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The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Which Lord of the Rings film is best?  

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Maybe Sean Bean should have played Faramir! (And ... Brendan Gleeson as Boromir?)

I dunno. Bean seems a bit too ... rugged for Faramir. And Gleeson seems a bit too old for Boromir. Wenham as Faramir was a great choice, but, as it's been said, his performance was overshadowed by the character's alteration (which, I agree, is one of the biggest mistakes they made in all three films).

Interestingly, I think part of the problem here is precisely the fact that Sean Bean was SO GOOD as Boromir and made the character so sympathetic; many fans were surprised by this, when the first film came out, and the word-of-mouth about this, among fans and non-fans alike, was one of the things that got the series off to such a promising start. But at the same time, the elevation of Boromir, as it were, narrowed the gap between him and Faramir, such that when Faramir was de-elevated in the second film and brought down to more or less the same plane as Boromir, it almost didn't matter.

To some extent, I agree, PTC, but at the same time, Boromir IS a sympathetic character in the book, at least, at the end of Fellowship. I think the big problem arose when Jackson and co. erased the real difference between Boromir and Faramir, in that they both fall for the Ring in the film, and then admit their mistake, whereas Faramir doesn't even consider it in the book, and so is portrayed as somewhat stronger than Boromir.

I think the great thing about Bean's performance is that he was so flexible; we disliked Boromir for most of the film, yet at the end when he admits his fault, we're a bit more sympathetic, as we're supposed to be.

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Plankton wrote:

: I think the big problem arose when Jackson and co. erased the real difference between Boromir and

: Faramir, in that they both fall for the Ring in the film, and then admit their mistake, whereas Faramir

: doesn't even consider it in the book, and so is portrayed as somewhat stronger than Boromir.

Actually, if you watch closely, Faramir DOESN'T "fall for the Ring". Seen in the context of the trilogy as a whole, when Faramir says he is taking Frodo back to Minas Tirith, I get the impression he is doing this NOT out of any personal quest for power (as Boromir did, even if it was a defensive power on behalf of his people), but rather, he is doing this out of a desire to succeed where Boromir failed and thereby please his father.

Boromir pursues the Ring like a man possessed. Faramir does not. Yes, the Ring calls to him, the same way it calls to Aragorn and all the others. But I never get the sense that the Ring "possesses" Faramir the way it "possesses" Boromir.

Alan Thomas wrote:

: He refuses Frodo's offer of the ring, IIRC, also, a la Galadriel.

For some reason now, I feel obliged to ask whether people here think the 1978 cartoon or the 2001 movie did the better job of interpreting the scene where Galadriel declines the Ring. In the cartoon, she too is almost "possessed" by it. But in the cartoon, she merrily laughs it off -- and I think Peter Jackson is right to say that this sort of thing doesn't exactly support the notion that the Ring is an awesome, powerful thing to be feared.

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Actually, if you watch closely, Faramir DOESN'T "fall for the Ring". Seen in the context of the trilogy as a whole, when Faramir says he is taking Frodo back to Minas Tirith, I get the impression he is doing this NOT out of any personal quest for power (as Boromir did, even if it was a defensive power on behalf of his people), but rather, he is doing this out of a desire to succeed where Boromir failed and thereby please his father.

Boromir pursues the Ring like a man possessed. Faramir does not. Yes, the Ring calls to him, the same way it calls to Aragorn and all the others. But I never get the sense that the Ring "possesses" Faramir the way it "possesses" Boromir.

It's true, Faramir doesn't fall for the ring in the movie. But he does follow after this fantasy of pleasing his father with the ring, making him out to be a weak figure, pandering to the wishes of someone else.

In the book, he's a strong, stalwart figure, who, as Alan pointed out, immediately gets the idea. Even if he doesn't fall for the ring in the movies, they still changed the character so much, both wholely and morally, that it doesn't really resemble the books.

The way Jackson and co. took this story was almost too much. Almost as bad in my mind as the rumors about TTT just before it came out, that Arwen would be fighting at Helm's Deep.

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Actually, if you watch closely, Faramir DOESN'T "fall for the Ring". Seen in the context of the trilogy as a whole, when Faramir says he is taking Frodo back to Minas Tirith, I get the impression he is doing this NOT out of any personal quest for power (as Boromir did, even if it was a defensive power on behalf of his people), but rather, he is doing this out of a desire to succeed where Boromir failed and thereby please his father.

Boromir pursues the Ring like a man possessed. Faramir does not. Yes, the Ring calls to him, the same way it calls to Aragorn and all the others. But I never get the sense that the Ring "possesses" Faramir the way it "possesses" Boromir.

