January 07, 2004

Things Better in the Movie Version of Return of the King than in the Book Version

Things that I thought were better in the movie version of The Return of the King than they are in the book.

First of all, and most extraordinarily:

  • the beacon-fires on the mountain tops...

But also:

  • Smeagol conversing with Gollum in the pool, and Sam's arrival behind him...
  • The Witch-King of Angmar looks much more like the Witch-King of Angmar in the movie than he does in the book...*
  • The sallying-forth of the Witch-King and his army from Minas Morgul...
  • The city of Minas Morgul itself...
  • The charge of the Rohirrim itself...
  • Denethor: "That will depend on the manner of your return"...
  • Eowyn and Meriadoc vs. the Witch-King...
  • Gothmog the Lieutenant of Minas Morgul...
  • The battering-ram Grond...

Additional better moments, anyone?


*I am still, in the middle of the night, hearing the screams of the Nazgul as the army of Mordor sallies forth from Minas Morgul.

Posted by DeLong at January 7, 2004 04:12 PM | TrackBack

Comments

I applaud the effort to find good things in the movie, but "the battering ram Grond"?

This is so much more dramatic in the book: the ram striking the gate of steel ineffectively, then the Witch-King standing up in his stirrups and casting a spell, then the hammer striking 3 times & smashing down the gate, only to reveal a lone Gandalf (ok, w/Shadowfax) challenging the W-K ... a highly cinematic moment that I still can't believe they left out of the movie (tho not as bad as cutting Saruman after building him up for 2 movies).

In the movie, they have this city with big stone walls, & then the gate is WOOD. Not very sturdy wood, either. Maybe the real gate was at the shop that week?

And the breaching of Minas Tirith is dramatically a bit flat; there's a drama to the "if they're in, we're dead/out, we're safe" attitude in the book, that gets lost when everybody (including Gandalf) is just hightailing it for the next-higher circle, with the cheesy close-gate-at-last-minute scene that's been done about 10,000 times in movies ...

Posted by: Andy on January 7, 2004 04:25 PM

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The absence of Tom Bombadil?

Posted by: radek on January 7, 2004 05:00 PM

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I just realized the question was about Return
of the King, not Lord of the Rings as a whole,
so here's another suggestion:

Gollum falling into the fire.

The blissful look on his face as
he sank into the lava, as if he finally found
happiness. And how he held the ring up high,
away from its destruction so that it could
continue to exist for just a few more seconds,
even as he was getting burned alive himself.
It totally clinched the portrait of Gollum as
a being completely overwhelmed by his obsession.

Posted by: radek on January 7, 2004 05:15 PM

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Andy beat me to it... Grond itself was good in the movie, but I fear that Jackson et al. just threw away the post-rupture moment. Remember, in the book, the anticipated showdown between the Witch-King and Gandalf (which the movie set up, then blew), is about to happen when....a cock crows, indicating that wind has broken and the sun is shining...on the wall of Rohirrim sweeping down out of the hills. Hey, I respect Jackson's takes, and what he had worked in its own way, but I regretted the loss of one of the moments of high drama.

As for the beacon fires.... yeah, they were spectacular. In fact, TOO spectacular. I think Jackson got so carried away by the drama of New Zealand mountaintops that he got carried away, there....for me, the result was more like one of those tourist-films shot from a helicopter, not drama.

Denethor was mostly very good -- until Jackson decided to sauce up his immolation scene. Again, a moment of true high drama... Gandalf bursting in shining white, lifting Faramir gently, and Denethor seizing the torch and lighting his own pyre. But Shadowfax.... a fight over Faramir's body, which thumps (painfully but not very dramatically off the pyre)...a semi-accidental immolation? The drama in the book, for me, came from that moment when Denethor almost relents, almost turns to help Faramir (with Gandalf's encouragment), then lets the pride and power take over. That's the destructive power of the Ring, no? Pride heightened to self-destructiveness? Not a fight in the tomb in which Denethor happens to get burned because he's a loser!

Ah well... infinite is the pickiness of people who read LOTR too many times during high school!


Posted by: PQuincy on January 7, 2004 05:18 PM

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The blinding white of Gandalf racing out from Minas Tirith across the Pellenor Fields to chase away the Nazgul from the survivors retreating from Osgiliath.

