I didn't see** the first of Peter Jackson's (PJ's) new "Lord of the Rings" trilogy this weekend! Truthfully, it's not like me to gush, but this movie kicked ass! I don't even know where to begin!
First off, PJ did a marvellous job in casting. The "Ians" (McKellan and Holm) were shoo-ins in my opinion -- real no-brainers. I mean, when you think of the Stormcrow, you automatically think of the distinguished McKellan. And Ian Holm's turn as Frodo in the BBC radio play was brilliant -- he had to be included in this version (Though not as Frodo again. That would be too funny! Imagine Frodo at 36 looking like a human at 70! No way -- It is well known that Hobbits age only .75 years for every 1 human year! Ha!). Viggo Mortensen was a great choice as Strider (Aragorn to my LOTR homies) -- he's got that dirty-but-dignified look and I always imagined the old Kings from which he's descended would be tall and dark and mysterious, and when he asks Frodo (Elijah Wood) in the second trailer (released only in crappy RealVideo, not the higher-quality Quicktime, so I can't get any decent quality stills for my LOTR shrine [ named "Osgiliath" ;) ] out of it -- shame on the LOTR marketing team) "are you afraid," he really sounds just like Strider should. Elijah Wood doesn't really seem scared enough, though, but he hasn't seen the true face of the Nazgul yet, has he?!;) And then, when the Last King tells him, "not scared enough," that is so classic!
I was a little worried about the casting of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, though. When I first heard, I was like, "Orlando who?" And then, when the first trailer came out and there was that one scene (probably from the battle at Helm's Deep where Legolas and Gimli stage their famous orc-routing contest) where Legolas is fighting and he looks kind of greasy, I said to myself, "an Elvish son of the house of Thranduil shouldn't be greasy-looking like that," so I was kind of skeptical. But then, in the second trailer, you get a great shot of him when he says they should destroy the Ring and he looks really cool, and then I realized that even an Elf would get grimy battling the Uruk-Hai, so it was okay, especially since he is a Wood-Elf from Mirkwood and not from Rivendell or Lothlorien. Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) was perfect from the beginning (though I stupidly had pictured him with a grey beard instead of red -- I'm sure JRR even specifies "red" but my stupid brain did not compute ;-).
I was totally scared, too, when I saw the Orcs swarming to attack the Fellowship of Nine in the caverns under Moria, especially when that one came climbing down the column! Who knew Orcs could climb like that?! It was totally chizz. I was a little disappointed that the second preview didn't show the Balrog, but hearing Smeagol (Gollum to the unschooled) voiceover drove me nuts! What's a guy gotta do to see him, huh? Climb the Misty Mountains and bring back one of the lost Palantirs? Seriously!
Another thing -- there's been a lot of discussion on the 'net about the appropriateness of the Gondorian armor. Now, I'm no medieval scholar, but even I know that that kind of interlocking full-plate didn't appear until like 100 years after JRR set the stories. In fact, even a good Chainmail would have been rare -- more leather, ring and loose chan would have been appropriate. Still, you have to allow PJ a certain amount of artistic license here. I mean, not everyone can tell banded mail from brigandine, and PJ has to distinguish the warriors of the different kingdoms somehow. And, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that even though I know full plate was mostly worn by mounted knights because of how much the limited movement would impair the fighting abilities of foot soldiers, I've always imagined the citadel guards at Minas Tirith wearing some kind of shiny plate over their mail (except for Pippin, of course -- he'd be swimming in a Gondorian breastplate!). Anyway, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a handful of clothing and weapon anachronisms, especially since most of the stuff is so damn cool!
The one thing I object to is that there is so much of Arwen in the second preview. I mean, she's such a peripheral character in the books. I'm sure the stupid romance angle doesn't take too much away from the real plot of the movie, though. But, if PJ really wanted to give chicks a female character to look up to, why not the noble Eowyn? I mean, at least she's willing to fight for her cause. Plus, I totally think she's hot -- I've had a crush on her since like 5th grade when I read the books for the first time and I wished I could be Eomer's best friend so he'd let me ask her out. Maybe I could have been a Prince of Rohan, or maybe an advisor to the new Lord of the Mark (I couldn't be worse that Grima Wormtongue -- played with slimy panache by Brad Dourif ;-).
Overall, I give "the Fellowship of the Ring" two huge thumbs up. The acting and script and direction and characterizations and setting and costumes and makeup are superb. I am so looking forward to December 19th when I get to see this movie for real! Hopefully there will be more trailers between now and then, and hopefully pics of Gollum won't remain as elusive as Entwives. Oh, if only Tom Bombadil would enchant me to fall into a magical sleep and wake up on December 18th at the front of the line at the Chinese Theater on Hollwood Blvd! And maybe I could wake up to find I was half-Elven, like Elrond.
Then maybe I could get a date.
**I haven't seen this movie. No one has. It doesn't come out for almost 7 months. Still, I know I'm gonna love it -- this is my review and I'm stickin' by it.