Why I Hate on Peter Jackson So Much
Posted by Alan Edwards
In another of my popular series, “Why I Hate on Random Shit Like TV Shows and Movies That Are Not Very Important In the Big or Even Medium-Small Scheme of Things,” I have decided to answer a question posed to me by a commenter on my last blog post. Basically, it boils down to this: as a fan of Tolkien, why do I hate on Peter Jackson so much when he brought so much of Tolkien’s vision to the big screen and mass audiences, revitalizing the genre and Tolkien’s legacy and exposing an entirely new generation to the joy and wonder of Middle-Earth?
Christ, when I put it that way I make myself feel like a crotchety misanthropic asshat who would complain about the method someone used to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, I am exactly the sort of person who would be disappointed if someone incorrectly assembled such a sandwich by, say, putting the jelly directly onto the other slice of bread rather than on the peanut butter, which is the proper method for creating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and anyone who says it is the same either way is wrong and should feel bad about themselves.
But first, the obligatories. I don’t hate everything about the Lord of the Rings films. Seeing some things that heretofore I had only been able to conjure in my overwrought and fevered imagination over the years, like the golden roof of Meduseld or the charge of the Rohirrim or the claustrophobic majesty of Khazad-dum or the desperate need and tragic form of the odious Gollum – these are things I’m grateful for. (For which I am grateful. Man, proper grammar is annoying and stilted.) Those things are awesome. I don’t agree with all their art and style direction, but for the most part they are visually mind-blowing. I’m not going to bitch about that. Instead, what bothers me the most are the things that Peter Jackson and the other writers (too lazy to look up their names? You’re damn right I am.) changed for no real benefit, or indeed undermined the entire point that Tolkien was trying to make. The rank arrogance to believe that they can take one of the best stories and worlds ever created and shrug and say, eh, I can do better. So that’s what’s going to follow. Nitpicky? Yes. Pedantic? Assuredly. Childish and whiny? No doubt. To be fair, though, I’ve never claimed to not be any of those things. So fuck it.
Anyway, the following is a list of things that make it very difficult for me to rewatch the movies, at least with the sound on, in no particular order.
In the books, Elrond is the wisest being in all of Middle-Earth. In the movies, he is a douchenozzle.
Seriously, I have no idea why they made Elrond seem like such a dick, especially to Aragorn. Strider’s not good enough for his daughter, he sneers at the idea of Men having a hand in the downfall of Sauron, and he basically is the most arrogant fucking being in the entire series. Which is exactly the fucking opposite of the whole existence of Elrond. Why does he have the shards of Narsil? Because he knows that it will be reforged when the time is right and the true king of the Dunedain returns. In fact, he fucking reforges it for Aragorn to take with him. Why is Aragorn around to fall in love with Arwen? Because Elrond has been sheltering and guiding the line of Isildur since the fall of Arthedain, the faded remnant of the Kingdom of Arnor, the sister-kingdom to Gondor in the South. Why was he doing this? Because he fucking knew how important Isildur’s heir was going to be. Plus, Elrond is fucking related to them through his brother Elros, first King of Numenor. Aragorn is his fucking brother’s descendant, and Elrond treats him like a fucking chump.
And the whole thing with Arwen and trying to get her to go to the West and basically trying to get between those two? What the fuck was the point of that? More drama? Elrond is half-fucking-elven. I think he gets the whole Elf-Man love concept. His own freaking brother chose a mortal life, just as Elrond chose an immortal one. Why is he trying to cockblock the whole thing?
Also, they made him utter the shittiest line in all of the films (even beating out that fucking dwarf-tossing “joke”) when he has to stiltingly say, “And you shall be known as the… Fellowship of the Ring!” Christ that line makes my soul shrivel every time I hear it. I think they should have cut to Elrond in the second movie and say “Orthanc and Minas Morgul… the Two Towers!” and then cut to him in the third movie after Aragorn enters Gondor so he can say “And now I see…. The Return of the King!” Fucking horrible.
I don’t hate Viggo as Aragorn. I don’t especially like him, especially how fucking strange his voice gets when he’s loudly addressing a group of people, but I don’t hate him. It’s the shit they have him do and how badass they decided they needed to make him. Take Weathertop and the encounter with the Nazgul. In the books, Aragorn and the hobbits keep the Nazgul at bay with a large fire, since the Ringwraiths fear many natural things like fire and water (since they are wholly unnatural beings). In the movie, the Nazgul are driven away because Aragorn is a fucking Hong Kong martial artist superstar, flinging torches and busting ass. Way to undermine the Nazgul and their power, P.J. After that scene, is anyone really scared of the Nazgul after that? Christ, a fucking army of Orcs is no problem for Aragorn. He should be good, sure, but he’s not that fucking good.
