Disney’s new film Tolkien premiers this weekend, and the trailers promise an engrossing biopic, complete with scenes from the First World War. The movie aims to show how J.R.R. Tolkien’s early life inspired the creative genius behind such works as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which are rightly recognized as classics and which both inspired epic film franchises (one far superior to the other).
Yet the new Disney film cuts out some of the most important influences in his life. The movie does not once mention the great ex-atheist and Christian author C.S. Lewis, a close friend of Tolkien. Indeed, Tolkien said he would never have completed The Lord of the Rings without Lewis’ “great encouragement.” The movie also does not mention the Inklings, the society of writers who read each other’s works and spurred both Lewis and Tolkien on to greatness. . .
Worst, however, is the film’s neglect for Tolkien’s faith, which inspired his entire life. The movie also cuts out the literary works that inspired his imagination — touchstones of the Western literary tradition. In fact, the author’s literary masterpiece The Lord of the Rings is heavily influenced not just by the Western literary tradition but by Christianity and Jesus in particular.
“This handsome, earnest, yet overstuffed and poorly paced film deviates frequently from the historical record,” Father Michael Ward wrote in The Catholic Herald. “Most seriously, it ignores Tolkien’s devout Christian faith: there is no indication that he served Mass daily as a boy or ever even entered a Catholic church.” Indeed, this may be a reason why the Tolkien estate disavowed the film. (Read more from “Boycott Alert: Disney Guts Christianity From Movie About Tolkien” HERE)