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The "being possessed" by Saruman was utterly corny and totally out of sync with Tolkien.

Well, I was just surprised to find out that Gandalf the Magician could also double up as Gandalf the Exorcist.
I didn't understand why Aragorn & Co were beating up people while Gandalf was doing his exorcism shtick. Were they just feeling bored, or did they have problem with controlling their violent tempers?
I love the LOTR movies (they're my favorite movies) and I don't have a problem with the changes that were made. I love the books, and I'm a huge fan of Tolkien (in fact I just started FOTR for the umpteenth time!). I try not to compare the books and the movies, because it is obvious that they will be different. The books are books, and the movies are movies, and I just try to enjoy them both without pitting them against each other.

Changes from books to movies are inevitable. Tolkien was a great writer, but in order to write a screenplay based on the book, some of the things he wrote had to be cut out or changed. PJ stayed as close to the books as he possibly could while creating a fantastic movie. Now, if the adaption was as bad as Zimmerman's would have been (and thank God he never got to make his movie), I might have second thoughts about seeing it. But PJ stayed close enough, in my opinion.
I didn't understand why Aragorn & Co were beating up people while Gandalf was doing his exorcism shtick. Were they just feeling bored, or did they have problem with controlling their violent tempers?

Very funny.

They were attacked by some of the thugs who served Wormtongue. They didn't have their weapons, so they had to use their fists.
I like the Films even though they have inaccuracies. Why do they have these inaccuracies?

- try fitting about 800-1200 pages of story into 10 hours of film. Parts have to be cut out.

- Its a 50 year old book - audience appeal has changed so the films must destort to fit around this.

- PJ was not doing a whole replication of the Books. he was including the basic plot and some scenes but clearly he was not wholly following the book page for page.
No kidding PJ was not following the book page for page! He wasn't even following the book in basic outline, not when he can do some things just for dramatic effect without thought to the underpinning of the story. I have reviewed ROTK elsewhere, and we in PT have been all through this. But for example, there is no way that having Gandalf thrown off his horse by the Nazgul king is something necessary to make a movie! Rather, if PJ was so hellbent on action in that scene--apparently Tolkien's action in the book wasn't good enough--then Gandalf should have flattened the Lord of the Nazgul! But that would not have been what Tolkien wanted done at all. PJ should have been more concerned with bringing the same story Tolkien had written to the screen, instead of his "modernized" version of the story. As I think Morambar commented elsewhere, PJ has made a fantastic trilogy of movies and made a mark on the history of Tolkien's work. But he has not given us the story as it should have been told, even in film.
Yes, and the 10,000 Orcs and Uruk-hai at Helm's Deep for the Battle of the Hornburg would have been enough to make the movie great without ever having to add the tear-jerking Elves and Haldir's death. The story didn't really need Aragorn's swan dive into the non-existent river to be good; but that did help show Eowyn's infatuation with him and his steadfast love for Arwen, towards drawing the young female population back into the theatres for more of Viggo and Little Orly.
I think it's a love-hate relationship I have with the films. For all the reasons spelled out above, I abhor the changes which don't ring true towards the spirit portrayed in Tolkien's words.

On the other hand, there was a lot that DID ring true: Could you have asked for a better casting choice than we got with Gandalf, for instance? my hypothesis is that the parts that don't work stand out worse because of those things which were done well.

It's absurd to say PJ never read the books or that he wasn't trying to follow them at all - (as I've read in some posts)- This is obviously not true; it's slander. If he and Fran had claimed to make up the screenplay from scratch, not bothering to get the rights, he would obviously have been sued. It's precisely because he DID read the books and DID work with others who read them and DID try to do justice to the story that we cry out so loudly against those parts of the film in which we see his failure to do so.

