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Some Silmarillion debunking

Simon616
Registered User

Dec 22 2012, 1:20am

Post #1 of 8 (666 views)
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Some Silmarillion debunking Can't Post

I want to address the ridiculous notion that just because PJ’s Lord of the Rings series has been financially successful and The Hobbit so far looks to be financially successful, it’s time to make movies out of everything else Professor Tolkien wrote, including The Silmarillion.

Professor Tolkien sold the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings because he needed the money. He turned down several film treatments because he found them ridiculous and not at all in the spirit in which he wrote the books. That is the reason Saul Zaentz and Ralph Bakshi were able to make their incomplete 1978 version, and why Rankin-Bass made children’s cartoons out of The Hobbit and The Return of the King. PJ made a version that worked financially (though the risk was very high) and was also an artistic, critical and fanboy success. His LotR movies are among my favourites of all-time.

The Tolkien Estate owns the rights to everything else. It’s either that they want to protect the Professor’s works from an artistic and scholarly standpoint, or that they don’t think the financial reward will be all that high. I think the latter will prove to be the right reason. I don’t think a smart studio would make a movie based on the Silmarillion:

-Pitch The Silmarillion to a film executive who can authorize the 100+ million dollars it will take to create and film all the epic battles and brand new sets, costumes, designs, special effects, etc. for the First Age (and before!). PJ’s Lord of the Rings series ended in 2004 with the release of The Return of the King expanded edition, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is “unfinished business” that has been rumoured for more than a decade (fan trailers for The Hobbit appeared the day after The Fellowship of the Ring was declared a success at the box office.) A movie executive who sees the forest for the trees will tell you Tolkien is out. That film executive would be right.

-Explain The Silmarillion to your average theatre film-goer (and there are less of them.) The Lord of the Rings is still readable as a fantasy novel even if a lot of people find it boring, too long and “old-timey” in parts. Even Christopher Tolkien admits The Silmarillion is unreadable without a lot of thoughtfulness as to the meaning of its content. It’s rough even for scholarly Tolkien fans.

-Try mass-paperbacking The Silmarillion on convenience-store shelves and iTunes in ten years! No one will care.

-Most importantly: other film and book series (Harry Potter, Twilight, The Dark Knight etc.) have captured the imagination and youth of a lot of people who will be in positions of power in the entertainment industry when The Silmarillion comes up in the queue for the green light. They won’t be attracted to a 100+ year old mythology of a linguistics professor whose main work has already been successfully adapted.

-So pare it down to the story of Beren and Lúthien. You could pitch it as Titanic, Twilight and PJ’s The Return of the King in one movie. Financial grand slam, right? But what is a Silmaril? Why is everything in Middle-earth named differently? Where are the Hobbits? Where is Gandalf? Where are the big battle sequences? Why should anyone but a handful of Tolkien fans on a message board care?

Anything can be tried once in the movie business, but The Silmarillion would be a failure.


geordie
Tol Eressea

Dec 22 2012, 11:42am

Post #2 of 8 (344 views)
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While I agree with a lot of what you say [In reply to] Can't Post

 - I do have one or two quibbles. Smile You wrote:

"Professor Tolkien sold the film rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings because he needed the money. . >snip<

..The Tolkien Estate owns the rights to everything else. It�s either that they want to protect the Professor�s works from an artistic and scholarly standpoint, or that they don�t think the financial reward will be all that high. I think the latter will prove to be the right reason.
"

I don't agree - the mission of the Tolkien Estate is precisely that; to protect the integrity of the author's works. From tha FAQ page of the Estate's website:

"Can I / someone else write / complete / develop my / their own version of one of these unfinished tales ? (or any others)

The simple answer is NO.

You are of course free to do whatever you like for your own private enjoyment, but there is no question of any commercial exploitation of this form of "fan-fiction".

Also, in these days of the Internet, and privately produced collectors’ items for sale on eBay, we must make it as clear as possible that the Tolkien Estate never has, and never will authorize the commercialisation or distribution of any works of this type.

