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Thread: Would JRR Tolkien approved the films

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In The Letters Of J.R.R. Tolkien, there is some really interesting information in regards to what Tolkienís thoughts about TLOTR being made into a film actually were. On September 4th, 1957, Tolkien was visited by representatives of the American company, which was interested in making an animated film of TLOTR. Tolkien was then given a Ďtreatmentí of the film, which he agreed to read.

Although American was at that time considering making an animated film, Tolkienís thoughts on their film treatment of his book TLOTR are important because they give a massive amount of insight into what he deemed to be important, and critical if anyone were ever to make a film of TLOTR (and also because he mentions needing money, which pertains to the eventual selling of the film rights). For anyone interested in what Tolkienís actual thoughts were about a film script, and what was, and was not important to him, I highly suggest getting Letters, and reading his views, and criticisms on pages 261, 266, 267, and pages 270-277 (where Tolkien really elaborates in great detail what would be critical to the making of TLOTR into a film). I donít have a scanner here at the house, otherwise I would scan the pages for all to see, but trust me, if youíre really interested in his thoughts about TLOTR being made into a film, you will find this information extremely fascinating.

All in all (brace yourself Ross), after reading the pages I mentioned in Letters, Iím prepared to say that Tolkien overall would have been fairly pleased with PJís translation of his book into film. There are definitely some things he wouldnít have liked, or been happy with (which is how I feel too), but believe it or not, PJ has adequately addressed most of Tolkienís major concerns.
Elf Smilie
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JRRT sold the movie rights in the sixties because he had money trouble.


I know Tolkien sold movie rights for that movie Zimmerman made, did Christopher Tolkien have to sell movie rights again for PJ? How does this whole movie right thing work? (sorry I've probably got it all wrong because I know nothing about this) How much influence did the Tolkien's have on PJ, were they allowed to have any?
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I know Tolkien sold movie rights for that movie Zimmerman made, did Christopher Tolkien have to sell movie rights again for PJ? How does this whole movie right thing work?
Christopher, as the heir of the Tolkien Estate, gets everything, including the movie rights.
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Christopher, as the heir of the Tolkien Estate, gets everything, including the movie rights.
I believe he is only one of the heirs though.
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Christopher, as the heir of the Tolkien Estate, gets everything, including the movie rights.


I don't believe Tolkien Estate gets anything from the movie or merchandizing, only the books. Of course the movies have increased the readership and the number of books sold so they still stand to make a postThreadIDy sum.
I do have documentation to support this, but at the moment I am preparing for an exam. I will give a nice long explanation by the end of the week. Big Smile Smilie
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Christopher, as the heir of the Tolkien Estate, gets everything, including the movie rights.


Nope, cos they'd already been sold to Saul Zaentz, who therefore owns them outright. Same as Paul McCartney had to buy back the rights to the Beatles Music from Michael Jackson a few years back. New Line had to approach Saul Zaentz and buy them off of him. Once you've sold the movie rights, they are gone, and there's not a thing you can do about it.
I think he might have approved, though not liked some areas. I certainly think he hoped a movie would stay true to the books, since he felt possessive about his creation...It was his precioussss. Also, I think he wanted people to imagine Middle-Earth in diferent ways; everyone who reads it sees it differently. The movie just shows it for them, and ruins their ideas on how certain scenes looked. Though I hope/think he would have approved of the immense detail and effort put into the production, and the scenery/landscape.
I really don't think JRR Tolkien would have liked any of the films made of LOTR so far, nor any of the films that might be made in the future.

Professor Tolkien loved imagination, he liked to leave some open spaces for the reader to fill in with his own imagination. In his head, Tolkien had a certain image of every character, but in the mind of the reader those images might be very different. I imagine Treebeard as a large, thick, very rimpled and leafy old oak, but maybe professor Tolkien had a totally different view on him. Now, with the films out, I find it quite difficult to get the "old" characters back to my head, the ones I imagined when I read the book for the first time. When I think of Frodo now, I think of Elyah Wood. I have absolutely nothing against Elyah Wood, or any of the other actors in the films, but there's nothing left to imagine now. It feels like we know what Frodo looks like now, but in fact it's only what Peter Jackson thinks Frodo looks like.

That is why I don't think JRR Tolkien would like any movie made of LOTR. It is his story, his own world, and the reader can do with that world whatever he wants. No matter who makes a film of the book, it would never be perfect. The professor preferred to leave certain things to the imagination. And so do I, now that I come to think of it.

