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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 28)
Author Topic: Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy
Roll of Honor Snaga
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Hey Snowdog, funny you mentioned that, but we discussed that in the what if other directors had made LotR thread (sorry no link, gotta run), but I think this particular discussion revolved along the development of many Middle Earth conspiracy theories. Perhaps a Stone version would have concentrated almost exclusively on the assasination of Isildur? [] I mean, just how did those orcs just happen to come upon him - huh? Just what were the Stewards up to at the same time? Huh huh!!! Then we could borrow from other movies with well worn cliches like "You want the truth, you can't handle the truth" "this is bigger than any of us..."

The root of it all - those darn hobbits have been plotting all along to get a piece of the action!

[ 01-13-2005, 08:54 AM: Message edited by: Snaga ]

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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I was watching the second half of FOTR last night, and I again wondered how my reaction to the films would have been different if I'd never read the book beforehand.

As I've elucidated before here and elsewhere, the films are half-way decent in and of themselves, but they're horribly unfaithful to Tolkien. OK movies, bad adaptations.

Finally, I think these films would have been better served to have NOT used the name "The Lord of the Rings" at all. Instead, they should have been called: "The War of the Ring I, II, III"

... or something like that, with the necessary disclaimer:

"Inspired by the novel The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien."

Or in keeping with the lower-denomination of the movies, something more along the lines of: "Ring War" or "Ring Quest".

Lame, I know, but more accurate to describe their collective quality and aesthetic. Calling them "The Lord of the Rings" is just plain wrong and not true, IMO.

All facetiousness aside, I'd be interested to know what others think these movies should have been called...

[ 01-13-2005, 09:15 AM: Message edited by: Silmahtar ]

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"Vëarenen ilnutin nardar."

From: Vinya-Tárilos | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Arien the Maia
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Isn't there a "inspired from the work of JRR Tolkien" notice somewhere?
Personaly, to this day I fail to understand how the movies of Peter Jackson coulf create so strong feelings to the Tolkien fans.
We all knew in advance that books like the Lord of the Rings are not filmable and certainly we are all aware of the rule that says that books are always better than the movies based on the books.
So PJ was unfaithful to Tolkien, mainly because Jackson presented Middle Earth the way he saw it ( as we all do inside our minds) and tryed to make it into a film, aka use action, agony, introduction and epiloge.

For me, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings remains the a very good presentation of Middle Earth. And for anyone who disagrees, the road is open and everyone will be thrilled to see a better version .. so create the better version .. anyone?
[]

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Roll of Honor -Laurelin-
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quote:
We all knew in advance that books like the Lord of the Rings are not filmable and certainly we are all aware of the rule that says that books are always better than the movies based on the books.
Of course a movie or mini-serie cannot hold all the details of the books, but it can stay on the path of the book, which PJ's film failed to. I believe it is possible to cinematographically(?) make justice to the book, and everyone on this board harbor this hope (though they may expect nothing to not get their feelings hurt).
quote:
So PJ was unfaithful to Tolkien, mainly because Jackson presented Middle Earth the way he saw it ( as we all do inside our minds) and tryed to make it into a film, aka use action, agony, introduction and epiloge.
The problem is not the way he saw it (costumes, landscapes...), the problem is that he deleted important 'aspects' of the book and added superfluous unnecessary movielines (Aragorn falling down the cliff, Sam 'go Home') which stirred JRRT in his grave.

I love how he pictured Minas Tirith - Edoras - Isengard, they're all stunning works. The Landscapes are almost all perfect - I didn't have much disappointment for the costumes (armours, banners, clothes) of anyone, I didn't stop on these. Anyway PJ would have picture these, that's not what makes the movie good or bad, it is the storyline.

And that storyline, was, shredded.

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Arien the Maia
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Oh, you won't find me disagreeing here. He did take out essential parts and added things that all those who have read the books were waiting for.
But I think that most of us loose perspective by judging the film in comparison to the books. PJ was adressing an audience that knew nothing about Tolkien and Lotr -he had to adress such a wide audience, he couldn't make such a mammouth production just for the few thousands of Tolkien readers- and he had to make the film have a "bit" something he could sell to the spectators worldwide. Aragorn falling of a cliff is a classic agony creation mechanism, the protagonist falls from a cliff, the cinema room goes "aaaaa" .

