Author Topic: The Hobbit  (Read 36930 times)

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Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #195 on: January 17, 2015, 04:39:30 PM »
Of course, let's be fair. If someone offered you a billion dollars...

I would cast Will Smith as Gandalf the White in the next Star Wars.

There's the rub, eh? I think it's foolish to believe that Jackson was operating here with complete autonomy. There had to be corporate pressure to make it all fit into some kind of "Save the Cat" structure in order to appease the higher ups at Warner Bros. (Isn't that who owns New Line now? I've completely ignored the Hobbit movies which is really all that's left of the old New Line Cinema.) With that large a budget, they're certainly not going to let him work in a vacuum are they? Maybe they would. Maybe the Rings trilogy was that big a hit the higher-ups said, "Do what you want. Just make ga-jillions." I doubt it though.

Then again, he's the Tolkien expert. The higher-ups may have deferred to him to make sense of it all. If that's the case, then it is his fault.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 06:18:04 PM by RottingCorpse »

Offline monkey!

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #196 on: January 18, 2015, 07:13:59 AM »
It was probably more along the lines of, "Hey, you, Fatboy, you know that Elves and fairy stuff... make us another few billion. With extreme prejudice. Also, we'll kill your family."
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Offline nacho

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #197 on: January 18, 2015, 12:35:04 PM »
I think I need you to explain "Save the cat" again RC, because you use it like Fezzini used inconceivable in the Princess Bride.

My understanding is that STC is a method of storytelling, much in the way Campbell's Hero's Journey has been applied to movies. In STC, though, it's a simplification of the narrative and the characters designed to lead the audience along in a sort of paint-by-numbers approach to narrative, right? It ultimately boils down into a "tell" vs. "show" thing. The story moves along because the characters are forced to make decisions that the audience understands and would make for them, and suspense, etc, is artificially applied to the story through trope-like classic methods (Ripley saves the cat/Newt/her immortal soul, "the call is coming from inside the house," etc.)

Am I sort of on target there?

So in the Hobbit movies, Jackson is doing what the Tolkien estate -- namely Christopher -- has been trying to do all along. He combined the posthumous collections into the larger story. The Tolkien estate has been making hay off of JRR's notes and story bible that was written largely to help him create the universe and then discarded. Some of this stuff ended up in the copious appendices in all the books, but the rest went into the bin until Chris Tolkien went on the cash-in train.

If anything, The Hobbit trilogy is so suspiciously toeing the line of the Tolkien estate's wishes for how the source material should be told, it feels like the Hobbit trilogy is some sort of payoff for being allowed to do LoTR somewhat loyally...

But, in terms of strict storytelling, Jackson isn't taking the sort of liberties that STC would imply. He's staying with the source material, it's just a question as to whether or not he should be using the source material that he's using. If you take the Silmarillion and  the Red Book stuff and all the appendices and The Road Goes Ever On and Unfinished Tales and Lost Tales and The History of Middle Earth (a twelve book series largely devoted to JRR's notes about the background motivation of characters in LoTR) and the Miscellany and The Children of Hurin and assume that they're all part of the larger prologue in which The Hobbit is merely a chapter (as Christopher Tolkien would love for you to do) then, viola, you have a trilogy from a children's book you can read in a couple hours.


Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #198 on: January 18, 2015, 02:13:28 PM »
"Save the Cat" is a screenwriting book written by a guy named Blake Snyder that was published in the early 2000s. Like Syd Field's "Screenplay" before it, it has become the studio executive's standard as to what gets green lit over what doesn't. It's a beat sheet that tells you what should be happening at what point in your screenplay right down to the page numbers. I've included the beat sheet below.

Executives uses the beat sheet as a way to cover their own asses. They can say, "It's not my fault John Carter flopped. We had an 'all is lost' moment on page 75 like we're supposed to." Few films get green lit these days unless the script follows this format. It's also why all the blockbusters feel like the same movie.

