Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

The Hobbit is in production as 3 separate films, and will be released 1 year apart, with the first due December 2012. Head in to discuss your thoughts and reactions, and post any questions you might have about these films.

Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby campkennedy » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:24 am

A curiosity question... I have been trying to read over and through a few of the many topics that are available to discuss and share on the specifics about Hobbit/ LOTR subjects... I think it's quite interesting to see and hear what others think and feel regarding this subject matter, because it is such a passioned issue. So many have been acquainted with and have read these wonderful accounts of Bilbo years before Peter Jackson released the movies... All of us have read stories of something and imagined it to be one way or another in our mind... That's the beauty of storytelling and of a creative visual-imagination, bringing something to life.
So, I believe my question is definitely an opinion kind of one... What's the general consensus? Have these movies 'Hobbit'/ 'Lord of the Rings' had an overall positive impact on reflecting Tolkiens work or have they taken a bit away from the integrity of what so many have come to love? I know that for me the movies, starting with LOTR, introduced me to a world that I was unfamiliar with, so I am most grateful! They are a gift, a door opened to a much larger Tolkien World. One that I want to read more about. Though, I will pretty much always see the main/ supporting characters the same way as was on the screen... I can maybe understand where one would feel a sense of being robbed a bit there, the before and after effect. I am just curious because what little bit I have been able to read, relays positivity for a/ the film(s) in general or at the very least, perhaps to a specific respective character(s). For others, there maybe is a sense of disappointment or some confusion... I understand that the huge undertaking of trying to tell these stories on screen must have posed quite a challenge to try and adapt Tolkiens writing into screenplays. However, I also understand that there is a paramount responsibility to own and remain true to, in this case, the most well known of the Middle Earth stories. Is/ are there perhaps a couple of the movies that best illustrate this, giving a true feel for the original story? Look forward to hearing from all/ anyone. Thank you
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby here2fore » Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:32 pm

Have these movies 'Hobbit'/ 'Lord of the Rings' had an overall positive impact on reflecting Tolkiens work or have they taken a bit away from the integrity of what so many have come to love?


Welcome to the world of the Tolkien/Peter Jackson debate. I'm sure you realize that you're a bit late to the party, which is fairly over. However, since it seems that you haven't yet read the novels, I envy you. A great world awaits you! You might find The Hobbit as it is: a tale written by JRR Tolkien for children. That all changes when you get to the trilogy, Lord of the Rings.

This forum was once the happening place during Jackson's roll-out of the LOTR films. I was quite involved, under another username that somehow got lost in the transition from the old site to this site. Anyway, per your question, fans of Tolkien's work discussed and debated the issue to no end this century. Most of us were pleased by the first installment, Fellowship of the Rings. It was well done, and we were grateful that it was done at all. The camps of debate were awkwardly described as Purists vs. Revisionists.

Bear in mind that no one expected that Jackson could match the genius of Tolkien. And with FOTR, we only (kindly, I think) nitpicked at Jackson for snubbing Tom Bombadil. Or for erasing Glorfindel (sniff). There is even one member here (wildwood) who refused to watch the movies at all. We love her :-)

Anyway, it's been 15 years of discussions, and the last film is out. But The Hobbit films never engendered the passionate discussions that the LOTR films did, mostly because TH was a children's tale, a small part of the universe of Middle Earth. For my part, I had hoped Jackson would have mined the appendices in the Return of the King far more, and more accurately, than he did. As a bit of a Purist, I think Jackson missed an opportunity, and instead made stuff up that paled in comparison with Tolkien's backstory. Read the books and decide for yourself.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby campkennedy » Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:44 pm

Excellent reply, here2fore! I very much appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. Gives me much to think about as I read through Tolkien's books now after having watched all of Jackson's movies. As I read through and begin to learn more about Tolkien's world, Middle Earth, I realize that there are differences, changes and omissions. I figured that this would most definitely lead to controversy between, as you identified it, purists and revisionists. I know that I and perhaps others like me, are in a new place; having been introduced to ME by Jackson, but now desire to continue on and learn more about these same (and other) stories through the books, reading them for ourselves. Kind of makes it seem a little backwards, but still believe it a gift and am grateful! It will work...
About being late to the party... Yeah, I definitely realize that too. Wish I had found this forum a few years back. However, I will continue to enjoy what I can and will always look forward to, as well as appreciate, everyone's time and patience for replying to my questions... Questions and thoughts from an excited Middle Earth fan and 'Newbie' to the group! All the best.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:25 am

campkennedy, a Tolkien fan is never late. He (or she) arrives exactly when she (or he) is meant to.

