August 29, 2001

Artistic License or Plagerism?
Cicily T.

Hi there. I am wondering what everyone thinks in regards to works of literature that are made into Block Buster movies for the sole purpose of the almighty dollar? I wonder if Peter Jackson is making Lord of the Rings because he loves and respects the work, or, if he is enamoured by the thought of having his name go down in movie producer's fame, alongside Spielberg and Lucas, (not to mention the money LOTR will rake in). It seems that Jackson has tried to re-invent some scenes for the sake of pleaseing the "politically correct" crowd, as well as, adding more screen time for Liv Tyler, (a big hit with the Britany Spears crowd) etc. My question then is what Peter Jackson is doing an "artistic licence" and should be seen as such, or, is he actually plagerising Tolkien's work? Where does the line start or end? I recently heard that my favorite book: The Three Musketeers, has been made into yet another movie, (I think there are four now) under the name "The Musketeer", and that the trailer says,: A 'Re-imagined" story from a great adventure" or something to that effect. I believe that the makers of this film chose the words: "Re-imagined story" so that they could not be called plagerists. How far does plagerism extend and how can we draw a line? Is taking someone's work... like the Mona Lisa...and painting it exactly, but with blonde hair instead, plagerism? Can anyone help me expand on what constitutes plagerism, and if so, is Jackson dangerously close to this? Or is Jackson maintaining a free artistic reign? And do you believe that more versions of LOTR will be made now that Jackson has broken the mold, and will those versions stay true to the story, or will they be so far beyond the story that all that will remain will be the names of favorite characters etc.? Any comments?

P.S. sorry about the typing here, but English is not my first language. Cheers!