NOW READING

1984....George Orwell.
Pretty grim as you might imagine.

That's been on my reading list for quite a while now; I should really look for a digital copy or even an audio version to listen to at work.

At the moment however I'm going through some nutrition and self-help style books, at the request of my Father-in-Law, who's training to become some sort of nutritional advisor. Can't wait to finish those up. I've learned a little, but not much more than common sense has taught me already.

Once the Winter weather sets in, my wife will likely want to pull out her collection of Tolkien titles for us to read together. Last year I tried to get as far into The Hobbit as possible in one night while downing glasses of brandy, sitting by the electric fireplace. 'Twas an experience I'd recommend to anyone.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Just started reading Kevin J. Anderson's/Neil Peart's Clockwork Angels novel based on the Rush album. So far, it's...quaint. I'm not the biggest fan of Anderson's prose, but the Rush references are fun.
 

Liveone

Nomad
The Hobbit is a great book. The recent films do not do the book justice.
If you are a Tolkien fan you would probably like the Silmarillion, although the prose is very different from The Hobbit and LOTR.
 
The Hobbit is a great book. The recent films do not do the book justice.
If you are a Tolkien fan you would probably like the Silmarillion, although the prose is very different from The Hobbit and LOTR.

Ooooooh yeah. We bought the first film, figuring we'd enjoy this series like the LotR trilogy, but it really went downhill from the start. We're part of the camp of folks that hate some of the unnecessary additions, like throwing Legolas all over the second movie, and Peter Jackson's fan character, Tauriel... ugh.

The book itself is a joy to read; the characters and scenes I picture in my head are far from the way the films expressed them, and I'd like to keep it that way.

I never have read the Silmarillion beginning to end, though I went through snippets with a friend while in college. We compared it to some of our philosophy and theology textbooks. These days I sometimes read articles on the Tolkien wiki to remind myself of the "historical figures" of Middle Earth, and how they connected.
 

Liveone

Nomad
Ooooooh yeah. We bought the first film, figuring we'd enjoy this series like the LotR trilogy, but it really went downhill from the start. We're part of the camp of folks that hate some of the unnecessary additions, like throwing Legolas all over the second movie, and Peter Jackson's fan character, Tauriel... ugh.

The book itself is a joy to read; the characters and scenes I picture in my head are far from the way the films expressed them, and I'd like to keep it that way.

I never have read the Silmarillion beginning to end, though I went through snippets with a friend while in college. We compared it to some of our philosophy and theology textbooks. These days I sometimes read articles on the Tolkien wiki to remind myself of the "historical figures" of Middle Earth, and how they connected.

Yes, I can remember reading The Hobbit when I was a kid and it really was a very enlightening experience.
I think the problems with the Jackson films are myriad.
The elves are very poorly formulated and there is no menace from the Orcs/Goblins.
It all seems so false and soulless.
As for the Silmarillion; I really hope Jackson leaves Middle Earth alone and does not make a film of it.
Cross our fingers!
 
Yes, I can remember reading The Hobbit when I was a kid and it really was a very enlightening experience.
I think the problems with the Jackson films are myriad.
The elves are very poorly formulated and there is no menace from the Orcs/Goblins.
It all seems so false and soulless.
As for the Silmarillion; I really hope Jackson leaves Middle Earth alone and does not make a film of it.
Cross our fingers!

I had no awareness of any of Tolkien's work until the first LotR film came out; I was severely sheltered growing up in a home where most fantasy stories were "full of sin". That aside, I was enticed enough by The Fellowship of the Ring film to jump into the series headlong.

And especially after meeting life-long Tolkien fans (and marrying one) with a much greater knowledge of the cultures and worlds within the books, I learned just how far off the Hollywood depictions were. Pretentious, glamourized, dramatized versions of his beloved races in order to appeal to a wide audience. I could expect nothing less from the big screen, but it still cuts deep when it hits areas you grow to love. The films have many a good moment, and still a joy to watch - they just leave the die hard fans wanting, or with a sour taste from how characters are represented.

However, I feel the Silmarillion is safe from this treatment. It is more of a history book full of legends, origins and explanations, from what I've gathered. The artistic liberties required to make a movie that average person would sit through would prove too much, even for Jackson!
 

mirtilo

Educated Fool
Allan Kardec - The Mediums Book

I'm not spiritualist at all, but I think it's interesting. I have already finished The Spirits Book and I want to read all of them: The Spirits Book (done); The Mediums Book; The Gospel According to Spiritism; Heaven and Hell and The Genesis According to Spiritism.
 

