The LOTR Movie Site
December 6, 2000

Response to All (Again) -- Oh, and Orcs Too
Max B.

As I'm sure you've all noticed, there are a plethora of responses in this thread. I'll try to respond to all.

Robert Van de W-

1)"In order to address the first point, I am going to use a method that Mr. B. may belittle as "conjectural"."--I don't believe I belittled the idea of conjecture in my post. In fact, I took great pains not to come across as condescending as you did in yours.

2)"Let us take Arwen replacing Legolas as an example"--In this you have touched upon a few of my own thoughts on the roles of Hobbits as "ineffective" adventurers Vs women as the same. But to address your points directly, your concerns on the effects of the story are nothing that a competent screenwriter could not deal with. Elrond may not necessarily have to agree with sending Arwen alongside the fellowship. As it has already been established that a female adventurer is something along the lines of individualistic choice (since many have thrown both "history" and "evolution" in to "prove" that women are not warriors), we can then follow on that she may join the fellowship *against* her father's wishes. As for your belief of a "halfway approach" for Aragorn and Arwen's interaction being implausible, I simply disagree. If the writing is subtle enough, it can work.

3)"As for the second point about Gimli being able to overcome racial and sexual prejudices, I disagree"--again, a simple disagreement. Gimli is still an individual, despite his placement in a historical/racial context, this does not remove his ability to grow and change and accept. Being thrust together into a fellowship with an Elven woman, I daresay he would have to learn to tolerate her at the very least. It is not so far a stretch to believe he could do much more as their adventure continues.

John K-

1)"If the Fellowship is a major chunk of the plot and screen time, then it is perfectly ok and is not a big deal at all to alter or change this major part of the plot that resonates throughout the entire movie? "-- I will go further into this and explain why I don't think it is such a horrendous issue.

Aaron B-

This is by far the best example against my suggestion for the replacement of Legolas with Arwen. But still, it is *nothing* that a skilled screenwriter could not overcome. Eowyn could be made the subject of misunderstanding and situation, to achieve the same result. Would Eowyn have fallen for Aragorn with an Elvish sauntering about beauty nearby? I say it is possible, if the depth of her affections were not so easily scared off by "competition".

Brian M-

You'll have noticed that I've adopted your "excerpts" technique. Kudos.

1)"What if someone comes along and wants to make a change that we all agree is ridiculous? What would you say to them?"-- I'll answer this in two parts. One, I believe the degree of difference is immense. As I said, Smurfs are not simply a huge difference, but one that is absolutely alien to the Middle Earth. Including a woman, another dwarf or one less hobbit are not so. Secondly, I believe it comes down to what we interpret as the heart of the story. I had no problem with the Baz Lurhmann remake of Romeo and Juliet a few years ago. Despite the use of practically alien concepts such as guns, ecstasy, cars and the like. Now, why? It comes down to this: What is the heart of the story? The passion and energy of youth in love and the oppression fostered by adults and tradition. Did that remain? Yes. And now, what makes it Shakespeare? The language. Whether or not it was played on to encompass modern discourses, they were still the words of the bard. As such, I felt quite happy calling the movie "Romeo and Juliet". As for LOTR, what do I believe to be at the heart of the tale? The heroism and bravery of the everyday man, united with those from other walks of life, triumphing against great evil and oppression. Do I believe that will remain in tact with changes such as I described? Yes. What makes it Tolkien for me? The language to a degree, but mostly the sheer technical ability shown in the creation of the world, from the race languages to it's history. Do I believe the changes proposed will alter this? No. But I do believe it will be extremely hard to transfer to another medium like film in any case, if at all.

2. "The more important the chunk, the less it should be touched."--I still fail to see how. Mercutio was presented as being in love with Romeo in the 90's retelling. It really had no overall effect.

3."I'm afraid I can make no promises on how often I'll be able to reply though. I'll do my best."--I'm also quite busy. One of the reasons I'm afraid that I don't sufficiently reply to these posts. In any case

4)"but I assume that PPM is still based on relativism"--But neither am I a PPM theorist. I made the comment that we exist in that arena now, and that there are ideals within it that I do agree with. It's like saying that we live in a capitalist society, that does not have to mean I'm a capitalist (not that I'm not).  I am more in line with the Avant Pop mode of thinking at times. Are you familiar with it?

