June 25, 2001

As Good As It Gets

I avoided for a long time finding out about the LOTR movies. The truth was that I was scared to death of hearing how a favourite story of mine was being sacrificed on the altar of commercialism.

But after finally looking it over I must admit that my worries are nearly all allayed, and I have a new appreciation of just how difficult making a LOTR movie trilogy would be. In light of this, PJ seems to be doing an *awesome* job.

The casting appears to be superb. It seems that PJ has gone with people who can act rather than demand an enormous paycheque. I don't know how many times in different interviews I have seen mentioned that Viggo Mortensen was really getting into the role of Aragorn - taking his sword on holiday, camping out and generally becoming his character. To me this sidelines every other issue - his appearance, his age, etc. Indeed most of the cast seems well into their roles. Isn't this the most important thing?

If there is an exception it is Liv Tyler. her performance could still be very good however... she IS payed to act and with PJ directing I think even the most apathetic person could be driven to turn some tricks.

I don't particularly mind the plot changes that I have heard about. In my opinion the whole Tom Bombadil encounter is ripe for being cut. If we work off the assumption that something had to be cut, doesn't this make sense? (Although I am curious about how the hobbits get the swords.. apparently they do still get them somehow).

The most worrisome changes involve Arwen. A warrior princess I did not see her as. Then again, if we work off the assumption that external forces demanded more female involvement, more of a love story element, (especially in The Two Towers) the way it has been reported that they are doing it is probably the best way they could have.

I haven't read LOTR for a couple of years, and I won't before I see it. I don't want to be comparing it to the book and nitpicking over this or that detail. I don't want to stop myself from simply enjoying the over-arching themes and storyline as seen from someone else's perspective.

Lets face facts... LOTR can never be perfectly translated to screen. When we include the fact that to justify the budget it needs to be moderately successful it gets even harder. I was imagining movies a LOT worse than what it appears we will get, and I am excited. I am excited for my sake as a fan of the books, but also for those who haven't read it and experience Middle-Earth for the first time on screen.

I think we are probably going to see the best LOTR movies we could ever hope to do see. Those who insist on complaining should consider for a second the difficulties involved, the amount of things that are being done right, and the simple fact that a fellow fan is bringing this amazing production to us.

Could anyone really do better given real life constraints?