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Jackson had the rights to a fully written story in LOTR. This is adapting the 2nd age, of which Tolkien wrote the least, with only the rights to the appendixes of LOTR. Alot of stuff they can't touch on, although supposedly Christopher Tolkiens son is more lenient than he was. 

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Plus I mean, Tolkien wrote on the scale of centuries. Outside of the Hobbit, LOTR, and a handful of First Age stories, events take place so incredibly far apart there's not really any way you could make an enjoyable show out of that. It works in book form, but wouldn't on screen. Different stories for different mediums.

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1 hour ago, The Choc said:

Jackson had the rights to a fully written story in LOTR. This is adapting the 2nd age, of which Tolkien wrote the least, with only the rights to the appendixes of LOTR. Alot of stuff they can't touch on, although supposedly Christopher Tolkiens son is more lenient than he was. 

I get that.  Amazon has it’s hands tied in a lot of ways.  But shouldn’t that have been an indication to them that they shouldn’t have touched it at all?  If they knew going into it that they couldn’t do it justice, maybe the decent thing to was to leave it alone.

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Bastardising the artistic output of a creator who's work is lauded as genius into a grotesque representation that alters the source material in another medium, that will probably be a lot of people's only exposure to this particular universe? 

Yeah, I'd say thats an indecent thing to do. 

In my opinion fucking with another person's  art to make a profit is a shitty thing to do even if it is legally above board, and signed off by teams of lawyers.

Not that I've watched tRoP yet, I'm just responding to Chocs statement from the perspective of a professional artist.

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2 hours ago, Odine said:

Bastardising the artistic output of a creator who's work is lauded as genius into a grotesque representation that alters the source material in another medium, that will probably be a lot of people's only exposure to this particular universe? 

Yeah, I'd say thats an indecent thing to do. 

In my opinion fucking with another person's  art to make a profit is a shitty thing to do even if it is legally above board, and signed off by teams of lawyers.

Not that I've watched tRoP yet, I'm just responding to Chocs statement from the perspective of a professional artist.

JRR Tolkien sold the rights himself in 1969 for $250,000. 

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Here's something to think about.  If Amazon wanted to do a high fantasy show, why not do something original or adapt another book series that was more easily assessible to them?  Fantasy is hugh genre, and there are some great stories out there that have been around for decades that would make for great tv series adaptations.  Surely Amazon could have more easily gotten the rights to some these and created a more accurate representation of an author's work.  So why instead would they go for Tolkien and all of the limitations that force them to produce only some weird mutation of an author's work?   

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They are making another fantasy book series adaptation, the Wheel of Time. But as popular as that may be in fantasy circles, LOTR has worldwide name recognition.

Mutilation. We're starting to sound like another former poster's line "the murderous hands of Disney" when talking about Star Wars. Let's relax a little. Your books are still on the shelf. You can read them every single day and completely ignore the show as if it never existed, and you'll be okay.

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2 hours ago, Darth Krawlie said:

LOTR has worldwide name recognition.

This was the point I was getting at.  That name recognition seems to be the only thing that attracted Amazon, to the point where they're willing to compromise everything else, that's all.

Okay.  I said my peace.  I honestly wasn't trying to derail the thread or instigate a heated exchange.  I thought mutation was a pretty tame and fair description of the show.  Never said mutilation.  I'm walking away from this now.  Going off to read my books.  ;)

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9 hours ago, Darth Krawlie said:

It’s signed off by the family/estate too, not just a team of lawyers.

Right, but I mean that is not always a good sign. Like, families regularly make poor legal decisions, go against other members wishes  when large sums of money are on the table. It's not a given that Tolkien's descendents care about the integrity of his original vision/design etc.. I may be wrong but you get my point. 

Not trying to derail the thread either, just defending Quetz's use of the word decent in regards to maybe the decent thing to do was leave the book alone.

