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For your amazement and/or aggravation (hi there, Carl, Pat!)

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  • Stolzi@aol.com
    Hand-typed by an Irish friend from Kevin Myers column in the (registration only) IRISH TIMES: An Irishman’s Diary. Kevin Myers There tends to be a fierce
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 8, 2004
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      Hand-typed by an Irish friend from Kevin Myers' column in the (registration
      only) IRISH TIMES:


      An Irishman’s Diary.

      Kevin Myers

      There tends to be a fierce snobbery in artistic circles against epic films.
      Many artists who have had little else in common would unite to deny that a
      blockbuster film can be true art, because it is essentially co-operative; and
      true art they would maintain, is the singular expression of a single artistic
      imagination.

      If that is so, the Cistine Chapel is not ‘art’, nor, indeed, are many of
      the great sculptures down the ages, on which apprentices toiled under the eye of
      the master. And, of course, cathedrals and great palaces are definitely
      excluded, because they are not merely co-operative enterprises, but they are also
      cumulative, the work of many generations of people with no single all embracing
      idea.

      But ‘the single all-embracing' interpretation of art turns into a purist
      political tract, a word perfect manifesto. That’s a very egotistical and limiting
      definition of art, A more useful one is that art is something that is made
      human beings, which speaks-as intended-through the senses to the imagination,
      and continues to do so far beyond the time in which it was created.

      Only in this final sense does the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings not
      (yet) qualify as a work of art. But in time, I believe it will come to be
      regarded as a very great work of art; actually I regard it as one of the greatest
      ever triumphs of the human imagination, and though it sounds absurd, I would
      seriously maintain that the only artistic works with which to compare it are the
      greatest masterpieces in the world-Chartres, Beethoven’s Ninth, Mozart’s
      Requiem, Hamlet, the Brandenberg concertos.

      To be sure, unlike these examples(with the exception of Chartres) it is a
      finished product and not just in the text; and moreover, comparing a film with
      any other art form is like comparing a colour with a sound, a poem with a
      painting.

      But there are benchmarks which all creative works must meet before they can
      be called art, and the primary ones are these: Does it ravish the soul? Does it
      cause you to ask previously unpondered questions? Does it take you into
      another realm, far beyond the creative powers of your own imagination? By these
      definitions, the director Peter Jackson has created a true work of art; and in
      the final part of the trilogy, The Return of the King, he has made an almost
      perfect filmic masterpiece. I would go so far as to say it is one of the
      greatest ever triumphs of the human imagination.

      In part this is because it has woven so many genres seamlessly together.
      Computer generated special effect, which were born in Kubrick’s 2001:A space
      Odyssey and acquired genre status with Star Wars, have here been harnessed to
      liberate more classic narrative forms from the limitations of resource, manpower
      and geography. In a word, these different narrative traditions- the western, the
      road movie, the love story, the sagas, the Tales of the Arthurian round
      table, of good versus evil –are otherwise known as- ‘’myths’’.
      Tolkien was a conscious legender. He drew on myth and added to it; moreover,
      he also wrote parables. The enchanting precursor to the Lord of the Rings, The
      Hobbit was written in 1937, as the shadows fell. His far darker trilogy
      appeared in the mid-1950’s, after the shadows had fallen. The world now knew about
      evil. It had journeyed to Mordor; and nothing in the artistic imagination had
      foreseen the abyss to which the second World War was to take the human species.

      Mordor remains real. Mordor was Cambodia in the 1970’s, Iraq in the 1980’s,
      Bosnia in the 1990’s. The allegories which Tolkien used within his mythic
      tales precisely half a century ago told us of what happens when evil is not
      opposed. The world was warned, but of course, as always, paid no attention.

      Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring popularity of his
      books testifies. But he was not as fine an artist as Peter Jackson is. The
      films are mightier by far than the books; indeed they stand as the greatest
      achievement in the history of cinema. In their moral complexity, in their
      narrative lucidity, in the breadth of their vision and ambition, in the majesty and
      detail of their execution, in the strength of their chacacterisation and in
      their technical mastery, they have set unprecedented standards, ones which might
      never be emulated.
      If there is any justice at the Oscars-and their usually isn’t- it was made in
      New Zealand- and Hollywood tends to be miserly when it comes to rewarding
      apparently ‘foreign’ movies(though Harvey Weinstein is a co-produces). That two
      of the male leads Elijah Wood and Sir Ian McKellan, have not even been
      nominated for Oscars is quire scandalous. The former is an American who can really
      speak English and he is quite stunning as Frodo; subtle, complex, beguiling, and
      also impossibly beautiful. And Sir Ian is utterly majestic and magisterial in
      every scene in which he appears.

