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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Hobbit movies: what about the Tolkien estate?

Registered User

Apr 25 2008, 3:50pm

Post #1 of 13 (568 views)
Hobbit movies: what about the Tolkien estate? Can't Post

Apologies if this is posted in the wrong forum.

I was wondering...

With the recent announcements about the upcoming Hobbit movies (yay for del Toro!), and considering how well received and critically acclaimed the LotR trilogy movies were, do you think the Tolkien estate would be willing to participate this time around? To give its blessing, or something to that effect?

I would like that to happen...


Peredhil lover

Apr 25 2008, 5:17pm

Post #2 of 13 (254 views)
It could be interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

but - no, I doubt that very much. Not as long as the older generation is still at the helm of Tolkien Estate. Christopher and Priscilla have more or less avoided to even talk about the movies, even if it seems they have seen them. Some of the younger generations seem to love them, but they are not the ones in charge.

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.

L. Ron Halfelven
Grey Havens

Apr 25 2008, 6:25pm

Post #3 of 13 (250 views)
At this point I'm just as happy to see the Sackville-Tolkiens left out of it./ [In reply to] Can't Post



Apr 25 2008, 11:59pm

Post #4 of 13 (221 views)
It would not be a comfortable collaboration. [In reply to] Can't Post

Christopher's position, echoing that of his father, is that the books are not suitable for filming. Further, he clearly thinks of the text as "truth", that is, no change from the way it's written is tolerable.

A movie, however, must do some things differently in order to accommodate the limited time available as well as the fact that the overwhelming majority of the target audience will not have read the book, and will furthermore have specific expectations as to how a movie should work and flow.

Virtually all book authors find the process of filming their books painful, even when they participate in the process. And most directors don't want the author around because of the continuing hassle of having to justify every change. Given Christopher's age and attitude, it's inconceivable that it would work.

New grandson of Elizabeth, b. 2/25/2008

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

Elrond Lover
The Shire

Apr 26 2008, 1:19am

Post #5 of 13 (196 views)
hahaha [In reply to] Can't Post

LOL! You clever peredhil.
Sackvill-Tolkiens indeed!

The Shire

Apr 26 2008, 2:56am

Post #6 of 13 (187 views)
the ideal collaboration would serve text the best... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and J.R.R. deserves the effort, imho.

I think J.R.R. was correct - LotR was un-filmable... in 1969, in Hollywood, and definitely in one movie. But the PJ trilogy showed the story could be told via film extremely well. My favorite parts of the movies are by far the parts that were truest to the details in books, the very substance that attracted millions and millions of fans to the story in the first place. For me, the less "translation" from the text, and the more J.R.R.'s voice comes through, the more powerful the films are, because the details are what give Middle-earth life. Even seemingly small changes in those details can distort the Middle-earth's palpable continuity. When those details are left intact from the text Middle-earth breathes on film. It's awesome, imho. It's really the reason after 20 or so times I still can't stop watching the movies, lol.

I understand some things have to be changed to make a coherent movie, and most of the time it worked. But I also think some of the changes from the text were superfluous and clichéd. But the overall excellence of the movies more than survive those few flaws.

But I also agree that the books will always be "the truth" because you can't really convey the richness and amazing detail of Middle-earth in 3 - 6, even 12 hours of film. That will never change.

So... I think both the Hobbit and J.R.R. deserve the best truly collaborative effort from both the estate and the filmmakers. The historical importance of the project should be honored above all.

Unfortunately though, realistically, I think you're right... the chances of such a true collaborative effort to make the best possible movie are typically slim. I just wish this could be different.

(all imveryho btw... sorry to butt in but I've been thinking about this since yesterday... Evil and I was just talking to my housemate about this pretty much this same thing on the way to work this morning...)

(This post was edited by Bombatones on Apr 26 2008, 3:05am)


Apr 26 2008, 3:05am

Post #7 of 13 (194 views)
Motivations [In reply to] Can't Post

I think the Tolkien estate are pretty smart to avoid comment on the films for "political" reasons...if they heaped praise on the adaptations it would give them the "100% Tolkien-Approved!" stamp of authenticity, which would perhaps diminish the literary property. Well, I don't think it would, but from their standpoint anything that stands to "replace" the source novel in the public's perception is a bad thing.

