Feb
07
2013

A defense of the Hobbit movie being, well, a movie.

I’m down with this argument in defense of the Hobbit movie.

…if you want your children to imbibe the aesthetic feel of Tolkien and embrace his theology of mystery and grace, then read Tolkien to them, for crying out loud. If you want to watch a bunch of orcs get their heads handed to them, on the other hand, then go see the movie. There’s no need to constrain one with the other.

I mean, it’s not like JRR Tolkien didn’t know what a movie was; in fact, I’m pretty sure that writing a book that could be put on the screen with minimal changes was at the bottom of the list.  And I also expect that Tolkien would be comfortable about Peter Jackson switching things around if a) Jackson was respectful to the core material and b) Tolkien still got paid.  I assume b) was taken care off, and as for a)…

Yeah, I think that we’re good, there.

Via

9 Comments

  • Brian Swisher says:

    IIRR, Professor T sold the film rights to The Lord of the Rings for a relative pittance, mostly because he was convinced that the book was unfilmable…

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Now that I think about it: based on the technology of the time, Tolkien was right.

    • RangerSG says:

      Yep. That was his view. He thought the animated versions were the only viable outlet, and knew they would never make a profit. So he sold them for a song.

      Which is probably why Christopher Tolkien, with his penchant for money-grubbing every last cent of the LotR cash cow, was so irate when the live-action movies were made.

      As far as the Hobbit goes, my problem is it doesn’t reflect the tone or tenor of the book at all. It’s entirely too long, too distracted in concerns outside the main characters, and too insistent on its continued stereotype of ‘funny’ dwarves that runs antithetical to Tolkien. The movie doesn’t have to be slavish to the book. But it should be a fair adaptation of the material. This movie isn’t.

  • Luke says:

    If I want to see a bunch of orcs get their heads handed to them, I’ll play an appropriate RPG.
    .
    JRR wrote that for him to allow his books to be filmed, he’d need either
    a) complete creative control.
    or
    b) a buttload of money.
    He didn’t follow through on the threat, but his essay “On Fairy Stories” had a great many thoughts on the differences between mediums used for telling a story. And yeah, it was pretty clear that he saw filming his stories as nigh-impossible without losing much of the essence.

  • BigGator5 says:

    I like Tim Powers take on the translation of his books to the big screen. The books are the books and a film is a film. He and James Cain had a realistic take on the subject, which was refreshing.

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