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Topic: Over Abundant Insipid Anxiety

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Numenorean soldier - Rank 3
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Date: Aug 30, 2009
Over Abundant Insipid Anxiety

Ive yet again seen ttt and am now viewing rok.

The defeatist and anxious attitudes of Aragorn and Gandalf I find particularly irritating.

The enforced animosity between Frodo and Sam is another PJ induced annoying addition.

The incessant fits and staring of Mr Wood a particular piece of lousy acting.

Any of you who feel the same about these issues?


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Rohirrim of Edoras - Rank 4
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I think you have to take the good with the bad when speaking of an artistic interpretation of such a vast work as Tolkien's tilogy. I think most of us here accept the movies of just that; an interpretation. We tend to dwell more on the actual works of the author in this forum and I love that.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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There are parts of the movies that I don't love, but as Iomuduin said, I and many of us here appreciate them as separate entities from the books. There are some die-hard "books only" people here too who greatly contribute to all the discussions because of their incredible knowledge of the books.

I agree that there were a lot of areas of the story that were embellished to get a greater "dramatic" effect for the movies. Sometimes I agree with that decision, sometimes I don't. I didn't really care for the created animosity between Frodo and Sam. However, I loved the movie treatment of Gandalf. Gandalf, for good or bad, is now played by Ian McKellan, for me, forever. When I read the books I see him and hear his voice. All in all I really like the movies, but they can never replace the books for me. I re-read them frequently so I don't forget how things "really" happened.

As Iomoduin said, this forum is really more for people who prefer the books to the movies. You will find plenty of discussion here about what happens in the text and not the films. While I find both highly enjoyable, there's really no comparison as far as my love for them. If I was stranded on a desert island and I could take the books or the movies, I'd definitely take the books. Although, please forgive that very stupid analogy I just made, because if I took the movies to a desert island all I'd be able to do is read the DVD covers. But you know what I mean!

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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lomoduin and The Secret Fire has covered most of the bases. All I want to add is, if you don't like these films...have you tried watching the animated ones? They did such a horrid job. So many scenes and characters chopped up and cut out....I won't even touch those.

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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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I actually just watched the animated one again recently after not seeing it since I was a child. If you want to talk about a terrible film....

I don't even know where to begin. The story is changed, huge sections are cut out, half of the movie is tinted red for no apparent reason, and the pronunciation is abhorrent. Nearly every name and place is pronounced incorrectly. It's nigh unwatchable. I hung in there only because I wanted to see if it was as bad as I remembered.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Grey-Wolf,
Boy you and I are pretty far apart on this one.
Sam and Frodo are antagonistic in the books...because Gollum preys on Frodo's sympathy.
I see Gandalf and Aragorn as positive with their attitudes...
I think Wood did an amazing job playing a character that millions had already created in their head from the books. 
And Secret Fire has my complete agreement on Gandalf and TO KEEP THE BOOKS AND MOVIES SEPERATE!

Bear


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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Yeah, I really do love the movies, and I don't think that makes anybody any "less" of a Tolkien fan if they enjoy them as well as the books.

I also thought Aragorn and Gandalf were very positive, and I enjoyed Elijah Wood's performance. In general, I found the casting to be spot on and the acting superb. I do kind of agree with Grey Wolf about Frodo sending Sam away. He would never ever do that. But at the same time, I can make peace with it....because I consider the books and the movies to be two different things.

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Numenorean soldier - Rank 3
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Thanks for ur replies.

I did see the Bahski attempt - not to my liking either.

But, PJ did his best I suppose as did the actors.

the movies are quite impressive sceneryvise.

Im not just saying this, but I suppose I should see the movies with an open mind and not complain about changes made.

Thought I didnt really get the feel that Frodo, in a furious fit, abandoned Sam at the Stairs in the book.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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GW,
I think part of it was Gollum setting Sam up as stealing food(which Sam did not do.


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Numenorean soldier - Rank 3
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I should then see it as Gollum, incessantly, trying to break up the friendship of Sam and Frodo. The ring playing a great part in the process - Sam not really being able to comprehend the total subjugation the Ring causes.

