Shorn From The Ring.
November 12, 2003 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Christopher Lee has been cut out of 'Return Of The King'. "Of course I am very shocked, that's all I can say....If you want to know why you would have to ask the company New Line or director Peter Jackson and his associates because I still don't really know why.".

Does anyone know any more about this sayonara to Saruman? 'Asked if he would attend the première, he said: "No, what's the point? What's the point of going? None at all."' I'm kind of shocked. But not quite as much as he is from the sounds of it.
posted by boneybaloney (81 comments total)

 
Presumably for much the same reason they cut the giving of gifts at Lothlorien in the first one. These movies are all 180 minutes as-is, and stuff is going to get cut.
posted by kavasa at 2:25 PM on November 12, 2003


Ol' man Saruman didn't play much of a part in ROTK though, at least not until the concluding scenes - of which many assume won't make it into the theatrical cut.
posted by channey at 2:26 PM on November 12, 2003


Peter Jackson was asked about it, and here's what he had to say.
posted by ewagoner at 2:28 PM on November 12, 2003


It's a damn shame, though I'm sure it's for pacing rather than for any other reason. I'd expect Saruman to be back in the extended DVD edition. channey: I believe the scouring of the shire (or whatever it's called, it's been a while since I read it...) has been CONFIRMED as not being in the film at all, never mind the theatrical cut. It's not like it's a five minute scene they can quickly bolt back :) - I assume this means you won't even see Frodo, Bilbo etc cross the waters...
posted by kaemaril at 2:29 PM on November 12, 2003


They're CUTTING the scouring of the Shire and the battles with Sharkey? It's like a quarter of the book.

Blah blah blah Aragorn, that's all anyone give a rat's about. Pfft. Big king, whup dee doo.
posted by UncleFes at 2:32 PM on November 12, 2003


Here's the petition mentioned in the article.
posted by josephtate at 2:32 PM on November 12, 2003


Harry Knowles apparently got the scoop straight from Peter Jackson -- it didn't seem to fit either at the end of the last movie or the beginning of this one, so they cut it. (You can read for yourself here, if you can stomach Knowles' writing which, as James Lileks hilariously characterized last week:

Alas, he cannot write. He is a horrid stylist; he writes like someone mashing the keyboard with bratwursts; his politics have the sophistication of a preschool crayon drawing, and his self-confidence in his insights is matched only by his inability to see how fatuous his work often sounds. Mr. Knowles is often held up as an example of New Media, one of those outsiders who’ve wrested the mike from the old tired media. Usually I support that sort of thing, but if ever there was an argument for restricting the role of Critic to the white-gloved aesthetes, the Lucius Beebes, the Jay Shermans, the guys who, y’know, have done it, with a laidy, nudge nudge, it’s Harry Knowles. His review of Matrix 3 proves that if you can’t say something coherent, just say it in purple-tinted boldface 20-point Arial.

(on preview, I see that others have posted to similar sources. but hell, I'll post anyway because Lileks' description is too funny to pass up)
posted by pardonyou? at 2:35 PM on November 12, 2003


It'll be on at least one of the DVD releases, just not in the theaters.
posted by Trik at 2:38 PM on November 12, 2003


Alas, he cannot write. He is a horrid stylist; he writes like someone mashing the keyboard with bratwursts; his politics have the sophistication of a preschool crayon drawing, and his self-confidence in his insights is matched only by his inability to see how fatuous his work often sounds.

I'd almost say that describes 95% of us on metafilter ... myself included.
posted by crunchland at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2003


I can understand the cuts as Jackson describes them. Still, I will miss closure on the Saruman thread, particularly the conversation between Saruman and Gandalf in the remains of Isengard. You have to wonder how they will bring the hobbits back together with the rest of the crew.

As for Frodo, Gandalf, and the Noldor setting sail for the West, that doesn't rely on the scouring of the Shire. They can always leave from some port near Gondor.
posted by alms at 2:39 PM on November 12, 2003


crunchland, I actually think the writing style of most here is pretty darn good, and light years beyond Harry Knowles ... yourself included. Politics, on the other hand...
posted by pardonyou? at 2:42 PM on November 12, 2003


If they fuck this film up, I'm never going to the cinema ever again. The front page made it sound worst than it actually is, but still, it better be a damn good film.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:45 PM on November 12, 2003


Christopher Lee has been cut out of 'Return Of The King'...Of course I am very shocked, that's all I can say...I still don't really know why."..

