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jenni
07-06-2004, 10:38 AM
There is something particulary tragic about adults involving themselves in the fads childrens movies. It is saddening to think that these types of people are presenting a visible front for Australian chess. Is it any wonder that ches is "known" to be the Middle Earth of Geek-Loserdom. :hmm:

Gandalf Edit: Repaired quote tags.

a - sounds suspiciously like intellectual snobbery to me

b - am I mistaken, or is Sweeney implying that LOTR is for children? Tolkien would turn in his grave at such a slanderous allegation :)

PHAT
07-06-2004, 04:00 PM
a - sounds suspiciously like intellectual snobbery to me

Prolly right, except that I also know a schit screen play when I have to endure it. The LOTR movies were a triumph of production. But sadly the story is a silly story, poorly told. So under whelmed was I with the Return of the King, that during my second veiwing of it, I fell asleep.


b - am I mistaken, or is Sweeney implying that LOTR is for children? Tolkien would turn in his grave at such a slanderous allegation :)

The movie was made to make money through merchantising. It was not made for any other reason. As such, it was made to appeal to the followers of fads - children, immature adults, and losers.

Star Wars is another member of the genre, as are Indiana Jones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Harry Potter. All of them are banal anal insults to the senses of the minority of people who can desern a difference between deep and shallow art.

Alan Shore
07-06-2004, 05:22 PM
Prolly right, except that I also know a schit screen play when I have to endure it. The LOTR movies were a triumph of production. But sadly the story is a silly story, poorly told. So under whelmed was I with the Return of the King, that during my second veiwing of it, I fell asleep.



The movie was made to make money through merchantising. It was not made for any other reason. As such, it was made to appeal to the followers of fads - children, immature adults, and losers.

Star Wars is another member of the genre, as are Indiana Jones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Harry Potter. All of them are banal anal insults to the senses of the minority of people who can desern a difference between deep and shallow art.


Geez, can you pick the cynic?

And it didn't begin that way, when J.K. Rowling first penned the first few pages of the Philosopher's Stone on a train ride I doubt she had glorious visions of a multi-billion dollar empire...

As for the content, all of the 'genre' you mentioned I found highly enjoyable. Perhaps you would too if you pulled your finger out and stopped acting like a staunch old fogey whose mind permanently resides in the 'good old days' of the past and started broadening your horizons a little more instead of spewing your fallacious stereotypical labelling of enjoyable entertainment.

Kevin Bonham
07-06-2004, 05:38 PM
But sadly the story is a silly story, poorly told.

I've never been a big fan of the LOTR story either. It started the tradition of modern heroic fantasy, and that's enough to hold against anyone. The characters are generally black-and-white cardboard cutouts, or switch from one to the other, there are few if any grey, neutral or unpredictable characters. The story is dramatic, but includes so many "oh lucky we were saved" moments that it becomes about as believable as watching, say, 20 Dr Who stories in a row. With apologies to our Gandalf, I like George RR Martin's comment that, in the interests of realism, "Gandalf should have stayed dead".


Star Wars is another member of the genre, as are Indiana Jones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Harry Potter. All of them are banal anal insults to the senses of the minority of people who can desern a difference between deep and shallow art.

Actually I think you'll find that there has been quite a lot of analysis of "deep" messages and possible engagement with current issues in the way Jackson set up the LOTR films. One of these is: why does Frodo and Sam's master-slave relationship with Gollum look so suspiciously like Nazi-style prisoner abuse? Another issue that's been canvassed include whether Jackson's use of the whole tree-destruction/ents narrative is meant to push Tolkien as a proto-environmentalist. I would classify the use of a film to push green messages as shallow art personally, but that's my biases. (There has also been a lot of guffaw about parallels with the current war situations, but this is all invalid or coincidence, since the projects started well before S11). I don't personally think the films are all that deep artistically, but it would have been possible to make them a lot shallower while still acheiving the marketing objectives.

I agree with you about Star Wars, TMNT and Harry Poxter; not much art in any of those, just pure "entertainment". Though people in English departments write academic theses on Potter these days; I know someone who has a flatmate who did this. And the LOTR movies contain a lot of kiddie-oriented entertainment-type junk and dumbing-down too, such as the much-reviled fratboy-style "Let's hunt orc" line at the end of the first movie.

Alan Shore
07-06-2004, 05:56 PM
I've never been a big fan of the LOTR story either. It started the tradition of modern heroic fantasy, and that's enough to hold against anyone. The characters are generally black-and-white cardboard cutouts, or switch from one to the other, there are few if any grey, neutral or unpredictable characters. The story is dramatic, but includes so many "oh lucky we were saved" moments that it becomes about as believable as watching, say, 20 Dr Who stories in a row. With apologies to our Gandalf, I like George RR Martin's comment that, in the interests of realism, "Gandalf should have stayed dead".

Great criticism.. why don't you try to do better? It's amazing how many times people criticise LOTR as being cliched when obviously it's going to be, being the pioneer of fantasy genre. (aside: wasn't Radagast the Brown supposed to be neutral? What of the elves?)



Actually I think you'll find that there has been quite a lot of analysis of "deep" messages and possible engagement with current issues in the way Jackson set up the LOTR films. One of these is: why does Frodo and Sam's master-slave relationship with Gollum look so suspiciously like Nazi-style prisoner abuse? Another issue that's been canvassed include whether Jackson's use of the whole tree-destruction/ents narrative is meant to push Tolkien as a proto-environmentalist. I would classify the use of a film to push green messages as shallow art personally, but that's my biases. (There has also been a lot of guffaw about parallels with the current war situations, but this is all invalid or coincidence, since the projects started well before S11). I don't personally think the films are all that deep artistically, but it would have been possible to make them a lot shallower while still acheiving the marketing objectives.

Something about Jackson's political viewpoint? Or merely Kevin matching the association with what he's just been seeing on telly? You can't necessarily assert the former..


