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I want to start a new LOTR discussion!

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GUEST,Desdemona 22 Dec 01 - 02:46 PM
Little Hawk 22 Dec 01 - 03:27 PM
Clinton Hammond 22 Dec 01 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,SharonA at the library 22 Dec 01 - 03:51 PM
Little Hawk 22 Dec 01 - 03:58 PM
Celtic Soul 22 Dec 01 - 03:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Dec 01 - 06:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Dec 01 - 06:18 PM
Clinton Hammond 22 Dec 01 - 06:33 PM
leprechaun 22 Dec 01 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 22 Dec 01 - 06:44 PM
leprechaun 23 Dec 01 - 02:43 AM
The Shambles 23 Dec 01 - 03:42 AM
The Shambles 23 Dec 01 - 03:55 AM
The Shambles 23 Dec 01 - 06:23 AM
Ceridwen 23 Dec 01 - 07:49 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 01 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Desdemona 23 Dec 01 - 11:54 AM
DougR 23 Dec 01 - 12:40 PM
Don Firth 23 Dec 01 - 03:49 PM
Clinton Hammond 23 Dec 01 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 23 Dec 01 - 04:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Dec 01 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 23 Dec 01 - 04:29 PM
Clinton Hammond 23 Dec 01 - 05:51 PM
Tweed 23 Dec 01 - 06:58 PM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 01 - 07:06 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 23 Dec 01 - 07:19 PM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 01 - 07:48 PM
Don Firth 23 Dec 01 - 09:13 PM
Little Hawk 23 Dec 01 - 09:17 PM
sophocleese 23 Dec 01 - 10:49 PM
leprechaun 23 Dec 01 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Nerd 24 Dec 01 - 02:11 AM
Little Hawk 24 Dec 01 - 09:01 AM
Art Thieme 24 Dec 01 - 09:38 AM
Uncle_DaveO 24 Dec 01 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Desdemona 24 Dec 01 - 11:41 AM
Don Firth 24 Dec 01 - 12:53 PM
Celtic Soul 24 Dec 01 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 24 Dec 01 - 02:32 PM
Ebbie 25 Dec 01 - 02:26 PM
Little Hawk 26 Dec 01 - 12:47 AM
Penny S. 26 Dec 01 - 10:30 AM
Crane Driver 26 Dec 01 - 04:00 PM
Ron Olesko 26 Dec 01 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 26 Dec 01 - 04:30 PM
Ron Olesko 26 Dec 01 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 26 Dec 01 - 05:23 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 26 Dec 01 - 06:39 PM
Little Hawk 26 Dec 01 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 26 Dec 01 - 06:48 PM
PeteBoom 26 Dec 01 - 10:02 PM
DonMeixner 27 Dec 01 - 12:53 AM
hesperis 27 Dec 01 - 02:33 AM
Kim C 27 Dec 01 - 12:27 PM
Clinton Hammond 27 Dec 01 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,G 02 Jan 02 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Grab 02 Jan 02 - 06:56 PM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Jan 02 - 09:41 AM
Fortunato 03 Jan 02 - 11:15 AM
NicoleC 03 Jan 02 - 03:00 PM
lamarca 03 Jan 02 - 04:49 PM
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GUEST,Nerd 03 Jan 02 - 06:34 PM
Uncle_DaveO 03 Jan 02 - 07:01 PM
robomatic 03 Jan 02 - 08:31 PM
PeteBoom 03 Jan 02 - 09:28 PM
Nerd 03 Jan 02 - 10:00 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 03 Jan 02 - 10:41 PM
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GUEST,sophocleese 04 Jan 02 - 09:22 AM
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NicoleC 04 Jan 02 - 11:54 AM
The Shambles 04 Jan 02 - 02:26 PM
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Nerd 05 Jan 02 - 12:15 AM
The Shambles 05 Jan 02 - 03:01 AM
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Nerd 05 Jan 02 - 03:12 AM
The Shambles 06 Jan 02 - 02:41 AM
Penny S. 13 Jan 02 - 09:37 AM
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Little Hawk 13 Jan 02 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 13 Jan 02 - 06:20 PM
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Subject: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 02:46 PM

Mostly because I want to talk about text vs. film.

I saw it last night, and my overall feeling was that, while there were things that were undeniably cool (I loved the Hobbit Hole, and Ian McKellen was EXCELLENT as Gandalf; also lots of the architectural details in the Mines of Moria), it was ultimately an unnecessary enterprise to make this film. Why? Because no matter what Hollywood tries to do, they just can't make it BIG enough somehow; I came to the conclusion that the reason it just wasn't working for me was the loss of the prose---it's the WORDS that paint this particular picture, and you just can't SHOW that pit-of-the-stomach, sinking dread that the dark riders inspire, or the delightful mysteriousness of the elves, or the sense of Cotswold-like cosiness of The Shire.

I realise they only have so much time in a film, but I think if the battle scenes had been 1/3 as long, they'd have been able to give us some sense of the fellowship itself--the campfires, the songs & stories, the total coolness of Rivendell (which in the film suggested nothing so much as the Tavern on the Green!!), the evening gatherings, etc. I didn't think the elves were extraordinary enough, the hobbits were too human-looking, and I actively HATED the incidental music--it was intrusive & sappy. As for Frodo, he seemed capable of two expressions: wistful longing (complete w/penny whistle accompaniment), or frightened confusion.

Ultimately, I left the theatre feeling it was a good enough movie, but just another movie, and certainly not special or extraordinary enough to warrant a second viewing. A disappointment, but not an altogether unexpected one; on the bright side, I think I'll give the book a re-read over the Xmas hols.

I'm interested in exploring this taking-the -written-word to-the-silver-screen idea; while it's an obvious truism that "the book is always better", I'd be keen to hear what some others have to say on the subject.

D.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:27 PM

Good points, Desdemona. I have to agree with many of them, although I think it's quite a good movie, and one that is respectful of the tale.

You are right that the story is so immense that it simply cannot be equaled on film. Well-written words are more effective, because each of us creates inner mental images when we read them that cannot be matched by any film maker's craft.

This is why I regard music videos as an artistic disaster, by the way...which might better have never happened. But that's another discussion.

I agree that shorter battle scenes and more evening conversations and gatherings would have been a good idea. To really cover the book adequately, each third of the trilogy could encompass about 12 hours of film, I should think. That would allow time to fill in all the details of character and circumstance.

I wasn't disappointed in the hobbits, I thought they were exceptionally well done.

Can a single movie ever match a great book? Well, maybe, but it very rarely happens.

This movie is a more than respectable attempt to, but I agree it cannot equal the book in impact (I remember my first reading of it well).

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:48 PM

Lord of The Rings is way too long... way too dry... and too lacking in characterisation for my tastes.. JRR did capture the 'epic' feel of mythology, and was a fantastic world builder, but as a story teller, in LOTR, it's about as emotionally deep as a Vulcan math quiz...

What I liked best bout the movie, was, just like William Goldmans 'retelling' of s. Morgensterns "The Princess Bride", it's the GOOD PARTS version... all the highlights of the tale, with sprinkling of creative licence so that PJ wasn't hamstrung with having to follow the text verbatim... I can experience the tale without having to put up with JRR's literary diarrhea about the leaves and the trees, and the sunlight through the leaves and the trees, and the shadows on the grass of the leaves on the trees.... please... spin ON!

