Minas Tirith Forums Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic
profile | register |
search | faq | avatars | citizens
donate | about | library
  This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2 
Minas Tirith Forums » New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings » Material and non-material changes (Page 1)
Author Topic: Material and non-material changes
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
I've read a lot of positive and negative things regarding "changes," however I wanted to ask about about whether the script made material changes to the story: i.e. changes which fundamentally alter the story's meaning in some way.

I think that non-material changes are fun to watch, since they often make a movie more interesting: for instance in "Contact," the alien machine was changed from a room-sized gizmo, to a gargantuan Ferris-wheel type thingy. But it didn't materially change the story, since it did the same thing.

Meanwhile "Titanic" obviously made material changes to the original story, by making it revolve around fictitious characters, and the original story simply became backround-material.

So does anyone think that the script did or didn't make material changes the story?

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

posted      Profile for White Gold Wielder   Author's Homepage   Email White Gold Wielder   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Well, the Purist Rage thread just about beats this topic to death, but to dig it up and whack it a few more time... I'm good with that!

Characters transformed for the worse by subtle (or not so subtle) changes in story that changed "who they were":

Frodo
Faramir
Denethor
Gimli
Aragorn
Black Riders
Elrond

Did I miss anyone else major?

And seriously, I refuse to watch the green ghost death cloud sweep through Minas Tirith. I felt mentally dumber after watching it the first time. I couldn't take it a second time.

They almost got through The Fellowship without ruining things, but not quite. By the time The Two Towers ended, too many things were disturbed, and the avalanche of Return was expected.

A non-material change I liked? I know there are some, but I can't think of any without thinking of two I hated.

I suppose Saruman controlling the weather over Redhorn instead of Sauron was harmless and served to keep Saruman as a real danger.

Somehow I didn't mind the crazy largeness of the cave troll, even though it raises a ton of questions if you let your mind think about it. For one, that thin-looking Hollywood mithril coat couldn't stop a spear from that monster. Cripes, even if it could've stopped the spear tip, the force of the blow would've crushed his Hobbit chest like a beer can. He was against a wall and couldn't just be pushed back... But here we go with all that pesky thinking PJ frowns upon.

From: Chicago | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Madomir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 3084

posted      Profile for Madomir   Email Madomir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
For one, that thin-looking Hollywood mithril coat couldn't stop a spear from that monster. Cripes, even if it could've stopped the spear tip, the force of the blow would've crushed his Hobbit chest like a beer can. He was against a wall and couldn't just be pushed back... But here we go with all that pesky thinking PJ frowns upon.
Good call, I wince whenever I see that scene in all it's glory on TBS. In the grand scheme of things, given the long laundry list of complaint worthy things in these films this sequence tends to get a pass but it's no less preposterous for being overlooked.

The Mitrhil armor is mail, it's flexible by definition. Heck, when Bilbo handed it to Frodo it was in the bottom of his trunk, folded flat, just as Frodo's rib cage should have been when that troll caught him between the hammer and the anvil. Absolutely ludicrous []

From: northern hemisphere-ish | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tigranes
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 9076
posted      Profile for Tigranes   Email Tigranes   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, PJ still has to learn about blunt trauma, which incidentally is the concept behind a mace. Which in turn is maybe the reason for him replacing the Witch-King's mace with a gigantic fantasy-something.
Seriously, that guy knows so little about weapons and the ways they work, even a pacifist would be ashamed of it.

[ 11-29-2010, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: Tigranes ]

From: anywhere | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Elanor Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 3219

posted      Profile for Elanor Gamgee   Email Elanor Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Did I miss anyone else major?

Merry and Pippin
Sam
Arwen
Elrond


I am much more bothered by the character assassinations than by the technicalities of weaponry, of which I only have a limited knowledge, and I get the impression that very few films get this right anyway.
Sam and Faramir are my favourite characters, and I particularly hate what was done to them.

From: Moscow | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

posted      Profile for Hamfast Gamgee   Author's Homepage   Email Hamfast Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
One change I actually wouldn't have minded seeing was the duel between Aragorn and Sauron at the black gate that was cut out. Yes, I know it's not cannon, but it might have reminded me a bit of the duel between Fingolfin and Morgoth! Though perhaps it was better to keep it the DVDs as a deleted scene. Which I've never seen, but I will do so if I can find which disk it is on.

[ 11-29-2010, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: Hamfast Gamgee ]

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tigranes
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 9076
posted      Profile for Tigranes   Email Tigranes   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I am much more bothered by the character assassinations than by the technicalities of weaponry
You're right that characters, or perversions thereof, are more important than technicalities - though my issue is mainly with simple physics, which is behind all that weapons and equipment stuff, and which PJ didn't get - but what makes it so irksome to me is that PJ is a pyromaniac of sorts who imagines reality in a way that the outcome resembles an antiquated videogame. He's delighted by weapons and bangs the wrong way - not the way of a soldier, nor an experimental physicist, nor a historian, but in the way an orc is fascinated by them. Gore for gore's sake, which is actually truly evil.

[ 11-29-2010, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: Tigranes ]

From: anywhere | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
I wanted to separate this from purist rage, since purists might take issue with non-material changs; however they are defensible, being matters of taste, while not changing the overall story.

