The Better Trilogy: Star Wars (4-6) or The Lord of the Rings?

Which is the better Trilogy?

  • Star Wars

    Votes: 13 48.1%
  • The Lord of the Rings

    Votes: 14 51.9%

  • Total voters
    27
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Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Obviously, Star Wars 1-3 was not as good as 4-6, but the question before us is:

What is better Star Wars 4-6 or The Lord of the Rings 1-3?
 

Piano Hero

Puritan Board Sophomore
LotR is backed up by three great books, and that helps as far as the storyline goes. Also, (even though we never had trolls, orcs, and the like), the almost medieval feel of some of the battles (via swords and armor) makes it more believable and I was more attached to the characters.

However, I am a proud geek-wannabe and soak up every detail of Star Wars that I can. I must say that Darth Vader is one of the most iconic bad guys in movie history. But I find a much more meaningful story line from the tales of Middle Earth than from the cockpit of the millennium Falcon.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Star Wars.

End of Discussion.

Next Question.

Just as an aside the fx is superior in 4-6 Star Wars because of the nature of its design and execution. The bonus disc that comes with the DVD set of 4-6 Star Wars never gets old. Real fx beats CGI any day of the week.

Though in slight defense of Episode 3 of Star Wars the last 30 minutes is equal to 4-6 Star Wars and may provide the best ending of 1-6.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
Star Wars.

End of Discussion.

Next Question.

Just as an aside the fx is superior in 4-6 Star Wars because of the nature of its design and execution. The bonus disc that comes with the DVD set of 4-6 Star Wars never gets old. Real fx beats CGI any day of the week.

Though in slight defense of Episode 3 of Star Wars the last 30 minutes is equal to 4-6 Star Wars and may provide the best ending of 1-6.

I agree, Ben, Star Wars 4-6 is definitely superior to LOTR. And yes, I'll take the puppet Yoda over the CGI creatures of LOTR any day.

I actually didn't like the LOTR film trilogy, though I love the books. They are well-made films, but how anyone can claim they are faithful adaptations is beyond me. Remember, the books are very little action (in terms of battles and fighting), whereas the movies are all action and special effects. The ending of the movies is a complete cop-out and not at all faithful to the books, which have the perfect ending. In my experience, most people who love the movies have either not read or not recently read the LOTR novels.

Star Wars isn't based on books, but accomplishes its goal of being an innovative, relate-able, operatic science fiction saga. The Empire Strikes Back is a masterpiece on several levels, in my opinion. So yeah, my vote is with Star Wars, without question.
 
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JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
What is it with guys and Star Wars?!?
Don't you realise that if Purgatory existed, that's what they would be doing 24/7 - watching compulsory, back-to-back SW?
Then occasionally, if that wasn't punishment enough, it would be varied with the only thing worse - Dr Who...
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
What is it with guys and Star Wars?!?
Don't you realise that if Purgatory existed, that's what they would be doing 24/7 - watching compulsory, back-to-back SW?
Then occasionally, if that wasn't punishment enough, it would be varied with the only thing worse - Dr Who...

Jenny, the force is strong with you...quit fighting it and come enjoy Star Wars...

 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
ColdSilverMoon said:
I actually didn't like the LOTR film trilogy, though I love the books. They are well-made films, but how anyone can claim they are faithful adaptations is beyond me. Remember, the books are very little action (in terms of battles and fighting), whereas the movies are all action and special effects. The ending of the movies is a complete cop-out and not at all faithful to the books, which have the perfect ending. In my experience, most people who love the movies have either not read or not recently read the LOTR novels.

I'm a huge fan of the books, and I also happen to love the films. Here's why: what you had was a problem of how to come up with a climax and resolution in The Two Towers and how exactly to end Return of the King. Yes, the endings worked in the books, but that is because the books a) are not a trilogy but the constituent parts of a long novel b) even for a novel had a long and drawn out ending equal to Tolstoy or Dickens.

Why was Helm's Deep the climax of The Two Towers, because cinematically it has to be. However, if you keep careful note of the timeline, you find that Frodo is with Faramir about this time, so how can you put a climax on both arcs? Cinematically, you have to provide it--and what they did wasn't too detrimental to Faramir's character (the book admittedly makes him a bit flat).

Why did they cut out the Scouring of the Shire. Because cinematically, it wouldn't have worked. The climax of Return of the King is the destruction of the ring and tying up all the loose ends in the Scouring, while it may work in a novel, just doesn't work in a film. As it turned out in the film, there was a long and drawn out ending--adding the Scouring would have added another thirty minutes to an already nearly four hour film. Translating from one medium to another is an incredible task and I think that on the whole, Peter Jackson and company did a good job.

