Sorry, Tolkien purists, but I LIKE the movies!

United States
June 17, 2009 7:55am CST
I've always liked a good story, and I love J.R.R Tolkien's timeless tales. But, unlike many who critcize the movies for not being completely faithful to the books, I say, "So what if they're not entirely faithful?" Tolkien himself would be the first to admit that there is more than one version of the story out there. He was constantly rewriting his own works, because he was never satisfied with them. And he himself said that there the "Red Book" wasn't the only version of the story. My take on the movies is this; Tolkien invented a fictional tale, and in so doing, invites the reader to suspend disbelief, and accept his fiction as a reality. Well, within that reality there would be many chroniclers who would hand down the story, including Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, and Samwise Gamgee. These three characters become the main "sources" for what Tolkien calls "The Red Book". Now, let's suspend our disbelief, and assume that this work of fiction is real, so that we may be drawn in, as the author intends. As we explore his world, we come to the knowledge that The Red Book is not the only version of the story out there. We learn that there is also the Thain's Book, written in the Fourth Age,with annotations and corrections added in Minas Tirith, as well as Findegil's copy of the Thain's Book, written even later. These latter works are presumably the finalized versions of the story. But what if there were other versions floating around? Perhaps even oral versions, told by some story teller who added his or her own details, to enliven the story? He or she may have left out some details, while adding others. Said story teller, or possibly even story tellers, may even have had information that Frodo may have missed, such as elves at Helm's Deep. And maybe some of Frodo's information was mistaken. As just one example, if we were to assume that the Rohirrim were in fact a Germanic people, whose culture was similar in many respects to that of the Anglo-Saxons', then wouldn't Eomer being banished make more sense than his having been put under house arrest? It certainly makes for a more exciting tale from a story teller's point of view. And, let's face it. cinema is more akin to story telling than it is to literature. Peter Jackson's version of the tale is more in keeping with an oral tale based on the events than an actual written historical account of the same events. So it deviates from the original. Again, so what? I myself am a story teller, and I can tell you from experience, that each story teller tells the same story in a slightly different way. I would tell Jack and the Beanstalk differently than either Benjamin Tabart or Joseph Jacobs, but the tale would remain essentially the same. That's how I lok at Peter Jackson's works. They are told differently than the original, but they remain the same tale in essence.
2 people like this
4 responses
@ElicBxn (60185)
• United States
17 Jun 09
You try and take over a thousand pages of story and put it into 3 movies. Lots of really great movies can be made from a short story. trying to put a novel into a film you are going to lose things. I've heard people complain (the "b" word actually) that the movie didn't have Tom Bombadil in it. Well, Tom Bombadil only had a tiny role in the first book, so, I think its absence is totally necessary to carry the story without additional complications. A movie needs to be as direct as possible, not too many distractions. Just like leaving out the whole "house elf liberation" stuff from the Harry Potter movies. Heck, I'd've been happy to have it left out of the books as well.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84157)
• Shingle Springs, California
17 Jun 09
Leaving Tom Bombadil out didn't hurt the movies at all. I liked dear old Tom, but I'll happily remember him from the books!
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84157)
• Shingle Springs, California
17 Jun 09
I loved the books, loved the movies too. I can't even imagine how hard it must have been to put that on film and do such a good job of it. My only quibble with the movies was the part where they had Elrond sending his daughter away to the havens and emphasizing aspects of the romance between Aragorn and Arwen where it didn't fit. But this is a complaint that I have with most movies (especially book adaptations). It seems to be almost a requirement to have a romance. If there wasn't one there, put it in. If there was one, play it up way more than the book did. But still, Peter Jackson did an awesome job.
@jedopi (401)
• Canada
17 Jun 09
Actually if you read the books there was a romance between Aragorn and Arwen. What I did not like was the way they made it seem as if Aragorn was trying to decide between Arwen and Eowyn. That definitely did not happen in the books.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84157)
• Shingle Springs, California
17 Jun 09
I've read the books 32 times and of course there was a romance - they eventually married and had children. The point is that in the movies the romance was presented differently than it was in the books, made more prominent in the story by showing Arwen in situations that weren't mentioned in the book at all.
@dawnald (84157)
• Shingle Springs, California
17 Jun 09
I have read the books many times, but only seen the movies twice. I'll have to grab some copies of the extended versions so that I can see what you're talking about with them!
@zzyw87 (1260)
• Philippines
18 Jun 09
I have to agree with you. I read the book and also saw the trilogy. Though there were a lot of changes and deviations, it is okay with me. The essence of the story is still present in the movie. Also, the effects were simply superb. For me,the film was able to bring the book alive. I personally think the LOTR trilogy was a very good adaptation compared to other books made into movies.
@Bionicman (3967)
• Czech Republic
18 Jun 09
I think that LOTR movies are as good as it gets and we are lucky that Peter Jackson made them and not somebody else because it could've end up differently. Remember D&D movie? That was a true disaster. I liked the movies as much as I liked the books, maybe even more. I think he captured the most important story parts and some things like Tom Bombadil would look too silly in a movie.