Nancy Reagan-Drudge-Limbaugh "patriotic correctness" legions cranked up again. Seems they freeped-out over fears Saruman was designed by liberal filmmakers to mock/represent every recent Republican president.

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:50 PM on November 12, 2003


I guess this is what separates us fanboys from the people who actually make the movies. Reading Jackson's explaination, I can understand why he's doing it. He's more interested in the pacing of the movie and isn't emotionally invested in every storyline and nuance of the original.

But I can't see much point in making a petition to put the scene back in... The movie opens in a few short weeks. And besides, it's sort of really geeky/pathetic.

I wonder how they'll explain how they obtained the palentir for Pippin to look into, which is arguably a fairly crucial point in the plot (he said, in a really geeky/pathetic way).

and pardonyou?, I was just being glib.
posted by crunchland at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2003


*inserts MPAA rant CD, presses play*
posted by quonsar at 3:00 PM on November 12, 2003


he writes like someone mashing the keyboard with bratwursts

LOL!
posted by homunculus at 3:03 PM on November 12, 2003


The animated version of Return of the King not only eliminated Saruman and Wormtongue but also the extraneous characters of Gimli and Legolas, in favour of musical numbers. Peter Jackson is just following in Rankin-Bass' artistic traditions. You know Tolkien would have done the same had he had the chance.
posted by John Shaft at 3:06 PM on November 12, 2003


The bonus features on the extended Two Towers DVD show pre-viz footage from Gandalf's arrival at Isengard. Jackson says that this was supposed to be the ending of TTT, but he figured it was too anti-climactic and would make more sense at the beginning of ROTK. So surely, there must be some Saruman in it?
posted by muckster at 3:09 PM on November 12, 2003


Ah, ewagoner's link explains it. The scenes will be on the DVD, and at this point, I have complete faith in Jackson.
posted by muckster at 3:15 PM on November 12, 2003


Where'd you get the info on added clips? The extended DVD isn't out for another week. Which reminds me, I need to place an Amazon order...
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:16 PM on November 12, 2003


OT: has anybody heard of ANY online-petition having ANY effect of reall-life, ever?
posted by signal at 3:19 PM on November 12, 2003


Where there's a whip, there's a way.
posted by linux at 3:23 PM on November 12, 2003


If you can't wait the week or so to see what's on the extended TTT, you can see what our own GhostInTheMachine had to say. He's already got his.
posted by ewagoner at 3:26 PM on November 12, 2003


Orange Goblin, check out theonering.net for one stop shopping meeting all your Tolkein and Peter Jackson-related needs.

They were, BTW, a great site before the movies ever got greenlighted - the "Green Books" - especially the monthly Questions and Answers have been - for a long while - a wonderful resource for people seriously reading Tolkein.

Check here for the DVD info....

They're CUTTING the scouring of the Shire and the battles with Sharkey? It's like a quarter of the book.

Peter Jackson has been fairly clear since before the first movie was released that there was simply no way he could show the scouring of the Shire without getting into a fourth film. Its too complex. He says in the FoTR DVD 'stuff' that the vision that Frodo has in Lothlorien while looking in the mirror is supposed to be "a nod" to that section of the book, but he had never planned to film it.
posted by anastasiav at 3:30 PM on November 12, 2003


So the scouring of the Shire is out? Nice ending for a book, a little anti-climactic for a film trilogy?
posted by nthdegx at 3:33 PM on November 12, 2003


peter jackson used as human sacrifice on small scottish island , film at eleven.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:40 PM on November 12, 2003


Yep, nthdegx, its out - as Jackson has been saying for well over a year now
IGN Filmforce - February 25, 2002
posted by anastasiav at 3:42 PM on November 12, 2003


I've got a review copy. As for Christopher Lee, hasn't he been in enough movies to know that sometimes you end up on the cutting room floor? Staying away from the premiere seems petty at this point.
posted by muckster at 3:45 PM on November 12, 2003


Goblin - ewagoner linked to it and it was much as expected. I would be sad if I was Christopher Lee, but I'm not, and I've so far eventually agreed that all his choices worked out in the end.
posted by kavasa at 3:50 PM on November 12, 2003


> I'd almost say that describes 95% of us on metafilter ... myself included.

