On watching Lord Of The Rings

I’d done this once before with my brother yonks ago, but Hubs and Hanno hadn’t, so I suggested it as a way to pass a day over the Christmas/New Year break. We settled on the Saturday Hanno was staying with us, not realising it was New Years Day (does anyone else lose their internal calendar over Christmas?) watch the extended versions of all three films, back-to-back, in one day.

At 8:55 we commenced the first of six discs, at 22:35 we finished, loaded the dishwasher and collapsed into bed. We finished a bit later than planned, as I went for an hour’s snooze after the Two Towers, but thanks to the world-wide problem of alarms not working on iPhones, slept for two hours instead. Hubs didn’t wake me, he values his life highly, but it did put us behind.

Please bear in mind for all of you that have read the books, I struggled with The Hobbit. I mean struggled, I have one rule of thumb with reading, if I am not enjoying a book by page 100+ my age, I give it up. Life is too short to read a bad book, and had I not had the ex-husband breathing down my neck and asking for reports on where I was and how I was going, I would have just stopped reading, but I hated every single page of it. Since then, I’ve tried repeatedly to read the LOTR series, I’ve tried reading the different books, opening at random and reading, and each time wanted to shoot myself for different reasons:

  • It’s really badly written, I mean, really badly.
  • I hate having to read something and try and work out how to pronounce a name, it detracts from the story and I’ve tried reading ‘Flobadob’ at every name I can’t read easily, but then get confused with who is who.
  • It is self-indulgent, long-winded, over-blown and the same thing happens over, and over again. Travel to new spot in Middle Earth, have battle. Move on.

I didn’t expect to like the films when they first came out, but I went along and was surprised at how much I did like them. Then they came out on DVD, then they came out on extended DVD, I’ve watched them all repeatedly and dare I say this aloud? I don’t give a shit if The Hobbit doesn’t get made, I have had it up to here with Middle Earth on screen, the more I’ve watched them, the less I like them:

  • Frodo! Sam! Sam! Frodo! Mr Frodo! Sam! We know their names, you don’t have to keep telling us. I’ve been with my husband for a while now, I barely say his name from one day to the next, let alone every other sentence, nobody talks like that.
  • Why do the four hobbits have four different accents?
  • After spending ages differentiating between the different facial characteristics of the races in Middle Earth and selecting actors based on that, why do the Jackson children pop up everywhere? With a long, lingering close-up of them to boot?
  • Legolas doesn’t have conversation, he declaims. “A red sun rises, blood has been spilt this night”
  • Pippin, I just want to smack him.
  • Legolas’ bottomless quiver of arrows.
  • Elijah Wood’s ‘acting’ as the ring affects him. Sink chin to chest, roll eyes. Repeat. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of Zaphod’s sunglasses that turned completely black at the first sign of trouble.
  • Alfred Hitchcock at least had the good grace to play ‘Where’s Wally’ in his films.

Unfortunately, the enjoyment of a film for me is also increasingly dependent on who I watch it with. I was the only one of the three of us to watch the films. Hanno was fiddling around on his iPhone, all day, Hubs opened up his lap top and tidied up his desktop and looked at his card forum. I tweeted at the beginning and end of the films, only at the end of Return of The King (where I was losing the will to live by then) did tweet during the film. I could write more about how much I now don’t like them, but I don’t want to get hate mail from LOTR fanatics.

The two shining stars throughout were Sir Ian McKellen and Viggo Mortensen, who hold all three films together. Thank goodness for them.

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One thought on “On watching Lord Of The Rings

  1. All fair points about the films, especially about the bloody Jacksons! I have only ever done the ‘back to back’ viewing at a cinema with the theatrical versions, surrounded by other individuals as sad as me. Had anyone whipped out an iPhone or a laptop I shudder to think of what would’ve happened to them.
    I shall treat this as a cautionary tale and only ever do this again at a cinema.
    As regards the books, we’ll have to differ. Given the pain I endure when trying to read 19th century female novelists it may be a boy/girl thing :-)

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