From the Printed Word to the Big Screen, Jarred takes a Look at The Lord of the Rings

By Jarred Collins

If you’ve ever read a great book or watched a great movie, it totally pulls you in to it.

After re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I wanted to sit down and put some things together about the book and movie. First off, reading the [book] can take up massive amounts of time.  I know people who have spent years pouring though, just as I did, and some who have read it in less than two weeks. Sitting down and watching the entire trilogy, extended additions, is an investment of around 12 hours of your life.

LOTR_book_coversI purchased the book in 2003, because of my love of the movies. I started reading and initially found that it was totally overwhelming.

The amount of detail in the book made it hard to connect with [it] at first.  After trudging through everything there is to know about Hobbits, the book finally took off. I often found it hard to put down, and other times, I would have to take a break and withdraw myself from Middle Earth.  Sometimes it would be a month, sometimes a year plus.  After 8 years, I finished the Trilogy and felt a sense of completion.

Here are a couple of thoughts on the books:

1. There is so much information.  You get to know the back story of every major character, and some minor characters, plus every races’ customs and origins.

2. The plot development is slow.  While in the movie we find out Frodo’s purpose in about 45 minutes, the book takes about 50 or more pages to get to it.  One reason the plot development is slower is because there is more going on.  Getting from point A to point B involves different characters, and a few places not touched [on] in the movie.

3. You become attached to each character.  I know everyone has a favorite character in the movies, but in the book, I feel that you become attached to every character along their journey.

4. It is an investment of your time.  There is no short-term gratification with the book.  You can not sit down in a couple of hours and reach a stopping point.  Every time a section draws to a close, it makes you want to find out what happens next.  But that is where [Tolkien] gets you.  When a section comes to an end it switches to a different set of characters.  At the beginning of each section I would always say “I don’t want to read about this, I want to continue the story with _________.” After a few pages I would forget about the previous characters and get drawn in to the continuing story of the other group.

If you love the movies, you should give the book a shot.  You get drawn in on the adventure and become part of the Fellowship.

Photo: Evenbrite.com
Photo: Evenbrite.com

I have watched the complete Trilogy several times, but for some reason this time was different. I have owned the extended edition DVD of Lord of the Rings since Return of the King was released. I have watched them through several times.  Right after Christmas I was able to replace the DVD editions with the Blu-Ray, and immediately jumped back in. My wife and I would try to watch half of each movie each night. For parents of a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old (at the time), this can be a big undertaking, but this is something we do about once a year or so.

After the re-watch, here are a couple of things about the Blu-Ray movies that really stick out.

 

1. The scenery matches the books description. I watched a documentary on the scouting of the locations and they really took their time when trying to find a place that matches the descriptions.

2. It is also one of the most visually beautiful movies ever shot. There are dozens of shots in the movie that are breathtaking.  Whether is it mountain scenes or the way they shoot some of the cities, it makes you want to see these beautiful sites.

3. The acting is superb.  The actors picked for each role, really makes it his/her own.  But at the same time does a great job of representing the character that Tolkien put on the page.

4. The battle scenes are epic. When I watch the battle for Gondor (Battle of the Pelennor Fields), I get chill bumps.  It is hand to hand combat on a scale which we will never see in person.

5. Blu-ray ages CG effects. The only knock against the Blu-Ray is that the film looks so sharp and crisp, some of the CG does not hold up like it did when it first came out.

The movie really has the complete package.
Great Story-Check
Adventure-Check
Acting-Check
Great Cinematography- Check
Beautiful Locations- Check

Photo: New Line Cinema
Photo: New Line Cinema

With both the movie and the book, I was completely drawn in and engrossed. Both have to be considered as one of the greatest in their respective areas [and]  with each character I was drawn into their journey.  When it was all said and done, I felt like Frodo.  After the great journey that was experienced nothing could fill that void that was left at the end.  It left a longing that made everything else seem minuscule.

If you are interested in buying the Blu-Ray, it can usually be found on the WB store for a cheaper price than most other places.  I purchased mine for $45, while it was still $80 on Amazon and even higher at Best Buy (it is a little more expensive, but if you wait for the right time, you can get it at a great price).

If you are interested in the books, you can find the complete collection at Barnes and Noble or Amazon for around the same price.

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