Thread: What would you change about the LotR film trilogy?
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I was one of those who read the books after seeing the movie (because I'm young) and what I thought of when I read the fellowship was that Merry was portrated in a totally different way. He showed the way to the ferry, but in the book he arranged alot of things in Frodos new house. I think I'd give him a bigger part. Merry, Pippin and Sam are also presented as they knew nothing of the ring.
Another thing..I know they mentioned it, but if I could change, I would've put Tom Bombadil back in the story. The whole chapter, even!
Your thoughts on Merry are the first to appear on this thread. But you will find some that agree and some that disagree on your Bombadil point .
By the way, if you're interested in talking about Bombadil you might want to join in the discussion about him in [url=http://the-hobbit-movie.com/forum/what-tolkien-might-have-changed-in-light-of-the-movie-326-20.html:14agyida]another thread[/url:14agyida].
I do however think that alot of other characters were changed for the worse, especially Gimli, looking back now at film Gimli I feel the character was done no justice at all. He was almost meant to be thought of as some kind of joke in the film and his stubborness was emphasised way to much. He was portrayed a glorious hero, a dwarf of great stature and strength who had some knowledge and interlectual whereas in the film he was portrayed as (EDIT) being careless, and at times clumsy. He was good hearted but he was portrayed as being some kind of simple fool who only ever thought about food and beating Legolas.
I liked him but I would preferred much more of a Tolkien-Gimli, the rivalry between him and Legolas was overdone which also leads on to how Legolas should have been portrayed!
I don't mean to be a grump but the film Gimli and Legolas could have been along Tolkien lines alot more.
I agree with this. Gimli is not even allowed to be an idiotic barbarian in true D&D fashion but is simply a bumbling clown from start to finish. His "exploits" in the Warg battle consist of being nearly crushed under a pile of corpses and his main accomplishment at Helm's Deep is being tossed by Aragorn. It is slight consolation that he beat Legolas in their competition, but most of his prowess is left offscreen, whereas Legolas gets at least two (ostensibly) heroic moments: shield-surfing and rescuing Aragorn and Gimli from the causeway. At the Pelennor Gimli does almost nothing except react petulantly to Legolas taking down a mumak.
End of rant.
I think it's indicative of the filmmakers' general approach to making [i:2fhbj0qh]TLotR[/i:2fhbj0qh], at least after the first film. They were no longer as concerned with adapting Tolkien's book as they were with telling the story they wanted to tell. They genuinely thought (based on their comments to the EE DVD commentaries) that the changes they made - such as Frodo sending Sam away - were improvements and more dramatic. As if one of the best-selling books of the XX century wasn't good enough and further that [i:2fhbj0qh]they[/i:2fhbj0qh] were qualified to improve it
Tolkien sold quite a few copies of LOTR - in fact long before any movies were made, if I'm right!
Well, if you listen to the writers etc on the LOTR extended DVD's, you'd think LOTR had such a lot of shortcomings. So many, It might not get past an editor nowadays. I'm not keen on editorial fashions in that case!
You know, I refuse to believe a great and enjoyable and exciting movie could not have been made keeping more strictly to the script. Surely the same delights that are in the book (whether editorially correct or not) could have been translated into the films.
An example: apparently a modern publisher would have made serious mincemeat out of the chapter: "The Council of Elrond." You can't do that in books. It's wrong! But, while I actually like PJ's take on it in the movie, I refuse to believe it could not have stayed truer to the text - it was one of my favorite chapters. All those characters talking about things going on could have been very interesting to fantasy fans, if done with skill.
Which raises another thought (to me at least!): how many casual fantasy fans will ever watch the movies time and again? And how many die-hard buy-the-extended versions type people (like me) watch them (for all their flaws) time and again. I even watch the "boring" appendices more than I do the movies!?
And!!! I think the movie has driven a lot of former non-readers of the book to actually read it. I wonder, how many of them would now prefer the book even after seeing the movies first? (OMW, TB and the B-W's are a delight - whether worthy of being filmed or not!)
I guess my (meandering) point is: PJ would have made his money back looking after the Purists and Fundamentalists, surely!
Sorry for waffling...
