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

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Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Date: Oct 5, 2006
RE: Why do so many have trouble with the film and the book?

Keep in mind Ale is much weaker than wine in general. About 5 times less potent.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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still, that was a lot of beer that Gimli drank in the film
I just looked in the Hobbit
we are told the guards had drunk the wine from large flagons, so indeed it was a larger quantity then in a usual wine cup
also, we are told that online a heavy vinatge wine, like the wine from Dorwinion could get wood-elves drowsy, and that is why they usually only drank it at feasts, and only from smaller cups
still, I do believe that a large quantity of ale, as shown in the film, should have had a more visible effect on Legolas

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Honor, Freedom, Fatherland
Royal Guard of Menegroth - Rank 5
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Oh I do agree with you completely. I was just saying that the Elves constitution, if not equal to that of the Dwarves should be similar and Legolas may have been able to out drink Gimli but certainly not remain unaffected.

There should have been scores of drunken Rohirrim passed out beneath them.

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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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maybe the Rohirrim weren't into drinking contests and just enjoyed watching, maybe also betting on who would be the last standing.

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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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The Might wrote:


maybe the Rohirrim weren't into drinking contests and just enjoyed watching, maybe also betting on who would be the last standing.


I agree! Either that or they were a little awed / respectful of the Legolas / Gimli team, that they'd dare not get involved.

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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or they were afraid of losing the competition...
after all, I guess they knew how Dwarves could drink, but I doubt they expected the same from an Elf

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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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Anduril it's true not all details could have been intruduced in the films since normally a movie doesn't not go longer then 2 hours but Jackson doesn't just put away important details like prince Imrahil but adds unecessary stuff like Haldir's presence at battle of Helms Deep. I think, Jackson made some uninspired changings by replacing important details with unimportant ones.
However, without the movies we wouldn't have had these wonderful avatars today and probably never been able to imagine correctly how would a dwarf, a hobbit or a orc look like. Everyone could have imgained them in his own way and in the end we would have had unfinished versions of elves or ents.
The movies brought in some ways a huge contribution to the books by increasing the number of readers and therefore more fans. On the other hand when seeing first the movies (as in my case too) then reading the books you might be overtaken by disapoiment when remarking that the books are so much better and even without soundtracks or colors. I would go more in deep with this but I'm not sure would be someone interested to continue the debate.



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Black Numenorean - Rank 3
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I agree that alot of important details were left out of the films in order to inject a little levity, as a mood calmer. Some work and some are exceedingly out of place. I don't particularly mind about the drinking game, for a little light hearted foolishness.


Here's a bit of old OT trivia. In the original film The Terminator, they were actually toying with the idea of the Terminator getting wasted on a 12 pack of beer. How out of place wuld that have been, a "computer" being affected by alcohol.



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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I guess all these changes were made because the movie is only BASED on the books and not EXACTLY like the books.
So it was PJ's right to make changes to, perhaps in his opinion, improve the films, or perhaps to make them more appealing to the public. We must consider the books are 50 years olf, so maybe he thought that some changes would bring more profit...anyway, no matter why he did the changes it is questionable if it was a good decision or not...

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Rumil wrote: (...) However, without the movies we wouldn't have had these wonderful avatars today and probably never been able to imagine correctly how would a dwarf, a hobbit or a orc look like. Everyone could have imgained them in his own way and in the end we would have had unfinished versions of elves or ents.'


The beauty, in my opinion, is that Tolkien's descriptions are guidelines for each imagination. Over the years there have been plenty of depictions of Middle-earth and its characters in various mediums. Obviously the general guidelines are there in the books: Aragorn, for example, is not a short blond person, and such a depiction could be called 'incorrect' in this sense. But 'my Aragorn' will probably not look exactly like another person's version of him (and 'my Aragorn' might change a bit as I get older too). Different Aragorns, so to speak, is a very good thing in my opinion, even if there's a depiction somewhere which is popular and inspires many statements like 'that's how I pictured him too'


As for depicting Tolkien's mighty Eldar, this has been a tough challenge in any medium in my opinion.


 



-- Edited by Galin at 22:34, 2006-11-29

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Witchking of Angmar - Rank 10
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I must agree with Galin on this...
Indeed, the movies did make it easier for fans to imagine how elves, or ents, or dwarves looked like.
However, the question is: is this a positive or a negative consequence?
I would say that the way the characters have been presented in the films should be accepted, considering the fact that this is just another point of view in this matter, just another way to imagine them.
However, I do not agree with calling them a correct, or more finished version. They are perhaps closer to Tolkien's own ideas in some respects, but I personally believe it was The Master's own desire that each fan could explore this fantastic world in his mind and picture himself the characters as he sees them.
Indeed, the films gave a common point of view to many members who shared this idea, but I am not so sure if that is what Tolkien had in mind...

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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The last post in this thread was in 2006 by the most active member of our forums, The Might and one of our best scholars, Galin.. They, and the active members then, were engaged in the topic with attention to the minute and the grand. And on those November days in 2006 The Might and Galin left definitive comments that Tolkien's work went beyond film or page and into the infinite dimension of our own imaginations.

 

I chose to re-open this because I listened to folks saying that the films are so much worse and the books are so much better.
I had read the books at least twenty times (and possibly many more) before the first film even came out. I love the books ... you know I love the books.
I loved the films. I loved them as they were. I am looking forward to the new one coming out. I didn't and don't expect them to be exactly like the book ... and they weren't and won't be ... they were/are films from a script written by screen writers ... not Tolkien himself.
Film being a visual art form I expected the same license accorded the many graphic artists who drew for Tolkien calendars, posters, and games.
Posters, calendars, music, and other art forms (including films) are inspired by Tolkien's books. And opinions, being what they are, certainly can be claimed by one as "I liked the books best."
And so it should stand.

