Why Christopher Tolkien Hated Peter Jackson’s Movies


that of Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings The trilogy gave author JRR Tolkien a bigger presence in the pop culture zeitgeist in the early 2000s. last part of the series, The king’s return, who won 11 Oscars at the 76th Annual Academy Awards. Yet despite the large-scale success and exposure that Jackson (and other filmmakers before him, such as Ralph Bakshi with his 1978 animated film) brought to The the Lord of the Rings, one member of Tolkien’s domain remained firmly indifferent to the new interpretation of the work of the author – Tolkien’s own son.


Christopher Tolkien expressed his dislike not only for his father’s work that had become so commonplace, but also for Jackson’s particular view of The the Lord of the Rings no secrets. In an interview with the French publication The world in 2012, he said the filmmakers “gutted the book, making it an action movie for 15- to 25-year-olds”. His criticisms didn’t stop at Jackson, but at the general public’s reception of his father’s work over the years. He said that Tolkien as a writer had “become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed in the absurdity of our times”. That’s a pretty tough stance to take, given that Christopher’s son, Simon Tolkien, was fully supportive of Jackson’s trilogy. JRR Tolkien himself was clearly comfortable on some level with the interpretation of his work since he ceded the rights before his death in 1973. However, his son’s words have power. Christopher was the executor of his father’s literary estate until his own death in 2020, but perhaps he was being a bit too harsh considering all that Jackson’s series has done to expand the scope of Jackson’s work. Tolkien.

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Christopher Tolkien Didn’t Like Peter Jackson’s Action-Packed LOTR

Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings books knows that there are intense battle scenes. And Jackson even featured specific details of these scenes in his films, such as the heads of Gondorian soldiers thrown over the walls of Minas Tirith during the Battle of Pelennor Fields. He also took liberties as a director. The Elves never showed up to Rohan’s aid in the Battle of Helm’s Deep in the original text. For the movie, however, it added some extra drama to a battle that was meant to bear the brunt of a climax.

Jackson explained his decision-making regarding Helm’s Deep in the behind-the-scenes DVD extras. It’s clear that he plotted any changes to the novel with great consideration and deliberation. If this was one of the main criticisms that Christopher Tolkien was referring to, perhaps it was simply a misunderstanding of adaptation and the needs of the source material on the page versus the big screen. The books are action-packed but, due to the author’s attention to detail, move considerably slower than their on-screen counterparts. Jackson simply cut to the chase.

Jackson’s LOTR lacks beauty and seriousness, according to Christopher Tolkienelrond and arwen the lord of the rings

In the same The world article, Christopher Tolkien was quoted as saying, “The gulf between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it became, overwhelmed me.” For fans of the films, it’s hard to imagine this particular review considering Jackson The the Lord of the Rings has so many moments of levity amidst a story that speaks so much about the perils of vice and war. Jackson’s films are not all action, sadness, joy or frivolity. They’re packed with jaw-dropping scenery, great attention to detail, and intentional creation of moments between characters.

The extended editions even show how he tried to incorporate more material from the text that simply needed to end up on the cutting room floor to reduce the theaters’ running time. They don’t have the scope of the books, but it would have been an absolutely impossible task to incorporate every nuance of the book into the film. Even a series like the precursor to Prime Video, The Lord of the Rings: The rings of power, won’t be able to capture all of Tolkien’s life’s work in its planned five seasons.

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Christopher Tolkien believed the movies were added to the marketing of LOTRthe hobbits lord of the rings frodo sam merry pippin

Jackson can’t exactly be blamed for trying to bring The the Lord of the Rings to moviegoers since Bakshi first tempted him with his bizarre rotoscope take on Tolkien’s work, but Jackson added more mass appeal. It is probable The Hobbit the movies wouldn’t have been made without the success of the original trilogy, even though they’re set before The War of the Ring and Frodo’s journey to Mordor. Christopher Tolkien seemed to regard this reception by a wider audience as a hindrance to the proper ingestion of the work, stating, “Commercialization negated the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation.”

It’s a shame because the films contain many universal themes, making them timeless stories born out of Tolkien’s work – even if they aren’t. great philosophical rants. In an Entertainment Weekly article in December 2001, Christopher Tolkien conceded: “I recognize that this is a debatable and complex question of art…the suggestions that have been made that I ‘disapprove’ of films, regardless of their cinematic quality, even to the extent that I think ill of those with whom I may disagree, are utterly baseless.”

It’s unclear whether the young Tolkien grew embittered over the years seeing the resounding success of Jackson’s films compared to his father’s work, but at one point he seemed to understand there would always be a discrepancy. of opinion. Either way, JRR Tolkien didn’t go to the grave seizing creative control for himself or his estate. It may have been a pecuniary decision, but the fact remains that he waived the rights of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. As a result, anyone willing to pay for these rights can adapt and perform their works in new and different media for many years to come. The hope is that any artist who chooses to tackle Tolkien’s work will act as a conduit to spark interest and perhaps lead a member of their audience back to the source to experience more of Tolkien’s rich and beautiful world.

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