And don't get me wrong, I used to be JUST as pumped about LOTR as every other geek out there... but studying fantasy lit and reading more especially contemporary speculative fiction has lead me to the conclusion that Ol' Prof JRR had his strengths on the more academic side, but as 'creative' individual, he's been way out done...


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,SharonA at the library
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:51 PM

Haven't seen the movie yet, but Desdemona's comments put me in mind of the old Ralph Bakshi attempt at animating the tale in TWO movies (the first installment took the viewer halfway through "The Two Towers", as I recall). That movie sparked similar comments, notably that the battle scenes were unnecessarily long.

Personally, I don't see why LOTR isn't presented as three-or-four-films-per-book (9 or 12 movies), when people have no trouble accepting the concept of a Star Wars trilogy-of-trilogies. I suppose it must be because LOTR is so well-known that the movies wouldn't hold any surprises for most viewers, whereas the Star Wars story is a new invention, each part of which is a mystery until it comes to theaters.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:58 PM

It all depends on what one's used to. If you read literature from the 1800's or the 1700's, it seems terribly long-winded by today's standard, but it wasn't long-winded by the standards of its own time. Likewise, the Japanese have a very different sensibility of how to tell a story, as they are fascinated by aspects of subtlety that are so drawn-out and understated as to be virtually impenetrable to the North American mind.

Look at our TV programming and current advertising. Faster and faster and faster.

I think that present North American media are more and more being geared to someone with the attention span of a fruit fly. It it isn't FAST and LOUD, nobody even notices it.

This is not indicative of an intelligent culture, it's indicative of a decadent one. One that has little or no patience, and little or no sensitivity either.

I am not aiming this criticism at you, Clinton, I know you're a smart guy. I'm aiming it at the prevailing mass culture that delivers us our movies and TV and video games and junk food.

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 03:59 PM

Being the fast food generation Yankee that I am, I have to say that the LOtR books were a little dry for me. Much British writing has alluded me. The film helped me to connect with the work in a way that I was unable to do by reading alone. Admittedly, this is a failing within myself, but a failing that the film has helped to bridge.

As a rather small person myself, I was happy to see that the Hobbits looked as I had always pictured them. Just little people. Not cute infantile looking caricatures, as many artists have portrayed them, or garden gnomes without the beards or hats. But that's just my own mental image.

I can add that, while Elijah Wood may nat have had many expressions, I thought he did grief quite well. My daughter and I both sniffled some when Frodo saw Gandalf fall after confronting the Balrog. He also emoted "innocence" rather well. And that was really the only thing that marked him as different than the men, elves, and dwarves of the fellowship, and the thing that made him uniquely qualified to be the ring bearer.

I also thought that it brought a more realistic emotive experience to what that sort of fear and pain would be like. Let's face it...the world of Harry Potter, while immensly entertaining, is not anything like what it would have to be were the pains and trials that this 11 year old boy suffered real.

I think the thing that disturbed me the most was that they took major liberties with the actual story. I don't recall Frodo talking to Aragorn before he left the fellowship. I thought that and other changes unnecessary, and perhaps even may have altered the overall vision of the author.

Fear was a great factor in many of Frodos actions (putting on the ring, running from the fellowship), and the film robbed Frodo of it. Without his flaws, he wasn't Frodo to me.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:13 PM

I think Tolkein's characterizations were well done, actually. Some (Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli) were pretty stiff, but I think JRRT was conforming to the tradition of heroes in the Norse Sagas in those characters. They made the three-dimensional ones (Bilbo, Gollum, Bombadil, Sam) seem more real in contrast.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:18 PM

People always refer to the Lord of the Rings as a trilogy, but it's not. Look at each of the three volumes, each has two books, labelled as such. It suppose that makes it a sextology, but since that word would undoubtedly get misunderstood, perhaps double trilogy would be the best thing to call it.

And ideally they'd have done this first film just with the first book, up to the arrival at Rivendell. That would have meant a more leisurely approach, with more room for the gentle bits and the discussion as and the songs in between the fighting and the frightening stuff, which I take it is what Clinton means by "all the highlights of the tale".

The thing is, the very stuff that some people see as redundant and boring is for other people the main course. It's big enough for both types of readers.

The film doesn't in any way replace the book, it reinforces it. Changing the story so that it fits what the director sees as necessary for the different nedium is OK, so long as it's done with real understanding, and in this case it was. Some changes I'd disagree with, some I'd see as necessary but a pity, some I'd even see as improvements.

Tolkien's book isn't Holy Writ. But it is a very good book, and it's idiosyncrasies and even it's flaws are inseparable parts of it.

Tolkien wrote a fascinating essay (well, it started as a lecture) "On Fairy Stories", and it's normally bound in with "Leaf by Niggle", and sometimes with other works. There doesn't seem to be a copy of it on the net that I could find - but here are some relevant extracts, under the heading "What would Tolkien think of the upcoming Lord of the Rings Film Trilogy?" on a website about such things which Google threw up when I went looking for the essay.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:33 PM

Criticism accepted... And it's true... I'm a product of that exact culture... but I'm not half as bad as sum... Unfortunately JRR's LOTR has fallen past my threshold of tolerance...

I would have, however sat through the movie, even had it been another hour or 2 long!!

;-)


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: leprechaun
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:35 PM

I haven't seen LOTR yet, but I hope I manage to do so before it's out of the theaters. As far as making a movie that faithfully adheres to a book, I thought the movie "A Princess Bride," was the best rendition of a book ever. But then, I suppose I haven't read all the books or seen all the movies ever made. I've been too busy.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 06:44 PM

Thanks, all, for your responses.

I suppose I ought to clarify the fact that I am most emphatically NOT a "LOTR geek"! I'm a mediaevalist with a serious background and a serious career. I never cared for "Star Trek" and think of the "Star Wars" movies as rather fun, animated comic books. Neither have I ever been an afficionado of "fantasy" as a literary genre. An analogous reference to "Beowulf" or "The Saga of Hallfred" would resonate more deeply with me than "Vulcan math quiz", and I consider the works of people like Guy Gavriel Kay brain candy at best.

That said, while I did like Clinton Hammond's comparison above of the "LOTR" film to William Goldman's "The Princess Bride" (the good parts version), I'd have to say that one man's good parts are another man's overlong battle sequences, and that an appreciation for "LOTR" no more marks a person as a literary Philistine than a taste for Nathaniel Hawthorne's rather purple & overblown prose (accounted by many as "great"), or a fondness for Jane Austen--considered "light" & essentially inconsequential by many, including the Bronte sisters.

While not worthy of inclusion in the pantheon of great Western literary figures such as Shakespeare, Tolkien can certainly be credited with having created as fully-realised an imaginary world, complete with cultural prejudices, geographical variations, and sense of "place", as any writer of the 20th century. To reduce his work to just another special effects-laden action flick is unworthy of it.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: leprechaun
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 02:43 AM

So have you encountered any credible cinematic renditions of "Tristan and Isolde?"


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 03:42 AM

Earlier thread LOTR just see it


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 03:55 AM

LOTR just see it

Usually I read the thread(s) before I make any comments but this time I will do the reverse. I'll make the comments and then go back and see what everyone else said.

It was a great movie! The director has made his impressions of the book into his own pictorial image. If we had the skill I suspect we would have tried to do the same and there would have been a few minor quibbles between our versions.

