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What's the big deal about LotR?

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What's the big deal about LotR?

Old 12-18-03, 10:22 AM
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Okay, saw RotK last night. I dare say that this one is a great movie, as it seems to have all the elements that seemed to be missing in the other two. Perhaps it will even flavor the older movies with a new appreciation, I don't know. I still can't give the *series* all-time status just for the fact that it took three installments to get any real excitement out of me, but it is refreshing to get a third chapter that actually blows away the first two.

Still not 100% convinced Aragorn is anything special as a character, but I suppose I can accept him more as the "Lando Calrissian" of the series.
Old 12-18-03, 12:44 PM
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You don't think he's anything special? You've stated that at least twice now -- why do you think that?
Old 12-18-03, 03:37 PM
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Re: What's the big deal about LotR?

Originally posted by DRG
Let me preface this by saying I enjoyed both FotR and TTT, and own the EEs of each. I also have my tickets for RotK tonight. That said, I thought Fellowship was a pretty good film, and Two Towers was very good. But I wouldn't consider either to be "great" films... that is neither film is in my top 5 list for each year, and definitely not in my all-time top 10.

My question is for those who DO consider them to be among the best movies ever...what is it about these movies that makes it more than just a good movie to you? I know many were already hooked on the books, and this love has overlapped to the films. But I also know many who have never read the books and consider the movies the epitomy of filmdom.

I'm not trying to slam the series, as I do enjoy the movies. When I watch them I see well-made, above average fantasy epics. Great action scenes, beautiful scenery, cool villains, with one superb character (Gollum), and a handful of interesting ones (the Hobbits, the dwarf). But I find the majority of the characters (Aragorn, Gandalf, the elves, etc.) to be generic noble heroes and the story to be an average good vs evil story. What am I missing?
Because you're on the Internet...land of the 18 to 35 year old male who thinks that movies began with 1977's Star Wars, think The Matrix was the best thing since the coming of the Messiah, and (to steal from Douglas Adams) still think digital watches are a pretty nifty idea.

The Lord of the Rings movies are very good, perhaps the best the science-fiction/fantasy genre has ever seen, but they are NOT Citizen Kane, Casablanca or The Godfather. They are more the rightful heir to the original Star Wars trilogy than anything else. 10 years from now, they will be remembered fondly, but as the next generation of 18-35 year-olds rolls around, they will show up less and less on all-time great movie lists, and treated with a little more criticism and a little less gushing praise.

That being said, it's understandable why so many people LOVE these movies...and that's because no one else out there is making movies with the quality of LOTR, and certainly noone in the fantasy genre. Like 2001 and Star Wars, LOTR is one of those landmark movies that come along every 20 years or so and set the bar for the next generation of genre films. No, they're not exactly Shakespeare...but thank god it's not more of Adam Sandler.

Last edited by Spooky; 12-18-03 at 03:41 PM.
Old 12-18-03, 04:00 PM
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Okay.. Pipe Weed aside..

I love these movies because the fantasy, D&D themed movies have been lacking and poor over all of cinema history. That's as basic as I can put it.. I'm a sucker for fantasy stuff and this delivers.
Old 12-18-03, 04:13 PM
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I give full credit to the Longbottom Leaf.

That, and one thing that hasn't been mentioned:
By being a Christian and writing what has traditionally been considered very non-Christian material (e.g., magic, fantasy beings, etc.), Tolkien was able to give Christian kids under their parents' stranglehold a chance to experience some fantasy adventure without being called "Children of Satan". Yes, I went to Catholic schools from Kindergarten through 12th Grade, and moreso than any other fantasy tale, LOTR got the "Holy Seal of Approval" -- nowadays, kids back at that school get sent home for -READING- Harry Potter. READING a frickin' book I've never even had a chance to yet. Ahh, whatever.

Yeah, it's the pipeweed.
Old 12-18-03, 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by Toad
You don't think he's anything special? You've stated that at least twice now -- why do you think that?
I really don't know how else to explain it... he just seems like a standard issue hero to me. I felt no emotional connection to his portions of the overall story, unlike the Hobbits, Gollum, and even Eowyn/Theodon (sp?), all of which I felt for in the storyline. I realize he has all the backstory of a ranger who becomes king, loves an elf, etc., but none of this translated to anything for me. I don't dislike the character at all, he just felt like a complete background character to me.

Again, I realize that he's SUPPOSED to be special. But without the benefit of ever reading the books, or watching any of the supplements about his character, I can only go by what I see in the movies and my own feelings. Also, this may be fueled partially by my complete dislike of the Aragorn/Arwen storyline, at least as it was played out in the movie. It's the only thing I actually *dis*liked in the series.
Old 12-18-03, 06:11 PM
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Don't feel bad, DRG: Aragorn really *is* a "standard issue hero." One little dirty little fact of the novel that they tried to cover up in the movies is that he is in fact a minor character: all four hobbits, Gollum, and Gandalf are more important.

