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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 27)
Author Topic: Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy
Arien the Maia
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So Mortensen is androgynous while Bloom isn't ... interesting []
I'd love to see that film. []

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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Rocky [] []

Maybe Bloom has a androgynous cnidarian... []

From: Vinya-Tárilos | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Sauron's Secret Agent
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A real one what?

Of course it is tempting to fill in the blank for myself, but let's be fair.

quote:
along with your oviously overcompensated penis-envy
[]

And: could you compose your posts in Word, or similar, and use the spell check?

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less travelled by...

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.

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Arien the Maia
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Elf lord ... [] []
[]
I love the link []

SSA I suppose he means a "real man" []
I think it would be better to ignore the little pest ... it ain't worth it, my dear lady []
Not to mention that he keeps not answering Tuor's questions ... which also makes him unfit for any Tolkien discussion ... so the solution is obvious []

[ 12-31-2004, 01:45 PM: Message edited by: Arien the Maia ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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That's fair-- I've been ignoring you! []

quote:
A real one what?
Didn't THINK you'd know that one guv'ness! []

[ 12-31-2004, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Roll of Honor Sauron's Secret Agent
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You are so obviously an oldie playing up that it isn't worth replying.

Happy New Year!

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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I was wondering if anyone else had checked out this thread:
It makes a pretty good analysis of PJ's travesty.

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Roll of Honor Éomer
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That was a great read. Thanks, WK.
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Archer
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I've read that essay several times in the past; it's concise, well-written and referenced, and has some pretty uncontestable points. Thank goodness someone can make a pitch for the professer's art to show how it deserved a far better treatment that it got from Jackson et al.

Hmmm, I actually thought that link had been posted here before at MT. Well either way, glad you posted it in this topic and got the subject back on track.

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Queen of the Harad
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Good article, Witch-King. Thanks for the link! [] The part that depresses me in it is that we will be unlikely to see another version of LOTR in our lifetimes... []

Has anyone else found other articles and essays that are in this same spirit?

[ 01-02-2005, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Queen of the Harad ]

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Cernunnos
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An excellent essay, well worth reading. Thanks for the link!

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Whereas the light perceives the very heart of the darkness, its own secret has not been discovered.

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
The part that depresses me in it is that we will be unlikely to see another version of LOTR in our lifetimes...
Who knows, maybe Mel Gibson will do it... he did make a Jesus-pic after Oliver Stone's "Last Temptation of Christ." []

quote:
Has anyone else found other articles and essays that are in this same spirit?

Not really; everything I find seems to just rave about how "great" it is, and how true to the story blah blah blah []
The ironic thing is, that some of these same sites ALSO talk about how the movie and the book had bad moral points-- which simply leads me to conclude that these critics were as bass-ackwards as Peter Jackson in not having the foggiest grasp of the story.

However there is a site that I found which is quite humorous here: -- and you KNOW how tough of a critic that I am!

[ 01-02-2005, 10:39 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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quote:
he did make a Jesus-pic after Oliver Stone's "Last Temptation of Christ."
You meant Scorcese. And it was an exceptional adaptation of the source novel... []

Back to the critics' comments about PJ. Many journalists are a lazy lot to begin with -- I doubt many of them fully understood (or read) the book at all. In the years of the movies, PJ was simply hot copy...

And eventually the hype will die down, so it will be interesting to see how the films will be regarded 5 or 10 years from now. I predict they'll be relegated to the position of second-grade fantasy films like "The Dark Crystal", "Willow", "Sword and the Sorcerer" -- dated artifacts. IOW, I highly doubt the trilogy will be studied in film schools.

[btw, on a side note, I just saw "The Aviator". It was the most exuberant piece of filmmaking I've seen in ages... Outstanding.]

[ 01-02-2005, 10:49 PM: Message edited by: Silmahtar ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Yes that's right-- Scorcese; I've remarked previously here that Scorcese could have made a great production of LotR.

I've also stated that PJ's version will be forgotten extremely quickly-- as quickly as "the Blair Witch Project." There was simply no connection with real-life or sense to make any sort of lasting impression-- just a bunch of flashy SFX; if anything, it ASSAULTED sense and sensibility.

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Queen of the Harad
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quote:
quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Has anyone else found other articles and essays that are in this same spirit?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not really; everything I find seems to just rave about how "great" it is, and how true to the story blah blah blah
The ironic thing is, that some of these same sites ALSO talk about how the movie and the book had bad moral points-- which simply leads me to conclude that these critics were as bass-ackwards as Peter Jackson in not having the foggiest grasp of the story.