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Maybe it would’ve been more “decent” to leave it alone, but we’re talking about Amazon here. Why in the world would you expect anything decent out of them? The company, like all others, expiate for the sole purpose of making money, not doing anything decent.

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Its funny to me how quite often non fiction stuff gets adapted into tv or movies and there are always changes to dramatize it and there is no outcry. Yet when something fictional gets adapted people freak out and call it "not decent". I mean how in the world is it worse to change fictional events into other fictional events than it is to change real people and real events?

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10 hours ago, Odine said:

Right, but I mean that is not always a good sign. Like, families regularly make poor legal decisions, go against other members wishes  when large sums of money are on the table. It's not a given that Tolkien's descendents care about the integrity of his original vision/design etc.. I may be wrong but you get my point. 

Not trying to derail the thread either, just defending Quetz's use of the word decent in regards to maybe the decent thing to do was leave the book alone.

They did leave the book alone, no one has changed any of his books. Except Tolkien himself when he changed the Hobbit so it would fit better with the sequel, the Lord of the Rings. 

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Here is the thing with trying to make this some kind of moral or decency issue with Amazon. Ill just use Quetz as an example. He earlier claims that Jackson was able to make a good adaptation. I agree with that however alot of fans don't. Many feel he didn't do a good job and that thise movies are not true to Tolkien's work. I disagree with that but that sentiment is 100% out there.

Now everyone has their own personal line on where they'd stray too far from the spirit of what is on the page, for me I dislike the Hobbit movies and think they are just nothing like the book. 

The issue Quetz has isn't with decency or morals its with a show that he just doesn't like. I mean he couldn't say the Jackson movies were 100% in line with Tolkien's book because there are changes, some fairly significant. For him those  changes on balance were ok. 

If this show were the same where the changes made were ok and still on the side of being ok in the personal line he has drawn he wouldn't be calling the whole endeavor indecent. You can't claim its a moral issue when you are obviously ok with changes being made from the books. If his stance was there should never be any adaptations of anything of Tolkien then maybe I could see his point. 

And you  see this so much with these huge franchises that put out new content. It almost never is someone saying "hey I don't like this". There so often has to be some greater underlying reason that the creator doesn't understand the material or something along those lines. But the truth is that maybe the creator doesn't look at the material exactly the same way you do. That doesn't mean he doesn't understand it, maybe you don't?

In the end the issue isn't with Amazon's decency or whatever its simply that they made a tv show he doesn't like. 

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Choc,

I can see how you might have that impression, but it's a little more complicated than just not liking something.  The source matters.  I want to illustrate with an example.  One of my favourite fantasy authors is Dennis McKiernan.  McKiernan actually wrote a sequel to LOTR years ago.  It started out as fan fiction, but when he finished it, he was so pleased with it that he tried to get it published.  Of course, he was blocked by Tolkien's estate.   I've often wondered how I would have felt about it had he been successful in having it published.  Dispite my opinion that McKiernan is a great writer, I don't think I would have been too happy about it.  I doubt I could have ever viewed it as anything other than glorified fan-fiction, and probably would have never read it.  That being said, I still don't think I would have felt the same kind of unease that I feel about this Amazon show.  McKiernan, like Jackson, seems to have a deep love and respect for Tolkien's works, and I don't think either were making a product just to get a paycheck.  Can anyone honestly say they have the same opinion of Amazon?  And Amazon isn't exactly known for it's intellegence, either.  So to see it try to take on something that's been revered and regarding as work of genius for decades is of course going to create some concern and misgivings for a lot of fans.

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Do I think executives at Amazon care about Tolkiens work? Only so far as they don't want to piss people off to the point of many not watching. Do I think the people they hired to make the show for them care about it? Yes, 100%. 

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Seventh and eighth episode!

