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Minas Tirith Forums » New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings » Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy (Page 2)
Author Topic: Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy
White Gold Wielder
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It is script-writing cowardace to make sure that every single character "goes on a personal journey".

To say that Faramir's character was the same at the beginning and end of the books is nonsense. To say that to have him reject the ring would've taken away from the power of the ring is also nonsense.

Maybe if they hadn't taken so many liberties with The Fellowship, they wouldn't have scripted themselves into a corner for The Two Towers.

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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quote:
Since each actor spends a lot of time thinking specifically about their character, I don't see the harm in asking their opinion on things. As far as I can see, Viggo didn't ruin the movie. I think they give the actors too much credit for their minor contributions to the script. Or perhaps they are sharing the blame?
Sure - Viggo did not ruin the movie, but I have just been around too many actors to know how ME ME ME is usually at the heart of EVERY thing - story be damned! [] They are worth going to for ideas, but you have to be careful!

Along this line, has anyone listened to the commentary by Orlando Bloom in FotR? Maybe it is me, but this boy doesn't have much going on upstairs. He goes on and on and on about the smallest things, but instead of giving more insight into his character, I just have to laugh. For example, he talks about how Legolas as an immortal would react to death more profoundly, so each time someone dies or we think someone dies (as with Merry and Pippin), we see the same over the top pseudo-existential pained expression by Legolas. It was a good idea, but he doesn't have what it takes to carry it.

Back on topic, the actor commentary is also interesting in how they all pitch in to the plot changes as if this is how the books were written! It is scary. Some seem more aware than others, but you have the feeling they all didn't do their homework. I think part of that homework was to read LotR for LotR. Not thinking every second about how something is to be played, but just immersing yourself in the story first - the subtle things WGW referred to.

P.S. WGW - sorry if I was sucking up a bit too much before! [] I was just so happy to see you pop in on this!

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Roll of Honor EowynatHeart
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WGW, that is exactly what I thought. I adore and love The Fellowship but like you said, why go there if you have to go even farther just to make it work.

It is just like a lie, if you tell one, you will mostly likely have to tell another just to keep the first lie a truth.....

In The Fellowship, if they had just left out the Arwen thing, then you would not have had Aragorn falling off a cliff just so she could rescue him.

E:spelling

[ 12-08-2003, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: EowynatHeart ]

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Archer
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quote:
if they had just left out the Arewn thing, then you would not have had Aragorn falling off a cliff just so she could rescue him.
And they might have been able to keep Frodo's character intact. Since Liv Tyler has greater celebrity-power than Elijah Wood, she had to be promoted to the general film-going public, most of whom don't give one little whit about Tolkien--in a way that would make her look totally awesome, which in turn left them nowhere to go with Frodo's character but down. Since he can't rescue himself the way he does in the books--no Glorfindel doesn't rescue him either--then I'm guessing that helpless, frightened quality is all they had left to work with. "Are you frightened? Not nearly frightened enough!" The film folks made sure we'd be getting more of frightened Frolijah.

A stitch in time, might have saved nine.

[ 12-08-2003, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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Roll of Honor EowynatHeart
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Archer, I don't half the problem with Frodo's character as I Aragorn's. Especially, when he said, "I never wanted that power!"
Sorry but my Aragorn, the book and true Aragorn was a willing King. A King that knew what was in store for him. A King that took his sword with him once he left Rivendel. A King that took pride in his role, as he demonstrated in front of the doors of the Golden Hall when Háma asked for his sword. A King that waited outside of the Gates of the White City for just the right time. He wasn't a love sick pup! He didn't dream of Elves in see through gowns. He was to busy trying to get the Fellowship through troubles and trials.

*breathes*

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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quote:
It is just like a lie, if you tell one, you will mostly likely have to tell another just to keep the first lie a truth.....
LOL! That is perfect! You know, I think the one character where all these "lies" show up the most is in Elrond. The movie Elrond doesn't seem to know what to do or say because so much of his relationship with Aragorn and who Aragorn is now has changed. Elrond goes back and forth so often you have to wonder what the heck he learned in 3000 years.

