm.... It would be truly unique and yet effective, I think, even visually.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 7:57 a.m. CST

    SnifflesQ

    by Halcyon Flay

    In response to your post re: Gandalf's nut hair, I fervently believe that, logically, whilst he is known as Gandalf the Grey, it should be grey and, once he becomes Gandalf the White it should therefore be white (plus the Balrog is scary enough to turn anyone's pubes white :)).

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Balrogs and Symmetry

    by Davross

    It sounds like the appropriate authorities have confirmed that Balrogs were of the same stuff as the Istari. I think that was the point in the story. Whereas the Orcs were a twisted and evil variation on the elves created by Melkor, the Balrogs were a variation on the Maiar. Gandalf's battle with the Balrog was one between equals. The balance there is classic.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Accents

    by Natalie

    Tolkien was English and the actors should speak only with the British accent. At least hobbits should, because Shire represents England in the book. Actors just learn that accent and that's all, i don't think it'll be very hard for them. But can you imagine Elrond, Theoden or Denethor speaking with American accent? I can't. Btw Sir Alec Guinness and a lot of others actors in Star Wars speak with English accent and nobody minds that.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Eternal flames!!!

    by celt

    Hello everybody, it has been a while. I would like to say that Eternal really should calm down. LotR has a fantastic ending, and should not be changed; it is mature, considered and believeable. Okay, so Sauron didn't come out of his fortress and start cracking heads, but I doubt he actually could have until he regained possession of the ring! I would like to recommend two other books to you, by the way: try these popular titles: firstly, the unbeatable "Thesaurus" and its remarkable companion, "Dictionary". . . both are hard working, and will serve you well. morGoth, I'm afraid PJ did say he wouldn't be showing the battle between Gandalf and the Balrog, AFTER they fell from the bridge, but wouldn't it have been good if he did?!? Do me a favour would you morGy? Send them a Balrog for me . . !

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Casting

    by Clare

    I remember my first thought when I heard LOTR was to be made, as 3 movies too, casting. They have to get the casting right. Just have to. Not near but spot on correct. My main concern was Gandalf, Frodo and Galdriel, those being the characters I loved most. We have Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf (bloody good choice, thank the gods SC didnt get it, can you imagine "ssho Bilbo") but no Frodo or Galadriel yet. Oh please let them get the big G right. No teen scream queen, no overpaid overblown Gwinny, no old hag, oh please let them get Galadriel right. Ok, so her part will be a short one but her impact will be bigger. My favourite would be Robyn Wright Penn, looks, poise, give her the long hair and bingo! Galadriel. Frodo too, Ian Holm as Bilbo is a good choice but who will be Frodo? I live in anticipated fear for the full casting details. You should too.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Re: Clare

    by Natalie

    Don't you know that Elijah Wood is going to be Frodo? (his latest movie is the Faculty)IMO Robin Wright is a bit too old play Galadriel. Paltrow could be Eowyn - at least she's blond :) But i'm really dying to see Arwen - especially if she appears in the movie more than in the book. Can you name an actress so beautiful that everybody would agree that Arwen Undomiel is really the most beautiful woman (elf) in the world? But please don't forget that officially the casting list will be anounced only in Semptember. I'm sure Harry will make it the top news and i'm already looking forward to the exciting talkback we're going to have then.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 1:32 p.m. CST

    SFX... let's see what we'll need...

    by Dan42

    1. The Balrog - It should have wings (BWAHAHAHAHA). No, seriously, I think it should be wrapped in a cloak of living shadows that can be extended to both sides - yes, like wings :P But what will best communicate the horror of the Balrog will be the silence. Imagine: frantic music as the nine companions run for their lives and suddenly... complete silence. We hear thunderous steps in the darkness and a dim shape aproaches as the steps become louder and louder. Then, as the Balrog stands before the bridge, it casts his cloak of shadows on each side of itself and bellows a great cry of rage, shattering our minds with the horror of his presence. /// 2. The Ents - They must not look too much like trees and yet they are supposed to look like trees when standing absolutely still (I think... at least that's the way I remember it, one of those highly subjective things) /// 3. The Nazgul - I agree with Alessan: they will be better portrayed by men in black robes, instead of full CGI creations. /// 4. The scenery - New-Zealand scenery with a few digital touch-ups should take care of most of that. /// 5. The battle scenes - one word: MASSIVE /// 6. Sauron - To show him or not to show him, that is the question. If we have to see him, I'd rather see a *very* shadowy form. I think it's funny/significant that many/most people here see him in the same way: a black mist with a red eye. I think that the power and evilness of Sauron must be shown trough his minions. We should be able to think "if those Nazgul and that Balrog are merely Sauron's servants, that bastard must be evil personified!" /// 7. Gollum - CGI is the only possible way to show him, but still... it's going to be tough. He must *never* be seen as a CGI character but rather as a screwed/pitiful character in the story. /// 8. The Ring World - When Frodo puts on the ring, he sees the world differently, right? In that world the Nazgul become clear shapes, Glorfindel's aura is visible and the rest of the world is faded out. That's something I look forward to see! /// 9. The make-up - What kind of make-up and prosthetics will the actors have? My one worry is the elves; they are supposed to be the most beautiful creatures in Middle-Earth! A little note on elves: elven eyes were supposed to be grey. So has anyone here ever seen someone with grey eyes? A friend of mine told me he saw this once, and they were the most beautiful eyes he ever saw. Now, wouldn't that be just perfect for a movie? /// P.S.: Allessan's advice is very sound: as soon as you see something written by Eternal, skip it! But I'm still very grateful to those who have had the courage to read trough that garbage and inform us of its meaning.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Showing Sauron

    by EvilNight

    I think it needs to be done, although very sparingly. I also think that Eomund above has hit the nail on the head dead center about the right way to do it.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Who should play Galadriel & the flashback to Elendil & Gil-Galad

    by Mirror White

    I really believe that the part of Galadriel must go to an actress capable of portraying the maturity, granduer, wisdom, humility and sorrow of Galadriel as well as her beauty. It is for this reason I would STRONGLY recommend either Emma Thompson or Meryl Streep. Both have shown the range necessary to this part and I would hesitate to cast some of the others being considered for this role just because the Eldar are forever young (except for Cirdan maybe). Their is young and their is young. We can always emphasize Elvish beauty with an aura of light... differing from Elf to Elf according to their stature. :) As for the Council of Elrond where he describes the fateful final battle between Elendil, Gil-Galad & Sauron upon the slopes of Mount Doom.... I would love to see Elendil's sword and Gil-Galad's spear pitted against Sauron's cruel double-bladed glowing red sword. They could put Ray Parks in a Lidless Eye mask to play the part of Sauron. They could even have a chorus of 'elves' chanting in Quenya to dark ominous grand music composed by John Williams. Whaddaya think of that? ;>

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 2:20 p.m. CST

    I'll go you one better, Mirror White...

    by Palintiri

    How about Isuldur watching his father and Gil-Galad struck down scream: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" and with his dead father's light-sabre... er, sword's hilt-shard take up the battle with Sauron only to here Elendil's disembodied voice (complete with digital echo) say... "Use the Force Isuldur - Get the ring!" and with his last failing strength cut the ring from Sauron's hand causing Sauron to abandon his latest mortal form leaving it to fall into the conveniantly placed nearby chasm! How about it guys???

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 2:26 p.m. CST

    "The force will be with you, always, Isildur (Palantiri)!"

    by Mirror White

    Imagine thematic anti-climactic music in the background... :)

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 2:38 p.m. CST

    re: Natalie

    by Clare

    Well, little Elijah Wood as Frodo! Hehehe that could be quite cool. I still think Robin Wright is the choice for the big G, but Patltrow as Eowyn! That's blasphemy. She's far too sappy and limp to play such a spirited brave young woman. I can't see her going one on one with the witch king either, can you? :)Haven't really thought of that casting part. As for Arwen, well, I don't think there is anyone around who could possible pull that one off. Can't wait for Harry to confirm who's playing who anyway. I'll still be waiting in anticipated fear!

