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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 4)
Author Topic: Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy
Lady É
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quote:
To me the scenes have a certain gentle touch that I would associate with a woman's sensibilities.

CRAM it, I can't help but feel but your remark, though couched in what seems to be sensitive, thoughtful language, is a rather anachronistic view of a woman's ability to write - as a person, without her "sensibilities" affecting her work.

WGW, your argument makes some sense, but is distressingly reliant on generalizations. You dance around it, but even to imply that a woman would be unable to write or understand a male character convincingly is unfair; I daresay it is also unrealistic.

Very simply, were Philippa a man, this gender issue would never have arisen. Not just because Tolkien was a man, but because no one would have thought to question a male writer.

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Roll of Honor Lillianna
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I think, had mostly guys written the current scrip that we have now, the fact would still be raised that they didn't do a good job. Would it be exactly the same as it is now? I'm not entirely sure. However, women and men writing styles are usually different. *shrugs*
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White Gold Wielder
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Look, I was very careful to not make unfair generalizations, so don't tell me I'm dancing around them.

I made it perfectly clear that women could have handled the task, just not these women. Similarly, it is possible for men to understand a woman's point of view, just not all men. How is that unfair or unrealistic?

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Lady É
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My point is that the very idea of gender playing a role would very likely not have come up were the writers male; perhaps especially if there were two males (including PJ) and one female comprising the group of writers for the films.

quote:
Do you think the film versions were hurt because the majority of the script was written by two women? Let me just say that I know being a woman has nothing to do with their skill as writers. It's just that there are differences between men and women, as the Ents would testify to. I am just afraid that these differences affected how Tolkien's work was interpreted and perhaps had a hand in some of the changes.

WGW, I'm debating, and don't mean to level a personal attack against you in any way, so I do hope you're not offended in that regard. However, your lead question quoted above makes it quite clear that you're referring to the fact that they are women as the reason for why the script is different (and sometimes, lacking). To your credit, you do say that their gender has nothing to do with their skill as writers...but with that statement you contradict the point you're actually making. I feel that a skillful writer would be able to free him- or herself from the stereotypes of gender to create realistic and thoughtful characterizations of men and women alike.

E: I think we're delving into the realm of the off-topic, so I'm going to stop posting here on this specific point.

[ 12-09-2003, 02:04 AM: Message edited by: Lady É ]

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Gollum the great
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quote:
. . .and this is a direct attack on Liv how?
*sigh* If you can't see how thats an attack on Liv then I'm not going to spell it out for you.
As my contribution here is largely unwelcome owing to the fact that I have very few qualms about the films and those few I do I've gotten over largely. Therefore, my perspective on the movies is half full and any purist debate will lead me into defencive moanings, so I'm going to stop posting here.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
...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.

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White Gold Wielder
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Lady É: I don't think we're off-topic, so here goes.

It is a fine point to be sure, but make no mistake. The point is not that they are women.

The fact that they are women is second to the fact that they suck as writers. Once we agree on their lack of skill, my point is that perhaps since they are women and Tolkien was a man, this threw the script even more off-balance. I consider it an additional force of pressure that Philippa and Co. didn't have the skill to deflect.

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Archer
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quote:
*sigh* If you can't see how thats an attack on Liv then I'm not going to spell it out for you.

Probably a good idea, since you'd have to spell it out for a few of us who seemed to be puzzled by your claim.
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Gollum the great
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OK, I'm just going to say one final thing in defence of Liv, and this is coming from people who claim she's ever implied she can speak elvish.
This is a direct quote from her.
quote:
"It's an amazing thing, really. It's a legitimate language. There are only a certain amount of people in the world who can speak it, like Oxford professors and what not. It's such a beautiful language too, it's really brilliant."
The fact that she says that she was able to pick the language up very easily is in meaning her pronounciation and timing, which however much you dislike her or her work, you can't deny she didn't do a good job with the elvish.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
...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.

