Fantastic Beasts: The Question of What the Hell I just Saw

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Dear Escapist Friends,

back when I saw the original Harry Potter movies I often found myself thinking "Boy, I'd sure be lost watching these, if I hadn't read the books". Now, after watching Crimes of Grindelwald, I felt the same way, only that there's no book I could have read. Now, the first movie was, overall, a fairly simplistic affair, at least most of the time. Yo had Dr. Who-little going to 20s New York because of some magical creature, there was a B-Plot about an evil wizard trying to corrupt a young boy who wasn't aware he's a wizard himself, it was all pretty straightfoward and, in its better moments, rather charming. The sequel is neither of these things and makes that clear from it's very first scene.

For some reason the Harry Potter series has got it in its head that it needs to be dark and mature now, which already hurt the last few books and the films even moreso, but Fantastic Beasts 2 practically wallows in its own grittyness. It starts of with the titular villain escaping from custody in what is in theory a pretty enjoyable action setpiece, had it not been a dark, stormy, indulgently "gothic" visual mess that looks what people who don't like Zack Snyder movies think a Zack Snyder movie looks like. It continues as it started, only that it gets even more confusing as it goes on. I'm not kidding, it had countless moments where I couldn't help but wonder things like "How did we get here", "where did this come from" and "What's even happening." and mind you, I'm saying this as someone who grew up with the books. I have no idea how someone mostly unfamiliar with the franchise would react to any of it. Talking about this franchise, it seems like its official name is "Wizarding World" now, which is better than "Potterverse", but only slightly.

See, the thing is, Crimes of Grindelwald technically has a lot going on. Some of which is technically even interesting. The problem is, the pacing is too jumpy for most of it to properly sink in. There were a few things I genuinely appreciated, like Gellert Grindelwald being an immeasurably more engaging antagonist than Lord Voldemort (And Johnny Depp, for the first time in a long time, actually putting in some effort) and some of the character relationships having the potential to be worth following. It's such a shame that all of that which works has to take a backseat to countless visually confusing things happening at the same time. Maybe it's one of these movies that I have to watch a second time before I realize that, hey, a lot of this is actually quite genius, but I can't say that I find that very likely. Maybe this whole deal is much easier to follow once I get to watch it outside of a movie theatre, that magical place where you can see films wearing a pair of sunglasses in a dark room while a greek chorus of twelve year olds provides a running commentary on what you're seeing.

See, there are some ideas here that I rather liked. They seem to build up the character of Credence Barebone, the orphan kid played by Ezra Miller, as a kind of parallel to Harry Potter with Grindelwald as his Dumbledore, which has the potential to lead to some of these strangely satisfying moments of poetic synchronicity that the Star Wars prequels liked so much. It has a wonderful speech of Grindelwald , outlining his cryptofascist notions of wizard supremacy, in a way that actually made me see what his point was and why exactly he thinks that wizards should rule muggles... and why people would follow him. The flashbacks showing the past of Leta LeStrange were quite well realized and fleshed her out as a character in a way the rest of the movie mostly failed to do. And now that I'm describing all these things to you I start wondering why I didn't like this movie more until everything else about it comes to mind.

See, well before the movie came out it was announced that Nagini, Lord Voldemort's pet snake in the books, used to be human and would appear in this movie. Which she sure does, turning out that she used to be sideshow attraction, but for all intents and purposes she was a complete noncharacter that mostly served as an accesory to Credence and, as far as I remember, hardly did anything. Late in the movie there was a scene of a character from the first movie joining Grindelwald for reasons absolutely unrelatable to the viewer, seeing how that particular character didn't have anything resembling an arc throughout the entire movie, making the best reason I could come up with for her making that decision "Well, she's just not very smart, I guess." Which is still really jarring because in the first movie she was a very straightforward, if rather likeable, variation of the old manic pixie dreamgirl archetype. Yes, I know, I just spoiled who it is but, believe me, it's still gonna come out of nowhere anyway.

See, this is a thing I was already thinking with the first one: These movies are the clumsy first attempts of a novellist to write a screenplay without realizing that the requirements are actually quite different. Contrary to what you may think, I don't think Of Mrs. Rowling as a bad storyteller, as a matter of fact I can easily see how much of Crimes of Grindelwald could have worked much better in, say, a 700 pages book, but for a 2 hour movie it feels rushed, confused and overstuffed and David Yates' hectic, effects driven direction only serves to make these problems worse.

There's some stuff to enjoy in Fantastic Beasts 2 but it certainly expects you to put up with a lot of bullshit to get to it. This is a movie that has exposition where any other action movie would have a climax. I didn't hate it and it had moments where I was fascinated with it but, I gotta be honest with you, it wasn't enjoyment that I felt throughout most of it. Fantastic Beasts 1 was a movie that I approached with a lot of good will, maybe more than it deserved, and that I rated rather positively, the sequel however is a pretty strange beast. No pun intended. I'm about as on board with anything related to Harry Potter as you can get and I still don't feel like this movie was made for me. I do have a colleague at work who's crazier about the series than me and she dug the hell out of it so maybe I'm too critical. I'd like to say "I can recommend this movie to diehard fans only" but... can I? Can I really? It left me with mixed feelings, not all of them bad, but probably most of them. But maybe you're gonna like it. I dunno.

PsychedelicDiamond:
Dear Escapist Friends,

It starts of with the titular villain escaping from custody in what is in theory a pretty enjoyable action setpiece, had it not been a dark, stormy, indulgently "gothic" visual mess that looks what people who don't like Zack Snyder movies think a Zack Snyder movie looks like.

What does this mean? I've seen his films, the man doesn't understand colors. So the scene is very grey and desaturated?

