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Lord of the Rings Media Movies

Updated LOTR Nitpicker's Guide 223

Posted by timothy
from the be-your-own-grinch dept.
The LOTR Nitpicker writes "A list of deviations to be found when comparing the text of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and the translation of those texts to film as undertaken by Peter Jackson, et.al. updated to include deviations from the recently released extended edition DVD of The Return of the King. This story originally appeared on Slashdot back in January."
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Updated LOTR Nitpicker's Guide

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  • by djplurvert (737910) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:16AM (#11180818)
    ...that building an Apollo guidance computer was a waste of time... ....yawn...
  • by gentoo_user (843424) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:16AM (#11180819) Homepage
    on my gentoo box. Gentoo makes the film sooo much faster, you hardly notice the additional footage at all.
  • Nitpicking indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Smiffa2001 (823436) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:21AM (#11180830)
    Now am I the only person in world that thinks that nitpicking, whilst a fine sport, starts to drag after just a bit. I mean, stuff that had been removed/changed seemed to me like it made the films. True, I'd have loved to have seen the Barrow-Wight (amongst all the others) sequences in the films but hey, you can't have everything.

    Whats wrong with just watching the film, and enjoying it...?

    (Post not intentionally flame-bait and yes, I DO count myself as a fan).
    • by gustgr (695173) <rondina@gmail . c om> on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:34AM (#11180865) Homepage
      Hey, this is Slashdot! Nerds don't simply "watch and enjoy" things...
    • I didn't enjoy the films. So can I nitpick?

      Actually, I don't think that the director injected enough of his own ideas. He should have strayed farther from the books. And it would have been nice to see a director with more talent than money instead of vice-versa.
    • well.. suppose you have a quiz or something.. with questions about lotr, and then some jerk claims to have read the books when in reality he just fastforwarded through the movies and bought the books just for show.

      and however you put it, the saruman deathscene in rotk:ee just sucks. it's not a wonder that they cut it off...
    • Yeah, who cares???

      It is a movie for crying out loud.. Movies are never or at least almost never identical to a book. If you have a problem with that, don't watch movies based on books you have read.
      • It is a movie for crying out loud.. Movies are never or at least almost never identical to a book. If you have a problem with that, don't watch movies based on books you have read.

        Personally I think this is a valid point.
        Movies and books are completely and utterly different media. What works on one often won't work on the other. I don't know LoTR enough to comment, but I've seen other adaptations (like Harry Potter) where although I don't like the changes I simply accept that leaving them as-was woul

    • by MtViewGuy (197597)
      Obviously, the person who wrote the nitpicking guide didn't listen to the commentary tracks on the Extended Edition DVD's or watch the Appendices supplemental discs from the three EE sets. Producer/Director Peter Jackson went to considerable detail on why he chose to do the films this way.
      • Re:Nitpicking indeed (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Feanturi (99866)
        Ah, having lots to say about it is always enough justification to take plenty of liberty with whatever subject-matter. I guess that's why history books tend to be so long. It's all about the word count, don't worry if it's rubbish. :)
      • Maybe he has a job!

        (I'm just kidding. I love the Appendices, but there is a lot of material there.)
    • by A nonymous Coward (7548) * on Saturday December 25, 2004 @02:14PM (#11181574)
      How wonderful it is to see so many complaints, so many nitpicking complaints, about how horrible nitpicking is ... and I, who enjoys nitpicking, and holds these nitpicking complaints (I refer to TFA nitpicks about the movies) as especially worthwhile, am in fact required by the nitpickers' guild rules to applaud the movie nitpicking while laughing at the /. nitpickers who are quite openly violating their own non-nitpckers' guild rules by nitpicking the movie nitpickers.

      How many nits should a non-nitpicker pick, if a non-nitpicker picked nits?
    • For some people, painstakingly picking out little details and differences is how they enjoy the film.

      When I first saw Fellowship, I took a great delight in picking out all the differences between the books and the films, and either annoying non-LotR fans with trivial knowledge (just a little) or discussing said differences with other LotR fans. It's fun, when you've read the books enough to know these little details, to see what was left out and what was kept in. I personally wouldn't have gone to the trou
    • "Whats wrong with just watching the film, and enjoying it...?"

      I often feel that way when Slashdot posts a story about an interesting tech and several people go for an easy karma score by bringing up cliched points about privacy, people being stupid, or that it costs too much even though prices ALWAYS drop.
  • by j0kkk3l (778886) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:23AM (#11180840) Homepage
    1. Wait for a slow news day like christmas and resubmit an old story. Even mention, that your story is old. 2. ??? 3. Profit!!!
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:25AM (#11180844) Homepage
    They're 21st-century movies, not 20th-century books.

