Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings


Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings

:"This article is about the films and other media. For the article on the musical, see The Lord of the Rings (musical)"

"The Lord of the Rings", an epic high fantasy novel by the British author J. R. R. Tolkien, set in his fictional world of Middle-earth, has been adapted for various media multiple times.

Film

Three film adaptations of "The Lord of the Rings" have been made. The first was "The Lord of the Rings" (1978), by animator Ralph Bakshi, the first part of what was originally intended to be a two-part adaptation of the story. The second, "The Return of the King" (1980), was a television special by Rankin-Bass. The third was director Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, released in three instalments as ' (2001), ' (2002), and "" (2003).

Early efforts

The rights to "The Lord of the Rings" were held by United Artists for ten years, but the company was unable to put together a film production. [cite web |url=http://www.zaentz.com/files/lord_rings.html | title=THE LORD OF THE RINGS |publisher=the saul zaentz company | year=2008] The Beatles planned to do a live-action version with Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins, Ringo Starr as Sam Gamgee, George Harrison as Gandalf, and John Lennon as Gollum - but those plans came to nothing. [cite web|url=http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Movies/03/28/rings.beatles/|title= Beatles plan for Rings film|accessdate=14 June |accessyear=2006] It was even said that Stanley Kubrick had looked into the possibility of filming the story, but he abandoned the idea as too "immense" to be made into a movie. [cite web|url=http://www.theonering.net/archives/main_news/6.22.00-6.28.00|title=If the Beatles had made a Lord of the Rings movie...|accessdate=14 June |accessyear=2006]

In the 1970s, film director John Boorman collaborated with current film rights holder and producer Saul Zaentz and corresponded with Tolkien about a live action picture, which was supposedly more to the author's liking than an animated film. Produced by United Artists, it would have been one long film with an intermission., issue #26]

In the script, written by Boorman and his colleague Rospo Pallenberg, many new elements were inserted or were modified. The first half is largely based on "The Fellowship of the Ring". Following the intermission, the writers “dropped things out” and “invented as they went along”. Among other things, Frodo and the Lady Galadriel have sexual intercourse (her husband Celeborn is omitted), the Lord of the Nazgûl rides a bleeding, skinless horse in lieu of a flying pterodactylic creature, Gimli is put in a hole and beaten so he can retrieve the password to Moria from his ancestral memory, and Arwen is made into a spiritual guide for the Fellowship and her role as Aragorn's love interest is wholly transferred to Éowyn, who becomes the latter's queen.cite web|url=http://forums.theonering.com/viewtopic.php?t=51271&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0|title="The One Ring" forum thread "John Boorman's LOTR Screenplay"|accessdate=9 January |accessyear=2006]

The project ultimately proved too expensive to finance at that time. Boorman ended up making the Arthurian epic "Excalibur" instead, also with Pallenberg's help - where in a draft for that movie’s script they use similar concepts; a "duel of words" originally planned between Gandalf and Saruman becomes a duel between Merlin and Morgana, albeit rephrased. This duel as written does not appear in the final film. A copy of the script is stored in the Tolkien papers collection of Marquette University.Croft, Janet B. cite web|url=http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/three_rings_for_hollywood.htm|title="Three Rings for Hollywood: Scripts for The Lord of the Rings by Zimmerman, Boorman, and Beagle"|accessdate=29 November |accessyear=2006]

In 1977, Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. produced the first real film adaptation of any of Tolkien's works with an animated television version of "The Hobbit". [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077687/|title=The Hobbit|accessdate=16 June|accessyear=2006]

Animated films

In 1978, shortly after the Rankin-Bass animated television film of "The Hobbit", Saul Zaentz produced an animated adaptation of "The Fellowship of the Ring" and part of "The Two Towers". [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0951763/|title=Saul Zaentz|accessdate=16 June |accessyear=2006] "J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings", originally released by United Artists, was directed by Ralph Bakshi and used an animation technique called rotoscoping in which footage of live actors was filmed and then traced over. [Bakshi.com Gallery
http://www.ralphbakshi.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=5&pos=20 1] [http://www.ralphbakshi.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=5&pos=10 2] [http://www.ralphbakshi.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=5&pos=11 3]
] The film was part one of what was originally to be a two-part adaptation of Tolkien's story, Part I ending after the battle of Helm's Deep, but before Sam, Frodo and Gollum traverse the Dead Marshes, and Part II picking up from where the first left off. Made for a minimal budget of US$8 million, the film made over US$30 million dollars at the box office. [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077869/business|title=IMDB box office data|accessdate=9 January |accessyear=2006] However, United Artists viewed the film as a flop, and refused to fund a Part II (covering the rest of the story). In 1980, Rankin/Bass produced an animated adaptation of "The Return of the King", [cite web|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079802/|title=The Return of the King|accessdate=16 June |accessyear=2006] based on their own concepts previously applied to their earlier animated adaptation of "The Hobbit".