Aragorn's there mostly to provide a heroic image that contrasts to the decidedly non-heroic image of the hobbits.
Old 12-18-03, 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by Moogz
I give full credit to the Longbottom Leaf.

That, and one thing that hasn't been mentioned:
By being a Christian and writing what has traditionally been considered very non-Christian material (e.g., magic, fantasy beings, etc.), Tolkien was able to give Christian kids under their parents' stranglehold a chance to experience some fantasy adventure without being called "Children of Satan". Yes, I went to Catholic schools from Kindergarten through 12th Grade, and moreso than any other fantasy tale, LOTR got the "Holy Seal of Approval" -- nowadays, kids back at that school get sent home for -READING- Harry Potter. READING a frickin' book I've never even had a chance to yet. Ahh, whatever.

Yeah, it's the pipeweed.
C.S. Lewis did the same thing...
Old 12-18-03, 06:57 PM
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Originally posted by DRG
I really don't know how else to explain it... he just seems like a standard issue hero to me.


aragorn has more depth to his character than a lot of "standard issue heros" do, prolly cause he is a character from a book and not from film. I mean, I would use that kinda phraseology to describe someone like Ben Affleks daredevil character.

I felt no emotional connection to his portions of the overall story, unlike the Hobbits, Gollum, and even Eowyn/Theodon (sp?), all of which I felt for in the storyline. I realize he has all the backstory of a ranger who becomes king, loves an elf, etc., but none of this translated to anything for me. I don't dislike the character at all, he just felt like a complete background character to me.
maybe thats why there are so many characters in LotR... so we can all find one or two of interest. Im a Gimli fan... other people like Legolas... my gf digs gandalf. Im sure there are more than a few Aragorn fans out there. BTW, considering his blood line, aragorn is more of a King who becomes a ranger than the other way around.

Again, I realize that he's SUPPOSED to be special. But without the benefit of ever reading the books, or watching any of the supplements about his character, I can only go by what I see in the movies and my own feelings.
aragorn is an important character... he leads the fellowship initially, and all of gondor later on. At several points (after boromirs deat and at helms deep etc) its aragorn's will that helps keep everyone together. Its clear that without each other both the fellowship and the men of gondor/rohan etc would have been doomed. Add in the fact that Aragorn proves his worth by refusing to be lured by the ring as his ancestor was and you got a pretty decent hero.

I though his character was pretty good, and Vigo's portrayal of him excellent.

j
Old 12-18-03, 08:32 PM
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I'm not all that into fantasy novels, so LOTR is tougher for me to get through. I tried reading the books, got through around 100 pages of FOTR last year and never went back to it.

I appreciate the look-and-feel of the LOTR films, the production values are out of this world, as is the use of special effects shots all throughout the films. BUT, there are just too many characters for a cinematic treatment and only 11-12 hours of running time. In a book (very long) it is much easier to develop them and give them all their own life and reason for existing in the novel. In a film, if they don't propel the story along, cut it out (i.e. Denethor).

I do believe that people just love the fantasy/medieval/D&D-ness of the films, especially one with a big budget and enough of a good story to carry the film on its back, and will forgive shortcomings of the film in terms of cinematic pacing and characterizations (which received the short-shrift because the source material is simply too much to include in such a commercial endeavor that film is today). That makes the films less of an enjoyable film watching experience for me personally (though I know people get lost just staring at the wonderfully created world of LOTR that Peter Jackson and his crew have done so with lavish care).

I think the translation of the LOTR novels to the cinematic film-going experience is a truly daunting task, and PJ did the best that is probably humanly possible given the run time constraints and the budget constrainsts as well. For quite a few, PJ has exceeded their expectations. For me, I didn't really have all that much in terms of expectations, but I find the flaws, that I perceived in the film, to affect my opinion of it.

I gave it 2 viewings, and I don't think I'll be back until the EE version shows up next year.
Old 12-18-03, 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by Spooky
C.S. Lewis did the same thing...
Yeah, but he was a bit of a different situation -- hell, guy was an atheist before Tolkien started tolkien with him, I believe.
Old 12-18-03, 10:19 PM
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For one thing, Aragorn's appearance in the books was the turning point at which LOTR changed from being a aimless children't story to becoming the complex myth-like epic that most of us love.
Old 12-19-03, 12:15 AM
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characters short shifted? wha? throughout the 11-12 hours of the films, we get plenty of character developement IMO... as much as you'll prolly ever see in the medium of film. If you want more, you should prolly be reading books more and watching films less. I understand there are a lot of characters and that some have been left out of the film versions... but really, a lack of character developement has got to be the worst critic ever for this film. Atleast the first 5 hours of the movie is nothing but character developement...compared to most films which have what? 30 minutes? an hour tops?

j
Old 12-19-03, 03:55 PM
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Originally posted by Moogz
Yeah, but he was a bit of a different situation -- hell, guy was an atheist before Tolkien started tolkien with him, I believe.
Actually, no. C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia were written after his conversion and are filled with Christian allegory.
Old 12-19-03, 04:29 PM
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"they are NOT Citizen Kane, Casablanca or The Godfather."

