Sunday, March 25, 2018

a deleted scene from "The Battle of the Five Armies"

Stumbled upon this on YouTube: a deleted scene from "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." I can see why the scene was deleted; there was too much Marvel-style humor, I think, and it didn't quite fit the increasingly tragic tone of a battle that would eventually culminate in the death of Thorin Oakenshield. Also, the use of Alfrid as a comical deus ex machina who inadvertently "saves" Gandalf from a troll seems like a pretty radical departure from Tolkien's original sensibilities. Personally, I didn't like the notion of Gandalf suffering the Middle Earth equivalent of a gun that's constantly jamming. It's funny, kind of, for the first jam, but repeating the joke leads to quickly diminishing returns, humor-wise. Besides, is there any precedent for a magical item failing in that way?


Charles said...

What. The. Hell.

There are so many things wrong with this I almost don't know where to begin. But I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

1) Magic doesn't work like this in Tolkien's world. It's never worked like this. There are items that are imbued with magical power by their makers (the One Ring being the most obvious example, but all of the named swords are magical as well), but these do not work in the RPG-style of having "charges" or a limited amount of power. It is a binary state. Either an item is magical or not--an item can't "lose" its power (although it can be destroyed).

Gandalf's staff, though, is [i]not[/i] a magical item--it is a focus for his innate power. Yes, yes, I know that Jackson introduced the idea of the crystal stuck in Gandalf's staff being some sort of magical gem in LOTR, but that was merely annoying at best. Turning it into a full-on RPG-style magical item and implying that Gandalf himself has no power without it--he's a goddamn Maia, for crying out loud!--is probably worse than Legolas' gravity-defying rock leaping toward the end of the film.

2) If the weight of the coin is somehow enough to trigger the trebuchet (which is a ridiculous idea in and of itself), then it would have triggered it at the moment when the coin imparted the greatest force to the lever--that is, at the moment of initial impact. Peter Jackson's grasp of physics (again, cf Legolas the wind walker) is astonishingly weak. And don't tell me that physics don't apply in a fantasy world--the LOTR universe might be fantasy, but it follows the same laws of physics as our world. Magic obviously affects those laws, but simple things like gravity are universal.

I'm just going to stop there, because I have work to do. Now I am going to be seething for the rest of the day.

Thanks, Obama.

Kevin Kim said...

Great takedown. I salute you.