LOTR Jackson Review...SPOILERS!!!!

by dungbeetle 4 Replies latest social entertainment

  • dungbeetle

    Lord of the Rings Review/Jackson

    Or, “the Nitpicker’s Guide to LOTR Jackson…


    The hardest thing to do, I think, must be to make a movie and get it sold, when everyone already knows the ending. Jackson took a shot at this with LOTR and he did a great job with a difficult task, or at least that aspect of it. In addition, the unabridged audiobook The Fellowship of the Ring is something like eleven hours, and somehow Jackson cut that time down to just under three. No matter who or what Jackson cut out to do that, he was going to make somebody unhappy, so according to him, he just made himself happy.

    I will say, as I did in the short review, that the movie is beautifuly paced; I observed a theater full of kids who actually sat through the whole 2 and ½ hour plus movie, which is a testament in itself. A friend I went and saw it with felt that even the audience ‘down’ times were still well paced, and that isn’t easy to do with a film like this. (thanks Anthony)

    The sets and scenery were beautiful, Hobbiton, Orthanc and Rivendell were beautifully done, although I thought Lothlorien was a tad dark (but still beautiful). One neat thing we see is a barefoot Arwen and Galadriel..very nice touch.

    I give the film a 9 out of 10; less than ten only because, just like Bakshi, Jackson changed some character’s lines around again for no conceivable reason. <groan>

    The interrelationships between the characters has been modified somewhat with two exceptions: Frodo and Gandalf are close, which both Bakshi and Jackson demonstrated keeping true to the book; and Legolas’ attachment to Aragorn. Now in the book, we don’t see this untill at least Moria, and more so after Boromir’s death; but Jackson starts it right there at the Council of Elrond. This is never explored or explained even in the book, it should be interesting to see if Jackson follows this up at all. Jackson takes it one step farther and shows Aragorn actually relying on Legolas (in the book, Gandalf did). Aragorn actually appears to appoint Legolas as his second in command after Gandalf’s death. (“Get them up, Legolas, Get them up”)

    One relationship completely reconstructed, at least so far, that even Bakshi included somewhat in his film, was that between Legolas and Gimli. In the book, they were probably the most emotionally distanced from each other out of all the members of the fellowship, growing together untill they were best friends at the end. In the book, we see this relationship change over time, but Jackson completely cuts it out. A friend I saw the film with noticed that it wasn’t four hobbits so much, it was a Frodo/Sam and a Merry/Pippin team. Sam is way less of a servant in this film, and more of an equal to Frodo. (Thanks Craig) However the ‘rivalry’ factor between Aragorn and Boromir as King of Gondor was developed very well by Jackson. (“Gondor has no King, Gondor needs no King..Harumph!)

    Tolkien left a few things open for speculation, and Jackson ran with them very well. Take for example the Last Alliance scene, with Sauron swinging his club. (great scene BTW)However, in the books, Gil-Galad and Elendil (Isildur’s father) stepped forward, basically sacrificing themselves (perhaps through pre-arrangement) and distracting an enraged and provoked Sauron, while Isildur stepped up and cut the Ring from Sauron. As I see it, the Jackson way causes two continuity problems; how is it that a mere mortal was able to get the Ring from Sauron, (we know it was because of Gil-Galad and Elendil, but the film doesn’t show that). Later we see the scene where Elrond tries to get Isildur to throw the Ring into the fire. We see then and later Elrond’s simmering fury over Isildur’s refusal/failure. What we don’t see is one reason for it; Elrond just stood and watched Gilg-Galad and Elendil sacrifice themself for---Isildur to wear the Ring around his neck!! I would be furious too!! The movie doesn’t show this, tho. More on this later. And also, one of the big debates still raging among Tolkien fans/scholars is: “What happened to Sauron’s finger after it was cut?” Jackson goes through great pains-and several minutes of precious screen time-- to demonstate the finger’s fate---twice!! Huh? Jackson cut out Glorfindel, Gildor and Tom Bombadil/Goldberry for THAT? If one character is going to be put back into the movie before the DVD release, it should be Gil-Galad. That was such a wasted opportunity IMHO.

