"Two Roads to Middle Earth": Comparing Visualization of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings Cinematic Trilogy
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When comparing a much-loved novel to a cinematic adaptation, many people will say, “the book was better.” Even so, some of the same people remember scenes from the movie more vividly. Why? Building on Martin Barker’s (2006) study of audience visualization, this paper examines Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings through DVD “making-of documentaries,” and compares Jackson’s cinematic vision with Tolkien’s original work. The nature of film means adapting a textual work relies more on maintaining certain essential qualities of the original story, rather than a “page by page” rendering. Film may solidify a reader’s visualization of these essential qualities by reinforcing similar images, or by forcing the reader to choose between their own images and those suggested in film adaptation.