David Bratman-"Summa Jacksonica", TOLKIEN ON FILM

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Anduril
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David Bratman-"Summa Jacksonica", TOLKIEN ON FILM

Post by Anduril »

Looks interesting, as does the book itself. Unfortunately my chances of getting the book are slim. Voronwë does not like it. (link)

Here's some assorted Bratman quotes I found on the web:
I give Jackson an A on visuals and props, a B on the films as independent pieces of work divorced from the book, a C on faithfulness to Tolkien's story and detail, and a D (but only because I won't give an F when the student has shown evidence of trying) on faithfulness to Tolkien's spirit and tone. (link)
At this point it is necessary to reply to those who claim that films don't affect them, and that anybody except the weak-minded, the weird, or the juvenile can simply will themselves not to think of the film version while reading the book from which it was made. An epic, detailed, captivating film dramatization of a book somehow has no effect whatever on the mental state or image of the reader. Anybody for whom that is true must be one of those rare people who can win at the game whose object is not to think of a purple elephant. Such iron-mindedness is simply not the common [norm?] of humanity. (link)
And a movie can bury a book. Fans of L. Frank Baum have been forlornly complaining for over 60 years that his Oz books are quite unlike the famous film. And they're correct. But nobody listens to them. They think they know what Oz is like: they've seen the film. (link)
It doesn't matter where the book is, if the film is in the head. (link)
Incidentally Bratman approves of http://arthedain.netfirms.com/ , a criticism site by "philosopher at large" aka "Bellatrys", which I've pointed to before. (link)
Last edited by Anduril on Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: David Bratman - "Summa Jacksonica", from TOLKI

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Anduril wrote:Voronwë does not like it.
That's not quite true. I like some it, and dislike other parts. I think that David goes too far in some of his criticisms of the films, but other points I have come to agree with more over time. The same for Janet Croft's essay. Some of the essays I liked very much.
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Post by Anduril »

Whoops, my apologies :oops: Nice to see the films being analyzed by academic fans, instead of just fans.
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Post by Siberian »

He also says "Peter Jackson has a nine-year-old's understanding of Tolkien." Burn!
Please, don't insult nine-year-olds. If they have the chops to finish LOTR they already know better than PJ :rage:
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Re: David Bratman-"Summa Jacksonica", TOLKIEN ON F

Post by N.E. Brigand »

Anduril wrote:Looks interesting, as does the book itself.
Bratman's is a superb essay, but it's not about the films so much as arguments made by the films' defenders.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Including one T.A Shippey. 8)
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Post by N.E. Brigand »

Well, as I said in another thread, you're not the only one to (justly) criticize something Shippey's written.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I knew you were going to say that! :)
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Post by axordil »

I always shake my head when someone claims to have an insight on what, precisely, the "spirit" of a work of literature is. That's a critical weasel word for "the infinitely flexible and ineffable central thing about a work that I (of course) understand perfectly." It's an unfalsifiable. It's the stuff of pointless theological argument.

Everything else there is up for debate. :)
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Post by Anduril »

I made a mistake in attributing all of the above to Bratman's essay. Only "At this point it is necessary..." is from the essay while others were posted online.

"Peter Jackson has a nine-year-old's understanding of Tolkien." - Harsh much?
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Post by Frelga »

Anduril wrote:I made a mistake in attributing all of the above to Bratman's essay. Only "At this point it is necessary..." is from the essay while others were posted online.

"Peter Jackson has a nine-year-old's understanding of Tolkien." - Harsh much?
Yes. As a parent of a recent nine-year-old, I am incensed. :P

Although at that age, DS did enjoy shield surfing (heck, so did his parents), monsters, and the big noisy battles. But he missed Tom Bombadil, and he prefers book Aragorn, Faramir and Denethor.
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Post by N.E. Brigand »

axordil wrote:I always shake my head when someone claims to have an insight on what, precisely, the "spirit" of a work of literature is.
To be fair Bratman does give examples to explain what he means by the "spirit" of Tolkien's work. Amusingly, at one point he cites the exact same quote by Jackson in support of his argument that Kristin Thompson (who reviewed the Tolkien on Film collection quite harshly in Tolkien Studies, by the way) uses in The Frodo Franchise to show that Jackson knew what he was doing.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

