The Lord of the Rings Movies Could Never Be Made Today

Because Tolkien’s been in the zeitgeist lately, here’s another hot take:

There is no chance the Lord of the Rings film trilogy could be made in 2018.

Yes, I’m eating crow about the Peter Jackson-directed movies, which should make H.P. happy. But as my son has been into all things Hobbit-related for a few weeks and the Andy Duncan thing happened to coincide with this, we naturally eventually started to watch the movies, which I hadn’t seen since around 2005.

And damn. Just damn. I got emotional during The Fellowship of the Ring.

My misgivings aside, such as Gimli being turned into comic-relief and the absence of the Barrow Downs adventure, Peter Jackson nailed the essence of Tolkien.

And that’s why I’m thankful the movies were filmed in the late-90s and early-00s. Not only because the technology caught up to Jackson’s vision (the movie is still utterly breathtaking nearly 20 years later), but because the SJW cancer hadn’t yet infested every last corner of the filmmaking industry.

Let’s first look at what the movies have that are problematic in 2018:

  • Strong, competent male characters who express masculine virtues like honor, courage in the face of death, and self-sacrifice.
  • An absolute morality that divides the world into good and evil.
  • Sauron is 100 percent portrayed as a stand-in for Satan.
  • Orcs are unambiguously evil.

Now let’s look at what the stories don’t have:

  • No strong wahmen kicking men’s arses and saving the day against the Uruk-Hai.
  • No strong wahmen putting feeble men in their place.
  • No non-white main characters.
  • No gay characters.
  • No gay romance.
  • No trans characters.
  • No underlying subtext about the folly of religion, nationalism, or absolute morality.
  • No moral ambiguity.
  • No grandstanding virtue signaling that shoehorns contemporary leftist political ideology into a fantasy adventure story.

In short, The Lord of the Rings would gargle monkey balls if it were made today. They’d hire some malicious clown like Rian Johnson or some pedophile like James Gunn to write it, and it’d be a big, inverted middle finger to fans of Tolkien’s masterpiece.

Andy Duncan would love it.

And so let’s thank the Lord that these movies were made when they were made and by whom they were made.

Peter Jackson, I’ve had issues with your adaptation of The Lord of the Rings in the last, but now I realize you were the right man for the job at the right time. I recant everything negative I’ve said about these films, and I salute you, ya fuzzy little Kiwi.

47 comments

  1. I just watched the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies and had similar thoughts. One of my biggest gripes with Hollywood is a complete inability to understand why someone might make personal sacrifice for the greater good (ironic, given their politics). It always has to be personal. Family, then, isn’t about being a part of something bigger than yourself, about self sacrifice, but instead just a crude tool for the character’s self-interest. Is it any surprise that police officers and soldiers are portrayed poorly?

    Sam Raimi’s movies take the complete opposite view. The basic conflict to Spider-Man’s character is that he isn’t willing to shirk his “great responsibility.” Not for his education, not for his job, not even for his personal relationships. Oh, and despite a media smear campaign, every day New Yorkers stand behind him and come to his defense.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I fell in love with the Ralph Bakshi animated movie and then the Peter Jackson films before I read the books, which I loved MORE. Although the movies aren’t perfect, it would have taken longer for me to get around to the novels of they had not been made. Kudos to Jackson and Bakshi for bringing the books to life.

    Also, if you want to learn more about why LotR is hated, check out The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. It is a GREAT read. (And check out Joseph Pearce’s essays on the novels. He knows his Tolkien.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The films made some changes that I disliked – padding Arwen’s role, portraying Aragorn as a more reluctant hero than he actually was, mucking up Faramir…

    But overall I still really enjoy them. Along with the Harry Potter movies and the Star Wars OT, I almost always put them on when I see them on TV.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Agreed. The movies also left out some stuff, like Gan-Buri-Gan (or did they?), Tom Bombadil, the Barrow Downs, and some Shire stuff at the beginning. I do appreciate that the extended editions had some cool plot points, like the Mouth of Sauron and the Corsairs of Umbar. Imperfect, sure, but still a job well done.

