The Tokien Estate hasn’t been too fond of Peter Jackson’s “Lord Of The Rings” films. They’ve been ever wary of the multiplex spectacle approach to the source material, at one time suing New Line over royalties, but they’ve also generally stayed out of the media spotlight, preferring to pout in private. But for whatever reason an interview given to Le Monde last summer by the 88 year-old Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien, is coming to light now. And he has ripped into Jackson’s trilogy of movies and expressed his concern about “The Hobbit.”
“They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher said of “The Lord Of The Rings,” revealing he turned down an invitation to meet Jackson. “And it seems that ‘The Hobbit’ will be the same kind of film.” And while most families of authors would be thrilled to be associated with a billion dollar franchise (even if, in this case, they only get a small portion of that coin), as Christopher’s son notes, that’s not the case here.
“Normally, the executors of the estate want to promote a work as much as they can,” Adam Tolkien said. “But we are just the opposite. We want to put the spotlight on that which is not ‘Lord of the Rings.’ “
As for Christopher, he offers a bleak assessment on the legacy of his father and his work, which is now part of a movie machine that won’t be going away any time soon. “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,” he pondered. “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.”