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Old 02-17-2004, 11:21 AM   #1
Lyta_Underhill
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Cinematic Frodo: Victim of Downsizing?

I warred with myself whether or not to weight down the ROTK-Elijah Wood thread with this topic, but then decided to go ahead and start anew, as it concerns the entire characterization of the character of Frodo, and not just ROTK and not just Elijah Wood, for that matter. Some of you may have seen the pro and con reviews on theonering.net.
Frodo Downsized
Downsizing Frodo-the Arguments Against
On one side, Frodo has been distorted and diminished until he can no longer function as the hero of Lord of the Rings at all, and on the other hand, Frodo has been updated to the "modern hobbit," one who can be more easily understood by today's audiences, and that the movies made Tolkien's characters more "human."

Downsized:
Quote:
To Tolkien, it is Frodo’s will to resist that is significant—that even the small resistance of a small being can make a difference in the battle for freedom. Frodo’s hopeless but enduring fight against overwhelming odds is a major theme, but Jackson passes up nearly every opportunity to give his courage a similar weight.
not Downsized:
Quote:
It is interesting to hear this critic sniffing at the notion of Frodo as a 'sacrificial hero' as if to sacrifice oneself for the sake of Middle Earth isn't brave enough for them. It seems they are ignorant to the fact that this is exactly what Tolkien intended Frodo to be and that it is precisely his 'sacificial situation' which most reveals Frodo's strength. A hero is some one who RISKS their life for the sake of good (as Sam does). A sacrificial hero or martyr is some one who OFFERS their life for the sake of good. This is the key element of Frodo's heroism and it is not taken away or even downsized in the films.
It gives one yet another excuse to ponder the character of Frodo, doesn't it? I think I sit somewhere in between, although I miss the defiance at the Ford, I do not, like Juliet Waldron in her review, believe Frodo is offering the One Ring to a Nazgul. I figured I would throw this brace of references out there as my inaugural post in the new Movies forum (as far as I can remember, anyway!).

Cheers!
Lyta
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Old 02-17-2004, 02:01 PM   #2
Child of the 7th Age
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Frodo Downsized

Lyta,

Thank you for posting those conflicting views. I have been wanting to say this for some time, but haven't gotten to it.

Let me begin by saying that overall I enjoyed the movies. The films are definitely PJ's version of the story rather than Tolkien's, and the two are not always the same. But when I sit in the theater, I am generally able to put asside those differences and appreciate his retelling, particularly in terms of RotK.

The changes that bother me most are those of characterization. And there are two instances where I find myself questioning the wisdom of what PJ did. The first is Faramir. I can accept the Faramir depicted in the EE as a young man tormented by his father's obvious preference for Boromir. There is a hint of that in Tolkien, a hint that Tolkien discusses at greater length in his Letters. But the plain fact is that the Faramir of the extended edition is not the Faramir of the books -- the Man who states he would never pick up the Ring even if it found it lying on a road, the respectful heir of the traditions of Numenor whose friendship with Gandalf had deep roots. That Faramir is simply gone.

The other character almost entirely missing from the movie is that of Frodo Baggins. I am afraid I agree almost wholly with Juliet Waldron in her essay on Frodo Downsized. In fact I would go even further. The Frodo in the movie is a different character than the one in the book. On these differing characters, see the thread 'Two Frodos' in Books which I posted way back in June of 2002, after the first movie's release:

Click

here.

We never have the sense of movie Frodo possessing the wisdom that was so clearly evident in Book Frodo. I love the scene in the book where Sam looks at his master while he is asleep on the very steps of Mordor. Sam comments on the light in Frodo's eyes, how it has grown brighter, and how much he cares for him. There is the scene in Rivendell where Gandalf makes a reference to Frodo becoming like the Phial of Galadriel, with the light of the sliver of the Silmaril shining through, and silently wonders how Frodo will eventually end up. Frodo the Elf Friend is simply not depicted in this film (just as the richness of Faramir's tie with Numenor is missing).