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Archer
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quote:
Do you think the film versions were hurt because the majority of the script was written by two women?
WGW,

I've been thinking about this one, and I have to agree there is something very "female" in the way some of these less effective (IMO) scenes play. For instance, those lo-o-o-o-ong sa-a-a-a-ad looks with the slow-running tears that too many characters in the film do, too many times. The sappy love scenes and soap-opera emphasis on the love triangle is another very annoying dumbed-down "chick flick" element I can entirely do without. I just don't get the impression that this is something a guy would put so much emphasis on! And I just realized that it is these kinds of sappy "tear-jerker" scenes that I find either very bothersome, or just down right boring, because they are elements found in the kind of "girl movies" that I can't abide. I will say however, that I think PJ has more than his fault in it too, in just being a "clueless" guy. I get the impression he just let Philippa and Fran run all over the script and then just nodded dumbly to everything they came up with. I certainly don't get the impression he had any real insight beyond that which his female co-writers missed, like what you said about the Aragorn character thing--though you're right about the very subtle male character traits Tolkien's Aragorn seems to display. Hmmm. . .I meed to give this one some more thought. But gender-my-own curse me, I think you are on to something there.

[ 12-09-2003, 04:04 AM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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Roll of Honor Snaga
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Whether or not gender played a role in how they rewrote I'm not sure, but in why they rewrote is another issue that I think is beyond gender. To me, the EE interviews and other sources point to extreme arrogance and, in my experience, that ususally points to someone who at their core is insecure about their abilities. Boyens is simply a poseur. Sure, she has essentially made it in Hollywood, but how often is that equated with real talent? It's more related to self promotion and the ability to reach the lowest common denominator. She seems highly adept at both of those, though there are plenty of males who can claim the same.

Archer - that was a horrifying thought - LotR Trilogy a $300,000,000 chick film?

[ 12-09-2003, 07:55 AM: Message edited by: Snaga ]

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Roll of Honor EowynatHeart
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Okay first of all, I don't think anyone is beating up on Liv the Actress. I personally never like her as an actor in any movie she has been in but I do think she did a good job with the character that was wrote for her. I actually liked all the actors. I can't imagine now any other actor playing those parts. I think what we need to say is, no matter how good you are, if the direction and the script suck, then the actor will suck also! You can have top actors in some of the worst movies ever made. The reason why I don't like the MOVIE Arwen is because of the liberty that PJ and the other writers had with her. Hollywood and the general movie going person has to have a love scene. You can have the best action movie out there but isn't there always a woman. I dare anyone to tell me one action movie that didn't end up with some girl in it just for the love interest, I'll give you a dollar! That is what people want to see.

What the writers did was take liberties with something they should not have messed with. Plain and simple. That is what we are so upset about. If they had made this movie from some book and said hey! this would make a good movie, then I would be fine. BuT! they took probably one of the best loved and one of the most respected and one of the best written book of all times and turned it into a Hollywood love fest!

WGW, I agree with you about the influence of a woman writer. But, like I said, that is just something that sells. SEX sells. Hollywood knows this. Regardless of what they say, they were making a movie to make money, not for the fans of the book. If they wanted to make a movie that the fans would love and didn't care whether it made a trillion dollars, then there would not have been such a misrepresentation of the book.

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White Gold Wielder
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Aye, there are many factors. No one is denying that.

I'm sure that if Philippa heard the basic statement that her sex had an effect on how bad the scripts turned out, she would give a smug little laugh and talk about how purists will try any lame tactic to demonize her. Then she would finish with something like "That's just ridiculous." and shake her head and the interviewer would move onto something else. I doubt if she will ever be backed into a corner where she would have to debate and then admit the truth in this.

The plain truth is, if she were a better writer, this wouldn't have been an issue. There are other factors, but I think this one is certain.

EowynatHeart: I guess that is the heart of the betrayal of Tolkien's work. []

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Turogriest
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I do not know about the rest of you but I played the ROTK game that is out for the consoles, and I must say that I kicked its butt. Fun game! But my point is that within that game there is this line that Eowyn has when fighting the Witch King. WK says " No man can defeat me!" She then rips off her helmet and says "I am no man, this is a woman(very emphatically) who stands before you!" and then she attacks him. Now if this is not the biggest "YAY WOMEN" dribbel that I have ever seen. I mean it could not be clearer how much the movies want a strong woman to latch to. This is valid because the same people that made the game made the movie. I hope that does not make it into the film but it is an extremely ugly part that may. I mean COME ON!!!!