I am not doubting that PJ has altered Tolkien's story way too mcuh, I just wonder why we can't be flexible enough to consider the filmed Lotr for what it is: The only sucessful so far attempt to visualise a world of fantasy that has touched millions of readers.
So he did it badly. Indeed. Did he do that bad?

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White Gold Wielder
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Arien: You are treading a fine line here by nearly rebuking the principles set forth in the first post of this topic. Beware!
quote:
Indeed. Did he do that bad?
The Nameless Film is a scar on the soul of the world. It has done much to distort Tolkien's vision in the eyes of the world. It belittles everyone who truly understands the grace in names like Aragorn, Gandalf and Frodo for those who only know those names as ridiculous characters, puppets devoid of dignity.

So, yes.

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Snöwdog
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quote:
the road is open and everyone will be thrilled to see a better version .. so create the better version .. anyone?

Sure.. just give me the resources PJ had...

[] WGW []

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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."

Middle Earth Angling Guide

Avatar: Shadow Ranger
Artwork by Jonathon Earl Bowser

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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... and full creative and marketing control ... []
From: Vinya-Tárilos | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Witch-King of Angmar
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Which PJ DIDN'T have-- or even casting-control.

quote:
I think this particular discussion revolved along the development of many Middle Earth conspiracy theories.
'We know it well-- these are the marks of a conspiracy.'
quote:
I was watching the second half of FOTR last night, and I again wondered how my reaction to the films would have been different if I'd never read the book beforehand.

I would have thought it was a typical Dungeons & Dragons adventure-- pretty cool to watch, but nothing beyond that; I'd also wonder why they spent so much time messing around with the hobbits and not the swordfights. Which brings up the point: Why did Frodo go into Mordor, and not Aragorn, Isildur's heir? It was never explained that Frodo was meant to carry it-- just that men-- all men, not just Boromir-- were too weak and corrupt to be trusted with it. As such, Aragorn doesn't realize that Frodo has gone with the Ring, as it was meant to be; he simply allows him to depart because he doesn't trust himself.
This type of misanthropy is typical anti-hero modernism, and therefore anathematic to classical style.

quote:
Isn't there a "inspired from the work of JRR Tolkien" notice somewhere?
Even if there was, that wouldn't serve as an adequate disclaimer in comparison to the use of the titles "Lord of the Ring" as well as the titles of the trilogy.

quote:
Personaly, to this day I fail to understand how the movies of Peter Jackson coulf create so strong feelings to the Tolkien fans.
We all knew in advance that books like the Lord of the Rings are not filmable and certainly we are all aware of the rule that says that books are always better than the movies based on the books.

This is old hat, and has been refuted here many times; PJ far exceeded his cinematographical prerogative in the liberties he took with the movies, ignoring canon, letter, spirit and intent alike, while selling out to commercial and studio interest. He likewise lacked the ability to understand the story, let alone relate it.

quote:
So PJ was unfaithful to Tolkien, mainly because Jackson presented Middle Earth the way he saw it ( as we all do inside our minds) and tryed to make it into a film, aka use action, agony, introduction and epiloge.

Which exceeded his prerogative, since the purpose is to relate the author's vision; whether he was unable to do this, or unwilling to do it, is irrelevant.

quote:
For me, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings remains the a very good presentation of Middle Earth.
No offense, but that's because you simply don't know what Middle-earth IS. I've proven elsewhere that New Zealand is NOT Middle-Earth-- and I've shown where it IS here.

quote:
And for anyone who disagrees, the road is open and everyone will be thrilled to see a better version .. so create the better version .. anyone?

That's a non-argument which has been many times refuted here, since PJ's mockery precluded anyone else doing it right by spoiling the market for LOTR movies.
Also, the argument that one's right to point out a flaw should be limited by one's ability to do better, is utterly fallacious.


quote:
The problem is not the way he saw it (costumes, landscapes...), the problem is that he deleted important 'aspects' of the book and added superfluous unnecessary movielines (Aragorn falling down the cliff, Sam 'go Home') which stirred JRRT in his grave.

