Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 22 2002

So, the Fellowship of the Ring: The movie began ve…

So, the Fellowship of the Ring: The movie began very awkwardly and stayed that way for quite a long time. The camerawork was not as good as I had expected. Granted, the scenes being portrayed were beautiful, but they were by no means beautifully portrayed. The music was mediocre and altogether uninspiring. I would have thought more of an early music, i.e. rennaisance pieces, would have been more appropriate than the generic Hollywood score they used.

As for the pace of the film, I know it is a difficult task to cram so much content into such a short time, but I really felt like I was on a whirlwind package tour of Middle Earth. The shot of the One Ring being cut off Sauron’s finger was replayed several times too many, and there were also too many unneeded flashbacks. The entire movie lacked subtlety to a degree that almost felt like a slap in the face, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Rivendell was entirely too frilly. Indeed, the entire elven race seemed emasculated to a degree not even hinted at in the books. All of the laticework and lack of dignity in the architecture had me cringing in the theater. There was no sense of space. That the Council of Elrond was held on a porch, of all places, seemed an outrage. What happened to the big meeting hall?

And the whole Liv Tyler thing: I could hear waves of yawns sweeping through the audience when Arwen appeared in the wilderness, just managing to drown out the mushy, earthy sound of Tolkien rolling in his grave. It must be a hard thing to ignore the marketing people if even Peter Jackson gives in to their insistance on a solid love interest. I had thought that, being from New Zealand, he would be less easily swayed. Oh, well.

Around the time the company came to Moria, the pace seemed to click, but the movie lost it again in the addled mess that was Lothlorien, which was apparently filmed in a tiny stage set or a cave. I was half expecting to see Osama bin Laden at some point. (So that’s where he’s been hiding!)

With the appearance of the awesome fighting Uruk-hai things picked up again, although the character of their supposed creator Saruman was rather over the top. By the time the credits rolled the movie had almost managed to redeem itself, yet even at three hours it felt rushed and clipped.

I left the theater not quite knowing what to think. This movie makes me wonder if it is indeed possible to bring the Lord of the Rings to the screen at all. Jackson certainly gave it a good shot, and I will certainly be waiting to see what he does with The Two Towers and The Return of the King, but the first part, my favorite of the three books, does not lead me to believe that they will be much better.

Of course, the audience didn’t help my viewing experience very much either. A Taiwanese girl sitting behind me spent the entire movie either giggling hysterically at totally innappropriate places or clicking her tongue whenever anything remotely bad happened. At the end she started going on about how terrible the ending was. “Nothing was resolved!” she whined. I would have really liked to provide some resolution for her, preferably with a gunny sack and some twine, but alas, we live in a more civilized age these days, so I will have to be content with the old banana/tailpipe recipe.

I suppose a portion of my antipathy towards the movie may stem from the whole “sour grapes” thing. I’m no Peter Jackson, but when I was younger my brain hatched various pipe dreams about someday directing a real LOTR movie. As unlikely as that particular fantasy ever seemed, the visual confirmation of its death presented to me on the movie screen last night, even though I’ve long since given up on such an aspiration, still managed to clip a few threads within my personal knot of psychoses.

The weather in Taipei remains cold and dismal, and work seems to drag on and on. I was told to appreciate my job today by someone making substantially more than I do for roughly the same or less actual work. What do you say to that kind of assertion? I suppose he is right, though. I should stop complaining so much if I’m not actually willing to do something about it.

And now they’re playing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” over the intercom. I won’t complain. I won’t complain.


posted by Poagao at 8:24 am  

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