I agree with you about Star Wars, TMNT and Harry Poxter; not much art in any of those, just pure "entertainment". Though people in English departments write academic theses on Potter these days; I know someone who has a flatmate who did this. And the LOTR movies contain a lot of kiddie-oriented entertainment-type junk and dumbing-down too, such as the much-reviled fratboy-style "Let's hunt orc" line at the end of the first movie.

It's the way films are designed, to entertain the masses. As soon as you start reading too far into any film you'll be disappointed. Why bother? It's not something created to necessarily be profound, so live with it. A film only lasts a couple of hours so it's always going to be just a trifle challenging to translate from a magnum opus.

As for Harry Potter being "pure entertainment" have you even read the books?

jenni
07-06-2004, 05:57 PM
All of them are banal anal insults to the senses of the minority of people who can desern a difference between deep and shallow art.
I find it is usually people who are insecure who cling to their intellectualism as a prop.

Kevin Bonham
07-06-2004, 06:48 PM
Great criticism.. why don't you try to do better?

Inane, pointless and invalid response. If it's trolling, it's too tedious and predictable to deserve any applause, so I'll treat it as serious and give it its due anyway. As chessplayers, we know that we can recognise some moves by the greats in our field as mistakes even though we could not play a zillionth as well over a full game ourselves. I've read work by people who I reckon actually do do the whole fantasy thing better than Tolkien (while still being in his debt as an influence), such as the aforementioned Mr Martin, and considered their criticisms of JRRT.


It's amazing how many times people criticise LOTR as being cliched when obviously it's going to be, being the pioneer of fantasy genre.

Well this just seems to be a diss on the entire field of fantasy to me. What is so wrong with fantasy that the book pioneering it must be cliched? Also, since all the defects I've mentioned could be considered defects in any style of writing, why does LOTR's status as fantasy matter?

BTW, I far prefer The Silmarillion. A really tedious read but a far better, and IMO more important, book. That's why I've read it about 50 times but LOTR all the way through only once.


(aside: wasn't Radagast the Brown supposed to be neutral?

So what - hardly a central character (and again, a bit of a cardboard cutout of "neutrality" too. I wonder, if Tolkien had been more morally interesting, would there have been all that simplistic "alignment" swill that permeates D+D type culture and its derivatives?)


What of the elves?)

What of them? Many of the prominent elven characters in LOTR are anything but "neutral".


Something about Jackson's political viewpoint? Or merely Kevin matching the association with what he's just been seeing on telly? You can't necessarily assert the former..

You must be trolling now, you couldn't possibly be so keen to lose an argument otherwise. Go investigate all the academic-type or other serious discussion of the LOTR films that's out there; come back when you've read it all, you should be a few years. I haven't seen any discussion on the film on telly at all, and all the discussion I've mentioned was stuff I saw raised by other commentators - I haven't done any matching myself (except to wonder if there is actually anything in my partner's jokes about the hobbits in the films all having conspicuous gay tendencies.)


It's the way films are designed, to entertain the masses.

Every film ever made is designed for this purpose and no other. Movies have no greater role than filling the minds of cinema-junkies for an hour or three of their lives. Sure, whatever you reckon. I bow to your world-expert status. :wall: (Again, I would hope you were trolling, but even as trolling, this would be far beyond dumb.)


As for Harry Potter being "pure entertainment" have you even read the books?

No, however I have been in the same room while some of the movies have been playing and I certainly did not see too many signs of intelligent life there. Definitely kiddie stuff.

Alan Shore
07-06-2004, 07:24 PM
Inane, pointless and invalid response. If it's trolling, it's too tedious and predictable to deserve any applause, so I'll treat it as serious and give it its due anyway. As chessplayers, we know that we can recognise some moves by the greats in our field as mistakes even though we could not play a zillionth as well over a full game ourselves. I've read work by people who I reckon actually do do the whole fantasy thing better than Tolkien (while still being in his debt as an influence), such as the aforementioned Mr Martin, and considered their criticisms of JRRT.

It was a throwaway remark and you'd have to be a gimboid to take it literally. I simply believed your criticism to be unjustified.


BTW, I far prefer The Silmarillion. A really tedious read but a far better, and IMO more important, book. That's why I've read it about 50 times but LOTR all the way through only once.

I'm curious, why more important? I've never read it myself for the reason you state, I'd heard it was quite a chore to get through.


So what - hardly a central character (and again, a bit of a cardboard cutout of "neutrality" too. I wonder, if Tolkien had been more morally interesting, would there have been all that simplistic "alignment" swill that permeates D+D type culture and its derivatives?)

Again, your opinion. Stories take different turns when you write them, some characters become more important than others, etc.


What of them? Many of the prominent elven characters in LOTR are anything but "neutral".

I'd narrow that 'many' to 'a few' while the rest deserted the final battle.


You must be trolling now, you couldn't possibly be so keen to lose an argument otherwise. Go investigate all the academic-type or other serious discussion of the LOTR films that's out there; come back when you've read it all, you should be a few years. I haven't seen any discussion on the film on telly at all, and all the discussion I've mentioned was stuff I saw raised by other commentators - I haven't done any matching myself (except to wonder if there is actually anything in my partner's jokes about the hobbits in the films all having conspicuous gay tendencies.)

Your first sentence is laughable, quite a pathetic attempt to establish dominance. I won't deny there'd be parallels drawn regarding what you mentioned previously, I'm merely making it clear that one may always read too far into things. My comment regarding you seeing things on telly refers to the prisoner treatment in Iraq, not to 'discussion about the film'. I guess you misinterpreted my words too hastily.

On another note, regarding those hobbits, you might want to check out the LOTR 'Very Secret Diaries'. :D



Every film ever made is designed for this purpose and no other. Movies have no greater role than filling the minds of cinema-junkies for an hour or three of their lives. Sure, whatever you reckon. I bow to your world-expert status. :wall: (Again, I would hope you were trolling, but even as trolling, this would be far beyond dumb.)

