I thought this interview deserved a thread of its own, as some might not be aware of it otherwise. Christopher Tolkien actually speaks out about Jackson's films, which I must admit I never expected. So far it all appears legitimate, and an English translation (with link to the French source) can be found here...
Thread: Interview with C. Tolkien
Thank you Galin.
I am a former women's editor of a city morning newspaper and, in my opinion, unless Sedulia has an incredible amount of monies and unless she retains a lawyer who would receive six figures from her at least, the article is genuine on the whole. The tiny details i don't know about. But it seems alright. I feel depressed for Christopher. But there is nothing he can do except pray every one who views the movie will move on to the real thing, read the books and pass on the wonder of them to others.
That is one way of looking at it. But another way is the fact that the Tolkiens owe Peter Jackson nothing, nor his production company. Without any monies coming from that arena they are well to do. It is about integrity and honoring the genius of the man , honoring his thoughts and principles, his meaning to the body of work. This family is an academic family and the words, who said them, the meanings, all this and much more tie the stories to his father, to their father, grandfather, so on.
It matters not how cool the movies are, how awesome, how successful. Who cares, if the original work is tampered with and the deep meaning, the grief and sorrow, the treatment of each and every thing is not as his father would have wished. That is a deep and everlasting sorrow to them.
I just finished a story for children, and held back from sending to the publishing house because I was loathe for their inhouse artists to touch my book. No way, because only I from my mind know how the characters should look, and it has been my experience that rarely happens. So I am creating them, first by modelling and then from that to the finished water colors. i would feel absolutely ill and upset to give the story into the hands of anyone that did not honor how I wanted my characters portrayed.
It is irrelevant to me and obviously to Christopher what Peter has or has not done. I respect your thoughts and feelings and millions would join you. But I also honor the feelings of Christopher and do not hold anything against him, even to monies asked for . But for his father, Peter would have nothing, nada. He of course would be great at what h e does, but he would not have had this notoriety without the years and years long hard exacting work of a genius this world will be hard pressed to see the like of again anytime soon
Just read the article and I'm so annoyed at Christopher. I am a huge fan of both the books and the films and I think the films are fantastic. I could not have visualized the story better and considering what an incredibly difficult task it was in the first place, I think the Tolkien estate should be very proud of both the amount of work and passion put into the movies.
Well, no matter the amount of work or passion of the filmmakers, Christopher Tolkien is entitled to his opinion of the result.
it seems clear to me that Christopher is just down right bitter about the absence of a royalties clause in the original contract.
Is there a part of this interview that makes it clear to you that the problem is about royalties?
the movies have done wonders for expanding the awareness of the wonderful world that jrr has created and allowing the whole world to see what the books and stories have to offer.
But we can't know how many people will not read the books because they've seen the films, or how many will not like the books because they expected something more like the films.
And the books were selling fine before Peter Jackson came along in any case. Christopher Tolkien is under no constraint to praise the films for advertising, especially given his opinion of them with respect to representing his father's work.
Every person pictures the world and the events that we read in books differently as our imagination knows no bounds, jrr has taught us to let our minds take us to whole new levels of discovery and adventure, why can't peter jackson, john howe and alan lee show us what the world of tolkien looks like to them?
They can; and Christopher Tolkien never said they couldn't of course.
isn't it obvious that the movies have enchanced our love for the works of Tolkien and made us want to know more and read even the smallest footnote of his long lost letters to just know more!
No it isn't obvious when you use the word 'our'
I understand that it must be frustrating for the tolkien estate to have little or no control in the storylines of these movies and obviously annoying to not receive money that I agree should rightly go to the future generations of the family but I say if they got behind the production company and jackson, they could work together to ensure jrr's legacy and philosophical msg is kept intact.
The Estate has no control over the content of the films, so they have no power to ensure anything.
Christopher should also have faith that the writers and jackson understand the responsibility that they have to the fans of tolkiens works to ensure the stories are as accurate as possible.
Why should he have faith when, from his perspective, the films already in existence are far from being as 'accurate as possible'?
If things are changed its only to allow for a more enjoyable watch for a larger audience demographic.
There are very many changes concerned here, large and small, including Jackson's own additions; and whether a given change was necessary because of the medium of film, or for any other reason, is up for debate.
The true fans of tolkien know the true events and it doesn't depress me to see that there are going to be more woman in the hobbit than there was in the books! So what! Its hardly like they are replacing gollum with a stunning blonde in a bikini who seduces bilbo with her surprisingly good underground tan!
What about something like tossing in a stunning Elf woman to add a love interest 'to allow for a more enjoyable watch for a larger audience demographic'. Seems like Hollywood to me.