Snyder died a few years after it was published. Therefore, he didn't get to see the dark side of how it effected the industry. He didn't have the opportunity to write another book to soften the militancy of the idea. (The way Syd Field softened his view of three-act structure after executives latched onto it in a similar manner.)

Look, we're hardwired for narrative and it all goes back to the stasis/catalyst/rising action/climax/denouement we all learned in grammar school. The same storytelling formula has been around since Aristotle and all the various structures are just a play on that. Every story has a certain wavelength the narrative part of our brain recognizes. My biggest problem with "Save the Cat" is that it is SO specific. It leaves no room for another method, another approach for the structure. I like Field's three act structure because while it is indeed a formula, it leaves a lot of room for the individual beats to play out.

It's also why the "Big Break" script may be my breakthrough because my writing partner and I followed Snyder's structure right down to the page numbers... which is somehow depressing.

http://www.amazon.com/Save-Cat-Blake-Snyder-ebook/dp/B00340ESIS

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SAVE THE CAT Beat Sheet
Blake Snyder’s SAVE THE CAT Beat Sheet is a popular tool for analyzing and developing three-act story structure in screenplays.  Here is my own paraphrased and augmented explanation of the fifteen “Beats”:

(Target page numbers are in parentheses, and examples from the movie LEGALLY BLONDE in ALL CAPS.)
 
1. Opening Image (1):  The audience is first engaged with something compelling that sets the tone – and we begin to see how things as they are right now (they will be clearly different at the end).
 
2. Theme Stated (5):  Usually spoken to the main character in a snippet of dialogue, this gives a sense of the deeper issues that this story is “about.”
 
3. Set-Up Section (1-10):  We meet the main character, who is living a compromised life in some way, while dealing with problems – and has something about them we can respect or like.  We get a broad enough sense of their “status quo” life to feel we understand them, and can begin to care about them.  We see the world through their eyes, and will for the rest of the movie — meaning we mostly get what they are thinking, feeling, wanting and trying to achieve, from scene to scene. There are no big crises yet – but examples of life as it is.  (The first act presents the “thesis” of their current life.)
WE MEET SORORITY GIRL ELLE, AND SEE THAT SHE’S A GOOD PERSON BUT KIND OF SILLY, NAĎVE, WITH A LIMITED VISION OF WHAT HER LIFE COULD BE.
 
4. Catalyst (12):  An event rocks the main character’s world completely, and sets in motion the central problem of the story.  It’s an external problem (not just internal, about thoughts and emotions) that demands to be dealt with now – it has clear and present stakes we can identify with and feel.
WARNER BREAKS UP WITH ELLE.
 
5. Debate Section (12-25):  The main character questions what has happened, tries to figure out what to do, and often seeks to avoid the true “call to adventure.”  But they don’t just talk: they take initial logical actions to try to fix things, which fail, narrowing their options.
ELLE REELS FROM THE BREAKUP, TRIES TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO, FINALLY DECIDES TO TRY TO GET INTO HARVARD LAW, AND BEGINS THE WORK NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THAT.
 
6. Break into Two (25): The main character enters an “upside down world” – where they’re completely out of their element.  This is a new arena for them, where they’re overmatched as they attempt to confront their story problem.  (They will stay in this “antithesis” to their normal life until the Break into Three.)
ELLE ARRIVES AT HARVARD LAW, HAVING BEEN ACCEPTED.
 
7. B Story (30): A second story begins, which will run parallel to the “A Story”, and interweave with it throughout the rest of the movie.  The theme and the character’s inner journey tends to be explored here.  (Often it’s the “love story,” or deals with some relationship issue.  Like the “A Story,” it’s about a problem that builds and develops. It can’t just be a relationship that’s going well.)
ELLE MEETS PAULETTE, WHO HAS HER OWN PROBLEM WITH MEN.
 