      I love the original Star Wars, but Harry Potter’s a little . . . I don’t know. It has a few too many overdone tropes, like the Chosen One. Very few stories do that well. The original Star Wars, actually, happens to be one of them.

      Liked by 4 people

      • WordPress keeps eating my comments…very aggravating. Here’s another go at it. If the original does show up at some point, disregard this one.

        Don’t believe them about The Hobbit. The movies were great. Well, if not great, then really good…

        Overall not as good as LoTR, but definitely worth watching. Especially the first one. The first quarter of the movie, especially the scene when Gandalf and the dwarves show up at Bag End, is absolutely amazing. Tolkien would’ve loved to see that, and I can think of no higher compliment.

        Peter Jackson did succumb to his worst tendencies in making these movies, however. There are new characters and plot departures that make purists cringe, but overall they were done well. As someone who has played around in Middle-Earth for 30+ years myself, I don’t begrudge Jackson’s digging around in the sandbox, as long as he respects the spirit of Tolkien’s work — and even if he did go the “girl warrior” route for his inserted subplot, it’s obvious to me that Jackson still gets Tolkien.

        The problem, for me, is that each installment is “bigger” than the last, until in the third movie the story gets lost in a morass of massive CGI spectacles and overdone mano-a-mano scenes. It’s not a bad movie, it just seems like Jackson slowly forgot that the story was supposed to be about Bilbo, not all those other things.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I appreciate this. Yours is the first positive review of the Hobbit trilogy.

        You hit what bugs me about it—the Hobbit is a small story. These movies seem like spectacles, which don’t fit the tone of the story. But as always, I could be wrong!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed; Unexpected Journey is the best of the three, though The Desolation of Smaug is good, too. Battle of the Five Armies was the only one that really suffered, and most of that was due to the overuse of CGI. Thorin’s death scene was especially good.

        Liked by 2 people

      • 😆 True! The Hobbit probably would have been better as two films – I think that was the original plan, too. Something changed, and Jackson turned it into three films. Must have made sense at the time, but it doesn’t now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Hobbit films start awesome, but fall apart into a horrible mess more or less around the barrel ride sequence.

        If memory serves, the film had some bumps in production but were *just* starting to right themselves when the money guys stepped in at the eleventh hour and demanded a bunch of rewrites to…well- put in all the junk above you were happy wasn’t in LOTR)

        There’s a fan edit by Maple Films that recovers a reasonably good edit of the Hobbit, moves the whole Dol Gultdur subplot to its own short film ( “Durin’s Folk and the Hill of Sorcery” ) and generally makes a pretty decent tale out of the terrible tainted mess that was the commercial trilogy release.

        It’s very much worth a look!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post Alex. My family watched all three (extended editions) over Thanksgiving. It was the first time for me since they had first hit video.

    I love these movies. Perhaps, my favorite three movies of all time.

    12 hours of greatness.

    I read these books as a young teen in the early 70’s. It was one of the series that truly addicted me to reading. I will forever be thankful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Tex! Watching the movies after ten or so years has changed my opinion about them greatly. It had soured for some stupid nitpicky reasons that were really pointless.

      I got into the books when my dad read them to my brother and me as bedtime stories when we were four or five. I’ve been doing the same to my boy in fits and starts at bedtime and he loves them.

      Basically, the LotR is God vs. Satan. It’s so much more obvious the older I get. The ring, the nature of Sauron’s evil, how he tempts and corrupts . . . it’s ALL there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I pretty much agree with your conclusion here. Frankly, the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings, considering it was done by a non-Catholic late modern/post-modern man and two women, is a genre-defining film.