I'm sorry to speak ill of Christopher, I'm only going by what he's said in this interview and I think he has taken a stubborn and closed minded view of the big picture surrounding the movies and I just hope its not because of the animosity between the estate and the corporation over royalties.
I think he's giving his honest opinion of the films, among other things.
Brego wrote: I feel sorry for CT and his family if the "selected" and seemingly simplistic interview is a true rendering of the interview.
That's a huge if Brego. I see no reason yet to think Christopher Tolkien is unhappy with the way the interview is presented in print.
I would like to see a proper interview, done in English to see what he really feels.
This interview is all over the web and I've yet to see anyone stating that the original French has been so distorted in English as to make light appear as darkness.
I stand by my earlier post regarding the negativity towards all forms of media and medium.
And I'll note that Christopher Tolkien specifically points out the Jackson films here, so one can't just claim he thinks they are unfaithful by merely being part of a greater 'media animal'.
And earlier it was your stance that you don't believe Christopher Tolkien had actually seen the films, but that he still chose to criticize them in public -- have you abandoned that suggestion Brego?
Why would a person who feels so betrayed, continue to publish books to add the the fame and commercialism of his Fathers great legacy? Something about this interview just doesn't ring true to me.
There's a big difference between JRR Tolkien's actual works, works of true scholarship and insight form the artist himself -- compared to the products of filmmakers (not just Jackson) and video game makers and so on -- and the fact that one can characterize both things as being 'commercial' or as bringing more fame to Tolkien himself in some measure, doesn't change that.
CJRT is about putting the true genius of JRR Tolkien on bookshelves. He has little control (outside of copyright violations) over what movie directors or game makers might produce with Tolkien's name on it, but I am thankful that he chooses to continue to publish Tolkien for all those who wish to find him.
I hope that Christopher Tolkien will continue publishing his father's work, despite (it seems likely enough to me) that millions will go to cinemas and leave The Lay of Sigurd and Gudrun, for example, relatively unnoticed.
Brego wrote: And I stand by my earlier stance regarding CT having not seen the films. Having had experience in Spin and Editing I rarely believe all of what I read online or in print as for every word that makes it to the page there are usually one hundred spoken. If I'm wrong then so be it.
Noted Tolkien scholar Carl F. Hostetter, who knows Christopher Tolkien, revealed that he (Christopher Tolkien) had seen the first film and hated it, adding that Christopher Tolkien's criticisms of the film were quite detailed and lengthy -- but that he (CFH) would not reveal those criticisms.
See thread 'Christopher Tolkien and Family' in the google group archives for rec.arts.books.tolkien August 2002 (before the second film was released). Of course I already know that Jackson fans can simply not believe CFH in any case.
As for me, so far I see no reason to doubt that CJRT has seen the films. And I have yet to see anyone else characterize this article the way you have Brego. As far as the reactions I have read to date anyway, some Jackson fans are not unexpectedly disagreeing with Christopher Tolkien's opinion of the films, not doubting that he has seem them however.
But as I said there are a number of reasons that I believe that this interview is heavily edited, badly translated and poorly structured.
Well, feel free to translate the passage about Jackson and the films (the original French is available), and post the result here. This part (translated as in the link): '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 15 to 25," Christopher says regretfully. "And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film." ...
. "And it adaptedy adapted, the Tolkien family were delightThink about it, if you were granted a very rare interview with CT would you simply dwell on the brief and negative or perhaps delve into a mind closest related to the Tolkien vault of works and memory?
But you can't know that this much necessarily equals heavy editing. Should we assume that Rerolle is a huge Tolkien fan and necessarily cared about picking Christopher Tolkien's brain in general?
One could equally assume that Rerolle found an 'angle' that might arguably interest people who haven't even read the books; and maybe had a limited word count to work with, and chose to go with that angle.
Or some editor 'strongly suggested' that this be the focus of the article.
Or maybe Rerolle was granted a brief interview from the start, and given that the first Hobbit movie was drawing near enough...
Or just for another possibility: for all we know so far, CJRT wanted to express himself about this very subject and that's why he granted a brief interview.
Yes Brego if I were granted an interview with CJRT I would want many hours to question him about anything under Anor; and I would want to print all of it. Doesn't mean someone else would. Doesn't mean someone else would be granted that kind of time or access, or even the space to print such an interview.
Moreover, heavily edited does not automatically equal distorted, even if your 'heavily edited' is true.
Brego wrote: That's all true Galin except I'm talking about 1 interview which to me after reading it a number of times does seem distorted.
