Mac program of the day: Unison, a newsreader
I found the first issue of The Internet Review of Science Fiction while I was catching up with the rasfc newsgroup with Unison. Usually I refuse to read articles that you have to register to see, but I really wanted to know what Peter Jackson and the Denial of the Hero by M. Garcia was all about. So, some excerpts (a fair use):
As the trilogy of films unfolded, it became evident that Jackson had fundamentally rewritten the characters and their motivations, and in so doing, had quite stripped the essence of heroic fantasy out of the story. In the film trilogy the heros are weak and hesitant, while most of the villains are denuded of their tragedy. […]
It might seem that all of Tolkien’s character development involves the acceptance of destiny, depicted in (sometimes overwrought) mythic language. But an even more curious reversal takes place in the person of Frodo. Frodo alone of all the major characters in Tolkien’s work chooses his destiny. […]
Jackson portrays Frodo as a lost creature through the last leg of the journey. He is so burdened by the ring, and so baffled by Gollum’s tricksy talk, that he even turns against Sam.
M. notes that a pivotal Frodo scene is omitted from the movie, the one in which Frodo binds Gollum with the Ring: “If you touch me ever again, you shall be cast yourself into the Fire of Doom.” Which, of course, he is. There’s no mention of the Faramir or Denethor character assassinations, but if you thought Gandalf and Aragorn were (at least occasionally) heroic this article will set you straight. There’s no room for heroes in Jackson’s world:
Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings remains unfilmed and, since it seems increasingly unpalatable to contemporary sensibilities, probably unfilmable.
I wonder, did Peter Jackson see the real story and revise it consciously, or was he, like the literary critics quoted in the article, unable to read the story as it was intended to be read? Are there stories that cannot be told because the audience just can’t see them? It’s a disturbing thought, since those are probably the stories I’d want to tell.