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Thread: WHAT TOLKIEN MIGHT HAVE CHANGED IN LIGHT OF THE MOVIE

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Bottom of Page    Message Board > The Lord of the Rings > WHAT TOLKIEN MIGHT HAVE CHANGED IN LIGHT OF THE MOVIE   << [1] [2] [3]
I trust you speak for yourself, dear Beard. I am never an elephant!

Odo
That's good to know Odo :mrgreen: . I was worried your peanut supply was getting low <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

[b:1ba5qjgy]GB[/b:1ba5qjgy]
Thinking back now, the Elves at Helms Deep might have worked quite well in the book, although Haldir didn't need killing off though. Tolkien might of thought to bring lots of races togther at Helms Deep aswell as Jackson maybe.

[b:2qtqjc2w]Joseph Dwarf[/b:2qtqjc2w]
That's a plausible point J Dwarf. I liked the Elves showing up at Helms Deep because it demonstrated to film-goers that Elves were battling Sauron too. I think it's a change Tolkien would have appreciated. Though, I agree killing Haldir was unnecessary <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> .

By the way, whaddya think about my point regarding the Hobbits preferred Shire as likely being in the region of DorsetSHIRE <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ? (I mentioned it on the last page).

[b:126av5xm]GB[/b:126av5xm]
Well if Hobbits like rain and bad weather then I'm sure DorsetSHIRE'll perfect for them <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> :lol: !

Btw what did you guys mean about me popping up, you should have known I was ignoring your stupidity <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />, I'm very serious at heart, life's too short for nonsense and tomfoolery <img src='/images/smileys/bigsmile.gif' border='0' alt='Big Smile Smilie' /> .

I wish the Dark Fantasy format was back, prosilver's a bit on the boring side <img src='/images/smileys/sad.gif' border='0' alt='Sad Smilie' /> .

[b:14qgohyq]JD[/b:14qgohyq]
Now Joseph, in regard to GB's stupidity, yes, we all know about it - but please be more tactful about it in future. You see, he does not recognize his stupidity as stupidity. In fact, I suspect he thinks of himself as being quite the wise one - and he is, if you compare him to other Americans.

(I am of course not including Tinuviel in the broad sleight on Americans, above, for we all know her wisdon shines forth like a very shiny carbuncle. She is, indeed, an American without peer - though I may be more enamoured by her perfectly shaped nose than what's good for me. And let's not forget Eldo, either, who is also peerless - and I don't mean he's blind).

Please remember, no matter how silly GB gets, we still all adore him and have little truck with people mentioning any of his perfectly true and applicable shortcomings. As to his tomfoolery - I'm not sure he's even heard the word. And as to his nonsense, well I actually find it quirkily quaintly amusing. And risking a Zennian point-of-view - if such a thing exists - his nonsense may in fact turn out to be a pure form of wisdom (however unlikely that may be), so let's keep an open mind, shall we.

I have always found you a polite chap, Joseph, and I sincerely hope in taking on your newfound name you have not also taken on something of a sinister aspect?

Btw is DorsetSHIRE really so similar to YorkSHIRE?

Odo
Sorry to butt in but I'm afraid I just cant let your comments JD and GB pass concerning the elves at Helms Deep. My first point is a Tolkiencentric point- your belief he may have changed Helms Deep is based on the assumption the issue of the elves fighting was not addressed. It is mentioned several times in the main text and in the appendices as well as in other writings. This tells me a scholar such as Tolkien decided not to include the elves part in things for reasons of narrative (as he did with Arwen). The whole point of Helms Deep is that it is pointless, alone the Rohirrim cannot win. It is only the intervention of Gandalf, Huorns and gathered men that the day is won. Having an elven host turn up offers far to much hope- any sign there is hope destroys the sense of dread Tolkien skilfully builds up for Helms Deep.
My second objection is a film based one. Whilst its no doubt another rabble-rousing adaptation from PJ (I've heard in America it was common for audiences to cheer upon the elves arrival) it does seem odd (and suspicious) that as Legolas can take down a Mumakil single handled and surf downstairs on a shield whilst firing arrows, out of an entire elven host, not a single one survives the battle whilst quite a lot of untrained Rohirrim do.
And on the subject of Helms Deep PJ chickens out in my view- he shows young boys being armed for the fight but not one of them in the actual battle- this is a missed opportunity to demonstrate and confront in a moving way one of the true horrors of war. But as always PJ decided he'd rather make people cheer than contemplate.
I confess I was quite stirred by those Elves arriving (however wrong and im-Pure it was!)

