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Ruth Walker, Greenville, SC, USA
While TTT was visually exciting and impressive, I felt that some of the
changes in the story were unnecessary and even harmful in some cases. For
example, Faramir's character was reduced to a bad copy of Boromir, and in
my opinion, everything that made him noble and respectable in the book was
removed in the film. Frodo and Sam being forcibly marched to Osgiliath and
Aragorn's "death" scene were also troublesome for me.
Nilcirwen, Caras Galadhon, Lorien
I loved the movie. There were few mistakes that really bothered me. They
did take lines from Denethor and gave them to Faramir, and I don't think
the part with Aragorn "dying" was necessary. I absolutely loved
Gollum! All in all I think they did a good job.
Enrico Assorati, Viserba, Italy
It's a very good movie, but Tolkien wrote another story. It's much more
similar to other colossal fantasy movies, the atmosphere is quite different
from the book. Faramir is another Boromir, the Ents are senile, the painfully
faithful Eomer becomes a traitor and an exile. Frodo himself is excessively
torn by doubts, and the scene when he threatens Sam with Sting is quite
distant from Frodo-of-the-book. Gollum is very well portrayed, but sometimes
he is rather "disneyan", and I wonder how the people who did not
read the book interpreted the "dialogues" between Smeagol and
Gollum; in fact, a guy sitting by me wondered if he was schizophrenic. Anyway,
a very good movie, with an outstanding computer graphic.
I already posted a comment, but I wish to add a point.
Of the many ways to look at Tolkien's work, the one which intrigues me
most is the fact that his characters are real men (in the late sense of
the word, of course). They try to follow their assigned path, and weariness,
doubts, temptations, don't lead them astray. This is true for 'the good',
but even the worst inclined get their chance to join the 'good' path. Sauron
binds his servants, but the 'good' are always free, nobody compels them
to do anything, they act according to their will, defying weariness, doubts,
perils; sin, I could say. All that was recognizable in the first movie,
and was clearly said in several dialogues, but is lost in TTT: see the liberation
of Theoden: he is freed by a spell cast by Gandalf, which makes him a puppet
in the hands of wizards. In the book, Tolkien makes his will revive, depicting
a man who listens to old friends and to the deepest pulses of heart and
shakes off the charming lies of evil. The focus on the free will of characters
comes, I think, from Tolkien's catholic faith, and makes them unforgettable
figures. In TTT movie every character is very thinner and much more hollywoodian,
and in consequence much less fascinating.
Saul Jones, London, United Kingdom
I agree with the general feeling that although The Two Towers
is quite a good movie, it is nothing like Tolkien. The Fellowship
of the Ring suffered from the same faults, but less severely: in general
the changes made were justifiable in terms of making the films more interesting
to watch. I thought the substitution of Arwen for Glorfindel, for example,
made a lot of sense.
In the second one, however, the divergences have become wider and less
justifiable. Elrond comes across as petulant and unbalanced, the Ents have
to be coerced into action by a cheap trick of Pippin's and the plains of
Rohan suddenly sprout mountains. There isn't time for the last chapters
of either storyline, but there is time for Aragorn to fall over a cliff
and drift down a stream. The role of the Huorns in the closing stages of
the battle of Helm's Deep is wished away. In general, the elves are so weird-looking
and peripheral to the story that it is not terribly upsetting to find out
that they all have to leave Middle-earth.
Of course, you would expect a certain lessening of the power of a book
such as the Lord of the Rings when it put on the screen (although
I didn't feel this about the cartoon version) and the films are very impressive
and exciting action movies, but it would surely have been possible to carry
over a little more of the true vision of the books than these films do.
Irina, Moscow, Russia
I think the second film is as good as the first one, though it is very
different from the original: the ents' and the Faramir plotlines were underdeveloped,
the newly born union of men and elves had absolutely nothing to do with
the book. Also it struck me that Frodo is much too young. According to Tolkien's
appendices Frodo is about 33 when he inherits the Ring. Even if he does
not age a bit from that day on, the Frodo we see is a boy not a man. Legolas
(Orlando Bloom) is also too young. Somehow in the Fellowship of the
Ring it did not seem that way.
