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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"The Lord of the Rings" Part 2 "The Two Towers" Review

The movie starts out with a scene from the first film, only it ends in a different way, giving us the point of view of another character in the event. That scene plunges us right back into the story as if we never stopped watching, that way it manages to ride the coattails of “Fellowship” quite effectively. Most second installments of a franchise suffer from “sequelitis”, a disease that makes people say “it was good but I liked the first one better”. The trilogy however is not susceptible to that type of illness because it was made as one long movie that was split into 3.

While “Fellowship” was an action packed and very dense first chapter this movie increases the scale of the production and introduces armies of thousands of men fighting thousands of orcs. Heated battles occur with the body count in the hundreds instead of the 2 or 3, while the core story of a journey to destroy the ring is still very much alive and in the spotlight.

Introduced to the story is the character of Golum/Smeagol, a repulsive gnome like creature with a split personality; played be the best actor in the production Andy Serkis. Smeagol is the most interesting of all the characters; he puts an S at the end of almost every word to make it plural, making words like “Hobbits” become “Hobbitses”. His 2 personalities have conversations with themselves providing some of the most entertaining dialogue sequences of any film be it drama, action, or fantasy. Smeagol Is the centerpiece of the entire story; he is the catalyst, the emotional core, the reason everything is happening, so don’t let him become a footnote in the movie; take not of him.

There is not much more to say about the film because it has been said about “Fellowship”. Aside from the fact that it is much bigger in scale, it is pretty much the same movie. If you liked “Fellowship” you will like this one, or at least you will agree that is as good as “Fellowship” but a weaker part of the movie. That can very well happen; often I will watch a movie and I will love most of it but think a particular scene is boring. So if you don’t like this film, don’t use the word “sequelitis” use the phrase “weaker second act” because at the end of the day they are the same film.

Watch this film within 24 hours of watching “Fellowship” or else the continuity of the film will be broken and you will forget that you are watching the same film.


Sorry about the delay. I know I promised this review the day after “Fellowship” but I got sidetracked with errands. If I don’t post my “Return of the King” review within 24 hours of this one then cut me some slack, I am supposed to be on a break.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"The Lord of the Rings" Part 1 "The Felloship of the Ring" Review

I got a chance to see the new Ang Lee movie “Life of Pi” the other day. It’s a movie shot using the state of the art 3D technology that was first seen in the movie “Avatar”. This is the third movie to come out that has used that technology with one the next one “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, the first in a trilogy, due to be released on the 14th of December. So I thought to myself “Should I do a review of Avatar? It would fit perfectly with the 3D theme. Or should I review “The Lord of the Rings”? It would fit perfectly with “The Hobbit” theme. Well “Avatar would take me 3 parts to review it because of how massive it is in achievements and how much I like it, but then again “The Lord of the Rings” would take 3 parts as well for the same reasons and also because the project itself was released theatrically as 3 movies” So I flipped a coin and it said I should do “The Lord of the Rings”.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote many fantasy stories decades ago the most famous of them being “The Lord of the Rings”. The first volume of the book was named “The Fellowship of the Ring” and the film based on that volume stays relatively faithful to the source according to many fans. I myself having not read the book cannot compare it to the film but I can say that the film is damn good. A monumental achievement in filmmaking, Peter Jackson the director plunges us deeply into the heart of middle earth and tells us the story that every cinema lover deserves to see.

The story is that a mysterious golden ring contains the soul of a dark lord that once ruled middle earth. The protagonist Frodo Baggins takes on the task of traveling to mount doom, the place where the ring was created, and throw it into the fire to destroy it. This first film focuses on the first leg of the journey as Frodo is accompanied by a group of people that have sworn to help Frodo make it to the end; the fellowship of the ring.

The sets are amazing, the cinematography is near perfect, the music is haunting and beyond comparison, the special effects dazzle and amaze, and the acting is great all around. But Peter Jackson knows that in the end all of those can only make a movie so good because the source material needs none of them. So he makes the story so intriguing that in the end you won’t even remember how good the special effects were.

One particular scene that I love involves these wraith-like hunters that are after the ring. They look like cloaked demons with swords and they are truly terrifying with their gothic appearance and screeching howls. In the scene about 5 of them corner Frodo and his friends and slowly approach like nightmarish apparitions. A friendly ranger comes to their aid and a battle ensues which provides one of the most entertaining scenes in the trilogy. The scene is staged so well it sets the mood for the rest of the movie since it comes fairly early on. Of course by early on I mean in proportion to the length of the movie and the trilogy because it is at least 40 minutes into the movie. But brevity in this film, or in the whole trilogy for that matter, is virtually nonexistent; something that would be bad in any other film but compliments this one because of its scale and voluminosity.

The ending leaves you wanting more in the best way possible. It is clear from this one and the ending of its sequel that these 3 films are just volumes of one large film because they both end leading into the next. One of the last lines of the film really gets you pumped up and exited to see the next and that line is “Lets hunt some orc!” The line leads perfectly into the sequel and is so empowering that you just have to watch the next movie immediately after, or at least within 24 hours, because 3 hours plus 3 hours is pushing it a bit even for someone who has nothing to do all day.


This is just part one. Tomorrow you get “The Two Towers” and the “The Return of the King” the day after. Tell me are you excited about “The Hobbit”?