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Re: [mythsoc] Re: spotty review

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  • David Bratman
    ... Wait and see. I hear that Stephen R. Donaldson is in the pipeline. I have to say I m a bit nervous about that one. The books were tedious enough. ...
    Message 1 of 158 , Jan 31, 2004
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      At 12:17 PM 1/22/2004 +0000, Marc wrote:

      >Even now, after LOTR's
      >success, Hollywood doesn't seem to be green-lighting too many serious
      >projects based on fantasy novels.

      Wait and see. I hear that Stephen R. Donaldson is in the pipeline. I have
      to say I'm a bit nervous about that one. The books were tedious enough.


      >Instead, the Hollywood lesson learned from
      >LOTR seems to be make more big budget epic ancient/medieval war
      >movies.

      Sure, and some of them could easily be big-budget-epic-ancient-medieval-war
      fantasies. Most of the post-Tolkien epic fantasies better fit those
      adjectives than LOTR does.


      >Still, I think there
      >is something to the point that the invented world of Middle Earth is
      >somewhat larger than just the tale that Tolkien told and open to a
      >lot of different types of treatments. I think its OK for someone to
      >do a work about the geography of middle earth or the songs of middle
      >earth or even the epic battle & monster fights of middle earth.

      As specialized studies, sure. But those are professedly looks at limited
      aspects of the book. Jackson wasn't professing that kind of view of
      Tolkien any more than he was professing a parodical Sauron's-eye view of
      Tolkien.


      >> Sure, it's there, but it's not the only thing that's there. To
      >focus on it
      >> is to distort the whole. Hatchet journalists know this very well:
      >
      >As do great artists. You seem to be willing to make exceptions if
      >you think the work is of sufficient quality.

      Yes, sufficiently great art can break any rules. But the operative words
      are "sufficiently great." Jackson's films aren't even ready to dream of
      that kind of greatness.


      > Many people were perplexed by the scene of Sam
      >> nearly drowning at the end of the first movie. This is actually
      >straight
      >> from the book, but by including it at full length where so many
      >other
      >> things were cut, Jackson placed a strange and unwarranted emphasis
      >on it.
      >
      >It does make a good symmetry with the invented scene of Sam pulling
      >up Frodo from the edge at the end.

      Well, now, that's an interesting explanation of that peculiar scene, but I
      wish I hadn't had to wait two years to find out why it was there.


      >I've often thought that Frodo sacrificing himself at Mt.
      >Doom to destroy the ring would be a plausible ending for LOTR.

      No, because that would be suicide, and completely antithetical to Tolkien's
      morality. Even Gollum doesn't commit suicide, though in the drafts Tolkien
      does consider the idea of having Gollum do so.


      >You keep picking on folk tales.

      Of course I do, because they're the clearest example of a point I'm trying
      to make. If I'm to say that I approve of adaptations at all, I must point
      to the adaptations I most approve of.


      >However, a lot of writers including
      >Tolkien take stories or story elements from epics, sagas, romances,
      >histories, even older novels that are quite accomplished literary
      >works on their own. Many of these works have a particular nature
      >that more modern authors change.

      Taking story _elements_ from older authors and writing your own story is a
      completely different thing from a film adaptation of a modern novel with
      the original author's name on it. I also made allowances for retellings of
      very old stories. This, too, is not what happened to Tolkien.

      - David Bratman
    • dmsherwood_heather
      ... has, ... completely ... comeuppance ... life. ... expectations ... an ... one ... kind ... that ... a ... explained ... argue ... discussion ... Hi I m
      Message 158 of 158 , Mar 8, 2004
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        --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "marcfcs" <marcfcs@a...> wrote:
        > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@e...> wrote:
        >
        > >
        > > But neither of these describe Thomas Covenant. He is not
        > uninteresting, he
        > > is positively annoying. Nor is he merely detestable, but a
        > detestable
        > > person one is supposed to identify with (to an extent) as a
        > viewpoint
        > > character, without - at least as far as I read, three long weary
        > books of
        > > it - having a turning point or apotheosis of sympathy as Lear
        has,
        > or
        > > getting his due comeuppance as Richard III does.
        >
        > Two points: 1) I don't think you are supposed to identify with
        > Covenant. I think Donaldson goes out of his way to block you from
        > identifying with him(though as I said before, I know nothing about
        > his motivations beyond what is in the books, so I could be
        completely
        > wrong).
        >
        > 2) I don't have a problem with Covenant not getting his
        comeuppance
        > or having a turning point and learning some deep lesson about
        life.
        > The universe is an imperfect place. I don't mind if fiction
        > reflects that sometimes. I like it when a work subverts
        expectations
        > and does not unfold in a traditional way. It doesn't bother me if
        an
        > anti-hero character doesn't have a heart of gold and doesn't grow
        one
        > later (and isn't punished for that in some act of cosmic justice by
        > the author).
        >
        > > The problem with this moment is not the sentiment - for surely an
        > ancient
        > > king no more intends to outlive his son and heir than a modern
        > Oprah guest
        > > does - but the phrasing and style with which it is said.
        >
        > The phrasing is the worst part and the one that is most relevant to
        > me for enjoying the movie. However, the sentiment is wrong as well
        > as an adaptation of Tolkien since this clearly goes against the
        kind
        > of "men of the north" heroic ethos that Tolkien gives to Rohan.
        > Lamenting the death of a son is 1 thing. Saying no father should
        > outlive their children is not the right sentiment for a culture
        that
        > honors noble death more than survival at any costs. This changes
        a
        > culture that Tolkien meant to be a little alien to his audience and
        > makes it more like modern people in medieval clothing. Can anyone
        > imagine Beowulf or Sigurd saying such a thing, however you want to
        > phrase it? Not that Tolkien doesn't modernize those types of
        > characters a little, but not that much.
        >
        > Finally, as far as the whole post-Romantic thing goes, I've
        explained
        > my point and you clearly understand it now. We could probably
        argue
        > endlessly about the exact usage of the specific words I chose and I
        > doubt it would be of interest to anyone else reading this
        discussion
        > group. So, lets just let it drop.
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        > Marc
        >
        > marclists@a...

        Hi I'm (dmsherwood53@...) & I'm breaking into a conversation
        where the protagonists have agrred to let it drop wvery uncivilised
        of me.
        If your still listening coupla points:
        I agree theris a post-romantic sensibility.
        I think this and its opposite the romantic sensibility ties deeply
        intowhat a person is; wants to be; fears being; all thaT shimola
        I think ROMANCES using the term v widely tie into this more deeply
        than ordinary books tho its part of why anybody cares a damn about any
        art at all.
        Its a mistake to talk about a romance as tho it was a bad attempt to
        do what an ant-romance was doing and vice-versa-which was mostly what
        you guys were doing- altho take this to extremes and we all end us
        reading our own diaries and never confrunting another POV (Which
        Lewis thought the reason why there are booksat all)
        dmsherwood53@...
        PS Have you readthe NEW WEIRD fiction goes much further into anti-
        romantic vision than Donaldson eg a;lmost any CHINA MEILVILLE's books
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