Here is my first rant for my blog. It all just flooded out of me earlier after reading through a stream of angry complaints about Peter Jackson’s latest series, the Hobbit film adaptations. I’m wanting to present in this rant a non-biased, non-angry rant that weighs the reasons behind Jackson’s decisions, changes, and additions to the script. Please conserve whatever criticisms you may have unless you wish to add something both constructive and sensible. Thank you.
I’ll never understand why people insist on bitching about Peter Jackson’s recent Hobbit adaptations. Since ‘An Unexpected Journey’ came out, and now with the upcoming release of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’, all I ever seem to see in comment sections is supposed fans ragging on these films.
For a start, that’s exactly it, these movies are adaptations, they’re not carbon copy replicas of the book. No one adaptation will ever be exactly as people pictured it in their heads while reading it as everyone’s interpretation is different. Case in point, the Harry Potter series. People view the books and the films very separately.
Secondly, people always whine that we’re not getting a Silmarillion or any of Tolkien’s other writings, but the second Peter Jackson decides to add a bit more weight and depth to the book to further connect The Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings (something which, mind you, Tolkien regretted not doing in his time anyway), people start moaning about that. I honestly believe sometimes people just want to jump on the hate bandwagon without knowing anything about the actual story itself, or the motivations behind the additions and/or changes. So Legolas and an added female elf character feature in the Hobbit, even though they weren’t in the book. So what? If Tolkien had created Legolas during the time he wrote the Hobbit in 1937, he would have included Legolas anyway. Elves are immortal and live extremely long lives, and that’s not to mention the fact Legolas is the very son of Thranduil, the Elvenking, also. Having his character present in the timeline adds another dimension the films only gleaned about the animosity between dwarves and elves, and how these later come to develop into strong alliances by the time of the Lord of the Rings.
What Peter Jackson did is expand upon a storyline that wasn’t necessarily complete. When you read the Hobbit, very little about what happens to Gandalf when he ventures away for a time from the Company is told, and at the time of the Hobbit’s publication was instead only hinted at. Tolkien later wrote what happened here in the appendices at the end of the Return of the King. The scenes where Gandalf meets with the White Council, and his journey to Dol Guldur all featured in these appendices, and the movie brought to life these scenes spectacularly.
The other aspect is there a scale between people who complain about the light-heartedness of the Hobbit adaptation in comparison to Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the ones who state there isn’t enough of it. Let’s look at this from a few angles. First, Tolkien later said in his life, he wished he’d written the Hobbit more seriously. On that same token, this is what Peter brought to it. A balanced mix of light-heartedness in keeping with the book, and a measure of serious drama that suits the darkness that befalls the heroes once the Lord of the Rings begins. The Hobbit spoke of the coming of the Necromancer (who is Sauron in a weaker state). It’s ridiculous to argue that everything was all jolly and merry, and that no blackness swept over the lands during Bilbo’s journey. It’s very clear from the Middle-Earth legendarium that it did. The last point is characters like the Spiders. I’ve heard people complain that they weren’t the bickering old men from the book. Look at it from the perspective of later written characters like Ungoliant (Silmarillion) and Shelob (Lord of the Rings). These creatures represent the ‘Unlight’, the source of darkness and horror that Melkor brought to the world when he fell. While it’s good to represent the Spiders as they are in the book, there needs to be a level of realism and accuracy that’s shown through the films as to what these creatures ultimately represent (not to mention the fact it seems people conveniently forget the fact that while they bicker amongst themselves at first, when they come to find Bilbo in their midst, they’re just as horrible and aggressive as you’d expect from arachnids). Like the Orcs, the Spiders are essentially avatars of darkness and shadow, where Morgoth and Sauron were their masters.
It seems sometimes people can’t view the ‘bigger picture’ in things. What Peter Jackson has done with his adaptations is connect the two storylines, and have them intertwine as Tolkien wished, but was unable to do in his own lifetime. People state the the three parts are ‘money grabs’, but in reality, splitting them as such is the only way to fit in the entire story, and tell it as it’s meant to be told. Jackson deserves to be condoned for what he’s achieved here, not condemned.
I’m not sure if there are many, if any, that read this blog, but if there are, I apologise for not posting in so long.
