-

Jump to content



Photo

Why so much excitement over LOTR?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
73 replies to this topic

#1 of 74 OFFLINE   MikeF

MikeF

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 180 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 17 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 10:27 AM

I realize a thread like this traditionally belongs in the Movies forum, but given that the LOTR Discussion thread there is 20+ pages long and filled with what appears to be rabid fan discussion, I thought I might pose my question here.

Why the hell is LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring receiving such ridiculously positive reviews? The film is rated as the #1 film of all time on the IMDb (ahead of The Godfather, Schindler's List, and Citizen Kane?!) and nearly every amateur review I read gushes about how magnificient the film is and how watching the film was the reviewer's best three hours of his life.

I've never read the LOTR trilogy, so perhaps I just don't get it. I saw the film, and it struck me as a visually impressive (though not stunning) film that dragged on WAY too long. Character development is marginal, at best. The score is overblown. The movie doesn't end -- it just stops. The plot, if you can call it that, is so simplistic as to be laughable.

Am I out of my mind? Do people actually think this is the greatest film ever made? Is the excitement about the quality of the film as a film, or about seeing what I gather is many people's favorite literary work translated beautifully into cinematic form?

I can understand the excitement some people obsessed (or even strongly interested) in the trilogy must feel seeing the trilogy's world translated so impressively onto the screen. Does that a good film make, however?
My oh so exciting DVD collection.

#2 of 74 OFFLINE   Mitty

Mitty

    Supporting Actor

  • 885 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 13 1999

Posted January 06 2002 - 10:59 AM

Hmmm, this oughtta be good.

Quote:
...or about seeing what I gather is many people's favorite literary work translated beautifully into cinematic form?


You may have just answered your own question with that little blurb.

What is your favourite book? Imagine now that a major Hollywood studio spared no expense in bringing it to the screen with a keen eye to its integrity in reference to the text. Imagine further that your enjoyment of the film is in the same ballpark as your enjoyment of the book. The the glee you feel is the same.

Does that answer your question? It helps to put yourself in the other person's shoes in these matters.

#3 of 74 OFFLINE   MikeAlletto

MikeAlletto

    Screenwriter

  • 2,371 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 11 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 11:18 AM

I went to see this opening day with a bunch of folks. One of them looked forward to this more than anything else. Afterwards he was in heaven. I told him I thought it was a good "movie", but I don't get the obsession that people have over it. I still don't get it. He tried to explain about the book and the characters and the fantasy...ok, fine it might be a good read, but come on...its not that great. Good movie, sure, but the best there ever has been? Not even close.
Michael Alletto

#4 of 74 OFFLINE   Sebastian_M

Sebastian_M

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 202 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 03 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 11:32 AM

I am a huge fan of both the book and the film and its not the best film ever but it is the best book ever. (IMO)

Seb
In Dwimordene, in Lorien
Seldom have walked the feet of Men,
Few mortal eyes have seen the light
That lies there ever, long and bright.
Galadriel! Galadriel!Clear is the water of your well;White is the star in your white hand;Unmarred, unstained is leaf and landIn Dwimordene, in LorienMore...

#5 of 74 OFFLINE   PatrickM

PatrickM

    Screenwriter

  • 1,140 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 10 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 11:58 AM

I too have never read the books but knew about the story a bit. Went to go see it the other day and was blown away. Very well made movie and a compelling story. The acting was excellent as well. Definitely one of the better movies I've ever seen.

Patrick

#6 of 74 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

Joseph DeMartino

    Lead Actor

  • 8,303 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969
  • Real Name:Joseph DeMartino
  • LocationFlorida

Posted January 06 2002 - 12:19 PM

Quote:
The movie doesn't end -- it just stops. The plot, if you can call it that, is so simplistic as to be laughable.

