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Some Silmarillion debunking

Simon616
Registered User

Dec 22 2012, 1:20am


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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.

Subject User Time
Some Silmarillion debunking Simon616 Send a private message to Simon616 Dec 22 2012, 1:20am
    While I agree with a lot of what you say geordie Send a private message to geordie Dec 22 2012, 11:42am
    Er.... dormouse Send a private message to dormouse Dec 22 2012, 11:23pm
        I couldn't agree more, dormouse Ardamírë Send a private message to Ardamírë Dec 23 2012, 2:32am
    I agree with you on one thing macfalk Send a private message to macfalk Dec 23 2012, 10:10am
        One can dream of many movies, the Sil is too big for one Hun200kmh Send a private message to Hun200kmh Dec 24 2012, 12:31pm
        Agreed vexx801 Send a private message to vexx801 Dec 30 2012, 1:28am
    I'm not quite sure what you're saying Loresilme Send a private message to Loresilme Dec 30 2012, 2:40am

 
 
 

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