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June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision" 
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Post June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
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Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:53 pm
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
It's odd, but it almost seems like your post espouses the virtues of avoiding faithfulness to the source material when crafting an adaptation. I have to say that I can agree, but only to a certain extent. The Batman films of Burton, Schumacher, and Nolan provide good examples of how differing visions of the source material can either enhance or greatly detract from the enjoyment of the audience when viewing the finished film. Burton's "reimagining" of Planet of the Apes is another example of how a differing vision can be less than a good thing for the original material.

On the other hand, slavish devotion to the source material can also be a bad thing, as shown by Snyder's adaptation of Watchmen. He captured the look and feel of the world, but he completely missed the underlying themes and soul.

I am one of those who greatly enjoyed Jackson's LoTR trilogy, especially the extended editions. I also enjoyed the Game of Thrones series, though I have to admit that I also wasn't completely captivated by it, mainly because I too am intimately familiar with the source material (books) and was prior to the start of the TV series. As I mentioned in my previous post in the GoT thread in the TV forum, I wish that I hadn't read the books before watching this series, because it would have been a completely different experience for me, probably akin to when I first saw the HBO series Rome for the first time.

In the end, whether the vision of the producers/directors can make an adaptation better or at least as good as the source material depends mostly on the producer and/or director involved.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:20 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
James,

So glad you commented on Game of Thrones...I thought it would be your cup of tea! Having not been familiar with the source material, I absolutely fell in love with this series. It is my favorite HBO series other than The Wire, and if HBO can keep this going, I feel that it will surpass the Wire (at least for me).

Two things. I enjoyed this series sooo much that I know I am going to have a hard time waiting a year for the second installment. I want to read the books but, like you, I feel that will detract from my enjoyment of the show. I was absolutely floored by some plot points...and I'm glad I didn't know they were coming...although
[Reveal] Spoiler:
I was told not to get attached to any character in a Martin series.
Alas, knowing me, I will have read all the books within a month or two...but I hope I can hold out.

Lastly, do you think HBO will be able to sustain this show? Word is it is the most expensive show they have ever done, topping even Rome (which was canceled because it became too expensive). I know everyone has fallen in love with this show, but I just hope enough dvd/blu-ray's get sold and new subscription's filled so that they may keep going! (or does that factor into things very much?)


Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:30 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
The Batman films of Burton, Schumacher, and Nolan provide good examples of how differing visions of the source material can either enhance or greatly detract from the enjoyment of the audience when viewing the finished film.

It helps that the source material itself is a collection of a wide variety of interpretations. Batman is an example of a property that has proven to lend itself well to such experimentation. He's so simply defined--a kid whose parents were murdered and grows up to be a masked crime fighter.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:43 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
I also am intimately familiar with the source material, having read Song of Ice and Fire three times, and still loved the show. Despite knowing what was to com, I think the creators of the show improved in some ways on the books out of necessity, since the books are told only from certain characters' perspectives. Requiring additional points of view which were not in the books enriched the experience for me in some ways. Certain scenes, not in the books, added an additional layer of depth to the sotory.

Still, obviously, the miniseries can not be as deep or comprehensive as the books, which I place up with The Wire, and The Sandman from Neil Gaiman as pinnacles of artistic achievement, but they certainly did a wonderful job bringing Martin's vision to the screen, and provided some extra angles that were not in the books. Cersi's scenes with Robert, for example.

Just great stuff.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:58 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
"Fantasy was generally viewed as boxoffice poison" - Studios clearly forgetting about the success of 'Star Wars' a couple of decades before! :)


Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:25 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Dragonbeard wrote:
"Fantasy was generally viewed as boxoffice poison" - Studios clearly forgetting about the success of 'Star Wars' a couple of decades before! :)

Well studios considered Star Wars as a sci-fi film, not a fantasy film.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:46 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Vexer wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
"Fantasy was generally viewed as boxoffice poison" - Studios clearly forgetting about the success of 'Star Wars' a couple of decades before! :)

Well studios considered Star Wars as a sci-fi film, not a fantasy film.


