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I will say this, although still not wholly conscious: This is a war movie. It's a medieval sort of warfare, but fought on a post-Napoleonic scale. To be sure, it is an epic, and possessed of a great lyrical virtue besides. Thank God while I was in the Real War, I never was in an infantry action that closed (came down to hand-to-hand combat), but the battle scenes have the awful swirl of actual combat, and simply capturing that is an artistic coup. It speaks to the matter of why war should be reserved to the purpose of the last argument.

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Mel, thank you. We are all plotting our time to see the movie. Just heard the tale end of a review on NPR and the reviewer said "Some may think the movie too long - others of us will say it was not long enough!" Or something to that effect as in he loved it!

Sounds very strong.

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I'm looking forward to this movie both with excitement and sadness. I first read the books when I was 12, have reread them many, many times since. I think Peter Jackson et al have done a phenomenal job and while I'm truly excited about seeing the movie I'm also very sad, knowing that this wonderful experience will now come to an end. It's the same way I feel everytime I reach the end when I read the trilogy.

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It wouldn't surprise me, but next up for Jackson is "King Kong" with Naomi Watts. It can only be an improvement on the Jessica Lange version ("You male chauvinist pig ape!") but nothing will displace the original, for me. That papier-mache Kong had a heart. Returning to the topic --

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No, Frodo and Bilbo pass into the West into the Undying Lands and Elvenhome, where they eventually must die, as all mortals do, but their lives are extended to a remarkable degree. This being the Eighth or even Ninth Age, according to some Tolkien scholars, he may even still be alive. Eventually, even Sam passes to the West, taken there as the last of the Ring-bearers, and the only one to give it up of his own volition.

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The only problem with the books, and also with the movies is: they are too short!

Tolkien said once in an interview that this was the main complaint he received from readers. I have read the books thru more than a dozen times and while I love the movies, they quite honestly don't do the books justice. Too much is left out, and too much is altered. Still, a heroic and wonderful effort on Jakson's part.

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I think the cutting has been pretty judicious, all told. (Although I've often wished I could sit in the theatre and fast forward through all sequences featuring Liv Tyler.) And bear in mind that some have complained that the movies are really too long!

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When I got to Oxford in 1968, "old Tolkien" (he had a son, Christopher Tolkien I believe, who was still around) had gone to that land whence no traveller returns, but my old English tutor, the FABULOUS Elaine Griffiths, boasted that she and her students at St Anne's College had pursuaded Tolkien to publish hte Lord of hte RIngs. He had written it, during hte war - i.e., world war 2 -- when civilization as he knew it, and common human decency, looked just as threatened as it looks in the trilogy. As was common in Oxford, he'd kept the manuscript "in a drawer" and occasionally showed it to his friends, while going about his real work, editing mediaval romances and epics. He felt pretty bleak about it all (he LIKED bleak stories -- he compared Beowulf to bitter ale, and was content to think this poem he loved so much would never be popular).

Miss Griffiths orchestrated a campaign to soften him up, using tea, sympathy, and young ladies. She was very proud of her success.

I adored her -- reading Beowulf with her was one of hte great experiences of my life. I'd never seen an intellectual like her before -- it was so thorough-going, but such a generous activity, nothing pinched or bluestocking or Bostonian about it. She had the only private copy of the OED I've ever seen -- it took up 3 feet of space on her book-shelves. She was a great scholar in her own right, everybody in Oxford admired her, though she never published anything, except The Lord of the Rings.

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Well, the 3 big changes made in the first two films were:

Arwen riding out from Rivendell to bear the injured Frodo. It never happened. Arwen hardly appears in the books at all. She is the personal force behind Aragorn's quest and his reward for victory at the end of the epic.

Aragorn riding a warg off a cliff: it never happened.

Too much emphasis on the Eowyn/Aragorn "romance"; Aragorn pities Eowyn but does not love her and he remains ever true to his Arwen in all things. The whole idea of Arwen "leaving" Middle Earth on the "last ship" is also an invented situation. She remains at Rivendell throughout the saga and is only mentioned when she sends Aragorn the banner.

