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What's the big deal about LotR?

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What's the big deal about LotR?

Old 12-17-03, 01:39 PM
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What's the big deal about LotR?

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?
Old 12-17-03, 01:54 PM
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I've asked the exact same question. But regarding the books.
Old 12-17-03, 02:01 PM
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[pulls up a chair and grabs some popcorn]
Old 12-17-03, 02:03 PM
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Two Words: Pipe Weed
Old 12-17-03, 02:20 PM
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For me, it's the fact that i can get lost in the movies or the books. it takes you to a different time and place and does a good job of holding your attention there. i guess it's the Epic feel of it. Tolkien did such a good job of explaining every little detail of Middle Earth including it's detailed past. the movies do a good job of this as well. i'm not one to watch movies and see them for anything more than movies, not true with these films

that and of course Pipe Weed
Old 12-17-03, 02:41 PM
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I could never be a professional reviewer or critic, because I doubt I could ever explain in words why I love these movies so much. I haven't seen ROTK yet, but I consider the first two to be in my top 10, possibly my top 5 favorite movies of all time.

What did I like about them? I'm sorry, but I can't be specific. I can only say that I find the world created to be absolutely fascinating. The characters, the story, everything really, just seems to come together so well to tell this fantastic story of good versus evil and ultimately the triumph of good.

oh yeah.. and pipe weed.
Old 12-17-03, 03:45 PM
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I'm with DRG on this, though I probably don't enjoy the series quite as much as him. I can see the attraction to it however, but it just isn't there for me.
Old 12-17-03, 03:54 PM
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I love them because the sense of fantasy is just beautiful. Also, the themes of the books/movies are just great -- friendship, love, etc. I would rather sit through a movie like this that actually makes me feel something inside than any other movie.

What makes them great to me is the story and the visual aspects. It's just eye candy, and I love that.
Old 12-17-03, 03:57 PM
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Also, IMO Aragorn is the furthest thing from "generic" ever. I would say William Wallace and Robin Hood are more generic (two films and stories I adore).

Aragorn to me is quite possibly the coolest character ever -- which says a lot I guess, but that's how I feel. He's fighting his past (I mean, his ancestors caused this shit in the first place the bastards!), he can't be with his one true love, he's fighting to save his friends and his world, etc. Maybe those are common attributes to most noble men, but I think Viggo's performance raises them to a whole other level.
Old 12-17-03, 04:10 PM
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It's hard to say, exactly, what makes these films so special. I think it's because they are incredibly detailed and watching them you really get a sense of the amount of pain and effort that went into making them. The story and themes are timeless: friendship, honor and sacrifice, machine versus nature, good vs. evil, pipe weed, etc.

These movies make absolutely no apologies for what they are. Sam's final speech in ttt, Boromir's extended death scene with Aragorn, Frodo and Sam embracing each other near the end of King. No doubt some people consider scenes like these pure cheese, but Jackson and Co. don't give a ****. LOTR wears it's blood-soaked heart on it's sleeve and you either buy it or you don't. I think that's one reason why they're loved by many.
Old 12-17-03, 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by Rivero
It's hard to say, exactly, what makes these films so special. I think it's because they are incredibly detailed and watching them you really get a sense of the amount of pain and effort that went into making them. The story and themes are timeless: friendship, honor and sacrifice, machine versus nature, good vs. evil, pipe weed, etc.

These movies make absolutely no apologies for what they are. Sam's final speech in ttt, Boromir's extended death scene with Aragorn, Frodo and Sam embracing each other near the end of King. No doubt some people consider scenes like these pure cheese, but Jackson and Co. don't give a ****. LOTR wears it's blood-soaked heart on it's sleeve and you either buy it or you don't. I think that's one reason why they're loved by many.
I think this sums it up well for me. It is so detailed, so layered, so much a sweat and tears work. I love the passion displayed in the creation of a world I can lose myself in. I feel that the acting and the visuals mesh well.

I love the story and the approach. I love to see good vs evil where victory costs everything. I enjoy a story with emotional pull that does not require the use of visual or story elements that reduce the message and lose it in the mire of our society's eroded values.

