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Amazon buys up Middle-earth, it searches the One Ring! (Rings of Power news thread)


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1 hour ago, Jay said:

I have a feeling this won't be very good

 

So is this some kind of new record around here? We've declared that it will suck minutes after it's green lighted, without knowing anything about the talent involved?

 

I thought you were one of the positive people around here Jay! I mean, we all can't be Disco Stu with the always-on positivity, but c'mon man!

 

 

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So this is actually happening... I'm cautiously optimistic.

 

Perhaps the title of this thread could be changed to "Amazon is Frickin' Doing Middle-earth".

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36 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

 

So is this some kind of new record around here? We've declared that it will suck minutes after it's green lighted, without knowing anything about the talent involved?

 

I thought you were one of the positive people around here Jay! I mean, we all can't be Disco Stu, but c'mon man!

 

 

 

I can't tell if you are serious or joking.  There's a huge difference between "I have a feeling this won't be very good" and "This is the worst idea ever, I hate it, everything sucks now!"

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3 hours ago, Barnald said:

They have the chance to make an hour-long story about Balin in Moria. It could be something special if they put their minds to it.

 

Three words: Ken. Freaking. Stott.

 

I smell the eye-sweat from here....

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1 hour ago, Jay said:

 

I can't tell if you are serious or joking.  There's a huge difference between "I have a feeling this won't be very good" and "This is the worst idea ever, I hate it, everything sucks now!"

 

I'm actually more optimistic that it's a kind of prequel (whatever that means) rather than simply a LOTR remake, which after thinking about it a bit I don't believe would work right now.

 

My guess is that they won't adapt The Silmarillion specifically, but rather will serialize bits and pieces from a number of sources. More like "inspired by" than a straight adaption.  They're going to need the best writers they can find and a show runner that has genuine respect for the source material if this has a chance of working.  And like you said, there's a good chance it won't.

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What I read is saying it will be a prequel to Fellowship of the Ring, obviously minus the events of The Hobbit.

 

They could also flesh out a lot of the second age just from the Appendices.

 

I don't think they are going anywhere near the Silmarillion, although that the Estate is cooperative bodes good for that (film!) project, as well.

 

And yes, this can turn out terrible. Fingers crossed that it won't.

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My two biggest questions here are; will Jackson be involved in any way with the making of this series, and will Shore be returning to compose the music?

 

For the record, I fully blame Warner Bros. and New Line for the failure of the Hobbit trilogy. Trying to milk every last cent out of a children's novel by adapting it into three 3-hour films was a long stretch. I do believe that given the time and energy, Jackson could've made a film trilogy out of the Hobbit close to the same caliber as the LOTR films. I'm not saying he should direct the series, but perhaps he should return as a producer?

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2 hours ago, Barnald said:

The Tolkien Estate being involved is the hope I'm clinging to right now.

 

Frankly, I don't understand the gloomy cynicism here which has met this announcement. Amazon have shown with their other TV content that they have the clout and the eye for talent to get something of this scale made and for it to be worth taking a look at. I'm surprisingly rather buoyed by this turn of unexpected events, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with it. To put it into other context: I'm more interested in this than I am in seeing more episodes of Star Wars.

 

Just lets not have Jackson's involvement, please. He's a changed filmmaker now.

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Just now, BloodBoal said:

Highly unlikely. Wait no: "Not gonna happen" is more like it. Expect someone like Blake Neely or whatever.

 

And surely don't expect a full orchestral score. If there's anything to learn from "The Golden Age of Television" is that even on shows with high production values, producers generally aren't interested in spending a lot of money on the music.

 

One can hope...

 

Just now, BloodBoal said:

Nah. Should have been 2 movies. End of story.

 

Of course... didn't mean to say "film trilogy". I agree, it should've been 2 films.

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8 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

Nah. Should have been 2 movies. End of story.

 

 Not end of story.

 

The only film that suffered from the move to a trilogy was An Unexpected Journey. The other two are good pretty much as they are. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn't want them to have been hacked up and turned into part of a two film presentation. Whatever flaws they have are not a result of running time.

 

The Hobbit is a short but incredibly packed novel. Each of the three films features more than enough set pieces to justify a feature film, and a reasonably long one at that.

