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Chen G.

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Everything posted by Chen G.

  1. According to Variety: According to this, Shore oversaw the recordings from New York. I think James Sizemore was present, though.
  2. The whole idea of a leitmotif score like Shore's is to create a lot of recurring musical phrases from a few "basic motives": if the leitmotives are molecules, the basic motives are atoms: thing like the major scale that forms the basis of all the Hobbit-related motives, or the augmented second, or the "There and Back Again" shape, or the parallel fifths, certain leaps, modal colourings, mediant chord progressions, etc... But since these scores are so sprawling, even the number of these musical "atoms" is quite large and therefore, in another sprawling score like Bear's it is inevitable that quite a few of them will be reprised. Shore doesn't have "dibs" on perfect fifths...
  3. Its just the most egregious example for me, but I can pick a whole host of others. Some of the recurring lines I like, others not so much. For instance, Bronwyn's pastiche of Sam's speech (moved in the film to Osgiliath) I think is really cheap. And I would be more amneable to fan-service, if this really was a bona-fide prequel to the films. Its not: it occupies this weird no-man's land where its clearly trying to model its look on the films, but only so close that they can without being sued. Feels like a cynical attempt to leech off of the popularity of something other than the source material these showrunners are said to so revere.
  4. Well... Movie magic to the rescue! Also, while episode 7 is not a bad episode in term of momentum, some of the things it plays around with are a hoot!
  5. A little bit like Oscar Isaac when he had to say "somehow Palaptine returned." You can just see the gears turning in the actor's mind: "Okay, wow, we're really going with this? This wasn't like a hoax or something? Seriously?! Okay, I guess I'll give it a try and do my best to try and make it sound like a normal thing that people say. Here goes nothing!..."
  6. Its just such a flawed approach to prequels: to set-out to depict creation myths.
  7. Weird, I don't see anything in there about how a Balrog and an Elven warrior poured their essences to control a tree that has the last Silmaril inside it before lightening hit the the tree and created Mithril, which is now somehow needed for every single Elf to tan in or else they'll disappear forever by spring...
  8. I mean, he is the character I identify most with (not project myself upon - actually identify) in the cycle, a lot of it precisly because of these flaws. Some of it is also a heritage thing: we all know Tolkien had put something of the Jews into his later conception of the Dwarves, and for an Israeli Jew, there's something very endearingly familiar both about their uprooted existence and yearning for home (honestly, The Misty Mountains ensemble may well have been the Israeli national anthem), but also in their grudges and secretiveness.
  9. Again, he's a tragic character, so while he has a lot of aspirational attributes, he is also supposed to be foolish. He's cantankerous, haughty, stubborn, petty, neurotic, insomniac, isolationistic, self-deluding, secretive and all manner of very negative things, and those hamartien become more pronounced the closer he gets to his destination. I mean, if you take a bird's eye view of his endeavours, they're mostly failures: he fails to repel Smaug, fails to provide anything beyond a pyrrhic victory at Azanulbizar, fails to slay Smaug. He only gets a small measure of success at the very end with the slaying of Azog, and he dies for his efforts, with Azog's aim to destroy his bloodline fulfilled. To me, that's good tragedy. At the same time, he is brave, loyal, kind, willing to change his mind when pressed, and wants to do well by his people. I mean, early on he can't stand Bilbo - and its not hard to see why - but he risks his own life at least four times to save him. He's always the last to cover the others retreat. He means well.
  10. Yes, I think by the time we get to Thranduil's, Thorin's decision-making proces is starting to become more than a little bit compromised (as well it should - he's a tragic hero!) but I think audiences can understand his rage and his mistrusting of the Elven king who, we learn from dialogue, refused to help Thorin's people not once but twice. We also know Thranduil is duplicitous: he tells the Orc he'd set him free and...well... But I think after Thorin's brought back to the cell, its pointed out that one of his calculations was his awareness that Bilbo is still out there and working towards their release, which works to endear him to the audience again. Certainly, by the time we get to Laketown, I think Thorin is in the wrong. For any number of reasons, I think Bard is making a lot more sense in that sequence than is Thorin, who is very clearly and cynically playing on the greed of the Master; and, of course, as we know, Bard is ultimately proven right. Again, no such luck with Galadriel: we all know she's going to be proven right; whereas Thorin is proven wrong, and pays the ultimate price for it.
  11. which is done more economically and, I would suggest, a lot more effectively.
  12. Right... Right! So I guess we're getting The War of the Rohirrim before Season Two. It is interesting to see some more believable budget figures: so this cost around $400 million to make, with that budget spread across 8.5 hours. So its big, but its not that big.
