May 04, 2001

Different Visions
Trudy S.

In the ancient past (c. 2000), PJ said in an interview that he felt lucky *his* vision of LotR would be seen on the screen. He was acknowledging that everyone who reads the book is going to have his or her own images of characters, scenes, etc., and he's not going to be able to satisfy each one. The way I picture Aragorn may be quite different from someone else's, so one of is going to have to be disappointed, right? If we think of the movies as PJ's vision of the story and not necessarily the definitive one, we can sit back and enjoy seeing inside his imagination. (Yeah, I know, it would be nice if we each had $270 million to put our *own* vision up there.)

I think we Tolkien fans have this tendency to be upset at movie-related decisions we don't agree with because JRRT did such a good job of making his creation real. We feel we were present at the actual events and know the characters as real people--even friends. Of course we want it told the way it *really* happened (which, since we were there, must be the way we remember it--right?).

So, one way to look at the movies is to think of them as historical dramas, which often change some of the facts, or at least slant them to fit the director's ideas. And the people playing the characters in historical movies aren't necessarily their "doubles" physically. I mean, Anthony Hopkins doesn't actually look a whole lot like Nixon, but he could still do a good job of playing him because of his acting skills.

Ian Holm (who plays Bilbo), in his new interview over on E-Online, made a comparison I thought was right on the money. He compared LotR with Hamlet. As he said, actors and directors are always trying to do the "definitive" Hamlet, but it will never happen because everyone imagines it differently--and they've been working on that one for close to four centuries!

Of course, we *do* have the definitive version of LotR--in print. What we see on the screen is the same thing we see in Tolkien-related artwork: one way of interpreting it.