That's interesting. What was the quote? (I could probably figure it out for myself, but it is easier to ask you!)
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Post by axordil »

N.E. Brigand wrote:
axordil wrote:I always shake my head when someone claims to have an insight on what, precisely, the "spirit" of a work of literature is.
To be fair Bratman does give examples to explain what he means by the "spirit" of Tolkien's work. Amusingly, at one point he cites the exact same quote by Jackson in support of his argument that Kristin Thompson (who reviewed the Tolkien on Film collection quite harshly in Tolkien Studies, by the way) uses in The Frodo Franchise to show that Jackson knew what he was doing.
Thus the unfalsifiable. :)
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Post by N.E. Brigand »

axordil wrote:
N.E. Brigand wrote:To be fair Bratman does give examples to explain what he means by the "spirit" of Tolkien's work. Amusingly, at one point he cites the exact same quote by Jackson in support of his argument that Kristin Thompson ... uses ... to show that Jackson knew what he was doing.
Thus the unfalsifiable. :)
Well, thus any aesthetic evaluation that goes beyond merely describing the artwork in question.

To V: the quote is the one about why Jackson & co. reworked Faramir's character so that in the film he cannot reject the Ring as easily as he appears to do in the book.
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Post by axordil »

Well, thus any aesthetic evaluation that goes beyond merely describing the artwork in question.
Yes and no. If one says "I like this" or "This doesn't work for me" or "This sucks big green rocks" it's a purely aesthetic evaluation. When one says "This succeeds in doing X" or "this fails to do Y" it's a analytic evaluation--unless X and Y are in fact aesthetic terms. That's the weasel part: when one sets up a statement with an analytic framework to conceal an aesthetic evaluation.
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Post by Anduril »

Stuff about Tolkien on Film is now on Wikipedia.
Supporters of the trilogy assert that it is a worthy interpretation of the book and that most of the changes were necessary.[64] ... Boyens once noted that no matter what, it is simply their interpretation of the book. Jackson once said that to simply summarise the story on screen would be a mess, and in his own words, "Sure, it's not really The Lord of the Rings ... but it could still be a pretty damn cool movie."[66][67] Other fans also claim that, despite any changes, the films serve as a tribute to the book, appealing to those who have not yet read it, and even leading some to do so.

In 2005, the Mythopoeic Society published a volume of critical essays about the trilogy and its effects on popular culture called Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings.

...

David Bratman[75] criticizes several arguments defending the films as adaptations, such as "It’s Jackson’s vision, not Tolkien’s", "But they worked so hard on it!", "It brings new readers to the book", "The perfect film would have been 40 hours long", and "The book is still on the shelf".
:twisted: More about the book:
Cathy Akers-Jordan,[71] Jane Chance,[72] Victoria Gaydosik,[73] and Maureen Thum[74] contend that the portrayal of women, especially Arwen, in the films is overall thematically faithful to (or compatible with) Tolkien's writings despite some differences.
Dan Timmons[77] writes that the themes and internal logic of the films are undermined by the portrayal of Frodo, who he considers a weakening of Tolkien's original.
Kayla McKinney Wiggins[78] opines that the films misread and misinterpret the nature of heroes as understood in Tolkien’s writings and in his source material due to a shift in focus from character evolution to action adventure.
Janet Brennan Croft[79] criticizes the films using Tolkien's own terms “anticipation” and “flattening”, which he used in critiquing a proposed film script. She contrasts Tolkien's subtlety with Jackson's tendency to show "too much too soon".[79]
Are these good summaries? The editing history says they were based on the abstracts on the Mythopoeic Society webpage.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

The book was published by the Mythopoeic Press, so it is not surprising that there is abstracts on the Mythopoeic Society webpage. That being said, while it has been a while since I have read the book, those sound like reasonably accurate summaries.
"Among the tales of sorrow there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."
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