    Jackson and Bakshi both cut out Gildor, leading to the same continuity problem; the Black Rider has the hobbits cornered, in the tree roots hollow, then suddenly for no reason he walks away. Why? In the book, it was because of the presence of the Elves, and High-Elves at that. Why Jackson had to do the exact same wrong thing I cannot fathom. In addition to that, after taking great pains to show how small the Hobbits were compared to men(remember Gandalf bumping his head and sitting at the table at Bag-End?) ,and Black Riders seemed bigger than regular men, Jackson then proceeds to show the Hobbits OUTRUNNING mounted Black Riders from Mordor!! Hull-oooo…And one other thing with regard to that scene…there is no way that Tolkien’s Samwise Gamgee would have allowed Frodo to fall behind like that and be the last to jump on the ferry…Samwise would have been behind, and taken on the Black Riders all by himself while Frodo made it to the ferry. That's a BIIIG character departure there. I couldn’t help but think of the scene described in Bored of the Rings…the Black Riders thundering up to the gate and (what is supposed to be Glorfindel’s character) holding out his hand and saying “Toll please…”

    And I’m not even going to touch further the fact that the Elves are pointy-eared and blonde (they are neither in the book, except golden-haired elves of the house of Finarfin such as Galadriel---and likely Glorfindel, who was cut anyway!!) and the Hobbits are not pointy-eared (they are according to Tolkien). <groan>

    Personally, I thought that, just as with Bakshi, way too much precious screen time was taken up with the Black Riders and with the Battle of the Wizards. I would like to have seen less of these two scenes, and at least one eliminated character put back in with the extra time. Speaking of Wizards, while most of what went on at Orthanc was in the book (tho out of sequence) or at least alluded to, the scene where Saruman brags to Gandalf about his Palantir was totally added. Well we can already tell that the scene where Grima throws the palantir down to Gandalf will likely be altered. Hmmmph!!

    And as for Arwen’s expanded role…puh—lease!!! It was insulting that Elrond’s half-elven daughter could even come close to taking the place of the High-Elf Lord Glorfindel, the only elf ever to have died and been resurrected. (albeit as an afterthought) It has been hinted that this moment was the reason the Valar sent him back. And Jackson takes it away from him. It might have been more palatable if Arwen had shared the role with Glorfindel. And then to top it all off, instead of Elrond and Gandalf, ARWEN gets to call the river down on the Black Riders. One interesting thing tho; once Arwen crossed the river, the Black Riders just kind of stood there. Arwen could have just ridden away, but she raises her sword and taunts them. Thus angered and provoked, they then step into the river, and thus Arwen calls down the water on them, and buys Rivendell the time it needs to send the Ring on its way to Mordor. This happened the same way with Fingolfin and Morgoth (see ‘The Silmarillion) and with Sauron and Gil-Galad/Isildur. These Dark Lords just do not learn, do they?

    My friend that just saw the movie commented on the fact that Gandalf has his staff taken from him at Orthanc, and then it mysteriously reappears in Rivendall. Maybe he had a spare kept there…In all fairness, this actually occurs this way in the book as well. IN fact, I think we can safely assume that Gandalf loses his staff at Moria, but in the book reaapears in Rohan/Fangorn Forest with a new one. How many of those *&*& staffs did Gandalf HAVE, anyway? Of all the gazillion fixes Tolkien made in his books over the years, this wasn’t one of them. And as one of the rare incontinuities remaining in Tolkien’s works, Jackson just had to incorporate THIS ONE in his movie…? (thanks to Jeff for this one.)

    One of the complaints about the Bakshi film was Bakshi taking the 32 page (in my FOTR edition) Council of Elrond and condensing it to like 3 minutes in the film. In the Jackson version, does it last even that long? Were my eyes playing tricks on me, or was Arwen present and Bilbo not (the opposite of the book). In addition to that—and I really loved this-- the Council concludes, partly, with Gimli saying “And you have my axe.” WHAT AXE? He had just broken it over The One Ring!!!! Grrrrr….. Something else I didn’t like, was the fact that in the book Elrond struggled and agonized for two months over the choice of the remaining 2 companions of the Fellowship. Jackson condenses it to something like 5 seconds, and to near comedic quality at that.