* Did they ... did they use one of those mouth-moving filters, the automatic ones for photographs, like with the Snapchats, the things the kids use, on the shots of Galadriel and Theo in Mordor from a distance? For the scene where they’re talking about darkness and dark deeds and goodness and hearts and whatever!? It did not look or sound like the rest of their dialogue in that scene!!!!1! This show has a bajillion dollars!!!! They couldn’t just do a reshoot?????

 

* The restraint of the scene where Nori and Young Ian McKellen say wordless goodbyes to each other with the exchange of an apple is probably what makes it the best moment in the series so far for me. Just letting the imagery and the music and the weight of the moment do the work on their own without trying to gussy it up with a Fisher-Price® version of Tolkien.

 

* Wait!? How can Celeborn —pronounced with a hard c too? whaaaat? apparently, all this time, ‘c’ has never ever been what I thought it was in Quenya or Sindarin!?!? Saruman’s name was Curunír and that was pronounced k-k-k-k-k-k-urinir and not Surinir like I have always assumed!? Tolkien once said that the most beautiful words in English were ‘cellar door’. Did he say it ‘kellar door’???— be dead!!!!! Her husband is in the books! Her husband is on screen! He gets one of the rings just like her and Gandalf, right!? (No, wait, I’m getting him confused with Círdan. ) I mean, how!?!?!?111!? Going to have to assume this one of those classic “no body = no death” things. I guess for the purposes of allowing the somewhat alluded to intimacies between Gandalf and Galadriel in the Hobbit trilogy the franchise/fandom just sort of decided to treat Celeborn like he was dead!?!?1!? Maybe that’s the precedent here????

 

* is there a scene missing w/Isildur? We see him at the beginning with his friend and his dead friend and the queen, right? And then for the rest of the episode he’s just lost? Did he run off at the end of that scene? I don’t remember that happening. His friend convinces him his dead friend is dead under that collapsed house and that’s that, right?

 

Finale

 

* Was this bit in the ‘Previously On’ segment where Queen Regent Míriel gets a faceful of embers in the prior episode? The one before last? I don’t remember it!

 

* “I am good.” What!? Just trust the audience and have him name himself Olórin. Or if that’s too obscure and it shouldn’t be, not when you consider the fact that the pilot ended with the introduction of Celebrimbor under the assumption that everyone tuning in knew who that was and what he’d wind up doing have him say some mythos speak and end off with calling himself the Grey. Oh, wait, are they STILL trying to keep a mystery of who exactly this guy is? Is it important to Amazon Prime Incorporated that fans on the Internet argue back and forth whether he’s Saruman or Gandalf or Radagast or one of the Blue Wizards or whatever!? Why!? Duuuuuuumb. A dumb line.

 

* has Sauron been running back and forth between his time as Lord Himmelfarb and hanging out with the rest of the Eurythmics!? Hopping on top of a fellbeast to save transit time? Or is that guy not Sauron? Is he just one of Sauron’s servants like the other two, uh, Helmet Lady and Horn Lady?

 

* Twist dumb. Double twist somehow even worse. Figured there was a twist coming but assumed they’d zig instead of zag here and go for something else.

 

* Rings made of mithril and Galadriel’s dagger!?????????? What!? No!!!!!!1 Why would Galadriel allow them to go ahead with making the rings in the first place? What’s all this nonsense about two rings and three rings? There’s more rings! There’s a whole song about the rings! They sing the song during the end credits! Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t they supposed to win a long drawn out war against Sauron’s forces and then they take him in chains to the city and there after centuries of confinement, beautiful of aspect and apparently sincerely penitent, he gives up enough of the secrets of the ages to allow them to forge the rings for everybody all at once!? That makes sense. They all go into it with their eyes open! Sauron is supposed to trick them by forging the One Ring! He’s not supposed to trick them by having a secret identity! This is so dumb! Aragorn carried all this guilt over how his ancestor didn’t destroy the Ring but it’s all his dumb dumb elven adopted family’s fault! Galadriel could’ve just copped to it before they even made the rings, stood up and said “Whoops. My bad. How was I to know that the Enemy would be paddling around the ocean on the off chance I’d decide to reject the light of Valinor? Sorry sorry sorry. Gorthaur clearly wants us all to make him some jewellery and we can no longer trust the evidence of our senses as to why that’s a pressing concern. Let’s not follow his plans! Let’s all just go into the West and diminish instead.” but her big big idea is to give Sauron MORE RINGS!?!?!?!? Dumb! Long across the ages you have fought the long defeat, Galadriel? Huh? WHOSE FAULT IS THAT!!!!!!!?

