Moriarty Takes A Trip To Middle Earth: LOTR Cannes Footage Reviewed!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
I am finally able to set aside my voodoo doll of Knowles and stop putting giant needles in his back. We are once again on at least a semi-even keel. You see, Wednesday morning at New Line, I got a chance to see the 30 minute reel of footage from LORD OF THE RINGS that was shown to the world press at Cannes.
And I feel much better now, thanks.
You see, up until now, I’ve been watching LORD OF THE RINGS the same way all of you have. I’ve been checking out the stills that popped up online. I saw the two theatrical trailers and that one great Internet trailer. I’ve seen a few of the New Line behind the scenes clips from the website. I’m very interested in the films, but to be honest, I thought of them as Harry’s project on the site, the films he was covering. I knew I wasn’t going to go to Cannes this summer, so I didn’t feel like I’d “missed” something when he went.
The more I heard about it from other outlets, though, from people who hadn’t been to New Zealand, who hadn’t seen the behind-the-scenes stuff Harry had seen, the more I started to get antsy, impatient. Everyone sounded like they’d had religious experiences watching the footage. There was a screening in LA for some of the press at the Egyptian Theater one day, and I didn’t find out until the day after. They showed in in Australia. The more times it showed, the more desperate I got.
And then Gordon Paddison and Wendy Rutherford came through. New Line Publicity Gods that they are, they invited me to one of the screenings on Wednesday, and I managed to wrangle an invite for John Robie, one of the our other West Coast operatives. And so it was that we arrived a half-hour early, crazy to see the footage, determined to get good seats. We did, indeed, too, in the second row of the small screening room, right between Keith Stern, who runs McKellan.com, Ian's official site, and Smilin’ Jack Ruby, man about town for CHUD and 13TH STREET.
The room filled up quickly, and by 11:00, the whole bunch of us were fidgeting with our press notes, chattering a little too loudly, anxious for it to start. When the lights went down, I got that feeling you get when the rollercoaster first catches the track and you start to move forward, into that first big hill. The New Line logo comes up, then a shot of Gandalf and Peter Jackson sitting in a cart, with Gandalf driving. I know you’ve heard reports that Ian McKellan was going to be playing Gandalf in the films, but I’m afraid that isn’t true. They appear to have just found the real Gandalf and pressed him into service. I’ve met Ian McKellan, and that certainly isn’t him in the footage I saw. Peter Jackson welcomed us to Middle Earth, and I realized that he was smaller... hobbit-sized. As he spoke to us, the viewers, Gandalf smiled down at him, bemused by Jackson. When Peter finished his brief intro, Gandalf couldn’t resist a wry, “Very nice, Peter.”
And then the real footage began.
And that’s right about the time I lost my damn fool mind.
Those first shots of Hobbiton set the tone right away. The green of the hills, the golden mid-afternoon sunlight, the way the doors of the Hobbit holes are set in the earth... it’s all perfect. There’s a sculpted, painted feel to each image. Gandalf climbs down from his cart and knocks on the door to one particular Hobbit hole. An irritated voice tries to shoo Gandalf away from the other side of the door, saying “I don’t want to see any more well-wishers.” Gandalf can’t help but smile as he asks, “How about an old friend?” The door is thrown open to reveal Bilbo Baggins, who looks startlingly like Ian Holm. Couldn’t be, though. Bilbo is just over three feet tall, and when he embraces Gandalf, it’s obvious these are real people interacting, not special effects set against each other.
Bilbo invites Gandalf in, and as Gandalf steps inside, my eyes went on overload. It was like I was having trouble processing what I was seeing. As Bilbo took Gandalf’s hat and staff from him and moved around the Hobbit hole, the camera following, it was odd. I’ve read descriptions of this setting since I was very young, and now, all of a sudden, here it was, real, with a real Hobbit running around. Gandalf catches his head on a chandelier, then slams it again moving into another room. The whole time, he and Bilbo talk, and you can sense the history between the two of them. These are old friends, bound by shared adventure. Gandalf finds a map that Bilbo has out on a table, and as he looks at it, we recognize it as the map from THE HOBBIT. Even though I’ve never seen this map, I recognized it right away.
The footage then jumps forward to Bilbo’s birthday party, and it’s pretty obvious how drunk Bilbo is. He’s slurring his words, barely able to stand up. He tells the people of Hobbiton good-bye, then slips on the Ring, vanishing instantly. As strange as it is, this is one of the details I wanted to see. There’s a million ways to make someone disappear. Do you do it all at once? Do they go translucent first? Is there a sound when they do it? All those choices are important, and in every moment of this footage, the choices Jackson has made are strong ones. This doesn’t feel like a film where the FX are the reason to watch, and part of that is because the FX are so incredibly good. They are simply part of the texture of the world, not something removed from it. When Bilbo reappears in his Hobbit hole, he is confronted by Gandalf, who demands the Ring from him. There’s a moment where Bilbo isn’t sure he can give the Ring up. He’s worn it less than 20 times in his whole life, but it’s already got a hold on him. When he gives it to Gandalf, it looks like it almost breaks him. Bilbo slips away in the middle of the night, leaving Gandalf to explain things to Frodo.
And again... I didn’t see Elijah Wood in this footage. I’ve seen Elijah Wood in a number of good films over the years. I’m a huge fan of THE ICE STORM. I’ve watched Elijah grow up on film, and I’ve even had lunch with him. The person I saw yesterday was Frodo Baggins. It was obvious when he decides to hide the Ring and never speak of it again. “After all, no one knows it’s here... do they, Gandalf?” The way he turns, the way he looks at Gandalf, dawning fear in his eyes... there’s something innocent about this poor Hobbit. He has no idea what he’s in for, or what is going to be expected of him. “Do they, Gandalf?”
And then there’s the Black Riders, sweeping into the Shire at night, the Hobbits just barely escaping ahead of them in a series of quick cuts. In the Prancing Pony in Bree, we see the Hobbits trying to blend in, and we see a dark figure in the corner watching them, our first glimpse of Strider. We see the moment from the second trailer. “Are you frightened?” “Yes.” “Not frightened enough.” There’s something great about the quiet confidence in what Strider says there, the way he knows trouble is going to keep coming. A few more quick cuts, and we’re in Rivendell. Our first glimpse of Elrond, looking absolutely nothing like Hugo Weaving. Looking absolutely nothing like a human, actually. There’s something ethereal about Elrond, something alien and beautiful. We see the Council meeting to discuss the fate of the Ring, and we hear Gandalf warn of its power. Frodo steps up to volunteer himself to carry it to Mount Doom, the only place the Ring can be unmade. Gandalf says he will join him. Then Aragorn speaks up, offering his sword. And Boromir. And Legolas. And Gimli. And Samwise and Merry and Pippin. And as we look at the Fellowship of the Ring, assembled for the first time, I got real chills. Again, I’ve imagined these characters for most of my life, and to look at them, flesh and blood, all of them exactly as I’d imagined, the Hobbits the right height, the Elves perfect and odd, Gimli a fireplug of a warrior... it was overwhelming.
We saw the money shot from the second trailer, each member of the Fellowship coming over that mountain pass, all of them to perfect scale even with that moving camera, and a track from Hans Zimmer’s GLADIATOR score came up underneath, low and building in power. We hear them discuss the best way to proceed, and they decide that they will not go over the mountain, but will instead go through it. They decide to enter the Mines of Moria.
All the footage already had gotten me wound up, but just hearing them say “The Mines of Moria” and seeing the doors that they were about to enter kicked me over into a different sort of excitement. It was like we had finally crested the hill, and the rollercoaster was dropping now, down into that first crazy plunge back to earth.
The scale of the mines as they enter is staggering. Giant columns, endless rows of them, all shrouded in shadow. Only Gandalf’s staff provides illumination as they walk through this long-dead place. We saw a sort of condensed version of the scene. There’s stuff here like the Watcher outside and Frodo catching sight of Gollum’s eyes in the darkness that wasn’t included in the footage. It’s in the film, but they cut our sequence to give us one particular stretch of action, placing it in the right context first. Watching the Fellowship move through the Mines, you get a real sense of how small they are in this place, how unprotected. It’s just them. There’s no army to back them up. Even the tallest of them is just a speck here, and the way Jackson shoots them is evocative, powerful.
They find the tomb of Gimli’s king, and he collapses, weeping openly on the tomb. Gandalf finds a book amidst the bodies around the tomb, a record of what happened in this place, and he reads from it, from the last entry. “Something is coming. They are here.” It’s terrifying, and as Pippin flinches away from Gandalf’s words, he knocks loose a bucket that goes ricocheting down a long well, dragging with it a chain that is wrapped around a skeleton in armor, all of it going along, clanging and banging the whole way down. The noise is incredible. It takes a long, long moment for the silence to return, and Gandalf hisses, “Fool of a Took.” He just barely has time to register his displeasure before another noise begins.