---------- Post added at 09:42 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:40 AM ----------

What is it with guys and Star Wars?!?
Don't you realise that if Purgatory existed, that's what they would be doing 24/7 - watching compulsory, back-to-back SW?
Then occasionally, if that wasn't punishment enough, it would be varied with the only thing worse - Dr Who...

There's a good reason why Mystery Science Theatre 3000 has never done Star Wars or Dr. Who: they aren't torture to watch. If you want real torture, watch 50s Sci-Fi movies--hilarious stuff.
 

Mrs. Bailey

Puritan Board Freshman
You've heard the saying, "Come to the Dark Side; we have cookies." I say take the cookies and turn on the extended version of any Lord of the Rings. I find new things to enjoy each time we revisit Middle Earth and it is because of Tolkein's amazing stories and Peter Jackson's obvious talents as a director and the beautiful REAL backdrops in most of the films and ...... I could go on. :)

That, and I think Hobbits might fit into some Reformed cirlcles :lol:, long bottom leaf and a swift pint... :cheers2:
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
What is it with guys and Star Wars?!?
Don't you realise that if Purgatory existed, that's what they would be doing 24/7 - watching compulsory, back-to-back SW?
Then occasionally, if that wasn't punishment enough, it would be varied with the only thing worse - Dr Who...

Jenny, the force is strong with you...quit fighting it and come enjoy Star Wars...
force, schmorce -
bah humbug
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I don't think the scouring of the Shire is simply "mopping up." Here's a better critic than I am:


Putting it crudely: the LOTR books are drenched in sorrow and nostalgia, and the movies are not. Despite their heroic trappings, the books aren't really about "good vs evil": they're about "simplicity vs evil". (In other words, they're about the Hobbits, not Aragorn and the Riders of Rohan and Gandalf and Elves.) And in the process of defeating evil, simplicity (in the person of Frodo) is crippled. It's a very sad story. Well, movies being movies, the heroic trappings dominate, and so the unique emotional depth of the books is lost. If you doubt me, consider this: the movies leave out virtually all of the harm that is done to the Shire *after* Sauron is defeated. *That* (the whole last third of "The Return of the King") is what ties the books together and completes their thematic development--and in the movies it's just not there.

(Stephen R. Donaldson, Gradual Interview)

I should also add that Star Wars 4-6 may not be torture to watch on account of the plot, but has worse acting ever been seen outside of amateur theatricals? Star Wars gives you NO reason to suspect the amazing range and verve that Mark Hamill brought to the part of the Joker.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't think the scouring of the Shire is simply "mopping up." Here's a better critic than I am:


Putting it crudely: the LOTR books are drenched in sorrow and nostalgia, and the movies are not. Despite their heroic trappings, the books aren't really about "good vs evil": they're about "simplicity vs evil". (In other words, they're about the Hobbits, not Aragorn and the Riders of Rohan and Gandalf and Elves.) And in the process of defeating evil, simplicity (in the person of Frodo) is crippled. It's a very sad story. Well, movies being movies, the heroic trappings dominate, and so the unique emotional depth of the books is lost. If you doubt me, consider this: the movies leave out virtually all of the harm that is done to the Shire *after* Sauron is defeated. *That* (the whole last third of "The Return of the King") is what ties the books together and completes their thematic development--and in the movies it's just not there.

(Stephen R. Donaldson, Gradual Interview)

If you took Lord of the Rings alone without the appendices or the larger mythos, you might have something there. However, while I would certainly place this as one theme in the books, it is one of many themes. It may be that only Frodo in his simplicity can carry the ring to Mordor, but insofar as a movie has (necessarily) to be more concise than a novel, The Scouring of the Shire had to be cut out. As it was, the films did a fairly good job of bringing these themes out. We cannot assign one simple message or theme as the dominant one in Tolkien because Tolkien himself stressed that doing this misses the point--this is myth, not modern novel-writing. A myth has no one clear message, but a wide range of applicability.
 

AThornquist

Puritan Board Doctor
LOTR because I like eye-candy.

However, Star Wars is wonderful because it is so quotable and easy to draw parallels from.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
If you took Lord of the Rings alone without the appendices or the larger mythos, you might have something there. However, while I would certainly place this as one theme in the books, it is one of many themes. It may be that only Frodo in his simplicity can carry the ring to Mordor, but insofar as a movie has (necessarily) to be more concise than a novel, The Scouring of the Shire had to be cut out. As it was, the films did a fairly good job of bringing these themes out. We cannot assign one simple message or theme as the dominant one in Tolkien because Tolkien himself stressed that doing this misses the point--this is myth, not modern novel-writing. A myth has no one clear message, but a wide range of applicability.

