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Old 02-15-2005, 05:04 PM   #121
Aiwendil
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Davem:
I agree with nearly all of what you say. I therefore hesitate to pick upon a minor point, especially one that's tangential to the topic, but I can't help myself. You say:

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My own feeling is that Faramir's decision to release Frodo was based as much as anything on compassion, pity & mercy.
I don't doubt that Faramir (book Faramir, anyway) felt compassion and pity for Frodo, but I can't see that this was the reason for his decision. My impression has always been, rather, that Faramir understood, far better than Boromir, the reality of the situation. Regardless of how he felt toward Frodo, he knew that to bring the Ring to Minas Tirith would result in disaster; he knew that in Frodo's errand lay the only real hope.

So I don't think that Jackson's change can be explained simply as a result of Jackson's failure to understand the elements of compassion and mercy in the book. Even failing to understand those aspects, he could still have had Faramir act rationally. But for the sake of that constant tension with which he is obsessed, he felt it necessary to alter the character's perfectly reasonable behavior.
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Old 02-15-2005, 08:28 PM   #122
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I don't doubt that Faramir (book Faramir, anyway) felt compassion and pity for Frodo, but I can't see that this was the reason for his decision. My impression has always been, rather, that Faramir understood, far better than Boromir, the reality of the situation. Regardless of how he felt toward Frodo, he knew that to bring the Ring to Minas Tirith would result in disaster; he knew that in Frodo's errand lay the only real hope.
There are a number of reasons I think behind Faramir's decision. Probably the compassion, he cared more about lore than Boromir, Numenorean blood was "purer" in him, he knew it would end in disaster, but another thing that I've always thought (and grant it it is a weak connection), but the biggest reason (I believe) Faramir let Frodo go was....he learned from Boromir's mistake. In the appendices, the Stewards:
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It did not seem possible to Faramir that any one in Gondor could rival Boromir, heir of Denethor, Captain of the White Tower; and of like mind was Boromir.
To Faramir, he thought nobody in Gondor could match his brother, he thought that Boromir was the best in Gondor. Recognizing that Boromir died, because he tried to take the ring, and was "swayed by it," I think Faramir thought, "hey if Boromir, the best in Gondor, fell because of the Ring, I won't be any match for it." So, in essense he learned from his brother's mistake, which I take as a big contributing factor to why Faramir so easily let Frodo go.
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:39 AM   #123
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Davem, I'm struggling to come to terms with your point
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I wonder whether if Frodo & Gandalf had been shown as wishing to save Gollum & Saruman audiences would have seen them as being 'weak'.
But I believe they DID show that they wanted to 'save' Gollum.

The film has at least two areas where Gandalf shows mercy towards gollum showing to me that he wants to perhaps 'save' him as you put it. Gandalf discusses Gollum with Frodo in Moria, explaining that Bilbo himself showed pity towards the creature, insinuating that Frodo might do the same. And he brought 3 Eagles with him to Mount Doom didn't he? One for Frodo, one for Sam. And one for Gollum.

Frodo shows pity for Gollum in various parts of the film. For example, there's pity when he is speaking alone with Gollum in the Dead Marshes, and most notably after Gollum has betrayed him to Shelob (where Frodo stops beating up on Gollum and says he has to destroy the Ring for both of them). Doesn't this show that Frodo also wants to 'save' Gollum?

PS Faramir showing compassion, pity & mercy to Frodo? Yeah, by sending him to what he thought was an almost certain death!
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Old 02-16-2005, 12:42 PM   #124
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Quote:
By Fordim Hedgethistle post #88
Faramir: You have the One Ring that destroyed my brother!

Frodo: Yes.

Faramir: Very well. Off you go.

CUT TO: Battle of Helms Deep. Then, End Credits.
I loved this entire post; it just made so much sense. It would be so lazy, mean and ignorant to just explain away all of the changes that were made to the films as being “misunderstandings of the Director”, “poor acting”, “Dumbing Down”, or “deliberate changes due to financial winnings.” Though examples are evident as with all blockbuster movies. When your analysing situation changes for example, with Faramir, it is unthinkable that any director would expect his fans to get over such a drastic change if there wasn’t a good, logical reason for it.

