Tolkienmas Tale-ol 3: “Return of the King”

To finish commemorating Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films in appropriately festive fashion, I offer a song about “Return of the King,” to be sung to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard On High.”

 

“Aragorn we have Crowned on High”

 

Mordor we have breached, today.

Brought the Ring to Mount Doom’s fires

And Gollum’s bite has torn away

Sauron’s hold on our desires.

 

Burn, in the fiery chasm

Burn, in the fiery chasm

 

 

Now heroes claim victory,

Now Lord Sauron’s lost his ring.

And by Gondor’s flowering tree,

Aragorn is crowned the king.

 

Aragorn, is the king of Gondor

Aragorn is the king of Gondor

 

 

Hobbits their way home do wend,

For their Shire has been saved.

Fellowship’s quest is at an end,

Just goodbyes still must be braved.

 

Frodo sails into the west

Frodo sails into the west

Frodo sails into the west.

 

For previous ones, go here:  https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/tolkeinmas-tale-ols-2-the-two-towers/

https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/tolkeinmas-tale-ols-1-fellowship-of-the-ring/

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.

 

I saw this at the midnight opening.  Yet, there were no lines, there were available seats, and although only 2 hours before midnight, my party got to choose prime seats.  This is not the nerd-experience I expected.  Fun, in several ways more familiar than I was expecting, but just profoundly not the thing I’d been looking forward to.  The film itself I found to be: Exactly Like That.

 

The main, overall issue that I have with Jackson’s new first film of a Middle Earth trilogy is this: it tried to be exactly the same as his last first film installment of a Middle Earth trilogy:

-Why did it start with an overarching backstory narrative instead of one of the most famous first lines ever?  Because “Fellowship of the Ring” starts that way.  (Don’t get me wrong-that sequence was perhaps my third favorite, but as the opening of a “The Hobbit” experience-hell, no, do the line we know and love, please.  By the way, my reaction to this is a very good indicator of my reactions to the movie in general.)

-Then both have a party in the shire, though the dwarves do change the tone of the comedy.  Both Bilbo’s party in “Fellowship of the Ring” and the dinner party in this one end up with somber proposals for an expedition at Bagend itself.  This particular similarity I don’t mind as everything from dwarves singing about breaking dishes to dwarves singing about the Misty Mountain is definitely my second favorite thing about the whole film, but still-it is there.  Not to mention the fact that the segues to these parties are set on the exact same day, with the exact same cast.

-There are heroic action shots of a journeying company in the exact same manner as the fellowship was shot.

-The fighting stone giants scene is the Hobbit version of the fellowship trying to cross the mountain pass and being turned back by Saruman.

-After which, they wind up underground in caves filled with enemies where all seems inevitably lost and Gandalf faces down the one biggest, toughest, bad guy of all and then falls down into darkness.  The fact that the dwarves fall with him in this version is not that big of a deviation.

-Thorin has been changed to resemble Aragorn-battle-worn, dark-haired, warrior leaders separated from their homeland.  This is fine, until scenes start changing to make the dwarf prince start charging around and being epic-ly glorified.  While pretty, it just kills any thoughts that this might start resembling canon sometime.  Kili is clearly the Hobbit’s version of Legolas.  I cannot find it in my heart to dislike this one, but still it took me straight out of the movie and into comparing shots and going, “Oh, PJ, couldn’t you do something new?”

-It ends with a looming sense of danger and a glimpse of the dark enemies ahead, just like “Fellowship of the Ring.”

 

The second thing I had a major issue with was that this film kept changing things in order to glorify Bilbo Baggins.

-Firstly, Bilbo Baggins is one of my favorite book characters and he NEEDS no glorification.  I felt insulted on book!Bilbo’s behalf that PJ felt he needed to do those things.

-Secondly, it took away from other characters’ moments.  The troll scene is a great favorite of mine from “The Hobbit” and the trolls get turned to stone because Gandalf copies the trolls’ voices and insults them.  This causes a fight and distracts them long enough for dawn to ossify them.  I was dearly looking forward to seeing this and feel cheated.  When actually thinking about what did happen in the scene, I do realize it was well done, and humorous, and Martin Freeman did it well.  Unfortunately, it’s just not what I wanted to see.  The other time this became a really clear issue was when Bilbo charged the orc to save Thorin.  If it had simply stayed that way and then the eagles had rescued them, it’d be okay.  But instead-like 30 seconds after Bilbo charges the other dwarves follow.  I’m sorry, but if the dwarves were physically capable of charging to save their leader, who they’ve actually known all their lives, are akin to, and believe in, it’s utterly implausible to me that they’d arrive behind Bilbo.  And if I make myself believe it did happen…instead of liking Bilbo better I simply like the dwarves less.  I cannot like the dwarves less at the end of the first film involving them if I’m going to be excited about seeing the second.

