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?
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”
This 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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We Tolkien fans are, not surprisingly, a very diverse group. There are those of us, for example, who are exclusively fans of Tolkien's original works (and even then there are further subdivisions, as there are those who only like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but not The Silmarillion). There are those who … Continue reading Why I’m Not a Tolkien Purist
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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Enjoyable epic fare, but not as compelling as it could have been. This was supposed to be the year of the biblical epic, the triumphant box office return of a genre that has become quite unfashionable.* First there was the much-hyped Noah, and now we have Ridley Scott's latest epic adventure, a re-telling of the Moses story, … Continue reading Review: “Exodus: Gods and Kings”
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
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”
Once upon a time, I thought that productivity was all that mattered when it came to my writing. I would do everything in my power to make sure that I met my word count each and every day (usually somewhere around 1,000 words on a given project). As long as I met that goal, I … Continue reading What Tolkien Taught Me About Writing
It's hard now to remember a day when Peter Jackson's films (whatever one may think of them) were not the dominant, go-to examples of Tolkien on film. Growing up in the 1990s, however, I clearly remember a time when, if you wanted to see Tolkien on screen, you had to go to either Rankin/Bass's productions … Continue reading Re-Considering Rankin/Bass