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Mr ManyNames Reports In With Another FELLOWSHIP Review!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

It seems like EVERYONE saw this film last night except me.

Oh, I know that's not true on a rational level. It was an employee/trade screening, only the first of what will be many screenings in the next few weeks, and only a very select few got to attend. Still, between the phone calls from friends and the short e-mails clogging my inbox, it feels like everyone saw it. Take the case of this guy, Mr ManyNames...

Got invited somehow. Even says his theater wasn't totally full. YOU MEAN THERE WAS A SEAT FOR ME AND I WASN'T THERE?! I'll just go sob quietly in the corner now.

Before I do, I want to emphasize one thing about his review. Seems he's a hardcore fan. I wholeheartedly believe, based on what I'm hearing from everyone who's seen it, that knowledge of the books is not required for this film to deliver to an audience. This isn't DUNE, where they're handing out glossary sheets when you buy a ticket. Peter Jackson seems to have taken particular care to build a world that will work for everyone. That's what excites me most here... the idea that you can please the faithful and seduce the novice at the same time. If Jackson's done that, successfully done what so many others have failed to do when adapting works to the screen, then he deserves to take his place among our most revered visualists.

So now, as I crank up the Howard Shore score for the 454,345th time this week, here's Mr ManyNames with his glimpse at the film:

Peter Jackson's Elvish Lament

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is what got me through high school. I spent 5 years escaping into the three books, revisiting Middle Earth every chance I got. Every time I finished, I would feel a profound sense of sadness knowing that I would have to return to the "real" world.

In college I fell in love with "The Silmarrilion" - Tolkien's Old and New Testament of Middle Earth - the story of the glory and fall of the Elvish culture added considerable emotional depth to later readings of the trilogy.

I reread all four books this summer in anticipation of a movie I have waited 20 years to see. I have gone out of my way to avoid any information about the movies other than the trailers.

Having nothing else to go on, I was a little concerned about some aspects of the casting, most notably Liv Tyler as Arwen. I was also a little worried about the fact that Jackson had decided to bring her in a bit early as far as story line: She doesn't show up until the third book - My assumption was that this was in order to develop the "romantic" subplot that is a requirement for any mainstream blockbuster these days.

I was invited to see the screening last night for New Line employees, exhibitors, and other guests. I was surprised that the theater wasn't packed - I later found out that New Line had been thoughtful enough to provide another overflow theater to ensure that everyone had a seat that they were happy with. I sat by myself as close to an exit [this is a 3 hour movie, after all] and sat back for the show.

I want to qualify my impressions of the movie: as a die-hard Tolkien fanatic, it would be irresponsible of me to consider this movie from merely my narrow perspective. As I see it, there are going to be three types of people going to see this movie.

1. Hard-core Middle Earth Fanatics [see description above].

2. The "I read the books XX years ago" crowd.

3. People who have never read the books.

CAVEAT: Although I consider myself in the first category, I made a conscious decision to surrender myself to Jackson's interpretation of the book: Gollum's racial origins, the absence of Tom Bombadil, and the 20-year newsgroup flame war concerning whether or not the Balrog has wings are irrelevant, and I caution anyone who is overly concerned with such matters to leave that stuff at the door - it's Jackson's interpretation, not yours.

The movie's opening exceeded all of my considerable expectations. Jackson manages to summarize the last part of "The Silmarrilion" and lay the foundation for the story of the Ring. It hit me like a freight train - I thought it was brilliant that Jackson chose to start the movie with such a climactic scene. I felt like my ears were ringing as the movie transitioned into the Shire and the story's setup.

Jackson's casting is inspired. All of the major players manage to communicate the aspects of their character's subtext. In most adaptations these subtleties do not survive the transition from book to film - this cast actually managed to define the cliché of "breathing life into" their characters.

The one exception to this was Liv Tyler. As I mentioned above, she was my biggest concern going into this movie. She was sublime. Having seen her work in a number of other films, I can only attribute this to the director. She is both heroic and tragic. The romantic setup between her and Mortensen was perfectly subtle - it didn't feel like a clumsy, heavy-handed plot bolt-on, which was a refreshing change.

The settings are gorgeous. From the hyper-pastoral Shire to Minas Morgul and Mt. Doom, Jackson captures the essence of each of the locations perfectly. Again, what struck me was the way in which the settings accurately reflected the appropriate subtext of the story and enhanced the storyline perfectly. There were at least 3 occasions where I sat in my seat agape wondering how he had pulled this off with the reported budget - he could teach Cameron, Lucas, and most recently, Chris Columbus a few things.

