Nov 15 2012, 6:51pm
I think Tolkien's LOTR is very subtle in terms both how layered his sub-creation is, and how nuanced the thematic threads of the story are. People who claim that LOTR is simply about good and evil have essentially missed the point. The themes of death, the unhealthy yearning for deathlessness, the wraithifying consequences of a lust for temporal power, and despair, seem to pass them by. He also sketches the structure of the story in a subtle manner - not being a slave to the idea that everything, and everyone, must be neatly connected in terms of both narrative or characterization.
Depends on what you mean by subtle
However, there is certainly some clarity from Tolkien on who some of the bad guys are. Wormtongue is obviously not a name for an angel, I will admit that. There is nothing too subtle in this character, not even in the books.
However, for some reason, PJ feels that he needs to take these cues, and then amplify them beyond necessity. Wormtongue is called Wormtongue in the book, but he is not described as being hideously pale with open wounds, wearing Goth black clothes with lace trim, having no eyebrows, and feeding lines to an almost dead, zombified Theoden. Add the foreboding music to that, and you have Tolkien's text pumped full of steroids.
So no, this was not one of Tolkien's most subtly drawn characters. But that doesn't excuse PJ from amping that aspect up to the 11th degree. If anything, he should have toned it down a bit. A visual medium, like film, requires careful choices in terms of visual and aural cues, and PJ doesn't seem too interested in that.
(This post was edited by Shelob'sAppetite on Nov 15 2012, 6:53pm)