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Old 03-02-2005, 11:33 AM   #201
Fordim Hedgethistle
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Perhaps another analogy would be useful at this point:

I think I'm most like Saucy here. I just don't see the film and the book as the 'same' in any way; they are separate works, best regarded as separate. To claim that the movie is a dumbed down version of the book is like saying that an apple is a dumbed down version of an orange.

Yes, the film is based on the book, but it is not the book itself. The differences between the two mediums is simply too great to make comparison possible except upon lines that are only and can ever be purely subjective: "I like this about the book but not this about the movie"; "I think this could have been done better in the movie"; "I enjoyed the book more." OK, wonderful opinions, but that's all they are and can ever be: these do not constitue some kind of objective means whereby we can establish whether or not the film is "successful" in any way beyond it's "success" in evoking (or not) these same subjective responses.

But to my analogy:

I adore Hamlet. It is a wonderful play. One of the things that I like most about it is its infinite variety (to quote another Shakey play. . .) It is such a rich text that there is just no way to do "all" of it in any one production or version -- the "definitive" performance of Hamlet is just not possible as there is too much, well, potential in the text for any single performance to bring out. That is why it is such a successful play in theatre history -- well, one of the reasons. Every Hamlet is different, and every one brings out different elements of the text. I like some productions and not others; some I think are brilliant and others are appallingly bad, but I never make the mistake of conflating the performance of the play to the text: they are different. Nor do I make the mistake of claiming that a performance of the text necessarily "dumbs it down" -- in the written version, all the potential and possible Hamlets are there, but for it to work on stage, there can only be one Hamlet. This is the nature of drama.

PJ and crew had it even tougher than directors who put on Hamlet, however, insofar as Shakespeare was writing a text that was meant for performance, when Tolkien most emphatically was not. The 'distance' between the text and the performance in the case of Tolkien's work is vastly greater than with anything by Shakespeare, which does even more to short-circuit any attempt to meaningfully or objectifiably compare them to one another in any way other than, again, through the purely subjective.

In a perfect world, there would be a dozen other film makers out there with the money, time and vision necessary to make their own versions of LotR. As has been happening with Hamlet for 400 years now, these different versions would bring out different views and aspects of the text, develop its different potentials, and slowly a dynamic, fuller view of it would be available in performative/dramatic form, but none of them would be in any way definitive or complete. To attempt such a thing is hubris. To demand such a thing of a performance is naive. To condemn a performance for not accomplishing it is unfair and entirely misled.
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Old 03-02-2005, 11:42 AM   #202
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That's dedication Saucepan, or maybe it's just addiction...

Anywho, I'd like to bring up a point championed by myself on a couple of other threads. That being: why not talk about it? I love these discussions that may seem to some people to go around in circles. However, they are interesting. Please don't try and end them by saying "Live with it" or "Stop complaining."

I get the feeling this thread will roll on for a while yet. Page 5 is just as interesting as page 1.
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Old 03-02-2005, 11:45 AM   #203
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I find many of your points fascinating, Mr. 'Edgethistle, but I have to object to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordim Hedgethistle
I think I'm most like Saucy here. I just don't see the film and the book as the 'same' in any way; they are separate works, best regarded as separate. To claim that the movie is a dumbed down version of the book is like saying that an apple is a dumbed down version of an orange.
You can't make this comparisom at all, since apples and oranges have (if you are a creationist Catholic like myself) one and the same origin in the same God, created at the same time for separate purposes. Or, if you're an evolutionist, then they have separate evolutionary paths parallel to each other, not one derived from the other.

As has been pointed out so many times, the movie is derived from the book. It isn't an evolutionary journey, because that would make it a throwback. The story was not improved to adapt to its new environment, it was, at best, a step sideways. And many would say not even that.

Comparisom to the book is inevitable. It has to happen, just a portrait is inevitably compared to the subject. Until such time as the subject and everyone that knew it dies, the portrait cannot be seen except in the light of the subject. In this case, I think we all agree that the subject (the book) will outlive the portrait (the movie).
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Old 03-02-2005, 11:58 AM   #204
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To claim that the movie is a dumbed down version of the book is like saying that an apple is a dumbed down version of an orange.
Quote:
You can't make this comparisom at all
You're right, Formendacil. To say that a DERIVATIVE WORK and it's SOURCE MATERIAL are apples and oranges is ridiculous. We're not comparing apples and oranges. We're comparing orange juice and oranges, and saying that orange juice is a dumbed down version of an orange.

And I also agree with what Eomer said. If you aren't enjoying this thread then just don't read it. I am enjoying all of the back-and-forth action. I get to see people's thoughts on something that I'm interested in. I like it. I say we keep this going for a million pages.
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Old 03-02-2005, 02:29 PM   #205
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This new piece on TORN seems quite relevant:

http://greenbooks.theonering.net/anw...es/030105.html

Quote:
PJ and crew had it even tougher than directors who put on Hamlet, however, insofar as Shakespeare was writing a text that was meant for performance, when Tolkien most emphatically was not.
Perhaps this is the root of the problem - Tolkien wasn't writing a 'first draft screenplay' but Jackson & the writers seem to be under the impression that he was. LotR was never intended to be dramatised, so it wasn't written with that in mind. It seems most novels are now written with movies in mind & the film rights are negotiated along with the publication rights in many cases. Its seen as inevitable now that any successful novel will be filmed. Tolkien waswriting in a period when this wasn't the case.

I do wonder what LotR would be like if Tolkien had written it recently - would he have taken for granted that his book would be optioned & so have written it with that in mind & done some things differently? Its interesting how many pro movie contributors have argued that novels & films work differently & that a book cannot be translated to the screen exactly as it is. It strikes me that many current novels are written so as to be as easy as possible to adapt to other mediums.

I think this is perhaps what CT means by LotR being inherently unsuitable for dramatisation in visual form. It was never intended by the author that the story would have any other form. Hence the language (I don't just mean the dialogue)is central. Perhaps that's why I much prefer the radio series, because it not only retains most of the original dialogue but also place the narrator centre stage, & he uses Tolkien's original words. This means that the 'mood' of the tale, so much of which depends on the language & turns of phrase Tolkien used, is retained. In short, listening to the radio series feels like reading LotR, whereas watching the movies doesn't. The radio series is much more like a dramatised reading than a dramatiastion per se. Perhaps that's the only way it can work in terms of dramatisation..

