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Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson's the Lord of the Rings. Paperback – January 1, 2005
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I read it with real interest. -- Verlyn Flieger, author of Splintered Light: Logos and Language in Tolkien's World
These essayists are truly critical so as to discern how the films both succeed and fail. -- Ralph C. Wood, author of The Gospel According to Tolkien
This collection has much to offer and sets the bar for Tolkien/Film studies to come. -- Anne C. Petty, author of One Ring to Bind Them All: Tolkien's Mythology
About the Author
Janet Brennan Croft is author of numerous scholarly journal articles as well as War the the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien (Greenwood 2004). She is Head of the Access Services Department at the University of Oklahoma.
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Top Customer Reviews
For most of us who fell in love with Middle-earth from reading Tolkien's own words Peter Jackson's films can never be more than pale shadows. This is the overall stance of many of the essays in this volume and is expressed most completely in David Bratman's "Summa Jacksonica," a response to defenders of the movie in the manner of St. Thomas Aquinas. Other authors take issue with Jackson's portrayals of Aragorn and Frodo, while a topic so contentious that it required a separate section concerns Jackson's depictions of his female characters, especially Arwen but also including Eowyn and Galadriel. Here Cathy Akers-Jordan feels that Jackson was successful in his treatment of Arwen, while Jane Chance, among others, is more critical. I liked J.E. Smyth's essay establishing The Lord of the Rings movies as part of a chain of "imperial cinema," and I found two essays dealing with Tolkien fan-fiction fascinating in a "can't look away" manner. And the historian in me appreciated Mark Shea's source-critical analysis, the last essay in the collection.
Tolkien on Film was published in 2004, well before Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy. It isn't certain that the newer movies will inspire the same sort of critical analysis, but if they do, I trust that future volumes will be written and edited just as capably.
In reading the essays in this book, I finally found a kindred spirit in my contemp for the goofy humor and cheesy moments that so often undo the dramatic tension built up in serious scenes. Lord of the Rings was a serious adult book of high artistic standards, and while there are many great moments in the films, they are quite often undercut by bad humor and gags, as well as some poorly conceived characters. I spent a long time trying to convince people of these issues (and others) affect the quality of the films, but the consensus was that I was a sourpuss who couldn't enjoy a good movie. Finally, finally I found a scholarly perspective with which I can identify and that provided me with some validation. On the other hand, there are a few articles that present a positive view of the films, so there is something for everyone. Definitely pick it up if you want a substantive, academic analysis of the films.