Hell, it's the motto of the internet.

What Phrenzy hath of Late Possess'd the Brain?
Though few can Write, yet Fewer can Refrain.

posted by jfuller at 3:54 PM on November 12, 2003


man, it's 7 minutes in a 3-hour movie, the movie itself is the 3rd episode in a very very succesful saga -- keeping Lee in would hardly have killed the movie's box office.
Lee is a legend. you don't dis a legend like that, completely cut his part. he's so old skool it hurts. there's more gravitas in a single Christopher Lee frame than in the entire career of all those young whippersnappers in the movie's cast.
keep him in.
you just don't fuck with this guy
posted by matteo at 3:56 PM on November 12, 2003


Serenity: Phew, Edward Woodward will be relieved.
posted by kaemaril at 3:56 PM on November 12, 2003


No Scouring?

As much as I truly loved that part of the story, I gotta admit it all seemed like an epilogue more than anything else.

But still, phooey.
posted by konolia at 3:57 PM on November 12, 2003


matteo - 7 minutes here, 3 there, another 5 elsewhere, and 10 or 12 1-minute sequences all add up. You set a target of minutes you're going to meet, and you meet that minute. Additionally, all the reasons he gave - it not fitting with the pacing at the end of TTT or the beginning og ROTK, all these things make sense. We'll see Lee in the extended DVD, and we saw lots and lots of Lee in fellowship and TTT.
posted by kavasa at 4:04 PM on November 12, 2003


I've know aboutt the scouring since first watching the EE Fellowship last year. I've gotten over that. But I don't see how they get going with ROTK without at least killing Saruman off. They have to at least show his dead body, or something. I mean, Aragorn has to peer through Saruman's palantir (fanboy alert). I wonder, could this all be a hoax cooked up by PJ and Christopher Lee so that when we see Grima do his thing, we will all be stunned?

Don't worry about crossing the water, though - I'm sure it will be the tear jerking finale.
posted by pejamo at 4:16 PM on November 12, 2003


Lee and McKellen already had plenty of great scenes in the first two films. I don't see how this cut amounts to a slam. And, as much as I love Christopher Lee, I think he's coming off pretty sanctimonious here. Any actor worth his salt realizes that characters and key scenes get cut in the course of filmmaking. And certainly someone like Lee should, a man who has made hundreds of films.

My hat's off to Jackson for trying to corral Tolkien's elborate plot into nine hours. The difference between the fanboy and the person who understands cinema is that the fanboy doesn't know the meaning of "drowning your babies," sometimes a necessary process.

Jackson has been doing his damndest to satisfy all you cry-babies. That Jackson has directly addressed illiterates like Knowles, while maintaining a polite front with the spoiled brats who do not understand that a novel and a film are two entirely different mediums, who do not understand that things get cut, shifted around, replaced, transmogrified, etc. -- even when you're adhering as closely as Jackson is -- is a credit to Jackson's character.

Really, people. Lay off.

Three films in three years for one of the most popular fantasy trilogies ever printed, and you little fucks are complaining about Christopher Lee? Jesus, people, take the grip off the ten-sided die and take a breath of fresh fucking air. There's a whole world outside Lord of the Rings out there called Earth.
posted by ed at 4:20 PM on November 12, 2003


Yeah. And besides, they needed to make room to show every single minute of Aragorn and Arwen growing old together (or rather one of them conspicuously not growing old) with lots of metaphorical shots of leaves falling in the woods. I mean damn, people, where are your priorities?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:25 PM on November 12, 2003


"Yep, nthdegx, its out - as Jackson has been saying for well over a year now
IGN Filmforce - February 25, 2002"


Tsk... the one day I didn't check IGN Filmforce for LOTR news... ;)
posted by nthdegx at 4:27 PM on November 12, 2003


He gets paid the same, in or out.
posted by mischief at 4:29 PM on November 12, 2003


Woah, ed. Lighten up, Francis.
posted by pejamo at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2003


Jesus, people, take the grip off the ten-sided die and take a breath of fresh fucking air.

That's twenty-sided die to you, bucko.

I'm afraid to go outside. I hear there's this vast blue nothingness masquerading as the ceiling of the big room out there, and it'll suck me right up into the empty Abyss if I poke my head out. At least that's what happened to my formerly present friends, anyway. And it's all bright and scary outside...