Posted by: Mark on January 7, 2004 05:42 PM

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Maybe some things will be smoothed out in the "extended" DVD version, to come out in around a year? It might have almost an hour of additional material! Jackson added 30 minutes to the first movie and 40 minutes to the second. There are a few extra seconds to each shot, additional shots to many scenes, and several new scenes per film. The "choppy editing" feel is gone. The battle at Helm's Deep in #2 must be nearly twice as long. The scores have been completely redone. Far from being filler material, the stuff's all integral. The movies actually seem to go faster. It's pretty clear this was the director's vision all along. Get the "Special Extended DVD Editions"!

Posted by: Lee A. on January 7, 2004 05:52 PM

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I guess I am cheating by mentioning original scenes but I decided a day later that I L-U-V-E-D the scene where Pippin sings to Denethor while Faramir and his knights do battle. And the scene where Gandalf reassures Pippin about the afterlife ("it's not so bad") was totally inconsistent with the book, but great anyway.

I thought Theoden's pre-charge speech was fabulous in the book, but better in the movie.

Posted by: Tom Maguire on January 7, 2004 06:49 PM

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I thought the beacon lighting was highy implausible. Some of the beacons were on top of very high and precipitous snow capped mountains. Any poor souls expected to hang around up there in case they needed to be lit would most likely perish.

I was disappointed that Jackson felt Frodo had to also fall over the side of the Crack of Doom and hang on for dear life until Sam pulled him up. That was Hollywood not Tolkein.

Overall a tremendous cinematic achievement and my kids loved it. I look forward to the extended version, which should have better continuity and development.

Posted by: Mark Upcher on January 7, 2004 06:57 PM

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The absence of "the scouring of the shire"

Most of those in your list.

The fact that the dead ride all the way to Minas Tirith.

Minas Tirith itself.

And two things that were worse in the movie, (because I can't bear to put a comment that isn't in some way critical)

The absence of Gandalf's brief face-to-face with the Witch King at the gate of Minas Tirith.

What Mark Upcher said about Frodo hanging on by his fingertips.

Posted by: Tom Slee on January 7, 2004 07:26 PM

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Two posters have complained about the scene in which Frodo is hanging over the Crack of Doom. I agree with them, but go further. There were too many exaggerated, hair-breath escapes throughout. After one, I can't recall which, I suddenly realized that I had ceased to care. The movie sank under the weight of its action-movie chiches. I just wanted it to end. So, I was glad they skipped the scouring of the Shire.

And it did end. And end. And end. About five times, with the same lugubrious music each time.

Too bad, really.

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on January 7, 2004 08:06 PM

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Legal advice for the dwarves -
Sauron: Offer and acceptance
at
http://blog.qiken.org/archives/000196.html

re film: It's a good thing that the lava wasn't very hot.

Posted by: Anna on January 7, 2004 08:31 PM

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I'm with Mark on the beacon lights. I couldn't
help thinking during the movie "that job
s'gotta have a high turn over rate". Marginally
employed workers and all that. On the other
hand, maybe it was one of those inheritable
jobs, passed on from father to son, that
carried a lot of prestige with it. Still, if
it was me, I'd probably be napping and Rohan
would've never come to rescue Gondor.

Tom: Minas Tirth looked cool. But nobody in
their right mind would ever build a city, much
less a fortress, that way. Spread out up against
a mountain it made a perfect target for catapult
fire. And once the boulders hit the upper level
they got to fall down to lower levels and cause
even more destruction. This was evident in
the movie. I dunno, maybe the Dwarves build it
(did they? I can't remember) before the invention
of stone throwing artillery.

Finally, I did miss the Scourin' of the Shire.
But the movie was long enough already, so I
understand.

Posted by: radek on January 7, 2004 08:54 PM

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I'm obviously too far removed from this genre. That post didn't even look like English to me.

Posted by: Stoffel on January 7, 2004 09:33 PM

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Far and away the best addition in the three movies: Gandalf stooping to look at the ring after Bilbo's departure then deciding not to touch it. In Tolkien, when Gandalf identifies the ring he handles it. This way, Jackson dramatically and economically introduces one of the main themes of the film.

In RotK? Have to say that what most lingers in my mind's eye is the (unTolkienlike) look that Cate Blanchett casts back at the hobbits (and us) as she turns to board the ship. If it was a human expression I'd say it was somewhere between amused and affectionate and smouldering. I didn't think the Grey Havens scene was good, but that one moment made the Elves (again not my favorite element in the movies) seem unhuman and their parting (along with the movies' end) a great loss.