Sounds like a description of The Empire Strikes Back to me. Posted Image Of course it "just stops." This (far more than, say, Star Wars) is the first act of a three act play. It is only being done as a movie because nobody wants to sit through a nine hour film, and it was too expensive to make as a TV mini-series. (The books were printed as a trilogy for the same reason - they aren't really, they are on long single narrative. Lord of the Rings is really a gigantic novel cut up into three parts for financial, marketing and production readings.)

As for viewer polls and the like - of course this isn't the best film ever made. Neither was Close Encounters or 2001 or any number of other films that might have topped such a poll. Most of the people responding to such a poll are going to pick the last movie that they saw and liked. That's just human nature. Most people (unlike members of this forum) do not remember almost every detail of every film they've ever seen, much less seek out classic films to educate them. Citizen Kane regularly comes in at or near the top of many "greatest movie" polls among critics and film fanatics, but if you stopped 100 people at random on the streets of New York (or L.A. for that matter) you'd be lucky to find 20 who were knew anything about the film, and luckier if you found five who had actually seen it.

I've seen FotR twice now. I think it is a fun film, beautifully shot, which does the difficult job of establishing the characters for the epic that follows. (And, despite your criticism, I think it does pretty well by the characters. Again, this is the first act. I don't expect to see a character arc for any of them, except Boromir, who got one if you were paying attention. For the rest of the cast, the life changing experiences and personal crises are yet to come.) At the same time it is one of the most faithful adaptations of a book to come out of Hollywood in its history, an achievement even more remarkable given how difficult the material is to translate to film, how many people have their own ideas about the characters and places firmly planted in their heads, and how utterly it has defeated every previous attempt to realize the book on screen. The Ralph Bakshi debacle looks even worse in retrospect, given how neatly Jackson sidestepped the very obstacles that Bakshi spent his whole film tripping over.

Regards,

Joe

#7 of 74 OFFLINE   Don Black

Don Black

    Screenwriter

  • 1,485 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 1998

Posted January 06 2002 - 12:33 PM

I've never read the books either but I made sure I saw LOTR twice. I have only done that a handful of times in my life. It's just a terrific epic with great cinematography. Maybe I was in the mood for a quest...

#8 of 74 OFFLINE   MikeF

MikeF

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 180 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 17 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 12:50 PM

I understand that this film is but one part of a trilogy. Shouldn't, however, each film be able to stand on its own, to the extent that one has chosen, for whatever reason, to make it into three films? Star Wars is a trilogy, but each film has its own, distinct story arc. Fellowship almost undeniably does not.

I understand that this is the way the books are written, but it's significantly more acceptable in the case of a literary trilogy than a cinematic one. I also have to imagine the literary version was a bit more artful in its closure of the first part.
My oh so exciting DVD collection.

#9 of 74 OFFLINE   MikeF

MikeF

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 180 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 17 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 12:54 PM

Quote:
You may have just answered your own question with that little blurb.

What is your favourite book? Imagine now that a major Hollywood studio spared no expense in bringing it to the screen with a keen eye to its integrity in reference to the text. Imagine further that your enjoyment of the film is in the same ballpark as your enjoyment of the book. The the glee you feel is the same.

This is what I suspected was happening; I just wanted to see if I was the only one who thought so. Posted Image
My oh so exciting DVD collection.

#10 of 74 OFFLINE   Ben Motley

Ben Motley

    Supporting Actor

  • 739 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 03 2001

Posted January 06 2002 - 01:01 PM

Mike, your thread title is "Why so much excitement over LOTR?" Okay, so right off the bat, let's get beyond the idea that so many folks have chimed in recently at IMDb to make it seem that the movie is more highly regarded than Kane or Godfather. It simply isn't true.

What is true is that the series of books have been immensely popular with a very loyal crowd for many, many years. That crowd has been generally limited to young males. Their loyalty, dare I say obsessiveness, drives the story deeper and deeper into society's conciousness, creating new readers every day, and further cementing veteran readers. Could it be that the books are just damned good? Well, yes. But then, why doesn't any number of other good books create such a demand? Being a good book, a popular book, even an immensely popular very good book, doesn't guarantee a devout, rabid fanbase. The key, I think, is looking to the audience. LOTR knows it's audience well, and was written especially with them in mind. LOTR's general readership, young men, get much more excited about things like adventure stories than old foagies jump up and down about spy thrillers, or middle-aged women about historical fiction or romances. They go to school (where they also contact with many more peers on a daily basis than do adults, generally speaking) and spread the word about their experience with what they are reading. A well written book, specifically aimed at such an audience, spreads like wildfire under such circumstances.

