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Topic: Why do so many have trouble with the film and the book?

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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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Date: Sep 24, 2006
Why do so many have trouble with the film and the book?

The book is too long to include everything in the films, so there had to be adaptation to keep the films exciting.


What I don't understand is, why are there so many purists out there who look at any deviation from the book, as a heinous sin? I personally am extremely grateful for the films, as I would never had read the book without seeing FOTR first. AND, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.



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That is the good thing about the films. They do actually increase the book sales. To answer your question, Aduril; there are A LOT of Tolkien fans (myself included) who have read the books several times over many years.

That said, there are some scenes that it is just heinous to alter. The Ford of Rivendell, Helm's Deep, Gandalf and the Witchking. Those were the only three that really ticked me off. Other than that I thought the movies were done exceptionally well.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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I agree with Anduril. What you will find is originally it was only a few dozen Tolkien Fanatics who disliked the films. Then other people who were trying to become fanatics after seeing the film caught on and thought 'If I want to be a true fanatic I should say I disliked the film and thought them insulting to Tolkien'. So now it is trend that if your a genuine loremaster of Tolkien you have to dislike the films.

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Valar
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I've noticed that, Glorfindel, but I didn't relaise it was the fashion! Some people really did love the books a lot first, and just couldn't see the film's adaptation as good because it would have differed so much from what they thought of it. Also, I think some loremasters just take it all too seriously, and think that the films have diluted what was in the books, inspiring many people to call Sauron a 'big eye' and so on. I think some people think that Jackson somewhat disneyfied LoTR in the movies, inspired by some of the changes he made, including Gandalf vs. Witchking. This didn't bother me so much, because it would have been next to impossible to back up everything with its proper history and meaning in the books. And I agree that it has opened many people's eyes to the beauty of Tolkien's works, which is great, they're immortal now. And apart from a couple of things, I thought the movies were great, especially as I was introduced to the books around the same time they came out. The thing I think matters is that I think the films got the spirit of the books in their own way, but they did it wonderfully, and without completely Hollywood-ising it, which I was very pleased about. 

-- Edited by Lady Yavanna at 14:55, 2006-09-24

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I am Yavanna, Giver of Fruits.
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Im sorry to disagree with you Glorfindel, but everyone I know who read the books and saw the films was somewhat disappointed. It's not that they disliked or didnt enjoy the films, there was just some disappointment comparing imagination to screen. I don't know about this 'trend' or 'fashion' of disliking the films in order to be considered a loremaster. Sounds rather childish if you ask me.

The reason for the disappointment in my circle is that we all grew up reading those books and so we had firm images in our heads of how everything was. Like I said before, I think the movies are a great adaptation of the books. Until the PJ version, all we had before were the unfinished animation of the first 2 books and the Bakshi animation of RoTK.

Anduril, I don't think ANY deviation from the book is heinous, but changing key scenes from the book for no apparent reason just feels wrong. I think I was one of the few people in the theater who was completely confused when Haldir showed up at Helms Deep.

Oh and I forgot to mention the Gollum scene at the end. THE KEY SCENE....WTF was PJ thinking when he changed that one scene. Everything else is forgivable, but not that. PJ changed the entire meaning of the ending and that really sucked.

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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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What did he change to the Gollum scene that was so bad? It basically captured the attention of the audience becuase all things were closing in on that point. Gollum at last had got his Ring back, something he had brooded about for 60 years, Aragorn and the Army of the Black gate were becoming very desperate and relied solely on the fate of the Ring, Frodo had one last struggle to achieve his goal, and Sauron victory or defeat was in the balance. What was so rubbish about it?

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Frodo had one last struggle to achieve his goal, and Sauron's victory or defeat was in the balance. What was so rubbish about it? - Glorfindel 1235


The point of the Gollum scene is to show that Frodo's mercy toward Gollum is what ends up saving all. Gollum is supposed to accidentally fall into the cracks of Doom, because Frodo was spent. Frodo had his last struggle and he loses. That is the point.

Once you change it into a physical struggle, then there is no need for Gollum at all. It could have been Sam who struggled with Frodo for the ring.

Cinematically its not that bad, but if you know the story well, then it just kinda sucks.