Perhaps you should change your name to pompus git :hand: Frankly I'm rather surpised at you, I've never known you to be so rude before.


No, however I have been in the same room while some of the movies have been playing and I certainly did not see too many signs of intelligent life there. Definitely kiddie stuff.

Since you admit you have not read the books, you are not in a position to pass judgement. :hand:

PHAT
07-06-2004, 08:30 PM
I find it is usually people who are insecure who cling to their intellectualism as a prop.

And anti-intellectualism is used to hide an embarrasing predelection for kitsch. :snooty:

PHAT
07-06-2004, 08:31 PM
Perhaps you would too if you pulled your finger out and stopped acting like a staunch old fogey whose mind permanently resides in the 'good old days'...

Now that is below the belt. I try hard retain my position as the stupid juvenile who's mind perminantly resides in the revolution.



... broadening your horizons a little more instead of spewing your fallacious stereotypical labelling of enjoyable entertainment.


I like to use the word shit to stereotype shit. What may entertain you may well be LOTR flicks and other pedestrian cinamatic offerings for the people who eat McDonalds and wear Nike. However, I seek better entertainment to do within 3 hours and $12 x 3 episodes. Maybe a play or book or a bottle of absinth.

Rincewind
07-06-2004, 08:56 PM
So many interesting ideas in these few messages it would be good to discuss them a little further before the name-calling begins. Either way it was getting off the topic of avatars so a split was called for anyway. Here are my thoughts.

I'm a Tolkien fan.

I love just about all the books which I have read many times. Although the later (port-mortem) releases rather rough going. All books are great stories told within a rich mileu which is I think one of the great accomplishments of the author. It really was the pioneer work which founded the fantasy novel industry. However it is not an industry which is normally noted for it literary significance. However, there is no denying its cultural importance.

(BTW I believe the term "pulp fiction" was coined by Robert E Howard who started the Conan sub-genre).

The LOTR is not the most realistic of stories and the main characters are very black and white. But such is the case with epic tales of good vs evil - there is very little room for ambiguity in the major characters. However, the minor characters provide more opportunity for complexity. A good example of this are the characters of Boromir and Faramir, for example. (Although not necessarily with Jackson rendering of them in the movies).

The stories from the Silmarillion are more complex (or perhaps convoluted) but I find the characters are in general no more ambivalent than in LOTR.

With regards Tolkien's environmental alignment, my interpretation is he was an environmentalist in so far as he was deeply influenced by English Romanticism and longed for the idealised pre-Industrial Revolution country life-style. As such his position should not be applied to convincingly to 21st centry environmental issues. Global warming, depleted fishing stocks, GM farming are not issues he would have considered at the time of writing LOTR.

Alan Shore
07-06-2004, 08:59 PM
Now that is below the belt. I try hard retain my position as the stupid juvenile who's mind perminantly resides in the revolution.


I like to use the word shit to stereotype shit. What may entertain you may well be LOTR flicks and other pedestrian cinamatic offerings for the people who eat McDonalds and wear Nike. However, I seek better entertainment to do within 3 hours and $12 x 3 episodes. Maybe a play or book or a bottle of absinth.

I do understand where you're coming from, I too loathe the commercial juggernaut. However you might want to stop and try the products before you bash them (the Nike shoes I have are quite comfortable!). McDonalds I rarely have. I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books, despite not expecting much from them. The films haven't been as good so far but here's hoping the third one (opening Thursday) will be good - the third book was my personal favourite.

BTW, with the stance you have on commercialisation would I be correct in assuming you're not a fan of Dave Cordover's (aka Darth Vader) little chess empire?

Rincewind
07-06-2004, 09:09 PM
Oh, I almost forgot. The majority of cinema produced by Hollywood is about making money. However, to make films of epic scale takes money and making money in itself should be reason to treat all financially viable films as necessarily banal.

The LOTR is a story that requires epic telling. Many low budget attempts were attempted and all failed. Peter Jackson (armed with wads of money)pretty much pulled it off. There were several cringe moments but in general his production was by far the best. IMHO miles ahead of the bucket loads of tripe that are produced by Hollywood every year.

However, there are films which have a high level of artistic merit. Unfortunately, most people miss the point and so mainstream cinema necessarily treads the line between art and entertainment. Stanley Kubrick was one director who had the skill to successfully walk this line repeatedly. It's hard not to find any merit in any of his films. There are many others.

I think the key to enjoying cinema is just to be a discerning viewer and set realistic expectations. Don't go see any film with Adam Sandler and don't go see LOTR and expect it to be as challenging as Prospero's Books.

Rincewind
07-06-2004, 09:12 PM
And anti-intellectualism is used to hide an embarrasing predelection for kitsch. :snooty:

Even Kitsch can be art. Have you seen Desperate Remedies? ;)

jenni
07-06-2004, 10:22 PM
With regards Tolkien's environmental alignment, my interpretation is he was an environmentalist in so far as he was deeply influenced by English Romanticism and longed for the idealised pre-Industrial Revolution country life-style. As such his position should not be applied to convincingly to 21st centry environmental issues. Global warming, depleted fishing stocks, GM farming are not issues he would have considered at the time of writing LOTR.

I think it best to let the author speak.

Taking exerpts from his foreword to my copy of LOTR

"The Lord of the Rings has been read by many people since it finally appeared in print 10 years ago; and I should like to say something here with reference to the many opinions or guesses that I have received or have read concerning the motives and meaning of the tale. The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them. As a guide I had only my own feelings for what is appealing or moving and for many the guide was inevitably often at fault. Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing they evidently prefer."

and further on

"As for any inner meaning or "message", it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical."

and

"An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the ways in which a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts ro define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous."

and

"the country in which I lived in childhood was being shabbily destroyed before I was 10, in days when motor-cars were rare objects (I had never seen one) and men were still building surburban railways. Recently I saw in a paper a picture of the last decrepitude of the once thriving corn-mill beside its pool that long ago seemed to me so important. I never liked the looks of the Young miller, but his father, the Old miller, had a black beard, and he was not named Sandyman"

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2004, 12:04 AM
It was a throwaway remark and you'd have to be a gimboid to take it literally. I simply believed your criticism to be unjustified.

