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LotR Takes Top Spot on IMDB 433

Dwarf_Sibling writes "Hard to believe but with over 11,000 votes tallied LoTR:FoTR has displaced "The Godfather" as the highest rated movie at IMDB. Over time I'd guess this will fall lower, but this is an amazing accomplishment for a fantasy movie."
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LotR Takes Top Spot on IMDB

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  • Or.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:00AM (#2747023) Homepage Journal
    but this is an amazing accomplishment for a fantasy movie.
    Or a mediocre one for a kid with a script... ;)
    • Re:Or.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:13AM (#2747047)
      Votes can only be made by registered users, who are emailed a random password on registration. Also the 'Top 250' only includes voters that regulary vote.

      So one not so mediocre kid with a not so mediocre script.
  • I've always hated fantasy. But I really like LOTR. It had great effects and a ton of action.

    I guess my point is that maybe this is why it's doing so well - even the people who aren't into fantasy like it because of the action and great effects. (And all the hype surrounding it.)

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @10:17AM (#2747168) Homepage Journal
      Jackson did make the film very accessible to people, my only concern is there are still a lot who don't read newspapers or magazines or pay attention to what is told them on TV (they just sit and watch the screen flash from one image to another and drool) and are unaware that The Fellowship of the Ring is only the first of three.

      I'd certainly be a bit pissed if the producers or studio say, "We have to call it Lord of the Rings II, or the idiots won't be able to tell the difference." You just know there's dumb enough people in Hollywood to think that and even push it through.

      • by Verteiron ( 224042 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @12:02PM (#2747416) Homepage
        Yeah, two of them were sitting behind me in the theater. When the credits came on...

        Cretin #1: "Well, that sucked. You know, for sitting through a 3-hour movie I expect some kind of ENDING"

        Cretin #2: "Don't worry, they're probably just setting it up for some kind of sequel."
      • excellent example of that is the Star Wars saga. They are all called "Star Wars" with a qualifying sub-title attached to the end.

        Star Wars - A New Hope

        Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back

        Star Wars - Return of the Jedi

        Star Wars - The Jar-Jar Binks Chronicles... er...The Phantom Menace

        Star Wars - Jar-Jar Strikes of the Clones

        .sig seperator
    • Agreed. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 )
      Sword and sorcery fantasy films are consistently horrible, and with a handful of exceptions (LeGuin, Delany) the s&s fantasy genre itself is excrutiatingly bad. Tolkein himself I consider a "guilty pleasure"; sophisticated escapism and colonialist nostalgia for a very European arcadian past, lacking a lot of self-consciousness but compelling in its own way. And despite all that, the film worked marvelously. It didn't try to apologize for Tolkein without let itself get bogged down in the source material's murkier parts, the sense of warmth and friendship between the characters felt authentic, the pacing was expertly done, and the overwrought sense of historicial detail that was Tolkein's primary mechanism for creating a sense of persistant reality in the original was partially replaced by a visual richness that completely brought the viewer in.

      When one compares the artistry at work here to anything Lucas has done, it's almost embarassing that Lucas is working as a filmmaker at all.

  • Well deserved (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:05AM (#2747033) Homepage Journal

    It is a fantastic movie, and apart from slightly too long fight scenes, an overuse of dramatic music, and a penchant for long fly by panning shots, there is very little to be criticized. Excellent execution that keeps you riveted to your seat for 3 hours straight. You have to respect LotR for making a superb movie given the challenges, versus saying putting a bunch of people in suits and getting them to talk with an Italian accent.

    • i noticed the long fly-by panning shots as well.

      After seeing this with anne, we discussed this point exactly. I think the long panning shots are a mirror to the overdescriptive nature of the books. its a "this is how much is going on here! check it out!"

      this movie slid into 2nd favorite film between 2001 and bladerunner. good shit.
  • by banuaba ( 308937 ) < minus threevowels> on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:06AM (#2747036)
    Don't get me wrong, but I don't think that LOtR was any better than the godfather, or for that matter, better than any of the top ten movies on the IMDB's list. While it was great, and I was happy to see it twice this week, it just doesn't have what it takes to beat the godfather (for that matter, it doesn't beat the rest of the top ten, by and large).
    I mean, yes, it was great. Great FX, great cast, great story. But better than Citizen Kane? no way. I mean, the movie it knocked out of the top ten was Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In my mine, there's no contest. Strangelove wins every time.

    Nothing finer than starting off monday morning burning some karma.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In my mine, there is silver and dwarves.

    • Actually, Imdb has become less than useless
      as an indicator of new movies nowadays, because
      of the massive vote stuffing used by the
      studios. Starting with the Blair Witch Project,
      the studios have rolled this into their marketing
      campaigns. I have seen favorable comments posted
      on Imdb even before the movie was officially released by people claiming to have seen the preview.

      • I have seen favorable comments posted on Imdb even before the movie was officially released by people claiming to have seen the preview.


    • I'd have to agree. I saw LOtR last night, and I must admit it was one of the coolest movies I've ever seen. Better 'quality' than any other movie? I'm not sure I buy that. Especially considering the movie doesn't have a conclusion! Now as a trilogy, LOtR might be the best of them, but just this installment of the series? I don't think so. The movie hasn't even been out 2 weeks yet. We don't know how well it will withstand the test of time before it becomes a classic.
      • Especially considering the movie doesn't have a conclusion!

        You'll also find that Empire Strikes Back is number 17 on IMDB, and I know many people, myself included, who feel it is the best of the SW movies. But a conclusion? Heck, it ended with a main character abducted, betrayal then help of a friend, the group split up, a hero in turmoil, and evil in control. Uh... sounds more like FOTR than I thought...

        Anyway, I think Hollywood pushes too hard to wrap movies up with a bow. A good movie is a snapshot of life somewhen/somewhere else, and life doesn't always resolve things neatly.

    • This is more an exercise in demographics than anything. Obviously, things that interest the incredible number of vocal techies will have a disproprotional effect on voting. Remember all those ZDnet, Cnet, and CNN polls you stuffed about Linux?
    • I never could understand what people saw in the Godfather. I've probably seen thousands of films by now and it wouldn't even make my top one hundred. Crossing Delancy is pretty cool, Run Lola Run is great also, both, IMHO are much better the the OddFadda. Citizen Kane's good, no doubt, but there are modern films which do very well, too, but many miss them because they visit the local artsy theaters where people fed up with orange fireballs and tom cruise (lower case letters used intentionally) and most people miss them. My recomendation: After LotR go see one or both of the following:

      Haiku Tunnel


      Being John Malkovich

      BTW, imdb is really beginning to suck with popup-over-under ads!