I loved the scenery, the cinematography, the music had truly marvelous bits, the orcs were realistically greusome and evil; the Shire was lovely, the fireworks scene superb, the idea that it was good for Merry and Pippin to come, if only to give Boromir opportunity to redeem himself, was brought out better than I could have imagined it on my own; the awesomeness of Dwarrowdelf, of the statues of Argonath, the otherworldliness of Lothlorien, the horridness of Shelob, the pitiableness of Gollum, the loyalty of Sam, the desperation of Eowyn, (The musical theme for Rohan!), the gradeur of Minas Tirith, or of Helm's Deep, the sheer size of an army; the sight of the white rider appearing with the dawn, the costumes, even the flavor of some of the linguistic differences was brought out in a way that I could never have "heard" inside my head. These things and more were good -- I have posted before that the movies made me see MORE of the treasures inside of the book than I saw before. They primed the pump, so to speak, for me to read and study and enjoy the descriptions and characters more closely.

It's precisely because they did so much to unveil more of the book's beauty to me that made Elrond's character more jarring, the Ents indecision more nonsensical, Faramir's wavering more un-noble, Aragorn's unwillingness to claim the Kingship more strange, Arwen's riding towards the ships and then returning because of a vision more odd, and etc., etc., etc. If the whole thing had been farce from start to finish, I'd never have given it's worse points a second thought. Our debate over it shows exactly that he DID get some things right. More than any other director before him has done.

Last time I posted on this subject, I was of the opinion that we wouldn't see the like of this set of movies again soon -- this adaptation of a well-loved piece of literature was the best and most faithful adaptation of an excellent book I'd seen on the large screen. Now, of course, though the story itself is grander than the story of a more recent movie, I'll have to say that the recent Narnia movie was a better adaptation of its material-- (or at least just as good).
Thats what i am saying Gandalf and grondmaster.

I agree there is no way the WK could beat gandalf. However think of PJ situation. Gandalf had already had a tremedous battle with the Balarog so PJ needed something that would appear to be worse, yet obviously cannot include Sauron himself. The only thing is to portray the WK as some almighty foe that gandalf fears and is weaker than. I personnaly admire the Broken staff scene whether or not it follows the book - IT is ENTERTAINING.

PJ was not TRYING to copy the book so therefore he cannot fail at copying the book. By all accounts the films are the best films ever made, whilst they still involve the very basic plot - that is all they were MEANT to involve.
LOA, if, as PJ himself said, they were trying to do justice to Tolkien and "get people to read the book," then PJ was not justified in making Gandalf weaker than the WK. Period. As I said, if you need more "action," if what Tolkien did in that part of the story isn't good enough, then at least make it logical to the story. I do not admire that scene at all--in fact, it is my pet peeve of the entire trilogy. I understand all about adaptations of literature to film--but that is not a good excuse for sloppiness.

I agree with Elanorraine above. It is because PJ did such an excellent job with so many aspects of Tolkien's work that the defects stand out that much more glaringly. If we didn't like the way Gandalf had been cast in the movies, or if we didn't think he looked believable riding around on Shadowfax with his new staff, then the scene with the WK wouldn't mean a heck of a lot because it would not have come up to par anyway. But since so many things had been done so well, including Gandalf and all that concerned him, then the scene becomes truly jarring.

Why not leave in the scene as Tolkien had described it? Why not have them encounter each other when the gate goes down, and have both interrupted by the Rohirrim and by Pippin? It can be just as dramatic--and it was the scene we were all waiting to happen at that point in the movie. I believe it is quite dramatic as it was written or Tolkien would have written it differently. PJ would have done us all a greater service to have put that scene in without any of his own "interpretations."
I will give you an example - Grond.
In the Book grond simply came along and busted the gates open.

In the movie they first try using a battering ram standard then they bring in grond. Why do you think that is? They wanted to show how powerful and menacing Grond was so they would show how easily it busted down a gate that was unhindered by a normal ram.
This is a very good tactic to me. But if we look at it logically it makes NO sense. Why would Mordor spend such a long time making a superb ram like grond to then first try the gates with a normal ram?

When you analyse parts you can see they make no sense in reality but WHY they were put in.
I understand your argument, LOA, but the WK already appeared formidable enough without having to make the character of Gandalf suffer for it. Look at how the WK was shown leaving Minas Morgul, what the Nazgul were doing to Faramir's troops, what was shown of his attacks against Minas Tirith. I think we already had a pretty good idea he was a definite BEM. Now I watched all the extra material on the EE and I never saw or heard an explanation of why PJ had to do it this way--other than the general one of "it had to be changed for the movie." Again, I think Tolkien's vision of the scene works much better.
I thought it obvious - PJ wanted another character to match gandalf.