    Not to mention which, Jackson went to great pains, with precious screen time, to show Boromir wonderingly fondling (and then carelessly tossing….eh?) the Shards of Narsil. Later in the movie, we see Aragorn swinging that beautiful long sword around, with no mention of the fact that this is the reforged Narsil now called Anduril. Just like Bakshi. <sigh>Interestingly, behind Aragorn, we see a painting of what probably is supposed to be Isildur and Sauron, but it could just as easily be Fingolfin and Morgoth.

    Which leads me to the next incontinuity. In the book, Merry and Eowyn in a concerted effort, kill the Witch-King. Just like ‘how did a mere mortal Isildur cut Sauron’s finger off’, ‘how did the mere hobbit Merry slice the Witch King’s leg’? We know how Isildur did it, but it was cut from the film story. We know how Merry did it, too. It was because of the particular blade (of Elvish/Numenorian make)that Tom Bombadil chose for him from the weapons cache at the Barow Downs. But since all that was cut from the film (both in the Rankin/Bass, the Bakshi AND the (so far) Jackson) this isn’t explained to us. All we see is Aragorn unwrapping a bunch of blades and distributing them to the hobbits. Yeah, as tho sword training was part of the normal cirriculum for Hobbiton schoolchildren!!! It should be interesting to see how Jackson carries this one off, or most likely just leaves it hanging like the Isildur/Sauron/Gil-Galad..etc, etc.

    Next up, and I feel this deserves special mention, is Elrond’s obvious hostility toward the race of men. (Thanks Jeff) Aside from the fact that this is a different character construction than Tolkien’s book, (OUR Elrond a racist? Nooooo, can’t be!!!) what would be the source of the hostility? Now, mind you, thinking back to the scene in Mt. Doom, where Elrond led Isildur, I can see the set-up for Elven/Numenorian poor race relations, and even the set-up for Elrond to be the disapproving father-in-law-to-be (My daughter Arwen will not marry a Numenorian <spit spit> unless---) but try and think back to the book here just a moment. To criticize the Numenorian race because Isildur didn’t destroy the Ring is not fair anyway (very unfair on Jackson’s part) and we’re conveniently forgetting that Aragorn is Elrond’s nephew (yes, Arwen is Aragorn’s great-great…etc. aunt!!!) , and also it was Elrond’s Elvish relatives that contributed to the CREATION of the RING to BEGIN with; but aside from all that, Jackson’s Elrond is the pot calling the kettle black---there he was in Mt. Doom, Isildur is there in front of him with the Ring, refusing to destroy it. Elrond now has to choose between his nephew Isildur or the welfare and future of Middle Earth, and what does HE do? Walks away instead of shoving Isildur –with Ring--into the lava like he SHOULD have. Hypocrite!!!

    By having Arwen give Aragorn her brooch directly in Rivendell, instead of him getting it from Galadriel at Lothlorien, Jackson loses a good opportunity here to compare the personalities of Elrond and his mother-in-law Galadriel. When Galadriel passes the brooch to Aragorn, she spoke in a way that was a lot more approving of her grandaughter Arwen’s choice of husband than Elrond did. There is expressed none of the same bad feeling between Galadriel’s Elven line and the Numenorians. By the same token, during the Council, Gimli hinted at bad blood between Elves and Dwarves, which there was in the book because relatives of both Celeborn and Elrond and Galadriel too, (who was her husband Celeborn’s own cousin by the way) for that matter, and also likely Legolas’s father Thranduil had been murdered by dwarves (but of a different line than Gimli’s). All of that was cut from the film anyway. We see only all this (mostly Elvish) discord floating around and none of the reasons for it.