    • Amen brother! What disgusted me about LOTR was they *completley* skipped the sound. There was *no* sound design in the movie (similar to art direction), no sound enviornments, and the score sucked! *I* have written better music then was in that movie on rainy days when I was bored.

      Couple that with the fact that the movie is too long, and has no plot (running around the woods is *not* a plot), and you've got a real dog of a movie. I will give credit where it is due, almost all the actors gave an incredible performance, and it certainly *looked* amazing. But this movie is the pretty girl with nothing in her head.

      I think people dont want to admit it wasn't that good.
      • OmegaDan (omegadan<AT!> sez:

        *I* have written better music then was in that movie on rainy days when I was bored.

        Don't mind me, I'm just here enjoying the irony. :)


  • I talking to a secretary once and she wanted to know a url for something. I mentioned a tilde (~) in the address and she literally said, with honesty, "Oh, you are getting technical on me." Had to point out where the key was.

    Now, considering all the people who are "technical" plus all those who just happen to be on the web, is it too much of a surprise that LoTR could do this? I'll gladly go by ticket sales as an idicator vs

    And don't think about going by DVD or VHS sales. For some, that's "high tech" as well...

  • Deservedly so! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dwain_Snyders ( 412284 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:09AM (#2747039) Homepage
    We'll just have to see if George Lucas can get his act together and displace LoTR:FoTR with SWep2:AOTC. A lot of people have been hyping that movie, and it'll be interesting to see if George Lucas learns from his mistakes in SWep1:TPM. After that, the ball will be in Peter Jackson's court to make sure that LoTR part 2 can displace SWep2:AOTC, should it rise above LoTR:FoTR. With acting like Sean Bean's, it's no wonder that LoTR:FoTR has been so successful (admittedly, that was not the only factor by far), but LoTR part 2 will not have Sean Bean's acting to rely upon. Luckily, the cast is filled with other talented and well-performing actors. (Ian McKennan was brilliant too). Peter Jackson's directing can't be faulted much either, although his leaving out the details of Bill the Pony and his thing about Saruman "joining forces" and not designing his own ring were kind of questionable.
    • Re:Deservedly so! (Score:4, Informative)

      by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:24AM (#2747069) Homepage
      ...his thing about Saruman "joining forces" and not designing his own ring were kind of questionable.

      Saruman did join forces with Sauron in the book. Quote:

      "A great power is arising. Against it the old policies and allies will not avail us at all...We may join with that power. It would be wise, Gandalf".

      which gets the reply

      "Saruman, I have heard such policies before, but only from the mouths of emmiseries sent by Mordor. I cannot think you have brought me so far to weary my ears."

      Saruman did look into forging his own ring, yes, but the book clearly states he joins forces with Saruman.


    • it'll be interesting to see if George Lucas learns from his mistakes in SWep1:TPM
      This will episode 2, the love story?

      As for missing bits out, the film was still 3 hours long, so it's really a question of what to miss out, not whether to miss stuff out, unfortunately.

    • Hmmm well if you paid enough attention to the books, you'd see that Saruman believes he is acting on his own, and is to a certain extent - the extent Sauron allows. Sauron would be all too happy to let Saruman breed orcs which he can then take over after ridding himself of Saruman, and he doesn't mind letting the Ringbearer have even more folks chasing him. He figures the Ring will be lost to Saruman, then recovered by himself in the near future. None of this is explicit of course.

      As for Saruman not making his own ring, we haven't gotten to the part in The Two Towers where that becomes evident, either. Just relax, PJ seems to be doing quite good so far.

      Oh, the topic was the IMDB ranking? Hmmm, yes, there's much hype, rabid fans, and the fact that it's a new release so more people feel moved to take the time to vote and write reviews. Overall I'd say it's in the top 15, maybe 10... #1? No, it's impossible. The story wasn't intended for movies, and although the adaptation so far has been shockingly good... well, let's put it this way: There may be better movies - but I do not believe there are better stories.

      I had to go back a second time, I left something on the floor the first time: my jaw.
      • Re:Deservedly so! (Score:5, Informative)

        by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Monday December 24, 2001 @10:16AM (#2747164) Homepage Journal
        As for Saruman not making his own ring, we haven't gotten to the part in The Two Towers where that becomes evident, either.

        It's interesting how Jackson did the script - a friend and I argued about how many scenes were shifted around. I said that very few were (we're not counting skipped or combined scenes [1]), whereas he said that they were all switched around.

        Eventually we came to realize that I was referring to the actual timeline of events as they occured in Middle-Earth, whereas he was referring to how the events were portrayed in flashbacks. Some of the things in this movie are revealed in flashbacks (generally one character telling another where they were) in Two Towers, but they chronologically were set during the Fellowship story. I think this makes more sense.

        [1] (Spoiler alert) The scene with the Black Riders at Weathertop with Aragorn coming to the rescue *was* one of my three unforgivable sins of the movie. After thinking about it, I'll accept it as the Barrow-Wight scene reworked with the available characters rather than introducing the Barrow Downs and Bombadil (which would have extended the movie even more, while adding little to the story - a colorful side story, yes, but very much a side story).

        I can't remember what slid *into* the three unforgivable sins to replace it, but the other two were Aragorn not carrying the sword, and Galadriel not explaining that, by not accepting the ring, she was ending the Elves stay in Middle Earth - either the ring would be destroyed or go to Sauron, and her taking the ring would be the only way that they could stay - that was a big part of the temptation, and part of what made the moment powerful for me.

        I liked the little details - I could recite along with Bilbo the leaving speech (with the "Proudfeets" bit), and the things like the leaf shaped carven paddles, the cloaks and broaches, etc... they were correct.

        Most minor pet peeve? Showing Sauron in the flesh. But it visually and firmly set in everyone's mind that Sauron was a seriously demonic supernatural being who weilded the ring in war. I'll let it go.... and with an evil grin, I'll say this to end the post - Peter Jackson is doing a good enough job with the War of the Rings, I want to see what he can do with Arda, Akallabêth, the fall of Númenor, and the forging of the rings. With a special Fantasia like art house release of the creation story (either CG or by Studio Gainax, a la End of Evangelion). Now *that* would be a friggin prequel trilogy... and no damn Jar Jar.


        • Re:Deservedly so! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hyehye ( 451759 )
          It was necessary to shift some stuff around, for a number of reasons. The biggest of course was that audiences needed to have some more detail, and unlike the books, you have to wait a full year to get them. But PJ is doing remarkably well.

          As for showing Sauron... a big mistake, I think. Yes, an audience needs to have a valid enemy... but if done right, an unseen one would be even more threatening and disturbing. Perhaps PJ wasn't quite brave enough to attempt it.

