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Old 10-20-2007, 09:51 AM   #1
Meriadoc1961
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Silmaril Why Can't Movies Be Like Books?

"Please, lets get it through our collective heads --- a book is one thing while a film is quite another. What works in one medium does not always work in the other."

I quoted this from another thread, and I have ran across many statements written like this, and always as a statement of fact.

Should we just accept this notion as fact? Why? What is the empirical evidence to back it up?

I say it is not factual, but conjecture, because I have yet to find a movie that actually did stick with the way a book is written. We will never know if LotR would have made just as much money if Tom Bombadil was in it, simply because Jackson capriciously decided he was not necessary and he left him out. I, for one, would have much preferred a scene or two with Bombadil, particularly seeing the ring powerless over him and his power demonstrated over the Barrow-wight, instead of seeing Faramir take Sam and Frodo to Osgiliath, or see Frodo send Sam away, or Faramir's men mercilesly beating Gollum, or see the Witch King break Gandalf's staff. There is plenty right there that was added by Jackson that was not needed that would have left plenty of time for Bombadil to be in it. He WAS in the book. But because Jackson did not care for the character of Bombadil for whatever reason, we do not get to see him, even though we have for years, for those of us who have read the books more than once. And I felt slighted. We do not get to see Prince Imrahil, but we get to see planty of screen time for an orc created by Jackson.

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Old 10-20-2007, 10:47 AM   #2
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I have seen one movie that was almost identical to its mother book. That movie was A&E's Pride and Prejudice. It was excellently made and it was an excellent movie that is one of my family's favorites.

Another movie that was made like it's book was Master and Commander. This was actually a story that the director and script makers made up with the characters from the books, basing it losely off of one of the books in the Aubrey/Maturin series, but it was written, made, and performed in the spirit of the book and turned out wonderful.

Now Bombadil...hehe. I understand your feeling of being slighted, but I think that Jackson made a good call in drawing him out. All that stuff that you mentioned that could have been left out and that would have left open time could have been used for other characters. A LOT of the fellowship didn't have proper development in the movie that they could have had if they had taken out the stuff that P.J. added.

I think it is possible to make a movie fairly close to the book its based off of. I think if people did it more often, movies would be better.
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:07 AM   #3
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"I think it is possible to make a movie fairly close to the book its based off of. I think if people did it more often, movies would be better."

Thank you. That is my point. To me, when I hear people claim that books are books, and movies are movies, so they can not be done the same way, reeks of eliticism. I just do not buy that premise.
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Meriadoc1961 View Post
We do not get to see Prince Imrahil, but we get to see planty of screen time for an orc created by Jackson.

Just as a note, that "orc created by Jackson" is Gothmog, Lieutenant of Morgul, who is mentioned in the books. So he is not an "orc created by Jackson" in any way.

Quote:
Faramir take Sam and Frodo to Osgiliath
Necessary to the story - if Shelob is removed from TTT, we have to have Faramir provide an obstacle. Also, his character is "dramatically dead" in the words of the scriptwriters, and so had to be changed.


Quote:
Frodo send Sam away
Necessary to show the rift Gollum is creating between Frodo and Sam, and to increase the drama of Sam's return for non-book viewers.

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Faramir's men mercilesly beating Gollum
This is where I agree with you - it's quite pointless.

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But because Jackson did not care for the character of Bombadil
Or because the character of Bombadil does not add much to the wider story.


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reeks of eliticism
Not to be flaming, you're being elitist.

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"Please, lets get it through our collective heads --- a book is one thing while a film is quite another. What works in one medium does not always work in the other."
True. For example, take narration. This comes as a matter of course in books. But in films, mostly it takes the audience out of the story. As a result, it's used rarely. For another example, the written thoughts of a character. Used fairly often in modern books. On paper, good. On screen, bad.


As a rule, this movie is not just for Tolkienites. It's for the wider audience, not just you. You might hate the disappearance of Bombadil or Imrahil, but their characters mean nothing to those who haven't read the books.
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:36 AM   #5
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:46 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=Annatar;534340]
Quote:
Just as a note, that "orc created by Jackson" is Gothmog, Lieutenant of Morgul, who is mentioned in the books. So he is not an "orc created by Jackson" in any way.
Mentioned, not given two pages worth of writting. Elbereth was mentioned, thank goodness she wasn't in the movie, as a character.

Quote:
Necessary to the story - if Shelob is removed from TTT, we have to have Faramir provide an obstacle. Also, his character is "dramatically dead" in the words of the scriptwriters, and so had to be changed.
Well, it's PJ's fault that Shelob was moved to the RotK, so no problem there.

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Necessary to show the rift Gollum is creating between Frodo and Sam, and to increase the drama of Sam's return for non-book viewers.
What rift? In the book? It must have been a long time since I read them....

Quote:
Or because the character of Bombadil does not add much to the wider story.
um... and the Watcher of the Water, the Wargs attacking Theoden, Aragorn falling of the cliff, etc.?

Quote:
True. For example, take narration. This comes as a matter of course in books. But in films, mostly it takes the audience out of the story. As a result, it's used rarely. For another example, the written thoughts of a character. Used fairly often in modern books. On paper, good. On screen, bad.
Of course you can't do the characters thoughts in a movie, but really, Meriadoc didn't say word for word.