For example, The Army of the Dead might not be a material change, since Minas Tirith is saved due to their assistance, and they're released by Aragorn in accordance. The manner in which it was handled, however, is something that most any purist would balk at.

Another non-material change was the Ring's impact, which was simply normal temptation in the book, but which fairly and visibly overwhelmed the bearer in the movie. This was non-material, since Tolkien said that no one could resist the Ring indefinitely, or destroy it. While purists might also take issue with this mishandling, it's still defensible on that basis.

Here are some things that I think materially changed the overall story:
Arwen was a significant material change, for the simple reason that women are designated non-combatants in the book, especially a princess or queen; this change made Lord of the Rings look like "Shrek."

Eowyn, in contrast, was a unique case of a "death-wish"; and the Riders of Rohan expressly tell Imrahil, that Rohan's women weren't soldiers. If women were combatants, then Theoden couldn't have faulted Saruman for "torches in the Westfold" for killing women there, since they'd be legitimate targets.
This becomes another material change, since it looks like Eowyn was simply brave, rather than deliberately shirking her duty out of despair; and so this makes all the other women in Rohan look cowardly and submissive by comparison, rather than simply loyal to their duties, as Aragorn tells Eowyn that she should be also: just like he couldn't shirk his duty by choice.

This goes for duty overall as a material change: this seems to be the central message of the movie, but it looks like everyone in the movie does things in a cynical manner which scorns duty as passé and sheep-likes, while the heroes are made to look brave and intelligent for breaking from it, which obviously wasn't Tolkien's intent.

The film also made a material change about the impact of the Ring in the story, since Sauron didn't ever seem to think that Aragorn had the Ring.
In the story, Sauron thinks that Saruman has the Ring, thanks to Pippin; then, when he sees Aragorn latr in the same stone, and learns that Isengard was destroyed, then he figured that Aragorn took the Ring from Saruman, and went to Minas Tirith. So Sauron attacked MT.
Clearly, that's not what happened in the movie, which didn't seem to explain the motive behind the attack on Minas Tirith; rather, it was made clear that Sauron knew that Frodo (or at least a hobbit) had the Ring.
(True, in the movie Gandalf says that Sauron would be "looking for" Pippin, however; maybe that meant that Sauron would think that Pippin had the Ring, and so would attack because of that, and so Gandalf moved Pippin to Minas Tirith (which got attacked as a result; this was unclear, and anyway it would be quite a material change in itself. It also wouldn't explain how Sauron's armies would know one hobbit from another, and how Sauron would magically know Pippin's whereabouts: in which case it would make more sense to simply ride off with Pippin, and thus and divert Sauron's attention wherever Gandalf wanted.)

Another material change was made with Denethor, since without the palantír, then his actions didn't make any sense, and neither did Gandalf's recommendation to march on the Black Gate. Even if Aragorn looked at Sauron through Saruman's palantír, Sauron would simply laugh at him, if he didn't think that Aragorn had the Ring.
This all comes down to the material change of what happened with Pippin in the palantïr: in the book, Pippin told Sauron that he was "a hobbit." From this, Sauron assumed that Saruman had captured the ring-bearer, and therefore the ring; and so when Sauron later saw Aragorn in the same stone the next day, he likewise assumed that Aragorn had also taken the Ring from Saruman.
In the movie, this doesn't happen to Pippin, IIRC, and Sauron definitely doesn't associate the Ring with Aragorn: just his sword, which was really no threat to the Black Gate.

Like Denethor, Faramir also represents a material change, since it was the blood of Numenor that gave both Denethor and Faramir their widom, just like Aragorn; however that was likewike missing from the movie. Numenor is mentioned, but there seems to be an "equal opportunity" suppression of it. However if this were true, then they should have gone all the way and made Sam become king.

Edit: I didn't see the EE's that much, so I might be missing some things.

[ 11-29-2010, 02:23 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
One change I actually wouldn't have minded seeing was the duel between Aragorn and Sauron at the black gate that was cut out.
This would indeed be a material change, since Sauron would never fight as long as he had a minion to do it for him; and Denethor tells Pippin that all wise men do their fighting for them. Sauron didn't fight Elendil until all his forces were destroyed, IIRC.
At the Black Gate, Sauron had "more than ten times their match," so obviously it would violate this policy for Sauron to fight Aragorn himself. Aragorn wasn't Fingolfin, and Sauron wasn't Morgoth.

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
White Gold Wielder:

I suppose Saruman controlling the weather over Redhorn instead of Sauron was harmless and served to keep Saruman as a real danger.

It wasn't Sauron who controlled the weather at the Redhorn pass; it was the mountain Caradhras, who hated Elves and Dwarves. This was a non-material change, however, since either way thy were stopped by snow. In the book, Saruman sent magical wolves against them, but not in the movie; so it's a tolerable change (but not a good one, IMHO).

quote:
Somehow I didn't mind the crazy largeness of the cave troll, even though it raises a ton of questions if you let your mind think about it. For one, that thin-looking Hollywood mithril coat couldn't stop a spear from that monster. Cripes, even if it could've stopped the spear tip, the force of the blow would've crushed his Hobbit chest like a beer can. He was against a wall and couldn't just be pushed back...


