[LMB] LOTR, Modern Fantasy, and Chalion

Bart Kemper bkemper at bigdogz.com
Sat, 29 Dec 2001 16:47:36 -0600

> From: "Richard Molpus" <rgmolpus at sff.net>
> In Reply to the Long analysis of LoTR by Bainbridge:
> #1:
>         Film is not Text, the tools of telling a tale are different; to "blame" a film for not being true to a text is as useless as blaming a Novelization for not having the "whoom!" and "Boom" of the movie.  Movies (or any other form of performance art) is limited in time, the Audience will not wait forever for the plot to advance, no matter how "treasured" the dialog or monologue is. An author can assign 20 pages to detail the inner torment of a minor character, a torment that last in time for a few seconds,  but for the reader it trails onward for all the time it takes to read the pages. A director, or Film or  Stage, depends on the ACTING of the actors to communicate that torment through movements,  posture, or facial movements. the torment is clear to the audience, and so the playprogresses.
> #2:

Thanks!  You have summed up many of my disagreements with people
nitpicking the movie nitpicking details that have no place in
that media.  It would be like complaining the Brothers
Hildebrandt didn't place Aragorn *over there* and Frodo *here* to
make it "just like the book" when it would result in a crappy
composition.  There was a LOT of detail that only would be in the
movie if the director was honestly packing every little bit in he
could; forex, the petrified trolls from The Hobbit were in the
clearing when Aragorn went to finds kingsfoil for Frodo and the
brief talking about Bill the Pony.  Yes, I missed Tom Bombadil
and the liches where they got their ancient weapons as an
example...but they are not CENTRAL to the plot and certainly not
cetral to the action.

Much of Stephen King's work fail to make the leap to film (for
me) precisely because much of his action occurs within the
character's mind.  Lois' *would* make the leap (in appropriately
skilled hands) because she uses more action, with the possible
exception of the one where Mark is kept prisoner and
compartmentalizes his mind. (Forgive me, I'm away from my
library).  I have yet to see an arguement against the movies
actual portrayal of the characters, the settings, or the plot
that invalidates the movie as a reasonable FILM representation of
the book....if you wish an example of an abysmal failure to
capture the intent of the book, I give you Starship Troopers.

Yes, I have a few beefs with the movie and given my vantage point
I would "fix" a few things, but I could never come close to
bringing Tolkien's vision to life as Jackson did.  I can tell it
was a labor of love for him and that he *did* know the books
inside and out.  He took pains such as forming Hobbiton and
planting the flowers, vegatables, trees (fully grown) a year
prior to filming to give it the proper "been here long time"
look--something you don't notice because it was done correctly,
but in retrospect is a tremendous attention to detail.  It was
the fastest 3 hours I've spent sitting down and well worth it. 
It does NOT, in any manner, replace the books, but it is a
wonderful visualization of the books just as the Hildebrant
paintings were in their own way.