Well, they're not Citizen Kane, which was a bit of a box office flop. But they ARE Casablanca and The Godfather, both of which were populist Hollywood smash hits at the box office and slam dunks with critics of all types, just like LOTR.
Old 12-20-03, 10:05 AM
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Count me in as one of those who doesn't understand the hype surrounding LOTR. I found the first movie long and boring, but grew to like it a bit more with the extended edition. Two Towers and Return of the King were both solid films, but nothing spectacular. But i'll be honest and say a small part of my distaste may come from the dreaded D&D culture that's evolved.
Old 12-20-03, 11:15 AM
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Originally posted by fumanstan
Count me in as one of those who doesn't understand the hype surrounding LOTR. I found the first movie long and boring, but grew to like it a bit more with the extended edition. Two Towers and Return of the King were both solid films, but nothing spectacular. But i'll be honest and say a small part of my distaste may come from the dreaded D&D culture that's evolved.
How often are you confronted with this "D&D culture?"
Old 12-20-03, 02:32 PM
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Often enough that it makes me roll my eyes when i see it. I'm a computer nerd myself, so i have a lot of friends and acquaintences that are/were into it, not only with computer RPG's like Baldur's Gate but actual role playing with dungeon master guides, that sort of thing. It makes it harder to take wizards, dwarves, and elves seriously, particularly for Oscar nods.
Old 12-20-03, 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by fumanstan
Often enough that it makes me roll my eyes when i see it. I'm a computer nerd myself, so i have a lot of friends and acquaintences that are/were into it, not only with computer RPG's like Baldur's Gate but actual role playing with dungeon master guides, that sort of thing. It makes it harder to take wizards, dwarves, and elves seriously, particularly for Oscar nods.
So, because your friends delve into aspects of it that may not be of the highest quality, suddenly, anything involved with fantasy can't be taken seriously?
Old 12-20-03, 04:12 PM
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In a way. One of the arguments i've seen people make about the LOTR films not winning the best picture Oscar is because of the fantasy nature of the films, something which some academy members may not want to recognize. I know it's unfair to fault a movie for that, but i can't help having a negative association with the genre. Of course it's not the main reason i feel the movie(s) shouldn't win an Oscar for best picture, but it is there. It's hard to explain... but it's like having a Star Trek film win best picture. For whatever reason, it just doesn't feel right.
Old 12-20-03, 04:56 PM
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Originally posted by fumanstan
In a way. One of the arguments i've seen people make about the LOTR films not winning the best picture Oscar is because of the fantasy nature of the films, something which some academy members may not want to recognize. I know it's unfair to fault a movie for that, but i can't help having a negative association with the genre. Of course it's not the main reason i feel the movie(s) shouldn't win an Oscar for best picture, but it is there. It's hard to explain... but it's like having a Star Trek film win best picture. For whatever reason, it just doesn't feel right.
Well, if they made a Star Trek picture as good as any of the Lord of the Rings films, I would give it best picture.
Old 12-20-03, 05:46 PM
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I've seen lots of really horrible cop shows in my time, with bad acting, cliched plots, etc. Does that mean Mystic River shouldn't be an Oscar contender?
Old 12-20-03, 05:51 PM
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I'll get back to you when i see people dressed up as cops lining up for a midnight showing of Mystic River

Funny that you mentioned some of the reasons i feel LOTR shouldn't win best picture too.
Old 12-20-03, 06:26 PM
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So in other words, you believe in guilt by association? "Oooh, look, some odd people like LOTR. It must be crap!"

Does the fact that 161 out of 166 reviewers on RottenTomatoes like ROTK help assuage your anxiety? Or do you suspect them all of dressing up as hobbits as well?
Old 12-20-03, 06:46 PM
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Considering i never said it was crap, and mentioned that i found them enjoyable, particularly the extended editions, i'll just throw out your pathetic excuse at taking a shot at me. I guess i own both extended edition DVD's for no reason? Thanks for trying though.

Sorry, but having negative associations is something that many people share. It's no different then thinking less of a film for having Ben Affleck in it or being directed by Michael Bay, and i know more then a few people are annoyed by "trekkies" and star wars fans doing the same.

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