Others may say this book is confusing and boring,but I LOVED it,when I first read it in highschool,and I still LOVE it today!! I would love to see the Wars of Beleriand,the dragons"Glaurung"and "Ancalagon"along with the balrog"Gothmog",and above all,I desire to see my personal favorite Elf('cause we share the following traits:impudence,great love of beautiful things and creativity)"Feanor" and his brave denial at the,Ring of Doom of surrendering the Silmarils to Yavanna.....(I would LOVE to see,the SHOCK of his bold decision,on the faces of the mighty Valar,as well as the FIRE in Feanors' eyes,when the messengers brought word that Melkor had taken the Silmarils....) Numenor plummeting into the Abyss,the Ents wiping out the Dwarves,that were fleeing from their deeds at Menegroth and the treacherous,laborious Flight of the Noldor(over Helcaraxe)translated on the big-screen...Vingilot sailing through the heavens...Also Morgoths (BONE-CHILLING)wailing at Lammoth,and the balrogs assailing Ungoliant...The Dwarves of Belegost makeshift dirge,in the midst of a BATTLE,for their fallen lord"Azaghal"(that no one DARED interrupt,because they looked(with their HIDEOUS masks') AND sounded so grim,in their lament!!There is so MUCH action,just waiting to be shown...Anybody else,share my feelings on this?!?
I agree that the Silmarillion being made into a movie,has about a snowballs' chance in Far Harad of happening!! I would actually be thrilled,if it was even just made into an animated movie ala' Rankin-Bass' "Return of the King" and"The Hobbit"
I had thought this at first too, but the truth is, I love Tokien's work too greatly, especially the grand history here, to trust it to a film maker at this stage. At least, a film maker with a big budget and box office expectations.
Given the right script (by someone like Peter Beagle perhaps) and a firm hand willing to stay as true to the temper and bones of the stories in it, while standing up to the money men in a way that would make Feanor see a shadow of his own fire in such a director/producer, you could have something pretty astounding.
However, it would be far more likely to dissapoint as the inevitable dwarf tossing jokes and what-not make their way in, to "spice up" the sales and make it "appropriate for film, and moden audiences."
Cliff, I've got to say that, while I totally appreciate and share your love of the books, there's no reason to insult the Peter Jackson movies. I think those movies were made by a team of people who were truly dedicated and loved the books as much as you or I. Sure they contained a couple of dwarf tossing jokes, but they also contained jokes and lines which, while they might be lost on "modern audiences" as you so snobbishly put it, were fully appreciated by hard-core Tolkien fans. Never mind a few gags. They worked their butts off and preserved the spirit of the books. That's what really matters.
Fionwe, I can certainly appreciate and admire the sheer amount of work that went into those productions, and I feel that there were certainly a great number of people involved in the production (Alan Lee, for one) who have a very deep love and dedication to these books.
I cannot, however, agree with you on the whole. Watching the commentary and interviews on those films, especially with the script writers, you can see a distinct disconnect between what the writers believe makes good story telling (see the arguments on character development, and the changes made to Faramir's character as an example) and Tolkien's manner of storytelling. It is not just the gags that bothered me, but they were the easiest target.
I do not believe that these films were the best possible interpretation of the books, and I do not believe that everyone, on such a massive project as that, will have the same humor and sensibilities with regards to the source material. Hard work does not always mean good work, let alone great work. If you think my comments snobbish, you might be surprised to find that I was actually a very big fan of the animated Lord of the Rings. The look was not necessarily spot on, and there were plenty of issues one could take with it, but I thought the script written by Peter Beagle, especially as he was compacting the first two books, carried a truer telling and spirit of the books than the Jackson ones.
What might appear to be mere snobbery, or priggery in my reaction to the Jackson films, is not an opinion that I came by lightly, though it was expressed more lightly than it should have been. I tried to enjoy the films, and actually loved the look and sound of them. I very much enjoyed the casting and performance as well, as far as they went. I just don't care for the script, which for me is the heart of the piece. I felt that Peter Beagle, as a script writer, really did come from the same place as Tolkien, in many ways.
It is a matter of taste, and what moves you. Tolkien moved me at a very early age. I was switched off by the Jackson take, and would rather not see his take on the Silmarillion. That does not mean I do not think his production team would work their butts off and have every right to be proud of the quality of their work. I just don't think his vision, at least in regards to the scriptwriting, is the best possible translation, but rather it is his own (and his writers') version.
Ok. I can appreciate that perspective, though i personally thought the scrip was excellent. I'm just sick of Tolkien fans complaining about details that were really inconsequential. I mean, does it really matter if the hobbits eat a couple darn tomatoes on weathertop?
I can absolutely understand and agree with that complaint; missing the forest for the trees and all that. I have enough experience in entertainment and film/video to recognize that things need to be tightened up for a film, details added or left out, and scenes, good scenes, will need to be truncated, removed, or recombined in order to match the pacing &c. You are right, Fionwe, that there were a great many people getting worked up over small changes that seem rather nitpicky or inconsequential.