This noise, however, is getting closer.
There is the sound of drums playing, war drums beating, and vast numbers of something moving up from the bowels of the mines, coming closer, and the Fellowship has no choice but to draw back into the relative safety of the room they are in, barring the door just ahead of a flood of arrows and orcs. As the Fellowship draws up close, backs together, and begins to ready their weapons, Frodo sees that Sting, his sword, is glowing blue. He just barely has time to register the fact before the door gives way and these horrifying creatures begin to sweep into the room. The battle that unfolds is harrowing, bloody, vicious. The Hobbits fight with the same determined valor as anyone else, and they begin to turn the tide of the fight, slaying everything that attacks.
Then the Cave Troll comes bursting in. If you look quickly, you can see the Cave Troll in the new commercial that premiered last night during the MTV Video Awards. This thing is what I always wanted the Rancor to be. He’s fast, huge, deadly, and totally convincing. When Legolas tangles with the thing, there’s real menace to the way it moves. Legolas runs up the thing’s arm, shoots an arrow down into the top of its spine, then leaps off of it. The way the thing uses both its hammer and a chain on its wrist as weapons is fantastic. Everyone has a different fighting style. The way Aragorn weilds his sword, or the way Legolas uses his bow, or the way Gandalf fights with both Glamdring and his staff at once... it’s breathtaking.
The Cave Troll corners Frodo, literally, playing cat and mouse with him around a column in the corner of the room. When he catches Frodo and starts dragging him out of his hiding place, Aragorn attacks, and he uses a sort of trident to spear the thing. It roars, knocking Aragorn through the air, and pulls the weapon free, turning it on Frodo. He appears to spear Frodo, and this spurs the others to go crazy, attacking the Cave Troll with renewed intensity. All the orcs are dead now, and the Fellowship works together, slashing and hacking the Cave Troll, circling in on it. Legolas puts one arrow right through the roof of the Troll’s mouth, piercing its brain, finally taking the thing down. When they run to Frodo’s side, he is okay, already sitting up to reveal the mithral armor he wears, a gift from the Elves.
There’s barely any time to catch your breath, though. As amazing as that scene is, it leads right into them fleeing through the Mines, just ahead of an even-greater army of orcs. They flood into the main chamber like spiders, crawling over walls and down columns, a blanket of evil stretching out behind the Fellowship, then stretching out ahead. The Fellowship stops, trapped, orcs on all sides of them. It’s like a nightmare image. Just when it looks like they’re going to be attacked, there’s the distant glow of fire, and the orcs stop. There’s a mammoth sound, low and rumbling, and the orcs actually begin to scatter. Gimli looks pleased, like he believes the orcs are afraid of the Fellowship. They’re not, though. They’re afraid of the same thing that Gandalf is afraid of, the thing that casts the flickering reflection of flames on the walls as it draws closer. Gandalf urges the Fellowship to run, and he stays right behind them.
By this point, there was a woman in the screening room a few rows behind me who had come down with an acute case of the holy shits. Very low, almost too herself, she just kept saying, “Holyshitholyshitholyshitholyshit,” a mantra of disbelief. I could feel my own mouth hanging open, and a quick glance at Smilin’ Jack and John Robie confirmed that they, too, were stunned by what they were seeing.
The Fellowship starts into another chamber, down a long series of stairs, and what is set and what is digital matte and what is miniature all blurs for me. What I am seeing is impossible, but it is real. As the Fellowship tries to head across the stairs, the thing in pursuit of them begins to rain massive blows down on the room, and sections of the stairs begin to fall away ahead of them. There is no choice but to push forward, even if that means jumping for the humans or throwing the Hobbits across. Someone offers to throw Gimli and he growls at them, “No one tosses a dwarf,” practically biting their arm off. One after another, they make the leap, until it’s only Aragorn and Frodo left to cross. Another section of stairs falls away, and suddenly it’s too far to jump. There’s no way they can make it. The room continues to crumble, and suddenly the whole upper section, where Aragorn and Frodo stand, begins to fall. “LEAN FORWARD!” Aragorn yells. “FORWARD!!” He and Frodo ride the stairs down, into the next section of stairs, leaping at just the right moment. This whole time, orcs shoot arrows at the Fellowship, and Legolas returns a steady stream of fire. It’s unreal how many elements of suspense Jackson seems to juggle at once. The Fellowship begins to hurry off, but Gandalf stops and turns to face whatever is pursuing them. “Your swords can do no more good here,” he says, urging them to leave him. Just then the Balrog makes its entrance, and upon first sight, it became one of my favorite movie monsters ever. Made of shadow and fire, with flames that erupt from cracks in its skin, like a giant bull with elements of a scorpion mixed in, the Balrog is like nothing you’ve seen on film before. Gandalf stands and faces it, and in a voice that is worth every penny McKellan was paid and more, intones, “YOU... WILL... NOT... PASS!!” He slams his staff down, we fade to white...
... and then the shots are flying past us now, fast, each one more amazing. Frodo and Galadriel speaking together in Loth Lorien. Several shots of Arwen. Shots of massive battles. A quick glimpse of Wormtongue. Saruman The White facing the Fellowship. Theoden The King in obvious distress. The battle at Helm’s Deep. Aragorn readying himself for battle, putting on his armor. There is dialogue over the images, but the blood pounding in my own ears prevents me from retaining it. There’s a lyrical beauty to every bit of dialogue we hear, though, an almost Shakesperean elegance to it. This is not dumbed down. This is not for the lowest common denominator. These are massive historical epics, a modern mythology come to vivid life, and what we are being promised here are films for adults, movies that have something to say.
But the thing that got me... the thing that brings tears to my eyes even now, almost two days later... is a series of shots right at the end of what we saw, footage from RETURN OF THE KING. In one shot, Sam is kneeling over Frodo, and they both look scorched, beaten, barely able to draw breath. Sam leans in over Frodo, tears on his face, and says, “It is too heavy, Mister Frodo, and I cannot bear the weight. I cannot carry The Ring.” A look crosses his face, something terrifying and determined and undeniable. “But I can carry you!” That declaration of love, so powerful in the scripts I read over a year ago, is wrenching on film, and it’s only made more powerful by the next image. Frodo stands in the heart of Mount Doom, bathed in its unearthly glow, and turns to face Sam. Something has died in his eyes, replaced by something dark and awful, and he practically screams, “I will NOT destroy it!! The Ring is mine!!” And as he moves to slip it onto his finger...
The lights come up.
And I’m sitting in a screening room just off Beverly Blvd. It’s a Wednesday morning. Everything’s back to normal.
Only it’s not. Because I’ve seen what I’ve seen now, and there’s no turning back. I’m not just eager to see these films at this point. I’m rabid. I’m manic. I’ve never seen anything like the images I saw yesterday, and neither have you.
You think you’re ready. But you’re not.
You think that you get it by reading my description or Harry’s description or Smilin' Jack Ruby's description or the recent description over at TheOneRing.net. But you don’t.
You think you understand after you see the new TV trailer that debuted last night. But you can’t.
On December 19th, it all changes. What we call a blockbuster, how we view fantasy on film... changed, transformed by two hours and forty-five minutes that will transport you through time and space to Middle Earth. You will take that journey with the Fellowship, and along the way, over the course of three films, we are going to be treated to a spectacle of imagination the likes of which we have not seen in years. Technology and storytelling and design and performance have all been drawn together masterfully by Peter Jackson and his amazing cast and crew, and if 30 minutes of footage can turn me from an interested observer to an evangelical loon, then the whole film may just reduce me to that humbled, awe-stricken child who first fell in love with movies and their potential so many years ago.
At least, I hope so. Dear God, I hope so.
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Sept. 7, 2001, 5:45 a.m. CST
by Bluberry Johnson
Goosebumps on my arm. I kid you not. Friggin goosebumps from a secondhand report. Unfrigging believeable.
Sept. 7, 2001, 5:50 a.m. CST
by Samurai Jack
Sorry, this whole review seemed like babytalk to me. This kind of babytalk, goo-goo ga-ga hype is very dangerous. It sets many people up for huge disappointment. We all know what happens on this site after that occurs. Beware...
Sept. 7, 2001, 5:50 a.m. CST
Seriously, if Jackson can pull this off, he'll go down in the annals of Geek Lore with Spielberg, Lucas, and Kubrick. I already love his films. Make me believe in Hobbits, Peter! I have faith in you!
