The LOTR Movie Site
November 8, 1999

Arwen, Xena and Fantasy In General
Bret Moore

As something of an amateur Tolkien scholar and all around fan of myth in general, I have to say that I, like several others before me, am somewhat dismayed by the suggestion that the role of Arwen will be expanded into a "Warrior Princess" type affair.

But I've got a different take on the whole idea - has anyone thought that perhaps the idea was not Peter Jackson's, or the production company's, but perhaps the actor's?

I have never been a big fan of Miss Tyler. She does look sort of elven, though, so I'll accept the casting. But I'm not so sure that, as one of the young stars of our generation (and I use such language with loathing), she is willing to step into the somewhat archaic role of a lady of myth.

Let's examine the situation, shall we? You are a young, beautiful actress. You receive input from probably a bewildering array of sources, each of them telling you what to do to best further your career. I really doubt the star of such high quality films as "Armageddon" would listen to input from classical sources which might suggest such a role (the damsel in distress, as it were) could show depth of ability, diversity, etc. I think she belongs rather to the big-guns big-tits big-explosions school of tutelage: in-your-face acting, perhaps. Sadly, generation Xers don't want to see mythologically correct films, they want to see "Fantasy" films where the Conan-like hero always gets laid by the hot chicks, or, in our politically correct world, where the buff chick administers a lot of crotch-kicks.

Personally, I have always rather abhorred such a definition of fantasy, but it seems that whenever one uses that label to describe certain reading material, invariably folks think of you as some deranged pervert. I mean, who reads nowadays, anyway?

But perhaps I am wrong, and perhaps it is not her but some malignant corporate entity. If that is the case, then I hope she will at least reject such a trite role. I don't have too much confidence in that, however.

So, that's what I don't want to see. I don't want to see this made into a "Fantasy" film. I don't want to see Miss Tyler (or her agent) use this as a vehicle for superstardom. Please, spare me. If Peter Jackson is really interested in making an original film that does not adhere to the "traditional" definition of the "Fantasy" genre, then I believe he will absolutely have to adhere to the story in terms of its characters. This would preclude additions or alterations so as to appeal to the blockbuster audience. Mr. Robert Van De Water (the Ringbearer Article) already covered that topic at length and with good scholarly precision (although Sir, I believe it is Faramir if I am not mistaken).

And this does not mean that the film cannot be commercially successful. Films like "The Sixth Sense," "Saving Private Ryan," "The Blair Witch Project," all of these were well done, original in a general sense, but most importantly they were not constructed like a blockbuster film. There wasn't much of a happy ending, or a love interest, or car chases. And they were (and are) immensely commercially successful. Mr. Jackson, I have confidence that you can follow suit.

Just don't let us down with another "Phantom Menace."