This also isn't a material change, since in both cases Frodo's mithril-shirt saved him in Moria, and shows he has priceless armor: this is material since the orcs and Sauron want it for that reason, and it's worth the entire Shire for the same. Without that quality, it would be hard to justify the orcs all killing each other over it.
In the film, Bilbo says that the shirt is "as hard as dragon-scales," which Smaug says are "like tenfold shields;" and ten shields could easily stop that troll's spear.

A more material change, rather, was that the troll defeated Frodo in the movie; in the book, meanwhile, Frodo defeated the troll with one blow of Sting. This showed that Frodo was brave and fierce, and that he had a weapon to match; this was vital to the story, since without such courage and arms, it's hard to understand how Frodo could last five seconds, let alone make it through the whole quest.

[ 11-29-2010, 03:04 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tigranes
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 9076
posted      Profile for Tigranes   Email Tigranes   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
In the film, Bilbo says that the shirt is "as hard as dragon-scales," which Smaug says are "like tenfold shields;" and ten shields could easily stop that troll's spear.
The hardness and cohesion of the maille is immaterial; what matters here is that maille is a flexible armour designed to stop arrows and sword slashes. My point is that it's still defensible to have Fordo, helped by the shirt and his jerkin, to withstand a powerful jab by an orc-chieftain, but it's not defensible to have him survive the same attack carried out by a creature at least ten times as strong as said orc.
An armour-"piercing" blow or, in this case, jab, doesn't need to leave a hole in the armour. All it needs to do is shatter the bones and internal organs behind that armour, and to do so by exerting a powerful pressure on a small point. This is why Middle-Easterners and Persians carried maces and axes into battle, and why late Medieval Europeans favoured halberds and other polearms. The blunt force, as radically opposed to cutting where you need to actually need to cause bleeding wounds, should be able to incapacitate the wearer of a mithril shirt without damaging the shirt. Unless of course you bring some weird Harry Potter-esque magic into play which simply defies all laws of physics. Which I think wouldn't be very Tolkien-like.

[ 11-29-2010, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: Tigranes ]

From: anywhere | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
Who says that the troll was ten times as strong as the orc? The text reads that this was a "huge orc-chief was almost man-high," and was strong enough that he even bore Boromir over backwards to the ground, and he was still fast enough to duck under Aragorn's sword despite being clad head to foot in black mail. Clearly this was no ordinary orc, but he followed the orcs that fled after 13 of them were killed; and in the movie, Aragorn and Boromir also were able to pull the troll back by its chain, so it's unlikely that the troll was ten times as strong and fast as that orc-chief in the book.

Also in the book, the orc used both hands, and his body, to drive the spear into Frodo; but in the movie, the troll only used one hand, holding the spear like a dagger. He was also reaching from behind a post, and so he couldn't get his body behind the thrust. And that would make a large difference in force applied.


quote:
The hardness and cohesion of the maille is immaterial; what matters here is that maille is a flexible armour designed to stop arrows and sword slashes. My point is that it's still defensible to have Fordo, helped by the shirt and his jerkin, to withstand a powerful jab by an orc-chieftain, but it's not defensible to have him survive the same attack carried out by a creature at least ten times as strong as said orc.
An armour-"piercing" blow or, in this case, jab, doesn't need to leave a hole in the armour. All it needs to do is shatter the bones and internal organs behind that armour, and to do so by exerting a powerful pressure on a small point.

How do you know it was flexible under all circumstances, vs. simply against normal movement, and didn't form a solid cuirass agaist force? The armor was made made of a mythical substance (mithril), using mythical Dwarf forging-techniques so secret that even the Dwarves themselves had lost to time (as Gloin said to Frodo, "we can no longer work metal like our fathers did"). So it's conceivable that the armor was made so that the rings would lock together against sudden force, to form a protective cuirass around Frodo; it wouldn't do much good, after all, if it simply wrapped a pointed weapon with a thin sheet of metal, nor would this protect at all against blunt weapons.
Again: tenfold shields.

I also read in The Treason of Isengard, that Gandalf put on some ancient mithril dwarf-armor while pursuing the balrog, and this allowed him to fight and slay many trolls.

This belongs in another thread, however; the material fact here, is that Frodo had some damn good armor, otherwise it wouldn't be as valauable as the orcs believed, which is what allowed Sam and Frodo to get into Mordor.
And that material fact was preserved, therefore the change was immaterial. For a change to be a material, a material fact must be destroyed.

[ 11-29-2010, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tigranes
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 9076
posted      Profile for Tigranes   Email Tigranes   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Who says that the troll was ten times as strong as the orc?
By the description in the book, the particular orc in question is probably as strong as a strong man. A canonical troll is many times stronger than that, as we are told. The troll shown in the film is even bigger, and thus logically must be even stronger.


quote:
Again: tenfold shields.
The point is that shields work very differently from body armour. You are drawing your quote from a different source, the Hobbit, and applying it to something else. I think that's not really methodically sound.