          The details were nice, mostly out of the way of the general audience while giving us addicts small injections.

          Galadriel issue you mentioned was a disappointment - not that one instance specifically, but overall... a lot of the sad/beautiful/etc themes and back-issues were left out.

          Overall very good. *Sigh* 2 more years.
          • As for showing Sauron... a big mistake, I think. Yes, an audience needs to have a valid enemy... but if done right, an unseen one would be even more threatening and disturbing. Perhaps PJ wasn't quite brave enough to attempt it.

            On the contrary, Sauron's fleeting appearance on screen was one of the true highlights of the movie for me - really just a glimpse of Jackson's vision of the Dark Lord, substantial enough to terrify, but brief enough to still leave much to the imagination. The scene where Isildur cuts the ring from Sauron's hand is essential to telling the story of the ring - how is he supposed to do that without showing Sauron in battle???

            • Well, there was no specific description of HOW the Ring was cut from the hand. My impression is that it was pretty much *after* the battles when Sauron was cornered in his fortress, although it does make sense that Sauron would ride forth into the battle if he got too close to losing. But here, it says that the West had all but lost, and *then* the Ring was cut from the Dark Hand, which begs the question 'Why was Sauron accessible under those circumstances?'. Details, details.

              In any event, I suppose the cutting would be necessarily shown, although the fight scene involving it and the full detail of Sauron irked me. The image of a throne in a fortress with a weakened, faintly resisting Dark Hand on the armrest and Narsil making a quick surgical slice has always been in my brain somehow, although with thought it seems wrong.
              • My guess for Sauron being there was that he strikes me as the kind of vindictive evil bastard that would rather enjoy coming out to smash the last resisting Ring bearers (e.g. Elrond, who we see on the front line) flying with those rather impressive powers. Perhaps only a Ring bearer stands a proper chance against another so he is bringing out the big guns to finish the job, or perhaps he got cocky. Either way its in the nature of cinematic warriors to want to kill the opposition leaders themself.

                Wonderful touch with the air-rush flattening everyone one the battlefield, anyway.
                • True. And true on the air-rush thingie too. Very neat. It was good to see recognizable elvish faces in the crowd, it lent a sense of connection and made them (if the audience later recognized them) more mysterious.

                  To be honest, there was so much detail that I really don't remember many of these small things until other viewers later mention them... I was so distracted with the overall scheme and so overwhelmed with the fact that the movie was out and I was watching it...
              • the fight scene involving it and the full detail of Sauron irked me.

                As I said earlier, I really think there was an excellent reason - it shows the very simple gold ring to be a violent, powerful insturment of war. The focus on the ring as Sauron's source of power is what occurs during that scene. It's not just "power", but the power to wage a massive war.

                ...has always been in my brain somehow

                Tolkien was an excellent author, focusing on some things, and glossing over others. Someone said that one of the battle scenes in the movie was 500 words in the book. Well, you can't just *say* there was a battle on screen... if you skimp, it looks like a minor tussle or scrape. So the battles got drawn out. Other things he went into great detail about, spending page after page on glorious details. Those visual details, by and large, were followed to the letter in the movie, but they are in the background or fleeting. The clasp to the cloaks, Bags End covered in kickknacks (I can't remember the Hobbit word for them off the top of my head, but there is a long description of how they are passed back and forth), and a myriad of other details are just set design in the movie. So to a certain extent, the focus shifts... but unlike 99% of book to movie jumps, the *same* details are there... the sign on the gate during the party preperation, the colors of signs and doors, even every drawing that Tolkein did was followed perfectly (the door to Moria, for instance).

                But some of the details (like exactly *how* the ring was cut off the hand of Sauron) are missing (okay, at least I don't remember the exact lines, and I'm not gonna look it up right now). I always pictured it as it being cut from his corpse, but that may very well be wrong according to the book - but the three of us (you, myself and Jackson) pictured it three different ways because there *are* many parts of the book that are vague... or at least too vague to hand to a set designer and actors and expect a coherent result.

                But the details that were there were left in, and the sweeping changes were (IMO) kept to a necessary minimum. That's a good thing.


        • Kids, ask your parents for Jar Jar Smeagol(TM) this Christmas! You'll love this cuddly proto-hobbit in all its uncorrupted-by-the-ring-yet glory, and its distinctive speech "Yousa gonna give us the ring- it's-a our birthday - and it's-a our precccccioussss..."

          In stores now, hurry!
  • I don't agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirko ( 198274 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:12AM (#2747043) Journal
    The problem is that there are lots of newbies who recently began voting on IMDB hence this "all new - all beautiful" effect this had on the votes.

    Now, I'd be curious to see if it'll still be at the same place in several months whenever an even more over-hyped blockbuster will have taken place.

    Don't take me wrong, I am not flaming whoever for this choice but I firmly consider that there should be a separate voting booth for the film which are less than 2 years old (IE: which are either still playing or not yet available on DVD/LD/DivX ;-)/VHS/Betamax... ).
    • Re:I don't agree (Score:3, Informative)

      by MindStalker ( 22827 )
      Hu? it states very clearly "note: for this top 250, only votes from regular voters are considered." So its not the newbie factor, but I'm sure the oh wow factor does come into play. Anyways for this to happen has generally been a rarity, so it is newsworthy.
    • The age of the film should be a weighting factor in its ranking. The fact that the Godfather was a 25 year old film should be meaningful.
      • That's a double-edged sword though: Often older movies are rated higher than they should be either by people for whom it was "their" generation's movie (see Star Wars for a great example of this), or by kids looking to be different so they reach into the past for something to respect. I know more people who will give accolades to anything older for no reason than I know people who discount older creations because of their age.

    • Re:I don't agree (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alphaseven ( 540122 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @11:09AM (#2747296)
      I remember 'Titanic' was in the top ten on imdb when it came out, but it has since fallen off the 250. Waiting several months is a good idea. For example I've been following the imdb top 250 for years. Sometimes a movie. will shoot into the top ten on a wave of hype, but as more people see it on TV and video it falls down the list. Some films seem to stay up like 'American Beauty'.
      • I've been following the imdb top 250 for years

        As have I. For a lot of movies included, their position is arguable at best. Something like Usual Suspects (#15), or LA Confidential (#33), or Run Lola Run (#72). Are these good films? Yes, quite good. Top 100 films of all time? Not a chance. Films such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Full Metal Jacket, Brazil, and many others are rated lower. All of them, and many others, are quite arguably better examples of film as art.
      • Re:I don't agree (Score:2, Interesting)

        by alphaseven ( 540122 )
        To further my point, here is the 250 from 1996 [].

