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Gripes about LOTR films

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  • herenistarion
    Hey all, Anthony here-- We have following with great interest the debate mythsoc has on the LOTR films, I especially love David Bratmans comments and those we
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 7, 2003
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      Hey all,
      Anthony here--
      We have following with great interest the debate mythsoc has on the
      LOTR films, I especially love David Bratmans comments and those we
      spoke with at MythCon, well to add more fuel to the proverbial fire
      we were asked (Jessica and I) to review the following two titles

      The Lord of the Rings:Weapons and Warfare by Chris Smith
      http://www.herenistarion.org/ROTKWWReview.html

      The Return of the King Visual Companion by Jude Fisher
      http://www.herenistarion.org/ROTKVC.html

      Jessica did the ROTK title which is pretty scathing toward the author
      and the other I did, which I include some interesting film spoilers
      from the title concerning Aragorn and the Mouth of Sauron. We have
      pretty much had it with blatant changes in the text since film one,
      but have been pretty tolerant in my opinion but the "spoilers" I
      write of are over the top, aside from the TTT, but don't get me
      started on that,
      In Fellowship,
      Anthony
      www.herenistarion.org
    • David S. Bratman
      Interesting. I was particularly amused by Jessica s account of Jude Fisher painting Tolkien as some kind of incompetent writer. Certainly there are parts of
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 7, 2003
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        Interesting. I was particularly amused by Jessica's account of Jude Fisher
        painting Tolkien as some kind of incompetent writer. Certainly there are
        parts of LOTR which could stand literary improvement, and you don't have to
        be a good writer yourself to say so; but I see this as part of a campaign,
        which I've noted here before ("Re: TTT review, startling statement",
        1/12/03), to claim that Jackson has improved a lousy old book that nobody
        ever really liked much anyway.

        - David Bratman
      • ftl_publications
        ... have to ... campaign, ... nobody ... I feel this is, in part, a case where Jackson and Jackson s defenders are apologizing (that s not apologizing as in
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 9, 2003
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          --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@e...>
          wrote:
          >Certainly there are
          > parts of LOTR which could stand literary improvement, and you don't
          have to
          > be a good writer yourself to say so; but I see this as part of a
          campaign,
          > which I've noted here before ("Re: TTT review, startling statement",
          > 1/12/03), to claim that Jackson has improved a lousy old book that
          nobody
          > ever really liked much anyway.

          I feel this is, in part, a case where Jackson and Jackson's defenders
          are apologizing (that's not "apologizing" as in "regret,"
          that's "apologizing" as in "defending") for the wholesale departures
          from Tolkien's text.

          I also see 2 other factors at work here:

          Factor 1: Contemporary screenwriting is very forumlaic. In
          screenwriting courses, there is a very strict dramatic line that
          students are encouraged to adhere to, and departures from that
          formula are given as examples of "bad" (or in the text referred
          to, "amateur") writing. It is interesting to note that those who are
          making the comments ARE connected to the screenwriting community
          rather than the literary community.

          Factor 2: There are people who never were able to get through Lord of
          the Rings (it certainly took me several tries, and I was an
          enthusiast of The Hobbit!), and therefore have memories of the LotR
          text being ponderous and boring. We may disagree (I certainly do),
          but they're out there. I wouldn't be surprised if such people are
          among those who say that they prefer Jackson's version (finding it
          an "improvement" over Tolkien's text), and would agree with an
          assessment that Tolkien's writing wasn't very good.

          (Now, just to make clear where I'm coming from, although I found much
          to enjoy in Jackson's movies, I do not find them preferable to
          Tolkien's original text, and I do believe that Tolkien's LotR is a
          literary masterpiece. I would characterize JRRT's text
          as "brilliant.")

          Joan Marie Verba
          verba001@...
        • David S. Bratman
          ... Maybe in part, but I don t see why it s necessary to bash Tolkien in order to defend Jackson. Jackson himself has done no Tolkien-bashing of this kind.
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 10, 2003
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            At 09:19 AM 11/9/2003 , Joan Marie Verba wrote:

            >I feel this is, in part, a case where Jackson and Jackson's defenders
            >are apologizing (that's not "apologizing" as in "regret,"
            >that's "apologizing" as in "defending") for the wholesale departures
            >from Tolkien's text.

            Maybe in part, but I don't see why it's necessary to bash Tolkien in order
            to defend Jackson. Jackson himself has done no Tolkien-bashing of this
            kind. There are places where he's justified his changes with the
            implication that he knows story-telling better than Tolkien does, but he's
            never said so directly, and he's never sweepingly criticized LOTR as a bad
            book, which the defenders I'm referring to have done.