Maille, like a shield, is fairly decent versus piercing projectiles, especially arrows. That may be sufficient to explain your dragonscale comparison. However a spear thrust, especially if aided by forces beyond those that can be summoned by an individual human - like a cavalry charge or in this case a monster of superhuman strength - is something else entirely.
I just cannot picture a mailcoat magically transforming into a solid plate of extraordinary strength while under attack. Again, that would be some kind of hocuspocus magic.

However, this issue is, as I've said, of course less far "material" than the atrocious treatment the script writers gave Faramir and other characters. It's just that this is another one in the series of stupid decisions on behalf of PJ and crew that made the movie laughably unrealistic even in comparison to the original fantasy story.
Fun fact: in the RotK movie, there's a scene where the orcs are crossing Anduin at Osgiliath. One Gondorean sentinel is shot through the heart by an orc. Now the funny part is that the sentinel is wearing steel plate armour. As anyone can tell who can distinguish between their own head and arse, this is just ludicrously impossible. A crappy orc bow achieving something that not even the srongest bow types of history would have managed to do? Yeah right. I mean, you can pierce some types of plate with a sturdy Welsh longbow and a matching arrow - at a distance of about five centimetres. Who has Welsh bows in "The Lord of the Rings"? The Northmen and the Dúnedain, as well as Saruman's Uruk-hai. Not some orc from Mordor. Heck, the particular orc playing sniper here was shown to have something that most closely resembled a neglected Skythian bow - a technology that has proven obsolete for some time now (as the Persians at Marathon had to find out the hard way). Just for the record, the best bows IRL are Turco-Mongol recurve bows. Those do not appear in the film.


Oh, and a material change would be that the movie makers made the men of Rohan and Gondor weaker than orcs, when in "reality" it was the other way around. Also the total absence of tactics on behalf of the former in the movie, which again contradicts the book.

[ 11-29-2010, 06:00 PM: Message edited by: Tigranes ]

From: anywhere | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Madomir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 3084

posted      Profile for Madomir   Email Madomir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
White Hand, you're kinda all over the place here. You define some things as material changes just because they undermine the logic and strategy of the story yet with other examples you ignore this.

For example, the army of the dead.. they didn't fight anybody, they simply swept in and seemingly killed the opposition with fear or by sheer exposure. The illogical part is why fight if you're a living being? Any kind of field general would hold back his perishable troops in this situation and let those who can't be harmed, do what they do. Also, why release them at that point? That battle was over, but the war with Mordor continued so the oath could still be binding if Aragorn so chose. Why march on the Black Gate with a couple hundred on a suicide mission when you could bring an undefeatable squad who could simply float over the Black Gate and handle the dirty work. It doesn't make any sense, and the end result is that Aragorn looks like a fool, while he's supposed to be wise and intelligent, this to me is material.

quote:
This also isn't a material change, since in both cases Frodo's mithril-shirt saved him in Moria, and shows he has priceless armor: this is material since the orcs and Sauron want it for that reason, and it's worth the entire Shire for the same. Without that quality, it would be hard to justify the orcs all killing each other over it.
This is completely illogical, orcs don't assess value the way others do. They'd kill each other over the last pork chop if they were hungry enough. As long as they valued the shirt as much as they value mutton, fighting over it is completely understandable.

quote:
Who says that the troll was ten times as strong as the orc?
PJ did.
quote:
The text reads that this was a "huge orc-chief was almost man-high," and was strong enough that he even bore Boromir over backwards to the ground, and he was still fast enough to duck under Aragorn's sword despite being clad head to foot in black mail.
Key word, the text. Tolkien gave us a creature as big and strong as a man, perhaps along the lines of a Uruk-hai. In what way does Tolkien's description fit PJ's monster?

As for the Mithril shirt, Tigrane's is exactly right.

Doesn't appear that anybody is arguing the the Mithril shirt thing is a material change, however this..
quote:
So it's conceivable that the armor was made so that the rings would lock together against sudden force, to form a protective cuirass around Frodo
..is a fantasy. Perhaps if Frodo were round causing the shirt to be somewhat convex some locking mechanism, however unlikely might be minutely feasible. But with it lying flat across his chest, it would defy all known logic.

Plus, this isn't even an explanation, this is you using hindsight in an attempt to rationalize what you saw. Do you think for a moment that PJ put even this much thought into it? []

You seem to arguing both sides at times, are you practicing for the debate team? Perhaps you should better define what makes a change material for you.

[ 11-29-2010, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: Madomir ]

From: northern hemisphere-ish | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
By the description in the book, the particular orc in question is probably as strong as a strong man. A canonical troll is many times stronger than that, as we are told. The troll shown in the film is even bigger, and thus logically must be even stronger.
No argument that the armor was way better in the movie than the book: I just don't see the material difference to the story. Peter Jackson just wanted to show a troll, since he figured people that would be tired of orcs.

quote:
However, this issue is, as I've said, of course less far "material" than the atrocious treatment the script writers gave Faramir and other characters. It's just that this is another one in the series of stupid decisions on behalf of PJ and crew that made the movie laughably unrealistic even in comparison to the original fantasy story.