Yeah, I'm gonna have to say, while Faramir wasn't quite as obsessed as Boromir, the fact is he DID take the Ring in the film, and in the book, he DIDN'T.

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Ah, but my whole point is that Faramir in the film isn't obsessed AT ALL. That is, indeed, why he is able to send the Ring away in the end.

Granted, the film's revisions to Faramir are incredibly problematic; never mind the character's thematic purpose, the film introduces all sorts of PLOT HOLES now (how can Sam be so certain that Boromir died because of the Ring? why does Faramir ultimately send Frodo to Mordor with the Ring after seeing how easily Frodo almost gave in to that Nazgul? etc.).

But I think the revisions to Faramir HAVE to be seen in the context of the broader revisions to the story as a whole. This is not to excuse the revisions; indeed, the OTHER revisions create problems of their own, too. E.g., as Darren H pointed out a few message boards ago, the film version of The Two Towers is profoundly concerned with giving one character in each of its three plot threads a last-minute "change of heart". The three characters who have these "changes of heart" are Faramir, Theoden and Treebeard. And if Faramir's "change of heart" has plot holes, Treebeard's has even more: How can he be friends with trees that communicate with each other and NOT know that Saruman has devastated the forest? How is it that the Ents, who make such a big deal of not being hasty, are suddenly ready to go to war just because one of them roars? And how is it that so many Ents can be lined up at the edge of the remaining forest and NOT know about the devastation? Etc.

The revisions to Faramir also have to be seen in the context of Peter Jackson's desire to convey just how serious a threat the Ring is -- a seriousness that Jackson, with some justification, felt was not adequately conveyed in Tolkien's novel (certainly Tolkien's approach doesn't lend itself so well to the drama and spectacle of cinema!). This is why I keep pointing to the Galadriel scene, and why I keep asking whether people think Jackson or Ralph Bakshi had the better interpretation of what Tolkien wrote, there. Jackson plays up the seriousness of the threat of the Ring, and its tempting allure; Bakshi does not.

There may be other factors to take into consideration, too. But I am intrigued by how so many fans harp away at the revisions to Faramir while paying less attention to the other changes. Faramir is only one thread in the larger tapestry of this story, is he not?

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I'd written up some thoughts on why I feel moving the Shelob events to film 3 forced Jackson's hands into developing something "dramatic" with Faramir and Frodo to end TTT (film). But I got sidetracked:

IPB Image

and so never posted it.

Anyway, I don't know how you'd fit all of TTT the book into a three hour movie, but the concerns of Jackson to reconcile the timelines of Frodo and the War of the Ring lead to most of TTT and ROTK's problems with plot structure.

For me, cut the Warg scene, and the TTT Osgiliath scene and end TTT the film with Shelob. For TTT, less Aragorn, more Frodo.

Cut ROTK 30 min shorter, and abandon the attempt to reconcile Frodo's timeline with Aragorn's, letting it work itself out at the Black Gate. For ROTK, less Frodo, more Aragorn.

Faramir's changes in TTT (the film) serve mainly to create a dramatic arc for Frodo's journey since Shelob's Lair and the Choices of Master Samwise were moved off to ROTK.

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Buckeye Jones wrote:

: Anyway, I don't know how you'd fit all of TTT the book into a three hour movie, but the concerns

: of Jackson to reconcile the timelines of Frodo and the War of the Ring lead to most of TTT and

: ROTK's problems with plot structure.

Absolutely, but I'm not sure how Jackson could have NOT moved Shelob to the third film. Apparently, the Shelob episode in Book IV of The Two Towers does not take place until certain events in Book V of The Return of the King have already taken place. The only way to keep Shelob in the film version of The Two Towers would have been to tell the story in SIX parts, rather than THREE, just as Tolkien told it. And I think to hope for that would have been asking for the moon; it was surprise enough when the studio announced it was making THREE films!

But anyway, yeah, this too is part of the broader context against which the revisions to Faramir need to be seen.

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Heh... My biggest beef about Jackson's revision of the story is the Shelob sequence. It wasn't even close to the version in the book. And it wasn't the least bit scary -- and I'm scared to death of spiders.

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

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The only way to keep Shelob in the film version of The Two Towers would have been to tell the story in SIX parts, rather than THREE, just as Tolkien told it.

Six films are more or less what the EE DVDs have turned out to be for me, anyway. Maybe 5, since I'll still watch all of FOTR in one piece.

But, back to your thought above, I'd only modify it thusly: "The only way to keep Shelob in the film version of The Two Towers would have been to tell the story in SIX parts, OR to abandon the attempt at holding to Tolkien's schedule of events."

Darryl A. Armstrong wrote:

And it wasn't the least bit scary -- and I'm scared to death of spiders.