Just saw it myself. Was not a fan. I thought the first one was merely a half-hearted cash grab but this one was just a mess. I have a sneaking feeling its going to be like the Hobbit films, shaky start and getting worse as they go on. A lot of the same flaws as the Hobbit films too, trying to hard to reference the previous set of films at the expense of the writing of these ones

PsychedelicDiamond:
There were a few things I genuinely appreciated, like Gellert Grindelwald being an immeasurably more engaging antagonist than Lord Voldemort (And Johnny Depp, for the first time in a long time, actually putting in some effort) and some of the character relationships having the potential to be worth following

Really? I thought he was dull as ditchwater. Voldemort is as cliched as they come but at least Ralph Fiennes was hammy as hell and fun to watch. Depp just burbles his way through all his lines and meanders about the place like he's just wandered on set to stretch his legs a bit. I did like a bit of extra stuff on Grindelwald and Dumbledore though, kind of made me want a film about that instead. Same as the first one made me want to watch a film about Newt fighting WWI with dragons instead of what we actually got

PsychedelicDiamond:
See, there are some ideas here that I rather liked. They seem to build up the character of Credence Barebone, the orphan kid played by Ezra Miller, as a kind of parallel to Harry Potter with Grindelwald as his Dumbledore, which has the potential to lead to some of these strangely satisfying moments of poetic synchronicity that the Star Wars prequels liked so much.

My problem with this is they also seem to be trying to do this Newt. Who gets told he's "the only one who can do this" and all that. And in both cases it seems to fundamentally misunderstand the Chosen One dynamic in the original films, where the prophecy was only destined to be fulfilled because Voldemort was insisting on trying to make sure it was fulfilled (something that often came back to bite him). Here everything is all destiny and omens and portents and shit and just makes all the characters feel like pawns being pushed around rather than actual characters.
Also, they set Credence up as some kind of superweapon who can take out Dumbledore...but that assassin dude manages to stop him pretty handily with what looks to be a very basic shield charm. He's rendered basically powerless against a bubble that he can't pop

PsychedelicDiamond:
See, well before the movie came out it was announced that Nagini, Lord Voldemort's pet snake in the books, used to be human and would appear in this movie. Which she sure does, turning out that she used to be sideshow attraction, but for all intents and purposes she was a complete noncharacter that mostly served as an accesory to Credence and, as far as I remember, hardly did anything.

This baffled me too. Why was she even in the film? I thought she might be around so Credence could talk to someone...but they barely share any words, and its nothing that couldn't have been achieved by having him just talk to that chick he found. Which would have humanised him a bit more and added foreshadowing to what that chick really is. As is, Nagini just seems to be around because they wanted someone in a slinky dress (see also pretty much everything Leta wears)

PsychedelicDiamond:
Late in the movie there was a scene of a character from the first movie joining Grindelwald for reasons absolutely unrelatable to the viewer, seeing how that particular character didn't have anything resembling an arc throughout the entire movie, making the best reason I could come up with for her making that decision "Well, she's just not very smart, I guess." Which is still really jarring because in the first movie she was a very straightforward, if rather likeable, variation of the old manic pixie dreamgirl archetype. Yes, I know, I just spoiled who it is but, believe me, it's still gonna come out of nowhere anyway.

God this irritated the hell out of me. If you want the freedom to marry a muggle why the hell would you side with Grindelwald, who says himself that he sees muggles as basically pack animals. In his idea of society there'd likely be even more stigma about marrying muggles!

PsychedelicDiamond:
as a matter of fact I can easily see how much of Crimes of Grindelwald could have worked much better in, say, a 700 pages book, but for a 2 hour movie it feels rushed, confused and overstuffed and David Yates' hectic, effects driven direction only serves to make these problems worse.

Yes, there's moments where I get flashes of what they might have been going for, or where there might have been a better story but the whole thing just seems so...mandated. Have to hit all the notes that we think people liked from the Harry Potter films, regardless of how cluttered or nonsensical it makes the story we're trying to write now

Saw it yesterday with my family for my father's birthday. Really enjoyed it. I especially like Newt for perhaps obvious reasons, one of my sisters had even turned to our mother at one point and said, "That is an autistic wizard."

I'm not surprised that there are a lot of things that need developing, they apparently plan on making this a five movie series so I'll hold judgement of development until we get more movies.

My only real problem with the movie was the giant info dump near the end about the past of the Lestrange family which took me some time to figure out afterwards. I liked it though, good movie.

I especially find it odd the bit when Grindelwald vapes and blows smoke to show his followers that he could have prevented the Holocaust.

Dansen:

PsychedelicDiamond:
Dear Escapist Friends,

It starts of with the titular villain escaping from custody in what is in theory a pretty enjoyable action setpiece, had it not been a dark, stormy, indulgently "gothic" visual mess that looks what people who don't like Zack Snyder movies think a Zack Snyder movie looks like.

What does this mean? I've seen his films, the man doesn't understand colors. So the scene is very grey and desaturated?

Most of this film looks dark and desaturated. Even by the first scene.

Natemans:

Most of this film looks dark and desaturated. Even by the first scene.

I didn't notice any problem.

Natemans:
I especially find it odd the bit when Grindelwald vapes and blows smoke to show his followers that he could have prevented the Holocaust.

I was fine with that. It's hamfisted as hell but it does a fine job establishing his motivation. Why does he want to enslave muggles? Because they're about to pull this shit. And just like that everyone gets where he's coming from.

PsychedelicDiamond:

Natemans:
I especially find it odd the bit when Grindelwald vapes and blows smoke to show his followers that he could have prevented the Holocaust.

I was fine with that. It's hamfisted as hell but it does a fine job establishing his motivation. Why does he want to enslave muggles? Because they're about to pull this shit. And just like that everyone gets where he's coming from.

I also felt the same at first when that scene started but at the same time given that the film takes place in 1927, it's not as if that threat is that far off so it makes sense in context as apposed to how this kind of scene can so often be used as a generic "people in the future will do dumb shit", this is a specific and looming threat in the context of the movie.

The movie has a rhythm that's kind of BOOM! exposition exposition exposition BOOM! exposition exposition BOOM!

Some of the "boom" is very pretty, but it's hard not to feel like it's there because they're afraid the audience will fall asleep without it.

I did like that they gave Grindelwald an argument that actually allowed one to see why he might have a following, rather than Voldemort's essential "Do you want to be one of the elite, or one of those @#$% Muggle-lovers?" The last scenes actually managed to provoke some tension, in part because it was far from certain which side was going to escalate to violence... Which topically has been much on my mind, of late.

