On Thu, 30 Nov 2000, Ian McKellen wrote:
> "When I first walked into [the] Rivendell [set], I gasped," McKellen wrote.
> "It was like being inside a huge, three-dimensional Lee painting; the sort
> of thrill that movie theme parks aim for. The largest of the Wellington
> Zealand] studios had grown an autumnal forest glade of large fiberglass
> trunks and tangled canvas roots; a Japanese-style bridge spanned the
> electrified waterfall splashing into a pool. ... The elves' headquarters
> grew out of the vegetation, slim wooden pillars supporting walkways above
> open spaces and shaded arcades. ..."
I appreciate the encouraging sentiment, BUT ... I feel more worried than
encouraged by this.
The richness and delight of Tolkien's world is a fragile, elven one: like
fairy gold, it turns to dust when it is stolen away, as any number of
Tolkien-imitation novelists have proven. Nor are good intentions enough,
as Pat Murphy showed with her artificial homage _There and Back Again_.
With this context in mind, my concern is that fiberglass trunks, even if
they're visually indistinguishable from real trees, will give off the
intangible air of Disneyland, where fiberglass is the natural species,
and not that of Rivendell, where fiberglass is unknown.
My fears are increased by McKellen's description of "the sort of thrill
that movie theme parks aim for." I don't want the sort of thrill that
movie theme parks aim for. I want the sort of thrill that Tolkien aimed
for. They are entirely different, and it's a very bad sign when someone
does not realize that difference.
Call me a pessimist, but nobody will be happier than I to be proved wrong
when the pudding is ready to be eaten a year from now. Better to be
worried now and perhaps all the more delighted later, than to risk an
even more crushing disappointment.