Posted by: rilkefan on January 7, 2004 10:07 PM

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I was relieved that Jackson kept the book ending. Other moviemakers might have ended the trilogy with some big spectacular celebration. But that brief glimpse of Sam's hobbit-hole says what the War of the Rings was all about. To quote C. S. Lewis:

"The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden [and chatting with his old gaffer? - AKH] -- that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson on January 7, 2004 10:36 PM

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Re Anna and the lava -- that was truly unrealistic. real lava is much too hot to be as near as Frodo and Sam at the end. Also, for another nitpicky science quibble, turn your attantion to the beacon fires. Those peaks look mighty high... So high in fact I don't think the fires would have burned nearly so brightly due to lack of oxygen.

Posted by: heet on January 7, 2004 11:04 PM

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And, speaking of realism -
Smart soldiers decided to flee the Rings battle
at
http://fallingsky.blogs.com/falling_sky/2003/12/charge_run_away.html

Posted by: Anna on January 7, 2004 11:18 PM

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I wonder what the people of Minas Tirith and Edoras eat. Nary a sign of a crop or a cow anywhere in either kingdom.

The orc-in-chief is not Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/g/gothmog.html The orc-in-chief is also not the Mouth of Sauron. http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/m/mouthofsauron.html

The confrontation between said Mouth and our heroes at the Morannon was actually filmed with Bruce Spence as Sauron's vice-president, I mean lieutenant, and will presumably turn up in the extended version. I was less impressed with The Two Towers until I saw the extended version. I loved The Return of the King but I expect to love the extended DVD much, much more.

For me the best departure from the book was the Boromir/Faramir back story and the worst leaving out the reason for Denethor's despair.

Posted by: Alan Grieve on January 8, 2004 01:53 AM

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I wonder what the people of Minas Tirith and Edoras eat. Nary a sign of a crop or a cow anywhere in either kingdom.

The orc-in-chief is not Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/g/gothmog.html The orc-in-chief is also not the Mouth of Sauron. http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/m/mouthofsauron.html

The confrontation between said Mouth and our heroes at the Morannon was actually filmed with Bruce Spence as Sauron's vice-president, I mean lieutenant, and will presumably turn up in the extended version. I was less impressed with The Two Towers until I saw the extended version. I loved The Return of the King but I expect to love the extended DVD much, much more.

For me the best departure from the book was the Boromir/Faramir back story and the worst leaving out the reason for Denethor's despair.

Posted by: Alan on January 8, 2004 01:55 AM

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While Gothmog is the Lord of the Balrogs and a Maiar in the Silmarillion, that is not the same Gothmog in LOTR. The book is silent as to what type of being the LOTR Gothmog is.

I have only seen ROTK once so far.

Like the others, I would agree with our host's comments with the exception of Grond. The gate scene was a dreadful letdown compared to the literary version. Now, most of Jackson's departures from the text make sense given the movie medium. This one didn't. A fortress like Minas Tirith without the steel gate? Gandalf fleeing? Bah.

Everything that was done with the Smeagol character has been superb, not only in terms of special effects, but also storyline and creating a strong contrast between Smeagol's failed solitude and Frodo's success supported by the friendship of Sam.

Going beyond the encounter with the W-K, I think the Merry-Eowyn partnership was well developed.

Bernard Hill's work as Theoden was first-rate. In ROTK, particularly, the character's dignity was true to the original story. Got to love that Norse-like fatalism!

Gwaihir and the great eagles.

What I missed:

Denethor was supposed to be someone in whom "the blood of Numenor ran nearly true." That is, a leader almost on par with Aragorn who, in the end, despairs and ultimately fails in the crisis. The movie shows nothing of Denethor's capabilities.

The Prince of Dol Amroth. Without the Prince, Gandalf's character is too much occupied with generalship.

More development of the palantirs, both in terms of Denethor's despair and Aragorn's challenging of Sauron.

The Black Breath.

The Houses of Healing.

The Scouring of the Shire. I have always thought that to be a very powerful conclusion. To have vanquished evil throughout the larger world and then to return home and find evil and collaboration/corruption on the home front, was a shock to Frodo and him companions and a caution to all. In addition, their leadership of the scouring set up their prominence, especially Sam's, in the years to come. I had thought once the pipeweed was found at Isengard that the other shoe would drop, but it didn't.

I have heard that the initial cut of ROTK was 4:30, so I would not be surprised if the Extended Edition came in something close to that. Like TT, that would probably smooth out the story and make it more appealing to the die-hard fans.

Posted by: tcs on January 8, 2004 04:24 AM

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Well, for someone who hadn't read the trilogy, the eagles were the final offensive contrivance in a series of vastly overdone scenes. The movie was so over the top it had no dramatic pace at all, and no true suspense, as each confrontation was resolved routinely for the good guys. Boring.