I guess the director thought there was not enough women/romantic situations in the books and so enlarged Arwen's role and gave Eowyn's infatuation a hope of being reciprocated. I look forward to seeing the third film to see how these parts of the story are worked out.

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When I got to Oxford in 1968, "old Tolkien" (he had a son, Christopher Tolkien I believe, who was still around) had gone to that land whence no traveller returns

You mean the "Bird and Baby"? (The Eagle and Child pub) Yes, Christopher Tolkien lives on an is still editing the material that his father left behind, and the things cut from the original story. The current corpus fills twelve volumes and more threatened. :wink: Actually JRRT died in 1973. Tom Shippey, his biographer, does mention Ms. Griffiths and her colleagues whose job it was to say to Tolkien, "Enough awreddy with the writing, send in what you've got to Rayner Unwin!" (Unwin was his publisher)

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They decided against introducing Gildor, the elf who rescues Frodo, because they'd have to explain him. They also wanted to give Arwen something more to do. Fan outcry made them rethink this idea, and reshoot some changes they had made in the successor movies. If they hadn't, Arwen would have been at Helm's Deep.

The battle with the warg-riders contained a lot of invented material. My own idea was that they had to establish them. I didn't much mind the fabrication.

The Eowyn/Aragorn relationship is really not resolved in the books until the third volume, after she wakes up in the Houses of Healing. This movie does a lot of telescoping at the end. I didn't mind it much, either.

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The filmmakers did want to give women a fuller and less passive presence in the story as a relief from all the boy stuff. I think this is a laudable objective when not handled awkwardly, as it all too often is. For the most part they did a good job of it here.

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Oberon, I agree with you completely. And there are many, MANY parts that were changed that did not need to be. They make certain people say things in the movies that certain other people said in the books. I suppose it's good that they're keeping the real book conversation alive, but was it really necessary? Why couldn't the original people have said the things they made other people say? And I really think they changed and took out and added parts that did not need to be changed or taken out or added.

Really, having Elrond send Elven archers from Lothlorien to help at Helm's Deep? And in the first movie, having Frodo decide to go through the Mines of Moria...that was necessary in the books, they couldn't go any further through the pass of Caradh-Rass because the snow was too deep. Frodo also figures out the riddle at the Doors of Durin (speak friend and enter) when in the books it was Merry who figured it out. They made Frodo too much of the hero, I think.

However, that said, it could have been much worse. I still think the movies are amazing, even if they did change too much.

I haven't seen the Return of the King yet (friend's birthday coming up beginning of January) but I read in the newspaper that Saruman was taken out of it. How on EARTH could they have ROTK without SARUMAN????? He was featured the most in the third book, and what with the to-do they've made about him in the other movies (without such a to-do in the books) how can they just shrug him off like that????

~*~Battement Cloche~*~

"No, Sam! I'm going to Mordor alone."

"'Course you are. And I'm coming with you!"

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Just remember, this is the short version - the extended version is yet to be seen, but you won't find the Scouring of the Shire in it, at least in the way that it is in the book. Three-and-a-half hours is mighty long for a movie, and to put in an extra half-hour on the Evils of Heavy Industry would be ever so PC, so green, but even in the books it sticks out like a sore thumb as an anachronism in a Medievalist tale.

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I agree with that, it does stick out in the books, but really, isn't it a warning about what will happen to those little bits of paradise that only unknown locals know about when the big bad :) Mega Corporations :FIREdevil: with millions of bucks come in and rip down the green growing things :clover: to build factories that will belch pollution into the air and really do no good whatsoever? [Did I get carried away?]

It's an enormously important part of the books, from my point of view, at least. It makes me cry every time I read it and wish to goodness that we could get out of this darned town home that's like every one of the hundred and nineteen houses on the block and live in a little log cabin in the middle of the woods in harmony with those creatures and plants that were there for centuries before we 'white men' came and invaded the place.

I DID get carried away, didn't I? If this has nothing to do with the thread, Mr. Johnson, go ahead and delete it. I never can control myself when it comes to the disappearance of Nature at the hands of Man and the butchering of books-based movies by whoever's in charge of butchering book-based movies.


~Battement Cloche

***What is this world coming to, Sam?***

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