Well, this is playing half-troll now - "I didn't agree with you but I couldn't think of a good argument so I used a rubbish one with the intention of retrospectively saying it was only a throwaway".


I'm curious, why more important? I've never read it myself for the reason you state, I'd heard it was quite a chore to get through.

I think that LOTR is just way too boys-own-adventure, quite aside from the points I already mentioned. The Silmarillion is darker, grittier, perhaps more "authentic", in that while some of the cardboard-cutout "good" characters live happily ever after, plenty perish horribly as well. You have Feanor and his sons as central characters, who are not "bad" people but whose pride in their own creations turns them against their god-equivalents and their fellow elves. Not too much of that kind of moral ambiguity in LOTR. You have elves and dwarves killing each other both believing they are "right". It's a shame that the Silmarillion has all that slow creation blather at the start that bores most readers off the book before they get 50pp in (and rightly so). Apart from that, I'd far rather it have been the template for modern fantasy than LOTR. It's a terible read but, in its best bits, an excellent book.


Again, your opinion. Stories take different turns when you write them, some characters become more important than others, etc.

So what? We are judging the end product, are we not?


I'd narrow that 'many' to 'a few' while the rest deserted the final battle.

OK, so a lot of them cleared off over the water rather than get their hands dirty, and frankly who can blame them. But these aren't central characters who get a lot of story time, and again, this is a cardboard cutout of neutrality as "not getting involved". IMO, Saruman is the only remotely interesting character who is anywhere near central in LOTR.


Your first sentence is laughable, quite a pathetic attempt to establish dominance.

Hmmm, that's the sort of thing I would say, but I would say it in defence of a sound (or at least weakly challenged) argument rather than one that had just been chopped into rather small pieces. So the above must be a laughable attempt to establish equality. :whistle:


I won't deny there'd be parallels drawn regarding what you mentioned previously, I'm merely making it clear that one may always read too far into things.

Indeed. And had you said that I would have agreed with you, but you didn't. Now, I would not say that any of these interpretations of the film are necessarily correct - just interesting. Indeed, I alluded to reading too much into things when I referred to those drawing parallels with the current war situation. However, one of the hallmarks of "deep" art is often an ability to generate this kind of critical curiosity, all this fascination about what exactly is being said. A shallow film made as a complete potboiler would not arouse such attention - whether the critics commenting "read" it correctly or not. A really dull, literal or sellout version of LOTR would have people talking only about Tolkien and what he meant, not about Jackson and what he meant with his version of Tolkien. All this is just my counter to Matthew's attempt to write off the films as "shallow" art. Are you not a fan of the films?


My comment regarding you seeing things on telly refers to the prisoner treatment in Iraq, not to 'discussion about the film'. I guess you misinterpreted my words too hastily.

Sorry, that doesn't work either. If the "discussion about the film" drawing links between the films and Iraq was already familiar to me, then why would I have any need to link it to anything I had "seen on the telly"? :doh: :hmm:


Perhaps you should change your name to pompus git Frankly I'm rather surpised at you, I've never known you to be so rude before.

Well if you can't stand the heat, you shouldn't have been so disrespectful in the first place. I can be a pretty bombastic chap with a very low patience level with crummy arguments, but I submit that your wounds are very much self-inflicted.

Or maybe I'm just trolling.


Since you admit you have not read the books, you are not in a position to pass judgement. :hand

Not on the books, but I was responding to Matthew talking about the films, so :hand: to you, and :wall: , :hmm: and :doh: to keep it company.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2004, 12:26 AM
The LOTR is not the most realistic of stories and the main characters are very black and white. But such is the case with epic tales of good vs evil - there is very little room for ambiguity in the major characters.

Often true. I guess my objection is largely to epic tales of good vs evil at all; they bore me with their inauthenticity, tend to be horrendously biased, and make people do really stupid things like voting for Dubya. I prefer it when it's not so easy to tell exactly which is which ... largely because that's closer to the way it actually is.


However, the minor characters provide more opportunity for complexity. A good example of this are the characters of Boromir and Faramir, for example. (Although not necessarily with Jackson rendering of them in the movies).

Fair comment. I thought Jackson only got a little beyond the good-guy-turned-bad-by-nasty-evil-ring thing with Boromir, and managed to make Faramir seem convincingly ambivalent for about five minutes. Too long since I read the books to comment in detail on their treatment there (although I am going to reread them all all the way through quite soon.)

Alan Shore
08-06-2004, 12:52 AM
Well, this is playing half-troll now - "I didn't agree with you but I couldn't think of a good argument so I used a rubbish one with the intention of retrospectively saying it was only a throwaway".

Half-troll hey? I wonder if there's a specific mythological name for that..

It's easy to criticise things Kevin but when you in the shoes of the other person it's quite different. That's the core of what I was saying, a pity I had to spell it out for you.. obviously I was not saying 'go become a film-maker and do a better job yourself'. But, I guess it wasn't apparent.


OK, so a lot of them cleared off over the water rather than get their hands dirty, and frankly who can blame them. But these aren't central characters who get a lot of story time, and again, this is a cardboard cutout of neutrality as "not getting involved". IMO, Saruman is the only remotely interesting character who is anywhere near central in LOTR.

A shame Saruman had such a small role in the films (and not even appearing in ROTK..). When he was on screen he wasn't exactly impressive.. the 'old men with sticks' battle with Gandalf and his 'looking scared yet doing absolutely nothing' when Isengard was attacked by the Treebeard and the Ents.