The few disapointments were far outnumbered by the staggering elements that were beyond my expectations. For it was not the book, it was the film, and it was a true feast for one's eyes.

Shame we have to wait a year for the next one........

THEY ARE COMING!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 06:23 AM

I wonder if this will now become the definitive visual image? If so, will this detract from the enjoyment for future readers?

It would be interesting to have views from people who read the book after seeing the film(s).

I wish I had. It would be great to be able to look forward to reading the book. Viewers who know the book well, will lose some of the film's impact.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Ceridwen
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 07:49 AM

I saw "Lord of the rings" on the first night and I thought it was great. At that time I haven't read the books. Today I finished the second book and now afterwards I think Liv Tyler was totally wrong in the movie as Arwen. But Gandalf was mush better in the movie than in the book. Great movie and great book. It's hard to make a movie of such a famous book anyway.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 08:00 AM

"To reduce his work to just another special effects-laden action flick is unworthy of it." I know that talking about "reducing" in this context is a figure of speech, but underlying it is a metaphor that doesn't really apply.

The existence of a film does not reduce the book on which it is based. If it was a bad film it would be irrelevant. As a good film it can even augment. In this case I think it is a good film. As for special effects - good special effects cease to register as such. You find yourself not thinking how did they animate that sequence?", but rather "where did they find that troll?"


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 11:54 AM

Perhaps "reduce" wasn't precisely the right word; I suppose I was using it within the context of my earlier remarks about how a film can't ever be as "big" as one's imaginary vision of things. I agree that the special effects were very good indeed (I especially liked the fireworks, and the orcs were just about as scary as they could possibly have been!), and I also agree that a well-made film can certainly serve a useful supplementary purpose to a written work. My feeling is simply that too much of the "sense" of the book was lost in its translation to film (in my personal, therefore totally subjective opinion), and I think the question from The Shambles (excellent "handle" BTW!) above as to the movie's impact on future reader's visual impressions highly apposite. Those of us who read the book beforehand KNOW Frodo doesn't look like that ;-), but will new readers be constrained to see him that way? In some ways, I suppose it will be that much more fun for (especially young) people to read it after seeing the film, because it will expand so much on the impressions they've already formed.

So---what's everyone's favourite "book to film" movie? I'm going to have to give it some thought.....


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: DougR
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 12:40 PM

I agree with almost everything Desdamona and Clinton had to say in their original posts. It is not a movie I would want to see again, but I'm glad I saw it once. The art work was spectacular, I thought. I also thought it was too long, but most big films seem to be these days for some reason.

I do hope Frodo learns some new facial expressions before the next film hits the theaters though.

DougR


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 03:49 PM

I haven't had a chance to see Lord of the Rings yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

A year or two before he died, I had an opportunity to meet Frank Herbert. This was at a time when they were in the process of filming Dune. I expressed my misgivings about a movie being able to encompass as sweeping a novel as Dune. He was enthusiastic about the movie and he liked to look of it so far, but he did share my misgivings. They had done a shooting script that was fairly faithful to the novel, and he'd been happy with that. But—he said that if they actually filmed the shooting script as written, the movie would run eight hours. When the movie came out, although it ran over three hours, the best that could be said of it was that it was an adaptation of the "Readers Digest" condensed version. It was . . . well . . . okay. The overall "look" of the picture was pretty good and it outlined the plot fairly well, but a lot was just plain missing, and many characters who were important in the book were reduced to cameo appearances in the movie.

Some years ago, Masterpiece Theatre ran an extremely well done production of Jane Eyre, featuring Zelah Clark and Timothy Dalton. My wife Barbara (who knows the book so well that she can do a very precise "sing-along" with the dialog) was reasonably happy with this production, so that was praise of the highest order. I can't recall if the episodes were one-hour or two-hours each, but even so, it ran for several weeks. A long miniseries. Without this kind of very lengthy treatment, there are number of literary works that simply can't be translated faithfully to film. Lord of the Rings, I'm sure, is one of these. Nevertheless, from bits and pieces I've seen so far, and from what I've heard, Peter Jackson and crew have made a sincere effort and have given it one helluva try. As SharonA says, a "triple trilogy," like what George Lucas is attempting with the Star Warssaga, would offer more scope and have the potential for being more successful.

I find what Little Hawk said, ". . . that present North American media are more and more being geared to someone with the attention span of a fruit fly," very much to the point. The curse of audiences expecting action, action, and more action. The respite scenes—eating, relaxing, conversation—are essential to the tone of Lord of the Rings. As are such scenes as that between Galadriel and Gimli, in which she asks him what gift he wishes, he demurs, and when she insists, he asks for a single strand of her golden hair. She responds, "It is said that the skill of the Dwarves is in their hands rather than in their tongues, yet that is not true of Gimli. For none have ever made to me a request so bold and yet so courteous." The exchange continues thus, and the ages-old antipathy between Dwarves and Elves is wiped away. To cut scenes such as these—the "dull" parts— grossly may be deemed essential in translating the story from one medium to another, but it's really kind of sad. In any case, if the movies intrigue people enough to get them to investigate the books, then one can say they are successful.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 04:01 PM

"hope Frodo learns some new facial expressions before the next film hits"

All the filming for all the movies was finished months ago... it's an unprecedented way to present a trilogy of movies... PJ took the cast to NZ, and filmed EVERYTHING... so there will be no 'learning curve' for the actors as the films are released...

Not that I think E. Wood needs to learn much... I was very happy with his portrayal, except for the little lilting voice, and the obviously fake accent...

"favourite "book to film" movie"

Ummm... off the top of my head, Blade Runner... Can I count 2001-2010, seeing as how 2001 the book, was created at the same time as the movie???

Need more thought on that one...

On the subject of Gladriels gifting scene... that was SOOO obviously filmed, and later cut... One does not take the time to build such an elaborate set and then use it only as background for the fellowship 'boating' away... I fully expect to see it on the eventual DVD...


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 04:08 PM

Well said, Don; your closing paragraph made exactly the point I've been attempting to throughout this discussion!

As I've mentioned previously, I have 3 little boys, and so have the opportunity to be exposed to a fair bit of popular culture targeting kids; what my husband & I both find so vexing about the newer cartoons, etc., is their incredibly frenetic pace & extremely disjointed dialogue (and this is coming from a couple of 30-somethings raised on "Looney Tunes"!!). And it isn't only children's culture; it does indeed seem as if everything has to exist in the smallest & quickest & loudest of "bytes" in order to even register with people at all.

I think it's a sad commentary when nuance and a gradual build-up of mood & atmosphere are considered boring and/or a self-indulgent waste of time. If this trend continues, western society at large won't even be able to sustain enough interest to sit through one of the crummy music videos that have robbed teen-agers these last 20 years of the chance to close their eyes and illustrate music for themselves!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 04:21 PM

I don't know about best film to movie - of the few recent films I've seen, I thought that Harry Potter actually was significantly better than the book. That's not knocking the book which was enjoyable enough, and thankfully it was not written above the heads of the children it was aimed at, or making arch jokes for the parents. Just the film was better.

The best audio-visual medium for long books is the old BBC TV serialisation. Gives room for the characters to stretch and grow. But for a story on an epic scale you need the big screen, and the economics gets in the way, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 04:29 PM

Agreed about the BBC, long format approach; remember "I, Claudius"?!

