- Tolkien’s Faramir is a classic hero, whereas Jackson’s Faramir is a post-modern wimp with complex relationship problems.
- Tolkien’s Gollum has an internal heart problem that obliges him to sin and which he can’t overcome. Jackson’s good Gollum says at one point to the bad Gollum, “Go away and never come back!” At which Smeagol’s bad side actually goes away until the cruel environment in which Gollum is forced to live and work brings back the bad guy.
- Tolkien’s ring could only be destroyed by the power of Providence: Gollum “slips” on his own. Jackson has Frodo push Gollum. I guess his providence needed a little help.
- Tolkien had no crystal chicks. Peter Jackson couldn’t make it without spicing up the few girl parts to appease the modern feminist palate a little.
- Tolkien was written for adults who could follow a story. Jackson had to please the 20 year old video gamers by having—to pick just one example—a super cool elf run on top of a CGI cave troll to fire arrows down his throat while standing on said troll’s shoulders. Of course, in the book the troll doesn’t even get into the room.
- Tolkien wrote Sam and Frodo to be honest, loyal friends though Frodo was the obvious social superior. Jackson wrote Sam and Frodo to be… big surprise, a couple of peers who also have messy interpersonal problems including one of Jackson’s lowest dips where he has Frodo actually follow Gollum over Sam.
- Aragorn is a high and lordly king whose gaze cannot be held by either his friends (Eomer) or his foes (Sauron’s lieutenant). His will alone is sufficient to strengthen the men to enter the paths of the dead. Cut, cut, cut went Jackson’s scissors. Such heroes are far too heavy for today. They might make us feel bad since we obviously aren’t as good as them.
- Tolkien has some battles that are crucial to the plot, but occupy less than 30 pages out of 1,000. Jackson has scene after scene of gruesome orcs complete with creative ways to make blood fly.
- Tolkien wrote Theoden to be one more among many heroes. Jackson had him doubting and doting even after his “conversion.”
- Tolkien’s son and executor said, “They [Jackson and co.] eviscerated it [his dad’s classic tale] by making it an action movie for young people aged 15-25.”
And I haven’t even endured all the films.