I don't think I'm entirely off base with that, but it's just a thought. I'm not saying "this is the reason" in a booming godlike voice, but rather just taking a stab at the question at hand.

To answer this point specifically though...

Quote:
The movie doesn't end -- it just stops.

While this observation is quite true, it has always irked me*. It is an unfortunate, but neccesary, fault inherent in the books, if it is a fault at all. That is how the first book ends. It's a bitch, but as Jackson decided to film a trilogy, following the structure of the original books, rather than giving us a 10 hour movie all at once, this isn't a fault in the film.


*I say always, not because of Jackson's current film, but because Ralph Bakshi's animated version of LOTR. It has nearly incited riots due to the fact, among other reasons, that it ends mid story as well. What the would rioters fail to understand, or choose to ignore, is that the studio pulled out of the project even before the first film was finished and withdrew funding for the sequel Bakshi had planned.

And now I run like hell out of this thread, because I know everyone hates Bakshi and I'm dead meat for defending him. Posted Image

#11 of 74 OFFLINE   Ben Motley

Ben Motley

    Supporting Actor

  • 739 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 03 2001

Posted January 06 2002 - 01:04 PM

Okay, I'm back, just for a second though.

Mike, you got in before I could post with comments I addressed so now I gotta re-address. Posted Image

Quote:
I understand that this film is but one part of a trilogy. Shouldn't, however, each film be able to stand on its own, to the extent that one has chosen, for whatever reason, to make it into three films? Star Wars is a trilogy, but each film has its own, distinct story arc. Fellowship almost undeniably does not.


Simply put, this rabid readership I mentioned above would have ripped Jackson's testicles off had he taken such artistic liberties... just ask Bakshi. Posted Image

#12 of 74 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

Mike Broadman

    Producer

  • 4,956 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 24 2001

Posted January 06 2002 - 02:02 PM

Mike, here's a simple one word answer to your question:

hype

I felt the same way about Titanic. Remember when everyone was running around saying it was the greatest movie ever in the universe? Now I don't even see it making any top insert-number-here lists, or hear anyone talking about it. It wasn't the greatest movie ever made then, even though lots of people sure thought so.

So, what will happen with the conception of LOTR in short time? Simple two word answer:

Back lash

And, don't place any importance on polls or the like. People are silly, they'll say anything.

#13 of 74 OFFLINE   RobertR

RobertR

    Lead Actor

  • 9,510 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 19 1998

Posted January 06 2002 - 02:04 PM

Quote:
I also have to imagine the literary version was a bit more artful in its closure of the first part.

No. If anything, the film is better in this regard. The book essentially just says "to be continued".

Your criticism is like criticizing how a book abruptly stops after 8 of 24 chapters.

#14 of 74 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

Patrick Sun

    Studio Mogul

  • 37,742 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 30 1999

Posted January 06 2002 - 02:38 PM

I could not make it a 2nd viewing of LOTR, I walked out around the half way point when I noticed I was dozing off repeatedly. I couldn't stomach the blurriness of the CGI landscape, and found myself not caring about the characters too much (knowing there's 2 more film, you sort of have a feeling that most of the live).
"Jee-sus, it's like Iwo Jima out there" - Roger Sterling on "Mad Men"
Patcave | 2006 Films | 2007 Films | Flickr | Comic-Con 2012 | Dragon*Con 2012