Quote:
As a rule, this movie is not just for Tolkienites. It's for the wider audience, not just you. You might hate the disappearance of Bombadil or Imrahil, but their characters mean nothing to those who haven't read the books.
Do you think that the wider audience would have disliked Imrahil or Bombadil? Maybe Bombadil, he seems to be disliked by alot of people, but Imrahil? He saves Faramir, and takes a big part in the restoration of Minith Tirith.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Finduilas View Post

Mentioned, not given two pages worth of writting. Elbereth was mentioned, thank goodness she wasn't in the movie, as a character.
Elbereth takes little or no part in the events of the movie, so no surprise there.



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Well, it's PJ's fault that Shelob was moved to the RotK, so no problem there.
Required, as Shelob's Lair is completely different to the tone of Helm's Deep, and takes place during the siege of Minas Tirith.



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What rift? In the book? It must have been a long time since I read them....
Added in the movie.



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um... and the Watcher of the Water, the Wargs attacking Theoden, Aragorn falling of the cliff, etc.?
The Watcher in the Water is required to trap the Fellowship in Moria. The Fellowship being trapped in Moria is required for the confrontation with the Balrog. The Wargs attacking Theoden are required for Aragorn falling off the cliff. Aragorn falling off the cliff is required for Theoden to learn the size of Saruman' army. And so on. But not Bombadil. The only thing he's for is the Blades of Westernesse, and those are filled in for in the FoTR EE by Galadriel giving the Noldorin Dagger to Merry.



Quote:
Of course you can't do the characters thoughts in a movie, but really, Meriadoc didn't say word for word.
No idea how to answer this.



Quote:
Do you think that the wider audience would have disliked Imrahil or Bombadil? Maybe Bombadil, he seems to be disliked by alot of people, but Imrahil? He saves Faramir, and takes a big part in the restoration of Minith Tirith.
Imrahil is not needed, like the Grey Company. He is just too much detail, because PJ did not have enough time to introduce every single character from the books.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:22 PM   #8
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Imrahil would have worked well on the screen if they could have fit him in. Bombadil, on the other hand, is poison even in the book. On the screen he would have been the equal of an atomic explosion wreaking havoc with the sensibilities of the viewers. One of JRRT's absolute worst moments with pen and paper.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:25 PM   #9
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Actually I believe Imrahil was included in the movie; apparently he's the blonde knight who takes the wounded Faramir up to the Citadel (which is indeed what Imrahil does in the book). I think it was described on a Decipher Card.

And anyway, I think Gothmog was needed to give the Orcs a sense of realism - by giving them a leader on the ground who gives the Orcs orders/encouragement/insults, they function more realistically as a genuine army than just a faceless mob of enemies.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:53 PM   #10
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Meriadoc...

since it was my quote that you used to start this

Quote:
"Please, lets get it through our collective heads --- a book is one thing while a film is quite another. What works in one medium does not always work in the other."


allow me to directly post this to you in response to your attempt to dismiss it with these comments

Quote:
I quoted this from anothetr thread, and I have ran across many statements written like this, and always as a statement of fact.

Should we just accept this notion as fact? Why? What is the empirical evidence to back it up?
If you think that I am in error - that books and films are not so different, that indeed what works in the one can work in the other, just do this:

Take the LOTR book, page by page, line by line, and picture it as a complete film. Cut nothing. Condense nothing. Combine nothing. Film everything as if the book is the script.

Then think about what you would have and ask yourself how many people would have both seen it and enjoyed it.

For that is the ultimate test to see if a book can be just like a film and vice versa. Make the book your shooting script.
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Old 10-20-2007, 02:12 PM   #11
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Annatar wrote:

"Not to be flaming, you're being elitist."

I do not consider this to be flaming at all.

Interesting thought. I had not considered that. Would I be elitist or just consistent if I offered the same criticism if a movie was made and then a book followed with the same title but changed it in many ways, supposedly just because it can not be done the same way in a movie that it is in a book?

I am just not convinced that "it can't be done".

Sauron the White wrote:

"If you think that I am in error - that books and films are not so different, that indeed what works in the one can work in the other, just do this:

"Take the LOTR book, page by page, line by line, and picture it as a complete film. Cut nothing. Condense nothing. Combine nothing. Film everything as if the book is the script.

"Then think about what you would have and ask yourself how many people would have both seen it and enjoyed it.

"For that is the ultimate test to see if a book can be just like a film and vice versa. Make the book your shooting script."


First of all, I was not intending to be dismissive when I quoted you, but I offer to you sincerely my apologies because in hindsight I see how it could look that way.

But to answer the above, I certainly believe it could have been done this way. I enjoyed the narration of Galdriel to start the film. I believe much of the narrative could have been done in that same way. I then would not have changed a single sentence made by any of the characters.

I believe it would be an interesting undertaking for someone to try it in this manner. If not in a movie, then maybe in a series.
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Old 10-20-2007, 07:41 PM   #12
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Meriadoc - I don't think that word for word would quite work. StW is right in that sense. The LotR is simply too long.

Keep in mind, that if you did it word for word, all the descriptions of land and scenery would not have to be spoken - they'd be there to be seen. That would cut down about half of the book.

Although the words and converstions and some scenes would have to be clipped and trimmed, one could still keep mostly to the book. Two definite things in the LotR that would have to be shortened or cut altogether is (unfortunately) Tom Bombadil and much of the Council of Elrond. I just can't see putting that onto screen quite perfectly.

So...it is true (in my mind, anyway) that in the case of the Lord of the Rings, a movie could not be succesfully made if it followed word for word the book.

However, I do believe that a more succesful LotR could be made if it followed much more closely the book than did Jackson's LotR.

Just my humble opinion. Others may agree or disagree as they choose.

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Old 10-20-2007, 08:23 PM   #13
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There certainly are portions of the films where I would have preferred it if they kept more to the book. Two glaring examples are a misuse of the Army of the Dead on the Pelennor and the confrontation of Gandalf and the Witchking - although I feel this second example is not as jarring as the first.

