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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: LotR Coming to Amazon TV

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    I mean, I'm basically quoting the text (cf. the first page of chapter 11, "Of The Sun And Moon And The Hiding Of Valinor"). I take your point as to Tolkien's comment, though, and of course Tolkien was never wholly consistent or fixed in his mythologizing of Arda.
    Yea, he actually called Galadriel "greatest of elven women" in the Appendices to LotR. So that would trump Tinuviel, and is canon published by him while still alive, so I give it maximal priority.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    The issue isn't that the superhumans are especially powerful or whatever you seem to think my objection is. Whether Loki can kick Feanor's ass is irrelevant. The issue is that superhumans are the baseline person, paradise is the baseline setting, and mythology is the baseline narrative. The gap to bridge is very large, and TV is not well-suited for it.
    But when you say "superhuman", "paradise", "mythology"; I can't stop myself from thinking about WW's Paradise Island (which was in a movie, but I doubt it can't be replicated for premium TV standards), and GoT with their dragons and all. We got plenty series dealing with epic, mythology and heroes greater than life; and even with a lower budget they managed at least a decent product. I mean, we aren't talking about SyFy producing a Tolkien series after all. I think it's doable. Sure, VERY VERY difficult, but within the boundaries of plausibility still.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    was de-mythologized by the comics. The MCU had to live up to that, which is not necessarily an easy task, but it's a very different task. And the fact that the better part of Asgard-related movies (up until Ragnarok, anyway) take place on Earth with human characters makes things easier--having humans to compare/contrast against emphasizes both the superhuman and humanized aspects of the Asgardians (this also applies to Superman).
    While Asgard was "demythologized" as you say (I think you refer to the actual mythos, because it's as close to the comics as MCU ever got with anything) MCU's Asgard isn't any less "fantastic" or awe inspiring than in the comics. Scy-fi, specially when dealing with space faring races; have little to envy to regular "epic" settings. It's only trading magic bows for advanced laser guns. It's all costume, but the substance doesn't necessarily make them any different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    I wouldn't say that Hercules, Theseus, and King David have particularly lent themselves to 'proper' live-action depictions, but at least they all have stories mostly taking place among humans in real-world settings.
    I wasn't suggesting they had one. I was just just pointing out that Feanor can be compared with actual mythology characters. Nobody ever complained that making a "good" Hercules was ever an impossible task. But I don't know what you mean with "real-world" setting. Out of all fantasy I read in my life; I can't think of many other universes that are closer to "real-life" than Tolkien's world. Even magic is pretty rare and mysterious within the setting itself. Barring the Valar and the Maiar, they are just regular humans, with most of their traits taken up to eleven. But still pretty much human enough, living in a slightly magical world where Gods tend to walk among mortals when they wish so. You know, just like in the old Classical Myths
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: LotR Coming to Amazon TV

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    But when you say "superhuman", "paradise", "mythology"; I can't stop myself from thinking about WW's Paradise Island (which was in a movie, but I doubt it can't be replicated for premium TV standards), and GoT with their dragons and all.
    I can't stop you from thinking about anything you like, but that's ignoring words I wrote, and I don't write those words just to hear the sound of my keystrokes. Paradise Island is the exception, not the baseline. That's important because the explicit alienness of the setting within the story is used as a tool for fleshing the Amazons out into something satisfying for audiences. If the entire story were about Amazons and Greek gods on Themiscyra (or, say, traveling from Themiscyra to Ares' realm at some point to fight him), it would be insufferable.

    Using GOT as a point of comparison is even more off-base. From a stylistic perspective (if not a special-effects one), GOT defines ease of adaptation. The pacing, the characters, the plot, the setting, the dialogue, the perspective, the description, and so on are all extremely cinematic, where the Silmarillion's are not at all. Of particular relevance to this conversation, perhaps the defining feature of GOT compared to other epic fantasy is that it does a superlative job of giving its characters human depth and vulnerability, which is the exact opposite of the characteristics of the story of Feanor that make it basically unfilmable in my previously expressed opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    We got plenty series dealing with epic, mythology and heroes greater than life; and even with a lower budget they managed at least a decent product. I mean, we aren't talking about SyFy producing a Tolkien series after all. I think it's doable. Sure, VERY VERY difficult, but within the boundaries of plausibility still.
    Since nothing about the rest of your comments thus far has suggested you regard this enterprise as particularly difficult compared to other premium-budget TV series, I would rather get you to hold your own position to that "VERY VERY difficult" bar before discussing the practical differences between that and my position of "impossible, at least for now."