The balrog is gone, Sauron cannot come - he used the WK. If he hadn't the audience would think that 'Oh well gandalf will lead them right, for he is unmatched'. The WK as a deadly foe to Gandalf however inspired the watchers more becuase they didn't know what would happen.
The "match" was already forceful enough in the book. In a contest between PJ and Tolkien on this scene, I will take Tolkien.
Tolkien would always win but the point i am making is - PJ was NOT having a contest.
No, your point was that PJ did a good job on this scene, while I and others here believe the scene was somewhat wanting. As I said, PJ did many things right, but not this.
In your opinion.
It *is* a matter of opinion. That's not a problem. For the die-hard fans of the books any change to a favourite scene will seem unwarranted. (Why oh why did he do that to Faramir? - that's my pet whinge!) Many people who saw the films without having read the books were completely satisfied with the films but at least they have some lovely surprises in store if and when they read the books. And it gives us all the chance to discuss and revel in the good parts (which I think far outweigh the bad) and pick the not-so-good parts to pieces. Human nature being what it is we seem to take more pleasure in the picking to pieces and not giving enough praise for the good.

I agree with what has been said above - the impact of PJ's changes is exacerbated by the impact of great scenes true to the books.

You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
PJ did a lot of things right, but he shouldn't have killed off April. That made me cry.
Quote Vee:
(Why oh why did he do that to Faramir? - that's my pet whinge!)

Mine too, Vee, mine too. Faramir just would NOT have done what he did in the movies. It just wasn't in his nature. Ugh! So frustrating!
Thanks, V, and I agree about Faramir too. Vir, what's that about April? I must have missed that.
I think Vir was displaying his usual wit and sarcasm. Wink Smilie
I think Vir was displaying his usual wit and sarcasm.

I believe he was complaining about PJ's killing of the girlie leader of the Elven contingent during the Battle of the Hornburg. Teacher Smilie
Oh, Haldir is April? It would figure for Virumor to think of that kind of a nickname for him. I thought Haldir was alright in the movie. He just didn't belong at Helm's Deep.
Short form of an old rant: I'm conflicted, because Jackson did all the impossible things like the atmosphere and special effects well, but totally dropped the ball on following a plot someone else wrote FOR him a half century ago. It's not like there's a shortage of scholars who could have helped him get it right. And yes, the wizards duel between Saruman and Gandalf never happened, which makes as much sense from what we know of the Professor as it does Jackson felt the need to put some sorcery into the Trilogy, despite the fact it didn't belong (same deal with Sarumans possession of Theoden.) And apparently everyone in Lorien is a descendant of Finarfin, surprsing, since he was a Nolda and they all Sindarin. I tolerated all of this, even the replacement of Glorfindel (of my beloved Gondolin) with vacant eyed Liv Tyler (though after what happened to Celebrian there's no way Elrond was letting her wander the countryside in the middle of a war.) But when we go to "Go home, Sam!" I almost walked out of the theater. The unbreakable friendship of Sam and Frodo is one of the great themes of the Trilogy, and even if that weren't true, you don't just turn around from Cirith Ungol and "go home" from Mordor.

Oh, and the Battle of the Pelennor (the climax of the series, ) once more from the top: when thousands of heavy cavalry show up on infantrys flank (much less undisciplined Orcs) the latter don't turn 180 on a dime to face them. They die, painfully, messily and quickly. Books of have been written on how to turn an infantry formation, and the bottom line is you turn pikemen on the march; that's why it's called a "turning MOVEMENT!" And it's not accomplished quickly even with the best troops, which Orcs are not. There's three ways I know to stop a charge of heavy cavalry: archers behind pikes facing the horses, a stout and well disciplined hedge hog/porcupine/pincushion or a counter charge. When your pikes get flanked, the only remaining viable option is the last one, but that's not we saw in the movie, we saw the Orcs, all however many tens of thousands of them, neatly pivot around to face the charge. Bull. They get ridden into the turf their blood rapidly turns to mud. Or a lance clean through their middle; take your pick....
I think you have been playing too much 'Battle for middle-earth' on the PC.