A bit less enthralled by the whole "every woman is secretly in love with Newt" theme. He's kind of a doofus, and played as such. I just don't see it. Not just an "anti-authority, can't be held back by the system rebel" type, but an actual socially-blundering doesn't-really-get-along-with-anyone-but-his-beloved-animals doofus. And, yeah, even doofuses find love... but you would think he was a matinee idol from the reactions he gets.

PsychedelicDiamond:
Dear Escapist Friends,

back when I saw the original Harry Potter movies I often found myself thinking "Boy, I'd sure be lost watching these, if I hadn't read the books".

For some reason the Harry Potter series has got it in its head that it needs to be dark and mature now, which already hurt the last few books and the films even moreso,

Disagree there.

Talking about this franchise, it seems like its official name is "Wizarding World" now, which is better than "Potterverse", but only slightly.

I actually prefer "Potterverse." Simplier, rolls off the tongue better.

See, there are some ideas here that I rather liked. They seem to build up the character of Credence Barebone, the orphan kid played by Ezra Miller, as a kind of parallel to Harry Potter with Grindelwald as his Dumbledore, which has the potential to lead to some of these strangely satisfying moments of poetic synchronicity that the Star Wars prequels liked so much.[/quote]

I keep seeing people claim that Credence is a parallel to Harry, and I really don't see that. Harry was an orphan, but he never had an identity crisis. He knew who his parents were, and while Hagrid told him the truth, up to that point, he wasn't spending much time questioning who or what he was. Also, even if this is the case, we've already had a Harry parallel with Voldemort/Tom Riddle, which was done much better in the whole "I'm what you could have been" thing.

It has a wonderful speech of Grindelwald , outlining his cryptofascist notions of wizard supremacy, in a way that actually made me see what his point was and why exactly he thinks that wizards should rule muggles... and why people would follow him.

True, kinda.

The flashbacks showing the past of Leta LeStrange were quite well realized and fleshed her out as a character in a way the rest of the movie mostly failed to do. And now that I'm describing all these things to you I start wondering why I didn't like this movie more until everything else about it comes to mind.

Yep...too bad that Leta is pretty academic to the entirety of the film.

See, well before the movie came out it was announced that Nagini, Lord Voldemort's pet snake in the books, used to be human and would appear in this movie. Which she sure does, turning out that she used to be sideshow attraction, but for all intents and purposes she was a complete noncharacter that mostly served as an accesory to Credence and, as far as I remember, hardly did anything.

Nagini, like a lot in this film, is here for fan service.

But that said, who read the books/saw the films and asked "gee, what's the backstory of this snake?" Well, here's your answer - a girl who does nothing, says nothing, and is there for fan service and to stand there looking said. Could you tell an interesting story with Nagini and Credence? Yes. But this isn't the movie for it because there's just so much CRAP going on at once that it gets lost in the shuffle.

Palindromemordnilap:
Just saw it myself. Was not a fan. I thought the first one was merely a half-hearted cash grab but this one was just a mess. I have a sneaking feeling its going to be like the Hobbit films, shaky start and getting worse as they go on.

I'll defend the Hobbit films till the grave (I think they're good), but this is far worse than the Hobbit films IMO. The Hobbit may have referenced the other films/lore, but that was lore that already existed. Fantastic Beasts is more like...this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouMV8EhR3Jw

Hawki:
SNIP

I disagree.

I am waiting for the next Middle Earth movie if it ever gets made. Harry Potter should have stayed at Deathly Hallows.

I almost have no faith in that Amazon Lord of the Rings with the people helming it (they are the same guys that did the Abrams Star Trek trilogy.)

And pardon my politics, but I fear there is gonna be some...."SJW-isms" applied to Amazon's Lord of the Rings. And I say this as a guy that owns the books and have been deeply entrenched in Middle Earth lore.

Samtemdo8:

And pardon my politics, but I fear there is gonna be some...."SJW-isms" applied to Amazon's Lord of the Rings. And I say this as a guy that owns the books and have been deeply entrenched in Middle Earth lore.

like what?

female hobbits?

undeadsuitor:

Samtemdo8:

And pardon my politics, but I fear there is gonna be some...."SJW-isms" applied to Amazon's Lord of the Rings. And I say this as a guy that owns the books and have been deeply entrenched in Middle Earth lore.

like what?

female hobbits?

Less "Racist" depiction of Orcs? Like making Orc actual people with feelings, as if they were Warcraft Orcs (Which they are not)

Like I doubt they are gonna make the Middle Earth Orcs look like this:

image

Let alone how Tolkien actually described them:

"squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types"

And another thing is probably including things like a ambigously gay character or a Tauriel like situation of a made up female lead character. And just straight up changes and retcons to the story to make it "appropirate" for modern standards and sensibilities I.E. for people that can't handle anything deemed "prejudiced."

But even putting that aside, who the fuck are they gonna cast for this franchise? Appearenlty its gonna be about the Origin story of Aragorn in his youth.

Hawki:

Palindromemordnilap:
Just saw it myself. Was not a fan. I thought the first one was merely a half-hearted cash grab but this one was just a mess. I have a sneaking feeling its going to be like the Hobbit films, shaky start and getting worse as they go on.

I'll defend the Hobbit films till the grave (I think they're good), but this is far worse than the Hobbit films IMO. The Hobbit may have referenced the other films/lore, but that was lore that already existed. Fantastic Beasts is more like...this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouMV8EhR3Jw

I thought Unexpected Journey was alright. But the tone as they went on just shifted further and further from that charm and just became a slog to sit through. Beasts has that same problem, it should have been a fun romp about a quirky wizard roaming the world looking at cool animals but oh here comes the conspiracies and the references to past films and all this chosen one drama bullshit. I just want to see more of Newt collecting his beasts! You could have set him against an evil poacher or something! It would have been fun...

Samtemdo8:

undeadsuitor:

Samtemdo8:

And pardon my politics, but I fear there is gonna be some...."SJW-isms" applied to Amazon's Lord of the Rings. And I say this as a guy that owns the books and have been deeply entrenched in Middle Earth lore.

like what?

female hobbits?