 

But I would like to post a brief speech from the films ... not exactly from the books ... but in my heart I am sure Tolkien did write this in other forms and in many ways ...

The scene is a battle in Osgiliath. Faramir (in moral ambiguity) still holds, Frodo, Sam, and Smeagol and is debating sending them and The Ring to his father, Denethor, in Minas Tirith.

A Nazgul has passed over head, the orcs are retreating. Frodo has been knocked from his feet and almost bewitched by the power of evil. It is his loyal servant and friend, Sam, who sees through Faramir's uncertainty and Frodo's inability to master the evil and carry on.

The film script reads thus;

 

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. Its like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.
But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: [He helps Frodo up and says:] That there is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And its worth fighting for.

 

So those who love the books ... look here ... and let the inspirational power of Tolkien touch you ... from another form.





-- Edited by Bear on Sunday 13th of November 2011 05:42:02 AM

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Guard of Armenelos - Rank 4
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Well said, Friend Bear.

I too celebrated the movies and remember sitting amongst other die-hard fans in the theaters on opening night, Jazzed as hell to be witnessing the Fellowship of the Ring. Lights went down in the auditorium and people lost their minds in the darkness that proceeded the appearance of any particular images. That was indeed a memory that will stay in my mind. Also the memory of how I looked passed the appearance of Arwen and how she masterfully escorted Frodo across the Ford and thwarted the Ringwraiths. At some level I thought: "Wait a minute! Is this accurate?" and the next moment I was swept away by the movie.

I don't hold resentment against Peter Jackson for completely fudging the story about to fit the time limits of the cinema. For the most part he was accurate in detail. Giving lines to characters that never spoke them was something that later I felt duped by, but look at it this way: Cinema is like a carnival barker standing grandly upon a dais and whetting your appetite for adventure by selling you what you want. Literature is an endeavor that each takes upon themselves. Part of the responsibility lies with the author; to entertain.  The participation of the reader is the other half; to take on the task of completing the act of reading and following through. In that, the tale is earned. The thrills the tension, all palpable, all engrossing. I guess that's why a lot of purists love the book and hold to it tenaciously.  I know there will always be a safe haven for Tolkien fans within the pages of his works.

I look forward to The Hobbit's release in December 2012, even if I know Jackson made Thorin's character very young and possibly the whole troupe of Dwarfs will end up being more comical than fey. I will suffer these things because I can't wait for the discussion fodder to explode on this site.

I think we'll have a lot do talk about and that's why I'm here. I can't wait.


Your friend,




Jaidoprism7






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Loremaster Elf of Mirkwood - Rank 4
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I too love the books. I loved the world that Tolkien had created. I loved the image of a wise and wonderful grumpy old wizard. I especially loved the Elves as he portrayed them.

I had no illusions that the movies would be fully loyal to the book. They so seldom are and worse. What thrilled me was how close Jackson came. Not perfect and I had some serious issues with some of his interpretations but all in all they were far better then I expected them to be. I am only hoping that he is able to stay to his standard of work on the Hobbit. Time will only tell and i am eagerly awaiting to it's release.

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Bear wrote: And on those November days in 2006 The Might and Galin left definitive comments that Tolkien's work went beyond film or page and into the infinite dimension of our own imaginations.

 

More specifically I noted that we can all imagine the physical attributes of Tolkien's characters within the guidelines he -- the creator of these characters of course -- gave us. I noted, for example, that although my Aragorn will not look exactly as the next person imagines him, Aragorn is not a short, blond person. Nor need one imagine that Aragorn has, say, a huge scar running down his face, simply because Tolkien never said he didn't have one. We all have different imaginations, and Tolkien leaves more room here than other authors perhaps, but that doesn't mean the door is wide open of course (not that you said it was).

 

 

Aragorn is not only not short and blond, but neither (in my opinion) is he riddled with self-doubt, as Jackson's Aragorn is, or so ignoble as to toss Frodo about or behead ambassadors (no matter from Mordor). So while our imaginations may be very open doors, I think there are lines that -- when arguably crossed -- make a given depiction unfaithful to Tolkien.

 

Bear wrote (...) I didn't and don't expect them to be exactly like the book ... and they weren't and won't be ... they were/are films from a script written by screen writers ... not Tolkien himself. 

 

OK, and in an earlier discussion about the films you admitted that you care about the films being faithful to Tolkien -- nothing at all wrong with that of course. It's natural in my opinion, as you are a Tolkien fan, but I think that should mean that while you are willing to give Jackson some rope because films are not books, or even artistic license, you are not willing to let him climb to any height or depth you feel goes beyond your measure.

 

And so in my opinion it's basically the same with people who really don't like these films, as far as adaptations go, and who likewise didn't expect exactness and understand the point behind noting that Tolkien didn't write or direct these films.

 

 

Anduril wrote: 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 would say that the very many deviations (and additions), of both kind and measure, add up to such a sum total that for many the films don't come near to the tipping point of being deemed faithful to Tolkien -- and for some the films only have a tenuous resemblance to the books in character, tone, and focus.

 

Bear wrote: Film being a visual art form I expected the same license accorded the many graphic artists who drew for Tolkien calendars, posters, and games. Posters, calendars, music, and other art forms (including films) are inspired by Tolkien's books.