To me, these movies are good, clean fun. While depicting a fantasy world, I see enough "reality" to lose myself in the world and in the story and in the characters.
Old 12-17-03, 05:32 PM
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Out of curiosity, how many of you were fans of the books before the movies came out? Or how many have read the books since? I just wonder how much this increases one's ability to "fall in love" with the series, so speak. It brings me back to the Aragorn case, because my least favorite aspect of the films (by a HUGE margin) is the Aragorn/Arwen love story thing. I've been told this is "really important" and that it's a big part of the books, but as a person only going by what I see on screen it just feels a sloppy attempt at Titanic-lite filler and doesn't help me enjoy the character(s) at all. In fact, I have no feeling for Aragorn at all other than a somber badass. On the other hand, I find the Gollum/Frodo/Samwise dynamic to be dramatically fascinating to watch. (And no, it's not a homoerotic thing.)
Old 12-17-03, 05:52 PM
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i was a fan of the books far before the movies where released, and seriously i didn't like FOTR's portrayal of Arwen/Aragorn that was the only thing keeping it from being perfect
Old 12-17-03, 06:57 PM
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I have yet to read the books, but I'm not sure who told you that Aragorn/Arwen thing is a big part of the books... from what I understand Arwen doesn't play a big part in the books and that the love story is actually from the appendices. I personally have no problem with the love story and think it adds to the movie overall. It hads one more element to what they are all fighting for.

So count me as a lover of the film without having read the books.
Old 12-17-03, 09:19 PM
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I'm not a die hard fan either, but I love the way that the movie has so many great images which are nearly identical the what my mind saw when I read the books way back when. Bag end looked just like I always envisioned it, down to there being 15 coat hooks on the wall. The scenes with Shelob felt like I've seen them before, because the imagery was so consistant with what I imagined I saw as I read the book.
Old 12-17-03, 09:38 PM
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yeah - Old Toby
Old 12-17-03, 10:34 PM
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I'm not a a tolkien fanboy or anything, I never read any of his books till LOTR last winter. But I love all 3 movies. It's just a great story, and probably the only "dungeons & dragons" style of fantasy movie that I've ever seen that I didn't think sucked, or had awful acting or was just plain boring. They did a great job bringing a classic story to life, and in a way that just about everyone that was a fan of said story could love it, along with people that never even heard of it before.
Old 12-17-03, 11:07 PM
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"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?"

The great director William Wyler once said that all you need to make a classic movie is three good scenes ... and no bad ones.

Same deal here. There are some exceptional things, and some merely good things. And there are a few missteps here and there. But the key is: there is nothing terrible, nothing stupid and inane, nothing that makes you want to projectile vomit. Unlike, uh, certain other films that will not be named so as to avoid needless off-topic flamage.

The LOTR films are great because they are sometimes amazing, usually good, and never awful. There's other stuff as well (there's more to the story than good versus evil) but that's enough to secure their reputations.
Old 12-18-03, 12:35 AM
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I love these films for being a huge, sweeping story told amazingly well. If you break it down into little pieces there are faults. I suppose. But what other movie pulls together such an epic story, full of characters as rich as these and a world as fully developed as this. Not to mention the filmmaking is...imo...excellent. beautiful cinematography, excellent special effects, quite good pacing considering the volumes of material, good acting, good dialogue and not to mention...the movie isn't mindless...it has heart, it has drama, and it has incredible action sequences. I could go on.

I suppose it's what you take from it. I find the experience of joining in such a large story in such a fantastic world to be great. And these movies...they do that for me. I've become cynical in my movie watching, meaning many films just don't touch me. I enjoy them but I don't get sucked in. These movies...I could sit and watch all day and just get lost in their enchanting story.

Nor would I call the story normal or average. Sure, many elements are similar to lots of fantasy fare (which there isn't much of anyway) but, part of that is due to the influence these stories had in the first place. The second thing is, this story is sooo much more than most movies. It isn't the typical good guy chases bad guy kills bad guy gets the girl. THAT is your average fantasy film. This...is not.
Old 12-18-03, 01:47 AM
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Simple: STORY.