I don't exactly know why, if the Orcs have stopped proceding forward, the Pikes cannot then just come to the side which is about to be attacked (remember Theoden is a fair way off in the film) and then all the pikeman lower there pikes. What exactly are you trying to say? That all the orcs were so compact that they couldn't move between eachother? If so then you will notice that they are only very compact at the beginning of the battle. When they start entering Minas Tirith they loosen up.
Quote Morambar:
But when we go to "Go home, Sam!" I almost walked out of the theater. The unbreakable friendship of Sam and Frodo is one of the great themes of the Trilogy, and even if that weren't true, you don't just turn around from Cirith Ungol and "go home" from Mordor.

You are absolutely right! I felt the same way about the battle with the Wargs, and Aragorn falling off of the cliff. Do you really think Legolas and Gimli would simply look over the edge, and say, oh well, farewell then. No way! They would have been looking for him as desperately as they were looking for any sign of the hobbits. He was only the last Heir of Elendil afterall. Grrrr...

*I still like the movies though...even with all of these frustrations. Perhaps it is just the feeling they give in general with the scenery and music and such..."
Once again, I find myself agreeing with Morambar 100%! You have an amazing knowledge of battle formations from the old days, which I doubt could come from playing a PC game. I could not speak to this kind of problem in the movies because my expertise doesn't lie in that area at all. And yes, there were all those other changed pieces that we somehow put up with because we knew PJ had to change something in film. I know there ought to have been plenty of scholars around to assist PJ, and I think the EE materials show that he consulted a couple (Shippey for one).

And the EE also showed what pains he took to shoot some scenes--especially the one that he shot last with Elijah Wood in Frodo's study. He made Elijah do the scene over and over because he was so reluctant to end the whole thing. And then when PJ finally could not make Elijah do it again, he called it, and cried on Elijah's shoulder. It's all there on the last movie's EE.

So why he thought it "necessary" to make the changes he did is something of a mystery, even when there is an explanation given. Drama does not demand the number he made. Certainly, even allowing for artistic differences, he could have asked Tolkien experts and even the fans what they wanted. I think he did consult the fans before putting out the EE's--but I think PJ's own interpretation won out.

As I said, before the 10th anniversary edition comes out, someone needs to mount a campaign that he make some further editing--yes, even if he has to call the cast together and reshoot! It's been done--he did it for the EE's. This is the only way I can think of to return the movies to the standard we all expected of them.
I liked the little rinkle in Arwen's brow when she was angry. And that dress she wore in that flashback scene in TTT was sooooooo beautiful!
Gandalf - so your solution is to bring back all the cast and make the movies again, when the first ones have been titled the best films ever? He is just going to re-shoot the whole thing becuase about 3% of his audience who are Tolkien fans thought it no good? Think again, and neither would he need to.

What would be more constructive is trying to get him to do a really good Silmarillion trilogy - that would be a wicked film. The Hobbit I beleive is already planned?
No, LoA, my solution is not to "bring back the cast and make the movies again." It is to do the very same thing that PJ himself did for the EE's. He can easily bring back the cast--from what I've seen, they will be glad to come back. Then he can refilm those parts that we are talking about. I doubt that it would be necessary to even do ALL the parts in question, but at least a good number of the more glaring problem ones. These new shots can be edited into the anniversary editions very easily--again, he's done that before for the EE. Nothing I am talking about is new because PJ did plenty of it already. This time, though, he needs to think Tolkien more than PJ.
I think you nailed it, Gandalf: it's the PROFESSORS story, Mr. Jackson; you're just adapting it. And for the record, no, when I said "books have been written on turning MOVEMENTS" I didn't have a gaming manual in mind, more along the lines of Vom Kriege and Alexanders phalanxes (well, OK, the ones he inherited from that military genius Phillip.) With maybe a touch of Fog and Steel. You can't just have all the pikemen face the horsemen, because they'll veer around and hit you from the side or the rear. There's only one way to prevent that with pike alone: a hedgehog, and you can't just wave a magic wand and have one materialize. When the Rohirrim showed up the pikemen pretty much were cheek to jowl, as you would expect for a close assault, essentially trying to do to the beleaugered (literally) wall defenders what the cavalry would've have done to them in real life: grind them into pulp by sheer main force. Maybe if the Orcs had had a bunch of archers like at Crecy and Agincourt they could've shattered the charge, but, once again, that's the problem: the cavalry showed up on their flank, which means any archers would have been the first thing they hit (well, OK, right after the siege engines, but once you bowl over their defenders you can finish sweeping the field and destroy their siege engines at your leisure, or just have your own foot destroy or capture them.)