But, I would like to point out that Tolkien's books are more popular than ever because of Jackson's films. And there are a few old codgers like me who have read the books many times over the decades, and still think Jackson's films captured the books brilliantly.
Yes there were some changes, but seriously, most film adaptations are DRASTICALLY changed from the original sources. As a Potter fan I can attest to how much film-makers have been forced to leave out due to time constraints (the Potter books are laaarge books). Some of the Potter films seem to have less than 50% of the original material.
Jackson's films (particularly the Extended Editions) on the other hand, keep 70-80% of the original material relatively intact, though some of the various actions are shifted around. As far as I'm concerned that's pretty faithful and sets a new standard for adapting fantasy books.
And the fact is Tolkien took a lot of heat from book critics in his own day. And it;s not that the writers in their commentaries on the EEs think that Tolkien's work had shortcomings, it's that they knew some things that worked in print for Avid Readers, wouldn't necessarily work so well in a film that would also be seen by a GENERAL audience, half of which haven't read the books, and half of that group would NEVER read the books because they just don't read period.
Nah! Just gagging. Harry is excellent too!
Hey! I don't know if I'm becoming a romantic old fuddy duddy, but I really like Ron and Hermione's burgeoning romance like I did Aragorn and Arwen's love affair.
Yes, this is not the thread for this. I just want to let you know that JKR is cool! (Not quite up to JRRT standards, of course - but what is? )
I'm sure some people have read the book because of the films, but a lot of people also have been put off because of the films, in part because they had such an emphasis on violence. These people assume the book does to and thus don't read it. There's also plenty of people who have been disappointed by the book since it doesn't have as much 'action' as the films.
PJ certainly did a lot for himself, but whatever he did for Tolkien was (a) a side-effect, sort of like Gollum accidentally causing the Ring to be destroyed and (b) mixed in with a whole lot of bad.
[quote:3im0duse]And there are a few old codgers like me who have read the books many times over the decades, and still think Jackson's films captured the books brilliantly.[/quote:3im0duse]
To be honest I'm not sure why you think that since PJ changed so much.
[quote:3im0duse]Jackson's films (particularly the Extended Editions) on the other hand, keep 70-80% of the original material relatively intact, though some of the various actions are shifted around. As far as I'm concerned that's pretty faithful and sets a new standard for adapting fantasy books.[/quote:3im0duse]
Where does that figure come from? Regardless though, pure numbers don't really tell much. Aragorn, Frodo, Denethor, Faramir, and Gimli (among others) were all changed. This is a conclusion drawn from observation, though of course whether or not you like the characters as film characters is a subjective issue. Not to mention that entire plot lines were introduced (Aragorn falling off a cliff, Faramir taking the Hobbits to Osgiliath, etc.), cut (the Scouring of the Shire), or altered (the Battle of the Hornburg becoming the climax of TTT). How is that faithful?
[quote:3im0duse]And the fact is Tolkien took a lot of heat from book critics in his own day. And it;s not that the writers in their commentaries on the EEs think that Tolkien's work had shortcomings, it's that they knew some things that worked in print for Avid Readers, wouldn't necessarily work so well in a film that would also be seen by a GENERAL audience, half of which haven't read the books, and half of that group would NEVER read the books because they just don't read period.[/quote:3im0duse]
They pretty clearly thought that some parts of the story were simply not dramatic enough and that they could do better (such as Frodo sending Sam away). Listen to their actual words on the matter; it's not about adapting, it's about them thinking they could improve the story itself.
Likewise, I think Jackson's take on LotR set the bar for Film Fantasy, but so far only LWW really comes close.
Bravo Eldorion old son! If PJ thought he could improve the book with his alterations, it implies he saw 'shortcomings' in the text. There may have been an instance or two where an alteration might have actually been called for, because the book 'couldn't' be turned into film, though I'm not convinced; for most of the changes were done purely because PJ is a creative guy who thought he could improve on the book. Even PJ freely admits that sometimes he had to change things back closer to Tolkien's version, this because the Great Man knew what he was doing. Obviously, he didn't return to Tolkien enough!
It's said Tolkien never thought LOTR could be filmed. This is interesting, I think, because reading LOTR I always have a clear picture of what he's describing. Even PJ (when he's paying close attention to the text, GB!) realizes his characters and scenes very well. I had no real problem with the overall 'look' or 'feel' of the movie.
