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Old 06-17-2017, 02:11 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Kuruharan View Post
Originally Posted by The Sixth Wizard
Narrative tension must be driven by characters. The book's excitement comes from material constraints - can they muster enough of the Rohirrim and travel to the Pelennor in time? There is less sense of geography in a film, where characters can travel hundreds of kilometres between scenes, without page-turning establishing a feeling of time passing, so we need something else to establish the same narrative roadblocks. That's why we need Denethor refusing aid, Theoden refusing to help, Faramir's rout, and Gondor's military failure all building towards the final triumph. The long list of failures makes final success more vivid - Theoden's initial reluctance ramps up his change of heart and bravery in the battle as well.
I wholly disagree with this. These are ham-fisted solutions to problems of the director's own making. In addition to agreeing with Nerwen's point that this sort of strawman problem-solution scenarios renders the repetition of them tedious, it also strains suspension of disbelief to the breaking point (or past) while more serving the purpose of bloating the film rather than compressing.
I do understand the reasoning behind some of the changes- basically, replacing a difficult-to-establish obstacle with a simpler one- but as I said, my issue is that the same substitute problem with the same resolution gets used too often. And yes, the need for the "good guys" to put aside their differences and help each other is a major theme of the book, so it's legitimate in a sense- but I feel that in itself might have been a bit of a trap for the writers.

To illustrate- take that whole business of the Rohirrim aiding Gondor. There's actually two obstacles: one is that of pure logistics, which would indeed be hard to convey dramatically on film (though they do have a go). The other is the more concrete one that the road turns out to have been taken by the enemy, forcing the Rohirrim into an alliance with the Druedain, to whom they're traditionally hostile. That, I believe, could have worked very well- but it does require a fair bit of set-up, and I can imagine the writing team throwing their hands up and saying, "No time for this, let's just have Theoden be all "*^%^$ off, Denethor" and then have a change of heart at the sight of the beacon. After all, it conveys the same moral".

Originally Posted by Kuruhuran
To break this down a bit further, let us look at the events surrounding Faramir, specifically during The Two Towers.

In the books, while the unveiling of a bit of the history and lore of Gondor is certainly a high point, Faramir's discovery of what Frodo carried and his reaction to that are a critical part of the scene. Instead of dealing with the scene with any kind of subtlety, Jackson has Faramir do exactly what Boromir tried to do and seized Frodo.

Faramir's actions take Frodo significantly out of the way, and expose him to various extra dangers, the most "serious" of which being a Nazgul.

You want to talk about the dread of something being undermined, how about how that sequence serves to undermine the dread of the Nazgul?

This also breaks suspension of disbelief because Frodo has now been carried out of his way and exposed to extreme danger...just to provide another eye-roll inducing scene of faux-drama. This scene took me completely out of the film when I first saw it...not that there was much of me invested in it by that point I was so irritated by how badly most of the rest of it had been done.

The treatment of Faramir in that sequence was a terrible, terrible way of adapting the scene and there are better ways of doing it. Pretty much anything would have been an improvement. The only way Jackson could have screwed it up worse was if he had Faramir take Frodo right to the threshold of Barad-dur.
I will add to this that Faramir in the book, though memorable, is actually a relatively minor character- his plot function is basically to act as either a guide or catalyst for the major characters- and I feel the film blows his role out of proportion.

Understand that I do like the LotR films overall, and that for me these issues aren't "dealbreakers". But as I think I've said already, you can see the first signs of what grew into serious problems with "The Hobbit".
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Last edited by Nerwen; 06-17-2017 at 02:15 AM. Reason: added comment
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