Hmmm, that's the sort of thing I would say, but I would say it in defence of a sound (or at least weakly challenged) argument rather than one that had just been chopped into rather small pieces. So the above must be a laughable attempt to establish equality. :whistle:

To quote Ian Rout, 'lines of masturbation'.


Indeed. And had you said that I would have agreed with you, but you didn't. Now, I would not say that any of these interpretations of the film are necessarily correct - just interesting. Indeed, I alluded to reading too much into things when I referred to those drawing parallels with the current war situation. However, one of the hallmarks of "deep" art is often an ability to generate this kind of critical curiosity, all this fascination about what exactly is being said. A shallow film made as a complete potboiler would not arouse such attention - whether the critics commenting "read" it correctly or not. A really dull, literal or sellout version of LOTR would have people talking only about Tolkien and what he meant, not about Jackson and what he meant with his version of Tolkien. All this is just my counter to Matthew's attempt to write off the films as "shallow" art. Are you not a fan of the films?

I see what you mean, I think we agree on this point anyway. As for the films, I didn't think too much of the first but the next two were very impressive.



Sorry, that doesn't work either. If the "discussion about the film" drawing links between the films and Iraq was already familiar to me, then why would I have any need to link it to anything I had "seen on the telly"? :doh: :hmm:

I really don't see why you take such personal affrontage.. you cannot say that things you see and hear around you have no influence on your own perceptions and ideas. The same is true of everyone. I'm just about 'Lost in Translation' on your own point...



Well if you can't stand the heat, you shouldn't have been so disrespectful in the first place. I can be a pretty bombastic chap with a very low patience level with crummy arguments, but I submit that your wounds are very much self-inflicted.

You answer this yourself with:


Or maybe I'm just trolling.

:rolleyes:


Not on the books, but I was responding to Matthew talking about the films, so :hand: to you, and :wall: , :hmm: and :doh: to keep it company.

Very well, have fun with your little icons. However did you watch the films all the way through? No. Also are you aware the next installment opening Thursday has an M 15+ rating? Guess it's not all 'kiddie stuff' then.. things are often more than they appear...

Rincewind
08-06-2004, 01:23 AM
Often true. I guess my objection is largely to epic tales of good vs evil at all; they bore me with their inauthenticity, tend to be horrendously biased, and make people do really stupid things like voting for Dubya. I prefer it when it's not so easy to tell exactly which is which ... largely because that's closer to the way it actually is.

Story telling isn't about telling it the way it is. You look at documentaries for that. ;) The epic tale of good versus evil is the archtypal story of western civilisation from Homer to Lucas, Spielberg and Jackson. Each generation does it its own way but the examples are too numerous and obvious to necessitate mention.

You may be bored by the story but that is just a statement of personal preference and in no way reflects on the merit of the story or the teller. Yes we know that good must triumph over evil as the form requires it, however the joy is in the telling and experiencing of the story.

There are plenty of bad examples of the same story of course. But good ones are there to be enjoyed and Tolkien's LOTR is a very good one. Jackson's screen version is a reasonable enough interpretation, by far the best screen version to date.

Don't misinterprete me and think I regard the sort of films you allude to as a lesser form. I'm a big fan of Ken Loach and the like who produce the gritter realistic style of film. But I did enjoy LOTR, especially The Fellowship, and made sure I saw all of them in as near empty cinemas as possible.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2004, 06:16 AM
It's easy to criticise things Kevin but when you in the shoes of the other person it's quite different. That's the core of what I was saying, a pity I had to spell it out for you..

More like a pity you couldn't express yourself clearer the first time.

I've never yet encountered a single writer who was perfect, why should Tolkien be any different - and why do you have such a problem with the idea that he wasn't?


obviously I was not saying 'go become a film-maker and do a better job yourself'. But, I guess it wasn't apparent.

Actually it was, because at the time we were talking about Tolkien, who was not a film-maker. :owned:


A shame Saruman had such a small role in the films (and not even appearing in ROTK..). When he was on screen he wasn't exactly impressive.. the 'old men with sticks' battle with Gandalf and his 'looking scared yet doing absolutely nothing' when Isengard was attacked by the Treebeard and the Ents.

Agreed. Though I did think the cinematic reasons for omitting him from the ROTK film were reasonable. It is one of those things that reminds us that LOTR was not actually written as a trilogy.


To quote Ian Rout, 'lines of masturbation'.

To quote nobody in particular, "water off a goose's back" (and see below).


I see what you mean, I think we agree on this point anyway. As for the films, I didn't think too much of the first but the next two were very impressive.

I found the third incredibly soppy at the end. Up til the last 20 mins or so I thought it was excellent.


I really don't see why you take such personal affrontage..

I don't. At least, not there. Now, what were you saying about lines of whatever it was? The above would be one such, and would certainly not be your first. You could at least attempt to maintain a coherent line of attack for more than a paragraph at a time. :rolleyes:


you cannot say that things you see and hear around you have no influence on your own perceptions and ideas.

Didn't say that at all. All I said was that if I read about a claimed connection between LOTR and something else, I don't need to see the "something else" on TV myself for that claimed connection to register. Therefore I am unsure why you ever mentioned TV at all. FWIW, I watch relatively little TV news ... and most of the Iraq scandals on the news broke long after these sorts of connections with the films started being made.


You answer this yourself with:

:rolleyes:

If you're trying to say that maybe you're just trolling, I don't believe a word of it. You're hedging your bets so you can be as excessive, cheap and inaccurate as you like and then claim you were only stirring me up. A very familiar tactic and one I am prone to get bored of rather quickly.


Very well, have fun with your little icons.

Hmm, the 10-a-day smoker tells the 20-a-day smoker that smoking is bad for them. :whistle:


However did you watch the films all the way through? No.

Let's just say that while I would not be masochistic enough to watch any Harry Poxter movie from start to finish, I am confident I have seen nearly every, if not every scene from the opening two movies, many of them multiple times. I shall leave you to wonder how this can possibly be so.


