Friday, April 27, 2012

The Tale of Beren and Lúthien by J. R. R. Tolkien

The format of my book review today is actually a case for a film adaptation of the tale "Of Beren and Lúthien" by J. R. R. Tolkien, one of my favorite stories in The Silmarillion. Below is a draft of a (semi-serious) letter I'll be sending to New Zealand later this May to Wingnut Films fanmail. I figure, why not? This story rocks. More people should read it--and maybe, someday see it!

Dear Peter Jackson,
Please consider my outline for why you should helm a film adaptation of the tale "Of Lúthien and Beren" by J.R.R. Tolkien, meticulously bolded and randomly italicized for your convenience:

v  Sauron, the Early Years: Who wouldn’t pay to see Ole Flaming Red Eye playing the part of a ravening vampire AND a werewolf? Not the swooning sparkly kind or brooding fur ball sort, but a shape-shifting fiend that is also the principal lieutenant of the demonic overlord of all evil, Morgoth. Need I say more?

v  There’s so much more: Move over, Tristan and Isolde! It’s time for the ultimate love story about star-crossed species. Beren is a "baseborn" human and Lúthien is the daughter of an Elven king who wants to kill her mortal beau off quickly. Cue the impossible quest: basically, to steal a jewel from the crown of the devil in the land of hell.

v  Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships. Big deal. Lúthien Tinúviel was the “fairest of all the Children of the World.”  Even Lúthien’s lovely descendent Arwen Evenstar was reputedly but a pale likeness of her beauty in comparison.

v  There’s a crazy Rapunzel/Quasi-Invisibility Cloak scene. When Lúthien is imprisoned in a lofty tree house by her father to keep her out of the action, she uses sorcery to grow her hair fantastically long and escape. She then recycles her hair into a shadowy, sleep-inducing cloak so that she can rescue Beren from a torturous death in Sauron’s prison.

v  Lúthien orders Beren to shut up when he tries to steal a silmaril on his own, and employs her sirenesque singing skills to beguile the lord of hell (okay, Angband) into hypnotic slumber so that Beren can nick a jewel from his crown. Can anyone say girl power?

v  There’s an epic smack down between the gargantuan wolfhound Huan, a noble canine granted the ability to speak only three times in his life, and Morgoth’s pet Red Maw, “the mightiest wolf” ever to terrorize the earth (think White Fang meets the Hulk).

v  When Luke Skywalker lost his hand to Vader, it was the most awkward family reunion ever. But when Beren’s hand is bitten off by Red Maw with the stolen silmaril still in his fingers, he loses the right to ever marry his beloved Lúthien. Now that’s tragedy.

v  Romeo and Juliet stay dead. Beren and Lúthien die and are revivified by an Elven God!

v  Such shiny jewels, preciousssss. Come on, what’s the glory of the One Ring or the Arkenstone against the three Silmarils, a trinity of jewels whose faceted luminosity ultimately destroys the elves with the toxic jealousy generated by their radiance?  

This story is begging to be told on the silver screen, and I know you are the director who can bring it to life. Besides, you already have a built-in fan base, millions strong.

Serendipitous wishes,
Your fan and Tolkien’s

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