And what of all PJ's actual sub-creation work? It does suggest he thought he could make LOTR better, which was a bit audacious. Though, funnily enough - except for the very earliest Arwen scenes which were poorly handled - he probably did improve on the Great Man's work with his take on Aragrorn and Arwen. Shield-maiden Arwen, nah! Beautiful, elegant and wise Arwen, bloody bewdy mate! (My gosh! Please don't tell my fellow Fundamentalists I said that!)
So I don't think that Tolkien thought his books were unfilmable due to his content, but because of the technology available at the time. I think he would have been very happy at the overall Look of Jackson's films, even if he did have problems with how some aspects of the story were handled.
As to the "sub-creation", I don't think this means that Jackson and his writers thought they could out-Tolkien Tolkien. I think they were doing what all artists do, which is interpret the source material with their own take on it. Though as film-makers for Profit Making Entity with a General Audience in mind, they also had many other considerations.
At least we agree that PJ captured the overall look of the book. Though, I don't know if we should make a habit of agreeing, Dear Beard, what ever will my Fundamentalist friends think? I mean, you are a Lib after all... ('Heathen' seems such a derogatory term and I'm still fond of you in spite of your waywardness!)
Your thoughts on Merry are the first to appear on this thread. But you will find some that agree and some that disagree on your Bombadil point .
allrighty, I'll read when I find the time!
I really loved the scenes in Hobbiton and I think that that might have been, as well as in the books, the part that I loved best. I didn't however like the fact that some of the character's characteristics (mouthful I know) weren't as they were in the book for example Gimli was played as too much of a fool and less of the dwarf he should have been played as, I believe someone had mentioned this before on the forum.
In some ways I am glad that Jackson chose to leave out Tom Bombadil, Goldberry and the Barrow-wights because I think that adding [i:4gb7ara0]that[/i:4gb7ara0] many characters to the storyline and then having to bring them to life on screen might have been a bit confusing for everyone who hadn't familiarised themselves with the original text, prior to watching the films. Although I do also have some dissatisfaction about not being able to see the character in a new dimension. Of course it would have made the running time way too long if he had been included.
I really loved the orcs, they really were brought to life brilliantly and with such an exciting range of variety as well. The Uruk-Hai, the scary powerful silverback gorilla equivalent, were brilliant, they struck terror into the hearts of the audience let alone the people they were fighting. I also loved the coarse and simple attitudes that the orcs seemed to have about the world, they really corresponded with the brutes that Tolkien portrays in the books.
I didn't however like the wargs very much, someone said earlier that they looked more like monsters than they did wolves, I entirely agree I think that they looked a bit like a cross between a bear and a pitbull terrior. They were surposed to be furtive, sneaky and intelligent as well as being malicious and vicious, not just wild blood-thirsty dog-bears.
My favourite actor has (EDIT) to be Sir Ian Holm, aswell as most of actors who also played Hobbits, they were superbly acted and they really compared well with Tolkien’s creation. I also loved the two wizards (heres hoping there'll be more than just two in the Hobbit white council etc.) Ian McKellen was excellent and Christopher Lee played Saruman exactly how he should be, evil and corrupt and with a touch of supremacy (i.e. the Uruk-Hai he sporns).
In conclusion I really loved the films and now I think about it I think the films are great the way they are.
Mr. Bandobras Took
I read most of the replies on this thread and found the discussions to be very insightful. I read the books only after seeing the first movie. I absolutely loved the movies!
Here my input (I'm not as knowledgeable as most of you guys so don't kill me haha, I also have not seem the extended versions)
Things that I would have liked to have seen in the movies:
-Tom Bombadil and the passing of the barrowdowns but I can see why too many characters would be confusing for the viewer
-More on the time Merry and Pippin spent with Treebeard and the Ents. From what I remember wasn't Treebeard rather hostile towards the hobbits at first in the movie? I got the impression he was very gentle in the book and was always singing. Anyway the two towers movie seemed to focus more on the battle at Helms Deep.