        Notice the presence of 'Star Trek: First Contact' at no. 7 (!) above Casablanca in 1996. Now it is nowhere to be seen on the 250. Also 'Trainspotting' has fallen further down the list. Both these movies were in release around the time the poll was made. Who remembers 'Lone Star' now?

        If you follow the imdb 250, a new movie shooting into the top ten happens all the time. It's nice to see this movie up there but don't assume too much from the rating just yet.

  • by mESSDan ( 302670 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:13AM (#2747044) Homepage
    I went and saw LoTR last Wednesday and loved every minute of it. It was the latest showing at 10:30PM, and the theater was still pretty crowded. Taking into consideration that I live in Hawaii in a relatively low population area, that means that the word is out on how good this movie is.

    I went to see it by myself, so I had no one to discuss it with, but as I was leaving, I glanced over the people I had watched it with. Most were staring off into the night with eyes gleaming, remembering. The frightening Nazgul, the oh so beautifully rendered Balrog, the horror of Boromir's betrayl, and the stern stuff that hobbits are made of.

    Since seeing the movie, everyone I've spoken to it about has been heaping praise upon praise on it, and it completely deserves it.

    I've also been following its rise on IMDB, even contributing my vote (10). When I voted, it was rated at 9.7, and listed at #6. If a movie deserves to be #1, this would be it.
  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:14AM (#2747049)
    I think besides the fact that Lord of the Rings fans tend to be fairly computer-literate (which will skew any online poll ;-) ), I think you have to remember that 2001 has not been a good year for movies in general.

    Movies like Moulin Rouge, Memento, Mulholland Drive, and a few others have a lot of quirks in them that makes them not completely acceptable by the broad general public. High-budget movies such as Pearl Harbor did not live up to their expectations. And Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone made most of its money in the first few weeks just to satisfy the pent-up demand from all those young readers of the Harry Potter books (it's a good, but not a great movie).

    I think in the end, 2001 will be the year that only two movies will have good box-office take over a long period of time: Shrek and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.
    • I think in the end, 2001 will be the year that only two movies will have good box-office take over a long period of time: Shrek and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring/

      Monsters, Inc. seems to have remarkable staying power as well. I don't remember the numbers for Shrek (other than that it cleared $200 million), but Monsters, Inc. currently stands at around $230 million.
  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:14AM (#2747051)
    No one should be allowed to rate movies until one has seen a broad enough range of movies to make a valid judgement. This must include a grounding in early cinema, silent pictures, non-American cinema, classic Hollywood cinema, cinema noir, angry-young-man school, B pictures, new wave cinema, independent cinema, amateur movies, etc.

    And no, seeing Casablanca once on your local PBS station does not qualify you as an expert on the history of moving pictures. The only way to become an authority is to view several thousands of movies whose release dates are balanced across the first 100 years of movie making. Only then can a reasonable judgement of what is really "the best" be offered.

    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:3, Flamebait)

      by pmc ( 40532 )
      No one should be allowed to rate movies until one has seen a broad enough range of movies to make a valid judgement. ......
      Only then can a reasonable judgement of what is really "the best" be offered.

      Wow, pompous'r'us. To paraphrase,

      You can't know if you enjoyed a movie unless you have watched lots of movies.

      Or you can't know if you've enjoyed a meal unless you've eaten in thousands of resturants.

      Or you can't know if you've enjoyed a walk unless you've walked in hundreds of countries.

      Or you can't know if you've enjoyed a sunset unless you've seen thousands.

      You must be an expert to make these judgements because otherwise you're not qualified. And god knows what would happen if we let unqualified people judge movies/walks/meals/sunsets. People would watch other people enjoyed instead what the experts told them was good - and that would be anarchy.
      • You can't know if you enjoyed a movie unless you have watched lots of movies. ...
        I believe you've missed the (badly made, to be sure) point.

        Of course, anyone can say "I liked that" or "I didn't like that" -- but to make comparisons, you obviously need to have experienced more than one of whatever it is (movie, meal, walk, etc). And the more the better.

        If the only thing you'd ever eaten was a Big Mac would you be qualified to rate it as the best meal ever?

        • If the only thing you'd ever eaten was a Big Mac would you be qualified to rate it as the best meal ever?

          Straw man.

          If the only thing I'd ever eaten was a Big Mac, I'd be perfectly qualified to rate it as the best meal I'd ever had. Similarly, these IMDB voters are (collectively) saying LotR is the best movie they've ever seen. Not the best movie *ever*, but the best they've seen.

          As for the parent article we're all posting under--that anonymous coward must really be convinced he's right. Nothing says "I believe myself" quite like posting anonymously.


      • I think you should read carefully. He is not saying that you can't have an opinion about enjoying the movie. He is saying that you can't have a valid opinion about how a film compares, in the entire borad spectrum of films that have been made in the past 100 years or so.
  • by Frog ( 17924 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:14AM (#2747052)
    NOTE: I've read the book about 15 times over the years, so I'm not exactly a casual LOTR fan, but nor am I a rabid "Gandalf is God" fan.

    One of the very few negative reviews [] I've found expresses exactly my feelings about the movie.

    Basically I thought the film was OK as big superproductions go, but I was disappointed that it doesn't add anything to the book. On the contrary, it seems to replace most of what's good with tired old Hollywood shticks: meaningful glances, silly special effects, poor character development, ugly sets (the Elves' residences are especially disappointing), and so on.

    There's a very few things I liked: the Hobbiton sets, Bilbo and Gandalf smoking a pipe, the grief-stricken fellowship outside Moria, maybe a few other things. The rest seems like a big waste to me.
    • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:45AM (#2747110) Homepage Journal

      After just about every movie that is an adaptation of a book, endless droids pipe on about how it "wasn't as good as the book": Is this not a given? Has there ever been a movie that's been "as good" as the book?

      Firstly, books have more leeway timewise: They can go from 200 pages to 1000 pages and people don't bat an eye. Movies, on the other hand, are from 1 hour 30 minutes to 3 hours tops, with Lord of the Rings pushing the upper limits: It was absolutely impossible to fit in every nuance of the book without either making this into a 10 hour movie, or splitting the series out into about 8 movies (having said that I will say this: I think separating the movies at the same points as where the book separated was a mistake, and instead book 1 should have covered a movie and a half, with books 2 and 3 occupying less: There is just less interesting content with each passing book) : Neither of which is a reasonable option without the project having been canned a long time ago. Other complaints such as the missing poems and songs are questionable given that making this movie into a musical or poem reading movie would have commercially ruined it (in other words it would have never happened).

