“The Quest stands on the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all.”
The Fellowship of the Ring
I may as well admit it: the other day I took part in a Lord of the Rings film marathon with my university Tolkien Society. That’s three Extended Editions back to back, or about twelve hours of Middle-earth. Because apparently this is what I do with my university time now.
And because I am extremely lazy and cannot be bothered to wait for my computer to have a seizure while it attempts to download Masterchef or whatever, I’ve decided to write about LOTR.
I actually reviewed the first part of Fellowship a long, long, long time ago, so I’m going to pick up where I left off.
The thing about Fellowship is that it tends to be rather top-heavy on the viewing pleasure. I mean, obviously every frame of Peter Jackson’s film is a joy and a delight, but the first half is marginally more joyful and delightful than the second. Because of the hobbits, you understand. And the unexplained menace of the Black Riders. And Boromir being stupid in the Council of Elrond. And – well, I could go on, but I’m supposed to be talking about Part 2 so I won’t.
Part 2, following the book divisions of the original novel, sees the Fellowship of the Ring beginning their journey from Rivendell to the Fabled Cracks of Doom. They try to cross wizard-haunted mountains, journey through the perilous Mines of Moria (“This isn’t a mine. It’s a tomb,” says Boromir, with a pessimism that is frankly hyperbolic), visit the ethereal woods of Lothlorien and travel down the Great River Anduin. Lots and lots of lovely landscapes for Jackson to shoot, and even a few Mysterious Monsters lurking in the dark for some nice Dramatic Tension, but the lightness and charm of the first half is essentially gone.
I can see I’m not going to get very far with my attempt at a balanced review (partly because I’m being slightly distracted by songs from The Muppet Christmas Carol, since the season of Christmas songs has just begun), so a few amusing pointers:
- Whenever the Fellowship sits down to cook breakfast, they get attacked. Maybe they should just give up on the full English. (Full Shireish?)
- That avalanche on Caradhras should definitely have killed them all.
- Where’s the Warg attack from the book? That would have made great cinema…but then Fellowship wouldn’t be as fairy-tale-y and mysterious as it is, and that would be a shame.
- I always feel sorry for the cave troll. Poor old cave troll. It never asked to be shot in the head repeatedly.
- Gollum actually looks quite sweet in this film. It must be those big eyes.
- Frodo’s spooky eyes are spooky.
- Wow, Celeborn is a bad actor. Sorry, but he’s just preposterous alongside Galadriel.
- Speaking of Galadriel, the whole “In place of a Dark Lord” speech is a bit overdone. Dramatic, but overdone.
- Does the Mirror scene actually have a narrative purpose now the Scouring of the Shire has been cut?
- Aragorn just lets Frodo wander off to Mordor on his own? This doesn’t make much sense. Or any sense, actually. STICK TO THE BOOK, JACKSON.
- Merry and Pippin are hilarious. “It’s working!” “I know it’s working, run!”
- Totally shipping Sam and Frodo. Sam is adorable.
Umm…this was a bit incoherent, I realise. But there’s no way I can get far away enough from these films to write about them coherently. Basically, The Lord of the Rings is awesome. Enough said.