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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 51)
Author Topic: Purist Rage - How the Films Betrayed Tolkien's Legacy
Roll of Honor Thangail
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Do you know, I still get angry when people discuss these films with me. Still. That's just... sad, and terribly, terribly geeky.
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Tuor
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Anyone who is still discussing these films at all is either at this site and sees a thread about it in the active threads list, or has a problem. Really, why would these movies ever come up in conversation?

I just watched Hellboy II today and I must say that I really like that movie.

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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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I work in a small office (of a big university) with around a dozen people. There are about ten people who are indifferent/think the movies are meh if they bothered seeing them at all, one who thinks they were pretty cool, and one who believes they were a very expensive desecration of Tolkien's story.

If you're going to talk about "most people" then honestly, "most people" just don't care.

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Tuor
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I don't think most film majors and professors give these movies much of a second thought. They may discuss the movies if you bring them up, but I see no reason why they would want to talk about those movies in paticular.

For a vast majority of people these movies are neither loved nor hated. They were just movies that were released quite some time ago.

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Madomir
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quote:
I don't understand why people get so bent out of shape about it.
There are a number of reasons..
  • Disappointment. Folks have known this tale their entire lives, PJ's project appeared to be the first real chance to see it, in full detail, as Tolkien described it. Instead we got PJ's version.
  • The Legacy. People worry that movie-goers will simply accept PJ's version as canon, think "ok, that's it" and miss out on what millions have all fallen in love with over the years.
  • Respect. Middle Earth and the stories surrounding it are the result of a lifetime of dedication, devotion and unrivaled imagination. For PJ to believe he's "improved" the story, by adding silly scenes and special effects shows a complete lack of understanding and respect for the source material and it's creator.
There are many other reasons to be sure, this is just off the top of my head..
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Tuor
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For me the biggest disappointment was that I thought he said he was trying to be faithful to the book. He actually said that he was being faithful to the "spirit of" the book.

Ambiguous statements, gotta love em.

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Roll of Honor Thangail
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For me, this is part of the problem - from a review of a new LOTR computer game:

quote:
As it is, the setting doesn’t appear to do anything. Above you can see the Field of Pellenor, which we mentioned before. In the books and films it is here that the horsemen of Rohan come to the aid of Gondor and relieve the assault on Minas Tirith. Then, as the horsemen themselves falter, Aragorn brings the Army of the Dead into the battle.
http://www.bit-tech.net/gaming/pc/2009/01/20/lord-of-the-rings-conquest-pc-review/4

[]

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Madomir
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That's a big issue for folks who value what Tolkien created. The movies spawned the video games and together they push the misconception that PJ's Middle Earth is THE Middle Earth. []
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Tigranes
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What makes things even worse is that many LotR games are developed by EA (e.g. "Battle for Middle-Earth"). EA is famous for the purchase of any successful game series and for destroying them by releasing "junk food" like games. These guys don't give a rat's arse about lore. "Battle for Middle-Earth" is even less lore-accurate than Peter Jackson's stuff.

[ 01-20-2009, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: Tigranes ]

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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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At least there's already a Hobbit video game. It isn't completely canon but it is a far sight more canonical than PJ's movie will be, I predict. Plus, it's a lot of fun!
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Sarah the Good Witch
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I don't know if I'm a "purist" because I am an artist and understand artistic license, but it just seems they didn't have as much class as in the book. But maybe that would make them too boring and seem pretentious, I don't know.
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Captain of Gondor
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I say no to tedious. When someone says, "I'm true to the book's spirit" and yet does things totally out of the blue; something is wrong. Especially when they do it only for the monies sake, knowing they will upset people for making Frodo a jerk to Sam, Faramir a man of little quality until he has a wake up call, and the whole lot.
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Mablung
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That's true: required or not, tampering with the story is a very delicate business, and requires expert handling, like disarming a bomb: if done properly it saves the day, if done wrong it blows up. I personally saw a lot of crossed wires.
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White Gold Wielder
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Thought it was over? The legacy continues...

http://www.premiere.com/Feature/10-Movies-That-Were-Better-Than-The-Books

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Artaresto
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Looks like someone did not understand the book.
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Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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I hate it when people compare films to books.
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Tigranes
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Oh god [giant facepalm]. Somebody really has no taste. Unfortunately, even Salman Rushdie, whom I otherwise respect as a very intelligent and learned man, sported this opinion about LotR.

Also, this:
quote:
I hate it when people compare films to books.
Two very different media, and yet people always want to compare...


BTW, what about the other films mentioned? Are they really "better" than the books they were based on? I only know Bridges of Madison County, which is a good film.

[ 03-11-2010, 02:55 AM: Message edited by: Tigranes ]

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Roll of Honor Marcho Blackwood - MSS
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Fortunately, my Firewall is blocking the site, so I don't have to expose my eyes to it.

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Sass this hoopy hobbit frood who really knows where his towel is!

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Roll of Honor Silmahtar
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quote:
BTW, what about the other films mentioned? Are they really "better" than the books they were based on? I only know Bridges of Madison County, which is a good film.
Of the one's I've read (4,5,7,9 and 10), all but LOTR are worse than the film adaptations. I would also add to that list The Silence of the Lambs.
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Roll of Honor Thangail
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Meh. What a load of tosh.
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Roll of Honor pi
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Peter Tosh?
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Madomir
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Tosh's Johnnie B Goode...