Regarding another character - what about Eowyn. It seems obvious to me we are being set up in TTT to see her develop the unrequited love for Aragorn and his denying her love leads to her going off to war. With so much invested in this, we NEVER get to see her develop a relationship with Faramir (if all spoilers are correct). This is absurd. Movie viewers are also now heavily invested in her story (played very well I think), but with zero resolution. Then again, why would she want to hook up with such a sorry Faramir in the first place? []

Regarding Faramir, don't you think Denethor could be just as dissapointed in him for sending off the Ring had he been more noble and like the book Faramir? Denethor (in the book) is guided by a combination of grief for Boromir and for his "addiction" to the palantir and all the poison he is being fed by Sauron. Call me crazy, but this is enough for anyone to crack - did we really need to play up the whole least favorite son issue? Hmmm - perhaps PJ or Boyens has some unresolved issues with daddy popping in here? []

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Roll of Honor The Mighty Müsnud
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Though I am generally a glass half full fellow and prefer to enjoy the movies for what they are (i.e. a better attempt at LotR than Bakshi's version), I must admit that having watched the Appendices on the EE I am just as flabbergasted at Boyens arrogance.

What I found truly striking was the oxy moronic nature of the first two appendices. The first one details Tolkien's writing and background. It goes into great detail about how Tolkien's writing was so effective, even though he didn't follow the common sense writing techniques of others in his craft. That even though he strayed from the formula, it actually worked better than anyone could have imagined. The second appendix (Book to Film, or some such title) features Boyens speaking in all of her false grandeur about how Tolkien's writing would not work for the film, because it didn't follow the common sense techniques necessary for a good movie! Did they even bother to compare the two appendices when they put them on the DVD? Are they truly blind to the utter contradictory nature of the two!?

quote:
Frodo's bravery and mature, solemn, and introspective nature are turned into an absurdly giggling idiot at Bilbo's party, and a shameless coward who was the first to drop his sword and run like a girl on Weathertop.
This was my first warning sign as well, and something that I feel Tolkien himself would have despised.

quote:
Letters, #210

11. ...The Black Riders do not scream, but keep a more terrifying silence... There is no fight. Sam does not 'sink his blade into the Ringwraith's thigh', nor does his thrust save Frodo's life...
Why has my account been entirely rewritten here, with disregard for the rest of the tale? I can see that there are certain difficulties in representing a dark scene; but they are not insuperable. A scene of gloom lit by a small red fire, with the Wraiths slowly approaching as darker shadows -- until the moment when Frodo puts on the Ring, and the King steps forward revealed -- would seem to me far more impressive than yet one more scene of screams and rather meaningless slashings.....

The wraiths were not driven back by flaming firebrand Aragorn. They were driven back by a small hobbit calling out, "A Elbereth, Gilthoniel!" And how hard would that have been to include in the film!? It adds no significantly extra time, and if Grand Moff Boyens wanted to keep Uber-Aragorn in the scene, she could have still done so after Frodo's heroics...

But, alas and alack...

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Archer
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quote:
Archer, I don't half the problem with Frodo's character as I Aragorn's. Especially, when he said, "I never wanted that power!"
EowynatHeart,
I hear what you say about Aragorn, and I hate what the film has done to him too! PJ's/Boyens/whoever's reluctant king is a royal pain the armor, if you take my meaning. I sigh in bitter disappointment everytime I see him. But Frodo is my first love, and he is just as central if not more so, to the story. That his character was changed--and perhaps due to the director/studio's need to promote Arwen as a PC heroine--seriously bothers me, sorry.

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Roll of Honor EowynatHeart
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Snaga, well Boromir was dear old daddy's favorite, even in the book he says that Faramir loved Gandalf more than him(sorry don't have the books with me so I can't give exact quotes). I understand that part, but why did they have to change Faramir so much? I think it is because they wanted him to be weak so they could lift him up later in the movie. Soooo, how is he going to be in RotK? Dimwitted and looney?!!? Where will that brave Faramir come in? I have yet to see anything that will indicate Faramir standing out.

