Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: land of the fruits and nuts
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Oo, oooo, mememe! I've read LOTR at least yearly since I was 10 or 11. Sometimes I'd start it again right after I finished. I was so apprehensive when I heard they were making movies out of it, but, even with the changes they had to make in order to allow it to be translated into films and not be 100 hours long, I adore the movies. The book was formative for me in terms of how I view storytelling, fantasy, mythology, so many things, so if they had blown it with the films, I would have been pissed. But I think Peter Jackson is a freakin' genius, and watching the "making of" extras on the DVDs, it seems to me that everyone poured themselves into it, from the director on down to the people making the props, and were careful about keeping true to the spirit of the book (even when it wouldn't work to directly translate something to film). It was synergistic, and IMO it worked beautifully. I don't think it could have happened in Hollywood.
In the book, the Balrog has wings: "It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall," although it's a little ambiguous because two paragraphs previous it says "His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings." (Yes, ultra-geek here, too - I actually go look things up.)
There is no secret ingredient.