Moreover, he perverted the book's aspects with typical Hollywood bull$?!* (i.e. "If you want him-- COME AND CLAIM HIM!" etc.) while remaining ignorant of the book's actual message.

quote:
I love how he pictured Minas Tirith - Edoras - Isengard, they're all stunning works. The Landscapes are almost all perfect - I didn't have much disappointment for the costumes (armours, banners, clothes) of anyone, I didn't stop on these. Anyway PJ would have picture these, that's not what makes the movie good or bad, it is the storyline.
I don't think he got these right at all-- and they don't match the descriptions or diagrams of them either. They LOOKED like miniatures, too; their studio SFX department clearly didn't know how to do proper scaling, lighting or perspective-work to make them look real.
The costumes, buildings and sets also looked medeival, not at all mythical or legendary; PJ only seeks to portray the horrific, and has no capacity or appreciation for the sublime.

quote:
But I think that most of us loose perspective by judging the film in comparison to the books. PJ was adressing an audience that knew nothing about Tolkien and Lotr -he had to adress such a wide audience, he couldn't make such a mammouth production just for the few thousands of Tolkien readers- and he had to make the film have a "bit" something he could sell to the spectators worldwide. Aragorn falling of a cliff is a classic agony creation mechanism, the protagonist falls from a cliff, the cinema room goes "aaaaa" .

I think this gives too little credit to the audience to appreciate the subtlety and beauty of fine literature, and I think it's infinitely arrogant of a film-maker to assume that audiences are too low-brow to appreciate not having a Jesus-looking protagonist who falls off a cliff and gets revived via mouth-to-mouth from his horse, or a stupid alien who says "meesa people gonna die?" etc.
On the contrary, I think most people over age 5 find such things greatly annoying, while it's the low-grade directors who find it funny.

quote:
I am not doubting that PJ has altered Tolkien's story way too mcuh, I just wonder why we can't be flexible enough to consider the filmed Lotr for what it is: The only sucessful so far attempt to visualise a world of fantasy that has touched millions of readers.
So he did it badly. Indeed. Did he do that bad?

He was only successful because Tolkien had no say in the matter, being deceased. By this token, a pimp or drug-dealer is also "successful."
Did he do that bad? Yes-- he got it wrong-- completely wrong.
As Tolkien would say when his story was compared to Wagner's ring-opera: "Both stories involve a Ring-- after that, the similarity ends."

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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Good points all around, WKoA. []

I'm also rereading the book (which I try to do ever winter with mixed success... [] ), and I'm struck by the utter lack of menace in the movies. The Black Riders chill me every time I read "A Short Cut to Mushrooms", and horrify me on Weathertop (in print).

The Wingnut Trio's Nine are scarecrows, really. Flying rags and bundles who (inexplicably) flee at the sight of fire. The Witch-king himself is just a hissing balloon that benignly deflates when pricked. []

WHERE WAS MY FLAMING MANTLE AND CROWN?! Can anyone forget that electric fear we felt when the Witch-king unveiled himself to Gandalf? The evil pride, the fearsome power manifest in Fallen Man.

What I'm getting at is the real sense of horror Tolkien successfully communicates when we encounter Nazgûl, Minas Morgul, Cirith Ungol, etc. He wanted us to feel Frodo and Sam's terror upon entering the lair of Ungoliant, or upon the ash-plains of the Gorgoroth. Mordor is the ultimate horror so immense it would drive lesser men mad should they enter it.

And Tolkien is a master storyteller, too -- we feel the weight of the Ring over time as Frodo brings it closer to its master. At first, there is the shadow of the Nine, fearsome in their own right like nightmares, but mere wraiths when compared to Sauron.

Instead, PJ gives us the Wile E. Coyote Eye.

Ah, I'm rambling...