Also are you aware the next installment opening Thursday has an M 15+ rating? Guess it's not all 'kiddie stuff' then.. things are often more than they appear...

I am aware of this and I have heard claims that the film is "darker" or more "mature", so my abuse above only applies to the first two. (And yes, I do know adults who watch this stuff too, but mainly for "escapism".) FWIW, M15+ is only a recommendation (and the censors are rather conservative at present), not binding. Also, you may be interested to know that the film has already opened here, several days ago.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2004, 06:38 AM
Story telling isn't about telling it the way it is. You look at documentaries for that. ;)

Agreed. My preferred form of storytelling though, is about telling it more like the way it could be, subject to whatever assumptions are the basis of the writer's world (whether it's intergalactic travel or fire-breathing dragons or detectives with shady tendencies or whatever). I don't like the feeling that I have to suspend disbelief about everything in a story. Possibly I am extending my serious-SF, anti-space-opera type biases to a much wider range of writing, but I don't have a problem with that.


You may be bored by the story but that is just a statement of personal preference and in no way reflects on the merit of the story or the teller. Yes we know that good must triumph over evil as the form requires it, however the joy is in the telling and experiencing of the story.

However there can also be joy in the telling and experiencing of the story if this doesn't happen. I'm quite happy to have my objection to simplistic grand good-vs-evil storylines seen as a personal preference though, and give my arguments explaining why I have that preference.


There are plenty of bad examples of the same story of course. But good ones are there to be enjoyed and Tolkien's LOTR is a very good one.

I agree that there are good and bad versions of the same thing and I agree that Tolkien's version is distinctly among the better ones as such things go (especially when compared to almost everything I've ever read that claimed to be influenced by it. There was a time when a Tolkien comparison on the dust jacket was a cast-iron guarantee that a book was rubbish.)

Ian Rout
08-06-2004, 09:58 AM
I recall that when I lived at a University residence I was somewhat astonished to find grown (or almost grown) people who read books about goblins and elves or whatever is in LOTR and took such works seriously.

However students do a lot of strange things so I didn't think it was a concern of itself, I was more worried that the same people seemed to spend enormous amounts of time engaging in Dungeons and Dickheads, and apparently having difficulty distinguishing between the scenarios in this activity and those in real life. Maybe I just had a sheltered upbringing but I found it quite strange to hear people sitting round the dining hall casually talking about how they had killed a troll and three goblins in the North Wing corridor and genuinely believing it had happened.

jenni
08-06-2004, 10:41 AM
I recall that when I lived at a University residence I was somewhat astonished to find grown (or almost grown) people who read books about goblins and elves or whatever is in LOTR and took such works seriously.

However students do a lot of strange things so I didn't think it was a concern of itself, I was more worried that the same people seemed to spend enormous amounts of time engaging in Dungeons and Dickheads, and apparently having difficulty distinguishing between the scenarios in this activity and those in real life. Maybe I just had a sheltered upbringing but I found it quite strange to hear people sitting round the dining hall casually talking about how they had killed a troll and three goblins in the North Wing corridor and genuinely believing it had happened.
They don't "genuinely" believe it, but have fun pretending they do and immerse themselves in the experience.

I have never actually been a D&D person myself, but I can see the attraction. I just think we should be tolerant of diversity and not categorise people as immature or somehow less intelligent and generally inferior because they have better immaginations, or like to lose themselves in harmless fantasy occasionally.

Incidentally Laszlo Hazai - arguably a better chess player than anyone that posts on this BB, became rather enraptured with one of Gareth's fantasy computer games a couple of years ago when in Canberra. Even Zong-Yuan Zhao ended up playing it (mainly I think because he had intense respect for Laszlo and was trying to work out what had so captured him).

Ian Rout
08-06-2004, 11:29 AM
I certainly wouldn't say these people were lacking in intelligence, quite the oppposite in many cases. But I would maintain that at times they believed or at least strongly suspected that what the rest of us call the real world was a fantasy.

I understand that there has been the odd death resulting from D&D players (do they call themselves players?) being unable to untangle the goblins and magic spells from reality though I don't know how well documented these are. I suppose it could be argued that things like drugs and fast cars are more dangerous.

jenni
08-06-2004, 11:49 AM
I certainly wouldn't say these people were lacking in intelligence, quite the oppposite in many cases. But I would maintain that at times they believed or at least strongly suspected that what the rest of us call the real world was a fantasy.

I understand that there has been the odd death resulting from D&D players (do they call themselves players?) being unable to untangle the goblins and magic spells from reality though I don't know how well documented these are. I suppose it could be argued that things like drugs and fast cars are more dangerous.
I was thinking more of the dreaded sweeney than you with some of those remarks.

I guess D&D will attract some seriously strange characters, but then so does chess. (the guy at Doeberl in 2001 who sat and looked at his board for 85 minutes and then played his whole game in 5 minutes, rocking on his chair and smashing pieces off the board would have to be one of them - he did this twice that I saw!) I haven't heard of any deaths, but then we don't really mix with D&D ers. If I had to choose for my kids I would much rather they took D&D to extremes than drugs :D

ursogr8
08-06-2004, 12:38 PM
I was thinking more of the dreaded sweeney than you with some of those remarks.

I guess D&D will attract some seriously strange characters, but then so does chess. (the guy at Doeberl in 2001 who sat and looked at his board for 85 minutes and then played his whole game in 5 minutes, rocking on his chair and smashing pieces off the board would have to be one of them - he did this twice that I saw!) I haven't heard of any deaths, but then we don't really mix with D&D ers. If I had to choose for my kids I would much rather they took D&D to extremes than drugs :D

I ran D&D groups in the local neighbourhood in the mid 80's for 2 or 3 years. The kids involved are still the best of friends and knock around with each other. The upside for me is that I had the only car in the street that did not go missing hub-caps.

starter

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2004, 02:33 PM
I understand that there has been the odd death resulting from D&D players (do they call themselves players?) being unable to untangle the goblins and magic spells from reality though I don't know how well documented these are. I suppose it could be argued that things like drugs and fast cars are more dangerous.