Fordim was right by saying that the scene which is quoted above would have been boring to both book fans and none. Obviously not everything on paper can be made visual. That’s why it was written down in the first place. The scene has to “work” visually, and though some movies can gracefully get away with 20 minutes of dialog between to sitting characters, Lord of the Rings was a fast paced polar opposite to such films. Many of the huge changes in the movies I’m sure actually have very good reasons for being changed. I’m also sure that if you ever sat down with the production team that some so loath that they’d be able to tell you all about their reasons, how they used trial and error and it came out the way it did. I was impressed that this wasn’t a cut and paste job movie, no one can argue that it was cheaply or lazily made. There were few short cuts, that was Mr. Jackson’s pride.
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:37 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Ainaserkewen
Fordim was right by saying that the scene which is quoted above would have been boring to both book fans and none.
It would have been boring had it been as you quoted.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:23 PM   #126
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My own feeling is that book Faramir was more aware of Frodo's 'mission' & its 'divinely ordained' nature. Faramir is one of the most spiritually aware characters in the book. It seems to me that he realised that Frodo had been 'appointed' to perform the task of bringing the Ring to the fire, & in that sense his releasing & aiding of Frodo in that task, rather than taking him as a prisoner to Minas Tirith, was an act of 'compassion'. He was making Frodo's inevitable task as easy as possible. He puts compassion before duty, & takes a great risk in doing so. In fact he is putting all he cares for at risk in order to help Frodo as he does.

The story of LotR is not simply about destroying the Ring of Power, its about Frodo's struggle to destroy the Ring. The task has been appointed to him. Only Frodo can bring the Ring to the Fire. That's what he's was born to do. In that sense he is a Galahad figure. Only Galahad may achive the Grail because that was the reason he was born.

Whether movie Frodo wants to 'save' movie Gollum is another question. Yes we see Frodo showing concern for him, & hear Gandalf saying he is deserving of pity, but these are all things taken from the book. What the writers of the movie do is introduce another reason: he tells Sam 'I have to believe he can come back.'. This immediately makes his behaviour & treatment of Gollum selfish. Movie Frodo is effectively attempting to save himself.

This is the difference between what the writers import into their movie & what they introduce. What they introduce are their own explanations for, or 'commentary'on, Tolkien's story. Yes, they give Gandalf's words to Frodo about pity, & 'not striking without need' & Frodo's words on first encountering Gollum ('Now that I see him I do pity him.'), but when they attempt to 'explain' Frodo's motivation to the audience they make it selfish.
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:53 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
My own feeling is that book Faramir was more aware of Frodo's 'mission' & its 'divinely ordained' nature. Faramir is one of the most spiritually aware characters in the book. It seems to me that he realised that Frodo had been 'appointed' to perform the task of bringing the Ring to the fire, & in that sense his releasing & aiding of Frodo in that task, rather than taking him as a prisoner to Minas Tirith, was an act of 'compassion'. He was making Frodo's inevitable task as easy as possible. He puts compassion before duty, & takes a great risk in doing so. In fact he is putting all he cares for at risk in order to help Frodo as he does.
Just what I've been trying to articulate all along! Faramir in the films is presented as a ranger figure, a soldier, while in the books he is more of a scholar - he certainly displays an understanding of lore. In the films he expresses the wish that he had spent more time at his studies, implying that he did not spend much time at this task. He and Boromir are carefully crafted contrasts. The words Gimli uses to compare Saruman and Gandalf: "like and yet not like", could equally be applied to the two Gondorian brothers. The films did not contrast them enough, or certainly not skilfully enough. It was as though Faramir as seen in the books was deemed a little too sensitive for a film audience, which is not a pleasant thought.

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Originally Posted by Ainaserkewen
When your analysing situation changes for example, with Faramir, it is unthinkable that any director would expect his fans to get over such a drastic change if there wasn’t a good, logical reason for it.
But I cannot find a good or logical reason for the changes beyond the stated ones that they thought these scenes might be 'boring'. I can't accept this as a valid reason, as the scenes need not have been 'boring' at all. They were getting towards something good when they had Faramir explaining how he saw the funeral boat of his brother on the Anduin, and then this was not sustained. instead we saw Faramir's men behaving brutally and Faramir himself acting out of character. Properly done, we could have seen some good dialogue, some added interrogation and a little suspense to add drama, seeing as this was a film, yes, but maintaining the integrity of the character by having him see Frodo and Sam off in the wild, and in so doing maintaining their secrecy.
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Old 02-16-2005, 03:55 PM   #128
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Wow! This topic is a lot hotter then I thought it would be.

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Old 02-16-2005, 04:13 PM   #129
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The impression I get from the books is that Boromir & Faramir almost symbolise the two aspects of Aragorn's character. Boromir is his 'warrior' side, the side that seeks to achieve his destiny & rule Gondor & Arnor, while Faramir is his 'spiritual' side.