But overall the great job had been done and I personally liked the film.
The characters and images I had had in my mind for several years came alive
and that's wonderful!
Robert, Leeds, England
I have already posted the following at theonering.net:
My eyes widened at the opening sequence of Gandalf and the Balrog plunging
into the abyss, fighting as they fell. The Gollum creature was brought wonderfully
to life and many of his scenes were very faithful to the book - the scene
at the forbidden pool being particularly well done. Overall, the film was
visually impressive and well acted.
That said, I feel that certain major departures were made from the text
which were at best gratuitous and at worse threw a spanner in the main plotline.
We all accept that the practicalities of transferring the story to the screen
necessitated certain scenes and characters in the books being omitted or
combined, but my heart sank when, instead of rejecting the ring and allowing
the hobbits to go on their way, Faramir spoke the words "the ring goes
to Gondor" and dragged them off to Osgiliath. What was the point of
Hannah Jolly, Wellington Wellywood, New Zealand (Middle earth).
Now first of all, I must point out that I'm 100% biased when it comes to
the film trilogy - it is almost completely a New Zealand effort ( apart
from the teensy weensy issue of money, and of course, the main actors).
I think that's why Kiwis take such pride in it - everything from the special
effects production company to the extras who slogged it out in Helm's Deep
were uniquely kiwi. Here in New Zealand, almost everyone can find long grasses,
braided rivers, and snow-capped mountains outside their front doors, yet
one of Peter Jackson's biggest accomplishments is that he has created a
world where even we, New Zealanders, are strangers.
Even the familiar farm-land countryside where the Shire was filmed seems
sprinkled with fairy dust. This part familiarity, part other-worldliness
really brings to light Tolkien's idea about his stories not being simply
fairy tales, but a history of our own world. That's why we love it so much
Anyway, I have actually read the books and watched film 1, and I adored
every minute of both. I agree with many people on the message board in that
a lot of important stuff has been missed out (mostly out of necessity),
such as Tom Bombadil. I did find the bit in Lorien a little disappointing
(it's hard to say why - I just thought it wasn't mystical enough), although
I thought Cate whats-her-name was brilliant. But I agree wholeheartedly
with Chris Crawshaw of Shropshire, in that although they're not completely
faithful, the movies are a work of art in their own right, not just a motion
picture book, and Tolkien's central ideas about power and friendship are
allowed to shine through.
There's a big difference between what makes a great book, and what makes
a great movie. Take the two Harry Potter movies as an example of what happens
when directors stick too closely to a book ( they totally [pejorative verb
of your choice]!!!!). My only regret concerning the films is that I never
had the opportunity to work on them ( this is a small country - everyone
either has worked on the film themselves, knows someone who worked on them,
or knows someone who knows someone who worked on them. It's a statistical
fact.). Anyway, that's a New Zealander's point of view for your message
John M., Philadelphia, PA, USA
While I thought the movie has some really impressive scenes, I was disappointed.
Some of the parts that I did not like were the exorcism of Theoden, which
I thought was more subtle and inspiring in the book; the fact that Faramir
was completely unlikable, a discredit to the character and the ideal that
there are a select few who refuse the Ring; the battle at Osgiliath and
Frodo showing the Ring to the flying Nazgul, which I thought was completely
unnecessary; and also the lack of a confrontation with Saruman. I did think
that Gollum was amazing, and cannot imagine anyone doing a better job. Helm's
Deep was impressive, but a little too long. The arrival of the Elves was
a big change but not one that ruined anything for me. One thing I always
wanted to see more of in the books was the Elves in battle. However, I was
not sad to see Haldir go and had been waiting for that moment since his
first terrible lines in FOTR. All in all, I felt that while it tried very
hard, it did not have the same resonance as the first and did not seem to
reflect the spirit of the book as much. I really wanted to love it as much
as Fellowship, but just couldn't get as into it. I am really looking forward
to the Return of the King.
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