      ..but I was disappointed that it doesn't add anything to the book

      I don't understand this complaint: How could the movie `add' something to the book without raising the ire of even more hardcore Tolkien fans? The small changes that were made for the movie were nuances and even still stories such as the MSNBC one are groaning about who was the one to dismiss the idea of going through the Mines, so imagine if they just created new storylines all together...

      There will always be people who are displeased when one of their favourite books is made into a movie: There is no way that the filmmaker can encapsulate your visualizations, so when you see it if you're not willing to accept theirs as a credible version then you'll be disappointed. There's also always the `attempting to be academically elite' that will wave off this film with a dismissive brush to appear more critical, as if somehow that is a desired trait.

      • Has there ever been a movie that's been "as good" as the book?

        imho, Dr. Zhivago in movie form is better than the book. Part of that, I'm sure is due to the enormous cast of Russian-named characters that are easier to differentiate with a face. Also the cinematography is astounding. Almost too good. I found myself gazing at the scenery at times instead of the story.

      • by Katravax ( 21568 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @11:56AM (#2747408)

        Has there ever been a movie that's been "as good" as the book?

        Absolutely. Off the top of my head, and I know I'm missing a bunch:

        • To Kill A Mockingbird
        • Fight Club
        • We Can Remember It For You Wholesale/Total Recall
        • Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep/Blade Runner
        • Jaws
        • The Exorcist
        • Forrest Gump
        • The Princess Bride
        • A Room With A View
        • Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption/The Shawshank Redemption
        • Silence Of The Lambs
        • The Three Musketeers (1973 Michael York version)
        • Titus Andronicus/Titus (I know people will argue with this one, but it's my opinion)
        • The Taming of The Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You (most perfect rendition of it I've ever seen!)
        • Let me add the Godfather (parts I and II), 2001, and...

          Forgot. I was thinking of one or two others, but they do exist. And they exist in sufficient quantity to deny the original statement (implied) that movies are never as good as the book.

          As to other comments about accuracy: some of these movies are great because the director/screenwriter recognized that they could not tell the same story and do the same thing as the book. They took more or less from the original source, and did something new with it.
      • Has there ever been a movie that's been "as good" as the book?

        Interestingly, yes, especially if the the book wasn't very good in the first place.

        I'm not being a smart-ass: I thought Stephen King's The Dead Zone was a terrible book, but David Cronenberg turned into into an excellent movie. Likewise, I thought the Mists of Avalon novel was awful (I don't think MZB could write anything well), but the TV adaption wasn't bad.

        More controversially, I don't think that LotR was particularly good, as a work of prose. Tolkien was an adequate storyteller, nothing more. Yes, this is coming from a rabid Science fiction and Fantasy fan, and I do acknowledge the enormous importance of LotR to the fantasy genre.

        This isn't flamebait or a troll, but a very honest expression of opinion. I think that LotR:FotR was the best pure fantasy film ever made. I _do_ believe that I have seen them all. As such, it deserves to be in the IMDB top 250, although it certainly won't remain at the #1 spot. There are many better films, but not any better fantasy films.

        I apologize for not using even one obligatory WTC reference in the above paragraphs(s). :-)
    • Basically I thought the film was OK as big superproductions go, but I was disappointed that it doesn't add anything to the book.

      Phew! I was delighted it didn't add much that wasn't in the book. Guess it takes all sorts...
    • I think you have to consider the guy who wrote this review to be a bit a die-hard fan. I mean he insists or reading the books to his wife becuase she might not finish them before the movie. His criticisms about the lack of nuance in the film is a bit unrealistic too. he's obviously been affected by the book, which has many pages in which to develop descriptions and environments. Something that just doesn't work in film - you audience will fall asleep. Also books rely on your imagination for imagery. Film can never be so compeling or vivid as an inspired imagination.
  • I feel Hugo Weavings performance in lotr was very similar to that of the Matrix (playing Agent Smith). The logical answer is that he was indeed playing an agent, and middle earth is either a patch for the matrix or an earlier firmware revision.
    • by ender- ( 42944 )
      I feel Hugo Weavings performance in lotr was very similar to that of the Matrix (playing Agent Smith).

      Heh...I was thinking that during the movie. As a matter of fact, when he started in on "Pleased to meet you...[pause]...Mr Frodo", it started out so much like some of his lines in the Matrix that myself and at least 2 others piped in with "...Mr Anderson" as he said Mr Frodo. We had the timing down perfect :)

  • The most dramatic thing here is that Hype and litlle script kiddies ( i hope no one serious got into this it's rubish ). Have one more time ruined a good internet rating system. Next week Spice Girls 24 the return topped the IMDB for a third week !!! ... Ho my God!

    Not that i disliked the movie .. gosh that was a good one, prefered the books, but who can compete with that ;). Seen it 3 times in 5 days for now. But not ready for the top of IMDB .. best film of all times .. no it don't have what it takes.
  • by Nick Number ( 447026 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:20AM (#2747060) Homepage Journal
    This would seem to demonstrate that LoTR has satisfied its target audience, us geeks. It remains to be seen whether it will become a cultural juggernaut like Star Wars that appeals to all segments of the population.

    It's worth remembering that newer films tend to achieve high ratings initially. By my count, 33 of the top 100 rated films at imdb were made in the last ten years. The database hasn't been around that long, and young people are more active on the net than older ones, so you're bound to see more votes for movies that have come out recently.

    Lists like this are meaningless anyway. They only serve to stir up discussion and draw attention to good films that people may have forgotten.

    And no, I haven't seen it yet, but I will.
  • For a dramatised LotR, try the BBC radio version []. Much better than the film, although admittedly much longer as well.

    I have to reluctantly join the 'disappointed with the film' ranks, since although there is much to like there, I think so many detail-related cuts were made that the plot becomes hard to follow. Certainly this was the case with the people I went with who hadn't read the book. Without the detail, I felt it degenerated a bit into glorified chase film.

    Loved the first hour though - all of the Shire scenes were done briliantly.


  • Something missing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DanBrusca ( 197887 )
    I give all the films I see a rating out of 5 on my website and generally start mulling it over before the film has finished. I really wanted to give this film 5/5 but it never felt right, 4/5 seemed like a better fit.

    Large parts of the film felt pretty flat, though technically accomplished and well performed. At several points I was thinking 'okay, let's just move on now'.