And, yes, you brought up an interesting point, old Tyrant, one that had piqued my interest. Those elves disappeared even more mysteriously than they arrived, and their demise (I suspect, like you, that's what happened) goes sadly unlamented - save for Hadir who has his little poignant moment.
[quote="Odo Banks":3vrd32v2]Isn't YorkSHIRE a bitterly cold nasty place where no self-respecting Hobbit would live? Known also as Sauron's Country (or Clayton's Scotland?) Or am I thinking of another YorkSHIRE which is nowhere near as nice as [i:3vrd32v2]the [/i:3vrd32v2]YorkSHIRE you live in?

Odo

NB Hey you might be confusing YorkSHIRE for Australia - "God's Continent" - don't you think?[/quote:3vrd32v2]

saurons country? thats a bit harsh Odo. mind you i did work down the pit (coal mine) and thats a bit mordorish down there.
now i'v been living in australia for 30 years wouldnt want to live anywhere else. New zealand looks nice, would love to do the
lord of the rings tour. Have you done the tour Odo? your only a rowing boat away there from sydney.
ps. yes i do think. :lol: :lol: :lol:
I know the Elves fighting Sauron gets a [i:3um4bvnc]spare[/i:3um4bvnc] mention in the Book Petty :roll: , and also in other texts such as the appendices and the Sil; but Jackson had to find a way to demonstrate that in the film without adding another entire sub-plot. And frankly his incorporating them at Helm's Deep was a brilliant way to do so, and quite stirring as Odo says.

I wouldn't necessarily think Tolkien would change his book to match the film (in fact, I have stated more than once on this thread that I doubt Tolkien would change anything in particular because of the films <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> , though some things are more plausible [i:3um4bvnc]possibilities[/i:3um4bvnc] than others). But I do think it's a change that Tolkien would have appreciated in order to show something on film that otherwise would have never made the cut.

As to ALL the Elves being killed at Helm's Deep in the film, I believe you are quite incorrect. I'll double-check my copy of the EE tomorrow, but I am quite certain a number of survivors are shown.

[b:3um4bvnc]GB[/b:3um4bvnc]
Now you've brought up that point Pettytyrant, about the way Tolkien skilfully wrote the battle at Helms Deep, I am starting to wonder if it was a bit unnecessary in the film as well. As for Legolas and the elves I totally agree something went wrong here, considering after the battle is fought and there's not a live elf in sight (or a dead one come to think of it) Bloom still seems to be looking perfect :roll: and without a scratch on his body :lol: .

Although having said that, I do think, even if Pettytyrant's changed my mind about Tolkien and the book, that the film benefits from having the elves there. I think they totally add to that hope they'll succeed (without out totally reassuring you they won't fail) and to the suspense and it reminds you that they're not alone (although when Gandalf comes a bit later it makes you feel this too) in the fight against Saruman and evil.

Btw sorry Odo I'll make sure I'm a bit more on the discreet side when I'm talking about GB's rantings and ravings in the future <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> and as well I wonder where that Cat, Lester has been, haven't seen him in a while :?

[b:3n418mgr]JD[/b:3n418mgr]
Was good to see the elves at helms deep, but i agree Tolkien wouldnt have liked it.
Still think PJ did a fantastic job. If it wasnt for him we would av been waiting many
a year for someone else to make the films. The whole book would have been squeezed
into a 2 or 3 hour film. Imagin that. What bits would have been left out. its hard to imagin isnt it.
Good talking point though. What would a 3 hour film be like? What would you cut out? What would
stay in. Remember it was originally going to be a 2 part film. Interesting. :?: :?: :?:
PJ had plenty of time to tell the story better- but he squanders screen time with flights of fancy of his own devising and overly long and pointless battle scenes. The BBC radio plays, which follow the books far closer, contain almost exclusively the original dialogue from the books and have large sections, such as the Scouring of the Shire, intact runs to 13 hrs. PJ's extended editions are roughly 4 hrs each giving him 12 hours to tell his tale. Its PJ's script that is the root of the evil not the time constraints.
Need I point out that Radio Plays can be afforded all the time in the world with a minimal budget? :P Also, in the case of audio representations due to this fact, the adaptive intent is different than filmic or stage adaptations. Indeed, the intent of audio adaptations is not to adapt, but rather bring to aural life the words of the original text.