[Edited on 13/8/2003 by TomBombadillo]
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All in all (brace yourself Ross), after reading the pages I mentioned in Letters, Iím prepared to say that Tolkien overall would have been fairly pleased with PJís translation of his book into film. There are definitely some things he wouldnít have liked, or been happy with (which is how I feel too), but believe it or not, PJ has adequately addressed most of Tolkienís major concerns
Can I just say one thing. Horse Manure! He doesn't address his concerns. If anything, he corrects his conviction that someone will always butcher and maim for money. As is the case with the evil one.

(Grondy merely fixed the errant ASCII numbers)

[Edited on 18/8/2003 by Grondmaster]
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Can I just say one thing. Horse Manure! He doesn't address his concerns. If anything, he corrects his conviction that someone will always butcher and maim for money. As is the case with the evil one.


Well what can I say; I certainly didnít expect you to agree with me! However, with all due respect, I disagree. I still contend that Tolkien does address a lot of his major concerns, specifically in pages 270-277 of Letters where he does nothing but address his major concerns of Zimmerman's film script, which I feel offer significant insight into the things he deemed important, and certain guidelines to follow if you will.

The biggest thing that Tolkien cared about if someone were to make a film was that whomever was making the film paid great respect to his original story, and I feel that for the most part, PJ has tried very hard to do that. Lets not forget that at the end of the day, New Line has the final say when it comes to the theatrical releases, and in a lot of ways PJ is sort of handcuffed by them. I think if PJ really had it all his way, all of the LOTR films would have been 4 to 4.5 hours in length. TTT IMHO moved too far away from the original source for my liking, but I lay that blame on New Line.

The SEEís DVDís are positive proof that PJ has gone to great lengths to try and stay true to the original story as much as possible, and that he has filmed a ton of material straight from the books (a true sign that the director is paying respect to the original source). Again, itís NL thatís not allowing the better versions of the films to be seen in theaters. Not only has PJ filmed, and incorporated a great deal of material straight from the books, but heís also managed to include elements of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and heís even included some stuff straight out of the appendices (which is a great deal more than many others would or could have done). As Iíve said here and other places many times, Iím far from happy with some of the changes that have been made, and I was particularly displeased with the theatrical version of TTT, but I do feel that overall PJ has shown a great deal of respect for the original story, and I think Tolkien overall would have been somewhat pleased by that.
Elf Smilie

I agree with what you say about PJ, Elfstone. He obviously loves LotR and has gone to great lengths to make the films appear real rather than "Hollywood". Unfortunately, he's caught somewhat between a rock and a hard place when it comes to what he can get away with releasing.

At the end of the day the big financial backers are going to have the final say, and to them the film is just another meal ticket. Fortunately, they have allowed PJ to redeem himself by releasing the extended DVDs, which for the fans of the books are so much better than the theatrical versions. No doubt this was again just a money spinner on their part, but it has shown what masterpieces PJ has created.

Even in the case of the DVDs, however, PJ was still making movies, which I will argue will always require a different approach to writing a book. He has done exceedingly well in my opinion to merge the two medias without having to deviate too far from the original material.

I think Tolkien, however, might be even a bigger critic than Ross when it came to variation from his life's work. Like Ross, I don't think he would have been too impressed with them. Saying that, had he still been alive, I'm sure he'd be smiling when he saw how his book sales had gone through the roof.
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I think Tolkien, however, might be even a bigger critic than Ross when it came to variation from his life's work. Like Ross, I don't think he would have been too impressed with them. Saying that, had he still been alive, I'm sure he'd be smiling when he saw how his book sales had gone through the roof.
To be fair Val, it's not as if the book sales have ever been under the lintle.

I still disagree with people saying PJ tried to stick to the story line. Whats all this with Arwen all of a sudden being a arse kicking heroine. Has that ever been the case? No! That is the role of Eowyn probably the greatest warrior in the book. Was she a skilled diplomat? No! That was Galadriel.
I understand they need to portray the love between her and Aragorn, but he managed this in Rivendell, so why did she need to meet them on the road.
By the way another small note of PJ never reading the book, Aragorn has a bow in Moria. It clearly states what weapons they left Rivendell with. I don't recall them visiting a fletcher or bowyer!
Nice post Val, basically my sentiments exactly! One thing you brought up I wanted to touch on is this,

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Even in the case of the DVDs, however, PJ was still making movies, which I will argue will always require a different approach to writing a book. He has done exceedingly well in my opinion to merge the two medias without having to deviate too far from the original material.


