Are Tolkien’s Orcs Really THAT Evil?

In the moral universe Tolkien created, good and evil, at least on the surface, appear fairly cut and dry.  Races like Hobbits and Men (at least certain types of them) are unequivocally good, while races like Orcs, Trolls, and the lesser types of men are transparently evil.  Anyone who has read his work with any … Continue reading Are Tolkien’s Orcs Really THAT Evil?

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Christmas Classics: “The Muppet Christmas Carol”

As most of you no doubt already know, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol has been, to put it mildly, one of the most frequently adapted Christmas stories in the history of Christmas stories.  Some of these, admittedly, are quite terrible, but there a some that truly stand apart as worthy entries in any Christmas Classics … Continue reading Christmas Classics: “The Muppet Christmas Carol”

The Hobbit as a Living Text: The Battle of 5 Blogs

A Pilgrim in Narnia

hobbit battle of 5 armies posters jacksonThis post is part of the Battle of the Five Blogs, or six blogs to be precise. It is a throw-down of various Tolkien bloggers who are thinking about the release of the final installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy,  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Other bloggers in this series are Kat Sas, James Moffett, Sørina Higgins, Crystal Hurd, and Matthew Rettino. Follow the links to check out their reviews, recaps, and rants. We encourage comments and links to your own reviews, recaps, and rants.

The Hobbit as Living Text

There is a curious thing that happens to C.S. Lewis’ writing: He made friends.

I think that most true J.R.R. Tolkien fans are going to hate The Hobbit: The Battle of 5 Armies, the newest and last installment of Peter Jackson’s series. Some of those fans detested the Lord…

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Nightcrawler: Not the Satire You Think It Is (20 Dec)

Metathesis

On its most basic level, Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014) is a heavy-handed satire that indicts the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality and the normalization of violent and gruesome images on television news. Since images of the Vietnam War made their way into people’s homes via television screens, there have been debates about how much is too much, and what one can and cannot show, ethically, on television.

However, Nightcrawler also contains a much more interesting satirical thread in the figure of its ruthless entrepreneur Lou Bloom,* played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a young man who films accident and crime scenes and sells the footage to the news. The film satirizes the discourse of bootstrapping and “job-creating” entrepreneurism that rose (from its continual background presence) to particular visibility during the 2012 presidential campaign.

The last campaign may seem like a distant memory for many, particular given our 24-hour news-cycle mindsets. My students this…

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In Defense of Peter Jackson, Tolkien Fans, and Nerds Everywhere

Peter Jackson has taken a lot of flack for the alleged butchering of The Hobbit, variously described as bloated, silly, crass, and all of the familiar insults typically hurled at his work, and at fantasy in particular.  Most frustrating, and revealing, however, has been the consistent charge that Jackson has caved in to his own fan-boy impulses, … Continue reading In Defense of Peter Jackson, Tolkien Fans, and Nerds Everywhere

Review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

The final installment of Jackson's Hobbit trilogy hits many of the high, operatic moments of The Lord of the Rings, leaving this fan completely satisfied, and more than a little sad, at this concluding cinematic adventure in Middle-earth. Warning:  Full spoilers follow.   Further warning:  I will probably also have more thoughts on this film after I see it … Continue reading Review: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”