Hey look, I rolled another critical hit!
posted by DaShiv at 4:39 PM on November 12, 2003


I still haven't gotten over the Helm's Deep nitpicks.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:42 PM on November 12, 2003


The Scouring is key to the whole story. As anyone who writes stories knows, you have to kill the bad guy at least twice. In simple Hollywood terms kill the bad guy, walk away with a smile then have the bad guy rise up and attack you from behind. The is what The Scouring is all about a surprise bad guy return right in the place it matters most - the Shire. Once the evil is finally dispatched you know you can rest comfortably it is gone for good. Tolkein knew what he was doing, Jackson doesn't get it.
posted by stbalbach at 4:45 PM on November 12, 2003


I think Lee's miffed not from an actor's standpoint, but because it seems from all the interviews on the LOTR Ext. Ed. that Lee's quite the Tolkien fanboy himself.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:56 PM on November 12, 2003


What a shame, that nice man in the wheelchair who did such a great job in those Superman movies..oh, wait, Christopher Lee. That's a horse of a different color.
posted by m@ at 5:36 PM on November 12, 2003


If time is the problem, why did we get a whole painfully twee hour of hobbits before anything good happened in the first movie?
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:09 PM on November 12, 2003


as much as I love Christopher Lee, I think he's coming off pretty sanctimonious here

Chrsitopher Lee loves the LOTR books like no one else in the cast. According to him, he's read the trilogy once a year for the past 20 years, and served as the Tolkein scholar at hand on many occasions. If he's pissed, it's probably because of the hurt to the story, not to him. You have to admit, it's pretty lame to leave it out of the end of Two Towers because you think it will go better at the start of Return of the King, but then leave it off the start of ROTK because it really did belond at the end of TT after all.

Jackson is working very hard and I have plenty of faith in his goodwill. But "cry-babies" his critics most certainly are not. In Jackson's own words "the responsibility of bringing this story to life on film is obviously enormous." This one sounds like a simple fuck up to me. Oh well.
posted by scarabic at 6:27 PM on November 12, 2003


I think WolfDaddy is on the right track. Lee has reportedly reread the trilogy on a yearly basis for decades now... and of all the people who worked on the movies, he is the only one to have actually met J.R.R. Tolkien. I'd say that adds up to potential fanboy, bigtime.

And anyone who has any bit of fanboy (or fangirl) in them - even if they deny it to others! - can surely understand the soul-shattering, gut-twisting agony of having the object of their worship altered, no matter how carefully. Because dammit, it WAS pefect the way it was!!!!!!

Ahem.
posted by John Smallberries at 6:31 PM on November 12, 2003


Reread it every year for decades?

Sheesh. Someone needs to tell him about Amazon. There are lots of books out there. He doesn't need to keep reading the same one over and over and over.
posted by crunchland at 6:36 PM on November 12, 2003


Heh, whenever this issue comes up, I'm reminded of what Vonnegut said when his Slaughterhouse was made into an opera. He argued that any translation of a work into a new medium must take creative license otherwise the results "won't be worth shit." (From memory, but I do remember something to that effect. Vonnegut's use of profanity is probably more elloquent than mine.)

Tolkein himself lamented that LotR went on for far too long while he was writing it. He procrastinated for an extended period of time over the last chapters because of the demand for more background material that he felt was irrelevant. Even before his death he was already starting to develop a love-hate relationship with his fans who demanded more and more canon. He repeatedly poked fun at the extreme adoration his books received, even in the introduction penned for the American edition.

I suspect that he would be more sympathetic to Jackson as a storyteller for making difficult compromises in adaptation than the fanboy for wanting to seal the story away. Unfortunately, his heirs have to some degree promoted the myth of Middle Earth as one of the great literary works of the 20th century. Tolkien's own essays on the success of The Hobbit and LotR are exceptionally modest. He always comes accross not as the man who is creating the great English fantasy epic, but a hobbyist amused to find that anyone else would be interested in what he considered to be an idle passtime that was almost not worth the work to convert into a commercial novel.