[ 12-09-2003, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: Turogriest ]

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White Gold Wielder
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Are you offended by the way they changed the lines? Otherwise, the general concept is in the books...
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Turogriest
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Incredibly so. I get the concept and I know what is implied but it shoudl remain as such. It makes it quite obvious that I am being preached to about women and that is just down right stupid. It makes it look like Tolkien was trying to empower women during the 60's. He outright confessed that there was never any allegory and he hated the claim. I hate that this makes it look like he was making the claim. It would be the same in any instance. Who really wants to here someone basically say "YAY FOR BLACKS", "YAY FOR WHITES", "YAY FOR MEN/WOMEN", or "YAY FOR THE PROLETARIOT". You would rather just come to that yourself. Makes me feel stupid as I watch that crap. Tolkien is not a Disney writer, but PJ and crew are beginning to look like one.
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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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I'm hours behind so forgive me for responding to things on previous pages.

Snaga, we finally disagree on something. Sean Astin is a terrific actor. Any problems you see with Sam are poor direction, not poor acting.

As for the changed personality of the elves, what strikes me most is the singing. They sound like some sort of gothic church choir when in the book their singing is supposed to be joyful. I always imagined their songs to be very similar to the songs of Hobbits, though more subtle lyrically. I really don't like the movie portrayal of elven music. It misrepresents the entire race.

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White Gold Wielder
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That is a hard criticism to back up since there is no official version of elves singing. It's interpretation on both sides, so who can say who is wrong?

Although, I do agree that the elven music was a bit too ethereal for my taste. Also, all the singing happens off-screen, so the music never had a sense of reality.

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Archer
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DPR,
I'm glad we have some more common ground with the elves in the film. And I hadn't really thought about the music/singing, but felt overall there was something really too dark and solemn--even creepy--about the general ambiance when the elves are shown, but I was focusing more on their mannerisms. You've made a really good point about something I had overlooked. The music really needs to not be so grim and gothic.

I know that when the fellowship gets to Lorien, they are supposed to find rest and peace there for their losses and griefs, but I just don't know, that place strikes me as being very dark and creepy with all its dark droning music and then all those weird little lights--it reminds me of something out of an alien spaceship. I think that place would just make me more depressed!

[ 12-09-2003, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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Turogriest
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Very true WGW. I think that the Sam character came off very well. Of course they could always make him better. I will wait for ROTK to make my official ruling on Sean's portrayal. It all comes down to his acting at Mt. Doom and with Shelob. So far he has been a little corny but the speeches were well developed and captured the emotion that it seemed Tolkien was trying to put across. I remember feeling the same way when I read as I did when I saw his speeches. In my head the elves were just much more joyful even though they were mourning their departure. You know the kind of happy you are when a loved one is getting on a plane or going somewhere you can not. You enjoy each other but you are sad as well. But all music spoken in elvish was just like a church service. Not bad, but not what I had in mind. If anything really, I think Sean Astin's performance is the best out of all of them.

[ 12-09-2003, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: Turogriest ]

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Archer
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quote:
Archer - that was a horrifying thought - LotR Trilogy a $300,000,000 chick film?

Snaga,
It's definitely not a $300,000,000 chick-flick by any measure, but WGW got me thinking about something I had completely ignored up to now. I have looked at these films for a long time as big, largely mindless, FX extravaganzas that make more out of battles in the text than they need to by glorifying all the "excitement" of war and battle and sword blows and death by promoting it so efficiently. Now I like medieval weapons as much as the next Archer, but this was not what Tolkien's story was mainly about. The way the battles have been drawn out and hyped up and anticipated by film fans almost more than any other element has lead me to believe that these films all too often tend to degenerate into mostly dumbed down, mindless "guy fair."