So there we have two cases where sticking to the book would have been better.

But it reminds me of the charcter of Tevye in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. "But, on the other hand...." Consider the vast improvement in the character of Boromir including his far more touching death scene in the movie over the book. Plus all the expository material that comes out of the Council of Elrond chapter is far superior in the film. Arwens expanded role connected with many of the filmgoers - a majority of which turned out to be female - and I think that was not coincidental.

So this is not a one sided proposition.
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White View Post
Consider the vast improvement in the character of Boromir including his far more touching death scene in the movie over the book.
How was that a 'vast improvement'? They re-wrote the character. Sauron's death would have also been 'more touching' if they'd rewritten his character & made him into a nice guy. Movie Boromir is a totally different character, with different motivations, to book Boromir.


Quote:
Plus all the expository material that comes out of the Council of Elrond chapter is far superior in the film.
In the movie its not a 'council' at all. In the book its a true debate & a setting out of the whole history of the Ring in an attempt to decide what to do. In the movie its a slanging match between a bunch of petulant air heads, & there's no sense at all of the participants attempting to achieve a consensus on what to do - Elrond basically says 'You've all been called here to agree to throw the Ring into the fire'. Why they were all called there if the course of action they 'had' to follow was already decided is beyond me....

Quote:
Arwens expanded role connected with many of the filmgoers - a majority of which turned out to be female - and I think that was not coincidental.
Well, she annoyed me. All she seemed to do was blub about Aragorn.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:27 AM   #15
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How was that a 'vast improvement'? They re-wrote the character. Sauron's death would have also been 'more touching' if they'd rewritten his character & made him into a nice guy. Movie Boromir is a totally different character, with different motivations, to book Boromir.
The changing of Boromir's character was a good thing. The hypothetical changing of Sauron's character, however would not have made the movies better than the book. On the contrary, it would have made them worse.




Quote:
In the movie its not a 'council' at all. In the book its a true debate & a setting out of the whole history of the Ring in an attempt to decide what to do. In the movie its a slanging match between a bunch of petulant air heads, & there's no sense at all of the participants attempting to achieve a consensus on what to do - Elrond basically says 'You've all been called here to agree to throw the Ring into the fire'. Why they were all called there if the course of action they 'had' to follow was already decided is beyond me....
The Council of Elrond would have been simply too long in the movie. It would have killed it even worse than Bombadil. Long scenes of exposition slow down the action and bore the audience. The "shouting match", as youy call it, was the only way to make it work, showed the drama of Frodo's decision, and also showed the Ring's influence seeping into Rivendell.

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Well, she annoyed me. All she seemed to do was blub about Aragorn.
That's your opinion.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:55 AM   #16
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The changing of Boromir's character was a good thing. The hypothetical changing of Sauron's character, however would not have made the movies better than the book. On the contrary, it would have made them worse.
In what sense 'a good thing?' The movie Boromir is not the Boromir Tolkien created. The idea of praising the scriptwriter's 'skill' in making movie Boromir's death more moving than in the book is a bit odd as its only more 'moving' because they've turned him into a nice guy corrupted by the Ring, as opposed to Tolkien's thuggish, overly proud warrior.


Quote:
The Council of Elrond would have been simply too long in the movie. It would have killed it even worse than Bombadil. Long scenes of exposition slow down the action and bore the audience. The "shouting match", as youy call it, was the only way to make it work, showed the drama of Frodo's decision, and also showed the Ring's influence seeping into Rivendell.
It was dreadful. Of course, modern movie-goers do get bored by 'Long scenes of exposition slow(ing) down the action', because generally they have the concentration span of a senile goldfish - & producers/directors are eager to cater to them. Condense one of the most important chapters in the book to a three minute shouting match, & get on with the beheadings & the 85 minute fight with the cave Troll......



Quote:
That's your opinion.
No. Movie Arwen was a dull, wet, simpering annoyance & one of the worst things in the movies. "Blub, blub, blub, Woe is me!"
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:08 AM   #17
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they've turned him into a nice guy corrupted by the Ring, as opposed to Tolkien's thuggish, overly proud warrior.
I think it's an improvement. It shows that anyone, no matter how honourable and tough, can be corrupted by the Ring. On the other hand, Tolkien's Boromir is a crude, ignorant thug who's marked for betrayal pretty much from the start and is hard to feel much sympathy for when he's killed.

Quote:
It was dreadful. Of course, modern movie-goers do get bored by 'Long scenes of exposition slow(ing) down the action', because generally they have the concentration span of a senile goldfish - & producers/directors are eager to cater to them. Condense one of the most important chapters in the book to a three minute shouting match, & get on with the beheadings & the 85 minute fight with the cave Troll......
Do you really think people go to the movies to see half an hour of people talking? No, they go to see drama, action and emotion. And of course the producers and directors are eager to cater them. Believe it or not, that's how successful movies are made - they cater to the audience.

