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The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:19 am

Well, I am pretty confidant in Jackson's integrity in that regard, and I do not think that he is doing this just for the money. And splitting it into three parts was HIS idea, not the studios. What I am not confident in is Jackson's abililty to tell a focused narrative. Expanding a story just because you can is not always wise. Look at King Kong. He took one of the most perfectly paced monster movies in history (even to this day, the structure and pacing of the original film could not be any more perfect) and "fleshed it out" with a crapload of extra stuff, none of which added any value to the story, and in fact detracted from it. The story of King Kong is just too simple to support that extra material. The book of The Hobbit is the same way -- sure, there is a ton of material in the appendices and other Tolkien books that can be added to flesh that story out, but the story just will not support it. The Lord of the Rings worked because however it may have been written, there WAS an epic story contained in the three books.

Jackson seems to have fallen into that narrative complacency that plagues successful filmmakers like him, James Cameron, and others. Once they become successful, they tend to think that the more they add, the better. But 'tain't so. We need more economy in storytelling, not bloat. (That said, I will be picking up the new Blu-Ray for Titanic next week!)
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:05 pm

Splitting the film might have been Jackson's idea, but no one at the studio is questioning his decision, as I'm sure they're quite happy to cash in on the increased revenue stream. That was the basis for my money-grab comment.

But I appreciate your point. I do not doubt that half way through filming, Jackson found himself with an overabundance of footage and thought to himself that, gee, this would make a great trilogy.

Jackson's King Kong remake didn't bother me as much as it should. While I agree that it is bloated, I still found it fun, although the whole dinosaur arc did detract from the King Kong angle; it felt like Jurassic Park meets King Kong. But, at least it wasn't a trilogy!

And as for the epic story of Lord of the Rings (I say this very much tongue-in-cheek): One could adopt Kevin Smith's view as expressed in Clerks II!
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:28 am

Do not misunderstand me, I did enjoy Jackson's version of King Kong, but it still sinks under its own weight. I did enjoy it the most on a first viewing, but the last time I re-watched it I did quit partway into it, so I think it suffers on repeat viewings, probably due to impatience with the story getting to where you know it is going anyway. Which may be the issue with the new Hobbit trilogy: even the book takes too long to get to Smaug, and can you imagine having to wait until the end of the second or third movie?

I love Randall's riff on LOTR in Clerks II; that may be my favorite part of that whole movie. Does not change the fact that I am still a fan of the trilogy, though!
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:41 am

I might be mistaken, but I think I read that the third movie in the trilogy will focus on material beyond where The Hobbit, in book form, ends. I believe that is where much of the appendix material will come into play, though we shouldn't forget that the appendix material will also be layered throughout to show what is happening to Gandalf when he heads off during The Hobbit, or to add details to some of the battles that the book only mentions. I guess we will have a better feel for the direction of the trilogy when we get to see Part I this Christmas. Flags will either be raised, or our concerns will be quelled (at least somewhat).
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:48 pm

Well, Jackson has already made it clear that there will be battles unseen in the books, so at least there will be some action. That hardly qualifies as storytelling, however. And judging by the titles, the will visit Smaug in the second film, not the third. But that is bad enough, in my book. But you are right; Part One will really be the "tell." If that is entertaining, then I guess that we will have to raise expectations a bit for the sequels.

My other concern is that my least favorite part of the LOTR trilogy was Jackon's rather broad attempts at humor, few of which worked for me. (That was one of my complaints with the Special Editions -- they actually add MORE of that!) Given the rather childish nature of Tolkien's prose in The Hobbit, I am really worried that Jackson will amplify the slapsticky humor.

It simply does not help that I am not a fan of the book in the first place.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:45 pm

Take this as you will:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/09/10/where-will-the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-end
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:52 pm

I've never been a big fan of The Hobbit either, even when I read it as a child. In fact, I only grew to appreciate it more when I read it and the Lord of the Rings following the release of Jackson's trilogy, but I still am not a huge fan of the book.

I'm connected through work right now, so unable to open the IGN article (my work firewall designates it as a gaming article and an unacceptable use of company technology!).
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:36 am

I re-read the LOTR trilogy after the last film came out theatrically (I waited until it was finished in fear that I might judge the movies too harshly) and I tried r-reading The Hobbit at the same time; I was unable to get past the first two pages. I may have to give it another try one of these days just to be fair, but it is mighty tough going for me.

Let me know what you think of the article when you can access it. It gives evidence of precisely where the last film will end, and yes, it means that they will probably not even get a third of the way into the book.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:13 pm

I will attempt to access the article this evening.

