Fans of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are finally getting a film on the brains behind the series.
The old, lovable Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien receives an upcoming biopic depicting his earlier years. After a long wait, we finally get to see a trailer for the movie that’s set for release in May.
The Mind Behind Middle-Earth
The mind behind the fantasies and languages of Middle-earth, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s tale was inspired by many of the various aspects of his life. The war was a tragic one which, once the images of battle became ingrained in young John’s mind, inspired the descriptions of many of the battle scenes which play out in his novels.
Any reader of The Lord of the Rings, or Tolkien’s poems about Tom Bombadil and his love Goldberry, know how well Tolkien was able to weave romantics. It was a knack he had. He allowed the love of his own life, Edith, to penetrate and further enkindle in him his passion for creativity.
As young John tells us in the trailer, the epitome of his literary work is a story “about adventures…about what it means to love and to be loved…”
A master of the craft of creativity, Tolkien knows where his heart lies: in telling stories. In as short a trailer as it is, it seems to capture many of the highlights and lowlights of Tolkien’s walk through his early days.
We are most likely to meet C.S. Lewis, the bosom companion of Tolkien, who would go on to become a great fantasy author himself. We shall experience Tolkien’s early family life, his education, his time in battle, and, perhaps most crucially, his relationship with Edith Bratt, his wife-to-be.
What the Trailer Actually Tells Us
Fans such as myself would have loved to see a trailer with a longer runtime. It ends up feeling more like a teaser. Nevertheless, it’s done its job. We’re hyped! This trailer introduces us to Tolkien himself, his fanciful imagination, his trauma, and his quest for love.
Another one of Tolkien’s loves was for things that grow. He had a fascination for arbores, gardens, and the English countryside. Already from the trailer, highlighting a towering bright-barked tree in one scene, calls to mind the White Tree of Gondor.
It promises to be something somewhat similar in style and execution to 2017’s Charles Dickens film The Man Who Invented Christmas. A moderately well-done biopic, The Man Who Invented Christmas focuses on one period of Dickens’ life but includes flashbacks, as well as the inclusion of his fictional characters in the real world.
In this regard, Tolkien seems like it shall be similar – but way more spectacular. This is because Tolkien’s fantasy, at numerous times, is much darker and more threatening than Dickens’. While Dickens meets Scrooge and some of the ghosts, Tolkien (as the trailer imagines it) sees his monstrosities coming to life on the battlefield.
One particularly engrossing scene from the trailer shows the face of the formidable Balrog springing out of the flames of an explosion in the battle in which John is fighting.
The Tolkien film looks to be taking the iconic characters from Lord of the Rings and placing them within Tolkien’s actual surroundings. Viewers will have to keep both eyes peeled for this – as often as they can spare them!
Background and Anticipation for the Picture
In recent years, we have been seeing a number of remarkably well-funded biopics from Hollywood. The Social Network, Darkest Hour, and First Man are just a few. The modern biopics have covered everyone from Stephen Hawking to Freddie Mercury.
Even The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is getting in on the biopic scene, having recently released that he will be working on a film about The Beatles. (And let’s not forget Tom Hanks’ untitled Mr. Rogers movie that’s apparently being released later this year.)
With all these biopics rising to the screen, it was only a matter of time before Tolkien got his own. Directed by Dome Karukoski, Tolkien looks promising, as vibrant as the verdant grass of the Shire. Nicholas Hoult from Mad Max: Fury Road heads the film in the title role. With him is Lily Collins as his girlfriend and eventual wife Edith.
As with any biopic, the ultimate hope of any fan is that the filmmakers and actors portray the characters authentically, especially since they were real people. For example, we don’t want to see Tolkien doing or saying stuff Tolkien would not have approved of.
It’s that simple.
All that said, it looks like it will be an entertaining flick on the legacy behind the forging of Middle-earth.