Where this movie delivered for me is it's emotional impact. Watching this movie as a Tolkien fanatic, it's clear that Jackson understood the material he's working with. He really manages to capture the underlying sadness of the decline of the Elves in a beautiful way, and I think that anyone who sees this movie will get that, whether they've read the books or not. The shot of the regrouping of the Fellowship after the Moria sequence was just devastating, and blew any remaining concerns I may have had about how the film was cast. I was surprised, especially in an industry screening to look around and see that I was not the only person brought to tears by this sequence.

"Fellowship of the Ring" is a wonderful movie. I walked out of the theater, sad that I would have to return to the "real" world - at least for the 3 weeks I have to wait before I can revisit Middle Earth.

I imagine J.R.R. would have been really pleased with it. So will everyone else, whether or not they've read the book.

Thank you, Mr. Jackson.

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 28, 2001, 4:45 p.m. CST


    by honeypil

    cant wait..this movie will rock..also, 5 years of high school? i thought it was four..anyway, good review and this movie better rock

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 4:46 p.m. CST

    by macduff

    Got my ticket for 1st showing on 12/19....don't know if I can sustain a boner til then.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Dear God...

    by Nordling

    Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man. Oh man.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 4:48 p.m. CST


    by Frank_Serpico

    Am i first ?? gee how exciting . Anyway everybody knows this movie will rock and everybody will see it so why the fuck r u wasting ur time reading its reviews when u could be out there fucking seeing it rite now !

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 4:53 p.m. CST

    Well written ditty, but I crave specifics!

    by DrLocrian

    Gimme details, as in an actual movie review! I want a major character breakdown and a specific list of what works and what doesn't. Let's break this down into some standard categories with some actual discussion of: acting, directing, editing, cinematography, score, dialogue, and the like. Back up your statements of praise or criticism with some concrete analysis. Moreover, I'd be interested to read a review from a non-fan perspective. They did invite some "non-Tolkien fans," right? All the same, thanks for the tidbits we've been given so far, as they are certainly far better than nothing.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5 p.m. CST

    No Spoilers?

    by MCVamp

    "I reread all four books this summer in anticipation of a movie I have waited 20 years to see. I have gone out of my way to avoid any information about the movies other than the trailers." So what you're saying is that you reabsorbed the entire plot first.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:04 p.m. CST


    by SureBert

    So New Line holds a screening for its own employees and - SURPRISE - everyone loves it. Gee, what startling news.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:06 p.m. CST

    good reviews all around so far, but

    by bumetalman

    i need a real in depth review damnit, lotrs fans like me crave subtle details!

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:06 p.m. CST

    Anticipation overload

    by Nagual

    I have never looked forward to a film so much. I believe nothing until I myself verify it, but a review this concise and focused and well-thought out makes me go into the excitement red zone. When my butt is in that seat I will try every mind trick in my arsenal to clear the images I have built up inside my head for more than 15 years...

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by PoliMan4

    No, that's not a Middle Earth location, that's what I'm feeling after reading this review. Oh yeah. As I've said before, this will be the best movie ever, period. And who'd thought a gopher who needed 5 years of high school would have written such an eloquent review?

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Holy testicles Batman!

    by Synner

    I want more! Someone submit a 5000 word review please! With this waiting never end?

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:26 p.m. CST

    If you want detailed reviews...

    by MPG

    ...just check out some LOTR boards like the ones at Corona Coming Attractions or There are lots of reviews and links to reviews... I think we now have a total of about 6-8 different reviews (and not all of them come from New Line employees). So if you want a long detailed review, paste all of them together. ;) -------------------------------- Other than that, this review is obviously actually coming from someone with a brain who is able to detach himself from his love for the book to some extent (or so it seems). That's what I've been waiting for.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Great Review

    by Sith Warrior

    Wow, a well written review. Actually, all the LOTR reviews thus far have been very well written. Is this really any surprise? I mean, most of us knew this was going to be a good movie - with the LOTR story, an impeccable cast, the location, PJ as director, etc, etc..... they would have to have screwed up in an epic way to make this a bad movie. But the question is, how good (or great?). Only I can answer that for myself, on Dec 19, but these reviews are a good sign.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Kinda Skimpy Review ...

    by CuttingRoomFloor

    but it's positive so that's what counts! Basically he is stating that the film will be visually superlative and that Liv Tyler holds her own. Let's hope so. =) Can't wait for 12/19.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 5:39 p.m. CST

    The Fellowship Regroups After Moria

    by RedCapitalist

    Ah yes! I am finally glad that someone has addressed this part of the movie! I was concerned about how convincing this would be since I have always found it to be the most emotional of FOTR.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6 p.m. CST

    YOu can hear the Balrog - post Moria fellowship

    by MrCere

    On the movie soundtrack one can listen to this segment, talked about in the review, and to me it is the most emotional moment of the music. NOT the Lament part that comes after but where I *THINK* the battle and aftermath is. PRetty amazing. Also, WHY THE HELL DOES EVERYBODY THINK LIV TYLER CANNOT ACT! Its annoying. She has done a lot of good films, a lot of them independant, which people on this damn site ought to know about. HEAVY & COOKIE's FORTUNE come to mind immediately. Further, she obviously looks GREAT! Let us but that baby to bed. Who else would you want on your popcorn bag?

