I started reading Tolkien in the 60’s when the books first came out in paperback. I started with ‘LOTR’ then read the ‘Hobbit’-it’s a good thing because if I’d read the ‘Hobbit’ first I would NEVER have gotten any further. Though both books were written by the same person, they are as different as day and night.
That being said, my point is this: if Tolkien could shift his vision and style so drastically between the two books is it any wonder that Peter Jackson would do the same between the movie and the book? Yes I was shocked at the changes-particularly Aragorn’s “death” in the river; the elves arriving at Helm’s Deep and Frodo in Osgiliath. I was dissapointed in the Ents, they have such a pivotal role in the book and not the movie. Much the same kind of complaints as the first movie.
But my vision of LOTR is not the same as Jackson’s or anyone else and I’m not trying to make a movie. Nonetheless I think Jackson was true to his vision and has kept the spirit of the story. What he has done is staggering and amazing if only in terms of pure movie making. To bring Tolkien’s epic to the screen may be cheeky but he has done an amazing job. The photography and scenery are breathtaking. The costumes and sets are wonderful. The actors bring the characters to life. Middle Earth lives.
If you haven’t read the books please do. But in the end the movie should be judged on it’s own, not compared to the book. I think that Tolkien wrote a story to be read and imagined and it could never be literally translated onto the screen. But did I love the movie? Absolutely! Will I see it again? Definately. Will I buy the DVD? You bet. It’s going to be a long year!