Also, much of the discussion in the Council is taken care of elsewhere in the movie - the story of the Last Alliance was placed as the movie's prologue, Gandalf's escape from Saruman was shown interspersed with the travels of Aragorn and the Hobbits, and Bombadil wasn't in the movie to begin with. Things like Sauron's messanger tempting the Dwarves don't need to be included; they have no real relation to the general plot. Boromir's account of what's happening in Gondor was stripped down probably to create more interest from the audience in Boromir's far-off, much-talked about country. Add all these together and you get a smaller, tighter sequence.
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:45 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Sir Kohran
I think it's an improvement. It shows that anyone, no matter how honourable and tough, can be corrupted by the Ring. On the other hand, Tolkien's Boromir is a crude, ignorant thug who's marked for betrayal pretty much from the start and is hard to feel much sympathy for when he's killed.
But he plays a very important role, showing the decay of Gondor, from the height of its numenorean ascendence, of which Aragorn is an exponent and a reviver, to the level of Rohan, under the rule of the stewards. As Faramir said:
Quote:
Originally Posted by The window on the west, TTT
- Yet now, if the Rohirrim are grown in some ways more like to us, enhanced in arts and gentleness, we too have become more like to them, and can scarce claim any longer the title High. We are become Middle Men, of the Twilight, but with memory of other things. For as the Rohirrim do, we now love war and valour as things good in themselves, both a sport and an end; and though we still hold that a warrior should have more skills and knowledge than only the craft of weapons and slaying, we esteem a warrior, nonetheless, above men of other crafts. Such is the need of our days. So even was my brother, Boromir: a man of prowess, and for that he was accounted the best man in Gondor.
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:18 AM   #19
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I think it's an improvement. It shows that anyone, no matter how honourable and tough, can be corrupted by the Ring. On the other hand, Tolkien's Boromir is a crude, ignorant thug who's marked for betrayal pretty much from the start and is hard to feel much sympathy for when he's killed.
Again, that's a matter of opinion. StW's point was that movie Boromir's death was more moving than book Boromir's. My point was that if you completely re-write the character to make him more sympathetic/likeable its not difficult to make his death more moving, & that if you re-wrote Sauron's/Saruman's/Wormtongue's/The Balrog's characters to make them more sympathetic/likeable then their death's would be more moving than in the book. And if you rewrote Theoden's character to make him a nasty piece of work his death would be less moving.

And if you gave the Ring the voice of a little girl with a cute lisp we'd all be a little sad when it went into the fire - but that's not what Tolkien wrote. As far as Boromir goes, Tolkien gave us a very specific type of person in order to explore the effect of power on someone like that. The scriptwriters basically took the easy way out in order to get an emotional climax to their movie.

Quote:
Do you really think people go to the movies to see half an hour of people talking? No, they go to see drama, action and emotion. And of course the producers and directors are eager to cater them. Believe it or not, that's how successful movies are made - they cater to the audience.
Well, that's only true if the audience you're aiming at is a spotty 17 year old ...
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:33 AM   #20
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The counsil could have been just as long as in the movie, but more to the books character. I'm not a.... purist? It doesn't need to be word for word. Leave out Bombadil, shorten the counsil, I don't even mind a slight change in Boromir. But to have all your main characters, excepting of course Aragorn, Frodo, and Elrond, argue like children is foolish, and destroys, mostly, the nice change you were talking about in Boromir.

I think the movie focused to much on the Ring's power to twist characters. After all, Bilbo got it, practically cheated with it, used it, and still felt sorry for Gollum. Only 60 years later(60 years, that's a long time) was he a grump grasping for the Ring. And he was still a nice guy.

And yes, I agree totally with Davem about Arwen. She is crying in at least 3/4 of her scenes....
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:46 AM   #21
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Heh...Finduilas and davem are doing a fine job. I don't think I'll put in my two cents of opinion here.

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Old 10-21-2007, 10:15 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Finduilas View Post
And yes, I agree totally with Davem about Arwen. She is crying in at least 3/4 of her scenes....
Possibly Arwen has been drawn into the main story for the movies in an attempt to provide the female members of the audience with a character they can root for. Unfortunately the writers don't seem to know what to do with her - the 'XenArwen' idea fell flat on its face (her scenes were removed from Helm's Deep, & thus the only justification for Elves being there was lost) & had two unfortunate consequences - first we lost Glorfindel from the movie, & second we get this odd change in Arwen's character, who at first appears as a 'warrior' Elf, wielding sword & defying Ringwraiths, only to subsequently become this simpering 'girly' Elf, who can only wave her big, brave warrior off to war, & then spend the rest of the movie sobbing her eyes out begging Daddy to help her get him back. Book Arwen weaves her 'magical' banner for Aragorn, &, though she remains in the background, is a powerful, mysterious 'force' behind the scenes. I can't recall such a 'weak' female character in any recent popular movie. Tolkien has often been accused of not being able to write convincing female characters, but he never made such a pig's ear of a female character as the movie scriptwriters did of Arwen. Where is the inner power of this descendant of Melian, Luthien & Galadriel?
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:20 AM   #23
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Again, that's a matter of opinion. StW's point was that movie Boromir's death was more moving than book Boromir's. My point was that if you completely re-write the character to make him more sympathetic/likeable its not difficult to make his death more moving, & that if you re-wrote Sauron's/Saruman's/Wormtongue's/The Balrog's characters to make them more sympathetic/likeable then their death's would be more moving than in the book.
Correct me if I am in error, but I was under the belief that Boromir was suppose to be one of the good guys that we cheer for. In the book he comes off as having far more negative traits than positive ones. I have read many posts both here and on other Tolkien sites that claim that the Film Boromir was far more likable than the book one and many said they actually liked him for the first time.

I have a funny feeling that some of the apologists will now claim that is due to the incredible level of complexity that Tolkien used in writing the character. I simply look at it as a character not really written well. Jackson showed how the character could fill the same role but be far more sympathetic and his death far more dramatic.

You bring up Sauron and Saruman and Wormtongue and the Balrog and ask why not give them the same treatment? I would have thought that was obvious since they are all on the opposite side of our good guys and why would we want to stir up any sympathy for them?

