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"Minas Tirith!" "Minas Tirith!" "It's only a model --" "SSHH!" - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
"Minas Tirith!" "Minas Tirith!" "It's only a model --" "SSHH!"
Santa seems to have strayed into restricted airspace and got hisself shot down, 'cause he certainly didn't make it to our house this year [rim shot]. Even the lunch with my aunt has had to be postponed because she caught a cold. So xmas this year consisted of going to see RotK at a $4.50 matinee...

Initial overriding impression: whoever edited the battle scenes ought to be dragged out and shot, or at least strapped down a la Clockwork Orange and forced to watch Braveheart and Gladiator over and over again for a couple of weeks. In fact I found the editing throughout extremely disorienting and choppy: just when I'd finally figure out where the story was off to now, we were yet somewhere else and I'd be struggling to catch up again. For someone coming to the film without being familiar with the books, this was very offputting.

The theater was surprisingly full for a 4pm showing: I ended up in the very front row and Mum was all the way up in the back, enduring, as she later reported, a neighbor who spent most of the film eating smuggled-in tuna sandwiches. She claimed not to have as much of an issue with the editing, although I suspect that this is because she's naturally more forgiving than I am and not so much from the difference in angles. :) At any rate, I had to sit through 3 hours and some exploding with the dire need to snark about the eye-rollingly trite dialogue. (C'mon, Samwise, the line is "Get away from him, you BITCH!" [LOL]) I was also close enough to get grumpy over CG seams, but then I do that with everything, so this is not a special case. (I'm still wondering if Merry's or was it Pippin's embroidered shirt was hand-done or machine because it looked suspiciously like the fancy-cams stuff that my Mum's old sewing machine could turn out, but that's neither here nor there unless you're Erich von Stroheim.)

So I guess what I'm saying is that I was having some trouble suspending my disbelief. Parts of the film were engaging, but I found my attention wandering hither and yon throughout the course of the three hours and some, often along the track of "you know, I think there's a perfectly good 2 1/2-hour movie in here somewhere crying to get out". The editing could have been much tighter in spots (shut up and die already, Theoden), and, cinematically speaking, really, everything after the "and you were there -- and you -- but it was real, I know it was..." scene was anticlimax -- faithful to the book or not, most of the last 45 minutes or so ought to have been amputated for the sake of the film's health. (That's where Mum said she started looking at her watch: she knew nothing whatsoever about the basic storyline going in, and that's where a layperson's instinct for 'how movies go' was placing the ending.) I think the initial verdict that LotR was an unfilmable book may have proved out, in a sense; it felt to me like ultimately Peter Jackson simply got too close to the source material to make the hard decisions that would have been necessary to turn a brilliant book into a different, but equally brilliant, adaptation, and I think the overall 3-part film, considered by the standards of cinema, suffers for it. He did have the guts to streamline out the "Tom Bombadil" material for part 1 on the grounds that in relation to the film it was a digression, and he evidently ditched the "scouring of the Shire" for much the same reason (I may not have read the books all the way through but that doesn't mean I haven't been keeping up with the criticism ;) ), so it's something of a mystery to me why part 3 couldn't have been wrapped up in a much tidier fashion than it was. Subplots and lingering endings work better in print than on-screen, Peter, you're not getting a little gold guy for this one. Not on the actual merits, anyway, not when you drag scenes out like you don't want the Movie Experience to end. After 3 1/2 hours I just want to get into the bathroom without having to commit too many homicides to get a decent spot in the line.

That said, it's not that I didn't have a good time. {G} It's just that I can see too many ways in which I could have had an even better time, and that always drives me nuts. Did he have to make the giant-elephants sequence so reminiscent of the AT-ATs from the Empire Strikes Back? I was expecting something to fly along and tie their legs together, goddammit. And notice that that's the third cinematic "steal" I'm quoting in this post; I'll reference a fourth by remarking that Aragorn is no William Wallace, and leave it at that. Any time lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail are popping into your head during a supposedly serious movie, there's a problem somewhere... the silly Gondorian ka-niggits.