8. Fun and Games Section (30-55): The entertaining aspects of the story’s premise are explored (in scenes that might make the movie trailer) – highlighting the main character’s unlikeliness for this “upside down world – which are fun to watch, but NOT fun for the main character, who is essentially in HELL until the end of the story.
LIFE AT HARVARD IS HELLISH FOR ELLE, AND WARNER IS ENGAGED TO SOMEONE ELSE — WHO GETS HER KICKED OUT OF CLASS, AND TURNED INTO A LAUGHING STOCK.  SHE WORKS TO FIND HER PLACE THERE, WITH EMMETT’S HELP.
 
9. Midpoint (55):  The stakes are raised: the problem becomes more focused, more serious, more important and urgent.
ELLE GETS THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON THE BIG CASE WITH THE FITNESS QUEEN, ALONGSIDE WARNER – THERE IS NOW A LARGER FUTURE POTENTIAL FOR HER, AND SHE’S DOING SOMETHING WITH BIG CONSEQUENCES FOR OTHERS.
 
10. Bad Guys Close In Section (55-75):  There may be no specific “bad guys,” but the PROBLEMS should get worse and worse – the main character seems to be failing in their approach, and/or is facing more and more seemingly impossible obstacles.  Things escalate with their antagonistic forces, often with a “punch-counterpunch” feel (their relationships with allies tend to break down, too).  Note the page count here — this section, along with Fun & Games, Finale, Set-up & Debate are made up of multiple scenes, and represent big chunks of the movie.
WORK ON THE CASE IS DIFFICULT, AND THEY SEEM TO BE LOSING. ULTIMATELY, THE PROFESSOR HITS ON ELLE.
 
11. All Is Lost (75):  The story seems to be over, and the main character seems to have no hope now.  The main problem of the story seems to have been answered in the negative.  Everything they were trying has failed, and they have no other options.  Things are worse than ever before.
ELLE IS OFF THE CASE, AND IS GOING TO LEAVE IN DISGRACE.
 
12. Dark Night of the Soul (somewhere between 75 and 85):  The main character reels from the “all is lost” – and there’s often a “whiff of death.” 
ELLE IS HUMILIATED, BELIEVING SHE NEVER DESERVED TO BE HERE AFTER ALL, AND IS QUESTIONING WHO SHE IS.
 
13. Break into Three (85):  A new idea, a new hope, a new plan for solving the story problem emerges (often the A Story and B Story “cross” – the B Story should also be unresolved and at its worst).
ELLE WILL GET BACK ON THE CASE THANKS TO THE SUPPORT OF HER FRIENDS (INCLUDING PAULETTE, WHO SHE HAS HELPED), AND EMMETT.
 
14. Finale Section (85-110): A five-part challenge akin to “storming the castle to rescue the princess.” The hero fails at first, and is pressed to their absolute limit – forced to confront their own demons, and possibly change their approach to life – before the story problem is finally resolved.
ELLE WORKS TO WIN THE CASE. THIS ULTIMATELY GETS WARNER’S ATTENTION, BUT SHE DOESN’T WANT HIM ANYMORE – SHE DISCOVERED A NEW VERSION OF HERSELF, AND THE LIFE SHE WANTS.
 
15. Final Image (110):  Reflecting the new status quo now that this story is over.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 02:22:47 PM by RottingCorpse »

Offline nacho

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #199 on: January 18, 2015, 05:17:56 PM »
So I know the history of it all, yes... My point is that the Hobbit didn't adhere to the formula, in my opinion. How does STC apply in the context you used it when you said " I think it's foolish to believe that Jackson was operating here with complete autonomy. There had to be corporate pressure to make it all fit into some kind of "Save the Cat" structure in order to appease the higher ups at Warner Bros."

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #200 on: January 18, 2015, 06:18:41 PM »
I haven't seen the Hobbit, so I have no idea how it's structured. I used Save the Cat erroneously because it seems to ruin everything else. If you say The Hobbit doesn't fit the STC structure then fault for the Hobbit movies lies squarely on Jackson's shoulders.

