Go back to Spy Reports Archives

December 15, 2002 - January 13, 2003


Was Arwen At Helm's Deep?
Demosthenes @ 4:25 pm EST
Council of Elrond regular Fran recently did a bit of screencapping from a Two Towers bootleg. She discovered something interesting.

It appears that WETA missed a few shots of Arwen at Helm's Deep, and that if you look closely enough - and freezeframe an awful lot - you can probably spot her in the final charge.

Here's the proof. We think.


Japanese Subtitles: All is Not Well, say fans.
Tehanu @ 8:03 pm EST
OK, this is an endless can of worms, and feelings are running high. MANY Japanese fans have written to say that the explanation offered by Nipon Herald. Inc regarding their process in translating/subtitling the LOTR films is not as positive as it implies. They say nothing has changed; the cross-checking that Nippon Herald claim will improve TTT apparently existed before, and the results were still bad. I'm posting this letter as a representative sample of what we've received on this topic.

"I am Bunnyfoot in Japan and am writing to you for the first time. I subscribe TheOneRingNet maling list, which I always enjoy reading.

"Perhaps you are a bit weary of hearing each updated situation about the subtitles of LOTR films in Japan. Please let me have your patience for a while.

"Having read the two letters in defense of the Japanese subtitler Natsuko Toda in Dec. 28 edition of TheOneRingNet, I thought it is high time I tipped off some extra info regarding the case.

"The first letter is a fairly accurate translation of what we LOTR fans in Japan saw on Christmas Day on the Web page of Nippon Herald Inc.

"The Japanese fans were at first relieved to hear that Akiko Tanaka, the co-translator of the epic novel, was to be deeply involved in preparing the subtitles for TTT. Then the Nippon Herald announcement went on to say that the TTT trailer that we have already seen and were appalled by also had gone under Tanaka's check. The trailer subtitle is actually full of inexplicable expressions that a fan described as "a Zen dialogue," and we are very worried if TTT may suffer from a similar setback. I already saw TTT in Hawaii last week and found that there were a lot of changes from the original novel. So I doubt whether having Tanaka translate the script and check Toda's subtitles would be enough to make good subtitles.

"Yes, they may come up with a lot better subtitles for TTT than for FOTR, but now the argument has come down to the point that, unless we have someone else other than Toda to do the job, it's going to be like that we pay money to check subtitles, not to appreciate the film.

"The second letter on the same page, the one from Shiots, is a bit more controversial because he is right to a certain extent. As he says, Natsuko Toda is definitely the best-known subtitler in Japan, who boasts she can prepare the subtitle of a film in just one week (which she said she did with FOTR as well). [eeeek! -Tehanu] Yet she is also known for having made many unprofessional mistakes in the past (* See below) although it did not cause furor among the audiences until FOTR was released here. This is perhaps because LOTR fans are, er, a bit more sensitive about the story and the film they are in love with than ordinary moviegoers.

"But I think all this is a good step for the improvement of the antiquated movie industry in Japan. Toda was perhaps the best for a long time, but her days are now probably limited or over. After all she has been never good translating fantasy or sci-fi films.

"Shiots writes, "unless a huge Japanese Tolkien fan steps up and offers to translate the movie for her, she is the most capable person for the job." He probably does not know that a number of fans, including some professional translaters, already made timed subtitles for FOTR on their Web sites, and some even offered their hands to Nippon Herald, Inc.

"I hate to act like a telltaler, but really the fans would have been a lot happier if Nippon Herald acted more quickly to explain the situation even if they would stick to using Toda.

"Best wishes for New Year, and sorry for my bad English writing."

- Bunnyfoot

"*Toda's mistakes are many but here I write a few of the most recent ones. In "Gosford Park," she translated Welsh rarebit as "rabbit", which a vegitarian person orders instead of poultry in a restaurant. In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret," she mixed up Muggle and Mugblood at a crucial scene, which has reportedly onfused many in the audience. When the FOTR cast came to Japan for promoting the movie earlier this year, Toda acted as their translator. Orlando Bloom was asked what other character he would like to play in LOTR, and he replied, "Saruman," which Toda tranalated as "Solomon." No wonder the fans who understood English were left aghast. It was after she prepared the FOTR subtitles."

