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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
It's a matter of emphasis and selection

The Shire

Jun 13 2013, 12:51pm

Views: 63
It's a matter of emphasis and selection [In reply to] Can't Post

There are stories that include action and stories that are primarily built around action. If Tolkien were trying to do the latter he probably would not have chosen a main character like Bilbo who doesn't present much physical heroism and is even knocked out for the big battle. I'm not a Tolkien purist or superfan or scholar or whatever but I do admire and enjoy his work. One thing that sets him apart from a sea of generic fantasy epics is how for all his world building when it comes to tell a story he really reigns that stuff in in the service of exploring the inner world of his characters with sophistication and complexity. Reading the Hobbit I can see his choices in selection and emphasis of what he chooses to include and how it's always pointing the reader back to Bilbo as if saying "this is what it is really about! Pay attention! All that physical heroism is admirable but this is equally or even more important." The point is a work of art has a unity, composed deliberately around some focus and the thoughtful and humane unity of Tolkien's stories is a big part of why they stand out for me.

I might point to the Coens' True Grit as an adventure movie that I think captures the weirdness and chance circumstance of the wilderness and focuses more on the actual characters engaged in the journey in a way that I think is truer to Tolkien.

I agree that a book is a different beast than a movie and changes must be made. But so many of the changes Jackson and his crew are making remind me of watching Buddy make himself breakfast in the movie Elf. It's just piling on one piece of sugary candy after another. Much of it feels extraneous, generic, and superficial. At some point I think someone should have said, "OK, now let's tighten this up, put in focus." Instead they just made more room for it by turning this into a trilogy. It has become a creation that is about the extraneous where the story makes accommodation for special effects rather than the other way around.

And honestly, this is a criticism that sits in a more general disappointment I have with Hollywood. To me Tolkien is the sort of artist that serves as a refuge from this stuff. Which is why I'm pretty much quitting after film number one. But as a longtime lurker I thought I might at least offer a quick response.

Subject User Time
The "pointless hollywood blockbuster" argument GiantMushroomBear Send a private message to GiantMushroomBear Jun 12 2013, 1:29pm
    It's a very weak argument frodolives Send a private message to frodolives Jun 12 2013, 1:58pm
    You answer your own question. Captain Salt Send a private message to Captain Salt Jun 12 2013, 3:54pm
        Well... Arannir Send a private message to Arannir Jun 12 2013, 4:00pm
    I reject the premise The Mitch King Send a private message to The Mitch King Jun 12 2013, 5:55pm
    Why can't people have whatever opinion they want? RosieLass Send a private message to RosieLass Jun 12 2013, 10:48pm
    It's a matter of emphasis and selection KW Jun 13 2013, 12:51pm


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