Well, Eowyn is my single most favorite character, of course. It really upsets me that they have truly went in a differet direction with her. Not so much in TTT but what is rumored to be going on in RotK. Her character is so complex, how could you possible play this woman. She is so powerful, yet so weak at times.

I don't know what to think about it all. In one way I love them and can't watch them enough and then the next minute it just makes me so mad.

E:Archer, when I read the books, I see two different things happening. Frodo and his quest to destroy the ring and Aragorn's quest to finally become King. No I don't like the way Frodo's character went. I would have much rather seen that middle aged man fighting to get the ring to Modor with as little problems as possible, instead we see this immature boy trying his best to fight the temptation of the Ring. This is going to sound crude but they are times when I watch Frodo up on the screen and they he reacts to the power of the ring, it looks like his on the verge of a very painful orgasim...(sorry WGW don't get mad)I laugh sometimes. I'm thinking, that is not the way I see Frodo fighting the power.

I totally agree with you about Frodo!

[ 12-08-2003, 04:17 PM: Message edited by: EowynatHeart ]

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White Gold Wielder
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Mighty Mus: You make an excellent point about the two appendices. I was happy about how well they described his writing only to be disgusted by chapter 2.

And don't get me started about the Ringwraiths. That was my major gripe about the first film and the way they handled it touched and poisoned many more parts before and after.

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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quote:
Snaga, well Boromir was dear old daddy's favorite, even in the book he says that Faramir loved Gandalf more than him(sorry don't have the books with me so I can't give exact quotes).
Sure and you are right, but what bothers me is they have latched on to this one aspect of his character to the nth degree while leaving out/changing everything else in order to fit in with this whole "weakness of men" issue that has to be tied in to Aragorn's whole reluctant King thing since he also fears he inherited the weakness of Isildur... the only part they got right here was "weak" - it's the weakness of screen writing that is happening here!

Man, this thread is growing so fast, it is almost like IM'ing!

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Roll of Honor EowynatHeart
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I know, it is moving along!
I don't think I have ever seen WGW post so much. Well, since I have been a citizen that is []

I just wanted to say thanks WGW for letting us vent. I can't fuss at home. CJ won't let me. He has read the books but he is a true movie fan. I on the other hand sit and pick at the movies the whole time.

I do have my favorite parts but at least I can get out the anger at the parts I hate and spit on!!!!!

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White Gold Wielder
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quote:
Man, this thread is growing so fast, it is almost like IM'ing!
I'm going to tweak the subject title, sticky it, and make this thread the official thread on the subject
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Roll of Honor Snaga
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And how many times has Sam pulled Frodo's hand away from the Ring? 4? In the books he only does this once and that is only when Frodo asks him to. Oh yes, but how silly of me. How can a movieor actor show Frodo's inner turmoil and struggle with the Ring - why they just had to slam us all over the head with it to make sure we got it. It just wouldn't be dramatic...

Then again, they somehow did it with Boromir - didn't they? The added scene with the Ring falling in the snow was a deviation from the book, but it worked. I have to say I really liked that scene, but it was very much in the spirit of Tolkien's Boromir. Perhaps we owe some of that to Bean's acting, but that is the kind of creative screenplay writing that could have been used much more to reinforce Tolkien's characters and plots.

[ 12-08-2003, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: Snaga ]

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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FYI, Boyens is doing the screenplay for King Kong - I expect her to tell us all about how you can't adapt a film to a film in the same tone she used on LotR, TTT, interviews... Another true and undying classic (no, not the 70s version!) left to the butchering hands of this arrogant self righteous posuer.
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Archer
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quote:
The added scene with the Ring falling in the snow was a deviation from the book, but it worked.
I like this scene too for the most part, and yeah, probably because Sean Bean is a great talent and I can almost say that between his and Ian Holm's outstanding performances, I can almost forgive the trangressions against Tolkien in this first film--almost. One thing that bothers me about this scene is that Frodo looks a little too acquiescing in it. I forget exactly what Frodo's reaction in the film is when Bilbo asks to see the ring in Rivendell (must have not been very memorable or completly marred by that lame Biblo-goes-Orcish fx scene) but in the books Frodo becomes very possessive and angry, even with his beloved Bilbo. I feel that Frodo should have reacted more possessively with the ring in the scene where Boromir is holding it, rather than looking as if he were afraid (afraid!) of him. But now that I think about it, in the film, Frodo really does behave rather passively when the ring is away from him, like during the Council of Elrond. In the books, Gandalf or Elrond would have NEVER asked Frodo to part with the ring and lay it somewhere away from him for all to gawk at (they merely ask him to hold it up at the Council meeting--and he is very reluctant to do even that), so this scene where he is asked to put it out on public display seems somehow wrong to me, though I guess it is more in keeping with the ring in the snow scene.