    I guess that for me it was like a date where the girl is hot, you've been looking forward to it for ages but when you're sat in the restaurant you realise that the spark is missing. There's a few pregnant pauses in the conversation so you fill in the time looking at the eye candy ; )

    So, very good film overall, perhaps even top 100 material but it does lack a certain something that would justify it's current IMDb position.
  • IMDB (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrfiddlehead ( 129279 ) <mrfiddlehead@ya[ ] ['hoo' in gap]> on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:40AM (#2747100) Homepage
    Of course, it's too early to tell where LoTR will end up on the big list, but I doubt it will compete with The Godfather and Dr. Strangelove in the long run. One of my biggest problems with IMDB is the fact that one can see the histogram of rating results before casting one's vote. I would bet that a lot of people are giving this movie a rating of 10 because they see lots of other people giving it a 10.

    Another problem is that the voting scale is too fine for most people and that people tend to be conservatively critical. The number of people voting 2 or 3 is much lower, statistically, that those who vote 8 or 9 becuase people tend to be too NICE when rating a film unless they REALLY hate it in which case they'll give it a 1. A scale of one to four or five would be more indicative than the current scale.

  • by linuxdoctor ( 126962 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @09:40AM (#2747103) Homepage
    I've yet to see the film, but I intend to. However, I'm wondering how many people are going to see the film because LoTR is derigeur for the geek crowd? Even when I was a young lad, attending university in the mid-sevnties, the LoTR was required reading for anybody that wanted to fit in with those who spent more time at computer terminals than at their studies. I liked the books, but I didn't think they ranked as great literature.

    But, did you know that for a large portion of the source code to Perl, after the usual copyright disclaimer, there is a quote from something by J. R. R. Tolkien?

    Yes, there are people who DO read source code, and I'm one of them. It's a great source of education and inspiration if the code is well written and a wonderful source of amusement from code that is badly written.
  • Yeah, it was "quite an accomplishment" too, when the IMDB ranked "Battlefield Earth" as the highest rated film of all time, but that was just hordes of mindless scientologists stuffing the ballot boxes. However in this case, it's hordes of..

    ..oh nevermind.
  • I think PJ's FotR is overrated, but I think it deserves to be. Even though the movie severely abridges the story, it's also getting many people to read the book, which is selling 400% better this year than last year. The ideal is for the movie to teach all newcomers everything there is to know about Middle Earth and make them excited about it. The movie hasn't accomplished that, but it's done the next best thing.

    It seems that every genre gets overrated at least once. Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Matrix were overrated high-tech action movies, Gone With the Wind and Titanic were overrated expensive action-romance movies, Disney makes overrated cartoons, and now PJ's FotR is an overrated swords and sorcery action movie.

    If every genre is destined to be overrated at least once, swords & sorcery genre might as well get it now. If it causes audiences to read the best book in the genre and movie-makers to make more other-worldly movies, then I think it's succeeded.
    • Whether this was the best movie ever or not, I think that there is no competition for it in the fantasy genre. The only movies that have a prayer of competing are:

      Dragonslayer (reigning champ finally unseated)
      The Dark Crystal (very cool, but ulitmately just puppets)
      Excalibur (honorable mention)
      Willow (not enough cool monsters)
      Conan the Barbarian (ah-nuld)
      Beastmaster (kitschy)
      Clash of the Titans (uber-kitschy, outdated special effects)

      Am I missing any? I can't think of any other half-decent fantasy movies that are even playing the same game here.

  • Follow the Herd (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tubs ( 143128 )
    How many people vote for a film

    1) Because they think it's good
    2) Someone else thinks its good, and they want to be seen in the same light.

    I haven't seen 50% of the top 10, I have seen Godfather, Godfather 2, Citizen Kane, Star Wars, & LoTR.

    But it gets me eevry time *why* is Citizen Kane considered an all time top 10? Have the people who voted for it actually seen it? I bought it because of the hype ... boy was I dissapointed - the words "extremely" and "boring" come to mind.

    Sorry for being a philistine, but it seem to me people vote for "old" films because they think they should, because they are supposed to be classics.

    And if you reply to this also I want a synopsis that explains why Citizen Kane is good and why I am wrong, just so I can be shown the error of my ways.
    • Re:Follow the Herd (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The reason Citizen Kane is a better movie than, say, LotR, is because it accomplishes the two most important aspects of good moviemaking.

      1. Tell a story.
      2. Tell it well.

      While LotR was certainly entertaining, there were significant problems in terms of storytelling. Motivation played a big part. Developed plot points are another. If you've never read the original books, how are you supposed to know why a character wants to do something? Because the acting and the screenplay work together to define their motivation. But besides Sam, whom we understand is acting on friendship, we just have to kind of go along with a lot of the character's actions. "Okay, so I guess he's a good guy because he's helping them." Also, when you read the books you start to understand that it's more complicated than just a bunch of wierd characters fighting bad guys and trying to get to this place where they can destroy the Big Bad Guy. But in the movie the characters are just running. "We're running away from guys on horses. We're running away from Orcs. We're running away from a big tenticle thing."

      Now, to get to your original question, the reason Citizen Kane is a good movie is because at the time, the special effects were mind-blowing, and the story was classic (nice guy gets corrupted on his own power until he becomes not such a nice guy any more.) The reason it is a great movie is because by the end of the movie you don't feel like any of the scenes were forced on you, it was a procession of events built upon each other, each entirely necessary, until you finally say, "How could it have ended any other way?" This is similarly why Shawshank Rendemption is so fantastic.

      To put it another way, I could give you a pint of ice cream, and you'd love it. You'd say, "This is fantastic. It tastes great. Why would anyone eat anything else?" And yet, you know there's no substance to it. Then I could give you some brocolli and asparagus, and you'd say, "Well, I know this is supposed to be good for me, it's got minerals and stuff, but YEACH." A great meal shouldn't simply satisfy the hunger and biological needs of your body. Combine a tasty meal that's fills your body's needs... say, a sirloin steak with assorted vegetables, and you'll be truly happy.

      Sorry that analogy went on for so long. I must go now. I'm so friggin' hungry all of a sudden.
  • IMDB User Bias (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cloudmark ( 309003 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @10:43AM (#2747239) Homepage
    While there have been some posts highlighting the fact that the IMDB rating is only representative of those individuals with web-access, I think this doesn't fully address the limits of the IMDB ratings and how in particular they may not accurately reflect this film.
    Specifically, the IMDB ratings are the product of those individuals who care enough about a film to take the time to enter a rating. It is likely to contain significantly more strong positive or negative reactions and far fewer moderate reactions than other means of statistical analysis. This can produce skewed results.
    Furthermore, to make use of the old 'geeks and dungeons & dragons/tolkienesque fantasy' stereotype, while it is highly doubtful that Hollywood would produce a film with such a small target audience, the IMDB is particularly biased towards this group. In my experience, there is some validity to the claim that computer 'geeks' have generally had a higher level of exposure to fantasy novels and have had more opportunities to form opinions based on this exposure. Tolkien, at least within the circles I frequent, has always been a favourite of computer professionals. While these are not the only people who will see the film, they are the group most likely to head home and make use of an online rating service to make their opinions known and to have the tools available to do so.
    To summarize my own rather rambling post, I think there is some justification for the belief that those people who are both willing and able to use the IMDB rating system may be bias through their own background and interests to grant this movie an abnormally high rating.
    Before I conclude, however, I would like to say that I did enjoy the film a great deal and would not hesitate to say that it is one of the better films released in recent years, though not the best ever.
  • by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @11:03AM (#2747284) Homepage Journal
    LotR was a decent movie, with great special effects, scenery, and cinematography. But the storytelling was rather poor. After the fellowship leaves on its journey, the movie is two hours of barely related events which are fun to watch, but meaningless in terms of advancing the story. There's no sense of progress, not really any background explanation of the places and people they come across. A good movie should NOT require you to read the book it's based on to follow the story!

