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darobin (1316)

darobin
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http://berjon.com/

Journal of darobin (1316)

Thursday December 20, 2001
09:51 AM

LotR

[ #1737 ]

As, I expect, many fellow hackers, I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring last night. Well, I must say that it was truly very good. I found Jackson incredibly good at picturing evil creatures, and despite lesser inspiration in dealing with good creatures (I especially found Galadriel to be quite disappointing) some of them -- notably the hobbits -- were really well performed as well.

Purists might resent his departing from some elements of the book. In at least one case I must say that I agree, as Jackson completely obliterated the travel from the Shire to Bree, thus leaving out some truly magical moments.

However, in some other cases I totally agree with his choice. Making Arwen a more important character was imho a good choice. I've always found that LotR severely lacked feminine presence and giving Arwen more space to exist was a good choice in that it makes the balance slightly better adjusted.

The music was a bit weak, but the visuals and acting were quite impressive. I think it's a must see, whether you've read (and liked) the book or not.

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  • In true judeochristian mythical tradition the women are sparse in such epic tales but, if you pay attention, you'll notice that they are all either saviours or evil incarnate with little grey area. I only recently learned that Tolkien was Catholic...boy, does that ever explain a whole bunch especially where the women are concerned :)

    • Oh yes it explains a hell of a lot (no pun intended), his Manichaeanism, his mistrust of women (either mysterious or stupid, and with no part in the actual action), his deep dislike for those of his fans that were too revolutionary in the 70s, and so forth.

      That's why I think Jackson deserves extra credit for some of his modifications that correct those tendencies (though of course he couldn't go too far).

      --

      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

      • "Correct"? You can't correct what isn't wrong.
        • My opinion is that exacerbated Manichaeanism or mistrust of women as a principle, are wrong. Taking steps to change that is, insofar as I am concerned correcting.

          Or were you referring to something else ?

          --

          -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

          • Two problems. First, I disagree that Tolkien's LotR is, strictly, speaking, Manichaeanism, though it certainly has many elements of it; similarly, I don't think there is a genuine mistrust of women, as a principle or otherwise.

            Second, if you corrected all the "wrong" things in LotR, you wouldn't have a movie left. You know, like murder, betrayal, evil in general. Come to think of it, without the Manichaean good-vs-evil, LotR would pretty much completely suck. Or do you want to just remove the "wrong"
            • Ah, I like that comment better :-) No, Tolkien is not strictly speaking Manichaean. It can't be said however that he masters a vast array of nuance from good to evil.

              As for a genuine mistrust of women, that's how I perceived it in the book. I guess it could be argued both ways provided sufficient literary investigation, however his notes on the book and comments about it would tend to show that my perception is not without foundation. But do we really care about the author's intentions here ? Not I

              --

              -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

              • Well, your view is yours. I personally think that you should try to stay as close to the spirit of the book as possible when doing a work as well-known as this. That means not "correcting" anything that you think is "wrong", only changing things to make it easier to tell the story better given the medium. For example, cutting out some less important or impactful scenes, or combining scenes, or even combining characters, but doing it all for the sake of more easily telling a better story in the different
                • Well basically I think that's the point on which we differ. When transcribing to a new medium, all you can do is a very distant approximation, at best (unless you focus solely on the plot, but that would be a drastic focus). So you are changing everything, including the tone and potential message. How to best stick to an original is deeply subjective.

                  Just because you can't stick to it (otherwise it would be the exact same thing, ie not on a different medium) doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to i

                  --

                  -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                  • When transcribing to a new medium, all you can do is a very distant approximation, at best ... So you are changing everything, including the tone and potential message.

                    Then I see no reason to do Lord of the Rings at all.

                    • I'm afraid I simply don't follow you. What's wrong with basing something on something else, and reusing reusable elements in order to produce an enjoyable experience ?

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • Let me ask you something: if you're not going to faithfully reproduce the original, then how about using that grey matter between your ears to come up with something truly original?

                      I have pride in my work, myself. If I am going to copy someone else's work, I am going to do the best job I can to express what that person was trying to express. If I am going to express *myself* instead, I am not going to copy anything, I am going to do my own work to express me. I'm not going to ride on the coattails of s
                    • We've drifted far away from LotR here, so I won't address that part of your comment (which I tend to agree with, though I'm not sure that Jackson would have the motivations for that that you express).

