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Topic: The Moral Belittleling of Faramir

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Numenorean soldier - Rank 3
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Posts: 100
Date: Aug 24, 2009
The Moral Belittleling of Faramir

In the book he states that "if he found it (the ring) by the roadside, he wouldnt touch it."

Whereas in the movie, he decides to take the hobbits to his father, and only when they are in Osgiliath does he change his mind.

This change have indeed annoyed me. Why belittle Faramir in this manner.

Couldnt there be at least one more good and valiant man except for Aragorn?

-- Edited by Grey_Wolf on Monday 24th of August 2009 04:26:44 AM

-- Edited by Grey_Wolf on Tuesday 25th of August 2009 04:05:29 AM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Date: Aug 24, 2009
Grey_Wolf,
I think the films took advantage of several sub plots.
The family dynamic of Denethor, Boromir, and Faramir was one of those plots which the movie placed more focus on than Tolkien did in his books.
In the books we see that Faramir was also a student of Gandalf and a man of such loving intuition and courage that his love heals Eowyn and strengthens Aragorn's claim to the throne.
I prefer the books to the movie every time.
But I do like the movies and appreciate the efforts to give more of a role to Arwen and Eowyn as strong female leads.


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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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Date: Aug 24, 2009
I believe there is a similar line Faramir says in the book, the line which is copied in the film:

"Here in the wild I have you. Two halflings and a host of men at my call. And the Ring of Power within my grasp. A chance for Faramir, Captain of Gondor, to show his quality."

The film just plays deeper into that, though. In the film Faramir doesn't agree to let the Hobbit's go until the attack on Osgiliath, as you say.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Posts: 129
Date: Aug 24, 2009
I read an interview with Philippa Boyens, one of the writers of the movies, where she discussed this change and why she felt it was necessary.

She felt that by allowing a man to walk away from the Ring without a single moment of doubt, it stripped the Ring of all its power. The movies had been building up the Ring's terrible power for hours by that point, and she felt that allowing Faramir to simply reject the ring would undo all the work they had done to present the ring as a terrible threat. Even Galadriel, one of the most powerful and highest of elves, had difficulty in rejecting the ring.  That said, I still disagree with her interpretation and the change to Faramir's character is one of my biggest grievances with the films. I can overlook most of the other changes, but that one in particular bothers me because I felt it was so completely unnecessary.

I can't find the Boyens quote, but this change was also discussed by Peter Jackson:

"We made that change, just to use that example -- and this is really where being a filmmaker differs from being a writer. You make decisions as a filmmaker and, rightly or wrongly, you change things if you think they need to be changed. We wanted the episode with Faramir in this particular film to have a certain degree of tension. Frodo and Sam were captured. Their journey had become more complicated by the fact that they are prisoners. Which they are in the book for a brief period of time. But then, very quickly in the book, Tolkien sort of backs away from there and, as you say, he reveals Faramir to be very pure. At one point, Faramir says, "Look, I wouldn't even touch the ring if I saw it lying on the side of the road."

For us, as filmmakers, that sort of thing creates a bit of a problem because we've spent a lot of time in the last film and in this one to establish this ring as incredibly powerful. Then to suddenly come to a character that says, "Oh, I'm not interested in that," to suddenly go against everything that we've established ourselves is sort of going against our own rules. We certainly acknowledge that Faramir should not do what Boromir did and that he ultimately has the strength to say, "No, you go on your way and I understand." We wanted to make it slightly harder, to have a little more tension than there was in the book. But that's where that sort of decision comes from. "


I think he's dead wrong, but then again, what do I know about filmmaking?  I feel that the films were brilliant and the only part of them I take issue with is the changes which I, as someone who has read the book, feel are unnecessary (I'm also a bit unhappy with Arwen's, shall we say, greatly expanded role in the movies).  However, I get around this by viewing the book and the movie as two separate, distantly related entities.  I adore them both on their own terms and try not to let my experience with one affect my experience with the other.