 

* Final verdict : giving serious consideration to just skipping Season 2 and watching the Shannara (‘16-’17) show instead!!!!!1!

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Wait, so what are my complaints!?!?

 

THE CHARACTERS

 

I feel like there are maybe three distinct kinds of characters on this show. Three types. Here they are :

 

1) People We Don’t Know. People we literally have no way of knowing because they weren’t in the books. The show’s got to get them knowable to us, make ‘em known, it’s got to do the job of introducing these characters to an audience. Half the work’s already done for the show because these new people we don’t know are in a familiar setting, y’know? But do we get to know them? I have spent hours upon hours of my life now with Arondir, Bronwyn, Eärien, Kemen, Valandil, Ontamo, Waldreg, Disa, Sadoc, Marigold, Largo, Nori, Poppy, Malva, Vilma, Dilly, Adar, all the stars are here! I don’t think I could pick half of them out of a police line-up.

 

2) People We Do Know But Seem Substantially Different Than They Quote Unquote ‘Should’ Be. Some of that’s an inescapable outcome of recasting the roles but some of that’s down to the choices made by the storytellers to deviate from both the text and from, like, what happened in the last episode. Who are these people? What do any of them want? Elrond seems to want everybody to be his friend!!!1! Galadriel seems to want to die!!1! None of the kings or princes or kings-in-waiting seem to consistently want anything from one episode to the next track the choices made by Gil-Galad or the dwarves or Ar-Pharazôn and his son or Isildur or Queen Regent Míriel and it’s just contradiction piled atop contradiction in a way that matches with what they quote unquote ‘should’ want in any sense of the word. When measured in accordance with the preexisting text or in accordance with what one would assume they would want given how we’ve just seen them act pretty much all these familiar characters do things that seem deeply unlike themselves.

 

3) People We May Or May Not Know That The Show Seems Determined To Give Over To The Audience As Indeterminate Smudges. Is that guy Gandalf? Is that guy Sauron? Who are they? Who will they be? Oooh, the mystery! The tantalizing mystery! Can you feel it? Can you feel the heat?

 

So, the characters seem a bit lacking. I mean, is it unfair to compare this to the Jackson trilogy? Too bad! I’m going to do it! That’s got something like thirty characters and they’re very very very sharply defined. And that had less time and was released over a span of years! This show has more time, I haven’t counted but I have to assume what with every episode being well over an hour that we’re in excess of anything but the extended home editions here, and has been coming out weekly. I mean, even the Hobbit trilogy, well, I forgot who’s who among some of the dwarves but you get my point.

 

THE STORY

 

Once again, gotta drag the Jackson trilogy into this. It’s unavoidable! It can’t be helped. If they didn’t want that comparison to be made they had to either run straight towards it full bore or deviate substantially from that vibe. Can’t have your cake and eat it too, Amazon Prime!

 

The line on the Jackson trilogy was always, from the beginning, that they were making the movie for people who had read the books ten years ago and not for people who had reread the books ten months ago. They were constantly and consistently willing to deviate from the text in the interest of fun, fun was their watchword, speak fun and enter, so they’d make decisions about what would happen and the order of events on the basis of how fun they could get the final outcome to be.