Book to film....I think the movie of "To Kill A Mockingbird" with Gregory Peck was excellent, and very faithful to the novel. I'm thinking hard......what else?


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 05:51 PM

D'uh!

I can't believe I didn't think of Harry Potter... must be that it's too recent to have entered my long term geekdom memory or something!

LOL!!

Ta' fer the nudge!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Tweed
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 06:58 PM

I went and saw it this afternoon with my eleven year old daughter. I've read the books about eight or nine times over the last thirty years and never get tired of them. Somehow they managed to drag out every image from my poor addled brain, that I saw while reading the trilogy and put it on screen. My daughter, who generally flits about like a fly on the window, said she'd gladly sit for eight hours if they'd only released the entire film all at once. It's a great film and I was amazed by how close they stayed to Tolkien's images. I'm waiting for next Christmastime for more and have extracted a promise from Emmy to be my date for the next two installments even if it won't be cool to go to the show with the Old Man when she's 12 and 13.
Tweed
PS.I thought Liv Tyler made a real fine Arwen;~)


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 07:06 PM

I thought that "The Man Who Would Be King" was an admirable adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling story, and in some ways superior to it...but that was just a short story, rather than a novel, so it was easier to encompass on film.

Some rather good movies have been ghost-written (so to speak), after their release, into EXTREMELY poor books. Does that count for anything?

Desdemona - Your comment on music videos is very appopriate. They are a travesty. I wish they had never happened at all. Of course, I could say the same regarding cruise missiles, and it would have just as much effect...

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 07:19 PM

But cruise missiles are so much more aesthetically pleasing....;~) !

Oh, yeah---the "movie to book" trajectory is lots more scary than the opposite!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 07:48 PM

LOL!!!

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 09:13 PM

I definitely agree on To Kill a Mockingbird. One of my all-time favorite movies. And books.

One of my favorite books, one that I read as an early teen-ager and have read many times since, is Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini. The story of a personal conflict between a young lawyer and a nobleman who callously killed the lawyer's friend in a duel (the lawyer's friend was about to enter Holy Orders and was no swordsman), intermingled with historically accurate detail of the circumstances that led up to the French Revolution made for an exciting, complex story. Although I like Stewart Granger as an actor, Hollywood bitched that one up real good. I've often thought it would take a BBC type miniseries to do justice to it.

I hope you're right, Clinton. I'll see the movie soon, but I will await the DVD.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 09:17 PM

Desdemona - I note that you said "I never cared for "Star Trek" and think of the "Star Wars" movies as rather fun, animated comic books."

Never cared for Star Trek? Do you mean to tell me that the sight of William Shatner with his T-shirt half torn off didn't reduce you to breathless incoherence? :-)

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: sophocleese
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 10:49 PM

Aah Desdemona, you said a lot of what I'd been feeling about the movie. LOTR the book has a lot more suspense and build to it than the movie did. I really liked a lot of the scenery of the movie and thought they did a good job there (although Rivendell is a populated place full of music and elves and instead we got an empty castlish thingy). I thought that the storytelling was screwed up and jerky. They made it more Conan like, or comic book style. Focussing on events instead of relationships; what happens instead of how it is told. In the book we learn the why after the action, which makes a lot of the action scarier. In the movie they handed the why out on a plate with a side of fries, probably MacDonalds, and stopped the need for thinking. I was ultimately quite disappointed in the movie.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: leprechaun
Date: 23 Dec 01 - 10:55 PM

Get thee to a nunnery. Oops. Wrong Shakespeare play. Anyway I'm still voting for "The Princess Bride" as the best book to movie trajectory.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 02:11 AM

I agree with about everything Desdemona has said here. Here are a few comments I just posted to the other LOTR thread, before I saw this one.

"people have talked a lot about how this movie was so faithful to the book, but I didn't think so. In particular, people say the characters look exactly as one would expect from reading the books. Not so! All the Hobbits (barring Bilbo) look too young. Frodo is not a teenager, but a fifty-year old Hobbit--and Hobbits come of age at 33. The Hobbits should look like little 30 year old men, not young boys. To be strict, since the ring halts aging, Frodo should look as old as he does, while the other Hobbits should look older. As someone pointed out, they should have been hairier! (agreed, the movie did cut out the 17 years between Bilbo's birthday party and Frodo leaving on the quest, so their looks are internally consistent within the film. But they don't look like the characters from the book should look).

I defnitely agree with posters who say that the fight scenes were too close up and dark. They were totally confusing. I also agree that the loss of dialogue was regrettable. Not only between Gimli and Legolas, but (for example) between Boromir and Aragorn. Who, after seeing this movie, would understand the division between them at first, or how extraordinary it is to have Boromir call Aragorn his Captain and his King before dying? Indeed, most of the characters are shallow and stock beyond Tolkien's already rather shallow development. Merry and Pippin are interchangeable oafs, Jar Jar Binkses without the annoying speech pattern.

What I'd always hoped to see was a 20 hour TV miniseries rather than 9 hours of big screen LOTR, but I'll take this over nothin' any day! It ws a very good movie with lots to recommend it, but it's not a great film. Nor does it really capture the feeling of the books, which have a much slower buildup before there's any terribly bloody violence."

As you can see, i agree with a lot of posters to this thread; the books have a totally different feeling and mood.

On another tack, I have very much enjoyed the unabridged audiobook of the Fellowship. It's a way to let yourself absorb the story without the physical demands of sitting in one position, holding a book (I should say here I have a back problem). The reader is very good, though he does occasionally slip from voice to voice by accident...


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 09:01 AM

Good points, GUEST, Nerd. I agree that the book would be best done as a lengthy (20 hour or more) TV miniseries, preferably by the BBC. Then the entire nature of the books could be brought forth, with the proper buildup and pacing to the more dramatic events.

At least this movie is a respectable attempt (aside from those damned murky fight scenes), which lays a hopeful foundation to build upon in the future.

I was particularly annoyed by the Boromir fight scene with the Orcs. Instead of a milling crowd of outmatched Orcs finally falling back and showering him with arrows, since they cannot defeat him sword to sword, we have SUPER-ORC (or is it Osama-Bin-Laden Orc?) firing arrow after arrow in a painfully deliberate manner...like Shredder taking on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or something.

Then, of course, SUPER-ORC gets his, being beheaded shortly after. Boromir should die surrounded by heaps of his smaller adversaries, filled with arrows like a porcupine, and those enemies should be an anonymous mob who leave the moment they've got the halflings. That's the way it was in the book. No particular need there for SUPER-ORC at all.

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 09:38 AM

"Director's cut" editions of films have become rather fascinating of late.---I especially thought Blade Runner to've been improved by releasing that incarnation.

On occasion, I've found certain scenes in films so off the mark that I've made my own "director's cut" by taping a film from TV and leaving my hated scenes out of the film.

When LOTR is released on TV I may do just that. But how does one go about erasing or LOWERING THE VOLUME of the soundtrack??? It was so loud at points that the dialogue could not be heard. It drove me nuts.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 10:04 AM

BEST book to movie? Man, that's hard!

But a candidate that leaps immediately to mind is Cider House Rules.