Silly me; I've just answered my own question! Here's some quotes from a couple of articles from ChristianityToday.com that are rather critical of the movies for messing up the characters...

quote:
The first two Peter Jackson film-renderings of The Lord of the Rings missed the moral and religious depths of Tolkien's epic fantasy, but still managed to capture the excitement of the plot and the grandeur of the scene. Yet the second movie began a trend that Jackson has unfortunately retained in the third—an obsession with outward violence. His version of The Return of the King converts the awful subtlety and complexity of evil into something so obvious as to be unserious.

This ethical and artistic failure becomes most evident in the third movie's depiction of Gollum, the wretched hobbit who, having possessed the Ruling Ring for five hundred years, has been virtually devoured by it. In The Two Towers Jackson revealed Gollum to be a conflicted soul even in his consuming greed. And here he powerfully depicts Gollum's original Cain-like murder in seizing the Ring. But Jackson soon removes our sympathy with the conflicted Gollum—and thus our complicity in his crimes—by turning him into a pathetically comic and merely devious figure. Jackson even allows Gollum to create a bizarre alienation between the utterly loyal servant Sam Gamgee and his heroic master Frodo Baggins. But instead of being emotionally wrought with concern that these two dearest of friends should suddenly be divided, I found myself sniggering at this outrageous violation of Tolkien's great book.

So is Denethor the steward of Gondor turned into a caricature of himself, a snarling and drooling oaf rather than a noble pessimist who has good cause for lamenting the loss of past glories that will never return. Tolkien clearly intends Denethor to be a man of our own time in his forlorn despair over the decline of his culture. Yet Jackson robs Denethor even of the logic of his death—his suicidal refusal to accept half-measures and partial triumphs. Instead, Gandalf's horse knocks Denethor onto the pyre he has built for his son Faramir! Set aflame by its fires, the maddened steward hurtles off a cliff. A scene that Tolkien intended to disclose the horror of hopelessness becomes yet another unintentionally comic display of flamboyant technical effects.

Amen and amen, brother.

The one criticism of the films that rather irks is that these articles' writers claim that the films dwell too much on violence. To a certain extent, I disagree. LOTR is a story about war, and as such it must show the horrible cruelty of war. I'm glad that Peter Jackson didn't sugarify the story into a PG-kiddie romp, but the violence in the PJ Lord of the Rings should have had more of a horrific, Saving Private Ryan quality to it. The head-lopping scenes of Lurtz and the Mouth of Sauron were cartoonish in their lack of blood. And the scene from the book where the armies of Mordor catapulted the severed heads over the walls of Minas Tirith should have been one of the most tragic, wrenching, horrifying moments in the films, but I can't even remember if it was in the theatrical version. Was it in the EE?

The Lure of the Obvious is the one that I've quoted from, and here's another quote from another article that focuses on the role of Tolkien's Catholic Christian faith in his books, and how the movies miss the deeper elements of the story, such as mercy shown to those who don't deserve it:

quote:
Jackson has completely undone the scene that Tolkien describes as the most tragic in the book. The fact that the director has moved it forward from The Two Towers to The Return of the King is not the problem. In the book, Gollum comes upon Sam and Frodo asleep in the Pass of Cirith Ungol. Frodo's head is in Sam's lap, the servant protectively shielding him with his hands. "Peace was in both their faces." Something in this sight of loving companionship touches the remnant of humanity that remains in Gollum's soul. This is the moment when Gollum and Sméagol are having an "interior debate" about whether or not to deliver up the hobbits to the dreadful Thing lurking ahead in the tunnel. Gollum reaches out, hesitantly, with a trembling hand, to stroke Frodo's knee, saying, "Nice master!"

But Sam is instantly awake. Vehemently and mercilessly he rejects Gollum, calling him "villain." Sam means to be protecting Frodo, but his lack of insight and his roughness have the opposite effect. Tolkien writes, "The fleeting moment had passed, beyond recall." This is the point, more than any other, when the reader will cry silently or aloud, "No!" One could hardly miss the significance of the opportunity and Sam's utter failure to seize it, yet Jackson seems to have missed it.

The loss of this scene is incalculable. In its place Jackson's writers have invented a bit of business where Gollum steals the lembas and arranges to have Frodo blame Sam for the theft. This shifts our attention to Sam's hurt feelings, rather than the true center, which is the tragic implosion of Sméagol's nascent love for Frodo. We are robbed of an opportunity to understand that Gollum is still recognizably human and capable of love. More important still, the crucial tension between mercy shown toward Gollum—such a central theme in the book—and what Gollum actually "deserves" is altogether lost. Since the center of the Christian gospel is God's mercy toward the undeserving, those who value Tolkien's implicit Christian message will feel bereft.

