Loving film adaptations and their books

Jan 2, 2013, 12:19 PM

The recently ended holiday season brought many things in Harvard Street, Cubao one of them seems to be new nicknames between my two nephews, who has taken to calling each other Bombur and Precious. Now for those familiar with JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you might be able to glimpse at what my nephews look like. And if you recently watched the latest adaptation of Tolkien’s work you might as well deduce how those nicknames came about.

When I was growing up I came to learn of Tolkien’s Middle Earth from the worn out books of my uncle. And had to use my mindseye to become a visitor to the Shire, Erebor, Eriador, Isengard, Baradur and Tom Bombadil’s house. I still remember those days of intimacy with words strewn together by Tolkien that formed a magnificent tapestry.e

As the years went by adaptations of Tolkien’s work appeared and disappeared like the Grey Pilgrim. Images and sounds filed a kaleidoscope of memories – from the sorry Balrog in Ralph Bashki’s adaptation; to the BBC adaptation that featured Ian Holm as Frodo Baggins; the Rankin and Bass adaptation of the trilogy; and up to the present with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the trilogy and the Hobbit.

I remember the reaction to the trilogy amidst the praise given to it. A friend bewailed the portrayal of the noble Faramir. To be honest my favorite of Jackson’s adaptation was the Fellowship of the Ring and found the latter installments lacking in soul – in particular with the amputation of the second to the ninth chapter of the sixth and final book: The Scouring of the Shire. But that is water under the bridge. For me it did not diminish Tolkien’s original tale.

In dealing with adaptation, one must learn to temper one’s expectations. Specially if the adaptation is in another form. Although I think the more honest and exact term would be reinterpretation rather than adaptation (Although, the present film – The Hobbit, seems to fail a number of critics because it offers nothing new – something the books does effectively).

Anyway, I love film and books. It has not been uncommon to discover books from films. Hugo and Cloud Atlas are fine examples of such instances. When the news of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo came it led to Brian Selznick’s books the The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. After watching Cloud Atlas, It too led me to the David Mitchell book of the same name. And as of now found it a bi different but also interesting. A different animal from the film but still an interesting animal.

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