-Pippin meeting with Beregond and his son
-The scouring of the shire! I think this is my absolute favorite part in the whole LOTR series. I love how the hobbits don't really take the new rules and ruffians seriously and how they put into practice the experience in warfare they gained from thier epic journey. I don't think its anticlimatic and I'm glad Gandalf left them to deal with it. It's interesting the parallels between modern industrialization and what Saruman tried to do the Shire
-The love scene between Eowyn and Faramir, so sweet!
Anyway I understand that the movies can't include everything and I wouldn't consider myself a "purist". I was still very disappointed that we didn't get to see the hobbits take back the shire. I think Gandalfs Beard made a good point about how the harry potter movies cut even more out. One scene from the movies that I really did enjoy was the fight scene between Saruman and Gandalf in the Fellowship at Orthanc.
[quote:1k9gk53u]the two towers movie seemed to focus more on the battle at Helms Deep.[/quote:1k9gk53u]
It did indeed, to the point where PJ considered Helm's Deep the climax of the movie. Tolkien took a rather different view of things though, seeing the Ents as more important.
[quote:1k9gk53u]Anyway I understand that the movies can't include everything ... I think Gandalfs Beard made a good point about how the harry potter movies cut even more out.[/quote:1k9gk53u]
Personally I'm more comfortable with the cuts (with a few exceptions, such as the Scouring of the Shire) than the outright changes and additions. Everyone knows the movies had to cut things but it's by no means a given that they must change the story they're adapting.
Still, everybody has his list, of things they'd wished could be different. Here's mine.
1. I wish Uma Thurman could have played Eowyn. Despite being beautiful,, she has the capability to play a woman of strength and resolve. See [i:292d65pc]Kill Bill[/i:292d65pc] for the proof.
2. Production budgets have to draw the line somewhere, but I would have liked to have seen the many Men at the Pelennor Fields who fought for Sauron. Although the TTT section honors the commitment of the outlanders to the armies of the Eye, the multi-level force arrayed against Gondor would have looked better with bearded Easterlings, Variags, and battalions of Haradrim and Far Haradrim following the Mumakil. (Doubly so when you consider that the Men of Sauron's forces stood against the good guys the longest, and did the most damage.)
3. The whole bit where Sam leaves Frodo. So very OOC it is like breaking a tooth every time I see it. Retake time!
4. Speaking of OOC, maybe Faramir didn't have to try and buy his father's love so much, m'kay? I know we live in a post-modern, post-heroic world where the 24/7 news cycle cuts everyone down to size.... But Faramir rejected the Ring out of hand, without ever having to see it or feel its call. That wasn't cool enough for film?
5. I agonized about everything that was cut out, it seemed like some sort of vital detail was being excised. Alas for Ghan-buri-Ghan, Ioreth,Tom Bombadil, the barrow-wight, Fatty Bolger, Tom Cotton, and the others along the way whose contributions went by the wayside to fit in even 3 hours of filmed story. Still, I had to reluctantly acknowledge that even with 9 hours of film, not everything could be included.
6. I liked the post-Moria flight into Lothlorien and the pursuit by the orcs after the Fellowship that appeared in pre-FOTR film clips and publicity images. The final film had an abrupt meeting with Haldir, and no mention of the orcs. Based on the description, I felt the filmed but unshown scenes were better, and not that much longer, really. Very dramatic, too!
I have a couple of questions about this argument (it being a fairly common one) that I've never really had answered. What [i:pfxb0h9a]is[/i:pfxb0h9a] the spirit of the book? And once it's defined, how does it come through if the details of the story are changed?
I ask because in past discussions over this that I've had it seems the "spirit" is either used very specifically, in which case I don't see how it was preserved; very generically, in which case it could be proven that Harry Potter carried over the spirit of LOTR and is thus meaninglessly generic; or else so subjectively it's impossible to have a discussion over it. I'm curious to see what different people who make this argument think the spirit is.
Spirit: Essence--The basic Plotline, the Characters, the Themes, The Conclusion--all essentially the same from book to film.
