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  1. #1
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    Why there's no "Silmarillion" movie until 2043

    I found a couple of interviews which might shed some light over this altogether...

    First off, from Christopher Tolkien's interview from Le Monde:

    Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? "They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25," Christopher says regretfully. "And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film."

    This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. "Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time," Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. "The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away."
    Also, Philippa Boyens' interview from Movieline:

    By the end of the interview, she had us referring to Tolkien as Professor too, as she discussed the changes and adaptations she and her writing partners made to the text, the sad story of Balin the Dwarf, why fans should be very, very excited for 2043, when the copyright runs out on Tolkien's Middle-Earth compendium, The Silmarillion, and more.

    ...

    Q: I have some good news for you. I looked, on the schedule. There's no movie coming out December 2043.

    A: (Intense laughter)

    Q: Don't pretend you don’t know where I'm going –

    A: I'll be 80-something. I'll be 80 and somebody else will be doing it. That was really hard I have to say, that I couldn't go back there. [There are] extraordinary pieces of writing, extraordinary pieces of the puzzle in The Silmarillion. And we couldn't go near it. I haven't read it for 25 years. I just can't afford to have it in my head because we don't have any of the rights. And also it will just break my heart. I had to let it go.
    My reaction? To be honest, relieved. I already have my own images of the book that I want to keep.

    Hasn't read Silmarillion for 25 years and won't? That explains if some changes in the movies are wrong - how can you fully understand Tolkien's stories, if you don't understand Silmarillion? This makes Philippa as a questionable "Tolkien expert" in my eyes. And Jackson's interests are much more cinematic, those of a director I deem.

  2. #2
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    I have nothing good to say about Peter Jackson's moviemaking lately other than that he can make entertainment. Light and fluffy but mostly entertaining. This sells. He has no fixed goal from the investors who make the movies happen, other than to sell and sell well. Preservation of some sort of Tolkien legacy is not part of the agenda.

    Blatant alterations, omissions, extra storylines out of the blue and downright misunderstanding of the Tolkien text was bound to happen, and it did.

    Not a bad thing from a money-making point of view but not so good from the viewpoint of someone like me who is obsessing over the original written content. It's entertaining but it's not Tolkien. That's OK.

  3. #3
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    Christopher Tolkien's attitude is understandable given his personal connection to the literature. That doesn't mean I don't think he's being unreasonable though.

    As far as the Sil goes, I don't think it's well suited to a movie adaptation anyways. A TV series, perhaps, would work better. I'll be interested to see what's done with it, if I'm even still alive by that time.

    Not going into the whole Peter Jackson films debate. We've had about a billion of them, and nobody is going to budge from their viewpoint. I like them, I think they did a good job of conveying the spirit of the books, that's as far as I care about it.
    Last edited by Nyrion; Dec 23 2012 at 01:20 PM.
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  4. #4
    I was also somewhat relieved that it will be a long time, however there's so many stories in the Silmarillion, which ones would they choose anyway? Luthien and Beren would probably suit itself quite well to a film, but the Children of Hurin would have to be altered significantly (I can't see them allowing incest on screen somehow!)
    A lot of the others are rather too 'Biblicalesque', I don't think the story of creation would make a particularly enthralling cinema visit, however much I might like reading it... Fëanor and his sons might work, but it would be very long.

  5. #5
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    I think if it was ever done it would be done in Star Wars format, maybe five or six films long to get it all in.

    The only problem with that would be the sheer amount of detail and dialogue that would need to be made up, the book only being sufficient as a framework to build around.

  6. #6
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    Personally, I think the majority of it is unfilmable. Outright mythology tends to look naff on screen (so forget any scene involving Valinor or any of the Valar other than Morgoth) and elsewhere there are just too many Elves. I reckon they'd need to pick a tale with a sympathetic (i.e. human) hero, with the best candidate being 'Of Beren and Luthien' because that's got all the right ingredients for an epic, even a happy ending. As for the next most obvious alternative (the tale of Turin), as someone already pointed out they couldn't do real justice to it because the central tragedy would be too dark and disturbing for a mass audience.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Lindaelle View Post
    Hasn't read Silmarillion for 25 years and won't? That explains if some changes in the movies are wrong - how can you fully understand Tolkien's stories, if you don't understand Silmarillion? This makes Philippa as a questionable "Tolkien expert" in my eyes. And Jackson's interests are much more cinematic, those of a director I deem.

    Narrative adaptations and clearly demarcated IP licensing requires a distancing, often deliberate, from related works otherwise potential rights violations can occur. A different example of this issue is LOTRO.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by hallasan View Post
    Narrative adaptations and clearly demarcated IP licensing requires a distancing, often deliberate, from related works otherwise potential rights violations can occur. A different example of this issue is LOTRO.
    Given the changes Tolkien made to his works over the years its hard to say how disappointed he would have been over the movies. The changes made were made with today's generation in mind with hopes to appeal to a wider audience which it did. There were 2 previous attempts at the Lord of The Rings, one was too dark and the other was waaay too fluffy.