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4 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

The only film that suffered from the move to a trilogy was An Unexpected Journey. The other two are good pretty much as they are. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn't want them to have been hacked up and turned into part of a two film presentation.

 

The entire plot of BOTFA could easily have been condensed into a 20-30 minute long epilogue. Worst case of bloat I've ever seen in a film.

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43 minutes ago, Quintus said:

 

Frankly, I don't understand the gloomy cynicism here which has met this announcement. Amazon have shown with their other TV content that they have the clout and the eye for talent to get something of this scale made and for it to be worth taking a look at. I'm surprisingly rather buoyed by this turn of unexpected events, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with it. To put it into other context: I'm more interested in this than I am in seeing more episodes of Star Wars.

 

Just lets not have Jackson's involvement, please. He's a changed filmmaker now.

 

Amazon doesn't exactly have the Netflix/HBO kind of budget to bring the kind of visual and mythical scope that Tolkien needs. It certainly won't touch the OT, in that regard. Even their most high budget production, The Man in the High Castle looks very TV.

 

We can probably bet on good writing and a good cast, but the whole concept just seems terribly redundant. Not to mention, attempts to go off-book with Tolkien makes me wary...

 

 

17 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

 

Actually, I find the other two to be worse than AUJ, so... The two-film plan made more sense in my opinion, with a first film dedicated to the journey to Erebor, and then a second film all about the mountain stuff, with a nice sweet spot for the first film's ending after the barrels escape. No need for all the nonsense with the Dwarves battling Smaug and Tauriel and Leggy in Laketown to make a climax for the second film...

 

AUJ is the best film. DOS is the best score. Everyone knows that. Duh.

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11 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

 Not end of story.

 

The only film that suffered from the move to a trilogy was An Unexpected Journey. The other two are good pretty much as they are.

 

I have no desire to ever watch any parts of that trilogy again.

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Just now, KK said:

 

Amazon doesn't exactly have the Netflix/HBO kind of budget to bring the kind of visual and mythical scope that Tolkien needs. It certainly won't touch the OT, in that regard. Even their most high budget production, The Man in the High Castle often looks like TV.

 

We can probably bet on good writing and a good cast, but the whole concept just seems terribly redundant. Not to mention, attempts to go off-book with Tolkien makes me wary...

 

 

 

Amazon has plenty of money to spend on something like this...certainly more than Netflix if they wanted. The just dropped 250mil for the rights alone.

 

This production may have serious issues.  Budget wont be one of them.

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3 minutes ago, KK said:

 

Amazon doesn't exactly have the Netflix/HBO kind of budget to bring the kind of visual and mythical scope that Tolkien needs.

 

How do you know? You make it sound like they're a small indie firm coming out of a cottage industry.

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Fair enough. I just can't see them shelling out GoT-level money, especially on a first season. And frankly, I don't see them getting GoT-level returns on this either. Especially with more obscure FotR-prequel material.

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38 minutes ago, JohnSolo said:

 

The entire plot of BOTFA could easily have been condensed into a 20-30 minute long epilogue. Worst case of bloat I've ever seen in a film.

 

The whole point of the the final episodes of the Hobbit is to turn this children story into something much more grounded. In a true children fairytale story, the hero slays the dragon and lives happily ever after. In The Hobbit, the process of slaying said dragon leads to a refugee crisis, poltical tensions surrounding the wealth of said dragon and compensations for said refugees, and a lot of greed and moral ambiguity. We went from an adventure story to a poltical thriller!

 

That's the stroke of genius behind crafting a film that opens with the death of the dragon (besides the fact that it gave us an awesome James-Bond-meets-Star-Wars kind of action opening ), and for that reason alone it deserves to be a self contained movie. It's also far bleaker than the previous two, and it's better to compartmentise that tonal shift in a separate movie, rather than shift tone midway.

 

Another reason is that in the novel Tolkien skilfully softens the change of tone by censoring the Battle, ostensibly having it narrated to Bilbo and us the readers after the fact. Whenever you put a narrated piece of storytelling to film, it will become significantly longer than it is on the page because film is a visual medium.

 

38 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

Actually, I find the other two to be worse than AUJ, so... The two-film plan made more sense in my opinion, with a first film dedicated to the journey to Erebor, and then a second film all about the mountain stuff, with a nice sweet spot for the first film's ending after the barrels escape. No need for all the nonsense with the Dwarves battling Smaug and Tauriel and Leggy in Laketown to make a climax for the second film...