What I'm saying is that Jackson probably had some sort of corporate pressure put on him, Tolkien estate or otherwise. Was the idea to make it three movies instead one or two as originally proposed his or was it some greedy exec's move? Splitting up book adaptations into two or more movies to make more cash seems to be the popular move these days. I do know that the STC structure is practically a mandate for big budget films these days. If Jackson was allowed to bypass it because of his LOTR success, power to him... though it sounds like the movies, for all the money they're making, are a narrative clusterfuck.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #201 on: January 18, 2015, 06:27:29 PM »
Well, I guess that's my question... What's the true analysis of the narrative clusterfuck that is all three movies? My final takeaway is that it's too much -- First, the Hobbit itself is a little twee. But then you shoehorn in JRR's now commercialized notes and you can't help but get a major muddle.

Actually, all this said, perhaps the STC thing does apply with the non-canon involvement of all the LoTR characters...

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #202 on: January 18, 2015, 06:37:54 PM »
Well, I guess that's my question... What's the true analysis of the narrative clusterfuck that is all three movies?

I've seen none of them so I'm totally not the guy to ask. I'm just assuming the virus that afflicts Superhero movies and Nu-Trek afflict The Hobbit as well.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #203 on: January 20, 2015, 11:14:24 AM »
I thought someone had posted about the fan edit in this thread, but didn't see it...

I'm actually rather excited to watch this. The Hobbit movie we deserved!

Quote
Well, this was inevitable. A Tolkien fan — less enthused by Peter Jackson's expansive, three-movie adaptation of The Hobbit than others — has created his own edit of the trilogy, trimming the 9+ hour-long saga into a much trimmer four hours and 21 minutes

Created by the quite succinctly named "TolkienEditor" and dubbed "The Tolkien Edit," here's some of what he/she dropped from this slim-downed version:

• The investigation of Dol Guldor has been completely excised, including the appearances of Radagast, Saruman and Galadriel. ... Like the novel, Gandalf abruptly disappears on the borders of Mirkwood, and then reappears at the siege of the Lonely Mountain with tidings of an orc army.

• The Tauriel-Legolas-Kili love triangle has also been removed. Indeed, Tauriel is no longer a character in the film, and Legolas only gets a brief cameo during the Mirkwood arrest.

• The prelude with old Bilbo is gone. As with the novel, I find the film works better if the scope starts out small (in a cosy hobbit hole), and then grows organically as Bilbo ventures out into the big, scary world.

• Several of the orc skirmishes have been cut. I felt that the Battle of the Five Armies provided more than enough orc mayhem. If you pack in too much before then, they just become monotonous, and it lessons their menace in the audience's mind.

• A lot of filler scenes have been cut as well. These are usually harder to spot (and I've probably missed a couple), but once they're gone, you'll completely forget that they ever existed. For example, the 4-minute scene where Bard buys some fish and the dwarves gather up his pay.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #204 on: January 20, 2015, 11:52:03 AM »
Monkey emailed it didn't he?

Offline monkey!

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #205 on: January 20, 2015, 11:53:50 AM »
Yep!
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #206 on: January 20, 2015, 12:17:26 PM »
Ah! Right. I was confusing MonkeyNET with GS!

Offline monkey!

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #207 on: January 20, 2015, 12:24:23 PM »
Ah! Right. I was confusing MonkeyNET with GS!

One of us.
There will come a day for every man when he will relish the prospect of eating his own shit. That day has yet to come for me.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #208 on: January 23, 2015, 04:34:30 PM »
Just grabbed the Tolkien Edit... And it looks like at just the right time. They're cracking down on it.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Hobbit
« Reply #209 on: April 06, 2021, 10:44:34 AM »
I want a Nacho review of this:

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2021/04/30-year-old-soviet-tv-adaptation-of-the-lord-of-the-rings-surfaces-on-youtube/

Quote
30-year-old Soviet TV adaptation of The Lord of the Rings surfaces on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vquKyNdgH3s