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Well, it is no secret that I hated Jackson's versions of LOtR. It often seemed like the whole world was disagreeing with me. But it also seems that perhaps Tolkien's son and heir does not. In a rare interview, he recently said this:

"Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? "They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25," Christopher says regretfully. "And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film." "

Hm. Chew on THAT.Here's the whole article


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Half the Mythies hated it, as did Jo Walton--actually, I know very few who liked the LOTR movie.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Depends on the circles you run in. Most of my friends and acquaintances loved them.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Yuo--my boy loved them (but then he was smack dab in the demographic that Christopher Tolkien named), and I know a few others who did as well. But various circles can be so mixed I learned never to bring them up!
Dec. 10th, 2012 08:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm way outside the demographic and I loved them, as did all my friends. I know Alma and I will never agree on this and that's fair enough. No one could ever make the pictures on the screen tally with what's in each and every individual book lover's mind, so there are always going to be disappointments.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:18 pm (UTC)
Eh. I still love the films. Different than the book? yes. "Eviscerated"? Pah.

Starship Troopers, now THERE was an evisceration.

I'd go see the Hobbit, if I could afford to. Won't be able to until after Christmas, at least.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
I agree, about the films. Haven't seen ST and don't intend to, so can't speak to that.

I have far more serious problems with Harry Potter 6 than with anything in the LotR movies.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
I thought he did a great job bringing the books to the mainstream. Yes they were eviscerated but there was SO MUCH in the books that would have made it not only the longest movie series evah but ultimately imploded under its own weight.

If you and the Tolkein family and everyone else dislikes them for whatever reasons, I will grant that as valid and you are entitled to your opinion. But it cannot be underestimated that many many people came to see the movie for the spectacle, and hopefully some few went on to read and enjoy the books.

While I love that the series exists, and is such an important work in fantasy and literature, everytime I read them I wish I hadn't because I feel so depressed at the end. And I hate the Tom Bombadil part, it adds no value at all to the story that I can tell.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC)
I don't actually think I have met a single solitary person who thought that BOmbadil should have been in the movies - I know Tolkien, for his own reasons, found him fascinating but for me (and for a lot of other people) he really was the Jar Jar Binks of the story. A little of him went a REALLY long way. And I certainly appalud the decision not to give him screen time, although that necessitated some fast footwork when it came to plot points like the Barrow Down swords. And honestly, if this was the only thing that Jackson did, I would have no problems. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Unfortunately he didn't stop at excising Bombadil. He then proceeded to go on to fundamentally misunderstand the story. Yes, it's pretty. But that's ALL it is. And the demographic that is cited in the article is going to go on thinking that it IS "Lord of the RIngs". WHich it is not, and as it stands cannot ever be.
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, and you said, "But it cannot be underestimated that many many people came to see the movie for the spectacle, and hopefully some few went on to read and enjoy the books."

I doubt it. The books require a longer attention span. People who had no prior acquaintance with the story (and I freely admit I find this hard to believe) and whose first impressions of LOtR were Jackon's movies... will probably go on to loathe the books, which are slow and rich and powerful for all the reasons Jackson thought fit to take out of the films in order to accomplish his OWN vision of same.

Truly - if some books cannot be filmed in the right and proper way, they should not be filmed at all...
Dec. 10th, 2012 12:19 am (UTC)
Oh it DID get other people to read the books. Something like doubled or tripled sales of the books.
Dec. 10th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC)
Yes. People BOUGHT the books. How many people who bought them - purely on the strength of the movies - do you figure finished them, or liked them?... (sales numbers are NOT, no matter what the capitalist marketplace wisdom says, the whole and entire arbiter of how much something is worth...)
Dec. 10th, 2012 01:46 am (UTC)
More than would have without the movies. I know of at least three such myself.
Dec. 10th, 2012 06:16 am (UTC)
Several scenarios occur.

pre-scenario one: person sees movies without having read the book. Person then gets enthusiastic enough to go rushing out to buy the books. from here:

1) someone who LOVED the movies for a particular reason is going to be severely disappointed in not finding those attributes in the book. This person will attempt to labour through the novels, get bogged down, complain that they are boring, and put them down never to look at them again. So Movies Appreciated +1, but Books BOught +1, Books Appreciated -1 NET CHANGE irrelevant. This particular person has gained nothing by purchasing the books.

2) someone who loved the movies gets caught up in the books... and then looks back at the movies and finds them less appealing than before (with the obvious exception of the visual aspects of it all which is nothing to do with Jackson, it's all New Zealand's spectacular backdrop and the pretty pretty scenery of Hobbiton and Rivendell (sometimes CGI enhanced) So Movies Less Appreciated -1, BOoks Bought +1, Books Appreciated +1 NET GAIN possible gain for book appreciation, but at the price of the movies. So you could count this a win, but this would be a person who now advocates against the movies as opposed to the books, so I don't know how you'd count it.

Pre-scenario two - person buys books without ever having seen the movies... and then sees the movies. From here:

1) person had loved the books, and hates the movies. Movie Appreciation -1, Books BOught neutral because they weren't bought because of the films, BOoks appreciated +1 (which cancels out)

2) person hated the books and never finished them. Would this person ever go and see the movies? WHy would they? They hated the source material.

Okay, pre-scenario three: person sees the movies, loves the movies, goes out and buys the books, and loves the books.

I am not sure I have ever met anyone who qualifies under those criteria. If you see the movies first, without having read the books, you will come in with frothier expectations and you will simply be bored silly with the novels. There are people who will accept that changes have to be made for a movie (and yes yes yes yes yes yes yes please nobody bring up Tom Bombadil, we all agree he should not have been in there) who will STILL resent what Jackson has done to this story. HE HAS MONKEYED WITH THE FABRIC OF IT. That's the long and the short of it.