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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quote:
'We know it well-- these are the marks of a conspiracy.'
Yes!!! See, the Mouth knew it all along!!! []
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Arien the Maia
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WkoA AND Snowdog
Too bad I am unable to answer you, but WGW has already warrned me that my line of thinking is not compatible with this thread with this ...

quote:
Arien: You are treading a fine line here by nearly rebuking the principles set forth in the first post of this topic. Beware!
So ... as you were []
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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There's NO answering for PJ's atrocity. []

quote:
I'm also rereading the book (which I try to do ever winter with mixed success... ), and I'm struck by the utter lack of menace in the movies. The Black Riders chill me every time I read "A Short Cut to Mushrooms", and horrify me on Weathertop (in print).

The Wingnut Trio's Nine are scarecrows, really. Flying rags and bundles who (inexplicably) flee at the sight of fire. The Witch-king himself is just a hissing balloon that benignly deflates when pricked.

WHERE WAS MY FLAMING MANTLE AND CROWN?! Can anyone forget that electric fear we felt when the Witch-king unveiled himself to Gandalf? The evil pride, the fearsome power manifest in Fallen Man.


In the book, the main fear from the Nazgûl came from their mystery, much like the shark in Jaws: you didn't see them clearly at first, but only knew of their rumor; and perhaps a glimpse of one of them searching. Gradually they became more and more present, until by the time they revealed themselves in full, their horror was well built-up due to preservation of mystery and development of suspense. If you saw the shark in scene 1, there would have been nothing left for the movie's climax; however PJ is no stranger to spilling the beans in terms of suspense-- he might as well just give away the end right there in the beginning.

Also, they weren't enemy agents per se in the movie, but just "nasty critters."
When you think of the Nazgûl in the book, two words come to mind: cloak and dagger; this element of intrigue normally associated with assassination and espionage, is completely lost when they become mere undead Halloween nasties; like the political metaphors of the book are lost entirely. Were the Nazgûl spies? Assassins? The nine justices of the Supreme Court? All lost.

I think PJ was caught up over his "reapers" from The Frighteners," where Michael J. Fox would see these badly-animated characters streaking around the room with scythes, and that looked much like his Nazgûl did (or the Sentinels from "Harry Potter").

Likewise even when Frodo puts on the Ring at Weathertop, he doesn't see them clearly as in the book-- on the contrary they look even more distorted than before! As a result, the effect of his entering their world (the wraith-world) is lost, thus making it just look like the Ring simply distorts the real world rather than changes it.

However there was no "flaming mantle and crown;" when he stands before Gandalf, you just saw his crown and mantle, and nothing in-between but the terror of his eyes.
In the movie, however, he wore a spiky helmet which pretty much ruined this effect-- including covering his eyes.

PJ, a self-proclaimed "horror flick" expert, will never understand that true fear doesn't come from seeing something happen-- which creates rather simply shock, at best-- but rather from anticipation of what might happen. As such, his heavy-handed, cheesy style of "horror" leaves little to the imagination, and thus fails comedically.
This contrasts sharply with the style of someone like Hitchcock, who always left you wondering-- and then hit you when you least expected it. Meanwhile PJ shows Merry and Pippin idiotically starting a camp-fire on Weathertop, drawing the Nazgûl-- as well as the audience's expectation of them.

[ 01-14-2005, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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From a letter from Tolkien to Forrest J. Ackerman where Tolkien comments on the film 'treatment' of The Lord of the Rings, fictitiously adapted to Jackon's Joke:

I have at last finished my commentary on the Story-line. Its length and detail will, I hope, give evidence of my interest in the matter. Some at least of the things that I have said or suggested may be acceptable, even useful, or at least interesting. The commentary goes along page by page, according to the copy of Mr Jackson's work, which was left with me, and which I now return. I earnestly hope that someone will take the trouble to read it.
If Jackson and/or others do so, they may be irritated or aggrieved by the tone of many of my criticisms. If so, I am sorry (though not surprised). But I would ask them to make an effort of imagination sufficient to understand the irritation (and on occasion the resentment) of an author, who finds, increasingly as he proceeds, his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about. ....
The canons of narrative an in any medium cannot be wholly different ; and the failure of poor films is often precisely in exaggeration, and in the intrusion of unwarranted matter owing to not perceiving where the core of the original lies.
Jackson .... has intruded incantations, blue lights, and some irrelevant magic (such as the floating body of Gandalf). He has cut the parts of the story upon which its characteristic and peculiar tone principally depends, showing a preference for fights; and he has made no serious attempt to represent the heart of the tale adequately: the journey of the Ringbearers. The last and most important part of this trilogy has-- and it is not too strong a word, simply been murdered.