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    While Asgard was "demythologized" as you say (I think you refer to the actual mythos, because it's as close to the comics as MCU ever got with anything) MCU's Asgard isn't any less "fantastic" or awe inspiring than in the comics. Scy-fi, specially when dealing with space faring races; have little to envy to regular "epic" settings. It's only trading magic bows for advanced laser guns. It's all costume, but the substance doesn't necessarily make them any different.
    Yes, I am referring to the actual mythos as compared to the Marvel version of it. I regard the MCU's ability to portray the comics as largely irrelevant. The comics did the heavy lifting in making Asgard into something that could be portrayed as cinematically epic.

    The difference between fantasy and sci-fi is similarly irrelevant and not something I ever brought up. SF has media that's easy to film and media that's extremely difficult to film; so does fantasy.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    I wasn't suggesting they had one. I was just just pointing out that Feanor can be compared with actual mythology characters. Nobody ever complained that making a "good" Hercules was ever an impossible task. But I don't know what you mean with "real-world" setting. Out of all fantasy I read in my life; I can't think of many other universes that are closer to "real-life" than Tolkien's world. Even magic is pretty rare and mysterious within the setting itself. Barring the Valar and the Maiar, they are just regular humans, with most of their traits taken up to eleven. But still pretty much human enough, living in a slightly magical world where Gods tend to walk among mortals when they wish so. You know, just like in the old Classical Myths
    Arda is not low-magic whatsoever. The difference is that most of Tolkien's magic is left to implication and not called out as such. Magic was not the conjuration of cheap tricks (to coin a phrase), it was imbued in the very nature of the land and its people. This is the sort of magic that's much much easier to write about than to show on screen.

    But it wasn't always that way. Try getting stuck between Melkor and the host of Valinor in the War of Wrath and tell me again how low-magic Tolkien's setting was. Try not to stand on any land west of the Blue Mountains.
    Last edited by Lethologica; 2017-11-23 at 05:10 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talakeal View Post

    If they do a remake they are almost certainly going to try, and fail, to make a movie that has as broad an appeal as possible.


    There are a few remakes I like better than the originals, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a remake of a "good" movie that was liked by more people than the original.
    Ironically, the LotR movies are themselves a counterexample to your claim. The Peter Jackson movies that you keep referring to as "the originals" are not the first film adaptions of The Lord of the Rings.
    (That's ignoring the fact that no film adaption of Tolkien's novels is "original," since a film adaption is, by definition, and adaption of an older original work and not an original work in its own right.)


    But there are other examples of remakes that are better received than their predecessors, even if previous films in the franchise are considered "good." For example, Cecil DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) was well recieved by a wider audience then the film it is a remake of (the 1923 film of the same title by the same director). The 1959 film of Ben-Hur overshadows its silent 1925 predecessor, to the point where several people commenting on the 2016 remake erroneously referred to the 1956 remake as "the original." The 1967 film adaption of Kipling's The Jungle Book overshadows both the 1937 and the 1942 versions.

    The best example, though, may be the film adaptions of Baum's Oz novels. There were a whopping seven Oz movies produced between 1908 and 1933. The 1939 movie wasn't just a remake: it was the seventh remake. And yet, it is the most critically aclaimed film of all time.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: LotR Coming to Amazon TV