This Frodo is much younger than the Frodo in the books, not only in physical appearance but in how he acts and thinks. The Frodo of the books is a 50-year old hobbit (even if he looks 33!) and is very much a mentor and guide to the younger hobbits, especially Samwise, in the same way that Bilbo was to him. In the movie, the roles are reversed: Sam acts as the "older" one, offering sage advice and consolation. Interestingly, movie Frodo's defense of Gollum is portrayed as stemming solely from self interest -- his personal desire not to end up like Gollum, whose torment he understands. I have very little sense of Frodo acting out of any altruistic sense or the need to show mercy. And, by the third film, Frodo is overtly blind to Gollum's manipulations. It is Sam who has the wisdom to see the true situation. This is not the situation portrayed in the book where, on one occasion, Gollum came within a hair's breadth of true repentence. Frodo's sending Sam away is actually a pretty logical step, not in terms of the Book Frodo but the Frodo whom PJ has invented for the film.

Added to this are all the other things this essay has already noted. Many of the scenes where Frodo is perky or strong have been changed or removed from the movie: Weathertop, the Barrowdowns, standing on the table and singing at the Pony, the ride to the Ford, Gandalf's description of the hobbit to Butterbur, and the conversation with Faramir where Frodo boldly asserta "Those who oppose the Enemy would do well not to hinder" the errand of the Council. Even later on in Mordor, there are discussions in the book between Frodo and Sam which leave a different impression than the Frodo who is constantly fainting and rolling his eyes upward.

As far as the other comments.....I beg to differ. No one is saying Frodo is the 'one' hero of the LotR. But when I walk out of the movie, I have the distinct impression that Sam is the only one of the two hobbits who has any real backbone or wisdom, and that's a distortion of the book.

I have a very serious problem when I read something like this:

Quote:
As in all retellings, the story comes to resonate with the time it is being told in. Peej's Frodo is a hero for the modern era. Like many people in the modern world he feels overwhelmed by the challenges life has put before him. In this age of high divorce rates and an unstable job market, Peej's Frodo is a hero that endures rather than overcomes, as we are expected to endure these things rather than overcome them. The world is a lot bigger and us a lot smaller nowadays. This makes him different from Tolkien's Frodo, but does not necessarily make him inferior to him.
Tolkien was not writing a story about high divorce rates and people of the 21st century who barely manage to get by. He was writing about a conflict of good and evil. He was drawing on ancient myths, not on the anti-heroes of much modern literature, a genre Tolkien generally disliked. I think JRRT would barely have recognized the downsized Frodo Baggins as the character in his book.

Finally, a word about Frodo's sacrifice, which some say vindicates everything else. Quite frankly, those who go to the movie and never read the book have very little clue as to why Frodo is leaving, why he is making this sacrifice. Yes, his shoulder hurts and he seems reclusive and no longer fits in. But nowhere do we see Frodo hurting, really hurting, the way he did in the Book, or understand that the hobbit was tormented with feelings of guilt and continuing desire for the Ring.

Why did this happen in PJ's interpreation? That's the interesting question to me. Partly it's the result of putting someone as young as Elijah in the role. He looks and acts quite a bit younger than 33, even in hobbit terms. He comes off as wholly innocent , nervous, and vulnerable right from the start. The Book Frodo did have elements of this, seeing himself sometimes as a martyr, but far less so in the earlier parts of the story.

There may be something else going on here. It is easy for us to understand the kind of goodness Sam exemplifies -- someone reaching out to help his close friend and doing something for his family. It's harder in this day and age to appreciate a hobbit who has visions, who hears Gandalf's voice inside his head, and who goes out with Bilbo searching for Elves even before he starts the quest. We just don't connect with that kind of "hero". One movie critic has written an extensive review that PJ had trouble depicting goodness in his characters. I would disagree. PJ did a good job with Sam -- he had more trouble with Frodo's Elvish leanings and Faramir's wonderful heritage from Numenor. My guess is that he simply didn't understand those things -- they failed to resonate in his heart.