Gandalf, please, should not 'splutter'. Though he may seem testy at times, has a sense of humour, and adopts a somewhat avuncular attitude to hobbits, he is a person of high and noble authority, and great dignity. The description on I p. 239 should never be forgotten:

quote:
Frodo looked at them in wonder, for he had never before seen Elrond, of whom so many tales spoke; and as they sat upon his right hand and his left, Glorfindel, and even Gandalf, whom he thought he knew so well, were revealed as lords of dignity and power. Gandalf was shorter in stature than the other two; but his long white hair, his sweeping silver beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. In his aged face under great snowy brows his dark eyes were set like coals that could leap suddenly into fire.
Here I may say that I fail to see why the time-scheme should be deliberately contracted. It is already rather packed in the original, the main action occurring between Sept. 22 and March 25 of the following year. The many impossibilities and absurdities which further hurrying produces might, I suppose, be unobserved by an uncritical viewer; but I do not see why they should be unnecessarily introduced. Time must naturally be left vaguer in a picture than in a book ....
Seasons are carefully regarded in the original. They are pictorial, and should be, and easily could be, made the main means by which the artists indicate time-passage. The main action begins in autumn and passes through winter to a brilliant spring: this is basic to the purport and tone of the tale. The contraction of time and space by Jackson destroys that. His arrangements would, for instance, land us in a snowstorm while summer was still in. The Lord of the Rings may be a 'fairy-story', but it takes place in the Northern hemisphere of this earth: miles are miles, days are days, and weather is weather.
Contraction of this kind is not the same thing as the necessary reduction or selection of the scenes and events that are to be visually represented.

The landlord does not ask Frodo to "register!" Why should he? There are no police and no government. (Neither do I make him number his rooms.) If details are to be added to an already crowded picture, they should at least fit the world described.

Leaving the inn at night and running off wildly unprepared without even a baggage-pony is an impossible solution of the difficulties of presentation here (which I can see). It is the last thing that Aragorn would have done. It is based on a misconception of the Black Riders throughout, which I beg Jackson to reconsider. Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ghosts). They have no great physical power against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness. The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol. III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force. But even in the Battle of the Pelennor, the darkness had only just broken.

Rivendell was not 'a hazy forest'. This is an unhappy anticipation of Lórien (which it in no way resembled). It could not be reached in short time from Weathertop : it was 200 miles away and hidden in a ravine. I can see no pictorial or story-making gain in needlessly contracting the geography.
Strider does not 'Whip out a sword' in the book on Weathertop. Naturally not: his sword was broken. (Its power is another false anticipation of the reforged Anduril. Anticipation is one of Jackson's chief faults.) Why then make him do so here, in a contest that was explicitly not fought with weapons?
Aragorn likewise does not scream “Back, you devils!” There is no fight. Sam does not 'strike his blade at the Ringwraith'. Likewise, when Frodo does put on the Ring, the world does not become a fluttering haze, and likewise the ringwraiths do not do likewise:

quote:
Immediately, though everything else remained as before, dim and dark, the shapes became terribly clear. He was able to see beneath their black wrappings. There were five tall figures: two standing on the lip of the dell, three advancing. In their white faces burned keen and merciless eyes; under their mantles were long grey robes; upon their grey hairs were helms of silver; in their haggard hands were swords of steel. Their eyes fell on him and pierced him, as they rushed towards him. Desperate, he drew his own sword, and it seemed to him that it flickered red, as if it was a firebrand. Two of the figures halted. The third was taller than the others: his hair was long and gleaming and on his helm was a crown. In one hand he held a long sword, and in the other a knife; both the knife and the hand that held it glowed with a pale light.