 

Third big movie thought: Riddles in the Dark was glorious.  I’m fairly certain Andy Serkis’s Gollum is incapable of doing anything without being awesome.  Additionally, this was the scene where Bilbo felt more like Bilbo to me.

 

Other things:

-Thror’s beard is hypnotic.

-Galadriel’s clothes are so ridiculously, dazzlingly, beautiful it was hard to pay attention to anything else.

-I am totally good with the blatant reunion scenes like Galadriel and Saruman showing up at Rivendell.  It’s just so good to see them.

-Radagast the Brown threw me for a loop.  I sat there going, “I have no memory of this.”  On the other hand, it’s been long enough since I read “The Hobbit” that I couldn’t be completely sure I hadn’t just forgotten.  Once I assured myself this actually was a new thing, it kindof rocked.  I’m a fan of smacktalk involving bunnies, saving hedgehogs, and mysterious ghost blades.  Also, Saruman’s scolding about mushrooms even outdoes his chiding of Gandalf in “Fellowship of the Ring” about smoking “the halflings’ leaf.”

-All the elves and their new accoutrement: it is glorious.

-I’m reacting to the Pale Orc the same way I do to purely decorative but not very tasty frosting: I understand why it’s there, so I tolerate it, but I’d sooner it were gone.

-It truly bothered me that at the end no one thanks the eagles for saving them, even a little bit.  No wonder they take so long to show up in Lord of the Rings.

-In the book Bilbo’s grand rejoining of the company after the goblins’ mountain was far more rockstar.  I don’t understand passing up this opportunity.

-With three films to fill I was expecting more of Tolkein’s songs.  Think we’ll get more of that in the next one?

 

 

Lord of the Rock Operas

What the world needs now is a Lord of the Rings rock opera.  Here’s how it breaks down:

 

-The human heroes like Aragorn and Bormir are the rock gods.

-Rohan, home of the drum lords!

-Grima Flute Tongue!

-The orcs dance Bollywood (everything could use a little Bollywood).

-Wizards play keytar.

-The Mines of Morrhythm is inhabited by a bal-rap!

-The dwarves are like Stomp.

-Elves are the singers.

-The Eye of Sauron is the great silence, where there is suddenly no music whatsoever.  Because it is evil.

 

Musical interludes could include:

During the Council of Elrond:

One does not simply ROCK into Mordor!

In the land of Sauron

our hopes will be far gone,

The armies of Mordor

have orcs that are hardcore!

 

Not 10,000 men

could beard Sauron’s den-

One cannot simply rock into Mordor

We’re on the clock-let’s roll to Gondor!

(*expansive arm gesture as Boromir backs to his chair*)

And the guitar war between Aragorn and Boromir continues.

 

I see Gollum as having one simple theme music whose verses continue to change to such things as:

 

Tricksy precious sneaks!

Spies out what we seeks!

So beautiful, so bright!

The precious shall be mine-

Ours, my love!

 

Master I can se-erve!

Even the hobbit with cur-rves!

We don’t need you here anymore!

Good Smeagol helps now

So-run!  So, run!

 

They are tricksy, false, liars!

Stupid hobbitses-stupid shires!

The precious is mine!  My own!

We can takes it-us alone!

Our own, my love!

 

We can commit murd-er,

Herd them up to he-er,

We can survive, sure as sure,

Just trust your precious

Gollum!  Gollum!

 

Yes? No? Precious?

Happy National Hobbit Day!

I have been reliably informed by hallmark that today is National Hobbit Day!  Therefore, I did my humble best to pay tribute to this momentous work (as well as attempting to act more Hobbitably).

 

Bilbo Baggins meets Thorin at his home of Bagend:

 

Bilbo’s Trolls:

 

The goblin king stands over his hoarde:

 

Riddles in the Dark:

 

Invisible!Bilbo sneaks inside Lonely Mountain:

 

Smaug emerges from Lonely Mountain:

 

(Special guest appearances by Silast as Smaug and Rattafin as Invisible!Bilbo.)