I saw "Cold Mountain" two days later and thought it was a far better film, albeit one made with a tenth the budget of ROTK.

Guess you had to be a devotee...

Posted by: Jim Harris on January 8, 2004 06:24 AM

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The Witch-King vs. Gandalf confrontation will indeed be in the DVD. The Witch-King will land his beastie on Minas Tirith's outer wall, duel Gandalf to a draw (though G.'s staff gets broken) and then fly off to go after the Rohirrim.

One of several scenes that got dropped from the theatrical version. The Mouth of Sauron is another. (He wears an elaborate helmet with no eyes, because he's just a mouth.)

I can't believe nobody has mentioned the Mumaks. I /liked/ the Mumaks. Was it really just me?


Doug M.

Posted by: Doug Muir on January 8, 2004 07:00 AM

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Thank GOD they cut out all the singing songs and telling tales that seemed to inundate the book....it was every other page...they sit, eat, drink, smoke some pipe weed...and then someone starts singing another damn song! Ugh!

Posted by: TheRover on January 8, 2004 07:30 AM

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First of all, Brad, while I don't have a problem with this, having already seen the movie, I think that in the future, you might want to have just a little blurb then a MORE... link. After all, while I've seen the movie, there may be people who haven't, and you don't want to spoil it!

I think that Minas Morgul was one of my favorite scenes. I'm not quite sure why, but I found it cool. It's a nice touch how the wraiths of the dead that Aragorn calls upon are the same color as the light that comes out of Minas Morgul, alluding to it as a "dead" city.

I'm kinda bitter about Denethor, though. I mean, how hard would it be to let people know that he had been looking into a Palantir? I mean, Tolkien says somewhere (RotK appendix, maybe?) that Denethor was the most noble and kingly steward that Gondor had ever seen. So, everyone before him was an even BIGGER jerk? No ****ing wonder Gondor's in inexorable decline! Not to mention the fact that Shadowfax kicking him into the pyre after he seemed to have changed his mind about suicide, combined with Gandalf's sarcasm after his death, makes Gandalf seem like a callous murderer. Denethor was already a jerk in the book, so why make him a greedy, lazy, cowardly pig, too?

Posted by: Julian Elson on January 8, 2004 08:14 AM

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Slightly off the prompted topic: The opening sequence with Smeagol and Deagol. It turned Smeagol/ Gollum from a pitiable figure into a truly dangerous one. It really snapped my impression of him. Powerfully done.

Posted by: tegwar on January 8, 2004 08:24 AM

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I delibrately didn't reread "The Return of the King" before this film, as that practice ruined the first two movies for me. So my memory on the book is a bit fuzzy. What I found particularly good in the movie:

Seeing Minas Tirith, in white stone glory. "The White City", truly.
Gollum/Smeagol is just fascinating in the film, and wonderfully conveys how the ring has twisted him.
Theoden is marvelous. As is Eowyn, who Miranda Otto gives a much needed touch of warmness and sympathy. And Viggo Morgenten's preformance is superb here.
Eowyn killing the Nasgul king was even better with a theater of women yelling, "whoo hoo!"
The lighting of the signals was cool, but I shared the thoughts of others here (add to them "how do they keep the wood dry on a snow covered mountain?"), a tad unrealistic.

Disappointments

The score. Ugh.
The reunion scene between Frodo and Gandalf. Hello, Frodo thinks that Gandalf is dead, he's not even going to ask him how it is that he is alive? Plus, no more hugging and jumping hobbit reunion scenes please. Gag.
Delennor. What's his motivation here? Mysterious, unless you've read the book.
Arwen. I just don't think the love story works. Too bad Tolkien didn't have Eowyn and Aragon fall in love, it would have served the movie much better.


Overall, though, I thought it was great. I think the film works best on an audience sufficently dim on the details of the Tolkien not to notice the smaller deviations and dropped subplots. At least, I enjoyed this much better for not having read the book recently.

Posted by: Matilde on January 8, 2004 08:31 AM

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Saw the movie last night. Haven't read the books in years, but thought the movie was wonderful. I thought the opening scene involving Gollum and the ring was powerful. Can't imagine Gandolf looking any different. The elves looked like the elves in my imagination. And the hobbits looked like hobbits. The whole thing was just special.

