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January 4, 2002

Jackson's Variations of FotR
Kevin MacL.

P. Megson’s posting “12/30/01: The Bashing Starts” makes this penultimate statement; “Peter Jackson was making a movie, not a book!” This much is a true, and I can not disagree with the comment that Jackson did produce a movie with “heart”, in the sense that it’s obvious Jackson gave his all to make a first-rate movie experience. My contribution to the debate over Jackson’s movie is more foundational than Megson’s “it’s a movie, not a book” argument and the typical “left this out” complaint. Simply put, Peter Jackson is guilty of perjury or at the very least charlatanism.

All movies that are founded on books are bound to disappoint some zealots, for the nature of the conversion from book to movie demands editing, paraphrasing and all this done through the a third party, the producer. I have taken this into account, yet still find concern with Jackson’s production.

Jackson claims to have produced a movie based on Tolkien’s FOTR. Yet he, for reasons unknown and beyond the normal adaptation demands, he has changed numerous parts, altering some even integral parts of the story. The result, which should be obvious even to the novice reader of the original book(s), is a movie that has lost much of the original author’s intent. Thus, Jackson has not produced J. R. R. Tolkien’s FOTR as the commercials and movie credits proclaim, rather he has created what music composers call a “variation” on FOTR. As a result, audiences from around the world are watching a variation when they think they’re watching an original piece.

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