The Rohan Theme and the Fiddle
Tehanu @ 7:39 pm EST
I've been away for a week, but I'm not one to let an interesting subject drop. So here's more on the fiddle that plays that haunting 'Rohan' theme that we hear as the camera pans over the roofs of Edoras. Meanwhile, this came in from Jeremy:

"Howdy there Ringers--

"I'm not sure where "Kereah" and other's who wrote in and told you about the "Hardinger" fiddle were getting their information from, [they were getting it from the TTT Soundtrack sleeve notes, but I've been informed by others that the name of the fiddle is mis-spelled there - Tehanu] but as a long time fan of Scandinavian folk, I can assure you that its a "Hardanger" fiddle, at least in English. In Norwegian, it is referred to as the "hardingfele," but is universally translated (as far as I've ever heard) as "Hardanger". [It's the name of a place in Norway, I was further told - T]

"Check out this awesome Hardanger compellation from Northside Records, the primary publishers of traditional Scandinavian music in the U.S.: Noside.com Also, I suggest anything by Annbjørg Lien, an amazing Norwegian fiddler that mostly plays the Hardanger, and plays in both very traditional and fusion styles. She is a true Goddess.

"The Hardanger fiddle, considered the national instrument of Norway (although occasionally played in Sweden and elsewhere), is different from the modern violin in several ways, most notably in its flatter, "Renaissance" style fingerboard (and right-angle neck), and in the row of strings that run underneath the fingerboard, that vibrate sympathetically when the melody strings are played, giving the Hardanger its distinctively stirring, drone-y sound. For more information on the Hardanger, check out this page on the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America's website I'd love to see the remarkable Rohan theme make Hardanger fans of many LOTR fans."


TTT garners SIX awards in Online Critics Awards
Tehanu @ 6:23 pm EST
Thanks to Scott, who is a member of the Film Critics Online Society. He writes,

Hey there,

I thought you might be interested in checking over the JUST ANNOUNCED winners of the Online Film Critics Society 2002 Awards!

Breakthrough Filmmaker: Mark Romanek - One Hour Photo

Breakthrough Performance: Maggie Gyllenhaal - Secretary

Best Animated Film: Spirited Away

Best Documentary: Bowling for Columbine

Best Sound: Ethan Van der Ryn & Mike Hopkins - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best Editing: D. Michael Horton & Jabez Olssen - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell - Far from Heaven

Best Art Direction: Far from Heaven

Best Visual Effects: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best Original Score: Elmer Bernstein - Far from Heaven

Best Cinematography: Edward Lachman - Far from Heaven

Best Foreign Language Film: Y Tu Mama Tambien

Best Adapted Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman & Donald Kaufman - Adaptation

Best Original Screenplay: Todd Haynes - Far from Heaven

Best Ensemble: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton - Minority Report

Best Supporting Actor: Dennis Quaid - Far from Heaven

Best Actress: Julianne Moore - Far from Heaven

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis - Gangs of New York

Best Director: Peter Jackson - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The winners haven't been 'formally' announced yet, but the winners will be up within a few hours over at www.ofcs.org

As a member of the OFCS, a rabid fan of The Lord of the Rings, and a frequent visitor of your superlative website - I wanted to be the first to let you know.

Glad to be the bearer of small but happy news,

Scott Weinberg
member-Online Film Critics Society

Great New ROTK Pictures!
leo @ 6:17 pm EST
Ringer Spy wizardlex sent in a link to pictures from a 2003 calendar of The Return of the King that were originally found at HollywoodDreamsOnline.com. The calendar features some awesomely new pictures from (amongst others) Denethor, Gollum, Frodo in Shelobs Lair, Gandalf and others. The quality of the scans are a bit poor but don't let that stop you! Since we posted the story, HollywoodDreamsOnline.com took down the images. We have now posted them in our spy reports area for your viewing pleasure.

Return of the King picsReturn of the King picsReturn of the King pics
Return of the King picsReturn of the King picsReturn of the King pics
Return of the King picsReturn of the King picsReturn of the King pics
Return of the King picsReturn of the King picsReturn of the King pics


New Smeagol/Deagol Pics!
Xoanon @ 4:11 pm EST
Hot off the heels of those production stills from LOTR comes these screen grabs from Hamish Towgood. They show Andy Serkis and the actor playing Deagol (I know SOMEONE knows who this guy is...email us!). Take a look!