#15 of 74 OFFLINE   Neil Joseph

Neil Joseph

    Lead Actor

  • 8,338 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 16 1998

Posted January 06 2002 - 03:17 PM

I loved the film and give it a solid 9/10. It is the best film of it's genre that I have seen in a long time. However, it is not the best film of all time as has been rated in the IMDB.
Click on above image to enter " T H E . H O L O D E C K "
---------------------------------------------------------
The Holodeck. My DIY Screen. DIY Subwoofer: The MaxCaliber
My humble collection of DVD's. HTF Beginner's Primer and FAQ

#16 of 74 OFFLINE   Eric M Jones

Eric M Jones

    Second Unit

  • 398 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 15 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 03:50 PM

I've been thinking about this film a lot mostly because it totally mesmerized me. For reference I've seen it 2 and 1/3 times. (Snuck in after watching another movie to catch the last hours or so.) I'm not a big fan of the books mostly because I read only the Hobbit many years ago. I've always admired the Tolkien fantasy though.

I am a big fan of movies and I thought this film did many things just right. The closest thing I can compare it to is Star Wars. (I hesitate to bring that film into the discussion because I've already seen the threads that are pitting these films against each other.) The similarity I do see between them though is how they both completely captured my imagination.

I'm almost 30 so when "Star Wars" came out I was at a very ripe age to be drawn into the SW saga. Those films left a big impression on me and I would say I was a "Star Wars" geek for may years. SW came out in 1979 I've seen literally thousands of films since that time and other than "SW" and "Indiana Jones" I haven't been as fascinated by a film until I saw FOTR a couple of weeks ago.

Make no mistake this film was a major risk. It already had millions of fans that would be terribly upset if the film didn't due the books justice and the fact that it's a mid-evil story is almost box office poison. (Mid-evil films have always done poor at the BO.) Fortunately Peter Jackson is a masterful movie maker because LOTR wouldn't be as is without his loving direction.

What PJ did was not only create a movie but he was able to put on screen a complete world with it's own races, and history and legends and deliver it with style and a sure handedness that in the wrong hands could have come across very silly. Which is exactly what I believe George Lucas did with "Star Wars". For me LOTR is a true gem that completely transports you to another time and place and even at 3 hours I was wanting it to go on. Films rarely move me in this way and I believe that many out there feel the same.

I plan to see it at least once more in the theater and Definetly will buy it on DVD the very day it comes out.

Now that's my purely emotional response I'd like to address some of your questions below:

Quote:
Why the hell is LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring receiving such ridiculously positive reviews?

Because it is a thoroughly enjoyable action adventure movie that sucks you in and holds your attention for 3 hours. Not an easy task!

Quote:
I've never read the LOTR trilogy, so perhaps I just don't get it.

I haven't either but I still loved the film.

Quote:
Character development is marginal, at best.

I have to disagree there. One of things this film does best is strongly present the main characters and allow you to get to know them prior to setting out on their quest. I found the scenes between Gandalf, Bilbo and Frodo to be some of the best.

Quote:
The score is overblown.

Enjoyed the score found it to be an excellent compliment to the film.

Quote:
The movie doesn't end -- it just stops.

It doesn't end in the traditional sense but it does have enough resolution to kind of tidy up the first act. The ending really didn't bother me other than the thought I'd have to wait a whole year for the next installment. (Just wondering: did many people complain Han Solo was left frozen in Carbonite at the end of ROTJ?)

Quote:
The plot, if you can call it that, is so simplistic as to be laughable.

Try this one: Evil power chases rebel threat across the galaxy to ensure his ultimate power will not be threatened. Underdog hero must transport magical ring to be destroyed before evil power catches him first is simple. But really in both cases it's all about the characters and their journey anyway.

Quote:
Am I out of my mind?

You could be but I really don't know you Posted Image

Quote:
Do people actually think this is the greatest film ever made?

I wouldn't say EVER. I would put it on my list of great films. However, it is one of the greatest mid-evil action adventure films ever made.

Quote:
Is the excitement about the quality of the film as a film, or about seeing what I gather is many people's favorite literary work translated beautifully into cinematic form?


For me it is as a film. I could write for a very long time about the things that were great about this film.

