Guess who is not a fan of Peter Jackson's Middle-Earth movies? The Tolkien family
No one has done more to promote the works of J.R.R. Tolkien than Peter Jackson. Despite their popularity for the decades they were in existence, it was not until THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy was released that the tales of Middle Earth truly skyrocketed to fame. It was assumed by the widespread love of the franchise and the success of the films that more liked them than disliked. But, until now, we never knew if the family of author JRR Tolkien approved.
The answer is, they do not approve.
ComicBookMovie shared an excerpt from an interview with Christopher Tolkien who continued to edit and publish his father's writings well after his death. Take a look at what he had to say:
"I could write a book on the idiotic requests I have received," sighs Christopher Tolkien. He is trying to protect the literary work from the three-ring circus that has developed around it. In general, the Tolkien Estate refuses almost all requests. "Normally, the executors of the estate want to promote a work as much as they can," notes Adam Tolkien, the son of Christopher and Baillie. "But we are just the opposite. We want to put the spotlight on that which is not Lord of the Rings."
Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? "They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25," Christopher says regretfully. "And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film."
This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. "Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time," Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. "The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away."
Wow. Granted, THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT films are not 100% faithful to the texts, but Peter Jackson and his crew have done a phenomenal job of translating (literally) what Tolkien wrote for a cinematic audience. I think that Christopher is a bit rough here, but I can understand his perspective. Yes, there is a great deal of action in the movies, but they certainly are not PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or TRANSFORMERS. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY is definitely lighter than THE LORD OF THE RINGS, but it is still a film for fans of the books. Peter Jackson respects Tolkien more than anything. The movies are hardly an evisceration. But, everyone is a critic.
Do you agree with Tolkien? Read the full interview over at WorldCrunch.
UPDATE: Many comments in the talkbacks indicate Tolkien should be happy with the money they made off of the Peter Jackson films. The source of this quote indicates that JRR Tolkien sold the rights to THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS in 1969 to United Artists for £100,000. So, the Tolkien family has made nothing off of the movies, which could also account for his bitterness.
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