Tuesday, June 7, 2016

964. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings
2001, 2002, 2003
Directed by Peter Jackson

As you could probably tell from previous posts, I am a bit of a nerd.  Consequently, I love the Lord of the Rings.  I even have a map of Middle Earth in my bedroom, which, I assure you, is quite the man magnet.  I also own my own Evenstar Pendant.  You know what, I should probably stop sharing.

The Powers That Be have condensed the trilogy into one entry on the List.  One entry to rule them all...Okay, that one even made me groan.  Regardless, I think this is cheating a bit, as I think Jackson did a brilliant job of making each movie a self contained adventure.  In any case, it is a bit difficult to summarize twelve hours worth of excitement in a short paragraph.  Let's just say even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

So basically, these films (and books) are the best that the fantasy world has to offer.  Obviously the special effects and battle sequences are absolutely spectacular, but I loved the less flashy scenes in this series just as much.  The friendship between the characters is incredibly powerful and I am pretty sure my Best Line Oscar nominations for the 2000s will consist solely of quotes from this film.  I also thought the acting was spectacular but that might just be because I'm in love with half of the cast.

I could go on and on about this series, but I suppose I will end it here by saying that the Lord of the Rings is pretty much perfect.  Also, apparently Viggo Mortensen is a talented swordsman in real life which is...interesting to all of us.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Andy Serkis drank "Gollum juice" (honey, lemon, and ginger) to keep his throat lubricated for his vocal performance.

Gimli's armor weighed 66 pounds.

Kate Winslet was offered the role of Eowyn.


  1. I thought the first film didn't quite have enough confidence and this informed some key mistakes such as underplaying the whole Council of Elrond thing and not finding room for Tom Bombadil. On the other hand, by the time of the last film the makers were starting to believe their own press releases whilst no new layers of ideas were being added to the vision of Middle Earth. It's the second film that hits the sweet spot between these factors, but you can hardly put that in this list and simply ignore the other two.

    An extraordinary attempt to film what was essentially seen as an unfilmable book. I suspect that history will regard both film and book as the absolute Granddaddy of their respective fantasy genres rather than the best.

    Minor personal quibble: I didn't like the way noble Gimli became the comedy clown for the films. Yes, there had to be an antidote to all the straight-faced heroism, but that didn't have to have been ramped up into romantic parody in the first place.

  2. It's weird because I thought Two Towers was the hardest book to get through but it actually ended up being the most enjoyable film. Agreed about Gimli but at least he was still a bad ass.

  3. Agreed about the book, but only because of the second half ("Book Four") dealing with the grim and linear storyline with just three characters on the trek to Mordor.

    I think I read something half-confirming this once, but did you get the feeling that Tolkien was just making it up as he went along with no particular purpose until he got the characters as far as Rivendell at the end of "Book One" (IE: half-way through The Fellowship) and only then bothered to map out where it was all going?

    1. Oh definitely. Especially with Sam. I haven't read them in awhile so I might be misremembering things but I recall he made a big deal about Sam being interested in elf culture and then that aspect of his character was largely disregarded. It's like he wasn't even sure if Sam would ever meet an elf. Not that that's a huge gripe, but yeah I definitely got that sense he didn't really know where he was going.

  4. Hi folks... My feelings about both the film(s) and the book(s) do change.
    I very first discovered 'The Hobbit' when I was quite a young kid from a BBC radio adaptation that utterly captivated me .. and I fairly quickly went on to read the book and then onto LOTR.. again remaining captivated.
    Lets, for now, ignore the Animated film version..
    When I knew the films were being made, I was very sceptical.. No way could they portray the pictures I had developed in my head of the characters scenery. But I went, and was very pleasantly surprised .. They'd got most of it, if not right, then at least acceptable. OK, Tom Bombadil was missing - and it can be argued he was the most important person in the whole (book) story, but in the end he could be dropped from the film to move things on ..
    I got totally caught up in the film cycle, and waited excitedly for the 'extended' DVd (Now with added singing Elves!) and was disappointed when it all ended.
    There were flaws .. Perhaps the biggest omission was the 'scourging of the shire', and that endless'I'm getting on the boat - No don't go, OK, I won't, well perhaps I will' ending was FAR too long and sentimentalised.
    As I say, I've got all the extended versions on DVD ..but you know .. after the first couple of times, I've not even thought of watching them again... Which probably says a lot.

  5. Hey Ray, just gave you a shout out on my music blog, as I was dealing with some internet trolls. I haven't seen the animated version; should it be avoided at all cost? Do you reread the books a lot?

  6. It was a shame not to have The Scouring of the Shire, but to be fair I can well see how an additional twenty minutes tacked on for that to the end after the natural climax wouldn't work as well in a film as it did in a book.

    For films that were already very long, I thought that the extended versions were actually even better. But, as you say, not really something to go back to a hundred times. Entertaining but not so deeply affecting.

  7. Amanda, where are the trolls?

    Happy to help out - if there's one thing I know how to do it's argue on the internet!

  8. I rather liked the animated version, even though it must look like pretty poor fare compared to Peter Jackson's CGI-fest. Kind of a quirky niche thing, I suppose, with some innovative techniques. The biggest problem is that the director died in the making so it gets about halfway and then cuts to a screen card announcing that there was then a big battle and everyone lived happily ever after.

  9. Oh the trolls are everywhere. I don't know what happened but some angry legion of music lovers were summoned on my music blog. Most notably on my Duck Stab post (406), White Light (104), and pleasure principle (452). Some of the meaner ones have been deleted by the authors so I guess they felt bad. I sassed everyone in my Steve Winwood review.

  10. As I have to watch all three movies back to back in one sitting, I haven't found any significant difference between the films. They are all spectacular and the way the storylines entangle is great. I always found the books a bit too linear.

    The Gimli stuff... is painful. Moreover because he is the only dwarf in the whole trilogy. He is not only the comic relief, he is... tiresome. He can't run, he can't jump and he complains a lot. It's like they have thought the character as a disabled individual and attached all the negative sterotypes to him. A bit like with the hobbits, which they all treat like they were children. But they are all fully grown and able representatives of their especies so it's a bit xenophobic to treat them differently because their height.

    On the other hand, I'm glad they put more "meat" in the female characters - especially Éowyn.

    1. Me too. I always liked Gimli's friendship with Legolas because I felt like Legolas got past his own stereotypes on dwarves. And the competition they have is cute. In a violent way.