But perhaps most importantly, Tolkein was a story-teller with a heck of a lot of respect for the constraints of form. He would be the first to recognize that novels are not cinema (unless you are Michael Chrichton who I have every reason to believe works backwards by doing the screenplay novelization first.)

stbalbach: The Scouring is key to the whole story. As anyone who writes stories knows, you have to kill the bad guy at least twice. In simple Hollywood terms kill the bad guy, walk away with a smile then have the bad guy rise up and attack you from behind. The is what The Scouring is all about a surprise bad guy return right in the place it matters most - the Shire. Once the evil is finally dispatched you know you can rest comfortably it is gone for good. Tolkein knew what he was doing, Jackson doesn't get it.

I agree that the Scouring is the key to the whole story but not for the reasons stated here. After all, it is a motif that appears nowhere else in the trillogy, (with the possible exception of the return of the ringwraiths, but nobody believed they were dead at the end of Book I anyway.) Not only that, it is not a motif of Beowulf, the work that Tolkien championed as the ideal literary hero story.

I think it is safe to say that Jackson, who has managed to spin some of the best cinematic yarns of the last 15 years, does know how to tell a story. From Tolkien's writings I suspect that he would be more pleased that anyone wanted to put as much time and effort into creating a cinematic adaptation than worried about fidelity. (It could be worse, Tolkien dispised allegory and reserved his harshest criticism for people who tried to turn Sauron into Stalin.) I also suspect that he would be more worried about taking his work too seriously than pleased at the hordes of fans debating each and every step of adaptation.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:00 PM on November 12, 2003


Not only that, it is not a motif of Beowulf, the work that Tolkien championed as the ideal literary hero story.

Beowulf kills Grendel, Grendel's mother shows up to exact revenge. While it's not the exact same, it does contain an element of the same motif, wouldn't you agree?
posted by The God Complex at 7:09 PM on November 12, 2003


He doesn't need to keep reading the same one over and over and over.

Oh come on. Some sagas are worth it, especially as one's own life and experiences changes and grows. I'm re-reading both fact and "historical fiction" about the fall of the Roman Republic and believe you me, there's some details about those events I appreciate far more now than if I had read the texts only once, say, three years ago. My own "re-read every year" list includes the Foundation trilogy and The Sandman and Babylon 5 (which is about as close to a 'novel for television' as I've ever seen on TV). To begrudge someone the love of a story that seems unchanging is to deny that the reader can change even if the story never does.

That said, I have complete faith in Jackson. I've never been so moved by a sterotypical 'calvary comes to the rescue' scene as I was by the one in The Two Towers. I knew it was going to happen, and yet Jackson visualized it in a way that had me reduced to a mass of quivering nerve endings and tears. Whatever he wants to include or exclude from The Return of the King is A-OK by me.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:12 PM on November 12, 2003


Hey, they could run Lee's scenes as a segment of The Twenty.
posted by mischief at 7:16 PM on November 12, 2003


Tom Bombadil has been cut out of 'Return Of The King'.

"Of course I am very shocked, that's all I can say....If you want to know why you would have to ask the company New Line or director Peter Jackson and his associates because I still don't really know why.".

posted by bwg at 7:31 PM on November 12, 2003


I don't know. Reading a book when you are a kid, and then re-reading it later in life -- even a couple times -- sounds more reasonable than reading the same book over and over, year after year. That sounds more like a masochistic obsession to me.
posted by crunchland at 7:33 PM on November 12, 2003


Beowulf kills Grendel, Grendel's mother shows up to exact revenge. While it's not the exact same, it does contain an element of the same motif, wouldn't you agree?Beowulf kills Grendel, Grendel's mother shows up to exact revenge. While it's not the exact same, it does contain an element of the same motif, wouldn't you agree?

Except for that third part of the story which breaks the supposed rule. This is also a different motif foreshadowed in the story within a story and at the end of the saga. For every enemy you defeat, there is always another one waiting in the wings. Peace is transitory. Although Beowulf kills the Dragon at the cost of his own life, one of the most vivid images Beowulf is the women of his hall wailing for the loss of their future with no leader to hold off the Sweeds.

The point is that Tolkien gave his reasons for the Scouring (which according to him was the first part of the story scripted) and I don't recall anything about the bad guy needing to come back twice. The Hobbit breaks the rule multiple times.

