Friday, July 3, 2015

Tom Bombadil

We Tolkien fans can be an inconsistent bunch. In the Ring trilogy, we complained about what was left out (Tom Bombadil), and then in the Hobbit trilogy we complained about what was put in (anything  apparently).

Given the darker tone of LOTR, and Peter Jackson's later treatment of Radagast, it is probably for the best that Tom was omitted.

I am a Tolkien fan and not a scholar, so I won't even attempt to go into his contextual meaning and
literary significance. For me, his appearance in Fellowship of the Ring is an interesting detour that in no way distracts or diminishes the large work. It gives the reader a hint that Middle Earth is an even larger and more complex world than what is just presented in the main trilogy.

Above, the Hobbits and Tom are all from Mithril Miniatures, the finest producer of Tolkein licensed figures, in my opinion. Unfortunately, they have prices that could make even GW blush.

Casting Game 

If Peter Jackson had included Tom Bombadil in Fellowship of the Ring film in 2001, who would or should have been cast at that time?

My top five picks are: 

5. Robin Williams -  Hollywood's probable choice, but would have been a likely disaster
4. Rowan Atkinson - imagine the facial expressions 
3. Terry Jones - putting a Monty Python actor into the movie could be jarring, but no more so than Billy Connolly's Scottish caricature dwarf in Five Armies. 
2. Robbie Coltrane - ex post facto typecasting since Bombadil is not far removed from Hagrid

and my top pick...

1. Barry Humphries - he was one of the best parts of The Unexpected Journey, and his performance was the right mix of menace and humor that was missing from the series. 

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