Its interesting how in the book its only when Boromir dies that Aragorn starts to manifest signs of Kingship - Legolas sees a 'crown' of flame on his brow, etc. The 'Boromir' side of Aragorn seems to have died along with its human 'manifestation'. At this point Faramir appears, almost symbolising the side of Aragorn which will become dominant - his true 'royalty'.

It seems to me that the screenwriters prefer the 'Boromir' side. Aragorn throughout is presented as far more like Boromir & movie Boromir is presented in a far more sympathetic light than book Boromir. They actually make Faramir a kind of 'lesser' Boromir, a Boromir 'wannabee', rather than a character in his own right. Their idea of Faramir seems to be that he is an originally weak character who doesn't know his own mind, one who needs to 'grow up' & become like his brother.

As I said, in the book, its like Boromir & Faramir are 'mirrors' of Aragorn's own inner state. Boromir would be an adequate steward for Aragorn as we first meet him, but Faramir is the kind of steward he needs by the end of his 'journey' because Aragorn is on a 'spiritual' path just as much as Frodo, who also has his two 'mirrors' - Smeagol & Sam...
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:54 PM   #130
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A quick note: I've been working through the commentaries for the EE of RotK and there was one very interesting nugget from Phillipa Boyens. When she was discussing the decision to have Frodo send Sam away, she says that one of the reasons she likes this change is that it "shocked fans of the book". She sees that shock as a good thing as it shakes them up and makes them wonder just how this movie is going to turn out.

I have to admit that this got me to thinking -- how much would I really want to see a completely faithful adaptation of the book. I've already read it, I already know it, I already have visuals in my mind of it. With the changes that are there, I was able to enjoy the films -- as films -- insofar as there was still the possiblity of surprise, suspense and reversal for me. I was on the edge of my seat, because while I knew that things were going to turn out all right in the end, I could never be precisely sure of how this was going to happen.

And is that not one of the things that makes the book so wonderful. The only thing we can know for sure is that good will triumph, but the suspense comes in though not knowing how it's going to play itself out, and who is going to be lost or hurt along the way. The book-Faramir, for example, is a sacrifice that is made meaningful by the final accomplishment of the goal: the eucatastrophe of the film's conclusion.

Ahhhh. . .now there's a question: does the film have the same eucatastrophe of the book or not? That's, I think, where this whole discussion is really headed.
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:18 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Aiwendil
Now I don't expect film-makers to turn down fortunes in potential profit, ignore current trends, and make movies that pander to my taste. But that doesn't mean I have to like, or pretend to like, what they produce.
I am most certainly not trying to suggest that you should. But I think that it is important, when discussing the merits of the films (as against the book), to try to understand why the film-makers made the decisions (and the changes) that they did. They did not do so out of a capricious desire to outrage fans of the books. Indeed, Arwen’s intended participation at Helm’s Deep was abandoned precisely because they (and the much maligned Liv Tyler) were concerned to take account of the views of the fans.


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Originally Posted by Aiwendil
A lot of directors would have done worse. But I think that a few would have done better - and there are a number of specific decisions made by Jackson that I think were mistakes that were not inevitable, and that could just as easily not have been made.
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Originally Posted by Mister Underhill
Yet I don't get the sense that PJ is often intentionally patronizing; rather, I think some of the changes made by him and his partners reflect their limitations as filmmakers.
I don’t doubt that the films would have been very different had they been made by another director. Whether any particular director would have made them any better (or indeed worse) is, in my view, very much a subjective issue. For example, I am well aware of the acclaim accorded to Hitchcock as a director, and I can understand why his films are regarded as such classics, but they still don’t do much for me.

And, when it comes down to it, I doubt that there are many other directors with a sufficient combination of skill, flair and interest in and passion for the book to make these films work. Of those who might fall within this category, I would put Jackson fairly near the top of the list, if not at the top.


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Originally Posted by Boromir88
LOTR is by far his best movie I think, then Heavenly Creatures is supposedly good but I haven't seen it, everything else is just junk.
Many would class Heavenly Creatures as his best film. Although it is a long time since I have seen it, I do recall that is an excellent piece of film-making. And it certainly puts paid to the myth that Jackson’s style is necessarily heavy-handed and unsubtle. His earlier films are admittedly (low budget) gore-fests, although Braindead is fun and worth a watch if you’re not too squeamish. Nevertheless, I think that he deliberately chose the style in which he made the LotR films (no doubt in consultation with the studio), for the kinds of reasons that I have already outlined.


Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
These movies don't teach us anything ...
Why should they? I regard them as pure entertainment: nothing more and nothing less. Indeed, that is how I have regarded the book throughout much of my life. But the films moreso. Tolkien clearly felt compelled to put across his moral vision in his works. Can we realistically expect Jackson to present that same vision on the big screen? He is not Tolkien. It is not his vision. The best that we can expect is to see his interpretation of that vision, and I think that he did genuinely try to achieve that. But, when it comes down to it, these films were predominantly intended as entertainment.

While I agree with Fordim Hedgethistle that Jackson largely captured the essence of Tolkien’s work, I think it is unrealistic, both for the reasons stated above and due to the constraints of screen time, to expect him to have captured it entirely. As I said, he is not Tolkien. He has own individual beliefs and outlook on life. And he was addressing a predominantly different audience and largely for different purposes.

Finally, as for this “mercy” issue, I am with Essex. The lines addressing this aspect were primarily those written by Tolkien. But Jackson and the other writers would not have included them if they did not feel them important. I was particularly taken with the inclusion, in the Extended Edition of TTT, of Sam’s speech, transposed (appropriately, I feel) to Faramir, on the fallen Southron. I have always liked these lines because they convey a sense of compassion for those Men who have been duped or coerced into fighting under Sauron’s banner. By giving the words to Faramir, one gets the sense that he would offer mercy to his enemies on the field of battle (at least those who are not portrayed - in the books as well as the films - as irredeemably evil).

But, for me, the most important scene in the film, when it comes to the question of mercy, is one that was added. Essex has already mentioned it. It is the scene between Frodo and Gollum following Frodo’s (initial) escape from Shelob. This comes at a stage when it must be clear to (film) Frodo (as it is to the audience) that Gollum has been irretrievably lost to the lure of the Ring. Frodo no longer has any basis for believing that Gollum can be saved. And yet he forgives Gollum and offers him compassion. Frodo could have killed him at this point, but he does not. He is instead fortified in his belief that the Ring must be destroyed. And so the central concept of the Ring being destroyed in consequence of Frodo’s (selfless) mercy is retained.
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Old 02-17-2005, 03:19 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Fordim
And is that not one of the things that makes the book so wonderful. The only thing we can know for sure is that good will triumph, but the suspense comes in though not knowing how it's going to play itself out, and who is going to be lost or hurt along the way.
Now there's an interesting point. Suspense. Of course, the books will hold no suspense for us now we've read and re-read them, some of us many more times than we can remember. But now the films also hold no suspense for me, as I've watched them many times over. How far can suspense be held to be a good thing? Once you know the story, the element of suspense is gone.

When I first read the books, I did not know that good would triumph, I did not know what was going to happen along the way, and I was thoroughly gripped by the suspense. Alas, this experience can only be had the once, and it was a long long time ago (thankfully I was somehow aware of this and so took my time in reading the books) and it is all too easy to forget that the books are full of suspense and surprise.

For me, I wasn't too bothered about having suspense in the films as I knew the story. Then they altered the story, perhaps to add suspense, but that sensation was short lived and ultimately I'd rather have the more deep satisfaction of seeing the full extent of the story played out in the film medium. The thing with suspense in a film is that once that thrill is done with, there needs to be substance to keep you watching again and again; thankfully the films do have that substance, but the scenes which were added or altered for purposes of suspense then show up all the more starkly as redundant.

The ironic thing is that the greatest moment of suspense in the whole of the three films for me was the opening credits of FotR, as I sat there worried to death about what they might have done with my favourite book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
Their idea of Faramir seems to be that he is an originally weak character who doesn't know his own mind, one who needs to 'grow up' & become like his brother.
In the films, Faramir comes across as a character who is very much in the shade of his much more successful brother, while book Faramir is a far more independent man, not successful at the more 'public' acts of bravery which Boromir excels in, but in understanding the tactics of successful covert operations. This ties in with his more intuitive, thoughtful character, and in this light the entirely 'right' thing for him to do would be to understand Frodo's mission and to understand his need for secrecy. This was being successfully conveyed until the moment where his men start to beat up Gollum and he decides to leave for Osgiliath. Until that point there was the potential to rescue the scene, maybe with foreshadowing and hence suspense of what horrors were to come for Frodo and Sam in the pass of Cirith Ungol - as Faramir obviously knows something of it.



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Old 02-18-2005, 07:43 AM   #133
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Skimming, but this popped out:

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
So, the absence of mercy, & of any sense of tragedy in the death of the 'enemies' - perhaps that is what really bothers me about the movies. I don't know if that constitutes a 'dumbing down' or a 'hardening up' of Tolkien's tale but either way it feels 'wrong'...
I would extend that to a diminishing, absence, or dumbing down of all the virtues; which is an indictment of society as a whole. PJ & co are simply members of virtue-free culture.