But perhaps I'm just too much of a fanboy. Tolkien expressed his dislike for both people who took the LotR too seriously, and people who tried to make liturature "mean" something. What makes LotR unique is that it is simply an adventure story intended to entertain. Those who argue for some kind of pure translation or adaptation are missing Tolkien's point.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:45 PM on November 12, 2003


Let's go back to bashing Knowles.
posted by item at 7:51 PM on November 12, 2003


crunchland, with respect, I'd advise you that you sound like your point of view is that once one self-identifies as an adult, said adult never ever changes again, thus cannot learn anything further from tales and parables they've read in the past. Or that one is incapable of deriving any further, nay even repeated, enjoyment from those tales and parables.

I'm here to tell you, with respect, that's just not true.

Knowles is a fat hairy man-boobed redheaded sellout who needs to die by self-ingesting lethal amounts of chemicals used to develop the films he loves the most. Blade 2 comes to mind.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:11 PM on November 12, 2003


I like Knowles, even if he can't write. I often like people who can't write, despite my best intentions.
posted by The God Complex at 8:20 PM on November 12, 2003


Peter Jackson has been fairly clear since before the first movie was released that there was simply no way he could show the scouring of the Shire without getting into a fourth film.

I absolutely wouldn't complain if there was a fourth movie. Trilogy be damned. I'd take a fifth movie. Whatever. I want it all. I want every second's worth of the books on film. I do. I'll sit for hours. I'll watch it over a few nights. I'll have marathons. Give it to me. Give it to me, please.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:37 PM on November 12, 2003


Wolfdaddy ... come on. I can agree that there are benefits to re-reading books after a time, to get something new out of them and to see them with new eyes, but to reread these same books over and over every year, especially these books, is more like some kind of weird ritual.
posted by crunchland at 9:20 PM on November 12, 2003


Why?
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:34 PM on November 12, 2003


these pages, they stick together?
posted by quonsar at 10:23 PM on November 12, 2003


FWIW, I bought the extended version of the Two Towers last week -- lots of video stores have it in inventory, you just have to find one where they're willing to break the rules -- and I really, really enjoy the way Peter Jackson seems to film these pictures so he can do 3- and 4-hour cuts. I enjoyed TTT in the theaters, but I really appreciated all the extra scenes in the DVD. I expect I'll have a similar experience with ROTK.

For fans of the books, the first bonus disc has a nice documentary on why they've adapted the books the way they have. There's a nice explanation, for example, of why Faramir behaves differently in the movie. I'm not a huge fantasy guy, but I've read the series a few times and I found the explanation convincing.
posted by subgenius at 11:08 PM on November 12, 2003


Lee really is a fanboy, though - when the BBC did Gormenghast a few years ago he played Flay and it turned out he was a Peake fanboy too. If he wants to rearead the book every year, why not? Do you think the book editor I know who reads Persuasion every year is equally strange, or is it the Tolkien thing?

It would be nice to think that Jackson would smooth things over with him personally, but in terms of the theatrical release of this film, he's probably making the right decision. His editing instincts seem to be extraordinarily good (seeing as how he's considering two quite different versions of each film simultaneously).

So Lee appears in LOTR, Star Wars and Gormenghast on top of his Dracula and Frankenstein work. Do you suppose his agent is under instruction to insert him into major fantasy series wherever possible?

(And The Return of Captain Invincible of course)
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 AM on November 13, 2003


Lee really is a fanboy, though - when the BBC did Gormenghast a few years ago he played Flay and it turned out he was a Peake fanboy too. If he wants to rearead the book every year, why not? Do you think the book editor I know who reads Persuasion every year is equally strange, or is it the Tolkien thing?

It would be nice to think that Jackson would smooth things over with him personally, but in terms of the theatrical release of this film, he's probably making the right decision. His editing instincts seem to be extraordinarily good (seeing as how he's considering two quite different versions of each film simultaneously).

So Lee appears in LOTR, Star Wars and Gormenghast on top of his Dracula and Frankenstein work. Do you suppose his agent is under instruction to insert him into major fantasy series wherever possible?

(And The Return of Captain Invincible of course)
posted by Grangousier at 1:28 AM on November 13, 2003


Yay! Twice! Haven't seen that in ages!
posted by Grangousier at 1:29 AM on November 13, 2003


I'm reminded of Raymond Chandler's response: these horrible filmed versions of your novels, don't you worry that they're destroying your books?

Look, he said, gesturing toward the library walls. There are the books, he said. See, he said. They are all safe.