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:15 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the Feedback

    by sarcasmatron

    To clarify a few things: I intentionally left out details - feel free to e-mail me if you REALLY want some specific information - I'm not giving a complete breakdown of the film, as I feel it would really take away from everyone's enjoyment. To the ME virgins: PJ has put together the movie in such a way that reading of LOTR isn't necessary at all. Personally, if you were going to read anything, read silmarrilion - it's clear that PJ did, as he incorporates it into the film in really subtle ways. SureBert: Reading is fundamental, fanboi. I am an E! employee who was invited by a New Line employee. BigW: See above.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:28 p.m. CST

    5 years for 3 books?

    by Niaiserie

    Well at least he liked the movie. Out of curiousity did The Phantom Menace get a lot of hyped up good reviews before it came out?

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Reviews on the Phantom Menace...

    by Rugose Cone

    All the reviews of "Episode 1" that I read when the movie came out were negative. Thats why I never bothered to see it in the theatre. I saw it eventually on video. Glad I didn't waste my money on a ticket. *** For LotR, on the other hand, I already have two tickets for opening night! yowza!!*** R. Cone

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Alastair MacDonald

    by RedCapitalist

    A.M.'s version of "Morning Has Broken" is definitely the best.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:40 p.m. CST

    I want a proper review by someone with an ounce of talent

    by Kizeesh

    so he re-read all 4 did he? so why did he skip out on the Hobbit? When are we going to get a review which actully talks about the film, hell I've sneezed reviews that were more interesting than that and I never put spoilers in my reviews. I can give ou a proper crit of sensible size without ruining it for anyone.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Full Details Forthcoming

    by FrodoLives

    To all those requesting details, just wait. I've sent as near of a "blow by blow" description of the movie as my adrenaline overloaded mind could muster after seeing it this morning. DO NOT READ THE REVIEW IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT SPECIFICS FROM THE MOVIE!!! ------- There is a lot to be said for the idea of letting people go in and experience it fresh. This movie is, bar none, the greatest piece of cinema I have ever seen. Period. Coming out of a 3 hour movie I would have paid HUGE bucks for the chance to go right back in and immerse myself in it all over again. Heck, I'd probably still be there now. At any rate, I'm not sure when Harry is going to check his email, but the review has been sent in. This is a movie that is going to make history. If you don't have tickets yet, STOP READING AND GET IN LINE NOW! You'll be SO glad that you did.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Kizeesh, dummy...

    by Nordling

    If he re-read all 4, that means he read THE HOBBIT.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:52 p.m. CST

    I want to read Frodo.Lives' Review NOW NOW NOW

    by RedCapitalist


  • Nov. 28, 2001, 6:59 p.m. CST

    parsing and semantics Nording

    by Kizeesh

    My comment was based around the way that the review is written, in which it has been parsed to make it sound as if he re-read the Silmarillion and LOTR not the Hobbit and LOTR. I apologise for any confusion. I must read Frodo.Lives' review NOW.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 7:01 p.m. CST

    A great day for LOTR fans

    by europop

    Wow, what a day it's been!! I am really trying hard to keep down my excitement, but GODDAMN, it really sounds like PJ has nailed the sucker!! And on top of that, we now get someone saying what I hoped would be said, that this is the greatest piece of cinema of all time. I'll say it again: WHAT A DAY TO BE A LOTR FAN!!!

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 7:11 p.m. CST

    new line employees

    by cityofnight

    just cause they work there doesn't necessarily mean they're part of the PR machine. Nevermind the Sony snafu - they really fucked themselves with the fake critic. I worked at WarnerBros for the longest time and I hated all the films I worked on. Every one. Strangely, I still think WB is the best studio in town.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 7:27 p.m. CST


    by Kizeesh

    well why are you here, you can read about the beauty of the word realised. >BOOM< (God) That&#39;s blasphemy K! oh sorry God but hey its LOTR!