I am a self confessed arachnophobe as well, and I agree with you here. I probably found the Shelob sequence more frightening than you--still gives me the chills to watch Frodo going up that path with the spider stalking him from above. What costs the sequence IMHO is that Tolkien invests Shelob with self-awareness and malevolence, in addition to her grotesqueness. Jackson, OTH, has made her only a big spider, one from his childhood nightmares. What makes spiders scary from our childhood nightmares is not necessarily their size--its their stealth and their bite. A gigantic spider, divorced from Shelob's ancient bloated noxious hate, is just a CGI effect--not a character. Cf the cave troll in Jackson's FOTR:EE, for all its five minutes of screen time, it makes an emotional connection with the audience--its the dumb school ground bully that doesn't fully recognize its meanness. Here, the filmmaker makes it frightening because it is characterized--it has a depth reminiscent of the best of Harryhausen's work, and of course was put to its fullest effect in Jackson's Gollum and King Kong.

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There may be other factors to take into consideration, too. But I am intrigued by how so many fans harp away at the revisions to Faramir while paying less attention to the other changes. Faramir is only one thread in the larger tapestry of this story, is he not?

Yeah, I understand what you mean. I think it would have been better to just have Faramir gaze at the Ring for a few seconds, and then say his "if it lay by the roadside" line from the book. But if we harp about this, yeah, we should harp about other stuff too.

Which is what I intend to do. :)

About the Shelob thing, though; she wasn't COMPLETELY devoid of personality. Note that she had human eyes, instead of spider eyes. Though yeah, the whole sequence would have been way more terrifying if she was a bit more of a character. As it is, it just makes me squirm a little (arachnophobic here, too); she reminds me eerily of many large spiders I've encountered in my house.

Edited by Plankton

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The whole sequence in the film doesn't bother me nearly as much as what Jackson made (or didn't make) of the dead, though!

Oh, you like his zombie films, then? I haven't had the stomach to put Brain Dead in my Netflix queue yet.

:P

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Let's go back to the power of the Ring for a moment. Last weekend, I watched Fellowship with the cast commentary. Good fun. One of the benefits of not having the usual soundtrack was the way in which you're left emotionally less attached and, therefore, more able to consider the techinical aspect more carefully. And there are some incredible shots that I never noticed before.

But that's not my point here. What I noticed was the sequence of (at least) three moments when Frodo offers the Ring to someone. First, he offers it to Gandalf, near the beginning, and Gandalf refuses, but not without a recognition of the temptation. Then there's the Galadriel scene, which, incidentally, was much more powerful with only the visuals. And she remains Galadriel; she passes the test. Finally, on the banks of the Anduin, Frodo offers the Ring to Aragorn, who gracefully declines.

Why couldn't Jackson have alluded back to this pattern by having Faramir pass a similar test? It would have done so much to establish Faramir's nobility, by connecting him with Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn. And it wouldn't have required the silly diversion of Frodo being taken to Osgiliath.

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Why couldn't Jackson have alluded back to this pattern by having Faramir pass a similar test? It would have done so much to establish Faramir's nobility, by connecting him with Gandalf, Galadriel, and Aragorn. And it wouldn't have required the silly diversion of Frodo being taken to Osgiliath.

EXACTLY. The time would have been far better spent developing Treebeard's character.

I certainly wouldn't AGREE with the decision, but I can understand it.

Just like I can understand the people who like Star Trek: The Motion Picture. :D Still, it would have made for a starker contrast between Boromir and Faramir. Boromir gives in, but admits his fault when he's dying, while Faramir never gives in. And I can just imagine it in the film.

At one point I actually considered downloading the DVD footage onto my editing software and making The Lord of the Rings: Plankton Edition, with all the parts I disliked "corrected". That was before I discovered the copyright prohibition ...

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Interesting to see this thread bumped. We just happened to have watched the extended edition of "The Return of the King" last night -- two years after receiving the DVD! (Sorry, Kent, if you're reading this. But better late than never, eh?)

I had feared that the film itself would, only a few years after its release, seem stilted or overwrought, but it's really quite an amazing accomplishment. Watching that third installment made me want to rewatch the first two, of course.

I was thinking about this as I read this critics' roundtable about past Oscar winners -- the ones that hold up well, and the ones that don't. Joe Morgenstern chooses:

Best: "Lord of the Rings." What I realized when I saw that movie was that this is what the movies can do; they can create worlds and create audiences to visit those worlds. It was a genuine event. At a time when so many productions are pitifully impoverished, here Peter Jackson just arrayed every technique known to moviemaking man.

Schickel then ruins everything by naming Lord of the Rings as one of his "Worst." Eh.