Sept. 7, 2001, 6 a.m. CST
If this is what they're showing in NYC this Sunday, I want to experience it for myself. If they *don't* show this..... well, I pray for all those at New Line with the temerity to make me an angry man. It will not end well for any of you.
Sept. 7, 2001, 6:35 a.m. CST
if this is anything like that half hour of Tomb Raider he saw, I'm getting really excited. j/k... I hope this is what we see in NYC sunday night!
Sept. 7, 2001, 7:08 a.m. CST
Ok, before i read this i was absolutely hyped about this film but now... well now christmas really cant come soon enough - can someone put me in suspension till it premieres?? please cos otherwise i think the suspense is going to kill me!! I cant even type straight just thinking about it. AAAAAAAAhh!! im turning into a fan-boy. oooh! i think im going to have to go and lie down.
Sept. 7, 2001, 7:22 a.m. CST
by Skinny Bastard
... and I agree completely with Moriarty's take. I was lucky enough to see it at the Warner Magic event in West Palm Beach, Florida. They took us retail people to a theater, showed us some trailers, then gave us a few minutes before the 'surprise.' I may get ostracized from the community, but I've never read anything by Tolkien, so take it from an unbiased viewer ... that footage was jaw-dropping, literally. I've found myself struggling with how to describe it to friends who weren't as fortunate as I was to be there, and I just don't know how to put it all into words. It was THAT incredible. Then they brought Sean Astin out, and he did a wonderful Q&A with us all. He was a great way for Warner to follow up the footage, as he had a lot of insight into what the 15 months of shooting was like. In closing, I'll be waiting patiently for the next few months to pass, then I'll see you all in line on December 19th.
Sept. 7, 2001, 7:27 a.m. CST
Mr. Jackson, we salute you. And, as much as it's going to hurt to wait till Xmas for the first installment, just imagine how tough it's going to be AFTER FoTR, once our appetites are well and truly whetted. On the bright side, at least those two or three lost souls who've been living under a rock and don't know their Tolkien from their Terry Brooks will have time to read LOTR before the next two films hit the screens.
Sept. 7, 2001, 7:50 a.m. CST
I keep telling myself that I'm more looking forward to Waking Life and Adaptation than this, but...man, I actually have tears in my eyes from reading this.
Sept. 7, 2001, 7:58 a.m. CST
by Lance Rock
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:02 a.m. CST
Have PJ and crew actually done it? Have they made an event, a series of legendary films for the ages and eternity? By all accounts so far, if the hype is real and not just well-wishing, the resounding answer is YES. I was crushed when these films were announced, convinced that they could never be done properly; I was resigned to the fact that they would be screwed up by incompetence somewhere inside the Hollywood parasitic digestive system; but now, it seems from Mori's report, my fears may be totally unfounded--dare I hope? My faith in Jackson and company has just been given steroids. My anticipation for December 19 is frothing at the mouth. I have a feeling, my dear fanboy geek compatriots, that these here 3 films will OBLITERATE. There is room for all at the box office table, but Lucas, you had better have something strong for May 2002...or you will have all of your wind stolen by the Crazy Kiwis who finally inscribe Professor Tolkien's magic into our collective consciousness...vividly and FOREVER.
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:12 a.m. CST
You see, I love books. All books really, and when they make a movie from a book they forget certain ingredients you know. You can make pineapple upside down cake without sugar right? Its no longer P.U.D cake..its a CLOSE equal, but it sure wont taste the same. Ok so your confused right now (I am) but what I am trying to say is that LOTR will not be the book we/I have read DOZENS of times, it will be the story told without certain ingredients ie. Tom Bombadil and so on, but you know what, for the first time ever it OK. The magic of seeing our favorite charactors on screen in situations we have imagined over and over again will make us forget about the missing sugar! This will be an industry changing event! To be sure!Im hungry now, gotta get some cake!
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:18 a.m. CST
At the end of that trailer? I'm skeptical.
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:27 a.m. CST
LOTR is completly captured the minds of the same fans he has built his carrer on & has turned his epic into a second class B-Movie.(or wait was it just the name Attack of the clones?) Hail & Kill
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:59 a.m. CST
I agree with Moriaty's opinion that these films are gonna go to a whole new level. Let's hope the studio's begin to appreciate the source material with a whole new outlook. Like the news posted elsewhere on the site about the production go-ahead on Preacher, I can't imagine they will do Preacher justice, mainly because I don't think they respect the source material. God bless Peter Jackson for making the film he's wanted to make for so long, and giving us what we've been dying to see since we read the books.
Sept. 7, 2001, 9:01 a.m. CST
The first person who emails me by 4 pm EST tiday (Friday) at email@example.com gets it. (I had a friend back out, the fool)
Sept. 7, 2001, 9:19 a.m. CST
This is one of the best reviews I have ever read on this site. Moriarity, I am constantly impressed with your writing skills. Like Blueberry Johnson, I got goosebumps and found myself almost giggling as I read the descriptions of the scenes. The roller coaster analogy is so right on! I just hope, oh I so hope, that the movie is able to live up to montage that Peter is peddling.
Sept. 7, 2001, 9:28 a.m. CST
That review gave me goosebumps. And I think if someone like Moriarty, who didn't go in with the lofty expectations a lot of us have, can come out that blown away, this should have no problem capturing a wide audience. Hell, the ad ran during the MTV Video Music Awards, which is about as big as you can get as far as that network goes. I saw the New Line logo come on and didn't pay much attention. Then the second I heard the voice, it hit me -- "Holy shit, that's Gandalf!" What a moment. If 30 seconds did that to me, those 30 minutes would probably kill me, and I shudder to think what the 2 hour 45 minute entirety would do to me.
Sept. 7, 2001, 10:11 a.m. CST
by Smilin'Jack Ruby
I deal with a lot of different studio publicity departments in town and have to say that the way Gordon and Wendy handle New Line's online publicity shows a lot more forethought and understanding of the internet than almost anyone else.
Sept. 7, 2001, 10:25 a.m. CST
by The Longshot
I mean, it is only your prime audience that you want to market to. Instead, we get a rather lame presentation from TheOneRing.net that is basically an ad for their site. The thing is, for most of the weekend, all I was hearing were doubts of how well Tolkien's vision was going to translate to films. A lot of these guys still need to be sold on this. This sounds like what everyone needed to see.
Sept. 7, 2001, 10:55 a.m. CST
Thank you for the great description Moriaty, if New Line was worried at all that this movie was a risk, after reading what you saw, their worries are over. I just want to let you know how lucky you are to get to see these things before the avg movie goer does.Even though I am a fan of the trilogy I cannot wait for this film to open.It will be one of those that can be watched over and over again with the same enjoyment every time.
Sept. 7, 2001, 11:15 a.m. CST
I completely understand that reaction as I literally had tears in my eyes as I finished reading. Just for the record, I have NOT read the books but have been captivated by the pictures and have definately been sucked into the LotR frenzy perculating here and on other sites. The pictures capture a magic unlike any I have ever seen and I fully agree with those who opine that this will be bigger than Star Wars. If watching a 30 second trailer and reading Mori's EXCELLENT coverage of the Cannes footage can bring me to the level of a near religious experience...holysh*tholysh*holysh*t...what will the movie do?____A Bee Who Has Decided To Read The Books Prior To The Release
Sept. 7, 2001, 11:23 a.m. CST
I'm not sure what's going on here. While reading Moriarty's review, as each tender morsel of Tolkein and Jackson's goodness was fed to me, tears began welling up in my eyes. How the hell can a simple review unleash these emotions? I'm not a goddam pussy! Dammit Tolkein! It's his fault he created such an excellent work. And dammit Jackson! He's the one who has unleashed the epic. But what I'm really worried about is Dec. 19. I've already planned the evening with my wife and friends, and I have a feeling I'm going to be quite embarrassed when the lights come back up and they see my normally stoic self reduced to mush. I don't even want to think about when Frodo says goodbye to same at the Havens.
Sept. 7, 2001, 11:24 a.m. CST
that's a dangerous stage. Personally, when it gets this huge, I just tend to tone it out and not listen. I still hoped I'm impressed by the flick, but WAYYYY too many salivating reviews just sorta turn me off. 'Sides, 2 hours and 40 minutes? That could hurt its box office, but maybe not considering how there's been epics almost pushing 3 hours in the last little while (Titanic, Gladiator, etc. etc.)
Sept. 7, 2001, 11:26 a.m. CST
by Brian 2000
I have a ticket!