Not that we haven't talked about this before, but I absolutely agree with your statement here. Even though there are certainly plenty of things Tolkien wouldn't have been happy with, I do feel he would have been fairly pleased by this aspect. In fact here is an interesting quote from page 270 of Letters where JRRT says basically the same thing,

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The canons of narrative art in any medium cannot be wholly different; and the failure of poor films is often precisely in exaggeration, and in the intrusion of unwarranted matter owing to not perceiving where the core of the original lies.


I maintain that IMHO even though there have been some major unnecessary changes that I donít like, the majority of the changes have been very minor, and have obviously been implemented because making a film is very different then writing a book (and yes because NL wants to cash in). Books will always be better (especially when written by JRRT), any intelligent person knows this, but I do feel that PJ has kept very close to the core throughout his monumental undertaking.
Elf Smilie

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I still disagree with people saying PJ tried to stick to the story line. Whats all this with Arwen all of a sudden being a **** kicking heroine. Has that ever been the case? No!
I think had the film been made entirely for a male audience we might not have had to watch the aweful changes made for Arwen's benefit. However, blockbuster cinema audiences are not made of just males. Half the population is female, and for some reason the fairer sex seems obsessed with seeing a bit of love interest.

I'd imagine New Line, and possibly PJ too, realising this knew they had to bring forth a strong female lead right from the beginning. Hence poor old Glorfindel, and I suspect the twins too, have lost out so that Liv can strut her stuff.

Eowyn could not provide this love interest, otherwise the purists would have lynched PJ for not including Arwen.
Sorry Ringfacwen, I guess you don't fit the stereotype, but I have to go with Val on this. Most guys I know wouldn't be caught dead in a theatre showing a romance film without being dragged there by their mothers, wives, or girl friends.

Of course most movies today are made for your average seventeen year old male by guys who bank on stereotyping bring home the bacon. They know that lots of action and noise will get the boys into their movies, but they make their profit by hooking the girls with the promise of a bit of romance in order to fill all the seats in the house.

And you don't see those teenage boys obsessing over the starlettes in the movies either, though come to think of it they may do that privately in their imaginations. Elf With a Big Grin Smilie
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Ooof!!! Val! That was sexist....
Sorry Ringfacwen. I didn't mean to offend anyone. I guess you are correct about the stereotyping (although I find most people get more upset about being grouped as a stereotype than get upset about sexist comments).

My comments were just my late night opinion on the subject, based on my own experience. Without exception, every girl I have gone out with has preferred to watch romantic (chick.... whoops sexist Ignore Smilie Smile Smilie ) movies rather than action movies. Now without wishing to offend or stereotype every girl into one group, my exerience tells me that girls do prefer this type of movie to action/war films. In my experience, they are also less inclined to play computer games, be interested in fantasy, get involved in fights, or roll around drunk like blokes have the habit of doing.

Now, there will always be exceptions to this rule of thumb, and they are the ones who are most likely to get upset by my above observations. I think what they are getting upset about, however, is not my sexist comments, but the fact that I have stereotyped them in a group they do not wish to be included in.

So, back to the question of why has romance been added to LotR (and many other films)? Like Grondy has pointed out, it's not to get the boys in. If the truth be known, they'd rather watch porn than romance. I also agree with your own comments that the romance part of an action film won't be enough to get a girl to go and watch a film she wouldn't have otherwise been interested in. Like you say, if she wanted romance, she could watch a purely romantic film.

So why does romance get added? From my above arguments, I've come to the conclusion no one wants it in this type of film anyway. It has nevertheless been added for some reason. PJ would not have risked upsetting the purists in this way for no reason, and New Line would not have forced his hand to do so without some reason.

Which takes me back to my original argument. Huge sums (and I mean collossal amounts) of money are invested now days in surveying what people actually like. This market research then determines what gets marketed for whom. Somewhere along the line, I'm afraid market research has revealed more girls will watch a film with a romantic element involved than will watch a movie without one. I'm not trying to be sexist here, or say all girls fit this stereotype, but research will have found that a significant enough amount to make a big difference to profits will fit the catagory. The rest is just numbers. Half the population is female. If just ten percent fit this catagory, that's a huge number of potential customers.

