Geekdom is abuzz about the changes made by director Peter Jackson in the movie versions of The Lord of the Rings (I got into a little of it myself at Scott Rosenberg's Salon.com weblog). I've been able to justify most of the changes to myself--from the obvious switch of Arwen for Glorfindel in FOTR (a much-needed estrogen boost for Middle Earth) to the obscure (I guess the elves come to Helm's Deep to fill in some of the back-story about the alliance between elves and men).
Some of the hottest debate is over Jackson's account of Faramir, who in the book is pure of heart from the start but in the movie has to learn to let the ring go free. That bothered me, too, but again I can see that a reader would know more about the dynamics of Gondor's first family than would a movie-going neophyte, and so Jackson provided Faramir with some on-screen growth.
But why the hell did Jackson push Aragorn over that cliff?
Novelist Orson Scott Card wrote in his weekly opinion column for a local alternative newspaper, the Rhinoceros Times, that it was a film-school induced need to add tension. Card loves to bash perceived elitists--c'mon, Orson, can't we like Ulysses and LOTR?--but in this case he seems way off base. For one thing, Jackson didn't go to film school, and his trust and respect for the text are obvious. When Elijah and I discussed the cliff scene while walking Luna this morning, we decided it was thrown in to allow for the dream sequence with Arwen, which establishes the conflict over her love for a mortal, and it also sets up the long-distance conversation between Elrond and Galadriel that reaffirms that old alliance between elves and men.
Most of the changes seem aimed at making the movie accessible to those poor souls who haven't read the book a dozen times. None of them do excessive violence to the story, at least from my fanboy's POV.
Reading the "Lateriot"
A new competitor to the Rhino Times, the Greensboro Patriot, has not gotten its act together yet. The putative weekly managed to put out only three issues in its first month, and the publishers grossly under-hired on the editorial side. Editor Bob Fliss is a talented guy, but he's being asked to write a ridiculous amount of copy. And while the all-color paper certainly looks good, it really needs to quit running articles about the fact that it's an all-color paper. We get it. Now put something in it, and publish on schedule, or you will soon be yesterday's news.
Young and Feckless
A key moment in Carolina's OT loss to Miami came when freshman Byron Sanders rebounded a UNC miss as the clock ticked down in regulation with the Tar Heels clinging to a slim lead. Sanders did the right thing at the wrong time--he went back up strong, which would have been fine at any other point in the game. But with the shot-clock having reset after the miss, he needed to kick it back out unless he had a clean dunk, instead of forcing the shot. A freshman mistake, the kind we will have to live with for a while as this team continues to mature. With only Davidson remaining before ACC play starts in earnest, an NCAA bid seems a reasonable hope.
Happy Birthday, Mom
It's my mom's birthday. Did you call her?