      But there’s hardly a category for which the film doesn’t merit an Oscar.
      Certainly if Peter Jackson doesn’t get an Oscar for best director, and his wife
      Frances Walsh get one for best screenplay, then I’m changing sides over the war
      in Iraq.

      A final word. Do not –DO NOT wait to see the film in video or DVD. This is a
      cinematic masterpiece, the greatest of all time. PLEASE. See it in a cinema.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Patrick Wynne
      Having chest pains ... everything ... going black ... But seriously folks -- thanks, Mary, for providing the best laugh I ve had all day! Kevin Myers piece
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 8, 2004
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        Having chest pains ... everything ... going black ...

        But seriously folks -- thanks, Mary, for providing the best
        laugh I've had all day! Kevin Myers' piece couldn't have been
        a more ludicrous piece of hyperbole, short of him proposing
        that the Pope immediately canonize Jackson. Good
        heavens, you don't suppose ... ?

        Mr. Myers makes a telling self-contradiction that speaks
        volumes about his lack of both intellectual acuity and
        impartiality. At one point he writes:

        > ... moreover, comparing a film with any other art form is like
        > comparing a colour with a sound, a poem with a painting.

        Yet Myers is only too willing to compare colors to sounds and
        poems to paintings, if it means that he can praise "St. Peter"
        at the expense of Tolkien:

        > Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring
        > popularity of his books testifies. But he was not as fine an
        > artist as Peter Jackson is. The films are mightier by far than
        > the books; indeed they stand as the greatest achievement
        > in the history of cinema.

        Uh ... yeah, right. <backs away slowly towards the door...>

        -- Patrick H. Wynne
      • Mari Dole
        Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring popularity of his books testifies. But he was not as fine an artist as Peter Jackson is. No way!
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 8, 2004
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          Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring popularity
          of his
          books testifies. But he was not as fine an artist as Peter Jackson is.

          No way! I've held off giving my opinion about the movies until now, but
          this statement finally pushed me over the edge. As a saying has it:
          "Never judge a book by its movie." I love the book, and I haven't yet
          heard (as I'm blind, it makes no sense to say seen) an adaptation which
          truly satisfies. A book, any book, asks one to use the imagination and
          is an active collaboration between the author and the reader. But this
          book, touching as it does the deepest mythic imagination, asks more than
          any film or radio drama could. No film compares, in my opinion, to the
          majesty and delight of the images conjured in the mind of the reader by
          a skilled author like Tolkien. Even the BBC radio production, which I
          love, left much to be desired, and that desire, is for me, only
          satisfied by reading and rereading the book.

          Yes, I have attended all three films, and I did not run screaming out of
          the theater (though I came close to it after the second one), but they
          will never replace the book in artistry! I'll calm down now and go
          reread a few favorite passages.

          Mari Dole

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Stolzi@... [mailto:Stolzi@...]
          Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 1:54 PM
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [mythsoc] For your amazement and/or aggravation (hi there,
          Carl, Pat!)


          Hand-typed by an Irish friend from Kevin Myers' column in the
          (registration
          only) IRISH TIMES:


          An Irishman's Diary.

          Kevin Myers

          There tends to be a fierce snobbery in artistic circles against epic
          films. Many artists who have had little else in common would unite to
          deny that a
          blockbuster film can be true art, because it is essentially
          co-operative; and
          true art they would maintain, is the singular expression of a single
          artistic
          imagination.

          If that is so, the Cistine Chapel is not 'art', nor, indeed, are many
          of
          the great sculptures down the ages, on which apprentices toiled under
          the eye of
          the master. And, of course, cathedrals and great palaces are definitely
          excluded, because they are not merely co-operative enterprises, but they
          are also
          cumulative, the work of many generations of people with no single all
          embracing
          idea.

