May 23, 2001

The Fans Are Wrong?
Jeanne Kalvar

I was reading the post by Glamorf saying how everything about the movie seems to be wonderful, but he thinks that the casting of Elijah Wood is a major flaw, because Wood is 'far too young'. I've heard this comment before and it's got me thinking.

Frodo received the Ring on his 33rd birthday, which, we were told, was the year he came out of his reckless tweens (twenties) and was considered to be an adult. At this point, he stopped aging, just as Bilbo did when he got the Ring. In our society, coming into adulthood occurs at age 18, so the actor cast as Frodo should look about 18 years old both at Bilbo's party, and afterwards due to the anti-aging effects of the ring. Elijah Wood at 21 is a perfect age.

But that issue aside, there's something broader going on. People are complaining about many issues...whether or not the Balrog has wings, whether elven ears are pointed or not, the color of Legolas's hair, and so forth. But what they're really doing is defending their image of the characters, created as a result of their reading of the book. But, as in the case of Frodo here, often their reading is wrong. They got the image that Legolas should have black hair, and defend it ardently, even though, in the Hobbit, it describes Legolas's father as having blond hair. They say elves don't have pointed ears even when Tolkien, in his letters, describes elves and hobbits both with pointed ears (or leaf-shaped).

Peter Jackson has merits and flaws, I am certain. But I've seen a lot of people condemn him for not making the movie to fit their vision, even if their vision might not actually be accurate to closest possible reading of the text, or may be based solely on a judgement made when Tolkein gave no description at all.

You ruin a lot of fun for yourself if you can never look up at the screen images and say 'I might have been wrong.' I hope people can put their own conclusions aside and enjoy what looks to be a very fine, fun movie.

Just my 2 cents.