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Saruman, of many colors!

    by 374774

    I was just wondering if any of you out there knew any rumors about who was going to play him in the movie. Two other question regarding the traitorous wizard: 1. Are they going to show Gandalf's capture at Isengard in "real time" or in flashbacks at the Council of Elrond? and 2. Are they going to show the Ents storming Isengard? I can just see Treebeard & co ripping apart and flooding Orthanac now . . . Anyway, if any of you know anything, I'd appreciate it! :)

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Elvish Pointed Ears

    by Goodgulf

    I was wondering just how beautiful anyone with pointed ears could be. It will be interesting to see if Galadriel show her ears in the film.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 7:01 p.m. CST

    casting etc

    by Dark One

    Paltrow as Eowyn is indeed an inspired choice. I have faith in her ability to portray the depth of Eowyn's many emotions, from her self-pity through to the love of Faramir, and I believe she could also pull off a convincing warrior woman (with a bit more style than Lucy Lawless). I doubt she would be interested in the project, though, due to the heavy time commitment (as with Connery, who I am real glad is not involved). As for Arwen, the difficulty of finding someone sufficiently young (should definitely be under 20) and extroadinarily beautiful who can also act, can not be overestimated. It seems to me that the replacement of Glorfindel with an expanded Arwen is a good idea- having Arwen meet Aragorn and co. on the road, and subsequently scare the nine into the river with them, would be a great move. Finally, big respect to whoever suggested giving the Elves an otherworldly glow! A much toned-down rendition of the glow of the aliens in CACOON, superimposed on top of/below their images (especially after dark) would do much to emphasize the immortality, beauty and power of the Elves. The same (but more subtle) could be done for Gandalf and Frodo when appropriate (eg for Frodo as he departs for the West with the "translucence" which Gandalf notices). Finally, I can't wait to see Shadowfax! He'd better make the tri-star unicorn look like it should have been put out to pasture years ago, or I'll be most upset.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 7:25 p.m. CST

    re;goodgulf

    by morpheus

    I'm sure you must be referring to the passage where Tolkien described the hobbits appearance as ahving pointed ears ,elvish.Maybe,just maybe,he was using the term out of the context of ME.Maybe he was referring to his time's contemporary notion of pointy eared diminutive elves.....And 'diminutive' is a word he took offence to in his essay on fairy tale in describing the elves(as is supeernatural)

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 8:45 p.m. CST

    Frodo's wound: OH YEAH

    by greenleaf

    'You were beginning to fade, my remarkable friend...' We MUST see this! -- *morpheus*, where is that passage you were talking about? I don't remember reading this AT ALL. A direct quote would be appreciated.

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 8:51 p.m. CST

    Ears

    by Goodgulf

    He never states it, but in Letter #27 he writes, when describing hobbits, "A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling." Whether or not Tolkien was referring to the modern conception of Elves, he still says that the Hobbits have slightly pointed ears. But from the context of the letter it seems he was referring to his elves, not the diminutive elfs of modern myth. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 9:18 p.m. CST

    Elves - How Do We Know They Are Elves?

    by Goodgulf

    Making "glowing" Elves is a bit much I think. Yes, I am aware of the passage where Gildor and the Elves meet Frodo and the decription of the starlight dancing in their hair and eyes, as well as the faint light, like moon light falling about their feet as they walked. But that's a far cry from radioactive Elves :). I think that we can stick to the book on this one. It's not beyond technical feasability. Not only that, but this was a night scene. The starlight effect probably could not be seen in the daylight. So the question is, how were Elves recognized as being Elves? They didn't wear special T-shirts or jerseys, and ust saying they had an "other-worldly air" doesn't really tell us anything. And they didn't always march along singing songs in the High Elven language so that we, like Frodo, could recognize them a ways of. Do you think maybe it was their pointed ears? I do. Elves ears are somewhat pointed. As Tolkien points out "leaf-shaped" but not to the extent that we've come to think of fantasy-genre pointy-ears. Hobbits ears were too. He never states it, but in Letter #27 he writes, when describing hobbits, "A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and 'elvish'; hair short and curling." I realize that Tolkien doesn't mention this in the book, and I also know his views on the modern version of elfs, pixys, and sprites. He hated them. But I can't help what Tolkien wrote. If he wants his Elves to have pointed ears, then that's okay by me. The debate should be, if we must debate at all, how pointed? Not very I think, but enough to distinguish Elves from men. Certainly not Mr. Spock ears. Of course if Leonard Nimoy played Elrond ...hmmmm...

  • Aug. 12, 1999, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Sauron's Great Body

    by aule

    O.k. folks, sorry if you're all sick of this discussion, but I'm going to have to return to the issue of whether or not to show Sauron. I'm basically of the 'no show' camp, but I think it might actually be cinematically quite effective if we just see little glimpses that don't really give much idea of what he actually looks like. The back of a chair perhaps, beyond which can be seen a single armoured hand ..... and a deep, croaking voice intoning "I'll get you next time, Gandalf ....... neeeeeeeeeeeext tiiiime ..." Sorry, got a bit carried away there. Now with regard to Sauron's bodily form in the Third age, JRRT keeps it mysterious not so much by failing to mention the issue, as by providing hints of ambiguous and conflicting descriptions. Gollum, for instance, claims that Sauron has only four fingers on the Black Hand ("but they are enough"), implying that Sauron has some sort of corporeal form. On the other hand (as it were), it is said elsewhere (I forget exactly where) that after his defeat By I., E. and G.G., Sauron lost the ability to support even his evil form of the late Second Age, and that his power " became manifest in the sorcerous power of a single great lidless eye". INcidentally, for the person who asked, Sauron did personally lead the attack on Eregion in the Second Age, where he showed his lack of the Solider Virtues by stringing Celebrimbor up on a pole, shooting him full of arrows, and using his body as a banner. As far as I know, he still had his fair form then, but after that sort of behaviour I don't think it'd have fooled anybody. Now as a preemptive flame, Eternal, don't bother, mate. Just live up to your name and go take a nice long swim in your local tar-pit. Sorry everyone else, but sometimes you just need to fight flame with flame.

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 5 a.m. CST

    Elrond's ears

    by Halcyon Flay

    So, if elves have pointy ears (even if they are only a bit pointy) as some of the above posters have "pointed" :) out, quoting Tolkien's letter #27, does Elrond Half-Elven have ears which are only half-pointy?

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 5:07 a.m. CST

    Gandalf's capture, Attacking Ents & Sauron's form

    by Vanyar

    Mithrandir21 -- Your two questions are answered somewhere in PJax's two sets of "20 questions" from months ago. (1) Gandalf's capture by Saruman will be shown in flashback at the Council of Elrond, just like in the book. (2) While Gandalf's fight with the Balrog after his fall off the bridge WON'T (more's the pity) be shown, fortunately the Ents assault on Isengard WILL (YAYYYYYYYY!!!). aule -- Sauron lost his ability to asume a fair form after his body was destroyed in the wreck of Numenor/Westernesse/Anadune/Andor/Elenna (whew!). Anyway, after that he could only put on an evil-looking form -- sometimes as a burned black form (jet black, that is), sometimes as a Lidless Eye. I sort of picture ol' Gorthaur the Cruel as being hard to focus on (except for the eye). He is a nothingness -- not a slimy, glistening jet black, but a sort of (sorry for the science fiction-ey term) "black hole" kind of black -- sort of sucks all light and life out of the area. He is almost like a void. Hope that idea made sense. Namarie.

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Vanyar!

    by celt

    Yes! That's exactly how I've imagined Sauron! Not precisely a solid and physical being, but the presence of a malicious entity. What would it look like? I've always imagined seeing Sauron in a movie in a sort of silhouette - except his eyes, which burn fiercely whichever way he turns! Possibly bald headed (no hair in my vision) - not that he's even human: just vaguely so, in a way that allows us some connection with him, but different in a way that repels. He should be glimpsed, kind of in a corner of the eye way, but never really viewed in full focus. . . until, that is, he realises his peril and sends his Nazgul hurtling for Mount Doom. Well, that's what I'd like to see, but I'm sure PJ will do a fine job anyway! Namarie.

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Sauron the Indescribable

    by Orodruin

    I was of the opinion that Sauron could take whatever form He chose (fair or foul) until His body was smashed during some great convulsion of the earth, long years before the war of the ring. I can well imagine Him slaying Gil-galad and Elendil, wearing the form of a monstrous warrior of great girth and height. Fantastic for a flashback of this battle. But if He must be represented during the war of the ring, Tolkien has already given us a fairly terrifying image, in the form of the lidless eye!

