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Chen G.

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  1. Basing your monsterous villains on the monsterous, villainous hordes of Genghis Khan is NOT racist!
  2. Orcs are the certainly the main point on people's itinerary when they accuse Tolkien of racism, due to a comment of his that they are akin to "the least-lovely Mongol-types." I think that pseudo-intellectual Lindsay Ellis made a point out of this, completely disregarding that Tolkien was a medievalist, and would have been referring to the murderous hordes of Genghis Khan from the 12th Century. One could hardly be called a racist for that.
  3. I did some more thinking on this point, and dug this up from an interview with Armitage: Great actor. Whether it was also on Shore's mind I dunno, but its worth pointing out that Shore scored this while working off of The Annotated Hobbit, so he would have had immediate access to a lot of the subtler aspects of the novel while working on it.
  4. which is why I was so grateful to see The Hobbit turned into the Dwarf-centric story that Tolkien never gave us. We've seen a ton of Hobbits, Men and Elves in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and we're going to see a hell of lot more of the latter in Amazon's show), but this trilogy was the Dwarves time to shine! Same with the score: that Moria music in The Fellowship of the Ring was beyond awesome, and its great to hear Shore elaborate on this hitherto criminaly-underdeveloped aspect of his musical creation, rather than just do more Shire music; sorry, Bilbo. The issue with why the Dwarves don't get as big a piece of the action as Men or Elves in Tolkien's overall writings has more to do with Dwarves being a later addition to his Legendarium.
  5. I like that Tolkien doesn't give us a terribly flattering portrait of Dwarvish culture, and that the films follow through with much of that. In these films, Thorin and Company are consistently depicted as Also, this very evocative passage from "The Quest of Erebor": Is likewise perfectly in line with the Dwarves in these films. To be completely fair, some of this does remind me of some devout Jews I've spoken to. There's certainly a sense of superiority engrained into Jewish religion, since its the religion of a people as opposed to a proselytizing one like Christianity. I wouldn't begrudge Tolkien had he drawn the haughtiness of the Dwarves from that aspect of Judaism. But, at the same time, the Dwarves are also indeed "brave, and kind; and loyal to a fault."
  6. I don't think its a problem with Tolkien, or these movies. He only modelled his Dwarves after Jews in the sense that they live as a diaspora among other people, and using their own language in among themselves while doing so. The visual elements of the noses seem more like a play on caricature than an endorsment of it. I've yet to meet an Israeli that was offended by that, or even noticed it for that matter. I suppose it has to do with the fact that films (wisely) lean heavily into Scottish and Viking shorthand for the Dwarves, which makes the Jewish aspect more subdued. These films were/are plenty popular here. Wagner is a different thing here alltogether.
  7. The irony is that it was Tolkien who partially modelled the Dwarves after Jews, strictly in terms of being a diaspora and using their own language among themselves, alongside visual elements: some straightforward like the beards; some - a play on caricature, like the noses. I don't think that aspect of the thing (the reclamation of their homeland) was intentional on anyone's part - Tolkien, Shore or Jackson - and its not like I'm treating it as an allegory for that. I'm saying, it reminded me of that sort of stuff. I'm not too much of sucker for that sort of patriotic thing, though. The powerful aspect of the Dwarves' yearning for their homeland comes from somewhere else for me.
  8. Being an Israeli, it reminds me of stories of Israeli troops having first reached the Western Wall. Really, a lot of the Dwarves yearning for their homelands was reminiscent of that sort of thing to me. "Misty Mountains" has the quality of prayers evoking Jerusalem in the diaspora. The Dwarves beholding the mountain from afar earlier in this film is very moving, etcetra. Very moving.
  9. The first film shouldn't have been shorter so much it should have been structured differently: get rid (or heavily alter) the prologue with Dumbeldore, make more of the normalcy in the Dursley's house, and introduce the central conflict about ten minutes earlier than when it does now. The second film I definitely would have cut down a size.
  10. Its certainly ups the pace, but not to the degree that's I'm expecting a second chapter to do.
  11. I still think there was room to tighten the thing slightly; which is to say nothing of its even longer sequel.
  12. Hey, I like the movie. But I don't think the script does it any favours. Not in terms of how long it takes to plot to pick up, and not in terms of quite how the magical world is revealed. That little prologue with Dumbeldore (which is only there because the script is just an abridged version of the book) diminishes the surprise of discovering the Wizarding World with Harry. Starting with the Dursleys and portraying them as more of a normal family, making Harry's disappearing glass trick more ambigious, etcetra - would have made the fantasy all the more wonderous. Kloves and Columbus should have followed William Wyler's advice: "If you want to shock an audience, get them almost to the point of boredom before doing so."
  13. I hope Villenueve’s film is great and does well. However, those kinds of broad statements run a very high risk of leading to disappointment.
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