*Rubs hands with glee*
Okay, I’m going to get straight into this. I realize I’m in the minority here because so many people love these films but I honestly think that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most overrated things ever. Before we get into that I’ll give you a little bit of background. I only actually watched the trilogy last year. A lot of my friends love it and one of our regular hang-outs is a pub called ‘The Hobbit’ and I’ve been going there for about ten years. I’ve never read the books either but I’ve always been aware of it and I’ve known bits and pieces about it so I didn’t go in with a completely blank slate. The reason I never got around to watching it wasn’t because I was biased against it, partly it was because it required a big time investment which I just couldn’t commit to, and partly it was because I didn’t feel a massive urge. For a long time I was burned on Peter Jackson by the horror that was King Kong as well. But last year one of the movie channels showed all three of them so I recorded them and watched them in one day. I watched Fellowship in the morning followed by the other two back-to-back in the evening.
I also want to state categorically that I do not hate or dislike Lord of the Rings, I just think they’re overrated.
So here’s what I like. I love the scale of it all. I think it harks back to the historical epics like Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Spartacus etc with it’s scope and that’s amazing. I love those films and I wish we saw more films like them return to the screens. There was a lot going on and Peter Jackson managed to keep it all (mostly) coherent and it was a massive undertaking that paid off for them. I love some of the characters. Aragorn was amazing, I loved when Legolas slid down the stairs on his shield. Merry and Pippin were great and so was Gandalf. The battles were AWESOME and I can’t praise those highly enough. I also liked the little romance there was, although I do wish there were more female characters. Overall I found them quite enjoyable and I’m glad I watched them but then there’s…
Gollum. Oh my goodness. One of the most annoying characters ever committed to film. I get that Andy Serkis is a talented performer and I do think he should be given more recognition for the work he does but I’d put Gollum in the same category as Jar-Jar. He just annoyed the hell out of me every second he was on screen, and obviously he had a lot more screen time than Jar-Jar.
Frodo. One of the most unsympathetic protagonists. I thought he was a bit of a douche to be honest and I much preferred seeing Merry and Pippin over Sam and Frodo. I also hated the way his story ended. The way things were set up seemed to suggest that Frodo would have to make some great sacrifice in order to prevent Sauron from returning. That’s all well and good, but at the end it seems more of an accident than anything that the ring gets destroyed and Frodo doesn’t even have to suffer that much. He gets to go back to his village, spend a few years writing a book about his adventures and then he sails off to Elf-Heaven with Gandalf! Not much of a sacrifice if you ask me considering that he didn’t seem to have much of a life in the village to say goodbye to. And going off to Elf Heaven is more appealing than being burnt like Gollum. It just didn’t seem like he was a very active participant in his story.
In The Two Towers Saruman seemed like an imposing villain, but then his capture is mentioned off-handedly! Such an important and climactic moment should have been seen rather than have happened off-screen, so that soured me a bit on the middle movie.
The biggest complaint though is that for the whole saga they’ve been talking about the big bad guy Sauron and by the end of it they just put the ring back and he doesn’t come out. I know the whole point of the quest was to prevent him from being unleashed but it just felt like they built him up so much it was disappointing not to see him in action. To have such a powerful character and never actually see him in action…well it struck me as rather anti-climactic. I know you could argue that we did see his influence throughout the films, and indeed the fear he inspired was the motivation for pretty much every character so in a sense his presence was overwhelming, but when it came down to it it felt like it was building up to an epic moment and then…”oh, cool, he’s staying asleep. Let’s go.” I didn’t feel that moment of triumph that should come when the heroes are victorious.
So while I liked them I can’t say that I loved them and for the time investment the films require it was underwhelming. And because of the length I’ll probably never watch them again. I don’t really have an urge to and the only reason I will is if someone I know wants to do a re-watch party or something. For the amount of time they require there are so many more movies I could watch, and so many that I could re-watch. I can appreciate the scale of them and there are good films, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t get the love that is showered upon them.