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Old 03-02-2005, 03:20 PM   #206
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Davem, yes the readio dramatisation was good, and worked well in the way you said above, but it also tinkered with tolkien's text and added stuff in where Brian Sibley felt appropriate. i.e. just 2 examples off the top of my head, he added in the witch king meeting up with wormtounge, and more text at the havens to make it even more weepy than it is. so it's not as faithful as one may seem. I was lucky enough to meet Mr Sibley at a london howard shore concert, and thanked him for a great adaptation. He's a nice, cordial fellow, and can dramatise a book very well, it seems.

PS the baski cartoon was a lot more faithful than PJ's versions. Are you saying this is a better adaptation?????

PPS to those I annoyed by saying Live with it. We have to, it's as simple as that. I have to live with the constant dissing of these movies by a seemingly large percentage of barrow-down movie thread writers, and the people greatly annoyed by PJ's interpretation have to Live with the Film itself. But we are going around in circles here (but I can't stop either as I can't resist an argument)

PPPS Don't get me wrong, the books are far better than the movies, but the films themselves are the best films ever made. you can therefore work out my feelings towards the book.
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Old 03-02-2005, 03:33 PM   #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Essex
PPS to those I annoyed by saying Live with it. We have to, it's as simple as that. I have to live with the constant dissing of these movies by a seemingly large percentage of barrow-down movie thread writers, and the people greatly annoyed by PJ's interpretation have to Live with the Film itself. But we are going around in circles here (but I can't stop either as I can't resist an argument).
Well, it has already been admitted that this is a circular discussion in nature. Like the orbit of Earth around the Sun, it cannot be any other. However, like the seasons that come up every time around, each argument/opinion is different than the last one like it. No two autumns/winters/summers/springs are the same, and in the same way are no two for/against/don't care opinions the same, nor are the way they are stated the same. And just as the variation from year to year gives us a greater appreciation for each season in general, so too does the variation from argument to argument give us a greater appreciation for each opinion.

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Originally Posted by Essex
PS the baski cartoon was a lot more faithful than PJ's versions. Are you saying this is a better adaptation?????
Actually, I didn't mind the Bakhshi cartoon. It wasn't as good filmically, but my main complaints when I saw it were the lack of wide vistas, the dark lighting, and the poorer sound quality, together with a less inspiring score. The story as they did it there did not irritate me nearly as much as Jackson's version. That's what really ticked me off when I saw FotR in theatres the first time. It was such an amazing movie visually, audibly, and musically, with talented actors, that I was really let down when they couldn't carry over that talent into the story.
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Old 03-02-2005, 04:13 PM   #208
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Originally Posted by Essex
Davem, yes the readio dramatisation was good, and worked well in the way you said above, but it also tinkered with tolkien's text and added stuff in where Brian Sibley felt appropriate. i.e. just 2 examples off the top of my head, he added in the witch king meeting up with wormtounge, and more text at the havens to make it even more weepy than it is. so it's not as faithful as one may seem.
I suppose it depends on what you mean by 'faithful'. Certainly Sibley (& Michael Bakewell, his co-adaptor who always seems to be forgotten) left out certain episodes, changed the order of events at the end at the end of the story & added in some bits - though the one of the ones you cite - Wormtongue encountering the Black Riders - is taken (mostly word for word) from 'The Hunt for the Ring' in UT, as is the earlier encounter of Saruman with them. But it didn't change the characters or their behaviour & motivations. These facts, along with so much use of the original text make it what I would consider a 'faithful' retelling.

I did have a lot of problems with the Bakshi version - not in terms of content but in terms of quality. I can't help wishing Bakshi had had Jacksons financial backing & access to CGI because it would have been interesting to see what he would have produced.
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Old 03-02-2005, 04:21 PM   #209
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Originally Posted by Fordim
PJ and crew had it even tougher than directors who put on Hamlet, however, insofar as Shakespeare was writing a text that was meant for performance, when Tolkien most emphatically was not.
This could be a justification for why the scriptwriters of LotR ought to have paid more attention to the content of the original text. Shakespeare wrote plays, Tolkien wrote novels, two very different things. Many years ago I voiced the opinion that Shakespeare plays were meant to be performed and that reading the texts was something entirely different. A play can be adapted, that is part of its nature, or rather, it can be interpreted, in the dramatic sense. A novel is not like that. You dramatise it in a modern setting (e.g. Clueless being a modern version of Emma), but this essentially changes it utterly. This is why it is even more important for the scriptwriter working on an adatation to pay particular attention to the original text as the smallest nuance of meaning is easy to miss or to change.

Yes, my main gripe with the films is indeed the textual changes, the changes of plot and character, and the use of too much modern idiom. I call this dumbing down because the sheer audience numbers showed that had these changes not been made or indeed, not made quite so clumsily, and more of the original and beautiful language used at the expense of some naff lines, there would have been no diminishing box office figures. Yet again, I must pull up things that those who have not read the books have said to me, and one of those things is that they comment on how some of the lines are incredibly moving and they cannot forget them. These, strangely enough, are Tolkien's own lines.

It does just frustrate me so much, when they made such a good job of everything else, that the main drive of the films, the scripts, could have been so much better, and it is in Two Towers in particular where they go noticeably astray. A double shame because that is the film where they portrayed the people of Rohan so beautifully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpM
there are numerous Hollywood-made WW2 films that replace some or all of the original heroes with Americans to make them more appealing to American audiences. Clearly, such changes are made with the intention of increasing a film's appeal with its intended audience. And changing historical fact, with the effect that people end up believing that this is how it really happened, irks me far more, and seems to me to be much more of a crime, than altering what is, after all, a fictional story.
I daren't even mention Pearl Harbor to my father lest he start ranting about the insinuations made about the RAF in said film, so i understand your point. Now it might be slightly disturbing, but there is something about LotR which has entered my mind so deeply that it has become more than a mere fictional story. I think it is in fact nothing disturbing, it is simply that I love it so much, and I desperately wanted the films to be perfect.

