I just got back from Middle Earth, and boy is my ass numb.
13 years ago a little gem from dying studio New Line graced screens everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The title, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, was a mouthful; and the film itself was nothing less than a grand epic. But maybe, just maybe, it was a little too epic?
I started watching Peter Jackson’s ode to Viggo Mortensen’s five o’clock shadow at noon and finished at sunset. I understand that the source material is long, and that Jackson managed to leave almost half the book out of the film, but I think there really was some more room for cutting. The first film of this trilogy (there are two more?!) carries on longer than the entire Harry Potter series combined. That’s a verifiable fact, look it up. Complaints about the length aside, Jackson did a fairly competent job with The Lord of the Rings.
Competent, not great. I know he has a following, I know I may come under fire for this, but this is America and I’m entitled to my opinion. I didn’t really feel anything special about Jackson’s vision. I didn’t feel the connection to the world, the way I wanted to. I’ve read the book and I came away with a very dark feeling. I had to keep all the lights on in my apartment while reading about the journey through the mines. This film did not inspire any emotion in me, aside from impatience. Thank goodness for the mediocre CG effects.
Ah, there I go again, knocking Mr. Jackson, and along with him, his precious Weta Works. I will be the first to say that nowadays I would choose Weta over ILM any day of the week, but this movie was not created nowadays. I was taken right out of the world, its tenuous grasp on my imagination shattered by some poorly done CGI. And while we’re on the subject of special effects; this movie is chock full of wizards, and the greatest amount of magic we see is a make-believe shoving match? I thought I was being punk’d.
I’ve been going pretty hard on this little flick, and I feel bad about that. I should lighten up.
Frodo Baggins is our hero, the brave little Hobbit who faces the horror of Mount Doom. So of course, you want to cast a really fantastic actor, with a wide range of emotions at his disposal. Or you could cast Elijah Wood. And Sean Astin. Now, Ian McKellan was a brilliant bit of casting, that fella was born to play Gandalf the Grey, mighty wizard. And as I’ve mentioned earlier, Viggo Mortensen’s facial hair did a splendid job of setting scenes.
Overall, I actually did enjoy this film, despite my complaints. It was a fun adventure, and damn Viggo Mortensen is greasy.
My one gripe: Where the hell is Tom Bombadil? That could have been one of the greatest sequences ever put to film…or one of the worst. We shall never know.