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Paradise Island is the exception, not the baseline. That's important because the explicit alienness of the setting within the story is used as a tool for fleshing the Amazons out into something satisfying for audiences. If the entire story were about Amazons and Greek gods on Themiscyra (or, say, traveling from Themiscyra to Ares' realm at some point to fight him), it would be insufferable.
    Sincerely, I don't see your point. It's not like they would necessarily be fighting Morgoth every other week. Or as if they ever had one of the Valar as a neighbour. In the books most of those "spectacular beings" (Balrogs included) don't affect the plot until the grand finale. Which might as well come in movie format, were he series work. I can't see why you propose "a story based on pre-LotR" is feasible, while "a story set in the Silmarillion" would not. Neither of them require the main focus to be the Great Quintessential Beings of McGuffiness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Using GOT as a point of comparison is even more off-base. From a stylistic perspective (if not a special-effects one), GOT defines ease of adaptation. The pacing, the characters, the plot, the setting, the dialogue, the perspective, the description, and so on are all extremely cinematic, where the Silmarillion's are not at all. Of particular relevance to this conversation, perhaps the defining feature of GOT compared to other epic fantasy is that it does a superlative job of giving its characters human depth and vulnerability, which is the exact opposite of the characteristics of the story of Feanor that make it basically unfilmable in my previously expressed opinion.
    The Silmarillion is written like any other series of myths. You can make any myth just as cinematic as any other hyperdetailed novel series if you give it to the right writer. And the story wouldn't need to change. You just need to fill the huge narrative gaps the Silmarillion has.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Since nothing about the rest of your comments thus far has suggested you regard this enterprise as particularly difficult compared to other premium-budget TV series, I would rather get you to hold your own position to that "VERY VERY difficult" bar before discussing the practical differences between that and my position of "impossible, at least for now."
    My position for it being extremely difficult comes from the fact that few writers available now could pull an entertaining adaptation that would ALSO please the fans*. And given that practically the most hardcore fans of us have read the Silmarillion; I find that quite a task. From the production perspective my opinion is exactly the opposite of yours: It's no big deal, other than money.

    *But at least I grant you provide a far better argument than: "nyeee, don't touch me Silmarils!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Arda is not low-magic whatsoever. The difference is that most of Tolkien's magic is left to implication and not called out as such. Magic was not the conjuration of cheap tricks (to coin a phrase), it was imbued in the very nature of the land and its people. This is the sort of magic that's much much easier to write about than to show on screen.
    Maybe it's because I'm kind of a mythology freak, but Arda never stricken me as holier and more magical than any other series of mythos. There are terrible uberpowerful gods and demons, and then there are humans and demi-humans. The grass is still grass, the stars looked like our stars... so On the other hand, practically about any good enough fantasy verse is far more alien to me (Death Gate Cycle, Mistborn, Narnia... to mention something) than the Tolkienverse ever was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    But it wasn't always that way. Try getting stuck between Melkor and the host of Valinor in the War of Wrath and tell me again how low-magic Tolkien's setting was. Try not to stand on any land west of the Blue Mountains.
    Like I said, you don't need to put those on the series. They become literal Deus-Ex-Machina/Living McGuffins after the first sons of Iluvatar awoke. No story is worth telling that includes them on screen, unless it's mostly focused on them. The story of Feanor is mostly about how the Elven people left Valinor and killed a lot of his own people to go on a war to Angband. There's a lot of story to tell before even reaching to the point where Morgoth forces actually fight Feanor and the Noldor. So... maybe when we reach that point where "impossible, at least for now" doesn't apply anymore? If we are lucky? If the series do not flop midway?
    (sic)

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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    I see three big problems with the Silmarillion.

    The first is the lack of a protagonist. From my point of view, the only one who really is the protagonist of his own story is Turin.

    The second is the lack of hobbits, or someone normal enough to work as a nexus to the mythical background. There also are no framing devices to make up for this.

    The third is the fact that it is far inferior to both Hobbit and L.R.

    Some of these are easy to make right, but others are not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 137ben View Post
    Ironically, the LotR movies are themselves a counterexample to your claim. The Peter Jackson movies that you keep referring to as "the originals" are not the first film adaptions of The Lord of the Rings.
    (That's ignoring the fact that no film adaption of Tolkien's novels is "original," since a film adaption is, by definition, and adaption of an older original work and not an original work in its own right.)