So, on Oscar night, I will definitely be rooting for RotK. I will probably go to the movie after that and shed another tear or two. I don't "hate" PJ's Frodo, and I will smile when the hobbit smiles near the very end at Grey Havens. But when I walk out of the movie I will also acknowlege that two of my fondest characters just didn't make it onto the screen.

(Wow! Reopen the movie forum and I manage to write a gargantuan Book post....)
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Old 02-17-2004, 03:17 PM   #3
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Wonderful post, Child, and I agree in all respects. I also think that Elijah could have done a better job of it all, even without a change of script, if he would have read the book for himself and not relied only on PJ's directions - he could have added maturity and courage to Frodo's character, and lay low on the whining. I think he's a good actor, but he didn't give it all he's got. As for PJ, I have to agree, either he failed to understand some things, or he saw them as not important enough or not 'dramatic' enough for the viewers. Maybe he thought the viewers won't be able to appreciate or understand the light in Frodo's face.
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Old 02-17-2004, 10:27 PM   #4
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Wow, Sharon! That's a whole lot to digest, but I did enjoy (am still enjoying!) going back and reading the "Two Frodos" thread. I found a quote of yours on that thread that pretty much sums up the basic thread of fascination that pulls me into Middle Earth and won't let me go:
Quote:
But I am more interesting in seeing the Elf-friend who dreams of the Tower and the distant sea. I want to understand his visions of a distant green land when the curtain of rain draws back. I want to follow in the path of a very small and ordinary hobbit who becomes filled with light, almost a human reflection of the Phial of Galadriel, and yet at the same time struggles with the Shadow lengthening in his soul. That, to me, is the tragedy and the wonder of it all.

That dichotomy isn't there, and, to me, it's critical as to why Tolkien felt he had discovered rather than merely invented his story. It's what calls to me from distant lands. Perhaps, I am asking for something that simply is not possible in a film, but I wish he would have tried.
This aspect of Tolkien's style is the primary ingredient in the magic stew that puts me under the spell, but I realize also that there is no way this delicate web can be woven by a mere film. Somehow, though, I manage to weave the two together without being too jarred from the background images of Middle Earth and its denizens in my head.

You and others on the other thread had gone into the differing images of Frodo and others and I noticed that everyone had a different view and some could not see some characters in their minds at all. I also liked Helen's description of the movies as fanfiction. It is a collective vision of a small group of artists made manifest for our edification. I do wish it had gone differently for Frodo's characterization in many places, but I also found new things, mainly related to being able to actually see the story playing out.

The idea that PJ's rewritten Frodo is "wimpier" at crucial moments or that some moments are omitted completely works to his detriment if one expects a mature, 50 year old Frodo, with a different relationship to others based on this. I did find the fundamental relationships to be significantly altered by his de-aging, but strangely enough, I also found that the quieter moments of strength on Frodo's part are shown subtly, no matter this difference. I think these parts are structured into the main story and that is why they cannot be removed the way the Frodo-active (to coin a word?) events in the Barrowdowns or at the Ford are. The very fact that Frodo makes this journey and manages not to fall to the Ring or dark forces until the very end is, in itself, a statement of strength. It is not the strength of a mature, integrated and well-seasoned hobbit with a light in his face and the other world about him, but it is an extraordinary strength nonetheless. You are right that it is not the same Frodo, but I would not call Elijah's version degraded, merely different and less fully realized than Tolkien's.

But, the fact that the decision to take the Ring at Rivendell and the decision to leave at Rauros, the decision to spare Gollum and even to befriend him, his doggedness in Mordor, where he really does spend every last drop of will and energy in attainment of his goal--all those factors are intrinsic to Frodo and cannot be taken away and still have a story. Just as every reader sees the characters just a little bit differently, so PJ's work of "fanfiction" has its quirks of viewpoint and characterization.

