Translating Tolkien: "The Lord of the Rings" Films as an Imitation, Interpretation, and Emulation of Tolkien's Work
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Often, film adaptations of literature are glibly dismissed as being subpar to the book on which they were based. Movies and books, however, are inherently different forms of media. Utilizing terms found in the old but ever-useful literary study by Arno Reiff, this contribution will posit three avenues through which a film may adapt or render its literary predecessor onto the silver screen. This thesis will distinguish between these adaptive methods, elucidating how the film version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson, draws on the text. The thesis will thus offer in-depth analyses of several scenes from The Lord of the Rings films as a reproduction (imitatio) of, translation (interpretatio) of, and dressed-up echo seeking a sort of rivalry (aemulatio) of Tolkien’s original work. Elements of each of these surface in Jackson’s adaptation.