 

Inspiration is fine, but Jackson himself claims not only inspiration from Tolkien but faithfulness to Tolkien, and so in my opinion he is open to criticism in this arena.

 

Don't make me bring up Frank Frazetta again wink



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 14th of November 2011 06:28:27 PM

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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Galin,

I agree! Perfection is an absolute. And as such is possible only in the imagination. Faithful is also an absolute ...

I hope Jackson does as good a job (or better) as he did with the other books.  We shall see.

As for being faithful to the book ... if that is what you are looking for ... then buy the book instead of a movie ticket.

As for "Don't make me bring up Frank Frazetta again." I won't. But it was Frazetta who kept the adolescent Bear in rapture and reading "sword and sorcery."
And don't tell my wife but he still raises my eyebrow occasionally.

smile



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Galin said: (when talking about Jackson's Aragorn) ...so ignoble as to toss Frodo about or behead ambassadors (no matter from Mordor).

That was one scene that reduced me to "Sean Penn face" while watching the special features of ROTK. That whole scene was done masterfully up to the beheading. I thought that was a sloppy and rushed move. If it was in an extended scene why not play it out like it was written. Tolkien writes the whole scene with far more tension and you get a serious sense of Malice from the Mouth of Sauron's reaction to the grim gaze of Aragorn gave me the chills. This is beside the topic...just a personal note. I guess after all the movies were really good but the sacrifice of detail for the reasons of time constraints will always leave us longing for more...



-- Edited by Jaidoprism7 on Tuesday 15th of November 2011 03:59:36 PM

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Bear wrote: 'Perfection is an absolute. And as such is possible only in the imagination. Faithful is also an absolute...'

 

But with respect to assessment of the films, as no one is comparing them to the notion of absolute faithfulness to the books, my point is to understand the reason behind such statements -- which is why earlier I challenged your similar comment about the films not being exactly like the books.

 

There are seemingly plenty of people who find the films faithful to Tolkien but yet note how they could have been more faithful -- noting its flaws as far as adaptation goes, or what they wished Jackson had done here and there -- despite that they think he basically succeeded in this regard. I think that speaks to a measure achieved, not an idealized perfection.

 

 

 

Such statements about perfection (and so on) don't seem to be aimed at Jackson fans in my opinion -- and don't they imply, even if unintended, that 'others' are (wrong-headedly and unfairly) holding Jackson up to some standard of perfection or slavish adaptation process?

 

Bear wrote: 'As for being faithful to the book ... if that is what you are looking for ... then buy the book instead of a movie ticket.'

 

If one needs to buy the book then isn't the essential message here that the films are not only not faithful to the book, but can't be? But again, as plenty of people think the films are faithful (enough) to the book... 

 

What's odd for me is that one of my favorite scenes from The Two Towers film wasn't in The Lord of the Rings!

 

If even Jackson can 'score' now and again, and especially in this way (essentially adding a scene to the tale that Tolkien did not) in theory someone can produce a version that I find faithful enough -- not perfect in this regard, not tied to a slavish process without good filmmaking in mind, not even restricted as far as artistic license goes, but faithful enough.

 

In theory smile



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Jaidoprism7 wrote: 'This is beside the topic...just a personal note. I guess after all the movies were really good but the sacrifice of detail for the reasons of time constraints will always leave us longing for more...'

 

Hmm, to my mind Jackson's films are too long. I would have cut more from the books than he did (but not The Scouring of the Shire) -- but especially I would not have added so much invented material as Jackson did, nor have given so much time to battles and fights... or what I call 'fake death' scenes!



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Galin,
My whole point is simple ... enjoy the films as films ... let go of the comparison to the books ... they (the books) are masterpieces that will never be duplicated ... and comparing them to each other is like apples and oranges ... it is a different medium ... so why sweat the "faithful" and "perfection" criteria?
My opinion is it shouldn't be criteria applied to the quality of the film.
The whole point about what I wrote ... is the quote I posted from the movie ... it stands on its own ... not like the book.
It is an example/sample of the quality of the film. Reflective dialogue in the screen play that provides a focus of moral motivation for the continuation of the storyline as well as character development.
There are many more criteria unique to film..
Actors portray other beings ... still (no matter how good they are) there is part of the portrayed character that is the actor ... how that "piece" works within the film is part of the criteria for judging the film.
Screen play is not 100% theater or literature. It is a creation unique to film itself. Script subplots, dialogue, use of special effects, animation, and many more criteria fit film only.
A musical score adds depth in terms of emotion and theme. A film criteria but not one of the book.
The director's suggestions, editing, character development, storyline, location, and much more are again unique to film.
The producer is often an influence because there are not bottomless pockets. And often the bottom line is there just isn't enough money! $$$ ~ mainly a problem of films.
The list of criteria unique to film is endless ...

I am blessed because I like both the films and the books ... and the scholarly material that continues to pour out on my own little "middle-earth."
I am in the midst of reading "The Return of The King" probably close to my fortieth time. Saw the "The Two Towers" film a week ago. In both cases I am "doing" both again partly because of this Forum. And partly because I just plain like them!
I like apples. I like oranges. I eat them both ... but not at the same time.



On a side note;
Galin, you my friend are a jewel! Why? In the fact that you explain and clarify, accept challenges and rebut, inspire and elaborate. I love what I have learned from you and treasure our arguments/discussions.
When confronted by you I enjoy looking back and digging deep into the roots of the thread and searching for references.
I find my writing improves as I respond.
Just a tip of my hat to say "Thank You!"