Put it this way. I hope adding romance has drawn in a larger audience than would have otherwise seen it, because they've risked ruining a d@mned good movie by doing so.

Finally, I'd just like to make it absolutely clear here, that I'm in no way trying to upset anyone by being sexist. What I've said above are just conclusions drawn from my own experiences. If I have upset anyone, please accept my apologies.
I also offer my apologies if umbrage was taken of my comments and I add my thanks to Val for saying much more eloquently, what I was trying to say.
You pair of old dirty old sexist men! (please note the lack of stereotyping, being that I have met both, Grondy and Val Wink Smilie )
Isn't there a lot of love in Tolkien's world too?
You have over 1000 pages to feel the love between Arwen and Aragorn, so isn't it somewhat normal it's more direct and obvious in the movie? Did Peter Jackson really add so much romance? I don't think so. How else to make people who didn't read the book understand the sacrifice Arwen is prepared to make? How else to show what is giving Aragorn his strenght to go on? What about the relationship between Legolas and Gimli, Merry and Pepin, Frodo and Bilbo and Frodo and Sam. Especially Frodo and Sam. In Tolkien's book this relationship is very deep and in a way very romantic.
What if Peter Jackson would take all romance out? Would you still like the movie? The story would only be about the Ring and a war to survive. There would be no sacrifice, no passion, no love, no friendship. Isn't this what LOTR is all about? Loyalty, deep love, everlasting friendship, sacrifice. This is what gives magic to the story. If you take that out, you just have an ordinary story about power.
I don't like romantic movies either. Romantic comedies are the worst!! AAAARGH!!! Movies have to make sense. I can see why PJ overdid the romantic stuff, but I think it was too much.

There romance between Aragorn and Arwen is very important, if it hadn't been for Arwen, Aragorn wouldn't be so eager to be king, and might have continued being "just" a ranger. Arwen is the one pushing Aragorn forward. No Arwen, no King. She is strong. PJ just made it so... wierd and Hollywood like.

Still.. It is the best LOTR movie so far isn't it? Guess no-one will bother to try and make a better one in a looong loooong time. *sigh*
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There romance between Aragorn and Arwen is very important, if it hadn't been for Arwen, Aragorn wouldn't be so eager to be king, and might have continued being "just" a ranger. Arwen is the one pushing Aragorn forward. No Arwen, no King. She is strong. PJ just made it so... wierd and Hollywood like.
But in the book Aragorn wants to be King. However in the disgrace of a film, they make him look like Claudius, someone thrown into the role of being king. The truth of the matter is the love story being portrayed so much is for buck raking power and nothing else.
That was my feeling about Aragorn too, Ross. In the book he wasn't trying to avoid being king. The impression I got from the book was of someone who had sacrificed the fine trappings of being king to help save the world. He had travelled the length of Middle Earth, risking his life fighting wars, when he could have just put his feet up in Rivendell and had elven maidens waiting on him. When it was time to reveal himself, he did so.

I was rather annoyed that the film had changed that, because there was absolutely no reason to do so.
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Isn't there a lot of love in Tolkien's world too?
You have over 1000 pages to feel the love between Arwen and Aragorn,
I agree, Gnampie. Tolkien had a lot of love and romance in his book. The love between Aragorn and Arwen, however, is very played down, much of it occuring in the appendices. To be honest, did Aragorn even need a love interest in the film. I just find it annoying that producers feel compelled to spice up the romance in films, especially when it is at the cost of some of our favourite characters (eg. Glorfindel and the twins).
But I think the exclussion of other characters has other reasons too. for example, including characters demands including their history, at some level, and there isn't always time to do that, so you give their actions to the main characters. Sometime it's necessary, and we all know that the producers have much to say about those things, and still PJ did a great work
I agree with what you say about having to have time to develop a character's history, negra, but who decided Arwen was going to be a main character? In the book she wasn't. She was barely mentioned apart from the appendices. Both Glorfindel and the twins had larger contributions than her in the books. Why not do away with Arwen all together and better use the time to develop their characters?

