In Defense of Denethor: A Closer Look at Peter Jackson's Misrepresentation

Author: Cadiliniel

Nominator: Ellisande

2005 Award Category: Genres: Non-Fiction: Men

Story Type: Non-Fiction  ✧  Length: N/A

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: An essay looking at the difference in character of book! and movie!Denethor.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Tanaqui  ✧  Score: 9

In this essay, Cadiliniel has provided a very personal and yet considered response to the characterisation of Denethor in the movies. The essay does a good job of comparing and contrasting how the same specific material is used in book and movies. It works hard to acknowledge the limitations of film as a medium and discusses the impact of those limitations on portraying characters such as Denethor. I also feel it makes a valiant effort to examine fairly the choices of the directing-producing-writing triumvirate. While the style of this essay is less polished than some of the other pieces in this category, creating a more intimate and personal feel, I very much enjoyed reading Cadiliniel’s thoughts. Throughout, I had moments of recognition and agreement with the analysis. I too hate how the movies demeaned a complex character with many admirable qualities as well as dislikable ones, and I can only explain the strange choices in presenting most of the Gondor material by concluding that the moviemakers just didn’t “get” Gondor. And I found Cadiliniel’s suggestions for how the moviemakiers might have handled things more effectively to be intelligent and perceptive. Good work!

Reviewed by: elanor_of_aquitania  ✧  Score: 5

Very good essay. Being a Gondor-Fan myself I agree to most of Cadiliniel's observations. Yet I have to add: to make Viggo Mortensen appear somewhat kingly at all all the Gondorians have to be shown as inefficient imbeciles. This affects not only Denethor but also Faramir and the Gondorian people. IMO Gondor was sacrificed in the movie to enhance the stature of Viggo's very unconvincing portrayal of a saviour king. IMO Peter Jackson does not understand the myth of the saviour king. Thus we see a doubting ranger who matures into a king by growing a beard and donning a kingly garb.

Reviewed by: Rabidsamfan  ✧  Score: 2

This is an excellent essay. It not only manages to catch most of my own complaints about the changes to Denethor's character (and Gandalf's!), it also articulated things I hadn't yet considered.