Above you said you had a 'number of reasons' that you think this interview is heavily edited (not distorted). You gave one reason -- I countered that you are making an assumption, and gave other equally possible scenarios that would result in this interview not being heavily edited -- and here you agree that everything I noted regarding that much is true.
So what are the reasons it seems distorted to you Brego, with respect to CJRT seeing the films? And even slanted in the sense of focusing on how much the commercialism has negatively affected Christopher Tolkien is distinct from your rather specific claim here.
And regarding that, I note you've made no comment about Carl Hostetter's revelation.
You cannot be so naive to think that interviews are not slanted during editing, I know they usually are because I have edited them Myself and have many friends and associates who work in the media industry.
And where do I say that interviews in general are never slanted? I don't of course; and I assume you agree that we can't just act as if this general, mutually agreed upon 'sometimes they are' is actual proof of this interview being distorted in the specific way you are claiming.
All I am saying is that the whole thing is sad.
But that isn't 'all' you were saying.
If that is all you are now saying, then I agree that it's sad for CJRT in some measure. I'll bet publishing his father's work is a counter to that, although I'm only guessing; but after all, he is not responsible for what other people have produced with JRR Tolkien's name on it.
I would like to ask him how he feels about millions of young people who have come to love the films and for some of them the books, who would never have heard of the message of love and knowledge of the evils of Dictatorship and of disrespecting nature which when it boils down to it both books and films are all all about.
In my opinion that's basically the 'advertising argument' again (injected with your opinion about the books and films). See my response to that above.
I understand that for people like you who obviously hate the films and all they stand for his is hard to understand,...
For the record I have never posted here (or anywhere) that I 'hate the films and all they stand for'.
Please refrain from putting words in my mouth Brego
Again, what about Carl Hostetter's revelation?
I consider that so far we have two arguably reliable sources that either directly state or very strongly imply that Christopher Tolkien has seen the films and dislikes them.
And I don't think that's hard to believe, as plenty of people agree with him.
For me, what was hard to believe was that Christopher Tolkien 'disowned' his own son over films based on The Lord of the Rings -- according to a news article that was later publicly corrected by Christopher Tolkien, and Simon Tolkien as well.
. . . . Here's what I
Correct Galin, as I mentioned I'm not going to debate you about it. Why? To what end. You won't convince me that CT is so bitter and twisted and I certainly don't care that seemingly you think he is.
I'm not trying to convince you of that Brego. Nor do I think CJRT is 'bitter and twisted' in the first place.
But again, what reasons do you have to think this interview so distorts things that it only looks like CJRT has seen the films -- but you think he really hasn't -- and will you comment about CFH's revelation?
Re CT disowning his Son. Again sad, but Is this not based on media reports and or interviews which were probably slanted and or devised to create drama? I just don't by into it.
As I said Brego, we can already agree that not every news story is necessarily true -- and such generalization tells me nothing about this interview however.
Galin, it would seem that you are indeed trying to change my opinion, you always do, and it always seems to be in a book v film scenario.
No, once again Brego I'm simply asking you to give reasons for your opinions. One reason you already gave concerned your belief that the interview was 'heavily edited'.
But one can edit an article, even heavily, without distorting the truth of what remains. And even the reason you gave above is but one possibility among several other possibilities -- other possibilities that could just as easily speak to the interview not being heavily edited, as you admitted.
You are welcome to your opinion that CJRT hasn't seen the films of course, but please tell us what more it is based on, given the evidence here. And incidentally, what I 'always' do or do not 'always' do can be found in the threads rather than your characterization above.
And let me perhaps clarify. It seems there are people out there, both media and scholastic who just love to put the boot in, on behalf of CT. If he honestly feels this way perhaps her should release a comprehensive letter, as his great Father did and clarify.
Or simply give an interview about it.
Then we wouldnt need to troll through supposed authentic quotes and thoughts brought to us by third parties, one of which you mentioned earlier.
So, is this an indirect way to say that you don't believe Carl Hostetter, as well as believing that Rerolle 'spun' the article to make it look like Christopher Tolkien has seen the films?
If he has it must be a different film that we all saw, as TFOTR movie hardly contains any fighting or battle, as he supposedly hated so much. In fact there is less than in the book. No Gandalf v Nasgul or Elves v Orcs in Lorien. In fact all 3 books contain more fighting than in the films. So CTs supposed quote that the movies are all action and war to titillate youth is simplify wrong.
Not that 'we' all saw Brego. And a discussion about whether or not you are correct compared to Christopher Tolkien's opinion could merit and entire thread of its own, or a notable sub-thread here...
