If Jackson-Haters Could Have Made LOTR ...
Personally, I'm much more forgiving of Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings novels to the screen. I know that a lot of my friends are death on the films. I think the reason I am forgiving of Jackson's "take" is that I was not introduced to L.O.T.R. until very late in life, and actually only started reading the novels after seeing Fellowship of the Ring in the cinema (which I thought was the best film I'd ever seen at the time -- I've grown less enthusiastic, but still like it). On the other hand, having grown up with John Carter and loving the books as a young adult, I will probably be a much harsher critic of Stanton's film.
I mention Stanton, because I asked my "Facebook Readers" who they would have chosen to adapt the L.O.T.R. books to the silver screen. Mr. A. Tardiff, a fellow apsiring writer, puts Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) and Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, and John Carter) on his short list. I know he's a huge fan of Pixar films, so I'm not surprised. Those films are all pretty decent, enough so that I'm willing to let my children watch them, but I'm not as huge a fan as Mr. T. is. The thing that puts me off the most about such films are their hapless, bumbling male leads.
If I were to choose between the two, I think I'd take Santon over Bird since the latter's work on WALL-E makes me think he'd "nail" the economic themes.
I jokingly held out Mel Gibson (pre-apostacy) for an R-Rated, but integrally Catholic, version of the films. But seriously, his style, while I thought very good and effective for The Passion and Apocalypto, is not fitting for a tale like L.O.T.R. He'd be more suited for something historical I think.
I really liked Christopher Nolan's work on the Dark Knight trilogy as well as Inception. I think he could have done a great job. He does very well with strong male hero-types, and I think that those who thought Jackson's Aragorn was too wimpy/indecisive would be mollified by what Mr. Nolan could do. I am also partial to Joss Whedon as well, especially given his good work on The Avengers and my suspicions of his "anonymous Catholicism" given some themes in Serenity. He's a bit more hit-and-miss, though, so I think if it were up to me, Christopher Nolan would top my short list.
I'd love to hear what readers of the blog version of Swords and Space think.