I really like the films, there are just a handful of scenes that were radically changed that did not need to be changed.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I personally don't care so much about what influence the films have.
They are a modern adaptation of an older book, and that is why they are "based on LOTR"
if you don't like them, then go make your own movie...so far this is all we have, and I am happy the movies exist, no matter what changes were made

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Valar
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Yes, I agree with TM, because it was always going to be different, because it's one group of people's take on it, therefore something was always going to get changed. The ways we have of storytelling now in film, are vastly different to what Tolkien used. I think we're lucky it didn't get overly Disney-ised and end up like Bakshi's version, which, despite perhaps being slightly more accurate,  (despite missing the entire third book) were apalling and put people off, because it was almost a joke what they did to it. It had none of the weight I think PJ managed to put into it.

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I am Yavanna, Giver of Fruits.
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I wouldnt be so harsh on the Bakshi animation. For its time, it was pretty good, although it seems that no one who does an adaptation wants to put Glorfindel at the Ford of Rivendell. I just dont understand why that scene is so despised by the filmmakers.

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Valar
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The hobbits didn't have to look like that. And the people who came anywhere near the ring all seemed to go into strange epileptic type fits. And he seemed to give up on the animation and just put in loads of raw rotoscoping gunk... it wasn't looked after well. I liked the elves though, they were actually really good (though Elrond didnt seem to be an elf...). Oh, and miniskirts on Boromir and Aragorn

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I am Yavanna, Giver of Fruits.
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You all make so valid points, and I have to agree that the final confrontation between Frodo, and Gollum did put things a little out of kilter. I also have to admit that although not in the book, I loved the scene at Helm's Deep when Haldir showed up with reinforcements.


I do, however stick to my gund re: were it not for the films, the books would have gone unread by myself and perhaps others.



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I am Anduril, who was Narsil. Let the thralls of Mordor fear me.
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I agree with you completely Anduril, the films were wonderful and did reinvigorate interest in the books.

I am just speaking from the point of view of someone who grew up reading the books and watching the previous movies about them.

Yes Lady Yavanna, the Bakshi representations of Boromir the Viking and Aragorn the Native American were pretty bad, but the Hobbits and Gimli and even Legolas were decent. If you would like to continue this discussion, I started a thread on the Animations.

-- Edited by Celethil at 21:36, 2006-09-26

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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good to see we all agree on this...
indeed, it was not so nice for many fans to get something different from what they were expecting...
I personally had only read The Hobbit when I saw the movies...only afterwards I read LOTR and the other books.

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The books are all better than the movies made after them.


 


Like many others I only read half of the books when I saw the movies. The only thing I have against doing this is that you don't get to imagine what the creatures and people look like. It is very hard to do this after seeing the movies.



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Gil Galad wrote:



The books are all better than the movies made after them.


 


Like many others I only read half of the books when I saw the movies. The only thing I have against doing this is that you don't get to imagine what the creatures and people look like. It is very hard to do this after seeing the movies.





I agree completely, that the books are all better, as there are no time constraints for a book, as there are in films. However, I love the idea of the films as I can now put a face to the character in the books, and this is not just with LOTR.


Character descriptions in books may be very detailed, but who now cannot read about Arwen, and not see Liv Tyler. The same with Galadriel, and Kate Blanchett. Also Ian McKellen is to me, the personification of Gandalf. I always find it a bit laughable when the book description of Gandalf, describes eye brows long enough to extend beyond the brim of his hat. Not something I care to see.



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I will agree that the books are far better than the movies, but I will not agree that it has to do with time constraints. Given 10 hours +, there is more than enough time to detail the story on the big screen AND do it accurately.

I will admit though that I picture Arwen as Liv Tyler's version now and the same with Aragorn, Legolas, and the Hobbits. Not so with Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, Cirdan, or Ereinion, I've had firm images of them in my head for so long that the movies didnt alter them.

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I really love and appreciate both the books and the movie. To be honest, both have their flaws, but that doesn't detract from their excellence. Of course, I like the books far more, but the movies aren't as bad as they're made out to be.

The biggest flaw with the written works is their incompleteness. I don't think that Tolkien ever thought that Arda and all its happenings were known to him, laid out, and predetermined. He treated it more as if he had uncovered an ancient culture which he himself studied and then passed on the information to us. Add to that the incredible expanse it covered (an entire alternate universe), and he just didn't have a long enough life to lay everything down cohesively and completely on paper. He might have done better with the lifespan of an Elf.

The movies, though. It's a touchy subject. I really feel that Peter Jackson did them justice to the best of his ability, and took much more time and consideration for thoughts of the fans than a lot of self-absorbed directors would. We could have ended up with Uwe Boll or Quentin Tarantino making it. Shudder. He was meticulous in casting (I think he did a GREAT job casting), re-creating locations and scenes, and using the native languages of Middle-Earth. He spent a lot of time and money really trying hard to get it right. The first time I saw Lothlorien in the movie, I went "This is exactly right." I had never really been able to picture it in my mind, one of the few locations I couldn't. I like his vision much better than mine.