I happen to concur with the idea that many Purists put forth, that the only way to produce a word for word visual representation would be a Television multi-part series with an unlimited budget. However, such a strictly faithful version wouldn't necessarily lead to a better experience. Sometimes they work. But as often as not, slavish adaptations suffer from artistic rigidity. For example, the Dune television miniseries was more faithful to the books, but it was a boring lifeless slog. The film, for all its flaws, was much more fun.

Indeed, those "long pointless battle scenes" were very entertaining.

[b:3mp7yehg]GB[/b:3mp7yehg]
If the Dune movies were boring, blame the makers not the author, GB. I see it as impossible for a true adaptation of any great book can be boring, unless it's spirit has been poorly realized. I won't have you imply that Frank Herbert's text is sub-standard. Enough of your knowing nods and dark winks.
Frank Herbert is above criticism in my view- less so for his offsprings attempts but that's a whole other forum.
My point of the radio play was merely to point out that more can be done, truer to the original in the same amount of time PJ had at his disposal, obviously there are massive differences in adapting for different mediums so perhaps a better demonstration would be to say that Ralph Bakeshi's film, compared to PJ's up to same ending point -Helms Deep- but in half the time, remains truer to Tokien in spirit and use of source material than PJs does. And thats shocking.
Dune (the book) was awesome :mrgreen: . The film was closer in Spirit because it was full of life, painted in broad strokes, despite varying substantively from the source material. And yes, Odo, I do blame the directors of the miniseries for being so attached to following the letter that they lost sight of emotional resonance that is more readily captured when following one's own artistic interpretation of the source material.

Likewise Petty, Bakshi's version of LotR is an old favourite of mine. And yet that is because it is true to the Spirit--as you say (don't let Eldorion hear you use that word <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> )--not the Letter. Frankly, Bakshi is as "guilty" as Jackson for following his own artistic interpretation of the text (Lordy, I've had to defend that version from "Purists" time and again too :roll: ) and his film is the better for it.

Again, I'm not saying an utterly faithful version can't be well done, but it has to be done by someone doing it for the right reasons, not simply for the sake of slavishly follow original.

[b:389z9d4q]GB[/b:389z9d4q]
Sometimes, GB, I think of you as a finger (posibly tingling) pointing at the moon and calling it the sun. I've underestimated you - though perhaps I'm just blinded by the moon.
Surprisingly (perhaps) I in fact agree with you GB on the point of slavish adaptations. I did not go to see PJ's version expecting a slavish adaptation or looking for one- what I didn't expect and therefore hate is for PJ to simply have abandoned Tolkiens source material all together at points in favour of scenarios and ideas completely of his own invention. This is not adaptation- if he just wanted to make up his own stuff he should have made up an entire fantasy film but there are large sections of his version of LoTR that have no grounding at all in the books. For me it fails as adaptation and that's my problem with it, they thought they could tell a better story than Tolkien- they were wrong (unsurprisingly).
I truly detect a softening on your part, Mr Tyrant. Surely that is not the Scottish way! I thought you'd be more stubborn than that.
Not a softening Odo just a sad acceptance that at some point in my life most of what I love has been trampled on LoTR being a fine example. These days I'd settle just for something that respected the source material. I suppose it comes down to how you define slavish. if a version had Crickhollw, Old Forest, Bombadil etc in it but omitted Pippins bath song would it sill fail the Fundamentalist Purists test?
I guarantee that no matter how "Pure" you think you are, there is always someone purer than thou <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> . No doubt one of them (perhaps at this very forum <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> )is cringing this very moment at the idea that any version could be Pure without Pippin's bath song :lol: .

[b:1ww5rxwa]GB[/b:1ww5rxwa]
Not like me I know, but to be slightly provocative, one thing Tolkien might consider changing is Boromirs death- for all I hate PJ its a memorable scene, well done and shot (no pun intended) and hard to imagine someone seeing the film first and turning to the books would not have a tinge of disappointment that it happens off-page.
The mere mention of Crickhollow and the bath scene, and their sad omission, makes my heart bleed all over again.

Perhaps Tolkien, given the opportunity, he might have removed Crickhollow, The Old Forest, Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil and the Barrow-wights. This would have saved me reading the book completely. (I'd still have had The Hobbit - and that would have been enough!)
I KNEW that someone here would miss that Bath Scene :mrgreen: .