I think PJ was trying to play down the theme of Numenorean superiority, which he saw as racism (and which indeed it was ); so he made Boromir better than in the book, while making Denethor and Faramir worse than in the book, and likewise made Aragorn weaker. In the book, these three men were superior to all other men around them, because the blood of Numenor ran true in them. And removing that, was definitely was a material change.

quote:
Oh, and a material change would be that the movie makers made the men of Rohan and Gondor weaker than orcs, when in "reality" it was the other way around. Also the total absence of tactics on behalf of the former in the movie, which again contradicts the book.

That was sub to the theme that it was becoming "the age of the orc," when in the book orcs were never more than cannonfodder to Sauron; and they knew it. The fact that Jackson made Gothmog an orc rather than a man, is also party to this change.
From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
White Hand, you're kinda all over the place here. You define some things as material changes just because they undermine the logic and strategy of the story yet with other examples you ignore this.

I apologize for that; but like I said, it's also tough to prove something is a material change, so I'm playing devil's advocate.
quote:
For example, the army of the dead.. they didn't fight anybody, they simply swept in and seemingly killed the opposition with fear or by sheer exposure.

However in the book, Aragorn only won with their help, so it's not a material change to the overall story. Whether they actually fought the battle like "The Living Dead," or just went the Scooby-doo route like in the book, is immaterial. They came to fulfill their oaths, they did it with their army, and Aragorn saved Minas Tirith as a result.
quote:
The illogical part is why fight if you're a living being?
It can be illogical but still immaterial, if it doesn't alter the story's central plot, outome or moral, rather than just the mere action.
quote:
Doesn't appear that anybody is arguing the the Mithril shirt thing is a material change, however this..
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So it's conceivable that the armor was made so that the rings would lock together against sudden force, to form a protective cuirass around Frodo
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

..is a fantasy. Perhaps if Frodo were round causing the shirt to be somewhat convex some locking mechanism, however unlikely might be minutely feasible. But with it lying flat across his chest, it would defy all known logic.
Plus, this isn't even an explanation, this is you using hindsight in an attempt to rationalize what you saw. Do you think for a moment that PJ put even this much thought into it?
You seem to arguing both sides at times, are you practicing for the debate team? Perhaps you should better define what makes a change material for you.

I'm trying to guess what Jackson was thinking; which is anybody's guess, since he was more Gygax than Tolkien (and I mean the kind of kid who would always play an elf as a character, and act like dwarves and hobbits were pathetic character-choices, while arguing that their elf-character could walk on walls and water because "Legolas could walk on snow and tightropes" etc).
But I'm still trying to give Jackson the benefit of the doubt: if the Dwarves could make swords like Narsil and knives like Angrist, and other magical weapons and armor, why not a mail-shirt like Frodo's in the movie? So it's not totally out of line with the other artifacts in the story.
Of course if Frodo's armor was like in the book, then of courseFrodo would have been smashed flat by the troll; however if Jackson stepped it up, then it wasn't stepped up more than Anduril or similar weapons.
The real material change, again, was the fact that Frodo even needed the armor to save him from the troll at all, since Frodo ran running whimpering and hiding in a corner for the troll to stab in the first place; when in the book, Frodo "pwned" the troll from square one, as it set his hobbit-blood boiling; I kept on waiting for the moment when Frodo would finally attack the troll and defeated it like in the book, but big surprise, Legolas, i.e. Jackson's personal "elf-character," ends up defeating it, while Frodo the pathetic hobbit screams for help.
This is definitely a material change, since Legolas wasn't the "Terminator" in the book, just like Frodo wasn't the damsel in distress. Why would Eru choose someone like that to carry the Ring? I know they say God has a sense of humor, but I'm not laughing (well ok I am, but not in the good way).
The point, then, is that Jackson had to make Frodo's armor stronger, because he made Frodo the character weaker and thus in need of more protection.

[ 11-29-2010, 09:51 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

posted      Profile for White Gold Wielder   Author's Homepage   Email White Gold Wielder   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Well, since we all can't decide on what "material" is, let's only focus on something we can all agree is material - who the characters are.

Mithril coat looked flimsy or not, the taking of dignity away from Frodo (and half the other characters) was criminal. Even the torching of the ringwraith on Weathertop had implications that weakened the Nazgûl until they held none of the power of the books.

BTW...
quote:
'I wonder if this is a contrivance of the Enemy,' said Boromir. "They say in my land that he can govern the storms in the Mountains of Shadow that stand upon the borders of Mordor. He has strange powers and many allies.'
'His arm has grown long indeed,' said Gimli, `if he can draw snow down from the North to trouble us here three hundred leagues away.'
'His arm has grown long,' said Gandalf.

It's not definitive that Sauron was the cause, but Saruman was never mentioned in the text and PJ needed to remind everyone who he was.
From: Chicago | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
I think I see the problem now, from this discussion: i.e. Jackson made material changes to the story to deliberately weaken it out of arrogance, and contempt for Tolkien's philosophy; and then to maintain the original storyline intact against this weakness, it thus became necessary to make immaterial changes. And so it rendered it just plain absurd.

This would be like if you took Rocky, and materially changed him by making him a featherweight; and so he knocks down Apollo Creed using a "Happy Gilmore" mega-punch, to preserve the storyline. It would be ridiculous, but the storyline would be preserved against the inevitable outcome of the material change: i.e. Rocky leaves the ring feet-first.

