30-Day Book Challenge: Day 14 - Book Turned Movie and Completely Desecrated
AKA The Entry You'll Hate Me For:
Well, it's hardly a surprise that I wasn't fond of the interpretation of one of my favourite books. I will say, however, that I liked The Fellowship of the Ring well enough, and didn't really have complaints. Still, when asked, I told people "you won't get it if you haven't read the book". Well, they did "get it", but they got something different. To me, the spirit of the work I loved was lacking, and the movie was nothing but the pretty visual interpretation.
My problems came with The Two Towers and its multiple accounts of character assasination and forced formula love triangle - and, frankly, bad editing IMO. Which caused me to skip Return of the King in cinemas, and was only able to bring myself to see it on DVD years later. I'm not sad I did this. I get that sometimes, changes have to be made. But while I understand the cuts, I didn't think there was need for the alterations. They have no reason to exist except that PJ dares not deviate from the formula. Many quote Denethor and Faramir, but in my opinion, "kind as summer" despite all the crap that happened in his life Elrond is just as wronged. Same with diminishing the strength of Aragorn's and Arwen's love because we needed a love triangle and some angst.
Then 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie came and the cover looked interesting. I almost bought the DVD, but was a poor student at the time. Meager budget saved me from rage at myself. I rented it later, but it took a while until I was able to see it in the entirety. It took Rifftrax.
Which is more surprising, because I did see some loosely-based-on-Holmes stuff before, and I liked it well enough. What enraged me here?
1) The fact that it was marketed as "a very faithful interpretation".
2) Irene Adler AKA my Berserk Button. GR got trumped by Moff in shameful treatment of her character, but it makes his sin no lesser.
3) The fact that you could have changed the names and marketed it as an action movie, and few would notice it was based on Sherlock Holmes.
4) The relationship with Watson, one of the key elements, has nothing in common with the original whatsoever. In the movie, Watson punches Holmes.
But I still had no idea how bad could it be.
I didn't know whether I wanted to see The Hobbit or not. I ended up going in with very low expectations.
My low expectations were very optimistic.
Let me start with this: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR EXPANSION. NONE. THE HOBBIT IS A SELF-SUFFICIENT ADVENTURE THAT NEEDS NO EXTRA FRILLS.
I could deal with maybe two movies being necessary, but not three, and definitely not three movies that are three hours in length.
Why did this happen? I suspect PJ is trying to outdo himself.
The thing is, he isn't that talented. He has an eye for imagery and action scenes. That's all. What is good in the script comes from the original work. His staples are cheap and hacktastic:
-action, action, action
-an angsty scene
-action, action, action
-action...you get the point.
The first Hobbit movie was like entire Die Hard series condensed in one movie, with swords instead of guns. Stakes are set too high, and there are too many of them. Why did we need Azog and a reason for Thorin to dislike Thranduil? Particularly since we already established in LotR that Dwarves and Elves are not fans of each other. And they didn't wait with (unnecessary) character assasination.
And then I read an article about Tauriel.
“Tauriel is the head of the Elven Guard,” Lilly explains. “She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.”
Tauriel isn’t only a fierce warrior; she has a softer side, too. “She will definitely have a love story,” Lilly says. “I can’t give away too much about it. It’s not a huge focus but it is there and it is important and it does drive Tauriel and her story and her actions.” Will that romance involve Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, by any chance? Lilly won’t say definitively one way or the other, but she does offer this much: “Tauriel’s relationship with Legolas is significant. They’ve known each other since they were children, and Legolas’ dad, [Elven king] Thranduil, has a soft spot for Tauriel and sees something very special in her. So if you grow up side by side, and your dad has a very special spot in his heart for this young woman who’s a fantastic warrior, I think it’s hard not to notice her.” She laughs. “That’s probably as much as I can say.”
Everyone who's read The Silmarillion is screaming with me right now.
(I'm not blaming Lilly - she's saying what she was told about the character by the people who claim they have researched Tolkien's other writings when preparing for this movie. Heck, they didn't even have to read actual text, any Tolkien wiki can easily inform you about all the stuff they got completely wrong here.)
And before you cry "feminism", take a look again at the part about her love story being the driving force behind her actions and her entire story. They could have just shown the Mirkwood guard containing more than one Elleth. With Tauriel as the head, why not? But sans the love story and very Mary Sue-ish background. (Though I would change the hair colour too. Red hair on Elves has kind of unfortunate implications in ME.)
Safe to say, I'll be waiting until the DVDs come with huge discount.
ETA: I completely for got to mention that "The 1944 version" of LotR is way better than anything PJ could conceive. You can watch it here.