Liveone

Nomad
I had no awareness of any of Tolkien's work until the first LotR film came out; I was severely sheltered growing up in a home where most fantasy stories were "full of sin". That aside, I was enticed enough by The Fellowship of the Ring film to jump into the series headlong.

And especially after meeting life-long Tolkien fans (and marrying one) with a much greater knowledge of the cultures and worlds within the books, I learned just how far off the Hollywood depictions were. Pretentious, glamourized, dramatized versions of his beloved races in order to appeal to a wide audience. I could expect nothing less from the big screen, but it still cuts deep when it hits areas you grow to love. The films have many a good moment, and still a joy to watch - they just leave the die hard fans wanting, or with a sour taste from how characters are represented.

However, I feel the Silmarillion is safe from this treatment. It is more of a history book full of legends, origins and explanations, from what I've gathered. The artistic liberties required to make a movie that average person would sit through would prove too much, even for Jackson!

I think the point when Jackson fully lost me was when they decided to cut the whole Barrow Downs and Tom Bombadil part of the Fellowship out of the film.
Their basically kids movies and just a way for the studios to cash in.
There is a really good animated film from the 1970s created by Ralph Bakshi.
It has a very similar feel to the books and is very well voiced. The only drawback is that they ran out of money and only got as far as the Battle of Helms Deep.
The orcs are pretty scary in it and there are some pretty cool live action scenes.
 
Oh yes, definitely. I lost some of my admiration for the films after reading partway though the book and finding how keys characters had been ignored entirely. Another disappointment was Saruman's death in the extended edition. In the book it's much later, and Wormtongue slits his throat rather than stabbing his back - right on Frodo's doorstep no less! But I suppose the movie's endings were drawn out enough as it was.

It's good to know that the books retain their respect and will live on, even as the movies age.

There is a really good animated film from the 1970s created by Ralph Bakshi.

Where there's a whip (*crack!*) there's a way!

It would have been great to see this film finished. It had a lot going for it, especially for its time.
 

Liveone

Nomad
Oh yes, definitely. I lost some of my admiration for the films after reading partway though the book and finding how keys characters had been ignored entirely. Another disappointment was Saruman's death in the extended edition. In the book it's much later, and Wormtongue slits his throat rather than stabbing his back - right on Frodo's doorstep no less! But I suppose the movie's endings were drawn out enough as it was.

It's good to know that the books retain their respect and will live on, even as the movies age.



Where there's a whip (*crack!*) there's a way!

It would have been great to see this film finished. It had a lot going for it, especially for its time.

Yes, I remember the battle in Hobbiton at the end of The Return of the King.
Saruman and Grima recruited some human riff-raff and attacked the Shire.
Although Christopher Lee did a great job as Saruman it could have been so much better if the film was scripted properly.
CGI ruins everything nowadays.
The most impressive theatrical depiction I have seen of The Tolkein Universe was a stage play of the Hobbit in the Barnstable County Fair (Mass.USA)
I was only 11 so everything seemed so vivid and realistic.
I was mesmerized.
 
Yes, I remember the battle in Hobbiton at the end of The Return of the King.
Saruman and Grima recruited some human riff-raff and attacked the Shire.
Although Christopher Lee did a great job as Saruman it could have been so much better if the film was scripted properly.
CGI ruins everything nowadays.
The most impressive theatrical depiction I have seen of The Tolkein Universe was a stage play of the Hobbit in the Barnstable County Fair (Mass.USA)
I was only 11 so everything seemed so vivid and realistic.
I was mesmerized.

Then there was this musical, which my wife saw years ago. I would love to see it myself but there's no sign it'll ever be brought back. It only played in Toronto, Ontario and London, England. Still, it was definitely a different take, and tried to keep faithful to the book without making the whole musical too long to sit through. The songs are well put together too, and I still listen to the soundtrack now and then.

I do suppose the producers of the LotR films figured the battle in Hobbiton, and having Saruman become the crime lord "Sharkey" and attempt to rule and industrialize Hobbiton would be an enormous step down from the grand display of the preceding acts. It would seem anticlimactic to a lot of the audience after Saruman's powerful portrayal throughout. Even if it would have been fun to see how Lee would reduce his character down to a sleazy beggar of a ruler.
 

SinisterMinisterX

Illuminatus
Staff member
I think the point when Jackson fully lost me was when they decided to cut the whole Barrow Downs and Tom Bombadil part of the Fellowship out of the film.

Twenty minutes into the first movie??? That sounds extreme to me. Why not give it a bit more of a chance?