 

The enimosity between Thorin and Smaug is so brilliantly set-up in the novel (and especially the Appendices) that not giving Thorin so much as a go at killing Smaug, feels like a missed dramatic opportunity in the novel. If that change wasn't made to the film, I'd feel cheated. I'm by far not a fan of the animation of the molten gold, but the idea of the scene (as well as the execution of large parts of it) are solid.

 

There's too much Legolas, true. But even if you cut half his screen time and all of Tauriel's romance, you're still left with three films' worth of material, easily.

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I agree, Game of Thrones will be their target, but they'll have to be realistic about these things. Which I'm sure they will be. Still, I expect season 1, with Amazon's enormous resources, to be a major statement of intent all the same.

5 minutes ago, KK said:

Fair enough. I just can't see them shelling out GoT-level money, especially on a first season. And frankly, I don't see them getting GoT-level returns on this either. Especially with more obscure FotR-prequel material.

 

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8 minutes ago, KK said:

Fair enough. I just can't see them shelling out GoT-level money, especially on a first season. And frankly, I don't see them getting GoT-level returns on this either. Especially with more obscure FotR-prequel material.

 

They'll spend more than GOT, count on it.  Amazon's entire reason for doing this is because they want an epic, GOT style worldwide hit. You don't drop 250 mil for the rights alone and go cheap on the production. Bezos, a huge LOTR fan, was personally involved in this acquisition.

 

Amazon is going to go all in on this....and yes, it may still suck. Especially if you love these books.

 

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And it's now one of Warner Bros main franchises. Disney has Star Wars and Marvel. WB already started exploring the wizarding world universe to pit it against that, and now it's letting the stops out of the Middle Earth franchise.

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What I missed and hoped PJ would've put into the films are those tenuous moments of the company hiding out in the Doorway not quite sure where Smaug is. 

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Game of Thrones may well be the zeitgeist fantasy fiction around at the moment, but LotR is the grand daddy, with a legion of fans who will look to support the shit out of this, if it's respectfully done. There's really nothing to suggest Amazon won't at least try to get it right.

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Yeah, but much of the what "hooked" the masses to tuning into Game of Thrones were the "hey, it's prime time porn with swords!" aspect, which we won't be getting here.

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9 minutes ago, Arpy said:

What I missed and hoped PJ would've put into the films are those tenuous moments of the company hiding out in the Doorway not quite sure where Smaug is. 

 

That would have required far too much subtlety.  Why have dwarves hiding in a doorway when you have them running around while a dragon is spitting fire at them?

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1 hour ago, Chen G. said:

 

 Not end of story.

 

The only film that suffered from the move to a trilogy was An Unexpected Journey. The other two are good pretty much as they are. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn't want them to have been hacked up and turned into part of a two film presentation. Whatever flaws they have are not a result of running time.

 

The Hobbit is a short but incredibly packed novel. Each of the three films features more than enough set pieces to justify a feature film, and a reasonably long one at that.

 

I've been trying to tell people this on here ever since the movies were out, until I was blue in the face. The running times of the films are not the problem, nor were they ever.

It only ever was the way the films were assembled.

 

Also, I don't agree on film 3. I have always said that that movie suffers from a running time that is 15 minutes too short. 

 

Never rule out the possibility of Shore doing Middle Earth, ever. It's unlikely he will do a series the way real TV composers do, but I wouldn't at all rule out the possibility of him contributing some pieces or themes.

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1 hour ago, Chen G. said:

The whole point of the the final episodes of the Hobbit is to turn this children story into something much more grounded. In a true children fairytale story, the hero slays the dragon and lives happily ever after. In The Hobbit, the process of slaying said dragon leads to a refugee crisis, poltical tensions surrounding the wealth of said dragon and compensations for said refugees, and a lot of greed and moral ambiguity. We went from an adventure story to a poltical thriller!

 

That's the stroke of genius behind crafting a film that opens with the death of the dragon (besides the fact that it gave us an awesome James-Bond-meets-Star-Wars kind of action opening ), and for that reason alone it deserves to be a self contained movie. It's also far bleaker than the previous two, and it's better to compartmentise that tonal shift in a separate movie, rather than shift tone midway.