It's not unusual for a creator (or his estate) to distance himself from film adaptations of his work. Alan Moore has exceedingly little to say about movies based on stories he's written (V for Vendetta, From Hell, Watchmen, etc.)

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." -- E.A. Poe

Registered User

Apr 27 2008, 7:42pm

Post #8 of 13 (352 views)
I agree with Voorhas [In reply to] Can't Post

The Estate are never going to 'approve' any LOTR related media as it will take something away from the source matter if they validate a movie or a stage show- almost placing them on a par with the original novels.

Having said that, the Estate can't be unhappy that the LOTR films were made or that The Hobbit has been greenlit: whether they like the movies or not, whether they think that the movies have butchered the novel or not- the movies have hugely increased awareness of Tolkien and his work, created probably millions of new Tolkien readers and equally made the Estate millions of dollars from royalties!

Of course, given the law suit, the money they have made from the movies is obviously not enough for the Estate!

I say that in jest! I'm sure the Estate are not in it for the money, equally, I'm convinced that the Estate don't really want to stop The Hobbit being made- for the exact same reasons noted above.

They are simply sabre rattling to ensure:
(1) The Estate gets the royalties that they are fairly entitled to- which is quite right.
(2) Ensure everyone knows who are in charge of the material and nothing gets made without their say so, if not their explicit approval.

Smart moves by the Estate, after all they are the custodians of the work and need to ensure its integrity for ever.

Consequently, the Estate is never going to actively support any adaptation or participate in the production of The Hobbit.

But secretly, I think, Christopher must be rubbing his hands with glee at the thought of the movie- not because of the dollars its going to make, but because his fathers genius is going to be brought to an ever greater audience than either JRRT or Christopher Tolkien ever thought possible, and thats the most important thing.


Apr 28 2008, 4:06am

Post #9 of 13 (134 views)
Happily, their cooperation is not necessary. [In reply to] Can't Post

As others have noted, considering the specific attitudes of the people involved, I also feel it's better this way. The nature of the folks who control the trust and the nature of filmmaking are not compatible.

Let the filmmakers get on with it.


Apr 29 2008, 3:40am

Post #10 of 13 (100 views)
Well spoken mei amigo! [In reply to] Can't Post

You obviously didn't just fall off the cabbage cart yesterday.
Looking forward to seeing many more posts from you down the line...

Thx! :)

-mwirkk :)


Apr 29 2008, 3:53am

Post #11 of 13 (106 views)
Saul Zaentz and NL lic... [In reply to] Can't Post

...SZ's the other party involved that's not getting much spewage in the print these days. How does the deal work out with New Line/WB? Didn't they have rights only until 2009, when it would revert back to SZ's Tolkien Ent.? I suppose he's not going to throw a wrench in the works, now that things are moving again and PJ's onboard. But I'd assume an extension, if not a new licensing structure, has to come out of it. I really don't know much about what's going with that aspect of the legalities. Anybody better informed who can shed some light on that?

Thx! :)

-mwirkk :)

(This post was edited by mwirkk on Apr 29 2008, 3:54am)

Peredhil lover

Apr 29 2008, 4:48am

Post #12 of 13 (100 views)
hm [In reply to] Can't Post

I am not completely sure, but I seem to remember to have read somewhere that, to avoid reverting the rights back to Zaentz, it would be enough to start pre-production (not necessarily filming itself). And that should start soon enough before the 'day X'.

I do not suffer from LotR obsession - I enjoy every minute of it.


Apr 29 2008, 6:17am

Post #13 of 13 (122 views)
I thought I remembered something like that too... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but I couldn't be sure. And for some reason my searches are drawing a blank right now. I couldn't remember if they had to have some film in the can, or what.

Thanks for your reply. Kiitos! :)

-mwirkk :)


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