Dec 07

LOTR Vs. Star Wars: Cage Match To The Bitter End (Of The On Sale Bin)

Prior to the release of the “Lord of The Rings Trilogy,” there was nothing ambiguous about the phrase “The Trilogy.” “The Trilogy” obviously referred to the legendary science fiction franchise “Star Wars,” the brainchild of George Lucas.

Uhhhh.....yes....MY brainchild.....

Now, however, that certainty is longer present. In 2001, director Peter Jackson undertook the cinematic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy trilogy “The Lord of the Rings.”Needless to say, the films were, for lack of a better word, incredible. So incredible, in fact, that many began to consider them on par with the Star Wars franchise. Eventually, some people began to consider them on a level above that of Star Wars.

Well let's not parse words here. Everyone knows that Aragorn would kick the crap out of Luke Skywalker #realtalk

Apparently you’re allowed to use hash tags when you’re the guy who directed Lord of the Rings. Go figure. Alas, not all are so enamored with the orc-laden franchise. Spectacularly average¬†Well known director Kevin Smith, best known for films like “Clerks,” and “Chasing Amy,” is one of the most vocal critics of those who refer to LOTR as “The Trilogy.”

Don't look at me like that. As an overweight, bearded male, I'm required to have an opinion on this.

That may be so, Mr. Smith, but what is your excuse for being a New Jersey Devils Fan¬†(Editor’s note: I just high fived everyone around me after making that joke. Got em.) Smith, and many others, argue that LOTR could not exist without Star Wars, as Star Wars laid the groundwork for all subsequent fantasy and science fiction cinema. Though in cinema that may or may not be true, I find its accredited influence hard to believe considering that the Lord of the Rings novels were published before George Lucas was even in high school. LOTR clearly could have existed without Star Wars, because it already did, simply in a different medium. While one can argue that it never would have been adapted into a movie, Lord Of The Rings is clearly the more imaginative work, considering it predated what is allegedly the precursor to all of modern science fiction and fantasy.

Furthermore, the universe within which LOTR exists is much more elaborate. Sure, Star Wars has these things:

C'mon guys, I'm a green pig, what's more original than that?

LOTR has:

Yeah, that's right, I'm a book devoted entirely to the detailed depiction of the history of Middle-Earth, and the greater world of Arda as a whole.

I think it’s fair to say that LOTR is perhaps a bit more detailed.

In my mind though, what makes LOTR that much better than Star Wars is the structure of the plot. Star Wars is a classic example of a modern embodiment of the the so-called “Monomyth,” otherwise known as “The Hero’s Journey.” In other words, it’s the oldest trick in the book. Furthermore, few characters have significant depth to them, and ambiguity of any kind seems to be absent from the film. Han Solo’s morality is perhaps the closest thing that the original trilogy of Star Wars movie’s has to anything resembling moral ambiguity. LOTR, on the other hand, blurs the line between good and evil much more effectively. Though it is still a classic monomyth, it compensates for this fact by a) creating a detailed and all encompassing world for the conflict to take place in, and b) creating serious divisions amongst characters as to what action to take regarding the ring, and the war against Sauron in general. There are characters who want to use it as a weapon, characters who are good at heart but are corrupted by greed and desire, formerly great men who wish to turn a blind eye to their former comrades in times of need- though they fantasy novels and films, I would argue that LOTR is actually quite grounded in realism. The depictions of the conflict itself is wholly dichotomous. However, the picture of human nature conveyed in the franchise is, in my opinion, quite realistic and explorative.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “AJ, how is this funny?” This website has just become a platform for you to espouse your views on a variety of meaningless subjects. I completely agree. This will be the last article I write that tries to convey an opinion or message. I promise.


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