But that's exactly what happens in LotR: for about 10 hours straight: i.e. characters are materially weakened, and the story become absurd to keep the original storyline intact.

For example, Tolkien did say in Letters #210 regarding the Nazgul, that "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."

So just because normal wool robes became super-flammable, doesn't make it a material change in itself, silly as it may be: for the original storyline does involve the Nazgul being driven off by Aragorn using torches.

The material change, rather, was that Frodo is weakened into the "small and spiritless creature" that the Nazgul-lord thinks thinks him to be, before Weathertop in "Unfinished Tales"; and so because of this material change to Frodo's character, he just cowers, whines and gets pwned (when in the book, it's Frodo who drives off the Nazgul, more than Aragorn).

And this material change in Frodo, results in Jackson making the immaterial change in the Nazgul, to prevent this weak Frodo from ending up undead and captured, as would have happened to such a wuss (ala "R.I.P. Rocky," above).

quote:
Mithril coat looked flimsy or not, the taking of dignity away from Frodo (and half the other characters) was criminal.
And that was the material change i.e. destroying the characters' nobility, due to the film's egalitarian bent. And so Jackson made the armor stronger, to protect the now-weaker Frodo from becoming a troll's shish-kabob.
And the result is, of course, absurd; but it's immaterial, since it's now necessary to preserve the original outcome. Result: absurdity, as Frodo is completely unharmed by a troll stabbing him, rather than getting fairly crushed and bruised by an orc doing it.

It's just like with the material change via Jackson's weakening of Númenorean heritage. Consider Faramir in the book:
quote:
‘Ah well, sir,’ said Sam, ‘you said my master had an elvish air and that was good and true. But I can say this: you have an air too, sir, that reminds me of, of – well, Gandalf, of wizards.’
‘Maybe,’ said Faramir. ‘Maybe you discern from far away the air of Númenor. Good night!’

But Jackson wouldn't have such "elitism;" and so he made the Númenoreans into political strawman for the failure of Númenor: this was the material change, and the immaterial ones of Faramir's "epiphany," and Saruman's upstaging Denethor's vision in the Palantir, were simply Jackon's meddling compensation for that.

For another example: as Tolkien wrote in Letters #210, "[Gandalf] 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. 2391 should never be forgotten (i.e. "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."). Instead, Gandalf becomes somewhat foolish, and incurs major pwnage.

And so the same went for the Army of the Dead: i.e. Jackson wantedto destroy Aragorn's nobility, via his ability to aubjectify "even the shades of men" via his kingly Númenorean will; and so instead, Aragorn is reduced to depending on on his kingly reforged sword (which originally broke, because it was also weak): and the same happens at (edit: Lebennin), i.e. the men couldn't fight their own battles, but had to depend on "the Living Dead" to compensate. Result: abject asurdity, as immaterial change is forced to compensate for material.

Even the orcs become stronger, so that the men will be weaker than even normal men would be against them. And same with the Oliphaunts, trolls and other creatures: stronger enemies = weaker characters in comparison.

Again, we see immaterial changes simply mask deeper, material ones, by compensating for a flattening of the story's true greatness, and thus the original outcome is achieved via deus ex machina (ala Frodo being saved by a miracle, since that armor sure couldn't do it).

[ 11-30-2010, 02:40 AM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
So let's list the material changes, and the immaterial compensations to preserve the storyline. here's what I noticed:
code:
Material change	.	.	.	.	.	Absurd immaterial compensation

Frodo whiny whimpering wuss at Weathertop . Nazgul become torches
Arwem replaces Glorfindel . . . She pwns Nazgul, saves Frodo from Morgul-wound somehow
Arwen disobeys Elrond, doesn't care if Aragorn is king Aragorn needs epiphany to fight Sauron, become King
Troll stabs Frodo, instead of vice-versa . Frodo’s armor becomes invincible
Faramir is a jerk, wants ring . . . Sam gives him an epiphany instead
Denethor is a jerk . . . . Saruman sees essential vision in Palantir instead
Sauron doesn’t think Aragorn has Ring . . Sauron empties his lands just to kill Aragorn
Aragorn is a wimp . . . . Sends Frodo into Mordor alone
. . . . Army/dead do all the fighting at Pelennor
Gandalf is a wimp . . . . Pippin has to save Faramir and Gandalf
Treebeard is a jerk . . . . Hobbits fool him into attacking Isengard
Sam becomes wimp . . . . Shelob gets smaller, orcs get weaker
Legolas becomes invincible . . . Too dumb to mention it
Gimli becomes an idiot . . . . becomes Legolas's idiot side-kick
Elrond is a jerk . . . . Arwen has to become Snow White to get him to help
Frodo doesn’t command Gollum to jump into fire . Frodo tries to take Ring back instead
Balrog has wings, can break through solid stone . Gandalf and balrog fall about 5 miles
Men are wimps in general . . . Orcs/uruk-hai become "Predators"
(Arnold Schwarzenegger type, not Chris Matthews)

Any others?

