Lord of the Rings 1 made more than $313 million in theaters.
That is, by anyone's measure, a shitload of money. But, despite
what Hobbitophiles think, not everyone in the world saw that movie,
or even wanted to. At a pretty conservative estimate of six bucks
a ticket, it means only 50 million tickets were sold in a country
of 270 million people. And, as far as I can figure, the tickets
sold went to five million normal people who saw it once, and five
million fucking weirdoes who saw it nine times each.
My point is
this: the fucking weirdoes are in a vast minority. It doesn't feel
like it because they are so vocal and obsessive, but the numbers
don't lie. Most people don't care about or understand Lord
of the Rings. This review is for the 265 million people
who don't get it, who don't understand what the hubbub is about,
or why some people start hyperventilating into their bag of Doritos
as soon as they start thinking about dwarves, elves, orcs and ents.
I hope that through this column I can bring some sort of clarity
to the disenfranchised majority, to explain what makes this fantasy
world so special and why it is so important. I want to bring everyone
into the fold and be able to share the magic.
I want to, but
I can't because I don't get it either. Not at all. Not even a little
tiny bit. Actually, I am damn sure I don't want to get it because
some of those who do scare the piss out of me. Far as I can tell,
Lord of the Rings movies are the ultimate white male, asexual fantasy.
Me, I'm more the kind of guy who has multicultural gangbang fantasies.
Jesus H. Christ,
The Lord of the Rings 2 was boring. And long. Holy
crap, I can't even hang around people I like for three hours without
wanting to punch somebody in the nose, so imagine the torture of
spending it with speechifying goblins and wizards. I did learn,
though, that evil is bad and must be spoken out against in the purplest
and windiest of prose while staring off into the distance. Conversely,
goodness is, well, good, and it must be praised in sonnets and lyrical
monologues pointing out that should evil prevail, badness will happen.
Lord of the Rings 2 is tedium. Oh, it's spectacular tedium,
full of sweeping, breathtaking panoramas and hundreds of shots taken
by helicopters circling mountain peaks. It's got amazing animation,
a wide range of monsters and plenty of heroic battles. It has no
personality, no subtlety, juvenile characters and a simplistic plot.
It has no personal conflict I cared about, and the dwarf got on
my fucking nerves.
In a magical,
mythical land where women are more rare than dragons--but where
every man would rather find a dragon--three bands of ragtag heroes
venture forth toward the evil land of Mordor where they must drop
the ring into the Mountain of Fire before the evil Sauron can get
the ring. The villain has world domination plans, see. Well, first
he wants to ruin the world, but then he'd like to dominate what's
There are three
journeys taking place simultaneously in The Lord of the
Rings 2 . Frodo the Hobbit (played by Elijah Wood still
looking like a deer in the headlights) has the ring. He and Samweiss
the Hobbit (chubby little Sean Astin) are moving toward the Mountain
of Fire with the help of Gollum (played by The Weekly World News's
Batboy), a desiccated creature who craves the ring. Gollum talks
to himself a lot, explicitly spelling out his struggle between decency
and greed. It's a clumsy actualization of an internal struggle.
Beyond that, not much happens besides a slow slog through marshes
and a lot of close calls with armies of orcs. The best part is when
they reach the gates of Mordor and they look a hell of a lot like
the ones that held King Kong back on his native island.
two expendable hobbits are lost in a forest where they meet some
animated trees. Well, they aren't trees, we're told; they just look
like trees and have roots and leaves, along with mouths, noses and
eyes. There is an environmental message in this interaction, but
it felt like the obvious preaching of a corny PBS program for children.
And when the trees got around to explicitly scolding people for
destroying forests, I thought Woodsy and Smokey would come out,
hold hands and sing.
