I DVR'd the Lord of the Rings trilogy in hi-def over the weekend, and I've been slowing watching them all over the past few days. Today I finished off The Two Towers and remembered why I haven't really watched it since it first came out on DVD.
Don't get me wrong, it's a good movie. It really is. If I hadn't been reading the books since I was a very small child, I would love it. I love a lot of things about it - the battle at Helm's Deep was wonderfully portrayed, despite the changes and unnecessary additions (Haldir? Elves? What?), but I can sort of understand why changes and additions were made. Most of the changes centering around the Aragorn-Legolas-Gimli party were added or subtracted to give the film emotional impact. Understandable.
With Merry and Pippin, the big thing was dumbing down Treebeard and the Ents, but the film's goal here I believe was to move that part of the story along a bit more quickly. The dumbing down of Treebeard did irritate me at first, but I think the writers wanted to give Merry and Pippin some heroic moments in the film. In the book, they didn't really do a whole lot here. Giving them a chance to make a big speech and convince Treebeard to go to war and ride in victorious on his back taking down orcs adds to the visual story of the film. Irritating, a little, but again: understandable.
The WORST thing, in my opinion, is the handling of Faramir. Faramir is my favourite character in the books. I love Faramir. When I was a little girl, I would play with my Barbies and pretend I was Eowyn and I was marrying Faramir. There is absolutely NO REASON to turn Faramir into a villain the way that little gnome Jackson did. Faramir did NOT want the ring. He didn't even want to LOOK at it. Faramir is pure and heroic and wonderful, not a kidnapping, Gollum-beating, emo bastard. COMPLETELY unnecessary change. Offends me more than anything else in the entire trilogy. They took a major character and changed his personality. Terrible. Cirith Ungol was moved to the third movie, so they needed some action and adventure for Sam and Frodo, but they could have had that without Faramir taking Sam and Frodo prisoner. They could have gone with him willingly to see the front lines at Osgiliath, or that all could have been shown in flashbacks or whatever. Of course, movie-Faramir can be forgiven a little for acting the way he did, since movie-Frodo and movie-Sam were being total tools. Maybe if movie-Frodo wasn't such a douchebag and just told movie-Faramir what he was doing like book-Frodo did, movie-Frodo wouldn't have ended up being taken prisoner and run all the way to Osgiliath. Still, once movie-Faramir learned of the ring, if he was really an accurate portrayal of sweet, wonderful book-Faramir, he would have tried to help movie-Frodo despite movie-Frodo being a giant douche. Movie-Frodo didn't deserve to be warned about Cirith Ungol anyway.
On the other hand, I don't really disapprove much at all of changing Faramir from being dark-haired and beardless to being a scruffy redhead. I don't have any problems with that, really. Nope.
Then there's Arwen. I hate all the Arwen shit. Every second of all of it is entirely fabricated. They wanted to establish that Arwen and Aragron are lovers, but was it really necessary to flesh it all out so much? I could have been left out completely and no one would miss any of it. Maybe if they had a different actress, I would be more forgiving of it, but blech. Come on. Liv Tyler friggin sucks. Leave out all the Arwen/Aragorn shit and have the romance between Faramir and Eowyn play out in Return. I would have loved to see that.
Oh, well. The movies have been made, they're the best anyone could do, and it's unlikely that better ones will ever be made. That's why I read the books more than I watch the movies, I guess.