For my part, it all comes down to the meat and bones, the character, and the spirit of the story itself. Tolkien's works have such a strong, vibrant, carefully balanced, and unique spirit.
Taking a man like Faramir, a man who is truly inspirational in his wisdom, judgment, manner, and heroism, and turning him into another character development exercise is a break from the spirit of the story, the spirit of the author's vision, and the spirit of the work. It is the sort of thing that might seem like an inconsequential detail to some, but to others, like myself, for whom that character and that character's behavior were both memorable and inspirational, it was one of those details that made all the difference in my enjoyment of the production. That is just one example of many, (the aforementioned dwarf tossing jokes which were indicative of the comic relief approach they took with Gimli, being another) but those are the kinds of things I would consider to be consequential or defining details: Faramir, the man who showed the wisdom and restraint of the very wise and is a reflection of the great men of the past ages vs. Faramir, the struggling soul who is a reflection of Boromir and succumbs to the ring's lure just as his brother did, but manages to survive and grow.
I think this helps clarify my point, and forms the basis for my misgivings over a Silmarillion based film. How much can you alter a thing, before that thing becomes something else? How much is too much? I'm not saying they did not make a good story, I am just saying it is not exactly the same story in some very material ways.
When you grow up in a place, you learn all the details of the place, and the details become dear and instrumental to what makes that place what it is to you. Particular trees, paths, hills, buildings, &c. all define that place from other places. If you are separated from that place, and come back to it years later, when other hands have worked there, trees have been felled, or replaced, paths moved, buildings erected or changed materially, then it just does not sit well, no matter how well meaning the folks who recently worked there might be. The place no longer seems like the place you loved. It is, in very fact, a different place, and truly not the place you grew up in.
Tolkien gets that feeling and phenomenon across in his works, and that same experience stands in as a great metaphor for what happens with something like these films. There is a new landscaper in Middle Earth, and he has a different sensibility and a different aesthetic. It might share a great many similarities, but it is not really the same. Whether you consider these changes to be important or irrelevant depends on how much you care for the old landscape, how much you enjoy the new landscape, and whether or not these changes impacted the features that were most dear and defining to you.
I can see how you would dislike the movies if the parts that were changed are parts that were very important to you. As someone who loves the books, I actually used to share many of your complaints. But then I found that the best way to enjoy the movies was to think of them as separate entities from the books. I could appreciate the movies more when my opinion wasn't based on my view of the books. From a strictly film standpoint, the movies were wonderful. It was after I started enjoying them separately that I could look back and see that the core of the story really hadn't changed.
"Joslin is definitely right. A movie of just the entire Silmarillion would be ridiculous. But there are a ton of insular stories within the book that would make perfect sense as stand-alone films"
Yeah, it would have to be multiple films, otherwise it would just be a big, compressed, series of "and then, and then, and then..." I could see it working as some kind of series on, say, HBO, at some point in the future when we've advanced enough that they could afford to get good effects (although the benefit to doing it now is that you could put still youthful Cate Blanchett in some scenes and tie it into the movies).
I agree with the original poster about Feanor. He's a fascinating character. Same goes for Thingol and Eol too.
I would love to see the lay of Turin Turambar (The Children of Hurin) made into a movie. That was always my favorite tale in the Silmarillion. I think it stands alone enough to be it's own movie with a brief back story at the beginning.
The silmarillion would work as a trilogy of movies if it took the 3 main human stars from the book and had them as the main heroes/story for each film, so Beren and Luthien first Turin & Nienor,the Children of Hurin second and last Tuor and Earendil each film could have a similar start to the fellowship of the ring with a narrative overview of previous events-such as a brief history of the making of the silmarils and the war for the 1st film. individual stories and the complete history would have to be dropped as it would be unfilmable this way or in would be about 100 hrs long to give each tale its full worth, Hopefully with the success of the upcoming Hobbit movies someone like P Jackson will have the guts to try this but it will only work if diluteddown to a few of the main stories
It would be a massive undertaking to ensure that the tales from beginning, the creation of the angelic beings and elves to the end of the second age would be jointed together well to become "film" appropriate. There are too many branches from this tree trunk. The movie plot would just be split into many different ways as the book is written chronologically with different races, lays, tales and feats intertwined.
I agree with taking just a few heros together or a few stories together and make a movie from it, but again, there is not enough dialogue in the book to make the film "true to the text." I love the book so much, but it was often up to me to imagine exactly what the individual characters were like and what personalities they had because of the lack of dialogue.
Will never happen as long as Christopher Tolkien says so. He hated Peter Jackson's Lord of the rings and will never alllow the Silmarillion to be ruined.
The Story of Beren and Luthien would make a good movie as would Turin Turambar Aka the Children of Hurin. The Fall of Gondolin would be cool to see on screen. As would the battle between the Valar and morgoth the first dark lord.
Miyazaki could pull it off (see Princess Mononoke). His animation studio did the Rankin Bass Hobbit, after all.