    Essentially, I feel this was a (successful) attempt to put readers' favorite scenes from the book on film, and to do it in a very expensive way, and to make a lot of money off that hype. But I think it fails at being a great movie on its own. This was definitely better than The Phantom Menace, but it is far from being the best movie ever.
  • This movie should be done over and this time it should not go to the theaters. This movie should be done as a television series so that there would be no need for a narrative that lasts 30 minutes. I would prefer to see less special effects but actually more of the play. Shooting this movie for theater viewing forces the movie to be only 3 hours long but this means missing out too much detail and missing even one detail in this movie (book) is too much. Tom Bombadill is at least one character that was dismissed, since it is interpreted by many as an unnecessary and a weird character and not too much action happens with him. Imagine, he takes the ring, puts it on and what? NOTHING happens, the Ring cannot do anything to him, he is above the Ring. Of-course many articles were written on the subject, some believe that T.B. represents the oldest and most powerfull God that lives on Earth. Well, is he and his wife (the daughter of the River-woman of Withywindle) are worth being at least mentioned?
    • Re:The worst problem (Score:2, Informative)

      by mccalli ( 323026 )
      Well, is he and his wife (the daughter of the River-woman of Withywindle) are worth being at least mentioned?


      I'm being unusually definite here, as normally I would preface it with things like 'in my opinion', 'maybe' or 'perhaps'. However, this time I can draw upon Tolkien's own opinion.

      In an interview (shown recently on BBC Knowledge, I believe) he stated that put Tom Bombadil in purely because he liked the character, and that he had difficulty working him in to the plot.

      Given that, I would imagine that poor old Tom is an entirely valid target for the chop. Even my favourite (non-book) version, the BBC Radio series, cuts him out.


  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @11:43AM (#2747387)
    -- it's #1 with women on imdb, which means it's not just male geeks voting;

    -- the external reviews have been very good, so it's not just sci-fi-fantasy types lauding it;

    -- if you look in the top 10 grossing films - 6 of 10 are sci-fi in both the us box and worldwide box - no other genre is close;

    -- i've always been a sci-fi fan, and a tolkien nut, and have always deferred to mainstream films when it comes time to high praise - i was glad annie hall won best pic in 1977 - star wars deserved technical awards, but was not the best film made that year...

    -- but this has me thinking - sci fi movies are great entertainment and make for outstanding cinematic experiences - this stuff makes good movies in a more rounded way than i'd imagined.

    -- now if only hhgg can still be made, we'd have the best of all worlds! as funny as anything that won an oscar, just techie enough and honestly good plot/story arc/characters, all that good stuff.
  • Is LoTR the best movie ever made? I wish I could tell as I carry so much baggage from the book into the theater. Because of the place the book holds in my heart I cannot rate the movie objectively.

    I'm a long-time fan of the books; I first read it in the 60's when it was originally published in the US. My wife does my one better - she actually bought a copy from England when it came out in the 50's (yes, she owns a First Edition).

    I really looked at the production of the movie with great trepidation because I felt that there was no way that a movie could do full justice to the book, and given the material it is likely to be a disaster.

    I was right and wrong - it doesn't equal the book. LoTR is a masterpiece of storytelling that cannot be fully translated to the screen. Yet it was not a disaster at all! - there were large parts of the movie that I really enjoyed.
    All in all I think this movie is very impressive. It far exceeds my expectations, largely due to the terrific casting (only Elrod failed to carry off his role) and segments such as Hobbiton and Moria that carry off the flavor of the book exceedingly well. Parts are less good, however that is true of the book, too.
    All in all I cannot imagine how a better job could have been done with this material - and I am eagerly awaiting the next two installments.
  • by SrA_Pus ( 75396 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @12:28PM (#2747469) Journal
    It's true -- I'm the only geek left who hasn't read Lord of the Rings. I've read many more O'Reilly books than science fiction novels. But I am an avid moviegoer -- I LOVE movies.

    I went into LotR with an open mind. Having never read the books, I really didn't know what to expect. From the opening sequence, I was enthralled.

    Several things struck me about this movie. First and foremost, it takes itself seriously. I'll never be able to watch Phantom Menace again, because LotR does what PM should have -- presented a serious and dark tale of myth.

    After seeing LotR for the second time, I find it curious that so many people complain about character progression. When your last impression of Sam and Frodo is of them walking off together, and then you see them at the beginning of the movie again, the change is stark.

    The special effects were fantastic.

    The acting was fantastic.

    The dialogue and pacing were fantastic.

    The last action/adventure movie I saw that was this good was the Matrix, period. For three hours I was swept away into a different land with vivid scenery, odd creatures, and a compelling story. I can't imagine what more I would want from this movie.

    Best movie ever? If Towers and King turn out just as good, then I believe the trilogy as a whole is worthy of such consideration. It's certainly not a cinematic masterpiece like Citizen Kane, but if you were going out this weekend, which movie would you rather see?

    Fellowship of the Rings could be described with one word that I rarely use but is completely apropos: epic. How many other movies can claim the same?
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @12:40PM (#2747493)
    I have gotta give credit to Peter Jackson, his adaptation does a brilliant job at appealing largely to a fairly broad audience without completely alienating long time Tolkien fans. I see a lot of posts here and there on /. with various Minor Quibbles about plotline, or for some "Unforgiveable Sins" of the movie, but most of us (and I'm sure the vast majority of posters in this thread have read the books) seem to have generally positive feelings about this movie. At the same time, IMDB, although skewed as a metric of the general population, at least indicates that the broader online population seems to be responding well to the movie. Likewise, box office figures and the frigging 2 hours it took to find a theater in NYC where it wasn't sold out indicates to me it's doing well with quite a broad audience indeed.

