The Lord Of The Rings Movies

 

I am not often physically compelled to the task of writing about movies I have seen.In this case, now that the final third of the trilogy has been released, my reaction has become nearly viceral, and I must respond.

 

These movies are two things: very good movies, and the worst adaptation to film of any book that has ever been done, or likely to ever be done again in the future.They are so bad a representation of Tolkienís writing that laws should be made prohibiting future attempts at translating great works of fiction onto the silver screen.As for movies in their own right, however, these are extremely engaging and deserve plaudits in virtually all categories.Why, oh why, though did they have to mutilate and destroy one of the greatest literary sagas of all time just to make another action/adventure series?Why not just write them from scratch?Mutating and literally rewriting this book to conform to the standard Hollywood requirements will go down in history as a crime against the ages. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.Then again, since their aim was to make good, high grossing blockbusters, they certainly succeeded and should be proud of themselves for that.Not an easy task these days. However, will there ever be a time again in our lives when some things are sacred and not available to such exploitation? I'm beginning to think not.

 

In writing this, something is urging me to be fair and communicate the high quality of the movies irrespective of the fact that they so destroy the major threads of the original work.It's the movies themselves doing this urging.There is no question that the quality of construction and implementation of every aspect of these flicks was top notch.I wouldn't mind if the director, producer, actors, designers, cameramen, etc., all continue to receive great praise and award after award. They should.The Lord Of The Rings delivers everything great pictures could possibly offer; they rival Braveheart in scope, realism, beauty, vision. Heck, it's one of the best popcorn moving series you're ever going to see. However, at what price was this success achieved?Simply put, Professor Tolkien is spinning in his grave.

 

There aren't 100 people living who know as much about the trilogy (and all of Tolkien's published works) that I do. I don't need to prove this statement of credentials.It's enough that I love the work in its entirety and I have loved reading it again and again.Could I, or any other Tolkien lover bore you with details of what was missed or misrepresented in the movies? Yes, endlessly.But, that is not any real concern and never should be when considering a screen adaptation.The problem with these movies (as they derive from the book) is not about details, but the fact that most of the major concepts, characters and plot lines were completely lost or actually wrongly done.Worse, characters, scenes and events were newly invented and inserted into these movies as if Tolkien had written them himself.What an abominable thing to do!Okay, leave something out because it is such a massive work, and not everything or even a small percentage of it can make it to the screen, but writing in completely new scenes and characterizations just to make it fit the Hollywood mold... that is unforgivable.If Hollywood needs there to be a "love interest", and a story simply about war and fighting, fine, write such a thing.Don't change and mangle one of the most beautiful works of literature to fit these pedestrian and shallow requirements.The trilogy is filled with humor, the individual personalities of many different people and peoples, the deep culture of communities both strange and common, every kind of love that springs from life itself. It is about wonderful and magical people places and things.It is lastly and unfortunately about war and the struggle between good and evil. The makers of these movies decided to focus on the box-office sure-things of war, combat, and violence... to the exclusion and complete loss of everything else beautiful and wondrous in the actual books.

 

There is no telling what will survive in the future, but I hope to God it is not these movies and instead the actual written word of Tolkien, himself.Hopefully, after the passage of time, the 3 movies will be relegated to the category of slick, stupid entertainment where they belong, and the literary masterwork will rise pure and unmolested like a phoenix from the ashes of this celluloid travesty.For those who think me unkind, or think I am just another typical Tolkien fanatic venting puerile outrage that my particular favorite imaginings weren't rendered "just so", try this on for size.What if someone decided to take a work of Shakespeare, substantially change the words around, remove several major characters, add others, write in some completely new scenes and then produce the play with the same name as the original... and as being authored by Shakespeare.Such would be considered an atrocity and an abomination. Nothing less should be thought of these movies by these standards.

 

All this aside, see the movies.To be fair to the makers of them, while there is not much integrity at all with respect to the book(s), there is an obvious internal consistency that puts them high up on the list as good flicks.Nothing more, nothing less.Too bad. Do see them, though. Theyíre worth it.Just don't expect a Tolkien masterpiece like The Hobibt or The Lord Of The Rings. Expect something else, and you should be happy.

 

John Esak

www.valar.com

 

P.S. - For the fanatics. - As to the portrayals of the 9 members of the fellowship and the other main characters of the saga. These movies fail miserably to depict them in any close resemblance to the authorís words.  If you have read the books, you will understand and agree with the following. Gandalf is pretty good actually, nearly perfect.Aragorn is not very close, mostly being too youngish (and too Robin Hoodish).Boromir is horribly misrepresented to the point of being nothing like the real character.Gimli was so completely unlike the book character as to be offensive in every aspect. Legolas was somewhat promising, but did not deliver on the elegance of the true character.The hobbits were not much like hobbits at all.Worst was Frodo, being far too young.†† More disappointing though, was Sam, who was so far from the literary character as to be unrecognizable.(Only exceeded in gross misrepresentation by Galadriel.)Merry and Pippin were more of the same; someone's misguided idea that "small" big people describe what a halfling is.Saruman, strangely, in the same way as Gandalf, is portrayed very well, but a little too hard-edged, neatly-groomed and unsubtle as compared to the figure in the book. Elrond, not bad, considering the difficulty of capturing such a being.All in all, this pervasive problem is the real loss of the movies versus the books.The true personalities and complex nature of the characters and their culture and interactions simply did not make the crossing along with the wizardly effects and clashing of swords. The movies might be okay, but the magic is only in the books.