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"On The Music Of Middle Earth"


Dixon Hill
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The Appendices on the LOTR EE's rank among the finest achievements in the history of mankind.  I think I love those almost as much as the films themselves.

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I loved the feature-length making of documentaries that came with each Star Wars prequel but yeah they were not nearly equal to the jaw-dropping, amazing bonus discs with each LOTR EE.

 

Am I correct in remembering that those feature-length prequel docs weren't even included with the 2011 blurays?

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The special features menus were a real mess.  You couldn't just hit play and watch, for instance, all of the deleted scenes from the OT.  Or any of the special features.  They were split by location or planet or something, so you had to click through several layers of menus to get to each set.

 

If I recall correctly, some or all of the previously available deleted scenes from the prequels were also not included in the set.

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1 minute ago, mstrox said:

The special features menus were a real mess.  You couldn't just hit play and watch, for instance, all of the deleted scenes from the OT.  Or any of the special features.  They were split by location or planet or something, so you had to click through several layers of menus to get to each set.

 

If I recall correctly, some or all of the previously available deleted scenes from the prequels were also not included in the set.

 

Ugh this is bringing it all back now.

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I'll just take whatever they've released on Blu-ray.  I'd love to have a hi-def copy of the original trilogy, but there are so many POSITIVES of the updated editions (cleaned up mattes and effects, especially in the first one, and I'll stump any day of the week for the Special Edition of the final Death Star battle in Star Wars, and the Ewok finale in Return of the Jedi) that I'm happy enough just taking the negatives with it when I watch them every five years or so.

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3 hours ago, BloodBoal said:

 

No thank you.

 

Team Negative 1's 35mm scan of the film for the win!

 

I've got TN's also. But that's more for nostalgia purposes...if I want to spill coke and popcorn on my couch and sit back and pretend it's 1977 I'll pop in TN's scan with the mono mix. 

 

Harmy's is closer to what an actual, proper BD release would look like (even if it is just in 720p). Though even then, Harmy's is more of a preservation...he didn't clean up the matte lines, etc. like a proper BD would. Both are obviously big improvements over the official BD's (which are flat out unwatchable).

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1 minute ago, Nick1066 said:

I've got TN's also. But that's more for nostalgia purposes...if I want to spill coke and popcorn on my couch and sit back and pretend it's 1977 I'll pop in TN's scan with the mono mix. 

 

Harmy's is closer to what an actual, proper BD release would look like (even if it is just in 720p). Though even then, Harmy's is more of a preservation...he didn't clean up the matte lines, etc. like a proper BD would. Both are obviously big improvements over the official BD's (which are flat out unwatchable).

 

Why do you want to ruin your sofa?

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10 minutes ago, mstrox said:

I'll just take whatever they've released on Blu-ray.  I'd love to have a hi-def copy of the original trilogy, but there are so many POSITIVES of the updated editions (cleaned up mattes and effects, especially in the first one, and I'll stump any day of the week for the Special Edition of the final Death Star battle in Star Wars, and the Ewok finale in Return of the Jedi) that I'm happy enough just taking the negatives with it when I watch them every five years or so.

 

Everyone has changes they like and don't like. Aside from simply cleaning up and restoring the film, personally the only real "improvement" I think from the SE's are the windows they added to Cloud City in Empire. They really open it up.  But that's all I like. The rest of the additions are unnecessary IMO. On the BD in particular the CGI is awful, the colour timing is terrible, and the sound mix is a crime against John Williams. 

 

There's no problem with all those changes being there, but the point is that version should be in addition to, not instead of, the unaltered trilogy.

 

7 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

Why do you want to ruin your sofa?

 

To get that 1970's (non-porn) movie theatre sticky seat experience going!

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5 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

Disney will surely release a proper version, right? Right?! RIGHT?!

 

Even after the Disney sale, LFL's Pablo Hidalgo has indicated that they haven't been restored and released because George Lucas doesn't want them to be at this time.  This was on Twitter a year or two back, so I'll never find it.  There's a possibility that this was built-in stipulation of the sale, or just the studio doing a professional courtesy to the filmmaker.

 

It's always tickled me that Lucas has been such an advocate for a director's right to final cut, etc, but he's significantly altered Irving Kirschner's and Richard Marquand's (posthumously) films.

 

4 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

On the BD in particular the CGI is awful, the colour timing is terrible, and the sound mix is a crime against John Williams. 

 

I don't have a sound system, so I use the TV speakers - and my TV is so old that it doesn't even have an HDMI hook-up.  I'm all S-Video, baby!  The Blu-rays get the story across for me well enough, and that's my largest concern.

 

.

 

 

,

 

I think the Music of Middle Earth is good as well, of course.  I hope Petey Jackson never screws with LOTR, but he can special edition The Hobbit to his heart's content.

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38 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

Question of the day for you, Nick: would you be for or against replacing Ian Holm in the FOTR prologue with footage from AUJ with Freeman?

