Monday, January 28

Looks like they're going to add a preview of 'The Two Towers' to the end of 'The Fellowship of the Ring' in theaters. Guess I'll have to go again. This came to me via MeFi (and tranquileye), and there's some more discussion of the movie over there you might be interested in.

In that thread, verdezza linked Ebert's review. Very well done. There's much to appreciate about Jackson's movie, but it is a definite diminution of the scope and beauty of the books. It is, in Ebert's words, 'a sword-and-sorcery epic in the modern style, containing many of the same characters and incidents.' And it can be appreciated separately. I plan on seeing it again soon. But it's not the same.

I watched the Bakshi version the other night, and liked lots of it. It's much more faithful to the book, plot-wise. I'll post a longer review later. The main point, though, is that I wouldn't want to watch it again any time soon. And it's been at least 3 years since I last watched it, and I own it. How's that for faint praise?

Also, some people around the web (including the MeFi discussion above) have been dissing Tolkien's poetry. Let's add some context. You might not like it if you're used to contemporary stuff and if that's all you appreciate. But it's heavily informed by Old and Middle English poetry (not to mention Finnish, Old Norse/Icelandic, etc.). Blanket disapproval seems inappropriate.

For my part, I listened to an hour of Christopher Tolkien reading from 'The Tale of Beren and Luthien' from 'The Silmarillion' this weekend and I thought it was the most beautiful spoken words I've ever heard without exception. It's so noble and honorable.
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