    Someday there will be another attempt and i am sure there will be an equal number of people dissatisfied with that attemt as well

  9. #9
    If certain large corporations have their way, rights will never run out on any fictional characters from books, TV or movies. Nor will anything by any writer or musician go public domain again. Too much money to be made by owning it forever.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firemane0 View Post
    Given the changes Tolkien made to his works over the years its hard to say how disappointed he would have been over the movies.
    That's a red herring, as none of that is relevant to LOTR. The mythological side of things was the key thing he seriously reconsidered over the years and that was kept very much in the background of LOTR (it's only ever hinted at). He'd concluded that the sort of old-school mythology you'll find in the early chapters of the Sil (e.g. the Sun and Moon being made from the fruits of the Two Trees) doesn't play well with a modern audience, that you therefore can't really 'do' that sort of mythology any more.

    The changes made were made with today's generation in mind with hopes to appeal to a wider audience which it did.
    You're generalising something awful there. Some changes were evidently made with that in mind, but by no means all of them. Some of them were to do with pacing, some to make the story easier to follow in adapting it to the different medium, some to add a fight scene or two, some to switch dialogue around between characters. The 'trendy' changes were mostly disposable junk, though (with the odd exception like giving Arwen an expanded role, which was a good idea) and the movies succeeded despite them (clumsy as they were), not because of them.

  11. #11
    But the Silmarillion isn't just one story, it's a history and as such has a lot of stories contained within (though not told in full). My question is, if someone plans on making a movie based on that book, which part will they focus on? My guess will probably be the third section, dealing with the history of Sauron and the rings of power up until the years before the trilogy took place, associated story and all that.

    I would like to see someone try to do a film interpretation of the story of the first age and the Silmarils, I always thought the story was terribly beautiful and tragic, but I'm also afraid that it would end up rubbish because it would either up up a giant fantasy action movie or a tragic romance movie.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piff View Post
    I would like to see someone try to do a film interpretation of the story of the first age and the Silmarils, I always thought the story was terribly beautiful and tragic, but I'm also afraid that it would end up rubbish because it would either up up a giant fantasy action movie or a tragic romance movie.
    Unfortunately yes, because for storytelling movies are far simpler in nature than the books are. Tolkien knew what he spoke of, when he said that his books don't really work as plays or movies (he wasn't really a fan of plays or movies in the first place). I think they were meant to be books most of all, because the stories really do take all the advantage out of the complexity of literature.

    Which makes it a shame, really, that some people think that the movies are originals.
    Last edited by Lindaelle; Dec 25 2012 at 07:31 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindaelle View Post
    Unfortunately yes, because for storytelling movies are far simpler in nature than the books are. Tolkien knew what he spoke of, when he said that his books don't really work as plays or movies (he wasn't really a fan of plays or movies in the first place). I think they were meant to be books most of all, because the stories really do take all the advantage out of the complexity of literature.

    Which makes it a shame, really, that some people think that the movies are originals.
    I haven't read Silmarillion completely, (I shamefully skipped some parts, previously read some chapters to understand references to LOTR) but the way it was written I have to agree, the stories were made for print. OR if someone is really creative perhaps it can be made into visual media, but I doubt if it's that easy. otherwise the movie industry will be full of critically acclaimed book adaptations, which sadly is not the case at present

  14. #14
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    I believe it could be done in 2 movies...maybe 3. Lots of it I don't believe could be made into a movie unless they take the basics of the mythology and create a new story around it.

    I could see The Tale of Beren and Luthien being a great movie. It really has everything to be a great movie.

    I think the Children of Hurin could be a movie but would be very dark. The only way I could see that being a movie is if they make some serious changes or make it into a real action movie with less story (basically focus on the fighting and expanding that rather then the rest of the story).

    I could also maybe see a movie on the Numenoreans. That story relates more to The Hobbit/LOTR but once again I believe would need some serious expansion to be made into a solid movie.

    The one problem I see with movies based off the Silmarillion is getting everything explained and not missing some great parts. I believe a movie about Beren and Luthien could explain a lot of the mythology and such and cover some major points. I think Children of Hurin would have to be more independent with only a bit of history.

    No matter how it is done I'm always hoping for more Middle Earth related films. It is nice to see what someone else imagines it is all like and see it come to life.

  15. #15
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    The type of mythology early on in The Sil is indeed very difficult to translate into a coherent and 'believable' format on the big screen. However if push came to shove I think they could do the pre-Flight of the Noldor part in the same manner as they did with the beginning of the FotR - just have a narrator telling the story.