Welcome to the world of Arda. I envy you your journey of discovery.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby campkennedy » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:17 pm

Hey, I like that! Very cool, Voronwe_the_Faithful... And, true! Ties it in nicely and gives perspective. Thanks
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby Diamond of Long Cleeve » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:59 am

Voronwe_the_Faithful wrote:campkennedy, a Tolkien fan is never late. He (or she) arrives exactly when she (or he) is meant to.


:D :clap:

Welcome to TORC, campkennedy! I don’t post much here anymore, only now and then, but I hope you’ve found the Adoptions thread and of course there’s Talk, as well.

I’ve been an ardent Tolkien fan since my schoolteacher read me The Hobbit. I read LotR when I was 21, and fell passionately in love with it. I have since read The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Tales of the Perilous Realm, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, bits of HOME and this summer I read The Children of Hurin and absolutely loved it. Next on my Tolkien-related list to read is John Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War.

For years I secretly longed for a really good film treatment of LotR, but thought that a) the book was too long, with too many characters, for any film director to take on; and b) in a pre-CGI era, I didn’t see how hobbits could be portrayed in a convincing way on screen that didn’t make them look silly. I disliked the 1978 Bakshi cartoon. It just didn’t cut the mustard for me at all.

I loved the very fine radio dramatisation that the BBC did, back in 1981 – starring Ian Holm as Frodo! And Bill Nighy as Sam (he is the best Sam ever). And a host of other classically trained actors. It’s in 13 hour-long episodes, and it is by far the most faithful dramatisation. It’s also very atmospheric.

Fast forward to 2001. I have greatly enjoyed PJ’s films. Yes, they take liberties with canon – of course most dramatisations do (some far worse than others). Yes, there are things that annoy me. One of my beefs is Film Frodo’s characterisation. Elijah captured Frodo’s purity of spirit, but I miss Book Frodo’s maturity, wisdom and greater courage.

But I have enjoyed both the LotR and Hobbit trilogies, despite some heresies and silly moments, and WETA simply rock my world. The art design and production values for these films have been absolutely superb. Howard Shore’s LotR score is one of the greatest film scores of all time.

The overall reception by Tolkien fandom to the LotR films was pretty positive. Of course there are those who dislike them but many Tolkien fans I knew in RL, not just messageboard people, really liked these films.

The Hobbit films have been more controversial. The general consensus is that it was daft to spread the material over THREE films. Some who loved the LotR films seem to have found the Hobbit films a bit soul-less in comparison.

That’s not how I feel about them though. I still think three films was unnecessary. But I don’t mind The Hobbit being given a darker, more epic treatment – that ties it to the wider legendarium. I could do without some of the sillier lines!

The actors’ portrayals, much as I love them, have never interfered with my reading of the text. I do sometimes hear McKellan’s voice when I read Gandalf’s words though. Or Michael Hordern’s! – he played Gandalf in the 1981 BBC radio LotR.

