Concerning Hobbits, Authors, Critics and Fans…

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Here is an interesting article for all of us who love the works of JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and Peter Jackson. This is just an excerpt. There is a link at the end to the whole article. ~TD 

A Pilgrim in Narnia

The Hobbit as a Living Text: The Battle of 5 Blogs

hobbit battle of 5 armies posters jacksonThis post is part of the Battle of the Five Blogs, or six blogs to be precise. It is a throw-down of various Tolkien bloggers who are thinking about the release of the final installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy,  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Other bloggers in this series are Kat SasJames MoffettSørina HigginsCrystal Hurd, and Matthew Rettino. Follow the links to check out their reviews, recaps, and rants. We encourage comments and links to your own reviews, recaps, and rants.
The Hobbit as Living Text
There is a curious thing that happens to C.S. Lewis’ writing: He made friends.
I think that most true J.R.R. Tolkien fans are going to hate The Hobbit: The Battle of 5 Armies, the newest and last installment of Peter Jackson’s series. Some of those fans detested the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film, while I loved them. I lack the technical, absolutely precise knowledge of the massive myth project that are the books that make up The Lord of the Rings, The HobbitThe Silmarillion, and the dozen or so other books that tell us about the History of Middle Earth. The second language in my home is not Quenya or Entish, and I haven’t tracked the number of new moons that pass in Frodo’s long journey to Mordor.
The Hobbit Dwarfs FilmI loved the LOTR films. And though there are moments that make you wince in The Hobbit trilogy—poor computer imaging, characters bent out of narrative shape, unclear lusts and motivations, uneven storytelling, genre confusion, and a general lack of Hobbitishness—I have quite enjoyed the films, as films. I went last night to The Battle of 5 Armies and had a great night out with friends.
But even I, who am willing to throw myself into the adaptation projected on screen, felt uncomfortable at times with how Jackson seems to bend what is to me a pretty straight story.
And yet…. And yet… I want to suggest that Jackson’s bending of Tolkien, and my discomfort with it, and the 100s of angry reviews online are all part of the tale.
Let me explain why…
The Hobbit as a Living Text: The Battle of 5 Blogs.
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0 responses to “Concerning Hobbits, Authors, Critics and Fans…

  1. The author of this blog, kind of reminds me of me, right after I had finished the Trilogy (long before the movie, and even before the books were “popular”). I even wanted to build a “set” that would show all of middle earth, and all the landmarks talked about in all the books. Crazy huh? At least that’s what everyone told me when I enthusiastically talked about this fictional realm of elves and dwarves and the like. Yep. Everyone thought I was off my rocker.
    So when a movie first came out about the stories, it didn’t surprise me, but I was VERY apprehensive about “Hollywood” doing “my” books anything anywhere near “acceptable”. As it turns out, they didn’t do too badly. I can think of a 100 places they could have done more, but considering they DIDN’T condense the whole set of books into a single 2 hour movie is at least a start. I have to give the liberals (spit, spit) credit for at least doing that much.
    Alas, I DID grow out of my enthusiasm, even though I kept the books my entire life, and have read all of them 3 times now. And because they are paperback, it’s hard to keep the pages in the right order, and in the right book now. The books are STILL better than the movies, and still worth the read.
    Just don’t get lost…. you know what they say, “Short cuts end up being long adventures”.

  2. I saw The Battle of the Five Armies on Wednesday, and I love it. Purists just don’t seem to get that no one can ever render “the perfect” cinematic reproduction of JRR Tolkien’s books to each of our liking. That being said, a part of me is glad that the battle of the 5 armies pales in comparison to the battle of Helm’s Deep or the great war of Pellenor Fields.
    I will forever be grateful to Sir Peter Jackson for bringing to breathtaking life Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

  3. Personally, I was done with jackson’s stuff after he introduced a dwarvish racism complex that had no business being there, that and making a focal point of the brown wizard who is barely ever mentioned (oh and the needless pumping of those horrible CGI spiders all over the place, way to give people nightmares for the foreseeable future). Same with the Chronicles of Narnia after Disneycorp diverted drastically in voyage of the dawn treader, not in good keeping with the book… Frankly, we should not ever expect directors and other hollywood types to render anything truthfully, they’re too accustomed to lying, and depicting things (even fiction) faithfully and truthfully is against their nature, it would seem. “Dramatic license” is not creativity, it is an excuse to meddle with something perfectly good, under the pretense of being creativity, with the implication that the original was not “good enough”, often with the result being a mockery at best.
    Needless to say, I won’t be seeing this movie.

  4. Seumas, I would agree especially about Disney, but hold back about Peter Jackson. Tolkien forbade his work ever being handed over to Disney, for good reason. Disney would take too much liberty with his life’s work.
    You may not agree with me, but I believe the translation of a literary work into the medium of cinema is full of pitfalls. I (personally) think Jackson did very well. And he is keenly aware of the changes he made, like dropping the Tom Bombadil story out of LOTR. He just couldn’t find the extra time to fit it into the prime narrative. On the other hand, the books are always full of much more than the best derivative movie.

    • Personally Traildust, I’ve always thought that Rankin-Bass did an excellent job, particularly with the animation style being rather fitting. That aside though the dropping of bombadil (and adding radagast) seems to me to be a mistake on his part, sure folks like the crazy old forest coot, but Bombadil would’ve been more popular methinks, especially in today’s times… although whether he intended to swap bombadil for somewhat ill-defined brown wizard, is anyones guess I suppose. (Obviously I like bombadil).
      I would like to see someone with a large budget and no personal agendas or dramatic license take up both stories and try to portray them correctly, but that may be some time before that ever happens… as usually those with large budgets have personal agendas or “dramatic license” which is a posh way of sayign personal agendas. haha

  5. There is hardly a movie made that can or most likely will ever capture all that is put forth by the quill.
    I do understand, if not appreciate, the purist and those that take it for what it is. With that said I do believe Jackson did his utmost to ‘sanitize’ to the extent possible, Tolkien’s Christian messaging in favor of injecting a more secular appeal that does include thinly veiled progressive agenda messaging.
    Like most things of interest there are usually two-sides to a discussion and it is valid to explore both sides [civil public discourse]. The matter of concern for me are those that speak of LOTR with an air of authority never having broken the binding rather based on Hollywood’s interpretation solely.
    Jackson, in my humble opinion, did indeed do far better with LOTR than Disney did with its butchery of Chronicles of Narnia.
    Yes, it is possible to ‘read the book and enjoy the film’ just do not check ones brain at the door 🙂
    Remember how Hollyweird butchers the ‘Christian’ movies/message, Exodus being the latest in a long line…….

  6. Well, it’s December 29th and I’ve finally seen The Battle of Five Armies.
    As far as purists are concerned, and I respect them, the liberties taken did not offend me. This movie satisfied my need for a conclusion to The Hobbit and a full thread of connections to Lord of the Rings. My thanks to Peter Jackson and the thousands who worked so long and hard to do justice to this great piece of literature. And my thanks to God, for creating a JRR Tolkien.


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