Yeah, I think we're talking strictly dragons and pointy ears.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:37 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
James...pretty much spot on. I think also part of the problem is that while you mention the production values are superb for "Game of Thrones" on HBO, they still have their budgetary limits. One of the ways that Jackson departed from the texts of "Lord Of The Rings" was to ratchet up the action; where Tolkien had more sparse descriptions of events in Moria and Helm's Deep, Jackson and his techno-geeks let their imaginations loose and greatly expanded on these conflicts to become major cinematic action set pieces. With "Game Of Thrones" so far, what battles there have been (outside of single, isolated combat) have been largely relegated to off screen affairs so that there's actually a lot more action on the page than there is on the screen. I can't really fault the show too much for that as budgets are budgets and what they have put on screen has looked darn pretty so far.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:59 pm
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
It's an interesting coincidence that JB writes about LOTR at the same time that a firestorm of controversy has erupted on the internet about a highly anticipated event: the release of the Blu Ray versions of the extended editions of the trilogy. Evidently, the video on Fellowship of the Ring has been remastered by turning up the green color balance. Early screen shots show green hobbits frolicking in a green snow. Some people have re-named it Fellowship of the Green; other people who have seen it don't seem to mind. Even though there are still several days before the official release of the Blu Ray discs, the devotees of Middle Earth are screaming all the way to Mordor and back. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I haven't caught Thrones yet (or read the books), but my daughter raves about it. I'll have to check it out.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:44 pm
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Re: seeing LOTR on the big screen. I am hoping that they will re-release the films before the Hobbit comes out. Right before ROTK came out, I saw the first two films -- extended edition -- at the Senator Theater in Baltimore. It was pretty awesome.

I'm surprised we don't get re-releases of old movies more often. Star Wars did gangbusters business when it was re-released in the 90's.


Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:49 pm
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
just one small thing. game of thrones isn't a mini-series, but a series. the first ten episodes comprised its first season and the show got picked up for a second season almost immediately after it premiered.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:25 am
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Vexer wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
"Fantasy was generally viewed as boxoffice poison" - Studios clearly forgetting about the success of 'Star Wars' a couple of decades before! :)

Well studios considered Star Wars as a sci-fi film, not a fantasy film.


The studios are confused. 'Star Wars' might be the benchmark for modern Sci-Fi but once you start talking about 'A galaxy far far away', you lose the semi-reality that made the likes of Dick and Bradbury such brilliant story tellers.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:22 am
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Quote:
(The only major question about A Song of Ice and Fire comes down the road. Can Martin stoke the flagging fires of his creativity enough to produce the final two novels in a time period that allows the series to conclude without long interruptions? Fans remember that the fifth book was originally scheduled for 2006 - it's only five years late. Book Six will be needed by 2015 for a 2016 air date and Book Seven by 2016.)


Well, my guess is "A Storm of Swords" will be split into 2 seasons. "A Dance With Dragons" also. That gives him 7 years to write 2 books. Here's hoping he's over the hump now that he's finally cut his fabled "Meereenese knot" and can finish it off.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:06 am
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
johnny larue wrote:
James...pretty much spot on. I think also part of the problem is that while you mention the production values are superb for "Game of Thrones" on HBO, they still have their budgetary limits. One of the ways that Jackson departed from the texts of "Lord Of The Rings" was to ratchet up the action; where Tolkien had more sparse descriptions of events in Moria and Helm's Deep, Jackson and his techno-geeks let their imaginations loose and greatly expanded on these conflicts to become major cinematic action set pieces. With "Game Of Thrones" so far, what battles there have been (outside of single, isolated combat) have been largely relegated to off screen affairs so that there's actually a lot more action on the page than there is on the screen. I can't really fault the show too much for that as budgets are budgets and what they have put on screen has looked darn pretty so far.