 

Answer wisely, and do not take the easy way out by saying: "as long as both versions are available, I'm open to that"!

 

Well, since the LOTR is already available in a perfectly good version on BD, the original always will be available! ;)

 

Be that as it may, I don't mind that change, in theory...it's an unobjectionable one that makes sense I guess. But given the choice, no. Stick with Holm. And the way you reconcile that in context of The Hobbit movies is easy...in the Fellowship prologue, Galadriel is telling history and legend, and we're seeing the story told through that perspective. It makes sense we're not seeing it exactly how it happened. 

 

Anyway, I don't like the way that scene plays in AUJ. It shows Bilbo witnessing Gollum kill that Goblin and lose the ring. So Bilbo knows the ring belongs to Gollum during the riddle game, and keeps it anyway. Which actually does make him a thief and fundamentally changes his character (even if what he did was understandable, given his life was at stake). In the book he just finds it.

 

Of course you wouldn't have to show all that in the FOTR prologue, but still I say keep Holm. Plus you know Jackson wouldn't be able to stop there.

 

And bring back Sebastian Shaw!

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3 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

 

Well, since the LOTR is already available in a perfectly good version on BD, the original always will be available! ;)

 

True - but what if Jackson's LOTR: Martin Freeman Edition is the ONLY thing available in the next format, and the format after that?  Is the availability of Blu-Ray still enough, or is there an obligation to provide a classic film in the most advanced format in its original version?

 

After all, the original Star Wars trilogy was released on VHS, and therefore the original will always be available!

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The LOTR EE blu ray box set ABSOLUTELY carried over all the docs from the DVD EEs!!  I have it!

They also released separate versions of each film with no bonus features, too.

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2 minutes ago, mstrox said:

 

True - but what if Jackson's LOTR: Martin Freeman Edition is the ONLY thing available in the next format, and the format after that?  Is the availability of Blu-Ray still enough, or is there an obligation to provide a classic film in the most advanced format in its original version?

 

After all, the original Star Wars trilogy was released on VHS, and therefore the original will always be available!

 

Yep, you're quite right mstrox. Which is why I wouldn't want to see it changed.

 

Besides, it's already been done (and not a bad job actually) for anyone fancying a wank.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Nick1066 said:

The Appendices on the LOTR EE's rank among the finest achievements in the history of mankind.  I think I love those almost as much as the films themselves.

 

I'll have to take the time to go through them soon.  It's possible after looking through them right after getting the sets that I never saw them again.

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1 hour ago, Nick1066 said:

Of course you wouldn't have to show all that in the FOTR prologue, but still I say keep Holm. Plus you know Jackson wouldn't be able to stop there.

 

Come on....

 

One must always bear in mind that Lucas supplanting the original release with his Special Edition is the exception, not the rule. Other directors offered updated versions and director cuts, but still kept the original cut around. Hell, its the same thing with the theatrical/extended versions of Jackson's Middle Earth features and his King Kong.

 

I wouldn't mind a version with Martin Freeman, and maybe with "you haven't aged a day" dailed out and maybe a couple of other small changes, but yeah, as they are they're not deal-breakers in terms of continuity.

 

The triumph here is that the two trilogies mesh well without any real changes required to the existing material. Whereas in Lucas' work, the continuity is so cluncky that he needed to completely revise the existing films, and it still doesn't work!

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7 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I wouldn't mind a version with Martin Freeman, and maybe with "you haven't aged a day" dailed out 

1

 

See, there you go. Right there. That's awful. And that's your slippery slope.

 

There's nothing wrong with the "you haven't aged a day line" in any context. The line is perfect and is delivered beautifully by Ian McKellan. Removing it for any reason would just be obnoxious.

 

 

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If it's an optional version of the film, why would you care?

 

Its like the removal of "what's this? A Ring!" in the YouTube edit above. It's part of the editing process: sometimes good stuff has got to go, too.

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The Balrog and Gandalf falling? In terms of linearity, I see where you'd get that from. But the structure of those films isn't entirely linear, and not for naught. The idea being that, since The Two Towers has the least spread-out action, it needed a James Bond opening, even at the price of none-linearity.

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The LOTR trilogy doesn't need any "special edition" changes. It's perfect the way it is. Any "modifications" made in order to keep continuity with the Hobbit trilogy would feel sacrilegious and frankly jarring. The trilogy is simply far too influential and important of a landmark in filmmaking to be tinkered and edited with years later. We all know what happened to the classic Star Wars OT when Lucas made changes to important scenes in order to keep continuity with his prequel trilogy. *cough* Jar Jar in ROTJ *cough*

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11 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

If it's an optional version of the film, why would you care?

 

Its like the removal of "what's this? A Ring!" in the YouTube edit above.

 

Well the context of BloodBoal's question was if there was only one version.  As long as the existing versions are available in whatever the current, best format is, Peter Jackson can do what he wants with his films. He can actually show CGI Ents talking about the consistency of squirrel droppings for all I care (which frankly I think he'd be tempted to do).