Less "Racist" depiction of Orcs? Like making Orc actual people with feelings, as if they were Warcraft Orcs (Which they are not)

Like I doubt they are gonna make the Middle Earth Orcs look like this:

image

Let alone how Tolkien actually described them:

"squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types"

And another thing is probably including things like a ambigously gay character or a Tauriel like situation of a made up female lead character. And just straight up changes and retcons to the story to make it "appropirate" for modern standards and sensibilities I.E. for people that can't handle anything deemed "prejudiced."

But even putting that aside, who the fuck are they gonna cast for this franchise? Appearenlty its gonna be about the Origin story of Aragorn in his youth.

Because woe betide they not follow exactly to the racist ideals of the original author. What a loss that shall be.

As for who could play young Aragorn, how about that guy they originally hired before deciding he looked too young and replacing him with Viggo Mortenson? I don't know if he'd still look too young a decade later but would be a fun mythology gag

Samtemdo8:

Less "Racist" depiction of Orcs?

You mean what pretty much every adaptation of LotR has done already?

That isn't PC at this point, that's par for the course.

Like making Orc actual people with feelings, as if they were Warcraft Orcs (Which they are not)

I doubt they would, but even if they did, that wouldn't be PC. Orcs are made up creatures. They get to have made up feelings as well.

And another thing is probably including things like a ambigously gay character or a Tauriel like situation of a made up female lead character. And just straight up changes and retcons to the story to make it "appropirate" for modern standards and sensibilities I.E. for people that can't handle anything deemed "prejudiced."

Oh the horror. Oh the humanity.

Middle-earth isn't going to end because of a gay character - I doubt the race of Men only got a 'gay gene' with the Fourth Age. As for Tauriel, she's more noticable in that she's an OC that reeks of self-insertion, but her presence is easily understandable in a corporate sense. The Hobbit (the book) doesn't have a single female character. Tauriel is created to thus bring in the female audience. This is me projecting, but given how popular a character she is on ff.net, apparently it worked.

There's some elements of "PCness" that would break elements of the setting (e.g. if Rohan freely allowed women to serve as riders, thus rendering Eowyn's plotline moot), but the above examples aren't really, well, examples of such elements.

How do you ruin lotr with gay characters when the original three movies were the gayest movies ever made

Brokeback mountain was more heterosexual than the Lord of the rings trilogy

Samtemdo8:

Less "Racist" depiction of Orcs? Like making Orc actual people with feelings, as if they were Warcraft Orcs (Which they are not)

Like I doubt they are gonna make the Middle Earth Orcs look like this:

Let alone how Tolkien actually described them:

"squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types"

And another thing is probably including things like a ambigously gay character or a Tauriel like situation of a made up female lead character. And just straight up changes and retcons to the story to make it "appropirate" for modern standards and sensibilities I.E. for people that can't handle anything deemed "prejudiced."

Wait a minute ... not emulating the ideas and conceptions British people had for other groups of people living in the dying days of the British Empire is all it takes to be an SJW?

Wow ... Can I ask if that's actually what you want?

I mean, did you ever stop to consider the fact that attitudes and consumption dynamics change and the simple fact that maybe everyone prefers a simulacra of the high fantasy genre, not necessarily all the racist baggage that often came with British authors alike so many of Tolkien's contemporaries? That, I don't know ... capitalism is a thing and they want to make money and that hopefully people can separate the high fantasy from the author's preconceptions when they aren't even important to the plot?

That in the end we're talking about entertainment. That most people legitimately do not want to replicate those attitudes because they recognize it's wrong and gets in the way of that actual entertainment? If all it takes to be an SJW is basically an argument that we should not replicate the atrocious attitudes of the past ... much less an argument that people shouldn't be expected to replicate it when it is literally a pointless exercise ... then what's the actual argument here?

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

Less "Racist" depiction of Orcs? Like making Orc actual people with feelings, as if they were Warcraft Orcs (Which they are not)

Like I doubt they are gonna make the Middle Earth Orcs look like this:

Let alone how Tolkien actually described them:

"squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types"

And another thing is probably including things like a ambigously gay character or a Tauriel like situation of a made up female lead character. And just straight up changes and retcons to the story to make it "appropirate" for modern standards and sensibilities I.E. for people that can't handle anything deemed "prejudiced."

Wait a minute ... not emulating the ideas and conceptions British people had for other groups of people living in the dying days of the British Empire is all it takes to be an SJW?

Wow ... Can I ask if that's actually what you want?

I mean, did you ever stop to consider the fact that attitudes and consumption dynamics change and the simple fact that maybe everyone prefers a simulacra of the high fantasy genre, not necessarily all the racist baggage that often came with British authors alike so many of Tolkien's contemporaries? That, I don't know ... capitalism is a thing and they want to make money and that hopefully people can separate the high fantasy from the author's preconceptions when they aren't even important to the plot?

That in the end we're talking about entertainment. That most people legitimately do not want to replicate those attitudes because they recognize it's wrong and gets in the way of that actual entertainment? If all it takes to be an SJW is basically an argument that we should not replicate the atrocious attitudes of the past ... much less an argument that people shouldn't be expected to replicate it when it is literally a pointless exercise ... then what's the actual argument here?

To me the unfortunate truth is that these atrocious attitudes of the past are irrevocably tied to the very root of the universe.

You try to change Orcs into something else and its not Middle Earth anymore.

You try to add characters to fufill a quota and/or agenda and its not Middle Earth anymore.

I mean it started with Aragorn being this reluctant person thats afraid of being a king, instead of the badass he was in the Book that wanted to be King because he is confident enough to restore his family name's honor.

But if what you are saying is let a new generation of people tackle a universe' setting however they want, Author's intention be damned if they are right or wrong. Depends how they pull it off.

Infact if I had my hands on this I would make the Orcs consistantly look like the standard Greenskinned humanoids with protruding tusks out of their mouths like in Warcraft and Warhammer.

