Thursday, June 6, 2013

What, we're just making up elves now?

"Uh...that'll be $300,000."
-Christopher Tolkien
I and many others like me (nerds, mainly) have made no secret of the fact that we question the wisdom of Peter Jackson's decision to break The Hobbit into three movies. Last year's first installment: The Hobbit: Origins: The Beginening: Bilbo Rises kind of provided some vindication for us nay-sayers. It was by no means a bad movie, but it was needlessly long and padded with material ranging from Tolkien's original notes to posthumous scribblings his son 'found' on a napkin whenever a mortgage payment was due.

As we approach part two of an increasingly unnecessary trilogy, photos of actress Evangeline Lily (she was on Lost) as the Sylvan Elf Tauriel have emerged
Pictured: Lily as Tauriel, robbing the shit out of any
 rich noble who dares to pass through Sherwood.
In the rigid Elven caste system, Sylvan elves
rank above the Keebler, who toil endlessly
in the brutal cookie trees of Rivendell.
'Who the what elf?' Tauriel is a Sylvan elf which is I gather is a sort of elf-working class because apparently elves are now racist or something (elfist?). She's also Captain of the Elven guard and a childhood pal of Legolas. Yup, she's a brand new character and so I'm a little torn. I mean, Peter Jackson's stated rational for stretching the book into three goddamn long movies was to do justice to the source material, but if The Hobbit is so chock-full of screen-worthy scenes that not a single page of Tolkienian goodness can be left out, why the hell does he need to invent new characters and draw on outside material? 

On the other hand, it's not like the excellent Lord of the Rings movies didn't take some license with the trilogy. Jackson cut scenes and condensed events both for time and to make the damn thing watchable. 
I'm pretty sure Lurtz the Super-Orc wasn't in any of the books,
but Fellowship needed a Final Boss Fight so blamo, there he is.
Behold: The mighty clone-vats of Gondor
Also, it's also hard to complain about the addition of a female character to an otherwise epic sausage fantasy fest. In the LOTR movies, Jackson beefed Arwen's and Éowyn's roles because holy shit, reading the books you begin to wonder how Middle Earthlings even breed. While it's nice to be true to the source material, it's also nice when people come see your movie. A straight-up shot-for-shot, slavishly accurate Hobbit movie might please the ultra-fans who made it through The Silmarillion and speak elvish but I don't know if I'd want to sit through it. 

So, I don't know, maybe The Hobbit Into Darkness will be will be great and maybe it'll be another three-hour plod through Middle Earth where we'll sit there wondering why the Eagles didn't just drop them off at the Lonely Mountain. Either way, I'm pretty sure I'll be giving Peter Jackson and the good people of New Zealand another $11 to find out.
"Seriously Gandalf? You're just going to let them drop us off here?
We're Dwarves. Short Legs. This'll take like two more movies, at least..."
-Thorin Oakenshield,
whiner under the mountain

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