The LOTR Movie Site
March 11, 2000

My Thoughts on the Whole Movie Thing
PlayBumSp1 (S.J. Williams)

This goes for those that want the novel to remain exactly the way it was in the first place on screen.

How many of you saw LA Confidential? If you didn't you should, but that's besides the point. The movie won an Academy award for Screenplay Adaption of a Previous Work. The script was based on the novel, of the same title. Both the movie and the book were heralded as ingenius for different reasons. The book for portraying a great Los Angeles of the 1950's, with characters, setting, plots, and plot twists that just sucked the reader in. The movie, for making a script- and a damn good one- from an unfilmable book. And the book was just that. There were so many subplots, characters, etc., that the author himself said that the book would never make it to Hollywood; thankfully he was wrong.

The genius of the two writers was that they changed ceratin aspects of the book- character relationships, character count, subplot count- to make it filmable, but in their changes, they kept it true to the overall story, and (more importantly) to the characters. A group of their peers in the writer's guild thought they did the job better than good, and so did a group of peers in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars). Would this synopsis remind you of anything?  There have been attepmts to adapt LOTR, but they were all pretty much unsuccessful. One unadaptable book (L.A. Confidential) and two talented screen writers (Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson). A set of books which are hard to adapt (LOTR) and more talented writers (Peter Jackson and Company)

Now, I know that L.A. Confidential, and LOTR are not the same book, but the characteristics for bringing them to screen very synonymous. Things have to be changed for movies, and that's just that. The general population of the planet doesn't want to sit in the same seat for five hours at a time. If they did, we'd be able to have everything we wanted in the book. But that's not the case, and it shouldn't have to be. Aspects of the books will be changed- they have to be.  The question is if Peter Jackson will stay true to the book. My answer to this is that he's not the average writer or director. His work also has been looked over by groups of his peers, and thought worthy enough of nominations of those same awards. That in and of itself is a wonderful accomplishment. Then there comes the fact that Jackson is himself a Tolkien fan. So he's very good at writing and adapting from things (as anyone who looked over Heavenly Creatures could tell you)- and in this case especially, because he is an avid fan of what he is adapting. Keep in mind the word ADAPTING. CHANGING for the screen. The very word used to describe the script-writing process pretty much sums it up. We can't have everything the way we want it. Sure characters that we love may be kept out of the movie, and things we remember may change, but that's just the way it is sometimes.

I'm not saying that I agree with Arwen becoming a warrior or whatever people have decided is being done to her  In fact, if the rumors have merit, it may not be true to her character. I will keep my opinion of that whole situation to myself. But I would like everyone who sees something that is changed in any way of the movie in a matter that they don't like to consider this:

What book has ever come to the screen in the exact form it was written down on the page. Name one, and I'll either shut my written mouth, or argue about is some more (most likely the latter will prove to be the truth, but you can all try. I'd actually like to be proven wrong in this instance.)