Two things must be said:
A. It does cut way back on the book, but with all that it's excellent and faithfully gives the feel of the book, in my opinion.
B. The screenplay was written by the book's author, John Irving. Several of his other books had been turned into movies by others, and he'd also worked with other screenwriters on one or two of his books, and was fairly well pleased with the results in both processes. But he let everyone know early on that for The Cider House Rules that either HE would write the screen play, with full artistic control, or there would be NO MOVIE.

Result: a triumph.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 11:41 AM

Oh, Little Hawk, you have discovered my deepest darkest secret.....the reason I never watch reruns of "Star Trek" is that the very sight of William Shatner in his harvest gold lycra uniform threatens to UNHINGE me!!!! I fear an utter loss of control, and so prefer to keep a safe dostance from temptation.....lest my children be exposed to the truth: their mother is a wanton, insatiable vixen when it comes to Captain Kirk!

Where are my smelling salts.....

Hey--did anyone see him on the US "Iron Chef"? To my eternal wretchedness, I missed it--*SOB*--though seeing yet another side of that big ol' stud muffin might have sent me right round the bend!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Don Firth
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 12:53 PM

Just heard an interview with Annie Proulx on NPR this morning about the movie just released of her Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award winning novel The Shipping News. She seemed fairly pleased with the overall result, but, "Film will never engage the imagination the way a novel does . . . in film, the imagining is done for you."

I couldn't help but think of some of the radio programs I used to listen to as a kid (you remember radio . . . like TV, but the pictures are do-it-yourself) and compare them with some of the TV shows that that were made later of those same radio shows, e.g., The Lone Ranger. The pictures I made in my head were much better, much more vivid than the ones that TV set presented. Same thing with a novel. It's really hard for a movie to measure up, because it's someone else's vision rather than your own. Also, in a novel, you can get inside a character's head in a way that's impossible in a movie.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 02:11 PM

Clinton penned: "All the filming for all the movies was finished months ago... it's an unprecedented way to present a trilogy of movies... PJ took the cast to NZ, and filmed EVERYTHING... so there will be no 'learning curve' for the actors as the films are released..."

Strictly speaking, this is correct...but if we are to include sequel films, "The 3 Musketeers" and "The 4 Musketeers" (Richard Lester versions) were filmed back to back as well.

And I had all but forgotten them until my honey mentioned them...

I'd have to say they were my favorite "book to film" adaptations. Which says a lot, as I am a huge Harry Potter fan.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 24 Dec 01 - 02:32 PM

I quite like the "Harry Potter" film as well; although there are inevitably things missing (I for one wish we'd had more time to really dislike the Dursleys, who were SO implacably stolid and stupid in the book, and I thought Snape was a little too icky & 2 dimensional), it's a very good attempt, and the casting is excellent for the most part. Maggie Smith, Richard Harris & Robbie Coltrane were all perfect in their roles, and the children were fine as well, although they made Hermione prettier and Harry rather more cuddly than I'd pictured them. I also loved the way it "looked" overall. The locations were great: Hogwarts looked wonderful, and the Hogwarts Express; and the vision of all those owls besieging the Dursley's tidy semi-detached house was terrific! I especially liked the Quidditch match---it was great fun to see how they managed to put such a thing onscreen.

My children loved the books so much, we opened; we actually took them out of school early to see it the day it opened, & made it an occasion. In fact, I'd be more apt to give that movie a 2nd viewing than LOTR, which I'd actually been looking forward to more!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Dec 01 - 02:26 PM

What makes the filming of these three films different, evidently, is that they filmed all three concurrently. Sometimes they did scenes from Film #1 and #3 on the same day. I suppose they did it that way so that they would not have to return to individual sites. Can you imagine keeping track of wardrobe, hair, weather, etc...!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 12:47 AM

Yeah, but it's still not as hard as keeping track of whose elbow, chain mail, or sword grip you're looking at in the fight scenes...second by second. No wonder Sauron's eye gets so red...major eyestrain.

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Penny S.
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 10:30 AM

Can I put in a word for the BBC radio version, available on cassette and CD with Ian Holm as Frodo, and other big names I forget, and music - very very long, can't remember how many episodes, but much better development of relationships.

And I like the film.

Penny


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Crane Driver
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 04:00 PM

Yeah - I've always liked the book(s), and I liked the movie too. But they're two different things, books and movies, to be appreciated for different reasons. I enjoy the books as books, and I liked the film as a film, without bothering to compare it to the book. Unlike Dune, for example, another book I really enjoy. I didn't like the film much, as a film.

BTW, any other UK folkies noticed that one of the Hobbits looks just like Paul Sirman?

Happy New Year!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 04:28 PM

Crane Driver - you are the first post that makes sense!!!

I'm not sure why we have such a fascination of comparing movies with books. Sure one is the source of the other, but why compare apples and oranges? Can't we just accept that the book is the author's artistic effort and a film is an artistic vision of a director and their crew? Each has it's own merits and plays to different senses.

Granted LOTR has been read by millions of people who will walk into the theater with a preconceived idea of what they want. We sit back in a theater and watch a director's interpretation. When we read a book, we may be reading the author's words but in our minds each of us creates an individual picture of the characters, scenery, and the voices of the characters.

Some of the best movie adapations have been the ones that DON'T follow the book. Mary Poppins on screen became sweet as sugar instead of the gruff figure in the book. John Ford's take on The Quiet Man certainly differed from the short story, but it didn't stop the film from becoming a favorite. The book M*A*S*H* was as different from the film as the film was from the TV series - yet each can be viewed as a success.

To each their own, and hopefully most of us will appreciate the film AND the book on their own merits.

Enjoy them!!!

Ron


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 04:30 PM

I liked Mary Poppins better in the book >;~) !


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 05:12 PM

I loved the Mary Poppins books too!! The movie was one of my favorite childhood films. It was so good to have both, and the fact that they were so different speaks to the point I was making. Thanks Desdemona!

Ron


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 05:23 PM

You're quite right, of course; who doesn't love the Wizard of Oz film? And how very unlike L. Frank Baum's book(s) it is! BTW, did you happen to read "Wicked"? It's the Wicked Witch of the West's story told from HER perspective---excellent, I guarantee you'll never look at Glinda the same way again!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 06:39 PM

I haven't read "Wicked" yet. Years ago I read all the Baum books and a few from his successors. They were very interesting reads, quite imagininative.

Ron


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 06:41 PM

Well, those are all worthwhile comments. We should probably all be glad that the movie is a pretty good one, and leave it at that.

I don't know who Paul Sirman is, but I think Pippin looks like Donovan...or is it Merry who does? Kind of hard to separate those two in my mind.

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 06:48 PM

Oh, God, you're right; *I* thought he looked like Donovan as well! half expected him to break into a chorus of "Mellow Yellow" after a few pints at the Prancing Pony!

So, AM I the only one who thought Rivendell looked an awful lot like the Tavern on the Green?!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: PeteBoom
Date: 26 Dec 01 - 10:02 PM

Just got back from seeing the film. My step-daughter bought my ticket to see it - then the three of us (wife, step-daughter, self) went and had a MARVELOUS time.

Were there some differences - absolutely. And as Crane Driver pointed out, they are 2 different idioms. THings that make INCREDIBLE prose, like world-building, make for bloody dull movies. I thought this handled some of the ticklish bits fairly well. I missed the change in the two main hobbit characters, Sam and Frodo, from their encounter with Tom Bombadil, BUT - all in all it was not bad.