Not even a third of the way into the book for the first movie?! Unless these are short movies, I'm worried about pacing. Or, they're going to be so overstuffed with filler that it will be difficult to follow the main storyline. Oh dear.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:05 pm

Well, let me know your opinion. I am not just worried about bloat, I am convinced of it. But time will tell.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:58 pm

There's not a whole lot to say. The article suggests 100 pages in (out of 270). The screenplay is obviously not going to be a page-by-page adaptation of the book, so that means we're in for a lot of filler just to make a short 90- to 100-minute movie. But I'm not sure Jackson knows how to make short movies anymore. Needless to say, the movies could be very different from the book.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:31 am

If the plan was a trilogy of 90 minute movies, I would be a bit more optimistic. However, I am expecting a trilogy of 3+ hour movies.

Case in point: Radagast the Brown, who is mentioned one time in the entire book, has a greatly expanded part:

http://io9.com/5944368/new-hobbit-pics-give-a-first-look-at-radagast-the-brown-whos-getting-a-bigger-storyline
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:41 am

Hmmm. Well, we will just have to see. There is no reason why an expanded story can't be good. The problem is if Jackson follows the general storyline of The Hobbit, he will be forced to add multiple side-stories to fill out the length of the movie, and that will result in a confused narrative and a buried main storyline. It'll be a movie that views like the Similarion reads, and that is not a good thing, as I found that book boring and dry. Sure, there were good things in there and some clever tales, but the overall structure was so scattered that it did not make for a good read, and is certainly not something that I would call a novel. If anything it is a collection of tales, and that could be the direction Jackson's The Hobbit takes. Which, I suppose could work, but I'm not sure about a trilogy of tales.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:50 pm

True confession time: I have never finished The Silmarilion. Granted, I have not tried reading it in two or three decades, but still. I debated trying it again when I re-read the trilogy at the time of the theatrical release of the films, but my failure to read more than two pages of The Hobbit disheartened me. Someday.

The new trailer is out. Some people are raving about it, but I am seeing the "humor" I was dreading . . .

http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey,85125/
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:02 pm

I'm not surprised you didn't get through The Silmarillion. It brought tears to my eyes. You really have to be a Tolkien fan to want to understand the history of everything. It reads like a history book or a bible of Middle Earth, and while that might be cool for die-hard fans, it is a tough read otherwise.

And, yes, the humour is definitely in the groan category.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:07 am

Well, I doubt that I have tried to read The Silmarilion since my teens, so I may get through it a bit more easily nowadays. Just not too interested anymore. I did have a friend who said that The Silmarilion made more sense if you read The Book of Lost Tales first, but I have never read that at all either. My fanboy street cred is going down steadily the more that I say!

Did you read what Sean O'Neal said about the humor in his blurb? O'Neal is frequently hilarious -- did I ever post his story about the new 3D remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre where the whole story was nothing more than "Blah blah blah bippity bippity" nonsense words. In the comments aftwerward, he said that "I had a more traditional Newswire post all ready to go for this article, then decided that I may as well expend the same amount of effort into writing up the project that they did in conceiving it."

http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-3d-blah-blah-blah,55835/

I probably posted that before and jusr forgot about it . . .
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:04 pm

I don't recall reading the Texas Chainsawarticle. But everything O' Neal said was true, and I say that having not seen the movie!

I've read several O' Neal articles on The Hobbit. Not sure if I read the one specific to humour, but I do recall one about dropping stuff on small people, and how that is never not funny, or something along those lines.

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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:25 am

Well, yes, that was in the article with the new trailer that I posted. So you read it pretty recently!
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:22 am

Did you read that there definitely will not be a longer cut of DKR on disc? It sounds like the deleted background scenes will be included as extras, but not cut back into the movie. For the best, in my opinion, but I will reserve final judgment until I see the scenes.

I did pick up The Avengers on Blu. I am curious which film will stand up better to repeated viewings.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:18 am

I am a much larger fan of Nolan's Batman universe than I am of any Marvel universe, so my instinct is that Dark Knight Rises will hold up better over time, but I could be mistaken. Did you read the article that noted Avengers as containing one of the highest counts of flaws in movies released in 2012? We're talking things like prop placement errors and the like, but the kind of thing that will bug you and I with repeated viewings. Regardless, I haven't picked up Avengers on Blu yet, but I will do soon. Seajunior likes the movie, and I thought it'd make a nice extra for his upcoming birthday.

I thought the length and pace of Dark Knight Rises was fine, but I have only watched it once. I'm not sure if it would benefit from more or not. I used to think the Dark Knight Returns was the right length, but the last time I watched it, I found myself wanting just a wee bit more.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:15 pm

I prefer DC to Marvel in general, and as we have talked previously that is a reversal that happened as I got older. And unquestionably the DC animated universe played a big role in making that switch. I absolutely prefer the Nolan universe to any of the Marvel universe films, but I do have to give props to Whedon that The Avengers turned out better than I thought it possibly could have. It is definitely a more entertaining film than any of the Nolan films, though that does not make it better. However, that may make it easier to watch repeatedly.

