The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (AFI #50)

“While yesterday I couldnt write much about North By Northwest, I could write forever about LOTR. I had quite the obsession with it back in the day. Not even sure how it started. A couple years before I’d even heard of the movies, I tried reading the first book. I was with it until they got to Bree and then had no idea what happened after. Something compelled me to pick up the big 1000+ page three in one edition with the movie poster that came out a few months before the first movie. This time around, I was hooked by the time we got to Bree. I’ve read through that thing about 3 or 4 times cover to cover (plus a few failed attempts). I remember someone taking a look at my copy and commenting that it looked “”very well loved””. The last time I read it, I took it with me to Arizona when I spent a month in the desert for my field geology class. I figured, 1000 pages would be enough to occupy me for the month. I was done in about 2 1/2 weeks. Been thinking I should give it another whirl soon. Im finishing up the True Blood series and starting on Cirque du Freak, but Im gonna be looking for some new (well new to this year at least) reading soon.

Im gonna be using a lot of abbreviations, which should be obvious but just in case: LOTR = Lord of the Rings, FOTR = Fellowship of the Ring, TTT = The Two Towers, ROTK = Return of the King. Got it?

So if you think that’s obsessive with the book, it gets even worse with the movie. I was supposta see FOTR with a so-called friend of mine on opening day, but he ended up blowing me off. When I talked to him a few days later, he said he forgot, but that he shoulda called me the second time he saw it. Twice within the first week? Without me? Oh, it was on. I ended up beating him 5 times to 4, and on that last one we finally managed to go together. The next year, for TTT, I went 9 times–no contest, just wanted to see it again and again. I moved up to Boston just in time for ROTK, which meant I really could go to the movies anytime I wanted. I think I managed about a dozen trips to see it. I kinda lost count at some point.

Then there was all the merch. BK (Burger King) had some LOTR toys in their kids meals back when FOTR came out. I think there were 18 in the set. It was small figures of the fellowship that had interlocking stands that joined up to a big ring in the center. Each figure either lit up or talked, or if it was a really important character, he did both. I ran all over Laredo Texas for a month and managed to get the entire set. I still have them in my room back home. A few of the voice boxes dont work so good, but they’re there. On top of that, I’d constantly patroll K B Toys waiting for LOTR toys to go on sale. The way that the people at Best Buy nowadays know me cause Im there so often, thats how it was there.

Needless to say, I absolutely love the movies. In Clerks II, when they have the trilogy argument over LOTR vs Star Wars, I totally sided with the hobbit lovers. There was a point where constantly have one of them on, but it’d actually been a while since I’d last watched them. So long, that it almost felt like watching for the first time. Almost, cause I knew what little things to expect, but I did get excited for them all.

Book adaptations have the potential to go so wrong, but this one wasn’t done to make money. It was done by people who utterly loved the books so completely, that they wanted to make a good movie. Everything from the detail of the costumes to the camera tricks for the size differences is brilliant. I remember going to the LOTR exhibit at the MOS (Museum of Science) a couple times and just hanging out in that room for over an hour each time.

And the cast is fantastic. Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Dominic Monoghan, I love each and every last one of them. Im always struck by the extreme friendship you see portrayed by them–every time Sam runs after Frodo or Boromir runs after Merry and Pippin or Legolas teams up with Gimli–its just beautiful.

Seriously, I could just go on and on about LOTR, but I think I’ve gotten my point across for now. I hear there’s a first draft of the script for The Hobbit floating around now, that Ian McKellan has already been allowed to read. No news on who’s gonna play Bilbo yet, but Im kinda excited.”

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