Story Development through “LOTR” (movie) and LOTRO

by: Evan Schrager

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was an extremely exciting and epic adventure in which I was immersed from the moment it began. The storyline was well-developed and had a very appealing plot. It caught my interest with the first scene, introducing the Ring as somewhat of a character. On the other hand, the LOTRO story line puts you in a character’s position. You get to be the hero. While the story is developed through text rather than elegant voiceovers, it still gives the gamer a different perspective. I believe the two media serve a slightly different purpose-the movie to entertain, and the game to give the player a feeling of self worth.

The graphics in the movie were excellent. Sauron was well portrayed as the villain, with the ever powerful Ring. In LOTRO, the graphics are not quite as sharp as they are in the movie, obviously because it is animated. The graphics in the movie are far superior due to the changes in camera angles and the usage of reverse shot techniques. For example, when Gandalf almost picks up the Ring, it uses reverse shot to show him picking it up and then quickly shows the evil eye of Mordor. This gives the viewer a vivid sense of the brutalities of the Ring-something that simply cannot be achieved comparitively through LOTRO. The music in the two media has a different effect as well. When I was watching the movie, the music created the mood single handedly. The second scene with The Shire is a clear example of fitting music, with the merry theme of the Hobbits. In the video game, I didn’t really notice the music as much, and sometimes I played the game with my sound system off. In my case it does not aid the story telling process at all.

The action in the video game thus far has been exciting, and somewhat of a challenge. Each battle is a repeating set of techniques, with little variation, but somehow I do not mind sitting and fighting each monster with the same technique. In the movie the action is hectic and out of control, in a great way. I felt so uplifted watching Aragorn slaughter entire masses of enemies, while Legolas stood in the background firing arrows in between the eyes of goblins. The battle scenes in the movie are much more exciting and realistic. It just is not the same on the Gladden server, but I guess it just depends on what the player classifies as “action”.

The biggest difference for me between the two media is the emotional journey that one experiences. With the movie, you watch the characters mature and overcome their biases. You learn basic morals and lessons of honor. It really makes you want to be noble and knightly in the real world. After all, it is fiction. In LOTRO, the journey gives you more of a feeling of self worth, since you yourself are the character running around Middle Earth becoming a hero. As the game continues, the storyline and action might become more involved and will provide more entertainment and even pride.

As we progress on our journeys through Middle Earth, I think it will be much easier to make a more proper comparison from media to media. At this moment however, I feel that I have not experienced enough of the game. It feels as if I watched the first twenty minutes of the movie and stopped. Both media have many unique characteristics, and are both very good platforms for story telling.