... but one thing at a time
As you have now responded, in some measure at least, to the comments by Carl F. Hostetter (with your 'thoughts brought to us by third parties' comment), let's be clear here...
... do you think that this noted Tolkien scholar, who knows Christopher Tolkien, has revealed a falsehood? And if so why.
Each person has his or own thought, some of it comes from our position on the rights of the author -the one who alone created this world and all the years of thought and feelings and beliefs that went into it, some think only of the story come alive by another creative genius. Some could care less about either , they go if they feel like it on that particular day and some go and enjoy it and afterward forget it, think of it as only a form of entertainment they chose .
Be reminded though that this is a forum based on appreciation for the man JRR Tolkien, all he went thru to bring his canon into being, and loyalty to him, not some one else, not Peter or Fran or the man next door Jrr is the hero on this forum, he matters, not someone who chose to adapt something to his genius and receive a great amount of hero worship over it and a ton of money.
I propose that if there could have been six such production companies with the equal amount of monies, choices of location and if one of those companies had decided, just as the director and company of A Man for All Seasons starring Paul Scofield, if such a person had basically worked it out so the right things were done as in the book, the right words attributed to the right characters- in other wards a faithful , utterly faithful rendition, well then the world could have watched all six and decided for themselves which truly honored Tolkien. But the world has one fellow with the money and opportunities and so , with nothing to stand side by side , this is it.
And, because Peter chose, for whatever reasons financial and timewise to hack and have entire situations that did not even exist in the books, such as the enmity between Theoden and Gondor, when in fact they had previously covenanted with one another in admiration and love, because he did this he has genuinely hurt people that cannot bear, on behalf of the professor this sort of libertine behaviour.
And you have on the other side those that think the author would have been pleased and besides Peter did better at portraying certain things than did JRR. This causes people to take sides, and hurt feelings and ridicule and meanness of spirit are born out of this. A no win situation.
Therefore, since children read this and need to see we adults speak out of sincerity but with gentleness and respect for one another, I appeal to you both to not take shots about what you each think is the motive of the other in saying a thing. This is not in the spirit of this site. And it will surely cause divisions and hurt feelings. Let this site at least be a safe and calm and peaceful place where we can say just how we feel but restrain ourselves from slinging shots at one another. Please, you are both so dear , please don't.
My latest question was and is a simple one...
... Brego, do you believe Carl F. Hostetter here, or not? And if not why not?
Thank you dear Brego. And Galin? Could I have a yes from you also please? In Quenya if you don't want everybody listening in.
Leelee, when I joined I agreed to post within the rules as expressed in 'Website help'. There's nothing negative intended with this response, but I'm a bit wary when it comes to the subject of posting restrictions in general, and here it includes opinions about what might or might not constitute taking a shot at someone.
I'm not exactly sure just what I would be agreeing to from your perspective, at least not yet with respect to measure for instance. Thankfully I'm no moderator in any case; I don't envy the job.
As a possibly interesting aside: depending upon what year it was, Tolkien imagined the same word to mean both 'yes' and 'no' in Quenya. For the details see Vinyar Tengwar number 42, Negation in Quenya by Bill Weldon.
Thus Quenya lá ... ... 'yes' or 'no'... could itself have been confusing
I am talking about the spirit of our posts dear. I am talkiing about not in any way belittling another while trying to get our own thoughts represented in a post. I think you and Brego are highly intelligent and good people. I also think you have something against one another , however small, that comes across in the threads as more than enjoyable rivalry, and that is not acceptable. Go head to toe the two of you if you like, Grondy did , but in a way that respects the other and stimulates others to behave in a similar good way when in the midst of debate.
Oh by the way , I regret that I cannot usually answer on the chat thingy, it simply erases what you have written the moment I click to participate. You can message me though.
Brego wrote: Agreed of course Leelee. I tried to message you to apologise but it seems something is wrong with messaging here. I'm sure that we, Galin and I, will now adhere to the rules and more importantly the tone and harmony of PT.
Brego, why have you chosen to include me here? with the arguable suggestion that I am not adhering to the rules or the tone and harmony of Planet Tolkien. You need not have included me in your response.
Anyway, I would not agree that I've been belittling you by challenging your opinion with civil debate, or by asking you to comment on relevant evidence. You've noted that you don't have to answer my questions -- and you're right you don't of course, but questions give you the chance to explain yourself in your own words.
I don't necessarily agree that a given something you posted belittled me either. Nor would I agree that my posts in response to you are essentially different from my response to Laguna above, for example [in response to part of Leelee's statement above 'I also think you have something against one another, however small...'].
