I once watched the Russian TV version of Sherlock Holmes. It was a series like the BBC has done. I must say it was pretty good.
So when I ran across the Russian language version of the Hobbit I was curious. Made in 1985, long before the CGI revolution came to Russia, the production values were low compared to American standards. But for me the question is not whether it was done with lots of money but whether it was done well.
I never got a chance to find out. The language is of course Russian. So it requires subtitles. Now this is apparently not the officially released version with English subtitles, if indeed an official version even exists.
Someone had taken the liberty of providing English subtitles. It doesn’t take long to see that they have clearly taken a few liberties with the dialog. And after a few “pimps” and “bitches” you realize they have taken not a few liberties but all of them.
And it was funny. Coarse and crude and juvenile at times. But funny. Almost as if Black Adder himself had written the subtitles. Though for some enjoyment may be enhanced with a little pipeweed or Ent draught.
So something that was meant to be, I assume, a genuine portrayal of the Hobbit has become something entirely different. Entirely out of the original creator’s control, who might even feel his work is being mocked.
Loss of control. An ongoing concern for so many artists and creators. The fear that once they release their work of love to the public it will be misinterpreted, misunderstood or misused.
Loss of control. The harsh reality that what you mean to communicate and what people take away are often very different. Unless you are a hipster and think that being misunderstood is some romantic struggle for the artist. It is not. It sucks to be misunderstood.
What’s romantic in hindsight, though, might be that the even though artists may feel misunderstood they do not stop trying to communicate. Which I suppose should be true no matter what your endeavor.
So don’t let that fear stop you from chasing your dreams. We all lose control when we let it out into the world. That’s what makes it so intriguing.
So in case you are curious here is link to the Russian Hobbit