That virtue-less culture is not particularly modern. Disinterest in virtue has preceded the downfall of many great cultures.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:33 AM   #134
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I do not believe that society is any more or less dumb or any more or less virtuous than it has ever have been. We just have different things to be dumb and/or immoral about.
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:49 AM   #135
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:16 AM   #136
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Nice avatar, Eomer. You can't go wrong with Joe Cool.

However ...


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Virtue makes little money.
I would disagree with this as a general proposition. Recent studies have suggested that companies with established codes of ethics tend to outperform those that don't. In general, people prefer to work for, and deal with, companies which maintain sound business practices. (Although admittedly, this is something that the business community has been late cottoning on to.)

And I would also disagree as far as the film-making industry is concerned. I think that people do like to watch films that are morally uplifting - that make them feel good about their fellow humans. Indeed, I think that this, in part at least, accounts for the popularity of the LotR films. They may not present Tolkien's moral vision in its entirety. But, in comparison with other films of similar ilk, they do (in my view) put across some very good moral messages.
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:25 AM   #137
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Oh, I agree, and please don't get me wrong Saucepan. I agree with what you said. I find many parts of the films very uplifting. However, I'm just considering that the portrayal of virtues were not exactly highest on the agenda of Jackson and his crew. I think this led to a simplified and inferior version of Frodo's relationships with Faramir and Gollum. I realise that it was hard work and that the filmmakers did a decent job with it, however I don't think they nailed it. I find that some of us twist and turn in all sorts of ways when trying to defend aspects of the relationships betwixt film characters.

It was inevitable that some of us would easily find flaws within the virtues displayed on film. I don't think the filmmakers consider this to be hugely problematic, though.


P.S. I'll probably post a fairly hefty tale of events in the avatar thread to explain what some may call heresy.
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Old 02-18-2005, 12:39 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Eomer of the Rohirrim
However, I'm just considering that the portrayal of virtues were not exactly highest on the agenda of Jackson and his crew. I think this led to a simplified and inferior version of Frodo's relationships with Faramir and Gollum. I realise that it was hard work and that the filmmakers did a decent job with it, however I don't think they nailed it.
This is right. Jackson did portray some of Tolkien's moral statements, that can't be denied, but they are indeed simplified. Whether this could have been recitifed by not changing so much from the books I honestly could not say, though I think it certainly could have improved the situation, if not kept it to the level on which Tolkien portrays it.

Maybe it is indeed indicative of our society today that spiritual needs and values are subject to the same kind of 'quick fix' that we might demand of our bodily or material needs. Just as many prefer surgery over exercise (or indeed just building self-acceptance) in order to look the way they want, many also do not wish to struggle with metaphysical questions and seek a quick answer in a self-help book or some such. Naturally, the films are a simplified version of LotR so the moral messages/questions will also be simplified. I can't disagree that the films are a whole lot more moral than many other films/TV/games etc., but they aren't half as complex as the books.

Virtue is actually incredibly difficult, and while I have some faith left in the human race and think we'd all secretly like to be better people, it's easier sometimes to have another beer. And if a company is trading on its virtuous nature, then is it any more virtuous? Surely this is another way of marketing services or products? Or am I getting far too cynical?
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:18 PM   #139
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I would extend that to a diminishing, absence, or dumbing down of all the virtues; which is an indictment of society as a whole. PJ & co are simply members of virtue-free culture.

That virtue-less culture is not particularly modern. Disinterest in virtue has preceded the downfall of many great cultures.
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I do not believe that society is any more or less dumb or any more or less virtuous than it has ever have been. We just have different things to be dumb and/or immoral about.
I suppose (Shock! Horror!) I side with Helen here. We may have 'different things to be dumb and/or immoral about' but morality & virtue are (or should be) 'eternal' values. The fact that we are confronted by new things/situations is simply a truism. Human beings have always been exposed to 'new' things & unfamiliar situations & always will be. But, as Aragorn points out to Eomer, 'a man must judge as he always has done'- ie, by 'eternal' standards of 'Right' & 'Wrong'. It does seem to me that the movie makers decided that they had best tone down the 'preachiness' of the book, & substitute 'pragmatism' for virtue in order to make the movies 'acceptable' to a 'modern' audience.
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Old 02-18-2005, 02:36 PM   #140
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A quick note: I've been working through the commentaries for the EE of RotK and there was one very interesting nugget from Phillipa Boyens. When she was discussing the decision to have Frodo send Sam away, she says that one of the reasons she likes this change is that it "shocked fans of the book". She sees that shock as a good thing as it shakes them up and makes them wonder just how this movie is going to turn out. -Fordim
I'm surprised nobody's screamed in outrage at this. Fine then, I'll do it. This brought me my first flickers of actual irritation, and is the first time I've suspected the filmmakers of intentional tampering (rather than misguided editing).