But the simple response is, yes, infantry, particularly medieval infantry, have a long history of falling over each other when suddenly outflanked, while the far more mobile cavalry literally rides circles around them or through them until they're dead, which is why commanders then and now went to great pains to see that didn't happen. True, this is a principle any strategic computer game employs, but it's origins are far more ancient. If you want to blame someone for my notation of it, talk to military, combat and literary veterans like Robert Adams, Robert Jordan and, of course, Professor J.R.R. Tolkien. There's a reason the Rohirrim arrived when they did, one Jackson completely missed.

Oh, yeah, and I'd forgotten/repressed the whole one-warg-KOs-Isildurs-Heir thing, but as I said elsewhere, Aragorn's a wee bit tougher than that (I've always thought the blood of Beren ran as pure in his veins as Luthiens in Arwens, but can't cite proof.) It did however give Jackson a chance for an utterly gratuitous dream sequence where he and Arwen have a telephathic tryst. While we're on the subject, the Professor would never have made the other half of his heroic Christ figure the disgusting cad who led Eowyn on throughout the film version of TTT. In fact, "the real" Aragorn went to great pains to make it clear he had two alternate futures: 1) dead inside of a month, two, tops or 2) you're very hot, but I'm taken. That's the kind of stuff for which I can't forgive Jackson, because a whole generation of fans is going to grow up believing that's the way it happened; when they think of the Trilogy THAT'S the story they'll remember: the one where Frodo told Sam to go take a long walk off a short peer because Gollum snowed him, Aragorn was a horndog who got pushed around by Wargs, and Gandalf routinely had spell slinging contests with Saruman et al. Heck, I still encounter people who ought to know better (I wouldn't name names even if I wasn't too tired to remember them) who think Saruman was Saurons mindless lackey like in the films, even though Gandalf makes it quite clear HE was snowing SAURON and playing for time to find the Ring himself. And the real tragedy is these were no brainers; all he had to do was say "read this book, speak these lines" and it was done, but the seemingly impossible challenge was making it all happen in Middle-earth, not just a cheesy Hollywood set. He managed to give us a gripping and credible story of Middle-earth; the problem is it was the wrong story.

If Jackson gets a hold of the Silmarillion I'm not sure what I'll do, and if I was, I couldn't print it here.....

Edit: I also agree with the comments on Faramir; Faramir wasn't Boromir, thanks to Gandalf (and Finduilas, no doubt) and even if he had been, if the Ring goes to Osgiliath... game over, no more quarters.
Well whether the Silmarillion was not adequate in Tolkien fans opinions or not, I would still be glad to see it. I would rather die with seeing a second class Silmarillion film than no silmarillion film at all.
I think you nailed it, Gandalf: it's the PROFESSORS story, Mr. Jackson; you're just adapting it.

Exactly. The movies are an adaptation, not the filming of the books. So if you don't agree with that adaptation, don't watch it or wait for someone else to make an adaptation that follows the book to the letter. Or make one yourself, instead of ranting and moaning about it (something I myself was very familiar with not too long ago, unfortunately).
I would rather die with seeing a second class Silmarillion film than no silmarillion film at all.
I always have heard it is better not to shoot for second best, but to set your sights higher. I would rather see no Silmarillion than a mediocre one, but these are only my opinions, you are all at liberty to form you own. Happy Elf Smilie
If we merely wait for someone to make a better set of movies, we may wait till Doomsday. But if we get behind a campaign to "encourage" PJ to remake certain parts of his movies, this moves the idea into the realm of the possible. I'd say it would be a mark of respect toward the old Professor to seek such a remade edition of these movies. And I can think of a couple of people who have a sufficient fund of knowledge for spear-heading such a project: Virumor and Morambar! You two have my vote, if such a campaign ever gets started.
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