Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

Why the Differences?

Let me start out by saying that I am both an avid reader of books, and a movie watcher ofbooks[1] great enthusiasm.  Strengths are individualistic to both, and both are good forms of entertainment and instruction.

Furthermore, I sincerely enjoy watching movies based on books.  The Lord of the Rings is my favorite film trilogy of all time, just as The Lord of the Rings is my favorite book.

My only question is why do the Hollywood film makers feel that they need to differentiate movies from the books they’re based on?  So many unnecessary changes that benefit no one.  Seriously?

First off, what are some book adaptions that were successful, and why were they so well received? Instantly, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter film series and the Hunger Games spring to mind.

Obviously, on those series in particular, the production budget wasn’t exactly sparing, a critical factor in adapting large scale stories to the big screen.  But also an adherence that bordered on fascination to the exact wording of the books they were based on.  Praise and critical acclaim were lauded upon them not for creating original material, but for bringing the inspired books they were based on accurately to the silver screen.

However, some changes were made.  With the possible exception of Harry Potter, practically all of the unnecessary major changes to the books weren’t given a single, positive reason for their existence.  Instead they were disliked, and well nigh declared against by avid fans of the series and new comers alike.409702_1270102481369_full

Who enjoys watching the darkened character of Faramir, or the petty, weak-minded Denethor of Jackson’s films?  The Elves at Helm’s Deep are simply too cool to complain against, but what about Gandalf appearing weak and being defeated by the Witch-King of Angmar?  Frankly, I always skip the part in RotK when Gollum convinces Frodo to send Sam away.  That particular change sickens me.

Regardless as to how much each of the changes were in and of themselves disliked, the films above were for the most part quite true to the text and spirit of the books.  What about those films that deviated much further?

An interesting study on the subject comes from the film series The Chronicles of Narnia.  Look no further than the movie review Rotten Tomatoes site for a prime example of what deviations can cost the film companies.

chronicles-of-narnia-desktop-wallpaper-free-10The first movie, deviating very little scored a 76% approval rating, a high number from time tested critics.  Prince Caspian, deviating a little more, scored a lower rating of 69%.  And the one that deviated most, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, just happens to be the one with a “rotten” rating of 49%.  Coincidence? I think not!

The more the movies deviate, the less they are enjoyed, because no matter how creative the filmmakers are, they can’t equal the brilliance of such authors as Lewis and Tolkien.

Which leads me to my last topic.  You all saw it coming.  The Hobbit trilogy.  WHY GOD, WHY?!!!

I love the book it’s based on, and I was no less than ecstatic when I heard they were making a film of it, and better yet they were going to flesh out what happened in the appendices of the Lord of the Rings during the time period of The Hobbit.

Is that what they did?!  Did they stay true to the book?!  Did they even attempt it?!  Did they even try?! HBT2-fs-140204.DNG

NO!!  They deviated like crazy and what did it accomplish?  A second-rate trilogy, lacking in character, realism, depth and greatness.  They made up entire plot lines, flung the appendices to the wind, gave Saruman a side of the ridiculous, and reduced the dwarves to a ramble of wandering clowns.  Worst of all they added in…a love story between dwarf and elf!!  AAUUGGHH!!!

And what did these changes accomplish?  A better film that could, due solely to the director’s vision, take its place alongside masterpieces such as LotR?  Not hardly.  Instead they made a pretty little film that had moviegoers nodding and smiling dumbly, “Yeah, that was alright, I guess.”

When will filmmakers learn?  Certain changes may be necessary in any type of adaption, but be warned! The further you deviate, the lower the quality of the film.

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Absolutely Nothing

My fervent readers (a.k.a. Mom) know that I attempt to construct at least two blogs posts per week.  However, due to an astoundingly deep and twisted eighty page paper on Hamlet due for school, I really have nothing to say.  (This opening paragraph is about to become obsolete.)

Funny isn’t it how things that seem so important at the moment tend to dissipate before hardly any time at all.  Toys received with joy by small children are often within a week destroyed, or video games o sought by their older siblings end up being just another bit of junk, instead of the awesomeness their imagination said it would be.

That’s true not only for kids but adults.  Everything is more desirable if you can’t have it, but once you do, you wonder why you wanted it in the first place.  Frankly, this definitely seems to be due to greed, but it also stems from the lovely world of imagination.

When I was a kid, to hear all these high school students talk about Lord of the Rings and Star Wars (amazing how nerds can work those sagas into every conversation) made those franchises seem simply amazing.  More than anything, I wanted to watch them so that my visions of grandeur could finally be realized in front of my eyes.