Japanese Translations Improving? Now, in Greece.....
Tehanu @ 3:00 pm EST
An un-named Ringers spy wrote in: "I've read the story on the Japanese subtitles....Ha! You should check the Greek ones... where Arwen's mortality is translated as morality, the first wolf - rider is a "boy scout", and the translator assures us that Entmoot is definitely a place... And that is just a few..."

Meanwhile, Luinnenion wanted to clarify the subtitle situation in Japan:

The news from Japan isn't nearly as it would seem. Here's my translation of the notice currently on Lord of the Ring's official Japanese language site: ------------------------ To Everyone Waiting For The Release of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opened in America on 12/18/2002, and has been putting up record numbers all over the world.

With the Japanese release scheduled for late February, 2003, we would like to report on the progress of the trailers and the actual print of The Two Towers.

With regard to who will do the work on the subtitles, we would like to give an abbreviated version of the information announced on the official Lord of the Rings site in September, 2002.

1) The international trailer (3 min, 6 sec, subtitled and dubbed versions) was produced by New Line Cinema, and is being shown before the Japanese release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, already in release. Starting from 12/21, the Japanese domestic version of the trailer (1 min, 30 sec) is being shown at the start of Gangs of New York.

It is extremely unusual to do this, but for the trailers, Ms. Akiko Tanaka (co-translator of the Japanese version of the source material) was asked to do a complete translation and Ms. Natsuko Toda was asked to create the subtitle copy from this translation.

In addition, Ms. Natsuko Toda's subtitle copy was then checked again by Ms. Akiko Tanaka and Hyouronsha (the Japanese publisher), and then completed. For the dubbed trailers, Hyouronsha did a complete translation, and from this translation Mr. Katsushige Hirata, the same dubbing script translator as for Fellowship of the Ring, created the dubbing script. This also was re-checked by Ms. Akiko Tanaka and Hyouronsha, and then completed.

2) For the actual movie print, in mid-October, we received an English transcription of the nearly completed movie and a video tape of the movie for translation purposes. Ms. Natsuko Toda then checked the script against the video and numbered the dialogue. Hyouronsha was then asked to do a complete translation, which was checked by Ms. Akiko Tanaka.

After the final English script arrived, Hyouronsha completed the necessary adjustments to the translation, and Ms. Natsuko Toda then began the work of creating the Japanese subtitles in mid-November. As of this notice, the preliminary subtitle copy has been completed, and Ms. Akiko Tanaka and Hyouronsha have just completed their check.

Next, Ms. Natsuko Toda will consult with Ms. Akiko Tanaka and others, make the needed adjustments, and the Japanese subtitles will be added to the print in mid-January after the final corrections and adjustments have been made.

3) The dubbed version of the movie has undergone nearly an identical process; Hyouronsha has given the complete translation to Mr. Katsushige Hirata, and currently Ms. Akiko Tanaka and Hyouronsha are checking the preliminary script. The dubbed print should be completed in late January.

4) We understand that for the subtitled print, the ending "Staff & Cast" credits will contain the following:

Japanese Subtitle Print Japanese Subtitles: Natsuko Toda Subtitle Consultants: Akiko Tanaka, Hyouronsha.

The dubbed print will contain the following credits, much like Fellowship of the Ring: Translation: Mr. Katsushige Hirata, with the cooperation of Ms. Akiko Tanaka, Hyouronsha, et al.

Recently, Director Peter Jackson said in an interview on New Zealand TV that the translator would be changed for The Two Towers. However, this information comes as a complete surprise. We are currently contacting New Line Cinema in order to confirm the Director's actual meaning, but we have yet to receive a response.

The work on the trailers and the actual movie are proceeding as per 1) and 2) mentioned above, but we will inform everyone when we get a comment or direct message from the Director.

This concludes the current report on the work being done on the movie and trailers. With everyone's cooperation, we are endeavoring to meet all the expectations of everyone who loves The Lord of the Rings. We humbly ask that you wait just a little longer for the Japanese opening.

