In which my friends & I have a “Lord of the Rings” marathon
I’m pleased I was alive and an adult enough to remember where I was the first time I saw the three movies that comprise Peter Jackson’s masterwork “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
Like the Harry Potter saga, I think it’s a piece of popular art that defines a generation.
You should know that my memory is notoriously fickle. That said, the first time I saw “The Fellowship of the Ring,” it was in Alpena, Michigan and I went with my Dad. The first time I saw “The Two Towers” I was studying abroad in Mexico (and the parts spoken in elfin were subtitled in Spanish, so I never did figure out what was being said). The first time I saw “The Return of the King,” it was in Lansing, Michigan with my friend Jes – and, since we’d waited forever to actually see the movie, the theater was empty save for us and a dude front row center who cheered whenever Sean Astin (aka Sam) did something awesome – which happens a lot.
Despite the brilliance of the movies, I haven’t watched them again.
Until yesterday, when my friends and I sat down to watch all TWELVE HOURS of the series. It began around 11:30, when we kicked off “The Fellowship of the Ring” taking up our couch, bowl chair, and air mattresses all over the floor. My husband, a foodie, had spun a feast of Hobbit-y foods; There was a great deal of chicken, roast beef, bread, cheese, and and wine. (I experimented and made a “Pineapple (Rings) Upside Down Mt. Doom” cake with raspberry lava, which I was mighty proud of. Please see below for proof!)
Over the course of the day, friends came and went and much joy and revelry was had. People just love these movies, and it doesn’t seem to matter if they’ve ever read the books. It’s with shame that I admit I’ve never read “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. (I’ve read “The Hobbit” and held it dear to my heart since 5th grade, though.) About half the people attending had read the books, and half were novices like me. Either way, the movies stand up.
Having not seen the movies since their original release – and having never seen the extended editions – I was delightfully surprised at how well these movies held up. With all the advances that have been made in 3-D and CGI over the past decade, I was honestly expecting a lot more janky-ness. However, other than two green screen moments that looked fake everything else is still resplendent. Gollum is every bit as realistic now as he ever was, and the movies shine.
That said, if you put a bunch of nerds in a room to watch these movies, there’s going to be commentary. Over the twelve hours, things were decided. My friend Annie, for example, wasted no time in declaring Merry her boyfriend. There was a general consensus that, though Orlando Bloom isn’t a good actor, he’s okay in these movies because a) he doesn’t talk much, b) he’s really pretty, and c) he’s playing a character who’s just awesome. We also wasted no time in pretending to kick the screen when infuriating characters appeared – and Denethor (the jerk father of Boromir and Faramir) clearly got kicked the most times. There was a lot of riffing on the snootiness of elves and how they invented everything, including dwarves and hairties. We teased Theodin relentlessly about his whores, after a slurred pronunciation of “horses.”
Ah, nerds. God bless us. Every one.
Long story made somewhat shorter, watching all TWELVE HOURS of this trilogy is a massive undertaking, but a totally worthwhile one. Just make sure you have friends like mine, who come bearing cherry wine and high spirits.
(Thanks to Eric, Michael, Betsy, Will, Brett, Amanda, Stephanie, Valerie, Knut, Katy, Annie, Mark, Oz, and Magellan who are all splendid human beings.)