November 24, 2012 § 15 Comments
Relatively speaking, compared to most of what Hollywood produces, the Lord of the Rings movies are wonderful art and entertainment. They are right up there among my favorite movies, and I do enjoy movies.
A big part of why they are great movies (as movies go) is because they are based on a wonderful story. I think the story is so good that despite the screenwriters’ best efforts to vandalize it a great part of what is good shines through in the medium of film.
But the Peter Jackson movies weren’t merely a transformation of art from one medium to another. They were also a kind of desecration. The character of Faramir was destroyed, the virtuous warrior remixed as whiny daddy-doesn’t-luuuvvv-me teenager. The nature of the Ring itself went from tempter -qua- powerful weapon – inherently powerless over a virtuous Faramir, as the slut temptress held no sway over a virtuous St. Thomas Aquinas – to a kind of banal science fiction mind control ray of universal effect. The decades-long loyal male friendship between Frodo and Sam becomes a strained, homoerotic bromance: like the paper thin loyalty of insecure teenage girls, their fragile foxhole cohesion cracks under the oh-so-terrible strain of Frodo’s new BFF Gollum whispering lies about that fatty Sam. And those are just off the top of my head.
One thing the Hobbit has going for it is that it was really just a little adventure written for children. It doesn’t share the epic grandiosity and deep virtue of its sequel series. But whether that ultimately helps or hurts remains to be seen, and I await the Hobbit with some trepidation.