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Not sure whether to post here or to hunt for a Lord of the Rings thread in the literature forum, but laziness prevails...

Came across a very interesting essay, by Gina Dalfonzo, on Frodo as a Christian hero. The article is published on the 'In Pursuit of Truth' website from the CS Lewis Foundation:

How does one create a hero at a time when heroes have fallen out of favor? Much of the literature of the twentieth century shows an ambivalence about this question. During the bloodiest century the world had ever known, a time of ever increasing disillusionment, the conventional hero became an increasingly rare figure in literature and the

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bump so the admins can find this quickly.

FYI Jackson's biggest mistake was cutting the mano a manowith Sauron and Aragorn!

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I finally had the opportunity to do something that I have wanted to do for 10 years - watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, back-to-back-to-back on the big screen. Granted, it was the Theatrical editions and not the Extended Versions, but getting to see them in the theater at one time was pretty special. It was very interesting seeing them as one continous film, instead of three seperate stories, or films. I would recommend any fans of the trilogy to give it a shot if you ever have the opportunity.

I'm still pretty buzzed about it. ::w00tfuzz::

It was shown at the Northgate 14 Carmike Cinemas in Hixson Tennessee, which is right outside of Chattanooga. The staff there did a wonderful job with the whole event. Lunch was provided by Outback Steakhouse and P.F. Chang's provided dessert. They gave away 100's of prizes including copies of the Extended Versions. And all of this for only $20.00 in advance, $25.00 at the door. I won over $30.00 in gift certificates to various restaurants which let me come out even for the day. Good stuff all around. :)

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Phill Lytle wrote:

: I finally had the opportunity to do something that I have wanted to do for 10 years - watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, back-to-back-to-back on the big screen. Granted, it was the Theatrical editions and not the Extended Versions . . .

Really? When they had the theatrical "marathon" the day before The Return of the King came out, they showed the Extended versions of the first two films followed by the Theatrical version of the third film. (As we now know, they didn't even finish FILMING the inserts for the Extended version of the third film until AFTER the film came out ... indeed, until AFTER the film had won all of its Academy Awards.) It was very interesting seeing the Extended version of the first two films on the big screen, since they showed the films without any interruption whatosever -- so those places where the film normally stops, so that you can change the discs, DIDN'T stop this time.

I wonder why they've reverted to the Theatrical versions, now.

: And all of this for only $20.00 in advance, $25.00 at the door. I won over $30.00 in gift certificates to various restaurants which let me come out even for the day. Good stuff all around. :)

You made a killing, sir! Good stuff. :)

Greg Wright wrote:

: Wow. I wish someone in our neck of the woods would do that. Maybe for a tenth anniversary, which is now not so far off?

The first part of the two-part Hobbit movie is slated for 2011, is it not? That would be the 10th anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring. I fully expect another round of marathons and/or new editions on DVD.

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This wasn't a New Line organized event. This was planned and implemented by the Carmike City Manager in Chattanooga and the Manager of the Northgate 14 Cinemas. They contacted New Line about the event and New Line originally wanted to send them DVD's to show. The managers balked at that and requested the 35 millimeter film for the showing. They did have some trouble getting good quality prints from New Line though. They had to send back quite a few reels before getting high quality film. The print for The Return of the King was one of the most pristine prints I have ever seen. Very high quality indeed. I believe the main reason they chose to show the Theatrical Versions was more a time factor than anything else. They were worried that if the event started too early or ended too late there wouldn't be as much interest. I think just as many people would have come regardless.

I did not get a chance to go to the back-to-back-to-back screenings of the Extended Versions prior to the release of The Return of the King in theaters. My wife was pregnant at the time with our first son and I just didn't have the time or money then.

I agree that we will see more of these when The Hobbit is released. We might even see 3-D versions of the films prior to the release of The Hobbit. Why not? Pixar is doing it with Toy Story 1 and 2 and I know that Peter Jackson likes the technology.

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I thought the bigger news was Nic Cage for Aragorn. Yikes. At least he'd done long hair in Con Air.

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I realized late last night that if Uma Thurman HAD played Eowyn, and Sean Connery HAD played Gandalf, then this trilogy could have been a sort of The Avengers reunion. Yikes. (Hmmm, I wonder if Ralph Fiennes was offered a part...)

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I just got my monthly American Cinematheque calendar for the Egyptian and Aero theatres in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. For anyone who is in the area and is interested, this Saturday August 2nd at 5pm, the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica will be having a Lord of the Rings marathon. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King will all be shown in their extended versions. All admissions $3.00 (I'm not sure if that is one admission for all 3 films, or per film).

Illustrator Greg Hildebrandt will be introducing the marathon.

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