Criticism of the film, I mean book
- I recall postulating a couple times that one bad effect of Jackson's LOTR
film on Tolkien's book is that people will tend to confuse and conflate the
two, criticizing the latter for the former's mistakes. This thesis seemed
to puzzle some on this list, but the problem was brought forcefully to me
on a panel at the 2002 World Science Fiction Convention, whose topic was
Tolkien's book, but which featured a panelist who admitted never having
finished the book, but was ready to denounce it vehemently for plot
problems she noticed in the first film - every one of which was not a
problem in the book for one reason or another, but despite the protests of
the rest of the panel, this panelist would not stop.
Most of you were not at this panel, but the link below is to a web page
that will show you the sort of thing I mean. This writer knows the book
and the film are different, but is ready to toss them both in a hopper and
criticize them as if they were interchangeable.
My reply, lower down on the page, demonstrates another point I've tried to
make that seems to have puzzled some: that, as a student of the book who
wishes to discuss it, I am forced to become equally familiar with the
film. Because if I wasn't, I wouldn't have known what this critic was
talking about, and I wouldn't have been able to write a reply clearly
distinguishing the film from the book. This is why I can't follow Susan's
advice and ignore the film, any more than Theoden can ignore Saruman.
But it still bothers me, for two reasons: first, LOTR is the novel I
cherish most, while the film is just a good fantasy film, and I resent
having to let this interloper take up valuable space in my mind and
heart. Second, the better I know the film, the more vigilance I have to
apply to keep from confusing them myself. I'd better go back to re-reading
the book in full every year, something I haven't done in a long time.
Here's the link:
- David Bratman