-- Edited by Grey_Wolf on Monday 31st of August 2009 04:28:08 AM

-- Edited by Grey_Wolf on Monday 31st of August 2009 04:44:50 PM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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I agree.  That dynamic lends us ways to see the insidious power of the Ring.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Grey Wolf, with respect to Jackson's Frodo in general, you might be interested in Dan Timmons' contribution to the book Tolkien On Film titled: Frodo On Film: Peter Jackson's Problematic Portrayal. In part two, his essay begins: 'In the Two Towers, Jackson presents, on the whole, a weak-willed, emotionally unstable, and imperceptive Frodo. Such a characterization has nothing to do with the transferring of the written text to the visual medium and other issues of adaptation.'


Now, obviously no one has to agree with Mr. Timmons here, and certainly not because this statement is part of an essay published in a book (his case is a bit long to properly present, even if I wanted to).

In any event I would like to ask a question concerning keeping the books and movies separate. Does this imply one should never judge the films as to whether or not (one thinks) they are faithful adaptations of the source material?

I understand that the mediums are different, and that Jackson, or anyone else, has the right to make a film as desired. But that said, does it not open a rather huge door, with respect to being faithful to Tolkien's work, to generally say 'keep the books and films separate'?




-- Edited by Galin on Monday 31st of August 2009 02:55:17 PM

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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I agree that the Frodo of the film wasn't always like the books, but I know a lot of purists thought Frodo a wimp even before PJ got hold of him. There are a great many books that have been written about the "Ring Quest" and the phycology behind it all. Maybe it might help to read some of these. I'm speaking for myself as well here GW, not just you. One example that I can site is that in the books I didn't like Boromir at all. I actually was glad when the orcs put him out of my misery. But along came the movie and by george....I felt a little remorse after all. The way he played with the Hobbits showing them swordmanship really was fun and touching and the way he gave his life on screen it did change my perspective. So the movies could be a good thing in some ways.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Galin,
Your question "Does this imply one should NEVER (caps are mine) judge the films as to whether or not (one thinks) they are faithful adaptations of the source material?"
In the absolutism of "NEVER" the answer is no. In this specific case; the answer is Yes.

As a film (actually 3 films) there are many elements added that are not in the book (the Lady Arwen rescuing Frodo from the Black Riders for example) and there are many pieces missing or diluted.(Farmer Maggot, Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil, The Scouring of the Shire, the healing of Lady Eowyn, etc,etc, etc...)
It seems it was not really possible to include all of the book in the film.  Even if they had broken it down and did it one book at a time (Tolkien wrote it as six books; two each for the published trilogy) the background materiald that are eluded to in publications would be disjointed. (the history of Elrond's house for example)


Your point; " Does this imply one should never judge the films as to whether or not (one thinks) they are faithful adaptations of the source material?", is, of course, a valid one.  But it is not a universal maxim.
Each film adaptation of a literary work has its own merits and flaws.  And each producer, director, screen writer, and even the actors bring different pieces to every film.
It is usually why the disclaimer "adapted from the works of..." is in the opening or closing credits (sometimes both) of a film based on literary sources..


Your statement; "I understand that the mediums are different, and that Jackson, or anyone else, has the right to make a film as desired." seems to acknowledge that point.
But , just  I have done here, you add the codicil;"But that said, does it not open a rather huge door, with respect to being faithful to Tolkien's work, to generally say 'keep the books and films separate'?"
It is a huge door considering especially that Tolkien himself changed, revised, re-wrote, added commentary, wrote letters about work, and couldn't make his mind to what his stories actually were.
So in this case specifically keep the film adaptation separate from the books.


My point is that the films, BASED on Tolkien's work "The Lord of the Rings", should be critiqued separately because "the mediums are different, and that Jackson, or anyone else, has the right to make a film as desired."
Saying this does not in anyway say "...to GENERALLY say 'keep the books and films separate...", but rather SPECIFICALLY "with respect to being faithful to Tolkien's work", to keeping the books and movies separate.




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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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The Secret Fire posted: I actually just watched the animated one again recently after not seeing it since I was a child. If you want to talk about a terrible film.... I don't even know where to begin. The story is changed, huge sections are cut out, half of the movie is tinted red for no apparent reason, and the pronunciation is abhorrent.

