Sunday, February 29, 2004

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (Peter Jackson 2003) - Talk about whimpers and not bangs. The first film at least had moral decisions and uneasy alliances--y’know drama--while the second could be excused as middle-act wheelspinning. But this one just plods along so much that various story problems (armies that march days travel in a few hours, blundering military strategies, totally implausible means of communication, etc; and while I’m at it have I been conditioned by too much fantasy novels and games but do wizards in Middle Earth seem a bit wimpy? Gandalf’s staff doubles as a flashlight and he does come back from the dead but other than that he might be more useful with a crossbow), anyway those various problems really stick out. By now there’s not much drama since it’s pretty clear how things are going to turn out and even characters that might make choices are now more or less insane (Frodo, the steward). And maybe I’m just too much an American to care about returning kings anywhere; in fact much of this film seemed almost creepy to me in that respect.

Out of the millions of people who saw this, I’m willing to be that most of them would look down on the good vs. evil of superhero comic books. Sure there’s enough of that present but comics can seem pretty gray compared to LOTR. Just think of the past two years where one hero’s arrogance led to another’s suicide and his own violent sweep into head of the underworld (Daredevil), a hero so obsessed that he’s authoritarian and emotionally crippled (various Batman titles), cold and popularity focused celebrities (X-Statix), etc.