29 December 2010

The Road to Adventure

Every few years, my family will watch through the trilogy of the films of The Lord of the Rings. We're watching Fellowship of the Ring right now. We all prefer the books to the movies, but it's still fun to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the epic brought to life before our eyes. I'm known for the litany of complaints that I lodge against these films and Peter Jackson, but there are also a few ideas/moments that I really like and think were represented well by the films.
Vistas: The gorgeous scenery of New Zealand is a more-than-credible stand-in for Middle Earth. This is equally true of rolling green hills, rugged mountains, and ancient-looking forests.
Bad-Asser than Thou Part 1: Aragorn singlehandedly takes on five Nazgul on Weathertop.
Bad-Asser than Thou Part 2: Christopher Lee as Saruman. Because he's CHRISTOPHER LEE. As SARUMAN. (I wish the world had the chance to see him as Gandalf, per Tolkien's own desire, but he has gift to create Saruman as someone deeper and more real than a plotting comic-book villain, which is how some other actor might have portrayed him.)
Bad-Asser than Thou Part 3: Sam slowly coming into his own as a humble hero, particularly in the scene of the skirmish in Moria, when he starts whacking orcs with his frying pan.
Music: Occasionally repetitious, but undeniably beautiful and atmospheric.
Supporting Performances: Not all are of the same caliber, but a few do stand out. The aforementioned Lee as Saruman, Ian McKellen as Gandalf (though that is more of a lead than supporting role), the unfairly (in this case) maligned Orlando Bloom as a Flynn-esque Legolas, and, particularly key to the Fellowship book/film, Sean Bean as the conflicted but ultimately repentant and redeemed Boromir.
Bonus Wonderful Moment: The Little Bug, observing a battle with trolls and orcs, exclaimed, "Bad monsters, go to time out!" Time out, of course, is the most terrible punishment he can imagine.

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