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Re: [mythsoc] For your amazement and/or aggravation (hi there, Carl, Pat!)

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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