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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
A review of ROTK
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Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 3, 7:36am

Post #1 of 53 (1979 views)
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A review of ROTK Can't Post

A review a ROTK briefly said: ''This was a self-indulgent film by a director with not an ounce of romance or poetry in his soul, no experience in adaptation, no experience in high adventure, no subtlety, no sense of quiet personal interaction, no competense at suspense, no love of beauty — and a script adapted by people who missed the soul of the book entirely''.

Do you personally agree with this?


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 3, 10:21am

Post #2 of 53 (1895 views)
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No [In reply to] Can't Post

But The Return of the King is my favorite film in history - so y’know...

In professional film criticism you’re always going to have those hoity-toity types who basically want every film to be most subtle version of itself imaginable.

I don’t necessarily need subtlety. I mean, The Silence of the Lambs has all the subtlelty of a sledgehammer, and yet it’s brilliant; which is to say nothing of my other favorite film - Braveheart.

And, to speak for a moment about The Return of the King and what it had to do: not only did it need to be a good film, it needed to be a satisfying conclusion to two other films that preceded it (in hindsight, five). I always thought that, in saying that The Two Towers was the trickiest to adapt, Jackson and co sold Return of the King short. The concluding film is so, so very difficult to get right, and indeed most third entries in trilogies aren’t terribly good conclusions.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Jan 3, 12:13pm

Post #3 of 53 (1869 views)
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I honestly disagree with that so much I'd just skip it as unworthy of comment. // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Eruonen
Valinor


Jan 3, 5:24pm

Post #4 of 53 (1858 views)
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"A review" ? [In reply to] Can't Post

No on all counts.


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 3, 6:09pm

Post #5 of 53 (1866 views)
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To be fair... [In reply to] Can't Post

I did not post the whole review, just the conclusion, because it is so large. But this sums up the author's conclusion.

The whole review can be found here: http://web.archive.org/web/20040206094924/http://arthedain.netfirms.com/promises/promises_kept.html.

P.S.: I think you mean ''accounts''. Smile


Eruonen
Valinor


Jan 3, 7:07pm

Post #6 of 53 (1835 views)
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Count...charge....1,2,3 [In reply to] Can't Post

 


squire
Half-elven


Jan 3, 7:23pm

Post #7 of 53 (1835 views)
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That is a serious rant [In reply to] Can't Post

It reminds me of the good old days here on TORn when we had similarly serious, in-depth, and at times hyper-snarky, discussions about the artistic merits, success as adaptations, and success as stand-alone films, of New Line's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In any case, as Paulo says, to react with horror or disdain at the summative conclusion of the review is inappropriate without reading the entire review. But the entire review really goes on way too long - and takes a combination of book-purist, pop-film fan, and cultural warrior approaches in its thorough loathing of Jackson & Co's entire venture in adapting Tolkien's book to screen.

I think that's a very defensible point of view, as I remember thinking or making most of his detailed criticisms about the propping or sets or characters etc. during the long debates on TORn back then. But I think going on at such length, all at once, without concession to any contrary argument regarding budgets, production goals, audience expectations and the rest, comes off as fairly aggressive.

Not trollish, exactly, as trolls don't have the reserves of bile, knowledge, and rhetoric that this fellow does. (What is his name or tag, I wonder? He seems to have frequented TORn, with scant patience for our site's generally favorable view of the films) So: aggressive. Getting it off the chest all at once, rather violently, as if in full knowledge that, in the arenas of the internet, Tolkien fans, and pop culture, he will nevertheless be judged as on the losing side as the years and generations roll on.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 3, 9:23pm

Post #8 of 53 (1819 views)
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But you do realize... [In reply to] Can't Post

that the fact most people don't agree with him/her doesn't make his/her points any less valid, right? This is called argumentum ad populum (if I spelled it correctly) -- or appeal to the masses.

To be on the ''losing side'' doesn't really amount to anything.


(This post was edited by Paulo Gabriel on Jan 3, 9:30pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 3, 9:35pm

Post #9 of 53 (1809 views)
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Omg [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
(anyone else wonder why and how Gollum, in all his psychotic, schizophrenic, mutated glory, could seem more sane and normal than Sméagol the Stoor? but apparently the Riverfolk were all drooling morons out of a parody version of Deliverance...)