                      I don't think that reusing someone else's work is copying. I don't think either that it is something that one would necessarily do for the sake of attracting attention. In fact, when I was considering reusing someone else's work to other intents (on the same, or on a different medium) I wasn't thinking

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • I don't have the quote in front of me, but Jackson specifically stated his primary goal was to make a good movie, and his secondary goal was to be faithful to Tolkien's LotR.

                      Now, about copying: I am not talking about mere reuse. I am primarily talking about doing a very large and extensive production and passing it off as the original work, while not being faithful to the original. That's dumb, dishonest, uncreative, and lame.

                      If someone were to mold LotR into your vision for it, I would hope that woul
                    • According to your definition, Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, and many others are very lame. We're not talking about "building on what came before it", we're talking about simply stealing all major plot elements (and even some style elements) and nevertheless producing works of high creative genius.

                      The one thing I can agree with in what I read in your comment (perhaps, read into it) is that a very large and extensive production would be despicable for trying to make money by advertising itself as a

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • According to your definition, Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, and many others are very lame.

                      Yes, if you take my definition and twist it around to mean something I never intended. Is this what you mean by disregarding authorial intent?

                      So long as it's presented as "this is something I did that is based on LotR, that has many elements of it, but in which I decided to take liberties in order to produce something more to my liking" then I wouldn't see where the problem is.

                      Sure. But then don't call it Lor
                    • The definition I'm using is from your own text: I am clearly talking about taking someone's work and presenting it as that same work, but creating something completely different, with a different intent, goal, themes, mood, etc. That's lame. Very lame. "Presenting it as the same work and in fact doing something largely different" is typical of an awful lot of greek drama, poetry, and philosophy, as well as of part of Shakespeare (this is not an exhaustive list by far, painting would reveal yet many more

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • Shakespeare did not present it as their work, but his own work. He didn't pretend it was someone else's.

                      I don't see the point in calling it something different, unless it directly serves the purpose of the work itself.

                      Because if its intent is completely different, if it makes no attempt to be faithful to the original, it is a lie to call it by the same name without being very clear. It is NOT Lord of the Rings, in the case of your version. it simply isn't. It is something based loosely on Lord of t
                    • Yes, in some cases he did. If I get a chance to dig up my old literature course while at my parents place around the end of this year, I'll bring forth references. Note that I don't think it's wrong.

                      As for lying, no it wouldn't be. Only people with a warped idea of identity would imho perceive it as a lie. If it's not done by the same person, it can't be the same thing. Where does one's understanding of a work stop and interpretation begin ?

                      Maybe we come from different backgrounds. My three y

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • As for lying, no it wouldn't be. Only people with a warped idea of identity would imho perceive it as a lie.

                      I don't for a moment believe there's anything humble about your opinion. :-) And yes, it is a lie. If you say you are putting on Lord of the Rings and yet consciously change the very intent of the original work, and don't say that you're putting on such a significantly different work, you are lying. I don't care if you don't like it, it's quite simple fact. You are saying it is one thing, knowin
                    • You are saying it is one thing, knowing it is something else. That's the very definition of a "lie."

                      As it happens, it is also the definition of a game, of a joke, and -- to a certain extent -- of art. Do the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe." ring a bell somehow ?

                      If I were to put on LotR, I would definitely warp it in many ways. I would assume that my name being put next would be sufficient for people to know that it isn't Tolkien's version. Tolkien's version is available from all good bookshop

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • I would assume that my name being put next would be sufficient for people to know that it isn't Tolkien's version

                      Unless your name is *part of the title*, that assumption would be false.

                    • Well, I would still assume that. Can you support your view with more arguments ?

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

                    • I think it is clear. If you title something "Lord of the Rings" and don't qualify it as being a different version, most people will assume that it attempts to be faithful to the original, and will be upset if it is not. I don't see what more arguments are necessary. If it were called "Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings" I would expect it to be his own work, loosely based on the original. Since it is called "Lord of the Rings," I expect it to be as faithful to the original as possible, while still making
                    • Of course I disagree :-) If I go see a theatrical performance of a play, I don't expect to see the same old boring original version. I don't think anyone putting, say, Hamlet to stage today tries to be in any specific way faithful to the original. In the end of Kenneth Branagh's In the Bleak Midwinter [imdb.com] (US title "A Winter's Tale" for reasons beyond my understanding) one sees extracts of an interpretation of Hamlet which would have been infinitely more interesting than the full text and supposedly more fai

                      --

                      -- Robin Berjon [berjon.com]

  • I started to type a reply here, but I moved it to my personal journal [perl.org].

    Just so you know.