And the whole “wounded at the made-up fight with Warg-riding Orcs and his horse rescues him and he has a dream sequence and everyone thinks he’s dead and all sad and then he comes back and everyone is like Yay and we move on to the actual movie part of the movie while in the back of our minds we’re wondering just what the fuck was the point of all of that” scene drives me out of my fucking mind. How did that survive editing? It has zero fucking purpose and is awful and I hate it.
Christ. Legolas did the least of every member of the Fellowship in the books. Why? Because he is an Elf, and the overarching theme behind the story is that this is the end of the time of Elves, and Men are going to take over completely from here on out. But Orlando Bloom is too pretty to just be an also-ran, so he becomes the bad-assingest badass of all time. Snowboard down steps on a shield while shooting Orcs? Sure. Sliding down Oliphant trunks? Why not. He can’t miss, he defies physics, he’s a fucking assassin. And don’t even get me started on the fucking Hobbit movies. With the way Peter Jackson portrays Elves, they clearly needed to make the Fellowship just Elves so they could just mow their way through fucking Mordor and shoot the Ring into Mount Doom while doing a backflip off the top tower of Barad-Dur and then surfing back out on a wave of lava before skidding to a halt in front of Aragorn and the gang at the Towers of the Teeth and asking “Why the fuck are you idiots getting to rule the world now, exactly?”
Turning the fucking dwarf into comic relief. Go fuck yourself, Peter Jackson. The aforementioned dwarf-tossing line, the physical “comedy”… just fucking ridiculous. Of course he amps that bullshit up in the Hobbit movies with Bombur (IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE HE’S FAT HAHA GET IT YOU GUYS?!) but the Hobbit movie gets it’s own section.
Boromir is perfect. Sean Bean is perfect. I just felt that needed to be said.
When Frodo is captured by Faramir in the wilds of Ithilien, there is a tense stand-off between them when Faramir realizes who he has and what he possesses. Then Faramir “shows his quality”, resists the influence of the Ring, gets Frodo and Sam geared up, gives him the best advice he can, and sends them to their destiny while he continually labors under the shadow of his dead brother.The whole point to Faramir is that he truly is the best son of Denethor, and that despite Boromir’s prowess and renown he is too easily swayed by the Ring, but Faramir demonstrates time and again his worth, even though his father can’t see it until he believes Faramir to be dying and so plans to burn both his son and himself in the hall of the dead kings of Gondor. It gives the whole plight of his father’s blindness to his worth real weight and heft, and contrasts the death of Boromir due to his weakness in the presence of the Ring with Faramir’s strength of will and true worth as a descendant of the Numenoreans.
Of course, according to the movie Faramir is a dick and holds on to Frodo to bring him back to his dad but they escape, rendering everything in the previous paragraph worthless and totally gutting the whole point of the character. Peter Jackson changed it because he didn’t want to make it seem like anyone could resist the power of the Ring. Fuck Peter Jackson in the ear.
7. The Elves Fighting at Helm’s Deep
Where did they come from? Who sent them? How did they get to Helm’s Deep? How did they know to go to Helm’s Deep? How did the Orc army not find them? Why are they there at all? Wasn’t the Last Alliance of Elves and Men kind of a thing at the end of the Second Age, or did they just mean the Last Time The Elves and Men Allied Until the Next Time They Do? Why didn’t they have the Rangers of the North show up instead? Why is Legolas better than all of them put together? Why? WHY IS THIS IN THE MOVIE AT ALL?
8. The Hobbit Movies
The Hobbit movies are the worst pieces of shit, except for Martin Freeman. From the Glamour Shots Dwarves, to the completely changing of the history of the war of the Dwarves and Orcs, to Galadriel doing everything to Gandalf short of dry-humping, to the horrible fucking ridiculousness of the Goblin-Town escape (I’m sure they barely got Peter Jackson to not score that whole scene with Yackety Sax), to the even more ludicrous Elven fighting style with Tamriel (who?) and Legolas (why?), to…. You know, fuck it. I had enough to say about the Hobbit movies based on the trailer. These movies are the fucking worst.
There are other things I don’t like (I miss Glorfindel) and some changes that are for the best (the hobbits frolicking naked with Tom Bombadil wouldn’t translate well), but this pretty much sums up why I hate on Peter Jackson so much. Because he deserves it.