OK, but does this not imply you render an opinion of terrible largely because of a comparison to the books (except for the red tint issue)? 

-- Edited by Galin on Monday 31st of August 2009 06:20:35 PM

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I think when comparing the actual lore with an adaptation of it, you have to take the following points into account:

Was it necessary?
Was the change vital in order to make a certain plotline or appearence come forth in the film? Having Faramir almost succumb to the Ring could be classed as necessary in terms of the storyline of the film.

Does it alter anything about what we know of the real Middle-earth?
To give you two examples - missing out Tom Bombadil. It was annoying, yes, but the change didn't actually alter anything. On the other hand, the Witchking casting Gandalf off his horse and breaking his staff (Extended edition) alters the very fabric of what Gandalf is, and what the Witchking is. In the actual lore, the Witchking could never do that to Gandalf in that situation.

Does it improve the story?
Does the alteration or addition improve the story as a whole? Are there any scenes that weren't in the book that actually improved the story, and your enjoyment of the film?

Would following the lore break the atmosphere?
Partially connected to the first point. For example, having Tom Bombadil in the film would have seriously broken the atmosphere. All that danger and serious stuff going on, and then up pops Tom. Alot of people who hadn't read the books would have found it silly.

Thats all I can think of tonight. But whenever you evaluate whether something in an adaptation is better or worse than the source material, have these points in mind.

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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mouth of sauron,
Good logical criteria for evaluation of differences between books and movie.
Makes sense to me.


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Soldier of Beleriand - Rank 3
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Galin wrote:

The Secret Fire posted: I actually just watched the animated one again recently after not seeing it since I was a child. If you want to talk about a terrible film.... I don't even know where to begin. The story is changed, huge sections are cut out, half of the movie is tinted red for no apparent reason, and the pronunciation is abhorrent.

OK, but does this not imply you render an opinion of terrible largely because of a comparison to the books (except for the red tint issue)?

-- Edited by Galin on Monday 31st of August 2009 06:20:35 PM



I wouldn't deny that my post does imply comparison of the 1978 animated movie to the books.  When you compare it to the books, it is terrible.  However, I would be very willing to deem the film terrible based on other criteria such as aesthetics, quality of dialogue, and its overall artistic quality.  I consider the film just plain bad when measured by any of those criteria.

However, I do feel that the new LOTR films qualify as a faithful, skillful adaptation of the books done with great care and integrity.  I'm sure that many others will disagree with me on this, but it's my opinion. 

Galin wrote:

In any event I would like to ask a question concerning keeping the books and movies separate. Does this imply one should never judge the films as to whether or not (one thinks) they are faithful adaptations of the source material?

I understand that the mediums are different, and that Jackson, or anyone else, has the right to make a film as desired. But that said, does it not open a rather huge door, with respect to being faithful to Tolkien's work, to generally say 'keep the books and films separate'?



I don't think it's okay to "generally" say "keep the books and films separate".  The choice to do that belongs to each individual and their preferences.  However, it makes more sense to me to view them both as individual works that are both successful and enjoyable in their own right.  I don't feel the need to guard and defend the books like a jealous husband.  I think artistic works are meant to be loved and enjoyed by others, and sometimes that includes allowing others to create their own interpretations of work that is not their own.  I don't believe that Tolkien's work (or anyone else's, for that matter), is "lessened" by it being reinterpreted by others.

It just doesn't make sense to me judge a film a complete failure simply because it does not stick to the exact parameters of the story down to the minutest detail.  I don't feel that expecting an exact book to film adaptation is realistic or even desirable.  Some events in the book would be confusing, boring, or unenlightening if filmed.  This does not detract from their place in the book, certainly, but I cannot imagine holding an audience's attention through some of the skipped events.  Going to the cinema is not the same as sitting at home on a snowy night with a cup of tea and a book (although I know which I prefer).  Moviegoers expect a different experience and I think the filmmakers did a tremendous job attempting to keep both diehard Tolkien fans and contemporary audiences happy.