Why should the book readers be shocked? This is a retelling of a story we already know. We (as established book-lovers) aren't going to see the film to find out what happens. Why should we have to wonder how the movie's going to turn out? Did they not realize that this "wondering" would probably take the form of "wondering which of the writers was on crack when they wrote this scene"?

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I am most certainly not trying to suggest that you should. But I think that it is important, when discussing the merits of the films (as against the book), to try to understand why the film-makers made the decisions (and the changes) that they did. They did not do so out of a capricious desire to outrage fans of the books. Indeed, Arwen’s intended participation at Helm’s Deep was abandoned precisely because they (and the much maligned Liv Tyler) were concerned to take account of the views of the fans. -Saucy
Perhaps not outrage, but apparently shock was in the plans.

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Old 02-18-2005, 02:53 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
It does seem to me that the movie makers decided that they had best tone down the 'preachiness' of the book, & substitute 'pragmatism' for virtue in order to make the movies 'acceptable' to a 'modern' audience.
I would agree that the moral message was toned down (and understandably so), but it wasn't substituted. Tolkien doesn't come across as preachy because he had the luxury of many pages in which to develop his themes. Condensing that all down into three films would have come across as "preachy" and it would have put people off. Indeed, it would have put me off.


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... and is the first time I've suspected the filmmakers of intentional tampering (rather than misguided editing).
Boyens didn't say that this was the reason for the change. She said that this was one of the reasons why she liked it (ie after the event). I suspect, in any event, that the comment was provoked by the more extreme reactions of some of the fans to the films. A kind of retaliation, if you like. But I seriously doubt that they set out with the intention of deliberately winding up the book fans.
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:50 PM   #142
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Though they must have realised that there was absolutely no way in which they could not have irritated at least some people.
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Old 02-18-2005, 06:24 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Sophia the Thunder Mistress
I'm surprised nobody's screamed in outrage at this. Fine then, I'll do it. This brought me my first flickers of actual irritation, and is the first time I've suspected the filmmakers of intentional tampering (rather than misguided editing).
Can I help?

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Old 02-18-2005, 08:27 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by davem
I suppose (Shock! Horror!) I side with Helen here.
I don't quite know what to say.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:56 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by Eomer of the Rohirrim
Virtue makes little money.
Tolkien wasn't exactly hoping to make it into the New York Times best sellers list when he wrote The Lord of the Rings.
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Old 02-19-2005, 10:58 AM   #146
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That's perhaps one reason why it's so good.
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Old 02-19-2005, 12:29 PM   #147
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That's perhaps one reason why it's so good.
Exactly.
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Old 02-19-2005, 01:44 PM   #148
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Obviously this is not something that can be answered with any certainty, but if we could crawl through a wormhole/fall through a timewarp, I wonder if those changes tailored to the perceived mores of the time will seem as strange to future watchers as the Nahum Tate version of " Lear" does to us....
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:10 PM   #149
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I can't see another version on LotR being made for quite some time, purely because this film version has had so much praise heaped upon it. I am thinking in terms of fifty/sixty years or more before anyone attempts another version. But maybe they will include more of Tolkien's text, and maybe they will stick to the story more. 'Remakes' often do strive to be 'more authentic', and tout themselves as being more true to the original book or to historical fact. Just as we saw the supposedly authentic Bram Stoker's Dracula (which, it turned out, did not stick to the book as it did not include anything of Whitby ) we might see the supposedly authentic JRR Tolkien's Lord of The Rings.