-- Edited by Bear on Wednesday 16th of November 2011 08:36:13 PM

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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Bear wrote: 'My whole point is simple ... enjoy the films as films ... let go of the comparison to the books ... they (the books) are masterpieces that will never be duplicated ...'

 

OK but taking this path basically means anything goes: the films are films, and Jackson, for example, can have Eowyn be as overtly sexual as Frank Frazetta depicted her. Moreover, once one cares about faithfulness (as you've stated you do), then one is not simply looking at the films as films, but comparing them to the books in some measure.

 

Incidentally, I have plenty of problems with these films simply as films... but that's a whole different subject! 

 

'... and comparing them to each other is like apples and oranges ... it is a different medium ...'

 

Jackson himself essentially compares the books to 'what is possible in film' during the adaptation process, just as any reader can. If one fairly considers the medium of film, then why can't one compare the book -- in consideration of a better, and more faithful, film?

 

Why adapt a book if nothing can translate faithfully from it to film? Tolkien himself commented that the two mediums cannot be that different, and I agree. Jackson and his team have stated certain 'filmic' reasons to change X, Y or Z -- but these reasons are opinions -- none of which are necessarily a given or impervious to debate. 

 

What about film made it necessary for film-Gandalf' to beat film-Denethor with his staff, for example? Nothing that I can think of. It was a choice, and another notably poor one in my opinion. 

 

 

'... so why sweat the "faithful" and "perfection" criteria?'

 

Well I don't actually sweat these things (depending upon what you mean by 'sweat' I guess), but certainly not perfection, which has been part of my point all along. But as I have limited time now, I'll have to answer this part later.

 

By the way I challenge similar statements all over the web, so it's certainly nothing personal with you Bear -- I know you realize that, but I'll say it anyway. People don't agree about everything, and there's nothing wrong with that much, of course.

 

smile

 



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Lord Elrond of Rivendell - Rank 9
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Right on Galin!!!

We disagree!

What else is new!

"OK but taking this path basically means anything goes" ... bull-twinkies!

There are plenty of ways to interpret the films, books, and even old thunder thighs Frank Frazetta! ... and nothing means "anything goes".

 

I love this site ... Galin may you battle to your hearts content all over the web ... I'll back you up (not that you need it) anywhere you go. Just tell me where and when!

with a crisp salute,

Bear

 



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Fundin, Lord of Moria - Rank 5
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Galin wrote: "OK but taking this path basically means anything goes" ...

 

Bear responded:  'bull-twinkies There are plenty of ways to interpret the films, books, and even old thunder thighs Frank Frazetta! ... and nothing means "anything goes".

 

'bull-twinkies'? biggrin

 

We are not here talking about plenty of ways to interpret the films however, but the way you just suggested: if one enojoys the films simply as films and lets go of comparison to the books -- then one is essentially approaching the films as someone who hasn't read the books -- a person who can only judge the films as films, having no way to judge them as far as faithfulness.

 

And as such, in theory a given director can do what he or she wishes in the name of adaptation and artistic license, and the viewer can only judge the merits of the film itself. One will not care if Eowyn did or did not make sexual advances to Aragorn in the book (poor Eowyn is bearing the brunt of my theoretical examples), but if a director thinks this serves his or her film in some way, and it arguably 'works' within the film itself, then that's all that's needed.

 

This approach is not wrong in and of itself. It allows a filmmaker freedom of expression outside of the source they are 'basing' their story upon, however loosely...

 

... but one can't have it both ways, and neither can Peter Jackson. As David Bratman put it so neatly in Tolkien On Film: Jackson is either trying to be faithful to Tolkien, or he isn't -- which does not rule out artistic license or that the medium of film must be considered. But more to the point as far as we fans go: if you want to cut ties to the book then you have to cut them.

 

If I were to write up a ten page review of the films as films, it would be very different from a review of the films as adaptations -- because for the former (to use my earlier example again) film-Gandalf striking film-Denethor with his staff cannot, in this context, be a 'poor' choice simply because I feel it's unfaithful to Tolkien's character and his notion of rightness and nobility. To my mind this approach seems a rather huge door to open, and so I say in theory 'anything goes'. Of course it can tend to get absurdly tangential: how far can a director veer from the source material until even 'based upon' has essentially lost all meaning?

 

In any case, if someone cares about faithfulness to Tolkien they have stepped out of that context into a whirlwind of opinions regarding adaptation, and cannot expect others to judge Jackson's success in this arena by their measures...

 

... and it would be way too convenient, in my opinion, to praise Jackson where he scores with respect to faithfulness, or 'getting something right', but then use the notion that books and films are different as some sort of coverall response to his changes. That's when we need to swim out of very general waters and really look at why X, Y, and Z were all supposedly necessary alterations from the book -- again we all agree that film is a different medium -- we do not all agree that any given change was truly necessary for filmic reasons however.

 

That films and books are different is only the start of the conversation, because this doesn't actually explain or necessarily defend a single change in the films, it just refers vaguely to a mutually agreed upon notion.



-- Edited by Galin on Thursday 17th of November 2011 04:03:34 AM

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Galin,

And so that being said do we set up a little clipboard and watch the movies saying ... well Jackson got that one right, or oops he missed the entire Bombadil, Bilbo's pipe should be six inches longer, Sam should say "Yes Mr.Frodo" but not say "I have the hots for Rosie." And oh my gosh ... Merry and Pippin were messing with the fireworks ... not in the books ... for shame.
And what he did with Liv Tyler and her struggle as Arwen in her relationship with Elrond!  Surely he should be stoned ... (never mind that you will have to dredge through the books to glean it out of some appendix.)
I thought Jackson did a great job with that! Again not strictly by the book.