  • by Gopal.V (532678) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:26AM (#11180847) Homepage Journal
    Piranha to Scurfy [amazon.com] by Ruth Rendell has a lead character who is a lonely man who vents pleasure from nitpicking on other people's literature ... I didn't actually notice it wasn't "Scurry" and didn't until I read quite a bit into the book :). Very similar character ?.

    The inaccuracies are obvious when you read some books (especially books written with decades between them , read in a week or so). For example, I did pickup on the color differences of the lasers in the Dune series written by the son of Brian Herbert... (ie purple to orange) or the Bastardization of Holtzmann as a person (read Dune encyclopedia).

    Slow news day, eh ?.
  • My nitpicks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xpilot (117961) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:30AM (#11180861) Homepage
    1) I see Saruman throwing fireballs. Now I believe Peter Jackson didn't want to make *that* kind of movie with wizards casting fireballs when I see the original theatrical releases, but now this? Come on. If they wanted awesome effects they could have gone with something that's actually *in* the books, like Gandalf casting lightning from his staff (Gandalf vs. 9 ringwraiths, on Weathertop).

    2) This isn't The Return Of The King, it's "Half Of The Two Towers And The Return Of The King". They could have cut out most of the extraneous scenes from the TTT (like the Arwen ones) and kept stuff from TTT in TTT. Then they could use the Extended Release of ROTK to include the Scouring of the Shire. I realize the reason for not including it in the theatrical release (audience would get tired of a second battle etc.), but come on, the DVD release doesn't have those problems (after all, it's the fans who are gobbling up these Extended Editions).

    That said, I welcome the new scenes. I always wanted to see the part where Aragorn calls up Sauron with the Palantir, and gives him the finger.

    • For a fantasy film afficienado, maybe, fireballs are trite, but for the majority of the audience its still cool. And they're well done in ROTK- as opposed to the countless badly done fireball effects in *those* films. Also, fire is a very primal fear- You might as well say- "Oh, no nudity in a movie again, what a drag!" My nitpick- not enough skin in these movies!
    • "I see Saruman throwing fireballs. Now I believe Peter Jackson didn't want to make *that* kind of movie with wizards casting fireballs when I see the original theatrical releases, but now this?"

      Well, in three movies, totaling over nine hours run-time, Gandalf shines a light a few times, knocks an arrow and an axe out of the air with his staff, breaks Saruman's staff... and spends the rest of the time stabbing Orcs and beating the living crap out of the Steward of Gondor. I think it's safe to say he didn'
    • Sorry, scouring of the shire is one place where PJ got it right and JRRT got it wrong. It was always unnecessary, and well done to Jackson for removing it.
  • by Paiway (842782) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:35AM (#11180869)
    ... shields can not be used as skateboards.
  • by kirun (658684)
    He's lucky he didn't try to list the inconsistencies between the various Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy editions. Now *there's* a task to drive you insane.
  • by WwWonka (545303) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @10:56AM (#11180922)
    Dear Santa,

    After nearly spending half an eon watching the extended versions of LOTRs and comparing the text of our beloved JRR Tolkein to each and every sound and syllable of the movies, I am writing you in hopes that you deliver to me this very Christmas the following gifts:

    1. A life
    2. Liv Tyler
    3. Liv Tyler naked
    4. The Extended version of Dune on DVD
    5. The Dune books

    Sincerely,
    The LOTR Nitpicker
  • by cliffiecee (136220) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @11:02AM (#11180941) Homepage Journal
    The site author makes reference to four "Major Mistakes" that Jackson made in his adaptation, but then fails to list them together, so they'd be easier to find.

    1. Expanding Arwen's role
    2. Changing Faramir's storyline
    3. Frodo sending Sam home
    4. Saruman's destruction of the Shire

    Of these, I sort of agree with #2, and that didn't bother me as much as the Elves showing up at Helm's Deep- that was just SO WRONG. In the introduction of Jackson's FOTR, the narrator refers to the LAST ALLIANCE of elves... not the PENULTIMATE alliance, or NEXT-TO-THE-LAST alliance! Grrr.

    And I TOTALLY disagree with #4. Jackson already had, like, SIX endings in ROTK. What works so well in the book would just be *torture* on the screen, as much as I'd like to have seen it.
    • Correction: #4 should read "The omission of Saruman's destruction..."

      And Jackon had FIVE endings in ROTK, not six:
      1. Frodo awakens (after rescue from Mt. Doom), everyone's glad
      2. Arwen and Aragorn marry
      3. Hobbits return to the Shire (Sam & Rosie, happy times, etc.)
      4. Frodo & Bilbo sail away
      5. Sam goes back home to his family

      Oh, and Happy Holidays.
      • You must have missed the sixth ending, which was that Frodo and Sam were marooned on the big rock in the midst of the lava pouring forth from Mount Doom. Fade to black, cue swelling music.... and fade back in to them still sitting there on the same damn rock!