[ 12-08-2003, 04:53 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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White Gold Wielder
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But if Frodo never set it on the stone table, then how could Gimli spoon-feed the audience the notion of the ring's indestructibility by lamely trying to split it with his axe?

Oh what a tangled web they weave...

Edit: And the only thing that bothered me about the ring in the snow scene was how I seriously doubted that Frodo's short tumble could have caused the whole chain to slip over his head. I mean, they didn't even make it seem like the ring was trying to escape or anything, which would have nicely followed up the Prancing Pony ring accident.

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Roll of Honor Braeden Fireheart
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'Twas his father's axe, WGW. []

And to add my bit of venting in:

Boromir's gift? Why, out of the whole Fellowship (who were in Lórien at the time), did he miss out on getting something?

I hated the gift-giving scene because of that.

And I won't listen to the excuse of messing up the scene or running out of time. You can't leave a character out like that. It's ridiculous.

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quote:
It isn't about a fair, balanced, and level-headed assessment of films as a whole.
Darn, maybe I shouldn't be here, then. []

But yes, even I have major grievances with the films, primarily The Two Towers, and especially what they did to Rohan. I'm not gonna type it all up all over again, so I'll just quote my own post from the Houses of Healing thread...

quote:
Rohan's been getting shortchanged in this entire trilogy...first their highest-ranking military commander that is still alive and whose mind is actually free and running at full speed is banished and apparently leads a force of at least 2,000 cavalrymen but somehow can't take the kingdom back from its usurpers, then their king decides to hide away in Helm's Deep, with the women and children of Edoras, rather than confront them at the Fords of Isen as he originally planned, then they need a little boost from the not-so-diminished Elves because they apparently aren't worthy or strong enough to fight a war on their own, then their own king is a quitter and is more excited at the idea of dying a glorious death than leading one last defense for his people...
And now I hear that Éomer's succession to King of Rohan in ROTK has been cut (still seething about that), and all of this just really pisses me off, pardon the language. It's bad enough that the writers had already turned the world of Men into a weak, pathetic husk of its former self--sure, the world of Men in Tolkien's work was weak and diminished as well, but at least Men were still proud and strong and unafraid--then they practically butcher one of the only remaining bastions of human power left in the world just to make one man and another realm seem that much more important, which is wrong.

However, I'm not going to complain about the change they made by cutting Éomer out of 95% of the story and have him showing up with Gandalf at Helm's Deep and saving the day. While I would have loved to see more of my co-favorite character, that still is the only change in the movies that I actually love and think made more sense for what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish.

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Archer
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e
quote:
But if Frodo never set it on the stone table, then how could Gimli spoon-feed the audience the notion of the ring's indestructibility by lamely trying to split it with his axe?
I was going to add "and don't get me started on Gimli's outrageous behavior in this scene," but thought one character-rant a post was probably a good guideline. Now onto Gimli. . . []

