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The Red Book of Westmarch, Book V - The War of the Ring

el_silloneb

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Captain Khajiit said:
Agreed. This is actually one of the few places where I think we should preserve the film's order of events and cut straight to the Rohirrim hoving in to view over the horizon, as White43 said before.

Actually, I think at this point we could cut back to the scene with Merry and Eowyn before the battle. In the book the narrative does jump back from Gandalf's confrontation with the Witch King (after the horns) to the Rohirrim's ride to Minas Tirith with the help of the WoodsMen (not included in the movie). This part of the book does have a similar scene to the one before the battle although Merry doesn't know who Eowyn is in the book until later.

I don't think that there would be a pacing problem including this scene before the charge as although it does slow the pace a little it does add a bit of tension to the build up before the charge which I think would allow a short breath before bringing up the pace again.
In my opinion it works in the edit as it stands at the moment, I just think that the horns of the Rohirrim should be heard before the Witch King breaks off his confrontation with Gandalf as this would give him a reason to leave.
 
H

Haltiamieli

el_silloneb said:
In my opinion it works in the edit as it stands at the moment, I just think that the horns of the Rohirrim should be heard before the Witch King breaks off his confrontation with Gandalf as this would give him a reason to leave.
Well, but the horn (admittedly only one, but still) is heard. There's just not enough time, film material, so that the understanding of what that sound means could really sunk into our minds. In book, we can savour the moment, read the sentences again maybe, lay the book down and cry joyously, before we turn the page.

"And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last."

There's so much in these few words that no sound effect lasting for two or three seconds, however great that would be, could ever really convey these on screen. Films are a visual medium. We need to see to really get their feeling. In film aesthetics, it is not the horn sound or Witch-king turning away that sums the above lines by Tolkien. It is the moment when we see Rohan army on the hilltop. That is the moment that tells us "Rohan has come at last".

Maybe these scenes could have been filmed differently, but with the material we have I think the only real option is to cut directly from Witch-king startling to Rohan army approaching. Otherwise we lose the great impact of this moment.
 

el_silloneb

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Haltiamieli said:
Well, but the horn (admittedly only one, but still) is heard.

You're right.

Somehow I managed to miss it even with repeated viewings (I feel dumb).

Maybe it's presence in the mix should be upped at little?
 

kerr

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Hi, folks!

Sorry for my absence, I just haven't found the time to reply to all your excellent comments until now. But here goes!

Captain Khajiit said:
So am I the only one who doesn't like the WK's line before the attack? :) It wouldn't surprise me if I were.
I like it, as it sets up the confrontation between the WK and Gandalf and shows the WK's overconfidence. Yes, you could argue that his line directly refers to the breaking of Gandalf's staff - but the line was in the theatrical version too, where the staff-breaking wasn't included. Anyway, I think it's a decent line, so it'll probably stay in.

Captain Khajiit said:
Am I imagining it or did you cut some of the EE fight at the gate before Grond is brought up? Could we get some of that back? I really felt the city was overrun too easily in the original and liked the extended fight at the gate in the EE.
I only cut out the part where Pippin joins the fight - I think all the other stuff is still in there. And I really don't want Pippin to have a part in the battle, so this part will probably remain unchanged.

Captain Khajiit said:
I agree that the Battle of the PF has to be shortened, but a did feel this edit could have been a bit longer, and as you are open to suggestions... could we have a bit of Gothmog or the Black Serpent back in? I agree with cutting some of Gothmog's bad lines out, but I feel the siege bit needs to be a bit longer.
Quite a few people have commented on the shortness of the Pelennor battle, so that's being recut for the DVD. It's still shorter than the original, but quite a bit longer than in the avi version. Also, a few of the scenes have been reordered - the Black Serpent is now killed earlier in the battle, for instance.

el_silloneb said:
The single best improvement?

Aragorn - "Gondor calls for aid!"
Theoden - (without a seconds pause or hesitation) "And Rohan will answer!"
I'm so glad you mentioned that particular cut, since it's also my favorite cut of not only Book V, but the entire "saga". Technically it's one of the easiest cuts, but I just love how big a difference that small change makes to Theoden's character.

el_silloneb said:
Pippin's reaction to Gandalf's explanation about the Witch King (night time in Minas Tirith on the balcony) looks as though he is enjoying the reminicense of an old anecdote rather than the terror that would be more appropriate.
This stems from me having to use the shots that were available - for this sequence I even had to cut out some stuff just because I needed a shot for a different part of the sequence ("If the river is taken..."). The reaction shot in question, of course, originally came after "There never was much hope... Just a fool's hope". I felt that the scene would work better for the edit with a bit of rearranging, which results in the "improper" reaction. Anyway, I've managed to shave off a few frames from the reaction shot to remove Pippin's smile.

el_silloneb said:
Does anyone else think that the "Release us" line from the King of the Dead should be cut? It's not in the book. Also, the fact that he has to make this request reduces the nobility and magnanimous nature of Aragorn. In the book he knows when thier oath has been fulfilled without being prompted and releases them once Pelargir has been taken.
I totally agree. Thanks for the suggestion, the line's been removed.

el_silloneb said:
A shame nothing could be done about the Ghostbusters look and feel without an unthinkably large amount of work, they're supposed to be a grey mist...
Yeah... I, too, hate the "Ghostbusters" look. I did fiddle around a bit trying to change the colors, which worked rather well for the Paths of the Dead, but would have been ridiculously hard to do properly for the battle sequence, so I quickly gave up that idea.