    This gives great credit to anybody - adapting a work of such linguistic depth and complexity, with so many characters and so much plot, even into a 9 hour trilogy of movies is not easy, and though we don't all agree with all the storyline cuts and modifications, these people deserve the money they are making from the film for such a good job done.

    However, while you are reading, let me give my two cents of things I didn't like, cinematically and directorially about this movie: the atrocious use of music in gaudy fashion, trying to push audience emotions around to make up for mediocre acting in some scenes. It was just overdone - music is fine and necessary, but in a good movie you should barely notice it, unless it's really appropriate in a scene. In LoTR:FoTR I noticed it on several occasions, and in a bad way and it made my cheese-factor detector kick into high gear. The other thing that greatly diminished the experience for me was the overly sappy filming of the scenes at the end of the movie. Elijah Wood is not a great, emotive actor. Long face shots of him with tears flowing trying to look like he is distraught are just not engaging in cinematic form. I saw the audience squirming in their seats in the last 3-4 minutes of the movie last night (the second time I was seeing the movie by the way). While you can't change the division of the movie into three parts and keep to the book, you have to do the best you can to at least make the ending _feel_ more engaging.

  • Lost scenes? (Score:2, Informative)

    by uriyan ( 176677 )

    Reports on The One Ring [] indicate that several scenes that are known to have been filmed have not appeared in the final movie cut.

    Examples include some of the way from Bree to Rivendell, the scene where Aragorn and Elrond talk about Narsil, and the scene where the Fellowship parts from Galadriel. All of these appear on some of the merchandise (cards, stickers - I don't remember exactly which), but they're not in the movie. A particular favorite of my is the lake they see when they depart from Moria. Just as I managed to think "Kheled-Zaram" - the Fellowship entered Lothlorien.

    Obviously, these scenes have been filmed (there are stills from them), so they must have been cut out because of time constraints as some of the less important detail. It occurs to me that they could integrate well with the plot as it is. So I just hope they will come as a part of the DVD (and not just as "director's trash", but rather as a part of an alternative viewing sequence.

  • by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) <evan&misterorange,com> on Monday December 24, 2001 @01:25PM (#2747591) Homepage
    LOTR is a visionary masterpiece. Every frame could be frozen and framed and look great on any wall of mine. There is no question that the camera work is simply revolutionary, from the vertigo-enducing dives to the slow pans across the vast landscapes.

    It is however, a very Cliff Notes friendly version of the plot. I'll take two instances here, and let you decide the rest.

    1) Bill the horse. One of my favorite characters from the book is undoubtedly cut to shreds by the film. I don't know why they even bothered including the five-second scene of Sam and Bill. Maybe simple nostalgia from Jackson and possibly trying to give Sam some type of emotional grounding since his only other character scene was dancing with Lucy in the first moments in Hobbiton.

    2) The Aragorn/Arwen romance. I have no problems whatsoever with this type of story manipulation, and I am glad that Arwen got such a prominent role in the film (and undoubtedly in the next two as well). But this romance is forced, with the simple gestures and "remember how we met" dialogue not enough emotional foundation to give them the effect that is needed.

    These are just two examples, there are plenty more. The word is that Peter Jackson's first cut of the film was 3 hours 30 minutes. It's possible that New Line, scared enough that it was over 3 hours, didn't want to risk such a long cut since the longer it is the fewer showings the film can have. So 30 minutes of character development probably went right out the window.

    Must I point out that Titanic, a great flick (despite all you naysayers), is 3 hours 20 minutes, has solid character development, "legs" like you wouldn't believe (ie, stayed on the charts for more than 3 months), and grossed more than any film in history. The hobbits are dreadfully bland, Legolas (especially) and Gimili are bystanders at best. Boromir is given one scene where he describes Gondor as his character moment, with most of the screen time given to the leads. Gandalf is represented best, which is why his (SPOILER WARNING) demise (SPOILER END) is so powerful. I loved the after-Moria sequence, though it was easily apparent that the on-the-rocks scene where Boromir is teaching Merry and Pippin how to sword fight was cut down to shreds, when it really shouldn't have been--after such a huge setpiece, a character-driven segment would've been welcomed.

    It wasn't until I saw the film the second time that all of this occurred to me. Having re-read the books this summer to get a feel for them, I knew all the characters and took all of the shortcuts for granted. Though one can still enjoy the film as it is constructed (hell, even my girlfriend liked it), when you read the books the events are much more effecting, bringing to life all of those superb moments you once built in your imagination.

    The plot goes as such: a little story, a big action sequence, a little story, a big action sequence, etc. Repeat ad nauseum.

    Let's just hope that judging by the immense reaction, both from fans and critics--a rare event indeed, that New Line will give Jackson more leeway with The Two Towers and Return of the King and let him include some truly meaningful character moments.

    And damn I can't wait for the LOTR:FOTR Director's Cut!
    • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @02:15PM (#2747715)
      LOTR is a visionary masterpiece

      Do you mean "visual" masterpiece?

      Titanic, a great flick (despite all you naysayers), is 3 hours 20 minutes, has solid character development

      I'm stunned! Titanic barely had characters at all, never mind character development! They all start off as cliched stereotypes and end up as (mostly dead) cliched stereotypes. Live->dead is a sort of character development, I suppose.


  • Now we need a Bored of the Rings [] movie.
  • by Edgewize ( 262271 ) on Monday December 24, 2001 @02:22PM (#2747729)
    No, LotR is not as good as classics such as Citizen Kane or Dr. Strangelove. The question is, Who said that it is?

    Nobody who voted at IMDB ranked the movies. Nobody went to a page and filled out a form that said, LotR is better than The Godfather. People voted on a scale of 1-10 based on how good they thought that this particular fantasy-epic was. And they thought that it was better than any fantasy-epic movie that they could have imagined.

    The fact that it has become the "#1 movie of all time" according to IMDB is not the fault of either the viewers or the voters. It is the fault of the IMDB for comparing the voted ratings of different types of movies.

    It makes no sense to compare the user ratings of older movies with the user ratings of newer ones. After all, IMDB was not around when the classics were released and first appreciated. Nobody flocked to IMDB to fill in "10/10" and click Submit. The core IMDB users have probably voted for it, but people such as you and me have probably never thought to vote on something like Dr. Strangelove. And of course, when IMDB compares ratings between movie genres, we get into an obvious comparing-apples-and-oranges scenario.

    So why should we put any stock into the Top Ten movies as selected by IMDB ratings? I think that we shouldn't. The IMDB is a wonderful tool to tell us how much we might like a particular movie, based on the people who have seen it and thought that they should vote for it. But it can not fairly tell us how well one movie compares to another, and it should not try to.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein