June 14, 2001

Stephanie C.

Evidently, some of us are a little up at arms over the movies' casting; some of us are concerned about their rating. I think it all fits together when we look at the commercial aspects of the project.

I have no objections to the casting of the hobbits. Elijah Wood will do a great job, and I can't wait to see Sean Astin's Sam. The other two are unknowns, but seem a decent bit like their characters. Give Mr. Jackson a little slack on the appearances of the CGI reduced characters; I'm not sure any director has attempted anything so ambitious as filling five rather large roles in this way. The effects for Star Wars weren't perfect either.

As for Liv Taylor...there's nothing to be done for it now, and I sincerely hope she did a good job, though I don't think Mr. Jackson is doing himself any favors by messing around with Arwen's part. I'd love it if Miranda Otto steals the show with her Eowyn. She may not be young, but who says that Eowyn was? The implication is that she took care of Theoden for some time. In any case, the quality of the acting is most important to me. As for Viggo Mortenson, he didn't seem like a pretty face at all to me. He's certainly not classically handsome. Maybe a little young, but not bad. Aragorn may be sixty-something by this time, but it makes sense that he wouldn't look that old if he's expected to live a very long life. (As Elijah Wood doesn't seem too young to me; Frodo stopped aging when he got the Ring at what would be the human equivalent of perhaps eighteen or twenty, and the other hobbits were younger to start with.) And I think Aragorn has to clean up all right to make the right stately impression in a visua

What worries me is the rating. Forget Disneyesque; I think we all know by now that Jackson is not that kind of director. Nor does the story itself accommodate a G rating, though we don't have to be R-type graphic to convey the horrors of war. Real war is far nastier than R anyway. PG, or a mild PG-13 sounds good to me. LOTR doesn't focus on violence. But Jackson seems to want to take the PG-13 rating about as far as it will go, and that doesn't seem quite right. Trying to play both sides of the line, which may not satisfy anyone. Either make it R and take your chances (if you really feel you have to show everything) or find ways to put across your point, as Tolkien did, without describing the gore. I can see why the PG-13 is required; R is too much for fans like me, no matter how appealing the movies look, and the more Jackson pushes the boundary, the less comfortable I'll be watching these movies.

In any case, here's crossing my fingers!