Much as I hate scifi/fantasy [1], I feel pressed to emphasize the burden of the adaptationist. Film and literature are not the same beasts; one's meat is the other's mud.

As for H. Knowles: I cringe at the opinion that we are all best qualified to lend a critical eye, possessed of any brand of faculty, just because we are fans. It's like saying that proper penmanship makes you an author, and makes every completed primer a treatise. We all have opinions, but (to summon Chandler once more) you're not a writer just because you've read all the books. Opinions are like assholes, and - sometimes - so are the obdurate amateur polemicists within an overheated populace.

In a day when a lifestyle columnist is allowed to assume the position of premier film critic, I find I'd trade a thousand fanboys for another Rosenbaum, another Hoberman.
posted by uhnyuftz at 1:49 AM on November 13, 2003


When Jackson besmirched the characters of Merry and Pippin, then dropped Bombadil altogether, in Fellowship, it set the tone for me of what the films would be. They are not my beloved fantasy. They are mildly entertaining films.

Funny, my partner, who has read the books once, was less forgiving than myself. I was once quite the fanatic about The Trilogy.
posted by Goofyy at 2:09 AM on November 13, 2003


I wonder if Giuseppe Verdi and Arrigo Boito got as much crap as Jackson for their adaptation of Henry V part I and II?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:08 AM on November 13, 2003


Crazy. I've been waiting for the confrontation with the defeated Saruman for more than a year. It's one of my favorite scenes in the books in my opinion, and I was surprised that it was not in TTT. Jackson is on crack in my opinion.

Crunchburger, your staff is broken.
posted by crunchburger at 5:54 AM on November 13, 2003


According to him, he's read the trilogy once a year for the past 20 years,

I think this is the bit when I lost all sympathy.


Also: I'll be happy as long as the freedom of human kind at the end of this film doesn't rely on a fucking wheelbarrow.
posted by biffa at 9:00 AM on November 13, 2003


The Scouring was a key part of not just Return of the King, but the entire trilogy. You simply cannot show the happy, idylic world of the Shire in the first book without showing how that world was corrupted and destroyed--but then ultimately reclaimed--in the third. While I am inclined to follow Tolkien's lead and refuse to read much symbolism or "message" into the books, it is hard to see how any director interpreting the books onto film could not have appreciated the importance of the transformation of the Shire from agrarian Utopia to environmentally ravaged police state.

The Scouring chapters were among the most profound. You don't just conquer evil with epic battles and heroic missions. That gets rid of the immediate threat, but then there follows a long, tougher process of trying to repair the damage. The decision to edit out that healing process just further emphasizes the biggest problem with these film adaptations: they overemphasize the battles and violence in the books to the exclusion of the political and moral debates in the book. (That said, I enjoyed the first two movies, and I'm looking forward to the third).
posted by profwhat at 9:11 AM on November 13, 2003


Including the scouring would have made sense if the first two films had indicated that anything was happening "back at the ranch". As they are, however, they suggest that the hobbits are penetrating a slowly encroaching enemy who is still far from their home.

... or, did I miss something?
posted by mischief at 9:35 AM on November 13, 2003


oops, nevermind.
posted by mischief at 9:36 AM on November 13, 2003


I absolutely wouldn't complain if there was a fourth movie. Trilogy be damned. I'd take a fifth movie. Whatever.

word! i was just telling someone that i wish there could be a new LOTR film every christmas. forever. i don't even care if they just start making up random shit. I love these dang moobies.
posted by glenwood at 2:46 PM on November 13, 2003


if they just start making up random shit
"The name is Bond, James Bond."

... and don't think for a moment that the execs haven't already discussed your wish.
posted by mischief at 2:56 PM on November 13, 2003


Well, the studio is reportedly considering having Jackson, Wlash, Boyens, and the crew reunite to film The Hobbit...
posted by Asparagirl at 6:39 PM on November 13, 2003


(Er, that should be Walsh.)
posted by Asparagirl at 6:40 PM on November 13, 2003


i agree with anastasiav ...
posted by hoopyfrood at 7:20 AM on November 14, 2003


Yesterday morning my Mother told me that Christopher Reeve had been edited out of the new Harry Potter film. I think I know what she was actually talking about now.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:58 AM on November 16, 2003


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