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Biggest Complaint: The Lord Of The Rings Movies

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Here's the place to let the world know about something that doesn't work about this show, trope, or author. As the votes roll in, you'll be able to see if it is also a problem for other folks.

At issue:

Things Peter Jackson & Co. changed in adapting The Lord Of The Rings for the big screen. These can be things that got added, deleted, or just made different.

Showing 27 of 27. Hide items with lower scores.

Frodo sending Sam away on the steps of Cirith Ungol

Significantly reducing and cutting Faramir and Eowyn's story arc, turning their love story into a very awkward case of pair-the-spares.

The characterization of Gimli. As one of Thorin's Folk, in the books he was strong-willed and stubborn, but not stupid or crass. In the movies, he becomes more of a comical side-kick to Legolas than an intelligent and well-rounded character in his own right.

Having Faramir submit (temporarily) to the temptation of the Ring and take the hobbits to Osgiliath. In the books, Faramir immediately resisted the temptation of the Ring and reassured Frodo he held no desire for it.

In the books, Gimli was Legolas's equal in battle. In the movies, Legolas shows up Gimli every time.

Making Frodo much weaker and more passive in comparison to the book. In Fellowship (just to name an example), he even attacks the Witchking on Weathertop, where in the movies, he spends a lot of time crying for Aragorn.

Elves at Helm's Deep. They were only going to have that in the first place to give Arwen something to do. When everyone (including Liv Tyler) convinced Jackson it was a bad idea, he should have dropped it completely. It makes absolutely no sense and does not move the story along.

—It does make sense when you consider the necessity of cutting of the Rhovanion Campaign, which was the attacks against Lothlorien and the Greenwood. Cutting that entire part eliminates any scenes of Elven armies.

Turning the Ents from wise and venerable creatures into comical half-wits

Lessening the contrast between Merry and Pippin. Merry was quite a bit less comical in the book than in the movies, where he and Pippin are the Middle Earth equivalent of the Weasley twins.

Am I the only one bothered because of the changes in Denethor and Faramir, all around they make Gondor seem like a crappy place ruled by weaklings, and none of that family was weak, not even Boromir who really failed, and also Denethor's words proved to be true when Frodo failed to destroy the ring. Gollum inherently saving the world was far beyond anyone's reach.

"They've turned Northeast - they're taking the Hobbits to Isengard!" A simple look at the map will show there's no way they were going Northeast to get to Isengard.

The Prancing Pony as a dark den full of rather grimy, sinister Men. The whole point of what happens at the Pony is that it's brightly lit, warm and friendly, making them let their guard down.

Who else was bothered by Aragorn not wanting to become king of Gondor until Elrond convinced him?

The removal of the Scouring of the Shire, which is arguably one of the most important chapters in The Lord of the Rings.

Making Sam so much less awesome

(Not that movie Sam isn't cool, but many of the character's defining moments have been cut or downplayed. Notably:

  • "The Choices of Master Samwise"
  • his song in the tower of Cirith Ungol
  • his epiphany with the star
  • his final confrontation with Gollum on the slopes of Mount Doom)

Cutting out the Dunedain and a rather significant number of elves (e.g. Glorfindel, Elrohir, Elladan).

Connected to leaving out the Scouring of the Shire, Saruman's death (in the extended cut) by Grima stabbing him in the back and then falling from the top of his tower and getting impaled. Wizards can do their stuff because they are essentially minor gods or angels, which is why Gandalf was able to come back from the dead. Having Saruman die in such a mundane manner is completely at odds with their nature.

—Sharkey died in the book due to Grima slicing his throat. Grima was then killed by Hobbit archers. Curumo may have been a Maia, but he had a body similar to the Children of Iluvatar, and even Elves with all their resilience to disease and minor injuries die from mortal wounds.

The different timeline from the books to the films. In the books the story runs for several years, while in the films it runs for a few weeks or months

edit: The main action of the book (from leaving the Shire to the destruction of the Ring) only takes six months, though the return journey takes another seven. I can only assume that the OP is referring to the seventeen-year gap between Frodo\'s inherritance of the Ring and the beginning of his journey, which in the films is presented as a matter of months.

All of those damned shots of Frodo looking higher than Mount Everest.

Aragorn beheading the Mouth of Sauron (only in the extended edition)

The ROTK epilogue's length. They easily could have ended the movie after Aragorn gets crowned king with a really awesome aerial shot of the Middle-earth mountains under the sunny cloudless sky, but the film continues on for at least 10 extra dull minutes and ends on the shot of a door. Awesome movie series, one of my favourites, but it's a shame that the ending has to drag so much.

Cutting "The Scouring of the Shire"

Compressing Frodo's, Sam's, and Pippin's initial journey to Buckland, and cutting Gildor and Farmer Maggot (and thereby losing the transition between light-toned beginnings of the journey and a much darker post-Bree stage).

Incorporating a significant amount of material with Arwen, originally in the appendixes, into the main story as a tacked-on romantic sub-plot.

No "Tom Bombadil". He was one of the most interesting characters, the First, and would have been the Last had the rest of the world fallen to Sauron.

I'm blowed as to how I can put this into words, but I do feel the meeting in the Old Forest with Tom Bombadil is a lot more important to the book than later intrerpreters make out. The first cartoon film omitted it; the BBC radio adaptation omitted it; Jackson's film version omits it. If nothing else, this is where the hobbits win their swords, one of which later kills the witch-King. OK, so this is Piper at the Gates of Dawn territory, a difficult seemingly out-of place sequence in the narrative - but I do believe this is important and that Bombadil is more than just the patron Maiar of stoner hippies. i'd love it if this were to be given the respect it deserves?

Cutting Tom Bombadil