January 08, 2004

Farewell, Middle Earth

Last night, Melissa and I finally went to see The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. Now, I'm a fan of the books, first and foremost, so I can't help but roll my eyes every time Peter Jackson took a liberty or two with Tolkien's original.

I had my gripes about Return of the King, to be sure, not the least of which was the lack of a Sarumon scene of any sort, to say nothing of the entire deletion of the scouring of the Shire conclusion of the book (then again, that would have probably added another four hours to the film, which would have been awfully cruel).

Still, it was a damned good movie. I mean, yeah, Jackson took some liberties and all, but he was able to do something onscreen that you would think should be impossible to do. Namely, he really brought imagination alive. See, Tolkien had a gift of descriptive narrative. The man could dedicate five pages to describing tree bark. But, as he described things more in the distance, his narrative became somewhat more vague, allowing the reader to fill in the blanks with his or her unique imagination. Somehow, Jackson was able to do just that on film. Sure, everything close up was vibrant and rich, but in the distance, things often became somehow less real, looking more like the fanciful paintings of an artist experimenting with strange colors for the horizon.

However, and I'm not sure this is a gripe or not, the movie seemed as if it grabbed scenes directly out of The Empire Strikes Back. I mean, there's this entire scene dedicated to huge oliphaunts (basically genetically modified elephants) which were, basically, the Imperial walkers that assisted in the invasion of Hoth. Even Legolas the elf took on a Luke Skywalker role by single-handedly bringing down one of the giant beasts. Oh, and when Eowyn says to her father "I have to save you," and he responds, "You already did," I mean, can you say Return of the Jedi/Luke and Vader? Helloooo?

But, I digress. It really was an awesome movie, with computer generated scenes so vibrant and alive, all I could do was sit there with a dumb happy look on my face. Now I'm kind of hoping Jackson will just say, "to heck with it," and bring the book "The Hobbit," to the big screen as well. Shit, it would be worth it just to see the dragon, Smaug.

Posted by Ryan at January 8, 2004 10:58 AM
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