Of course we know Tolkien was a bloody genius, an esoteric Christian, a scholar.

Of course we know that the films are epic.

But it really comes down to the story. It is simply one of the greatest stories ever written in the history of humankind. And well it should be--Tolkien dipped not only into Jung's "collective unconscious" but into all the mythology of Europe, and possibly beyond, to make his masterpiece.

This source, coupled with the artistry and dedication of the cast and crew of the Lord Of The Rings films in adapting these works, have made enduring classics which have universal appeal.

If this sounds dry and academic, let me put it to you more directly: I can count on one hand the number of films which made me cry in the theater. The three LOTR films are three of those fingers. These films touch something essential in people, they represent all our struggles in life, as well as being great adventures.

I feel priveleged that I am alive to see them as cinematic works of brilliance...
Old 12-18-03, 02:32 AM
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I think the story is absolutely incredible, it goes utterly beyond the standard hero epic. We are given multiple heroes who are all heroes in different ways. I think there is a character or characters that we can intimately identify with. And we are given the oppurtunity to really explore the characters. Tolken created an entire universe whose depth is greater than any other that has created before.
Old 12-18-03, 03:17 AM
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I know people who love the book, and refuse to watch the films at all. I love the book as well. I read it after I saw TT. Yeah, the book is better, there are some changes such as dialogue showing up in vastly different places, but I don't believe the movies could have been any better. Hats off to Peter Jackson.
Old 12-18-03, 03:48 AM
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After you read the books then you realize what a huge undertaking these movies were. The sheer number of characters and things happening that had to be worked from a great book into the visual medium of film.Good versus evil. evil corrupting good.

I am still shocked that Peter Jackson was able to make these movies while retaining the core of what made the books great.

The love that the characters had for one another. The willingness to lay down your life in the face of overwhelming odds.

The Ring which is a thing of beauty that offers power to right the wrongs of the world with one catch. You will be corrupted over time into bringing wrong back into the world.

I am sure this makes no sense and is rambling

I have read the books at least 20 times.
Old 12-18-03, 05:03 AM
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Originally posted by jaeufraser
I love these films for being a huge, sweeping story told amazingly well.

I've become cynical in my movie watching, meaning many films just don't touch me. I enjoy them but I don't get sucked in. These movies...I could sit and watch all day and just get lost in their enchanting story.

Sure, many elements are similar to lots of fantasy fare (which there isn't much of anyway) but, part of that is due to the influence these stories had in the first place.
you nailed it for me.
Old 12-18-03, 05:18 AM
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I came to these movies not as a LOTR fan, but as a Peter Jackson fan. I've loved every one of his films (yes, even The Frighteners), and I was so happy to see him doing something on such a massive scale, with so much support from a Hollywood studio. So, on that level, the first thing I appreciated was the CRAFT. Watching the appendices on the EE DVDs just proves that the people who worked on this film were in love with the story, and did their best work as a result. In terms of sheer filmmaking, it is incredible. Sure, there are other movies that look good, too, but when you realize just how much work had to go into every shot because of the scale alone, and then add on dozens of other elements, you realize that for these films to look as good as they do took a buttload of work.

And then, while watching Fellowship, a funny thing happened. I got sucked into the story. I cared about the characters. I was shocked and dismayed when Gandalf fell to the Balrog. I cried when Frodo pulled Sam out of the water at the end. I felt real exhiliration when the remains of the Fellowship set out to find Merry and Pippin. And I realized that there was more to this movie than the craft. There was amazing acting, real emotion, and a powerful story. And, for those that haven't read the books, a sense of wonder, not just at the level of detail in creating Middle Earth, but in what would happen next. At the end of Fellowship, I was clamoring to see The Two Towers immediately. At the end of the The Two Towers, I had to see The Return of the King. The wait was part of it, frankly. And I found that I enjoyed all three films more on second viewings, because the first time, I was so busy thinking about what could happen next that I didn't appreciate each single moment. On subsequent views, I found that each moment held up in and of itself.

So, the films work on many levels. There's an epic sweep, a host of characters, most of whom we care about, and real emotion. Of course, not everyone will love it, but most people can appreciate it.

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