Greatest reggae song eva!! []

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The Dread Pirate Roberts
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It's been awhile. This is the first thread I looked for upon returning! []

I checked out that list of movies that were supposedly "better" than the books. Agreed that it's tosh and I don't even know what tosh means. LoL

[ 07-22-2010, 06:40 PM: Message edited by: The Dread Pirate Roberts ]

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The White Hand
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I think it's important to answer the question of "Why do you hate the movies?", by telling the truth: i.e. "because they willfully mock the story and the values that it represents, including the values of heroism, strength, duty, courage, wisdom and faith; and, despite claiming to be true to the "spirit of the book," they imposed their own anthropomorphic values of anti-heroism, weakness, slacking, cowardice, foolishness and cynicism-- generally with an air of modern-era disdain for these original values as being foolish, ignorant or passe', and therefore undeserving of respect or faith, while granting license to mock and subvert them.

For example, all the characters become weakened caricactures of their book-selves; most notably Frodo and Aragorn, the book's main characters; meanwhile Gandalf definitely goes against Tolkien's description of him as "a lord of great power and dignity." Sam likewise loses his indomitable spirit and cheerfulness, and his sense of duty above all else; rather than refuse to marry Rose Cotton because of what he knows about the Ring, and his duty to destroy it, Sam simply lacks the nerve to ask her before then (and not surpringly, she goes from a farmer's daughter in the book, to in the movie becoming a barmaid!).
The movies take every opportunity to undercut characters on these values, and to weaken them-- most notably the feudal order in which the story takes place; even Merry and Pippin, two young aristrocratic lords in line to become rulers of hobbit-country, become wortless being bums and thieves, little more than comic-relief. And this is compensated by making other characters even weaker; for Treebeard becomes tempestuous and hasty indeed, no longer the oldest living creature of great wisdom, and so is unable to do the right thing without being tricked into it by such shiftless ne'er-do-wells.
In such political rejection, Denethor suffers the most telling debasement, going goes from a great and valiant lord with a dark and troubled past, to a raving charlatan.

The spirit of cynicism, meanwhile, arises in the expansion of the princess-characters, Arwen and Eowyn; these virtually both become Princess Fiona from "Shrek," rejecting their duties purely out of modern sarcasm, and ignoring the express address given this fact by Aragorn-- i.e. that, woman or man, one cannot simply shirk their duty out of preference... but this is precisely what they both do in the films, with Arwen riding out
And not surprisingly, they both stick their swords in Aragorn's face, each in turn during the first two films-- while the third film features Eowyning the same to the Witch-king-- an obvious phallic-symbol display of feminism rejecting not only duty, but paternal rule.
However accordingly, in the movies we do not see the female strength of Galadriel via her restraint and wisdom; in the book, she ends an age-old feud between races (Elves and Dwarves) with a simple kind word-- even putting her own husband in his place in doing so; clearly she is the wiser of the two, but without her wearing the pants in the relationship, or behaving in an emasculating manner. Likewise, we do not see her reject the Ring out of strength, wisdom, or conviction, but rather solely out of scaring herself.
Thus in the films, we see that females can only show strength by competing with men-- and winning, and thus adopting the modern-cynical view that traditional gender-roles are not mutually-shared duties for women and men alike, but merely chains meant for their enslavement to men-- and thus the princesses are portrayed as wise, strong and independent in breaking them.

Thus the main reasons to hate the films, are their arrogance and hypocrisy: arrogance in the audacity to trump Tolkien's values with their own-- and hypocrisy doing so while claiming faith to his values with a straight face.

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tumhalad
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Just to add something that I'm not sure been's mentioned before:

In RoTK (movie) Faramir charges Osgiliath with 200 knights in the hope of taking back the city and winning his father's approval. Except that the scenario is so unbelievably ludicrous that there is no obvious strategic merit in the act at all, and so it appears that Faramir is actually riding out merely for the sake of his father's love.

As my own father pointed out, he's sacrificing 200 other lives for the sake of winning Denethor's love. While Jackson's (et al.) decision to "simplify" (presumably they thought they were "improving" upon the book) the scene was obviously designed to increase the sense of pathos and inevitable ruin, the strategic situation is dumbed down to such an extent that it backfires, and so it seems as if Faramir is a solopsistic aristocratic pig who has absolutely no sense of humanity (except his own).

Gone are key strategic ideas that make sense, including the one that Faramir's sortie (which in the book is not carried out via cavalry; it is a concerted campaign which actually slows the enemy at Osgiliath, thus paving the way for Rohan and delaying the siege)was actually a fruitful enterprise. The later charge by Imrahil and his knights has a very specific agenda. Not only is it actually ordered by Denethor, it is designed explicity to save Faramir and his men while they are retreating, not retake Osgiliath. I mean, what were the filmmakers thinking!

Gone too are the strategic infrastructure which make Minas Tirith a viable defensible position - the Causway Forts, the Rammas Echor, the populated Pellennor Fields, even a Minas Tirith of any substance. The shrinking of the whole "strategic field", if you like, does contribute to a sense of doom, I suppose, but it does so supperficially. It is for want of skill as a filmmaker that Jackson et al. thought they needed to dumb the whole situation down as much as they did. If they really were smart, they wouldh've kept to the descriptions in the books, and found ways to communicate pathos and impending war and high stakes without recourse to "generic fantast land" syndrome.

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