Jackson has omitted many key scenes that show Aragorn's kingly qualities. There is no suggestion of the King's tireless healing of the sick and wounded; these are passages where Tolkien has inserted an unusual number of biblical hints evoking the example of Christ. We are deprived of any examples of Aragorn's Solomonic wisdom, as for instance in the honorable discharge given to the young conscripted soldiers who panic at the sight of Mordor, and in the reassignment of Beregond in a way that punishes him and yet rewards him also. We do not learn of Aragorn's perilous confrontation with Sauron in the palantír, so we do not know the full story of his self-sacrificing courage. Nor do we see Aragorn in counsel with Gandalf and the other leaders of the Free Peoples after the battle of the Pelennor, so we have little sense of him as a leader among leaders. None of these omissions would be serious alone, but taken together they add up to a significant reduction of Aragorn's majesty.

The most serious of all Jackson's alterations, however, occurs at the climax, the all-important dénouement that, for Tolkien, was the key to the entire structure (he called it the "eucatastrophe"). Jackson's decision to have Frodo become, in a sense, the master of his own fate, more than anything else, has convinced many Tolkienians that Jackson does not understand the underlying themes of the book.

Speaking theologically, the remarkable and paradoxical thing about Tolkien's achievement is that he has so much to say about God without saying anything about God. All through the book there is this pervasive sense of a greater Mind, a greater Author, directing the events and working through human agents for a larger purpose than any of them can divine. Tolkien accomplishes this largely through syntax, frequently using the passive form of verbs ("Frodo was meant to have the Ring," "time was given" to Aragorn), and through veiled references to "some other power," "some other will". This would have been very difficult to convey in a movie, but the deliberate decision of the director to demystify the dénouement at the Cracks of Doom has derailed Tolkien's entire theological project. Not least among the disappointments here is that the care lavished upon the creation of the cinematic Gollum ultimately goes for nothing (nothing theological, at any rate) because we never see the awakening of his love for Frodo, and the mercy shown to him never finds its transcendent place in Jackson's version of the plot.

Enjoy! []
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
Jackson's decision to have Frodo become, in a sense, the master of his own fate, more than anything else, has convinced many Tolkienians that Jackson does not understand the underlying themes of the book.

I don't understand this reference; if anything, Frodo (like Gollum) was portrayed as more a pure victim of circumstance, than having any choice in the matter. In the book, Frodo's penultimate battle with Gollum outside the Sammath Nuar seemed to refer to the tansfiguration of Christ, and Frodo's words here seemed to seal both of their fates-- Frodo claims the Ring, and Gollum is cast into the fires of Doom.
In the movie, however, Gollum simply bumbles off the edge in the finest tradition of Deus ex machina.

[ 01-04-2005, 12:02 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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White Gold Wielder
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Thanks for those articles, Queenie.

Jackson messed up so much, it's hard to choose what to be critical of. It's nice to read articles that focus on certain points and clearly break down his failure.

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Actually I simply choose the arrogance and disrespect for the author. If he had simply TRIED to honor Tolkien, then I would forgive just about anything; but it's clear that he simply used JRR's masterpiece life's work as a launching-platform for his own pathetic ego and self-indulgence, being simply too ignorant to realize he was so far out of his league that it wasn't even funny-- and would be out of his depth if he had any.
The truly sad part, however, is how badly it misrepresented the story to the mainstream public.

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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QoH, these were excellent reviews, thanks for sharing them.

quote:
Jackson even allows Gollum to create a bizarre alienation between the utterly loyal servant Sam Gamgee and his heroic master Frodo Baggins. But instead of being emotionally wrought with concern that these two dearest of friends should suddenly be divided, I found myself sniggering at this outrageous violation of Tolkien's great book.
Clearly an astute reviewer who not only read the books, but understands them. []

A horrible thought just came to me: that whole "You can't help me, Sam. Go home" bit had all the dramatic arc of some really, really horrific afterschool special I remember watching as a kid. [] More reason why ROTK was so fall below the already sub-par previous films.

I'm curious to find out what the viewership was of each movie -- I predict that they dropped off by the time the third film came out, particulary among non-fans. I know my gf never bothered seeing ROTK and she's a non-fan.

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Queen of the Harad
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quote:
Thanks for those articles, Queenie.
Jackson messed up so much, it's hard to choose what to be critical of. It's nice to read articles that focus on certain points and clearly break down his failure.

"Queenie"! [] Thanks, WGW! Glad to know that you enjoyed them! There were a few others there that were more praising of the films, so I didn't link to those. [] They have a special LOTR movie section over there on the site.