Like many of the younger generation would say.....'duh".
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:39 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White View Post
Correct me if I am in error, but I was under the belief that Boromir was suppose to be one of the good guys that we cheer for. In the book he comes off as having far more negative traits than positive ones. I have read many posts both here and on other Tolkien sites that claim that the Film Boromir was far more likable than the book one and many said they actually liked him for the first time.
Yes - & your point is? That LotR is a story of perfect good guys in white hats who are completely loveable versus horrible bad guys in black hats who behave like pantomime villains?? Tolkien did not write Boromir to be a likeable character. In short, no, we aren't supposed to 'cheer' for Boromir in the way you imply. Tolkien was writing for grown-ups who understand that people are complicated, & not all the people on the 'good' side are actually 'good'.

[
Quote:
I simply look at it as a character not really written well. Jackson showed how the character could fill the same role but be far more sympathetic and his death far more dramatic.
So, in other words, because the character Tolkien wrote wasn't somebody you'd consider a stereotypical 'hero' it must be a result of bad writing?
Quote:
You bring up Sauron and Saruman and Wormtongue and the Balrog and ask why not give them the same treatment? I would have thought that was obvious since they are all on the opposite side of our good guys and why would we want to stir up any sympathy for them?
As you must realise, the point I was making is that if you rewrite a morally dubious character & make him into a sympathetic 'hero' his death will elicit sympathy, so if you rewrite a 'villainous' character & make him a sympathetic figure his death, too, will elicit sympathy.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:01 AM   #25
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As I wrote in my previous post


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I have a funny feeling that some of the apologists will now claim that is due to the incredible level of complexity that Tolkien used in writing the character
That seems to cover the line of reasoning you predictably used in your last post davem.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:58 AM   #26
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"Please, lets get it through our collective heads --- a book is one thing while a film is quite another. What works in one medium does not always work in the other."

I quoted this from another thread, and I have ran across many statements written like this, and always as a statement of fact.
It's more of a general rule of thumb than a fact -- to overquote a movie, it's more of a guideline for discussions than a rule. Eg -- books written in the first person would be rather difficult to turn into a movie since it's about interior thoughts of the narrator and that is very difficult to show without narration...and most people view that as bad form. LotR is easier -- except for the massive amount of detail that is both needed and rather unnecessary.

Please remember that directors have to report to another higher authority than just themselves. They don't have the final say. For example, I believe when I watched the commentary (which was a very long time ago so I am liable to misremember) -- they wanted Jackson to do it in two movies and, iirc, he fought very hard to keep it at three. There are also the matter of funding and all sorts of troublesome things. Sure a book can be turned into a movie, but at what cost? And if the higher ups deems it'll cost too much...well compromise must be made.

And everybody has a different vision or interpretation of the work. Just because it doesn't match yours doesn't mean it's necessarily false. I had read Tolkien's work many times before the viewing of the movie and I didn't think that Borormir's character was all that "changed", just that different aspects of his complexity were emphasised.
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:49 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by StW
As I wrote in my previous post


Quote:
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I have a funny feeling that some of the apologists will now claim that is due to the incredible level of complexity that Tolkien used in writing the character
That seems to cover the line of reasoning you predictably used in your last post davem.
Ok, so your position is that rather than setting out to write a three-dimensional, morally complex, character & succeeding, Tolkien actually set out to write a two-dimensional, morally simplistic, character & failed? Any reader who percieves Boromir as a complex, flawed, selfish character motivated by desire for personal glory is reading that complexity into the character, because Tolkien was actually trying to write a stereotypically 'good' character for the reader to cheer on?

Now, would you argue the same for Turin? Tolkien actually intended to make Turin a 'simple' good guy but was so incompetent a writer that he ended up producing a complex, introverted, often amoral, selfish, tragic figure?
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:16 PM   #28
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Ok, so your position is that rather than setting out to write a three-dimensional, morally complex, character & succeeding, Tolkien actually set out to write a two-dimensional, morally simplistic, character & failed?
NO. My position is this. JRRT wrote the LOTR with Boromir being one of the least successful characters of the Fellowship. Jackson improved upon the character of Boromir making him a character which worked much better on screen than he did in the book.

Where do I get this from? The posted observations of many people over the last several years in this forum, TORN, B-77 and others.

Clear on that?
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:39 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White View Post

NO. My position is this. JRRT wrote the LOTR with Boromir being one of the least successful characters of the Fellowship. Jackson improved upon the character of Boromir making him a character which worked much better on screen than he did in the book.
No, Jackson completely re-wrote the character.

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Where do I get this from? The posted observations of many people over the last several years in this forum, TORN, B-77 and others.

Clear on that?
Many people? Well, it must be true then.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:26 PM   #30
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Your opinion is worthwhile and I respect that. However..... (here comes the zinger
) ... after a while it reminds me of that old story about the proud mother watching her son play tuba in a marching band during a town parade. the boy was clearly marching with his footing opposite every other member of the band. Without skipping a beat the proud mother proclaimed "everybody is out of step but Johnny".
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:01 PM   #31
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My dear fellow...your are exagerating quite a bit. Davem's opinion is not the only one like that out there.

I believe that Tolkien meant Boromir to be a very complex character and I believe that he succeeded. I have never read any other book wherein two readers have opposite opinions about the same character. I read the LotR, wept at Borommir's death, and thought he made an honorable character in the end. I then talked to my best friend who was reading the book at the same time and found that she did not like Boromir at all and that she in fact disliked him. The opinion on Boromir varies from person to person. Many people dislike him. Many others like him. We're all reading the same book. We're all reading the same words. And yet Tolkien has created such a deep, complex character that some readers can latch onto him and like him, and others latch onto his other side - his worse side.