Speaking of the DCAU, while I am a huge fan of the Nineties-era Batman, Superman and Justice League series, I have been less of a fan of their direct-to-video movies. A few have stood out, like Under the Red Hood, All Star Superman and Batman: Year One, but the rest have suffered mostly from trying to condense major arcs into an arbitrary 75 minute time limit. (That time limit really killed Superman: Doomsday, as the whole death of Superman arc involved multiple books and many different storylines.)

Anyway, I decided to give their new adaption of The Dark Knight Returns a shot and damned if it is not their best film to date, nearly equaling the quality of the best of the original series. They are doing it in two parts; part one covers book 1 and 2 while part two will cover book 3 and 4. Part one, which was just released last week, certainly condenses things quite a bit, and it still eliminates a lot of detail, but overall it is faithful to the story, the look and the style of the comic. My only slight criticism is that it loses the voiceover narration of the comic, so you lose Batman's interior monologue. But given how rarely voiceovers work well, it was probably best to go without it. If part 2 attains the same level of quality, I will be very happy indeed.

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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:16 pm

How are you defining entertaining? I found Avengers more rich in special effects and that had more action, but I enjoyed Dark Knight Rises more. In other words, from an enjoyment perspective, I was more entertained by Dark Knight Rises.

I have never watched any of the DC Animated Universe direct-to-video movies. I might check out Batman: Year One, and you have me interested in The Dark Knight Rises. When is Part 2 scheduled to be released?
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:52 am

The Dark Knight Rises is definitely a better film than The Avengers. It was much more satisfying. That said, The Avengers was more "fun." I was narrowly defining entertainment in those terms. I "enjoyed" The Avengers more in that sense, and sometimes that kind of film is easier to rewatch -- though sometimes not. My classic example is Star Trek II vs. Star Trek IV. Clearly the former is a much superior film to the latter, but on a first viewing, at least, The Voyage Home was more entertaining in the sense of "more fun." However, the cracks begin to show after only one or two more viewings, while Wrath of Khan simply gets richer every time that I watch it -- and in its own way it has just as many flaws (but flaws of a different kind.) But never fear, I remain a loyalist to the Dark Knight side.

When I watched The Dark Knight Returns last weekend, I had not read the comic in many years, so my opinion of its faithfulness was largely based on memory. However, I re-read book one and two over the last couple of days, and I am more impressed with the animated adaption. They do make changes, but it all works. I did read an interesting review of it on the AV Club which criticized the fact that the look of the animation is not quite faithful to the book, unlike what they did with Batman: Year One. However, I reacted in a completely opposite fashion. The look of Year One was arguably TOO faithful to the comics, as it did not translate as well into animation. The way that they change the look with Dark Knight Returns is legitimately a way of staying faithful to the general style while nevertheless translating it into something that works better in motion. But one thing that they do very well any way that you look at it is in tranlating the panel style into motion. Miller designed the panels to imitate a cinematic style of editing, and the adaption stays faithful to that. I look forward to watching it again to see if it holds up, or if I was just in the right frame of mind last weekend!

Part two of The Dark Knight Returns is slated for fall of 2013, so do not hold your breath. But I still recommend getting part one now -- it is well worth the money.
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Seamaster on Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:04 pm

I'll check it out.

I have also been debating picking up Volume 4 of Batman: The Animated Series. I stopped with Volume 3 because I read that Volume 4 sports a new animation design, was written for a less mature audience and is generally weaker from a story-telling perspective than the previous three volumes (or Season 1). Do you agree, or should I check out Volume 4?
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Re: The spoiler-filled, enter at your own risk, we mean it now, Dark Knight Rises thread

Post  Iago on Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:38 pm

It is still worth picking up. While they did do a major redesign when they moved from Fox to Kids WB, and the look is definitely inferior, the writing was still strong. I do struggle with those episodes a bit because I do not like the newer character designs, and it even when the episodes are very good it is hard to let go of the old designs. That said, it is still well worth watching. In fact, they already adapted part of The Dark Knight Returns for that series. They did a very clever episode where several kids trade stories about having personally seen Batman, and each kid envisions it in a different style matching different eras for the character. The first one is from the Dick Sprang era, and features the buddy-buddy dynamic duo with oversize props and death traps (the very run of the comics that inspired the Adam West series.) In that segment, Gary Owen voices Batman and Michael McKean voices the Joker. Then they have a Frank Miller inspired segment, which adapts Batman's battle with the Mutants in the junkyard from The Dark Knight Returns. And Michael Ironsides voices the old, pissed off Batman!

There is another very faithful adaption of the "Mad Love" one-shot comic telling Harley Quinn's origin story that is worth the price of the set.
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