A closer look at LOTR, its origins, and its unworthy legacy

When JRR Tolkien created the Middle Earth universe, he was tapping into an aincent lore of European origin, exploring the struggle between the eternal clash of good and evil. I know that, like me, Beowulf must have made a big impression on Tolkien.
The worlds of Beowulf and Middle Earth have several things in common: rings of power and other objects infused with might and power, a force of great evil threatening to wipe out the forces of good, the great unbalance of power in favor of evil, heroes and villians with great and godlike powers, themes of reincarnation, and similar names. Also introduced, in the Silmarillion are elements of Norse/Olimpian pantheons, gods, and legends.
Tolkien started from the ground up, creating a foundation for Middle Earth. He explained the mechanics of creation, and how things in this world were governed. This, like any good mythology, gave meaning for existance and tied everything together, so that the readers would not have to fill in any huge gaps. It is also remarkable to note that he created maps and even made new languages, presumably from his extensive experiences at college.
He also tended to be a bit of a recluse, seldom appearing in public or giving interviews. Who would blame him? The stories are so rich, they seem to be written for Tolkien himself. His world of fantasy is so complete, why emerge from it to deal with mere man when he could kick it with Tom Bombadil and the elves.
I had often wondered how a production of LOTR would take place, as the stories are so long, and full of nuances. I imagined that someone would make an Anime series (not like the cartoon version of the series that was made in the 70s), as this media is more versatile than conventional films. However, back in college, I was delighted to hear that Peter Jackson started work on LOTR. However, I had my reservations. How could he expect to match the scope of the world of Tolkien: he couldn`t. How closely would he stick to the books: small changes obviously had to be made to cram one book into a time limit of three hours, this was to be expected. Could the films possibly live up to my preconception of Middle Earth? Nope.
I prepared myself to be dissapointed. It was not possible for the movies to make the Wraiths as evil and terrifying as I imagined them on many dark nights, reading by flashlight. Gandalf and Shadowfax could’nt be as badass as I pictured them, even with all of the special effects available. As much as I wanted to watch the movies, I hoped that they wouldn’t ruin the images and experiences that I had created in my head after completing the series.
I have some major faults with the two movies out so far, but I thought that The Fellowship of the Ring was done reasonably well. The major beef I have with this movie is that they made Arwen, a minor character who plays the most important role during The Return of the King. The scene where she carries Frodo across the river, drawing the wraiths into a booby trap? Never happened.
And what will become of Eowyn, with whom Strider first develops an affection for? Looks like she will not have to choose Faramir afterall.
Interesting parts also missing from the first film include the visit to Tom Bombadil’s hippie co-op, and how the Hobbits escape from the Barrow Wights. Although, yes, I understand there is only so much that can be crammed into the space of three hours. I know, but I still think you shouldn’t undertake a classic of such magnitude if you can not portray it in a suitable fashion. Still, I must admit I liked the movie overall and was excited to watch the second movie.
The second movie was a disaster. I don’t even want to talk about it and have no need to ever see it again. Heck, I don’t even want to talk about the BS that was pulled in that movie. Now that the bar has been lowered, I expect to be at least a little more satisfied with the Return of the King, but at this point, I would rather see the final installment of the Matrix.
Well, at least the books remain. This medium is still and I think, will always be more powerful than movies could ever be. The world of Middle Earth is a personal place, and reading your way through it allows you to personalize it. The creative liberties that Peter Jackson took violated this. I know that the movie execs wanted to capture the demographic pie slice that loves Titanic and Disney movies. He did bring in the money, but the bottom line is that he sold out making sure that the films would safely be as commercially successful as possible.