Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

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Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by davidjoneshoward on Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:59 pm

Okay so I already know what you guys are probably going to say about the hobbit movies, so I'm not going to even ask, but I was baffled and started to get depressed when I read this article: http://www.hobbitmovieforum.com/t1101-the-battle-of-the-five-armies-in-theatres-spoilers

I, being a LOTR book fan, 14 years old, am in love with the movies. Yes, TTT and ROTK weren't as subtle as FOTR. Yes the movies had a few cliché moments in it. But I'm simply not getting why people like Pettytyrant101 and Music of the Ainur hate the movies so much. Malickfan I still don't know your opinion of the movies (no offence, but sometimes it's hard to tell with some of the things you say). I mean, it seems to follow the books and tone for the most part. What was I missing?
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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by halfwise on Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:34 am

get yourself comfortable and pour yourself a drink, David. This may all take a while.

Yes, overall the movies kept much of the feeling of the books. Some people on here loved the LotR movies and hated the Hobbit movies, which clearly did NOT follow the feeling of the books. I think the anger about the movies mostly comes from random senseless changes to beloved characters or scenes that could have been handled in a way that was truer to the books. I'm sure you've seen these things discussed, but here's a extremely incomplete list of the primary sticking points:

• Frodo seems no more than a helpless pawn, unlike the character in the books who had some gravitas.
• A drugged Galadriel and Celeborn
• Saruman fighting with Gandalf like a dungeons and dragons movie.
• Green bubble army of the dead which basically made the contributions of Minas Tirith and Rohan seem impotent and pointless.
• A crazy addled Denethor who nobody could respect (my main beef)

I personally am not upset at every change from the books, just the ones that were a step down in quality with no good reason. Most of the changes fit this description. PJ came so close, these often needless changes cause a sense of loss and even rage about what could have been.

The Hobbit was so far from the books and such a step down in quality that there's more of a sense of incredulity that such a thing could be done, so no need to even discuss, as you realize.

So I kept that short. But sit tight, more will pile on.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by davidjoneshoward on Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:58 am

Good reply, halfwise! I for one didn't get at the changes you mentioned. I was however raising my eyebrows when they added that cheap scene where Aragorn falls over the cliff in TTT.

You should read some of the things Pettytyrant101 and Music of the Ainur say on the other post: just so much nitpicking and depressing - it's like destroying all faith in humanity if you ask me. After seeing DOS I must admit I was nit picky over the changes myself, but Pettytyrant101 and Music of the Ainur go into every detail that didn't make it to the movie; just loathsome purist crap.

Anyways, glad we can agree on the movies!


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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by halfwise on Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:09 am

That scene didn't bother me nearly so much because it wasn't a change in character. Pointless, yes; but not a major affront like Denethor being a blubbering idiot.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:21 am

Hi David, welcome to Forumshire!  The LOTR movies are excellent and while there are plenty of elements of them that aren't as good as the book and others that don't make sense even on the movies' own terms, they still outstrip nearly every other fantasy/adventure movie ever made.

That said, I feel compelled to respond to your "loathsome purist crap" comment.  Petty is, shall we say, very strong in his convictions, but he's also a very thoughtful poster and his arguments on LOTR in particular don't deserve that kind of dismissiveness, in my opinion.  There are a lot of deviations in LOTR as well as The Hobbit (obviously more in the latter) and I hesitate to describe either as faithful to Tolkien.  It's not something I get angry about, but I can appreciate people's passion for it because I used to have some of that fire myself. Razz
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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by David H on Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:08 am

Hi David,
I think the fact that there are still millions of people watching and talking about movies that were being filmed about the time you were born, when thousands of movies in between have been forgotten, is proof enough that they are good movies, even great movies.  

The fact that Petty has devoted something like 10 years of his life to re-editing them to conform more closely to Tolkien's story is proof of their quality too.  He's memorized every shot and every line of dialog in those films and cross-referenced them to the text of the Books with the precision of a scholar.  Why would he have bothered if there weren't quality in them?

If you asked him on a good day, he could write a long list of the things he likes about Jackson's films. I've seen it!
It just doesn't make for as interesting conversation.
(And catching him on a good day ain't easy. He's a Scotshobbit after all. Rolling Eyes)

Myself, I enjoy the discussions and the multiple points of view. You always learn something. And if you have a different opinion, don't be shy about saying so. Some of the debates here can get heated, but it's all in good fun!Very Happy

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:46 am

just so much nitpicking and depressing - it's like destroying all faith in humanity if you ask me. After seeing DOS I must admit I was nit picky over the changes myself, but Pettytyrant101 and Music of the Ainur go into every detail that didn't make it to the movie; just loathsome purist crap.- Davidjones

Hey! Thats rude! I quite like you!

