Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars (Salon Magazine)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Paul Jenkins, Jan 10, 2002.

  1. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2000
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Salon has an article that I found very, very interesting, and pretty much summed up my feelings of LOTR and Star Wars (well, FOTR and EpIV anyway.)
    Did anyone else see this? Perhaps a rebuttal from the Tolkien faithful on some of the writer's points?
    Cheers
     
  2. TerryRL

    TerryRL Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    3,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I read it and I totally agree with you, it was an extremely interesting article. Some of it I agree with and some I don't, but it was a damn good read.
     
  3. James D S

    James D S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2000
    Messages:
    1,000
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great article. I have a few disagreements, but the author offers good points.

    Thanks for the link.
     
  4. Travis D

    Travis D Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2001
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The writer has obviously not read LOTR as of late. He complains of the movie lacking humor in dramatic spots and that hobbits don't make sounds on the ground. The latter complaint isn't even valid since hobbits don't make sounds when they walk if they don't want to.
     
  5. Tony Stirling

    Tony Stirling Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2000
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There have been many, many threads and a lot of discussion and arguement on various websites for years on this subject--not just FOTR vs ANH as movies, and not just Tolkien vs. Lucas. So I ask, why? I saw SW:ANH in 1977. It changed my life, as far as scifi goes. I read LOTR for the first time when I was 12, and have read it in the neighborhood of 20 times since. I love both universes, and I suspect most of us here on HTF do, too. Both series defined thier respective genres, whether in literature or film. There needn't be some sort of contest that would pit Tolkien against Lucas. They certainly didn't intend it to be that way. Indeed, I don't think that Tolkien even knew Lucas existed... My point is, one is not better than the other. There really is no good way to compare the two. They both tell basically the same story, as the Salon.com article points out--these are just different ways of telling it, both are viable and both are enjoyable. At least, they both work for me and I see no reason to attack one or the other. It is pointless.

    For most of us here, Star Wars defined the sci-fi action genre, and it borrowed the heroic quest. This makes is more than just another scifi action flick. Much more.

    By the same token, LOTR defined the fantasy genre of literature for many. The rich world of Middle-Earth and all its inhabitants are dear to me. I loved the FOTR movie. I can't wait for the others to come out. It'll be a long wait!! But it's different from SW. It really can't be compared.

    What I like is a forum like this one where people can post thier opinions without fear of personal attack. I certainly have no desire to attack anyone, and if my comments have caused anyone anxiety, I apoligize. I just think that most people on this forum love both Star Wars and LOTR, so there is no reason to bring one down...

    Thanks for reading my rant. I don't post often, but I have really enjoyed visiting HTF--it's a daily ritual. Admins, keep up the good work. Thanks.

    tony
     
  6. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2000
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Tony,

    I didn't post the article to bring out personal attacks, that is for sure, and hope the thread doesn't turn into that. I just thought a lot of the points in the article were spot-on, the most interesting part to me was the fact that perhaps our standards have changed, so the filmmakers have changed to suit those changes as well, as quoted in the article as:

     
  7. Tony Stirling

    Tony Stirling Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2000
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Paul--
    No problem, and thanks for posting the article. I've just seen it happen before, that's all, and I know it's a really touchy subject for many. I thought the article said some good things, too. I think we, as an audience, get too tied up in special effects, and such.
    I remember an evening awhile ago. I was asked to get a video for a party. I chose Hitchcock's Rear Window, because I knew most of the people at the party had never seen a really good movie, let alone something from Hitch. So I gambled, and got it. Well, you can imagine what kind of a response I got!! "Made in 1957!?!?" "That's old!!!" "No special effects!!!" and so on... It was intersting, though, to watch reactions of everyone as the movie unfolded. I had seen it many times, so I watched everybody else as the viewed. It was fascinating. They ate it up! It says something about good movies: exposure, for most people, will be enough to get them hooked. It was an interesting experience.
    Back on point, I think one of the main reasons FOTR has done so well, and has recieved so much (deserved) acclaim, is bacause this is really the first time in a long time that a truly fantasy epic has been made really well. Yeah, I know Ladyhawke and Willow have thier followings, but the scope of LOTR is so huge, and it has been pulled off, with very few complaints. That was what I've been taking this long to say!![​IMG]
    Thanks for your patience!!
    tony
     
  8. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2001
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  9. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 1999
    Messages:
    1,220
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Eh, the guy has his opinions.. that's fine, they are his. But the biggest fault I find in this article is it's comparing an entire trilogy to one movie that's the first in a trilogy. It won't be fair comparison until it's completed.