I would base their look more on Elder Scrolls Orcs because I feel they are the most appropriate look to the overall art style of Tolkien's Universe:

image

And heck Tolkien never described Elves as having Pointy ears and Jackson did it anyway :P

Hawki:

Samtemdo8:

Less "Racist" depiction of Orcs?

You mean what pretty much every adaptation of LotR has done already?

That isn't PC at this point, that's par for the course.

Like making Orc actual people with feelings, as if they were Warcraft Orcs (Which they are not)

I doubt they would, but even if they did, that wouldn't be PC. Orcs are made up creatures. They get to have made up feelings as well.

And another thing is probably including things like a ambigously gay character or a Tauriel like situation of a made up female lead character. And just straight up changes and retcons to the story to make it "appropirate" for modern standards and sensibilities I.E. for people that can't handle anything deemed "prejudiced."

Oh the horror. Oh the humanity.

Middle-earth isn't going to end because of a gay character - I doubt the race of Men only got a 'gay gene' with the Fourth Age. As for Tauriel, she's more noticable in that she's an OC that reeks of self-insertion, but her presence is easily understandable in a corporate sense. The Hobbit (the book) doesn't have a single female character. Tauriel is created to thus bring in the female audience. This is me projecting, but given how popular a character she is on ff.net, apparently it worked.

There's some elements of "PCness" that would break elements of the setting (e.g. if Rohan freely allowed women to serve as riders, thus rendering Eowyn's plotline moot), but the above examples aren't really, well, examples of such elements.

Regarding Orcs and responding directly to the bolded sentence.

Then I am amazed Peter Jackson got away with this scene, and the funny thing is this isn't something described by Tolkien's works.

https://youtu.be/LwinMu7-ZrI?t=99

Samtemdo8:

To me the unfortunate truth is that these atrocious attitudes of the past are irrevocably tied to the very root of the universe.

LotR isn't history.

You try to change Orcs into something else and its not Middle Earth anymore.

Then any adaptation isn't going to work.

'Asian caricature' is not as if specific descriptors. In fact, given how absolutely thougtless the author's description was, you lose nothing by dropping whatever the author was trying to imply. Minly because people are not mind-readers.

It's more telling you think it's somehow important and you have as if some insight as to those racially constructed caricatures of Tolkien's British upbringing at the turn of the 20th century.

You try to add characters to fufill a quota and/or agenda and its not Middle Earth anymore.

I mean it started with Aragorn being this reluctant person thats afraid of being a king, instead of the badass he was in the Book that wanted to be King because he is confident enough to restore his family name's honor.

What does this have to do with your argument about 'SJW-ness'? Bit late to play coy now. How exactly is populating Orc ranks as with the 'Asian-y East Asians' that are the least lovely in European eyes not a quota?

Please elabourate on how you would then cast East Asians as orcs? Any specific group there? I need you to rustle up 200 East Asians for a hypothetical production. Which ethnic groups shall we start off with?

Maybe we can go half way on this and have a 'nuanced' approach of simply getting ugly people and just Mongol-fy them....

Would that make your decision easier or more palatable?

But if what you are saying is let a new generation of people tackle a universe' setting however they want, Author's intention be damned if they are right or wrong. Depends how they pull it off.

Okay, different argument then. What happens when your idea of porting over racist baggage doesn't gel with viewers? Moreover, since when is adaptation simply parroting whatever sentiments there were of the author?

What are artists? Fucking sheep?

Are you saying we should try to make everything Lovecraftian inspired also racially coded even though that would;

A: Kind of be hard to do given the focus should be on events, not author's sentiments.
B: That you can't do so visually without derailing the plots.
C: That nobody actually wants to see those sentiments displayed?

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

To me the unfortunate truth is that these atrocious attitudes of the past are irrevocably tied to the very root of the universe.

LotR isn't history.

You try to change Orcs into something else and its not Middle Earth anymore.

Then any adaptation isn't going to work.

You try to add characters to fufill a quota and/or agenda and its not Middle Earth anymore.

I mean it started with Aragorn being this reluctant person thats afraid of being a king, instead of the badass he was in the Book that wanted to be King because he is confident enough to restore his family name's honor.

What does this have to do with your argument about 'SJW-ness'? Bit late to play coy now.

But if what you are saying is let a new generation of people tackle a universe' setting however they want, Author's intention be damned if they are right or wrong. Depends how they pull it off.

Okay, different argument then. What happens when your idea of porting over racist baggage doesn't gel with viewers? Moreover, since when is adaptation simply parroting whatever sentiments there were of the author?

What are artists? Fucking sheep?

Are you saying we should try to make everything Lovecraftian inspired also racially coded even though that would;

A: Kind of be hard to do given the focus should be on events, not author's sentiments.
B: That you can't do so visually without derailing the plots.
C: That nobody actually wants to see those sentiments displayed?

LOTR may not be history, but if I were to adapt, I would treat every single thing written in it as if it was Gosple. Same with any other work of fiction. I would most definitively be a sheep. And while I may disagree with the author's sentiments but recognize how it connects setting's conception, also if I were to do it, it be a completely animated series, I eschwe live action filming for LOTR or any Tolkien work because I think Animation is the true answer to portray is world the best. But sadly I do not have that power.

Also its difficult for me to answer your Lovecraft question because to be honest I have yet to read any of Lovecraft's works of the Cthulhu Mythos myself, only third hand accounts of it from Youtubers. But to answer each:

A: I mostly agree yes.
B: Don't know what you mean by doing something visually without "Derailing the plot?"
C: This is a difficult one because it comes down to trying to appeal to a wider audiance and noy offending or challenging them in anyway. And I am of the opinion that trying to appeal to a wider audiances often comes to diminishing the integrity of the product. Especially if they were never an audiance that was interested in the first place.

Samtemdo8:

You try to change Orcs into something else and its not Middle Earth anymore.

You can, but orcs have been depicted visually in any number of adaptations. No-one cried foul over them (except maybe the animated Return of the King, but that's because of that bloody whip song.

You try to add characters to fufill a quota and/or agenda and its not Middle Earth anymore.