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Elves and Balrog

    by Natalie

    I see a particular difficulty in playing elves especially Galadriel, Elrond and Arwen. We know elves are immortal and forever young but on the other hand their souls are old and sad. So the actor should look very young (and beautiful) but at the same time mature. Is it possible for mortal humans? As somebody has already asked, how shall we recognize elves? In the book it's always clear because either somebody is telling that or something unreal is described about them - like that starlight. Is these pointed ears are the key? Another question is if it really looks nice. Maybe they'll all have long hair and we'll see no ears at all? As for Gandalf vs. Balrog i'm sure PJ will show us their fight on the bridge - everybody will be disappointed if he doesn't and besides it can't be avoided - if we don't see them fighting, how then the fate of Gandalf will be explained and that the company has lost one member? But i think we won't see the whole duel in the FOTR, only its part on the bridge, because when you're reading the book you don't know if it continues, like other heroes we're sure the wizard is dead and you're crying thinking you're gonna miss poor old Gandalf. But then in the Two Towers he turns up mightier than ever as Gandalf the White and tells astonished Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas his story. I guess it's when we see the rest of the fight. If PJ is going to show in real time other events told by Gandalf including his capture by Saruman and the Ring's history (Isildur's loss and Gollum's part in the story too) then IMO there's a big chance to see his fight with Balrog too. Why not anyway? I think sfx will be convincing enough. I'm sure it'll be worthy of any Star Wars duels, even greater.

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Celt and Morgy -- re: Sauron & Aule

    by Vanyar

    (1) Celt -- Wow! Great concepts about Sauron's form. Say, didn't you post something about this topic about two months ago or so? I seem to remember reading a post about that "corner of the eye" focus thing. Man that would really weird you out -- "just can't get a grip on him visually." **shudder**. (2) morGoth -- Awwwwww, poor liddle (former) Vala, did Aule upset your apple cart ? :-o hehheh. C'mon you (former) Aratar you! Stop whining and fess up to your fiendish nature and stop blaming others -- especially that old hard-working Vala smith. Oh, and Morgy old fiend, see my previous post re: Sauron's form. He couldn't "seem fair" (although he was plenty 'foul' -- hehheh) after Numenor became Akallabeth. Oh, and food for thought -- imagine how awesome, ferocious and terrifying the final big battle before the Morannon is going to be. Gandalf rejects the terms of Gothmog, the Mouth of Sauron, and ......... the trap is sprung -- and there is the Host of the West foundering in a veritable sea of Orcs, Trolls, and Easterlings! Ai! Ai! Can you say MASSIVE?! And don't forget Pippin gut-knifing that troll. Intense. Namarie.

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 12:11 p.m. CST

    elfish ears

    by Amalthea

    I don't have "Letters" in front of me, but I could have sworn that that quote you're referring to said "elfish," not "elvish." It seems to me that this difference in spelling would determine whose elves Tolkien was referring to--his, or pop-culture's--because "elfish, elfs, dwarfish, dwarfs," is the traditional, grammatically correct, way of referring to them, whereas Tolkien's "elves" and "dwarves" were his own invention, suiting his personal definition of elves and dwarves. of course, my being right depends on a couple of people having missread the quote, which is unlikely; so wouls someone with access like to check? I think it is possible to give the elves slightly pointed ears without drawing too much attention to them. Some people even have slightly pointed ears, and it makes them look vaguely spritely and otherworldly without our always knowing why. This couls possibly appease the naysayers as well. Ultimately, though, I'm afraid it's going to take more than ears to distinguish the elves apprpriately, especially now that Aragorn, the ruffest character of the lot, is so darn pretty. (Grr.)

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 1:10 p.m. CST

    lil bit of everything

    by geekie

    I hope this is going to be short

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Re:Amalthea. Elf/vish ears

    by Natalie

    I'm not an expert ofcourse but tell me, Amalthea why do you think that elfs and dwarfs are traditional, grammatically correct forms? As far as I know, one of the rules of English grammar is that the final "f" becomes "v" in a plural form, e.g. life-lives, leaf-leaves. There're some exceptions (roof-roofs) but elf is not one of them. I've just checked it out in my Webster Dictionary, so you may believe me. That's why i think that elves and dwarves are not Tolkien's invention at all. Even if Tolkien did use "elfish" in his letter, I don't think he meant some mass culture's elfs he hated so much. He just compared hobbits' ears with elves' ears because they were all the inhabitants of ME. Anyway, i agree with you and other, that they can be only slightly pointed without attracting much attention to them.

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Celebrimbor's Death

    by aule

    MorGoth, my old nemesis, that bit about Celebrimbor's death is in Unfinished Tales 'The History of Celeborn and Galadriel', I think. Sorry for taking so long to get back; I think I'm on the other side of the world from you. Evidently when when Sauron took Ost-In-Edhil, C. was the only guy with enough guts to stand in front of the houses of the Gwaith-I-Mirdain (sic?) (for those who don't know, those were the elven smiths who forged all of the rings of power other than the One) and defend them. He was taken alive, wouldn't tell Sauron where the Three were hidden, and thus and met the grisly end that I have described. Why is it that these intense, Feanor-type geniuses always meet bad ends? I don't know. Maybe this should be a warning for Professor Moriarty himself !!!!

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 8:15 p.m. CST

    To all Elvish Aura Naysayers & Proponents of White Face Paint...

    by Mirror White

    First off except when the Greater Elder or Wizards reveal their true power... Galadriel, Glorfindel/(Arwen), Gandalf they should definitely have a visible aura... However it is possible with lighting alone (to say nothing of CGI) to give Elves of varying stature the subtle appearence of light around them without an obvious "glow". This is actually done quite frequently with actresses to give them an ethereal quality... As for white face paint I think that would look ghastly... Think of Ann Rice's description of the impossibly beautiful Vampire Lestat and then go rent Interview With the Vampire and take a good look at what Tom Cruise looked like under all that white face paint... not his usual handsome self by any means! (Brad Pitt did pull it off, but he had very different coloring.)

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 11:05 p.m. CST

    re:Natalie: elfish/elvish

    by Amalthea

    I got this distinction from Tolkien himself, in one of his letters. Again I wish I had that source to reffer to, but I left it at college for the summer. Anyhoo, he was complaining that the editors of LOTR kept "correcting" his spellings of "elves" and "dwarves," when he preffered to keep the distinction. There can be little doubt that Tolkien knew what he was talking about on this, as he was first and foremost an etymologist and had a great hand in writing the Oxford Dictionary. However, I believe the grammer has altogether changed since the publication of LOTR, and modern dictionaries have taken the example from the public in the way that they have done with some words, like "geek" (we should look that one up.) :)

  • Aug. 13, 1999, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Re: Obi-Wan

    by Goodgulf

    Obi, how do you get arms and legs out of "huge and scary"? A tornado can be huge and scary. Sharks can be huge and scary. Nither example has arms and legs. My, my. Such pessimism. Of course when the movie come out and Sauron has arms and legs, I'll have to eat these words won't I? But for the time being I'm going to go under the assumption that some one at New Line may have actually read the LOTR and understood it just as well as the rest of us. As for the Elves having and aura, I'm not entirley against the idea if the effect is minimal. My only objection is: Is it in the book? And how do Elves hide if they have this aura, especially at night? Wouldn't they make prime targets for orc arrows? And when the Company was travelling through Moria, it doesn't appear that Legolas had any aura or glow in the dark caverns. As for skin hue, Tolkien say they were fair skinned, not pasty white. He doesn't say they were more fair skinned than men with light complexions. Indeed the word "fair" can mean good looking, pleasing to the eye, comely, without regference to skin color. As for the spelling of Dwarfs and Dwarves, you might have to check an older dictionary. The newer ones have finally added dwarves as a proper plural for dwarf. But when Tolkien wrote the book the accepted spelling was dwarfs not dwarves. This bit of Tolkien history has been long known. He was embarrassed by the mispelling when it was brought to his attention. However he more less made lemonade of the error and kept the erroneous spelling to differentiate 'real' Dwarves from the fanciful dwarfs of modern culture. So first off, the word Dwarves is not actually an 'invention' of Tolkien's, just a mispelling that he managed to transform into a good idea. Since the publication of LOTR has the errant spelling of the plural of Dwarf (Dwarves) has become so wide spread as to be considered common usage? For it is now included in more recent dictionaries or at least in my American Heritage Dictionary. Depending on whose dictionary you have the 'dwarves' may be listed as a variant spelling of dwarfs. Perhaps one of our Talk Backers from the UK can tell us if dwarves is accepted spelling in Great Britain. It may not be. I do recall hearing the story I just related about twenty years ago and when I checked the dictionary then it did not include 'dwarves' as a plural for dwarf. At any rate, what was considered a spelling error is now one of the correct ways to spell the plural of dwarf. Before you know it 'ain't' will be a proper word.

