Re: [mythsoc] tolkien studies review of tolkien on film
- From: "saraciborski" <saraciborski@...>
>I was somewhat taken aback by the rather negative review, just readUh, isn't Tolkien's entire audience modern? After all, it's not exactly
> 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.
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.
- 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
- David Bratman
- 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.