el_silloneb said:
The pyre of Denethor is a really difficult one. As far as the book is concerned it is exactly where it should be. However, in the book there are many other things going on which make the placement of this scene far less abrupt and apart from the rest of the story. In this edit the scene plays as an epilouge to the battle with all the emotional impact falling pretty much flat and then it jumps immediately to the aftermath on the battlefield, a transition which simply didn't work for me.
Meh, I think it works decently. Also, I don't want to deviate from the structure of the book unless it's absolutely necessary. So the scene stays where it is.

el_silloneb said:
Is there any way in which to end this edit without seeing the eagles make mincemeat of the Nazgul? It leaves us with too much sense of hope for the beleageured Army of the West in my opinion. We need to hear the line somehow but not see them turn up and take out half the Nazgul in two seconds flat rendering the enemy's most powerful servants helpless without batting an eyelid. I can't think of any way of doing this better than Kerr but it would be nice if it could be done.
Hmm... I think the scene has to retain its current length in order for the ending to not be too sudden. But it might be possible to shorten the end of the scene slightly. I'll look into it.

el_silloneb said:
One more to go and I think Kerr can take a well earned vacation.
"I need a holiday. A very long holiday." :-D Well, actually, I've already begun working on my next editing project...Which will, thankfully, be much less complicated than the Red Book.

Haltiamieli said:
Maybe these scenes could have been filmed differently, but with the material we have I think the only real option is to cut directly from Witch-king startling to Rohan army approaching. Otherwise we lose the great impact of this moment.
Yeah, this will be done for the DVD cut. We now cut directly from Gandalf vs. WK to the Rohirrim arriving (without first cutting to a close-up of Gothmog, as in the original). Also, another horn has been added just before the WK flies off - not just because some of you seem to have trouble hearing the first one ( ;) ) but because it was easier editing-wise. And because in the book, there are multiple horns.

So, as of now, this is what will be changed for the DVD:
- Cut Pippin's smile on the balcony
- The Paths of the Dead sequence has been extended slightly
- Cut Faramir and co. letting some of the orcs run past them
- The transition between the two parts of the Osgiliath battle has been changed
- Shortened Gothmog's dialogue before Grond is brought forth
- Cut shots of women and children after the city has been breached
- Removed the Merry/Eowyn scene before the Rohirrim's arrival
- The Battle of the Pelennor Fields has been recut
- Cut the King of the Dead's line "Release us!"

There probably won't be any bonus features on this one - I just can't think of anything I'd want to include, although I'm open to suggestions!
 

Captain Khajiit

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kerr said:
Captain Khajiit said:
Am I imagining it or did you cut some of the EE fight at the gate before Grond is brought up? Could we get some of that back? I really felt the city was overrun too easily in the original and liked the extended fight at the gate in the EE.
I only cut out the part where Pippin joins the fight - I think all the other stuff is still in there. And I really don't want Pippin to have a part in the battle, so this part will probably remain unchanged.

It was just the archers killing the orcs at the gate that I thought had been shortened, but perhaps it's my imagination. I agree with the removal of Pippin 100%.

Thanks for the comprehensive reply to our questions, Kerr. I shall eagerly await the arrival of the DVD - no extras is fine by me. :D
 

Captain Khajiit

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Lest Kerr feel underappreciated, I thought I'd post some feedback on the DVD release. I watched it a few days ago, but haven't managed to post anything yet.

Well, all I can say is that I am amazed at what an improvement it is. Almost every issue with the AVI that has been discussed in this thread has been resolved, and resolved brilliantly. Just when I thought Kerr couldn't possibly be any *more* creative in his editing, he excels himself yet again.

I most liked the trims to Aragorn's speech before the Black Gate, which I hope I wasn't imagining. They were a masterly touch. Congratulations, Kerr! :)
 

ab5tract

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I didn't realize how much had been changed from the AVI to the DVD until I re-read this thread. When I watched it the other day I couldn't be happier, but I do remember feeling less satisfied with Book V than the earlier edits when I watched it. I was preoccupied at the time though, so wasn't about to attribute any discontinuity simply to your edit.

The final release makes all the difference. For instance, the battle felt much less abbreviated (I remember this being my major complaint on the first go-round). The arrival of Rohan is perfect! I could belabor the point by elaborating on all the changes from the AVI, but in truth it was so seamless I had trouble imagining any other sequence (yes, including the EE's, which I haven't watched since kerr started this whole escapade). I give it 5 Gandalfs!

From the AVI: Book V was the only version that I thought might spark a "edit of an edit" in kerr's epic (and the Red Book definitely is one! please no offense to you either, kerr, it was just the first (version of a) book that didn't make me feel utterly awesome).

From the DVD: Damn kerr! you are still on a roll!
 

white43

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Excellent news ab5tract. I'll be downloading the DVD shortly!
 

kerr

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Thanks for the reviews - I'm glad you guys liked the DVD! :)

Oh, and for the record, I actually didn't do anything to Aragorn's speech at the Black Gate.
 

Captain Khajiit

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kerr said:
Thanks for the reviews - I'm glad you guys liked the DVD! :)

Oh, and for the record, I actually didn't do anything to Aragorn's speech at the Black Gate.

So I was imagining it! Shows how long it's been since I saw the original. Never mind. It just seemed to flow better that's all. :)
 
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