The Estate exists to defend the integrity of J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings. Christopher Tolkien's work as his father’s literary executor has always been to publish as faithfully and honestly as possible his father's completed and uncompleted works, without adaptation or embellishment."

You also wrote:

"-Explain The Silmarillion to your average theatre film-goer (and there are less of them.) The Lord of the Rings is still readable as a fantasy novel even if a lot of people find it boring, too long and �old-timey� in parts. Even Christopher Tolkien admits The Silmarillion is unreadable without a lot of thoughtfulness as to the meaning of its content. It�s rough even for scholarly Tolkien fans. -Try mass-paperbacking The Silmarillion on convenience-store shelves and iTunes in ten years! No one will care."


Well from my point of view Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is a beautiful piece of work; it's my favourite story of all time. If others find it boring or over-long, I guess it's not the book for them. Smile

As for what you say are Christopher's remarks - (can't say I remember him saying it quite in those terms, off the top of my head, but never mind) - I think it's reasonable for a reader to enjoy The Silmarillion with some degree of thoughtfulness. Same goes for any other work of fiction, really. I don't think it's necessary to be a Tolkien scholar to enjoy Tolkien's works (even his academic output is very readable for a non-academic like me) - and what LotR boils down to is a cracking good yarn, accessible to anyone. In my opinion.

Welcome to ToRn, by the way - I enjoy reading your posts so far, and I hope you enjoy your time here.

Smile



(This post was edited by geordie on Dec 22 2012, 11:44am)


dormouse
Half-elven


Dec 22 2012, 11:23pm

Post #3 of 8 (307 views)
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Er.... [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree that The Silmarillion isn't suited to film adaptation even if the Tolkien Estates would allow it, but unreadable? No. It most certainly isn't unreadable. I've loved it since it was first published and often go back to it, and I'm not the only one.

It may not be everyone's taste, nothing is, but it's an extraordinary work of imagination.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 23 2012, 2:32am

Post #4 of 8 (279 views)
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I couldn't agree more, dormouse [In reply to] Can't Post

The Silmarillion isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it certainly is mine. The text is beautiful and imaginative, and the stories are brilliant, and the language is so evocative.

Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima! Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!


macfalk
Valinor


Dec 23 2012, 10:10am

Post #5 of 8 (289 views)
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I agree with you on one thing [In reply to] Can't Post

The mass appeal of The Silmarillion just isn't there. I'm willing to bet that less than 5-10% of all those who read The Hobbit and/or LOTR has not got through The Silmarillion. It would probably not be a good investment to turn it into a movie.

TS as a tv-series, however, could be possible.



The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.


Hun200kmh
The Shire


Dec 24 2012, 12:31pm

Post #6 of 8 (285 views)
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One can dream of many movies, the Sil is too big for one [In reply to] Can't Post

Although i get goosebumps just be reading all the names as they appear in this fan-made "trailer".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT9UcZPT2DU

Epicness. And I'll probably never see a movie that does justice to all (or any) these stories.


(This post was edited by Hun200kmh on Dec 24 2012, 12:32pm)


vexx801
Rivendell

Dec 30 2012, 1:28am

Post #7 of 8 (180 views)
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Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

I've thought for a while that The Simarillion could work as a big budget mini-series on television, even if it's only some of the bigger stories.


Loresilme
Valinor


Dec 30 2012, 2:40am

Post #8 of 8 (192 views)
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I'm not quite sure what you're saying [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you saying that the idea of making films of the Silmarillion is 'ridiculous' because no one would go watch it? Or because no studio will bankroll it? Or because it is in some way unfilmable? I'm just not sure what you mean. I think all of the above statements were said about LOTR and The Hobbit and all were proven to not be true. But I wonder what you meant - would you like to see the films made, or not? I would love to see the Silmarillion made into films. I don't think anything is unfilmable in the hands of the right creative team and I think people will always be interested in seeing epic-style films especially if they are done well :).

 
 

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