25 January 2012

The continuing downward spiral

Finished watching The Two Towers last night.
The screenwriters (all four of them, good gawd) treat the characters (small c) as marionettes, and obviously haven’t read the source books with attention, as their string-twitching antics, through all their narrative additions, embellishments, and curlicues, violates the characters’ Character (big C). I don’t see how Jackson justifies both striking material from Tolkien’s books (“there isn’t time”) and inserting numerous, lengthy abominations (the whole Danielle-Steele-style enlargement of the Aragorn-&-Arwen subplot, here monstrously morphed into a love triangle with Éowyn).
The entire tone of Faramir’s encounter with Frodo and Sam is marred, quite apart from the laughable insertion of schlepping the hobbits to Osgiliath. There seems almost no point in pointing out for the nth time that a character’s soul has been entirely made over, but let’s say it here for Faramir. The incident at the forbidden pool has been reduced to a cartoon (not the only instance in these movees).
Théoden (I’ll say again) has been horribly reduced in stature.
Oh! Another unnecessary and foot-shooting insertion: Aragorn falling off a cliff, dragged by the warg. As if Legolas and Gimli would just look down from the top, sigh, and go about their business – the walkers who together with Aragorn had tracked the hobbits clear across the Eastfold. Say it again: the screenwriters suffer either from irredeemably tin ears, or from poor reading comprehension, or both.
Another Oh, they couldnt be bothered to read the book theyre adapting, could they? moment was seeing – elves come to garrison Helm’s Deep. Just makes rags of the author’s idea of The Last Alliance, doesn’t it? Apart from that fatal incompatibility: elves joining in battle not with dúnedain but with the Rohirrim. One could forgive the occasional suggestion that the screenwriters just dont get it, but when they completely eviscerate the source novel so that all that is left is a pulp comic book . . . .
I mean, Frodo putting a sword to Sam’s throat, at that early point in the journey? It’s the Middle-Earth equivalent of idiocy in the script. And there you have it: that gauges the entire enterprise. They couldnt be bothered to understand the book they were being paid to adapt. Asses. Arrant, ham-fisted asses.

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