Going into every detail is just one aspect (dont get me started on grass types!  Evil or Very Mad ) however lets not here, lets go into one massive detail, the biggest detail of them all- what is LotR's the book about?

Well fortunately we don't have to speculate at all here because Tolkien tells us, both in interviews (available on youtube) and in more detail in Letters.
Its about death. The passing of things. That's the books central theme- its why it ends as it does.

Now in the book the entire death theme relies entirely for its climax and for its key moment on what happens at Mt Doom- Frodo's final succumbing, his compete moral and physical defeat, and his lingering sense afterwards of self loathing, regret and continued desire for the Ring. He feels used by the forces of good just to accomplish a task, and he never renounced the Ring at all, in fact he claimed it and succumbed to it, and for that reason he regrets its destruction.
Its why he is allowed to go on the ship at the end. To heal him before death of the damage done to him by the burden of the Ring and his continued longing for it even after its destruction.

Now go find a non-book reader or ten but who have seen the the LotR's film and ask them what the main theme of the film is, and then ask them these questions- where is Frodo going at the end? What is happening to him? Why is he going on the ship?

I can guarantee you wont get anyone telling you the films main theme is death- you will probably get some vague wishy-washy stuff about friendship, loyalty etc- not that those themes are not present in the book,  they are, but they are not what Tolkien is building the story to- thats the events of Mt Doom. Or if death does come up they will say Frodo is going there to die (he isn't he is going there in attempt to heal him within sight of the Blessed Realm before death) but they wont be able to give you a reason (as the film doesn't provide one).

Now in the films Frodo is not mentally and physically broken at Mt Doom as he is in the book- he is physically and mentally active, he physically fights Gollum for the Ring- but thats not the really bad bit, well it is really bad, but the really, really bad bit is where he is dangling over the cliff edge in a cliche ridden moment and Sam says "Dont you dare" when Frodo is contemplating letting go and following the Ring in- and the Frodo makes a choice- and actual choice to continue on, to choose life and hope by reaching for Sam's hand and choosing to live on.
A decision book Frodo would never have made.
It is the opposite of the book, book Frodo crucially makes no such choice, and it utterly in every conceivable way undermines the books whole premise.

Film Frodo does not regret the destruction of the Ring, he does not still desire to have the Ring- why do you think they left out the only scene in the book between Frodo and Arwen despite their desperate attempts to find ways to shoehorn her in more anyway they can? Because there is no need for it in the film- she doesn't have to give him a jewel to wear in replacement of the Ring to ease his longing, because in the film he has no longing, or self loathing, or regret or desire for the Ring still.
In short, there is no reason for him to go on the ship at all in the films. They have completely screwed up the books main theme.


Now we can argue about nitpicking changes but to utterly miss the point of the story, to utterly undermine the books ending, and to completely fumble the books central theme as stated by its author- thats not nitpicking its fundamental.


So to answer your thread question- no they are not good, they are fundamentally holed below the water line.
But that is not to say there not good, well realised, or well shot and directed moments- because there are and plenty of them.
At about the age you watched LotR's I was watching the films of and praising to the rafters the direction style of a filmmaker almost no one had heard of called Peter Jackson (back in his amateur filmmaking, Bad Taste days) Heavenly Creatures is one of my favourite small budget films, I think its superbly written and shot.
Its the treatment of Tolkiens material- their complete disregard for his characters, his use of language and dialogue and above all the undermining of the authors intentions and themes and the inability of PJ to reign in his own tastes in the service of the material which create the problems.
He is not interested (particularly so in TH films) in bringing Tolkien's books to the screen, he is interested in bringing PJ's hobbit and LotR's to the screen, and that for me is ego over the responsibility of adaptation. His own sensibilities for over the top spectacle, crude humour, and cliched character arcs overrides the source material, and are in such conflict with the sensibilities of Tolkien an the source material that it is to its detriment and undermines the entire endeavour.