I mean it started with Aragorn being this reluctant person thats afraid of being a king, instead of the badass he was in the Book that wanted to be King because he is confident enough to restore his family name's honor.

I'm not sure how changing Aragorn in this sense is filling an agenda or quota.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
Snip

I'm not sure what Asians really have to do with orcs here since the setting already has its equivalents with Rhun and Khand.

But it's a moot point. We've seen orcs displayed already, there's no reason to think that the TV series will suddenly drop the ball on that front. Orcs are orcs - orcs in the public conciosness exist pretty independently from any real-world equivalent bar a few exceptions, and nowadays, LotR isn't really one of them.

Hawki:

Samtemdo8:

You try to change Orcs into something else and its not Middle Earth anymore.

You can, but orcs have been depicted visually in any number of adaptations. No-one cried foul over them (except maybe the animated Return of the King, but that's because of that bloody whip song.

You try to add characters to fufill a quota and/or agenda and its not Middle Earth anymore.

I mean it started with Aragorn being this reluctant person thats afraid of being a king, instead of the badass he was in the Book that wanted to be King because he is confident enough to restore his family name's honor.

I'm not sure how changing Aragorn in this sense is filling an agenda or quota.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
Snip

I'm not sure what Asians really have to do with orcs here since the setting already has its equivalents with Rhun and Khand.

But it's a moot point. We've seen orcs displayed already, there's no reason to think that the TV series will suddenly drop the ball on that front. Orcs are orcs - orcs in the public conciosness exist pretty independently from any real-world equivalent bar a few exceptions, and nowadays, LotR isn't really one of them.

I was gonna fully elaborate on the Aragorn part, but could not fully put it into Words because I was still trying to formulate my response.

Lets just say that the Aragorn part was not meant to show an agenda, but it represents that if you can change this character to such a way, who knows who or what else can be changed or even added, especially doing so to fufill an agenda that was never in the original work.

In the end all I can say is so long as the Amazon LOTR series does not look like complete ass on my first impression of it, then I will give it a try.

I mean I thought these Fantastic Beast series not only did not feel like a Harry Potter movie, but was completely unnecessary.

Samtemdo8:

LOTR may not be history, but if I were to adapt, I would treat every single thing written in it as if it was Gosple. Same with any other work of fiction. I would most definitively be a sheep. And while I may disagree with the author's sentiments but recognize how it connects setting's conception, also if I were to do it, it be a completely animated series, I eschwe live action filming for LOTR or any Tolkien work because I think Animation is the true answer to portray is world the best. But sadly I do not have that power.

Okay ... so you need 200 extras designated as orcs, your answer is ... what? Pray tell, using Tolkien's own descriptors as 'gospel'. What ethnic group would you pick? Or more specifically, are you going to just take any people and 'Mongol'-face them? If you were going to adequate display the 'least lovely of Mongol features' in Europeans' eyes, how would you go about it?

Regardless of what you fucking do, not only is it awful to treat people that way regardless of the sentiments of the author, and you are literally emulating racist ideas from your own racist platform. Tolkien was not specific. What he was alluding to was patently racist caricatures of East Asians that were rife across the West. He was not descript.

You literally cannot follow Tolkien's instructions without having a patently racist idea of people to begin with. You are literally picking East Asians based on ethnic caricatures that in your head you personally think are the 'least lovely' of East Asian people. Moreover, unless you're a mindreader you don't even know what those are. And any attempt to do so is merely presenting your own racist prejudices on the big screen. And guess what? People would be right to trhink of you as an awful person on those grounds alone.

Tolkien has the excuse of 'a product of his time and place' ... you don't get that excuse.

Also its difficult for me to answer your Lovecraft question because to be honest I have yet to read any of Lovecraft's works of the Cthulhu Mythos myself, only third hand accounts of it from Youtubers. But to answer each:

A: I mostly agree yes.
B: Don't know what you mean by doing something visually without "Derailing the plot?"
C: This is a difficult one because it comes down to trying to appeal to a wider audiance and noy offending or challenging them in anyway. And I am of the opinion that trying to appeal to a wider audiances often comes to diminishing the integrity of the product. Especially if they were never an audiance that was interested in the first place.

Because Lovecraft's racially coded language and sentiments in his work are incredibly hard to present in a visual format requiring an emphasis of fluidity and pacing required in the cinematic experience. You would derail the stories trying to present it. Moreover, it is not the point of adaptation to focus on the mere sentiments of authors.

That is about the worst possible adaptation that you can have.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

LOTR may not be history, but if I were to adapt, I would treat every single thing written in it as if it was Gosple. Same with any other work of fiction. I would most definitively be a sheep. And while I may disagree with the author's sentiments but recognize how it connects setting's conception, also if I were to do it, it be a completely animated series, I eschwe live action filming for LOTR or any Tolkien work because I think Animation is the true answer to portray is world the best. But sadly I do not have that power.

Okay ... so you need 200 extras designated as orcs, your answer is ... what? Pray tell, using Tolkien's own descriptors as 'gospel'. What ethnic group would you pick? Or more specifically, are you going to just take any people and 'Mongol'-face them? If you were going to adequate display the 'least lovely of Mongol features' in European's eyes, how would you go about it?

Because regardless of what you fucking do, not only is it awful to treat people that way regardless of the sentiments of the author, and you are literally emulating racist ideas from your own racist platform. Tolkien was not specific. What he was alluding to was patently racist caricatures of East Asians that were rife across the West. He was not descript.

You literally cannot follow Tolkien's instructions without having a patently racist idea of people to begin with. You are literally picking East Asians based on ethnic caricatures that in your head you personally think are the 'least lovely' of East Asian people.

Moreover, unless you're a mindreader you don't even know what those are. And any attempt to do so is merely presenting your own racist prejudices on the big screen. And guess what? People would be right to trhink of you as an awful person on those grounds alone.

Tolkien has the excuse of 'a product of his time and place' ... you don't get that excuse.