Anyone who has read and loved those books will have to admit that there is something fundamental - a certain gravitas - missing from the films, and what we got instead of it were extended battle sequences which were there just for the mayhem, shoe-horned in romance (I really hate to rain on people's parades, but this story was NOT about Arwem and happy endings), and cheap humour. And basic misunderstandings of character motivations.

So there.
Dec. 10th, 2012 11:14 am (UTC)
Well, I read and loved (and still love) the books,and I saw and love (and still love) the movies, and the same is true of several people I know. And it's certainly true of the three people I mentioned before (as having first seen movie and then bought books), though all of them mentioned that the books start slow (which they do indeed).

The movies were DIFFERENT, yes. But they were good movies.
Dec. 10th, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC)
I'm with seawasp on this. I love the books and still do, but I really enjoyed the films; I have seen them a couple of times and will no doubt watch them again.

My husband hadn't read the books (he doesn't read novels unless he's practising another language!), but enjoyed the films, even though he's not a fantasy fan normally.

My son loved the films and now loves the books.

In my view both books and films work well as examples of their genre and it's possible to enjoy both.

If you believe that the films should not have been made, then that means people like my son would never know the story, the characters or have been led to read the book.
Dec. 10th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
In your rush to assert that even people who understand how movies must change from the source material hated these movies, you seem to be inclined to deny the existence of a whole swathe of people who happen to disagree. I most certainly know a number opf people who share your opinion. I also know a number who admire the books and films both.

I read the books first and loved them and yet magically I don't hate the movies. They are flawed, and they are not Tolkien, I have scenes which I wish had never been included, and scenes I wish more HAD been. There are places in the film that, having seen what Jackson did to King Kong, i can now see as falling into certain of his personal weak points. And yes, there is a certain gravitas, and poetry, that vanished. (Forth the three huntsmen =/= Let's hunt some orc).

But even if they are not great movies, they are still good movies. Some of the best live action fantasy the world has managed to come out with, considering how often it completely falls apart in any attempt to pull off live fantasy (And some of the exceptions have appeared SINCE, as part of its legacy.) Worth watching again.

I do love the books, and will reread them again. (I even have fewer problems with Bombadil than many.)

They don't give me half the mental whiplash of liking both Howl's Moving Castle the book and the movie, since those have even less in common. Or Practical Magic, which is a weaker movie, but again, what they did to the story from the book wouldn't bear thinking about if I were the sort to be inclined to count the heart of a story so easily damaged.
Dec. 10th, 2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
Well, my son was someone who had spurned the books when he still lived at home (though I had read the Hobbit to him), but after seeing the films, he was drawn to read the books which he then preferred!. He did appreciate the extra richness of the books, but wouldn't have tried them if he hadn't been inspired by the films.

OK, that's just one person, but if there was one, I'm sure there are more.

As to the Hobbit, I don't really fancy it, to be honest. It could make a good film, but I cannot see how they have managed to stretch it to three!
Dec. 10th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
I gather that the extra two movies' worth of story come out of the eviction of Sauron ("the Necromancer") from Mirkwood — just a passing reference in The Hobbit and the appendices of TLoTR. It's the stuff that kept Gandalf busy while he was absent from the middle of The Hobbit. As far as I'm concerned, book purist that I am, Jackson is free to do pretty much whatever he likes with that... as long as he doesn't drag the characters from The Hobbit into it. I'm guessing that he'll be splitting the movies' attention between the parallel plots, as was done with TLotR.
Dec. 10th, 2012 08:39 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to the movie. H and I try to go to the movies every Wednesday afternoon (Orange Wednesday twofers) and we tend to see every SFF movie that comes along. We are the women who sat through Dragonballs (which was, honestly, a load of dragons!) so even without this being from an iconic fantasy book we would be there. The fact that it's Tolkien and Peter Jackson is a bonus. Yes, I'm wondering how they've managed to split the movie into three, but I'm more than willing to find out.
Dec. 12th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
If it weren't so far to the cinema, I'd probably go to see it. But when seeing a film involves over 3.5 hours driving, it either has to be a very good film or a day when we've just decided that we want to go somewhere completely different and have a lunch out and do something different. In which case travelling up to Llandudno Junction to see a film fits the bill.
Dec. 13th, 2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's a long way to see a movie. You should get together with other locals and investigate possibilities of Arts Council Wales funding for a rural cinema in a village hall. You'd certainly qualify on distance. I think you only have to be 20 miles from the nearest cinema to get a licence to show movies.
Dec. 13th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
Though we don't have a cinema in town, we are surrounded by local cinemas which are less than 20 miles away in Bala, Tywyn and I think the one in Porthmadog is still open. However, 20 miles is still 30-40 minutes drive. Also, because they're small and old, you don't get a choice of film or of time. It's one evening show or nothing. So by the time you've driven for 30 minutes, you may as well keep going and have the choice of a multiplex surrounded by lots of free parking and with places to eat. We can also go on a Saturday which is the only time G feels like watching films.
Dec. 13th, 2012 08:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see. I thought you meant the multiplex was your nearest. We have a lovely old 1920s cinema in Penistone - which is also used for local am-dram productions and one-off concerts. (We've played there and I've also put on other artists in concert.) If the film I want to see is on there I'll always go in preference to the multiplex, just because it's nice and old fashioned and cosy. Unfortunately it's often a few weeks behind with the releases, so by the time films come round I've mostly seen them. (And going to the multiplex means we also do a supermarket run to the big Asda in Wakefield which stocks some items I can't get locally.)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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