Anyway...what's wrong with discussing things over and over? It reminds me of those long, smoky, drunken conversations of my student days when you would sit up all night arguing the same point over and over and suddenly look at the clock and realise it is in fact 5am and you had better go to bed. And though I may disagree with some people's points, I learn much from what they have to say!
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Old 03-02-2005, 05:46 PM   #210
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1420! I hope I don't get stoned to death....

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Originally posted by Spm: If one accepts this proposition then it follows that, objectively, anything could be better than it is (including the book).
I hope I don't get stones chucked at me for this one, but I actually believed Jackson made improvements on Tolkien's books. It isn't anything big, or drastic, but the best example is having Eomer threaten Grima and not Gandalf. Tolkien has Gandalf say the line, to Grima, "Too long have you watcher her (Eowyn) under your eyelids, too long have you haunted her steps." Jackson gives this line to Eomer, which I think gives more emphasis, and meaning behind that line, considering it's coming from Eomer, her brother. Having Gandalf say it, I think weakens it, since he is just some mysterious old man, that comes once in awhile. I like this line given to Eomer, more than to Gandalf, which would make it an improvement on Tolkien's work. Surely it's not a big difference, but never the less, an improvement.
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Old 03-03-2005, 05:29 AM   #211
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Wormtongue encountering the Black Riders - is taken (mostly word for word) from 'The Hunt for the Ring' in UT
Yes I read the hunt for the ring section, so let's add another new scene added in - the capture of gollum by the witch king and his torture in mordor. also, the first hobbiton scene where we have bilbo talking to frodo. (and many others) so the radio adaptation is exactly that - an ADAPTATION - if you want the book word for word, we must listen to the 54 hour narrated version.

PS thinking of the UT book, wasn't the wormtounge scene incompatible with the final plot and changed inasmuch as the witch king did NOT meet up with wormtounge, but went straight to saruman instead? (ie wormtounge did not give gandalf away) - that's the problem in adding in work from the UT into any adaptation of LOTR

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Old 03-03-2005, 08:18 AM   #212
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Originally Posted by Essex
Yes I read the hunt for the ring section, so let's add another new scene added in - the capture of gollum by the witch king and his torture in mordor. also, the first hobbiton scene where we have bilbo talking to frodo. (and many others) so the radio adaptation is exactly that - an ADAPTATION - if you want the book word for word, we must listen to the 54 hour narrated version.

PS thinking of the UT book, wasn't the wormtounge scene incompatible with the final plot and changed inasmuch as the witch king did NOT meet up with wormtounge, but went straight to saruman instead? (ie wormtounge did not give gandalf away) - that's the problem in adding in work from the UT into any adaptation of LOTR
Of course the radio series was an adaptation. I'm not objecting to adaptations per se. I like the radio adaptaion because its faithful to the book in spirit & very nearly in letter. The movie is not anywhere near as faithful & in some scenes the changes made alter characters & events out of all recognition. I think what it comes down to is that Sibley & Bakewell wanted to tell Tolkien's story in the best & most faithful way they could (which would inevitably - & much to the adaptors' regret - require excisions & new connecting/establishing scenes) while PJ & the scriptwriters wanted to produce a blockbuster movie series using LotR as their raw material.

Whatever you think of the movies as opposed to the radio series I defy anyone to compare them both to the book & say the films were more faithful to the book , or comunicated the spirit of it more effectively.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:41 AM   #213
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I didn't say that. I said that the radio series wans't as faithful to the lotr text as
I thought you implied.

just to say one piece of work is better because it uses more of the actual text
from tolkien is one sided. I personally would have loved the films to have used more direct text from the books, and one of my pet hates is the changing of someone's line to other characters (which doesn't bother some people). But it's not just the text itself. It's the feeling and the emotions that PJ's version stirs up.

If someone said to me I was only allowed to view the films or listen to the radio adaptation I would pick the films every time.
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Old 03-03-2005, 11:11 AM   #214
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PS thinking of the UT book, wasn't the wormtounge scene incompatible with the final plot and changed inasmuch as the witch king did NOT meet up with wormtounge, but went straight to saruman instead? (ie wormtounge did not give gandalf away) - that's the problem in adding in work from the UT into any adaptation of LOTR
Yes, Tolkien seems to have decided (according to Christopher Tolkien) that two days was not enough for Gandalf to escape Orthanc, get to Edoras and have Wormtongue get back to Orthanc from Edoras to inform Saruman. In the final version, it was the "Slant-eyed Southerner" who betrayed Saruman to the Witch King.

This brings up a point about this adaptation and about the 'knock-on' effect that Saucepan mentioned (though, of course, that scene itself has nothing to do with it since it was in neither the book nor the movie!) Tolkien crafted his story with as much care as was possible, and to make changes risks creating problems down the line that need even more explanation, thus creating more changes etc.

In the commentary for "The Fellowship of the Ring," I believe it's Phillippa that says "we don't know for certain that [the hobbits] DIDN'T pass through the Old Forest and visit Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Downs, it's just not shown." (or something to that effect.) Then, just a few scenes later, Strider gives the hobbits their weapons, a plot change to cover the deletion of those scenes. Later, (in the extended edition) Galadriel gives Merry and Pippin weapons instead of just silver belts, probably to enhance the weapon's specialness (is that a word?) so that a 'special' weapon can be used two movies later to stab the Witch-King. Another change from the original. (Please note that I delberately chose an apparently non-controversial change.)

Obviously, there are basically three things you can do to any story to adapt it into a different art form. You can add to it, you can change it or you can delete from it. In 'Fellowship,' the primary tool used was deletion, excepting, of course, Arwen's part which was enhanced for reasons that, I believe, were previously discussed. For the most part, in 'Fellowship' this works well, and only seems to disappoint because we look forward to favorite scenes and characters that are now missing. For example, I would have loved to have seen the Barrow-downs scenes intact, ("intact" is a dangerous word on this thread,) but I didn't expect to. My disappointment came and went before the movie was even released.