Also its difficult for me to answer your Lovecraft question because to be honest I have yet to read any of Lovecraft's works of the Cthulhu Mythos myself, only third hand accounts of it from Youtubers. But to answer each:

A: I mostly agree yes.
B: Don't know what you mean by doing something visually without "Derailing the plot?"
C: This is a difficult one because it comes down to trying to appeal to a wider audiance and noy offending or challenging them in anyway. And I am of the opinion that trying to appeal to a wider audiances often comes to diminishing the integrity of the product. Especially if they were never an audiance that was interested in the first place.

Because Lovecraft's racially coded language and sentiments in his work are incredibly hard to present in a visual format requiring an emphasis of fluidity and pacing required in the cinematic experience. You literally would derail the stories trying to present it.

I knew this would become a more conentious and heated arguement that might paint where my moral, ethical, and poltical standings lie to people. I am just speaking as a guy that is a fan of this universe and truly feel that the guys working with this Amazon TV series are not only unfit and unworthy, but does not even deserve to handle this franchise and not trusted enough to treat it with the dignity and integrity it deserves. I mean Jackson already fucked up with the Hobbit. What makes you think the guys that did fucking Star Trek Beyond would be trusted to handle this universe with the care and diginity it deserves?

And I am not actively biggoted against East Asian people or any Ethnic Minority because why would I? I have no reason to be biggoted because its unfounded. And I said if I were to handle this franchise I would make an animated series so I don't need 200 East Asian Steppes Extras to subject themselves as the Orcs.

Samtemdo8:

I knew this would become a more conentious and heated arguement that might paint where my moral, ethical, and poltical standings lie to people. I am just speaking as a guy that is a fan of this universe and truly feel that the guys working with this Amazon TV series are not only unfit and unworthy, but does not even deserve to handle this franchise and not trusted enough to treat it with the dignity and integrity it deserves. I mean Jackson already fucked up with the Hobbit. What makes you think the guys that did fucking Star Trek Beyond would be trusted to handle this universe with the care and diginity.

And I am not actively biggoted against East Asian people or any Ethnic Minority because why would I? I have no reason to be biggoted because its unfounded. And I said if I were to handle this franchise I would make an animated series so I don't need 200 East Asian Steppes Extras to subject themselves as the Orcs.

It is not a contentious issue ... you are dodging a question. You say you were taking 'Tolkien's ideas as if gospel' ... tell me what you think those ideas were. Let's put aside how you can't even come up with a compelling reason why such bigotry is required in a high fantasy setting which will be consumed by people. Let's put aside the fact that lawfully you'll be up shit creek if your only hiring quota for orc extras are 'Barring ugly East Asians for orcs, no one need apply' on a work of pure fantasy.

Once again. You need 200 extras for your orcs for your big screen adaptation of LotR--what exactly is going to be your selection process?

A list of desired qualities you want to see in your orcs for your high fantasy film...? Something that is pure escapism fuel that is going to be consumed by regular people?

It's a pretty simple question. How exactly does one dropping said hiring quotas altogether make one a 'SJW'? Moreover, why exactly would a producer or director who is clearly not a mindreader of dead people not having the foggiest of how to portray said orcs as per ethnic groups that are extant on our planet dropping it altogether make it 'SJWness' of LotR?

This is not a 'contentious debate' .. it is two questions. Whether conscription was morally justified in the face of fighting the Third Reich and the Imperial Japanese forces running roughshod over the Pacific is a debate. This is two questions.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Samtemdo8:

I knew this would become a more conentious and heated arguement that might paint where my moral, ethical, and poltical standings lie to people. I am just speaking as a guy that is a fan of this universe and truly feel that the guys working with this Amazon TV series are not only unfit and unworthy, but does not even deserve to handle this franchise and not trusted enough to treat it with the dignity and integrity it deserves. I mean Jackson already fucked up with the Hobbit. What makes you think the guys that did fucking Star Trek Beyond would be trusted to handle this universe with the care and diginity.

And I am not actively biggoted against East Asian people or any Ethnic Minority because why would I? I have no reason to be biggoted because its unfounded. And I said if I were to handle this franchise I would make an animated series so I don't need 200 East Asian Steppes Extras to subject themselves as the Orcs.

It is not a contentious issue ... you are dodging a question. You say you were taking 'Tolkien's ideas as if gospel' ... tell me what you think those ideas were. Let's put aside how you can't even come up with a compelling reason why such bigotry is required in a high fantasy setting which will be consumed by people. Let's put aside the fact that lawfully you'll be up shit creek if your only hiring quota for orc extras are 'Barring ugly East Asians for orcs, no one need apply' on a work of pure fantasy.

Once again. You need 200 extras for your orcs for your big screen adaptation of LotR--what exactly is going to be your selection process?

A list of desired qualities you want to see in your orcs for your high fantasy film...? Something that is pure escapism fuel that is going to be consumed by regular people?

It's a pretty simple question. How exactly does one dropping said hiring quotas altogether make one a 'SJW'? Moreover, why exactly would a producer or director who is clearly not a mindreader of dead people not having the foggiest of how to portray said orcs as per ethnic groups that are extant on our planet dropping it altogether make it 'SJWness' of LotR?

This is not a 'contentious debate' .. it is two questions.

If I have to give a simple answer the very question you are asking me.

The 200 Extras for Orcs to meet a Quota thing: Yeah that is impossible and even I won't cast solely East Asians that look like how Tolkien described them. As I have said before, if I had my way I just depict the Orcs looking like the Elder Scrolls Orcs and cast anyone regardless of race who can put the make up on or be CGI'd ala Davy Jones.

I am just saying that if I tackle this universe, I would try to be as faithful and word for word as possible from the books.

I want Aragorn to be the highly confident man that desires to be King to lead humanity to a brighter future. Then the self doubting man in the movies (He even got the Reforged Sword when they set out from Rivendell in the first book)

I want Frodo to be nothing like Elijah Wood's portrayal of the character at all. (Pardon me for saying this, but the book charcater had far more backbone then the simpering emo we saw in the movies)

I don't want Elves in the Battle of Helm's Deep.

I want the Orcs to still be portrayed as the savage barbarian Hun-like race under the leadership of an evil Dark Lord that they were conceived to be. Not one ounce of "morally grey" orcs at all.