  • This review is the one I was waiting for. Specific about what worked, while giving nothing away. I need read nothing further except the gushing praise after December 19--or if I can manage to connive my way into an advance showing, before! No more reviews.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 7:59 p.m. CST

    For Blade Deckard

    by pravda

    Book 1, Chapter 10, &#39;Strider&#39;: "...Merry was not there, and the fire had burned low. It was not until they had puffed up the embers into a blaze and THROWN IN A COUPLE OF FAGGOTS..." *** Book 2, Chapter 3, &#39;The Ring Goes South&#39;: "...Picking up a FAGGOT he held it aloft for a moment, and then with a word of command, naur an edraith ammen! he thrust the end of his staff into the midst of it... ...The fire burned low, and the last faggot was thrown on..." --- Here&#39;s your homoerotic subthemes, the major part of the book, right here. ;)

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 8:46 p.m. CST


    by Randall Flagg

    I have a problem with a guy who claims to have read the book so many times, yet seems to have forgotten that Arwen was, indeed, in the first book. Granted not in the capacity she&#39;s in the movie, but she was at the council of Elrond, Frodo couldnt help but notice her.

  • Nov. 28, 2001, 10:17 p.m. CST

    Frodo has a beer and cheats on Gandalf?

    by Big_Timmy_C

    Can&#39;t wait... such a huge fan...

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 1:06 a.m. CST


    by Ryo

    The meaning of the word faggots, at least, the meaning of the word as used in the books, is a bunch of sticks...

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 1:32 a.m. CST

    "Gollum&#39;s racial origins"?

    by Si Rowe

    The only surprise in this review was the mention of PJ&#39;s interpretation of "Gollum&#39;s racial origins". What does this mean? In the books, Gollum&#39;s origin is pretty clear: he is, or was, a Hobbit (a Stoor, to be precise), warped and deformed by centuries of use of the Ring. Mr. Maher, did you mean "racial origins" in Tolkien&#39;s sense (the races of Man, Elf, Hobbit) or in the contemporary American sense (white, black, Asian)? And what is the "interpretation" you refer to?

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 2:41 a.m. CST

    The best of every world

    by Mr. Goodbar

    I don&#39;t know about anyone else, but I am very excited about the next year or so of movies that we are gonna be blessed with. LOTR, AOTC, Spider-Man, the Matrix 2, and that&#39;s just the ones we know are gonna rock! Just think how many "original" movies are gonna come out that are gonna be sweet! The future looks awful bright!

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Kizeesh: Bitter? Jealous?

    by Mahlia

    You say the reviewer has no talent... and that you can do better. This only makes you sound jealous and bitter, and immature, because you&#39;re not getting attention for YOUR reviews. Grow up.

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 3:04 a.m. CST


    by Tres Skeek


  • Nov. 29, 2001, 4:47 a.m. CST

    can&#39;t wiat for LOTR!! ... but insiders say PETER TRAVERS is

    by herzaaes56

    gifts, favors, etc. I mean look at his choices, he&#39;s practically covered every big studio film... no Memento, In The Bedroom, etc. I can&#39;t wait to see LOTR, but I don&#39;t trust Peter Travers.

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Jealous? me? naturally!

    by Kizeesh

    I don&#39;t have a review I haven&#39;t seen it yet, why did you think I&#39;m so irritated?

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Conflict of interest

    by Fofer

    SureBert says: "So New Line holds a screening for its own employees and - SURPRISE - everyone loves it. Gee, what startling news." Open your eyes, the preface clearly states that the reviewer works at E!. Sheesh.

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 11:41 a.m. CST

    interesting conflict

    by SureBert

    "Open your eyes, the preface clearly states that the reviewer works at E!. Sheesh." Okay. A hardcore LOTR fan goes to a screening packed with New Line employees and - SURPRISE - loves the film. Better?

  • Nov. 29, 2001, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Mr Many Names?

    by Tres Skeek

  • Nov. 30, 2001, 2:53 p.m. CST

    To the author (if you&#39;re still reading these)

    by BigW

    Just wanted to apologize for being a bit of a "troll". Honestly didn&#39;t mean to. I meant to cancel that thread. I was going to write a brief piece about how, if this were any other movie, a very professional review like yours (with at least the appearance of multiple peer-reviews) would have drawn a "plant" response from at least one of the more paranoid posters here well before I posted it. Didn&#39;t mean to piss on your corn-flakes. I did appreciate your review, like other posters here, I think I&#39;m going to leave it at that one (mostly, I think, because I&#39;m trying not to expect too much from this film, for fear of a letdown, like AI, which I&#39;m still bitter about).

  • Nov. 30, 2001, 4:44 p.m. CST

    PLease !!!! god !!!!

    by djmike

    Tolkien Fan # 1 Here to say I hope i dont (a) Die b4 Dec. 19 th (b) Go Blind b4 Dec. 19 th (c) Every Cinema in the World Closes " I am A Servant of The Secert Flame of Arnor "

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