But WGW's post on the female influence in the script made me realize that there is just as much dumbed-down, mindless "chick fair" as there is the other! I hadn't quite formulated all my thoughts on the matter when I last posted on this idea, but it seems that what bothers me the most about these films is that they feel like they have been generated by the worst kind of mindless entertainment value--both male and female. Great films can be made to appeal to both genders, but loading up on fluffy romance, long, teary scenes, or just slashing and blowing up everything in sight (I'm exagerating a bit for effect) is going for the easy, base-reaction-from-the-genders effect. The films don't often give enough credit that we, male and female, can get past this gender-specific need to be able to offer something more substantial. Hmmm. I still have to think this one out some more. Oh, and by the way, not saying that violence/battles don't have their place in these films--just that they're made to look very cool rather than the more tragic thing that Tolkien I'm sure saw them as.

[ 12-09-2003, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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Lady É
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quote:
The plain truth is, if she were a better writer, this wouldn't have been an issue.
WGW, this I agree with. A less-talented writer would likely allow any "gender-related" influence to slip through to affect the writing. Philippa, as we're critiquing her here, probably fits that standard. I wonder if we should first have argued if such an influence actually exists, however.

E: Turogriest, Éowyn's declaration as you describe it in the game hardly departs from the spirit of Tolkien's writing, and only very slightly from the letter:

quote:
"But no living man am I! You look upon a woman."


[ 12-09-2003, 02:02 PM: Message edited by: Lady É ]

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Turogriest
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Perhaps it wass merely the voice acting but something about it just disturbed me. I am not aginst women or any message like that but it just seems way to allegorical for me. She said that as a matter of fact and in the book it was also the transition from her male-clad self to the woman that would bring about the end of the WK. It had a lot to do with the way it was said. You will see what I mean soon when the movie comes out. Thank you for the quote by the way, I knew she said somethign but forgot her exact words. It just seems too much for me. This is more of a personal thing, in fact the entire topic right now is very unstable due to the fact that you either think it is female influenced or not. When she said it though in the game, a little thought bubble popped out of my brain holding within itself the image of "Rosie the Riveter". In a class of mine, we actually just went over gender specification. I mean that is a very hard thing to work with. Do I think that Fran used a little too much female specification? Yes I do. I mean Tolkien used male, so that only makes sense. I think the best way to resolve this little idea is just to hang our heads down low and agree, there will never be another Tolkien, and this was bound to fail in some ways.

[ 12-09-2003, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Turogriest ]

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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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quote:
That is a hard criticism to back up since there is no official version of elves singing. It's interpretation on both sides, so who can say who is wrong?
I don't have the book with me to quote from but I distinctly recall the elven singing being described joyfully, especially in The Hobbit. In the film, recall when the group was in Lorien and the group heard the Elves singing a lament for Gandalf. It sounded no different from any other Elven singing throughout the movies. In the books, singing was often done in a party-like atmosphere. Not everything was a great lament and certainly not everything was deadly serious.

I'll post quotes as I find them.

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Turogriest
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I think I know where you are talking about. When they heard the elves partying in Mirkwood and Bilbo went running towards them but they kept running from him, making Bilbo get lost. Although that was not LOTR it is still should have been adhered to. And I could not tell that it was a lement. It sounded like everything else that you heard so far, think about the elves in the EE FOTR when Sam and Frodo saw them walking through the forest near the Shire.
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Archer
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"Just then there came a burst of song like laughter in the trees."

(The elves of Rivendell: "A Short Rest," The Hobbit.)


"They were eating and drinking and laughing merrily."

(The elves of Mirkwood, "Flies and Spiders," The Hobbit.)


Edit:

"But at that moment there came a sound like mingled song and laughter."

(Gildor and his company of elves, "Three is Company," FOTR.


"The light and music of Rivendell was about him again. Bilbo smiled and laughed happily."

"Many Meetings," FOTR.

I know there's more of these references to the quality of elves' singing and their general demeanor, but these were the few that I was able to find readily. Elves seem to be a merry lot overall.

[ 12-09-2003, 03:49 PM: Message edited by: Archer ]

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