          But 'the single all-embracing' interpretation of art turns into a
          purist
          political tract, a word perfect manifesto. That's a very egotistical and
          limiting
          definition of art, A more useful one is that art is something that is
          made
          human beings, which speaks-as intended-through the senses to the
          imagination,
          and continues to do so far beyond the time in which it was created.

          Only in this final sense does the film trilogy The Lord of the Rings
          not
          (yet) qualify as a work of art. But in time, I believe it will come to
          be
          regarded as a very great work of art; actually I regard it as one of
          the greatest
          ever triumphs of the human imagination, and though it sounds absurd, I
          would
          seriously maintain that the only artistic works with which to compare it
          are the
          greatest masterpieces in the world-Chartres, Beethoven's Ninth, Mozart's

          Requiem, Hamlet, the Brandenberg concertos.

          To be sure, unlike these examples(with the exception of Chartres) it is
          a
          finished product and not just in the text; and moreover, comparing a
          film with
          any other art form is like comparing a colour with a sound, a poem with
          a
          painting.

          But there are benchmarks which all creative works must meet before they
          can
          be called art, and the primary ones are these: Does it ravish the soul?
          Does it
          cause you to ask previously unpondered questions? Does it take you into

          another realm, far beyond the creative powers of your own imagination?
          By these
          definitions, the director Peter Jackson has created a true work of art;
          and in
          the final part of the trilogy, The Return of the King, he has made an
          almost
          perfect filmic masterpiece. I would go so far as to say it is one of the

          greatest ever triumphs of the human imagination.

          In part this is because it has woven so many genres seamlessly together.

          Computer generated special effect, which were born in Kubrick's 2001:A
          space
          Odyssey and acquired genre status with Star Wars, have here been
          harnessed to
          liberate more classic narrative forms from the limitations of resource,
          manpower
          and geography. In a word, these different narrative traditions- the
          western, the
          road movie, the love story, the sagas, the Tales of the Arthurian round
          table, of good versus evil -are otherwise known as- ''myths''. Tolkien
          was a conscious legender. He drew on myth and added to it; moreover,
          he also wrote parables. The enchanting precursor to the Lord of the
          Rings, The
          Hobbit was written in 1937, as the shadows fell. His far darker trilogy
          appeared in the mid-1950's, after the shadows had fallen. The world now
          knew about
          evil. It had journeyed to Mordor; and nothing in the artistic
          imagination had
          foreseen the abyss to which the second World War was to take the human
          species.

          Mordor remains real. Mordor was Cambodia in the 1970's, Iraq in the
          1980's,
          Bosnia in the 1990's. The allegories which Tolkien used within his
          mythic
          tales precisely half a century ago told us of what happens when evil is
          not
          opposed. The world was warned, but of course, as always, paid no
          attention.

          Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring popularity
          of his
          books testifies. But he was not as fine an artist as Peter Jackson is.
          The
          films are mightier by far than the books; indeed they stand as the
          greatest
          achievement in the history of cinema. In their moral complexity, in
          their
          narrative lucidity, in the breadth of their vision and ambition, in the
          majesty and
          detail of their execution, in the strength of their chacacterisation and
          in
          their technical mastery, they have set unprecedented standards, ones
          which might
          never be emulated.
          If there is any justice at the Oscars-and their usually isn't- it was
          made in
          New Zealand- and Hollywood tends to be miserly when it comes to
          rewarding
          apparently 'foreign' movies(though Harvey Weinstein is a co-produces).
          That two
          of the male leads Elijah Wood and Sir Ian McKellan, have not even been
          nominated for Oscars is quire scandalous. The former is an American who
          can really
          speak English and he is quite stunning as Frodo; subtle, complex,
          beguiling, and
          also impossibly beautiful. And Sir Ian is utterly majestic and
          magisterial in
          every scene in which he appears.

          But there's hardly a category for which the film doesn't merit an Oscar.

          Certainly if Peter Jackson doesn't get an Oscar for best director, and
          his wife
          Frances Walsh get one for best screenplay, then I'm changing sides over
          the war
          in Iraq.

          A final word. Do not -DO NOT wait to see the film in video or DVD. This
          is a
          cinematic masterpiece, the greatest of all time. PLEASE. See it in a
          cinema.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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