[edit: tightened up your list - WGW]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

posted      Profile for White Gold Wielder   Author's Homepage   Email White Gold Wielder   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
You hit most of the low points. There are the cascades of bad changes that flow eventually into absurdity, like the chain of events that led Frodo to nearly hand the Ring to a Nazgûl at Osgiliath. Dear god, I feel dirty from typing that sentence.

Thinking of more is like chewing glass and I don't feel like bumming myself out this evening. []

As a side note, I am impressed with the turn around in this thread. From all over the place Wiki-style (you don't know) to a nice conclusion we can all talk about. Cheers!

From: Chicago | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Hamfast Gamgee
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 5528

posted      Profile for Hamfast Gamgee   Author's Homepage   Email Hamfast Gamgee   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
Some of the changes I could live with or at least understand, but there are one or two seemingly little ones that, especially looking back, I scratch my head over why PJ did it. Frodo telling Sam to 'go home,' and the same with Treebeard saying he is going to take Pippin and Merry, 'home!' In either of these cases the Hobbits are hundreds of miles from their home, how are they supposed to go home?

Also the referrences to the end of the age of Man and the beginning of the age of the Orc. Many of Sauron's servants are Men, so how does that work? The worse one was the reasons for the assault on the Black gate just to save Frodo according to the meeting in the Citadel. Come on! They might like Frodo, but they aren't going to risk their entire armies destruction just to save him. The book version for the assault, that Sauron was getting stronger and the next assault upon the West would be greater was far better.

The pity is that with just a minor and inexpensive adjustment, these scenes could have been so much better. But I'm not so concerned with the Lotr movie, that is past now. I'm more concerned about what will happen with the Hobbit. I am hoping that PJ has matured as a producer or Del Toro has some influence and he won't do any really stupid things with the film, but I admit I am a little nervous.

From: Bagshot Row, Hobbiton, The Shire! | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Madomir
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 3084

posted      Profile for Madomir   Email Madomir   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Legolas becomes invincible... Too dumb to mention it
[]

Let's not forget Captain Despair himself... Theoden!

The character changes are by far the worst. What really kills me is the arrogance of it all. You just know Tolkien painstakingly hand crafted each character. Writing and rewriting every scene, agonizing over every nuance in order to get the attributes and feel of every character just so. Then this ham fisted buffoon switches it all around with no better excuse than bigger is better. He showed no respect or understanding for what Tolkien had created, and then he made it even worse by claiming he was true to the spirit of the book. Actually I'm not sure if this qualifies as arrogance or just complete ignorance... prob'ly a little of both. At the risk of bestowing upon PJ some shred of integrity, I think he actually believed that rather than just making the tale more mainstream marketable, he truly was improving the story by making it bloodier, flashier and less subtle. With that in mind I may make it a 65%/35% split, ignorance over arrogance.

[ 11-30-2010, 10:12 AM: Message edited by: Madomir ]

From: northern hemisphere-ish | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
The character changes are by far the worst. What really kills me is the arrogance of it all. You just know Tolkien painstakingly hand crafted each character. Writing and rewriting every scene, agonizing over every nuance in order to get the attributes and feel of every character just so. Then this ham fisted buffoon switches it all around with no better excuse than bigger is better. He showed no respect or understanding for what Tolkien had created and the work it took to do so, and then he made it even worse by claiming he was true to the spirit of the book. Actually I'm not sure if this qualifies as arrogance or just complete ignorance... prob'ly a little of both. At the risk of bestowing upon PJ some shred of integrity, I think he actually believed that rather than just making the tale more mainstream marketable, he truly was improving the story by making it bloodier, flashier and less subtle. With that in mind I may make it a 65%/35% split, ignorance over arrogance.
I can't name a single material change that was necessary to make a single extra dollar, or for artistic merit; can you?
I get the feeling that it was pure reverse-snobbery by Jackson, i.e. contempt for Tolkien's old-world values. So why would he even make such a movie which embodied such values (apart from the obviou$).
I think the answer lies in how he reminds me of kids who would play Dungeons & Dragons, and they would all act the same way: and they were the ones who would always play an elf, and expect special abilities from it (or if they were the DM, they'd give Elves special abilties, while dwarves were worthless, and hobbits would be literally walking dead). So I think Jackson was likewise just playing this movie as a fantasy, not a metaphorical story: i.e. he followed the general storyline, but mocked its values and characters. In short, it's all a game to him, a cheap moral thrown in.
And that's also why the hobbits and Gimli were helpless idiots who got got pwned non-stop, while Legolas the elf got a flask of of Asterix's magic potion that he'd sip off-screen before every fight (and likewise, Jackson put all the Elves on Ritalin so that they lost their emotional range from the book, in order to make them look superior and dignified like he thinks they should be).

White Gold Wielder:
quote:
You hit most of the low points. There are the cascades of bad changes that flow eventually into absurdity, like the chain of events that led Frodo to nearly hand the Ring to a Nazgûl at Osgiliath. Dear god, I feel dirty from typing that sentence.

