“Great stories give us the grace
of a mystical experience,
on the level of the imagination.”
The Philosophy of Tolkien:
The Worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings
by Peter Kreeft
I am a Raving Fan of J.R.R. Tolkien.
I read books about Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings world he created. Let me bore you for a minute.
I've read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy at least 20 times. I started when I was in 7th grade. I would often re-read them on a yearly basis.
And I've read (not in any order):
- The Silmarillion
- Unfinished Tales
- The Children of Hurin
- The Father Christmas Letters
- The Book of Lost Tales, Volume 1 and Volume 2 (First two volumes in the 12 volume History of Middle Earth. Someday I'll read the rest of this series).
I read books about Tolkien. One of my favorites is The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft. I just read two more books about Tolkien in light of the release of The Hobbit.
I'm a Tolkien geek.
I am a purist.
Watching the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy by Peter Jackson . . . parts of it I loved and other parts were deeply disappointing. If you haven't read the books, but only watched the movies, as valiantly as Jackson seeks to follow the story, whenever he departs from it - the story is diminished. I can live with some of that (emphasis on some...).
So I tempered my expectations of the trilogy. Enjoyed it mostly. Screamed (in my head) at times. Although apparently I am not that frustrated because I've had multiple viewings of the trilogy.
Or Part One of three of The Hobbit.
I am aware that as of this sentence I have gone over 300 words in this post. I have about 90 words left... so unlike Jackson - I'll be brief.
I liked it. A lot.
The Hobbit was a child's story. Much different from the Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit grew and evolved as a book. It has internal inconsistencies. It doesn't always feel like the Middle Earth Tolkien created. It is simple. Unadorned.
And Jackson's Lord of the Rings was a magisterial creation. How can he go backward and make a less than that Hobbit? He can't... and he won't. I understand that.
And, in my opinion, he mostly succeeds. For those who have not read the book... half of the movie was sheer adaptation and insertion of scenes and characters that are not in The Hobbit. But that's okay for me. In most cases, the characters and the scenes are the "in-between stuff" of The Hobbit. I like what Jackson did with this.
I have about four of them, with one being: The dwarfs are not dwarfs in this depiction. They are too human. But movies need good looking humans and not 12 versions of Gimli. Another more serious one is that Bilbo's character actually recedes TOO much in this version. Jackson has decided to upgrade this original "fellowship of the ring" to keep the movie interesting. Thorin the dwarf gets as much attention as does Bilbo. Gandalf becomes more central to the story. Bilbo recedes in part one.
Likes and Really Likes
I have about twenty of them... and now I have gone on way tooo looonnng. So I'll stop.
But - I liked it. Quite a bit. Saw it twice. Wanted to see it one more time on the big screen but time flew by. What I liked most about it is that Tolkien did it first as the author and then Jackson does it as a director.
I have been "graced" by Tolkien and Jackson. I eagerly await Part Two.
opps... 656 words... 657, 658, 659...
p.s. That is it for my thoughts on movies. Tomorrow . . .
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International