August 23, 2007

Light Fuse, Stand Back

Well it sure seems quiet around here today, so let me see if I can't stir things up a bit:

Viggo Mortensen was horribly miscast as Aragorn in the LOTR movies. One splending alternative would have been Ciarán Hinds.


Yips! from Gary:
I already weighed in at the comments section but I'd like to piggy-back on this one.

Orlando Bloom as horribly miscast as Legolas in the LOTR movies. I'd love to hear alternatives.

Also, which character do you think could have credibly been played by Christopher Walken? Seriously.

YIPS from Steve-O: Nice trick question, Gary. The correct answer is, of course, "all of them." What with the CGI taking care of the height, an all-Walken LOTR would have become emminently watchable---it would have had more cowbell, for sure.

And that includes the Chick roles too.

But if you could only have one Walken, then it would have to be Walken as Gimli. Hands down. Or, Walken as Legolas and Joe Pesci as Gimli, which would have made the big battle scene in the third movie absolutely high-larious.

Next question.

Posted by Robert at August 23, 2007 12:19 PM | TrackBack

Honestly, I didn't mind Viggo - I thought he did a pretty good job. And he's easy enough to look at for 14 hours.

OTOH, I adore Ciaran Hinds...though I have a hard time picturing him as Aragorn, but that's mostly b/c Ciaran will always be as seen in Persuasion (*dreamy sigh*).

I will say that had they chosen someone older than Viggo (as Ciaran would have been -- or at least he looks older), they would have needed to age Liv Tyler a bit, for all she's an ageless elf. Because I just can't go for the Fred Astaire/Audrey Hepburn age gap. Bleh. If he's old enough to be your father (or grandfather) it's not romantic.

Posted by: beth at August 23, 2007 01:02 PM

You're quite mad you know.

Mortenson was not miscast - did quite an admirable job acting the character as written. The fact that Aragorn as written for the movie was substantially different than Aragorn from the actual LOTR should be laid at the feet of Peter Jackson and his co-writers.

I think Hinds would have made a better Imrahil.

Posted by: Dan at August 23, 2007 01:04 PM

Mortensen did an admirable job though I won't go to the mat to say he was the ideal choice.

The fact is, his performance was good enough that I involuntarily imagine him when I'm reading the books. So, for me, he made the role his own.

Because of that I have a hard time imagining a different choice. Not that I don't think there could have been any. It's just tricky at this point.

Ciarian Hinds? Honestly, I have to go by looks alone since I've never seen him in anything. Doesn't quite fit, for me. Though I agree that kind of "celtic" look lends itself to the pre-Viggo image of Aragorn that I always had.

Posted by: Gary at August 23, 2007 01:23 PM

Dan gets points for noting the difference between Movie Aragorn and Book Aragorn. I should have added that while I was at it, I'd have rewritten Movie Aragorn to make him more in line with Book Aragorn.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at August 23, 2007 01:28 PM

I thought Hinds was miscast as Caesar, though he does seem to be good at getting violently offed, vis-a-vis Munich.

Remember, Jackson originally cast someone even younger than Mortensen (Can't remember who it was), and had actually started shooting before he realized it wasn't working.

Of all the DVD's in my collection, the LOTR extended versions have the most plays, and I've been collecting DVD's since Y2K. Vigo was spectacular in that role, IMHO.

Posted by: Hucbald at August 23, 2007 01:45 PM

Mortensen wasn't bad as Aragorn in the movie. And Aragorn in the book was mostly dry as toast. I think he is described as laughing once in the whole of the first book, which is just about the range of emotion given him by Tolkien.

And while that works for the book, I think it would be horrible on the big screen. That lack of emotion would come across something like Agent Smith from the first Matrix. OK in a villain, not OK in one of your lead characters. (Maybe they could have had Hugo Weaving play Aragorn.)

Posted by: Zendo Deb at August 23, 2007 01:49 PM

Hucbald, it was Stuart Townsend who was first cast:

The only thing I remember him in was "The League of Extraodinary Gentlemen" (yes I did actually pay to see that in the theater). Definitly too young.

Posted by: Gary at August 23, 2007 02:13 PM

I loved Ciaran Hinds in both Rome and Munich, but I can't see him as Aragorn -- he seems too stocky and not tall/thin enough like I picture Aragorn. I can't come up with many actors who could play him as I imagine him.

I thought much of the casting in the movie was excellent -- Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo, Gimli, Elrond, Boromir, even Eowyn were all pretty well done. You can't beat Christopher Lee as Saruman. I also thought Cate Blanchett as Galadriel worked; the complaint that she isn't pretty enough is outweighed by her creepy otherworldliness, which she had enough of. She's the cheaper version of Nicole Kidman. Arwen could have been excised from the movie and put in the appendices, as in the book.

Though he did a decent job, I still don't see Sean Astin as Sam Gamgee. Merry and Pippin were OK. Theoden was OK. Eomer was OK. Legolas was marginal, though I found him just as annoying in the book. I though Denethor was conceptually 100% wrong.

CGI Gollum was a bit overdone.

All in all, though, the casting was solid -- the key is to think of what it could have been. For example, Keanu Reaves as Aragorn -- tell me that wouldn't have haunted us all. Jackson at least didn't commit any egregious errors in casting.

But my main complaint was the script -- the first film was OK, but the second and third took far too many liberties.

And Walken could not have played every role.

Sean Connery, on the other hand, could have.

Posted by: The Colossus at August 23, 2007 03:32 PM

Uh. I don't give a shit either way. About any of it. Shut up.

Damn. Get a date, for Christ's sake. Or a hobby that takes you outdoors once in a while. And lose the Goth gear, too.

This shit is about as important And anybody that admits to thinking soccer is a game for adults is either a Euroweenie, or JarJar Binks.

Or maybe I'm just a grouch. Exsqueeze me.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

Posted by: Dan Patterson at August 23, 2007 04:46 PM

That should be the next LB skin: Llamas in Goth gear. Which has what to do with LOTR? Don't lamely throw it at the door of geekdom. Oh, hey! Another skin: Llama Trekkies!

Posted by: tee bee at August 23, 2007 07:31 PM

"Ciarán Hinds?" Never heard of him .. although the funny accent mark is appropriate to Tolkien, who sprinkled accent marks on Middle-earth words like sugar on toast.

Liam Neeson as Aragorn.

Mortenson did an okay job, but I've never been able to separate Viggo-the-actor from Viggo-the-peacenik. I am utterly unable to understand how anyone could live, breathe, eat, and sleep Tolkien for three years and still think that there is no valid justification for war, ever.

Posted by: wolfwalker at August 23, 2007 11:26 PM

Thanks, Gary. That was the guy. Not enough gravitas.

On separating artists from their political views:

I'm a virtuoso at this. Since I'm a libertarian/consevative musician, most of my friends are far left whack-jobs. I don't care. If, when they STFU and perform, they are good at what they do, I respect them for that. Sadly, not as many of them return the favor. But, that gives me the moral high ground.

Not only that, but ranchers are inclined to let me hunt on their land for free once they find out I'm NRA and NOT a lib-tard ("That Pepper guy is a good ol' boy, even if he is a musician").


Posted by: Hucbald at August 23, 2007 11:57 PM

Orlando Bloom is horribly miscast in any movie.

Posted by: stillers at August 24, 2007 05:36 AM

New skin: The Fellowship of the Llamas!

Posted by: Gary at August 24, 2007 08:51 AM