If I had that movie in my vocabulary, that would exactly describe my first reaction to the intro to ROTK when I saw it in theaters at 12. I love the film trilogy, but I am also in love with this exorcistic rhetoric.


squire
Half-elven


Jan 3, 9:45pm

Post #10 of 53 (1815 views)
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Sure... [In reply to] Can't Post

My comment about losing and winning sides in a debate about the quality of the New Line films reflects that writer's obvious desire to confront, convert, or discomfit and even insult those fans who disagree with him. He shows that he wants to "win" back then - and I concluded that in the arena he wanted to win in, the arena of popular fan opinion about the films, he has lost. Not because he's wrong in his particular criticisms. As I said, I agree with most of his details, if not in his spiteful tone.

But anyone in the general movie audience who's not a Tolkien fan has moved on from the Lord of the Rings films, and any Tolkien fan who disliked the films has long since stopped watching them. The only people left in the room now, looking back at his review, are fans who still like the films - like those here in this discussion. That's what I meant by ending up on the losing side - I meant relatively, not in some absolute sense of artistic and critical correctness.

Had he wished to write a negative review of Return of the King purely in terms of the Aristotelian principles of theoretical criticism that he wields in his opening, I think his piece would have been far, far shorter. And equally if not more impressive to read and to think about.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 3, 10:07pm

Post #11 of 53 (1807 views)
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I was taught that "The Silence of the Lambs" was about the limits of American power. [In reply to] Can't Post

See my next-to-last post on that film for a hint as to why it might be read that way. See also Roger Ebert's comments on a late 1990s frame-by-frame analysis of the film in which he participated.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 3, 10:10pm

Post #12 of 53 (1809 views)
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Parts of it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Take a point off for misspelling Gigli, though.

When was that review posted?


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 3, 10:11pm

Post #13 of 53 (1807 views)
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"during the long debates on TORn back then" [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm still holding out hope that TORN's old forums will be restored so we can read those debates again!


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


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Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
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How to find old Reading Room discussions.


squire
Half-elven


Jan 3, 10:26pm

Post #14 of 53 (1803 views)
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January 10, 2004 [In reply to] Can't Post

At least, that's the date given at the bottom of the review. The film was released in mid-December, less than a month before.

I am curious about the author's identity. For all the emotional lather, he or she has a lot to say that's reasonably well-expressed, and I couldn't help but notice a couple of grenades tossed at TheOneRing.net's forums (there may be more - I admit I have not read this essay in full).

So I wonder if this was by one of our members at the time, freshly bloodied from the close combat being waged on the Movie Board at that time - or if it was an observer from TheOneRing.com or the LotR Fanatics Plaza, or some other place on the web - or if it was a humble lurker, made eloquent by frustration. The piece is written to an audience that is presumed to have read the writer's earlier reviews of FotR and TTT, so I am guessing it's from some long-running forum or another. I don't think personal blogs were as common then as they later became, but I might be misremembering the state of the 'web over the years.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


N.E. Brigand
Half-elven


Jan 3, 10:41pm

Post #15 of 53 (1819 views)
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"in... the arena of popular fan opinion about the films, he has lost" [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed. And despite my distaste for Jackson's LOTR films, my sense is that subsequent popular adventure films have generally been worse still, so that Jackson's work will sustain an esteem I don't think it deserves. It will be interesting to watch--but not that easy to gauge. A couple years ago, I corresponded with the author of an article at Vox or 538.com (I don't remember which) who had tried to rate blockbuster films (going back to the 1970s, when that concept originated) by their critical appeal upon release. I pointed out to him that his source material, which was based on the aggregate critical score at Rotten Tomatoes and/or Metacritic, included quite a bit of retrospective commentary--e.g., Star Wars criticism that was written for the 1997 rerelease--and also that those sites frequently quantify those reviews in misleading ways. For instance, to take Star Wars again, one 1977 review was noted as having rated the film 100 out of 100 on Metacritic's scale, but reading it, I found that the reviewer said the film's first 20 minutes were of dubious quality.


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.


-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 3, 11:08pm

Post #16 of 53 (1795 views)
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Here's the TTT review [In reply to] Can't Post

http://web.archive.org/web/20090613040742/http://oddlots.digitalspace.net:80/arthedain/broken_promises.html


squire
Half-elven


Jan 3, 11:37pm

Post #17 of 53 (1790 views)
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Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

It is, as we would expect, entirely consistent with his third review. It is dated November 2003, and he admits he postponed writing it until just before the release of RotK, using a DVD edition to re-view the film that he hadn't watched since the previous winter.