I will say that one part of Frodo's playing out that really irked me was when he denied having Gollum as a companion to Faramir when they are captured and taken to Henneth Annun. It just made Frodo seem stupid to me, since Faramir had already mentioned the "gangrel creature with an ill-favored look." That sort of thing irritates me, but I figure PJ just needed a better "beta-reader!"

Incidentally, pursuant to the discussion in the other thread of what other images of Frodo beside Elijah we all have--strangely enough, one of the best Frodo images I can think of is a guy who entered the costume contest over at theonering.net one Halloween. He dressed as Frodo; I think he had a pipe and a GREAT expression and Photoshopped some designs and Frodo's name over the picture. He must have worked on that expression, because it really hit my book-Frodo image on the head!

Well, must go! That was longer than I meant for it to be!
Cheers!
Lyta
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Old 02-17-2004, 11:35 PM   #5
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I don't know if anyone could follow up on that Child. That was a very good post as usual. But it's true, we don't get to see many sides of Frodo, which is sad really. But to me now that I have sat down and thought about it, there's no depth to anything about the movie. You get these wonderful characters and settings on screen, but that's it. Very shallow. It's like being in a house of mirrors and seeing the reflection of someone, but not them. In a since, I feel like PJ was just baiting a hook so maybe more people will get involved in the books and get to understand the characters and the story better(and recruit more dead for the messaged board .) If I were a newbie to the storyline, I would be fascinated with the idea of Frodo going off with the ring to only God knows where and not knowing what was going to happen. I probably would have ran for the nearest bookstore after leaving the theatre(and then proceeding to sit my tail down in said bookstore with a nice mocha to read, but that's me.)

I shall have to finish reading the Two Frodo's thread soon, but the idea of PJ's LOTR as fanfic is priceless. I said the same thing after the last Star Trek movie. But it fits. There's no way on this green earth we could ever duplicate the imagery we all hold in our minds. We each individually have the images of what we read. There's no way everyone can agree on what something looks like. Only one person truly knows what it's supposed to be and sadly, we can't share those thoughts with him. We can only guess at what they are and read the hints and clues he left.
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Old 02-18-2004, 01:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
I also think that Elijah could have done a better job of it all, even without a change of script, if he would have read the book for himself and not relied only on PJ's directions - he could have added maturity and courage to Frodo's character, and lay low on the whining. I think he's a good actor, but he didn't give it all he's got.
I think part of the problem is that Elijah Woods was the "kid brother" of Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan off-screen, and it came through too much on-screen. For instance, Astin says that he pretty much took Woods under his wing, and this was like the Sam/Frodo relationship in the movie (sorry I don't have the exact quote - I think it's on one of the DVD FotR appendices). And we all know about Billy and Dom's merciless-yet-relatively-good-natured teasing of Elijah, which you can also see in the movie.

I won't even go into Elijah's obvious low blood-pressure problems. (Or maybe it's anaemia. Or sleep deprivation. Or any number of other medical problems which cause him to faint constantly.)
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Old 02-18-2004, 01:57 AM   #7
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Thumbs up Child, That is so right :)

I agree with everything you have said because those are basically the same exact complants about the film Frodo that I have. I especially agree with you about this point...
Quote:
We never have the sense of movie Frodo possessing the wisdom that was so clearly evident in Book Frodo.
This is the thing that most concerned me, and one of the things that could have been most easily changed. During the entire films I felt as though Elijah was playing the character just as a version of himself, he was playing Frodo as though the character was the same age as he was at the time, about 18-19. Much, much, much, much younger than the book Frodo. I didn't really think that the looks were the problem, and at times he was right on. And additionally I also don't think that it was a terrible performance at all, I really actually loved the the film Frodo, but it was not the book Frodo. It was missing the wisdom, and the confidence, especially in the first two films. One part of the book that really discribes Frodo for me in is the first part of Fellowship where the hobbits meet up with Gildor and the other elves, and Frodo is considered a "jewel among Hobbits" because of his use of the elven language. In the films you receive no hint of this knowledge. All they could have done is added a few little scenes, a little here and there, and maybe, just maybe they could have added the clutching of the stone that he keeps around his neck in place of the ring to show his torment at the end of ROTK.

