Re: [mythsoc] For your amazement and/or aggravation (hi there, Carl, Pat!)
- 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 likeYet Myers is only too willing to compare colors to sounds and
> comparing a colour with a sound, a poem with a painting.
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 enduringUh ... yeah, right. <backs away slowly towards the door...>
> 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.
-- Patrick H. Wynne
- Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring popularity
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.
From: Stolzi@... [mailto:Stolzi@...]
Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 1:54 PM
Subject: [mythsoc] For your amazement and/or aggravation (hi there,
Hand-typed by an Irish friend from Kevin Myers' column in the
only) IRISH TIMES:
An Irishman's Diary.
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
true art they would maintain, is the singular expression of a single
If that is so, the Cistine Chapel is not 'art', nor, indeed, are many
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
cumulative, the work of many generations of people with no single all
But 'the single all-embracing' interpretation of art turns into a
political tract, a word perfect manifesto. That's a very egotistical and
definition of art, A more useful one is that art is something that is
human beings, which speaks-as intended-through the senses to the
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
(yet) qualify as a work of art. But in time, I believe it will come to
regarded as a very great work of art; actually I regard it as one of
ever triumphs of the human imagination, and though it sounds absurd, I
seriously maintain that the only artistic works with which to compare it
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
finished product and not just in the text; and moreover, comparing a
any other art form is like comparing a colour with a sound, a poem with
But there are benchmarks which all creative works must meet before they
be called art, and the primary ones are these: Does it ravish the soul?
cause you to ask previously unpondered questions? Does it take you into
another realm, far beyond the creative powers of your own imagination?
definitions, the director Peter Jackson has created a true work of art;
the final part of the trilogy, The Return of the King, he has made an
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
Odyssey and acquired genre status with Star Wars, have here been
liberate more classic narrative forms from the limitations of resource,
and geography. In a word, these different narrative traditions- 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
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
evil. It had journeyed to Mordor; and nothing in the artistic
foreseen the abyss to which the second World War was to take the human
Mordor remains real. Mordor was Cambodia in the 1970's, Iraq in the
Bosnia in the 1990's. The allegories which Tolkien used within his
tales precisely half a century ago told us of what happens when evil is
opposed. The world was warned, but of course, as always, paid no
Tolkien was a very fine a very fine artist, as the enduring popularity
books testifies. But he was not as fine an artist as Peter Jackson is.
films are mightier by far than the books; indeed they stand as the
achievement in the history of cinema. In their moral complexity, in
narrative lucidity, in the breadth of their vision and ambition, in the
detail of their execution, in the strength of their chacacterisation and
their technical mastery, they have set unprecedented standards, ones
never be emulated.
If there is any justice at the Oscars-and their usually isn't- it was
New Zealand- and Hollywood tends to be miserly when it comes to
apparently 'foreign' movies(though Harvey Weinstein is a co-produces).
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
speak English and he is quite stunning as Frodo; subtle, complex,
also impossibly beautiful. And Sir Ian is utterly majestic and
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
Frances Walsh get one for best screenplay, then I'm changing sides over
A final word. Do not -DO NOT wait to see the film in video or DVD. This
cinematic masterpiece, the greatest of all time. PLEASE. See it in a
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