In 'Two Towers' we have a different animal altogether. "Wargs attack the people of Edoras!" "Aragorn dragged off a cliff!" "Elves at Helm's Deep instead of Eomer!" "Frodo shows the Ring to the Nazgul! (in Osgiliath, no less)" etc. I know these changes seem gratuitous, and some of them are, but imagine a truly loyal telling of the plot of 'Two Towers.' The entire battle of Helm's Deep would have to be over and done with in the first forty-five minutes to an hour, and we'd spend the first ninety minutes without knowing what may have become of Frodo and Sam. In the book, this delay helps to build tension and enhance the epic qualities of the story. On the screen, it would have had even loyalists like us walking out of the theatre. Many of the structural changes were necessary simply because film is a completely different language than literature. In a movie theatre, we spend nearly half our time sitting in complete darkness staring at a blank screen, waiting for the next frame to pop up. We just don't notice the gaps, because they happen so fast. A book can be studied and reviewed and re-read for detail that is simply not available to a film audience sitting in a theatre.

Fordim:
Quote:
I think I'm most like Saucy here. I just don't see the film and the book as the 'same' in any way; they are separate works, best regarded as separate. To claim that the movie is a dumbed down version of the book is like saying that an apple is a dumbed down version of an orange.
I must say, I agree, but with certain reservations. I much prefer Tolkien's carefully crafted plot choices to Peter Jackson's visually exciting ones. Not the structure of their telling, mind you, just the plot elements themselves. Jackson's changes did create plot-holes that were not present in the book and need not have been present in the movies, if more care had been taken in making the changes he made. I wouldn't necessarily say he was 'dumbing down' the book so much as he was occasionally 'dumbing down' his own story without covering it later. Still, that's an analysis after many viewings and I have to say I was still swept along by the films when I first watched them, and enjoyed them immensely.
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Old 03-03-2005, 11:37 AM   #215
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In the commentary for "The Fellowship of the Ring," I believe it's Phillippa that says "we don't know for certain that [the hobbits] DIDN'T pass through the Old Forest and visit Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Downs, it's just not shown." (or something to that effect.) Then, just a few scenes later, Strider gives the hobbits their weapons, a plot change to cover the deletion of those scenes. Later, (in the extended edition) Galadriel gives Merry and Pippin weapons instead of just silver belts, probably to enhance the weapon's specialness (is that a word?) so that a 'special' weapon can be used two movies later to stab the Witch-King. Another change from the original. (Please note that I delberately chose an apparently non-controversial change.)
This is a good example of where the scriptwriters obviously took care to make sure they had considered the needs of the plot, or even the continuity of the story as it were. Interestingly it is found in the first film, which I found to be the most carefully crafted of the three by a country mile.

But a thought has occurred to me here. In actually taking the care to do this, it is as though the scriptwriting team could have created something of an entirely new version of LotR, one which covers the plot holes, and creates new events which will have an effect on events further down the line. But by not carrying this through in all of the films, they missed a great opportunity. Did they become over confident, I wonder?

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Originally Posted by radagastly
Many of the structural changes were necessary simply because film is a completely different language than literature.
I agree that some changes were indeed needed, and one of the major changes was to weave the tales of Books 3 and 4 together. Even the most keen cinema audiences might have struggled with a film of two distinct halves. Jackson defended this well, and he also gave perfectly valid reasons for moving the episode with Shelob into the final film. It's the changes which cannot be justified which I do not like.
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:16 PM   #216
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radagastly, totally agreee, especially
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and to make changes risks creating problems down the line that need even more explanation, thus creating more changes etc.

In the commentary for "The Fellowship of the Ring," I believe it's Phillippa that says "we don't know for certain that [the hobbits] DIDN'T pass through the Old Forest and visit Tom Bombadil and the Barrow Downs, it's just not shown." (or something to that effect.) Then, just a few scenes later, Strider gives the hobbits their weapons, a plot change to cover the deletion of those scenes. Later, (in the extended edition) Galadriel gives Merry and Pippin weapons instead of just silver belts, probably to enhance the weapon's specialness (is that a word?) so that a 'special' weapon can be used two movies later to stab the Witch-King. Another change from the original. (Please note that I delberately chose an apparently non-controversial change.)
The changes Boyens, walsh and jackson made do tend to give us plot holes in certain cases. In your point above, boyens was wrong in saying that 'pretend that they DID pass through the old forest etc' not just for the sword (which to me is one of the most pivotal plot lines in the whole trilogy) but also Merry mentions to Pippin as they're brought to fangorn by the orcs that 'you remeber the stories of the old forest, etc?' remember the stories, phillipa? you reckon they passed through there a few weeks ago! god, that bump on Merry's head must have caused some amnesia!

I find it interesting that a lot (perhaps most) people say that the Fellowship is the closest adaptation to the book. if we're talking about the number of deletions and changes, I would hazard a guess that it is the LEAST faithful to the books, even more so that TT (yes in TT we had the 'biggest' ones, faramir, etc). for example, at the begining we have gandalf meet Frodo. no he doesn't! but this is the curse of trying to be faithful to the books. How can we, unless we have a narrator talk over the film, which DEFINATELY wouldn't work for film. But the scene itself with gandalf and frodo was excellent, just transposing the narration to the characters instead. (Just like Frodo infront of the Nazgul at Osgilliath was transposed from the scene in the book where Frodo is tempted to show the Witch king the ring at Minas Morgul)

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Old 03-03-2005, 12:20 PM   #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radagastly
Yes, Tolkien seems to have decided (according to Christopher Tolkien) that two days was not enough for Gandalf to escape Orthanc, get to Edoras and have Wormtongue get back to Orthanc from Edoras to inform Saruman. In the final version, it was the "Slant-eyed Southerner" who betrayed Saruman to the Witch King.
Time.

Another major inconsistency in the movies.

Obviously, in converting a book to a movie, there will be a reduction in the time you have to show something. Obviously, you can't convey nearly as well the enormous amounts of time spent doing nothing. It isn't important to the film that there are 17 years between the Farewell Party and Gandalf's return. Nor is it important that Frodo "really" leaves Bag-End half a year later, and not the next morning.

And yet.... and yet....

It doesn't feel right.