There were indeed a couple of D+D deaths in the USA in the comparatively early days of the game (I think I am talking mid 80s here). It seems that if enough people take anything seriously, sooner or later someone will at least try to kill someone else over it, providing ammunition for groups who are opposed to the thing itself and can't see that the thing itself is usually more the setting than the cause.

I don't know if there are any Society for Creative Anachronisms types here (SCA is a kind of role-play thing involving dressing up in costumes, having medieval feasts, etc) but one of Hobart's more notorious murder cases involved an SCA member who dressed up as a woman in order to seduce and then murder his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend. SCA members are still viewed as strange by many here because of this. (Luckily the fact that the guy was also a chessplayer of c.1500 strength never received any media attention.)

I have respect for those who (even as adults) pursue role-playing games in an intelligent manner and aim to build the whole thing into some kind of quality and distinctive dramatic/fictional experience for themselves and their friends, or who get it to the stage where the game actually becomes strategically interesting. It's not my thing, but they're welcome to it. However, one of these characters once wrote an interesting essay explaining that there are far more "roll-players" than "role-players". Roll-play basically consists of an endless series of hack and slash against cardboard-cutout non-negotiating baddies with outcomes largely determined randomly (though heavily loaded in the players' favour, of course) and culminating in a suitably violent battle. Not surprisingly the male/female ratio of the players is perhaps even higher than in tournament chess. I do tend to wonder about anyone who hasn't progressed beyond that stage by age, say, 20.

Cat
08-06-2004, 04:08 PM
Like all Hollywood films these days the film was light on dialogue. The dialogue is so rich in the book its a pity more of it didn't make it into the film. There was also that terribly grating line given to Aragorn by the screen-writers in the Fellowship "Let's go hunt some Orc."

There seems to be a general dumbing-down, with films carrying less and less dialogue. Even the BBC seems to be following this trend and SBS has signalled a new populist direction in it's programming.

Having said this LOTR was still a classic piece of film-making and as David Stratton said has set a standard for years to come.

Oepty
08-06-2004, 04:36 PM
Kevin. The Adelaide Uni Chess Club did some sort of display with the Adelaide Uni SCA a couple of years ago during a O'Week or Clubs week or something like that. Can't remember which.
Scott

Alan Shore
08-06-2004, 08:08 PM
More like a pity you couldn't express yourself clearer the first time.

Says he who couldn't read between the lines..


I've never yet encountered a single writer who was perfect, why should Tolkien be any different - and why do you have such a problem with the idea that he wasn't?

Of course no writer is perfect, I simply thought your criticism was too harsh and unfounded.


Actually it was, because at the time we were talking about Tolkien, who was not a film-maker. :owned:

Twisting words won't help you here, you're running away form the issue.


Agreed. Though I did think the cinematic reasons for omitting him from the ROTK film were reasonable. It is one of those things that reminds us that LOTR was not actually written as a trilogy.

True, the films were very long in their own right.. I thought perhaps he may have bene included in one of those 'extended editions'.



I found the third incredibly soppy at the end. Up til the last 20 mins or so I thought it was excellent.

Hahaha, yes! Like most of the rest of the cinema I couldn't contain my laughter at the ending! :D




Didn't say that at all. All I said was that if I read about a claimed connection between LOTR and something else, I don't need to see the "something else" on TV myself for that claimed connection to register. Therefore I am unsure why you ever mentioned TV at all. FWIW, I watch relatively little TV news ... and most of the Iraq scandals on the news broke long after these sorts of connections with the films started being made.

If you say so......



If you're trying to say that maybe you're just trolling, I don't believe a word of it. You're hedging your bets so you can be as excessive, cheap and inaccurate as you like and then claim you were only stirring me up. A very familiar tactic and one I am prone to get bored of rather quickly.

I think you're being a little neurotic here.. I'm not trying to 'stir you up' Kevin.



Hmm, the 10-a-day smoker tells the 20-a-day smoker that smoking is bad for them. :whistle:

What a lovely fallacious analogy you've come up with... in this case moderation is good, excessiveness is irritating, unlike smoking :wall:



Let's just say that while I would not be masochistic enough to watch any Harry Poxter movie from start to finish, I am confident I have seen nearly every, if not every scene from the opening two movies, many of them multiple times. I shall leave you to wonder how this can possibly be so.

Buttons for you then, your opinion, nothing more.




I am aware of this and I have heard claims that the film is "darker" or more "mature", so my abuse above only applies to the first two. (And yes, I do know adults who watch this stuff too, but mainly for "escapism".) FWIW, M15+ is only a recommendation (and the censors are rather conservative at present), not binding. Also, you may be interested to know that the film has already opened here, several days ago.

It can't have opened as it's international release is not until June 10. I suspect the opening you speak of refers to advance screenings.

Oh yeah, tonight they announced the rating's been changed back to PG (I suspect to get more kids to go, probably a good move). From reading the fourth book though there's no way the fourth film will get away with a PG rating though.

Kevin Bonham
08-06-2004, 09:22 PM
Says he who couldn't read between the lines..

No, no, no. It is common but remarkably weak to blame one's inability to write clearly on the reader. All of us write unclearly at times (and I have done so at least once on this thread) but some seem to have great difficulty admitting that they do so, as if they can say what they like and everyone is expected to read their mind. You were not misread, you miswrote. Get over it and move on instead of digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole. This is a recorded message. :doh:


Of course no writer is perfect, I simply thought your criticism was too harsh and unfounded.

That's your opinion, and you're welcome to it. I don't overly care for the trashy way you initially aired it; Barry didn't entirely agree with (not only) my criticism either but he engaged it much more sensibly and made a lot more valid points.


