"Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head" My feelings.

What do you think of Tolkien on the silver screen...? Whether Bakshi, Jackson, or whoever else, come on in and discuss your reflections, opinions, and memories...

Postby FrodoTook » Tue Aug 07, 2001 5:57 am

With the "Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head At BagEnd" and "Gandalf does party tricks for Hobbit children" scenes possibly being in FOTR, I am a bit concerned with how Gandalf will be portrayed early in the film.<BR><BR>Is PJ going to portray him as a Bumbling Wizard at the start, only to be revealed as someone to respect later?<BR><BR>Will we have to wait till the Ford of Brunien (ie; visions of White Horses in the River) before the general viewing audience comes to understand that Gandalf is a force to be dealt with.<BR><BR>Will it be at the Council of Elrond when Gandalfs true nature is revealed?<BR><BR>With the Warg attack (out or in?), will it not be until the fellowship is in Moria?<BR><BR>Is PJ going to wait until Mithrandir becomes "The White" before the general public understands just what Gandalf is?<BR><BR>Your thoughts Please.
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Postby OneTolkien » Tue Aug 07, 2001 8:31 am

have faith Frodo. I am what you say a recent edition to the ranks of the Tolkien lovers but i have total faith in what PJ is doing to the films. Yes Gandalf may seem bungling but as you have stated yourself this is only to help the audience see what a large transformation Gandalf goes through. I agree that this should not be the case but that is coming from someone who has read the books beforehand. Dont forget this film is also supposed to be for the not so blessed as us.
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Postby Iavas_Saar » Tue Aug 07, 2001 8:36 am

I really don't see what the worry is. Surely in the books we don't really get to see Gandalfs power until the Fords as well? Yes we know he is powerful, from his talks with Bilbo and Frodo at Bagend, but these things will still be in the movie. I mean, the panicky Gandalf and his party tricks are certainly not 'bumbling'. The banging his head could be seen as such, but if that is the only bumbling thing he does then I don't think we have much to worry about. Whats great about Gandalf is that his power is hidden behind a very human quality. Banging his head, if done well, will bring Gandalf closer to our hearts, rather than spoil his dignity. If he was perfect we wouldn't care for him as much. I think it is essential for his power to be revealed slowly, to watch him grow in stature as the journey goes on.<BR>You say about only respecting Gandalf later, well I think it is most important to LIKE him first, and respect him later, as his power is revealed.
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Postby Axordil » Tue Aug 07, 2001 8:56 am

And the fireworks appear to be pretty impressive, after all...<img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Leonides* » Tue Aug 07, 2001 9:14 am

Frodo,<BR><BR>I am under the opinion that we SHOULDN'T know Gandalf's true power until later in the story. Tolkien only hints at it early on, and he otherwise seems (to me, at least) as just an old wizard who enjoys the company of Hobbits! If Jackson can make it seem this way to the audience, it will be provide a nice platform to show the audience the, "not all that glitters is gold" theme -- Gandalf is not what he appears.<BR><BR>This theme is evident throughout the books in a rather drawn-out metaphor:<BR><BR>1. The One Ring takes the form of just a small, golden circle.<BR>2. Aragorn takes the appearence of a wandering vagabond.<BR>3. Gandalf... the Grey Pilgram who is really a Maia.<BR><BR>If Jackson can convey these things (which he truly seems to be -- you all heard the, "Such a small thing..." line is in, and Viggo DOES look cool at the Prancing Pony), then I'll be terribly happy. To me, the items you mentioned appear to be how Jackson wishes to get #3 across early in the films.
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Postby OneTolkien » Tue Aug 07, 2001 9:17 am

i agree that the bumping will bring Gandalf to our hearts first before his hidden powers are shown through. Also this would lead to a surprise for the audience when Gandalfs true nature is shown. i am not worrying its just that its not how some people view Gandalf to be. <BR><BR>He might be an all powerful wizard but he does have human form and therefore could suffer from some of our frailties. Lets face it who hasn't banged their heads in a place that is designed to be for smaller people.
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Postby Telemachos » Tue Aug 07, 2001 6:26 pm

This is an excellent example of how a casting choice can make all the difference in the world.<BR><BR>Gandalf is being played by Ian McKellan. SIR Ian McKellan. The man oozes intelligence and gravitas out of his pores. He picks his projects well and even when they are not considered by some as deep or fascinating movies ("X-Men" for example), he brings a weight to the production, a sense of class and importance and dignity.<BR><BR>The first instant we see him as Gandalf, I believe we'll instantly get that sense of nobility, of dignity -- just in that first shot (whatever it may be). He could bang his head constantly, dance around singing Bombadillo songs, pull firecrackers out of his ***, and he'd STILL have more dignity than the situation warrented.<BR><BR>PJ has condensed much of the initial quiet descriptions of Gandalf into a simple casting decision, IMHO, and it allows him to take slight liberties without damaging the character whatsoever.<BR>
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Postby roaccarcsson » Tue Aug 07, 2001 6:54 pm