    Someone commented on Bill the Pony’s ability to appear and disappear at will during the journey, up untill the Gates of Moria. I don’t recall seeing Bill on the snowy mountainside, but he was there in the book. (Thanks Richard)

    Something alluded to but not elucidated on in the book was the snowstorms on Caradhras. Gandalf states he simply doesn’t know where the ‘force’ comes from. Gandalf doesn’t seem to know a lot about this part of the world. Jackson decided to have Saruman be the reckoning force; however this presents a problem. If the mountain had a ‘personality’ or a ‘force’ of its own, all it would care about was getting the Fellowship (with or without the pony) off its mountain. It wouldn’t care if they all went back home, straight north to Mirkwood (Legolas’ home turf) or under the moutain. Saruman would care very much. Burying them under avalanches of snow or forcing the Fellowship into the Mines of Moria puts the Ring at a tremendous risk of being forever lost again, (or falling back into Sauron’s hands) and Saruman didn’t want the Ring lost. It seems a really unreasonably risky move on Saruman’s part. Why not let them go over Caradhas, and then start pounding on them again once on the other side. Saruman did do this in the book. We can only assume for the purposes of Jackson’s film Saruman didn’t count on them going into Moria.

    The cave-troll…I’m not even going there. I personally thought he was a very poor substitute for the Great Orc Chieften, who had a grudge against Frodo on account of Bilbo and Gandalf killing an Orc (Goblin) leader over fifty years earlier. The Cave Troll had no grudge. However, Jackson did one good thing; in the book, mention was made of the fact that the Watchter in the Water and the Orc Chieftan(substituted for here by the Cave Troll) made a beeline straight for Frodo out of all the members of the Fellowship. Jackson brought this out very well in the movie, and without taking up any extra dialogue or screen time.

    One big incontinuity in Tolkien’s work is the Gate inscription “The Mines of Moria”. You see, Moria is a derrogatroy term for the great Kingdom of the Dwarves, and yet this door was built and inscribed at the time of the greatest friendship between Elves and Dwarves in Middle Earth. It wasn’t named ‘Moria’ untill much later. So why ‘Moria’ on the door? So this is another example of Jackson weirdly changing stuff around from book to movie, EXCEPT some instances where the book contained REAL incongruities; then those are left IN the film story!!!!!

    At Moria is where the worst of the dialogue changing, to me anyway, takes place. In the book and in Bakshi, Aragorn doesn’t want to go into Moria; in Jackson, it is Gandalf who does not wish to go. Gimli keeps going on and on about his cousins in the Mine, but in the book, they were practically assumed dead. In the book Gandalf finally figures out the Elvish word for ‘friend’ is the password, but in Jackson it is Frodo. In the book, it was Boromir who threw the stone in the water; in Jackson it was the hapless Pippin that takes the rap for disturbing the Watchter. But to make up for it, instead of deliberately throwing a stone into the well inside the mine, Pippin accidently sends the armored skeleton into the well, possibly waking up the Balrog. In the book it is Legolas who first identifies the Balrog; in Bakshi and in Jackson, Gandalf does.

    And about Gandalf’s death scene; in the book, it is plainly clear that the Balrog intentionally drags Gandalf down with him into the abyss. “He grapsed vainly at the stone.” Jackson has Gandalf hanging for a while by his hands, clearly able to pull himself up and be rescued; then he very plainly releases himself and goes into the abyss. It came across to me in every way that Gandalf THREW himnself down after the Balrog.

    I have yet to meet someone who did not think that the Fellowship grieving scene was beautifully done. Peter Jackson, I salute you for this scene if for no other!!!

    Lothlorien was beautifully done, if a tad dark I thought. Some interesting deviation from the book; Tolkien had the Fellowship ascend to Galadriel and Celeborn up a ladder; Jackson had them go up a spiral staircase, which was a beautiful scene to watch. Also, the scene where Galadriel tells Frodo that one by one, all the Fellowship will be ‘taken’ by the Ring. This scene was well done, and connects very well with the breaking of the Fellowship that will soon come. Another salute!!!