(Sorry Zeonista , I should let you answer Eldorion. He polls everyone on that )
[quote="Gandalfs Beard":3r60t61l]Spirit: Essence--The basic Plotline, the Characters, the Themes, The Conclusion--all essentially the same from book to film.[/quote:3r60t61l]
Aaaaaaaaaargh, not this again! Actually I started writing down my thoughts on why I don't think they're that similar at my [url=http://eldorion.wordpress.com/tolkienpurism/lotrchanges/:3r60t61l]Wordpress site[/url:3r60t61l], but it's in a stasis until I finish finals. There's a fair bit of material up there though.
Specifically I'll mention the conclusion though. The Scouring of the Shire was cut (a no-brainer, according to PJ) even though Tolkien thought it was an essential part of the story (showing the culmination of the hobbits' journey and that not even the Shire was safe from evil).
As I said, the movies were faithful to the themes and "morals" of the story, and the broad personalities of the characters, and that ultimately meant more to me than some great fan checklist made and checked twice. If the forthcoming [i:bkakkazo]Hobbit[/i:bkakkazo] movie is the same vein of storytelling veracity, details 905 or so, I will be equally pleased.
Yes, the movies catch the 'feel' of Tolkien - sometimes... Which proves PJ was not always wrong.... But where he was wrong he was very wrong. One example (so I don't repeat Eldo's examples - though I agree fully with him!) if Faramir and Denethor's characters are changed, their relationship is changed, and following the natural flow of logical thought, the 'feel' is therefore changed.
As to Eldo mentioning PJ calling the removal of 'The Scouring' as a 'no brainer': PJ is right. It is a no brainer. An important part of the story (including the 'feel' part) was NOT put in the movies! Hey! You don't need brains to remove 'The Scouring' from the movies. It's putting it [color=#FF0000:2j5uigdp]in[/color:2j5uigdp] the movies that required brains!
Feel, spirit, essence.... Who cares what we call it - Eldo is absolutely correct no matter what term we use. I know Eldo is just being wry when he asks what those terms mean. He knows exactly what they mean! So do I! Their meaning is bloomin' obvious to anyone - except perhaps to certain pseudo-fans (including PJ) who don't have eyes to see! Do you guys have those kind of eyes - those mind's-eyes? - maybe not....
I would have really liked to have seen the Scouring myself, since it would have involved more hobbits, of course! More importantly, it would have showed the full circle of the hobbit heroes returning home as heroes, ready to apply the lessons of their adventures in the rescue and, restoration, and rule of their homeland. And yet, the short version of the Scouring would have been about 20 minutes, something had to give. At least in that respect, something had to give. It's not that I agree with PJ on the call, but I knew why he did it. Someday, Odo, you will have to get a LOTR TV series made , with an hour per chapter or two, like the radio drama. That ought to do the full story justice!
Ah, I found one more gripe! I would rather have the included love story elements of Aragorn and Arwen be more about them, and less about Beren and Luthien. (Elrond wasn't supposed to be like Thingol!) That being said, I had a bit of fanboy pleasure about the implied parallels in the story, although I'm not sure how many other people in the theater knew or cared.
I have gone through the book and films many times, yet the problem with spirit is that it is so subjective. What you think the spirit of the book is, I might not. Or GB or Odo or any of the millions of other readers of the book around the world might disagree. To a large degree it is based on interpretation.
That is, in one conception of the "spirit". In the more specific conception of the "spirit" that is tied to the details of the story, it is quite easy to point out all the deviations from it. The problem is for people making the Argument from Spirit to say how the spirit can be preserved if the story itself is not.
[quote:stlhb61y]As I said, the movies were faithful to the themes and "morals" of the story, and the broad personalities of the characters[/quote:stlhb61y]
I'm not sure how this is the case. Some themes including the aforementioned evil-striking-home one, and those of honour (Aragorn beheading a herald? seriously?) are conspicuously absent (the latter applies to morals as well). More importantly for themes, PJ's films are much faster-based, focus more on action and violence (PJ apparently disagreed with Tolkien that the Ents were more important than the Battle of the Hornburg which, according to Tolkien, could have been cut). [b:stlhb61y]Ursula LeGuin[/b:stlhb61y] summed up nicely by saying that:
[quote:stlhb61y]What I found unsatisfactory in the film was its increasing obsession with scenes of war and battle; and most of all, its failure to catch any hint of what I think may be the secret of Tolkien's narrative magic: the constant and powerful alternation of tension and relaxation, war and peace, the public and the domestic, fear and reassurance, light and dark... His book has the pace of a heartbeat; of a person walking; of day and night succeeding each other... That is why people reading it "live in the book" ’ it has the rhythm of life. ’ Film, of course, is a kind of drama, and must be more concentrated, faster in its pacing; but the film goes too far that direction. It is all action, little thought; all noise, no stillness; all Yang, no Yin. And therefore, though beautiful and entertaining, it is profoundly untrue to Tolkien's story.[/quote:stlhb61y]
His desperation to cling to a world which was dissolving in front of him, and he had no control over.