The fact that Gimli does this (or that Gimli does most of what he does in these films) is pretty aggravating. Gimli is given every opportunity to act like an unthinking idiot in the films. In the books, Gimli is anything but like his film evil-twin! The literary Gimli is extremely respectful of Elrond, and would not behave so utterly impulsively and repulsively at the Council. He's made into a buffoon at every opportunity, like when the Fellowship arrives in Lothlorien, and all the mistakes made or crude attributes borne by any of the other members are heaped upon Gimli. Sam is actually the one whom the elves say "breathe[s] so loudly they could shoot [him] in the dark," not Gimli! But it is funnier to advance Gimli's role as a fool with this line, right? Additonally, it is actually Legolas who nearly stumbles into the Galadhrim, not Gimli, but of course, that would have taken away some of Legolas's elfgod-like status, not to mention, it might have messed up his hair. We have to remember that the literary Gimli was a very respectul and very noble dwarf chosen personally by Elrond to accompany Frodo. Since all Gimli does is blunder and complain and slow everyone down in the films, how could he have been any use to them and why was he chosen as a "helpful" member of the fellowship? In the books, Galadriel makes a point of complimenting Gimli on his grace and nobliity--and despite his slobbering growling denigrating of the elves during the FILM Council of Elrond, Gimli in the books is actually far less antagonistic towards the elves than they are towards him. Gimli has been slighted pretty badly in these films and it irritates me to no end. And I don't want to hear any more about how some comic relief was so necessary in these very tense, dark, films. If PJ had left Tolkien's original clever, witty humor intact, then there would have been no need to have dumbed down Gimli into the clown he has been inexcusabley made into for a little "comic relief."

[ 12-08-2003, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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Gimli son of Glóin
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My turn.

I've been hovering around this City without posting for a long time now. I am excited to see ROTK, and I like TTT:EE 1000 times better than FOTR:EE. I just hope that ROTK doesn't leave me, as WGW said it, feeling like I've just been punched in the face.

There is one deviation I have not heard: the decision of the Ents. Come on, guys! The Ents seemed to have no idea that Saruman had used their forest for fuel. How would none of the Ents at Entmoot not know this? The Ents were made to look a little weak. It wouldn't have added any more screen time to change their decision. Take out the short extra scene with the field mice, and add just a few more seconds of Huorns.

Also, The cliff was idiotic. Imby and I skip that scene every time. We both just hate it. I suppose, though, that they needed someone to see the army coming. Of course, if Erkenbrand had been cast, then Eomer could have fought along side Aragorn like he was supposed to, and Gandalf would have seen the army coming. We knew the Uruks were coming. Why did we need Aragorn "spoon-feeding" us the fact that they were coming?

I know it would cost more to hire someone to play Erkenbrand, I think it might just have been a better move. Then you could see the true friendship that develops between Aragorn and Eomer during the battle of Helm's Deep. When Bernard Hill said, "Let this be the hour when we draw swords together," to Viggo in the Citadel, I was annoyed that they gave him that line. I LOVE that line in the book, coming from Eomer, that is.

Flight to the Ford is moronic, to say the least. No Glorfindel is OK, I guess, but Frodo's wussiness (where's Frodoisawuss when you need him? [] ) and Arwen's "salvation" of Frodo really grates me the wrong way. I despise that change almost the most of any change made.

One final point. PJ and Boyens (I think) say that you couldn't end TTT so anticlimatically by sending the group to Isengard. I disagree. They could confront Saruman, Gandalf could humble him, and then they could cut to Frodo, Sam, and Gollum at the Crossroads seeing the sun setting on the head of the king. The film could end with Frodo uttering these words, "They can not conquer forever!" and then have him turn and walk up the road with the other two who had already started on their way.

Hope you eyes don't bug out of your head reading this. Please excuse the length. And Thanks WGW. I appreciate this.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
If life would be fair, then all of us would go to hell. But life is not fair, for we all have the chance to go to heaven through Jesus.

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Roll of Honor Deraj the Plaid
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I hope it does not put my post in danger of being deleted, but as a preface to my comments to follow I must say that I appreciate PJ's movies overall and enjoy them very much.

BUT!

I'm upset at certain character portrayals, namely Galadriel, Farimir, and Treebeard. Farimir and Treebeard seem to have been dealt with here already, so I will limit my comments to what I call the de-personality-fication of the Elven Queen.

What in the name of God's green earth were Jackson and his FX team thinking when they made the "green jell-o queen" sequence where Galadriel turns into some fluorescent growling monster? I just don't get it. Cate Blanchett is one of my two favorite living actresses. And I entered the FotR film thinking she was the perfect actress to play the part. In fact, I still think she is - I don't blame her for her own portrayal of Galadriel - I must blame the director on this one, because I don't think he let her act!