    Not only does Sam not get to look into the mirror of Galadriel, but Legolas doesn’t get his new Great Elven Bow of Lorien and quiver, I couldn’t tell if they got new cloaks or not, they did get their brooches. Legolas doesn’t get to shoot down his Nazgul; you might recall this is what buys Gandalf and other free peopels some extra time when they were in crises.

    I couldn’t help but think, when watching the ‘fairwell to Lothlorien’ scene, and later, as the Fellowship paddled down the river in their elven boats, how interesting this scene really was if its background was known. It is hinted at later that hobbits don’t swim, but I thought about the fact that Frodo’s parents were killed in a boating accident. It’s especially poignant to see a Hobbit in a boat on a river in the first place, but this was especially so knowing Frodo’s history. The death of Frodo’s parents contributed to Biblbo’s adoption of Frodo, which led to Frodo inheriting the Ring from Biblo, which led to The Fellowship of the Ring. Middle Earth is a small world sometimes, something Tolkien much delighted in bringing out.

    And another salute to Jackson: the Argonath scene was beautifully done, a pleasure to watch.

    Quite a bit was changed around at the breaking of the fellowship and the death of Boromir, but it was all well done. Strangely, in the book Frodo quietly takes off, but in the movie, he gets to say goodbye to practically everyone. The scene with Aragorn..”I would have gone to Mordor with you..” yea, and then what? Pitch Frodo into the lava like should have been done with Isildur? See, Aragorn made up his mind not to go to Mordor, even BEFORE Boromir made Aragorn promise to go to Minas Tirith instead…a bit of a ‘oops’ here. One interesting deviation, something I had to look up in the book when I got home. In the book, Sam sees a boat paddling itself away from shore, and he leaps for the boat and misses, and has to be rescued by Frodo. But in the movie, it looks for all the world as though Sam deliberately stepped into the water, where he knew he couldn’t swim, thereby manipulating Frodo into turning back and rescuing him. That was the whole point of Frodo slipping away secretly in the book in the first place; his character structure was such that he couldn’t say goodby to his friends. But the Uruk-Hai was fabulous.

    There is the matter of Legolas’ never-empty quiver of arrows. After the big battle in the mines of Moria, Legolas has arrows remaining in his quiver. After the battle with the orcs, Legolas still has arrows in his quiver. Kind of like Gandalf’s never ending supply of staffs…. Also, even tho we plainly see Saruman instruct the orcs to bring back the hobbits unharmed and unspoiled, we vividly see an orc make a running strike at a hobbit, saved only by Boromir. The Uruk-Hai was really falling down on the job here.

    In the book, the relationship between Legolas and Aragorn takes a dramatic change here. It was Legolas who took over the lead for the most part(perhaps because of Aragorn’s grief?), campaigning for Boromir’s funeral and to go after Merry and Pippin, and it stays this way untill they meet up with the Riders of Rohan Jackson keeps the relationship unchanged at this point.

    The movie ended with Sam and Frodo contemplating the plain of Gorgoroth I believe it is, looking toward Mt. Doom. This is one of the few scenes in the movie above criticism. Another salute….

    In 1975 a crack team of publishers was sentenced to death by a judicial commiteee. They promptly escaped from the cult and now live life on the run. If you have a problem ... and if you can find them ... maybe you can contact the A--postate Team"

  • LB

    I've never read a LOTR's book so this was all new to me. I can say I enjoyed the movie, until the ending. That really left me hanging. Now I know there are two sequels coming out, but come on. That was weak. Most people in the theater felt as I did. At least the ones I overheard. Right in the middle of the scene, the credits roll.

    Oh well, I think I'll wait for the DVD on the next one.

    Never Squat With Yer Spurs On

  • waiting

    Never read the books. Enjoyed the movie a lot, along with my husband.
    Looking forward to the next 2 installments.


