“Desolation of the Imagination”…

“Desolation of the Imagination”… December 19, 2013

is Fr. Dwight’s first subtle clue that he has some issues with the latest Hobbit movie.

Like Steven Greydanus, I give it a C. It’s not Tolkien’s Hobbit. It’s fan fiction based loosely on the Hobbit, by a man who has millions and millions of dollars to waste on trying to indulge every epic action movie permutation he and his pals can think of, plus a dumb romantic triangle and a couple of really tin-eared appeals to a culture that now believes in pagan, not Christian, virtue. For me, just as Faramir was a massively deaf misreading of the character, so there is a moment in this movie when a character who would never in a million years (in Tolkien’s universe) harm an enemy in his power chooses (in the pagan mind of Peter Jackson) to both promise a prisoner his liberty and then murder him in cold blood when he has trusted that promise and divulged what he knows. There is a nightmare gulf between Tolkien’s moral universe and that one and the fact that Jackson seems to be oblivious to it, as he was oblivious to the fact that Aragorn would never kill the Mouth of Sauron during a parley is a reminder that Jackson and his screenwriters don’t really get Tolkien very deeply. They have gotten talented artists to master the visual aesthetic. But with the Hobbit, Jackson’s tendency toward excess is now unchecked he chooses hurry and visual spectacle every time. It’s a pity.

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