The END of the Jacksonification of Middle Earth
“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – Thorin Oakenshield, The Hobbit, Chapter 18
I just got back from seeing the last installation of The Hobbit franchise in the theater. I saw it in IMAX 3-D which made it bigger and I saw it on opening day which made it more exciting (I hold that if you are very excited, like nerd excited, about a movie, see it on opening day with the die-hard fans) and the popcorn was pretty fresh which makes all movies a bit better.
Since 2001 when the Fellowship of the Ring came out in theaters… correction… since 1999 when rumors of a film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings began to stir, I happily dove into what would become a new vision of my favorite books from childhood. I won’t trouble you with the hours and hours of fantasizing with friends about what will be in, what would be out, how long Tom Bombadil’s beard would be, etc. Suffice it to say I was in the clutches of whole process.
Now it’s 2014 and I’m looking back at a total of 6 films,
12 hours (with the bells and whistles) for the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and
9 hours (perhaps a bit more once special releases hit shelves) for The Hobbit
That’s 19 hours of my life if you assume I watched each film once, which I have not, neither will I restrict my annual viewings hence.
Peter Jackson and company had to make films out of books. That’s not easy. If a book fits really easily into a film without embellishment then maybe it should have just been a film in the first place. No, in these cases new characters were given expanded (or totally invented) roles, places were interpreted, costumes designed, flags, armor, the braids in horse hair… no stone left unturned.
When you go into that much detail you’re going to make some great choices (the love between Aragorn and Arwen) and some terrible choices (Wizards that telekenese each other off walls and a Galadriel who turns green when she’s delivering dramatic lines?) and no one is going to be completely satisfied.
That said, my whole point here is that I am a die-hard Tolkien fan (books people, BOOKS) but I’ve finally managed to appreciate the new vision and enjoy the storytelling of the Jacksonian era. A time will come in a future age where someone else puts a different stamp on Middle Earth. I’m eager to experience that vision.
image from Google Creative Commons