If you compare the stories with hobbits to the stories without Hobbits, I think you'll see that simplicity/homeyness or whatever you want to call that precise blend of qualities is what Hobbits add - Thorin has the key to them in his dying speech to Bilbo. So if you keep the Hobbits, but cut out what relates to the Shire, you've essentially dissociated them from their vital context. Whether something is myth or novel, it doesn't have to have one clear message; but it's not hard to see that without falling into that very obvious trap, if you change the tone of a work, you have done more than shorten it; you've transmogrified it on a very fundamental level. I don't believe that you could make the charge stick that Donaldson is saying "this is the dominant theme in Tolkien" or "in this one of Tolkien's works".
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
If you compare the stories with hobbits to the stories without Hobbits, I think you'll see that simplicity/homeyness or whatever you want to call that precise blend of qualities is what Hobbits add - Thorin has the key to them in his dying speech to Bilbo. So if you keep the Hobbits, but cut out what relates to the Shire, you've essentially dissociated them from their vital context. Whether something is myth or novel, it doesn't have to have one clear message; but it's not hard to see that without falling into that very obvious trap, if you change the tone of a work, you have done more than shorten it; you've transmogrified it on a very fundamental level. I don't believe that you could make the charge stick that Donaldson is saying "this is the dominant theme in Tolkien" or "in this one of Tolkien's works".

My point is not that this theme isn't essential or that one could have Lord of the Rings without it. My point was that a) this is one of many themes b) cutting out one specific portion of the Shire doesn't diminish the power of the theme in the film. Again, I don't think that the scouring could have worked cinematically.

There is a case to be made for Peter Jackson having changed the tone of the story, but this would have to rest on a more aesthetic-visual-audio level, not on a simple plot level. Most if not all of Tolkien's original themes were preserved--not to say that they were always rightly interpreted, but they were there. I think that at some level we have to learn to appreciate the films as films and not simply as adaptations.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
The plot is not arbitrary (not in a good book, anyway). Whether it would have worked in the movie or not isn't the point; the point is that if you alter the denouement you have altered the tone of a work, because tone is not is simply a question of shading. I Am Legend, the book and the movie were both good; but it is futile to pretend that they were the same work.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
The plot is not arbitrary (not in a good book, anyway). Whether it would have worked in the movie or not isn't the point; the point is that if you alter the denouement you have altered the tone of a work, because tone is not is simply a question of shading. I Am Legend, the book and the movie were both good; but it is futile to pretend that they were the same work.

Most would consider the destruction of the ring to be the denouement of Lord of the Rings as it resolves the main conflict of the plot. The Scouring of the Shire is no more the denouement of the book than the death of Svidrigaïlov is that of Crime and Punishment--while it does have thematic significance, it may be considered extraneous as far as a film is concerned. I'm not at all saying that the plot is arbitrary, just that certain elements are not absolutely necessary to the tone of the work.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I think you can only take it that way if you take for granted that the overthrow of diminished Saruman and cleaning up his mess in the Shire isn't very significant; but how much like Tolkien would it be to spend a third of the last book on something that was of no essential consequence? I don't rate him as highly as some do, but that definitely seems like undervaluing his skill. No, not all elements of the plot are absolutely necessary; but in taking stock of what the tone is, it certainly helps not to exclude certain things ahead of time. The encounter with the Barrow Wights would probably not be necessary to present, but at the same time it really fits and adds its distinctive quality to the overall book.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I think you can only take it that way if you take for granted that the overthrow of diminished Saruman and cleaning up his mess in the Shire isn't very significant; but how much like Tolkien would it be to spend a third of the last book on something that was of no essential consequence?

Actually, it's only a chapter (with a couple hints thrown in earlier).

The fact is that this particular element, while it certainly works in the book and the radio drama (starring Ian Holm as Frodo), wouldn't work for a film. It's a long and drawn out epilogue to an already long and drawn out ending. In a film, you can communicate the author's message in ways that the book didn't. This is part of why any translation from one to the other is going to be just a little off (even if, like in The Princess Bride, the author writes the screenplay).

As far as adaptations go, Lord of the Rings did pretty well. There are moments when I squirm, but then I go and watch the Jim Caviezel version of The Count of Monte Cristo or the recent Prince Caspian (yes, it's hideous--even as a mod on the number one Narnia fansite, I have to admit it) and I realize that as adaptations go, Lord of the Rings isn't all that bad--and it's a pretty good film too (the Best Picture Oscar was well-deserved).
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I'm not interested in the question of the quality of the adaptation. I watched a little bit of it, but my imagination represented Tolkien in terms far superior to those Peter Jackson had available to him, so I never finished. I'm interested in the question of the quality and depth of the books; I think Donaldson's view is far closer to the truth because it takes up elements, from Tom Bombadil to Bilbo's original adventures, and binds them into a closer unity. I think Tolkien's genius is overrated by many, but now my estimate of how far some praise overshoots the mark is more moderate than it was.
 
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