I'm not anti-Arwen. I just dislike the way movie makers feel obliged to add love scenes in every film they make.
You're right on that one, Arwen wasn't main character in the book, but was Aragorn's love interest, and needed to be included for the complete understanding of his history. PJ made a choice of putting her as a main character, choice that I didn't like, but understood. The point is I think Liv Tyler wasn't up to the challenge, and that made it easier to need Glorfindel, since (at least in my case) you just didn't buy the whole Arwen saving Frodo thing. Also, Arwen contributes to enrich Eowyn, who is a main character both in the movie and book, otherwise, why should she abandon the idea of trying to be with Aragorn? I'm not trying to justify the decision of the studio, but there's always a tendency to think that all those decisions are made thinking about money, which of course, influences the final decissiosn, but I really think that from the moment the chose to work with Peter jackson, the chose to go for a better film than they would've haveing chosen spielberg, for example. He allows the movie to be more faithful to the book in terms of its darkeness, for example.
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you just didn't buy the whole Arwen saving Frodo thing.
I think that hits the nail on the head really negra. I don't really mind the romance between Aragorn and Arwen, and I fully expected it to be there. It's the whole part of making her the warrior maiden that annoys me. She was never that in the book, and she stole scenes from my favourite characters.

Showing her and Aragorn frolicing in Rivendell would have been enough to let us all know that he loved her, and I think Viggo is a good enough actor to have been able to convince us of that love for her in a short scene. There was no need to have her running all over the Trollshaws saving Hobbits.
I wasn't talking about the "oh poor me I have Isildur blood" Aragorn in the movie.

What I meant by Arwen pushing Aragorn forward is that he has to work hard to prove he is worthy of her.
They first met when he was 18(?) and had just learned about his herritage. He must have been a bit conserned by what he had just learned (haven't read it in a while), but then he meets Arwen. He falls in love, but she doesn't fall right away. To be worthy of her love he must prove to be a skilled ranger (and grow up.. there is quite an age-differense between those two). Now he has Arwens love, but to marry her he must be at least king of Gondor or else Elrond won't let them marry.

All the rangers fight against the evil. What I am saying is that I belive Arwen is very much to "blame" for Aragorn becoming the man he is when the Hobbits first meet him. He could have turned away from that path as a young man, he may have tried to fulfill his destiny, but having such a lovely goal to reach as Arwen might have given him the inspiration to become err.. "all that he can be". Tongue Smilie

She doesn't run around killing orcs, but she is important.

[Redigert den 29/8/2003 av AmariŽ]
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I agree that most girls do like romance (ugh!) films and don`t really like to play video games and all that (I do, but not as much as guys like Ross for example! )
D@mn oversixed thumbs showing me up again! Tongue Smilie
I communicated with JRRT's spirit last night through my ouija-board, and the old master agreed with me that PJ made a big mess, in one word : he didn't approve.
Mandos told me that Tolkien didn't approve.
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It's the whole part of making her the warrior maiden that annoys me
Well, at least her warrior mode is only for one scene in FOTR (hopefully, haven't seen ROTK yet), the original idea for the movies was to make Arwen a full-on action heroine with appearances in Helm's Deep and such -there's a photo of Liv in full armour Shocked Smilie - which would make Arwen a complete stranger to those who has read the book.

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I hate the fact that it is generally thought that the only way to get girls to watch an LOTR type film is if there`s romance in it or else girls won`t watch it.

I agree. I mean, I'm a girl but I don't need romance to make it necessary for me to watch action movies - I have no problem watching shows with only guys in it e.g. the Band Of Brothers miniseries. Tongue Smilie
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I agree. I mean, I'm a girl but I don't need romance to make it necessary for me to watch action movies - I have no problem watching shows with only guys in it e.g. the Band Of Brothers miniseries.
You have just made my point about Arwen for me. Band of brothers is set in WW2, unless you were partisans there were no women on the frontline. The same applied with LOTR with exception of Eowyn who smuggled her self into battle. So what is with the need of Arwen to replace Glorfindel? Answer there is no need, directors feel the need to over P.C. films now. I think you will find the majority of women would not complain about there not being a female warrior in the first book, because it fits the context of the time set.
The problem is that Liv Tyler plays Arwen, so they had to give that hot celebrity some screenplay in FoTR too - that's the main reason we saw that exciting horse chase scene and NazgŻl shower scene.