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 1:05 a.m. CST

    Ama;lthea!here's a glassof vintage 1420!

    by morpheus

    On me!Astute thinking:)I stil think aura is the only 'visible' differences in elves.Tolkien had mentioned his regret by callingt the elves elves cos according to him there is no basic difference between them and the humans except for the mental constituent.We canactually see a progression of his view of the elves as the contemporary tiny elves to the original model(the human like sidhe).Maybe the part about the leaf shaped ears marked a stage of this progression(with the elves still retaining the pointy ears).Soldier's Virtues,funny one aule;) It got to me too the first time i read about Sauron's improvised banner!

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Re: geekie

    by greenleaf

    Actresses to play male Elves? God! The Elves will look gayer than ever! I always thought Gimli and Legolas' relation was a bit suspicious ("Gimli, as ever, rode upon Arod with Legolas"... hold me tight, Gimli, yea, that's it... O Elbereth!...); this would definitely settle it! Should the men from Buckland be women too? Remember what the Gaffer said of "those queer Bucklanders" at the Green Dragon... Anyway: bad, bad idea.

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Women As Male Elves

    by Goodgulf

    Bad idea. They were fair, not effeminate. I almost laughed thinking of Pat the Androgynous Elf and the subsequent spoof on Saturday Night Live. Seriously though, Rlves seemed to be recognized as Elves, but I can't find anything (other than the pointed ears), that would distinguish them from men. And as some one pointed out if hair covered the ears that distinction is gone. Glowing Elves, or Elves with variations of the "glow" theory would stand out like sore thumbs at night time making them easy targets for Orc arrows, unless they can turn it on or off at will. I don't think Strider would appreciate trying to sneak across the countryside at night with Legolas giving their position away. Extremely white skin like Elizabethan makeup? Hardly anyone seems to like that idea. It seems a bit too white and unnatural - even for Elves. Perhaps Jackson will ignore the whole problem.

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Elvish Aura

    by Goodgulf

    We certainly can't escape the fact that Tolkien describes Gildor and his companions as having a dim light like star light in their hair and and light like moonlight around their feet as they walked. As I read the passage I feel it infers that it actually aids in their camouflage, so that a witness to their passing might only see some dim lights and shadows, like the moonlight dispersed through the leaves of a tree with a slight breeze blowing. As for the light about their feet, anyone who has stood in a large meadow at full moon may recall seeing a slight change in brightness as the grass moved in a breeze, reflecting the moon in various ways especially if there was a dew, almost giving the effect of footsteps moving quickly and silently along. What to do with the Elves in sunlight is another matter. I'm not particularly fond of prepubescent Elves, though it's not a bad idea really. And yet I want the toughness and resilience of the Elves to come through. I believe that Elves did not grow beards, but I'm not certain. At any rate if it shows up on screen and looks feasable, I'll buy it. I'm hoping that no matter what Jackson does that the film will be at least fun. If it turns out to be a masterpeice...more power to it.

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 7:33 p.m. CST

    tolkien & elves

    by m2298

    I just checked out Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull's excellent book J.R.R. TOLKIEN ARTIST AND ILLUSTRATOR (Houghton Mifflin, '95). It quotes that letter about pointed ears and it uses the word "elVish"! Not only that, but it features a suggested color jacket illustration for RETURN OF THE KING by JRRT featuring none other than Sauron himself (as the dissipating shadow). It is definitely humanoid in form with an outstretched arm. See for yourselves what Tolkien himself already has shown!

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 9:09 p.m. CST

    Balrog appearance and Elf age

    by Izmunuti

    Balrog: I think it would be better for the Balrog to have wings; that makes him/her/it more menacing, plus it gives PJ more time to film the action as Gandalf and the Balrog fall (assuming PJ decides to put in the fight scene--please do!!!). Imagine Gandalf and the Balrog falling into the pit, followed by a great gout of Gandalf-flame and the Balrog's enraged roar, echoing into silence. Later Gandalf relates the battle in a flashback scene, with the Balrog falling together, battling with magic fire as well as sword and claw. (I'm reminded of the fight between the wizard and the dragon Vermithrax in "Dragonslayer.") The most important aspect of the Balrog is that it should be imbued with great intelligence and not simply be a monster. Elves: Elves are ageless, but that doesn't really help us very much. The entire concept of elven agelessness is in opposition to the human mortality. Human faces age continuously from birth to death. If Elves are supposed to have one visage for eternity, who is to say that the visage resembles that of a 20-year-old human or a 40-year-old human? Is it possible that elves vary in appearance, so that one eternally looks like a 20-year-old human and another eternally looks like a 40-year-old human?

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 9:57 p.m. CST

    by 374774

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Elves (that's how you spell it? Right . . . )

    by 374774

    Sorry about that blank message . . . guess that's what happens when you do two things at once. :) Anyhoo, been reading all of the posters concerning the Elves' appearence (and there's A LOT believe me) and I have to say that I'm leaning towards the pre-pubsecent look. I don't think that elves can grow beards (at least none of them seem to have one), and they should be kind of tallish and thin. A faint, subtle glow would be nice . . . kinda get that impression when you're reading the book. Not flashing brightness that would make them visible to every orc within twenty miles, just a shimmering aura, like moonglow. Ears should be slightly pointed. Don't know about their hair though . . .what do the rest of you think? No pasty Elizabethean look or females playing male elves (are you kidding me?) Well that's it for now. Keep the ideas flowing.

  • Aug. 14, 1999, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Re: Izmununti

    by 374774

    I'm back! Didn't take too long . . . Just wanted to say that Izmunuti brings up a good point and interesting idea. That's all.

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Balrog Wings - w/hot sauce

    by Goodgulf

    I don't care if the Balrogs have wings or not, but if I had wings and started to fall, I think I might use them. So if the Balrog is shown with wings, won't that make a lot of people wonder why it "fell"? Some one is sure to reply that Gandalf's weight dragged him dowm, but if the Balrog was a big as it sounded in the book, I don't think Gandalf's weight would have done it. Not only that, but the Balrog was falling before it ever grabbed Gandalf. If the Balrog's wings can't help him to fly, then why does he have them? I think giving the Balrog wings (which would probably look great), would lead to more questions than it answers. It's fun wondering and speculating, but I'm remeinded of what Tolkien himself said about the land of Fairy, don't ask to many questions. After all, Tolkien created a wonderful world, but it isn't complete. When we start to ask some very pointed questions we run into blank walls. If Middle-Earth was a house, we'd see some rooms completely furnished, while others would only be partially furnished. And there are a few rooms (maybe more) that are labeled, but without furniture. Not only that, but once in a while Tolkien seems to contradict himself, or wishes that he had put something in the book, but didn't or wished that he had removed something (but didn't). So try as we might, we'll never fully agree on some of these topics, especially where Tolkien gives no description and leaves it up to our imagination. At he did that more often than I realized until I started participating in these posts. It seems that when we read the book, we add our own views and opinions, sometimes without realizing it, until those opinions become fixed in our minds and we think that we actually read it in the book. How often have you guys started going through the book lately to back up your opinion about what so and so looked like, only to come up with a vague generalization. We don't really know what many of the main character "really" looked like. Aragorn, when first seen looks like some one who's been out in the wilderness for a long time, weatherbeaten, haggard, rough. He's tall. But there isn't much else. What color are his eyes, what shape was his nose or his chin, what length and color was his hair? We've filled in all these blanks with our imaginations. Now there's this movie, and these questions are being asked by Jackson. And he'll have to rely on his imagination along with whatever scanty information he finds in the book to cast the characters. I'm sure he realizes that he isn't going to please everyone, so I hope that he makes the film to please himself. Most of the best books and films were done by people who just did to please themselves (including Tolkien), and found to their surprise that many others were also pleased by what they had done. Often, I've found, when Hollywood tries so hard to make a film they think the audience will want to see, they fail miserably. Movies and books should not be made by poll.