            >Factor 1: Contemporary screenwriting is very forumlaic. In
            >screenwriting courses, there is a very strict dramatic line that
            >students are encouraged to adhere to, and departures from that
            >formula are given as examples of "bad" (or in the text referred
            >to, "amateur") writing. It is interesting to note that those who are
            >making the comments ARE connected to the screenwriting community
            >rather than the literary community.

            Screenwriting (not just contemporary) indeed tends towards the formulaic,
            which is why there are so many bad and wearisomely predictable films out
            there. It doesn't have to be so. The best films aren't that way, and
            they're not unsuccessful. I think of the film "Memento" which broke more
            screenwriting conventions than you could shake a stick at, and worked
            splendidly. And I recently saw a film about two people who, despite every
            opportunity and a clear inclination, do NOT commit adultery. I could
            hardly believe it.

            Before Jackson's LOTR was released, I was on a convention panel speculating
            about the films (this was not the one at Mythcon), which was dominated by
            an audience member who insisted that, as if it were a law of nature, that
            Jackson MUST maul the structure of the book to fit it into the standard
            structure which all screenplays must follow. As it turned out, Jackson did
            nothing of the sort. Such changes as he made in general structure were
            much less drastic than this man insisted on, and were not to fit it into
            that mold.


            >Factor 2: There are people who never were able to get through Lord of
            >the Rings (it certainly took me several tries, and I was an
            >enthusiast of The Hobbit!), and therefore have memories of the LotR
            >text being ponderous and boring. We may disagree (I certainly do),
            >but they're out there. I wouldn't be surprised if such people are
            >among those who say that they prefer Jackson's version (finding it
            >an "improvement" over Tolkien's text), and would agree with an
            >assessment that Tolkien's writing wasn't very good.

            Anybody who wants to say that they personally prefer the book to the movie,
            that's their personal taste and they're welcome to it. But the people I
            was referring to said things like "Frodo ... eventually loses the sympathy
            of MOST readers" and that "NOBODY ever read Tolkien for the writing,"
            emphases added. As Shippey said about some other examples, "they insist
            perversely in making statements not about literary merit, where their
            opinions could rest undisprovable, but about popular appeal, where they can
            be shown up beyond all possibility of doubt."

            For the fact is that no matter how many people out there found LOTR
            difficult - and there's no novel ever written that appeals to everybody -
            it has overall been the most popular and lasting of its century. This
            suggests that whatever its literary merit - and people like Harold Bloom
            most eager to attack that probably wouldn't care for the movies either -
            Tolkien did know something about story-telling and popular appeal. And
            thus any changes to his story made by film-makers, unless their grasp of
            these things is more profound than his, are liable to be for the worse.

            - David Bratman
          • David S. Bratman
            ... *sigh* I meant people who prefer the movie to the book, of course. _Both_ parties are welcome to their personal taste. I m in the prefer the book to
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 10, 2003
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              At 07:25 AM 11/10/2003 , I wrote:

              >Anybody who wants to say that they personally prefer the book to the movie,
              >that's their personal taste and they're welcome to it.

              *sigh* I meant people who "prefer the movie to the book," of course.
              _Both_ parties are welcome to their personal taste. I'm in the "prefer the
              book to the movie" camp myself, of course.

              - David Bratman
            • aveeris523@aol.com
              A friend of mine has an excellent T-shirt bearing the words: Never judge a book by it s movie. Steve Gaddis [Non-text portions of this message have been
              Message 6 of 8 , Nov 10, 2003
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                A friend of mine has an excellent T-shirt bearing the words: "Never judge a
                book by it's movie."
                Steve Gaddis


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • dianejoy@earthlink.net
                Where can I get one of those in 3x? ---djb ... From: aveeris523@aol.com Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 23:16:45 EST To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re:
                Message 7 of 8 , Nov 11, 2003
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                  Where can I get one of those in 3x? ---djb

                  Original Message:
                  -----------------
                  From: aveeris523@...
                  Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2003 23:16:45 EST
                  To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Gripes about LOTR films


                  A friend of mine has an excellent T-shirt bearing the words: "Never judge a
                  book by it's movie."
                  Steve Gaddis


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                • SusanPal@aol.com
                  Where can I get one of those that knows the difference between the possessive form of it and the contraction for it is ? Susan (feeling grouchy and pedantic
                  Message 8 of 8 , Nov 11, 2003
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                    Where can I get one of those that knows the difference between the possessive
                    form of "it" and the contraction for "it is"?

                    Susan (feeling grouchy and pedantic after grading freshman-comp papers)


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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