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Thread: The Lord of the Rings

  1. #16
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    Thats very well said, desiresjab, though like all else it comes down to personal taste.

  2. #17
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    I disagree with DJ about the movies. I mentioned two of my objections earlier (the wizard fight and Frodo looking as if he'd mainlined heroin). IN addition, the endless battle scenes became dull. "Fellowship" was fairly good -- because the best thing about the movies was the sets. "Fellowship" is a travel movie, and The Shire, Rivendell, and Moria (among other places) looked great. The action scenes weren't as good.

    I saw the first Hobbit movie, and skipped the others.

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    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    I do think it is best to regard books and their movie adaptions as totally separate.

    As I said, I was a great fan of the books as a teenager. I went to see the first movie and thought I couldn't remember all these battle scenes with orcs slicing off heads (or having their heads sliced off, I forget which).

    Then I re-read the book and found I was quite right. The film included all this violence that was only hinted in the book, and thus more sinister.
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    I didn't like any of the Lord of the Rings movies, especially the last one. It just wouldn't die. But the truth is that I didn't have a favorite bad one: I disliked each in its own special way. In fact, I wouldn't have bothered with any of them if it had not been for an anomalous twist of fate. But that is a boring story, rivaling even the unprecedented hour-and-then-some of sheer anticlimax after the damned ring (finally) went down Mt Doom's fiery maw (oh, sorry--retroactive spoiler alert!) But see them I did, and they were the last movies I ever went out to see. I don't even use Netflix now. "LOTR" was that traumatic.

    Now the only reason I'm taking on so is that, as I said, I was also a little lukewarm on the books. That means I disliked the movies (mostly) without comparing them to the books. I say mostly because, like JR, I found the Smeagol/Gollum story line moving in the novels and rather liked him as a character. But I didn't like the cinematic Gollum at all--especially his voice. I know exactly what Gollum sounds like, and it's not like a laryngeal Cancer survivor (is it preciousss, no...). But with Gollum excepted, I felt no sense of disappointment in comparison with the books. If anything, I saw the movies favoring inside nods to those who loved the books (takes imitating famous illustrations, for instance) over anything that looked like creative filmmaking to me. Technologically new is not the same as artistically impressive.

    As with all book and movie combinations, I strongly recommend doing the reading before surrendering your imagination to the vision of a director/production team and NEVER seeing a movie before reading (or pretending to have read) its source. I applaud the ever-plucky Carmilla for doing this, and I find it interesting that she preferred the English version to her native Spanish. Tolkien is a very English writer, I suppose, especially when he evokes the Old English countryside (whatever he wants to call it). It says a lot about Carmilla's sensitivity (and scholarship) that such nuances would affect her. I am also delighted that she liked the books better than I did. I can't recommend the movies, Carmilla, but I truly hope you enjoy those, too.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-03-2016 at 05:30 PM.

  5. #20
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    There is an aspect of the book (books? I believe Prof T originally intended only one book and was persuaded by his publishers to divide it in three) which I certainly didn't pick up in my teens.

    It was conceived just before the outbreak of World War Two and started then. The cosy suburban village life of the hobbits reminds me of what the cosy 30s in England must have been with rumours of what was happening in Germany which was due soon to blow it apart. The Shire is not bombed, like southern England was by the Nazis, but is perverted in a way that must have been experienced in Vichy France.

    Lobelia Baggins strikes me as far the most interesting female character in the book.

    Compare The Shire to St Mary's Mead in Agatha Christie.
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  6. #21
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    I thought the films were good. I admit I was suprised how good they were. ( NOT the Hobbit films which are a complete charmless mess.) When our kids were growing up, on dark winter nights, we would turn the telly off and read a few pages of The Hobbit and LOTR to them - they would read out the songs and poems - it was great, it took us 2 years to get through them. Those books are woven into our collective psyche, they are part of our family history.
    So anyway, I went to see the first film prepared to be disappointed - Ok Tom, Goldberry and Glorfindel are missing, but I think they are made with integrity and are great films in their own right, as well as fair adaptations.
    Last edited by prendrelemick; 07-03-2016 at 04:14 PM.
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  7. #22
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson View Post
    There is an aspect of the book (books? I believe Prof T originally intended only one book and was persuaded by his publishers to divide it in three) which I certainly didn't pick up in my teens.

    It was conceived just before the outbreak of World War Two and started then. The cosy suburban village life of the hobbits reminds me of what the cosy 30s in England must have been with rumours of what was happening in Germany which was due soon to blow it apart. The Shire is not bombed, like southern England was by the Nazis, but is perverted in a way that must have been experienced in Vichy France.

    Lobelia Baggins strikes me as far the most interesting female character in the book.

    Compare The Shire to St Mary's Mead in Agatha Christie.
    I read somewhere that Tolkien said those last chapters - The Scourging of the Shire - contain the most important lessons of the book, explaining that defending the homefront is as vital as victories abroad.
    Last edited by prendrelemick; 07-03-2016 at 04:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prendrelemick View Post
    I thought the films were good. I admit I was suprised how good they were. ( NOT the Hobbit films which are a complete charmless mess.) When our kids were growing up, on dark winter nights, we would turn the telly off and read a few pages of The Hobbit and LOTR to them - they would read out the songs and poems - it was great, it took us 2 years to get through them. Those books are woven into our collective psyche, they are part of our family history.
    So anyway, I went to see the first film prepared to be disappointed - Ok Tom, Goldberry and Glorfindel are missing, but I think they are made with integrity and are great films in their own right, as well as fair adaptations.
    That's a lovely story. I can see how the books would be precious to your family. I actually liked the Hobbit when I first read it, but I was only 13 years old at the time. I read the rest of them about three years later, but Middle Earth and I had both changed by then. Still I begrudge no one the joy they find in those books.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jackson Richardson View Post
    There is an aspect of the book (books? I believe Prof T originally intended only one book and was persuaded by his publishers to divide it in three) which I certainly didn't pick up in my teens.