    But there are other examples of remakes that are better received than their predecessors, even if previous films in the franchise are considered "good." For example, Cecil DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) was well recieved by a wider audience then the film it is a remake of (the 1923 film of the same title by the same director). The 1959 film of Ben-Hur overshadows its silent 1925 predecessor, to the point where several people commenting on the 2016 remake erroneously referred to the 1956 remake as "the original." The 1967 film adaption of Kipling's The Jungle Book overshadows both the 1937 and the 1942 versions.

    The best example, though, may be the film adaptions of Baum's Oz novels. There were a whopping seven Oz movies produced between 1908 and 1933. The 1939 movie wasn't just a remake: it was the seventh remake. And yet, it is the most critically aclaimed film of all time.
    I explicitly said that there were some remakes that were better than the original, I said it is difficult to find a remake of a very good movie that is even better.

    Also, the PJ films are the first film adaptations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the bashki film is of the first two volumes and the RankinBass film the third.
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    Default Re: LotR Coming to Amazon TV

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    The first is the lack of a protagonist. From my point of view, the only one who really is the protagonist of his own story is Turin.
    I'd argue that Beren/Luthien are decent protagonists as well, and their story could be adapted for tv without too much pain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    The first is the lack of a protagonist. From my point of view, the only one who really is the protagonist of his own story is Turin.

    The second is the lack of hobbits, or someone normal enough to work as a nexus to the mythical background. There also are no framing devices to make up for this.

    The third is the fact that it is far inferior to both Hobbit and L.R.

    Some of these are easy to make right, but others are not.
    1) That is like saying there is no protagonist in the Bible, or the Greek Myths. There are many protagonists, because it isn't a single story in any sense; it's a compendium of sagas, basically an Edda rippoff. But we have many series of "sagas" that accomplish more or less the same structure: Stargate and Star Trek coming to mind easily. No single character is the "protagonist" of the complete series; yet we were presented a series of different protagonists on different arcs, that more or less contribute to a bigger story/worldbuilding. It would be that kind of series, and it's no new concept for TV at all.

    2) The lack of hobbits may be a plus. I'm not fond of little people in any 'verse. Plus, It's elves and Dwarfs we are talking; they are no Klingon. It's humans with make-up living in Fairyland.

    3) You take that back
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Sincerely, I don't see your point. It's not like they would necessarily be fighting Morgoth every other week. Or as if they ever had one of the Valar as a neighbour. In the books most of those "spectacular beings" (Balrogs included) don't affect the plot until the grand finale. Which might as well come in movie format, were he series work. I can't see why you propose "a story based on pre-LotR" is feasible, while "a story set in the Silmarillion" would not. Neither of them require the main focus to be the Great Quintessential Beings of McGuffiness.
    I specifically said that Beren and Luthien, and Turin, would both be good TV subjects. Both of those are set in the Silmarillion. I don't think Feanor's story would work well, but that has nothing to do with it being in the Silmarillion (though the Valar play significant structural roles in the story and are not merely window dressing).

    Also, that's not what a MacGuffin is. The Silmarils are a MacGuffin. The Valar are not.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    The Silmarillion is written like any other series of myths. You can make any myth just as cinematic as any other hyperdetailed novel series if you give it to the right writer. And the story wouldn't need to change. You just need to fill the huge narrative gaps the Silmarillion has.
    "The story wouldn't need to change, it just needs to be invented from whole cloth." Not reassuring. But I also don't agree that this is the only work that needs doing--it's not just that the narrative is missing a lot of things a TV show would need to include, but that the existing narrative is also pretty unsuitable for adaptation.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Maybe it's because I'm kind of a mythology freak, but Arda never stricken me as holier and more magical than any other series of mythos. There are terrible uberpowerful gods and demons, and then there are humans and demi-humans. The grass is still grass, the stars looked like our stars... so On the other hand, practically about any good enough fantasy verse is far more alien to me (Death Gate Cycle, Mistborn, Narnia... to mention something) than the Tolkienverse ever was.
    'Alien' and 'high magic' are not synonyms. But maybe alienness is a better issue to work with, in that Feanor's story in particular (not the Silmarillion as a whole) has uncanny-valley alienness as its baseline.