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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by azriel on Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:50 am

Im my view thats why its called .."Mount Doom"... that ending is a reflection on life. Death itself is the climax, just as this dark, foreboding & frightening 'Mount' is, we call death 'doom' as for us it is, And so its a good reminder for said 'Mount'. How can we take Mount Doom seriously & powerfully if peejers doesnt instill a sense of fear ? Not once Im afraid did I feel a sense of ...OMG ! but the books can do that,( with a bit of help from my imagination)But if I had NO imagination these books can still deliver a feeling, just bits of white square flappy white paper, black ink, words.resting in my hands to do as I like with, my world, my sanctuary ........

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by David H on Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:37 pm

But to be fair, David's question wasn't "Are the Lord of the Rings movies good adaptations of Tolkien's works?" I believe he was asking "Are they good cinema?"

I think they clearly are, ( unlike Bakshi's failed attempt Mad).

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by davidjoneshoward on Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:55 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:just so much nitpicking and depressing - it's like destroying all faith in humanity if you ask me. After seeing DOS I must admit I was nit picky over the changes myself, but Pettytyrant101 and Music of the Ainur go into every detail that didn't make it to the movie; just loathsome purist crap.- Davidjones

Hey! Thats rude! I quite like you!

Going into every detail is just one aspect (dont get me started on grass types!  Evil or Very Mad ) however lets not here, lets go into one massive detail, the biggest detail of them all- what is LotR's the book about?

Well fortunately we don't have to speculate at all here because Tolkien tells us, both in interviews (available on youtube) and in more detail in Letters.
Its about death. The passing of things. That's the books central theme- its why it ends as it does.

Now in the book the entire death theme relies entirely for its climax and for its key moment on what happens at Mt Doom- Frodo's final succumbing, his compete moral and physical defeat, and his lingering sense afterwards of self loathing, regret and continued desire for the Ring. He feels used by the forces of good just to accomplish a task, and he never renounced the Ring at all, in fact he claimed it and succumbed to it, and for that reason he regrets its destruction.
Its why he is allowed to go on the ship at the end. To heal him before death of the damage done to him by the burden of the Ring and his continued longing for it even after its destruction.

Now go find a non-book reader or ten but who have seen the the LotR's film and ask them what the main theme of the film is, and then ask them these questions- where is Frodo going at the end? What is happening to him? Why is he going on the ship?

I can guarantee you wont get anyone telling you the films main theme is death- you will probably get some vague wishy-washy stuff about friendship, loyalty etc- not that those themes are not present in the book,  they are, but they are not what Tolkien is building the story to- thats the events of Mt Doom. Or if death does come up they will say Frodo is going there to die (he isn't he is going there in attempt to heal him within sight of the Blessed Realm before death) but they wont be able to give you a reason (as the film doesn't provide one).

Now in the films Frodo is not mentally and physically broken at Mt Doom as he is in the book- he is physically and mentally active, he physically fights Gollum for the Ring- but thats not the really bad bit, well it is really bad, but the really, really bad bit is where he is dangling over the cliff edge in a cliche ridden moment and Sam says "Dont you dare" when Frodo is contemplating letting go and following the Ring in- and the Frodo makes a choice- and actual choice to continue on, to choose life and hope by reaching for Sam's hand and choosing to live on.
A decision book Frodo would never have made.
It is the opposite of the book, book Frodo crucially makes no such choice, and it utterly in every conceivable way undermines the books whole premise.

Film Frodo does not regret the destruction of the Ring, he does not still desire to have the Ring- why do you think they left out the only scene in the book between Frodo and Arwen despite their desperate attempts to find ways to shoehorn her in more anyway they can? Because there is no need for it in the film- she doesn't have to give him a jewel to wear in replacement of the Ring to ease his longing, because in the film he has no longing, or self loathing, or regret or desire for the Ring still.
In short, there is no reason for him to go on the ship at all in the films. They have completely screwed up the books main theme.


Now we can argue about nitpicking changes but to utterly miss the point of the story, to utterly undermine the books ending, and to completely fumble the books central theme as stated by its author- thats not nitpicking its fundamental.


So to answer your thread question- no they are not good, they are fundamentally holed below the water line.
But that is not to say there not good, well realised, or well shot and directed moments- because there are and plenty of them.
At about the age you watched LotR's I was watching the films of and praising to the rafters the direction style of a filmmaker almost no one had heard of called Peter Jackson (back in his amateur filmmaking, Bad Taste days) Heavenly Creatures is one of my favourite small budget films, I think its superbly written and shot.
Its the treatment of Tolkiens material- their complete disregard for his characters, his use of language and dialogue and above all the undermining of the authors intentions and themes and the inability of PJ to reign in his own tastes in the service of the material which create the problems.
He is not interested (particularly so in TH films) in bringing Tolkien's books to the screen, he is interested in bringing PJ's hobbit and LotR's to the screen, and that for me is ego over the responsibility of adaptation. His own sensibilities for over the top spectacle, crude humour, and cliched character arcs overrides the source material, and are in such conflict with the sensibilities of Tolkien an the source material that it is to its detriment and undermines the entire endeavour.

