It is a popular stereotype on the Internet that purists are somehow angry or hateful towards the film.  To be fair, many purists fit or appear to fit this stereotype, though it can make things difficult for those who are less aggressive.  It is not exactly pleasant to be told that you are a rabid hater or basher of films that you consider yourself a fan of.  If you have encountered “rabid purists” before this may seem odd, but many of us are fans of the movies.

General sentiment for the movies on Tolkien forums is largely positive (though that has changed somewhat over the years), so critics of the film stand out, no matter how moderate their criticism.  Criticism does not necessarily involve hate or even dislike, however.  One can both like something and criticize aspects of it.  In fact, considering something to be immune to criticism displays a worrying level of obsession.  Nothing is perfect, and it should not be blasphemous to make reasoned criticism.

Additionally, being a purist does not mean thinking the films are horrible.  Personally, I thin the films did a poor job of staying faithful to the book through the process of adaptation (thus failing in that regard, though they could have been far worse), but I also think that all in all they are entertaining pieces of cinema.  I stand in awe of the time and effort put in by the entire crew, by the level of artistry in the props and sets, the breathtaking locations, and the beautiful music.  In my subjective opinion, PJ’s The Lord of the Rings has everything necessary to be considered great movies, even if I find flaws in them unrelated to adaptation.

This has led to something of a mantra for me: great films, poor adaptations.  I love watching these films, and have seen them more than any others except the original Star Wars trilogy (and that only because Star Wars has a six or seven year head start), but I can not help but be irked by the fact that they claim to be a version of The Lord of the Rings after all the disregard for the book shown by the filmmakers in many instances.  I will not let the title of the films stand in the way of appreciating their artistic and entertainment value, however.

So here I stand, both a huge fan (dare I say “Ringer”?), and an outspoken purist critic of the films.  I like certain aspects of the films and dislike others, and as they are separate I see no contradiction in my position.  Most importantly, even when I am critical, I do my best not to be angry or hateful.  Why would I be when discussing some of my favourite films?

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Back to main Tolkien Purism page.


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