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 4:54 a.m. CST

    Astute thinking noneteless amalthea!

    by morpheus

    Maybe tolkien mistakenly spelled the elfish as elvish or on purpose.Even if i'm wrong ,nice thinking!The powdered white face in Star Wars are based on kabuki styles which emphasize more on body postures and movement than facial expressions.I used to think kabuki suits the seemingly inscrutable elves but now prefer more natural looking elves.and puhleeze,no female actors for the male elves part(sound so kabukian!think Madam Butterfly!)

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Elvish Aura - Tolkien Says It Was Dim

    by Goodgulf

    In the book Tolkien describes the elvish lights (the starlight like twinkling in the hair and the moonlight-like light about their feet) as dim. I get the impression it was almost imperceptable unless you were right there with the Elves. That's why I keep mentioning my opinion that during the daytime this aura/glow/twinkling starlight-like light or whatever we end up calling it, probably would not be noticeable at all. I just don't see how it could be "dim" at night and still be seen in the daylight. I had thought about the prospect of stating that so and so was an Elf (Elve?), but it seems that could get a bit cumbersome. For the same reason I think Jackson might avoid having Gandalf being called by different names in each land he goes to. At any rate, I'm about ready to give up on this topic. I really can't think of a solution to the Elvish identity question that suits me. For those who are happy with an aura of some kind, I guess that might be as close to an answer as we're going to get, but it's not really well supported in the book. As to whether or not the Elves had a chameleon ability to turn this aura on or off, that has even less support in the book. If asked to choose between overly white skin or a slight (very slight) aura, I guess I'd have to go with the aura theory. And even if we were all in agreement, that doesn't have anything to do with what Jackson is doing. So basically, we've had a nice, but pretty much meaningless conversation.

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Nothing of great import...

    by Schmendrick

    Hello, folks. Amalthea, I must say that (apart from that familiar-sounding name of yours... have we met somewhere? :) ) your comments on the necessity of balancing light and darkness (figuratively speaking; I'm no photography expert) and of making sure that the experience of the audience is as close as possible to that of the Hobbits were absolutely inspired. That was one of those letters that just makes me stop and say a quick prayer that Peter Jackson will read it. This has been a pretty interesting talkback. I wish I'd tuned in before now. It's really impossible to give a definitive description of the appearance so many of Tolkien's creations. His descriptions were so sparse and even then often so subject to interpretation... The fact is, while we all have our own concepts of what the Balrog, or Sauron, or the elves looked like, none of us can substantiote that it is absolutely correct. What do we "know" about Elves? The high elves had blonde hair and others had black. Past that, in terms of specific absolutes? Nada. And it all goes downhill from there. I'm already working on distancing myself from my own conception of, say, the Balrog, for the upcoming films. As long as Jackson's Balrog could be justifiably said to follow some interpretation of what Tolkien put down, I'll be happy? So CAN it have wings? Sure. I can accept that. One can argue to the contrary, but not anywhere near absolutely, so fine. SHOULD it? Well, to each his own. As for Sauron... sheesh. We know that he did have a corporeal form, but past that, only that it wasn't fair to look upon. Hard to technically go against Tolkien's descriptions, but easy to ruin the character. Personally, I just hope that if Jackson gives us any images, they should be fleeting and as unclear as possible, hints that still let the viewer make up his or her own mind. Then show that menacing shadow following the destruction of the ring for all it's worth. Let the audience think "Wow, here's just a vague shade and look how awesome and terrifying it is. Imagine how bad the actual thing was..." There was a Corman film called "X-The Man with X-ray Eyes" in which a man started to see through things further and further until all he saw were strange colours light years away. Eventually, he begins to see shapes beyond all this, the shape of some... thing. That's all the audience ever gets and it's so much more frightening than a full on look at some rubber monster. There's a power there that's diminshed if one sees the thing clearly. It then becomes understandable, qualifiable, comprehensible and thus less then you(the viewer) by virtue of the fact that your mind can contain the conception of it. Anyway, I just felt like babbling and I thank (and pity) anyone with the patience sit through this. Salutations and farewell to all concerned! (or, in Groucho's words, "Hello, I must be going!" :) )

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 6:32 p.m. CST

    the evil eye

    by morpheus

    Either a corporeal form or a siglelidless eye works for me as long as they kep the eye.Always thought of the Lidless Eye as the Evil Eye;the ayin horeh of the Hebrews,the Italian's mal occhio and the Scot's droch shuil.It is supposedly existed as early as ancient Sumeria.It is a belief in the ability to 'cause hurt' or curse thru the eyes ,motivated by envy.And what is envy but covetousness and what is covetousness but desire.And who should desire the flames of illuvatar but Melkor!Melkor and Sauron were both referred to as 'the enemy'(the traditional name for the jealous Devil)......

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Putting fear into the Balrog..

    by morpheus

    ..would be a bad move.Even if the Balrog has a face 'as fearsome as ten furies',the curentjaded audience would get over it(how does one portray an aura of fear?)!I agree with Goodgulf in that we should be emphasizing onthe fellowship's fearful reactions insteadc of the critter!Now that we can empathise with!

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Check out Ezekiel 28:1 for a brief resume of Melkor

    by morpheus

    and Sauron to a certaindegree:).Note the 'lack of being' and thing of terror....We see a fall of a master of lies(the snake of Eden) to abodiless state but still incorported into human's cosmos.Enough to sow envy among humans!

  • Aug. 15, 1999, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Elves? Elfs? NO! There is only one proper way to say it and t

    by lindzee

    "Nasssty elfsess!" Gollum, gollum.

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 1:29 a.m. CST

    not yet..........

    by aule

    This ain't the end yet ....... we still have 6 days to go, and there's still plenty of blood to be squeezed from this particular turnip. Somebody said that High Elves are blond and that the others have dark hair. That's not quite true. The Vanyar were blond, naturally, but the Noldor tended to have black hair (Feanor for instance). Fingolfin and Finarfin were blond, because their mother was Indis of the Vanyar. By the Third Age, I'd imagine that the exiles were so mixed up genetically that they had all sorts of hair colours. I did somehow have the impression that the Sindar (Legolas for instance - yes, he was Sindarin, being a member of the royal family of Mirkwood and not just a regular Silvan Elf) were generally blond, but that's just a flight of fancy on my part and not textually based. May Illuvatar forgive my being pedantic. By the way, MorGoth, in relation to our previous discussion, I have to say that Melkor/Morgoth's behaviour reminds me of that of a disruptive child in class. He displays attention-getting behaviour, sulks when the other kids dislike him, and is evetually told to leave the classroom. On a different topic, I reckon John Corigliano should be asked to do the music. He is mainly a concert hall composer (oh yeah) but he has done two utterly amazing film scores: 'ALtered States' and 'THe Red Violin'. Aule , hewer of mountains, valleys, and indiscriminate and ill-mannered flamers, signing off.