    • I cannot see how any account of the worst nits can omit the butchery of the role of the sword reforged.

      Along with 2 and 3 from the above, I consider it the worst deviation from the book. It has all sorts of side effects - for example it leaves Galadriel with no gift to give to Aragorn.

      The effects of this permiate and distort all 3 of the movies.

      The elves at Helm's Deep are annoying, but hardly anywhere nearly as bad as 2, 3 and business of the sword.

    • I did see it... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by solios (53048) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @01:42PM (#11181466) Homepage
      ROTK was the only one of the three I saw on the big screen, and let me tell you- after nearly three hours, I had to piss like a frigging racehorse. The multiple endings with the super-long fades in between them were torture. Agonizing. Annoying as FUCK. I'm a picky bastard, but some of the audience was groaning by the third fade... and absolutely nobody stuck around for the credits.

      The multitude of endings would have worked great on DVD, but it was pure torture in the theater, at least for me and several of my friends. :|
    • As far as #4 is concerned, I don't see it as "six endings" (which I think is a wild exaggeration BTW), so much as a rather too long denoument (it's 20 minutes, which is barely a burp in the 10+ hour total of the series).

      I think the big directorial mistake Jackson made was in so many slow fades-to-black so close together. After such a huge build-up, the movie needed to maintain a bit more momentum than I did. I think all the moments that Jackson put in the ending deserved to be there, but some editing to ma
    • Sorry, what alternate universe do you come from where the scouring of the shire "works so well in the book"? It's pointless then too. I also disagree with you on #2, because in the book Faramir is the good brother and resists the ring, and this contrasts ever so nicely with Boromir. Which the film just abandoned.
  • I hate nitpicking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hyksos (595814)
    I don't like it how people see the books as the ultimate truth of how to tell the story... I mean if Jackson didn't make these changes, let's face it... it would be boring. Douglas Adams was still alive when they started making the movie version of his books, and he happily accepted changes, and often made some changes himself. Art should be viewed as something living and organic, not something static.
    • Art should be viewed as something living and organic, not something static.

      Mr. Lucas is that you?

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @02:07PM (#11181554) Homepage Journal
      Douglas Adams was still alive when they started making the movie version of his books, and he happily accepted changes

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Really not!

      He rewrote the screen adaptation many times, never finding a balance between his genius and the hollywood lowest-common-denominator dogma, and wrote one last draft that he believed was the best compromise.

      He then died, and the studio REWROTE the script, AGAIN, probably to re-insert the stupid changes he fought against.

      Do NOT let yourself be fooled when the vultures say he would have liked it. It is their contractual obligation to bullshit us and hype the project as much as they can. When they say it's going to be good, ask yourself: Is it in their financial best interest to lie to us about the quality of the product? Does this person stand to make MILLIONS from those lil' white lies?

      Look at the EarthSea thing that happened recently, the producers made a comment that the author really wanted to say what their bastard monstrosity says, forgetting that she's alive and able to tell the world otherwise. She was able to defend herself and her original works from the slander it was subjected to, but Asimov can't, Adams can't, Roddenberry can't...

      Look at the hype for Will Smith'S I, Robot! The fresh prince was actually saying in interviews that is was very faithfull to the spirit of Asimov's robot stories, and then he explains "everyone on earth trusts the robots, but my character is the only one that suspects the truth: they are up to no good", followed by rampaging hordes of killbots. That is the OPPOSITE of Asimov's stories! Only the USRobots people trusted their creation, the mundane people of earth didn't trust 'em one bit! They had laws forcing them to be manually operated, and to not be within a certain distance of schools, etc! And not only that, but the whole "robots are not to be trusted and will turn on their masters" is exactly the precise sort of stories that Asimov did NOT write. He made up the 3 laws to get away from that frankenstein crap, dammit!

      Enjoying a movie for what it is is fine, really. But you can do it without the delusion that they are faithfull to the spirit of the original when they are virtually raping the author's corpse.

      Here's a tip: If you hear of a movie being made that is based on a book, and you haven't yet read that book, wait until you've seen the movie, then read the book. The book is always better, so this way you get to like the movie, then love the book. If you read the book first, you like the book, then hate the movie.

      Movie, like. Then: Book, love.
      The other way only leads to disapointment.
      • Serious question.

        Do you really believe adapation started with Hollywood?

        Throughout history, Adaptation has been used to attempt to retell a story to a new audience using a new medium. The Iliad was an adaptation of an orally transmitted poem, parts of which were adapted (and heavily changed!) by Tragedians such as Euripides, parts of which were heavily changed in re-adaptation to epic by later poets (e.g., Vergil), parts of which were heavily changed with translators adaptations.