I think it’s great that so many people have come to the books through the films. :) The films have many lovely things about them ... but Tolkien’s writing, and profoundly beautiful artistic vision, will take you to far greater depths. 8) A wonderful world awaits you! :)
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby campkennedy » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:28 pm

I am pleased about the warm reception with which I/ my post has received...! I thank everyone for sharing their time and thoughts. I look forward to having an opportunity to interact with everyone much more as the world of Tolkien is discussed. Thank you also for your recommendation. I have found the Adoptions thread, looked it over and am seriously considering it as I transition into TORC.
I do remember the Bakshi cartoon, but did not know about the BBC LOTR radio-drama... That is very interesting and will have to look that up... Perhaps Amazon has it available?
I also agree about WETA and Howard Shore... What a fantastic visual world they (WETA) created... Yes, "Superb"! Depth, color, attention to detail! And, Howard Shore brilliantly composed a score to connect us all to ME.
I am very satisfied with my introduction into this world and like I mentioned before, will always see the faces of the film cast as I read through the adventures of Bilbo, Gandalf and all of the others... But, for all of the characters not shown to us in the films, such as Tom Bombadil and Glorfindel, it will be up to my imagination to create their faces and voices. I am thrilled about what new discoveries that await me! All the best to you, Diamond of Long Cleeve...
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby Salmacis81 » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:32 pm

campkennedy wrote:A curiosity question... I have been trying to read over and through a few of the many topics that are available to discuss and share on the specifics about Hobbit/ LOTR subjects... I think it's quite interesting to see and hear what others think and feel regarding this subject matter, because it is such a passioned issue. So many have been acquainted with and have read these wonderful accounts of Bilbo years before Peter Jackson released the movies... All of us have read stories of something and imagined it to be one way or another in our mind... That's the beauty of storytelling and of a creative visual-imagination, bringing something to life.
So, I believe my question is definitely an opinion kind of one... What's the general consensus? Have these movies 'Hobbit'/ 'Lord of the Rings' had an overall positive impact on reflecting Tolkiens work or have they taken a bit away from the integrity of what so many have come to love? I know that for me the movies, starting with LOTR, introduced me to a world that I was unfamiliar with, so I am most grateful! They are a gift, a door opened to a much larger Tolkien World. One that I want to read more about. Though, I will pretty much always see the main/ supporting characters the same way as was on the screen... I can maybe understand where one would feel a sense of being robbed a bit there, the before and after effect. I am just curious because what little bit I have been able to read, relays positivity for a/ the film(s) in general or at the very least, perhaps to a specific respective character(s). For others, there maybe is a sense of disappointment or some confusion... I understand that the huge undertaking of trying to tell these stories on screen must have posed quite a challenge to try and adapt Tolkiens writing into screenplays. However, I also understand that there is a paramount responsibility to own and remain true to, in this case, the most well known of the Middle Earth stories. Is/ are there perhaps a couple of the movies that best illustrate this, giving a true feel for the original story? Look forward to hearing from all/ anyone. Thank you


My own personal opinion is that while Jackson made a few missteps with the LotR trilogy (omitting "The Scouring of the Shire" tops my list), all-in-all I felt he stayed pretty true to the story. He left out much more than he added, and his additions did not grate on my nerves like the ones in The Hobbit trilogy (aside from the "Arwen is dying" silliness). Plus I thought the cinematography was outstanding, just the right mix of practical and CGI effects. With The Hobbit, he expanded the story into three films, but still left out things from the books, replacing them with his own made-up material (most of which makes me cringe). I hated that they took Azog, a character who was supposed to have been dead for nearly 200 years, and made him the major antagonist of the entire trilogy. I hated that they made such a huge deal out of characters that weren't even in the book (Legolas, Tauriel, Alfrid), but couldn't find the time to include Thorin's funeral, Dain becoming King, or Beorn turning the tide of the battle. I hated that they made Galadriel appear more powerful than both Sauron and the Istari. I hated that they did away with so many of the wonderful practical effects and costumes from the LotR trilogy and went into overload with the CGI in TH. All of these things I mentioned have severely hampered my enjoyment of this Hobbit trilogy.

As far as any sort of "consensus", the reactions to The Hobbit have been much more mixed than those of LotR, you'll see that just from looking at forums, critical reviews, fan reviews, etc. As for my own anecdotal evidence, pretty much all of my Tolkien-fan friends loved the LotR films, and one friend really liked the Hobbit films, but most are of like-mind with me and consider TH trilogy to be a massive disappointment.
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Re: Tolkiens Stories

Postby markkur » Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:58 am

This will sound quite smug (however I'm holding a plate of warm buttered-scones) but if I were where you stand...I'd forget that movies were ever made or that deeper looks have been taken by anyone...for now. Maybe do a week of eye-ball-purging and word-meditation or maybe see If you can borrow that handy palm-laser-pencil from MiB. :)

This is my shared sentiment but in "On Fairy Stories" JRRT put what we all know into words; "If I were to go to see some local Drama I wouldn't read a lot from Drama critics, etc." He said something to that effect anyway. "To go there is to spoil the magic."