In reality, something had to be cut. Even with three long films, not everything could get in the movies. So, let's consider how much Bombadil etc. actually matters to the story...

He is only mentioned in any significant way two other time. Once at the Council of Elrond, where the thought of him is quickly dismissed. Then again at the end, when Gandalf says he's going to pay Bombadil a visit after the war. Goldberry and the Downs are never mentioned again. Old Man Willow comes up when the hobbits learn about Huorns - but detailed explanation of the Ent army and all mention of Huorns was also cut from the film, because it's another minor detail. The Downs serve as the source of the hobbit's first swords, but that got moved to Weathertop in the movie, in an entirely reasonable adaptation.

There are other cuts Jackson made that were far worse, as they affected the story in deeper ways. Eliminating the Scouring of the Shire removes the focus on the Shire. It makes it look like the hobbits did their duty for the King and the Big People; having them come home to clean up their own backyard brings it all back to hobbits. Also, once Jackson decided to emphasize the Aragorn/Arwen couple, they did a horrible job of explaining why this pairing is so significant in Tolkien's world. (On the latter point I grant that Jackson's options were limited, as he did not have rights to Silmarillion-only material.)

The latter two Hobbit films fell off, but LotR series and the first Hobbit film were quite reasonably close to their source books. No movie adaptation can be perfect, but Jackson did well for a while there.
 
There are other cuts Jackson made that were far worse, as they affected the story in deeper ways. Eliminating the Scouring of the Shire removes the focus on the Shire. It makes it look like the hobbits did their duty for the King and the Big People; having them come home to clean up their own backyard brings it all back to hobbits. Also, once Jackson decided to emphasize the Aragorn/Arwen couple, they did a horrible job of explaining why this pairing is so significant in Tolkien's world. (On the latter point I grant that Jackson's options were limited, as he did not have rights to Silmarillion-only material.).

I'll admit, a lot of what I said was nitpicking. I wouldn't want anyone to think for a moment that I don't appreciate the LotR trilogy and the first Hobbit film. But for all my complaints, I'm surprised I forgot to mention the Aragorn/Arwen scenes - they're some of the few minutes in the films that earn a disheartened groan. Though I can't speak for Tolkien himself, I imagined he'd be highly against the focus on this couple as it was done. But hey, Hollywood loves needless romance, aye?

You're very right. Though the hobbits never really feel "out" of the picture during the ending sequences, it never really "comes back" to them and to Hobbiton, where it all started. I'd rather the stories with the King and Big People be tied up and the whole focus return to its roots, rather than seemingly share the spotlight with the other endings.
 

Liveone

Nomad
Twenty minutes into the first movie??? That sounds extreme to me. Why not give it a bit more of a chance?

In reality, something had to be cut. Even with three long films, not everything could get in the movies. So, let's consider how much Bombadil etc. actually matters to the story...

He is only mentioned in any significant way two other time. Once at the Council of Elrond, where the thought of him is quickly dismissed. Then again at the end, when Gandalf says he's going to pay Bombadil a visit after the war. Goldberry and the Downs are never mentioned again. Old Man Willow comes up when the hobbits learn about Huorns - but detailed explanation of the Ent army and all mention of Huorns was also cut from the film, because it's another minor detail. The Downs serve as the source of the hobbit's first swords, but that got moved to Weathertop in the movie, in an entirely reasonable adaptation.

There are other cuts Jackson made that were far worse, as they affected the story in deeper ways. Eliminating the Scouring of the Shire removes the focus on the Shire. It makes it look like the hobbits did their duty for the King and the Big People; having them come home to clean up their own backyard brings it all back to hobbits. Also, once Jackson decided to emphasize the Aragorn/Arwen couple, they did a horrible job of explaining why this pairing is so significant in Tolkien's world. (On the latter point I grant that Jackson's options were limited, as he did not have rights to Silmarillion-only material.)

The latter two Hobbit films fell off, but LotR series and the first Hobbit film were quite reasonably close to their source books. No movie adaptation can be perfect, but Jackson did well for a while there.

The problem isn't just the differences from the books.
There is a more deep rooted problem in that the Jackson movies padded inconsequential characters and changed the behaviour of characters.
The list is endless.
Take Gimli for example. In the books he is portrayed as a typically grim and stoic dwarf.
None of that comes across in the films. Jackson portrays Gimli as a bumbling fool and uses him as a comedic foil for Aragorn and Legolas.
I think we will just agree to disagree on this because the way Jackon sucked the soul out of Tolkien's works quite irks me.
 
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