Again, most of his criticisms are at least admissable and debatable.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


= Forum has no new posts. Forum needs no new posts.


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 3, 11:58pm

Post #18 of 53 (1787 views)
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And this is the base site: [In reply to] Can't Post

http://web.archive.org/web/20090613063540/http://arthedain.netfirms.com:80/

from which you can find a variety of obsessive critiques and introspection, including a breakdown of everything measurable in TTT, both book and film:

http://web.archive.org/web/20090614045916/http://oddlots.digitalspace.net:80/arthedain/oatmeal.html


Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 4, 8:20am

Post #19 of 53 (1740 views)
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To satisfy your curiosity... [In reply to] Can't Post

the author used to post at TheOneRing.com, where he/she made additional criticisms against the LOTR trilogy. As for TORn, I cant say for certain, but I think he/she was just a lurker here.


2ndBreffest
Rivendell


Jan 4, 1:20pm

Post #20 of 53 (1713 views)
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A serious rant for sure... [In reply to] Can't Post

but it really only leads me to wonder what their thoughts on PJ's most recent trilogy might be.


FarFromHome
Valinor


Jan 4, 2:24pm

Post #21 of 53 (1710 views)
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What strikes me about this "review" [In reply to] Can't Post

is how personal and "ad hominem" it is about Peter Jackson. Clearly the reviewer/ranter has formed an entirely negative view of the director and has decided that everything that's wrong with the films is down to personal weaknesses in Peter Jackson himself! Peter Jackson, it's true, had no experience of high-adventure filmmaking at the time, and almost certainly wouldn't have tried to do such an impossible thing as film three epic movies back to back if he had! But most of the rest of the summary seems to me hopelessly biased and betrays a visceral dislike of the director that makes it hard to take the rest of his comments seriously. To accuse Jackson of having "no competense [sic] at suspense". or "no love of beauty" just seems silly, since it's so easy to find examples of well-done suspense and scenes of great beauty in the films. That's subjective, of course, and presumably the writer didn't find any such examples according to his own criteria, but it's so easy to test assertions like these against one's own experience that the writer is instantly going to lose anyone who has found anything positive in the films at all!

Still, I'm sure he enjoyed getting all that off his chest!

(Interestingly, there seem to be various reviews of Tolkien's LotR when it was first published that take a similar scathing line, because Tolkien, like Jackson, was inexperienced in the creative form he had dared to attempt. Tolkien too was accused of being trite and self-indulgent, and was attacked personally for his lack of judgement in publishing such an embarrassing attempt at literature. Maybe there's a lesson there, although I'm not completely sure what it is!)

They went in, and Sam shut the door.
But even as he did so, he heard suddenly,
deep and unstilled,
the sigh and murmur of the Sea upon the shores of Middle-earth.
From the unpublished Epilogue to the Lord of the Rings



Paulo Gabriel
Bree

Jan 4, 3:16pm

Post #22 of 53 (1705 views)
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Lessons [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Maybe there's a lesson there, although I'm not completely sure what it is!)


Maybe there's a lesson to be learned from all the vitriol against the Hobbit trilogy too. Don't know, just sayin'. Wink


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Jan 4, 3:27pm

Post #23 of 53 (1698 views)
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I suppose [In reply to] Can't Post

We'll have to wait and find out what it is.


Thor 'n' Oakenshield
Lorien

Jan 4, 10:49pm

Post #24 of 53 (1632 views)
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Ouch...a bit harsh [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, I can't conclude with any certainty exactly what percentage of Peter Jackson's soul is composed or romance or poetry, measured in ounces. Since I personally love the Return of the King and regard it as a movie in an incredible category all of its own, I will leave it at that.

No experience in adaptation, though, is demonstrably false since PJ had literally just adapted the other two films to the screen. And anyone who has watched Heavenly Creatures might argue that PJ does indeed have a love of beauty, and a fantastic sense of quiet personal interaction, and plenty of subtlety.

I love The Hobbit. Always will.


Chen G.
Lorien

Jan 4, 10:55pm

Post #25 of 53 (1632 views)
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And, of course, Heavenly Creatures is itself a sort-of adapted movie [In reply to] Can't Post

Basically, any "based on a true story" film is a form of adaptation. So yeah, he was very much adept at adapting stories to the screen.

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