That's an even bigger pattern: this general pattern of material-immaterial changes escalated as the movies went on; i.e. it always started out low-key, being somewhat acceptable, and they then built up like a freight-train... until it became like the train-wreck that you can't look away from. I think that Jackson simply lost all restraint as he got closer to the end, and we saw what his reverse-snob vulgarity unleashed.
This created a "frog soup" effect among viewers: i.e. they don't notice this gradual increase, being engrossed and distracted by the surface-elements like the ation-scenes, the soundtrack, and the richness of detail; and so they get used to it, and don't notice that the story's being boiled alive. Meanwhile the rest of us who appreciated the story on its own merits, were just too outraged to be fooled.
This has been really tough to nail down, but I think that pwns it.

[ 11-30-2010, 01:38 PM: Message edited by: The White Hand ]

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The White Hand
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 11334
posted      Profile for The White Hand   Email The White Hand   Edit/Delete Post 
Hamfast Gamgee:
quote:
Some of the changes I could live with or at least understand, but there are one or two seemingly little ones that, especially looking back, I scratch my head over why PJ did it. Frodo telling Sam to 'go home,' and the same with Treebeard saying he is going to take Pippin and Merry, 'home!' In either of these cases the Hobbits are hundreds of miles from their home, how are they supposed to go home?

Also the referrences to the end of the age of Man and the beginning of the age of the Orc. Many of Sauron's servants are Men, so how does that work? The worse one was the reasons for the assault on the Black gate just to save Frodo according to the meeting in the Citadel. Come on! They might like Frodo, but they aren't going to risk their entire armies destruction just to save him. The book version for the assault, that Sauron was getting stronger and the next assault upon the West would be greater was far better.

The pity is that with just a minor and inexpensive adjustment, these scenes could have been so much better.

But this is the issue of material changes, i.e. they weren't flukes where Jackson simply dropped the ball or interpreted it differently, they're deliberate underminings of the overall story's character, thinking he was smarter than Tolkien.

About the questions you ask:

It looked to me like Treebeard was going to take the hobbits back to the Shire by force; but it's hard to understand that as well, since in the movie he was about as mobile as an actual tree. In the book, he went 70,000 ent-strides, or about 60 miles in one day, but in the movie he barely staggered.

quote:
Also the referrences to the end of the age of Man and the beginning of the age of the Orc. Many of Sauron's servants are Men, so how does that work?
Again, that's my point: orcs in the movie were stronger than men, in order to make men look weak. Of course in the book, I'd say that one man can easily take about 5 orcs, and maybe 2 or 3 Isengard uruk-hai (Eomer was able to take Ugluk sword-to-sword, without getting a scratch).
quote:

The worse one was the reasons for the assault on the Black gate just to save Frodo according to the meeting in the Citadel. Come on! They might like Frodo, but they aren't going to risk their entire armies destruction just to save him. The book version for the assault, that Sauron was getting stronger and the next assault upon the West would be greater was far better.

I didn't get that; I know that Gandalf said he sent Frodo to his death, but wouldn't that mean death for everyone, once Sauron got the Ring back? The bad part was that Sauron simply forgot all about the Ring, once Aragorn showed himself: like I said, this was because Sauron didn't talk with Pippin through the palantir in the movie and assume that Saruman captured the Ring-bearer, like in the book. Rather, Sauron just became so weak that he stooped to being baited by Aragorn's taunts, and emptying out his whole army just to stomp Isildur's heir. In the book, he did it to get the Ring back.

quote:
But I'm not so concerned with the Lotr movie, that is past now. I'm more concerned about what will happen with the Hobbit. I am hoping that PJ has matured as a producer or Del Toro has some influence and he won't do any really stupid things with the film, but I admit I am a little nervous
Let's consider Del Toro's IMDB filmography as a director:

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
2006 Pan's Labyrinth
2004 Hellboy
2002 Blade II
2001 The Devil's Backbone
1997 Mimic
1993 Cronos

These are all pretty dark B-type movies, as well as the other things shown under his name at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0868219/ .

I know that The Hobbit has a few dark scenes, but not like these.

From: Memphis | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

posted      Profile for White Gold Wielder   Author's Homepage   Email White Gold Wielder   New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Again, that's my point: orcs in the movie were stronger than men, in order to make men look weak. Of course in the book, I'd say that one man can easily take about 5 orcs, and maybe 2 or 3 Isengard uruk-hai (Eomer was able to take Ugluk sword-to-sword, without getting a scratch).
I would disagree with you slightly there. Those numbers seem accurate for a champion of men, but not an average man (even a warrior).

That was the heart of the dread men (and dwarves and elves as well) felt at the resurgence of Sauron. Their numbers dwindled from their ancient heights, while orc numbers were growing. Add to that the news of the stature of orcs increasing to nearly match men, ringwraiths clouding minds with oblivion and impending death (not to mention the darkening of the sky), and it seems like despair was the only option during the siege of Minas Tirith. The culmination of the breaking of Denethor shows how skilled a writer Tolkien was (and how fragile the story could be in the hands of a hack team of screenwriters).

From: Chicago | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Create a New Topic  Reply to this Topic Minas Tirith Forums » New Line Cinema's Lord of the Rings » Material and non-material changes (Page 1)
This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2 
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic       The Red Arrow!       Admin Options: Make Topic Sticky   Close Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic

About  ~ • ~  Contact  ~ • ~  Minas Tirith  ~ • ~  F. A. Q.  ~ • ~  Help

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.6.1