    And no, he hasn't read the trilogy, at least it seems that way. He wonders what "wizards" are, and other fundamental things. He seems to want more exposition. Maybe most of the critics (save our very own illustrious Scott Weinberg) who saw the film and enjoyed it did read the books and did fill in the blanks left in the movie.

    I dunno? In the end, I think the fairest way to compare these trilogies will be to consider them each as one whole movie.
     
  10. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There are several things I personally don't agree with, but I don't really have to, now do I?

    Damn good article. Fun read, arguments well delivered, quite informative.
     
  11. Geoffrey_A

    Geoffrey_A Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Messages:
    280
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Great article, summed up a lot of my feelings about the original trillogy. When she got into FOTR however, I found myself disagreeing quite a bit. I mean, they're her opinions and she's welcome to them, but some of her points seemed off to my. Some examples:

    She quibbles about Gandalf being the reassuring wizard one moment, and pushing Frodo out the door at Bag End the next. I felt the film made Gandalf's change in attitude quite clear. I never once was under the impression that his character had just taken a sudden shift, it all flowed from the events in the film. Some might say that having read the books I'm filling in blanks, but I don't think so. I read the Harry Potter books, and I was fully aware of every point when I was filling in the blanks, and man there were a lot of those points in HP. I've seen FOTR 3 times now, going again tomorrow, and I think this shift in attitude is fully justified by the movie, no external reading neccessary.

    The same can be said for her comments about Aragorn's introduction. It seemed perfectly clear to me that his strider persona was used specifically to allow him to blend in at the Prancing Pony. Not to mention that his knowing about the ring makes it totally understandable why he would "bully" Frodo out of site as quickly as possible.

    I also believe that comparing the first film of the LOTR tillogy to the original SW trillogy is a little off base. To be fair she should be comparing FOTR to A New Hope.

    Personally, I felt FOTR was a fantastic movie with really engaging and believable characters that I cared for every bit as much as the characters I love in Star Wars. I don't know which film I love more, and I don't think it really matters in the end.
     
  12. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 1998
    Messages:
    5,955
    Likes Received:
    703
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Deleted original posting.

    ( I have a busy day and don't really want to start a discussion in which I cannot participate. )

    - Walter.
     
  13. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I haven't read it yet, that's next, but I wonder if she notes that FOTR is ADAPTED and contained enough material to truly warrent 2 films on it's own to maintain a reasonable screen time AND to flesh out the story as it is done in the book.

    ANH is custom made to be shown in 120 minutes, being an original screen play rather than an adaption.

    PJ easily could have butchered the story to get it to 120 minutes and properly detailed the few bits he decided to keep, but that would have been a big mistake I think.

    We have been comparing these 2 thanks to their trilogy nature, awe and wonder, spectacle adventure film status, but when you consider their original sources they aren't all that similar and certainly require very different approaches in creating the script(s).

    I think Terrell would even agree with me on this.
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2001
    Messages:
    6,190
    Likes Received:
    76
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Livonia, MI USA
    Real Name:
    Kenneth McAlinden
    Comparing Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, I can say with confidence that Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is the superior novel. [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  15. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 1998
    Messages:
    7,585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Okay, she does mention the translation but suggests that PJ SHOULD HAVE chopped the book down to make it the comedy-adventure story that FOTR is. Big freakin mistake IMHO. Of course I sure hope Ridley Scott is adding the correct dialog to "punch up" some scenes in BHDown to help that story maintain it's comedy-adventure tone too. [​IMG]
    Not everything should be the same as everything else. To me her biggest problem is believing the hype that FOTR is the new Star Wars in a literal sense.
    The bottom line to me seemed like she just doesn't like the darker story that FOTR is. Most of her complaints were with regards to faithful story translations (like the prejudices). As I have said before, LOTR is primarily a metaphor for a young child growing up, being pushed out into the wide world (big city) and finding out just how dark and rough it was. By losing this naivite the hobbits grow in thinking beyond what the Shire could ever offer them, and when they finally return to their home they find it very small indeed. That story is more human to me than anything SW offered, but it requires all 3 films to tell. SW is just a different story in morals and in tone, period.
    As for these complaints
     
