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January 31, 2005


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There's apparently a rash of ROTK-watching going on. I watched some of the appendices this weekend, then the movie, and one of my coworkers also watched it this weekend. What did you think? Did you hate it as much as bellatrys did? (I have an early blog post on it, if you want the link to her ranting.)

Aww, feel better soon. But you're so cute when you're sick and up on the roof with a hammer!

Eh. I am not a movie fan. More of an anti-fan. So I am the wrong person to ask, but I think bellatrys is basically right. I think it's telling that in the commentary Jackson always wanted everything bigger: the battles, the props, the models, the prosthetics. Bigger meant better to him. It's just a live-action cartoon.

You have a telescope trained on my house? Cool. I'll leave the blinds open for you.

I don't have the patience for the commentary, I have to say, but what I've seen of Jackson from the appendices fits in exactly with what you said, and I agree that it's annoying. I guess there's a part of me that was just pleased to see the whole thing taken seriously on some level. It's not the best/ultimate depiction of LOTR that could have been done, and I hope it's not even the best that will be done in my lifetime, but I think that multiple tellings of a tale (a) serve to get people to explore other tellings (e.g., in this case, go back to the books) and (b) help illuminate aspects that might have been obscured or missing from one's own previous interpretations/understandings. So I don't hate it nearly as much as you and bellatrys, even as I'm also not willing to proclaim the Jackson movies The! Best! Thing! Ever!

Oh, don't get me wrong, I don't hate it. I just think it's not very good, but I don't think any movies are very good. When I say I am an anti-fan, I tend to not have very high expectations for movies. Cartoons work for me.

I shudder at bellatrys's stated desire that she come out of a movie theater either happy and upbeat or emotionally wrung out. It's such a manipulative thing. Moviemakers use these tricks and hooks - even the fake emotionally intimacy of the movie theater - to try to make you feel and think what they want. But because the moviemaker has to use ideas that everyone gets, a kind of cultural shorthand, movies are inevitably conservative: that is, reinforce ideas and prejudices people already have.

On the LOTR, though, if you get bored you should listen to the cast commentary. Billy Boyd and Dom Monaghan's comments are worth the price of the rental. Seriously. (And conversely, I never want to hear Sean Astin or Elijah Wood ever speak again, in any language.)

Rental? who needs to rent? I OWN all three of the extended versions--so I'll definitely check out those commentaries.

What I want out of a movie is a good story, well-told. I tend to dislike Film, but I also tend to dislike "popcorn" movies. I love John Sayles (probably in part because (a) I read his writing before his first movie came out, and (b) the characters in his work tend to be more complex rather than cartoon cutouts representing an idea or theme apiece) and hate Lawrence Kasdan (whom I find to be too slick for his own good and derivative beyond belief, and whose characters are completely one-dimensional). I think it's unlikely that I'd get bored by LOTR, but I've read it at least 15 times (my copy is from the late 1970s), most recently last fall.

I do see what you mean about the cultural shorthand, but I think that's true of just about any medium, to some extent. Wittgenstein has useful things to say about boundaries for a purpose and the lack of a private language.

How did I miss this post? Flat roof in an area that has snow and ice? Fun!

I watched ROTK this week too. I enjoyed it. It wasn't, like, among the 10 best movies ever made or anything but it was very enjoyable. You are a movie philistine. It worries me.

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