And Leelee does not have to agree with me either of course (nor any moderator), and I have no problem with that; all I ask is to be made aware if a moderator edits my posts for instance, or whatever.
I don't find actual debate boring, even if it goes on for a while (which can allow different points to surface), and debate in and of itself is certainly not disruptive nor unpeaceful in my opinion.
I can link to any number of sites where good, civil debate goes on for page after page -- sometimes many pages. Happens every day, all over the web.
Well maybe not 'every' day but enough of 'em
Well maybe not 'every day
In this medium we can't hear tone (the intended tone), nor see the person writing the post; and for example, certain short statements might seem abrasive to some simply because they are short, when they are merely meant to be short and concise: a short statement arguably sometimes makes a better point than a long explanation.
I even edited the smiley face with the tongue sticking out too (in an earlier post). But then again, why do we have it?
When I posted it it was meant in the spirit of fun (to my mind it's sort of a fun smiley when there is disagreement about something, and I think it shows that there is no real aggression meant), but I can't possibly predict how every young person might interpret it, or how a given moderator will interpret it with respect to the family friendly policy.
There's a point in there somewhere
Debating is healthy when done properly, with constructive arguments and conducted in a civil manner. The majority of the above posts in this thread were conducted in such a manner with no cause for alarm. Sometimes, though, if one person is continually "quoting" another person, it can appear more like picking on someone rather than debating with them. I know quotes are used to highlight portions of text that are about to be debated or argued, but I know if someone quoted numerous sections out of something I had said or written, I might feel threatened. I frequently get this happening to me at work where members of the fishing industry that I manage selectively quote, or more frequently misquote, things I have said or written. Generally in my case, however, these are not usually conducted in a civil manner and are frequently accompanied with personal insults and occasionally threats.
I won't try to presume why Leelee felt the need the need to "calm" this debate a little, but I was monitoring it closely myself too to ensure nobody felt they were being picked on. No one is in trouble, no rules have been broken. I think Leelee just applied a few preventative measures to ensure it didn't escalate. In my experience, a few well timed preventative measures are a lot better than having to deal with something that has got out of hand.
Leelee asked for an agreement to keep things friendly, a check maybe that everyone involved was still happy with the "rules of engagement". Boxers touch gloves at the start of fight before they go on to batter each other half to death. It is a sign of mutual respect for each other and for the rules under which they are fighting. Those rules make the fight safer for both combatants. In a way Leelee just asked Brego and Galin to touch gloves. Just to take a slight breather and make sure nothing got out of hand. My respects to Brego for accepting Leelee's request with good grace. Galin, I accept you feel you have done nothing wrong within the rules, so feel reluctant for the need to apologize. I respect that decision too. Within the rules nothing has been done wrong. Like I said at the start a good constructive debate is healthy. I just ask you be aware that continually quoting someone can be intimidating.
Please, gentlemen, continue.
Thank you Val... well said all around! And I actually wasn't sure if Leelee meant only in future posts or not.
As for my style of quoting, I do it to keep things distinct and specific, and I feel it it easier for a potential reader too (if any). I don't mean it to be aggressive, and I certainly do not intend to misrepresent others.
I will keep in mind what you say about quoting, in any case.
Anyway, onward, yes.
Thank you Val. I must not have made the point clearly enough. I was not referring to simply this thread, but to all the threads the two dear gentlemen have sparred in. And to be honest, the little ones, the younger ones, some as young as twelve and thirteen don't like to think there is even a hint of antagonism thinly veiled in conversations. Some have hard lives, some sad lives with bickering and needling and they come here to be part of a gallant and epic group of Elves, dwarves, men, and others to sort of role play but in a wonderful way. They look to us , the older ones as mentors and comforters and such and some feel they don't wish to come back if we are not all getting along and just having great fun sharing and differing and learning. It is for them that I ask for a right spirit. No one needs correct another except in the gentlest and kindest way. This is after all , not our real lives, with the some times tumultuous and sad issues faced daily. This is simply a site that offers a chance to share about a beloved author of a magnificent body of work. There need be no reason to get annoyed or fed up , nor the need to have our personal point accepted as the only answer. We can just be friends and learn and share and ......enough said. I feel sad right now. Perhaps I shall let Val, who is much wiser keep guard over these particular threads and I shall not even look at them, nor hopefully others that have concerns at times. Perhaps that would end the worry right there.
I'm going to respond in a bit more length to something Brego posted earlier. First I would just like to make sure we keep things distinct here: Carl Hostetter reported that Christopher Tolkien saw the first film and had criticisms as to why he did not like this particular film.