 

Come on! We are talking about 1200 pages, a major piece of 20th century fantasy fiction with appendix, maps, charts, and God knows what else, being brought to the screen with an enormous budget yet having to make decisions like including the Company being turned back by a snow storm and excluding the scouring of the Shire. Well! Darn! I will just have to smack little Peter's hand and call him a bad boy!

I say again ..."bull-twinkies!" Jackson did an amazing job of turning out those three films and deserves at least some credit for bringing Tolkien to a whole new generation ... imperfect as it was. So forget all that faithfull to the books ... he did the best that could be done with what he had ... knowing, I might add, he had a huge Tolkien fan base that would complain if he didn't include all or modified some.

The films are a cinematic masterpiece winning award after award and covering the earth with movie trivia of swords, jewelry, sculptures, and artifacts ... including DVD's and history channel programs on how the films were made, biographies of the actors and Tolkien himself, and even the different layers of mythology Tolkien sifted through to write his books ... which by the way ... we learn he left things out of his art just as Jackson did.
He left so much out his son has made a career out of showing us just that!!!

 

So just for the sake of arguement will you acknowledge this scene has some merit ... here it is again ... the scene is a battle in Osgiliath. Faramir (in moral ambiguity) still holds, Frodo, Sam, and Smeagol and is debating sending them and The Ring to his father, Denethor, in Minas Tirith.

A Nazgul has passed over head, the orcs are retreating. Frodo has been knocked from his feet and almost bewitched by the power of evil. It is his loyal servant and friend, Sam, who sees through Faramir's uncertainty and Frodo's inability to master the evil and carry on.

The film script reads thus;

 

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. Its like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.
But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: [He helps Frodo up and says:] That there is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And its worth fighting for.

 

It isn't in the book ... but if there ever was a scene to catch Tolkien's ideas ... this is it!



-- Edited by Bear on Thursday 17th of November 2011 05:02:15 AM

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Bear wrote: 'And so that being said...'

 

Before I move on here, as you don't offer a counter argument, can I assume you agree with my comments on the films as films approach? 

 

'... do we set up a little clipboard and watch the movies saying ... well Jackson got that one right, or oops he missed the entire Bombadil, Bilbo's pipe should be six inches longer, Sam should say "Yes Mr. Frodo" but not say "I have the hots for Rosie." And oh my gosh ... Merry and Pippin were messing with the fireworks ... not in the books ... for shame.'

 

It should not be too difficult to notice altered scenes (and so on) when simply watching the film, and the reaction to these things will depend upon, for example, the type, or measure, of those alterations. Looking at your examples...

 

Missing Bombadil: this is an alteration in a sense but more of a cut. I don't know of any Unfan who thinks this is a poor decision, and in fact I not only expected this cut, but I agree with it. Fans of Jackson as well as Unfans might say 'too bad' Tom was cut or 'I missed Bombadil', but that is very different from including the cutting of Bombadil as one of the unfaithful factors.

 

Score one for filmic considerations in my opinion. Time is a consideration, as even Tolkien knew. 

 

Bilbo's pipe should be six inches longer: what you might find on the web is nitpick criticism, both good and bad -- from both Jackson fans and Unfans. Also, whether something is truly an agreed upon nitpick has been a point of contention as well, as I have seen Jackson fans characterize some things as 'trivial' which I think rather notable. But back to agreed upon nitpicks...

 

... again there's nothing wrong with negative nitpicks if Jackson fans can likewise praise him about arguably small details, but the larger point is, even a lake full of true nitpicks will likely (I would hope) not really add up to a stamp of unfaithful... they may simply be like sprinkles on a bowl of ice cream -- which represents a number of larger issues -- that taken as a whole, are merely part of the assessment.

 

Saying 'the hots for Rosie': since there is obviously nothing wrong with the love and attraction between Sam and Rosie as far as Tolkien goes, faithfulness here is likely to be about style of expression and keeping with Tolkien's lack of sexual dialog and situations. This touches upon the tone of High Romance. As Tolkien notes, he did not write a 'modern novel' and a decision to modernize his work because of the opinion that 'modern audiences just won't have Tolkien's work as it is' would already be a step in the wrong direction (regarding faithfulness)  

 

Merry and Pippin messing with fireworks -- not in the books: 'not in the books' does not necessarily equate to bad in the arena of faithfulness, but that said, it's arguably much easier to let Tolkien be your guide -- if at all possible considering film -- than to try to write like Tolkien and convey his spirit with all new material.

 

In my experience enough viewers see Jackson's treatment here as oversimplified buffoonery however -- which begins a much longer treatment that extends into Gimli's so called 'humour'. No doubt such things are subjective, as are so many things when discussing the films, but the end point here is that one doesn't (or shouldn't I think) need a clipboard and notes to quickly decide whether Jackson is capturing the feel of Tolkien's characters here, or if he has, for example, gone 'too far' down the path of oversimplification or buffoonery.

 

'And what he did with Liv Tyler and her struggle as Arwen in her relationship with Elrond! Surely he should be stoned ... (never mind that you will have to dredge through the books to glean it out of some appendix.)'

 

No one is saying anyone should be stoned obviously... but I wonder if Jackson was stoned when he filmed some scenes wink Well, I couldn't resist!