In one of George R.R. Martin's recent blog posts, he noted that he was writing episode 9 of series 2 and that it was a bitch to write because he had to scale down a massive battle scene (those who have read A CLASH OF KINGS know what he's referring to) so that it would fit within HBO's budget.

Cost will ultimately be a factor in how many seasons this continues. One of the reasons HBO has stipulated ten episodes per year (as opposed to 12 or 13, which is the usual run) is to keep costs down. The problem is that, unlike with ROME, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is one big story so cutting it short before the seventh book would leave fans angry and disillusioned. (Especially if the show ends after Book 3, which has one of the most dramatic cliffhangers I have ever experienced in a book.)


Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:23 am
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
"Fantasy was generally viewed as boxoffice poison" - Studios clearly forgetting about the success of 'Star Wars' a couple of decades before! :)

Well studios considered Star Wars as a sci-fi film, not a fantasy film.


The studios are confused. 'Star Wars' might be the benchmark for modern Sci-Fi but once you start talking about 'A galaxy far far away', you lose the semi-reality that made the likes of Dick and Bradbury such brilliant story tellers.


Like you, I consider SW to be fantasy (or "space opera"). Hollywood, however, considers it (and anything else with space ships) Science Fiction. Like DOCTOR WHO, which is also fantasy, anything that employs "futuristic" technology, is considered Science Fiction. Change the "technology" to "magic" and it's fantasy.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:25 am
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Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Like DOCTOR WHO, which is also fantasy, anything that employs "futuristic" technology, is considered Science Fiction.


No kidding! Not to go too far off topic here, but in the recent DOCTOR WHO series the Doctor's sonic screwdriver is more versatile than Harry Potter's magic wand. For something that has maybe 1-2 switches and possibly a dial, the thing sure can do lots of amazing things. I think it's most versatile purpose is as a crutch to the writers.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:13 am
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
I was completely unfamiliar with Game of Thrones before the series. Hell, I didn't even know it was based on a book until the opening credits of the first episode. But I'm completely hooked. I think it's one of the better shows on TV. A friend of mine started reading the book about halfway through the season, and actually finished the book before the season finale. She said that she didn't feel anything was lost by reading the books first as opposed to watching it first (she had experienced both). Because I've heard such good things about the books, and because I can't wait a year to find out what happens next, I'll start reading the series here soon.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:40 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
I've enjoyed the HBO series, but certainly not like I enjoyed the books. The books changed how I viewed fantasy, and like many people I have talked to, essentially ruined the fantasy genre for me. The books are that special girlfriend, by which all others are compared to. LOTR: movies, are that for fantasy movies. LOTR has ruined many fantasy movies for me, because I remember how epic the LOTR movies felt, and know just how much better the ______ (insert any post-LOTR fantasy movie) movie could have been had it only been give the breath/space necessary.

The series is fantastic. The quality production is beyond what I could have hoped for. Large and complex action is rarely important in the Song of Ice and Fire, but you don't want to feel shorted when it ought to be. Sometimes you need that epic battle, to hammer it home.

---

Now... are we going to get a Wheel of Time TV series on Showtime? I can imagine it happening. The budget would be difficult to pull off, especially some of the battles.

---

The Sword of Truth TV series butchered a book series that I was really fond of. Yet, it and fantasy shows like Merlin have been relatively successful for the TV stations.


Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:28 pm
Post Re: June 22, 2011: "Of Thrones and Rings and Seeing the Vision"
Hal_10000 wrote:
Re: seeing LOTR on the big screen. I am hoping that they will re-release the films before the Hobbit comes out. Right before ROTK came out, I saw the first two films -- extended edition -- at the Senator Theater in Baltimore. It was pretty awesome.

I'm surprised we don't get re-releases of old movies more often. Star Wars did gangbusters business when it was re-released in the 90's.


Man-nobody here is even aware of, much less actually attending, the re-release of the LOTR extended editions that is happening in theaters countrywide, right now? There's still time to buy tickets for ROTK next Tuesday the 28th.


Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:36 am
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