Had a good laugh along with the folks next to us, as the eejit behind us said "Three hours and they don't finish the story?"

As for the number of "books" in Lord of the Rings. Remember, Tolkein was opposed to splitting the book into three volumes. THe publisher insisted because a single volume THAT LONG simply could not be bound and sold affordably. Many libraries in the UK (and the States) at the time the work was orriginally published had fairly low limits on the amount per volume they could spend. This made sure that libraries and the "average" person could afford to but the book.

Little Hawk - Its good to see that Tolkein's efforts were carried into the the film. Pippin and Merry are characterisations of the classic village buddies - always hanging about and ready for a drink or three, but generally considered layabouts. Their growth is part of the story where they develop from "blokes" to hardened men (or hobbits) unafraid of anything - rather like TOlkein's own experiences with the Tommies of WWI.

In the previous thread, Clinton (I think) mentioned that the only FULL character is Samwise. Bingo. Spot on. It is hinted all the way through the book. Sam develops from near village idiot to being the most resolute, steadfast character there is. I've always thought his growth is what moves the story forward from being a tag-along in the Fellowship to being the anti-Hero in Return of the King. I'm hoping the film version will carry that forward as well.

Regards-

Pete


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 12:53 AM

Luckily for me I can suspend disbelief and go see a film and have a great time. I was entertained for three hours. I can't wait to see what heppens next. So what if it wasn't the perfect job on the book. I went with the boys, we had a great time. Its is after all just a filming of a pretty good book.

My one complaint was the volume was low.

Don


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: hesperis
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 02:33 AM

I loved the scene with Galadriel's test... that was so cool. Unfortunately, it's been over seven years since I read the books. (Chalk it down to a _____ mother... who wouldn't lend me the books because she was reading them, and she's a bloody slow reader! I could have had them all back to her in two weeks, but no... *sigh*)

If I get a job soon I'll have to buy them.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Kim C
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 12:27 PM

I never read any of Tolkien's books. I tried when I was very young and was bored beyond belief. Perhaps I might like them now.

I loved the movie. Mister has read all the books, and he loved it too. Usually when we see a movie, he'll say, "well, that was pretty good, BUT..." There was no big BUT this time.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 27 Dec 01 - 01:36 PM

Oh ya... best book to movie adaptation...

hands down...

THE EXORCIST!

;-)


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,G
Date: 02 Jan 02 - 06:36 PM


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Grab
Date: 02 Jan 02 - 06:56 PM

I've only got four real quibbles with the adaptation:-

1) The music - stock mystical tat for any scene involving elves;

2) The elves wired up to the mains and glowing in the dark;

3) The computer-generated scenery - too much (in minutes) and too little (in variety);

4) All the dialogue cut - particularly between Galadriel and Gimli, Legolas and Gimli, and Boromir and Aragorn.

Good additions:-

1) The changed ending did make sense, since Aragorn has a different motivation - he's not interested in kingship, he's scared he'll let the world down by making Isildur's mistake;

2) Aragorn carries a normal sword for fighting with, not just his broken one;

3) Pippin and Merry learning swordsmanship from Boromir and fighting the goblins, so their later exploits are more credible (which they aren't really in the book - you're left wondering where they learnt to use a sword or plan a battle);

4) The ring effects, and bringing Sauron in as an ever-present threat to the ring-bearer, instead of just an empty name as in the book;

5) Removing Tom Bombadil, who serves no purpose beyond making a link between LotR and The Silmarillion;

6) The battle scenes - I'll differ and say I thought they were very well done, as was Boromir's death-scene.

I've no doubt that there will be a director's cut of the film. The worry this time was just whether anyone would watch it - now its quality has been proven, that's no longer an issue. Hang on another 5-10 years. I have to say I'd rather see the director's cut on the big screen than on DVD though!

Graham.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 09:41 AM

GUEST, Grab:

As to your number 5, there is no link by Tom Bombadil to the Silmarillion. He doesn't appear in the Silmarillion, and the whole style of his character and situation is foreign to the Silmarillion.

On the other hand, I'm sorry to see him eliminated. I DO understand why they had to take that whole section out for the movie, though.

I disagree with you on Boromir's death scene. That battle is, to my mind, an unfortunate change. Bringing characters into the fight who weren't there in the book, and having Boromir die in the Aragorn's presence is, I suppose, a cinematically faster way to clarify for Aragorn what's happened, so I suppose it's justified. It has the unfortunate effect of having Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli KNOW that the Uruk-Hai have carried the two hobbits off, which changes motivations some.

As to "the sword that was broken", it had been reforged in Rivendell before the Fellowship left. I don't understand why no mention of this is made in the movie. Wouldn't have taken much time.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Fortunato
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 11:15 AM

PeteBoom. I agree on Sam's importance to the book and the movie. I have long felt that he is in fact the central character of the story. Before alll the rest of you start throwing things at me, let me explain that I say that because he is the true hero, IMHOP, and embodiment of the central theme, bravery and steadfastness out of loyalty and indomitable spirit. Unlike Aragorn or Gandalf he was not born in greatness, but rose to it through love of his master and the Shire. I won't give examples here and spoil the plots of the coming movies for those who haven't read the books. If anyone cares to discuss the later books, then, please PM me. cheers, Fortunato


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: NicoleC
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 03:00 PM

I'm going to disagree with almost everyone here and say that I loved the fight scenes. I get so sick and tired of slick, gore-splattered Hollywood fight scenes with people leaping about with superhuman ability and whatnot that it was utterly refreshing to have the fight scenes depicted as the confusing, frightening experiences that they are. Minus excessive fake blood and entrails.

I haven't read the books in years, so I didn't really miss anything they left out. Overall, I was thoroughly pleased with it as a movie experience. It just doesn't compete with the book experience to me -- both are worthy of their genre. But it was nice that they balanced the economic needs of creating an action movie that pleases the general crowd, but still wove in some of the complexities of the book.

But I have never sat in a theater with so many pissed off people -- hello, it's a TRILOGY, what did you expect the end to be like?!

Dune: The original movie was fine, but a few years later I saw a 6-hour directors cut version which ROCKED. I haven't seen it for sale since, but it's worth a watch if you find it, especially if the 3-hour version disappointed you. (The recent TV miniseries remake of Dune just didn't measure up, IMHO.)

Peter Jackson seems to be exhausted by the project, so I doubt we'll see a longer Director's Cut version of LOTR. One can hope, though...

Harry Potter, the movie: Snore! If I hadn't been with someone else, I would have left. (Turns out that person was thinking the same thing.)


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: lamarca
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 04:49 PM

I saw both Harry Potter and LOTR at DC's super big screen theater, the Uptown, and noticed the same thing about both of them - too many super-quick camera cuts! Maybe it's just that I'm getting older, but it seems that big screen films used to have more leisurely panning scenes to let you experience the depth of the view you were seeing. I remember seeing Dr. Zhivago on a big screen in July, and shivering in my seat when they were showing the Siberia scenes (maybe it was just the theater's AC...)

Both Harry Potter and LOTR seemed to rely on high speed swooping, disorienting scenes and quick cutaways at various times. Perhaps some of these were to mask flaws in the digital magic (if you can't focus on a shot too closely, maybe you won't notice discontinuities in the digitally created parts), but I think it has more to do with the style created by the time-limited music video format, where bouncing camera angles, quick cuts and flashing lights substitute for masterful photography to create a mood or scene.