        Even in the stage, Plautu
        • Serious question.
          Do you really believe adapation started with Hollywood?


          Serious question: Are you always this pedantic, or are you stupid enough to infer from my post that I believed that adaptations started (or ended) with hollywood?

          Asimov didn't have hundreds of evil killbots, but modern audiences don't want to watch actors talk about pedantic philosophy for three hours. That doesn't make the base of it any less Asimov's original story. It's an adaptation to the screen.

          Go back and read what said,
          • No, I don't see the difference, because, as I pointed out, this has been going on for centuries.

            I, Robot certainly *was* an Adaptation, a retelling of an Asimov story on the screen. That doesn't mean it was *good*. But it's an adaptation.

            There's no guarrentee or neccessity of faith to the original author. Either the director thought that the adaptation he made was worthy of film for artistic merit, or felt that he read something into the Asimov stories that wasn't explicit on paper, or the point of taking
            • I, Robot certainly *was* an Adaptation, a retelling of an Asimov story on the screen. That doesn't mean it was *good*. But it's an adaptation.

              There's no guarrentee or neccessity of faith to the original author. Either the director thought that the adaptation he made was worthy of film for artistic merit, or felt that he read something into the Asimov stories that wasn't explicit on paper, or the point of taking the Asimov stories and putting them on the screen wass that they'll make money when sold to a ne
        • I have no qualms with the adaptations made for the LOTR: I think Jackson knew what he was doing, and that fidelty to JRRT would not have made a good film.

          That said, Hollywood does rip the heart out off good stories in order to fit within formulae all the time. I'm getting a good look at this first-hand, as I see my friend's first screenplay change under pressure from the studio he's working with; much that was interesting, challenging, and thought-provoking being replaced with formulaic tropes and reassuri
          • Except for people like Kaufman, who, so far as I can tell, stay as far away from mainstream as possible, and do a good job of doing it.

            The original point of the post was to show exactly that what your friend has been going through has been happening for thousands of years. Read a few plays of Plautus, they're essentially built around stock characters and stock scenes with a few rather simple plots, or Watch an American sitcom, it's exactly the same way.

            It's sort of sad. But it's the way mainstream drama h
    • I think the author of the nitpicker's guide is having much more fun picking out little details than he likes to let on. He states that he's not happy with many of the changes, but apparently he liked the films enough to buy all three of the extended editions on DVD, presumably after seeing them (perhaps more than once) in the theater. Hardly the work of a man who's filled with hate.

      Some people just have fun with minutiae and little details. I agree with you that prose and film are completely different, and
    • What? Leaving out Bombadil made it less boring? All that boring crap with Arwen made it less boring? How does that work?
    • Good then you won't mind if it put double D breasts and a thong on the original painting of the Mona Lisa. Sure would make it less boring. I'm sure if DaVinci was alive today he would agree with those changes.
      • I don't like it how people see the books as the ultimate truth of how to tell the story

      If a book comes before a movie - it is the ultimate truth of how to tell a story (and vice versa). The plot in LOTR is a common one - strong bad guys defeated by underdog good guys through war, cunning, and luck. However, it is the details of the story which are all important. LOTR plot is very similar to Star Wars, but would it still be Tolkein's LOTR if Jackson gave Frodo a light saber? It glows blue like Sting

  • "This story originally appeared on Slashdot back in January."

    Ah, so now they just say its "updated". Least they admit its a dupe, and admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery!

  • It's kinda funny. When I tried to read the books I gave up after I fell asleep the 26th time, about halfway through FOTR. But I read these nitpickings and it turns out that most of the things I thought sucked about the movies were things that were changed from the books. Peter Jackson just sucks that much, it was obvious to me what he changed without even having read the books. :P
  • When they depicted the armies in LOTR, I wonder if they didn't add extra numbers for dramatic purposes. A friend and I had a debate about the actual number of Sauron's forces depicted in front of his tower as he addresses them.

    I emailed Weta asking if they stuck to Tolkien's numbers, but I got a generic reply saying how the film was made with Massive.

    • In the behind-the-scenes footage for RotK, they mention that when they used Tolkien's troop numbers, the Pelennor Fields looked practically empty, so they beefed 'em up a bit. I don't recall them mentioning doing this at Helm's Deep, so the number was probably more on-target.

  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Saturday December 25, 2004 @11:11PM (#11183374)
    http://zalus.koga.hu/lotrdvd.gif [zalus.koga.hu]
    Said tongue in cheek since I'm buying all the LOTR DVD's...

    Here's a nice map for fans...
    http://www.aloha.net/~shaug/pix/lotr/middle-earth_ 1161x1024.jpg [aloha.net]

    --
    Peace

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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