JWC

Posted by: JWC on January 8, 2004 09:02 AM

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I must concur with Julian Elson and differ sharply with those who praise the depiction of Denethor. It was an utter travesty in the movie.
In the book, D is a tragic figure, a once noble king who has given way to despair. In the book, he's a doddering and inexplicably cruel dingbat.
The scene where Pippen sing his song of sorrow while Denethor dribbles tomato juice down his face was hideous, unnecessary, and way over the top. As for the death scene, here's a snatch from
Denethor's last speech in the book:

"...if doom denies this to me I will have *naught*, neither life diminished, nor love halved, nor honour abated."

In the movie his last words are:
"Faramir? [dopey look on face as he sees son alive] Aieeeeeeeeeeee! [runs hysterically off cliff after catching accidentally on fire, not choosing his death, as it is in the book even after he realizes Faramir may live.]

Posted by: rd on January 8, 2004 09:53 AM

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[Tom Maguire objects to the Gandalf/Pippin afterlife
conversation as inconsistent with the book]

While that conversation doesn't happen _there_, the
language was taken directly from the book. About a
page from the end of the main text the narrator describes what happens when Frodo actually _reaches_ the Land Across the Sea.

Tolkien was as Christian as they come, of course. The
mythology in the _Silmarillion_ strikes me as almost as Christian as Aslan in its essentials. He would not have liked all of the changes, but I don't think he'd have a problem with this one.

One thing I got a clearer sense of in the film and liked better -- Sauron sent all his best guys to the assault on Minas Tirith, and had to scrounge up the Territorial Army to get the host with which he met Aragorn's challenge at the Black Gate. This also explains why the
orcs at Cirith Ungol were such losers...

Dave MB

Posted by: dave mb on January 8, 2004 10:42 AM

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Another good thing about the movie -- the big special
effects pieces like Gollum's fall and the collapse of Barad-Dur were cool, convincing in context, and not
Hollywood-excessive. I thought there was a great "Oh, shit" expression on the Lidless Eye when it found itself
with the top of the tower, about to hit the ground...

Posted by: dave mb on January 8, 2004 10:49 AM

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I found I was a bit disappointed in the movie... it felt a bit too much to me like "The Return Of The King: Greatest Hits", even though it was a 3.5 hour movie. Silly perhaps, but it felt rushed, or compressed, somehow. Yet your description of the things you liked better in the movie than in the book reminded me of some really cool bits (Minas Morgul and the marching of the army was pretty flippin' amazing) and has made me think better of the film.

That said, I must STRENUOUSLY disagree with the handling of Eowyn and Merry vs. the Witch King. While I must admit that Eowyn is one of my favorite characters of the novel, I nevertheless feel that their treatment of her part in The Return of the King was weak. Her role seemed unbelievable in the film, but incredibly noble and honorable in the book. I get chills every time I read that passage (and then when Eomer sees her, despairs, and then wreaks massive destruction on Variags, Haradrim, and Orcs). I felt that the film, barring a pretty cool rendition of her killing the "fell beast" upon which the Witch King rode, made her too weak, too shaky, and didn't give one a very good sense of this iron woman bravely surpassing herself even as she despairs.

Anyway...

Posted by: madman on January 8, 2004 11:10 AM

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Re Frodo in the Crack: not just another cliffhanger. He's hanging, he sees the Ring floating on top of the lava, he pulls his free hand away from Sam, Sam pleads with him not to drop, after an inner struggle he goes with Sam not the Ring, the Ring finally submerges. A fitting farewell to the Ring, as it goes out fighting all the way; a nice moral consolation prize for Frodo, after his ultimate betrayal of the mission. In the latter aspect, perhaps an improvement on the book.

Re Gandalf to Pippin on the fate of Men: Yes inconsistent with the book. What Gandalf describes is what happens to the Elves see as they pass into the West (outside Middle Earth, but still within "the Circles of the World"). When Men die their souls pass beyond the World to an unknown fate. The book explicitly denies Men the sweet pleasant certitude that the film Gandalf offers Pipppin. (OK, Hobbits aren't Men, but they're much closer to Men than to Elves.)

Some disappointments with the film treatment:

* the degradation of Merry and Pippin's greeting Theoden at Isengard, from a nice blend of comedy and courtesy, to simple yobbishness,

* the degradation of the austere Denethor (who still wears mail, though too old to go to war, "lest the body become soft") into a gluttonous sybarite,

* the cheap and nasty treatment of Aragorn's encounter with the King of the Dead,

* the conversion of the Pelennor (the townlands of Minas Tirith) from a rich area of "tilth and orchard, oast and garner, fold and byre" into a featureless sheep paddock.