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Distinguishing Elves

    by Eomund

    I don't think its a good idea to go to great technical lengths to distinguish the elves. I agree with the majority that slightly pointed ears are fine and some strategically placed "auras" are fine. As far as the auras go, I imagine them subtle enough that you wouldn't really notice it as such until you spent some effort analyzing why these folks are so dazzling and wondrous. So any lighting effects ought not to be very obvious if done. And though I don't have any text to back me up, I imagine that those elves who saw the light of the two trees, or spent any time in Aman, and possibly their descendants would have a more pronounced aura... Galadriel certainly, possibly Elrond and Celeborn, but maybe not Arwen and probably not Legolas. I'm not completely against the shaven look, either, but I don't think any of these ideas should be obvious to the point that anybody would notice it right away. They should be subtle. No porpoise boys. What I wanted to add was that I don't think all these ideas are really that vital. Three things will be probably more important to distinguishing elves than makeup and lighting or other fx. 1: casting. PJ will likely cast those who share some "elvish" features, to him. Probably lithe, thin, "fair" types. There will likely be a contrast physically between them and the more stocky, probably butchier, hairier men. 2: costumes. Elves will be dressed in costumes that will look different than the men. The only men who are even seen in scenes with elves until the very end (other than Legolas) are Aragorn, Boromir, and arguably Gandalf. All of these have reason to look extremely road-worn and to wear heavy clothes for the elements. These characteristics should set them apart from elves who would be much less effected by elements and therefore wear more flimsy clothes. Further, I'm sure there will be designs of characteristic outfits of the Lorien elves, the Rivendell elves and the Mirkwood elves, which will immediately set them apart from the company. 3: acting. Especially in the case of Elrond, Galadriel, Arwen, and of course Legolas, the elves will be PORTRAYED distinctively, no doubt. Accents possibly, grace of movement certainly, aloofness, wisdom, gayness, otherworldliness, etc... these in themselves ought to be enough to make a distinction in the mind of most audience members. And I like this type of distinction much better than the "glow idea". The contrast should be along the line of Greek scholar to caveman in some ways (though, of course, I exaggerate). Long live the post thread!

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 5:24 a.m. CST

    About that Balrog issue

    by celt

    I've always seen Balrogs as dark forms enshrouded in shadow and darkness. I envisage a hazy darkness, at the centre of which is a greater darkness that the eye cannot penetrate. When the Balrog reaches the fire, it spreads itself, making that inner darkness more viewable. The fire reaches up like the tongues of some starving reptile, and the Balrog ignites! Flames are now flowing through the shadow - and as it runs across the cavern's floor, the smoke trails out behind it like a great mane! I've never imagined a true face on a Balrog: the burning eyes should come from somewhere inside that darkness, from something that only suggests a face. The Balrog's feet perhaps should not clearly touch the ground, but should make contact indistinctly. I haven't got a copy of LotR with me at the moment, but when we first clap eyes on the fella I'm pretty sure Tolkien describes it as: "like to a shadow it was, of man form, yet greater". So, it is roughly man-shaped but bigger. Then when it reaches the chasm, its shadow spreads out about it like "two vast wings" - a simile. That doesn't necessarily mean they are not shaped like wings, but they probably don't function as such. Shadow is not a physical thing, but ethereal. Even if the Balrog had space in the chasm to flap like begorah, the question still remains: can shadows fly? It turns into a thing of slime when it hits the water below, which suggests an link to its Maiar ancestry (limited shape-changing abilities). To summarise then: the Balrog should be shown in full, but the very nature of the Balrog should be indistinct and difficult to decipher. Can you imagine seeing this immense flaming shadow racing towards the screen at you? A sword and whip at the ready? First timers won't know what's hit them! The Balrog should be awesome, and I'm sure it will be, whether or not PJ follows John Howe's more "solid" Balrog or not. Namarie

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 5:46 a.m. CST

    Two camps -- which are you in?

    by lovelost

    I suppose fans are drawn in to two camps: those who don't think these productions can be faithful to the true, very English vision of the book, and those who don't care about that and really want a big effects flick shot in the Southern Hemisphere. (For me, doing the exteriors in New Zealand is like making a Paris film in the Sahara desert, but then that's nit-picking to most people...) This essentially will be Peter's own unique vision of the book, one which will undoubtedly be shared by some and not by others. Some of the concept drawings look nice (let's face it, there's plenty of previous imagery to base it on), but I can't help feeling that seeing someone else's vision of the book will somehow tarnish my own. For example, everyone will have an image of the Council of Elrond in Rivendell, but will you be able to picture it again after seeing the FX version? Which is the more precious? What does everyone else feel?

  • Wow! All kinds of neat topics flying around! OK, which one first? Hmmm, OK, (1) Balrog wings. Egads! Not that old chestnut. Y'know, I used to be staunchly in the "They have wings" camp, but I see both sides of the argument and am even leaning mre toward the "Either they didn't have wings, or they had the power of their aura (fire and shadow vs. Elvish 'glow') that could be manifested as a vast dark shape "like" wings, or they could manifest wings whem they wanted to -- They are after all corrupted Maiar. (2) Elvish hair. ALL the Vanyar had blonde hair. All the Teleri (including the Sindar and Silvans) had dark (usually black) hair. Most of the Noldor had dark hair. The exception was some of those of the House of Finwe whose ancestress was his second wife, Indis of the Vanyar. It is stated several times in Tolkien's writing that golden hair was "rare" among the elves of Middle-earth. (3) Elvish ears. Yes, JRRT makes the distinction that the common word "elfish" applis to the traditional concept of "elfs." "Elves" is merely a "translation" of the actual Tolkien term Eldar (People of the Stars). Oh, I was talking about ears, wasn't I. Dang it! Got off on a tangent again. Sorry. Anyway, the "Slightly leaf shaped" comment goes hand in hand with the etymology of the Elvish word for "ear." The Eldarin root word "las" is used in building the word for "listen" or "hear" (lasta, the word for "leaf" (lasse) and the word for "ears" (lasu). The connotation carried by the constructon of the word means that elvish ears were thought of as "leaves of listening." Pretty cool stuuf. JRRT was a master. (4) Elvish Auras. Their auras, if you want to call them that, is simply a physical manifestation of their "fea" (spirit) housed in their "hroa" (body). Elves were extremely long-lived, but not immortal. Their fea slowly used up the substance of their hroa until they eventually became pure spirit. That was a very, very slow process, however. The aura was not noticeable during the day, unless the Elda in question were roused to extreme action. Then their fea burned more fiercely, and their inner light shone through. They in effect would have an almost translucent appearance. Now, of course anyone with the spiritual level of the Eldar (Eldar, Maiar, Valar, Balrogs, Istari) can detect that aura more easily because they cn see into the spiritual level. Which is why Frodo can "see' the Nazgul when he puts on the ring. Sauron's Maia-level power in the ring enhances Frodo's faculties. Whoa, what a concept. Anywho, their dimly perceptible fea can be seen more easily at night, when the elves want to be seen at all, that is. They can be seen as mere ight and shadow amongst the trees, so to speak. The lack of daylight and the Eldarin connection to moon and starlight make the faint glow of their fea more readily visible at night. Again, this isn't some lightshow that tells everybody "HEY, there's an Elda over here, come pincushion me with arrows1" Not at all. It's a very, very subtle thing. I'm sure PJax will come up with something suitably subtle and enchanting. (5) Elvish Beards. Elves do not have beards until, if they wih, they reach EXTREME age (and they are not living in Aman). The only elf mentioned as sporting a beard was Cirdan, at the end of LOTR, when he greets the travellers as they arrive at the Grey Havens. And at that time Cirdan was one of the OLDEST elves living in Middle-earth. He, after all, is older than even Galadriel. She was born in Valinor (making her some 30,000 or so years old. But Cirdan was one of the original elves who made the journey from the elves awakening place at Lake Cuivienen. OK, I've chewed up way too much posting space. Hope I didn't bore y'all to tears. Namarie

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Thanks Vanyar

    by Goodgulf

    Your post coincides with my thoughts on most points. I had forgotten that Cirdan had a beard. But I was wondering if only Elves of extreme age could grow them? Or is that a supposition based on the evidence? But back to the Balrog. I was re-reading the chapter and I can see where and why there are two camps regarding wings. First Tolkien describes it "...the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings." But then in the second paragraph following it says, "...and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall." On the one hand we have shadows like wings and on the other just "wings". So is the interpretation here that the second mention of wings is still speaking of "shadows", or did Tolkien mean real wings? And though the body of the Balrog reamins nebulous, the hands (which are mentioned) and the whip and sword are clearly seen. I would say that either interpretation of the wings is okay, though I'm leaning toward wings just a tiny bit, but only because Tolkien leaves out the "shadow" adjective when he mentions wings the second time. He certainly had plenty of time to revise that passage had wanted to, if it was ever brought to his attention. But for those who lean the other way, they are certainly justified. Normally we would assume that the second mention of wings referred to the shadow-like wings. The only excuse I have for hesitating is because Tolkien was usually very careful in choosing his words. And as we have seen, there seem to be several passages where he is purposely unclear about a description, leaving it to the imagination of the reader. Unfortunatley the film will have to get off the proverbial fence and decide one way or the other. I drop my argument about the Balrog flying. I assume that if the wings (if it has them) touch the walls that there wasn't room for it to fly. I won't get into a debate about whether a supernatural creature could fly or levitate - that's another matter, and besides, Tolkien doesn't go there, so neither will I.