Hey sorry about coming across as rude, I just got upset. I guess what you said is true to some degree; Frodo is significantly different from the way he is in the books; though that is not to also say he was an interesting character in the films on his own right.

You have to admit though, they did get Boromir right in the films - proud, arrogant, greedy for the ring only to his fall
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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:01 pm

I believe he was asking "Are they good cinema?" I think they clearly are- David


Still applies as it doesn't make sense within the film either. Where is Frodo going at the end? Why is he going at the end? Whats happening to him and for what reason? What are the reasons given in the film?

In facts lots of things don't make any sense in the film- everything to with Denethor for example-

1. Why does he appear to be ruling as a dictator completely on his own, where are the Captains of Gondor? Where is the Council? Does Denethor even go through all the tax receipts himself?
2. Why when he is clearly barking mad and refusing to light the beacons and putting everyone lives at risk does not a single person in Gondor seem to care or notice?
3. When the beacons are lit- against the express orders of the apparently Supreme Ruler of Gondor, does he not have them arrested for it?
4. How does he manage to run from the Hallows, at the very back of the city and across a lengthy bridge, all the way up two flights of steps to the courtyard, then the entire length of the courtyard on fire?
5. Why when Gandalf decks out the Leader of the city do his guards just stand about and watch it happen?

related Gondor no sense issues-

1. What do the people of the city live on? The Pelannor is supposed to be fields, orchards and farms, the hillside covered in orchards, not a dust bowl.
Its it is in the south, a warm mediterrean like climate.
2. Where is the rest of Gondor? Is Gondor just Minas Tirith in the film?
3. No one builds beacons above the cloud line it renders them useless.
4.How far is Osgiliath from Gondor? The distance seems to change continually throughout the film.
5. Why even after the city has been under siege for an entire day and now into the night have the women and children still not been ordered to a higher circle of the city but are all still in the two bottom circles being pelted with heads, fire and presumably just waiting for orcs to break in and finish them off. Even without orders would not self preservation and natural human reaction mean they would flee up the levels to safety?

And thats just Denethor and Gondor and off the top of my head. Now you've me crabbit about it all all over again!   Mad


And those are off the top of my head. Ther eis no excuse for any f this. Its just sloppy.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:06 pm

Hey sorry about coming across as rude, I just got upset.- Davidjones

Dont worry about that. Its not the first time my opinions have been mistaken for someone just ranting about PJ as opposed to someone with well thought reasons for the dislike for the treatment of Tolkiens work.

Sean Beans Boromir is excellent in the film, well 99% there is always something and some of the scripting for him I do have issue with. I for one would rather liked to have a little less action in some places and say a fuller version of Boromirs final speech with Frodo which is one of my favourite things in all the books (the BBC radio adaption of this scene is also excellent and is an almost 100% complete version of the dialogue) and its something Bean would have delivered superbly as he does with the short version he is given to work with.

"I guess what you said is true to some degree"- Davidjones

To some degree?! Mad

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:24 pm

Don't worry Davidjoneshoward LOTR are some of the best films ever made, they must be due to the millions of people who love them and have been inspired to read the books after watching them. They are the very highest quality as films in their own right, and nearly perfect as adaptations from the books. Obviously Petty goes into microscopic detail, even finding fault in the grass length found in the Shire (long story  Very Happy ) so you can understand that some pretty ....er...interesting debates have circulated on this forum, with both sides being passionate and ernest about their particular beef or beefs. It can get heated sometimes but its all in good humour. Wink

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:36 pm

but its all in good humour.- Figg

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:38 pm

Moon

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by David H on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:44 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I believe he was asking "Are they good cinema?" I think they clearly are- David


Still applies as it doesn't make sense within the film either. Where is Frodo going at the end? Why is he going at the end? Whats happening to him and for what reason? What are the reasons given in the film?

In facts lots of things don't make any sense in the film-

################################################

And those are off the top of my head. Ther eis no excuse for any f this. Its just sloppy.

All true, at least to a point. But is a slavish internal logic really the test of good cinema?