I don't have longer to make this post flow more. So sorry.

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Old 10-21-2007, 03:10 PM   #32
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My dear fellow...your are exagerating quite a bit. Davem's opinion is not the only one like that out there.
You are 100% right. Davem is not alone. And it seems the lions share of his compatriots are right here. I have frequented many Tolkien sites which share both book and film fans. I must say, with all due respect, that this particular site seems to have a gross imbalance of those who have the strongest negative opinions about the films and the most "bowing before the altar" attitudes toward the books. That is simply my observation after being here several months and several years on other sites.

When we compare the opinion against the film that is voiced here and among Tolkien literary circles, and compare it with the hundreds of millions who purchased tickets to see the film, the numbers speak for themselves.

Fowren, I do think you have an excellent point about the complexity of Boromir in the book. I respect that. I do honestly feel that there are some here who have an almost religious attitude towards the writings of JRRT and can find no fault, or at least publicly to finding no fault with his creations. They defend nearly everything with the zeal of a True Believer. It seems to have become far less a contest of reason than it does a test of ones faith.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:04 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White View Post
I have frequented many Tolkien sites which share both book and film fans. I must say, with all due respect, that this particular site seems to have a gross imbalance of those who have the strongest negative opinions about the films and the most "bowing before the altar" attitudes toward the books. That is simply my observation after being here several months and several years on other sites.
Most people on this site have a greater interest in the literature Tolkien produced over the course of his long life, & a desire to understand it, than they have in three movies - however many trillions of dollars they may have made (I think in an earlier post you gave it as $1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000 per second since their release) or however many Oscars, Golden Globes, Baftas, Palm d'Or's Golden Oscars, Palm Globes, Boscars, Globetas, Palm Pilots, PDA's, Golden Deliciouses or I-pods they may have won..... This has nothing to do with 'bowing before the altar' of the books. Personally, I thought bits of the movies were fine but in the main they were grossly simplified & over stuffed with SFX which may have worked fine on a first viewing but increasingly dull thereafter.

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When we compare the opinion against the film that is voiced here and among Tolkien literary circles, and compare it with the hundreds of millions who purchased tickets to see the film, the numbers speak for themselves.
I don't think anyone here has argued that the movies weren't popular. I've only ever argued that I think they're dull &, unlike the book, which I've read about 15 times & regularly return to with joy, I simply can't face another viewing of the movies.

Quote:
I do honestly feel that there are some here who have an almost religious attitude towards the writings of JRRT and can find no fault, or at least publicly to finding no fault with his creations. They defend nearly everything with the zeal of a True Believer. It seems to have become far less a contest of reason than it does a test of ones faith.
No, sorry, some of us love the books but just don't care for the movies - its that simple, & I really don't know why you've decided to embark on this assault against those who don't share your opinion of the movies. The books came first for most of us, & we prefer them. Where the movies fail to come up to the standard of the books, or where they alter the story, we get either irritated or bored. It seems to me that if anyone is 'worshipping at an altar' here its yourself at the altar of three popular, but (in my opinion quite average) movies.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:25 PM   #34
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No assault on you or anyone else is intended. I do not mean to attack anyone personally or claim they are bad people.

My comments are spurred by simple observation. To be brutally honest here, I was knocked over more by one thing I read here than anything else. I noticed that many people whose opinions on the JRRT books I respect, adopted a nearly subservient position regarding the publishing fraud that is THE CHILDREN OF HURIN. When I saw the tag line offered by the publishers - that it was the first new Tolkien novel in thirty years - I said to myself "self - people who know are going to rip that slogan to shreds because it is a lie. They have had that story on their shelves in other volumes for some time now."

Boy was I wrong. Nearly everyone was willing to look the other way as the Emperor paraded down the avenue with no clothes at all. In fact, some even winked and smiled about it. What I found out was that since it was authorized by the Tolkien Estate, it had the impramatur of Holy Writ and thus would never be challenged by those who I thought had some scruples and integrity. And as I have said many times in many posts on many subjects, I see the same people try to destroy the movies over and over and over again but they not dare raise so much as a whimper about anything associated with the source material, its author, the Estate or its doings.

That totally altered my thinking. I really do see some people bowing before that altar of Tolkien. Call it some weird type of JRRT political correctness for the literary crowd, but it is alive and well.

Maybe its my own personality that is at fault. I am by nature a contrarian who sits when asked to stand. If I were in a crowd of JRRT haters I would defend his writings to the death. So here its natural for me to be the bad guy. Sorry but thats just my natural inclination.

Davem, no attack on you or others is intended. Just observations and commentary on opinions.
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Old 10-21-2007, 09:41 PM   #35
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Do you really think people go to the movies to see half an hour of people talking? No, they go to see drama, action and emotion.
I take it you've never seen The Wannsee Conference? An hour and a half or more of absolutely gripping (and horrifying) drama- and it's nothing more than the verbatim recitation of the minutes of a real-life committee meeting.

One could also throw in My Dinner With Andre and many more which belie the video-game mentality that you gotta put 'action' on screen or else bore the audience.

**********

Who said Gothmog was an Orc? In fact he was explicitly *not* an Orc: "It was no brigand nor Orc-chieftain who commanded...."