 

Like most fans of these movies, I'm still waiting for that ultimate box set with all six movies re-conceived with new and deleted scenes, updated CGI, etc. And why not, stick Martin Freeman in Fellowship. As long as the originals are always available. 

 

4 minutes ago, JohnSolo said:

The LOTR trilogy doesn't need any "special edition" changes. It's perfect the way it is. Any "modifications" made in order to keep continuity with the Hobbit trilogy would feel sacrilegious and frankly jarring. We all know what happened to the Star Wars OT when Lucas made changes to important scenes in order to keep continuity with his prequel trilogy. *cough* Jar Jar in ROTJ *cough*

 

The only example I know of a special edition rerelease of a classic film that actually enhances the overall viewing experience is the 20th anniversary version of E.T. That's a prime example of a "special edition" done right.

 

Huh? You had me until that last bit. Even Spielberg regretted doing that.

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And, most importantly, Steven Spielberg didn't supplant the original cut with his updated cut. As long as it's done in that fashion, I don't mind minute tweaks to Lord of the Rings.

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2 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

The Balrog and Gandalf falling? In terms of linearity, I see where you'd get that from. But the structure of those films isn't entirely linear, and not for naught. The idea being that, since The Two Towers has the least spread-out action, it needed a James Bond opening, even at the price of none-linearity.

 

I mean the entirety of Moria.  Fellowship should cut from "Speak Friend and Enter" immediately to Frodo et al sobbing outside of the cave.  Leave Gandalf's whereabouts a mystery!

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This whole concept and culture of "revising" your film after the fact is the reason why the prequels and the Hobbit films became such a mess in the first place! The LOTR films are what they are. They were made over 15 years ago, now leave them alone. This notion of multiple versions and revisions of films is getting obnoxious and does a disservice to the craft of filmmaking itself.

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Exactly KK.

 

And part of the reason that these things are a mess is that the directors are fundamentally different people when they do these revisions. They have different sensibilities as people and artists by the time they get around to doing these things. What is it Spielberg said? The current version of him would never get onto the Mothership at the end of CE3K, and he would not have Roy Neary do so. Coppola made similar comments about The Godfather.

 

Look how much Jackson's sensibilities changed in the relatively short time between LOTR and The Hobbit. Who knows what he'd do in ten years. He'd want to approach the material in a completely different way, and in most cases that means fuc*ng it up.  Leave it alone.

 

And if you must do it, yeah I'll watch. I adore these films after all. But the leave original, untouched versions available. 

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Revisions are actually more common in film than one might imagine.

 

Even in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, many of the choices made for the Extended cuts were informed by the editing process on the next film moving along, and the filmmakers adding stuff into the existing film to sit better with the next one.

 

True, it's all within less than a year's time, not 15. But still. As long as you do it tastefully and without outright replacing the original cut, I don't mind.

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I actually think the success of FOTR and TTT ultimately caused Jackson to make decisions in editing and post on ROTK that he would not have made had all three films been put in the can at the same time...to that film's detriment. In that the stupid excesses that plagued The Hobbit were glimpsed in ROTK. Though only just, and obviously that film remains a masterpiece, just the lesser masterpiece of the three (though in some ways the most emotionally resonant).

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Well again, that's a slippery slope. Because it encourages this notion that you can always "fix" your film "later". Even with the Hobbit films, I recall Pope expressing his frustrations with how he was mostly conducting to a green screen with a mostly unfinished film. Back in the day, there were deadlines, there were constraints and less room for mistakes. You shot on a certain amount of film, so you had to plan and get it right first time. This idea that everything can be fixed/completed/polished after the fact is why you get messy productions like The Hobbit in the first place. Signs of this were there in ROTK as well.

 

And yes, it is becoming more commonplace in mainstream cinema. Which explains why a lot of these blockbusters are the way they are.

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1 minute ago, BloodBoal said:

 

In-fucking-deed. Especially since we don't know when was the last time Gandalf saw Bilbo. There's nothing to suggest it was at the end of the Hobbit trilogy. Still don't get why some people see that line as a problem.

 

 

It's people who think way too literally.  Can't it just be old friends engaging in lighthearted banter?

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Just now, Chen G. said:

It's by no means a serious continuity problem, true, but it can be a bit jarring for a lot of viewers.

 

Like who?

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It is and it isn't. If someone were to make an updated cut, with the original still available, I wouldn't mind them erring on the side of caution in terms of continuity with little bits like that.

 

We'll always have the original version, that much is certain.

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How in any reasonable way is that line a continuity problem?

 

Take your pick:

 

1) We don't know when the last time Gandalf saw Bilbo;

2) Gandalf was being polite to a very old friend.

 

As for it being "jarring" to a lot of people, if they can get past that Martin Freeman is suddenly now Ian Holm, I'm pretty sure they'll be OK with that line.

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