Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Frodo Lives!

I’m not ashamed. I'm a total Lord of the Rings geek. Director Peter Jackson has brought to the screen the kind of epic filmmaking I didn't think was still possible in this day and age of horribly lame Star Wars and Matrix epic-simulacra. The most obvious difference, I think, between Jackson and the creators behind the latter films is that Jackson actually still cares about cinema. George Lucas has long ago lost the ability to tell a story with compelling characters, and the Wachowski Brothers are . . . hell, I don’t have a clue as to what happened to them. But Peter Jackson still understands the power of genuine storytelling and the alchemical sorcery of celluloid. Great acting + great imagery + great storytelling = the waking dream.

Anyway, I’m not telling you guys anything new. It’s not like Jackson’s skills at crafting story, visual splendor, and heaps of well-earned emotion is something we’ve just found out about. But man, I’ve got to tell you, Jackson tops even himself with the third and last installment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

This morning I had the opportunity to see The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at a special trade screening. Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil anything concerning the plot or what fates befall our beloved characters. Just trust me on this -- it's a magnificent finale. The film more than lives up to its burden of tying up loose ends, delivering astonishing battle scenes, and ultimately resolving our heroes’ struggle to defeat the evil of Sauron. All of the principal actors have great moments (except for Christopher Lee and Brad Dourif whose scenes were both left on the cutting room floor), and the film’s last half-hour or so will absolutely sap you emotionally. If it doesn’t, well . . . you have no heart. I can’t wait to see it again. Easily the best three and half-hours you’ll spend in the theater this year. And just wait until the extended edition DVD hits the stores next year! Woo Hoo!!!

Okay. I’m in control. But I’m still not ashamed.

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