Some pleasing deviations from the book:

* Frodo in the Crack (as discussed above),

* the city of the Dead.

Posted by: Abu Frank on January 8, 2004 01:07 PM

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"The Witch-King vs. Gandalf confrontation will indeed be in the DVD. The Witch-King will land his beastie on Minas Tirith's outer wall, duel Gandalf to a draw (though G.'s staff gets broken) and then fly off to go after the Rohirrim."

I hope Doug Muir is just kidding.

Ditto everybody else on the degradation of Denethor; Gandalf's "Thus passes Denethor son of Ecthelion" after the guy goes flaming into the abyss, comes across as a sneer, whereas Gandalf is all about pity.

For a movie that's supposed to be about moral corruption & how insidious it is, everything's too black & white. Denethor doesn't like Gandalf? Then he must be a craven, crazed slob.

Also, tho I was going to leave this out, the passing of Sauron was a missed special-effects opportunity: the book has his black, menacing form fill the sky, then disappear in the west wind. But the movie was too committed already to depicting Sauron as that big Eye of CGI, I mean, Fire. As it was, it was a bit comical.

(Notice also how Tolkien's quiet but enjoyable humor gets changed into fat jokes at Sam's expense.)

Sorry ... no more quibbling ... at least J-Lo wasn't anywhere in the picture ...

Posted by: Andy on January 8, 2004 01:48 PM

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An enduring criticism of the fairytale genre is its structural reliance on the shorthand of extreme characters: the division between characters is simplistic black-and-white.

Surely Tolkien was a Christian, and like many of them exoterically, he re-invented in words the mystical path. This would be the sub-genre called "mystery play", or sometimes "divine comedy" (besides the stock medieval ones, notable examples are Shakespeare's last three or four). His nice innovation in this tradition is Gollum: an ALLY to the hero who we all know is almost irreparably CLOVEN by the magic talisman-mcguffin. (And he makes HIS choice.)

Tolkien also linked the fallenness to the deforesting around him, and so I list him as the SECOND major artwork in English that is PROTO-ENVIRONMENTAL, because it avers a basic psychological connection from grasping-and-denial to that form of destruction. The first, I think, is Finnegans Wake (okay, 40% English!).

Posted by: Lee A. on January 8, 2004 05:54 PM

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My only real disappointment with the theater version of the finale is that they DID follow the book to its conclusion.

It made the movie anti-climatic. I would have preferred if the movie had ended as the king says that the four Hobbits should bow to nobody.

A perfect theater ending! The rest would have been icing on the extended DVD release.

Posted by: Mark-NC on January 9, 2004 08:40 AM

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My only real disappointment with the theater version of the finale is that they DID follow the book to its conclusion.

It made the movie anti-climatic. I would have preferred if the movie had ended as the king says that the four Hobbits should bow to nobody.

A perfect theater ending! The rest would have been icing on the extended DVD release.

Posted by: Mark-NC on January 9, 2004 08:45 AM

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> He's hanging, he sees the Ring floating on top
> of the lava, he pulls his free hand away from
> Sam, Sam pleads with him not to drop, after an
> inner struggle he goes with Sam not the Ring,
> the Ring finally submerges.

"Let it go, Indy."

Posted by: Noumenon on January 10, 2004 02:19 AM

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Indiana, let it go...

My biggest disappointment with the film as a whole is as follows: Gondor had done absolutely nothing to prepare for war. There were no other cities harkening to their aid. Just Rohan coming at some nebulous time in the future. To me, the building of drama when the last of the knights (say from Dol Amroth, like Prince Imrahil, or others from the coastal cities) rode through the gates just hours before the hosts of Sauron approached the fortress was amazing, and sadly missed out on.

Also, what on earth is up with Gandalf riding out to meet the Nazgul with Pippin on his horse!?? Ridiculous!

In terms of Gandalf meeting up with the Witch King: it'll be in the extended DVD. I have seen in the special feature preview of RotK in the Two Towers box set, a scene where Gandalf is near the top of the citadel, riding with Pippin during the battle, and the Witch King lands right in front of them on his winged beast. I think we can expect a showdown to happen then.

Worst thing missing from any of the movies: during either the end of fellowship or beginning of TT books, Legolas shoots one of the Nazgul at super long range. He just sees it, a thousand feet in the air, and tags its ass with an arrow. AWESOME!

Posted by: Walker Wells on January 12, 2004 03:21 PM

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