"Movies That Were Better Than the Book"
#1
Okay, so who knows who this Z. J. Sums is, or his/her/ze's qualifications to make such judgements? Why even dignify the clutter of frankly annoying clickbait articles hyped on every web page nowadays, for which I retain a guilty tendency to peruse betimes?

Nonetheless, thought I'd share this entry from one such clickbait art for your consideration. This person has posted a claim that PJ's movies were better than the book(s).

Quote:The [book] series essentially invented the fantasy genre as we know it today, while at the same time providing some biting social commentary about the state of the world during the middle of the 20th century.
I think JRRT might have something to say about both claims made in this sentence, especially the 2nd!

Quote:Peter Jackson’s acclaimed film trilogy (...) streamlined the story and narrative into a more easily digestible… 12 hours, while still maintaining the themes that made Tolkien’s world so beloved.

We've had many a discussion on whether or not the themes were maintained, haven't we? Was it "streamlined", or butchered?

Now I've often opined that, yes, PJ had to do certain things to facilitate exposition in a movie, that necessarily differ from how it is done in written literature. At the same time, he made rather odd revisions and transpositions that IMO couldn't always be justified as necessary to make the movie comprehensible, or even short enough.
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#2
(September 20th, 2022, 10:33 AM)Alvin Eriol Wrote: We've had many a discussion on whether or not the themes were maintained, haven't we? Was it "streamlined", or butchered?

Now I've often opined that, yes, PJ had to do certain things to facilitate exposition in a movie, that necessarily differ from how it is done in written literature. At the same time, he made rather odd revisions and transpositions that IMO couldn't always be justified as necessary to make the movie comprehensible, or even short enough.

I agree.  Many choices (like the revision of the Council of Elrond) were necessarily and competently shortened (excising both Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire fall under this category as well).  Controversial but understandable choices include having Arwen rescue Frodo (seriously?  Elrond won't let his daughter marry a mortal but he'll send her out against ALL 9 RINGWRAITHS?  Still, who else is there?  We can't have a cast of millions.)  Then there are the confounding choices.  These seem to be mostly in the latter 2 films.  Why is it a bad idea to go to a defensive fortification when you're outnumbered?  Why is Faramir suddenly a jerk?  Why don't the "Shepherds of the Trees" know their flocks are being slaughtered?  Where are Gondor's armies?  There are no reasons to make these changes other than to force conflict where it isn't necessary.  The story is already chocked full of conflict and story elements are already being cut for screentime.
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#3
OH, no no no no no. Removing Bombadil from the story was inexcusable. And the council scene introduced inexplicable story elements that took the trilogy in a wholly un-Tolkien direction (like the animosity between Dwarves and Elves, which wasn't evident in the books).

Peter did preserve many of the themes, but he also changed the story considerably. While the argument that SOMETHING had to be cut is perfectly rational, which somethings needed to be cut is a matter of personal choice - not undeniable logic.

Acrobatic Wiz Legolas is just ridiculous, whether he's sliding along the tusks of Mumaks or riding a barrel down the rapids in a river (and slaying Orcs either way). No matter how many positives one finds in the movies (and there are many, including great cinematography, fantasy musical scores, innovative direction, etc.) there are negatives that must be balanced against the positives.

At the end of the day, the movies are simply different from the books. They describe an alternative Middle-earth. There was never any hope they could be completely faithful to Tolkien not only because of the length of the story but also because so many of the details that Tolkien provided in his private notes and essays were legally unavailable to the film-makers.
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