We do not know what these criticisms are; in other words, there is nothing about fighting or action or anything with respect to a summation of the first film, but only that the criticisms were enough to be called lengthy and detailed.
It may very well be that Christopher Tolkien might sum up only the first film using the same words as found in the Le Monde interview, but the point is that we don't know that really. If anyone is going to criticize his comments, I think we should keep this distinction in mind.
Hmm, a notable part of my last post has vanished.
It was some sort of computer glitch as I made an edit, but since it was already posted shouldn't the last version remain even if an edit didn't go through? I edited it a lot, but it was long and I was niggling with stuff to get it right.
Anyway it took me a while too! especially the quote from Tolkien On Film. I'll try again later, but the post above was only the first part.
I know nothing of this Galin and so I leave it to Val to sort things out.
Thanks Leeleee. I was just wondering if the lost part was still 'there' (somewhere) and could maybe be retrieved by a moderator. It was some sort of technical glitch: I edited, the edit didn't go through, but when I came back the original post was cut, mid-sentence (but I fixed that).
Anyway, the easiest thing to do is probably just type it out again when I find the time. No big deal. I'll do a shorter version too.
Brego wrote: If he has it must be a different film that we all saw, as TFOTR movie hardly contains any fighting or battle, as he supposedly hated so much. In fact there is less than in the book. No Gandalf v Nasgul or Elves v Orcs in Lorien.
As I say above, we should keep in mind that we don't have Chistopher Tolkien's lengthy criticism or summation of the first film. The Le Monde statement appears to refer to all three films. It may be that Christopher Tolkien would say the same thing about the first film alone, but we don't know that for sure.
With respect to the Nazgul and Lorien examples here, I think they are instances of Tolkien not focusing on battles in any case.
The first battle is not experienced 'firsthand', so to speak, by the reader, and is only a very brief reference from Gandalf as he recounts his adventures to the Council. However Peter Jackson took another brief reference from Gandalf here and chose to film it as a fight: his invented wizard duel; which was not a brief struggle in the films in my opinion.
The Orc reference is more immediate yet still 'off stage'. Tolkien has the Orcs pass by, and it's noted that they will be dealt with. And later in the chapter Haldir merely relates the news of a battle.
A couple of examples come to mind: compare Tolkien's treatment (in Moria) of the scene where the Orc-chieftain stabs Frodo -- to Jackson's treatment of this whole scene in the chamber.
Or compare (book versus film) the confrontation with the orcs after Boromir tries to take the One from Frodo. Actually I have a further argument about the book experience versus the film experience here with respect to violence, but as this post is long I won't go into that for now.
Not that these are the only examples that could be raised, but jumping ahead…
Brego wrote: In fact all 3 books contain more fighting than in the films. So CTs supposed quote that the movies are all action and war to titillate youth is simplify wrong.
The following is from a film review by Richard A. Zwelling. I note that this is from a favorable review, and I can link to the page if anyone wants (if the whole thing is family friendly).
Having now finished reading The Two Towers, it is clear to me that the film diverts much more from its source material than did The Fellowship. The Helm's Deep battle sequence, which occupies less than twenty pages of Tolkien's 300-plus page novel, is transformed into the titanic centerpiece of the film, a monumental struggle against seemingly impossible odds that occupies close to one-fourth of the film as a whole.
Richard seems to approve of this. I won't quibble with that opinion, but even if this statement is more of an impression than fact, the relative disparity is notable (not to mention the warg fight for instance). Again, I can't say this is factually true without doing a lot of work that I don't want to do, but I would agree that this battle is overlong, even to the verge of boring (for me).
[I also think there was too much 'camera moving' here, something too many directors seem to be doing these days. Kill Bill, a purposely violent film in any case, seems to have put a lot more thought into fight choreography for example, in my opinion]
That much said, I don't intend to do a 'full' analysis here. It would take hours of watching the films again, and considerable time to write up a critical comparison.
Plus I'm not getting paid
But the point here is also that Christopher Tolkien's opinion does not appear to be new or unique, when one considers whether holding such an opinion necessarily means that he hasn't seen the films.
Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger was asked to comment on Peter Jackson's Fellowship of The Ring. She answered:
I didn't like it. But then, it wasn't aimed at me. It was aimed at the generations who've grown up on Star Wars and hunger for more and more action and greater and greater special effects. Jackson has turned an extremely sophisticated, complex and subtle -- and very long -- story into an action movie that I think satisfies the audience for whom he made it.
Of course she went on a little after this, but this summation is not unlike Christopher Tolkien's in my opinion, and it's relatively brief as well.