As the saying goes, sometimes life gets in the way. If I’m to be honest though, it wasn’t only that. To be honest, I was afraid. Afraid that people wouldn’t want to read what I have to say, wouldn’t be impressed by what I have to say, or even enjoy it.
It’s taken me a while (understatement of the year?) to realise that this doesn’t, and shouldn’t, really matter. It isn’t to say you, as the reader(s), don’t matter. It’s more that I shouldn’t concern myself so much with trying to please others, because let’s face it, there isn’t a single thing around today, or has been in the past, whether in media, the world of literature, computing, gaming, or anything else you can think of, where everyone is pleased or satisfied. It’s one of the few things in our world that is literally impossible. You can’t please everyone; you simply can’t. But it can take a while for one to realise this fact, because I think sometimes you become so concerned (some may even say ‘obsessed’) with whether people will enjoy your work that it clouds this logical and sensible forethought, and shrouds it over with the black veil we all know as ‘fear’. That’s what has taken over my creative side and my life for as long as it has. I feel ashamed to admit it. It’s silly to have even thought like this, but it’s true. And I’m sure I’m definitely not the only one who gets these thoughts.
I’m not the world’s greatest writer. I’d be a fool to ever say I am, nor do I ever think I will be. But I do know that I can write. Whether people enjoy or understand my style of writing is an entirely different subject, and I think perhaps it was this idea — that people wouldn’t ‘get’ my work, wouldn’t understand my ‘genius’ (and I say that in the sense of creativity, not in the sense of me thinking I’m Albert Einstein or something because I know I’m clearly not) — that scared the crap out of me (excuse the profanity).
Over the past few months, I like to think I’ve changed quite a bit; ‘evolved’ even. Not in the sense of Darwinism. Can’t really say I became an X-Man or something (as awesome as that’d be), but a part of me did change. And, personally, I think it was for the better. For the past eight or so months, I’ve been writing for a local Australian website known as Metal Obsession. I think personally, but for my own self-development, my self-esteem, and humbly, my ego, it’s probably been the best thing I could have done (aside from TAFE, which really changed my life for the better, but more on that topic another time).
Since writing for this webzine, it’s not only aided my skills in writing (both personally, and to an audience), but it’s also really helped me with developing my self-esteem. I’ve met, and currently work alongside, a great batch of people; all of different varieties, personalities, and writing styles. And since having done the many projects I’ve done for them across the year (nigh 20 reviews, both live gig’s and album reviews), I’ve learned a lot and I can’t thank enough the people who gave me this opportunity. I’d mention them here, but I want to respect their privacy.
What you guys have given me is truly priceless. You’ve renewed me with purpose. Me, an unemployed guy with a Dean’s Award and a Diploma, and a guy with the balls to call himself a “writer” with purpose, inspiration, and direction. A mere “thank you” will probably never seem enough.
Sometimes I feel I’m not good enough. Not as a writer, and on those really awful days, even as a human being. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say about myself, or who I am. Sometimes I really don’t know. Those are the days that consume you; the days where you stumble out of bed, groaning, sleep in your eyes, only to ‘wake’ yourself up, and still feel just as tired and exhausted, and just as unmotivated and unenergetic. Those are the days that suck. But in these past months, I’ve realised something. We’re really the ones that make these days ‘suck’. We’re the ones who say we’re “not good enough”, that “no one will ever like or enjoy our work”; the ones who believe we’ll never amount to anything. And I think, no, I’ve discovered, that it’s because we feel no one recognises us, no one sees that we really do have something wonderful and unique to offer them. We feel we’re the minority in the world, the ones who wander through life always in the shadows; the ones who don’t shine, who never will.
But you know what? We are. We are the ones who’ll shine; we are the ones who’ll find purpose and show the world what we have to offer. But to achieve this, you need to remove that part of yourself — that inner voice that’s always against you, that’s always egging you to fail — and say ‘sayonara’ to it. Say adios, farewell, goodbye; say whatever you like. This voice, ultimately, doesn’t matter. It’s like the critic that feels the need to insult everything you do, only because it can. When you think about it though, we’re the ultimate critics, especially to ourselves. It’s not always a bad thing, however. Being objective can be good, but not if it holds you back. Not if it is always the one that dictates your life, the one that tells you to give up because you “can’t do this”.
