Relaxing the Nerd

history George Washington Avalon Tolkien booksI’ve never denied that I’m a huge nerd. There’s just no point.

For reasons that are varied and debatable, nerds such as myself find great satisfaction in cultural items that contain myth and magic, and it is preferable that these things be wrapped in a package that offers elements of the epic and obscurely historical.

Case in point: Tolkien stories, and the movies inspired by them. This past Saturday, we finally saw The Hobbit. While I have great respect for an author (especially one who didn’t take himself too seriously), and appreciate the purist view regarding its ideal of preservation, I just have to say that I freaking love the Peter Jackson interpretations, and I don’t care if that makes me uncool. And yes, I’ve read the books.

The scenery, the sweeping camera angles, the characters and their costumes, (most of) the music, the humor, the languages, the interior settings, the food… Whether or not the creators of these movies held true to the exact words of the book, I feel like they captured an imagined world that we all love. It might not be the same world each and every purist envisioned, but until they produce something better, I’m going to keep watching and adoring several hours of nerd escapism.

Besides, the point is to produce a successful movie. There are things that work on paper that don’t work on film, and I’d wager the majority of Jackson’s audience have not read Tolkien’s books.

When we want to get riled up, let’s do it about government corruption, the oppression of women in the developing world, widening gaps in wealth distribution, bigotry, child abuse, ignorance, the food industry, devolving education, blind consumerism, pollution, Ted Nugent, and animal cruelty.

See? Now I’m riled. Time to go watch an overly-dramatized historical miniseries.


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