The Lord of the Rings is a great, world-changing epic, and like most world-changing events (by world-changing I mean in middle-earth, not the real world), it takes TIME.

Does it feel right that a Ring that lay lost for 3000 years, and then right under Gandalf's nose for 60+ years is discovered by Gandalf to be THE One Ring in the course of, what the movie shows, as about 3 months? It doesn't feel right.

However, this is rather piddly stuff, and as such, it isn't much of an issue for me. Jackson does a great job in moving the Fellowship along its course to show the passage of time. Two weeks from Rivendell to Caradhras feels right. Three days in the Mines feels right. A month in Lorien feels possible (especially in light of Sam's queries on the River). A good job was done in the Two Towers of showing the elapsing of time.

Then, in the Return of the King, Jackson shoots his own work down, and has Elrond make it to Dunharrow in what appears to be a matter of a couple days, after establishing how long it took Aragorn to get there (if by a slightly longer route) from Rivendell. The journey of Frodo and Sam across Mordor, and the parallel journey of Aragorn's army also doesn't work in the same way the previous movies did. And the journey back to the Shire? What journey? It isn't even HINTED at.

Then, what REALLY baffles me: the amount of time from Frodo's return to the Shire until his departure to the Grey Havens. Jackson LENGTHENS the amount of time. After his shortening of time elsewhere, why on earth is he doing this? (Evidence: as Frodo is leaving for the Havens, we have a voiceover by him that it is four or five years, I forget which, since some event at the start of his quest. I apologise for the vagueness of the quote, but it was very clearly TOO much time. Frodo left in 1421. His quest occurred in 1418-1419. It wasn't four years since ANYTHING in his life. Let alone five.)

Has this distortion of time, more especially the inconsistency in its usage, and the lack of any apparent reason in some places, annoyed anyone other than me? I think that it constitutes a very genuine "dumbing down" of movies. Not because it was a change from Tolkien, but because it was done inconsistently, sometimes with no real reason, and quite often for the benefit of "the audience".
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:25 PM   #218
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Please note that I delberately chose an apparently non-controversial change.
You chose wrong. That change resulted in there being absolutely no explanation for Merry's sword. The audience has no clue that his blade is special, therefore the audience assumes that all you have to do to render the Witch King helpless is to have any weak little hobbit poke him in the leg with any old knife- which of course is extremely inconsistent with the rest of the movie where the WK is portrayed as being very powerful.
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:57 PM   #219
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Frodo is leaving for the Havens, we have a voiceover by him that it is four or five years, I forget which, since some event at the start of his quest. I apologise for the vagueness of the quote, but it was very clearly TOO much time. Frodo left in 1421. His quest occurred in 1418-1419. It wasn't four years since ANYTHING in his life. Let alone five
It was actually what Frodo mentions to Sam at his desk. 'It's been 4 years, etc'. I put it to you that the ONLY reason PJ did this is as a favour to Sean Astin, as Sean greets his real daughter at the end of the film, whereas in the book, Sam is only greeted by Rosie and his first (baby) daughter, Elanor.

About the Time factor, the way we have Frodo have to hunt deep down into his treasure chest to find the ring for Gandalf seems to be the way the director shows the passage of time from Gandalf leaving and coming back. Of course this isn't 17 years, but I think this is his nod to it being a 'long' time.

lord of dor-lomin, your point re Merry. totally agree, but to me Im able to pretend in most cases that what doesn't happen in the film that SHOULD do, does happen. i.e. I can marry both film and book together whilst watching the film, so when I watch the WK scene, Merry gets the Witch King with the sword that Tom gave him.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:15 PM   #220
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First of all I think that the problem with the swords could have been cleared up by Aragorn saying that they were heirlooms of his people and were magic.

Anyway, I was watching some of the commentary in RotK the other day and noticed something that made me very angry. Several times Peter Jackson stumbled when trying to remember how things happened in the book as opposed to his changes. It became quite clear after he was corrected several times by the other commentators that he didn't know Tolkien's stories all that well. LotR is Tolkien's story, not Jackson's. If he wanted to create a story of his own then he should have done so rather than adapting someone elses work. The most damning thing he said was something like, "I'm not really sure how it was supposed to work, we were just making stuff up as we went along, it doesn't really matter anyway". To be fair he was talking about a very minor change at the time, one which I didn't mind when I saw it, but even so it made me very angry. Making a mistake is one thing but to not care at all? I think that if you are going to write an adapted screenplay then you must first go through the work with as much, or nearly as much, detail as is being done in the CbC forum. Only then will you be able to create the best adaptation possible.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:47 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by Neithan
Several times Peter Jackson stumbled when trying to remember how things happened in the book as opposed to his changes. It became quite clear after he was corrected several times by the other commentators that he didn't know Tolkien's stories all that well.
Not sure if he or the other commentators knew the stories well or not; irregardless, what they ended up writing/filming was not the books. However, what makes me suspicious is that the first film was close with some parts of the story missing, the second added scenes not found in the books, and the third continued this divergence with more input from the writers than from JRRT.

I understand (somewhat) adaptation, but adding to the story was just wrong.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:58 PM   #222
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totally agree, but to me Im able to pretend in most cases that what doesn't happen in the film that SHOULD do, does happen. i.e. I can marry both film and book together whilst watching the film, so when I watch the WK scene, Merry gets the Witch King with the sword that Tom gave him.
Well, that's all fine and dandy for you, but non-readers certainly can't do this. There is no way for non-readers to reconcile the silliness of the WK's death.
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First of all I think that the problem with the swords could have been cleared up by Aragorn saying that they were heirlooms of his people and were magic.
Yes! Thank you! It was a problem that could've been fixed. Someone could've said (Elrond, Gandalf, Galadriel, or Aragorn) when looking at the blade, "Hey, this blade was forged specifically to kill the WK". I know that seems like dumbing it down, but Tolkien was very clear on this point. When Merry stabbed TWK Tolkien specifically said that no other blade in the world, though wielded by a mighty warrior, could have hurt TWK so bad- so making it obvious would not have dumbed the movie down.
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:07 PM   #223
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Yes! Thank you! It was a problem that could've been fixed. Someone could've said (Elrond, Gandalf, Galadriel, or Aragorn) when looking at the blade, "Hey, this blade was forged specifically to kill the WK". I know that seems like dumbing it down, but Tolkien was very clear on this point. When Merry stabbed TWK Tolkien specifically said that no other blade in the world, though wielded by a mighty warrior, could have hurt TWK so bad- so making it obvious would not have dumbed the movie down.
When Aragorn gives the hobbits their swords, it looks like he found them somewhere (in a junk pile) and hands them over, like, "here, these are better than sticks."