While I disagree with some plot changes (most of them in TTT), I view the movies and the books as separate, though related entities. It's important to bear in mind that prose full of characters inner thoughts and the expression of some very big philosophical concepts can be difficult to convert into a screenplay that is relevant to people who haven't read the books. He had to make them appealing to everyone. They were great films: visually stunning, played up in the right moments, less important moments glossed over. Even though Tom Bombadil is one of the most interesting and enigmatic characters to me, I completely understand his omission from the movie.

I just feel it's important that you reread the books every so often so you don't forget how things actually are, instead of how they are in the movie, and you encourage people who haven't read the books to do so. Outside of the plot fabrications (some of which I admit were necessary and even beneficial - some not so much), they are excellent movies.



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For the most part, I like the movies just as movies, and the books just as books.


There are pages and pages worth of stuff Jackson changed, but most of them are rather nit-picky and shouldn't 'destroy' the love of the movies.


There are several big and huge changed Jackson does, but listening to his commentary he gives an explanation for most of them.  I may not agree with what he did, but at least he had a reason for changing a part, or taking something out.


Of course, we know that not every scene in the book can be put in the movies, it's just not possible.  Tolkien himself in Letter 210 when he criticizes Zimmerman's screenplay admits this.  He knew in order to make a viewable movie out of his books, scenes had to be cut out (which is probably why he was so opposed to making movies out of them).


The things that get under my skin are the complete debasement of some characters because Jackson thought it would be funny.  For example, reducing Gimli to merely for comic relief.  I was happy with Gimli's portrayal in FOTR, I chuckled at some of his lines, but I never lost who I felt Gimli was and should have been.  This is completely lost and Jackson takes it too far in TTT and ROTK, he is completely reduced to simply being the comedic relief in the movies.


And there are some other things that just rather...quite frankly p*ss me off.  It seems like Jackson just changed things, because he felt like it and he felt like not respecting Tolkien.  For instance.


Tolkien said that tomatoes had no place in his books because they were not a native crop of England.  So what does Jackson do?  He says that's stupid and silly and he puts tomatoes in the movies to prove this point.


Tolkien said the two most moving scenes in LOTR for him was the rooster crow when Rohan arrived and Gollum's nearly redeems himself, but Sam mistakes Gollum's 'pawing' at Frodo.  This leads to Sam going after Gollum and Gollum losing all hope of redeeming himself.  Both of these were not in the films.


So I think on that level and some major alterations of characters, it really does annoy me.  As I think Jackson could have had much better respect for some things that Tolkien had cared about.  But for the most part, I keep the movies as a form of Entertainment, as that's what they are.  They are very entertaining movies, but just some things get me riled up about them.


 



-- Edited by Lord Lórien at 18:04, 2006-09-30

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I'll be nice this time and mention at least one major alteration that I actually liked. Haldir's death at Helm's Deep. Not that I was glad to see him die, but I thought the recreation of an alliance of Elves and Men was a nice addition to the film.

Lord Lorien I completely agree with you though on the characterization of Gimli as a fool. That was just wrong. The drinking scene was just awful. Dwarves are supposed to be some of the most hardy folk in Middle-Earth.

But I digress, there were certainly other major alterations that added to the film. I personally enjoyed the characterization of Elrond. In the movies he appeared to have all the arrogance and disdain for Men that I would expect in a Noldorin Lord.

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I agree with most of what was said.


I do picture the faces of most of the actors and actresses that played in the movies. But not all of them.


I hated Gimli in the second and third movies. They made him look like a complete idiot.


I (Don't know how many people did this) keep thinking "mister Anderson" every time Elrond said something.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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me too...I always think he's going to say...it was inevitable Mr.Baggins...we've missed you...and then all kind of Elrond clones step in the room
it's not easy for an actor to be casted in other movies once he's remembered by all for a part in a certain movie
that's why Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) will never play in a horror, you'll always think he's gonna use his teddy to escape

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LOL, that would be awsome.(The clones part I mean).

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I also picture most of the book's characters as their movie counterparts. This is why I said I think they did such a great job with casting. I'll admit, I never would have pictured Hugo Weaving as Elrond, but he did a great job. Although I think I like him even more as Agent Smith, and he's good as V as well.