  16. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    Well, I only read the first page, but I'll check it out later based on recommendations. A different writer at Salon posted one of the MOST glowing reviews of FOTR I have read. Check it out here for a counter-point. I read one line of Jean's article..."LOTR lacks humanity." I know that is how some fellow members feel. I feel very differently. I grew up with Star Wars. It is an indelible part of my childhood. I loved it then, and I love it now. I am currently 27, and I love movies. I never thought to feel like I was 9 again at the beginning of ROTJ. I thought it was due to me growing up, getting "wiser" (Hah!), or something like that. It was only partly me. I walked out of LOTR:FOTR feeling like I was 9 again. I really and truly did. But FOTR didn't just serve the child in me, it treated me intelligently. I was lucky enough to read the books for the first time this year. I didn't want the movie to "spoil" the story for me. I liked the books. I could see why they were revered, although I did not feel that way. I expected to like the movie. I am not really a Tolkien faithful. Or even a PJ follower.
    However, PJ delivered in every way a great director should deliver. More important than the visuals and adherence to the books, was his dedication TO humanity. I felt LOTR overflowed with touching moments between the characters. That was it's heart and soul. It was the first (well, second if you count HP) "event" movie in YEARS that relied on acting and storytelling more than the visuals. That's just my take.
    As for my beloved Star Wars, I admit to a love-hate relationship with Lucas now. The humanity in the OT is truly magnificent, and it set those films apart. But with decisions made in the SE's, I wonder if GL even knew that. I have ranted and raved about my most poignant moment in Star Wars (actually, the end of ESB) being altered in another thread, so I won't do so again here. It doesn't drastically alter the power of the OT...just that scene. And I know LOTR the movie has taken a lot of cues from SW, but they have been all the right ones.
    And it's not a competition. I have one saga I prefer, but I imagine I am still in the minority. That doesn't diminish the value of the other. Isn't it enough we have a movie we can even compare (even if unfavorably) to the mighty saga of 77-83?
    Take care,
    Chuck
    EDIT: Finished the whole article.
    I didn't agree more and more as it went on. The line that really got me was when Jean T. mentioned that the acclaim LOTR was getting was due to "our" declining standards for story and our "rising" standards for exceptional visuals. So, we're all wrong for praising it because we've just lowered our standards? Thanks for toeing the line, Jean, and keeping it real for us. I tend to dislike being demeaned to serve an article. My personal standards for storytelling have gotten more stringent in recent years. Summer dreck has taken it's toll. I agreed with every positive thing she said regarding SW, but JT lost me on the last page when she began applying double standards (in my mind at least) to FOTR's characters. I won't waste members time by rebutting specific points; you like the film or you don't. By now, I sound like an unreasonable drone just spewing on why I like FOTR, and acting like I don't want contrary viewpoints. I apologize for that. I feel strong enough in my assessment of the film and my reasons for preferring it to not need supporting opinions of others. I hope everyone who likes (or is ambivalent about, or dislikes) it feels the same.
     
  17. RogerB

    RogerB Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2001
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I thought the article was crap. I love both movies and defending one over the other would be impossible - beside the fact that it's like comparing apples to oranges.
    She nit-picks LOTR: "Apparently, when Hobbits turn invisible, you can hear their footsteps on concrete but not through dry foliage. And it is surprisingly easy to distract a ring wraith from his immortal duty with a piece of food thrown desperately from a makeshift hiding place."
    And SW is a shining example of realism?! And what's with the "makeshift" hiding place remark? Perhaps she would have preferred a perfectly constructed hiding place?
    She says that LOTR shows "how much our story standards have declined" after having praised SW for its one-dimensional characters.
    She heaps praise on SW while implying (but not proving) that LOTR fails at the same things.
    If she had simply said "I like SW better than LOTR" it would have been OK but her arguments are fallacious. [​IMG]
     
  18. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2000
    Messages:
    965
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  19. David Echo

    David Echo Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2001
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Whoops! Seems some of us missed this article disclaimer that runs Simpsons-like quick at the end of Jean Tang's Salon.com article:

    "The preceeding article has been bought and paid for by Lucasfilm and Twentieth-Century Fox. Please see Attack of the Clones when it opens in theaters in May. Many, many times. It's good. Really. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Sam and Frodo are gay. It's in Spanish. Critical acclaim and professional accolades don't mean anything. Harrison Ford's ex-wife's gay lover's step-brother's half-sister plays a Jedi Knight but gets killed so it's ok! LOTR is ripping US off. Copycats. YOU'RE NEXT!"

    Hmmmm, who'd have thunk it?

    Dave
     
  20. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    Paul,
    No, my comments were NOT in any way directed at anyone, especially you. I just realized I was going on and on, and I sounded like those hacks that drive me crazy because they refuse to listen to opposing viewpoints. So the disclaimer was for me. I am glad there is a thread started here on this topic, and I am glad you did it. My last part was not a dig at anyone, please believe me. This forum is rife with intelligent, confident posters. This is not the first time you and I are sweating the details of words. And, as usual, it's my fault[​IMG] Thanks for allowing me to clarify!
    Take care,
    Chuck [​IMG]
     

Share This Page