Saturday, 10 March 2012

Book 17 of 2012: The Lord of the Rings The Ultimate Critical Review

I've had a lovely relaxing day today. After being on the early shift this week, it was lovely to wake up, see that it was getting light outside and be able to roll over and go back to sleep. Then I sat in bed and read for an hour (current book is Inkheart and I'm having a bit of a dilemma about what to read next).

We relaxed and watched Disney films and caught up on our OU and got a fantastic delivery from the postman (which I'll probably post about tomorrow when I've taken a photo of all the goodies). We also had pancakes for lunch, just a little bit late.

Anyway, back to the book. Mr. Click picked up The Lord Of The Rings - The Ultimate Critical Review from a charity shop, having spotted it and immediately thought of me. It's a book containing two DVDs which I'm yet to watch (so I can't comment on my view of them just now, I'm sure I'll come back to them in the future).
It's a beautiful little book. Hard cover, to help keep the DVDs safe, glossy illustrated pages, filled with artwork by The Brothers Hildebrandt. It does have one of my favourite pictures of Tolkien, which I've only been able to find online as a book cover:
It's Tolkien, pipe in hand, chatting to a Dwarf. It's a lovely picture and one which I remember seeing in another little booklet which came with a DVD about Tolkien and his influences. It's strange that I can't seem to find another copy of it online, my google-fu is clearly failing me tonight.

I really like the Brothers Hildebrandt's artwork. Remember the jigsaw puzzle that we completed earlier in the year:
Yup, that one's by them as well (though that is one picture which doesn't seem to have made it into this little booklet). They're ever-so-slightly cartoony, but they capture the essence of Middle-earth well. With the except of a couple (the one of Faramir springs to mind as he looks a little bit more like Robin Hood than the way I would picture Faramir) they're basically the way that I imagine the characters of The Lord of the Rings. I'd love a copy of The Hobbit filled with their illustrations; I think that would lend itself really well to their artwork.

It was an interesting look at the books. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's The Ultimate Critical Review but it's definitely worth a read. The one thing going against it was the fact that I've read so much about Tolkien and his influences in the last few months. There wasn't really anything new here. It did go about it in a better way than Tolkien A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings; this in The Ultimate Critical Review there is a summary of the three books of the trilogy, but the critical comments are interspersed throughout, looking at the characters, the places and influences. It's a much better way of organising things, rather than an info-dump summary of the story which it can be assumed most readers will already know.

It's a nice light little read; I read it in a day (it's only about 74 pages long and many of those are taken up with the illustrations) and I imagine that it is largely meant to complement the DVDs, which I'm intending to watch as soon as I get the chance.
"Mercifully, not all critics go as far as author Michael Moorcock who was particularly scathing in his criticism, slating the book as a "pernicious confirmation of the values of a morally bankrupt middle class," with a final flourish he famously went on to describe The Lord of the Rings as "Winnie-the-Pooh posing as an epic...""
Page 2

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think. :-)