Quote:
I can understand the excitement some people obsessed (or even strongly interested) in the trilogy must feel seeing the trilogy's world translated so impressively onto the screen. Does that a good film make, however?

I see your point but I for one think it is one of the best films to come along in a very long time.


Hope this helps,

-EJ
 Visit my blog coregeek.net

#17 of 74 OFFLINE   SteveGon

SteveGon

    Executive Producer

  • 12,267 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 03:53 PM

Well, I never read the LOTR trilogy, and I've never been into the whole fantasy thing, but I still thought Fellowship of the Ring was a good movie. It's not the best movie of all time, but it's good entertainment.

#18 of 74 OFFLINE   Alex Spindler

Alex Spindler

    Producer

  • 3,973 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 23 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 04:20 PM

I've read the first book once (last year in prep for the movie) and listed to the audio presentation while driving cross country. I've seen the movie 5 times now, mainly because I'm so damn impressed with the thing. Because I have a vague recollection of the novel, but not a great deal of detail, I can apprecitate the movie in how well it captured the book I read. I'm impressed with how well it was paced. While reading it, I was trying to imagine what would likely need to be changed or dropped. I assumed that The Shire would be compressed to a small set of scenes, so imagine how amazed I was to see Hobbiton in all it's glory. Next I tried to imagine how the end would play out (The book ends with the betrayal of Boromir), and was also impressed with how good of a villain Lurtz had been, and how smart it was to conclude the movie with a section of the Two Towers, which gave it an exciting and poigniant ending.I was also impressed with how well that little liberty had on making it a successful movie.

From a movie making perspective, I am always impressed with movies that incorporate real drama with effects to create a magical world. I've always loved Jackson's work, but wouldn't have ever considered him capable of this kind of result. Couldn't be happier to be surprised.

Is it the best movie ever? No. Is it a 9.5/10 movie? Absolutely. I think it's a shining example of what Hollywood is capable of. Translating a beloved literary work into a faithful movie at the hands of a believer in the material. None of this feels false, or updated to be hip for the younger crowd. There's no inappropriate comic relief. The action is exciting, the effects are impressive. The dialogue is fitting and appropriately epic. The casting is right to a T. And finally, the movie is damn fun. I was so caught up in it that I found myself jumping and stressing over their survival in the key battles. In short, I think this is a rare movie, and one that I can't easily find the equal to - In scope, intent, substance, or enjoyability.

From a fan of the movie, not necessarily the book (which is quite good).

#19 of 74 OFFLINE   MickeS

MickeS

    Producer

  • 5,065 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 24 2000

Posted January 06 2002 - 05:10 PM

MikeF, you have a fellow wonderer in me. I saw it opening day, and thought it was a decent movie, but found the same faults with it that you do (laughably simplistic "plot", terrible ending, it was also way too compressed with too many characters, and an hour too long). It's a 6/10 for me, nothing more nothing less.

I was completely AMAZED by all the positive reviews it got. I couldn't understand it, it seemed like reviewers had seen a different movie than I saw.
Then I started reading Internet reviews, and that was even more amazing. People were gushing over the movie, it inexplicably has reached #1 on IMDB and I just don't get it... I feel like Mr Pitt in the Seinfeld episode where he can't see the 3-D picture that everyone else can see. To me, it's a generic fantasy adventure with a mediocre plot, to most others it's the second coming as far as movies go.

I had expected reactions similar to what SW:TPM received. I thought that was a movie of about the same quality, but for almost the exact opposite reasons.

Oh well, I'm glad a lot of people liked it, I just wish I understood why. Posted Image

/Mike
/Mike

#20 of 74 OFFLINE   Adil M

Adil M

    Supporting Actor

  • 922 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 21 2001

Posted January 06 2002 - 05:27 PM

Did someone say this thing held your attention? Please. I read the Hobbit eons ago and the picture of this film amazed me, not the story and character development. Not up to hype, but nothing usually is.


Back to Archived Threads 2001-2004



Forum Nav Content I Follow