To Some of Us, the Small Things Matter

Sunni's picture

Creating a live–action movie from a book must be an amazing, arduous process. The director probably likes the book to even consider such a project. So it would stand to reason that certain details provided by the author would be preserved, insofar as such things are possible. I guess the only explanation is that Hollywood reason is like no other reason I know.

Do you remember the first time you saw Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s take on Tolkien’s great trilogy? I do. I remember wondering what was wrong with what I was seeing. The second time I watched it, I saw what was wrong.

Did you enjoy Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy? He certainly was pleasant enough to look at, but didn’t something about him seem very wrong to you? It did to me.

Over the weekend, I saw the newest version of Jane Eyre. The actors are superb, but again, Michael Fassbender is so wrong as Rochester.

Why is eye color so trivialized that practically no one seems to notice if an actor doesn’t match the character description? Tolkien clearly stated that hobbits tend to be brown eyed; he may even have specified that Frodo was brown–eyed, but in all honesty I don’t recall. Enough was written about their features that it was a jarring shock to see those pale blue eyes. Wardrobe went through all the trouble of making those big fuzzy hobbit feet: why couldn’t the actor wear brown contact lenses in order to be more true to the character?

Yes, this is the nit I am picking today. It bothers me to no end seeing such errors. Rochester is repeatedly described by Charlotte Brontë as dark–complected, swarthy, and brown–eyed. Fassbender was certainly an improvement over Timothy Dalton in the role, but the blue eyes took me out of the movie every time they were visible. (And, not to harp on a theme, but dudes: how could you make such a terrific, passion–filled novel into a confused snoozefest? I am so shocked at that I haven’t been able to work up the proper level of outrage.) In all honesty, I don’t know whether Achilles’ eye color is noted in any extant records; but when I think of Greek people, I certainly don’t conjure images of blondes with icy blue eyes.

I freely admit that many times, such picayune details don’t matter. But sometimes they do; and I submit that in all the aforementioned cases, eye color is important enough to make it a detail worth preserving in the movie. It’s fairly easy to accomplish, if the actor or actress chosen for a role doesn’t fill the specs [Ha! Yes, I did that on purpose]. And I can’t be the only person for whom such things are important. I almost can forgive some of the abominable changes to Jane Eyre over Rochester’s blue eyes (why on earth would Mrs. Fairfax be lurking around an old ruin just at the time when Jane discovered it?), egregious and plentiful as they are.

Yes, I know: I am in sore need of a life; and/or I am well into Official Curmudgeondom. Probably both. [Sigh.] The eye color thing still rankles!

My Favorite Treatment of Mr. Rochester

...was Joe Flaherty's in the SCTV production of "Jane Eyrehead." He talked just like Rochester on The Jack Benny Show.


I don’t think I want to imagine that. ;-)

Oh yeah!!!!!

Ya' doesn't have to imagine it, here 'tis ... (part one)


Merciful Thor!

That’s so bad even I have to laugh; and it’s well worth the character change to see John Candy in it. Thank you, Tom; and it’s most excellent to hear from you again.


I don't watch movies much, and never have. When I do, I must watch the actor's lips in order to "hear" what they are saying (and usually fail even then).

So, I was trying to think of a time I even noticed an actor's eye color at all, let alone match it to the story being told. I can't think of even once.

Of the few movies I've seen made from a book I loved, the Lord of the Rings is the most memorable. It was a fun movie in many ways, but I much prefer the books, as usual.

Don't plan to watch "Atlas Shrugged" on the screen. I'll just re-read the book. :)


What bothered me most about The Lord of the Rings films was the lack of songs. Although it's been a looong time since I've read those books, I clearly recall the prominence of music therein. Yet songs are barely to be found in the movies. Grrr. :)

Shall we sing his name together, then?

Tom Bombadil—Jackson cut Tom Bombadil entirely out of the story! I know that isn’t the only place where music was prominent, but it is perhaps the most egregious deletion.

Maybe Peter Jackson thought having the music be as integral in the movie would make it seem too much like a musical ... seems a weak argument to me, but a plausible one nonetheless.


was one of my favorite characters ... also one of the most interesting as far as where he 'fits in' to the mythos.

Didn't think of that...

There certainly seemed to be plenty of music playing in the film, but as background mostly. I think the young hobbits were singing in that tavern scene, weren't they?

But I agree, since I seem to remember from the book that the hobbits were fond of music and many played instruments. Too bad it wasn't made a lager part of the movie.

This means it must be redone, of course - with LOTS of songs!! LOL

Speaking of Hobbitses

Filming for The Hobbit has begun, and Peter Jackson’s first vlog from the set is available on YouTube.


My previous response to this vanished for some reason...

I will certainly look forward to seeing "The Hobbit" when it comes out. :)

I've seen plenty of movies

I've seen plenty of movies that must have been made by people who hated the books. The producer might have liked it, but hired a crew of writer, director and actors not of like mind.

Ward Griffiths
Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Denis Diderot