  • DIM

    I've read the series 10 times or so, and I can say that I loved certain aspects of the movie and absolutely detested certain parts. The whole creation of the Uruk-Hai orcs was awful as was the fight between gandalf and sauraman....i also felt they over dramatized the ring wraiths...maybe i'll see it again, but i'm not sure right now.

    i'm sick and tired of hearing things from uptight-short-sighted-narrow minded hypocritics. all i want is the truth just gimme some truth - John Lennon

  • Abaddon
    The hardest thing to do, I think, must be to make a movie and get it sold, when everyone already knows the ending. Jackson took a shot at this with LOTR and he did a great job with a difficult task, or at least that aspect of it. In addition, the unabridged audiobook The Fellowship of the Ring is something like eleven hours, and somehow Jackson cut that time down to just under three. No matter who or what Jackson cut out to do that, he was going to make somebody unhappy, so according to him, he just made himself happy.

    Yet again, a great British institution (LotR) is taken by a 'foreigner', and given what it needs (just like the Globe Theatre in London). Good for him, I don't think it realistically could have been done better, and the cartoon sucked to high heaven. I agree there is no way Jackson could please everybody, but I 'get' most of his compromises and changes. I agree that it is very well paced, and the sets are wonderfully detailed and appropriate.

    I think a complete 'Tolkien' Sam would be a little silly to a modern audience; far too much hat twisting and forelock pulling. As it is, it seems that Frodo and Sam have a very David and Jonathon thing going on in the film. So I'm happy that Sam is more of an individual, rather than a menial, as him burbling 'Sorry Mr Frodo' every five feet would be dull.

    Gimli and Legolas bitch far too much in the book. Maybe The Twin Towers will explore this more, as in the books, but I agree a couple of Gimli to Legolas conversations would have been truer to the film, like, one to establish the antipathy clearly, followed by more moderate ones in Moria and Lothlorien. Legolas does seem to have a magic quiver, doesn't he? One 15 second shot of him reclaiming arrows in the background whilst the others are doing something else would help with this, but it's not a biggie, and is a problem in most films involving projectile weapons; an SMG empties in two seconds if you hold the trigger down, and I can think of many films where this is accurately portrayed, and don't even talk about Westerns!! You make a very good point about the Aragon and Legolas dynamic.

    I think that the Frodo-Gandalf and Aragon-Bormoir relationships are done excellently.

    I think you actually see Gil-Galad and Elendil being mown down in the film, before Isildur gets knocked down before getting a sly one in with a shard of Narsil, but it doesn't explain it in detail, using a more montage style. Although Sauron is no ordinary mortal, 'all' he is is a Maiar, just like Gandalf and Saruman. The ring-wraith offed by Eowyn and Merry is 'just' a mortal (with jewellery). I'm not troubled by this. And Elrond would not chuck Isildur into Mount Doom, it's just so un-Elrond, let alone un-Elvish.

    As for the big absences; I knew Bombadil wouldn't get in, I just couldn't figure it 'working'. This means no barrow-wrights, no wicked special blade for offing ring-wraiths, but that's kind of okay as long as you forget the ring-wraith dies because of the special blade in the book. Of course, we might get more back story of the blade later on, but I don't see a need.

    The start of the quest, the flight from the Shire, misses out the Farmer, and the sale of Bagend, and Fatty, and gets them into a direct confrontation with a ring-wraith that they don't get rescued from by Gildor and Co. turning up. There is a line of dialogue in the film that explains the Black Riders perceptions, and this means the film makes sence, even if it differs from the book; we can't expect consonance between the film and the book, only internal logic. Thus no "Water hot is a wonderful thing indeed", or any other songs really, which I think most people are glad about. If Bombadil was still in they'd of had to of made it a musical, which would be silly.

    Arwen is cleverly done, I think; yeah, if you've read the book it's like "This ain't Glorfindel", and "She doesn't so that", but it leads to a more linear narrative line, which is essential to keep the time down. It differs from the book, but it lacks suckage, and the 'love-interest' it gives is fully supported by the Appendices. If you stop thinking a 'young' half-eve girl coun;t take the place of Florfindel, then it fits, it's only if you want everything to be like the book that it causes major problems.