[b:847l3g53]GB[/b:847l3g53]
silly suds. :lol:
Hey I liked that, chris63! :lol: You are a man (or woman) after my own heart.
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":2gbtsr58]Likewise Petty, Bakshi's version of LotR is an old favourite of mine. And yet that is because it is true to the Spirit--as you say (don't let Eldorion hear you use that word <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> )--not the Letter. Frankly, Bakshi is as "guilty" as Jackson for following his own artistic interpretation of the text (Lordy, I've had to defend that version from "Purists" time and again too :roll: ) and his film is the better for it.[/quote:2gbtsr58]

Eeew, Bakshi. :P Frankly I don't like his film on any level; as an adaptation or as a piece of cinema. He didn't finish rotoscoping the film, so much of it is just vomit-tinted live actors. When the visuals of a film are that painful to my eyes I have a hard time appreciating the movie at all. Film is after all a [i:2gbtsr58]visual[/i:2gbtsr58] medium. (BTW, this complaint of mine is not limited to Bakshi; the sixth Harry Potter movie would have been light-years better if more than 10% of the scenes hadn't been full of shadow and darkness.)

Even looking at this from the "spirit" persepctive :P , I have a hard time finding much good in Bakshi. PJ, though he sometimes has irregularities in time and space, as with the Elves at Helm's Deep, tried hard and I think largely succeeded at making the films feel "real" and [i:2gbtsr58]historical[/i:2gbtsr58]. Bakshi's film was full of goofy stuff like Saruman's light shows and "magic missile" attack on Helm's Deep. It didn't feel anything like the book to me.

[quote:2gbtsr58]Again, I'm not saying an utterly faithful version can't be well done, but it has to be done by someone doing it for the right reasons, not simply for the sake of slavishly follow original. [/quote:2gbtsr58]

Actually, I agree with you, GB. :o :o Mechanically rehashing each chapter of the book into a few scenes of the movie is [b:2gbtsr58]not[/b:2gbtsr58] the right way to go. There are places where, yes, the screenwriters need to pluck the essential components and rework it somehow rework them. I think this should be limited, though. In any event, while I'm a purist, I'm not a literalist by any stretch of the imagination.
Not so sure this counts quite as something Tolkien might have changed in light of the movie so much as out of social pressure- smoking. If he wrote it today would there be so much smoking going on- the film does try to redress this- Gandalf coughs and splutters whilst having a pipe in Minas Tirith and as Pippin leaves Rohan Merry tells him "You smoke to much" -a line I hate, not because I smoke which I do, but because its something a hobbit would never think to say- like being accused of eating to much!
Oxford Dons did like their pipes <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> .

I always thought Merry's line was one of Jackson's insinuations of ambiguity regarding what kind of "pipeweed" they were smoking (the laugh it got from the audience seemed to indicate a lot of other people thought so too). Pippin always seemed a wee bit stoned :lol: .

[b:2300jro9]GB[/b:2300jro9]
I always thought the line at orthanc "Perhaps the halfings weed has clouded your mind." and the scene with Merry and Pippin at the gates of Isengard were the two most blatant stoner references. I took the quote I gave above as being an anti smoking one- and if I remember the commentary aright from the extended dvd the coughing Gandalf was a deliberate anti- smoking insertion to calm down fears from the studio that it was promoting smoking.
Yaeh, the coughing Gandalf scene was clearly designed to blunt charges of promoting smoking. I think you're right about it being discussed in the commentary or the extras.

My thoughts on Merry's admonition to Pippin are just what I always assumed, but in retrospect I can definitely see it as an "anti"-smoking message (again, more to blunt criticism than anything).

Loved the other references <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> , very blatant indeed (and Jackson cagily never specifies what they are smoking). And in keeping with our discussion to Castaneda, I always loved the line "Look Merry, Mushrooms..." (to paraphrase).

[b:27rzieyi]GB[/b:27rzieyi]
IIRC Saruman said leaf, not weed. I don't think weed would have been cleared by the studios. :P

Frankly I've never understood hobbit drug comments except as jokes. The films don't suggest it was anything but ordinary pipe tobacco (to me at least, unless you're actively looking for implications), and the book is even clearer. <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' />
In the book they drank wine. Wine does have a certain narcotic-like effect, you know. Tobacco (or 'leaf' or ' pipeweed', if you must) does have a mild effect too. Could this be what you're confusing things with?

