Book first or Films first? Never read LOTR... NO SPOILERS PLEASE!!!!

Discussion in 'J R R Tolkien' started by THX-1138, Nov 28, 2011.

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Should I read the books first, or watch the movies?

  1. Read the books

    38 vote(s)
    76.0%
  2. Watch the movies

    12 vote(s)
    24.0%
  1.  
    THX-1138

    THX-1138 Sith Lord

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    I have no clue about the plot. I know there's Gandalf and Frodo and Legolas... and they're fighting over some magical rings... and Gandalf has to fight a Balrog and comes back in white... Sauron is evil...

    That's all I got. So, should I spoil it with the movie(and I really would like to see those movies), or should I read the books first? I watched the Jurassic Park movies before the books and I certainly enjoyed the books. I see a lot of differences between the books and movies of that franchise, yet I recognize them as two distinct interpretations and that the movies aren't bad just for going in a different direction. I read the Harry Potter books before the movies and didn't enjoy the movies as much. I kept criticizing the movies, simply for being different from the books.

    Again, NO SPOILERS!
  2.  
    hopewrites

    hopewrites Happily Ever Aftering

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    Movies need to be different from the books. I read Jurassic Park after watching the movie and liked it just as well because it did with the story what a book should do with it, while the movie did with the story just what a movie should.
    I voted books first because i'm a book person. I saw Where the Red Fern Grows before reading the book and still managed to like both.

    You mentioned the HP book to movie series, and i think it's biggest down fall was that the movies tried to just be the book on film. Movies have different rules then books, I dont know what ether sets of rules are per-say but I can tell when they are off.
    I dont think it is a spoiler to say that with LotR the books do what books should and the movies do what movies should, though for my money i would go strait for the extended versions and skip the theatrical release.
    Enjoy the experience which ever you decide on first.
  3.  
    THX-1138

    THX-1138 Sith Lord

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    I have only read Where the Red Fern Grows, never seen the movie. Not that it's relevant.

    I know exactly what you mean with books and movies. But the JP books and movies are completely separate, they have a different story. The books are darker. The movies are about the magic of seeing Dinosaurs in real life, the books are about how unethical and arrogant such an act would be. Hammond is only in it for the money in the books, whereas in the movies he's a good guy, a loving Grandfather who had a dream. In the books, the theme of "don't play God" is far more prevalent. So they're really two seperate stories I think, not just to different ways of telling the same story.
  4.  
    hopewrites

    hopewrites Happily Ever Aftering

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    I can say that in both the LotR and the HP book to movie sets the book was held in high esteem, it was counted as the final word when it came to what was what in the story telling. In LotR the actors all had copies of the books as tattered as their scrips by the end. I can tell you that in both sets the actors form friendships that carry through the film medium and helps to tell the story better.
    I am addicted to Special Features and watch them to death before I watch a movie to death.
    What I love about the book and what I love about the movie, that are totally separate and have everything to do with telling the story, is pacing. You will agree that while letter perfect to the book the first two HP movies drag because they follow too closely the pacing of the book, yes? What worked for the book killed the movie.
    LotR does not fall into that trap. The book is perfectly paced for a book, the movies are perfectly paced for movies. I say book first because you get the richness of the world set up for you at an appropriate pace to take it all in. Movie second so that you can enjoy what has been done with that world and pick up on all the little nuances that were slipped in. Even the art department and special effects teams had copies of the books to go over, everyone who was evolved in making LotR into a movie worthy of the epic story being told came up with something some way to make the details add up. to slip in little somethings into the background and the feel of the film so that fans would walk out saying "that was good" rather then "i wish they hadnt cut..."

    there are cuts. there are things taken out and things added in, but all in the name of pacing and I dont personally think it compromises the integrity of the over all story. but i feel that to enjoy all the hard work and detail that went into those movies, one should read the book first and know what all those artists were dedicated to preserving.
  5.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I voted for the books because, frankly, they are a much richer, deeper, and more mature experience. They also avoid a lot of the juvenile nonsense that Jackson & Co. indulged in with the films, making the books considerably darker as one goes on. They are also more poignant. However....

