April 06, 2004

I'm a Professor! pH34R ME!

Ya know, a body can only type so much about cultural elitism in academia before a body's fingers get kinda crampy. Particularly when the body in question is typing on a replacement keyboard without a working Shift key and a very sticky M. So, I'll let this fabulous cultural critic speak for himself:

So when I add that the "Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy is, as a work of cinematic art, ham-fisted, shallow, bombastic and laughably overrated, don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking Jackson and his hard-working team. The larger issue is Hollywood and the degraded state of big-budget movies.

Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" represents the victory of special effects over dramatic art.

Take away the frenetic effects from this unremarkable action-adventure fantasy and there is not enough on screen to keep even a subnormal human mind alive.

Looks like SOMEBODY didn't get invited to play dungeons and dragons with the rest of the boys when he was young. What you're talking about here is called "personal taste," bubba, don't make me get my medieval geek on and come after your philistine ass.

Amazingly, though, I'm not that freaked about the LoTR diss (don't tell Emily!)--that's been par for the course in academia (and Hollywood) forever--just ask this guy.

No, I'm irritated by the completely predictable pedantry that follows this excerpt. You know, where the fine educated gentleman bemoans the proliferation of those execrable penny dreadfuls. Damn that Dickens and his "popular fiction!" Oh, wait. Wrong century.

The problem with longing for a medium to "live up to its potential" and to produce "high art" is that the folks doing the longing tend to be a little more interested in making themselves look intelligent by boostering for the Proust film Trilogy than in actually going to see such a creature.

And really, if we did make such art, poor cultural snobs like Mr. Dutton would no longer have a public forum for their ham-fisted, shallow and bombastic essays.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at April 6, 2004 01:30 PM

What really kills me about these academic types who dissect this stuff to no end, is that they are looking for depth in something that's essentially meant for escapism and entertainment.

Ironically, most of the people I know who are slumming down here with me among the Great Unwashed who enjoyed the film tend to look to other media* outside of the movies for the profound human truths he so desperately argues LOTR is lacking.

(*Hint Professor Dutton: usually printed and bound in things called "books", noted topics contained therein to include philosophy, poetry, the humanities, religion and if your really lucky, a whole lotta steamy, perverted sex.)

Posted by: Emily at April 6, 2004 02:32 PM

"YOU'RE really lucky". See, it's the Great Unwashed thing again. I blame Peter Jackson for turning my brain into oatmeal with his prosaic eye-candy of a trilogy.

Posted by: Emily at April 6, 2004 02:33 PM

Sad, isn't it, how easily we become degraded when we succumb to the siren song of the hobbits? Even our spelling suffers!

Alas, alas! Weep for the victims of Peter Jackson! Weep, I say!


Posted by: BAW at April 6, 2004 02:42 PM

Escapism is when you walk out of the movie.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at April 6, 2004 06:04 PM

And I thought "the victory of special effects over dramatic art" was the sad legacy of the two Matrix sequels. And as for the assertion that "The larger issue is Hollywood and the degraded state of big-budget movies," I'd tend to agree, but I don't see what that has to do with Peter Jackson. The man refuses to work in Hollywood, and the LotR movies weren't typical big-budget films, which is quite clear if one does one's research properly. But what do I know, I don't have a Ph.D.

Posted by: teaching assistant at April 8, 2004 03:27 PM