I have said all this before, some of it quite recently. But . . .<BR><BR>It is clearly stated, first by the narrator in the opening chapter, and then by Aragorn at the Pony, that the hobbits generally regarded Gandalf as a mere fireworks-purveyor.<BR><BR>Just as Frodo and his companions regarded Strider as a possible villain on his first appearance, and Frodo later was unwilling to trust Faramir.<BR><BR>Tolkien's narrative style, however, removes any uncertainty the <b>reader</b> might feel, because his language screams "Good Guy!" in both instances.<BR><BR>Suspense and surprise are the lifeblood of the movies. I think it would be entirely allowable for PJ to introduce Gandalf as something of a buffoon, and Aragorn as a likely brigand. (Certainly we are to expect the latter. The former is speculation and I wouldn't bet on it.)
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Postby VikingQueen » Wed Aug 08, 2001 7:58 am

Tele has said it best. The casting of Sir Ian McKellan brings instant dignity and gravity to the role of Gandalf. Gandalf bumping his head or any other "bumblings" will make the character a little more human and accessible to the audience. But by casting Sir Ian, there is no way Gandalf will be anything less than the powerful wizard.
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Postby OneTolkien » Wed Aug 08, 2001 8:36 am

I too agree with Tele and it was to be my next point anyway. I believe SIR Ian Mckellen is a fantastic actor. He does bring nobility and a sense of grandure to any part he plays, which is essential to this role.
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Postby FoxWondering » Wed Aug 08, 2001 11:48 pm

From the Mythcon interview with Philippa Boyens:<BR><BR>"Seeing Ian McKellen walk on set as Gandalf is just something incredibly extraordinary....I saw a documentary done by the Royal Shakespeare Company. And [Trevor Nunn] said that Shakespeare had always been best informed and enlightened by the great performances of great actors. And this is not denying the contributions of great scholars. That holds so true to someone like Ian McKellen playing Gandalf, and his insights into the character are extraordinary. Whenever he walked on set, you just got a sense of security. [laughs] Gandalf's here, it's OK."<BR><BR>And later:<BR><BR>"And I know that Sir Ian McKellen thought a lot about...the power that is within Gandalf, the power that he summons when needful....Yeah, power really, rather than magic...is what we're talking about....What is the nature of the power of the world? What is the nature of the power of Iluvatar? Those sort of things. So rather than magic--I mean the great line, 'Do not mistake me for a conjurer of cheap tricks, Bilbo Baggins,' tells you early on that this is no ordinary visitor."<BR><BR>Doesn't sound too bumbling to me.<BR><BR>Fox Wondering<BR>
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Postby B_Athena » Thu Aug 09, 2001 7:21 am

I too believe IMHO that it will be an acceptable move, er, bump as <BR><BR>1. (as has been mention) Sir Ian is one of the very few truly wonderful actors whom you can trust to be portrayed as dignified and yet still allow room for the appearance of the "cheap conjurer".<BR><BR><BR>2. With THE FOX gone, this is another way to get Tolkien's mood in the early chapters of the book, where it starts out much more <i>Hobbit</i> than LOTR...<BR><BR><BR>A bumbling wizard/friendly visitor is the feel of the Shire, where the hidden powers of Maia are found in the Mines of Moria<BR><BR>A nice example of how a <i>change</i> can more effectively feel out the <i>mood</i> that the writing conveys but a direct translation does not.
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Postby Beorn_Free » Thu Aug 09, 2001 11:38 am

Regarding the "bump". <BR><BR>The bump itself isn't nearly as important as the reaction to it. If he crouches down, vigorously rubbing his head and yelling "Oi Oi Chihuahua!!", then yes, that would certainly assissinate his dignity.<BR><BR>However, a mild expression of irritation and possibly a grunt, wouldn't take anything away from his mystique.
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Postby Steerpike » Fri Aug 10, 2001 10:51 am

Hey, I'm 6' 5" and I bump my head all the time. Does that make me a bumbling buffoon? Wait. Don't answer that!<BR><BR>Besides like Beorn_Free said, it's not the bump, it's the recovery that's important.
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Re:

Postby FrodoTook » Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:41 pm

Beorn_Free wrote:Regarding the "bump". The bump itself isn't nearly as important as the reaction to it. If he crouches down, vigorously rubbing his head and yelling "Oi Oi Chihuahua!!", then yes, that would certainly assissinate his dignity. However, a mild expression of irritation and possibly a grunt, wouldn't take anything away from his mystique.


:rofl: at "Oi Oi Chihuahua!!"
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Re: "Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head" My feelings.

Postby Surreal McCoy » Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:41 am

Agreed. I like his "human" side and how his character develops throughout the trilogy.
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Re: "Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head" My feelings.

Postby Captain Boromir » Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:11 pm

The funny thing is that him bumping his head was purely accidental but he played through it so well they kept it in the movie.
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Re: "Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head" My feelings.

Postby Gungnir » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:56 am

Wow! I remember reading this thread when it was first posted in 2001 and I was already one of the 'old hands' here. Makes me feel VERY old indeed now
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Re: "Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head" My feelings.

Postby brodobaggins » Thu Aug 18, 2016 2:38 am

I love how they kept in the accidental bump in the movie, really adds some lightness to a character that could be seen as quite serious.
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Re: "Panicky Gandalf", "Gandalf Bumps His Head" My feelings.

Postby Captain Boromir » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:41 am

brodobaggins wrote:I love how they kept in the accidental bump in the movie, really adds some lightness to a character that could be seen as quite serious.


I totally agree!
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