 

I've no great problem with a relationship between Arwen and Elrond being spotlighted in the films -- as I see things, the tale is supposed to be (in large enough measure) from the point of view of Hobbits, but Arwen is an arguable way to easily inject Elvish concerns now and again, and the matter of 'immortal' life versus mortality. I would like to comment more here, but I haven't watched any of these films in such a long time! and the specifics of this issue elude me at the moment. I do recall generally that Jackson has (in my opinion) altered another character here with Elrond.

 

'Come on! We are talking about 1200 pages, a major piece of 20th century fantasy fiction with appendix, maps, charts, and God knows what else, being brought to the screen with an enormous budget yet having to make decisions like including the Company being turned back by a snow storm and excluding the scouring of the Shire. Well! Darn! I will just have to smack little Peter's hand and call him a bad boy!'

 

Yes the book is long and detailed and Jackson had many decisions to make, but that should not mean he can't be criticized in the arena of faithfulness. And just to note it, Jackson did not have to cut the Scouring (not that you said he did), the true 'end' of this hobbito-centric tale (as Tolkien calls it), he chose to. 

 

Anyway Peter Jackson must endure negative criticism as any filmmaker must, or any writer -- or any other artists taking on projects of all kinds. No one forced anyone to make these films, and in my opinion the road to faithfulness begins with the many decisions before filming even starts: when comparing book to film in the process of developing a screenplay and deciding what will work on film and be faithful to the source.

 

'I say again ..."bull-twinkies!" Jackson did an amazing job of turning out those three films and deserves at least some credit for bringing Tolkien to a whole new generation ... imperfect as it was.'

 

That the films have brought new readers to the books also does not mean that Jackson or his team are exempt from criticism -- you didn't say otherwise, but what credit he deserves for this much I'll allow him. Credit to Jackson and all his team for taking on a difficult task, which is yet beside the issue of whether or not he passed or failed in that task -- especially with respect to adaptation.

 

The films no doubt brought new readers to the book, which many Jackson fans seem to raise, but this is not as simple as it might seem -- since A) we can't know the number of people who will not read the books because they have seen the films B) we can't know the number of people who don't like the books because they are too unlike the films -- which leads to a more general consideration C) a pure book experience is arguably different from those who read the books after having come from the films, in some cases after multiple viewings... admittedly unavoidable in the real world, but still something to consider.

 

That some will see the films first certainly isn't Jackson's fault, but my point is that there are other sides to this particular coin. And to state the obvious, the books sold just fine without these films of course, and new generations have been finding Tolkien since 1954 -- and as David Bratman also pointed out, a far more faithful film (subjective as that is) would likewise have brought new readers to the books in any case. 

 

'So forget all that faithfull to the books ... he did the best that could be done with what he had ... knowing, I might add, he had a huge Tolkien fan base that would complain if he didn't include all or modified some.'

 

He might have done the best that he could do, but to my mind he didn't come close to doing the best that could have been done. And plenty of Jackson fans seem to agree that he could have done better, if not very much better.

 

'(...) ... which by the way ... we learn he left things out of his art just as Jackson did. He left so much out his son has made a career out of showing us just that!!!'

 

Do you mean that Jackson was forced to cut things from the books? If so, there's  nothing necessarily wrong with cutting --  even Tolkien essentially advised filmmakers to cut if necessary -- yet it was arguably needless alterations, of various kind and measure (including respecting the character of Gandalf incidently), sillifications, focus on battles and fights, to name just a few thing that JRRT objected to...

 

... and rightly so in my opinion smile

 

As for your end request (concerning Sam and Frodo in Osgiliath): I could comment about this scene in general (which, if I do, should probably await another post, considering length) but I'm not sure you would agree with all my opinions about it in any case.



-- Edited by Galin on Friday 18th of November 2011 03:31:58 AM

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All these points that Galin and Bear bring up are what give me 'the Willies' so to speak about the upcoming Hobbit films.

My biggest fear is that Jackson will no doubt make the Dwarfs come off as incompetent and comical (sort of the shambling carnival "The Time Bandits" was if you remember the film from the 80's). In my reading of the Hobbit I got the sense that the Dwarfs were far too old to be on an adventure of such undertaking (Quest for Erebor) but they were strong, serious and driven by their desire to reclaim their fortunes. This of course was the brilliant element that gave us our empathy for Bilbo in his plight to handle all the heavy work for the supposedly regal and battle-worthy Dwarfs.

This is another reason why I kind-of mourn Guillermo Del Toro's departure from the project, as he tends to be a fan of the darker and more visceral elements of film making. I will try to reserve my judgement but I like to put stuff like this down for posterity. I'll look back on this thread and say, "You see? I knew it!"

By the way, Galin, I think I'm gathering what your saying but if you would entertain me by answering a quick question; (In a perfect world of course) What would you prefer: to have the LOTR movies transposed to film nearly word for word? Or are you saying that you would rather have each scene that was created by Jackson, as they stand, remain within the structure provided by Tolkien with no variation. I realize you understand the compressing factor used by writers when squeezing info into a scene, even if borrowed from other parts of the books (like having other characters speak the words of others just to point out something in that particular scene etc,). Just curious...



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Jaidoprism7 wrote: 'What would you prefer: to have the LOTR movies transposed to film nearly word for word? Or are you saying that you would rather have each scene that was created by Jackson, as they stand, remain within the structure provided by Tolkien with no variation.'

 

I'm not exactly sure if you want me to choose between these things, or if you want me to clarify myself regarding them. Anyway, to attempt the latter...