Sept. 7, 2001, 11:39 a.m. CST
The Complete List of LOTR Film Changes is at this new URL: http://www1.tolkienonline.com/movies/changes_index.cfm
Sept. 7, 2001, 11:40 a.m. CST
I am aware of the danger of this feverish oversaturation. This is the point where hopes ride higher than ever on said 'event film.' When the third trailer comes out next month, it may go to an all-out frenzy not only amongst the geekgasm prone, but the mainstream press and media machine! However, I am allowing myself to become swept away--because I finally have faith, if not proof in the form of the sources and evidence presented so far, that the filmmakers have succeeded in making art from a basis of true art: the stories and worlds that Professor J.R.R. Tolkien crafted into a magical reality. As the release date approaches, I will be able to calm myself and view the actual 2h45m as 'objectively' as I can. But for now, these tidbits carry me through a mostly dour and dull film season, and that's worth a lot in and of itself. My remaining concerns: the Howard Shore soundtrack; the story and character 'adjustments'; and the energy PJ is so famous for--is he able to use it in an artful and productive way to help tell the story, or does it simply become a self-satisfied Tim Burtonesque display? The "fisheye lens" stuff in the trailer gives me pause, but doesn't concern me greatly. Bring it, New Line! Make it an event for the epic-starved masses! :-)
Sept. 7, 2001, 12:07 p.m. CST
The Complete List of LOTR Film Changes is at this new URL: http://www1.tolkienonline.com/movies/changes_index.cfm
Sept. 7, 2001, 12:13 p.m. CST
I think we are riding a fine line here between hype and just plain excitement. Yes, the footage seen is only 30 minutes out of a trilogy that could come very close to 10 hours when December of 2003 comes to a close. Yes, the positivity from not only the internet media, but from the print and television media as well, is so exciting, its almost "too good to be true." Yes, fanboys are crapping their pants (and possibly the pants of others) over something they are still months away from seeing. All of this could point to another Star Wars disaster...where anticipation becomes 98% of the experience, where the hype takes over and leaves entertainment to rot under the porch. But I think we are beholding something different here. With TPM, Lucas had control over *everything*...the script, the direction, what art gets in and what doesnt, what dialogue is best to use for aliens, etc. You know the drill. He refused outside help for anything, and gave us only a mediocre movie that could have *easily* been much better. But with LOTR...yes, PJ did direct it, but have you been reading about all of the hard work that *everyone* has put into this? The callaboration between everyone involved? This LOTR trilogy coming up is a work of admiration, love and respect of one of the greatest novels of all time. I dont think it can go wrong, because when this much passion and work are put into a project like this, it really does shine through. And yes, many people probably worked hard on TPM for those two years it was in production. But Lucas acted as a very thick and non porous filter for just about everything, and yes, Star Wars is his baby, but sometimes a father can be unfit to take care of his children alone. It happens. Anyway, my point, if I did indeed have one, is that I think we are all confronted with a cinematic realization of a book we have all grown up with, and we all see how graciously it has been handled. And really, all I can bring myself to feel for it is excitement. I have never met Moriarity or Smilin Jack and Calisuri over at TORN, but I trust them, because they are fans, just like we are.
Sept. 7, 2001, 12:22 p.m. CST
Just to clarify as someone who has read this book many times, it was bilbo who gives frodo the mithril, not the elves as stated in Moriarty's column
Sept. 7, 2001, 1:12 p.m. CST
And if you disagree... more movie merchandise for me!!!
Sept. 7, 2001, 1:21 p.m. CST
Thank God I have a ticket for Sunday. If we get to see the footage and it's as good as Moriarty says it is...I'm gonna cream in my shorts. YAY!!!
Sept. 7, 2001, 1:38 p.m. CST
SCUDD-What a crock of shit. That's a myth created by fanboys. Let's look at Lucas's peers: Frank Darabont, Lawrence Kasdan, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius, Ron Howard, Frank Marshall, Joseph Campbell (he befriended him before he died), Martin Scorsese, Kathleen Kennedy, etc.... Lucas showed his friends TPM to get suggestions. He actually re-edited the last reel of the film on their advice. Definitely doesn't sound like a close-minded, "closed off from the world" filmmaker. Stop spreading bullshit. Regarding FOTR: I think it will be an amazing film for the sheer reason that I always felt the only way to do justice to the books would be to emphasize the macabre and DARK elements of the tale. The horror elements will create the TENSION that will allow audiences who aren't really interested in a"fantasy film", to still experience the films viscerally. Jackson is the right man for the job.
Sept. 7, 2001, 1:59 p.m. CST
first off **Thoreau** good clarification as Miami MOFO made, yet how 'bout a little more?? yes indeed Bilbo gave Frodo his life-saving Mithril Armor - but lets not forget that it was the ancient dwarves who forged the armor. talk about dues people!!!! ;) anyway, Moriarty, thank you so much. in a little dinky town in which i live - there's no way i'll get to see the Cannes' footage (praying for DVD extras!!!!) yet your descriptions gave me not only goosebumps but caused me to jump up and down like one of those little teeny-boopers. whoooo!!!! i need a relaxant....
Sept. 7, 2001, 2:30 p.m. CST
by Spunk Monkey
I don't know what to think. As a fan of the works I want as little information before I walk in as possible, but damnit I want it to be a success and the only way to do that will be for every living person on earth to know that this movie is coming and they need to be reminded twice a week until it finally makes a showing. And on a different note I creamed my pants just reading M's review. I am sitting drooling in geek Nirvana at the moment.
Sept. 7, 2001, 2:39 p.m. CST
I live in Minnesota, but I'm camping out for tickets. Memorial day my ass! You call yourself geeks?! Piss off, Star Wars Kids. Showing the Star Wars Pansies what's up, Mr. Bad Example.
Sept. 7, 2001, 2:54 p.m. CST
OK Someone's got my spare ticket. No more emails please.
Sept. 7, 2001, 4:46 p.m. CST
I haven't posted in talk back for a long while, but this is inspirational stuff. Reading this review I began to slightly sob. Tears of joy of course, but I am now preparing for the second coming. I have never felt this way about a film before.
Sept. 7, 2001, 6:39 p.m. CST
Moriarity is a good writer like you all say. This review has changed me from semi-interested Star Wars geek to interested observer. I will see this movie for sure now.
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:03 p.m. CST
When I was first told that this project was going to happen, over three years ago, that's when my desire to see it began. So, like most of the staff at AICN, I have endured far more torture than most people who are only now starting to believe. More longing. More excitement. The hype, I believe, has yet to begin...as said above, the mainstream media hasn't fully caught on to this yet... YET. But they will. Just as they bought the minimal value of THE BLAIR WITCH. NewLine is taking a similar, but classier (as is deserved) approach to marketing this trilogy as Artisan did. What NewLine has working for it though, is 63 years of fans and scholars pouring over Tolkien's work, imagining the scenes, setting their mind's eye to the incredible setting described. And now Peter Jackson has put the incredible on screen. I've seen just about everything the average Joe can see from this production (including Gollum, once). Every time, EVERY TIME (not just Moriarty's review of the Cannes footage) I see or read material relating to these movies, emotions well up in my soul that I cannot describe. Obviously, I am not the only person to experience this. Peter Jackson is on the verge of redefining the term "movie". It is about to change from a slang contraction of "moving picture" to something involving moving your SOUL. No other cinema experience I have had has achieved this. It is possible that this will never be achieved again, because there are few literary works that spark the reader's emotions and imagination the way Tolkien does. With all of this being said, and everything else praising Jackson and the result of his (and countless others') labors, it will be a travesty of the most hideous kind if this project does not win every award is it up for. In my mind, most of the Oscars have already been awarded for the next three years. If reality does not reflect this, then I am prepared to boycott Hollywood forever.
Sept. 7, 2001, 8:26 p.m. CST
by Red Giant
What other movie showed a CONTINUOUS multi-minute segment (no fancy MTV-like editing ala trailers, no showing only the best scenes from the entire movie as if the whole movie is like that, etc)? 15 or so minutes straight, with this sort of reaction? Are you kidding? Baring yourself to the world in essence, and hitting on all cylinders like this?? Wowowowow... Tomb Raider, EP I, PotA, etc - name ONE of those that would have a fraction of this reaction and power had they shown even 2-3 minutes uninterrupted from them. They are pure crap (somewhat entertaining crap if you check your mind at the door, but still). This is real baby! This will be the event of the decade at the least.
Sept. 7, 2001, 9:34 p.m. CST
How the heck we're going to survive three years waiting for the whole story to finish out...just think. Someday, five or so years from now, I will hold in my hot little hands the five-disk DVD package of LOTR with seven hours of "making of," effects footage, director's comments, and other goodies. But I get ahead of myself. I thought Pippins original method of alerting the orcs, by dropping a pebble down a well in the middle of the night was much cooler, but it would have required setting up the whole "camping overnight" scene and bogged the movie down. I can see a little anachronistic humor sneaking in..."no one tosses a dwarf." Ha ha. Okay, it's funny, but I hope this kind of thing doesn't sneak in too often.
