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more thoughts on The Hobbit movie

Thanks for everyone who answered yesterday's post. I liked reading everyone's ideas. But I wonder whether I wasn't clear about just what I was getting at?

When I heard the news about a possible third film, my first thought was: the Appendices and other sections of The Lord of the Ring provide nice snippets, but I couldn't imagine many things with a dramatic structure, particularly things that people who weren't already fans of the book would care about.

The one exception is probably the hunt for Gollum and for knowledge of the Ring. I can see a conversation with Saruman piquing Gandalf's interest. Maybe a trip to Rivendell to interrogate Bilbo one more time, along with some other Rivendell scenes. Maybe we meet Aragorn there on one of his trips to see Arwen (because apparently Tolkien movies must have romance, even when they don't). Aragorn and Gandalf realize that Gollum is the key and hunt for him for a while in frustration. Gandalf breaks off and goes to Minas Tirith where we get intellectual maneuverings between him and evil!movie!Denethor (oh, please, couldn't we make him smart? Even that would be an improvement...), and Denethor gives Gandalf access to the archives almost as a dare to actually find something about the founder of Gondor that Denethor doesn't know. Assisted ably by Faramir - in direct opposition to dad, a place for wimpy!movie!Faramir to show his character - Gandalf finds enough to form a theory. Meanwhile, Aragorn through great feats of will and against all odds, finally captures Gollum and meets up with Aragorn somehow. Contrary to what the book is, they don't beat the information out of him but somehow give him a chance to give it up willingly.  Gandalf rushes off to the Shire, while Aragorn takes Gollum to Mirkwood. It could end on a nicely redemptive note, but not in an uncomplicated way - leave the question of whether Gollum is really reformed and whether he'll stay that way.

Even that, though, seems strangely anticlimactic. I mean, how exciting is intellectual discovery if you're not an academic? Even politics seems beyond what Jackson can manage well. And the whole thing ends without the point of all the sacrifice and effort being made clear; it really just is a set-up for LOTR.

There are other things I'd like to see explored, like Balin's colony in Moria or the family struggle to get Frodo to live at Bag End, or how the various elven kingdoms related to each other. But I'm honestly not sure how you'd give that any kind of a dramatic structure, and that's what I was really asking about. We all have our favorite characters and moments, but there simply doesn't seem to be a *narrative* worth telling here.

Anyway, that's the kind of thing I was looking for. I would love to see more of the other places, but I'm simply not seeing where you'd get the plot for a self-sufficient movie. So if anyone who commented yesterday wants to lay out a possible movie that's self-contained and would actually pull from what Tolkien said, I'd be very interested to read it.

I am a little concerned about overmilking the franchise, and I don't want this. I'm not anti-Jackson, but the pieces with true narrative potential all involve characters and types of situations he hasn't shown a great ability to do well. I'm only really concerned about that concern, though, when there doesn't seem to be a point to a further movie and they make one anyway. They're planning a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and that's built off an amusement park ride, for Pete's sake. And Tolkien packs so much backstory that there are definitely places worth exploring. (I can imagine four or five separate SiIlmarillion-based movies, though I'm not sure I'd want Jackson to make them...


Jul. 27th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)
I admit, I'm just as flummoxed as you about it. I can't find anything that could possibly provide a good, movie-worthy narrative thread for those 60 years except for good old Strider.

What I would want to see would be this: an intro, maybe feat. teen Aragorn, completely unaware of who he is and fairly innocent. His first Rangering trip with the sons of Elrond, his subsequent blooding and loss of innocence, and then, the revelation of his heritage. He meets Arwen and Elrond states that for now she is DEFINITELY out of his league. End Act One.

Act Two involves Aragorn first among the Dunedain, then abroad. Lots and lots of political intrigue in Minas Tirith, Aragorn possibly wondering if he could press his claim for kingship now, until Gandalf shows up, smacks some sense into him, and shows him that he's being selfish by putting the needs of all his people (including the Rangers) below what is safe and comfortable for him. (Or something like that... I really liked Inzilbeth's take on this with Aspects of Aragorn.)

So after Aragorn's crisis of self is over, he decides he's in this for the long haul and it's "defeat Sauron or bust." Continues traveling and learning as MUCH intel as he can, and lots of terrible near-misses. Finally, exhausted, he stumbles into Lothlorien... and you know the rest. Maybe ends with a voiceover that things were going to get really rough, but at least on this day, he believed they would all make it through. I like the idea of an old Aragorn narrating the whole thing, if only so that we can get some sentimental shots of the people who helped him along the way, who didn't make it through (coughcoughHALBARAD)

It would be a bit of a risk, but biopic-style pics have been made before, you wouldn't need nearly as much epic CGI, and you really can turn Aragorn's life into a narrative. The problem is, of course, that he's progressing into increasing responsibility and kingliness, until he turns into... well, the Aragorn you see in the books. So it'd be really really tough to make the movie in Jackson's universe. Not to mention the way it'd skewer the false tension injected into Aragorn and Arwen's relationship in Films 2 & 3. But I think the material is out there and it would be doable.



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