The whole topic of denying yourself so that when you do receive something it’s all that more amazing could fill an entire book, but I’m going to try to ignore it in this improvised post.  When I first watched Star Wars, needless to say, to my mind it was spectacular, completely unlike what I had imagined, and yet not as grand.  (Lord of the Rings on the other hand still amazes me every time.  Love those films.)

Now, I don’t regard the Episodes 1&2 as being all that great in the first place.  Once that barrier that was holding me back from watching them had been removed, the desire to watch them dissipated substantially.  (Which reminds me: never use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice.)

Undoubtedly, this phenomenon is partly due to humanity’s fickle nature, but also it is due to our active, incredible imaginations.  Hmm.  I honestly didn’t mean to write anything, but this kind of fell out of my brain you might say.  So in that case, sorry and you’re welcome. 🙂

Movie Review: The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug

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*Spoilers*

Of all the movies of 2013, this was the one to see! Spiders, bears, elves, barrels, bowmen, and even a dragon!

If you’re anything like me, you’re something of a nut.  Likewise, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been obsessed with Tolkien since you read the Lord of the Rings at age eight.  One of the biggest regrets of your life was missing the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy in theatres, and now with their chronological predecessors, there’s a chance to make it up to yourself.

The first film was excellent in regards it’s faithfulness to the original book (with the exception of Azog, of course.) However, what it lacked was pizzazz, taking slowly and sluggishly what should have been exciting, not that it didn’t have its moments.  Having enjoyed the first movie in it’s own right, I was fully prepared to enjoy the reportedly much faster paced DoS, thinking that it would be the opposite of “An Unexpected Journey.”

And it was.  A sluggish start was replaced with a frenzied attempt to get Beorn, the giant skinchanger, on and off the screen as quick as possible.  Well thought through dialogue was replaced with choppy action sequences, which although fun to watch, were hardly inspired, with the exception of one scene.  Worst of all, a sloppy love triangle, ill-devised and frankly just ill, was introduced.  Not that I have a problem with love triangles (well yeah, I kind of do) but it did not in the least fit into the story.

For a film blessed with truly stupendous actors, for whatever reason, their acting didn’t seem to impress me.  Forced to deal with very cheesy lines, the gravity and weight each brought to their role was diminished greatly.  For example, Bilbo, exceptionally played by Martin Freeman, had hardly any character development, and seemed only there because Peter Jackson and his team couldn’t think of a way to write him out of the script.  Probably because he was the title character.

To round off the rant, patches of truly awful CGI kept popping up, distracting from the story (which may have been a good thing) and weakening the film’s action sequences (which was definitely not.)  Bolg was poorly rendered, resembling the cartoonish giants from Jack the Giant Slayer to a startling degree.  And every time a building was smashed or destroyed, the lover of good visuals called out within me, “WHY?!”.

Now for what was good about the film.  Believe it or not, quite a bit.

The barrel sequence, while dragging on longer than it’s welcome, was hilarious, the action being so cheesy that all one could do is sit back and laugh.  Bombur, the fat dwarf, is now one of my heroes.

Bard the ‘Bargeman’ seemed to be the only character that was taken seriously by the filmmakers, beside being stupendously acted.  You felt his anger, his despair as he helplessly felt the wrath of the dragon being poured out inside the mountain.

Which brings us to the main event…the dragon! Thousands of years old, full of malice and guile, seething with lust for wealth, Smaug was nothing short of stupendous! Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice resonated throughout the theater as Smaug riddled with Bilbo and made the ground shake during the great chase climax.  Smaug’s design was creative, his CGI magnificent, his defects impotent, save for one.

I am a big fan of Theonering.net, but as hard as I searched, nothing could be found about the issue I am about to bring up.  Therefore I must assume that what was in my mind one of the film’s biggest detractors was solely in my mind.  Two words; SMAUG’S LIPS MOVED!!!

This aggravated me to no end. For one thing, it was distracting from the glory of Smaug, for another, there’s no way that a dragon’s lips would form words, even if they were particularly ambidextrous. If anything, a dragon might manipulate the sound waves further back in his throat, but that’s another topic for another day.

Overall the film was enjoyable, the dark cliffhanger leading nicely into the third film.  But that was it.  Just enjoyable. Another action flick to be viewed with popcorn, on a level only slightly higher then those critically acclaimed masterpieces G.I.Joe: Rise of Cobra, Hot Rod, and The Last Airbender. From the prequel to “The Lord of the Rings,” that’s severely disappointing.