I can think of a lot of movies that I really enjoy and have stood the test of time that are easy to pick apart if you wanted to. And if I needed to, I bet I could remember parts of some logically impeccable films I've mostly slept through.

So what is the test? For me, I went the to the theater for FotR skeptical and came out wanting to see it again. That alone is enough to rate it as "pretty good" in my book. The fact that millions of others felt the same and that as fantasy films they were even considered for an Academy Award, let alone winning several, makes them unusually good despite their flaws. The fact that we're still talking about them 14 years later with a whole new generation is exceptional for any film.

You can argue about themes and internal consistency, and quite rightly, but in the end none of it matters if people have forgotten the movie, and nobody's forgotten these.






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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:49 pm

and nobody's forgotten these. - David

Yet. I don't think they will survive another generation, maybe two. Truly great films survive across generations, for many decades.
I don't think we can truly ever answer that question for many years to come. The history of cinema is littered with films which caught a particular generations mood and wowed the masses and yet have long since been forgotten by most now.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:52 pm

And if they do survive I would be more inclined to put it down to the applicability of Tolkien's tale (despite PJ's various attempts to sabotage it) that still survives under the surface mess rather than to PJ treatment of that tale.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:01 pm

Those films will survive as classics of cinema for many generations to come. I never tire of them no matter how many times I watch them, and there are not many films that can do that. Most films I can only watch once or twice before getting bored. No film has ever had so much influence on me before. I think once you watch them they stay with you forever.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:20 pm

I think once you watch them they stay with you forever.- Figg

Well there we agree, sadly. And look how much buckie Ive drunk trying! drunken

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Pettytyrant101
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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by David H on Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:03 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:and nobody's forgotten these. - David

Yet. I don't think they will survive another generation, maybe two. Truly great films survive across generations, for many decades.
I don't think we can truly ever answer that question for many years to come.
The history of cinema is littered with films which caught a particular generations mood and wowed the masses and yet have long since been forgotten by most now.

Indeed! And I think your acknowledgement that we may not be able to answer the question of whether they're "Truly great" for years to come is itself a grudging acknowledgement that the LotR films are pretty damn good films, taken for what they are, not for what they might have been. Razz

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Eldorion on Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:49 pm

Keep in mind that it's already been at least half a generation since the LOTR films came out. People born in the mid-90s (like Tin, Norc, and myself) barely have any memories of the LOTR films' release, and we're now 20-21. People even a year or two younger than us (such as my brother) have basically no memories whatsoever of pop culture in 2001-2003. Most current college students and all current high school students are of the post-LOTR generation, but there are still many of them that are LOTR movie fans.
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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by Sinister71 on Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:35 pm

I think the LOTR films are good films, not perfect but good films, that have stood the test of time. I mean my kids who were born in the mid and late 90s love the LOTR films. We do a marathon of LOTR at least 2 or 3 times a year.

The Hobbit films on the other hand neither of my kids wanted to see the last 2 in the theater. And they have only watched them once on blu-ray. I've watched the behind the scenes footage more than the actual films. Which i find better storytelling than the actual movies of the later trilogy.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by halfwise on Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:55 pm

So there David (jr)...you've actually got a short answer from Petty as to the problems with the films. Try ~really~ encouraging him some time. Wink

David Sr is right, Petty's objections are well thought out and not to be dismissed (unless your name is Figg). But I see it sort of like religion: if you don't think about it too much you can enjoy the really nice feeling you get from it, and that's worth a lot. But woe to the believer who thinks too much, or more importantly, questions too much.

Petty, is um, er...not exactly the religious type. Razz I understand he was spiritual at some point, but then nature got the better of him.

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Re: Are the Lord of the Rings Movies Good?

Post by davidjoneshoward on Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:04 am

David H wrote:The fact that Petty has devoted something like 10 years of his life to re-editing them to conform more closely to Tolkien's story is proof of their quality too.  He's memorized every shot and every line of dialog in those films and cross-referenced them to the text of the Books with the precision of a scholar.  Why would he have bothered if there weren't quality in them?

Totally agreed. If instead of a Tolkienist Petty was in love with the Eragon series, then I doubt he would put nearly the same amount of effort (if any) into a book-movie comparison. In my opinion the lord of the rings rival the movies; for even if Peter Jackson failed to get the core of the character (or motivation or personality) correct it was still a great time watching his interpretation of it.

The way I see it is that if the movies were more like the books, and the books were more like the movies, then Petty would be equally as upset.
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