The boy's (Haleth?) sword at Helm's Deep gets more attention and scrutiny.

And why did PJ have Merry's blade wither? Was this to show that something important happened? I don't think that Eowyn's blade suffered so.
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:13 PM   #224
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And why did PJ have Merry's blade wither?
I thought that every blade that touched TWK was supposed to do that. Did Eowyn's not bust? Or did she drop it too quick to tell?
Quote:
The boy's (Haleth?) sword at Helm's Deep gets more attention and scrutiny.
Yeah. Can you get any more addle-brained, PJ? Bring in some little kid and have Aragorn swing his sword around (something that was pointless and made up) and don't explain Merry's sword (something that was important and in the book).

Makes sense to me.
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When Aragorn gives the hobbits their swords, it looks like he found them somewhere (in a junk pile) and hands them over, like, "here, these are better than sticks."
Ha ha ha!!

You're right on! That's exactly what it was like!
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:32 PM   #225
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the film, doesn't Merry stab the WK with the dagger he was given by Galadriel in Lorien?? There's not much of a big deal made of that blade, but it was from the White Lady. . .

Or did he use the sword of the Rohirrim given him by Eowyn. . .?

Either way, I too would have liked a bit of an explanation as to the magical provenance of Merry's blade, but I don't think it's necessary. The WK is not diminished by the lack of magic-blade in anyway -- just look at the size of his mace!!!

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Old 03-03-2005, 02:44 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by Fordim Hedgethistle
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in the film, doesn't Merry stab the WK with the dagger he was given by Galadriel in Lorien?? There's not much of a big deal made of that blade, but it was from the White Lady. . .

Or did he use the sword of the Rohirrim given him by Eowyn. . .?
Not sure with what sword he is armed. Assume that it was either the one given to him by Aragorn or the one gifted by Galadriel. Most likely the one he received at Weathertop (just thinking about what it looked like when he uses it on the Pelennor fields). How does he get either back after his Uruk Hai riding experience? I can't remember seeing his sword being returned to him when he meets the three hunters at Orthanc.

We readers all know how he gets his sword back, but what assumption did the average movie-goer make, or wasn't it that important as seemingly any sharp object wielded by a Hobbit will do?
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Old 03-03-2005, 03:23 PM   #227
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The WK is not diminished by the lack of magic-blade in anyway
I wouldn't say that. He kills Theoden, defeats Gandalf, and has the whole "no man can kill" line stuck on him, and as you said, with his mace and all he looks like an absolute beast...

...but then he gets killed in a weak, dumb way. That is definitely getting "diminished".

No doubt about that. You can't argue it. As someone said a few pages ago, he gets poked by a knife and proceeds to kneel down in front of Eowyn for ten minutes and allows her to take off her helmet, say her line, and stab him in the face. How stupid is that?

That's the same way you'd kill some little orc that got on your nerves. The only difference was that TWK's face crumpled up before he died. Ooh, aah, nice visual effect... that cool face crumple action sure makes up for his weak death now, doesn't it? Almost makes me forget he went out like a punk.
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Old 03-03-2005, 09:54 PM   #228
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After reading this thread I began to understand something about why I like the movies so much.

Although I compare the books to the movies like anybody else, I enjoy them appart. (As has been said already) However, I also look at the movies like a piece of art. It is very difficult not to. I think you guys are forgetting that this movie does represent the view of the people who worked on it, which happens with any play/movie that you see, You can't expect the movie to be exactly as you imagined it because the people who made it are different from you. They live differently and have different point of views so they will see the book differently as well.

In this thread it seems that you guys believe it isn't allowed to look at things i from another point of view.So if you want the movie the way you imagined it, go ahead, make it.

Of course I also see there are faults but I just let it lie and accept that everyone sees things from another perspective.

P.S. You also have to remeber that PJ couldn't just focus on the script alone. he had other things to do like directing a movie! Which means overseeing the art department, WETA, the costumes, the sets etc.
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Old 03-03-2005, 11:53 PM   #229
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Oh, don't give me all that "different point of view/perspective" stuff. I already addressed that a few pages back when I said this-
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Most of the complaints have nothing to do with PJ's "vision" (or personal interpretation) of the story.

If PJ thinks that elves have pointy ears and you don't agree, or if he thinks that Faramir is 6'4" but you think he's 6'6"- that would be where his "vision of the story" would come into play.

But what about having Faramir taking Frodo to Osgiliath? You could read the entire book upside down and backwards and there's still no possible way you could view or interpret the story like that.
Most all of our complaints are about things that were added (to the detriment of the story) or about things that were taken out where the resulting loose ends were left dangling.

Such things have no relation whatsoever to PJ's different "point of view".
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You can't expect the movie to be exactly as you imagined it
I seriously doubt that any of us ever harbored such utopian hopes, but we did, perhaps, expect there to be no glaring errors or inconsistencies introduced by complete departures from the text. Was such an expectation unreasonable?
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Old 03-04-2005, 03:50 AM   #230
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lord dor-lomin,

Take a close look at the text of the WK scene.

as important as merry's blade is (as I've said countless times) it's not just the blade itself that helps defeat the witch king. It's the point that Merry is OVERLOOKED by everyone (except eowyn) which works exactly as it does in the book. Merry was able to sneak up on the witch king and attack him from behind, hitting him just below the knee (perhaps a play on Achilles' heel?) and dealt a BITTER blow. No matter whether he had a great sword or not, if he was a great Warrior etc, he would have NOT GOT NEAR the WK to attack him. It was becuase he was a 'lowly' hobbit, totally disregarded, that he was able to help defeat the WK. This theme is EXACTLY the same in the film as it is in the book, and is highly important. If PJ could have somehow fit in the Barrowdown scenes with the Numenorean sword then this scene would have been perfect.