 

I feel like this show isn’t being made for people who read the books ten years ago and it’s not for people who reread the books ten months ago and they’re certainly not making all their decisions about how to run away from the text in the interests of fun. I feel like this show is being made for ... the children of parents who work in a STEM field who won’t allow their kids to watch Game Of Thrones or Game Of Thrones : Deep Space Nine!?!?!? I feel like they’re running away from Tolkien because sometimes Jeff Bezos or whomever would ask them dumb dumb questions like “What are the rings made of? Why do they want to make them? Who is Sauron?” and they’re well aware that an accurate and nuanced answer to those questions would be utterly imperceivable to the brains of execs and audience alike on so many levels. You can’t explain to power hungry idiots that wanting power is bad!!!1! Some of the answers to those questions might even be legally unaddressable on the broadcast itself. Because they don’t have the rights to everything they’d need to mention in order to adequately answer!

 

THE EXECUTION

 

Feel like I’ve talked about this week by week more than enough but even so here goes nothing : (1) episodes feel simultaneously overly long yet seem to have scenes missing (2) the amount of ADR’d/looped dialogue is way too much indicating that they fundamentally reshaped the series in post (3) plot is inadequately distributed amongst the characters so I’m constantly wondering where everyone is this week; it’s like if they did a hospital show and every other episode you’d just get the orderlies and the administrators but no patients and no doctors and then vice versa (4) an overt reliance on gimmicks and mystery-box style storytelling to hold the attention of the audience rather than trusting in the innate appeal of the material presented in a straightforward manner (5) again, may be a little unfair to compare it to something that it can never ever outpace but nevertheless and nonetheless here we go yet another example drawn from the Jackson trilogy, every set and every prop was made right there in New Zealand (except for the contact lenses which were made special in the states and flown in), multiple times over, in the scene where Pippin is stealing the palantír from a sleeping Gandalf there was a suggestion made by Billy Boyd that he should do the thing Harrison Ford did in Raiders where he swapped out the object and so he wanted to use a nearby jug to do it but Peter Jackson pointed out he couldn’t because the jug was Ian McKellen-sized and they’d need a slightly smaller one to fit with his hobbit shape or it wouldn’t look right on screen and the props department piped up and said they’d made exact doubles of the necessary sizes of everything in every scene just in case the actors needed them, everyone really really cared, the clothes on the stand-ins had slightly different thread widths to match up precisely with the clothes worn by the actors; what’s my point, my point is that everything we saw in the movies felt real and lived in and everything we see on the show feels fake and lifeless (6) I understand that some of this may just be me, I’m sure there’s an audience out there that’s super excited for Galadriel to take the One Ring and put it between her perfect teeth and slip it on Sauron’s flaccid peen then have the blood of the Maiar rush into him so he can boink her for hours upon hours until finally at long last he splurts out a simbelmynë-white sigil-map of the Southlands over her heaving bosom, but I don’t think the show manages adult themes very well!!!!1! (7) maybe it’s not their fault. maybe it’s just that Amazon Prime can’t make good shows!?!!1! What is the evidence that the guys who basically just run server farms and force poor people to work themselves to death in a hurricane know how to make good TV? On my end it’s little more than Patriot (‘15-’18), some episodes of Hand Of God (‘14-’17), some episodes of Goliath (‘16-’21), I keep meaning to get to Too Old To Die Young (‘19), I hear good good things about The Underground Railroad (‘21), Alpha House (‘13-’14), I don’t think I saw every episode of The Tick (‘16-’19), watched every episode so far of Ten Percent (‘22-’??), I bounced hard off of The Marvelous Ms. Maisel (‘17-’23?’22?’24?), I saw the Leafs season of All Or Nothing (‘16-’21), I hear good things about Small Axe (‘20), oh wait of course The Kids In The Hall (‘88-’??), I take it all back, so sorry, once you take that into account they’re kind of the only people in the world who do TV right. They brought back The Kids In The Hall! Automatic A++++ to them! Of little comfort to the beleaguered, of course, but whatchagonnado???

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