New Line Cinema films

Miramax Films developed a full-fledged live action adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings," with Peter Jackson as director. Eventually, with Miramax owner Disney becoming increasingly uneasy with the sheer scope of the proposed project, Jackson was given the opportunity to find another studio to take over. In 1999, New Line Cinema assumed production responsibility (while Miramax executives Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein retained on-screen credits as executive producers). The three films were shot simultaneously. They featured extensive computer-generated imagery, including major battle scenes utilizing the "Massive" software program. ' was released on December 19 2001, ' on December 18 2002 and "" worldwide on December 17 2003. All three won the Hugo Award for Best (Long-form) Dramatic Presentation in their respective years.

The films were met with both critical and commercial success. Jackson's adaptations garnered seventeen Oscars, four for "The Fellowship of the Ring", two for "The Two Towers", and eleven for "The Return of the King"; these covered many of the award categories. "The Return of the King" in fact won all of the eleven awards for which it was nominated, including Best Picture. With a total of 30 nominations, the trilogy also became the most-nominated in the Academy's history, surpassing the "Godfather" series' 28. Its 11 Oscars at the 2004 Academy Awards tied it for most awards won for one film with "Titanic" six years earlier and the 1959 version of "Ben-Hur." It also broke the previous "sweep" record, beating "Gigi" and "The Last Emperor" (which each took 9 out of 9). "The Return of the King" also made movie history as the highest grossing film opening on a Wednesday and was the second film after "Titanic" to earn over US$1 billion worldwide.

The "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy is widely and currently considered to be the most popular [ [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20050125/ai_n11009603 "Remaking "King Kong" an honor for Jackson"] by John Horn, last retrieved on 5 August 2006] and is verified to be the currently highest grossing motion picture trilogy worldwide of all time, evidenced by its earning close to $3-billion (US) [ [http://www.boxofficemojo.com/alltime/trilogyww.htm Top Box Office Earning Trilogies Worldwide at Box Office Mojo.com] , last retrieved on 5 August 2006] , besting other notable franchises such as the original "Star Wars" trilogy (without adjustment for inflation) and the "Harry Potter" series. The film trilogy also set a record for the total number of Academy Awards won, tallying a total of seventeen Oscars. [ [http://www.usefultrivia.com/movie_trivia/the_lord_of_the_rings_trivia_010a.html The film trilogy's entry at UsefulTrivia.com] , last retrieved on 5 August 2006] Critical acclaim has commonly hailed the trilogy as "the greatest films of our era," [ [http://www.filmhobbit.com/cgi-bin/movies/movies.cgi?action=showreview&review=rotk Film Hobbit's review of "Return of the King"] , last retrieved on 5 August 2006] and "the trilogy will not soon, if ever, find its equal." [ [http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-turan16dec16,2,3219427.htmlstory?coll=cl-mreview "Return of the King" review at CalendarLive.com] by Kenneth Turan, last retrieved on 5 August 2006]

On the other hand, some readers of the book decried certain changes made in the adaptation, including changes in tone, [Croft, Janet B. [http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Janet.B.Croft-1/anticipationandflattening.htm The Mines of Moria: "Anticipation" and "Flattening" in Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring] . From [http://faculty-staff.ou.edu http://faculty-staff.ou.edu] , last retrieved on 21 August 2006] [Chance, Jane. [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3768/is_200201/ai_n9032836 Is there a text in this Hobbit? Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring] . Originally for "Literature Film Quarterly", 2002. Last retrieved on 25 August 2006] various changes made to characters such as Aragorn, Arwen, Denethor and Faramir, as well as to the main protagonist Frodo himself, and the deletion of the next to the last chapter of Tolkien's work, "The Scouring of the Shire". [ [http://www.oddlots.digitalspace.net/arthedain/ "Filming Issues With "The Two Towers" Movie"] at OddLots.digitalspace.net, last retrieved on 5 August 2006] , a part he himself felt thematically necessary.

