Friday, April 13, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Lord of the Rings

I'm going all-inclusive today:  My Lord of the Rings (LOTR) post covers The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. 

I was stuck in hard core geek-out mode for a long time anticipating these movies, and they did not disappoint (NOTE: except one major thing, which I will rant about in a minute).  The scenery was epic; New Zealand IS Middle Earth.  The costumes and set designs were true to the story and also true to life...They actually made chain-mail armor by hand. 

The visual effects were stunning.  From the evil gleam in Gollum's eye to Sauron's fiery gaze, all looked and felt real.  The actors hit the right notes for each character, and the entire series was damn near flawless, except one little thing...

The screwed up the whole climax of the entire three-movie series.  You know, the part where they actually destroy the ring, the specific task they had been working on for roughly 9 hours of movie? 

In the book, Gollum bites off Frodo's ring finger and, in a fit of joy, celebrating his reunion with his Precious, he falls off the edge of the cliff into the vat of molten lava below.

In the movie, after Gollum bites off Frodo's finger, Frodo attacks him and they both spill over the edge, Frodo clinging to a rock while Gollum plummets to the lava holding the ring.

Gone is the irony.  The irony of Gollum doing himself in, of his greed destroying the ring, of the ring that was created by evil being destroyed by evil.  The irony of his being happy and falling to his doom, destroying the ring in a fit of joy...blown away and replaced by three more minutes of slo-mo melodrama. 

I forgive Peter Jackson for this grievous misjudgement, but just barely.  If the rest of the series kicked one ounce less ass, this would have really spoiled it for me.  But as it is, the rest of the series did kick mountains of ass, so I'll grin and bear it.

Although I am nervous about the extra material they are adding to The Hobbit... 



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It was a small change but it didn't bother me. It did take away the irony though.
Considering how Jackson handled those three movies, I'm not too worried about The Hobbit. Glad he's the one directing even if he did want someone else to do it.

Matthew MacNish said...

I did notice that difference, but I didn't realize how different it was from the book, thematically, until you pointed it out.

I have two other moments I hate, and I can't remember if they're in the theatrical versions, because I only watch the extended editions - they're the only ones I own.

1 - Legolas skating down the stairs on the curtain wall at Helm's Deep, like he's riding a skateboard. Cheesy as hell.

2 - Legolas skating down the trunk of an Olyphaunt at the battle of Pellenor. Totally lame.

That's it. Otherwise I love every minute of these films.

Rick Daley said...

When you list out the pros and cons, the small, or even big, detracting elements are outweighed by the things they nailed. Especially Gollum's look and voice / characterization...Andy Serkis deserved an Oscar.

D.G. Hudson said...

I have no complaints, and I'm a very loyal LOTR fan. And just for the record: anything Legolas did was okay by me.

Remember artistic license? When transferring from one media to another, we hope for both to be true to the original, but must allow for some interpretation.

Gollum was perfect, Sauron was too. I loved Gandalf's interpretation. I thought Frodo could have had less of those angst ridden looks!

Great choice of subject Rick!

Johanna Garth said...

I loved these books so much and the Hobbit was my hands down favorite. I'm a litle worried about seeing it!

Eric said...

OMG I am such a huge fan of these movies. I have the Extended Gift Edition of the DVDs (with all kinds of extras, bookends, statue of Golum, etc). There are a number of things I think they did wrong (like making Legolas seem untouchable and god-like while Gimli seems inept at times), but I still love the movies. I am SO hyped for the Hobbit too. Great choice for L. Actually, the PERFECT choice for it.

Donna Hole said...

I was completely disappointed with the original 2 hour movie production. So glad they came out with the extended versions.

I agree, I would have liked Gollum to fall due to his own devices, but I think the scene with Sam rescuing Frodo from the cliff was in the book.

Man, its been so long since I read the series, and I've been influenced by the movies, I really don't remember to many of the differences. I did remember this one was wrong though.

Uhg, I need to find my paper books and read them again.


Laurel said...

Um. Yes. That. What you said, precisely.

The movies were epic, and I think a perfect example of how to achieve cinematic success with a beloved series of books. If the books are a runaway success, DON'T EF IT UP BY TRYING TO BE COOLER THAN THE BOOK! LOTR did the best job I can remember (Hunger Games is a close second) at this. But that one, teeny change.

Wow. It might not seem huge, but if you are not only a fan of LOTR but a student of Tolkein, you just KNOW how much that changes everything. I suspect that, given the choice, Tolkein and the other Inklings would have demanded that the moment Gollum slips into the abyss remain the same regardless of any other changes to the story.

Gollum's weakness was the saving point of the quest.Through imperfection, all were saved. & etc. It wasn't an oversight or an accident that Frodo didn't win through might or power. Evil defeated itself.

I could go on. And on. But it would simply be a rant of repetition, a refrain chanting, "He got everything right but he missed the point!" so I won't.

Rick Daley said...