I do think a lot of this was lost because of the rushing of the story, but then I also don't think that it is the complete fault of that. It just could have come out better (and of course Faramir could have came out better too)
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Old 02-18-2004, 03:47 AM   #8
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I agree with all of this, the movie Frodo is a poor sap compared with book Frodo. This change has quite serious implications. Never once when reading the book did I question the wisdom of the great in sending Frodo off with the ring. Frodo was clearly a wise, dependable and noble character, even more so than Bilbo.

But if I'd seen the film without having read the book, I would have been completely bemused. What the hell are they doing sending that pale, shivering, doe-eyed child out into the wild with the most dangerous thing in Middle Earth around his neck? Are they nuts?
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Old 02-18-2004, 07:54 AM   #9
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Excellent post, Child!

And I have to say that I totally agree with Juliet Waldron (and much of your post) in that Frodo is simply not in the films. He has been replaced by a character who does little more than play the part of a whining passenger, with none of the wisdom or chances to show his mettle that we see in the book.

Furthermore, I detest with a passion any change in any screen adaptation which is done 'for the modern audience'. Unfortunately, PJ has ... ahem... 'adapted' Frodo, Faramir and Aragorn so much as to be almost unrecognisable from their original characters.

Yet again, I keep coming back to 'WHY???'. The wonderful characters are all there in the book. The book is one of the most popular in the world, even with a 'modern audience', so why the heck would you change things so much?
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:39 AM   #10
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Thanks everybody for all the comments. There were a number of things I hadn't really thought about before.

zb - Your comments about the off-screen relations of the actors was one of these. You are probably right. If Elijah was their "younger brother and buddie", this relationship probably seeped over into the film.

Lailath - What a great way to put the problem:

Quote:
What the hell are they doing sending that pale, shivering, doe-eyed child out into the wild with the most dangerous thing in Middle Earth around his neck? Are they nuts?
Evisse - "Laying low on the whining" would certainly have helped! I am a complainer myself. But there are only so many times we can be reminded that Frodo is suffering by anguished looks on the face and rolling of the eyes!

Gorwingel - Yes, Gildor's comment in Tolkien about Frodo being a "jewel of a hobbit" is another good example. And it would have helped to establish Frodo as having some respect among the Elves by knowing a bit of the language. That could even have been done casually in Rivendell, if they didn't want to take the time to depict the scene with Gildor.

They could even have kept him young and cute. (Hey, those eyes are beautiful!) Wisdom is not only the province of the old....but Frodo would have had to show a maturity and grace that's simply missing from the present character.

Lyta - I wish I could have seen that Frodo guy in costume. It's not in their archives, is it?

Sleeping Beauty - You're right that the movie has done an incredible job of leading people to the books. And that's one reason I do have respect for PJ and his creation. In my opinion, he did have respect for the story but reserved for himself the prerogative of changing things so they would come off in a different media. Books and film do have different artistic demands.

We keep forgetting but it is possible to make a movie that would have been faithful to all the details in the book (all the things we complain about), yet utterly lacking in any real feeling or sense of connection with Middle-earth. The Harry Potter movies are like that in my opinion. Good faithful adaptions plodding along but lacking any real sense of wonder and magic that is the heart of that story.


And when I go see RotK or the EE of the other films, I do get a genuine feeling that the movie is conveying some very important themes: friendship, sacrifice, the lushness of land in Middle-earth, the passing of the Elves etc. These were reflective of Tolkien's mind and values. I can forgive PJ omissions and even plot deviations. It's the change in characters that drives me nuts!