Sept. 7, 2001, 9:43 p.m. CST
Damned New Yorkers! Yes, I suppose you would need some extra incentives to live there :o) Congrats to all of you on getting the chance of a lifetime. Good to see you, elanor. So, you've been avoiding spoilers and pics and now you've succumbed to the lure of the Ring to have a peek. I don't blame you and hope you have a blast. *** I saw a spot on our local news this week. Their critic introduced some of the movies to be released this fall. He saved FotR for last and (uncharacteristically) raved about PJ, the incredible cast, the beauty of NZ, and the basic storyline. I have a feeling that pretty soon the whole world is going to be very interested in what has (so far) been almost like our own private little secret.
Sept. 8, 2001, 12:27 a.m. CST
You know that report did bring tears to my eyes, great big ones. But, I am not crying for the beauty that was described in the report; I am crying because that evil bastard didn't invite me along. I have feelings too! I give up my home in order to camp out for the damn movie, living by the grace of the millipede only (long story), and what do I get in return? Two trips to the mental hospital, and 0 advanced screenings. Plus I don't have a TV , so I missed the spot during the MTV awards show too. This sucks! I have a 24 hour migrane from all the drugs I have been given, I haven't had a bath in weeks, and no one seems to care about me when they get a special opportunity they can share. These are the times I wonder if I can make it at the front of the line. I quit twice before, but not now. Not this time! Wish me luck. I don't know if I can hold out much longer.
Sept. 8, 2001, 3:25 a.m. CST
Beanbag chair with a wig and a fake beard?
Sept. 8, 2001, 4:16 a.m. CST
by Nonkel Bob
Peter Jackson actually discovered a wormhole in time/space that leads directly to Middle Earth. And he'll set the Balrog and Ring-Wraiths loose upon this world if the movie doesn't make the money people expect it to make ...
Sept. 8, 2001, 5:48 a.m. CST
by gah rides again
Damn. I never really was able to get into the books, partially thanks to the very non-non-boring Hobbit animated film my older brother loved so much when I was a kid... He was always such a rabid fan, but damn if this review hasn't won me over. I now want to see this. Really, really badly.
Sept. 8, 2001, 6:45 a.m. CST
Sorry, but anyone who say 'Fuck Lucas' based on an AICN review of another film is a moron! You constantly try to compare unrelated films that are coming out at different times to each other. As far as Jackson goes, The Frighteners was amusing but I wouldn't put him in Lucas or Speilberg's level yet. Remeber Lucas comes up with the stories himself, these are just book adaptions here. I got to see the Star Wars Episode 2 footage at Dragon*Con this year. The shots of Sam Jackson and the rest of the Jedi in a massive war wre amazing, Nat Portman was hot in her tight fitting, ripped whit outfit, and all those who were disappointed with Episode One will be more than pleased with this one.
Sept. 8, 2001, 6:58 a.m. CST
This movie is getting massively hyped! You can't go anywhere without seeing book displays or hearing the hype surrounding this film. New Line has spent $90 mil per movie and they want to make that back. And for all you who said Lucas sells out, he makes money, well guess what? Burger King is going to have LOTR toys. There are going to be action figures and statues. They are planning to making as much money as they can, and I don't think thats a bad thing because this is a business. I tend not to believe AICN hype after the fiasco which was called the Blair Witch project, which was not only one of the WORST horror movies I have ever seen but one of the worst movies in recent years.
Sept. 8, 2001, 8:10 a.m. CST
i had a tear in my eye too. god....i CAN'T WAIT.
Sept. 8, 2001, 8:25 a.m. CST
Really, this overhype net syndrome is a bad thing... any movie can garner fantastic press if their marketing department does their jobs correctly, especially if it's a decent film. You get this huge hype bubble that no films can really live up to. Case in point? The Phantom Menace. Wasn't a terrible flick, but it was a pale pale shadow of what the hype built it up to be. Then you get movies like Matrix or Shakespeare in Love that have almost no hype at all other than a few good reviews, and they clean house at the box office since they shatter people's lower expectations. By now most of the folks who buy into this hype thing have very thick skins and take everything with a grain of salt the size of a rock of crack, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's important that you see the films and form your own opinions of them, rather than filling your mind with what everone else says. I would like to point out one thing regarding LOTR. This film, if executed correctly, can live up to any level of hype regardless of how blown out of proportion it is. There aren't many that are sure things, but I think this film is as close as you can get to a guaranteed blockbuster. I'm thinking it has a very good chance at breaking the record for that particular holiday weekend in ticket sales.
Sept. 8, 2001, 8:41 a.m. CST
I'm sorry, but since AICN started using these annoying pop-up ads, my enjoyment of this site has diminished immeasureable. They sometimes come up two at a time. Popup Ads suck. Anyone else feel that way or am I a voice crying out in the wilderness?
Sept. 8, 2001, 9:38 a.m. CST
by Dr strange
Top notch review my man, however I gotta admit, I wasn't pumped to see this film but after the commercial during the vma's and this review I now wish to officially reserve my seat on the bandwagon.
Sept. 8, 2001, 9:52 a.m. CST
I definitely agree with you comment on the rivalry between LOTR and SW. Episode 2 comes out in the summer. Does ANYBODY really think that FOTR will be competing with it in the summer market? Does ANYBODY really think people are not going to see Episode 2, because FOTR was so good? And finally both PJ and Lucas have wished all the best luck to each other. These men are obviously gentlemen, unlike many people in the media (or these talkbacks) - - - On your comment about Peter Jackson, please see Heavenly Creatures and Forgotten Silver and you realize what he is cabable of. Frighteners is amusing, but far from his best work.
Sept. 8, 2001, 12:03 p.m. CST
by 6 of 24
But... but... I saw the trailer and what I saw of Hobbitton looked awful - it was all cutesy round doors and barren lawns! It was missing the one crucial thing that would have made it look like The Shire: Trees. There were no trees, none of the centuries-old lush deciduous trees that no place in The Shire should lack. It's just not right without them, Tolkien was the tree-freak of the Western world, and they were probably left out due to parsimony. Feh. I hope the actors are good enough to save the Shire sequences, cause from what I can see The Shire is gonna look like it's made out of Astroturf.
Sept. 8, 2001, 12:39 p.m. CST
by king monkey
george lucas has much to prove in his second installment of what is turning out to be a big silly cartoon. samuel jackson is a nightmare. the bar scenes in episode II look like some budget bar scene from star trek. Where's Woopie?!
Sept. 8, 2001, 12:48 p.m. CST
lawrence of arabia vs. fellowiship debate...
Sept. 8, 2001, 1:05 p.m. CST
To judge an artist without first reviewing his works is not only criminal but ignorant. Before slighting the genius that is Peter Jackson first familiarize yourself with his work. Check out "Bad Taste" or "Dead Alive." Sit down and experience the brilliance of "Heavenly Creatures" (in my opinion the greatest film ever created) or his magnum opus "Meet The Feebles." This man should be bronzed and Congrats to new Line for understanding that. LOTR will not only be breathtaking it will be groundbreaking as well. So shut up sit back and hang on for the ride of your life.
Sept. 8, 2001, 1:57 p.m. CST
back when I was like 10 years old. I had read The Hobbit but wasn't as enthralled as I was with LOTR. I had to read all three books through and through before I could even put them down. They consumed me - I am a artistic person at heart (I'm an artist), and any story that can so enrich me visually as I read it was worth more than gold. And LOTR was so much more. It had emotional appeal - you traveled along (almost hand in hand) with these characters through their adventures. But they weren't mere adventures, at one point it is even pointed out that the "Age of Man" was set to begin once the Ring had been destroyed. So it was poignancy knowing that this may in fact, be the end of these grand adventures involving Elves, Dwarves and above else, Gandalf. And now, finally when I'm 35-years old, I'll be able to see these visions transformed onto the big screen - in all it's glory. Because I have absolute confidence with Peter Jackson and his crew and the cast. My god, from what I saw in San Diego, the behind the scenes shots! Amazing. So, I had read someplace that LOTR may be the Event of the Decade. Could be. But I had also read here from a previous post that this thing is being overly hyped. Damn you whom ever said that. You bet this movie is being hyped. Because it deserves to be. Sure, I haven't seen it. But according to what I have seen, Moriarty's words here, and Mr. Jackson's previous efforts - I have faith. I for one, cannot wait to see this so that every ounce of H-Town cynicism is replaced by that childhood awe that I once had when watching such movies as Close Encounters, Raiders and even (dare say), Star Wars (and oh, Lawrence of Arabia). You naysayers also have not seen this movie yet. NONE of us have. But for once we have a director who appreciates a book's established myth and also has a want to lovingly translate all of that to the screen. Goddamn, I was verbose here. But man oh man, I want to see this trilogy on screen.