After Frodo is stabbed, Aragorn does drive off the Ringwraiths—but “with a flaming brand of wood in either hand.” He does not use a sword.

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.....
I have spent some time on this passage, as an example of what I find too frequent to give me 'pleasure or satisfaction': deliberate alteration of the story, in fact and significance, without any practical or artistic object (that I can see); and of the flattening effect that assimilation of one incident to another must have.

When setting out from Rivendell, time is again contracted and hurried, with the effect of reducing the importance of the Quest. Two months elapse. There is no need to say anything with a time-purport. The lapse of time should be indicated, if by no more than the change to winter in the scenery and trees. It is well within the powers of pictures to suggest, relatively briefly, a long and arduous journey, in secrecy, on foot, with the three ominous mountains getting nearer.
Jackson does not seem much interested in seasons or scenery, though from what I saw I should say that in the representation of these the chief virtue and attraction of the film is likely to be found. But would Jackson think that he had improved the effect of a film of, say, the ascent of Everest by introducing helicopters to take the climbers half way up (in defiance of probability)? It would be far better to cut the Snow-storm and the Wolves than to make a farce of the arduous journey.

Why does Jackson put hideous layers of scars and pale green skin on Orcs!? The Orcs are definitely stated to be corruptions of the 'human' form seen in Elves and Men. They are (or were) squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes: in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types.
20. The Balrog never speaks or makes any vocal sound at all. Above all he does not look like a great flaming minotaur with bat-like wings.... Jackson may think that he knows more about Balrogs than I do, but he cannot expect me to agree with him.

The portrayal of Lórien as a simple ordinary forest-floor, is deplorable in itself, and in places impertinent. Will Jackson please pay my text some respect, at least in descriptions that are obviously central to the general tone and style of the book! I will in no circumstances accept this treatment of Lórien, even if Jackson personally prefers the gimcrack of conventional modern fairy-tales.
The distortion and darkening of the temptation of Galadriel is significant. Practically everything having moral import has vanished from the synopsis.

In the book lembas has two functions. It is a 'machine' or device for making credible the long marches with little provision, in a world in which as I have said 'miles are miles'; therefore the large cakes portrayed by Jackson are impractical for a journey of many days. But that is relatively unimportant. It also has a much larger significance, of what one might hesitatingly call a 'religious' kind. This becomes later apparent, especially in the chapter 'Mount Doom' and subsequently.
I cannot find that Jackson has made any particular use of lembas even as a device; and the whole of 'Mount Doom' has disappeared in the distorted confusion that Jackson has made of the ending:

quote:
The lembas had a virtue without which they would long ago have lain down to die. It did not satisfy desire, and at times Sam’s mind was filled with the memories of food, and the longing for simple bread and meats. And yet this waybread of the Elves had a potency that increased as travellers relied on it alone and did not mingle it with other foods. It fed the will, and it gave strength to endure, and to master sinew and limb beyond the measure of mortal kind.
As far as I can see lembas might as well disappear altogether.

I do earnestly hope that in the assignment of actual speeches to the characters they will be represented as I have presented them: in style and sentiment. I should resent perversion of the characters (and do resent it, so far as it appears in this sketch) even more than the spoiling of the plot and scenery.

Parts II & III. I have spent much space on criticizing even details in Part I. It has been easier, because Part I in general respects the line of narrative in the book, and retains some of its original coherence. Part II exemplifies all the faults of Part I ; but it is far more unsatisfactory, & still more so Part III, in more serious respects. It almost seems as if Jackson, having spent much time and work on Part I, now found himself short not only of space but of patience to deal with the two more difficult volumes in which the action becomes more fast and complicated. He has in any case elected to treat them in a way that produces a confusion that mounts at last almost to a delirium. ....
The narrative now divides into two main branches: 1. Prime Action, the Ringbearers. 2. Subsidiary Action, the rest of the Comparty leading to the 'heroic' matter. It is essential that these two branches should each be treated in coherent sequence. Both to render them intelligible as a story, and because they are totally different in tone and scenery. Jumbling them together entirely destroys these things.
I deeply regret this handling of the 'Treebeard' chapter, whether necessary or not. I have already suspected Jackson of not being interested in trees: unfortunate, since the story is so largely concerned with them. But surely what we have here is in any case a quite unintelligible glimpse? What are Ents?

