The LOTR Movie Site
October 13, 1999

Can a Trilogy of Films Really Stay True to Tolkien?
Chris Gieseke

I just came across your site and agree with most of the readers sentiments regarding that the movie stay fairly close to the story of the original books. To stray far from the story would be a dishonor to the vision of J.R.R. Tolkien and his memory. However the main thing that concerns me is that the movie captures the mystical elements of the book. I think for people who have been truly moved by Tolkien's books, there were always parts of the book that were deeply and intensely spiritual in nature. Things that struck the very core of your being. At least that was the case for me.

The descriptions of Lothlorien in The Fellowship of the Ring for example brought back the memories of the magic of my childhood when I spent many a day exploring the woods near my home. In the fall the way the sunlight glittered on the leaves with a chilly breeze hinting of the coming winter always felt so magical. Or perhaps for some it is the black riders, or the Uruk-Hai, or Gollum that strike fear into their hearts like nightmares come real.

The descriptions of the elves are for me very mystical. The haunting music and laughter of the elusive woodland elves of Mirkwood, their inmeasurably beautiful faces tinged with an infinite sadness. I don't know how any movie will ever capture those things. The movie that I've seen so far that has come closest to coming to the atmosphere that I feel reading The Lord of the Rings is the movie, Legend. That movie actually was rather close to Tolkien's story of the Silmarilian and probably patterned after parts of it. The darkly romantic atmosphere the movie produced was, I think incredible.

While he didn't film Legend (that was directed by Ridely Scott), I had hoped Steven Spielberg would be the producer/director of a Lord of the Rings series of movies as his movies have usually been very moving experiences for me and with fabulous effects that were not overdone like many recent action movies. Hopefully Peter Jackson will do it justice and stay true to the vision of Tolkien. He will definately need some pretty amazing special effects to truly pull the movie off well. I remember seeing the previews for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and thinking about how incredible the movie was going to be. The previews seemed so mystical, beautiful and awe inspiring. But then seeing the movie it was none of that and the acting was terrible. It was such a disappointment. I was hoping to see a movie that would make me look up into the stars and dream of far away places somewhere out there.

I hope the Tolkien movie does not have the same fate as The Phantom Menace did. I hope to walk out of that movie theatre with my heart yearning for adventure and dreaming of distant times long past. I suppose what I yearn for is the same deeply spiritual experience that I got and still get from reading the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien. What more can one ask for.