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Re: [mythsoc] tolkien studies review of tolkien on film

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  • Berni Phillips
    From: saraciborski ... Uh, isn t Tolkien s entire audience modern? After all, it s not exactly 16th century literature. I suppose
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 13, 2006
      From: "saraciborski" <saraciborski@...>

      >I was somewhat taken aback by the rather negative review, just read
      > yesterday, of "Tolkien on Film" in the new Tolkien Studies vol.3. The
      > reviewer, Kristin Thompson, is especially critical of Bratman and Croft
      > for allegedly failing to understand the critical importance (financial,
      > that is) of making the films appeal to modern audiences--this being the
      > rationale for most of Jackson's changes in character and plot. On this
      > point (of several that I would argue with) she makes the unquestioned,
      > unstated assumption that the films would NOT have appealed to modern
      > audiences had the characters had the heroic stature intended and
      > portrayed by Tolkien. We'll never know.

      Uh, isn't Tolkien's entire audience modern? After all, it's not exactly
      16th century literature.

      I suppose we're supposed to read "modern" as "under 25 years of age" or
      something like that. And yeah, true heroes are definitely passe. Let's
      turn them into shallow, immature jerks -- the target audience.

    • David Bratman
      Even Tom Shippey tried to justify Jackson s spurious additions by claiming they were intended to appeal to female viewers and the teenage market. To this I
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 13, 2006
        Even Tom Shippey tried to justify Jackson's spurious additions by claiming
        they were intended to appeal to "female viewers" and "the teenage market."
        To this I wrote:

        The premises are false, anyway. The book's supposed lack of "moment[s] for
        female viewers to place themselves in the story" have not prevented
        millions of women of all ages from loving it, and the book so strongly
        appeals to "the teenage market" that some of Tolkien's hostile critics have
        accused it of not appealing to anything else. Saying that films have to
        appeal to more people than books begs the question of whether a film
        actually resembling Tolkien's book would so appeal -- all the evidence
        leans towards the conclusion that it would.

        And I wrote that in the book under review itself, on page 35.

        Really. To the spectacle of a reviewer jumping up and down whining that
        it's not _fair_ to criticize her favorite movie, and to her spurious
        charges that a negative critique of these popular films should have no
        audience (are all the reviewers of "The Da Vinci Code" wasting their time,
        Kristin?) and that it's illegitimate to critique the film before the
        extended edition of RK came out (tell that to all the people who _praised_
        the sequence before the extended edition came out, Kristin; and tell it to
        Peter Jackson, who's repeatedly insisted that the theatrical releases are
        the real movies and that he's willing to be judged by them; and tell it to
        the authors and editors of not one but TWO collections of highly
        complimentary essays on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" that appeared before
        that show left the air), and to the reviewer's mindboggling assertion that
        the films were assured beforehand to be a success (bolstered by a quote
        from a film executive made a year AFTER the first film had succeeded - and
        all he meant was that they were certain to open well), we can add these
        silly assumptions replied to by the book itself before the reviewer ever
        made them.

        - David Bratman
      • John D Rateliff
        The current issue of THE NEW YORKER has a lead article called The Injustice Collector: The James Joyce estate vs. everyone else . Well worth reading for
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 19, 2006
          The current issue of THE NEW YORKER has a lead article called "The
          Injustice Collector: The James Joyce estate vs. everyone else". Well
          worth reading for anyone interested in the role, malign or
          beneficial, that literary estates play in helping or hindering
          scholarship. Hard to read it without being grateful that the Tolkien
          Estate was put in the hands of Christopher Tolkien rather than
          falling under the control of a Stephen Joyce. And even the most rabid
          critic of Fr. Hooper would, I think, agree that his stewardship of
          the Lewis estate was preferable to what S.J. has done to the
          Joyceans. I was not aware that the "fair use" doctrine does not exist
          in Europe, nor is it clearly defined (e.g., permissible wordcount) in
          U.S. law. All in all, a thoughtful glimpse into a worst-case scenario
          we'll all lucky not to have to deal with.

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