The LOTR Movie Site
May 26, 2000

Tom Must Be Put to Rest
Joseph C.

Ahhhh... Tom Bombadil. So many scream on his behalf. "He's the primary character of history and magic in Middle Earth," they shout, "dear God, don't let him be cut!" I like Tom. He's jolly, colorful and gay. He does happy little jigs on tables a before preparing dinner. Nice guy.

Ok, stay with me.

I fondly remember reading an interview with Peter Jackson on the Aint-it-cool-news site when I had discovered the movies were in the works. Something he said struck my fancy. The question to him pertained to what the style of the movie would be. Films like "Legend" and "Willow" were offered for comparison by the interviewer. PJ dismissed them, stating that LOTR would be closer in feeling to something like "Braveheart." This made me smile. It still makes me smile. Like all works of art, which I believe LOTR is, everything is subjective. I've read it numerous times. In my childhood, I imagined it as a wonderful and colorful animation. Tom Bombadil was my favorite character, because he fit that perception. As I've grown with the book, it has become a different experience for me. Different things effect me. The violence has made me squeamish at times. The Ringwratihs, for example, are no longer Skeletors, but truly frightening things to envision. The movie, from what I can tell, is living up to his word- looking less fantastic and more realistic. There's a possible R rating (wow!) Tom Bombadil is a character that can only be captured with words. To have him in the film could easily betray the darker concept of the movie.

Bombadil, if added, would be a disastrous move. On the surface he could easily be mistaken for a frivolous creature. Those who have read the books know this is certainly not true, but the descriptions of him written on the pages simply cannot be translated effectively to film. Hell, I have a hard time imagining him. A shortish bearded man with colorful clothing is just not enough.  He's a personification of joy, wisdom, and magic. The twinkle in his eye is what makes him interesting. His knowing glances. His mysterious and lengthy past. When I read the book, I don't picture his face- I feel his energy. Should he be in the movie, his character would certainly not be fleshed out enough. He would be given a maximum of around ten minutes screen time- surely not enough to portray such a character to the audience.

Tom Bombadil would become the Jar-Jar of LOTR.