Sept. 8, 2001, 2:04 p.m. CST
I haven't seen the footage you described, but I have seen MANY stills from the shire, and it's exactly like it is in the books. Mostly hills covered on grass, with some occasional trees there and there. The sets (and the gardening of the outdoor locations) are pretty amazing and true to the books. Go to onering.net and check them.
Sept. 8, 2001, 2:07 p.m. CST
In fact go to this link: http://www.ringfan.com/~mbass/www.tolkienmovies.com/images/locations.shtml
Sept. 8, 2001, 5:53 p.m. CST
Moriarty, this was a truly great review. One of the best I've ever read. The LOTR trilogy is going to be one for the history books. Thanks, Peter for staying true to the books and the fans!
Sept. 8, 2001, 6:40 p.m. CST
I have two things to say. One may be repeated because I did not read all of the previous talk backs. First, Moriarty, don't talk like an avid fan and then claim the elves gave Frodo the mithrol shirt. Bilbo did, with the sword and ring. Second, my only concern with this movie has not been the feel, the money, the love or the brilliance, it has been the dialogue. Or rather the impossible task including the books dialogue into the movie. Face it, those who have loved LOTR, the brilliance of the written word is what fueled our imaninations. J.R.R. Tolkien's writing of LOTR is absolutely amazing. Not only the ultimate descriptive detail, but also the flawless storyline. This series of movies are going to wonderful, I just feel sorry for the loss for every deleted detail from the books.
Sept. 8, 2001, 6:48 p.m. CST
Wow - after reading Moriarty's splendid review, I'm now looking for something that will keep me hermetically sealed until, oh, say, a week before the opening. 30 years ago I discovered the trilogy, and now I am this close to seeing my dreams come alive. If it does work (and if it doesn't, don't blame Moriarty - he's only reviewing the Cliff Notes version)then we will be witnesses to the equivalent of planetary alignment. Moments like this don't come along often, when everything clicks between cultists and professional film-makers. I would love to tell my grandchildren some day that I was there when LOTR burst forth in glorious color on the big screen. Pray hard - very hard.
Sept. 8, 2001, 8:42 p.m. CST
by Scab Picker
While Lucas' original Star Wars was brilliant it was basically a stolen combination of Dune and LOTR. This LOTR movie was what Lucas was trying to make anyways only it doesn't have the fatal flaw that most of Lucas and Spielburg's movie's have... it has TOLKIEN as a writer! I've always hated Cameron's tin ear churning our horribly unpoetic poetry that Tolkien's voice will be a full course meal to behold. LOTR will outsell Titanic as the highest grossing movie ever. I'm Scab Picker
Sept. 8, 2001, 8:53 p.m. CST
Ok, if everyone has finished his or her round of ass-kissing (like Jackson's derriere could handle the attention), I'm quite Convinced that the movie LOTR is a masterpiece, ok? But, dammit, you guys are killing it! I'm damn near choking on this uber-hype shit. For the love of God and decency, please show some respect--if not for yourself, then, dammit, for me! Beneath that Hollywood haze and glitter lies a true gem of a movie. But you fanboys and fangirls are taking its shine away, with your ooh's and ahhh's. I expect, any minute now, Mary Poppins to pop out of a Birthday cake, dressed in her birthday wear. Hype is good. Overhype can be the saccharin of death. Still, great coverage, Moriarty. (Oh yeah, the action sequence in Star Wars 2 with Mr. Samuel Jackson, as previewed at the DragonCon, kicks the llama's ass!)
Sept. 8, 2001, 8:57 p.m. CST
This is why AICN is my favorite site for movie shit. First, Massawyrm blows my mind with his Rock Star review, and now, Professor Moriarty knocks me down for the count. Damm, I've bought the first book two months ago, and I'm still incapable of opening it. For some reason, I have this unsound fear that I won't get in to it. Could that be possible? Now, after reading that review, I know that I have to get with the program, so to speak...I, too, have this feeling that this movie will set a precedent. The images of the trailers are incredible. Enough said, have some reading to do.
Sept. 8, 2001, 10 p.m. CST
by Lord Griff
after reading a lot of your replies I am convinced that most of you are fools. How many of you have actually read the books? Until you do you really shouldn't comment on what you think the film will be like. I'm sure it will be good, but I think it says something that the Tolkien family dreads these movies, as do many REAL Tolkien fans. Stop wanking over bullshit reports.
Sept. 8, 2001, 10:15 p.m. CST
by 6 of 24
Thank you, Virkku, for the links, that was most thoughtful. But the pics still look more like California than Hobbitton, even though it's really New Zealand. Funny how almost everything on film looks like California...
Sept. 8, 2001, 11:34 p.m. CST
The books of Narnia. When will they make a movies based on the adventures of Narnia - like "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". Ahhhh, how I so vividly remember reading these books as well when I was a child. And you know what? A whole set is sitting alongside my copies of LOTR on our bookshelf.
Sept. 9, 2001, 6:04 a.m. CST
Sept. 9, 2001, 6:04 a.m. CST
Sept. 9, 2001, 6:12 a.m. CST
It's not over hype unless your on the internet. Most people I know never knew anything about this movie and hadn't heard that much about it. I heard a report on the radio about people being dazzled by 20 mintues of the Lord of the Rings. Over hype? Nah, over hype was (eps 1 the Phatom Meniac blah blah, that was insane for such a lackluster script and just about crap everything else) This will be worth it people...There are many Other people who have seen this footage says it's amazing..well have you seen it??? Most of you well the answer is NO...I can't wait, This is based on one of the greatest novel series ever..... It will be good....Finally a movie worth waiting for.
Sept. 9, 2001, 6:36 a.m. CST
I can almost hear Milhouse's voice saying "no one who saw the MOVIE would say that! Get him!" Okay, Mori, you ass, you son of a mother bitching ass! You've seen the footage so now you can shove that smug superiority down our collective throats once again, eh? It wasn't nice being like every body else, was it? No no, you had had HAD to see this because you're Moriarity and we're just the chumps trapped in our little coerners of the world, held hostage by our shallow bank accounts and lack of in-crowd acquaintances, who salivate as we read your pretentious prose. You stinking bastard! There shall be a reckoning.
Sept. 9, 2001, 7:06 a.m. CST
I went to the cinema with a friend the other day (to see Planet of the Apes, don't bother by the way) and there was a poster for LOTR up. She was a fan of the books but had no idea that they were making the films. Outside of the Internet and genre specific magazines and so on there actually hasn't actually been that much hype here in the U.K. Certainly nothing like there was for The Phantom Menace with people queuing up to by toys and what have you months in advance. I don't understand why there is all this fuss about what films FOTR will be competing against. In the U.K it's coming out at around the same time as Harry Potter and everyones making out that there's this big competion for the audience. Aren't we allowed to go and see both? If anything I'd say that if both films live up to their promise they might actually help each other. See one and it might encourage you to see the other. Hey kids magic and wizards and sh*t can be fun! Speaking of which loved the review. Can hardly wait for the films now (O.K maybe a bit over-hyped) Please tell me that Gandalf does his "I am the servant of the secret fire" speach when he meets the Balrog. I really want to hear Sir Ian deliver it verbatum not paraphrased ("I've got a big staff and I'm not afraid to use it" or something) Reading that bit always makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Tread softly Peter Jackson for you tread upon our dreams....