On top of this, why wouldn't the WK kneel there for a matter of seconds after taking the blow from Merry? Yes, eowyn removes her helmet and says her line at this point in the film, but the WK had been dealt a BITTER blow as Tolkien tells us. Indeed, in the book, Eowyn slowly gets up from her knees, "tottering, struggling up", so this would take longer than removing her helmet and saying her world famous line at this point.

The reason PJ makes his helmet wither like it does, is because HE WAS BEING FAITHFUL TO THE BOOK. Read the scene from the book closely and you will see.


Neithan,

re
Quote:
Several times Peter Jackson stumbled when trying to remember how things happened in the book as opposed to his changes. It became quite clear after he was corrected several times by the other commentators that he didn't know Tolkien's stories all that well.
We also see this in the EE of FOTR. PJ doesn;t know the book TOO well, but it really wasn't him that wrote (and re-wrote) the script. In my opinion it was Phillipa Boyens and Fran Walsh, looking at the interviews the 3 held in various sections of the EEs.
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Old 03-04-2005, 11:24 AM   #231
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Yes yes, Essex, Merry was "overlooked" in the movie, just like in the book. I never complained about that.
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but the WK had been dealt a BITTER blow as Tolkien tells us
As "Tolkien tells us"??? How in the world does that relate to the movie? You are speaking of the book! Non-readers watching the movie have no clue what you're talking about when you say "bitter blow".

The movie blow wasn't a "bitter blow". It was a hobbit with a very ordinary weapon. Why should TWK fall down because of it? I mean- in The Fellowship, that big orc that Aragorn fought- Aragorn stabbed him in the leg and the orc didn't even come close to falling down. That orc didn't even stop when he got impaled!

So if an orc doesn't fall down after getting stabbed twice by a great warrior, we would expect that the ultimate bad guy would be able to withstand a hobbit induced leg wound just a little bit better than what he did!
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Indeed, in the book, Eowyn slowly gets up from her knees, "tottering, struggling up", so this would take longer than removing her helmet and saying her world famous line at this point.
Being faithful to the book in this way is a BAD thing, because PJ had already ruined it by NOT being faithful to the book when it comes to Merry's sword. In other words, he had TWK get damaged just as badly as he was in the book, but he neglected to give a reason as to why he was damaged so much.

There is NO WAY that this scene works for someone who doesn't already know about Merry's sword. PJ's partial adherence to the text only makes the scene worse. He should've just come up with his own thing for TWK's death if he wasn't going to explain Merry's sword.
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Old 03-04-2005, 01:58 PM   #232
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There's some interesting stuff here:http://tolkien.slimy.com/faq/History.html (sections 2-4). The references to lines in the books:

Quote:
Doubtless the Orcs despoiled them, but feared to keep the knives, knowing them for what they are: work of Westernesse, wound about with spells for the bane of Mordor.(The Departure of Boromir)

&

No other blade, not though mightier hands had wielded it, would have dealt that foe a wound so bitter, cleaving the undead flesh, breaking the spell that knit his unseen sinews to his will. (Battle of Pelenor Fields)
Seem most relevant.

This is another example of how you excise parts of Tolkien's text at your peril. At least in the radio series the adaptors take into account their exicision of the Bombadil/Barrow Downs episode by having the WK exclaim, when Merry stabs him 'Halfling, you sting like a gnat' or something. In other words they have him dismiss Merry's strike as meaningless & it serves merely as a distraction for Eowyn to find time to deal the death blow. This also diminishes Merry's part in his death, but it does get round the problem of Merry using a normal weapon. At least they take the story seriously enough to understand that if Merry's blow is to have any serious effect on the WK it would only be if it was struck by the Barrow Blade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Essex
The reason PJ makes his helmet wither like it does, is because HE WAS BEING FAITHFUL TO THE BOOK. Read the scene from the book closely and you will see.
Well, in the book he wasn't wearing a helmet at all - if I remember rightly - but a Crown on his (invisible) head.

I think LoDL makes the central point - you can't pick & choose which bits you will faithfully reproduce from the book & which you'll change without a lot more thought for the implications than the movie writers seem to have put in...
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Old 03-04-2005, 10:15 PM   #233
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Although the withking in the movie does seem to have helm it also has a crown. It is a helm and crow combined. Besides if you folowed some of the descriptions of Tolkien precisely as he wrote them they might not have worked on screen. Some of the people from the art department continually complained about the difficulty of the helmets with wings for the Gondorian soldiers. It was very easy to make the gondorian armour look extremely gaudy or just plain ridiculous.
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Old 03-05-2005, 08:21 PM   #234
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I'm pretty sure Merry stabs Wiki with the sword he got at Dunharrow, he had lost the other two by that point.


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Originally Posted by Formendacil
Does it feel right that a Ring that lay lost for 3000 years, and then right under Gandalf's nose for 60+ years is discovered by Gandalf to be THE One Ring in the course of, what the movie shows, as about 3 months? It doesn't feel right.
At least six months I'd say, judging by Barliman's line about not seeing him in six months. Felt about right to me (in the context of the film), he gets suspicious about it, rides off to the nearest public library to read up on Rings of Power, rides back, and tells Frodo he's got the Big One.

Quote:
Then, in the Return of the King, Jackson shoots his own work down, and has Elrond make it to Dunharrow in what appears to be a matter of a couple days, after establishing how long it took Aragorn to get there (if by a slightly longer route) from Rivendell.
It may look like it took him only a couple of days, but he presumably started right after Arwen had him reforge the sword, which was presumably right after she got back from almost sailing across the sea, which actually might be rather close to the time the Fellowship left and she had her little spat with Aragorn. In other words he may hve left Rivendell not long at all after Aragorn did. You're right that the timeline isn't entirely coherent when viewing ROTK, but it might make more sense if you watched the three films in a fairly short period of time.

No doubt the timeline would have made more sense if they had left the scrapped "Arwen at Helm's Deep" storyline in.