12/25/2002 Nippon Herald Movies, Inc./Matsutake Inc. ----------------------------

It seems to me that Peter Jackson merely misunderstood the situation. The translator wasn't being replaced per se (at least, officially), but Akiko Tanaka is now doing the translation.

I think this is very good news for Lord of the Rings fans in Japan.

Thanks, Luinnenion

We also had an email from Shiots:

"After reading your news about the "shameless" Japanese translator, I feel like I have to say something in her defense. Toda Natsuko is widely acknowledged as THE best movie translator in Japan. There is no one else in the same league as her. When I saw FOTR with the Japanese subtitles, I have to admit, there were a couple of scenes where I thought the translation was way too direct. But you have to understand, the Lord of the Rings was merely a cult book in Japan before the movie was released. Toda Natsuko, like so many other Japanese people had never read the book. Threrefore, she translated the movie in a way that the audience could understand the undercurrents of each character's thoughts, even though in the English version the lines are much subtler. So basically, what I'm trying to say is, unless a huge Japanese Tolkien fan steps up and offers to translate the movie for her, she is the most capable person for the job."

So, there's a few points of view here, and we'll just have to wait and see if the latest movie is any better when it comes out. Meanwhile, if you're seeing TTT in a subtitled/dubbed version and the translation sucks, tell us about it.- T


Aftonbladet Spoiler Confirmation
Tookish @ 1:40 pm EST
From Ringer Fredrik: Sweden's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, featured a story about Gollum... which confirms the news that we will see Smeagol murder his cousin Deagol! ... It's similar to all other "how Gollum was made" stories that are popping up in news papers around the would but in the middle of the article you can find some interesting information:

"Det är Deagol som hittar ringen, men Smeagol dödar honom och tar den."

"Den scenen kommer i tredje filmen."

Free translation:

"Degol finds the ring but Semagol kills him and take it"

"That scene will be included in the third film"

Perhaps this is old news but if not it's certainly interesting." [More]


The Brothers "G" tear up the Emerald City
Gamgee @ 9:14 pm EST
Ok, ok, we didn't tear it up, but we ate at Wendy's and went to the movies. It was neat.

Before I even start rambling on like Gollum on some bad dope, let me say a few words in clarity. This fine, fine event was not only a marvellous affair which I am certain took a lot of work from a lot of different folks, but it was also a very important charity benefit put on by the Cascades Conservation Partnership - a very worthwhile orginazation which devotes time and funds directly to protecting the old growth wildlands of our beautiful Cascades here in the great northwest. To learn more about how you can help out this wonderful and meaningful charity foundation, visit them [here].

Now, on to movie business. Being it is only one day away, I do not want to ruin your lives by giving out a pile of spoilers. However, I will say that this evening was the nearest I have ever come to having my head explode with delight. Jackson's Gollum/Smeagol is more real than many many a live actor I have seen on the silver screen, he makes the whole movie for me, and, as you will read, made the movie for my baby brother Gandalf too. I also found Sean Astin to once again prove his tremendous presence on screen, as he did in FotR, his lines were delivered with such heartfelt sincerity that I was emotionally moved.

I cannot go on much longer without spoiling the movie for all and sundry who read this, so I will finalise this review with a giant "WOW!!", and 61 stars and 45 thumbs up and a partridge in a pear tree. And now folks, I shall hand the mic over to my youthful sibling, who is bubbling with glee.

Where to begin? There and Back Again? Concerning Hobbits? Ok, I'm a dork. The night started off with me and my brother Gamgee making our long trek to Seattle to attend a benefit screening of The Two Towers. The trip there almost felt like a quest in itself, almost I felt like I was Frodo, though im not aware that Frodo used nearly as many profanities while weaving in and out of Seattle rush-hour traffic. That's another story in itself.

As I mentioned before, the screening was to help raise money for the preservation of Cascade wildlife and forest land that is currently threatened. The event helped raise upwards of $150,000. So, good work to all involved!

There were quite a few special guests in attendance, including various senators, congressmen, and represenatives of the Governor. However I was surprised to find that John Rhys-Davies was also in attendance! Before the film started, several of the guests introduced themselves to the crowd of movie goers speaking a bit on the Charity and what it is trying to accomplish. Then we were treated to a pre-recorded message on the screen from Sean Astin who spoke out on deforestation and mentioned how Treebeard was his favorite character from the books! After a few nice words from John Rhys-Davies the film began.