I do remember stumbling across an extremely scathing review of ROTK at one point-- however I don't know where I found it.... I shall have to go back and look for it. All I remember is that it was written by a Jewish fellow and it was as scathing as anything I've ever seen Witch-King of Angmar say... []

quote:
A horrible thought just came to me: that whole "You can't help me, Sam. Go home" bit had all the dramatic arc of some really, really horrific afterschool special I remember watching as a kid.
And it was resolved just as quickly. Frankly, I don't see why in the world Jackson didn't just film it like it was in the book? What, was Tolkien's scenario too complex to storyboard, or what? It would have been so much more exciting if they had had Sam fight Gollum at the end of the Shelob battle.

And the part where a crying Sam was trudging down the Stairs and then finds the lembas at the bottom was ridiculous. Why wouldn't he be going after his master anyway, despite what Frodo said to him? Why would he just be rolling off, where he might fall and break a leg (or his neck) or be captured by an orc?

See? Makes no sense. None at all.

quote:
I'm curious to find out what the viewership was of each movie -- I predict that they dropped off by the time the third film came out, particulary among non-fans. I know my gf never bothered seeing ROTK and she's a non-fan.
I watched FOTR several times in the theater, heck, I even went to it a day or so after I'd gone to the ER for a chopped-open fingernail. I think I might have seen TTT in the theaters twice, if even that, and I only saw ROTK once in the theater. So that's my story...
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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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Tári Hyarmendoro
quote:
Frankly, I don't see why in the world Jackson didn't just film it like it was in the book?
I think that's one of life's unanswerable mysteries, like "what the hell IS spam made of?" []

By my very cursory reckoning, this is my viewership record of the three films (home viewings approximate):

FOTR
Theater: 1
Home (DVD/VHS): 12

TTT
Theater: 1
Home: 15

ROTK
Theater: 2 (1st time orc brats behind me talked THE ENTIRE TIME, second was a free ticket)
Home: 2.5

Granted, I've only taken possession of the ROTK DVD last month, but I really don't anticipate watching it more than once or twice this year. And I got that DVD for free with a gift certificate.

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
A horrible thought just came to me: that whole "You can't help me, Sam. Go home" bit had all the dramatic arc of some really, really horrific afterschool special I remember watching as a kid. More reason why ROTK was so fall below the already sub-par previous films.

Yes, it was a cheap tear-jerking move by acting to separate the inseparable-- and, like most of the premature climaxes in this movie, went off half-cocked and destroyed the final separation at the end.

quote:
I'm curious to find out what the viewership was of each movie -- I predict that they dropped off by the time the third film came out, particulary among non-fans. I know my gf never bothered seeing ROTK and she's a non-fan.
As for age of viewers, I was surprised to hear my neice talking about the movies-- and then I realized that this bomb was pulling a Disney modernization, and dumbing it down to the kiddy-market. THAT's the reason for the inane silliness, the patronizing dialogue and dumbing down of plot, the flattening of depth, the cute, cuddly hobbits and the caricatured villians and heroes alike-- either that, or they were simply incredibly stupid. I'll opt for both.
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Queen of the Harad
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More links for your perusal:

http://scv.bu.edu/~aarondf/hearth/archives/000152.html

Mr. Cranky's review (link below) is pretty critical of Tolkien purists, but it's kinda funny.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/chi-031216dpcranky,0,5837270.story

quote:
I spent the last 40 minutes of this thing wondering when in the hell it was going to stop. It fades to black more times than Ozzy Osbourne taking an IQ test.

Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) start slowly hoofing it up Mt. Doom while Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and the other members of the Fellowship battle the evil Orcs. It's almost as if the hike takes place in real time. It made me think that Mt. Doom badly needs a gondola.


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The Witch-King of Angmar
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From the above links:
quote:
Lets start with the fundamental issue of making "Lord of the Rings" as a movie. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is of course to be as faithful as you can within the bounds of the medium to the text, making changes only as forced to by bounds of time and format. The second is to make your own movie based on the existing work. This later is fine if dealing with a small work that simply isn't long enough so that you must extend it. Where this isn't the case, this second scheme for me is an abomination where you take advantage of the massive built in audience (at least in this case) for a beloved work to come see YOUR movie. Unfortunately, to me it seems thati n the end Peter Jackson has made a very wrong choice and it takes a lot of gall to think you can make a better story than a story that has in many polls been voted to be the best work of literature of the Twentieth Century.
I LOVE this man....

quote:
If Jackson didn't do everything humanly possibly to be true to the book, LOTR fans would hunt him down.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.............. [] [] [] [] []

[ 01-05-2005, 01:33 AM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Snöwdog
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Ya know.. it could have been worse. What if Oliver Stone directed???
[] []

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"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins

"These Lord of the Rings movies must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence they came."

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Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings » Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy (Page 27)
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