  • Aug. 16, 1999, 8:20 p.m. CST

    What Elves look Like.... "Gimme a head with hair... long beautif

    by Mirror White

    The three Kindreds of the elves: The Vanyar had blonde hair and blue eyes... The Noldor had dark hair (black instead of dark brown) and piercing grey eyes... and the Teleri (which include the Sindar and the Nandor--whom later became the Sylvan elves of Lorien & Mirkwood) had Silver hair (read platinum blonde) and silvery eyes. Finwe, the high king of the Noldor's second wife, Indris was of the Vanyar which is why so many of the royal Noldor have Golden hair. One of their children was Finarfin who himself "married E

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 5:09 a.m. CST

    Goodgulf - Balrogs, Mirror White - Hair & Eyes

    by Vanyar

    Goodgulf -- we are definitely on the same frequency re: the Balrog issue -- including the "levitation" thing. JRRT didn't address it, so I'm not. Mirror White -- Excellent comments, but you have thrown me for a loop. From what resource did you get the "Vanyar have blue eyes" and the "Teleri have silver hair and eyes?" You've lost me on that one. But since you've already set me straight on how Galadriel got to Middle-earth (for the recod folks, it WASN'T with the rest of the Noldor over the Helcaraxe -- since the Silmarillion was NOT JRRT's definitive answer to that concept -- see "Letter" #353 and "History of Gladriel & Celeborn" in "Unfinished Tales" -- research courtesy of Mirror White), I'm not going to make any hasty responses. Please enlighten me. I mean, other than Celeborn I know of no other elves with silver hair -- and in his case it could be because of his extreme age. I anxiously await your response. BTW, I kudoed you in the previous update page -- the one where we talked about the whole Galadriel thing. Namarie.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 7 a.m. CST

    Here we go again

    by Stosslova

    You guys. Stop saying 'I want this movie to have this/be this/do this'...stop right now, or don't you see, it won't live up to your vision and you'll spoil it for yourself. Why oh why oh why do you all endlessly do this to yourselves?? You ruined Phantom Menace for yourselves by doing this, and you'll do it again. It's like deja-vu reading theses LOTR posts. Please. Open your minds.

  • Aug. 17, 1999, 8:06 p.m. CST

    That damn hair thing

    by aule

    Actually, Vanyar, I think Mirror White might be spot on about the Teleri having silvery hair (and 'sea-grey eyes' I believe. Something about them being 'Beloved of Ulmo' as well.) Although I can't provide chapter and verse for that one (my name is mud around here from now on - I have failed you all). It's funny, when I was about six I used to take JRRT a bit too literally when he described Galadriel and Celeborn as having gold and silver hair. I imagined them as going around in tinsel party wigs or something, and I've never been able to quite get that one out of my mind. MorGoth, you're quite right about Feanor .... if I remember rightly, JRRT's final thoughts on the subject of his relationship to Galadriel were that he did indeed have the hots for her. She was actually equal in Valinorean stature to Feanor, but was wiser than he ('Morgoth's Ring' if anyone's interested). I can't help having a lot of sympathy for F.. Despite his slightly unbalanced character, I always found him far more likeable than his goody-goody brothers. He's a very Faustian character, I think. WHat's that line from Goethe? 'He that strives with all his might, that man we can redeem'. I think that certainly applies to Feanor. Back to Celebrimbor (which syllable do you stress, by the way?), he was Feanor's grandson, was he not? Strong genes there. I can't for the life of me remember which of Feanor's sons was his father, though. Celegorm or Curufin, I think, because I remember that Celebrimbor repudiated his father's evil ways. Someone help me out here! Question - if Gil-Galad and ELrond figured Annatar (a.k.a. Sauron the Nasty) was up to no good, why didn't they simply waste him as soon as he came within spitting distance of Lindon ? And on yet another subject (my brain is skipping around like a Mexican Jumping Bean), whatever has become of Eternal? He definitely seems to understand Orc-talk, so I guess he knows the meaning of 'Ghash'. Maybe I speak too soon .... after a respite, always the shadow takes shape and grows again ........

  • aule -- Mirror White may very well be correct about the Hair/Eye thing. I just want to know where that mighty Tolkien scholar (I am dead serious, not sarcastic here)got the info. I have never read anything about Vanyar having blue eyes, not Teleri having silver hair. Grey eyes is spot on, however. Not doubting MW, just want to know where to find the info. morGoth -- Great posts, mellon! You are spot on about how we Tolkienians/Tolkienites just love to swap ideas, get opinions etc. There is no way that LOTR is going to meet each person's expectations. I'm just thrilled to death that a great director, who also happens to be a Tolkienite, is making a serious, heart and soul, version of one of my favorite works of fiction. If he treats his vision of LOTR with the respect and love he seems to have shown so far, LOTR will be tru movie magic and become a classic. Morgy, old fiend, you also made some great exposition about Celebrimbor (who made two Elessars -- the first Elessar went with Earendil to Valinor [long story], the second one was made specifically for Galadriel because Celebrimbor loved her -- man that Elf Lady musta really been somethin. The whole Feanor/Galadriel subtext always gave me the shudders. The whole "possesiveness" thing. Unfortunately, Feanor's Morgoth-like tendencies really messed up things for the Eldar -- of course many of them willingly followed them -- their choice -- since only he and his sons were initially affected by the Oath. Anyway, I always thought it interesting that Tolkien played out a version of the Feanor/Galadriel thing with Maeglin and Idril Celebrindal. To all in general -- (1) Oh, and just my 2 cents worth, the reason Elrond and Gil-Galad didn't "off" Annatar/Sauron is because (a) Elves don't usually just outright slay strangers at their gates, and (b) Morgy's right, they didn't know who he was, they just knew he wasn't to be trusted. They even warned the Eregion Noldor -- to no avail. (2) Just so y'all know -- the Year 2000 Tolkien calender is in the bookstores!!!! My sweet wife bought it for me at Books-a-Million a couple days ago as an early birthday present. All of the illustrations are by Ted Nasmith -- my favorite. 13 paintings (including a centerspread poster of Earendil searching Tirion)!!!!! Six of the pictures are from the Illlustratd Silmarillion [released late last year] the other six are previously unpublished Silmarillion illos. Some dynamite images there (e.g. -- Luthien Escapes from the Treehouse," "The Rainbow Cleft," "Beleg is Slain," "The Slaying of Glaurung," "The Lamp of the Valar," "Fingon and Morgoth," "The Sack of Nargothrond," and "At Lake Cuivienen." Check it out!! Namarie.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 5:18 a.m. CST

    Actually....

    by Stosslova

    MorGoth writes... "Do you really think from reading the post you've seen hear the we are all a bunch of whining nit-pickers who will throw virtual temper tantrums after the release of the first movie if every little detail is omitted or changed from the books? " Actually, I do, MorGoth. I don't think you're ALL whining nit-pickers at all, of course not, and you indeed strike as a very rational, objective thinker, but on the whole, I stand by the belief that this 'I WANT THIS FILM TO BE SUCH AND SUCH AND SUCH'-type posting is NOT accepting Peter Jackson's vision at all, and there's been a HELL OF A LOT of that kinda post so far, buddy. No question of it. I'm not saying we shouldn't have deep feelings or fears for the movie-adaptations of the books we love, but people should beware that if they aren't prepared to find some of their great expectations slighted (which will invariably happen) then it's not necessarily the fault of the movie or its makers. It's about the expectations we project upon it. And not even the greatest filmmakers who ever lived could possibly pre-empt and account for all those. You make a distinction between this and Star Wars, but whatever your patronising and undemocratic remarks about the appreciative levels of those posting, it's very much the same scenario, and in fact, this one stands to involve more trouble because however we envisaged the first saga of the Star Wars sextet, we were just going by our own assumptions, and ultimately if that film didn't conform with that, then that was just our bad luck. It's worse, far worse, with LotR because we've all read the book and we'll therefore feel we have more of a legitimate say in what this adventure should look/feel/taste/smell like, because we've all been there and seen/felt/tasted/smelt it for ourselves...which gives this one far far faaaar greater scope to disappoint us if we set our ideals upon it (which is what people are doing in many posts). I do not dispute that you will see it rationally, but the posts we have been seeing so far, many many of them, are not so reasonable. Those who demand to see this or that, or those who say they will be be disappointed if they don't see this or that...what is this rampant prejudice? To concur what this film will make you feel before you've seen it exactly proves that many many people won't be able to judge it rationally. One shouldn't go into a film with a mental list of what it should and shouldn't achieve for it to qualify as a good experience for that particular viewer...I've never heard of such a ridiculous and frankly fascist attitute towards art. But it's quite clear from many of the posts so far, that this attitude will be maintained. Caution, folks...do that and you'll only ruin it for yourselves. MorGoth, you may think this site will be littered with rational comment the morning after LotR opens, but we'll see. We have a long wait, but we'll see.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Stosslova's Immature Attack on Morgoth