This would depend on authenticity holding any value in a future society of course. And many of the most lauded films simply do not get remade e.g. Gone With The Wind. But I can quite easily see people laughing at certain aspects of the films in 20 years' time, as some things will simply have gone out of fashion, such as the modern idioms used in the script. Just as saying "Man, that was outta sight!" would sound funny nowadays, saying "game over" might well be deeply cringeworthy in 20/30 years' time.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:37 AM   #150
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If you are a purist then you have to appreciate the movie version for it's scenery, costumes, and allowing you the opportunity to enter Middle Earth visually. You have to admit Jackson was "on the money" when it came to these things. The story itself was altered to appeal to the masses, and it succeeded immensely. The masses are not made up of superior intellectuals who would be willing to look deep into a story to appreciate its messages. Jackson wanted to make money, as any filmmaker does. While watching the Two Towers I heard many an audience member mumble "when is the fighting gonna start already". They were bored with the background story. The average moviegoer has the attention span of 1 1/2 hours for a film and they want to see action. It would be complete impossible for PJ to have stuck strictly to Tolkien's story and please the average audience. I think he did an acceptable job in his attempt. I used to get mad at the personality change in Faramir, but then I realized that the audience (who had not read the book) probably wants to see Frodo face impossible odds and probably many viewed the Ring going to Osgiliath as more exciting because it's dangerous for the Ring to go to Osgiliath. In summary I learned to forgive Peter Jackson for his alterations and I learned to appreciate the movies for the opportunity to see Middle Earth on film and the details that were amazingly accurate.
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:04 PM   #151
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Ruo, you are hinting at what may be my main gripe with what happened in the films. The wishes of those who didn't really care about the story were considered, if not on a par, at least nearly as highly as the wishes of those who do care about the story.

And by 'those who care about the story' I include the people who had not read the book and were turned onto the book by the film, and also, I suppose, people of the future, people who have not yet been born; because these are people who will love the story for what it is. I am not at all saying that the book readers should be a closed community. New people will join this community all the time, and that's wonderful.

Why should the person who couldn't care less about Frodo's delicate relationship with Gollum be satisfied by an extra fight scene, just so they can whoop and holler some more?
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Old 02-24-2005, 06:48 AM   #152
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having your expectations contradicted isn't always pleasant...

I'm sorry I only had time to skim through the rest of this huge thread and I will only reply to this particular bit which attracted my attention in the EE as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophia the Thunder Mistress
I'm surprised nobody's screamed in outrage at this. Fine then, I'll do it. This brought me my first flickers of actual irritation, and is the first time I've suspected the filmmakers of intentional tampering (rather than misguided editing).

Why should the book readers be shocked? This is a retelling of a story we already know. We (as established book-lovers) aren't going to see the film to find out what happens. Why should we have to wonder how the movie's going to turn out? Did they not realize that this "wondering" would probably take the form of "wondering which of the writers was on crack when they wrote this scene"?



Perhaps not outrage, but apparently shock was in the plans.

Sophia
I agree with Sophia. My personal thoughts when I heard this: "They are starting from a wrong premise here, they are evaluating their 'target population' in a wrong way. There is a low degree of probability that the fans of Tolkien books would go to the movies to be shocked and wonder: "Oooooo, I wonder where this is gonna lead! Ah, the suspense, the angst, it's so much fun!" But it is not my expectation to be shocked in any way when I go to see a movie being made after Lord of the Rings. To the contrary, I just want to settle down in my chair and watch it with a smile on my face like I'm replaying some familiar dream that I've had before.

Maybe that's just me.

But I'm sure that most of us agree that if they want to feel shocked and angsty they'd rather see a thriller or a horror show than a fantasy movie based on a Tolkien book.
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Old 02-24-2005, 02:34 PM   #153
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I haven't had time to read this whole thread, but I read bits and pieces and just have a couple things to say.

Isn't it hilarious that most of the people who are criticizing the movie also really like the movie? I mean, it's one of their favorites and yet they find so much fault with it.

That must mean that most of the movie is awesome, and that these other things aren't enough to take the movie down too much.

But I guess it's probably super frustrating to have something that's really good when, in their minds, it could've/should've been "perfect".

If that's what you believe though (that an exact replication of the book on the screen would've been "perfect"), doesn't that mean you view the book as "perfect"- I mean, like it's the Bible or something?
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Old 02-24-2005, 03:15 PM   #154
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Well, I don't think the Bible is perfect...
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Old 02-24-2005, 10:36 PM   #155
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Well, I don't think the Bible is perfect...
Well okay, but I think that you understood perfectly well what I meant by that statement, am I right? If so, then the only reasoning I can see for making that post was simply to antagonize a certain group of members- hardly a good reason for posting.

But it seems that my post was flawed as well. I had a bit of free time this evening so I read more of this thread, and it seems that the "sacred text" idea has already been brought up. Sorry for being redundant. I'm just a newbie.
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When she was discussing the decision to have Frodo send Sam away, she says that one of the reasons she likes this change is that it "shocked fans of the book". She sees that shock as a good thing as it shakes them up and makes them wonder just how this movie is going to turn out.
Wow. I can understand purists being angry about that. But you must realize that books and movies are different. Movie and television types (PJ and co) I think are more about shock than your normal author.