Apparently no one noticed that Arwen saving the Frodo doll was a bit not in the book.
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I think you will find the majority of women would not complain about there not being a female warrior in the first book, because it fits the context of the time set.
That's true, but it's probably guys who will be complaining of the LOTR not having enough female characters to ogle at, from what I read in some reviews. But at the end of the day when they are happy with the action sequences, there's no need to exploit Liv more. Mad Smilie

[Edited on 15/9/2003 by Naira]

[Edited on 15/9/2003 by Naira]
There is no need at all to have Lirwen show up replacing Glorfindel.....there is no need having her challenge the nazgŻl which in fact was Frodoīs part....there is no need to have her summon the waters instead of it being the magic of Elrond and the horses by Gandalf.....itīs ticks me off! So Angry Smilie
I think J.R.R. Tolkine would love the movies because of the realistic scenes in the movie. The scenes are amazing. Everything about the movie is amazing! I think he woulkd understand that movies are only to be bade at an x amount of time.
Just one question, have you read the book?
Well Humphrey Carpenter, the postAuthorID who wrote JRRT's biography, wrote about his first meeting with JRRT when he had to ask our beloved postAuthorID for his permission to make a semi-operatic version on The hobbit.

JRRT agreed and even came to see the show, sitting near the front. H. Carpenter described JRRT's reactions to the play as folllows : "I remember vividly when he came to see the show, held in the tiny school hall. He sat near the front, and since I was playing the double bass in the orchestra, I was able to watch his reactions. These were very simple: he had a broad smile on his face whenever the narration and dialogue stuck to his own words, which was replaced by a frown the moment there was the slightest departure from the book."

So, it is safe to assume that JRRT would have hated pj's movies with full reason.
Very good quote mate...end of the friggin discussion!
J.R.R. would never approve of the movies...and I still sometimes get sad to think about what the they have done....They changed the characters, the storyline...the whole friggin thing(I hope friggin is not classified as a curse Tongue Smilie )


[Edited on 9/12/2003 by AulŽ]
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**** PJ.... **** him right to hell!
AulŽ, you know how I feel when I read stuff like that here on this forum, especially now when you know there is a real chance he might actually read this. If I was a council member I would say you had gotten enough warnings and kick your butt out of here, though nice as I am I 'd probably settle on giving you one more chance. So Angry Smilie

Except from AulŽs swearing I agree, I don't think JRR would have approved the movies either, though he would see positive things about it. And if he had been alive he would have been consulted wouldn't he?
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**** PJ.... **** him right to hell!

And while we are on the subject of seeking the professor's approval, I certainly do not think he would be pleased to see people defending his good name and his works with such inappropriate language. JRRT was a very religious man and a family man, so, all those who condemn in his name are doing our favorite professor a great disservice.
Nuff said. Tongue Smilie
Moderator Smilie I just removed Ross's last post and am considering removing AulŽ's last outburst.

Name calling and issuing personal threats are not allowed on this forum.

Please stop acting like 10 year old fourth graders; you are giving them a bad name. Moderator Smilie

Yes, please do that Grondmaster.

It is my intention to try to have a serious discussion here. The seriousness ended when someone started to throw insults at PJ again.
Ok I want to give PJ a big bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates. The meaning of this is exactly the same of the last post on here but written in code. Intent is the real issue of curses not the words them selves!
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Ok I want to give PJ a big bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates. The meaning of this is exactly the same of the last post on here but written in code. Intent is the real issue of curses not the words them selves!

PJ is only happy with a container of chocolates. About flowers : he only eats tulips.
Hello. New here but reading your posts with interest. After wading through all 15 pages of this thread, I have seen all my thoughts except two posted by someone else....

my first thought: in reply to several people who think the movie takes away from the imagination experience of reading the book; although I agree in principle, I have found in experience exactly the opposite is true. I read the books long before the movie started being filmed, but now after seeing all three films, and the first two in the extended versions, I go back to reading the books again. Wow! Small things I passed over quickly and as unimportant in the books spring out at me now -- lines characters have said, brought to life by actors who are much better at finding meaning and nuance in a few words than I am in a paragraph, things I had trouble imagining, -- or which were more and better in the film than my imagination, like the statues of the ancient Kings, to mention one -- are now in my mind a better image than what I previously made for myself. And images I don't like in the film, I discard, and go back to my own imagination. What did C.S. Lewis say about Tolkien's work? "here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron." Well said! but who, save in intense study, is able to appreciate them all? The films uncovered more beauties in tolkien's work for me to enjoy than I would have ever found alone and unaided......
For a first post this is turning into a long one, but then I just read 15 pages of posts so I have something to say. Here is my second thought: Though Tolkien undoubtedly would have disliked the movie for all the reasons previously mentioned, there is one piece of evidence in favor of him actually intending from the first that others could, and should, take up his work and enhance it (as I claim the films did for me above). Granted, this evidence refers to the Silmarillion and was written before the Hobbits ever came into existence, and perhaps before Tolkien realized quite how much he as an author would dislike those inevitable changes that another mind and medium bring to any book. I enter it into evidence on the basis that lotr springs out of the Sil., etc. Tolkien writes....
"Do not laugh! But once upon a time...I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogenic to the level of romantic fairy-story -- the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendor from the vast backcloths-- ..... The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd."

