Would Tolkien approve of LotR movie? Should we care?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaveF, Jan 7, 2002.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    This is a very "respect the artist's vision" oriented group, here. But what if the artist, now deceased, of the original work would likely not have approved of a movie version? Should we care? Does it matter?
    Consider Lord of the Rings (which I've seen twice, and greatly enjoy). I can't help thinking that Tolkien would not approve of this movie.
    It's my understanding that Tolkien was a bit of a Luddite (anti-technology), and had no great love of the industrial revolution. This attitude is echoed somewhat in the trilogy: the more mystical, middle-earth denizens are seeing the age of Men coming up them.
    So, I wonder if Tolkien would have opposed this high-tech retelling of his stories, were he alive? Would he dislike the use of so much gadgetry to tell his written story?
    And what of other authors, who might oppose a movie-telling of their works, on more philosophical grounds. For example, I wonder if Dr. Seuss would approve of last year's "The Grinch"?
    Is there any use in trying to divine an artist's possible wishes? If we can be confident that, e.g. Tolkien wouldn't want a movie done, should we, the fans, care? How do we "respect the artistic vision"?
    I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
     
  2. Geoffrey_A

    Geoffrey_A Second Unit

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    Considering Tolkien himself sold the movie rights to his books before his death, I don't imagine he'd be terribly against the film. While there is an anti-technology theme to his book, I don't think he was a zealot on the matter. Tolkien was an artist, but he was also a business man, he made money off of his work, he was grounded enough to seperate the themes from his novel from real life I think. Whether he would enjoy the current film version, I have no idea. I'd like to think he would, but it's really impossible to say. What it comes down to is Tolkien had no problem with selling the movie rights when he was alive, stands to reason he wouldn't be against the film being made. I believe his only stipulations were that Disney never be allowed to touch anything of his, and I'm pretty sure that was based more on artistic differences as opposed to any anti-technology feelings Tolkien harboured.
     
  3. Ryan Peter

    Ryan Peter Screenwriter

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    Is Christopher Tolkien still alive, if so what did he think of the movie?
     
  4. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Flame suit on.
    Christopher Tolkien has stated that his father would not have liked the movie. I have to agree. All the subtleties from the books are missing.
    However, you should not care what anyone thinks about the movie except yourself.
     
  5. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Cite your source, I never heard Christopher say that. I remember about a month ago or so they had an article up on IMDB with some Christopher Tolkien quotes where he said he wasn't opposed to the movie. He said something like...A lot of attention has been made about my opposition to the film, and that is untrue.

    I'm not sure what JRR would think about it, but to this point I haven't heard Christopher state his father's opinion.
     
  6. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    I could be wrong but I suspect that Tolkien would approve of any film that brings people back to literature (which I think this movie will). Also, the care taken reproducing the languages of LotR would probably have pleased him (he was a philologist, I think).

    Most authors do have minor to major problems with film adaptations of their books generally because of the inherent differences of film and the printed page. Also, many authors will have spent more than a few hours with their "babies" and may find the modifications made by a screenwriter or director hard to reconcile with their own visions.

    I would like to think of Tolkien being like Harper Lee on the set of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and loving every moment of the experience. However, as already stated, in this case it only matters if YOU approve of and/or enjoy the movie.

    Kenneth
     
  7. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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  8. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    No, and we should not care!

    The movie is *not* a retelling of the novel, it's an adaption! It's Peter Jacksons own vision of the books translated to film, and nobody should expect them to be like the books.

    The movie is merely a supplementary piece to the novel, not by any means a replacement!
     
  9. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    I also heard from a friend of mine that Christopher didn't like the film, but the rest of the family did. Take that for heresay.

    Although Tolkein (the name) is believed to be German/Jewish, Tolkein's father was anglican. However, jewish heritage might have been a motivating factor in his Disney decision.

    Walt Disney was a rabid anti-semite. He bacame very valuable in the 1950s to the FBI for informing and spying on Hollywood's elite. Using the red scare as his excuse, he was able to get many of his enemies blacklisted...mainly Jews.
     
  10. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    The Tolkien estate is not AGAINST the movies if I remember, they just want nothing to do with them. They were offered to be advisors but I believe they turned it down and would only do it if they had complete control.

    As for Tolkien himself, I knew he always hated the idea of a animated movie, but I'm not sure of his thoughts on a live action. At any rate, he sold the movie rights so he must've not cared that much.
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    One thing that the film did well, and that I'm sure Tolkien would have approved of, was the obvious affection for the rural, unspoiled land of the hobbits (read 19th-century rural England) vs. the hatred of the mechanized/industrialized hellhole that Isengard becomes.

    I would be willing to bet that Jackson came closer to Tolkien's vision than the man himself ever believed would be possible in a Hollywood movie. But he didn't like movies generally, so it'd be hard to imagine him liking this one.
     
  12. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    Personally I believe that if strong fans of the books very much liked the movie, Tolkien would have been satisfied. In general gauging current reactions/reviews I believe this to be true.
     
  13. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Yes, I apologise, it was Christopher Tolkien who said
     
  14. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Though it's impossible to determine if Mr. Tolkien would have like the movie (only by asking him, and he's dead), I can address the question, "Should we care?"

    No. Once a book gets published, it is public domain. It is ripe for remakes, adaptations, farce, ridicule, praise, etc. This is the risk an artist knowingly takes.
     
  15. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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  16. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

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    I dont care what Tolkien would have thought of the films.
     
  17. Chad Ferguson

    Chad Ferguson Supporting Actor

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    Funny, no one asked if Shakespeare would be happy with waht's been made of his plays. I think it shouldn't matter either, it's been adapted. The original creator should have no negativity thrown on him/her with what's beening done to his/her story.
     
  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I would care to hear what he thinks about it. Of course being gone for so long, how can anyone (even his own son) know how he would feel with the advancements of the 27+ years since his death? When he "didn't like Hollywood" he was referring to movies released, when, pre-1974!
    As far as the risk of adaptations and movies: it's only a risk if he lost the copyright to it. As far as I remember, if you write a book but are the copyright owner, you can determine whether a movie is made from it, right? [​IMG]
     
  19. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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  20. AdrianJ

    AdrianJ Supporting Actor

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    To me, I don't think it is really necessary what Tolkien would think. To use another example, I know that Stephen King hated Kubrick's The Shining, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it.
     

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