Film Friday – The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien & Peter Jackson
Updated: May 18
It was once believed that making a movie for the Lord of the Rings series would be impossible. Though there were several attempts for adaptations before the 2001 “The Fellowship of the Ring” movie by director Peter Jackson – which released to critical acclaim. The Peter Jackson adaptation is what I’ll be focusing on today.
What did the movie get right, in comparison to the book? The action scenes, which were a much more satisfying experience to see in the movies than read in the books. Watching an army of hundreds of thousands (with some cinematic trickery by the makers) storm a massive castle was amazing! It also did a great job at choosing the roles for each character – from Gandalf, to Frodo and Sam.
As far as the plot goes, this is where the movies start to falter. Even in comparison to the first section of the book, the best sequence in the entire series is missing from the movie. I’m speaking of the exchange between Frodo and Tom Bombadil. While this section wasn’t added because it didn’t progress the plot, it would’ve been an excellent opportunity to allow for some world building in the movie version. Some other things were changed as well, like the groups introduction to Gandalf the White (the movies did a horrible job at explaining why Gandalf the Grey was able to come back), and the exchange between Saruman and Gandalf the White after the ‘attack on Isengard’ is completely absent. It doesn’t even mention in passing that Saruman’s mind was corrupted and that he was being used by Sauron – that he was under a spell, almost akin to golem. Another thing that bothered me was the lack of explanation for how Gandalf the White was able to free the Lord of the Mark (King of Rohan) from the clutches of Saruman’s power. I don’t fault the movies for this though because I don’t see any way in which they would’ve been able to explain it.
Overall, the movies did a great job (in my opinion) at capturing the world that Tolkien designed on film. They are great movies – and it may be a long time (if ever) before we see this series be given the care and attention that Peter Jackson’s adaptation gave it. Although, maybe not…. Amazon is currently working on a TV series set in the Lord of the Rings universe!
The movies: Amazon.com: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring / The Two Towers / The Return of the King Extended Editions) [Blu-ray]: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler, John Rhys-Davies, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Andy Serkis, Peter Jackson: Movies & TV