I didn't like what they did to Gimli either, but being honest here, I always considered Gimli one of the more forgettable characters. This doesn't excuse what they did, but I was able to ignore it more readily than I would another character. Legolas really didn't impress me much in the books, either. Not that I didn't like them - but I liked others much more.

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The Secret Fire wrote:


I also picture most of the book's characters as their movie counterparts. This is why I said I think they did such a great job with casting. I'll admit, I never would have pictured Hugo Weaving as Elrond, but he did a great job. Although I think I like him even more as Agent Smith, and he's good as V as well.

I didn't like what they did to Gimli either, but being honest here, I always considered Gimli one of the more forgettable characters. This doesn't excuse what they did, but I was able to ignore it more readily than I would another character. Legolas really didn't impress me much in the books, either. Not that I didn't like them - but I liked others much more.



You bring up a good point, which I never considered. In the film they did make Gimli somewhat Buffoonish, but aside from that John Rhys Davies wa excellent.

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Yes, John Rhys Davies was exellent. I still liked him more in the first one though.


Also, I do think that Gimli of the books was a more forgeteble character. The movie at least helped him get noticed. Not that that ecscuses what the did to him.



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Anarion, Son of Elendil - rank 8
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He is a good actor. There are few in Wales but he is one of them. I live in Wales to.

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As some of you may know, John Rhys Davies had a great deal of trouble with the prsthetic make up in the film, which caused him a great deal of pain and discomfort. So given all that I think he did a phenomenal job on the film.

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Valar
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As well as getting one of his fingers (or part of it) hacked off when swinging his axe.


I thought they should have brought in someone else to do Treebeard's voice though.  Davies is a great actor, but I just couldn't listen to Treebeard and not think, gah...Gimli.



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I am Lórien, Lord of Dreams, my true name is 'Irmo' in Quenya.
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Lord Lórien wrote:



As well as getting one of his fingers (or part of it) hacked off when swinging his axe.


I thought they should have brought in someone else to do Treebeard's voice though.  Davies is a great actor, but I just couldn't listen to Treebeard and not think, gah...Gimli.




Lord Lorien, that is incorrect. John R.D. lost part of finger previously and had a prosthetic finger applied, which they used to play a joke on P.J. when he pulled it off.

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I am Anduril, who was Narsil. Let the thralls of Mordor fear me.
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Seriosly. Davies played the voice of Treebeard. I didn't know that.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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you know, now that you mentioned that I start to realise there really is a resemblance between Gimli and Treebeard in the movie.

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Can't say that I knew that either. There is no Welsh accent in Treebeards voice but there is in Gimli's...

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I feel better, I thought it was just me.

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I thought J.R. Davies portrayal of Treebeard was excellent. He has a strong deep voice, and with the computer enhancement, it worked wonders.


Best funny line from Gimli, "Here's to Dwarves who go swimmin with little hairy women".



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It doesnt seem like most of us have a problem with the films. Or even if we didnt like certain changes to the story, we at least still enjoyed the films.

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I liked that scene as well, but I personally don't really agree with Legolas and beer.
We know what Dorwinion wine did the to the Elves in the Hobbit. So does it look like Legolas, which is a Wood-Elf of Mirkwood ust like the Elves in the Hobbit, is immune to alcohol and barely feels the effects of the ale after drinking a lot of it.
I think both Legolas and Gimli should have been drunk.

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The Might wrote:


I liked that scene as well, but I personally don't really agree with Legolas and beer.
We know what Dorwinion wine did the to the Elves in the Hobbit. So does it look like Legolas, which is a Wood-Elf of Mirkwood ust like the Elves in the Hobbit, is immune to alcohol and barely feels the effects of the ale after drinking a lot of it.
I think both Legolas and Gimli should have been drunk.



I think that was just to show that elves are above the petty viscitudes of mortals. I found that part entertaining. Especially the part when the soldiers of Rohan just stare at thim in awe, when he describes "a slight tingling in my finger tips... I think it's effecting me".

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It was a humorous scene, though I am going to side with TM on this one. The Dwarves are supposed to be a very hardy folk and at the least their constitution is similar to that of the Elves.

I didn't mind Legolas winning the drinking contest but they could have played it up a bit with quite a few of the Rohirrim passed out and Gimli and Legolas battling to the end.

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Therefore I say that we will go on, and this doom I add: the deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda
Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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still, considering how much ale a Dwarf usually drank, and considering that the wine knocked out all the Elves, I would say Gimli should have been the winner
and after Legolas would fall on the floor Gimli should make a victory dance and then fall on the floor as well

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