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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
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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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