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Re: [mythsoc] actor//character

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  • David Bratman
    ... Mine either, actually. I didn t see The Matrix until after I saw Jackson s FR, but the only way in which Agent Smith reminded me of Elrond (remember I m
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 23, 2005
      At 05:04 PM 2/23/2005 -0800, John Rateliff wrote:

      >> Can any of you honestly say that when you see Elrond you half expect him to
      >> say, "Mr. Anderson?"
      >>
      >I can honestly say the thought never crossed my mind, any more than I
      >confuse McKellan's Gandalf with Professor Lane or Magneto.

      Mine either, actually. I didn't see The Matrix until after I saw Jackson's
      FR, but the only way in which Agent Smith reminded me of Elrond (remember
      I'm going backwards from most of you) is that they're the only two roles in
      which most of us have seen this rather distinctive-looking and
      distinctive-voiced actor. Otherwise they were as unalike as costuming and
      a not totally incompetent actor could make them.


      >Secondary Creation means that
      >I'm not thinking about The Matrix when I'm watching The Fellowship of the
      >Ring. It's not something the character would say, so it doesn't occur to me
      >to wonder why he doesn't. Simple as that.

      That depends on how successful the secondary creation is. For me, films
      vary between those in which I completely accept secondary belief in the
      characters' existence to those in which I can hardly avoid see the actors
      trying to act. It depends entirely on how well the film is made.


      >That's what the whole dust-up is about, really: those who can achieve
      >Secondary Belief while watching the film can't understand the point of view
      >of those who cannot achieve Secondary Belief and adamantly refuse to suspend
      >their disbelief, and vice versa.

      If you think that's what I'm saying, you've utterly misunderstood me.
      Jackson's films are good enough films as films, much better than your
      average clodding action-adventure fantasy. [Put that in your supposedly
      empty file of "Bratman praises the film," Mike.] This particular dust-up
      is solely and specifically about their relationship to Tolkien's book.


      >His name is Elijah Wood. Another case of what, in retrospect, was
      >unfortunate casting, though in Jackson's defense I don't think he could have
      >known that at the time.

      Besides the fact that Wood was transparently too young and baby-faced, it's
      a director's job to know what will be good casting and what won't. A good
      director will develop a sixth sense of this. Remember, Jackson is the man
      who discovered Kate Winslet. And to be fair, I thought much of the LOTR
      casting was good, especially visually.


      >No, he hasn't harmed Tolkien's creation in any way. He made a movie, that's
      >all. Anyone can choose not to watch it.

      That is totally absurd. The film can influence you even if you don't see
      it, what with the ubiquity of its images. I would have had to drop off
      this list, out of the MythSoc, stopped attending Mythcons or reading about
      Tolkien, and indeed to have dropped out of popular culture for the better
      part of three years to have avoided having these films thrown in my face.
      This would not have been practical.

      Had I not done so, even I hadn't seen the films my head would have been
      filled with second-hand versions of other people's reactions, and I would
      have been unable to contribute anything of my own to the discussion. It
      would have been equally damaging, and even more frustrating.

      Meanwhile, how was I to know what I'd think of the movies if I didn't see
      them? I was hoping, foolishly enough, that they'd be good adaptations.


      >The arguments that he's Melkor to
      >Tolkien's Iluvatar simply don't hold up. Middle-earth isn't some delicate
      >flower that needs to be kept under a bell-jar; it lives in the imagination,
      >direct and potent from author to reader (cf. OFS).

      It does, if nothing is blaringly competing with it. But now something is.
      We now have AMPLE evidence that people whose first encounter with the story
      is Jackson have a very different view of its nature than those who first
      encountered it as Tolkien. This should have been no surprise, and indeed I
      pointed this danger out even before the first film was released.


      >The claims that film is
      >somehow more powerful than poor, pitiful prose certainly doesn't reflect my
      >experience. Don't you think it's rather insulting to Tolkien, and all other
      >authors, to say that fiction can't hold its own against moving pictures?

      Actually, authors complain about it all the time. It's not an insult, it's
      a simple fact. A medium which engages several senses and holds the viewer
      passive is by nature stronger than one which engages only the imagination
      and requires the reader's active participation. To deny this is disingenuous.

      This is like the difference between amplified and acoustic music. The
      former is simply louder. Doesn't mean it's better. It's no insult to
      acoustic musicians to say so.

      - David Bratman
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