Buried Treasures in: Movies or Books

By Kenneth Baumbach
February 14, 2002


There have been countless memorable movies that have been translated from the written word to the silver screen. From such classics like “Gone with the Wind,” to modern movies such as “Jurassic Park,” the novel and the stories they tell continues to make their way onto the big screen. Two of the most recent movies that received their inspiration from a book are “Lord of the Rings” and “Black Hawk Down.” While one tells the story of a world of fantasy and legend, the other brings the true horror of war to life.

“Fellowship of the Ring”

“Lord of the Rings” is based on the series of novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is “The Lord of the Rings” series that jumpstarted the entire fantasy genre and made the public aware that not all fantasy novels were fairy tales for young children. As a philologist, Tolkien made many languages for his make-believe world, which he calls Middle Earth, and also created a history for his fantasy world. Because of these two aspects and the quality of his writing, the novels are very realistic and enjoyed by over 50 million people around the world in over 25 languages.

“The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,” from New Line Cinema, which came out on Dec. 19th, has enjoyed a long standing success in the theaters. The new movie is the first in a scheduled trilogy. The next two movies are due to be released in late 2002 and late 2003.

The movie stars many famous actors and actresses, which include Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, and Liv Tyler. The movie received excellent review by Roger Ebert and was well like by other critics as well. The movie is a long one, running at 178 minutes long, so if you want to get home before midnight, I would suggest seeing the early show. Ryan Dixon, sophomore, comments, “Visually the movie does the novels justice. I enjoyed this film very much and would recommend it to anyone.”

“Black Hawk Down”

Directly opposite from the fantasy world of “Lord of the Rings,” comes the movie “Black Hawk Down,” which is based on a true story and actual events. “Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War,” was written by Mark Bowden, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and is the story of the climactic battle in the short, ill-fated American military campaign in Mogadishu. The Battle of the Black Sea, as it is known, was the most serious firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War in the late ’60s and ’70s. Eighteen American soldiers were killed, and more than 70 were wounded in the battle.

The movie is released by Sony Pictures and is currently in theaters. It stars Eric Bana, Josh Hartnett, and Ewan McGregor. Jerry Bruckheimer, who is responsible for such movies as The Rock and The Fast and Furious, produces the movie. The movie is not for the faint of heart and is extremely graphic, depicting the realistic violence of war.

“Lord of the Rings” and “Black Hawk Down” are two more recent movies that have been made from existing novels. To say whether or not the novel or movie is better is strictly a matter of opinion. However, both novels and movies are well worth a checking out no matter what format you experience it.

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Kenneth Baumbach

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