Sept. 9, 2001, 7:36 a.m. CST
by Concorde Dawn
Why are the star wars fans still defending ep 1, is star wars the new religion, to criticise ep 1 is blasphemy. Anyone with a right mind would have to agree it was shite. That little kid annoyed the fuck out of everyone("mom please let me go play with the jedis, please. Yayyyyy"), the fucking crappy boring racing thing was designed to sell a fucking game, and fucking ja ja fucking binks made to sell happy meals, it was a crap sellout. It seems to me the only reason George Lucas made ep 1 is the same reason Bill gates keeps making windows, started out as a passion but became something far different. Everyone know the original three star wars were fucking fantastic, what star wars fundamentalists have got to realise is that george lucas has gone insane in the membrane, hes lost his fucking mind, the coke fried his brain in the sordid 80s, and you better watch out fanboys, he may start passing the poisoned lemonade around or insist his rabid followers move into his compound and see how far the feds wanna fuck with them before they break out the marshmallows and splash the gas around. Shoulda had Darren Arnofsky direct ep 1, imagine how cool that woulda been, wouldve been way darker and way cooler. Ep 1 needed new blood, an inspired vision. Fucks sake, for a parable on lucas losing his mind, beatles may have been one of the greatest bands of all time, has anyone heard the utter shit paul mccartney keeps coming out with lately? Seriously what will make PJ's films more like the original star wars is that they are an inspired vision and marketing tie ins are on pj's terms. Gollum will not be dumbed down with dreads and lisp terribly in order to please that important 5-12 year old demographic which ronald loves (which also makes me wonder if michael jackson was a producer, and if so, did him and lucas have turns ramming little annikin skywalker). But I digress. If you have been following the spoilers and pictures dribbling onto the net via theonering.net you can't help but get excited about this film, it looks beautiful, the performances are convincing, the world seems REAL. Compare the scene with 1000's of orcs marching across mt doom with those crap drone robot shit walking in perfect formation, absolutely crap CG. George Lucas' main problem (apart from the fact episode 1 is so lacking in vision its a shame he doesn't make movies for the blind) is he CANT do CG. He knows its the new technology and he should be using it, but in the rereleased star wars and ep 1 it just didn't LOOK or feel real. You knew ja ja fucking binks was fucking CG. Those crap robots were CG. Jabba was the worst, how can a five tonne slug slither around, did Lucas make the originals and then say, hey jabbas going on a diet, lets have him get some exercise (I'm surprised they haven't started selling the j-abba-flex on infomercials yet) and yeah, jabba can now express many different facial expressions as we know all slugs can. And yeah, lets just add CG shots of lizards and storm troopers on lizards cause we can, no real point, hell people don't want a plot nowadays, they want eyecandy. From all accounts, PJ integrates CG into a wonderfully crafted story, the CG isn't there for eye candy, its the only way the story can be told. There have only been two great CG films in my opinion so far, Starship troopers and the matrix (jurassic park too I guess), gladiators rome just didn't look real, LOTR will leave them for dust. See Heavenly creatures if you haven't already. What makes pj great is he shows you at the start of the film what happens at the end, big deal you think, but as the story unfolds, and as the film reaches its gripping and horrific climax, the vicious beating becomes an altogether different scene BECAUSE of the way he crafted the story, now thats class. Seems all Lucas can do these days is sell the abridged gospel to his faithful doglike servants, who can eat shit and die. Basically, star wars fan boys are the new godboys. I'm a movie fan, not a blind follower of a franchise. There are SO many ppl like me who won't just go and watch star wars ep 2 blindly like they did with ep 1 because of the hope it would recapture the spirit of the original three. All that will be left in the theatres will be the pathetic fanboys who can not bear to admit that their reason for living is shit, faeces, big piles of steaming poo, crafted by the director who has developed the biggest arsehole in the business. OK, so we all agree we watched the first three star wars film zillions of times, I am absolutely convinced that the LOTR will have EVERYONE going to the movies to see it, not just the fanboys. There will be parents taking their kids, teeenagers, 20 somethings, 30 somethings, this film will affect everyone, it will be so good that the titanic crew will go and see it, just wait, it will be the OLD star wars (who wants to be the new one anyway?).
Sept. 9, 2001, 1:25 p.m. CST
Moriarty might be delighted by what he saw of that LOTR footage, but anyone who loves the original should have alarm bells going off in their head after reading his comments. "Nobody tosses a dwarf?" Did they hire the guys who wrote Dungeons and Dragons? What stupid campy shit. What we're looking at is another big,witless, badly written Hollywood crapfest, made more grotesque by the fact that it's a travesty of a really great book. Among other things, this flick is going to suck simply because it's coming out this year.
Sept. 9, 2001, 3:11 p.m. CST
by The Hierophant
God, I think I just wet my pants. *Looks down* Yup, I did. Oh well, that's the price you pay for such ecstacy as I've read on this page. Fuck man, I'm REALLY anticipating these films now, even more than when I first heard about them in August of last year! I truly believe this is gonna rock the party come December 19th, and I even wrote a rant of my own on why it's gonna rock if anyone wants to read it. (The URL is http://www.writtenbyme.com/content/61857 for anybody interested) Hold me back baby, hold me back, cuz I don't think I can wait 3.5 more months. (Damn, that sounds like a loooooooooong time.)
Sept. 9, 2001, 4:05 p.m. CST
Great review Moriarty(although i skipped some of the description of deatails), and great post The New NivekJ1(about 14 posts down, well said). It's amazing the impact of those 30 seconds...amazing!
Sept. 9, 2001, 4:47 p.m. CST
by MC Lovecraft
Face it, it had to be done. Now that I've said it lets get on with the posting.
Sept. 9, 2001, 5:34 p.m. CST
Moriarty officially kicks more ass then an A-10 tank killer, a 12-gage shotgun, and a mean-looking tuna fish sandwich. This is by far the best review I
Sept. 9, 2001, 5:35 p.m. CST
Sept. 9, 2001, 7:40 p.m. CST
by Pippin's Diamond
What the hell am I saying? Ah, who cares, my poor brain is full of useless school facts and meanwhile I'm suffering of AICN/LOTR news withdrawal! The HUMANITY! Curse you, Akenathen! Gimme Elves and Hobbitses! Mori, sir, I can't believe you dropped such a huge spoiler. As I've said so many times before, I'd hunt you down and kill you with a papyrus roll if I hadn't read the book several times already. It'll be YEARS before we get to see that Frodo/Sam scene, too. I take it Sean Astin is doing a good job then? We haven't heard a line from him in all these months. Or from Merry, or Pippin, or Gimli... Anyway, cheers my merry gang, for still round the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate... that allows me to surf AICN at school! Yes indeed! Namarie for now,
Sept. 9, 2001, 8:54 p.m. CST
You all seem like really nice people and I think you
Sept. 9, 2001, 9:04 p.m. CST
Sept. 9, 2001, 9:23 p.m. CST
Due to the fact that this talkback list has become hopelessly random I thought I would look through them again and see if I missed anything. I bumped into your post on TLTWATW and am happy to report that unaware of your post I did mention it. And though I think they were all cartoons or really bad (or both) I'm more then sure I've seen a few TLTWATW movies Peace.
Sept. 9, 2001, 9:30 p.m. CST
I just checked IMDB. Peace.
Sept. 10, 2001, 12:03 a.m. CST
hehe... Do you realize that you most likely set a new aicn record for most posts in a row?? Six (6) posts, Neo. Think about it, my friend. Eat a REALLY BIG bag of Cheetos, take two tylenol, and respond in the morning... By the way, you did help me clear up the dilemma on which to read first; I'll read The Hobbit very soon. And did I mention that I have two children whom I absolutely adore?____A Kathy Lee Kinda Bee I Guess (minus the sweatshops, Frank, and the ability to sing)
Sept. 10, 2001, 12:46 a.m. CST
, and does anyone else out there have the same feeling? TOO MUCH TALK ABOUT HOW SEEING FUCKING FOOTAGE (NOT EVEN THE WHOLE FILM!!!!) of LOTR is causing people to feel they are having the equivalent of a religous experience. If seeling LOTR induces the same euphoria you might have meeting, oh, I don't know...lets say...GOD!, well then, I am very unimpressed with what Heaven has waiting for me if LOTR is better or as good as heaven (assuming it is there or course:), although as a Catholic I am hoping...). Can we get a little perspective here folks, we are talking about a movie, not something that might truly cause a ton of people to have a true spiritual experience, that might come from, oh, I don't know...perhaps see AIDS eradicated in Africa, fixing the HUGE homeless problem in America, heck, getting an Israeli and a Palestinian to get within 10 feet of each other without each person having a rock/bomb/gun in their hands, etc. I think people get the point. I have gotten excited about movies in the past, but c'mon!!!!, all this talk about about a movie causing a spiritual experience is ridiculous. Not to mention that it is starting to make people like Moriarity seem like very shallow caricatures of an average person with some grounding in reality. Of course, I read in the LA Times or Daily News (I get both) fall preview section that Harry Potter is rumoured to be approx. 2 1/2 hours long...perhaps the real sign that the big guy exists is that a kids/young adult (i.e. film for teens) film is not being edited to death (or brought down to 90 minutes, definitions of what constitutes too much editing will of course differ from person to person) to fit the short MTV addicted attention span of todays youth. I would say that is a true minor miracle, rather than the fact that LOTR will be a good movie. If HP does well at that length, than that might be the begining of a change in how films for young adults/children are made, and may end the over-editing and rock video like cuts that all films that come out in the summer seem to be plagued with. Moriarity, get a grip, you AND Harry are both going to be laughed at in a few months because you are starting to sound like those "fans" who had to see SWEP1 so bad that they stood in line for a week prior to the films release...sigh, and sheesh!!!!!!!