Twisting words won't help you here, you're running away form the issue.

It was a cheapo (and I didn't actually need to twist anything) but, if I must waste my time dealing with this, what you claimed to be obvious wasn't. You used an argument of the "I'd like to see you do better" type. It is not obvious that a person using such an argument does not also believe "If you cannot do better yourself then your argument is invalid." To be frank, in my experience, people using such arguments at all are usually either so bad at arguing or deliberately insincere that they are capable of believing anything.


True, the films were very long in their own right.. I thought perhaps he may have bene included in one of those 'extended editions'.

That would make sense.


If you say so......

Who's "running away from the issue now"? :hmm:


I think you're being a little neurotic here.. I'm not trying to 'stir you up' Kevin.

I know this is trolling and I refer to your previous form. But hey, it's nice to see barnyard psychology join its close cousin, mindless abuse, in your repertoire here at last. What took it so long to arrive? Flamebase informs me that "neurotic" is not a TN in this position, BTW, but the equally unsound "paranoid" is far more often played. :owned:


What a lovely fallacious analogy you've come up with... in this case moderation is good, excessiveness is irritating, unlike smoking :wall:

Au contraire. Never too much of a good thing, when used well. The only previous complaints I recall were from firegoat. I've been thinking of asking the admins for an increase in the smiley allowance; the present one has been cramping my style. :cry:


It can't have opened as it's international release is not until June 10.

Oh yes it can. These are normal open screenings, not special advance screenings; Hobart got the world premiere for open airing to coincide with Tasmanian school holidays. Don't you read the newspapers or follow the latest riveting events in the world of Poxternalia?

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,9738262%255E16947,00.html

I think that's enough of this exchange from my end (though I may well still engage anyone on this thread who actually has more to say relevant to the actual points of debate). It's turned into meta-debate covering ground that is as familiar and tedious as cleaning up badly played Philidors. In other places I have gleefully pursued debates like this to their natural sorry end, but I have no desire to do this here. Feel free to spout some rubbish at me if it makes you feel any better; I shan't be bothered responding.

Rincewind
08-06-2004, 11:29 PM
Wow from LOTR to D&D deaths.

I was involved n D&D pretty constantly between the years of around 1975-1985. I don't know when it really became big but it was definitely in Australia to the point of their being wargaming clubs playing D&D regularly by the late 70s. I was a little unusual as being a little younger than most of the club goers as they seemed to be most made up of uni undergraduates whereas was in high school. I also only attended these wargame club sessions very irregularly.

From memory there was some suicide(s) in Queensland in the early 80s that was blamed on the victims absorbtion in a D&D fantasy. Whether you could say D&D actually increased that victims risk of suicide is probably debatable and certainly I saw no evidence that any of my friends took it more seriously than a game.

By the time we got into out twenties we had generally moved away from role-playing in general. Chess and more classic war-gaming like Diplomacy and Squad Leader were more engaging. However, I still have a soft spot for role-playing computer games. The latest one being Warlords IV which is OK but did not capture my interest long enough to finish the whole campaign. To be honest the role-playing component is relatively minor and this may be the reason why I lost interest. Now chess is the main wargame I play.

Regarding the value of D&D as a game. There can be certainly a lot of artistic effort in designing the world and scenarios and this is generally undertaken by the DM. This can be circumvented by buying prepackaged scenarios and the like but these lack the DM really knowing what is going on. By far the best is playing in a world designed by the DM. It also helps if all the players are seriously trying to understand and solve the situations the DM engineers.

Our usual DM (in non-club sessions) had a penchant for what he termed realism and so are parties were usually made up of bands of no more than half a dozen characters all of whom were very low level by D&D standards. Starting at 1st level and very rarely rising above 4th level before befalling some mishap. The emphasis was definitely on using your noggin' before the dice and generally struggling to stay alive rather than cutting a swathe through an army of defenseless orcs.

Club sessions were much more geared towards more powerful characters, tended to be larger groups and much harder for everyone to get a far go. But this probably has to do more with the interests and personalities of the individuals involved than a general comment on club vs circle-of-friend get togethers.

Alan Shore
09-06-2004, 12:17 AM
Mr Bonham,

I've wasted too much time on your numbskullery already so I shall keep it very short, and consider the matter closed for good. You have successfully written a response with zero content, filled only with petty insults and rubbish in a feeble attempt to make yourself look good. If you're so insecure you need to pursue this line with everyone, so be it but I won't be feeding you any longer, for even cleaning out one's bellybutton would be preferable than to endure a second longer of your inane self-righteous drivel.

I'm outta here, good day to you.

PHAT
09-06-2004, 07:53 AM
Mr Bonham,

I've wasted too much time on your numbskullery already so I shall keep it very short, and consider the matter closed for good. You have successfully written a response with zero content, filled only with petty insults and rubbish in a feeble attempt to make yourself look good. If you're so insecure you need to pursue this line with everyone, so be it but I won't be feeding you any longer, for even cleaning out one's bellybutton would be preferable than to endure a second longer of your inane self-righteous drivel.

I'm outta here, good day to you.

I doff m' lid to ya. You have displayed far more sence than I do in dealing with Kevin Bloody Bonham. I usually get sucked into a pissing competition with him and wind up thorourghly exasperated with his topic avoidance or pedanticism - his two main weapons of discussion destruction.

Kevin Bonham
09-06-2004, 01:22 PM
I doff m' lid to ya. You have displayed far more sence than I do in dealing with Kevin Bloody Bonham. I usually get sucked into a pissing competition with him and wind up thorourghly exasperated with his topic avoidance or pedanticism - his two main weapons of discussion destruction.

Response on pointless flamewar thread, which is where you should have put the above. If young Mr Sampson wishes to join us there I will be happy to engage in similar rubbish with him there as well, at least until I get bored with it.

ursogr8
07-12-2005, 09:40 PM
Watched 'The Convenient Gardener' on tickets obtained through credit card points.