Horrible Fantasies

Jan 9, 21:39 by IROSF
Thread for the discussion of the new Kong, Peter Jackson's fascination with the horrible, and MaryAnn Johanon's take on the whole thing.

The article is here.
Jan 10, 23:45 by Ralph Jas
Spot on, MaryAnn, as usual. Thanks. KONG was brilliant, by the way, and I honestly don't understand all the complaints about the pacing in the first hour. I call it "time to get emotionally involved in these people" and would have gladly watched some more of it. New York was just amazing to behold - it can never be filmed like this in real life again and I was just blown away by it. PJ is a genius.
Jan 12, 08:08 by Jesper Svedberg
Peter Jackson may be a talented film maker, but I don't think he showed much of that talent in the LotR movies. While they aren't bad, I can't say that they impressed me all that much; all he managed to do was not to make too big a mess of it.
I think that both Braindead and Heavenly Creatures are more interesting movies.
Jan 26, 02:02 by Oliver Hauss
Jackson's fascination with the horrible actually detracted, in my eyes, from LotR a great deal. Especially since he worked towards it in both directions: Making what's horrible in the books even more horrible, bigger, stronger, meaner, and in diminishing the heroes of the story. It destroyed the character of the story as a blend of saga-style storytelling, epic romance and in the line of the Hobbits more modern styles into standard fantasy fare, and moved a lot of the conflict from a spiritual to a physical level. His comment on one of the DVDs that Sauron and Saruman were bent on genocide illustrates that problem: Where in the book, Sauron wants to enslave, to usurp the free will of the people and replace it with his own, in the movie, he is just an ordinary butcher.

MaryAnn Johanson is precisely wrong when she says there was never anything nice about Sauron. In fact, at the time of the forging of the Rings, he took the identity of "Annatar the Fair" and was, on surface, friend to many elves. He had no problem seeming nice, he was the "Lord of gifts" If anything, this goes to show in the books that how someone acts to you superficially is not what counts. It's just the veneer. Unfortunately, Jackson's version of the story is all veneer.

What MaryAnn Johanson and Jackson miss is that LotR is part of something larger. Jackson flattens it under a bulldozer of huge monsters, huge armies and even elven heroes who are reduced to hobbit-size in their power.
Oct 26, 16:33 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
O. Hauss is correct in his observation of Jackson's mistakes in the LotR trilogy. While his visualization of Middle Earth was wonderful, and in my opinion correct (I always saw the Riders of Rohan as vikings on horses, Jackson gave me vikings on horses) for the most part (Gollum however was, despite all of the accolades of its design, far, far from the mark), the liberties Jackson has taken with the story and characterization completely undermine the films. For the sake of brevity I will point out what I feel to be the two most egregious mistakes Jackson knowingly made.

The Madness of Denethor. Jackson's preoccupation with the horrible gave us a wonderfully mad Denethor but completely without cause. Was Jackson going for the Denethor driven insane by the death of a beloved son, or Denethor corrupted by Sauron from looking into the palantir? We seem to get some of each, but not enough convince us of either. And why, with all of the extraneous 'director's cut extra footage' could Jackson not include a short scene of Denethor peering into the palantir or other suitable context for his madness?

Saruman. All of it. Christopher Lee's superb acting cannot salvage Jackson's decision to reduce Saruman from a power player making his own bid for world domination to mere wussified lackey. I can understand the constraints placed on Jackson to get most of LotR complex story into regretably short films, but again, why not a 5 minute scene where Saruman's real motivations rather than the obsequious toady we are given?

In his quest to make the bad guys seem badder, Jackson has sacrificed two of the most important supporting characters that show just how pervasive the corrupting influence of the One Ring is. For shame, Peter, for shame.

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