But this is the best we're going to do for a long time. I've been waiting years for a decent movie! When I compare these films with the Book, they fall short. But when I compare them with other fantasy films, they stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:54 AM   #11
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Strangely enough, Child, I found the image in their archives here: Costume Contest Winner Frodo and now that I look at it about a year later, it isn't just as I remember it (I saw it a year ago or so), or else my image of book-Frodo has changed again! But it is a good Frodo! (Strange how that happens!) I think I must be one of those who does not keep a single image of a character in her head but modifies it to suit new information and time...for instance, even when I can't help but see Elijah in the place of Frodo when I am re-reading LOTR, I often add about 10 years to his face in my mind, especially at the scene where Sam is regarding him as "old and beautiful" as he sleeps (think it was on the Stairs of Cirith Ungol).

Cheers!
Lyta
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Old 02-18-2004, 01:47 PM   #12
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Tolkien

Intriguing. The guy definitely looks like a hobbit, though I'm not so sure about his thoughtful look. Doesn't seem 'right' for me.

Lailath, that was perfect, I didn't see that quote before until Child's latest post. Poor Elijah. He takes so much flack from us fans....

And Lyta, I wouldn't worry about your images changing a lot. It happens. You see things in the characters you hadn't seen before. Every time I read the books, I see something different. Elijah's Frodo helped me see somethings I hadn't seen before. Frodo's innocence(though overplayed a bit in the movie) never came across to me before. I always thought he had a hand up since Bilbo had already shown him many things. Not that Frodo would not be suprised, but I see him more as being amused at first by Sam's, Merry's, and Pippin's expressions. Like when they first met the elves. I see Frodo sort of hanging back watching as S/M/P were seeing elves for the first time or even in Bree when they first saw Men. The characters are such multi-level that you meet something new, and you just add to the data-base so to speak.
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:28 AM   #13
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Watching FotR again, not having seen it for about a year, this point of Frodo's childlike vulnerability really niggled me.
He shakes like a leaf, he can't stop trying to put the ring on, his will is easily bent to that of the wraiths, and even when he's well and happy, he looks like a little boy off to camp.
The cheerful willingness of the Council of Elrond to let him set off seems absurdly irresponsible.
Which it didn't, in the book.
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Old 05-12-2004, 03:59 AM   #14
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Wow. That was a lot to read, but I have to agree. Frodo seems to young. Why would Gandalf send a little hobbit to Mordor? Carrying the fate of all of Middle-Earth in his pocket? I didn't like movie-frodo at all. Not because I am a fan of the books, but because I just didn't understand him. From his first smile to Gandalf he seems sort of childish and distant from all the others. I just can't fathom why he would ever even think about leaving Hobbiton.

As for Faramir... I was furious. But I tried very hard not to judge. And I think the changes made to Faramir are logical. He would, like his brother and any man I think, want the Ring. It's power is suppose to be very great. So it is logical that, only after his "inner-journey" when he finally knows that Frodo is right, that he lets them go. In the book he doesn't seem that affected by The Ring... and that kind of made me think: Did the Rings power just turn itself off? I don't know. Am I totally off track or what? I'm not the only onw who thinks this.
Still I was sad that Tolkiens' Faramir never made it to the movie.
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:17 AM   #15
Essex
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Lucky for you all I lost my network connection as I hit reply earlier as I prattled on for ages re frodo's downsizing.

So a shortened version follows:

I see the movie as an adaptaion of some of the book. For me, I know why Frodo went into the West, as much as I know that he went through the Old Forest, met with Tom, rescued the Hobbits from us (!), etc.

I also know that the sword Merry killed the witch king with was from the Barrow.

And if someone hasn't read the books and doesn't know all this, then there's an easy answer, isn't there???!!!! Read them and then watch the movie with this in mind.