The main arc
is that of Aragorn the man (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas the pointy-eared
elf (Orlando Bloom) and Dwarfy (Dwarf Man). They are sidetracked
from wherever they're headed when they help the Gondorians, a people
whose land is under siege by either Sarumon or Sauron (I can't remember;
they are interchangeably evil). The three heroes and the Gondorians
hide in Helms Deep, a stronghold built into the side of a mountain
and wait out a massive attack by an Orc army. At the movie's end,
the Orcs (actually, I think they are some sort of Super Orcs who
still can't fight worth shit) assault Helms Deep in a long, dimly-lit
battle of epic bloodiness and violence. I think it's supposed to
be pretty fucking magnificent and it was for the first five minutes,
then it goes on for another seven or eight hours. There is little
impact of this battle on the overall theme of the Lord of
the Rings' trilogy, but it's the fanciest looking set piece
in the movie, and therefore the climax.
of the Rings 2 settles into its rut early and doesn't get
out. It's battle, speech, battle, speech, battle, heroic death,
mournful speech, battle, oh-wait-the-guy's-not-dead-rejoicing, battle.
Rinse, repeat. Twice the movie uses the death of a main character
to arouse sympathy, only to reveal that there was no death, we were
just tricked. The first is a cheap-feeling device, the second a
good reason to laugh at the screen. But it's the monologues that
drove me fucking nuts. Every non-Hobbit in the movie thinks any
time is right for a speechy speech about saving the world. A shitload
more time is spent with people staring off into the distance and
talking to nobody in particular than in conversation, and none of
it is particularly revelatory or interesting, just formal. At least
the dwarf doesn't testify. He's too busy providing Three Stooges
quality comic relief by falling down, gruffly commenting on his
physical shortcomings, or "hilariously" being unable to
see over tall objects.
Only one male
in the movie appears to have the capacity to get laid, and that's
hunky Viggo Mortensen. He has the attention of two females who get
a combined five or six minutes of screen time: Elfen Liv Tyler (I
hear elves are trained from birth in the art of pleasuring men),
and a doe-eyed Gondorian. Neither has much personality or many lines
to speak because director Peter Jackson is too interested in rushing
back to battle than romance. That's the way of asexual fantasies,
though: they are more about guys impressing guys with big swords
and how far they can piss than with love.
movie, it occurred to me how much a little romance can spice up
the movie. For one thing, it makes the proceedings more interesting
for the members of the audience who do not have pewter dragons at
home. For another, love, unrequited or otherwise, is a universal
emotion that almost anyone can relate to. We've all been in love
and we all either root for others to succeed or fail. I usually
like it when people fail. Fuck 'em.
of the Rings 2 is about as reliant on your pre-existing
knowledge of the characters and plot as Mrs. Filthy's desserts are
on Cool Whip. Without it, there's not much to enjoy. I was confused
by locations and characters on multiple occasions. I think the assumption
of the director is that we just watched our Lord of the
Rings 1 DVD Super Limited Special Edition With Trading
Cards and a Holographic Seal right before heading for the theater.
I didn't, and I was fucking confused by a lot of things. Yeah, I
know, I ain't so quick and I used to get confused by my own shoelaces
until I found a brand that made Velcro for adults. But this shit
isn't my fault. For example, I no longer remember which of the two
evil guys is the head honcho and the movie didn't bother helping
me. I have no remembrance of where anyone but Frodo and Samweiss
are supposed to be headed and no clues are given. Similarly, Mortensen
and Tyler's relationship is so thinly sketched in the first movie,
that when they speak here it has the emotional impact of a dumpster
As in Lord
of the Rings 1, the characters are plainly black or white
to the point that they might as well be chess pieces. And the bad
guys know they are bad. That's pretty fucking lame. In real life
and in good fiction, bad guys usually don't even recognize they
are evil. They rationalize what they do. Plus, it's sort of laughable
when characters on screen can be easily identified as good or evil
purely based on the greasiness of their hair, and yet the people
in the movie can't tell. "What! You mean that guy dressed all
in black with the ashen skin and greasy hair was a bad guy? Damn!"
It's some pretty
silly shit, all these dragons and elves. Yes it's gorgeous, yes
it's violent and epic. It's also uninteresting and repetitive. I'd
rather see a shitty looking movie about interesting people than
a great looking one about corny Hobbits, though. Two Fingers
for Lord of the Rings 2. And for once it's nice
to feel the same way about something as 260 million other Americans.
to tell Filthy Something?