All pretty much lost in the films,sadly.
You're right of course. Some day someone will have to make a true version of the book and so why not a TV series? Mind you, I'll probably have to do it myself - though Eldo might help I doubt I can trust any of you others to be involved (I mean it kindly but firmly).
Still if big budget epics, source material ignoring, money massing events are what you're after, you'll reap what you sow.
You're right of course. Some day someone will have to make a true version of the book and so why not a TV series? Mind you, I'll probably have to do it myself - though Eldo might help I doubt I can trust any of you others to be involved (I mean it kindly but firmly). Odo[/quote:2zrx2ver]
There was a time pre-PJ when I thought a TV series was going to be the only way anyone would ever greenlight the film treatment ever again. (Otho and I at least have borne witness to the Bakshi film, which for many years was the last word on the perils of adapting Tolkien's epic to the screen.) A TV series at least would provide narrative continuity, and allow more of the details that have enchanted readers, but would inevitably get overlooked or deleted in a time-is-money film adaptation.
Personal Digression: I originally came to believe in a TV series because I had tried my own hand at making a LOTR film script in the Nineties. I abandoned the project when I realized that I wasn't able in my fan's heart to make the decision to excise "unnecessary things" to make a script that would pass studio muster.
I'll post a link and a picture, hopefully it hasn't been mentioned before like on Great Goblin thread and John Howe .
Peter and Edmund
Heres a link (EDIT)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content ... ture.shtml
yeah that's the one, dated yes, but great to watch 20 odd years ago.It had a good feel to it.Something that'll be missed in the film i reckon.
GB was a bit sniffy about producton values, but he only wants big budget action flicks, so who cares, having just watched The Day of the triffids with eddie Izzard etc, i think a BBC serialisation would be bang on.
no forget that, i'm just trying to get warmed up.
i'll just jump in then, shall i?
i read this board a few weeks back, and yes G'sB, i read back thru all the 11 pages there were then. (I noticed you asked that regularly.)
please note i'm at a somewhat limited intellectual capacity at the moment, due to my typical intake of red wine. thererfore i will not presently be posting a short essay of the quality of literary criticism as is regularly seen on this board. (perhaps later.)
but i do want to say:
1: legolas shield-surfing @helm's deep?!
2: re: legolas staring off into the middle-distance in a state of transcendent profundity: (ROTK) "Its a diversion.........." of course its a *F^@%!^g* diversion you yutz. we needed your mystical elven intuitiveness to figure gondor's assault on the black gate was a diversion?
interuptum: they're taking the hobbits to isengard....
3: i think that possibly the most beautiful scene in the movie trilogy was sean bean's (have i got the right name) boromir on caradhras... "such a little thing..." etc.. someone mentioned it back amongst those 11 pages.
4: back to negative. i agree with previous post that movie-gimli was largely portrayed as a dolt. not at all the feeling i have left from my numerous readings of LOTR. i adored gimli. pippin was a dolt. not gimli.
5: ask me what i think of faramir when i'm sober.
that's out of the way, then.
I feel like a fool for saying this, but are PJ and Fran Walsh Married????????????????
"what have i got in my pocket?" asked dildo, as he fingered his snubnose 38.
pity stayed his hand.
"its a pity i haven't got more bullets..."
It depends on what internet source you ask. They are definitely "partners" at the very least and have two kids though.
Imrahil - of [i:d828i57j]course[/i:d828i57j] I've read BotR. My favourite line is "but pity stayed his hand. 'It's a pity I've run out of bullets,' thought Bilbo."