    It was conceived just before the outbreak of World War Two and started then. The cosy suburban village life of the hobbits reminds me of what the cosy 30s in England must have been with rumours of what was happening in Germany which was due soon to blow it apart. The Shire is not bombed, like southern England was by the Nazis, but is perverted in a way that must have been experienced in Vichy France.
    I don't know if this is true, but I've heard that Tolkein was writing for his son who was in the RAF fighting in North Africa. That is why the theme of the brave little guy on a desperate journey in a dangerous world is so important to the story. If true, it's a rather moving consideration (and if not--it is at least one way to consider the implications of the story).
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-03-2016 at 04:30 PM.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    I disagree with DJ about the movies. I mentioned two of my objections earlier (the wizard fight and Frodo looking as if he'd mainlined heroin). IN addition, the endless battle scenes became dull. "Fellowship" was fairly good -- because the best thing about the movies was the sets. "Fellowship" is a travel movie, and The Shire, Rivendell, and Moria (among other places) looked great. The action scenes weren't as good.

    I saw the first Hobbit movie, and skipped the others.
    This is an important point. I did see the TV Movie and "endless battle scenes" marred the film for me, too.

  10. #25
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    It is just a fact, Dream, that a lot of very serious literary folk do not take Tokein seriously. This would especially be true among the highbrow crowd, no knock against them.

    LOTR stands so far outside literary tradition, for highbrows. They expect a certain kind of character and plot development. The element of realism is a primary consideration for them. Before Schniellmann Homer was acceptable because it was so ancient and considered part of mythology. Now we know there was a real Troy and a real sacking, so the Illiad is even more firmly entrenched as a classic.

    LOTR does not remotely resemble our own history, other than kings have been cruel, despots have been despotic and heros have been heroic, so it lacks that type of realism that is so valued. That type of realism highlights the human experience through characters you could believe were real. Has anyone won the Nobel prize for writing fantasy? I think never, and never to be. Satirical fantasy would be acceptable to the committee, but not sword and sorcery, we know that without asking, right?

    Though the LOTR does indeed come from a rich literary tradition, it is the wrong one, no matter how steeped the book is in those Norse traditions.

    The characters in LOTR are not really human, even the human ones. They are more noble, more courageous, more forgiving, more innocent than what we would expect from real people, as if back a long, long time ago, people and society were that different from today. We wouldn't know, then. That is the problem.

    It is only a problem for those who cannot enjoy the books. More than anything, the books are about enjoyment, what they call pure, old escapist literature enjoyment, not exploring the human condition. LOTR is the best work of that genre ever written. I am satifsfied with that, because I can enjoy pure fantasy.

    The characters are not deep, literary characters, but what is known in the trade as flat--you know their natures to a great depth after only a paragraph or a sentence and can have confidence in your judgements in that regard. People are far more variable and less predictable than the typical Tolkein character.

    Those are some of the reasons LOTR is not regarded as high literature by people who make those judgements. The books are not character driven but plot driven.

    LOTR is not great literature in the normal sense. Once you relax and let it be what it is, instead of pointing out how well it does not fit into convenient schemes of literary vogue, we have the ability to identify with its characters, which is the first step toward enjoyability.

    Some people have an immediate revulsion to this genre, and that is okay. They will never like it under any circumstances. To others, there is nothing odd about allowing oneself to escape deep into such a work. Only when we are deep in it can we take away everything it has to offer. It is good to know who on here is of which type.
    Last edited by desiresjab; 07-04-2016 at 02:35 AM.

  11. #26
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    Duplicate
    Last edited by desiresjab; 07-04-2016 at 02:34 AM.

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    Some good points there, desiresjab!

  13. #28
    Registered User prendrelemick's Avatar
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    I think it is a little more than that. Not realism no, it is a modern mythology of the West, as the Greek myths once were for the early Greeks. By that I mean it is a story that is driven by the idealized values of the society that created it and will reflect those values into the future. Just as today we may be able to dig up and study the remains of the first Greeks, but it is through Homeric fantasy we know them.

    I don't mean LOTR will be comparable to the Illiad and Odyssey in the future, I am illustrating what I mean by mythology.
    Last edited by prendrelemick; 07-04-2016 at 08:49 AM.
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  14. #29
    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    Here on the ice Tolkien is certainly not looked down on in any way. There are classes at uni about his work and one of the best known literature professor here has written extensively on the subject, both books and author. In one of his Tolkien class the students had to write a poem or story in the spirit of Midgard as an assignment.

    Maybe he is held in high regard here is because of his interest in Iceland. Some words are pronounced in 'Icelandic' like Beorn is pronounced the way we say the word bear. Also some of his mythological creatures are rooted in Icelandic mythology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    This is an important point. I did see the TV Movie and "endless battle scenes" marred the film for me, too.
    Even "endless battle scenes" can be okay if there's some point to them. But those scenes weren't much more than methadone for computer game junkies, were they? Even worse, they were boring. Isn't it amazing what technology can do these days? Yes. Amazing.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 07-04-2016 at 12:24 PM.

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