Why didn't he just let her act? Instead of letting her act the part of a powerful Elven queen he reduced her to a green devil cartoon. It was horrible. It IS horrible, and I cringe everytime I see it.

[]

[ 12-08-2003, 07:03 PM: Message edited by: Deraj the Plaid ]

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I'm sorry but I just have to speak up about this.
quote:
And they might have been able to keep Frodo's character intact. Since Liv Tyler has greater celebrity-power than Elijah Wood, she had to be promoted to the general film-going public, most of whom don't give one little whit about Tolkien--in a way that would make her look totally awesome, which in turn left them nowhere to go with Frodo's character but down.
As I've had to explain many times before, the actors are not in charge of the script. To say Liv Tyler is at fault for the direction her character took is a complete cop out. Thats like blaming David Wenham for Faramir. Arwen saved Frodo due to the complete lack of strong female characters in FotR. No further reason. Yes I'll agree it did detract from Frodo's moment in the sun, but it doesn't really bother me as much as alot of other changes. At least the scene was handled well. Even if Arwen did take Frodo they still could have found a way to incorporate his resistance to the Riders ("By Elbereth and Luthien the fair you will have neither the ring nor me" is one of the best lines in the book and it's sad to see it go I won't deny).
However if you're going to blame Liv Tyler for one second, I suggest you watch the from book to script feature on the TTT EE. It shows quite plainly that Arwen was intended to have a large action role at Helms Deep and presumabley at other places, Pellenor Fields possibly. Yet they didn't feel right about the way they took her character so late into filming they re-wrote the script to accomodate a more faithful role. As it is, the famous and mighty Liv Tyler's character clocks roughly ten minutes of screen time in each film, with no more than 4 scenes in each.
Still blame Liv?

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
...What we came to realise was that you don't have to put a sword in her hands to make her strong. And where we've come to now is all these true elements of who Arwen is. I mean this is an incredibley powerful and fearless woman filled with so much hope and belief and that is strong enough. ~ Liv Tyler (Arwen)
A proud member of H.A.A.H.A.A.

From: canberra , australia | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Lillianna
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Strong female roles? The book is not ABOUT strong female roles. I mean, we're not making a movie on the appendix are we? [] This is one of my biggest rants: that they turn the movies into an Aragorn movie....Aragorn is the only man who rejects the ring when it is presented to him...Aragorn spies the army coming...Aragorn this....blah blah....well he's NOT THE ONLY FREAKIN' STRONG GUY IN THE BOOK. GAAAAAAah. Faramir...hello...Faramir was strong, was intelligent and just as much of a man as Aragorn was, just without the kingly title.
Arwen does aggrivate me alot, yet I do understand the want and desire to make her have a more important role and have significance in the film. Yet, they could have handled they way they portray that so much differently. I also, don't like how they make it sound, "This is the only way..." Whatever....

My biggest gripe is Faramir....but enough has been said on that point...I just wanted to yell and scream a bit.

I was just discussing this with Talan about the lack of females present: The book is about male fellowship and the friendships that form because of it. It's not about female strong characters or any romance between them and the male characters....get over it. I'm a female...I'm not offended by the lack of strong female characters besides Eowyn because that's not what the book is centering on. If the book was an Aragorn/Arwen love story, and she was still such a small part with not much personality, then I would be pissed off.....

I just feels so much like fan fiction now....and fan fiction can be good when it is done well. Just doesn't seem like LotR much to me anymore....

[ 12-08-2003, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: Lillianna ]

From: Back to Cali, Cali | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Archer
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Gollum,
We've been through this before and I'm going to totally ignore any more of your insecure and unfounded accusations. If anyone can here can explain to me how my annoyance with PJ/Boyens/NewLine/whoever's decision to add Arwen to the Ford scene is a direct assault on Liv, then I'll gladly make the adequate corrections. Until then, please go rescue the fair damsel elswhere, Gollum. Forgive my candor, but I'm starting to find you a little irritating. []

Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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