    by Vanyar

    Stosslova -- I don't know how you are reading anything "patronizing and undemocratic" into ANYTHING I've seen morGoth post. You need to be specific and steer clear of damning generalizations. I think this is exactly the sort of "fanboy" vs. "Tolkienite" concept that morGoth was talking about. OK, I'm off my soapbox.....for now. Oh, and Morgy, you are right on track my friend, just keep on a'postin. Namarie.

  • Aug. 18, 1999, 11:27 p.m. CST

    aule's immature attack on Stosslova

    by aule

    Just kidding. Good posts all, including Stosslova ... she's not engaging in flaming of the same order that certain nameless others were not all that long ago ... (Wasn't Kamila Stosslova the name of the young woman Leos Janacek was in love with? Any relation?) Vanyar, your explanation of why Gil-Galad didn't slay Sauron is fair enough. Actually, it might be a bit unfair of us all to accuse Celebrimbor of being too naive. I suspect his zeal as an artist /craftsman/ scientist simply clouded his judgement so that he wanted to believe that Annatar's intentions were good. On the subject of Sauron, it's interesting that in the essays in 'Morgoth's Ring' (some of Tolkien's last writings) Tolkien seems to regard Sauron as in some ways more evil and dangerous that Melkor/Morgoth himself. How can one be more evil that evil incarnate, you may ask? Well, I get the impression that Sauron had a definite choice as to which path he took , and chose evil, while Melkor sort of 'invented' evil accidentally while following the dictates of his own supremely independent and rebellious nature. Also, JRRT describes Melkor's brand of evil as wild, nihilistic, and utterly destructive, whereas the remaining shreds of good, the constructive elements, within Sauron allow him to focus and organise his efforts more, despite his vastly smaller inherent might. Certainly, Morgoth's villainy lacked the subtlety that allowed Sauron to destroy Numenor, bring about the forging of the Rings of Power, and so on. This sort of fits in with the way I've always imagined Sauron's realm and works, as a sort of dark, supremely efficient industrial nightmare world. I'm kind of hoping PJ might do something of the sort in the film .... as a kid, I used to be scared as hell of some early 1900's factories near where I live in Sydney. I still have nighmares about them to this day - if PJ wants to really scare the hell out of me, that'd be the way to do it. A few visual ideas pinched from Russian Social REalist art from the 1930's woudn't do any harm either. (I'm sure P.J. knows his Eisenstein a lot better than I do, so I'm not going to rant on the subject!) A bit of nasty 'Stalin' music in the style of Shostakovich's 4th or 8th symphonies might be nice too when depicting Mordor/Orcs/etc. Any more ideas on the subject, folks?

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Back at ya

    by Stosslova

    Various things: Aule, respectamundo! Haven't yet come across anyone else on the net who got the Stosslova connection. Brilliant. Won't dwell on it here, but Kamila Stosslova can be accounted as the inspiration for possibly the greatest operatic compositions of the twentieth century. Having said that, we're not actually related. Anyway, I'm now going to defend my remarks that MorGoth's distinction between the appreciative levels of 'fanboys' and 'Tolkienites' is patronising and undemocratic. I chose my words carefully and I stand by them. How arrogant and presumptuous to suppose that the person most steeped in Tolkien folklore, the people who've read it more than anyone else or the people who have a thousand die-cast Gollums in their bedroom, have a better right to judge, assess, speculate and evaluate this movie. What a load of rubbish. I've only read LotR once, long ago, and I don't have any memorabilia and I've enjoyed a whole load of other books a lot more, but that doesn't mean that I have less of a relevant opinion as to whether the fuckin Balrog should or shouldn't be shown, and zillions of other things just like that. Yes, I appreciate that there are people far more attached to this book than others and consequently their concerns for the movie are far greater, BUT this does not make them better, this does not make them more rational (I'd say those with a greater attachment, a greater vision of Middle Earth, are quite apparently those most likely to be disappointed, surely, because the movie then has more to live up to). But the point is, this movie isn't being made for the Tolkienites. It's a movie. It's for everyone. And consequently, everyone has a right to an equal opinion about it. I think it's pompous and very disparaging to dismiss the core aicn posting body as 'fanboys' as if they're less rational or judicious than you who know it all. My warning to others about not getting too demanding of what this movie should be goes out to posters across the board - and I meant it in good faith, not as some dig to undermine you.

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 4:28 a.m. CST

    I dig you stosslova:)

    by morpheus

    I agree with your point.Remeber the (as somebody pointed out) the over obsessiveness love of Feanor!I'm no fan of SW.In my last post i used the SWTPM as an eaxample,a very good one, of this.Its not bad or good thing,just human nature....

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 6:05 a.m. CST

    why i think of the lidless eye as the evil eye

    by morpheus

    They took Orc to the top of a mountain, O how Enitharmon wept! They chained his young limbs to the rock' With Chain of Jealousy(!), Beneath Urizen's deathful shadow.....

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 6:17 a.m. CST

    sympathy for the enemy

    by morpheus

    Los wept howling around the Dark Demon, And cursing his bit,for in anguish, Urizen was rent from his side, And a fathomless void for his feet, ....But Urizen laid in a stormy sleep,Los howled in a dismal stupor,Groaning!Groaning!Groaning! ...Disor5ganiz'd,rent from eternity, Los beat upon his fetters(Urizen's) 0f iron, And heated his furnaces and poured, Iron sodor and sodor of brass, ....Till in a roof of shaggy wild inclos'd(Urizen) In an orb,his fountain of thoughts...Now is that Sauron or isn't that now?Ain't Blake cool;) ?

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Aule's Commentary on Sauron's Nature

    by Vanyar

    Aule -- great insight into Sauron. I've felt the same way about the differences in "leadership style" between Morgoth and Sauron. Old Morgy's original name wasn't "He Who Arises in Might" for nothing. He didn't always plan out his attacks well. Don't get me wrong, Morgoth could be pretty devious, but his primary method was to crush his enemies with overwhelming force. Several times he got his orc horde decimated by doing the "full frontal assault" thing. Sauron, on the other hand, was much more subtle, devious, cunning, and (most of all) patient. If you read some of the background in Morgoth's Ring, you discover that Sauron was the actual mover of many key concepts that Morgoth conceptualized. For example, MR talks about how it was Sauron he "put feet" to Morgoth's breeding of orcs from corrupted elves and men. Morgoth's brainchild, but Sauron did the intricate experimentation and follow-through that led to the different types of orcs, the variety of trolls, etc. It is even inferred that Sauron had much to do with the breeding of the dragons. He bided his time building his power in both the second and third ages, he "yielded" himself to the King of Numenor so he could physically go there and bring about its downfall. What a snake! It is no wonder that in an early version of the Silmarillion he was "Tevildo, Lord of Cats," -- a corrupted Maiar in the form of a large, evil, devious predatory feline. The very picture of cold calculating patience. Chilling. Anyway, Aule, just wanted to say that I thought your comments were spot on! Namarie.

  • Aug. 22, 2006, 7:46 p.m. CST

    Good TB! Goooood! *pat pat pat*

    by Wolfpack