We pass now to a dwelling of Men in an 'heroic age'. Jackson does not seem to appreciate this. I hope the artists do. But he and they have really only to follow what is said, and not alter it to suit their fancy (out of place).
In such a time small 'chambers' played no part. Théoden probably had none, unless he had a sleeping 'bower' in a separate small 'outhouse' (not to be confused with a latrine). He received guests or emissaries, seated on the dais in his great royal hall. This is quite clear in the book; and the scene should be much more effective to illustrate.
Why do not Théoden and Gandalf go into the open before the doors, as I have told? Though I have somewhat enriched the culture of the 'heroic' Rohirrim, it did not run to small wooden doors that could be thrown open ! ! We might be in a barn. (The 'east windows' of the hall, II 116, 119,6 were slits under the eaves, unglazed.)

I am afraid that I do not find the glimpse of the 'defence of the Hornburg' – this would be a better title, since Helm's Deep, the ravine behind, is not shown – entirely satisfactory. It would, I guess, be a fairly meaningless scene in a picture, stuck in in this way. Actually I myself should be inclined to cut it right out, if it cannot be made more coherent and a more significant part of the story. .... If both the Ents and the Hornburg cannot be treated at sufficient length to make sense, then one should go. It should be the Hornburg, which is incidental to the main story; and there would be this additional gain that we are going to have a big battle (of which as much should be made as possible), but battles tend to be too similar: the big one would gain by having no competitor.

Orthanc comes from Jackson's fancy not my tale. I prefer the latter. The tower was 500 feet high. There was a flight of 27 steps leading to the great door; above which was a window and a balcony.
Saruman's voice was persuasive. Those who listened to him were in danger of agreeing with his arguments Saruman corrupted the reasoning powers.
Jackson has cut out the end of the book, including Saruman's proper death. In that case I can see no good reason for making him die in this manner: to cling to life to its basest dregs is the way of the sort of person he had become. If Jackson wants Saruman tidied up (I cannot see why, where so many threads are left loose) Gandalf should say something to this effect: as Saruman collapses under the excommunication: 'Since you will not come out and aid us, here in Orthanc you shall stay till you rot, Saruman. Let the Ents look to it!'
Part III.... is totally unacceptable to me, as a whole and in detail. If it is meant as notes only for a section of something like the pictorial length of I and II, then in the filling out it must be brought into relation with the book, and its gross alterations of that corrected. If it is meant to represent only a kind of short finale, then all I can say is : The Lord of the Rings cannot be garbled like that.

[ 01-26-2005, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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quote:
However there was no "flaming mantle and crown;" when he stands before Gandalf, you just saw his crown and mantle, and nothing in-between but the terror of his eyes.
Ah. My misread of:
quote:
The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.
The "fires" were the "fires beyond", presumably of the siege, mentioned a few paragraphs before. But it's a much better visual than the Galvanized Buckethead Witch-king.
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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I think "the red fires" were his eyes; as stated on the Pelennor fields,
quote:

A crown of steel he bore, but between rim and robe naught was there to see, save only a deadly gleam of eyes: the Lord of the Nazgûl.
...
A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy’s eyes.


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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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This was the first "fire" instance I was thinking of -- about 3-4 paragraphs before the Witch-king uncloaks himself.
quote:
In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl. A great black shape against the fires beyond he loomed up, grown to a vast menace of despair. In rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, under the archway that no enemy ever yet had passed, and all fled before his face.
One word sums up my feeling at reading this: dread.