I want the romance between Beren and Luthien to be played absolutely straight, saccharine cringyness be damned.

I want the story of Turin Turambar to be absolutely depressing, even playing his incetuous relationship with his sister straight (Note: He never met his Sister and vice versa and the sister suffered a curse of amnesia by the time she met him).

Hawki:

I'm not sure what Asians really have to do with orcs here since the setting already has its equivalents with Rhun and Khand.

But it's a moot point. We've seen orcs displayed already, there's no reason to think that the TV series will suddenly drop the ball on that front. Orcs are orcs - orcs in the public conciosness exist pretty independently from any real-world equivalent bar a few exceptions, and nowadays, LotR isn't really one of them.

It would be a moot point if a director looked at Rhun and Khand and didn't just see East Asians. In fact it might even be better precisely because the consumption of that might better align to current modern ideas that we might more seamlessly consume. Because hopefully people shouldn't pretend as if Tolkien is a platform of reasonable sociological critique.

Like so many authors of his time, it's probably the cringiest aspects of fiction, fantasy and high fantasy and lacks any social commentary beyond 'yeah, people actually thought like this'. And while that association might be useful in some historiographical or sociological examination of the times that these authors were writing, it's not exactly necessary in adaptations meant to be consumed by people for entertainment.

There's no real concrete descriptions of Easterlings to begin with ... they aren't described as East Asians. Some were black, others brown, others olive, some described as 'sallow-skinned'. Basically everyone non-white (and of a very particular brand of whiteness and other).

It's entirely irrelevant to what's actually going on in the plot ... and the Hobbit & The LotR aren't considered literary classics because of the xenophobia that white people had.

Samtemdo8:

If I have to give a simple answer the very question you are asking me.

The 200 Extras for Orcs to meet a Quota thing: Yeah that is impossible and even I won't cast solely East Asians that look like how Tolkien described them. As I have said before, if I had my way I just depict the Orcs looking like the Elder Scrolls Orcs and cast anyone regardless of race who can put the make up on or be CGI'd ala Davy Jones.

I am just saying that if I tackle this universe, I would try to be as faithful and word for word as possible from the books.

But it was never in the books. If it was an offhanded xenophobic description given in a letter. One of which tht is impossible to actually visually demonstrate and relies purely on rationalist rather than empirical ideas of East Asians. He's alluding to a racialism that literally cannot be represented on screen without a concrete understanding of the East Asian caricatures that were rife in British society and popularized by centuries of brutal conquest and colonization.

And if you're going to merely construct your own caricatures of East Asians ... then it's not faithful at all. Moreover it's morally wrong and utterly pointless. The way Tolkien describes them is an image tat exclusively lives in his head and only shared to a similar extent by contemporaries of trhe society for which he existed. You deserve to be judged poorly for it because it is literally creating something born from your own internalized prejudices and is amongst the least merited of reasons to act like that.

Comments like that are fundamentally at odds with our wn constructions simply because few of us ever actually experienced the society to which he was born into.

I want Aragorn to be the highly confident man that desires to be King to lead humanity to a brighter future. Then the self doubting man in the movies (He even got the Reforged Sword when they set out from Rivendell in the first book)

I want Frodo to be nothing like Elijah Wood's portrayal of the character at all. (Pardon me for saying this, but the book charcater had far more backbone then the simpering emo we saw in the movies)

I don't want Elves in the Battle of Helm's Deep.

I want the Orcs to still be portrayed as the savage barbarian Hun-like race under the leadership of an evil Dark Lord that they were conceived to be. Not one ounce of "morally grey" orcs at all.

I want the romance between Beren and Luthien to be played absolutely straight, saccharine cringyness be damned.

I want the story of Turin Turambar to be absolutely depressing, even playing his incetuous relationship with his sister straight (Note: He never met his Sister and vice versa and the sister suffered a curse of amnesia by the time she met him).

He's an arsehole in the first book. Say what you like, Jackson's Aragorn was at least likable and felt as if a heroic character. In the first book no less he treats the idea of taking back his throne as if one might take candy from a baby. As ifthe fight was already won, it was just literally a case of when and the Fellowship put a crimp in those plans.

People put shit on Jackson's Aragorn all while forgetting that the movie would be panned by people if he was presented exactly ashe were in the books. Warts and all.

Aragorn is a far more likable character precisely because he's not 6'6" tall, doesn't place excessive weight on hierarchy and dominion, and rather actually acts like a defender of the 'free peoples' by having visible doubt. Adequately exploring precisely why he should be king. Unlike in the books where he literally frightens Sauron into making a catastrophic blunder...

Plus the movie did something the books (and author) were less capable of ... visual symbolism and allegory. Arwen's necklace draped around his neck is a perfect image of the increasing pains as to whether he can even achieve his desired outcomes, and the fact that he's willing to sacrifice even his happiness for the sake of defending a rapidly decreasing sense of good and natural beauty left in the land. A literal weight around his neck that burdens him in a way that helps solidify an understanding of its weight suffered by Frodo.

He sacrifices. There is no overblown weight on destiny. Rather the movies maintain a stronger balance of prophecy and suspense and communicated it as an internal struggle with a necklace that reminds him as if an exemplar of everything he seeks to defend not for himself, but others, in a world being robbed of light, love and hope.

And the movies are stronger for things like the visual depiction of the Evenstar rathe than just some random jewel in a person's pocket.

Point is ... the books were adapted and changed for a reason ... because movies don't work out well when you simply copy-paste into a script.

The Godfather? Masterpiece of cinema. Book? Godawful.

Fantastic Beasts: The Question of What the Hell I just Saw

Obviously the reason you are confused is because it's about Lord of the Rings. Judging by this thread anyway.

Samtemdo8:

Also its difficult for me to answer your Lovecraft question because to be honest I have yet to read any of Lovecraft's works of the Cthulhu Mythos myself, only third hand accounts of it from Youtubers. But to answer each:

Might I suggest giving, 'The Color Out of Space' a try? I feel that it's probably one of the best of his works and best encapsulates everything you might want from one of his stories. If you don't like that one then I think you can safely say that the rest won't appeal to you.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here