The following is from David Bratman from his essay published in the book Tolkien On Film. I have edited it for brevity and to focus on certain parts. I don't think I've altered anything concerning the matter under discussion (with respect to context), and certainly don't intend to, but I have added some paragraph breaks of my own for an arguably easier (visual) read.
His [Peter Jackson] excision of Tolkien's moral fiber and nobility was so unnecessary: only small changes -- or, more accurately, lack of changes -- would have made all the difference. […]
Much of the set design is absolutely beautiful. […] But the tone and style bear almost no relationship to the book I have read and loved. The films are about war tactics: the novel is about moral issues that transcend the details of the war. The films dwell intensely on images of evil: the novel focuses lovingly on the Elves and Hobbits, giving attention to the beautiful things, and the homely pleasures, […]
They're good films. They just aren't The Lord of the Rings, and that's true far beyond the extent to which no film is the book from which it's made.
[David then refers to Tolkien's comments about a film scenario of 1958 which include how things in that treatment have flattened out the tale. David continues.]
In The Fellowship of the Ring alone, think of the violent attacks by the Ringwraiths in the Shire, instead of their being left a vague menace, and the onscreen appearance of their attack in Bree, which flatten out their later real attack on Weathertop […] And most of all, think of that completely and utterly superfluous and time-wasting falling bridge immediately before the bridge of Khazad-dum. What was Jackson thinking? This even fails on the level of film as film […]
As for fights, the films' battle scenes go on and on, while the stays in Rivendell and Lorien are scanted: the novel depicts the battles briefly and in a detached style (as described by Matthew T. Dickerson in the first chapter of his book Following Gandalf), leaving whole chapters for the beauties of the Elven lands, which despite their lack of 'action' are many readers' favorites.
The book is more than its plot, and far more than its action scenes. As Elizabeth R. Milner wrote, 'The crux of the matter to me is that The Lord of the Rings is an action adventure in the same way that the Bible is a book about sex.' Jackson doesn't agree with this.
[…] If a film has time for only, say, 10 percent of a book, Jackson chose his 10 percent almost entirely from a 20 percent selection of the original, ignoring everything that was in the other 80 percent.
David Bratman, Summa Jacksonica, Tolkien On Film
I know plenty of Jackson fans will disagree with that, or might argue that the mediums are different, hopefully going beyond that mutually agreed upon statement. In any case this is the longer version of my opinion that Christopher Tolkien has seen the films, given the interview in Le Monde along with Carl Hostetter's comments, and given that Christopher Tolkien's opinion does not seem to be unique or new among Unfans of the films.
I especially consider the brevity of his summation, where a measure of simplification can hardly be avoided. No doubt Christopher Tolkien is aware of the action in the books, or could count the battles and fights, or mere references to them, but I would say it's more about relative focus (generally speaking), and I think that given much more to say, Christopher Tolkien could present a compelling argument to back up his brief statement in the interview.
I'm not suggesting that he was forced to be brief, but whatever the circumstances, his particular statement about the films is brief.
I was just wondering if the lost part was still 'there' (somewhere) and could maybe be retrieved by a moderator. It was some sort of technical glitch: I edited, the edit didn't go through, but when I came back the original post was cut, mid-sentence (but I fixed that).
Sorry you lost your post Galin, particularly as it was long and had taken you time to type. It looks as though some glitch had caused the edit to partially happen. I think the first thing that happens in an edit is for the original text to be erased (all of it), and then it is replaced with the new text. In this manner it is similar to over-writing something. If anything happens during that process, the original text will be erased, and replaced with however much had managed to be downloaded before the glitch occurred. Us moderators don't have any tools for recovering lost posts. I think the only way it could be recovered would be if Taz were able to copy it from a previous back-up (and then only if a back-up had been made following the original post). I am unsure how often Taz backs up the database, and whether each back-up erases the previous one.
I see you managed to retype the post I have often had similar things happen to me when posting on various online boards. If I have a long post, I tend to type them out in Word now days and copy them into the dialogue box. That way if anything does go wrong, I still have my text. Years ago I had spent about 6 hours writing a chapter of a novel on an old Amiga. I was saving regularly onto a floppy disk, but as I made a final save the power went off down the street mid-save. That had caused my chapter to be erased from the save disk and only a few lines had re-saved. I remember walking into my garden with a sword and hacking a lilac bush to pieces in frustration before going back in and re-writing the chapter almost word for word from memory.
What about something like tossing in a stunning Elf woman to add a love interest 'to allow for a more enjoyable watch for a larger audience demographic'. Seems like Hollywood to me.
