In Defense of Peter Jackson- Part 1 – The Changes Necessary to Make TTT Fly

by Dec 28, 2002Reviews

I did not want to see the Two Towers. I did not want to see it because I had read too many reviews by Tolkien purists grousing over the changes Peter Jackson made to the original story line. Of all the alterations, I most feared seeing Jacksons interpretation of Faramir. However, after seeing the movie twice now I want everyone to know that far from ruing Tolkiens story, Jackson has ingeniously brought it to life. Every change, especially those surrounding Faramir, make this movie a perfect adaptation, one deserving of another thirteen, or more, academy award nominations.

Lets get one thing straight. When Peter Jackson undertook this project, he set out to do an adaptation of Tolkiens work. Adaptation by its very nature means change. Jackson did not want to do a page by page retelling of the books. If he did, he could have turned the movie into a tv miniseries. Even then some changes would have been inevitable to translate Tolkien’s words to the medium of film. I have read reviews of those who insist Tolkien would turn over in his grave if he saw Jacksons work. I cannot presume to guess what Tolkien would do. But the fact of the matter is the books are and always will be Tolkiens creation. The films are Jacksons animal. He deserves as much creative license to shape them as Tolkien received to create the books.

What Jackson has done with that creative license is attempt to make three blockbuster movies inspired by and grounded in Tolkiens work. To do so required alterations from the original story. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings as one epic tale. It was split into three books for publishing because of a paper shortage. But the three books weave together seamlessly. The Two Towers as the middle book cannot even stand without the other two. As a trilogy, the movies also run seamlessly together. However, since they are each released one year apart, they must be able to stand on their own as well. Movie goers must come away with some small sense of closure even while anticipating the next installment. In the Two Towers, that closure comes with Sams monologue to Frodo about continuing forward when you have a chance to turn back because

<< theres still some good in this world and its worth fightin for >>

. With this one speech Jackson tells the audience what this movie has all been about. With it he ties together all the events of Isengard, Helms Deep and Mordor.

In order to achieve this effect, though, Jackson had to change the encounter with Faramir. Sams speech would have no meaning if Jackson did not have Faramir take the hobbits to Osgiliath but had him quietly let them go as Faramir does in the book.


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