One word sums up my feeling at seeing PJ's film rendering: zzzzzz
[]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Yes, and his kicking Gandalf's butt doesn't make him any scarier-- it just makes Gandalf look like a wimp, rather than the superhero like he was meant to be in the scene, staring down the WK and his entire army! Likewise, the book was clear that Pippin cowered from the Witch-king-- he didn't face him with his sword to protect Gandalf; this made the WK look pretty non-threatening if both he andMerry were able to face him with no real fear.
As Tolkien states in Letters #120 to Forest Ackerman, which I've adapted above:
quote:
It is based on a misconception of the Black Riders throughout, which I beg Jackson to reconsider. Their peril is almost entirely due to the unreasoning fear which they inspire (like ghosts). They have no great physical power against the fearless; but what they have, and the fear that they inspire, is enormously increased in darkness.
Likewise, it goes on to state:
quote:
The Witch-king, their leader, is more powerful in all ways than the others; but he must not yet be raised to the stature of Vol. III. There, put in command by Sauron, he is given an added demonic force. But even in the Battle of the Pelennor, the darkness had only just broken.

As such, the Witch-king fled with the coming of dawn as well as Rohan, since his own power of fear had diminished, along with that of his army. However his power to create fear was still very powerful, driving all the horses mad when he descended onto Theoden; likewise Merry was too afraid to even move.

[ 01-26-2005, 07:45 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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Okay, I am stretching things here, but do you all want to see a great and intelligent movie with a small person in the leading role where the character goes through a transforming journey? The Station Agent. http://thestationagent.com/home.html
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The Witch-King of Angmar
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Reminds me of the movie "As Good as it Gets" about an obsessive-compulsive jerk (Jack Nicholson), a distraught waitress (Helen Hunt) and a homo (Greg Kinnear) who cross paths and go on a road-trip for no particular reason other than want of plot.

[ 02-04-2005, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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You know WKA, I have tried and tried to be nice, ignored some things, held back from saying things... but why are you so nasty? Do you have any sense of protocol, manners, community... or are you just here to pontificate to an audience of people you will never have to face in person? Yea, big man with a mouse. Talk about shallow movie characters - you are one yourself (American Psycho seems to fit, minus the income of course). You say you work in the film business, but come on, nobody with a real job in ANY industry would have as much time as you seem to have in being able to post so many long winded diatribes. Let me guess - a combination of superior typing skills (from writing so many award winning screenplays) plus a wireless connection allows you to repeatedly post to MT while waiting to lunch with various Hollywood big wigs. Go ahead, slam me back, but as usual you will be writing for yourself. I'm not coming back to a forum dominated by such an obvious poseur and loser. Enjoy your miserable little world.
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Roll of Honor Sauron's Secret Agent
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Oh, ignore him.

He obviously has issues.

[]

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Queen of the Harad
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I have no problem with WKoA expressing his opinions about the films-- this is Purist Rage, after all-- but when his attacks get personal (I've seen him repeatedly bait and attack Gollum the Great and Eomer), I think he goes too far. Personally, it makes me want to leave Minas Tirith permanently, as I have little interest in being on a forum where a person backbites and belittles others, and where the topic of posts are repeatedly lost in the barrage of insults.

[ 02-05-2005, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: Queen of the Harad ]

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Tuor
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I hardly think that WK is the only one who fits that description. I can see at least one other person in this conversation who I believe fits your description fairly well.

In any case, leave if you don't like WK. Either that or ask WGW to ban him. In short, I guess I'm saying put or shut up. I happen to enjoy much of what WK writes.

[ 02-05-2005, 03:26 PM: Message edited by: Tuor ]

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The Witch-King of Angmar
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quote:
You know WKA, I have tried and tried to be nice, ignored some things, held back from saying things... but why are you so nasty?
It's meant to be entertaining. Are you saying people like Letterman and Leno are any better? Case in point:
quote:
Monica Lewinsky is hosting a new reality show for Fox starting next week. The show is called 'Mr. Personality,' where a woman will try to choose between 20 men who all have masks on and Monica Lewinsky offers dating advice. Well, who better to offer advice on choosing a guy without seeing his face than Monica Lewinsky?
That's worse than anything I've posted! []

[ 02-05-2005, 11:57 PM: Message edited by: The Witch-King of Angmar ]

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