 

'Nearly word for word' might imply I am after some sort of slavish adaptation process, but slavish is different from faithful. One of my favorite film scenes from The Two Towers is not from the book, and I would suggest two 'invented' scenes in the Saruman-thread alone, for instance -- one invented scene to replace the wizard fight.  

 

Regarding your second sentence here, can you give me an example of what you mean?



-- Edited by Galin on Friday 18th of November 2011 03:21:19 AM

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Sure Galin.

I meant: Would it have been a better film (in your opinion) if Jackson's adaptation held strictly to the books, knowing that each movie might be two films long? Including the journey through the Old Forest, the retreat from Carahdras, the hunt for Gollum? These aren't loaded questions by the way, but reading the exchanges between you and Bear, which can be dizzying for a novice like me, I just haven't gleaned your stand on things. Are you a purist (keep in mind I'm not even sure where I fall and don't mean to categorize you in any way)? Do you like the films and just don't like the flagrant inaccuracies?

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My Friends,

Picture if you will an overweight Bear in armor and on horse made of words.

Opposite him is a dwarf, Galin. He stands with his battle axe on a huge mound of words.

The Bear and the Dwarf are shouting at each other with growls of "film", "books", "faithful", "unique", "bull-twinkies", "Jackson stoned", and "Tolkien rules!" Then imagine these two characters screaming at the top of their lungs; "can I assume you agree with my comments on the films as films approach?"

And in the silence a dwarf laughing until he falls off the battle mound and at the same time a giggling Bear falling of his horse.

Now if you will imagine in your minds eye these two characters laughing and shouting line after line of argument.

Both have opinions.  Both enjoyed the movies.  Both love the books.

And a Numenorean soldier Jaidoprism7 staring at the two of them, scratching his head ... seeing Bear and Galin sitting on their egos laughing and shouting ... thinking "what the hell?"


Galin, so I "don't offer a counter argument" can you see that I am talking about the strength and beauty of Tolkien's work on film and not caring if the script isn't exact ... I have gone through several copies of the books ...wore them out actually ... and pages were left out, words mis-printed, cover art not relevant ... but a masterpiece non the less. And I would give a film remake the same attention I gave Jackson's version?
 


So if this Bear was there, he would reach out with his paw and lift the laughing dwarf up to his feet and in a bark of happiness asking; "Shall we go at it again my friend?"



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Well said.

The scenario you illustrate is pretty damn accurate. It is also as entertaining as your metaphor. I feel like this Numenorian soldier had wandered upon this scene and took a seat upon the lawn to hear the lively exchange, and in doing so neglected three years of the world. Before I realize it, I'm up to my neck in the leaves of many seasons (each leaf made of words) and each of you picking yourselves up from the grass and saying to each other, "Good one..."


Carry on my friends!

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Jaidoprism7,

You are a gem my friend! I expect you will be jousting with us soon!smile



-- Edited by Bear on Saturday 19th of November 2011 04:39:09 AM

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While Bear's comments were posted in fun obviously, I would still hope they don't confuse: 1) I haven't been shouting even when disagreeing with someone. And 2) I did not enjoy the films actually. In any case I plan to get back to your questions Jaidoprism7, but first:

 

Bear you've stated that you care about the films being faithful to Tolkien -- nothing wrong with that, and so do I. But yet you also write: 'My whole point is simple ... enjoy the films as films ... let go of the comparison to the books.'

 

But doesn't letting go of a comparison to the books essentially say faithfulness to the books doesn't matter -- in the sense that a review of the films cannot include criticism which concerns faithfulness? The books are the very things faithfulness is measured against. People who haven't read the books not only don't compare the films to the books, they can't. Faithfulness to Tolkien is a non-isssue for them: 'anything goes'. Read the books? Why? Jackson's work, inspired by Tolkien, is yet a new work and is to be judged as such.

 

And some people who have read the books still take this position  -- or seem to anyway. Maybe you mean: we can compare the films to the books (that is, we can care about faithfulness) but we must do so fairly, in full consideration that films are films. If so, I would agree with that -- but that doesn't mean Jackson's work is automatically 'faithful enough' -- it just starts the opinions flowing from all sides, including negative opinions.

 

I'm just trying to find out what you mean by: let go of a comparison to the books, and enjoy the films as films -- considering that you care about faithfulness to Tolkien -- I mean, if I care about faithfulness to Tolkien, doesn't that entail comparing the films to the source material?

 

 

Of course I can do both separately if analyzing the films in two ways, but why should I give up a book comparison if I care about faithfulness to Tolkien? why dispense with this type of analysis? Keeping in mind it's not about exactness nor perfection in any event.



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 21st of November 2011 02:16:34 AM

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Galin,

Ah!!! We have a bit of a dilemma. I think that we have something from another thread about "faithful" or a misunderstanding of the statement of "faithful being an absolute ..."

I am not saying the films are faithful to the book ... what I am saying is judging criteria for the books should NOT be the same criteria for judging the films.

"Faithful as an absolute" was part of a statement "Perfection is an absolute. And as such is possible only in the imagination. Faithful is also an absolute ..."
The point being that perfection and faithfulness are impossible to achieve IN ANYTHING! So should not be criteria in judging forms that are different by reason of their existence, their form.
So I agree with your statement
"Keeping in mind it's not about exactness nor perfection in any event."
And so your question; But doesn't letting go of a comparison to the books essentially say faithfulness to the books doesn't matter?
My answer: No.biggrin


Lastly ... I was attempting a little levity with the shouting bear and dwarf ... hopefully to reach those who are witnesses to our discussions that we are having fun and not taking ourselves seriously ... that a large part of this discourse is simply acknowledgement and honoring of the quality of the thread as presented by you and the Might roughly five years ago.
And reinforcing that it is IMAGINATION of the writer, of the reader, of the film maker, and the audience that makes the difference ... so does a polar bear on a horse, a dwarf (silent or shouting), or a
Numenorian soldier, or a hobbit for that matter.

