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The Lord of The Rings — Book Vs. The Movies?

No exhaustive analysis today–like I’ve ever provided one for anything–but a jumping off point for a discussion.

If you’ve read The Lord of the Rings and you saw the Peter Jackson films, how did you feel about the movies?

I loved them. I looked forward to those three Decembers like I never had before for a series of movies. I knew there were discrepancies, but I didn’t care. I could treat the movies and the books as two totally separate things without diminishing my enjoyment of either.

I have friends who don’t feel the same way, but I just can’t get too upset over something like Jackson’s decision not to have Tom Bombadil in the movie or that the Mouth of Sauron’s scene was cut or that Viggo Mortensen wasn’t a good Aragorn or whatever.

For you, how did they stack up? Like? Dislike? Why? How do you think Tolkien might have felt about them?

And, are you in the book club yet? October is nearly here!

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  • Pauline September 22, 2011, 10:16 am

    I, too, treat the movies and the books as two totally separate things without diminishing my enjoyment of either. They are two kinds of entertainment, and in this case, these movies do a good job of telling the basic story as well as possible under time restrictions. There are many times I’ve seen a movie hack a book into unrecognizable chaos, but LOTR is a stellar example of worthwhile screen-writing.

  • Wade September 22, 2011, 4:21 pm

    My only complaint is that Jackson’s vision supplanted my own. I can no longer remember what the characters or places of Middle-Earth looked like in my 14-year old imagination. That said, I liked Jackson’s imagination very much, and that supplanting is probably a tribute to the strength of his movies.

  • Paul Andrew Russell September 22, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I thought the movies were excellent, considering they had to try and cram all the detail of the books into a few hours of screen time. I wasn’t disappointed.

  • Jim Janney September 22, 2011, 7:50 pm

    Hated the movies, and had to see them all because they came out at Christmas
    and the rest of the family wanted to go. Wish I could do the Eternal Sunshine
    of the Spotless Mind thing and erase those particular memories…

  • cinderkeys September 22, 2011, 11:42 pm

    There were bits of the books that I liked better than the movies. Faramir’s nobility, for instance, was unfairly sacrificed in the movie so that one of the hobbits could make a stirring speech. I would have liked to have heard him say, “Not even if I found it in the road.”

    But overall, I felt the movies improved on some things I missed from the books. When you have two dimensional literary characters, they’re often a little more fleshed out onscreen, if only because actors have to act.

    • Caroline September 24, 2011, 3:10 pm

      Re Faramir: Thank you. There’s a character with significant moments of (negative) distortion in the translation from book to film.

  • Todd September 23, 2011, 6:50 am

    The movies are awesome. I loved all three of them. And, while they stayed “mostly” true to the books, there was far more detail in the books. ‘Return of the King’ left out so much that honestly there could have been a fourth movie.

  • Caroline September 24, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Of the three, the first was the most disappointing, but fortunately set the bar much lower for me in the case of the other two. What sticks in my craw is this: sure, it’s unreasonable to expect that all portions of the book would be included in the film; but did we really have to cut out the wonderful building of suspense, the fingers of evil that start their slow, menacing stretch over ME, so we could totally blow out of proportion the minimal role of Arwen? Did we have to give Ms. Tyler such over-arching (and overwrought) screen time and make her into an action figure?
    The casting of Evangeline Lilly in “The Hobbit” similarly casts a chill. (And just so you know, I feel the same way about the return of Orlando Bloom–I’m an equal opportunity purist. 😉

  • John Sifferman September 26, 2011, 4:37 pm

    Totally different animals, but I enjoyed the films more overall. I’ve gone back to watch those movies several times, but I haven’t reread the books yet. They’re beautiful works, but too long and drawn out for my taste.

    It’s going to be a tough call when The Hobbit movie is released. I loved that book, and I’m definitely going to give it another read before release day.