In talking to friends after seeing LOTR, several of us women agreed that it was more of a "guy" flick. The movie pasted the action scenes in the novel together as vignettes of fights and chases; while I understand that Tolkien's leisurely expositions and discussions might not translate well to the screen, to depict the Fellowship of the Ring as one long series of chase scenes diminished the richness of the books, but certainly plays to the all-commercially important male 18-28 year old market. (My friend's 19 year old son has been to see LOTR 3 times already...)

Also, by leaving out discussions and dialogue, much of the plot just doesn't make sense to someone who's never read the books. One of my co-workers asked me who that Boromir guy was - the council at Rivendell scene never made obvious who the various paticipants were. The first we ever heard of Balin was upon finding his tomb in Moria- no reminiscences about Balin and Dwalin and Thorin's company and their links with Bilbo. Etc, etc, etc.

I enjoyed LOTR, but will probably not go back for a second viewing - I'll try to find my old hardcover copies of the books in the Dreaded Basement Book Boxes and re-read it for the first time in 20+ years...


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 06:16 PM

test


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Nerd
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 06:34 PM

I agree with what Lamarca says--except, perhaps, that LOTR is a "guy movie." My wife liked it much more than I did. It's certainly an 18-29 year old movie, though, to the point of making the middle aged characters look younger--Aragorn has got to be at least 50 in the books, and Frodo is just 50.

I agree that we got a little ripped off with Balin. The weirdest thing is that when they decide to go to Moria Gimli simply says "my uncle Balin will look after us," as though Balin just lives in Moria! In fact, Balin went there with an expedition years ago and was never heard from again, which made the dwarves suppose he MIGHT be living there, or he might be dead.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 07:01 PM

As to the apparent age of Bilbo, Frodo et al., and Aragorn, remember that these peoples age very slowly. That's why 50 is just coming of age among the Hobbits. Aragorn is the scion of the Kings of the West, leader of the Dunedain (men of the West), and although they don't have the surpassing longevity of their great forerunners who came over the sea, they live much longer than ordinary men, and presumably would age more slowly.

It is still true that Aragorn has a lot of miles on him, and a lot of living with hardships in the wild, so he would look older than he might have had he lived a courtly life consistent with his royal ancestry.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: robomatic
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 08:31 PM

I read the LOTR in college because all my friends had. It didn't grab me. I don't think it was not a great series, I think the subject matter just didn't draw me in. It struck me as fantasy when I was a sci-fi sort of guy. Which brings me to Star Wars. What an over-rated, un-imaginative series it has proved to be. The only reason I can conceive people like it is number one, the hype, and number two, if people can think of The Ring Cycle as high art when it is 90% making big things go loudly about the stage, I guess the same applies to movies.

I'm not planning to see LOTR which is a shame, I know it's got to be better than SWARS and I did see those losers.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: PeteBoom
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 09:28 PM

Ummm... not to be picky, but 33 years is when a hobbit came of age - that is - one is recognized as an adult. Thus, at Bilbo's eleventyone birthday, combined with Frodo's 33rd birthday, their ages totaled 144, or one gross - the same number of people under the pavillion under the "party tree" at Bag End. Fifty was more reaching their prime.

I thought the lack of gore in the combat sequences refreshing. Everyone knows you bleed like a stuck orc when a limb gets hacked off - so hint at it and move on.

So much of Tolkein's work is centered on creating the atmosphere and describing the environment the Fellowship moves through, it is almost impossible to capture that in a film. That's life, I guess.

Remember, when Bilbo first speaks, he looks identical to how he looked when he found the Ring. He was 50 at the time he found it and is 111 at the time of the party. The power of the Ring extends mortal life - it gets talked about quite a bit in the book. So - when Frodo sets out 17 years after getting Ring, he looks very much the same as he did in his early 30's.

Aragorn's age is not openly discussed in the books. However - he makes mention of knowing a certain Rider of Rohan's father, and grandfather if I remember right. THis makes him probably 100 years of age - allowing for a man of pure blood taking up arms by 20 or so. He does mention in the book that it would take the hobbits many years of living in the wild to look as he does. So, who knows...

Ah well...

Pete


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Nerd
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 10:00 PM

Pete's right about Frodo's aging more slowly...but even Merry and Pippin should be older, and certainly Samwise. They all look like teenagers in the movie, which corresponds to the twenties for Hobbits (tweens). But in reality, they were that age at Bilbo's party, not seventeen years later. What the movie did was to eliminate the seventeen years between Frodo's getting the ring and setting out on the quest. There is no suggestion at all that such a long time has passed. So Merry and Pippin and Sam are all still kids. I think they did this partly so they could cast with twentysomethings to appeal to that audience. Also, remember, if Bilbo was fifty when he stopped aging, and Frodo 33, then Bilbo should look roughly 17 years older. But they've picked actors who are about 60 and 20 for these roles, accentuating Frodo's youth once again.

As for Aragorn, as you say, it is often suggested how grizzled he looks. In fact, everyone who doesn't know what the rangers really are, including Butterburr, thinks Aragorn's essentially a bum..."Strider" is old Barleyman's word for "tramp," and Aragorn expresses anger at Elrond's council that such a soft fat man should call him such a disrespectful name. In the movie you never get the sense of Aragorn as a grizzled old fart, which is the way many others perceive him in the books. Again, the target audience respects athletic-looking, young-looking men, and that is what they're given. It's not a big deal, and it's a bit picky as Pete suggests to make a fuss, but I definitely think it's a case of going after that young crowd.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 10:41 PM

I tend to think of my own 20-something acquaintances as being in their "tweens"...perhaps that's a function of being a "30-something"!

I just wanted to say that I like Fortunato's comments about Sam Gamgee; one of the prime reasons he's the most important character per se in the books is the very quality 21st century political correctness excises from the film: the inherent class difference between he & Frodo! It's clear from the outset that Sam "does for Mr. Frodo", and his gradual transformation fron servant to hero is deeply associated with his own conception of HIMSELF as a "good & faithful servant".

Not a popular approach in 2002, but nonetheless the one that was intended in the novel(s).


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Nerd
Date: 03 Jan 02 - 11:52 PM

I think that's very perceptive, Desdemona. I agree that the class difference is very palpable in the book, and not at all so in the movie. Also, at the moment that Sam sees the mirror of Galadriel and knows the Shire is being attacked and his father is in jeopardy, he has to make the choice: go back for the Gaffer, or go on for Frodo. So it's a very personal heroic sacrifice that he makes for the sake of his master...all of which ls left out of the movie.

BTW, the previous post I made in response to PeteBoom made something occur to me that hadn't before. They really do play with the Hobbits' ages in the film...the 17 years DO seem to have passed for Bilbo: he looks years older, not a few months older, when they arrive at Rivendell. But Merry and Pippin and Sam look just the same. This hadn't occurred to me before, as I said, but again I think it's just an attempt to have the hobbits be "tweens" for that audience.

BTW, and Hetty Wainthrop fans out there? One of the Hobbits (whichever of the Merry/Pippin duo DOESN'T look just like Donovan) was her sidekick on the show...I've been trying to place the face...


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,sophocleese
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 09:22 AM

Well I went back to see it again since I had an idea of what to expect. I liked it better the second time when I wasn't hoping for a particularly faithful adaptation of the book.

