August 27, 2001
The Point of This?
First, in regard to Richard H. saying that Tom Bombadil was merely a plot device - I don't know how you think that statement stands, considering that Tolkien wrote a book called 'The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.' Evidently, Tom Bombadil was more than a plot device to him.
I find myself somewhat horrified by the changes that have been made. Acknowledging that the pacing of a film must be different than a book, I can understand the elimination of TB, though I will miss him. One thing I fail to be able to understand is why Arwen's role had to be changed. Expanded - fine. But Arwen isn't Arwen anymore. To me, she was characterized by her quietness, gentleness, and a deep tranquility; her strength lying in elfin magic and the strength of her love - not in a sword. For a female warrior we have Eowyn, who was extremely brave. Arwen was simply not violent, but no less courageous. And, to judge from other rumors, Eowyn isn't quite Eowyn anymore - instead we have, perhaps, Arwyn and Eowen. One can perhaps also perceive that Arwen represented to Aragorn the peace he would attain when his wars were over, and the things that he needed to defend and wanted to save - in case he ever needed reminding.
Glorfindel is a character I shall really miss. His role may have been small, but he made a rather large impression, I thought.
In the final reckoning, what I am is disappointed - after the horror and indignation have faded. I find cause to wonder what point there could have been, what desire there could have been, to make the LOTR trilogy into movies if one was going to completely alter (rather, destroy) the story and the spirit of them. Lord of the Rings was more than a fantasy story, that's what elevated beyond a genre; it was a metaphor for the dark times surrounding Tolkien as he wrote it; the Light vs. the Dark, Good vs. Evil, that sort of thing.
As to Sauron appearing as a man, when he is merely a spirit, as stated in, I believe, Appendix A, I am appalled. To me the fact that Sauron was never seen, was never more than a shadow, was quite symbolic. Evil is not personified, it IS a shadow.
My last objection is to the common defense of PJ by saying that he had to make the movies more appealing to a general audience. If that means changing all the characters into what is politically correct, and destroying the story, bringing it down into what is mundane, everyday, ** ABSOLUTELY ORDINARY**, I say don't do it.