Has the Power of the Ring Corrupted The Hobbit‘s Filmmakers?

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey did all kinds of things to spoil my hopes for a great big-screen version of J.R.R. Tolkien’s great adventure novel…

(If you want to know why, read my original coverage of the film.)

Today’s Entertainment Weekly story about a new character played by Evangeline Lily has dealt a heavy blow to my hopes that this series will improve.

In the article, Lily says, “I think if anyone knows how to respect Tolkien, it’s Peter, Fran and Phil.”

And, in saying this, she has flaunted her own ignorance of Tolkien. It isn’t “respectful” to change the story in such as way that it dishonors… and even contradicts… the central themes of the source material. (I wrote about this in detail in Through a Screen Darkly, noting that when Steven Greydanus and I challenged Peter Jackson in person about his revisions, he came right out and admitted he wanted to change the story because he wanted the story to mean something different.)

The biggest problem with the first film in this grossly over-extended Hobbit series is that the stuff Jackson and Company added to the story was unimaginative, silly, exhausting, damaging to the narrative arc of Tolkien’s story, and even more damaging to the themes that Tolkien explored and the insights he conveyed in that story.

The last thing this story needs now is the addition of yet another red-haired archer with a romantic subplot. We have enough of those going right now. They would’ve been hard-pressed to come up with a more blatant box-office maneuver. This amounts to “What’s hot right now? Get us some of that.”

You might as well add Justin Timberlake as a singing, dancing elf at this point and it wouldn’t make much difference.

Or why not add Zach Galifinakis as an obnoxious, farting, expletive-spewing dwarf?

How about Jaden Smith and Asa Butterfield as gnomes. What? There aren’t any gnomes in The Hobbit? Let’s fix that! Think of the merchandise we could sell! Think back to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, and how well that worked out!

When I posted the EW story at ArtsandFaith.com, someone quickly responded with this…

  • Facebook
About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • terryinindy

    Yep. Pretty much. they were OK for what they were but it wasn’t Tolkien. I’m not going to worry about it, one of them will screw up big time, you know, decide the Bible needs more chainsaws or “Jesus is Satan but he just doesn’t know it” in a sort of multiple personality, Buffy The Vampire Slayer season 5 Villain” kind of way. I shouldn’t be surprised, I’ve seen what kind of “only vaguely related to the book” storyline Tru-Blood has become. Charlaine Harris books are better than this ahem, stuff.
    Hell, everything I’ve liked has been panned as a flop.
    People suck for putting up with this crap.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X