Still can't understand why they made some of the changes though. Why leave out the words that brought Boromir to Rivendell? Why put the fight with the cave troll in the mines? If you want a dramatic fight why not use the one in the book with the wargs? Why have the characters wobbling around forever on a piece of crumbling masonry? Why bring the palantir in so soon and destroy any mystery or uncertainty about where exactly Saruman stands? He may be controlled by Sauron but he believes that he is still working for his own interests.

I think dentists all over the world should hail this as a major breakthrough though. A persistent message in the film is that moral decay and dental decay are linked. So keep brushing mudcatters!

On this second viewing I started to wonder if the actor who played Pippin shouldn't have been Frodo and Frodo shouldn't have been Pippin. It seems the actor playing Pippin has the ability to shift expressions three times in the time it takes Frodo to alter once.

A lot of the people I hear being enthusiastic about this retelling are people who haven't actually re-read the book in many years. I still think Peter Jackson Conanized the story. It seems strange to me to create a movie of a book but not trust the book that has kept many readers enthralled for years to tell the story. Compression is necessary and understandable but substituting extra fight scenes and banal dialogue for what the book writes is silly and in no way lives up to the vaunted and advertised desire to be faithful to the book itself.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 10:44 AM

Sophocleese said:

Why have the characters wobbling around forever on a piece of crumbling masonry?

"Forever", indeed! I thought they'd never get on with the story, and for an incident that didn't even advance the plot. I'd have to look at the book again, but I don't recall anything at that point that could even give an initial basis for the crumbling-masonry scene. And not very believably done, either. A case of a screen writer wanting to leave a personally desired Disneyish mark instead of picturing Tolkien's story. Bah!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: NicoleC
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 11:54 AM

Nerd,

I thought Bilbo looked so much older at Rivendale because he's no longer being kept young by the ring, not because a lot of time has passed. "A lot" being relative, of course -- they don't tell you how much time in the movie, but I get the impression Mr. Jackson wasn't trying to make 17 years pass.

A lot of people are complaining about bits and pieces, but did anyone really not like it at all?


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 02:26 PM

I feel for the director really. He has done his very best, made an excellent film and has to put up with what are all really just minor quibbles.

It could all have been so much worse..............


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: 8_Pints
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 11:20 PM

I took the family to see the movie last night and everyone was thoroughly entertained by it.

It certainly took me many months to read the trilogy over 25 years ago, and I can remember struggling to read it. (I'm still a slow reader even now!) The book was very slow in parts: not like the Hobbit that I had read earlier.

In contrast the movie was pacy, though I agree with Desdemona that at times the incidental music was intrusive and redundant.

The menace that was observed by the wraith-riders was exactly right. Bilbo Baggins transformation into the grasping monster seeking the return of the ring from Frodo was brilliant.

Gandalf was of course credible, but I was a little dissappointed that we did not see much of Golum (I think his role develops more in the next sequel).

Couldn't help noticing that Gimli seemed to possess a broad South Wales accent early in the film, which later became broad Scots!

The whistle playing sounded vaguely Celtic I thought, but did not at any time detract from story.

As DtG advised in the first post, I think its an excellent film but go see it and judge for yourself!

Bob vG


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 11:27 PM

I read these books 30 years ago. I remember the age differences quite clearly. But as it applys to this movie , so what. This is an area of alteration I'm more than willing to forgive. It doesn't hurt the story as presented.

Don


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Nerd
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 12:15 AM

Nicole,

hmmm...it could be that Bilbo has simply had his years fall on him all at once because he no longer holds the ring, but that's not how it's supposed to work. The ring's prolonging power is supposed to linger with the bearer to some extent, and aging proceeds at a slightly slower than normal pace--the slowness depending on how long you held the ring. Gandalf explains this in the book; Gollum was originally a hobbit, he says, and held the ring for hundreds of years. If it worked as you suggest, and he suddenly aged when he gave up the ring, he would have dropped dead! In the book, Bilbo is older and rather tired when the hobbits reach Rivendell because he is seventeen years older, or 128. He is the oldest living hobbit (barring Gollum), according to one passage which claims that no living hobbit except Bilbo was old enough to remember a given event (I can't remember what it was, though!)

This is all getting very esoteric, though. My main point was just that the filmmakers clearly wanted to have youthful actors playing the hobbits because they were going after the 18-29 male audience, and that some of their manipulations of the plot were clearly designed to allow that. It's not a big sin, but there it is.

Shambles, it could have been worse but it also could have been better. David Lynch did his best when he made Dune, but that didn't stop it from sucking. I'm not saying LOTR sucked (it didn't), but it was as many have said on this thread, a sped-up, dumbed-down, action-flick version of the story. To some extent this is inevitable, and as I've said before they made a good movie. But it hasn't got the greatness factor of really classic movies, and I think in time this will be recognized. We'll have to wait and see, though!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 03:01 AM

Shambles, it could have been worse but it also could have been better. David Lynch did his best when he made Dune, but that didn't stop it from sucking. I'm not saying LOTR sucked (it didn't), but it was as many have said on this thread, a sped-up, dumbed-down, action-flick version of the story. To some extent this is inevitable, and as I've said before they made a good movie. But it hasn't got the greatness factor of really classic movies, and I think in time this will be recognized. We'll have to wait and see, though.

That is about right but I feel the general impresion that would be gained from reading the quibbles in these threads by someone who had not seen the film (or the director), would most probably be that it did suck.

Although some of the issues are inevitable in making a big budget blockbuster in the 2000s, to his great credit the director has has avoided many of these problems and temptations.

Only time will tell if it is to be considered a great movie it is true, but I would say with some relief it is certainly a fine and creditable effort.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 03:07 AM

The problem is going to see the movie with preconceptions. If you have read the book, this is inevitable and leads to most of the opinions expressed here.

The only real reservations on the film I have heard from those who had not read the book, is that it was too short and had a funny ending.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Nerd
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 03:12 AM

Yeah, Shambles, you're probably right that this thread gives a bad impression. But I often find I like a movie more if I go with low expectations, so maybe we'll create true fans this way :-)

On another note, sometimes if I've read a book, I'll go see the movie and be disappointed because my expectations are unreasonably high. Then if anyone convinces me to see it again, I'll enjoy it much more because this time I have low expectations due to my first viewing. That happened to me with the Harry Potter movies!


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 02:41 AM

I'm sure that seeing the movie will bring more people to read the book.

I just want to see the version that Peter Jackson would have liked to have put out and don't want to put him off doing that. After he has done this, we can all then qibble with that as much as we like.


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Penny S.
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 09:37 AM

BBC Radio 4 is rebroadcasting LOTR. I was astonished at how upper middle class Merry sounded. It really emphasised the class point above.

Penny


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 10:38 AM

Is this not more to do with Radio 4, which was even more middle class then than it is now!

Middle earth = middle class?

We went to see the film for the second time last night. It was even better......


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 02:41 PM

The most fortunate thing of all is that they nixed the idea of having William Shatner play Saruman...or serve as the offscreen narrator. In either case, it could have made for a significantly different film...

- LH


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Subject: RE: I want to start a new LOTR discussion!
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 13 Jan 02 - 06:20 PM

Hell---with today's technology, they could have had William Shatner play EVERY role, which would have made for a VERY significantly different film!

Sigh....I'm sure that's exactly the way Tolkien would have wanted it, too....!


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