-- Edited by The Secret Fire on Monday 24th of August 2009 10:27:47 PM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Posts: 2960
Date: Aug 24, 2009
The Secret Fire,
I support your idea of keeping the books and movie separate.
I loved the films.  But I love the books more.  And the books have so much more.
But a film is a film (as Jackson points out) and different view points of author and director are significant.
Keeping them seperate has allowed me to enjoy each.
(but I would have loved to see Bombadil on screen)
Bear


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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Posts: 129
Date: Aug 25, 2009
Absolutely Bear, I feel pretty much exactly the same way as you. The books are and will always be my first and foremost. They have an incredible depth and beauty to them that cannot be replicated on film no matter who was making it and how they treated it.  I wish they had been able to incorporate the Scouring of the Shire somehow, personally.

One of the things that makes me love Tolkien so much is the incredible history and backstory that he has given to each and every one of his creations. A film is too limited in scope to contain everything. It also flows differently as a medium. Things that work on a page don't always work on the screen. Sometimes I wonder what it was like to watch those films without having read the books. You would miss out on such a huge amount of information that I think it must be a completely different experience. Yet many people who never read the books loved the movies and were inspired to read them from the story the films told.

I have a great appreciation for the movies, because I look at it this way: New Line Cinemas, Peter Jackson, the writers, the actors, all of them could have chosen to take LOTR and make it a typical summer blockbuster movie that was devoid of content and detail, and full of action sequences and story reworkings, just to sell movie tickets. It happens to great books all the time. Fortunately, they didn't.

I feel that everyone involved with the project treated my favorite book with great love and care. They really made a huge effort to make it the best film version of LOTR possible.  If any of you have any doubt about that, watch the Appendices to the Extended Edition of the films.  They're very entertaining!  They walk you through the process of creating the movie step by step. 

They were incredibly painstaking with the casting, the costumes, the props, the artwork, the script, the music, the atmosphere, the computer effects, and the editing.  They even hired some guy who wrote to them saying he was good at writing Elvish script and the Tengwar runes to write scrolls for them.  They hired John Howe and Alan Moore to do all the conceptual artwork. I think that's pretty cool. They used actual Elvish in the films. They put so many tiny touches in there that your ordinary viewer wouldn't notice or appreciate, but a fan of the book would. I am very grateful for the film representation, because it really does bring the book to life in a way that is difficult to replicate in the imagination.

I think the films and the books are synergistic in that they both contribute to the full experience. Middle-Earth really did exist, if however briefly, and is captured forever on film thanks to the effort of hundreds of people and millions of dollars. There's no way I can't appreciate that.

-- Edited by The Secret Fire on Tuesday 25th of August 2009 01:41:34 AM

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Posts: 562
Date: Aug 25, 2009

I don't post on the films much, but I would toss this in from David Bratman (since the thread seems straying into more general opinions regarding the films):

'There is insufficient rigor in film criticism in distinguishing between changes that actually are necessary because of the differences in the media, changes that are not necessary but are made to fit the director's or screenwriter's preferences (usually dignified as 'expressing a vision'), and changes that are made purely out of guesswork or superstition about what will sell to movie audiences. The screenwriter William Goldman's first Law of filmmaking is 'nobody knows anything' David Bratman, Tolkien On Film

And since the Elvish in the films is raised, I think this is not as simple as it seems, agree with Mr. Hostetter or not...

'But this provides yet another example of how little appreciation Jackson had for the tone and "feel" of Tolkien's work. Yes, Jackson went to considerable length to include Elvish in the movie: but he did so mostly by _discarding_ Tolkien's _own_ Elvish exemplars -- which, please note, are almost entirely in the form of songs, poems, spells, and exclamations made in crisis or _de profundis_ that are used sparingly so as to punctuate the story and to not cheapen the effect of the Elvish -- and instead substituting for them long passages of made-up "Elvish" (however skillfully) constituting (mostly banal) _dialogue_ of the sort entirely _missing_ from Tolkien's own application of Elvish in his story (or anywhere else).'

Carl Hostetter

I think this citation came from the web... somewhere! For anyone who might not know, Mr. Hostetter is part of a team currently editing and publishing JRRT's linguistic material, in accord with the wishes of the Tolkien Estate. 



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