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The Silver Lining

Not every fan out there is happy with Peter Jackson’s new film adaptation. Just because I was thrilled with it (I really was) and applaud the new films as a wild success (I really do), doesn’t mean everyone else shares my view.

Seriously, people have been complaining – and I mean downright bitching about it – so it seems fair to share their opinion.

David Bratman, one of the chief players in the Mythopoeic Society, disliked The Fellowship of Ring considerably, and was quoted in the New York Times calling it "a travesty." One of our Special Guest authors tore the movie to shreds [Click Here] and I don’t think that our very own Turgon was too much in love with it, either.

And I don’t need to mention Richard Roeper. Well, heck, I just did.

Roger Ebert’s other half was so over-the-top hateful and venomous against the movie, he made a fool of himself during the taping of their syndicated show "Ebert & Roeper At the Movies." Roeper lost all grasp of language and for 10 minutes kept babbling things like: "I just don’t get it. What’s with this stupid Ring anyway? I just don’t get it." Poor Ebert was so surprised that his jaw dropped in a moment of silence, and then he gasped, "So you’re giving it a thumbs down?!" Then Ebert was forced to come to the clumsy defense of a film he himself was lukewarm about. (Roeper has painted himself into the most absurd corner. He calls Harry Potter the new Wizard of Oz for its generation and then execrates Fellowship as one of the worst film experiences ever. I think he’s just a useless hack who doesn’t know real cinema from a hole in the ground – BUT I DIGRESS.)

I ask you to listen to all the differing voices. Read some of the Ringer Reviews we have here on TheOneRing.net, and you’ll see mostly happy folks, like me, who were touched by the extraordinary beauty of PJ’s film. But others, well... many other fans are just "piss and vinegar" about it all. They thought the movie was crap.

Is this representative of a schism in the Tolkien community? A division in the ranks where the old-school academics plant their flag of superiority... they’re the only ones who really "get it"... making the newer fans of the movie feel like they haven’t got any claim to true Tolkien fandom? Here it comes. This awful dark cloud hovering over us. Does it threaten our cheerful existence with discord and bad feelings?

Nope. Quite the opposite.

The silver lining is exceptional, if you can just see it for what it is. Such a wonderful, totally brilliant thing is going to happen to Tolkien fans that all the bickering will be quickly forgotten.

There is no need for us fans to separate into groups. I’m not going to segregate my friends into two camps: (a) people who adored the movie and (b) the others who fell asleep during the "three-hour butt-warmer." Please!

Who cares if you liked the movie or not? What harm, really, if a silly critic gets himself all wound up over his failure to grasp epic narrative? What if the LOTR movie franchise manages to re-invigorate the whole fantasy film genre into a huge show-biz behemoth? What does that matter?

This is a win-win situation for all of us and I’ll tell you why: just think of ALL THE NEW READERS!

The artistic merits of the film don’t matter in this. I’m talking about the new readers who are now picking up the book for the first time. Everyone knows that worldwide sales of all Tolkien books have exploded! The new editions are flying off the shelves. Just let that sink in for a moment.

You have a bright, young, eager mind that has never read a book quite like this. Or maybe you have a well-seasoned older mind that never thought the story would hold his interest. You have so many millions of these people around the world, all different types, who are opening their eyes for the first time. Isn’t that a fantastic thing?

You remember when you read The Hobbit and LOTR when you were 12 years old! You remember what a tremendous experience it was. Well now it’s their turn. They get to take the first steps of that journey, now that the film has turned them on to this magnificent tale!

How could you complain about that? Tolkien fandom now has huge population growth to look forward to, if nothing else, and our arms will expand to include them all in our embrace. It couldn’t be a better thing for us.

Out there somewhere, a child saw Peter Jackson’s movie and thought it was a rollicking good movie. He went to the bookstore or library and got himself a copy. Now he is reading those pages, wide-eyed and deeply in love with Tolkien’s masterwork. So for all of you grouchy types out there who thought the film a horrible waste of time, just think about that fresh-paper smell and the soft crackle of book binding when it is opened in the hands of a new reader.

Much too hasty,

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Past Limbs
An Open Letter to the Screen Actors Guild
Review: The Return of the King
Kingly Proof
For the Love of Arwen
The Atlantis Connection
Noble Is As Noble Does
Send in the Penguins
War! What is it Good For?
In Defense of Philippa Boyens
Movie Review - The Two Towers
The Final Word
Very, Very, Very Impatient
Book Review: The Annotated Hobbit
Finding a Hobbit’s Voice
Conversation with a Newbie
Inside Information
The Silver Lining
Movie Review - Fellowship of the Ring
Where the Stars are Strange: Part V
Where the Stars are Strange: Part IV
Where the Stars are Strange: Part III
Where the Stars are Strange: Part II
Where the Stars are Strange: Part I
The Spectacular Cannes Footage
Comic-Con International 2001
An Open Letter to Jeffrey Wells
The Shadow of Racism
All About Sam
The Game’s the Thing!
Who’s Spiking Who?
The 2000 Vote: Gandalf or Saruman?
Tolkien’s Greatest Hits
Return to The Furthest Reaches
The Furthest Reaches
True Fans, Truly Obsessed
"Yes, Elanor, there really is a Gandalf"
…And In the Closet Bind Them
Welcome to Merchandising Hell
In Defense of Escapism
Out on a Limb Home


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