    Was it totally true to the novels? No. Was it even totally true to the main spiritual point of the books? Ehhhh… A little. Yet, I still feel that it was a respectful rendition of the tale, which means a lot for me after the horrific production of Fallout 76 (and other video game releases) and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. More recent productions or revisits of famous franchises or productions has been infested with specific regressive Left, cultural Marxist ideologies.

    On the other hand, watching the behind the scenes of LOTR (and the Hobbit), I am struck by the work ethic and love for Tolkien’s work that pervades the set. That people have come out with a certain interpretation of it that may not 100% fit mine is unavoidable, but most audiences forget what a mammoth task of translating a set of books like that to film is. As a result, I have a deep respect for the effort of P.J. and his crew even if I don’t agree 100% with the results.

    Hobbit was a bit more of a mess than LOTR and could have done with some hardcore editing, but the heart of it is more or less solid. I really liked Thranduil as a kid and seeing what they did to his character was really cool, giving him an arc, more or less, where he moves from being this kind of removed Elf-king who hated dwarves to being the Thranduil we hear of in LOTR who fights alongside men and dwarves against Sauron. His psychological process is pretty stellar. Freeman as Bilbo, Armitage as Thorin, and all our fav actors returning as Elrond, Gandalf, and Galadriel were great. Downsides were the over the top CG scenes in the 2nd and 3rd film (unnecessary) and Tauriel (unneeded). Contrary to others, I found the extended film versions to be better – the pacing felt better, maybe? I felt like we were able to see things I had always wanted to see – Gandalf meeting Thorin’s dad in Dol Guldur and etc. I would give Lord of the Rings a 4.5/5 and The Hobbit a 3.5 out 5.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Also must add that a couple months ago, I was watching Aeon Flux… and a couple weeks ago, I was enjoying the live-action Bleach film… and both films struck me with how they handled strong female characters so well. There is always a problem when it comes to character portrayal – too realistic (boring) and too idealistic (unbelievable). This issue is highlighted when it comes to representing women because, like the representation of men, we wanna see fantasy surrounding the idea of what a powerful woman can be like (as we do for men), but at the same time there has to be some kind of grounding in reality, either physical, mental, or psychological.

      I don’t know. I just think there is such a rush to empower women in cultural products, that it comes at the expense of good writing, good character arcs, and good character progression. Sad…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It seems that a lot of this “girl power!” stuff ignores what makes women women. They are not “dudes with breasts,” yet that’s how “strong women” are portrayed.

        Katherine Hepburn’s character Rose Sayer in “The African Queen” is more of a strong woman character than 1,000 Reys or whatever those characters were named in that execrable 2016 remake of “Ghostbusters.”

        Liked by 2 people

    • Great points. The movies were imperfect, and not as we all as fans would have done them ourselves, but still impressive and damn fantastic.

      You make so many good points in this comment I don’t know where to start, so I’ll keep it broad: cultural Marxism ruins everything.

      Discuss amongst yourselves, my friends!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m fine with Saruman falling to his death in the theatrical version but too bad they hadn’t filmed the scourging of the shire for the extended dvds. It would’ve been neat to see how the Hobbits changed and were capable of handling things. It makes sense it would throw off the pacing in theatres but it would’ve been good.

    I also think they should’ve had Sauron fighting Aragorn at the end instead of a cave troll. True it wasn’t in the books but I think as a visual spectacle it would’ve been good and brought the whole thing full circle from Fellowship’s prologue.

    All things considered these are damn fine adaptations.

    cheers,

    Anonymous

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I hear you on Saruman’s death. It wasn’t a terrible choice, but I’m with you—I rather enjoy the scouring of the Shire.

      I’ll have to watch Return of the King again to see what you mean re: Aragorn’s final confrontation.

      And thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Poppy!

      LotR were made at the right time, that’s for sure. They’re not perfect, but they’re as good as we’re gonna get. And it’s not just third-wave feminism that’s ruined art now. It’s ALL the woke stuff that keeps stories from being focused on the truth.

      Like

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