Zur Front

23. Juni 2016

Re-claiming the Fellowship of the Ring

Having recently re-read the book has put me in the awkward position to not be able any longer to enjoy the entire film, although it contains many enjoyable passages.

It is one thing, if some elements are shaken up, like how Merry and Pippin join Frodo and Sam, which still lets you imagine the real story, but it is quite another, if an entirely new story is being told.

This happens three times in the Fellowship of the Ring.
  • When Arwen comes to rescue Frodo, the tedious crossing of the Troll country is being blotted out by romantic teasing. Had she come as long awaited relief as Glorfindel did, her untimely introduction might have been forgiven.
  • The fight with the cave troll and the subsequent events burry the blocking of the back door, that is Gandalf's ominous first encounter with the Balrog.
  • The skirmish at the Falls of Rauros erases any memory of Aragorn's horrible day of wrong decisions.
Besides these three instances of alternate story telling, there is one glaring example of taking a dump on the original material by aesthetical disregard, that is when the Golden Land of Lothlórien is being turned into the Ghoulish Land of 170 shades of blue.

I cannot watch these scenes without feeling that I'm defiling the memory of the book, so I made my own private non-blasphemous cut.

Technical details.

Times are given for formal beauty relative to an imaginary single film based on the two DVDs extended edition, with 1:41:17.68 (-endpos) as the cut-off point of the first DVD.

Starting points (-ss) and durations (-endpos) of the chunks of the non-blasphemous cut:
  • 7:17.84 / 1:07:54.72
  • 1:20:46.84 / 47:47.32
  • 2:13:38.64 / 40.36
  • 2:16:16.52 / 9:36.76
  • 2:39:07.72 / 16:16.64
  • 2:59:59.88 / 12:23
Remark 1. The last image on the first DVD is corrupted and was ommitted for that reason.

Remark 2. If you're using mplayer you can mix your own 5.1 in stereo sound. In order to do this, you have to use -channels 6 and -af pan=2:C1:C2:L1:L2:R1:R2:SL1:SL2:SW1:SW2:SR1:SR2, where X1 and X2 signify left or right stereo output, but which of the two exactly depends on how you use the single parameters, i.e. whether you use negative values for Center and SubWoofer or not (or, just as well, negative values for Left, Right, Surround Left and Surround Right, as long as these two groups only have opposite signs). I personally find pan=2:-1:-1:1:0:0:1:1:0:-1:-1:0:1 very satisfying, but the separation is a little stricter than the standard mix, e.g. if you listen to Daft Punk at the end of Tron:Legacy you think you're listening to Commodore Amiga 4 channels sound, because the accompanying voice and the pulse drum are purely on the right, whereas the lead voice in the beginning and the non-echoing part of the hi-hat kind of drum are purely on the left, which, in this very particular case, is of course a big nostalgy plus. But before you get any wrong ideas, the first end titles' song of Daft Punk in Tron:Legacy is the only example of perfect left-right separation that I ever encountered on any DVD.)

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