    As for casting and appearance, I actaully think Aragon and Boromir look too similar, but Aragon is perfect for the part (at least he had my girlfriend sliding of her seat). Sean Bean does well as Bormir, but isn;t fab. Gandalf is great, Saruman faultless. Frodo I like, but others I know differ on this. Galadriel just about works, although I'd have gone for Tori Amos instead, with Claire Danes as Arwen, but Liv will do me. Elrond is good, as are Gimili and Legolas. The other hobbits are okay too.

    The 'look' of the races, well the Dwarves are perfect, the Elves are fine by me; thank god the Elves aren't too gay (if you know what I mean). Hobbits are meant to be somehow decended or related to Men, so them not having pointy ears is fine too. The beasties are great, with the Balrog getting full marks.

    The chase of the Black Riders was a little long, but I think the handling of Gandalf and Saruman's fight was excellent; go stick your Quiddich where the sun don't shine Ms. Rowling, this is real magic! The bragging about the Plantir is completely neccesary given the film is more sequential than the book, which consisted of episodic sections of each narrative line; the use of the Plantir by Saruman is only explained much later ib the books, but makes sense where it is.

    I noticed the thing about Gandalf's staff too; one assume he can make new staves if neccesary, as they are not given the prominence of rings; maybe he used Narya (his ring). Him getting it back apre-Balrog is no problem, as the Valar could sort that, no problem.

    I also noticed the axe thing with Gimli, but he used a big double-blader to try and destroy the ring (I think), and was holding a smaller single bladed job when he offered his axe... I could be worng about this, as I've only seen it once thus far... The Coucil is an obvious area to cut time, so I've no beef with this, as doing it true to book would make it drag.

    I was waiting for the "See the sword that was broken..." bit too... pity, it's cool.

    But as Gimil is throwing daggers (I think), Aragon has a bow (not in the book I think), and the hobbits get impromptu combat training, it's just a difference, not a problem, although Bill the magic pony is a tad silly and against 'internal' logic - whereas the snow-storm sent by Sauruman does, for me fit. Burying them under avalenches means you wait to spring... it's not like he has an orc-power problem!!

    I was happy with the cave troll, but you're right, I don't know why it was changed from the chieftan. However, I think in the film, the combat abilities of the fellowship are elevated somewhat above that in the book; they do go through Orcs like a strimmer through long grass, where as in the book I recall they run more...

    The Gate to Moria is easily solved; there's a drawing of it by Tolkien in the book; it's one thing EVERYONE know the appearance of. I wouldn't change it, even if it doesn't make sense within the full time-frame of Middle Earth, it's fine for the LotR. However, I don't know whay Gimli had such a hard-on for going to Moria, and why the expectations of the party in Moria (Gimli expected a normal dwarf city, not lots of little skeletons) is so different from the book.

    Some of the dialogue switches are pointless, you're right. But Gandalf was clinging to a isolated remnant of the bridge, and I assumed he was (being a well-hard Maiar under the hat) holding on for a moment with a Balrog holding on to him via the whip around the ankle, before falling. I could be worng.

    The final scenes are done well, although they depart from the book by a large degree. It's more consistant with the idea of what wearing the ring is like for Frodo not to use it unless he had too, and him kind-of explaining why he was going means the splitting of the fellowship makes more sence to those that haven't read the book, and for the start of the Twin Towers. Without the changes, people who hadn't read the book would be lost why Gimli, Aragon and Leglas were off in pusuit of Pippin and Merry, rather than finding the ring-dude. As it stands, it fits.

    I think your review was absolutely excellent though... I've been dying to have an in-depth natter about it.

    Jackson has made a very good conversion, I can't recall of a more challanging page to screen job better done. If you allow each work (book and film) to stand in their own space, his efforts are even more outstanding, as he has more or less managed to provide a very fair version of the story with consistant internal logic, that can please most fans, delight those who read it once ages ago, and entertain (and, best off all, get in the bookshop) those who have never read it.

    Also, no one says 'keen are the eyes of Elves'; this is a vastly over-used phrase in LotR (at least three occasions, it's a running joke). He also doesn't use the word 'gleam', which Tolkien had a great affection for, and possibly over-used.

    People living in glass paradigms shouldn't throw stones...

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