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RE: [mythsoc] Re: Tolkien letter touching on screen adaptation

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  • David Bratman
    ... That would be superfluous, wouldn t it?
    Message 1 of 15 , May 28, 2008
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      Mike Foster <mafoster@...> wrote:

      >So have y'all scheduled a Mythcon panel on "The Jackson-Del Toro HOBBIT
      >Films: Why We Hate Them Already"?

      That would be superfluous, wouldn't it?
    • David Bratman
      ... And it s salutary to examine the why of these things. Bombadil was left out essentially because he was the only skien of the story that could be abridged
      Message 2 of 15 , May 28, 2008
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        David Emerson <emerdavid@...> wrote:

        >As far as why JRRT would have detested Jackson's films,
        >even if he *had* been impressed with the effects, I would
        >imagine he would have felt too many important things were
        >left out (language, song, Bombadil), too many non-Tolkien
        >things were made up out of whole cloth and inserted without
        >reason, and too many changes to plot and character that
        >violated the spirit of the original text.

        And it's salutary to examine the why of these things. Bombadil was left out essentially because he was the only skien of the story that could be abridged out at all without doing massive violence to the story (ignoring what his omission does to the theme and the feel). As to the other things you mention? Well, we've been told over and over again that they HAD to be done, because it's a MOOOOVIE. And thus we are assured by the self-appointed explainers of filmdom that whole cloth insertions and rampant spirit violations are an inherent element of the cinematic art.
      • John D Rateliff
        I don t think it would have made any difference. Tolkien would have hated any adaptation, no matter how well done, no matter how well any special effects were
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 4, 2008
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          I don't think it would have made any difference. Tolkien would have
          hated any adaptation, no matter how well done, no matter how well any
          special effects were handled, no matter how long or short the
          results. And he would have hated any changes, no matter how
          insignificant. He did not like green eggs and ham, he did not like
          them Sam-I-Am.
          --JDR


          On May 28, 2008, at 9:06 AM, David Emerson wrote:
          > [John Davis wrote:]
          >> On the other hand, I wonder if Tolkien could have invisaged, at
          >> that time,
          >> both the effects available to a film-maker today, or the fact that
          >> the
          >> dramatisation would be over ten hours long? And if so, whether
          >> that would
          >> have served to alleviate his concerns?
          >
          > I feel that he would. His objection to dramatizations of fantasy
          > (as expressed in "On Fairy Stories") seemed to have been based at
          > least in part on how unconvincing the fantasy element would be when
          > performed on a stage. The very believable nature of current CGI
          > effects may well have eliminated this particular concern.
          >
          > On the other hand, I also feel that he would have detested the
          > Peter Jackson version.
        • David Bratman
          ... True enough, but mostly because it either _couldn t_ be done well or _wouldn t_ be done well; the insistence of film people, despite their collectively
          Message 4 of 15 , Jun 5, 2008
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            John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:

            >I don't think it would have made any difference. Tolkien would have
            >hated any adaptation, no matter how well done, no matter how well any
            >special effects were handled, no matter how long or short the
            >results. And he would have hated any changes, no matter how
            >insignificant. He did not like green eggs and ham, he did not like
            >them Sam-I-Am.

            True enough, but mostly because it either _couldn't_ be done well or _wouldn't_ be done well; the insistence of film people, despite their collectively spotty track record, that they know what they're doing and renowned long-selling fiction writers don't, means there's no effective difference between the two. From Tolkien's point of view, the principle arises from the practice.

            Nor is the green-eggs-and-ham guy a good reference. He said he didn't like green eggs and ham because he hadn't tried them. Tolkien did like, or at least didn't mind so much, the idea of dramatization of his work _until_ he'd tried it. Applying Rateliff's Law, I find that his generous comments about allowing "other minds and hands" to have their way with his creation predate his experiences with Terence Tiller and Morton Grady Zimmerman, will his declarations that LOTR is not suitable for dramatization come immediately on his encounter with what dramatists did with his book. (Though he should have known, as his OFS criticism of fantasy drama and his expression of loathing for Disney predate either.)
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