You referring to the mysterious Elven warrior-maiden "Tauriel"? I only discovered this today.
This is a quote from the actress portraying her:
That said, upon reading The Hobbit again, as an adult, I can see why additional characters were needed to round out the story as an adaptation – especially female characters,” she said, “The Hobbit didn’t include female characters at all and was a very linear story, a book for children, really. What Peter, Fran (Walsh) and Philippa (Boyens) have done is all in perfect keeping with Tolkien’s world, while adding a third dimension to an otherwise very two-dimensional story.
I managed a chortle or two. It's a good thing I no longer care about PJ's shenanigans.
Thanks Val. Yes this time I wrote it out elsewhere first. I don't like changing the apostrophes (although I don't know why I don't like how they look sometimes when lifted out of another document), but with a long-ish post it's worth the backup.
Brego wrote: If we were to expect a film to show real time (length of scene in book equals time on film) The battle of Pelenor would have been 10 minutes long and the Council of Elromd would be an hour.
But even if this is true it's not anyone's argument in my opinion.
And I agree that the Council of Elrond is a fairly notable concern with respect to a film adaptation. I don't even disagree with the notion of showing a Gandalf Saruman confrontation in real time, but there was no need for a fight, no drawn out wizard duel, and I think this scene could have been handled in various ways.
This is what Peter Jackson himself said about the fight [edited by me for this site, and hopefully edited in enough measure. My apologies if not].
'I thought it would be funny, and more interesting, to see two old guys just beating the c _ _ p out of each other.'
Thompson Fantasy, Franchises, and Frodo Baggins: The Lord of the Rings as Modern Hollywood
Some fans have argued that he was only joking here, and that's a possibility of course. But so is the argument that he was being purposely irreverent, admitting elsewhere that he used Gimli: 'as my kind of foil to get a bit of irreverent humour out there.'
Compare Jackson's thinking it would be funny to see 'two old guys just beating the crap out of each other'. He was arguably being purposely irreverent, admitting elsewhere that he used Gimli 'as my kind of foil to get a bit of irreverent humour out there.' Compare Jackson's thinking it would be funny to see 'two old guys just beating the crap out of each other'. He was arguably being purposely irreverent, admitting elsewhere that he used Gimli 'as my kind of foil to get a bit of irreverent humour out there.' Compare Jackson's thinking it would be funny to see 'two old guys just beating the crap out of each other'. He was arguably being purposely irreverent, admitting elsewhere that he used Gimli 'as my kind of foil to get a bit of irreverent humour out there.'
Brego wrote: This thread is about an interview with CT. Not about quotes from others on what CT thinks. Not about the words of others at all although very interesting.
Brego, to my mind there is nothing wrong with posting quotes from Tolkien scholars or film reviews to support an opinion. I think they are relevant to the point at hand (if my point), and thus are about something you posted earlier.
Not everything in this thread needs to be about the interview in a very specific sense, and I have no problem with focusing on topics that arise during the course of the discussion. Actually I expected that some might disagree with Christopher Tolkien's comment, and that this could naturally lead to a possibly interesting 'side discussion' in itself.
Of course if someone starts discussing the matter of balrog wings... I might wonder how we got there, for example.
obviousl Carl Hostetter new to the
Thanks for the quote Vir.
And I would love to hear Christopher Tolkien's comment about that
Laguna wrote: it seems clear to me that Christopher is just down right bitter about the absence of a royalties clause in the original contract.
Galin asked: Is there a part of this interview that makes it clear to you that the problem is about royalties?
I meant to get back to this...
... are you sure that the original contract does not include a provision for future profits? In any case the Le Monde article notes:
The frenzy pushed the Tolkien family's lawyers to take another look at their contract, which stipulated that the Tolkien Estate must receive a percentage of the profits if the films were profitable.
And just to add, it has been widely reported that Peter Jackson himself sued New Line Cinema on behalf of Wingnut Films, along with a number of actors; and Saul Zaentz had a dispute with the same company. And technically it was the Tolkien Trust and HarperCollins who took New Line Cinema to court. The Tolkien Trust is a registered charity.
I note too that Carl Hostetter reported Christopher Tolkien's reaction to the first film in August 2002, before the second film was even released. With respect to the ultimate legal action, according to Huff Post (entertainment section):
'Christopher Tolkien, one of the author's trustees, said the lawsuit was regrettable, but the estate is 'glad that this dispute has been settled on satisfactory terms that will allow The Tolkien Trust to properly pursue its charitable objectives.'
It is easily possible that CJRT's comments were made well in advance of any legal issues even arising. It is easily possible that CJRT's comments were made well in advance of any legal is