 

Another reason is that in the novel Tolkien skilfully softens the change of tone by censoring the Battle, ostensibly having it narrated to Bilbo and us the readers after the fact. Whenever you put a narrated piece of storytelling to film, it will become significantly longer than it is on the page because film is a visual medium.

 

What "refugee crisis"? Yes, you have the survivors of the destruction of Laketown searching for a place to temporarily reside, but the issue is immediately solved when they decide to head to the ruins of Dale. Then the Elves drop off some food in exchange for their help in retaking their portion of the gold in the Mountain, and that's about it. Case solved.

 

None of the political aspects of the aftermath of Smaug's death which you previously mentioned is found in BOTFA; the master of Laketown is killed in the first 5 minutes of the movie, and we're left to deal with discount Grima Wormtongue  Alfrid Lickspittle, his protégé, throughout the rest of the film, who offers uncomfortable comic relief and later meets his demise in a laughable, stupid scene. No deep politics here at all, just runtime-padding nonsense.

 

The only characters in the film which clearly exhibit "greed and moral ambiguity" are Thranduil and Thorin.

Thranduil just kind of mopes about, occasionally making mention of his desire of jewelry, but that's really as far as his character goes in terms of development.

Thorin, for the beginning of the film, trudges around, yelling at, and even threatening to kill, some of his closest comrades, then immediately has a change of heart after experiencing a vision of himself being... swallowed up in a lake of gold? I get what the scene symbolizes, but it definitely could've been told in a much better and compelling manner.

 

Yes, the opening scene is certainly a spectacle to behold, but after it's over, that's it. The film has nothing else to offer in terms of magnificent action setpieces, aside from the "banishment of Sauron" scene. All you're left with is an underwhelming compilation of CGI-infused battle montages and ludicrous, physics-defying scenarios.

 

None of the points in which you mentioned are enough to sustain a film of their own, let alone a three-hour feature.

 

I don't believe it's a bad film; I've always been rather fond of the Hobbit films, as they were influential in my becoming a Middle-earth fan, but don't try to make it out to be something it's not, and was never intended to be.

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Yes, the Laketown refugee crisis is resolved when they settle in a ruined town filled with burnt corpses, with no supplies past what little Thranduil brought along purely to sway the lakemen to his side, all the while with what looks like a fierce winter fast approaching, not to mention an army of Orcs....:sarcasm:

 

I admire the intensity of Thorin in Battle of the Five Armies. And I do appreciate that Peter Jackson can put such stylized images like Thorin being engulfed by gold, Erebor being covered by shadow, etc in a blockbuster. I also like that he can provide character arcs to anchiliary characters like Dwalin by having him learn to stand up to Thorin.

 

And I see the battle as character driven, so I'm completely along for the ride, especially in the Extended cut. The filmmakers made the decision to not go more than two shots without a main character in the fry. And they weren't afraid to be explicit, and not just with the R-rated kills in the extended edition but also with some of the sound design and with the shots of the dead lakemen and Elves.

 

I can't  stand Alfrid either, but for my money you can give me a Jar Jar if you're going to kill it off! I'm by no means arguing these to be masterpieces. I acknowledge their shortcoming, not ignoring them. I just weigh them in what I see as a more balanced, level-headed approach against the positives.

 

In my book they're in the "pretty damn good" club, with the Desolation of Smaug slightly edging the other two, approaching "excellent." I'm not trying to convert anyone into my camp. I'm trying to show that it is possible to genuinely like those films from a cerebral-critical point of view, and not just out of fanhood.

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In fact, if you think about what they have to work with, Shore already mapped out the main thematic ideas. Even if they go as far as the fall of Numenore, Shore already had a Numenore theme in the Rarities version of the prologue. If they choose to feature the Wars in the North, there already are themes for the Witch King and for Angmar, etc.

5 minutes ago, gkgyver said:

I'd wager Shore has enough ideas in his notebook to last the entire series.

 

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Between Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, the rest of Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe there are plenty of locations to film this and make it look good. 

 

I imagine with Ireland you could utilize many of our Norman castles and extend them digitally (much like Game of Thrones). Don’t forget that Ireland was originally going to fill in for Middle-earth until it fell through and Boorman just made Excalibur instead. 

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