I’ve come to realise that I’m the only one who can decide what I make of myself, and it doesn’t matter if there aren’t many that’ll read my work, not if everyone enjoys it, because as has been shown in countless cases through history, the ones who become the most successful in life are the ones who don’t worry about this, who don’t concern themselves with ‘pleasing everyone’. People like J.R.R. Tokien, J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, etc. These people wrote from that elusive place known as the ‘heart’; they wrote with their soul. And when you write from that place, that place of raw emotion, sensibility, and that place devoid of worry, fear, and concern, you truly achieve a work of art. And it is that that people love. Anyone can write a fantasy novel, but the ones people remember, tales like A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin are the ones written from that place within the artists heart — their spirit juxtaposed with the typing of their fingers — that people remember, that people adore, and the ones that become immortalised as masterpieces and works of art, creativity, and genius. These were stories written from that place, from the place we often, or sometimes, find clouded by the horrible gremlin that is ‘writers block’. For a long time, I’ve experienced this term for myself, and sometimes still do, but since taking this new outlook on both life and myself (sounds clichéd, I know), it’s been happening far less.
I’ve noticed a significant change, in myself and my writing. And it’s because of that that I’m here now writing this post. Because I want others to see this, to hear my message, but hey, if they don’t, that’s fine, too. I know I wrote it from the heart, and at the end of the day, isn’t that all we really want in life anyway? A voice from which we can express ourselves, a platform from where we can be ourselves. My reviews, my novel I’m currently writing, and now this blog can all be those platforms.
It can be difficult sometimes (trust me, I kn0w), but the end result is always more than worth it. In the end, I think just being yourself is honestly all that really matters. If you do that, people will naturally see your genius. Everything else is trivial.
P.S. I plan to start writing for this blog much more regularly from now on. To open up this new chapter, I’m going to be introducing a few new features:
- First, there will be a new section opening up that I like to refer to as the ‘Music Video of the Week’. This will be a slightly serious, yet more satirical take on music videos (of all musical genres, not only metal) where I make observations on the many odd ones I come across, taking note of such things as clever set and prop designs, quirky aspects, things I found awesome and/or amusing, and more! Hope to see you all there 🙂
- Secondly, there will be another exciting new section making its grand debut also. This section will be a new music review area (mainly focused on rock and metal music, as that’s what the majority of my collection consists of, but there will be other genres too, where I’ll be doing reviews, both great and small, of the many albums I have in my collection. Expect many ‘golden oldies’ (ranging from the 1950’s to the early-to-late 2000’s), and classics that I adore. I look forward to sharing with you guys the many awesome albums I’ve discovered and possess, and maybe even help to introduce some of you to records you mightn’t have even been aware of yourself (God knows I’ve discovered many new bands in random and odd ways and locations) 🙂
P.P.S. There isn’t enough space in this post to fully thank the people that have helped me towards this point. It’s been a combination of many wonderful people I’ve met, and even more wonderful experiences I’ve had, over the course of these past few years, but to all of you (you know who you are), I can only hope everything I achieve, and can hope to achieve from this point forward, will be thanks enough. A special thanks, however, to Cristian Mihai (a fellow writer on this website) whose many inspired and honest posts have rang true to me over the course of this year, and have helped me more than he knows. Thank you, and I wish you all the best with your future writings.
P.P.P.S. (yep, that’s a lot of “P’s”) A special thanks to any, and all, who took the time to read this. Even if it was just for myself, you’re the ones who really make this special. You’re the ones who makes words more than just words.
Yours most sincerely,
Jonathon Besanko, Administrator of Never Flick the Nipple
Beloved, if not controversial, children’s author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, was today made tribute by Google in their latest Doodle. For what would have been Sendak’s 85th birthday, Google has made a fine little animation to honour his memory and his works: most famous of which is, arguably, Where the Wild Things Are (published in 1963). Beginning, unsurprisingly, with Max’s journey to the island of Where the Wild Things Are, it then cleverly transitions into the bizarre cityscape of In the Night Kitchen, before finishing with an appropriately placed birthday party scene from the ending of Bumble-Ardy featuring character’s from all three children’s books.
Bravo, Google. And happy birthday, Mr Sendak.
*YouTube video above is copyright of Google and the uploader
Never Flick the Nipple