From: Balin Of The Mines
Saw it monday night. All three hours of the Fellowship of the Ring. I can tell you that the casting is spot on all the way through, I can tell you that the visual effects are amazing, That the Balrog is Bad Ass in the way we always imagined, but about fifty feet taller, I can tell you that Arwen is only on screen for maybe ten minutes, and represents no threat to the story, but all those things are trivial.
Here is the important thing: The Story is not changed. It is not exactly the same, but it is the same story. That has in no way been lost, or weakened or polluted. I have finally arrived at a way of describing the difference between the book and the film: Imagine the book as a valuable weaving. Take the exact fabric and re weave it…tighter. Snip off a few barely noticeable threads, move a little of the fiber around to strengthen the integrity of the whole, and you have the same weaving…sturdier, renewed, ready for new use but the same. Spoilers to follow:
Instead of Strider…for not much narrative reason…objecting to Gandalf taking the fellowship into Moria as is in the book, it’s the other way around. But because that subtle change is made, several other points click together more closely. Jackson and his writing team have used Tolkein to improve Tolkein. His words are everywhere in the script, everywhere. There are more scenes of Traitorous Saruman preparing for war, including several pointed sequences of orcs cruelly destroying trees. These scenes are going to pay off in the Two Towers, as you surely know. Aragorn doesn’t use broken Narsil in the early going of the story…but the broken sword that is eventually reforged helps create a scene in Rivendell that sets up the interplay between Aragorn and Boromir, that is astoundingly powerful in the movie. Gandalf is rescued from Orthanc by the great eagle, as before, but instead of a talky sequence with the seen-once-only Radagast the Brown, he sets up his escape with the help of a friendly Moth…done mostly visually, in the midst of telling other parts of the story. Efficient…but still the same story.
Thats the key here. As a result, once the script is streamlined like this, it MOVES. Tolkien’s prose, as much as we love it, is a little leisurely, but with just a little tuneup, connecting the same existing material in slightly different ways, you travel the same ground in breathless, headlong fashion.
The Bottom Line: It’s the Fellowship of the Ring. It IS. Frodo and Sam leave the fellowship wondering if they’ll ever see any of the others again, Merry and Pippin are in the hands of the Orcs, and Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn are hot on their trail, after the body of Boromir is sent down Rauros Falls. The morgul knife vanishes as smoke, white horses in the waves of the flooding river that sweeps away the black riders…that stuff is all there. Grubbs, Chubbs, Boffins, Bolgers, Bracegirdles and Proudfoots…Proudfeet…That’s there. I know less than half of you half as well as I should like…thats there. Its there. And best of all there ARE suprizes. Little ones. Great ones that fit, work with the characters but are new…and delightful. There is also one spectacularly bad joke in the movie, but I won’t tell you about it. You’ll hear it.
We have lived long enough, we have good enough Karma. Not all of our dreams have or will ever come true, but this one has. A wonderful magical powerful movie has been made of The Lord of the Rings, and we get to see it. I have seen it, and will again, countless times and so will you.