- Aug 19, 2003
- Reaction score
Tolkien: Not quite the romantic warrior professor but certainly all three of the preceding in part. Tolkien had a tough early life, falling into impecunity, his mother had to move with J.R.R. (Harry Gilby as the young Tolkien) and his brother from a rural idyll to the satanic mills and factories of Birmingham, an early model for Mordor no doubt. Then getting excessively MisLit, his mother (Laura Donnelly) dies and he is fostered by an elderly rich lady and along with his brother gets scholarships to an exclusive school. His family's benefactor, always working behind the scenes, is Father Morgan (Colm Meaney), benevelovent but steely in his determination when Tolkien's romance with Edith threatens his chances of getting an Oxford scholarship. Morgan may have been the inspiration for Gandalf.
At school Tolkien founds a Fellowship with other artistically minded students bur the Great War will wreak havoc on that brotherhood. The film cuts between Tolkien's earlier life and the trenches of the Somme. This is literally Hell, a real Mordor. The adult J.R.R .(Nicholas Hoult) is on a (perhaps allegorical) quest to the Front to find one of the Fellowship who is missing in action. He passes through mud holes full of bodies and fever stricken imagines that a german with a flamethrower is a dragon. The film suggests many inspirations for his books, Edith (Lily Collins) as an Elven Princess, his mother's reading tales of dragons when he was a boy, the War, his schooldays. A great influence on him was the philologist Professor Wright (Derek Jacobi) who won him over to the study of Old English and Gothic languages. Directed by Dome Karukoski from a screenplay by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford, Tolkien is an engaging account of the earlier life of the scholar and author. 8/10
Maybe significantly, the Tolkien family hate it.
Maybe they didn't like it's portrayal of the family in reduced circumstances, depending on the kindness of strangers/ I have to admit I was a bit worried for a while as the film was taking an Angela's Ashes tack but the boys were swiftly rescued by the stuffy but kind old lady.
I've often wondered how in this section from "A Long Expected Party" got past the editors:
And there was
also one last surprise, in honour of Bilbo, and it startled the hobbits
exceedingly, as Gandalf intended. The lights went out. A great smoke went
up. It shaped itself like a mountain seen in the distance, and began to glow
at the summit. It spouted green and scarlet flames. Out flew a red -golden
dragon - not life-size, but terribly life-like: fire came from his jaws, his
eyes glared down; there was a roar, and he whizzed three times over the
heads of the crowd. They all ducked, and many fell flat on their faces. The
dragon passed like an express train, turned a somersault, and burst over
Bywater with a deafening explosion.
Middlearth doesn't have trains!
This is a description of a fireworks display put on by Gandalf? If there are fireworks in Middlearth, why no cannons and guns?