ROTK and Revelations

by Jan 5, 2004Reviews

This, my friends, is not just a dismissive missive nor was it meant to be. Though, in my heart of hearts, I would consider myself `pure’ and `loyal’ to Tolkien and all his works, the Return of the King, mammoth in every way (be-it battles, virtues, deviations or faults), has brought about in this humble devotee a revelation that will serve my enjoyment of this Cinematic Splendour of a Trilogy for years to come.

Many of the `purer’ fans will enjoy ROTK most, though it is less faithful, one might say, than the first, and no greater in adaptation than the second. This is all to do with expectation – the shock factor had been eliminated, the apprehension destroyed; they knew that `rape’ would be present but they knew it would not be a debacle of disloyalty. I, for one, treasure the first above others, but t’was the final instalment that cause this amendment of attitude – this change of view. (I have not forsook my purist ways but am now seeing this as a different, be-it lesser, version of a `History’.)

Had I took a greater role and lurked deeper in the Movies Forum perhaps it would have come sooner but I finally began to look at these films as a separate entity. This is just a representation of what P.J saw and gained from the Tolkien experience. This is his girl (to quote Leo*) however lacking she may be.

I began to realise that this was a different medium and a view of another’s perspective and began to stop hoping for the book on screen and just watch an individual movie. I did watch this individual movie and it was an exceptional one though I rue the fact that P.J had to dumb things down and play more to the mass-audience; the battle scenes became a little tiresome and one felt that they should just get on with the plot.

Yes, however miraculous this Revelation may be, and however passive I remain at P.J’s deviations, I do feel that from a cinematic perspective (one until now I had long left out of the equation) he might have served better to stick to the book, in parts, rather than attempt to place his personal stamp on this Tale. Shelob’s lair comes to mind – the vision and description Tolkien offers us is so clear, so beautiful, and so right, that it would have been more powerful had the, slightly pathetic, stab that Sam dismisses Shelob with, not replaced the original happenings. Eowyn V. The Witch King might have been a powerful moment too had it not beeen so brief and so, well, tritely feministic (Girl Power ringing all over it).

I do not condemn P.J’s adaptation as I now see that comparing it to the book would be futile. A book is always more personal – everything can be as you want it. It is, in effect, artificially letting you adapt the movie – in the minds eye of course.

Does this speech seem somewhat contradictory? I say a revelation has occurred yet I still slightly nit-pick at this movie. Well had you been sitting in front of me when the Elves arrived at Helms Deep, over one year ago, then perhaps you’d understand. On first viewing parts of these movies are an excruciating experience, at times, and though I may not have expressed my views on The Board (not wanting to alienatingly release my argumentative side) I had been fearing each of these movies in turn. A fearful purist you might have called me in the past but this revelation has not dawned me to revisionism. I am, at best, pragmatically apprehensive. I will enjoy these films for years to come though they will not remain with me as the books do.

Not a defeated Purist, rather an enlighten movie-goer that knows the Movies can never compare the Books and will enjoy both the better safe with that knowledge.

~ Gliondar


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