Still, objections on this sort of geek-level are trivial compared to the fact that PJ Just Doesn't Get Tolkien: not his themes, his style, his moral vision, his sense of language, none of it. Just monsters and fights. This is a guy who calls the Eorlingas the "Rohans," after all, and thinks "Rohirrim" applies only to the king's cavalry. (If you want to get truly geekish, then PJ should be taken to task for having Theoden et al refer to their country as "Rohan", which in the book they never do- it is, after all, a Sindarin name coined in Gondor. How could anyone so deaf to language think they were qualified to adapt Tolkien? Misologists, Tolkien would call them. Hiring David Salo to concoct some snatches of pseudo-Elvish (while omitting all of Tolkien's own) doesn't cut it).


**********

In Annatar's long regurgitation of the excuses and self-justifications PJ and his accomplices offered up on the DVD's, he claims it was 'necessary' to rewrite Faramir (actually to create a new character with the same name) because the real Farmair's was "flat" and had to become an "obstacle" for Frodo- which goes back to the repeated reference by JBW to "story arcs." - If you buy this tripe, I suggest you read Shippey's Road to Middle-earth in its 2004 edition, where good Prof. Tom takes to task these paint-by-numbers approaches to screenwriting.

*******************


Shelob/Helm's Deep and the relative calendars- Only because PJ was dwetermined to make Helm's Deep the Bam! Zowie! climax of his movie, puffing it up beyond its proper place in the narrative; and, at any rate, Shelob's Lair took place *before* the Pelennor Fields, not simultaneously.


Would it not perhaps have been a great exercise in 'experimental cinema' (in the hands of a much more innovative director than Jackson) to present the narrative just as Tolkien did, without intercutting Books III & IV, V & VI?
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:11 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Sauron the White View Post
I noticed that many people whose opinions on the JRRT books I respect, adopted a nearly subservient position regarding the publishing fraud that is THE CHILDREN OF HURIN. When I saw the tag line offered by the publishers - that it was the first new Tolkien novel in thirty years - I said to myself "self - people who know are going to rip that slogan to shreds because it is a lie. They have had that story on their shelves in other volumes for some time now."
CoH. I bought The Sil in '77 & UT in '81 on the day it was published. Right from the moment I finished the Narn in UT I felt that it should have been published as a stand alone work, rather than as CT had chosen to do - the bulk of the tale in UT but with chunk missed out (the reader is referred back to The Sil to read the missing section.

I, & most other Tolkien fans, knew exactly what we would be getting with CoH, not least because many of us have both The Sil, UT & HoM-e. So, I've read the story before (ok, there are a few very slight differences), but that's not the point. We now have one of Tolkien's greatest tales available in a single volume so that if we want to read it we don't have to pile up 3 or 4 volumes & jump back & forth between them, & without the distraction of constant footnotes & cross references. In other words, we can read it as Tolkien intended - a single coherent narrative. Its also available now to a general readership who simply would never (even many of those who love LotR & TH) have read UT - or even The Sil.

So, CoH is not a rip off in any way - anyone who is enough of a fan of Tolkien to own The Sil & UT (hence, those who already own the Turin Saga) would have known what CoH would contain. For anyone who didn't own those books, CoH has made the Turin saga easily available (& more cheaply than having to buy The Sil, UT & the relevant volumes of HoM-e).

Quote:
I really do see some people bowing before that altar of Tolkien. Call it some weird type of JRRT political correctness for the literary crowd, but it is alive and well.
I still don't see this - I love Tolkien's work, but I don't 'worship at his altar'. I don't think everything Tolkien wrote was perfect (the 'linguistic' writings go over my head completely & to be honest I find whole chunks of The Sil virtually unreadable - Ainulindale I wade through (for all the beauty of its language) & Valaquenta is a good contender for on the dullest thing I've ever read. My response to the early parts of The Sil has always been the same - a desire to scream at Tolkien 'For ***** sake get on with it!!' Most of HoM-e I skip because its made up of multiple versions of the same story. However, I love LotR, TH, Smith, & most of The Sil writings with an abiding love, & I'd now add CoH to that list.
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:54 AM   #37
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Davem, I find no fault with much of what you say about COH. I also purchased the same books exactly as you did and share many of your feelings about it.

My big complaint was with the intentionally false claim that was posted on the various websties that this was THE FIRST NEW TOLKIEN NOVEL IN THIRTY YEARS. That is simply not true. This was not NEW. It was material that had been around for some time in other formats.

How many times can you sell something again and again and advertise it as NEW? Is this not a question of ethics?

Like many things, this probably comes down to definition of terms and semantics. I do know what the word NEW means. And it is not something I have had on the shelf for a long period of time. I was greatly disappointed to see both the false claim and the willingness of many people including you who should know better just go along with the false claim. That kind of opened my eyes to see that there is more going on here that just what is on the surface.

from Willaim CH

Quote:
I take it you've never seen The Wannsee Conference? An hour and a half or more of absolutely gripping (and horrifying) drama- and it's nothing more than the verbatim recitation of the minutes of a real-life committee meeting.

One could also throw in My Dinner With Andre and many more which belie the video-game mentality that you gotta put 'action' on screen or else bore the audience.
I have seen ANDRE and found it mildly amusing and witty. Perhaps you could look up the world wide box office grosses for it to see how how the public responded to it. I realize it was an arthouse hit - but that was about it. I have not seen WANNSEE so cannot speak about it. I did see the recent HBO remake. I have attended far too many real life committee meetings and cannot imagine any minutes of those meetings being good screen material. But then we were not discussing the Final Solution which may be more interesting.

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Old 10-22-2007, 09:13 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hickli View Post

Who said Gothmog was an Orc? In fact he was explicitly *not* an Orc: "It was no brigand nor Orc-chieftain who commanded...."
That quote refers to the Witch-King. Nowhere in the books is anything other than Gothmog's name stated.