    All the above depends entirely on how much the reader is willing to take the time and read what Tolkien has written, rather than just racing through for the plot. Tolkien's Middle-earth is one of the most fully-realized of fantasy worlds out there, largely because it is informed by Tolkien's own love of natural beauty, and his concern for its wanton destruction during times of trial. (See, for example, the descriptions of Mordor, the changes in Isengard, and the return to the Shire.) The novel (it is a novel, not a true trilogy, which is three novels presenting a single tale or theme) does have its flaws, and some find it drags woefully; but I venture to say that, if one is able to adjust to the older, leisurely prose style, what appears to many modern readers as boring, inessential stuff will actually play a great role in making Middle-earth and its denizens real for that reader, with dimensions which only grow greater and deeper upon repeated readings.
  6.  
    THX-1138

    THX-1138 Sith Lord

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    I think I'm more of a movie person myself... I like to watch movies, they're just more suspenseful(usually). Then I read the books to learn more about this story that I already know that I like. In fact the only reason I read Harry Potter first, because everyone told me to read them before the movies came out(I actually saw the first two before reading the book). In hindsight, I love those books. I reread them all the time, and I read quickly now. But the first time they dragged at times.
  7.  
    Starbeast

    Starbeast Benevolent Galaxy Being

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    I agree. I read the books long ago before the live-action films or even the cartoon versions came out in the 1970's. I love all the versions. They are still my favorite fantasy tales of all time. :D
  8.  
    biodroid

    biodroid Expensive Gadget User

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    I must say the movies move a lot faster, I read the first book and enjoyed it but the second book dragged and I only got half way through.
  9.  
    HareBrain

    HareBrain Lagomorphing Staff Member

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    My advice is, if you're going to read the books at all, read them first. Good as the films were (for their type), the images you get in your head, if you have any imagination at all, are better.
  10.  
    thaddeus6th

    thaddeus6th Active Member

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    I voted for the films.

    There is more in the books (you'd hope so, given their bloody size) but that also includes many slooooow parts. At the risk of being burnt alive for heresy, I thought the films (on the whole) better.
  11.  
    Anne Lyle

    Anne Lyle Fantastical historian

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    I voted for the movies because, although I love the book myself, I know that it's not to everyone's taste. If you like books that immerse you in a fictional setting and are willing to invest that time, then by all means read the book first - but if you're the impatient sort who prefers their fiction fast-paced, I think the book might put you off the movies, which would be a shame.

    One thing to be aware of (and I don't think this is a spoiler) is that LotR was originally intended to be a sequel to his children's book The Hobbit, and so the first few chapters of LotR are very much in the tone of that book. As he was writing it, however, he found elements from his wider fantasy world creeping in - Sauron, the Balrog, etc - but he didn't go back and change the beginning, so it takes a while to transition from the bucolic hobbits to the real epic fantasy stuff. If you stick with it until the hobbits are well clear of the Shire and having "real" adventures, you will probably be hooked :)
  12.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I voted movies - I couldn't get through the books. Only the second movie put me to sleep. The other two were quite good lol But I am not a LOTR fan so probably not the person to listen to.
  13.  
    odangutan

    odangutan New Member

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    Never...read...

    Wait, what?!
  14.  
    Toby Frost

    Toby Frost Active Member

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    On principle I'd say to read the books first, although I personally think that the films are better films than the books are books, so to speak. You may well utterly love the books (I think they're pretty good but flawed, personally), and it would be a shame to spoil that by having the films to compare them to as you read.
  15.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    I saw the films first, but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book. (And now, having read the book, I still enjoy watching the films.)



    Before both of these, I enjoyed the BBC radio version (give or take the songs :(). It seems that the story is almost bulletproof. :)
  16.  
    Anne Lyle

    Anne Lyle Fantastical historian

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    The BBC also did a radio parody called "The Hordes of the Things" (70s? 80s?). I don't remember much about it, except that all the wizards were named after bubble bath (Badedas the Blue, Fenjal the Pink, etc) :D

    Sorry, thread derail - back to your regularly scheduled book/movie poll...
  17.  
    Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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  18.  
    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    I saw the films first and that made me want to read the book. I had, though, already read The Hobbit (and disliked it) when I was little.
  19.  
    Lilmizflashythang

    Lilmizflashythang Dogs win, every time.

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    If you find yourself critisizing the movies of the Harry Potter series, then you should watch the movies first. I did it in the reversed and it aggravated me. So "if" the story comes in book and movie, I'll watch the movie first.
  20.  
    Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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