Sunday, December 30, 2007

Alcohol and Movie Parings #7: Fellowship of the Ring and Mead

Fellowship of the Ring posterMead, the sweet nectar of the gods... or at least a sweet, alcoholic honey concoction that has been drunk for over a millenia. They drink it in Beowulf so I feel it quite fitting that it would be a fantastic paring with the best Lord of the Rings film made, Fellowship of the Ring.

I'm a snob, and a huge snob when it comes to the Lord of the Rings books. The film series is just about the best you can get from what most considered "unfilmable" books just a decade ago before the series came out. I was even slightly skeptical when I saw the teaser the very first time. Oh how wrong I was.

While the other two films don't do the book justice, as both The Two Towers and Return of the King are butchered in their theatrical versions and ROTK only patches some of the more glaring issues in the EE, Fellowship is just about the best they could have done.

The scenery is presented exactly how my mind's eye expected it to (though the stairs in Moria are far too steep for Dwarves with such tiny legs and the ring is far too powerful than even the book had it).

The major downside is the slapstick nature of some of the "comedy". It's over the top but they treat Merry and Pippin as complete and utter fools, which you'd think would be a blessing as it would show their characters grow as the films progress, but you'd be wrong - they're just about as clumsy and stupid at the end (a fault of the writers). The biggest change is that 17 years don't pass between Bilbo's party and when Frodo sets out on the quest. They've also made Frodo pretty much a complete loser - a kind, polite Hobbit, but still a loser. Aside from that they get the characters pretty much right (Daniel Day Lewis would have done a better job as Aragorn though).

When the films were green-lit New Line was taking a huge chance. Personally it would have been really really nice if they could have just done 6 films. Heck, they filmed enough footage - much of which has yet to be seen in any form - as to allow for each film to be at least 110 minutes long, but heck that would be a daunting task for most people in our attention-deficit culture (not ADD because that's a real medical condition that most people don't have which is mocked quite regularly). Book one could have ended when Frodo collapses at Rivendell (FRODO LIVES!) or after the "Council of Elrond". The rest of the films could be split up in some other manner which I won't discuss at this time.

What we get in the end is a film that's worthy of the title "Lord of the Rings" - but could either benefit from a triple dip (erm, I mean quadruple-dip due to the TE/EE DVD edition that was released). With New Line releasing the films in HD DVD, I really can't wait till they're up.

**** 1/2 out of *****

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