I know you got the joke my friend  ... and I think we agree about the imagination part.wink


 

I am urging folks to enjoy film and books and not to judge one against the other.


Ultimately the trilogy of films made their way to my shelves because they were an entity to themselves ... they sit there with the films Lawrence of Arabia, The Searchers, Meet Joe Black, The Last Samurai, The Dictator, Modern Times, Quigley Down Under, Soldier, Dances with Wolves, Glory, and a hundred other great films or great film makers ...

 

I wonder sometimes why I chase these things.

I think part of it is just the joy of playing on the same field you do my friend!smile



-- Edited by Bear on Monday 21st of November 2011 04:04:30 AM

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 'Would it have been a better film (in your opinion) if Jackson's adaptation held strictly to the books, knowing that each movie might be two films long? Including the journey through the Old Forest, the retreat from Carahdras, the hunt for Gollum?

 

I don't advocate a strict adaptation (not that everyone's idea of strict is the same), and as I say I think Jackson tried to include too much as it is. I would have cut more than he did from the books -- and also cut some of his (in my opinion) over-extended fight footage for example. I don't feel it's strict to advocate (for example) at least two invented Saruman scenes to better flesh out his betrayal. 

 

Are you a purist (keep in mind I'm not even sure where I fall and don't mean to categorize you in any way)?

 

I don't think of myself as a purist, whatever that means exactly, but maybe someone else might, depending upon how he or she might define this. But for me these films consistently run too far away from Tolkien. They are Peter Jackson's modernized and very much altered versions -- which he has every right to make.

 

It seems to me that it's about measure: some people who love these films and think that they are faithful enough don't think they are perfect according to their own opinions -- yet they still give them a passing grade as to faithfulness. For Unfans it's not about perfection or trying to include everything either, but by their measure Jackson fails as far as faithfulness goes.

 

'Do you like the films and just don't like the flagrant inaccuracies?'

 

If you mean do I like the films simply as films, then as I hinted at, I have plenty of problems with them in this regard too (nor am I alone here either). As an aside, I did not like Jackson's King Kong for example; and while I may be judging Jackson on only a few films, so far I don't like his style of filmmaking, and believe he was wrong for The Lord of the Rings



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Bear wrote: 'I am not saying the films are faithful to the book ... what I am saying is judging criteria for the books should NOT be the same criteria for judging the films.'

 

I agree with that much, but that's not the same thing as...

 

"Faithful as an absolute" was part of a statement "Perfection is an absolute. And as such is possible only in the imagination. Faithful is also an absolute ..." The point being that perfection and faithfulness are impossible to achieve IN ANYTHING! So should not be criteria in judging forms that are different by reason of their existence, their form.

 

I don't agree; and to my mind it would seem that neither do many Jackson fans, as well as many who don't like these films -- all those who have been chatting for roughly ten years now about the subject of faithfulness, which even film critics themselves sometimes indulge in, if they've read the book -- including, I note, people who love these films and claim they are faithful to Tolkien. I think John Howe's painting of Gandalf striding through the Shire is faithful to the books, for example. Am I wrongheaded in saying such a thing, because faithfulness is an absolute and cannot be used to judge a 'derivative' (in a sense) piece of art in another medium? 

 

'So I agree with your statement "Keeping in mind it's not about exactness nor perfection in any event." And so your question; But doesn't letting go of a comparison to the books essentially say faithfulness to the books doesn't matter? My answer: No.'

 

You're still taking faithfulness out of the equation however, claiming that it's unattainable as an absolute and not to be considered in a review of the films (which basically equates to not being able to compare the two mediums in this regard). 

 

'I am urging folks to enjoy film and books and not to judge one against the other. Ultimately the trilogy of films made their way to my shelves because they were an entity to themselves ...' 

 

And this would seem to confirm that you are taking the position that the films are a wholly separate entity and should not be criticized with respect to faithfulness -- thus in theory Jackson or anyone can basically do what they want in the name of artistic license (if faithfulness is not a criterion), and the films should be criticized only as films. Aragorn can be a brutal bully, for example -- but if it works within the context of Jackson's adaptation, and makes good film, then that's what matters as far as a critical analysis. Likewise Frank Frazetta's half-naked, overtly sexual Eowyn can only be criticized in the arena of whether or not this depiction works as an illustration, and the book is merely the springboard for Frazetta to give us his version of Eowyn.

 

That's one approach Bear -- though not, I think, because people feel faithfulness is an unattainable absolute -- but rather because some believe that the films should be judged solely as a new thing, giving the artist his or her due as the creator of a new work, despite being based on something else, even specifically. It's a point of view that basically gives the artist his or her freedom.

 

If you take this approach then so be it. I don't think Jackson himself did, but people can. But for example...

 

... the dialogue from the films that you posted above can only be deemed faithful to Tolkien by comparing it to the books. Thus faithfulness is in play -- rather than whether or not this dialogue works (or is good or bad) in the context of Jackson's film, considered as a separate entity.



-- Edited by Galin on Monday 21st of November 2011 08:03:22 PM

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