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Thread: Scream of the Nazgul

  1. #1

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    Hi LOTR fans,
    Back when the ROTK hit theaters there was some discussion about how the film makers produced the high pitched scream made by the black riders.
    Watch the producer-director commentary on the "Fellowship" special edition and hear it straight from the screamer: it was none other than co-producer Fran Walsh with a sore throat. She discovered she could make this horrible sound and Peter Jackson decided to use it. She explains how she made a whole set of screams until she was practically unable to speak. The sounds were then "doctored" in the digital audio realm and used for the black riders.
    There's a lot of amazing and amusing comments about the production, such as actor Hugo Weaving (Elrond) claiming he only does trilogies now, because he also played the Smith character in The Matrix trilogy. Fun stuff!

    Trent

  2. #2

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    Hey, that's pretty interesting! Maybe the next time I get sick, someone will decide to use the weird sounds I can make in a movie!

    SF

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    How do you feel about their use compared with the descriptions from the books?
    There's no 'a' in perlite.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (SnowyFalcon @ Jan. 07 2004,06:39)]Hey, that's pretty interesting! Maybe the next time I get sick, someone will decide to use the weird sounds I can make in a movie!

    SF
    I don't think they would use sounds of you passing gas in a movie [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] , j/k .

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    Who knows when sounds like that can provide a much needed comic relief! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img] [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

    D. Muscipula, it's been such a long time since I've read the books, I can't remember how they're described. How were they described? The sounds seemed to fit the creature in the movie at least.

    SF

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    What is interesting on the commentary track is how frequently Jackson addresses the topic of "changing from the book", and his explanations are very reasonable. A good example was when Frodo slips on the ring and disappears before the crowd at the Prancing Pony in Bree. In the book, Frodo was acting a bit silly, and Jackson thought that dramatically it didn't work for the scene, and changed the bit to having the ring accidentally tossed into the air, aim for Frodo's finger. "The ring wants to be found", he said, and it made good, expediant drama to cut to the Black Riders immediately sensing that the ring is in use. This sets up the audience for events to come, as well as keeps the action moving while maintaining a feeling of forboding.
    He mentions how the Nazgul cry or shriek struck fear into the hearts of those that heard it, but how do you put a statement like that into concrete, cinematic form?
    By the way, the voice of the Nazgul was the same actor who plays Gollum.
    Trent

  7. #7

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    I certainly agree that he had to simplify things for the movies. For example, most of the characters have been collapsed into much more two-dimensional beings. Merry and Pippin are foolish, helpless (that's not entirely the case in the book). Aragorn is all-knowing and all-powerful (many of his lines in the movie are actually Gandolfs). Legolas becomes the "punk" elf, with unlimited ammo. Gimli, the "Scotty" comic-relief. Etc etc etc

    The character that is perhaps left most himself is Sam, and the most changed (to my perception) is Frodo. They made him an almost ridiculously wimpy character in the movie, a burden throughout the entire series. Maybe Elijah does great "pained looks"? Anyway, i found that perhaps the most annoying change in the entire movie trilogy. The necessary simplification of characters works for the most part, though. Gimli, Legolas, and Gollum/Smeagol are all viable characters, with unexpected comic relief amidst an otherwise rather dark tale.

    The other "adaptation" that most annoys me (and does so more the more i see the films) is the sacrifice of the beautiful poetry and character development for pointless action scenes. There is plenty of action in LOTR without prolonging or inventing new scenarios. I'll trade the race down the crumbling passageways of Moria for a few more chanted poems or a bit more explanation on the origin and history of Moria, and a bit of the battle with the Uruk-hai at the end of FOTR for a more suitable introduction of Lothlorien and the gifts. The battle is understated in the books, almost circumstantial. It just mentions the hobbits (Merry, i believe) literally dis-arming a few Uruk-hai before the two hobbits are subdued, and Boromir shot full of black arrows, with heaps of enemies about him.

    Anyway, getting back to the topic:

    In the novels, the Nazgul bring with them a cold, a terror, an almost paralyzing darkness that most affects the ring bearer. I think the shrieks in the movie are a good analogue that portrays that sense to the viewer. They aren't endowed with quite such a keen sense of the Ring's presence in the books, and they don't play quite such a predominant role (IMO). They are necessarily made the principle henchmen and villians in the movies in order to cut the number of characters down to something manageable.
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  8. #8

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    Interesting insights, D.
    Yea, I don't think New Line was gonna spend $80 million to have more poetry and less action [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html312/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]
    Actually, the extended versions do include some of exactly what you are referring to-Aragorn sings a song to himself in one scene, and there's more exposition on Hobbits and the Shire at the beginning.
    My major complaint with ROTK concerns a lack of explaining Denethor's madness. A one minute scene revealing he possessed a Palantir and was driven crazy by Sauron would have done the trick.
    Trent

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