Remember Mind over Matter If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. <L>

Enjoy the Adventure as it was...is.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby SaturnR » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:45 pm

I've only read Hobbit so cannot comment on LOTR. After seeing most recent film, agree they should have stuck with 2 films not 3. Third film was good but a misnomer. My biggest gripe is the lack of the Hobbit in a film titled The Hobbit.

Tonally book and film are completely different so can't say thatone added to or lessened the other. They are equally good as pop culture/genre pieces but don't feel like they come from the same universe. I did enjoy the first film immensely. And was fine with most of the other additions. The lack of Bilbo in the last film is my main problem with it.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby andurilwest » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:36 am

"Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth."
-- Bob Dylan
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby Voronwe_the_Faithful » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:53 pm

No reason to get excited ... .
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby Naeth Dúlinn » Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:03 pm

My view on the movies is that I think they are good as a separate piece of art from Tolkien's works. Jackson did a few forgivable changes such as adding things found in The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales, however, he did a few things I think were useless embellishment to appeal to pop industry. Tauriel and Fili was just wrong. No where is Tauriel even written of, let alone written about being romantically involved with Fili. Same thing with the useless changes that were completely illogical, (I.E. the troll situation was changed) I think comparing it to the book, its trash. Alone, it's tolerable. Though one pet peeve I have is speaking with people and they say they are Tolkien fans and then I ask them what they've read and they say they've only seen the movies.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby RAY » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:09 am

The second film of the Hobbit trilogy kind of left me scratching my head at some of the additions or should I say changes. I know we've talked about this elsewhere about the movies being only based on, or adapted from the book. After watching the dwarves inside the mountain running around and being chased by Smaug I could only think how silly this looked. Now this is just my opinion and everyone has one and is entitled to it. I am one of those that read the books over 30 years ago and I guess I have my own ideas when it comes to what I would like to see in a film. We all watch the films and for each individual there is most likely going to be different reactions, views and responses.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby markkur » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:33 am

Naeth Dúlinn wrote: Though one pet peeve I have is speaking with people and they say they are Tolkien fans and then I ask them what they've read and they say they've only seen the movies.


I think that truly dictates the perception of good or bad. I've read very few good reviews (some so-so) from fans of the books but by contrast, many movie-goers that don't read books are often (not always) quite pleased every step of the way and cannot understand so much <ahem> bad-press.

Related. With every passing generation and the growing loss of reading for pleasure, we lose more ability for independent imagination that is replaced by minds that need...feeding. The whole "video killed the radio star" has not been without detrimental effect.

<Imo> This is why two of the Dwarves ended up w/o prosthetics and being Rock-Star-Poster-Boys and also the added love-story. Nothing new here, I mean almost every nasty gritty war-movie made in the golden-years of Hollywood always had to have some element of love interest, You know the drill, blood and guts everywhere but yet some guy and gal are falling-in-love; Jackson actually took a step back in time. <L>

My pet-peeve; I see Dylan being quoted, well as a he was not a "pretty-boy" (or girl) today he would be regulated to only selling his songs.
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Re: Jackson's Films and Tolkiens Stories

Postby Avoreth » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:19 pm

Hi Campkennedy! Just a little piece of advise, from a humble fan: Do not read the books with the faces, voices, buildings and landscapes of the films in mind. Create your own images and sounds basing on what your read, using your own imagination. You will enjoy the books (any book) much more.

No, I don't envy you. It's a really hard thing to do and it could spoil the emotions and distort the story if you don't try hard.

Other than that, Enjoy the stories, you won't read anything like this in terms of fantasy, ever again.

:)
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