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Old 03-05-2005, 09:17 PM   #235
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In other words he may hve left Rivendell not long at all after Aragorn did. You're right that the timeline isn't entirely coherent when viewing ROTK
Jackson does this with the Haldir scene, coming in to Helm's Deep...He basically said Elrond and Galadriel telepathically cybered after the Fellowship left Lorien, and Haldir approximately left at the end of FOTR. Sounds sort of like a cover up to me on a time mistake, but oh well.

I love on the FOTR EE when Jackson and crew are asked why didn't you have Glamdring shine when orcs are around like Sting? Jackson sort of squirms in his chair, and I believe it is Boyens who responds "budget restraints," and Jackson quickly agrees. It doesn't make a difference whether Glamdring shines or not, however you get the feeling Jackson wasn't as well learned as some of our very own downers. Of course who got everything the first time they read it...or even repeated readings? There's something new to find out each time you read it. Very fascinating.
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Old 03-06-2005, 10:52 AM   #236
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My first time posting here. Thought I'd jump in on something a little less intimidating than the chapter-by-chapter forum.

Alot of the changes in the films didn't bother me... Some seemed necessary in the interests of dramatic action...something which the book, with it's pages of pages of expositions(one of my favorite things about it, ironically!) would have needed more of to be directly "translatable" to a visual medium. Nevertheless the films have much more exposition that most films, albeit in a simplified way.

However there were some changes I didn't like, or was disappointed by, to wit:

over-simplification of the History of the Numenorean Kingdoms...though I realize that such a complex history would have had to have been simplified, the fact that there's no mention of Arnor, and little mention of Numenor bugs me...I got the impression that all the world knew of Aragorns identity...witness Boromirs awe during the Council of Rivendell...in the book, he seems unaware of Aragorns hereditary status until Aragorn dramatically draws the stub of Narsil...

No warg attack in Hollin! Pity, would've made a good battle scene.


GROSS oversimplification of the political situation in Rohan...it made no sense at all in the film...why would all of Eomers men follow Eomer in his "exile"? And how the hell do they travel "three hundred leagues" in a few days?

Elven archers at Helm's Deep. A crime!! And where do they go AFTER Helm's Deep? Why do they not continue to Gondor?

"Evil" Faramir. While I appreciated seeing the ruins of Osgiliath, it made no sense whatsoever to me to do it the way Jackson et al did it: why let the halfling go after he's JUST offered the Ring to a Nazgul?? Sam's speech was moving, but no intelligent military commander would've done that. Much more credible in the book.

Simplified Denethor. IMO, Denethor and Faramir are two of the most interesting human characters of the book...they seem much more competent in the books than the movie...Denethor's madness and destructive pride seem much more of a tragedy...

Bombadil being cut, okay. Why cut the Woses out?

Didn't like Pippin's "tricking" of Treebeard into warring on Isengard.

Elrond delivering Anduril to Aragorns hand...where does he go afterwards?

No Scouring.
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Old 03-06-2005, 01:56 PM   #237
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Elven archers at Helm's Deep. A crime!! And where do they go AFTER Helm's Deep? Why do they not continue to Gondor?
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Originally Posted by The tennis Ball Kid
No doubt the timeline would have made more sense if they had left the scrapped "Arwen at Helm's Deep" storyline in.
Hmm. I am eternally thankful that Liv Tyler's many skills do not include fighting, as allegedly her scenes were so bad they had to be cut. I'd have been apoplectic if they had left those in! By way of interest, there are pictures on t'internet which people have taken from freeze frames of the film, showing Arwen lurking in the background of several scenes, including riding out with Theoden at dawn. So they did not manage to edit her out entirely. Possibly why the Elves turned up to fight there was something to do with the Arwen at Helm's Deep story line. Maybe they were simply too difficult to edit out, or else PJ thought 'what the heck, more elves will be good' and left them in.
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Old 03-06-2005, 02:25 PM   #238
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Just as an aside, what about this idea (for those who haven't watched the Appendices for RotK this was for a proposed 'addition' to the Battle before the Black Gates. Sauron was to appear to fight Aragorn but he first appeared in his earlier form of Annatar. The idea was that he would appear this way in an attempt to win over Aragorn & when that didn't work he was to adopt his earlier form from the Last Alliance)

http://img236.exs.cx/img236/9499/d117hn.jpg

Would this have worked? Did the writers change their minds because they wanted to stay faithful to the books or because they feared the reaction of the fans?

The reason I ask is that I think this goes to the heart of why certain things from the books were left in despite changes in the storyline which made them seem at best incoherent & at worst nonsensical. How much freedom did they feel they had in making changes to the story? If the books had had a less devoted following would they have gone further than they did? And if they had felt they had complete freedom to 'adapt' the story as they wished, how different or how faithful would it have been?

Perhaps what we've ended up with is bits of two movies awkwardly stuck together - a 'faithful' adaptation of the book & another one which just uses the book as a starting point. Could this be the reason for all the 'back & forthing' we've been going through here - they simply couldn't decide whether they wanted to make a movie of Tolkien's LotR or their own?
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:38 PM   #239
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At first I was horrified by the idea of Sauron appearing on the battle field and I'm glad it never appeared on film. However, when I heard the ideas behind it I thought it was very neat.
I think the filmmakers left it out for two reasons. One: it wasn't faithful to the book and would horrify the book fans Two:It would have confused the whole audience
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Old 03-06-2005, 10:11 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by Boromir88
I love on the FOTR EE when Jackson and crew are asked why didn't you have Glamdring shine when orcs are around like Sting? Jackson sort of squirms in his chair, and I believe it is Boyens who responds "budget restraints," and Jackson quickly agrees.
At least in this case Jackson is consistent. No one said anything about Glamdring glowing, so why would it glow (assume non-reader)? Sting had to as Bilbo said that it would.

Plus, it wasn't Glamdring...

After flying out of Orthanc, Gandalf either forgot his luggage or it was shipped to a different destination, never catching up with him, and so Saruman got to keep both his staff and Glamdring.

Luckily, on the way to Rivendell, Gandalf stopped at a 'Staff 'R' Us' shop (opening a new location in Gondor soon!) and purchased a 72" brown driftwood model. He 'acquired' a new sword from one of the ones sitting around on display in Rivendell.
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