The trilogy's defenders assert that it is a worthy interpretation of the book, most changes stemming from the filmmakers putting the book into a modern contextFact|date=February 2007, rearranging the events into a chronologically linear narrative (as opposed to Tolkien separating the two main story threads into two separate parts for "The Two Towers" and most of "The Return of the King")Fact|date=February 2007, and their perceived need for developing characters further or for sheer timing issues.Fact|date=February 2007 In any case, the films proved popular with general audiences (i.e. non-readers) and readers alike.

tage

Several musical theatre adaptations have been made based on "The Lord of the Rings".

Full-length productions of each of "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), "The Two Towers" (2002), and "The Return of the King" (2003) were staged in Cincinnati, Ohio [http://www.clearstagecincinnati.com/rotk/index.html] .

Lifeline Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, produced individual plays of each of the three books over various years in the 1990s.

In 2006, a very large-scale three-and-a-half-hour musical was produced in Toronto. The expensive production lost money and closed six months later and, after some cutting and rewriting, began performances in London in May 2007. It re-opened to mixed reviews [http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=1435048f-1738-4dea-9a46-fbda675f74f7&ParentID=ec290b61-c993-4119-b284-ae092b679651&&Headline=EMLord+of+the+Rings%2fEM+musical+gets+mixed+reviews] .

Audio

1955-1956 radio play

In 1955 and 1956, the BBC broadcast "The Lord of the Rings," a 12-part radio adaptation of the story. In "The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien" Tolkien disparages the radio dramatization of "The Lord of the Rings," referring to the portrayal of Tom Bombadil as "dreadful" and complaining bitterly about several other aspects of the dramatization. [ME-ref|Letters|no. 175] No recording of the 1956 series is known to exist.

WBAI radio adaptation

In the early 1960s radio station WBAI-FM, New York, broadcast a short adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings", with music. This version, which had not been authorized by Tolkien, was later suppressed by his legal representatives.

1979 radio play

A 1979 dramatization of "The Lord of the Rings" was broadcast in the USA and subsequently issued on tape and CD. No cast or credits appear on the audio packaging. Each of the actors was apparently recorded separately and then the various parts were edited together. Thus, unlike a BBC recording session where the actors are recorded together, none of the cast are actually interacting with each other; the performances suffer badly as a result.

1981 radio play

In 1981 the BBC broadcast "The Lord of the Rings," a new, ambitious dramatization in 26 half-hour instalments. It stared Ian Holm as Frodo Baggins, the protagonist; he would play Bilbo Baggins, his character's cousin/uncle, in the live-action trilogy.

1990 unabridged reading

In 1990 British actor Rob Inglis read/performed an unabridged version for Recorded Books. While not strictly an adaptation, Inglis created voices for all of the characters. And along with project producer Claudia Howard, he created music for all of the songs, which he performed. The project took six weeks to record, plus preparation time. A year later he recorded an audio version of "The Hobbit".

References

External links

; Official sites
* [http://www.ralphbakshi.com/films.php?film=thelordoftherings "The Lord of the Rings" at Ralph Bakshi.com]
* [http://www.lordoftherings.net/ Official site of the New Line Cinema films]

; News and fan sites
* [http://www.theonering.net The One Ring.net] - Fan and news site relating to "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy and books.
* [http://www.theonering.com The One Ring.com] - Fan and news site relating to Tolkien's works, the New Line films and related matters; not to be confused with the above.
* [http://tolkiengateway.net Tolkien Gateway] - An encyclopedia for anything related to Tolkien and his works.
* [http://tolkiennews.net Tolkien News] - News relating to "The Lord of the Rings" and Tolkien's other works.
* [http://www.lotrplaza.com Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza] - online Tolkien fan community with role-playing games, lore discussions, debates, and much more
* [http://www.ringbearer.org Ringbearer.org] - Tolkien fan community with all the latest Tolkien related news, book and movie discussions, and an active fan community.
* [http://www.councilofelrond.com Council of Elrond] - a fan site for the Jackson movies and books featuring news and scholarship

; Informational
* [http://artsandfaith.com/t100/2005/entry.php?film=109 "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy] at the [http://artsandfaith.com/top100/ Arts & Faith Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films] list
* [http://forums.theonering.com/viewtopic.php?t=51271&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0 John Boorman and Rospo Pallenberg's plans for an adaptation of "The Lord of the Rings"] , from the [http://www.theonering.com The One Ring.com] message board


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