When you are reading a book there's never a time when you turn the page and something jumps out at you (unless it's a pop-up book ) and there is never a time where an unexpected loud noise scares you. A book cannot shock and surprise in the same way a movie can. A movie can shock and surprise in many ways (and shocks and surprises always get a reaction from the audience, which is what directors are shooting for) therefore movie people are more obsessed with shocking people. It's in their nature.

And as badly as we want a "true" version, just think if PJ had given it to us. Half the threads on every forum wouldn't exist. Someone would start a thread and say "Wow, that movie was good. It was just like the book." and then everyone else would post and say "yeah, that's what I think" and then mods would shut the thread down due to "redundant posts". (a bit of an exaggeration, we could still talk about the acting, visuals, and music- but if everything was exactly like the book than all character discussions and the like could simply be put into the books forum)

Anyway, I loved the movies and though they perhaps would've been more "magical" for me had they stuck to the book, the deviations PJ made leaves the door open for a future director (in 35 years or so?) to make his mark by making a version that sticks to the pages a bit better.
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:58 AM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPotSS

When you are reading a book there's never a time when you turn the page and something jumps out at you (unless it's a pop-up book ) and there is never a time where an unexpected loud noise scares you. A book cannot shock and surprise in the same way a movie can. A movie can shock and surprise in many ways (and shocks and surprises always get a reaction from the audience, which is what directors are shooting for) therefore movie people are more obsessed with shocking people. It's in their nature.
Still, a book can shock , as well. Not resorting to basic tricks like 'eerie music', a sudden noise, but to choice of wording, building an expectation over the course of many pages, then tearing it down with a carefully placed word or two. Take Harry Potter for instance. Granted, it's much more difficult to achieve such a thing in books than in movies for obvious reasons.
But this is a little beside the point.

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But I guess it's probably super frustrating to have something that's really good when, in their minds, it could've/should've been "perfect".
This applies very well to me. Not perfect as in 'the Bible is perfect', but perfect as a world where everything falls into place. Yeah, I do believe Tolkien was a genius.
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Old 02-25-2005, 02:52 AM   #157
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If you are a purist then you have to appreciate the movie version for it's scenery, costumes...
I have a feeling that images I would have had fo scenery and costumes and all if I only read the books before the movie, would been different . I mean, there might not be one to one likeness of what I imagine when someone says 'blue river' and what any of you imagine. I bet.

I dont mean anything in the long run . I'm just awed by this heated dbate
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Old 02-25-2005, 05:37 AM   #158
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My distaste for religion had nothing to do with that post.

I actually don't know what your earlier statement means. I don't compare The Lord of the Rings to the Bible in any way. I am further baffled by this idea of perfection. The Lord of the Rings is not perfect nor imperfect; it is non-perfect, or rather, perfection has absolutely nothing to do with it.

An exact replication of the book was always a fundamental impossibility, so there could never be a "perfect replication" to be called "perfect". A very good representation would, however, have been very good.
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Old 02-25-2005, 10:15 AM   #159
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A book cannot shock and surprise in the same way a movie can. A movie can shock and surprise in many ways
This is true to some extent - however, it misses the point. What we are dealing with in the decision to have Frodo send Sam away is not a shocking visual or auditory moment. An example of the kind of shock you describe is Bilbo's momentary transformation in Fellowship. This is nothing like that - it is not a cinematic surprise at all; it is merely the kind of surprise one experiences on learning (in any way) that such and such a change has been made. And to the portion of the audience that had not read the book, it did not even offer that kind of surprise.

So to say that this "twist" was a cinematic effect at all seems incorrect to me.
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:58 PM   #160
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This is nothing like that - it is not a cinematic surprise at all; it is merely the kind of surprise one experiences on learning (in any way) that such and such a change has been made. And to the portion of the audience that had not read the book, it did not even offer that kind of surprise.
Indeed. I can see why they chose to rewrite like this, as it makes certain psychological motivations easier to understand for a non-reading audience, but that doesn't mean I liked what they did. I thought it was an example of clumsy script writing and rather more obvious than I'd have liked. But again, it is the scriptwriting team's 'justification' which falls down flat. It wasn't going to shock anyone in the right way, just shock keen readers in that the plot had been altered again.

Books do offer shocks and surprises just as much as films do. Why else would thrillers and horror sell by the bucketload? And who hasn't been kept up all night with a real 'page-turner'? Suspense and shocking moments are one of the mainstays of plot, and you find it even in Jane Austen novels - though perhaps I ought to pick on a bad writer for a good example here.
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