Saturday, July 31, 2010

Everyone's Entitled to My Opinion: About One Ring to Rule Them All

It’s becoming popular to hide away for a weekend and watch a single season of a television series in the space of one or two days. It’s an inexpensive and fun getaway. But before you invest a weekend with the likes of say, Burn Notice, may I suggest The Lord of the Rings?

This is not a nerd-alert. Hooded robes are not required for a weekend of viewing. You can retain whatever level of hipness you have and still carve out ten hours of your life to experience a tale well-told, a story that depicts eternal values and represents the best in Christian artistry.

Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings stands as a triumph of cinematic story-telling, and is well worth a second visit now that the series has had a few years to mature. The three movies garnered a total of 17 Academy awards: Jackson and his team poured nearly five years of their lives into the making of these movies. If Tolkien’s work was widely considered the “book of the century,” these films could rightly be considered the movies of the decade.

In a time when Christian fiction and movie-making frequently features “message” over mastery of the art, The Lord of the Rings reminds anyone engaged in creative endeavors that we need not dumb-down our efforts in service of the King. Of course, Christian publishing houses and movie studios are the ones in the greatest need of this reminder: God is honored most when artists are allowed to pursue artistry over profit.

In my opinion everyone ought to lose themselves for a day in The Lord of the Rings.


  1. i've just finished reading the LOTR series and used my memory from the movies to help me navigate much of the landscape - i felt the movies did really well in that respect. i was also impressed with how much of the movies' dialogue is taken verbatim from Tolkien.

    the biggest difference between the books & movies surprised me. it was not plot (as i expected) though some key parts of the plot were changed. it was Tolkien's refusal to give darkness (or Mordor) any direct narrative. the characters of Mordor (or their stories) were hardly ever spoken of. When these were referenced it was only through a character (say Gandalf) retelling bits and parts to his friends (to give context), or from the perspective a good character (say Samwise) happening to have been on location and overhearing and directly part of the narrative. no where is dialogue, decisions, or events of Mordor given direct story-telling, it is only through the lens of light that darkness is ever considered.

    just thought i would throw that out there. very interesting to me. clearly intentional and Tolkien must have been one bright fellow.

  2. I look forward to watching this series with my children -- now 8 and 10 yo. I think the 8 year old will have a little trouble understanding. Heck, it might be over my head in parts. Smile !

  3. Sammy,

    That's a killer insight. Thanks for sharing.

  4. ray its so interesting you posted this. (since they had come out on dvd - though i loved them - i was not up in arms to immediately watch them again) but very recently as in a couple days ago i thought man i really want to sit down and watch those movies again... all three of them. its been long enough and i'm keen to do it!