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The Lord of the Rings

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The Lord of the Rings

Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:56 pm

I try to watch the Extended Editions of the whole Lord of the Rings set every year just as I also read the novel once a year. Being a dork, I've read Tolkien's great work every year since I was in middle school (for you Ohioans that have junior high, middle school is 6th, 7th, and 8th grade down here in Florida). I'm not a huge fantasy buff, but I've always been drawn towards Tolkien ever since playing a part in a stage production of The Hobbit when I was in first grade (Pioneer Theatre in Elyria - a kind of acting summer camp for elementary school kids, the Lorain County Community College performing arts center was packed with parents and relatives for the performance).

Anyways, both the book and the film astound me each time. I pick up something new in Tolkien's writing every time. I see parallels to his time when the Nazis were gaining power but I see tons of parallels to our own time. There's also an inherent sadness about the world never returning to the way it was - damage is already done and though the people may be saved there is always a price to be paid. An amazing novel that was ignored in the schools for so long because it's "fantasy". I tried to get it on the required reading list when I was in high school but the work wasn't taken as seriously then. Peter Jackson's films really changed that.

I think it was 1999 when I heard that some guy named Peter Jackson was attempting to make my most treasured novel into a film. I was scared. How well can this possibly translate to the screen? I'd watched Bakshi's half-done animated/rotoscoped film and it was trash. The pacing was bad as was the design.

I waited in great anticipation in December of 2001 for The Fellowship of the Ring. I was still nervous about the film, concerned that a bad movie could hurt the book's reputation. I knew a great film could help the book and give it the status it deserved.

Peter Jackson nailed it and did better than I'd have ever hoped. It wasn't a page-for-page retelling nor was it entirely true to the whole book, but it was true to the spirit of the novel. I was taken away to Middle Earth by the first film and was confident that the other two films would do just as well, probably better.

So, watching the film again this week made me even more blown away by the achievement. The casting was dead on. The sets were fantastic. The CGI was used in all the right places, something George Lucas has had a problem with lately. The landscape of New Zealand fit the story so well. The sadness of the story is there as well as is the triumph of it. It would take a strong man not to get a lump in his throat when Sam picks up Frodo, exclaiming that "I may not be able to carry it for you, but I can carry you!". Howard Shore's amazing score really brings this home, hinting at the closing song, "Into the West" (sung well by Annie Lennox for the credits).

Few movies and novels continue to impress me every time I watch them. The Lord of the Rings is such a landmark work, in my opinion, that the greatness of it spills into the film and truly brings that world to life. One of the greatest works of English literature and one of the greatest works in cinema history.

My jaw's still open at this thing.
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Unread postby livinthesportslife » Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:59 pm

I hate those movies, and I think my hatred is best summed up by Randall Graves in "Clerks II". After all, there is only one "Return" and it's "Return of the Jedi".
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:40 pm

livinthesportslife wrote:I hate those movies, and I think my hatred is best summed up by Randall Graves in "Clerks II". After all, there is only one "Return" and it's "Return of the Jedi".


I like Star Wars and was a big fan growing up, but I see much greater quality of the LOTR series - at least when compared to Return of the Jedi and everything afterwards. The feel is not the same as New Hope or Empire. I enjoy those films quite a bit, but I see LOTR as a work far surpassing Lucas' visions. I especially see it when viewed against the prequels because of the difference between the directors. Jackson has a more balanced approach to CG while Lucas went "all in" and dove in a bit too far.

Ultimately, they're very different sets of films. I will say the LOTR is much, much deeper than Star Wars. Both try to be myths for the modern world. Lucas drew much from what Tolkien did with his books, but I think LOTR has so much more going on and so much more to draw from.
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Unread postby BruceK » Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:08 pm

I like both series, but hobbits are better than ewoks.
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Unread postby Mr. MacPhisto » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:17 am

BruceK wrote:I like both series, but hobbits are better than ewoks.


Same size though, just a bit less furry and irritating. Nub, nub!
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