I thought the books to be quite awful for years (indeed, I think they still show their age, and are needlessly long-winded), but the Fellowship movie changed my mind. Boromir, who I found tediously predictable in the book, is absolutely the best, most interesting character in the whole series. Sean Bean stole every scene with him, and propelled the movie from “very good” to “great”.
The Two Towers, (disregarding the 50 or so pages of Entmoot), is my favorite book, and I liked it more than the movie. Aside from the change in Faramir’s attitude (which upon reflection I heartily agree with), the changes and additions to TTT were unnecessary.
Return of the King was a good contender for favorite book until the movie came out, which ruined it for me. I can’t read it without hearing a sad, sappy trumpet or lonely little flute blaring away, overdramatizing Frodo and Sam’s problems as they struggle with their hidden homosexual urges… er… are conflicted about Gollum, the ring and the tragedy of the burden.
Only in a good way.
The movies have given me some decent visuals to go with when reading the books, particularly in places where Tolkien’s descriptions are confusing/rambling (like everywhere!).
It also helped in some areas of “map scale” (and to a small degree, direction), like how far Osgiliath is from Minas Tirith and how far Mordor is from Gondor and how big the Pellenor is, etc. etc…
Ironically, when I read the books now I still visualize the main characters’ features as I did before the movies. For instance, my Boromir is larger and shaggier than Sean Bean’s Boromir. And more cartoonish too, probably a result from watching the old animated films many moons ago.
Oh, and my two favorite parts of the books are done fairly well in the movie: the trip through Moria and the fall of Gandalf, and Theoden’s charge (and fall) on the Pellenor.
Not too much, I really didn’t like the books too much (although I thought the third book was alright). The movies really brought the books to life and made me further realize what a stale writer I find Tolkein to be.
The film Two Towers made me further realize how much I didn’t like Tolkein going all the way through Helm’s Deep and then starting all over to follow Frodo.
The movies made me realize how much extra boring crap is in the books. Somebody needed an editor badly.
Yeah, Tolkien did make up a neat world and plot, but he was no writer.
This thread badly needs a poll. How can you have a LotR’s thread in this day and age without a poll is beyond me. Sheesh!
Where the hell is Desslock? These disparaging comments about Tolkien’s writing should summon him forth from Mordor (where the lawyers lie).
I really don’t understand the apathy/antipathy being directed towards the books in this thread. I loved them when I first read them in the early 70’s, and I love them today even more. I think they are aging magnificently. Sure, there are a few characters I don’t like, and a few scenes I might tinker with, but, as a whole, I think LOTR is a fantastic achievement.
To address the topic line of the thread, the movies have changed my visualizations of the books only slightly. For example, Legolas is a pretty minor character, and I never had a clear image for him. Now I see Orlando Bloom. However, most characters and places remain unchanged.
I still picture the Hobbits more like the ones in the Bakshi film. Odd enough, I picture Tom Chick as Tom Bombadil… with a cowboy hat. I think it was that Jesse movie.
The same comments in this thread could be levelled at Hugo’s Le Mis. Ever have the narrative come to a sceeching halt for roughly 100 pages so the author could pine about the sad state of monasteries in his country?