    From the Flight of the Noldor onwards I think it would make a pretty epic film series. I also think the ending would be ideal because it's neither a tragedy - after all Morgoth is defeated - but it's not a happy ending neither - the loss of all the elf kingdoms. It's inconclusive nature I think would make people wanting more.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beleg-Of-Doriath View Post
    From the Flight of the Noldor onwards I think it would make a pretty epic film series.
    Given how Elves seem to end up being shown in movies I have great difficulty in imagining that any movie where practically everyone was an Elf would be very engaging. Even in prose, there's the "Not another ****ing Elf!" problem that one of Tolkien's fellow Inklings first pointed out

    Personally, I can more readily imagine it being filmable in stylized animated style (you know the sort of thing - like illustrations brought to life, with narration rather than having to invent loads of dialogue) and as an episodic affair, but not in general as a big-budget live-action movie, with the exceptions that I mentioned earlier (Beren and Luthien, basically). The reason I say 'episodic' is of course the great deal of time that passes (centuries) between the Return of the Noldor and the War of Wrath.

    I also think the ending would be ideal because it's neither a tragedy - after all Morgoth is defeated - but it's not a happy ending neither - the loss of all the elf kingdoms. It's inconclusive nature I think would make people wanting more.
    The thing is, though, that we've already seen the 'more' as far as movies go. The Akallabeth would be problematic to film: any time anyone's tried to make a movie based on the Atlantis myth it's turned out rather naff and its pseudo-Biblical plot (a people are blessed by God, become ungrateful and turn against him, are seduced into evil ways and are ultimately destroyed for their sins) would have been better suited to some 1950s/1960s Technicolor epic than anything modern (just imagine Charlton Heston in his prime, playing Elendil and you'll get the idea ). As for 'Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age', well, we know what happens there, don't we?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Even in prose, there's the "Not another ****ing Elf!"
    It's later told that Lewis didn't really say that.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindaelle View Post
    It's later told that Lewis didn't really say that.
    Quite right, as it wasn't Lewis - it was Hugo Dyson

  19. #19
    I think the Silmarillion could work as a series of shorter films, perhaps in a more experimental and alternative style. Only Akallabêth really visibly ties in to the Lord of the Rings, perhaps with some Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age thrown in, and could be done more like the others.

    Concerning the Jackson movies, I think a good recut and moving some Radagast scenes to the FOTR could help a lot.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Given how Elves seem to end up being shown in movies I have great difficulty in imagining that any movie where practically everyone was an Elf would be very engaging. Even in prose, there's the "Not another ****ing Elf!" problem that one of Tolkien's fellow Inklings first pointed out

    Personally, I can more readily imagine it being filmable in stylized animated style (you know the sort of thing - like illustrations brought to life, with narration rather than having to invent loads of dialogue) and as an episodic affair, but not in general as a big-budget live-action movie, with the exceptions that I mentioned earlier (Beren and Luthien, basically). The reason I say 'episodic' is of course the great deal of time that passes (centuries) between the Return of the Noldor and the War of Wrath.
    These points in particular make me think that The Sil would make a brilliant anime.
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  21. #21
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    Why there's no "Silmarillion" movie until 2043
    I don't think so. The current concept of intellectual property is out of control, with an increased perception that it does more damage than good to both innovation and to consumers.

    The current (in practice endless) duration of copyright after the author's death is going to fall way before 2043.

  22. #22
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    The scope of the narrative in the Silmarillion is comparable to the Old Testament (i.e. nearly the entire history of the cosmos, which necessarily involves hundreds of characters), whereas the scope of the LotR is more similar to the New Testament (i.e. an account of the great events a few years, focusing on a dozen or so people).

    Adaptations of the New Testament have had some success, but the only successful adaptations of the Old Testament are based on short segments of it (e.g. The Ten Commandments).

    While it will almost certainly never happen in my lifetime, an MMO-type adaptation of the Silmarillion might have more possibilities, because it wouldn't have to be restricted to a single time-frame like LotRO is. Elf characters could participate in events throughout most of the story, and Men could play different generations of the same family tree. (Dorfs, of course, would be the equivalent of Creeps, as they should have been treated in LotRO).

    But alas, a Silmarillion MMO would have no Hobbits!

  23. #23

    Eviscerated?

    Eviscerated?
    Now, guys, guys, guys, guys.
    While the books remain better then the movies still; you have to admit Peter Jackson did a great job and no one could do any better accept Tolkien himself being a film producer.

    And that is all I am going to say. but, I do think they will make a Silmarillion movie one day.
    Last edited by RocketBoy; Jan 04 2013 at 03:29 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RocketBoy View Post
    you have to admit Peter Jackson did a great job and no one could do any better
    Umm, no we don't. I'm damn sure Guillermo del Toro could do better, for one.

    I'd very much like to see what GdT would make of Morgoth, Wolf-Sauron, Carcharoth and Glaurung.
    Last edited by Radhruin_EU; Jan 04 2013 at 03:45 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Umm, no we don't. I'm damn sure Guillermo del Toro could do better, for one.

    I'd very much like to see what GdT would make of Morgoth, Wolf-Sauron, Carcharoth and Glaurung.

    Are you sure? Considering that it is speculated that GdT is responsible for The Goblin King and The Stone Giant fight (and indeed there are shadows of these in his earlier works - so probably true.) I'm not so sure that his vision of those iconic characters will match mine.

 

 
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