  13. It is insanely fast paced and insanely slow. Insanely fast, because the intercutting is frenetic and we never get a chance to settle down into any situation or environment. For instance, I was excited at the mention of a foray into the Northern Waste: arguably, if there's anything the films didn't give us much of its snow and ice - yes, there's Caradhras and Ravenhill but there was never something like Hoth or scenes beyond the wall in Game of Thrones or scenes in Doctor Zhivago where its just snow as far as the eye can see, and the audience can all but feel the frost biting at their face. Watching it, I was very dissappointed that the pace of the scenes never let the cold sink in: you can't build atmosphere when you're constantly busy pushing the plot forward. Same is true of scenes in the high-seas - again something we didn't see before - and a sea monster that could have made for a cool sequence straight out of the Odyssey. I watched it with a young cousin of mine who went "Oh cool, sea monster!" only to be dismayed when, after one attack run, the sea monster was no more because we have to cut to other storylines and move the story forward.
  14. Thorin actually does this a lot where, stubborn as he is, he will relent to someone's better judgement, including: Taking up Bilbo in the first place: "Very well, we'll do it your way." Admitting that they survived the Trolls thanks to Bilbo's "nous" - when Gandalf points this out, Thorin gives a kind of "okay, fair enough" nod. Taking-up Orcrist to begin with, when Gandalf points out "you could not wish for a finer blade." Agreeing to into Rivendell. "We have questions that need to be answered", points Gandalf, and Thorin gives a kind of "okay" nod. Agreeing to show the map to Elrond, which even Balin is apprehensive about. Agreeing to go into the Mountain after Bilbo to rescue him from Smaug after Balin urges him to do so. Almost agreeing to Bard's terms at the urging of Gandalf and Balin before Dain shows-up. Agreeing to Bilbo's suggestion to retreat from Ravenhill. Good luck convincing this Galadriel to change her mind like this...
  15. Every story, in a sense, has a central endeavour that the main character has to undertake, and the plot can be divided into seting out on the endeavour, the endeavour proper, and arriving at the destination at its end. That's also the idea behind the three-act structure. In some film, the characters sets-out on two "quests": Luke Skywalker sets out to look for R2, but his real quest is only when he agrees to go with Old Ben to Aldeeran. The same with Galadriel here: she's on a quest to find and destroy Sauron, but her actual endeavour for the purposes of this season - the end of the setup - is when she leaves with the Numenorean fleet to assuage the Southlands. Again, relatively speaking, its like a version of An Unexpected Journey where Bilbo only left the Shire at the point in the runtime where they leave Rivendell, instead! That's crazy long for a setup!
  16. I know you dislike that scene, but within the circumstances in which its set, I thought it felt very convincing. I do think comparing the two projects can be helpful: I always had a problem with the pacing of An Unexpected Journey: I think the other entries clip along quite nicely, but the first film moves at fits-and-stops really until we leave Rivendell. If Jackson himself recut it like he said he wants to do with King Kong (still his most glacial movie), I'd be game to watch it. But The Rings of Power takes this to a completely new level: it takes five hours and twenty minutes out of some 8.5 hours - funnily enough, the equivalent to when the company leaves Rivendell - for the plot to really be set into motion, and then the event towards which it was set into motion (thwarting an attack on the Southlands) is resolved within one episode in a skirmish that's, honestly, a little on the small side, with two episodes still to go. For all its bravura about practical effects in the marketing, I've yet to see a set of The Rings of Power that's as expansive as Laketown or Dale, and I would also contend that Khazad-Dum with its greyish colour scheme and many scenes set in dusty, squarish closed spaces, has nothing on the opulent grandeur of Erebor. Then there are our characters: for me an illustrative comparison is the way Galadriel conducts herself in Numenore compared to how Thorin conducts himself in Rivendell. Thorin has a beef with the Elves (admittedly, not these Elves but still) that Galadriel doesn't have with the Numenoreans as such; and he's tricked into going to Rivendell, whereas Galadriel is rescued by the Numenoreans; and whereas the Numenoreans don't treat Galadriel poorly from the outset, Thorin is actually proven remarkably accurate in his suspicion of Elrond when he overhears him later. Nevertheless, a few snide comments early on notwithstanding, Thorin doesn't treat Elrond with an ounch of the disdain that Galadriel exhibits in the Numenorean court, and he certainly doesn't come close to fighting with Elrond's guards or pointing knives at anyone. In fact, at Gandalf's advice, he shows Elrond the map that even the sagacious Balin doesn't want shown to the Elf. So while both characters are pigheaded, only one of them is sensible. And lastly we have how the two function as prequels: for one thing, the fact that The Hobbit is made by the same filmmakers and the same creative team counts for a lot in my book as far as references and things go: they get to reference their own work, in a way that McPayne don't. But even beyond that, there are no creation myths dramatized in The Hobbit: if it functioned like The Rings of Power does, the prologue would start with the Arkenstone being used by Thrain I to raise Erebor from the ground and an explanation on the origins of Dragons and so forth.
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