Sept. 10, 2001, 2:04 a.m. CST
I do NOT equate movies with real life. I HAVE a life and that is why some of the vitriolic posts here do not affect me and how I feel about myself. What I DO have is the ability to release myself (and my frustrations in life) by immersing myself in a good movie. To me, it does not matter the genre; what matters is the quality and the escapism (is that a word? It should be.) that can be found when something truly magical is brought to the screen for all to share. I think that is one thing that makes aicn what it is...the ability to involve oneself in a world away from your own. For those here who are involved in the movie industry, the importance of movies is a lot closer to home. I am not one of those, so therefore, I can honestly say that I YEARN to see this movie. I haven't looked forward to seeing anything as intensely as I wish to see this.____A Baptist Bee
Sept. 10, 2001, 10:08 a.m. CST
by radagast brown
Well I keep reading the talk backs and finally decided to put down my two cents. 100 days to go people. I am turning off the "Wanna read spoilers" button. Hopefully when I walk in to FINALLY see this movie, I'll forget all the blasted details people have written about this footage.
Sept. 10, 2001, 10:11 a.m. CST
Let's Hope he earns the coveted title of 'Magnificent Bastard". For everyone who thinks this trilogy is "overhyped" is forgetting that six months ago the general public knew NOTHING of these movies. And now there seems some bitching that they're OVERHYPED? Jeez. Moriarty is one of the few people's opinions I actually trust. Ebert went idiot on us a long time ago. Its amazing that these movies were ever made at all, with what Hollywood has been defecating lately. I actually liked the "Dwarf Tossing" liner, I laughed out loud when I read it.
Sept. 10, 2001, 10:16 a.m. CST
There's a lot of talk about the rivalry between LOTR and SW, and I think to some degree it's justified. Not in any sense of market competition or audience polarization, but there is something to be said for the idea that a lot of people were under the impression that Episode 1 was going to have all the magic and coolness of the original series but with even greater scope thanks to advances in the visual arts. I don't hate George Lucas and I hope Episode 2 is a great film, but I have my doubts and I think my doubts are justified. I gave Episode 1 three tries and I could barely stand any of the viewings, including the last time when I got soused in the effort to enjoy it. Episode 1 left most of us(those who are capable of or willing to admit fault) dismayed. Now there is something to wait for, something in which to invest your faith in and be sure of the returns. I've followed the production of LOTR very closely for about 3 years now to ensure that I wouldn't be caught with my proverbial "pants" down again. There isn't any one aspect that's convinced me that this is going to be an altogether different kind of story, it's the composite. From its inception the LOTR effort has been thoughtful, meticulous, and philosophical while still retaining enough cool to draw a disparate audience together. LOTR is a "for fans by fans" project. There are plenty of cynics out there, but they are the one's who are going to be looking sheepish in a few months. For those of you who believe that a movie is just a timekiller, a brief escape from an otherwise dull reality, I feel saddend for you. Most film appeals to the least common denominator, but not this one. It's not what they were intended to be and when people catch the eyeful LOTR is going to give to them, it's no longer going to be what they'll accept or even tolerate. When Tolkien set out to write LOTR, he attempted to redefine the shared history and experience of his island, a presumptious endeavor. What he's going to accomplish however, is a redefinition of shared experience altogether, a more impressive claim by degrees of magnitude. Enjoy the hype, the movie despite your wild speculation is just going to be that much better.
Sept. 10, 2001, 4:45 p.m. CST
by Jar Jar Balls
dude just kidding, George Lucas is really fucked!
Sept. 10, 2001, 6:35 p.m. CST
Thank you Moriarty for an excellent review, all the more so for your description of your reactions. In all the TB's, you'll see a recurring thread of beware the hype. This is usually good advice, but I'm not sure its that valid here. The excitement for LOTR is being generated from within, not imposed by the studio or a marketing team, and this is perhaps the only movie I can think of where this would be possible. Most fans of Tolkien don't merely like his work, they love it. Speaking personally, I have wanted to see it on film in a way that would do it justice since I was a teenager. These are books that have an effect on people, that you always remember. I know that as a writer they influenced me profoundly. To see them realized on film by some one who loves the story as well as having the skill and talent Jackson has is worth getting excited over. Every thing I have seen released so far, from the stills to the trailers to the cast and crew interviews has only confirmed my hopes. I don't want to get on a soapbox, so I'm going to cut this short after replying to a few other points and concerns I've seen raised. The dwarf tossing line isn't really out of character, if you read Gimli's dialog with Eomer on the fields of Rohan. As to the Tolkien family dreading the films, I haven't read anything about that, but I would like to if the poster of that comment could point me in the right direction. I have to say that's not really unexpected, if you look at all the grievances J.R.R. had with the filming of Bakshi's animated version, as well as that atrocious animated RoK with the singing.
Sept. 10, 2001, 11:16 p.m. CST
Great review, I saw this footage a few weeks back here in Australia and I totally agree about nothing preparing you for actually seeing this. I very nearly died, because all bodily control was diverted purely to eyes and ears to totally absorb the impossible beauty of what I was seeing before me, there was nothing monitoring breathing! The week between the 19th (US release) and the 26th (AU release) is going to be impossible to bare.
Nov. 30, 2001, 12:56 a.m. CST
Argue all you want, nothing will ever beat Titanic. Well maybe if Lucas had picked Leo to play Darth Vader. Or if Jackson had cast Leo to play Frodo. Other than that this arguement is nothing more than geekwars 2001-2.
Dec. 10, 2001, 4:28 p.m. CST
WHY, why all this torture!?!....im willing to trade my life to see this film now!...although i DID already reserve tickets at my local cimema in the UK for the 1st public showing just the other day...and my god did i try to get tickets for the premiere! well now this review makes the film sound twice as good as the books, and i've read those a few times over!...well i MUST go now, i have a LotR party to attend. "one ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them, in the land of Mordor where the shadows lie."
Dec. 12, 2001, 12:30 a.m. CST
I've read here a lot of comments related to the indivisual merits of Peter Jackson, J.R.R.Tolkein and the Three volumes that constitude LOTR. Briefly, on the subject of Peter Jackson, I saw his Brain Dead (the unrated and far superior version) and right away knew I was viewing something special. It was astonishingly gory and vulgar, but it possessed an innocent joy and dare I say warmth, an energy I have never seen in a movie, almost despite the slasher genre. How UTTERLY satisfying and appropriate he his leading this project. Now for Mr. Tolkein, the Tolkein estate, and the Phenomina that is LOTR. Everyone here is yammering on about how they like or dislike the books. I now have the distinct satisfaction of knowing where each and every one of you was when you first read his book(s). A little secret for you all: I, and most people who will be filling up the seats come Dec. 19th, read LOTR in my youth...and was not able to finish it. It was franly above my head. The fact that I have read it since and seen the sun rise before putting it down on many a night is inconsequential. This is the true rub: All of you, go to your local Barnes and Noble, or Waldenbooks, or library, or friend's living room. Scan the bookshelves for the Fantasy section (it's right next to the Sci-fi, or annoyingly sometimes, right within.) Find it? pretty sizable, huh. Must be upwards to a thousand books. Every single one of them owes something of itself to LOTR. Conan? sure. Robert Jordan? Please. Any that rack of hundreds of TSR Forgotten Realms/DragonLance/Spelljamming paperbacks, not to mention the gaming modules and rulebooks of the DnD franchise that ruled the 80's, would be so much empty space without LOTR. THIS IS THE reason why this movie is so important; any of us geeks who ever rolled 20-sided dice or played a video game of the RPG genre, should REQUIRE themselves to see these films (and trust me, there are a lot of us, or should I say of likely every one of you reading this, a lot of you, out there). I don't seee anyone in the mainstream hollywood media or film critics tackling this angle of the film event of the decade. To my mind, the legion of Tolkein fanatics are not the reason this movie will be the no. 1 hit of all time (it could happen), it is the legion of Fantasy fans in general, who far outnumber the former group. It's been a hell of a long time in the coming, and there hasn't been a good fantasy movie since Excalibur and Conan I (Gladiator was near the mark. Tell me, what again was the movie of the year in 2000? :) ) Tolkein is the father of an entire genre, and that is why we love him, even more than for his own work, which is beautiful enough on it's own.
Dec. 29, 2001, 6:15 a.m. CST
Thanks Moriarty. I live in New Zealand and have been reading all the reviews about LOTR and I find yours the most insightful. I really began to grasp the magic of this film and i especially enjoyed your detailed descriptions of the various episodes in this film. Hopefully the varied NZ landscape shown to such advantage in LOTR will encourage yourself and your readers to come and visit us. We await you all with open arms,cups of tea and scones.
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