A live action version could be done of one or more stories told in medias res, with the rest of the war in background (a version of Narn I Hin Hurin or Beren and Luthien told in the style of /Last of the Mohicans/ would be great.) I'd recommend Terence Malik to do a /Last of the Mohicans/ style version of one of the stories, but he'd take as long to film it as Tolkien did to write it.
Come to think of it, Princess Mononoke seems heavily influenced by the tale of Beren and Luthien.
And I suggested Last of the Mohicans would make a good model for a live action Turin movie due to the subject matter and the fact that it inspired all the subsequent historical romance movies, including LOTR.
Before Last of the Mohicans you didn't really have "historically accurate" costume drama.
The trick would be filming the supernatural stuff. I was very dissatisfied with Peter Jackson's "realism" when it came to magic. Del Toro seems much more suited for that side of the story. That is why I think an animated version by someone like Miyazaki would have more impact.
Carol said: "I was very dissatisfied with Peter Jackson's "realism" when it came to magic"
Nick says: Carol, what did you expect, fire balls and lightenings? If you'd ever see real magic performed in front of your eyes, you would see that there is absolutely nothing visible, as far as the energy which does the trick, so Peter Jackson was spot on at this!
No, but Magic in Tolkien's works is not the Force. it is a mystical thing. You need to look at more mystical fantasy works or else you're heading down the wrong path trying to show magic in the Silmarillion. I mentioned Miyazaki.
The only live action director I can think of who could apply a similar touch is either Del Toro himself, Malick (for a combination of realism and mysticism) or Aronofsky (I could see Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz as Beren and Luthien; at one point Aronofsky wanted to do a fantasy epic).
Michael Mann did a nice David Lean-style epic with LOTM but that contained no magic, Mann is all realism. So for a Last of the Mohicans style tragedy with humans and a touch of magical mysticism, you'd want Terence Malick instead. For visions of elf-paradise and the destruction of the trees and Morgoth, you'd want a visionary like Aronofsky or (if animated) Miyazaki. For monsters and whimsy and a lot of Jungian archetypes, you'd want Del Toro.
(They are going down the road of "dark realism" for the Hobbit instead, which is a terrible waste of Del Toro's talents, but Jackson is in charge and he doesn't understand the Hobbit; he said as much that he wanted to scrap the original tone of the Hobbit and bring it in line with the "historical WWII movie" feel of LOTR and split it up into two adult-only films, Kill Bill-style, presumably dispensing with the narration and losing the focus on Bilbo. If Jackson would do that to the Hobbit, he'd utterly be the wrong man for the job of Silmarillion, especially because he hates magic and most of his elves are distinguished only by physical prowess.)
I agree that the stories are intense and very well-written, but a motion picture would be out of the question. This is not to discourage you, it's just fact. LOTR has a main plot and is a massive quest story, which makes it interesting to anyone. The Silmarillion is a history based upon Tolkien's LOTR project that he worked for decades to produce. He wrote these other tales and histories so that he could feel that Middle Earth was a real place with real history. It's a very thorough way to write a book. While I think the history is entirely pertinent to LOTR fans, I also think that it wouldn't do much to appease the masses who don't care who the elves are, just that they wear shiney armor.
As has been said, the Silmarillion isn't a story, it's many stories, with common themes, but few common characters. As such this would be very difficult to turn into a film. Given that it is effectively an elvish bible, how many times has anyone attempted to film say, the old testament? And how successful were they?
The format would have to be a TV series (they did it with Maharabata (sp?)). But you would need to allow each character more time to develop. Taking individual stories isn't the answer, because a) you lose the epic sweep and b) some individual plots can be seen as derivative of other works, i.e. why Turin instead of Oedipus, why Earendil instead of sinbad or odysseus...
The Silmarillion and Chris Tolkien's History of Middle Earth, along with Tolkien's Letters, the standalone Children of Hurin, Unfinished Tales, and the wealth of scholarly research that exists on all the unpublished work JRR Tolkien left behind are to me something like the Bible must be to Christians. The seminal adventure The Lord of the Rings has already been unfortunately made into a trilogy of movies, which, as movies go were pretty decent, and I admire all the effort put into them, but they still only cement ONE view of that epic tale, and vastly impoverished one at that compared to the text. And now, The Hobbit is set for a two-film treatment, which I may conveniently miss altogether.
For the true goldmine, Tolkien's Elvish Legendarium, and the almost incomprehensible scale of the First Age dramas, to be turned into films would be the last straw. I'd say the full extended version of the LOTR movies got about 50% of the grandeur of the novels across, if that. Any attempt to turn the Silmarillion or its related works into films would utterly fail, befuddle audiences, cause us true fans to commit mass suicide, and achieve no worthwhile purpose whatsoever. Unless they've got the budget to make a 50-hour movie, it will make no sense. And whatever the budget or running length, there's that problem of replacing the imaginative images of true fans into ONE person's/team's view, always a terrible thing arising from movie adaptations of great works of literature.
For Eru's sake, leave the unpublished stuff alone! We Tolkien treasure-hunters sometimes feel it's all we got left; don't ruin it. You'd never, ever do justice to it anyway.