So I say, even if later, he wished the finished product to be left alone, still I think his first idea was better, to, in a sense, give permission to others in other mediums to depict his stories. And what is film except "paint" (visual scenery, cgi, special effects, photogrophy, etc.) and "music"(soundtrack) and "drama"(actors, directors, scenes, costumes, etc)? Bravi to PJ, the actors, cinematographers, scriptwriters, money-people, costume and grunt-work people, and all involved in the movies for bringing across exceptionally well (better than I ever expected) the spirit of the original work. Nothing's perfect, but this is leagues closer than any movie adaptation of any beloved book I've seen. And isn't it a testament to the depth and quality of Tolkien's work that it inspires artists of other art forms to higher standards than they had before? For certainly the 3 films are some of the best moviemaking in the industry, even if they aren't strictly faithful Tolkien.
Maybe this has already been said before in this thread, but Tolkien once said he would be very much like a hobbit in his manner and ways. Obviously hobbits are down-to-earth and rather opposed to change, but they also were easily awed by grand things: grand stories, bright displays (like fireworks, i.e.), epic songs, and so on.

I think it might be safe to assume that the films were certainly grand and awe-inspiring and as interpretations of an incredibly long and descriptive trilogy, they did not stray far from the heart issues of the books.

Just my opinion, but I think that JRRT, old curmudgeon or not, would have felt a certain appreciation for the obvious time, effort and love that went into the movies. And hey, they spoke the very language that he himself created... that would certainly have been an ego trip for an author who was first and foremost, a linguist.

razarizat
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semper carpe noctem
Quote:
Do not laugh! But once upon a time...I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogenic to the level of romantic fairy-story -- the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendor from the vast backcloths-- ..... The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd.


First of all, let me extend a kind PT welcome to both new members Elanorraine, and Razazirat! Hope you two enjoy your time here, and hope to see ya around the forums. Waving Hello Smilie

Elanorraine that passage you quoted is one of my favorites and comes from Tolkienís letter to Milton Waldman in 1951 outlining his vision for The Silmarillion. A part of that letter can be found nowadays in most newer copies of the Sil, but the full version of the letter can be found in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (letter #131) pgs. 143-161. For anyone who hasnít read it in itís entirety, I highly recommend it as it is packed full of insight into the mind of a true genius.
Genius Smilie
Quote:
Do not laugh! But once upon a time...I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogenic to the level of romantic fairy-story -- the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendor from the vast backcloths-- ..... The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd.

I agree that PJ and his entire crew did their best job to bring Tolkien's works alive, and really put their heart into it and tried to follow the books as much as possible. They were limited of course due to lack of time and lack of money.

But i still think that a movie bout JRRT's works should have never been made, because i am a conservative, narrow-minded person, stuck in his own ways. (I am movie-Treebeard). I know it is impossible to make a movie exactly like the book, so a movie should never be made. I am such an evil person, aren't I ?

Naah, i just see the LOTR movies as an adaptation and tribute to JRRT's works. Took me a long time, though.

I think it's only possible to make a lotr-miniseries if we want it exactly like the book.

The last word in the Tolkien quote is 'absurd' : JRRT would have hated a movie bout his works. Of course, in the time JRRT lived, it was technically impossible to film his works. Now it is technically possible to film it (which PJ did) and this kinda changed everything. I agree that JRRT would have approved certain scenes from PJ's movies, but still i think he would be appalled by the fact that so many characters were thoroughly changed (Elrond, Faramir, Arwen) and that certain themes from the book were changed/left out/extended.

But i think that he would be satisfied by the fact that so many ppl wuld go and see the movies and that so many ppl would find interest in his works through the movies. I can't believe i said this, but it is true.

(PS : i have earned my job at New Line Cinema now... thx a lot Pete!! j/k)
Pixie Smilie Who are you and what have you done to the REAL Virumor?? Orc Grinning Smilie J/K Wink Smilie
back on subject: I totally agree with Vir!
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