If PJ was suggesting a [i:20wk04df]certain [/i:20wk04df]kind of pipeweed, well, it was a cheap joke, I'm afraid, and for me, just not necessary. The scene was funnier in the book, for it did not rely on sub-cultural university humor. Tolkien's version was [i:20wk04df]democratically[/i:20wk04df] funny. It [i:20wk04df]included [/i:20wk04df]everyone, the [i:20wk04df]whole[/i:20wk04df] family indeed - and not just a [i:20wk04df]chosen [/i:20wk04df]few. Hey! I like a good druggy-joke as much as the next man (or woman!) but why have one when it's not needed?
Yes Eldo (and Odo), Saruman in the films did indeed say Leaf, and Leaf is also slang for the green stuff. The numerous references to "pipe-weed" in the films mean only one thing to most people. It's not a common modern reference for tobacco these days, but "Weed" certainly is for the green herb. The films never specify tobacco for a reason.

The fact is LotR exploded in popularity in the 60's when the "counter-culture" discovered Tolkien. Sure, we all know the truth, that Tolkien was referring to tobacco. But since the 60's LotR has been strongly associated with many of the counter-cultural spin-offs, from the Heavy Metal and Prog Rock crowd, to Neo-Pagans, to Environmental Activists, to the nerds that invented Computers and Fantasy Role Playing Games. For better or worse, the preferred vices of the succeeding generations were different from those that came before.

Jackson came of age in the late 70's like I did and grew up as part of the new youth culture (not unlike most of us on this forum <img src='/images/smileys/wink.gif' border='0' alt='Wink Smilie' /> ). He was apparently captivated by Bakshi's psychedelic animated take on LotR . So in my estimation, Jackson's ambiguous references were more than just throwaway jokes. They were nothing less than a "shout out", a wink and a nod to the generations that helped make Tolkien's books an iconic global phenomenon.

[b:20h7by6u]GB[/b:20h7by6u]
...now where did I put that vomit bucket.....
Your right of course Odo, Tolkien had nothing else in his mind but tobacco- however PJ clearly did not. Can't remember where I saw it but remember an interview with actors playing Merry and Pippin with regards the Isengard scene and they clearly stated they did several versions- from very stoned through to barely stoned and PJ picked one somewhere in the middle- so it was deliberate not just viewer interpretation.
Bloody PJ... <img src='/images/smileys/vevil.gif' border='0' alt='Very Evil Smilie' />
"Bloody PJ" indeed Eldorion- although I have to say of all the changes he made its the one that probably bothers me the least -at least you can ignore it and take it as tobacco as in the books if you want- but it is symptomatic of PJ's seeming desire to make LoTR more his own than Tolkiens.
Indeed. I can sympathize with the desire to put ones own touches on the film, but at the end of the day you're supposed to be adapting the book. Stoner (or dwarf-tossing) jokes are just out of place for LotR.

I agree that this is comparatively minor, though.
I had a horrible vision of all the smoking being removed from the books if Tolkien was still alive and writing them. If he lived now most likely his GP would have got him to stop smoking altogether -Tolkien would be on nicotine patches! And he and his friends could no longer gather in the pub for a beer and a pipe to discuss their works and loves because of the smoking ban. So perhaps a non-smoking Tolkien would be more likely if he were alive now than not- in which case, along with social pressure and commercial pressure he might have removed pipe-weed altogether!
I always thought after seeing the movie that maybe Tolkien should have mentioned a champion Uruk-hai called Lurtz, he could have said,

'[i:2oea3bc6]Aragorn searched the dead and found the severed corpse of an Orc he'd never seen the likes of before, he must have stood at least 7 foot in height and his shoulders were broad unlike the Orcs from Mordor of which he was used to seeing.[/i:2oea3bc6]'

Btw Pettytyrant I totally agree that had Tolkien written the book today, or been alive to make changes, his work would have suffered greatly, marauding political correctness (which I know to be great for everyone now btw) would have spoilt a lot of what's in the book now. Sadly changes like that are sometimes made not even for political correctness but just to make more money expanding an audience of potential buyers, adapting in business world, not necessarily to make others just happy with what’s in the text.

What's LotR without Pipe-weed :roll:?

[b:2oea3bc6]JD[/b:2oea3bc6]
Oh Puhlease :P ! Give me a break! There's nothing "out of place" with Dwarf Tossing jokes or Winking references to "Pipe Weed" in the least.

[b:31bv4zua]GB[/b:31bv4zua]
Maybe this is just me, but stoner and dwarf-tossing jokes seem quite different from the humor that Tolkien put into LOTR.
And some have called ME pedantic! :roll: :lol:

[b:1st6ipjr]GB[/b:1st6ipjr]
I know how you feel now, GB. :lol:
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