BTW: one of the first things Mum said to me when we got home was, "didn't Sam and Frodo come across as, you know, kind of gay?" So there's a layperson's opinion on that one for you, too... :)

I'm not even going to get into Legolas' acrobatic heroics. Boy must have opposable big-toes like a chimpanzee.

Oh, yeah, one more minor thing: what sort of spider was Shelob modeled upon? Because I've gooshed scarier spiders than that and I'm wondering if maybe they drew it as some sort of fearsome New Zealand species that I don't know enough about to have a bad reaction to. (Now if they had made it one of those stripy-legged ones with the thoraxes the size of a chickpea that we get around here, I'd have been impressed, those are freakin' creepy even if they are harmless.) Just wondering...

When the movie finally ended and I went to gather up my belongings, I noticed that the fabric around the left armpit of my coat was disintegrating. I had been wanting to tough it out til the spring clearance-sales to replace it, because we're so broke, but the state of that armpit is really the last straw, considering that the seat of the coat is so worn and threadbare it's actually getting drafty. So instead of that postponed lunch with my aunt, today got spent coat-shopping. We went to Burlington "you-can-have-any-color-you-want-so-long-as-it's-black" Coat Factory; after browsing, and bitching, my way through the women's coat selection without satisfaction (black, camel, black, black, claret, black, charcoal, and black, which was all largely irrelevant since nothing I could afford fit right anyway), I decided that since this year's (or more to the point last year's, LOL) color seemed to be black anyway, I might as well slope over to the men's side of things, and eventually found a long wool overcoat with not-too-gorillaish sleeves that actually looks better on me than any of the women's coats did, since at least it doesn't have big boxy shoulderpads in it to augment my naturally big boxy shoulders. $86 with tax, which came out of my "eBaying stuff off to start a business" capital, but it really couldn't be put off any longer. Oh, and it's black. :) Debating now whether the old brown coat is even fit to drop off in the "coats for charity" bin, it's so worn. (I can't even recall just how many seasons I've worn it, beyond that where we lived when I bought it means it was purchased sometime between 1993 and 1996.) I'm going to miss that brown coat, it's the one article of clothing I've ever put on that really suited me... and not being able to find another brown coat means that now my brown furry hat looks rather out of place as well. [sigh] I hate being an "Autumn" in a world of "Spring"s, I always end up looking like a Goth-reject because black is the only commonly-available color I don't look like a complete dork in. (At least in black I look more like I'm choosing to look like a dork on purpose.) Somebody really ought to turn me in to "What Not To Wear", I'd fry their tiny little brains...

Tags: ,
feeling: grumpy grumpy

3 responses | moved to respond?
donia From: donia Date: December 29th, 2003 11:40 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)

I was reading article listing the 10 Best Gay Movies of 2003 and the latest "Lord Of The Rings" movie topped the list, so either your mom is a visionary film critic or film critics are ordinary laypersons.

Also, if you were on "What Not To Wear," they would steer you toward bright "spring" colors. Women have to wear bold colors while guys are forced to present a more somber image. Gender stereotypes must be strictly enforced.

Resistance is useless since the deal is that you must leave with seven outfits that the hosts approve of, which means you would have at least seven tight-fitting, brightly-colored outfits accessorized by pointy high-heeled shoes and small clutch purses. After that, a brown coat could very well be yours, if they let you shop at a place that sells brown coats.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: December 29th, 2003 12:09 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
There are no places that sell brown coats.

We're doomed, I tell you, doomed...
donia From: donia Date: December 29th, 2003 01:17 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)

Hmmm...You could very well be right, if you insist on a solid brown, but there's a place in Buffalo, NY, that sells brown wool coats called Buen Amigo. They have square and triangular patterns along the edge of the hoods and sleeves and sometimes on the backs, but they are warm and durable.

I got one for my mom about two years ago and she wears it every day of the winter. The one I got for her was about $40. Yeah, I know that doesn't help you out, but I just wanted to let you know that brown coats are available somewhere.
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