These films are not some crappy, low budget, art school interpretation of Lord of the Rings.  They are a painstaking, skillful, heavily researched effort that was worked on with great love and care by hundreds of people who designed and created costumes, pottery, sets, miniatures, battle scenes, Elvish scrolls, computer generated sequences bordering on miraculous, incredible camera work, beautiful music, and writers that worked hard to keep much of the original dialogue intact. For this reason, I believe the films deserve some measure of respect, even if it be grudging.   While it is each individual's right to judge the films as they will, I don't personally agree with those who are so stuck on the story being changed that they cannot see all the other redeeming qualities of the films.

I like to enjoy things, I don't get so caught up in the details.  I enjoy the books.  I enjoy the movies.  They both have brought a great deal of happiness and entertainment to me.  I enjoy the opportunity to share my favorite books with the many others who have discovered them thanks to the films.  I appreciate the fact that Tolkien's work is now more loved than ever because of their increased exposure.  All those things matter a lot more to me than an omitted scene or a changed line.



-- Edited by The Secret Fire on Monday 31st of August 2009 11:42:18 PM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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The Secret Fire,
You go woman!  You are right on.  I admire your attitude and your rationale about enjoying the films and the books.
While I prefer coffee to tea I'll curl up with the books myself.
I own the DVDs of the films and love to throw them on the screen on those occasional afternoons I am free.
Whatever the criteria peoples opinions will be different.
But is useless comparing apples to oranges.
Bear


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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Bear wrote: My point is that the films, BASED on Tolkien's work "The Lord of the Rings", should be critiqued separately because "the mediums are different, and that Jackson, or anyone else, has the right to make a film as desired."


OK, and I take this to (maybe) mean that faithfulness to the books does not enter at all -- essentially one takes the approach of a non-reader who simply sees the film and judges it solely as a film, with no comparisons to the original source.

For example, a person loves Frank Frazetta's depiction of Eowyn slaying the steed of the Nazgul, because it is (he or she thinks) a great line drawing, full of energy and rendered with great skill, and artistic license allows Mr. Frazetta his style and vision. Similarly, the idea would be that one should not judge the drawing by comparing it to description in the book -- or to my mind more importantly here: the tone of Tolkien's romance is part of Tolkien's art, not Frazetta's, and so the fact that Frazetta's Eowyn happens to be half-naked is the artist expressing himself, and he has the right to call his figure 'Eowyn'. 


I'm not sure if this is your basic position with respect to the films and the books, but just wondering. 


MOS' post begins with a statement I would paraphrase as: when comparing the two works, keep these following things in mind. Of course, then comes the subjective opinions, while keeping those (or other) things, in mind.

smile 



The Spirit of Fire posted: I don't think it's okay to "generally" say "keep the books and films separate".  The choice to do that belongs to each individual and their preferences. However, it makes more sense to me to view them both as individual works that are both successful and enjoyable in their own right. 



I don't think anyone can argue the films aren't successful as films. As for enjoyable, obviously many love them, and some find the films 'good' (not great) or even mediocre -- as films. Tastes vary, but it's not a given that everyone finds them enjoyable as films (the varying levels of enjoyment aside!). David Bratman (a 'Tolkien scholar' who has been somewhat vocal concerning the movies) has admitted he enjoyed the films as films, but I doubt you would agree with him with respect to being faithful to Tolkien. 


The Spirit of Fire
wrote: It just doesn't make sense to me judge a film a complete failure simply because it does not stick to the exact parameters of the story down to the minutest detail. I don't feel that expecting an exact book to film adaptation is realistic or even desirable. Some events in the book would be confusing, boring, or unenlightening if filmed. 


This seems mutually agreed upon in any case -- even the most ardent detractors of the film do not expect a filmmaker to attempt such an extreme level of exactness. I have never read one anyway.


The Spirit of Fire wrote: (...) While it is each individual's right to judge the films as they will, I don't personally agree with those who are so stuck on the story being changed that they cannot see all the other redeeming qualities of the films.


Well, the story is important, as I think you would agree, and characters, themes, tone... if, for example, a given person felt that a director continually tripped over Tolkien on these important counts, other issues of admitted high quality might only be so redeeming.



-- Edited by Galin on Wednesday 2nd of September 2009 02:32:42 PM

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