I'm not going to use this time to ruin the movie for all those still waiting to see it. However, I will say that I adored the movie. I had a few small concerns about the movie, but overall they didn't bother me. It's definitely epic in scope, and there is so much going on that you will be taken aback. The movie definitely requires a second viewing to help process all the information that you will be bombarded with. Also! Had the movie completely bombed, and been no good, Gollum easily could have saved the whole thing for me. He was brilliant! And let me hastily add, the movie did not bomb!

Gollum aside, the movie rocked! As a huge movie fan in general this was a grand movie. It has a little something for everyone, and it's nice to see the characters from Fellowship grow and get a little more screen time.

I definitely wasn't alone in my enjoyment of the film. Throughout the movie, the crowd applauded and cheered during several of the movies more key moments. Gimli's first appearance in the movie also drew huge applause from the crowd.

Movie aside, one other thing that blew me away was Mr. Davies in the lobby signing autographs. Each person in attendance received a very nice gift bag, including the FotR DVD, a copy of the trade paperback edition of The Two Towers. Many people, including myself, used these for the autograph purposes. But what impressed me most was that, Mr. Davies sat down and began signing autographs, and never seemed to grow weary of the task. Signing multiple items for some people, all the while talking and laughing with fans. A very generous man and a true celebrity.

So, to wrap this up, go see The Two Towers! And please keep in mind this is not J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, but instead Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. So long as you keep that in mind, you will not be disappointed. Enjoy!

Finally, we would like to send a warm thank-you-very-much-sirs, to the Cascades Conservation Partnership, and all of their sponsors for an evening we shall never forget.

Gamgee & Gandalf


McKellen's 'Emile' Set Report
Xoanon @ 1:59 pm EST
April Fresh writes:

What can I say, except that this movie is going to be great. The director, Carl Bessai, is amazing to watch; he's the DoP too, so he was busy. He and Sir Ian seemed to have great communication going on, but I couldn't really see much of what was happening because, well, I was a PA, the lowest form of scum on set. However, I got pie. I did see a little bit... Carl calls him Ian now, not Sir like he did on the news.

So it was like this: they were shooting in the Goolden Hall (not a typo) at the Royal Conservatory of Music from about 2pm to...uhh.....what time was it? I think it was 3am but honestly, it's all a fog. I was told to show up at 7:30pm so I did, and I had the shortest day of anyone there. "The Scene" was a graduation ceremony, with Emile (Ian) recieving some sort of honorary degree from the University of Victoria (FYI: Props spelt "bachelor" wrong on the damn thing.) He was wearing a big purple grad gown and floppy hat over a three piece suit on the stage, he must have been dying of heat. Nice hat though. His personal assistant, a great guy named D.W., was running around a lot, getting water. I think Ian got cranky.

Anyway, Emile tries to make a speech, but ghosts from his past (with one bloody guy who scared the hell out of me) keep distracting him. I might be wrong about this by the way, I wasn't really on set,I was watching doors. Or rather, watching THROUGH doors. Once, I didn't know that the door I was watching was hot (being filmed) and I almost got in the shot. Big trouble! Oh well, I'm a volunteer PA, you get what you pay for. Sir Ian, however, was only a few feet away... I hope he didn't notice.

What else? Ian signed autographs for the extras in the Gym between shots, what a nice guy. I saw a few of the autographs, he signs his name with a profile of Gandalf w/pipe. Awesome! I saw someone who got "the Hobbit" signed. Lucky extras. I had to help with food, and apparently when I was paying attention to the cookies (one each, please) Sir Ian passed about 4 feet to my left. Damn it!

Yeah, so the film does take place in Victoria, unlike everything else shot here, which is unprecidented. Earlier, I had thought that it was taking place in England. Sorry.

So that's all for specifics, I think I'm forgetting something, I don't know...oh yeah, I was dozing on a chair and I woke up seconds after Ian walked right past me. I'm sorry, it was three in the morning! Oh well.

Thanks for reading,
-April Fresh, film student (in Victoria, but from Gimli)

Go back to Spy Reports Archives