    Mistborn and Narnia both have very low-magic, non-alien entry points, which eases the filmic transition to their alien, high-magic elements. I haven't read anything in the Death Gate Cycle, but from what little I've read about it, good luck filming it without ending up like Warcraft.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post
    Like I said, you don't need to put those on the series. They become literal Deus-Ex-Machina/Living McGuffins after the first sons of Iluvatar awoke. No story is worth telling that includes them on screen, unless it's mostly focused on them. The story of Feanor is mostly about how the Elven people left Valinor and killed a lot of his own people to go on a war to Angband. There's a lot of story to tell before even reaching to the point where Morgoth forces actually fight Feanor and the Noldor. So... maybe when we reach that point where "impossible, at least for now" doesn't apply anymore? If we are lucky? If the series do not flop midway?
    The first half of Feanor's story is all bound up with the Valar's governance of the elves and Feanor's resentment of them. They will certainly be on screen for that story. And elves and Valinor as baselines are still a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    I specifically said that Beren and Luthien, and Turin, would both be good TV subjects. Both of those are set in the Silmarillion. I don't think Feanor's story would work well, but that has nothing to do with it being in the Silmarillion (though the Valar play significant structural roles in the story and are not merely window dressing).
    Well, I previously said you don't need to tell his whole life to depict who Feanor is, what he wants and why. Beren and Luthien, being part of the story of the Silmarils, require at least a brief mention and explanation of the aforementioned questions. From my perspective, you are kind of drawing an arbitrary line that doesn't need to be specifically there*. If he can be depicted in a few scenes/flashbacks, it should be easy to extend his story at least for about a dozen chapters.

    *Altho I'm not claiming there is no point this line would eventually appear. I simply think the line is a a tad more far than that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Also, that's not what a MacGuffin is. The Silmarils are a MacGuffin. The Valar are not.
    I know the meaning, thanks. But calling them "Quintessential Beings of Deus ex-machinaness" sounds too literal for me. And it also sounds kind of misleading (they aren't made of godliness; they ARE godliness). Calling them "Quintessential Beings of the Narrative Motivator" sounded a better metaphor; for they sometimes move the plot and bring motivation to the main characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    "The story wouldn't need to change, it just needs to be invented from whole cloth." Not reassuring.
    Any Tolkien adaptation that isn't specifically the LotR itself, would come into the same issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    But I also don't agree that this is the only work that needs doing--it's not just that the narrative is missing a lot of things a TV show would need to include, but that the existing narrative is also pretty unsuitable for adaptation.
    Ok, let's just agree to disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    'Alien' and 'high magic' are not synonyms. But maybe alienness is a better issue to work with, in that Feanor's story in particular (not the Silmarillion as a whole) has uncanny-valley alienness as its baseline.
    I used "alien" in the "strange" sense. Sincerely, I fail to see the uncanny-valleyness of Silmarillion that isn't shared with any other myth/legend. For me, Silmarillion is pretty standard in that sense; even closer to modern view. On the other hand, Asian myths (Journey to the West, Gilgamesh, any from hindu culture) are a lot more crazy and wacky than the West ever produced. But nothing from Tolkien is like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lethologica View Post
    Mistborn and Narnia both have very low-magic, non-alien entry points, which eases the filmic transition to their alien, high-magic elements. I haven't read anything in the Death Gate Cycle, but from what little I've read about it, good luck filming it without ending up like Warcraft.
    Misborn and Narnia are both extremely alien settings, one being a world-wasteland covered in ashes and the other being basically Fableland. Both are farther from reality than Silmarillion, which is pretty much a romantic narration based on the Eddas. I never meant Silmarillion was as close to us as any Arthurian legend; just that most blockbuster fantasy stories offer a lot more strange settings than the Silmarillion.

    The issue with DGC is that its 4 worlds based on each element, with completely different societies adapted to each ecosystem. Sometimes reading each book is like reading different genres. It's a very alien setting. And an amazing saga.
    (sic)

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    Dei ex Valinor ?

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