Quote:
Still, objections on this sort of geek-level are trivial compared to the fact that PJ Just Doesn't Get Tolkien: not his themes, his style, his moral vision, his sense of language, none of it. Just monsters and fights. This is a guy who calls the Eorlingas the "Rohans," after all, and thinks "Rohirrim" applies only to the king's cavalry. (If you want to get truly geekish, then PJ should be taken to task for having Theoden et al refer to their country as "Rohan", which in the book they never do- it is, after all, a Sindarin name coined in Gondor. How could anyone so deaf to language think they were qualified to adapt Tolkien? Misologists, Tolkien would call them. Hiring David Salo to concoct some snatches of pseudo-Elvish (while omitting all of Tolkien's own) doesn't cut it).
The movies aren't just meant for those purists who bow before the Altar of Tolkien. Its meant for the general audience as well. The movies are not the books. Get over it.


**********

Quote:
In Annatar's long regurgitation of the excuses and self-justifications PJ and his accomplices offered up on the DVD's, he claims it was 'necessary' to rewrite Faramir (actually to create a new character with the same name) because the real Farmair's was "flat" and had to become an "obstacle" for Frodo- which goes back to the repeated reference by JBW to "story arcs." - If you buy this tripe, I suggest you read Shippey's Road to Middle-earth in its 2004 edition, where good Prof. Tom takes to task these paint-by-numbers approaches to screenwriting.
You've got me stumped here.

Quote:
Helm's Deep and the relative calendars- Only because PJ was dwetermined to make Helm's Deep the Bam! Zowie! climax of his movie, puffing it up beyond its proper place in the narrative; and, at any rate, Shelob's Lair took place *before* the Pelennor Fields, not simultaneously.
Shelob's Lair takes place too close to Pelennor Fields. If the Voice of Saruman and the chapters after are moved to Return of the King (which was a good idea - with Helm's Deep the movie would have been too long), Shelob's Lair has to go to RoTK. For Helm's Deep, if done as the book it would have been not good. PJ needed action to keep the film going, and as Helm's Deep is so fleeting it would have bored the audience. Its "proper place" in the movie narrative is as the climax.


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Would it not perhaps have been a great exercise in 'experimental cinema' (in the hands of a much more innovative director than Jackson) to present the narrative just as Tolkien did, without intercutting Books III & IV, V & VI?
Putting it the way Tolkien did it would simply not have worked in a movie. It would have been boring ("when are we going to get to Frodo and Sam?") and a bit annoying. Intercutting the storylines was the only way to get it done successfully.
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Old 10-22-2007, 11:35 AM   #39
Sir Kohran
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I take it you've never seen The Wannsee Conference? An hour and a half or more of absolutely gripping (and horrifying) drama- and it's nothing more than the verbatim recitation of the minutes of a real-life committee meeting.
Assuming I've got the one you're talking about...it's a made for TV film that lasts an hour and fifteen minutes. Did it appeal to millions across the world, and win multiple Oscars? And that meeting is the entire story. However, the Council is just one segment of a much bigger story. Sorry, but there's just no way you can compare the two. They are on completely different levels.

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One could also throw in My Dinner With Andre
Another film where the meeting is the majority of what is a fairly small film. However the Council is meant to be just one part of a much larger story. They aren't comparable.

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video-game mentality that you gotta put 'action' on screen or else bore the audience.
You've got to keep them interested. How many people in the audience care whether the Dwarves will accept Sauron's bribe? No, they care about Frodo and his quest.
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Old 10-22-2007, 12:11 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Sir Kohran View Post

You've got to keep them interested. How many people in the audience care whether the Dwarves will accept Sauron's bribe? No, they care about Frodo and his quest.
Honestly, I think it depends on the approach you take. If you're making LotR as an action adventure movie like Star Wars then you're correct. The point, though, is that LotR doesn't have to be made into that kind of movie. Jackson made a decision about the kind of movie he wanted to make. The moral/philosophical dimension of Tolkien's story was ignored in favour of producing a SFX heavy saga. Jackson did not simply put Tolkien's story on the screen as it is in the book, he chose to focus on the battles & action, to the extent that they overwhelm the subtleties of Tolkien's creation.

Another director could have chosen a different approach to the material. Hence, one can criticise Jackson's approach - what he chose to focus on & what he chose to ignore. A different director with a different approach to the material could have made Bombadil & the Council work. In other words, they may not have worked in Jackson's movie, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have worked full stop.

And that's the point. Jackson's 'simplisitic' 'action-adventure' approach to the material forced him to exclude material/events which are central to the story Tolkien wrote. Those defending Jackson here seem to believe that either his approach to the story is the only possible one, or at least the best one. Now, I'm not sure that Jackson could have made a different kind of LotR movie, given his track record, but this is the issue (& the reason I'd rather he didn't direct a Hobbit movie).

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Originally Posted by Sir Kohran
You've got to keep them interested. How many people in the audience care whether the Dwarves will accept Sauron's bribe? No, they care about Frodo and his quest.
If the focus was to be on Frodo & his quest then there should have been less screen time given to Helm's Deep/Pelennor Fields & more on his journey through Mordor, & the Scouring of the Shire should have been included & given the emphasis it deserved - as should the events in the Barrow, which is his first real test against the Ring. Now, I think a better approach to the story would have been to focus on Frodo's journey all through, including the Old Forest/Barrow Downs & including the Scouring, with Helm's Deep/Pelennor Fields given the kind of minor (in terms of narrative time) treatment they receive in the book.
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