The audio transcription of the book runs at 54 hours. Jackon's (cinematic) versions run at 9 - 10 hours. ie a 1/5th - 1/6th of the material (not including all the time spent on battle scenes) could be used. So go easy on him. (ps I'm not defending Faramir or Aragorn's 'death' by the way - they were mistakes)

Just use what you know from the books to fill in the spaces. It works well, trust me!

PS what the books CAN'T convery that Film can is the acting/directing on certain points. for example, the look on Gandalf's face as he sits alone in Minas Tirith just before the attack. Or Frodo's face when he's picked up by the eagles. or Frodo's line to Sam in the Sammath Naur. 'I'm hear, Sam'. That line (mainly to do with the way it is acted) sends shivers down my spine every time I watch.

Look, we know the films can't beat the books, but they are flipping marvelous none the less! We can say that EVERY character was downsized. Think of a film that was adapted pretty much word for word (HP1) and see how boring it could have been if the same was done for lotr.
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Old 06-06-2004, 09:17 AM   #16
Lyta_Underhill
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Quote:
We can say that EVERY character was downsized. Think of a film that was adapted pretty much word for word (HP1) and see how boring it could have been if the same was done for lotr.
Good point, Essex! However, I liked HP1 and was not bored at all! Strangely enough, when I recently rented and re-watched Return of the King, I was not as put off by the contrived Frodo leaves Sam sequence and saw through to the cinematic devices sufficiently that it seemed merely a blip (although I keep yelling "Stupid Hobbit!" at Frodo as he's falling into web after web and outright telling Gollum he's got to destroy the Ring. What was he thinking? Anyway, I understand that every character must suffer some from this short-shrifting in a reduction of an epic tale to 9-10 hours of film; I guess the big problem for many filmgoers was that the soul of all the characters could not be believably shown in the short time allotted. (I still think they could have allowed senseless Frodo to raise his head at the Ford of Bruinen and at least shout at the Ringwraiths a bit, though!)

Quote:
He shakes like a leaf, he can't stop trying to put the ring on, his will is easily bent to that of the wraiths, and even when he's well and happy, he looks like a little boy off to camp.
He seems this way in the beginning, but I also remember our book Frodo being rather frightened and showing it more at the beginning of the journey. He was downright frantic near Weathertop, before the Ringwraiths even got there! I thought the addition of scenes in Lorien and on the Anduin showed very well the growing distance between Frodo and the others and foreshadowed even more completely the fact that Frodo understood he had to leave and his mental preparations for such an event.

As for his will bending to that of the Ringwraiths, I suppose this impression arises from the unfortunate "battlements of Osgiliath" scene, which did, in my opinion, weaken movie-Frodo a bit. But, as we enter the Eastern lands in Return of the King, I see a more determined, bleak Frodo, actually more underplayed than previously (or else Sam went over the top and made Frodo look more subdued). As I re-watched ROTK, I found Sam to be almost a cartoon hero, with the background music swelling to his every daring deed, while Frodo entered another world right next to him. Particularly in the "grasping at shadows" and "wheel of fire" sequence when Sam carries Frodo up Mount Doom, I did not see this young, frightened boy hobbit that everyone speaks of, but a hobbit transformed into something that is groping through an unseen world, that personified Sam's worries in the book about what he would do once they reached their destination.

There were lots of horror movie conventions in this one, but I can forgive that, as I understand it was done to heighten the tension of the scenes. I laughed at Legolas as he let go an arrow at the Dead, when in fact, he wasn't frightened at all of them and spoke of them as "mere shades of Men" in the book. I have already spoken of the convention of separating Frodo and Sam at Shelob's Lair elsewhere, I believe. Such conventions were widespread and understandable, but it is to Jackson's credit that he did not go overboard with them and turn LOTR into a ghoulfest.

I'm sure I have more to say, but I can't think of it right now! My apologies; I have been too long away from this thread!

Cheers!
Lyta
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