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Lord of the Rings

we just returned from seeing the Two Towers. What did I think?

I don’t think I liked it much, for several reasons.

the first and primary reason is that the movie really deviated from the book. There were many scenes – in fact, most of the scenes – that simply didn’t exist in the book, and many scenes that took place in the book that were left out (though I am sure some, like the scene with Shelob, will appear in Return of the King). Worse, in my opinion, was how the creators of the movie changed the nature of many of the characters. The whole point of Faramir, I thought, was that he was not like his brother and allowed Frodo and Sam to continue with the ring. In the movie he took them all the way to Osgiliath (with the intention of bringing the ring to Gondor) and only let them continue on their quest after seeing Frodo and Sam involved in a conflict/touching scene (all of this also didn’t take place in the book by the way). And what was this about Faramir’s life being forfeit if he let them go? Maybe I just have a bad memory, but what? The nature of the Ents was also changed in the movie – they only agreed to go to war after they were “convinced” to do so by Pippin and Merry, which really detracts from the whole point of the Ents (that they were an ancient and very wise race).

another character problem I had with the movie is: why did the producers feel that they had to give Eowyn such a big part in the movie? I suppose they felt like they needed a “strong female character” in their movie, which I suppose is why they replaced Glorfindel with Arwen in the first one. But since Eowyn basically had no part in the book, whenever she appeared in the movie, she was simply fluff. She really didn’t do anything at all, perhaps her biggest feats were “watch Aragorn” and “bring the kids to the caves”. When they made a movie based on the book “Little Women” they didn’t replace one of the sisters with a brother, so why start gender-bending in Lord of the Rings?

another problem I had with the movie is that I thought there was excessive emotional pandering. There were so many scenes that tried to stir your emotions in one way or another. I got tired of seeing scenes where they would play that wailing music in the background, and then they’d show people talking or doing things in slow motion, but you would hear no sound. I also got tired of Frodo’s pained and “about to pass out” faces.

on the plus side, I thought that a lot of the special effects were simply awesome, and Gollum was very, very well done. I liked the camaraderie between Gimli and Legolas which was a key part of the books. I suppose I had very high expectations of the movie since I thought Fellowship was fantastic and have always been partial to the Two Towers – I think it is my favorite book of the trilogy. So my review is probably a bit biased – perhaps if you don’t walk in expecting the movie to fit the mold of the books you won’t find as much issue with it as I did. Am I going to see it again? Probably in a few days. I am sure I will like it a lot better the second time, as I won’t be geeking out nitpicking flaws in the storyline and will instead enjoy it for its own sake.

anyways that is my review!

18. Dec, 2002

5 Comments

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  1. rwmidl
    18. Dec, 2002 at 2:54 pm #

    Sorry I couldn’t make it. I just took two days off last week and money is kind of tight at the moment.

  2. admin
    18. Dec, 2002 at 8:36 pm #

    (from my post to the Won Ton list)

    now that it’s been a few hours since seeing the movie I think I may have been a bit harsh. I realize that the majority of the problems I had with the movie had to do with the fact that it strayed a great deal from Tolkien’s vision. However, I can understand that trying to pattern a movie scene by scene on a book is very likely a bad idea, and that when you transform text into live scenes drastic changes are often necessary.

    I’m up for seeing it again one evening this week or next to give it another go if anyone is interested! Next time I’m going to watch it as a movie instead of an adaptation on a book. I liked Fellowship a lot better the second time I saw it; it is likely that the same will happen with this movie. After all, there were some pretty kickass scenes in it.

    • diabolka
      18. Dec, 2002 at 10:01 pm #

      The Faramir thing was done improperly. His words were pretty accurate in the film but that was one part of “thinking aloud” he did in the caves. His verbal thought process did cause Sam and Frodo to draw their weapons in the books. They did change his character to make him more human and less heroic. And you are right, that whole scene in the watch guard never happened. It was just put there to add dramatic effect.

      Well, straying from Tolkien’s vision is a bit harsh to say as well. They didn’t use the Trilogy strictly in making the movie — they did use Tolkien’s other works on Middle Earth. The whole Elrond talking to Arwen scene is taken from the books after the trilogy ends. The Arwen and Aragorn love story is that tragic. She does outlive Aragorn who dies at 80 years of age, if I remember my reading right. She lives long enough to see her children married and have grandchildren before she goes to Lothlorien, lies on a hill and dies out of grief. If you are basing the movie strictly on the three books, yes, this one strayed a lot. If you are taking the movie from those books and Tolkien’s other works on Middle Earth and that timeframe, then the straying isn’t so great. The battle of Helms Deep had the correct numbers in general, but to make the battle seem more climactic, the more men were given to Eomer, for example. The Ents part had to be shortened or else the movie would have dragged on for six hours so I guess I can somewhat forgive how the Ents came into the war.

      As far as Eowyn goes, you cannot do subtle in movies and keep the movie short. The whole purpose of Eowyn and especially the Aragorn and the cliff scene was to establish how hard Eowyn falls for Aragorn. In the books, it takes over half the book to understand that and the third book shows just how hard and bitter she is that Aragorn doesn’t feel for her the same way. There isn’t really a better method to show how strong her love is for Aragorn besides some of those scenes.

      Then again, it’s only my opinion. The movie wasn’t as great as Fellowship but it was a very good movie, keeping to the overall Tolkien story.

      • admin
        18. Dec, 2002 at 11:47 pm #

        these are some good points. I agree with some of them. We might talk of this tomorrow, that might be fun. I think perhaps I was a bit harsh in my take on the movie, as a lot of people are coming back and saying they liked it a heck of a lot. Like I said, next time I’m not going to critique it too strictly and watch it as an artistic interpretation in its own right.

      • admin
        19. Dec, 2002 at 12:20 am #

        thinking some more, I might even agree with many of these points.

        I think that in a lot of ways scenes were added and removed from this second installment and scenes will be added and removed from the third movie to make storylines flow and to build on them. I liked how the three “groups of characters” storylines were interwoven throughout the movie instead of shown in large clumps as they generally were in the second book. It made things flow quite well and managed to tie all the strings together quite handily in the end. And including the snippets from the appendices and the foreshadowing of Eowyn’s character in Return of the King makes this movie less successful as an “interpretation of the Two Towers” but a much greater success at being something valuable on its own. It really isn’t a very good representation of the Two Towers as a book, but then again, Tolkien himself didn’t write the Lord of the Rings to be a trilogy so from a “Tolkien standpoint” it really doesn’t matter if that framework got broken.

        I suppose I was just horrified to see things happen in the movies that didn’t happen in the books (like your aforementioned cliff scene) that it ruined the really great parts that followed them (like the fantastic epic battle). I will definitely watch this again next week and let you know how it goes.

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