5)"I think that we should use the author as our guide, through his/her expressed will in the text, and you don't feel bound by that. " --I agree to an extent.
But one: I ask how strictly shall it guide? And what areas exactly? *ALL* areas? And two: I believe that the Author is not a stand-alone being, that the author is linked to the audience and that an audience consideration in the "guiding" is desirable.

Jose Van der H-

I did address most of your points earlier, but you present them well enough again. My counter point to yours is simply - Why write a new story, when you can play with a great one? Look above for my Romeo and Juliet examples.
As for Political Correctness, can I say once and for all that I do not like PC as a whole?

Stephanie C-

1)".) I'd be interested in the reasoning behind your assertion that Arwen and Legolas are, essentially, interchangeable. "--I think it comes down to the fact that Legolas never had that much of an impact on me or I feel on the story. While I'm sure there are many pieces of Tolkien's in-depth historical structure and such that you can bring to the fore to show me why I'm wrong, I would like to point out that most likely, none of it will be present in the movie. It is simply the nature of the two mediums. I will be faintly surprised if Legolas does not simply act as an Elfish cipher for the audience. As such, the only contention for his contribution put forward (besides the strength of his own character) was his bonding with Gimli. While Arwen is a very different character, she is still an elf and can pursue this goal. The points on Arwen here are well presented, and I have had to think a bit more on them. They are points that were brought up earlier, and I still think I have the same answer. It is nothing that a competent scriptwriter, let alone a good one, can not overcome. Aragorn holds love for both Gandalf and Frodo, I imagine. As for Arwen's respecting her father's wishes, again...we forget that a character can be an individual who does not need to act in a "consistent" manner. Ie: Father says and I do, always. Perhaps Arwen can weigh up a situation on it's own merits? It may be easier to obey her father on the subject of marriage than one that may decide the entire fate of Middle Earth? Only possibilities, of course.

2)"If you switched Arwen and Legolas, you'd have to dramatically change both Dwarven culture and Gimli. " --I addressed this elsewhere. You need not change Dwarven culture, simply Gimli. I imagine Dwarven culture was not too fond of Elves either?

3)". A change here, a slip up there: sooner or later it adds up to real differences. " --And I'm sure different builders have different amounts of skill in these matters. You assume that a change will ultimately lead to a slip.

4)"To me, it doesn't seem as if two of the three most important females in the movie should both be warriors. Women are so much more diverse than that."-- And men aren't? I have amended my stance, a while back, that Arwen could have an active, if not "warrior" role.

5)"Society refuses to accept active women? " --I would say that society and it's entertainment are linked and feed off one another. And on the role of women in war. No, it does not say that at all. But do you believe that those roles will ever be explored in full in film? Or in the LOTR movie? LOTR is still a piece of fiction, and hence open to reinterpretations that time and culture have allowed. Again, it's not *necessary* but it's also not *unnecessary.

6)"Constrasts can be made with characters that are very similar"--But the contrasts between Aragorn/Boromir/Faramir are those of personality and temperament, not of action or role. Now, while you say that trying to duplicate this with Arwen and Eowyn will not work, because of the way society will see it, I don't believe that will hold true, if written correctly. I think you're selling people slightly short.
Again, I do not believe that it will diminish the role of either woman, if handled well. I think that such obvious and grand contrast between the two of them, with Eowyn's subsequent rejection by Aragorn, puts Eowyn in an almost "freakish" context.

7)"If and when PJ tampers too much with the story, he might as well call it Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and we'll all know what we should really expect."--And here is where we have to figure what we consider to be "too much tampering". I tried to elaborate on my views in this case, with my response to Brian.

And finally Neal C. I quite like the Orc's looks. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the idea of green skinned Orcs come from D&D in the first place? And D&D dark elves are still beautiful, not nearly as misshapen as the ones in the movie. Let's also not forget that Orcs were bred from Elves in the first place.