You few (you happy few) who read this blog have probably figured out that I’m a geek. Not a full-fledged-early-adopter-can-name-every-creature-in-the-bar-scene-in-Star-Wars-attends-Comi-Con-religiously kind of geek, but a Battlestar-Galactica-watching-forensic-html-amateur-Joss-Whedon-fan kind of geek. I dig YA fiction, have a special place in my heart for sci-fi disaster movies and I’ve read all of the Outlander and Wheel of Time books. I love me some Lord of the Rings, but I didn’t read them as a kid. I read them as they were having their Renaissance, brought on by Peter Jackson and his army of filmmakers and artists.
Beginning at Christmas-time 2001, I lived Lord of the Rings for nearly half a decade, as I followed the films in the theater and waited anxiously each Christmas to receive the extended edition DVD of the previous year’s film. Yes, I watched all 75,000 hours of DVD extras, knew where the easter eggs were in the DVD menus, and for those few years, gave serious thought to changing careers so I could work on a project like LOTR. I loved the technology, the story, the tremendous artistry of the characters, and yes, I confess, Viggo Mortenson. I was an Aragon girl, hands down. Legolas was for wimps.
So, nearly 10 years after the first movie appeared in theaters, I was pretty excited to see the full extended version on the big screen last night. However, I also had some doubts; I hadn’t watched the movies in years. I’m no longer an idealistic 20-something surrounded by fellow theater geeks looking to change the world through art. I’m a slightly-burned-out mid-thirties single gal wondering if the world will ever change enough for me to find my place. And I couldn’t help but wonder; would the movies stand up? Would they still look visually interesting, or would the computer-generated battle scenes look like, well, they came from a computer? Would the supremely clever tricks with perspective be revealed as nothing more than parlor games, their secrets revealed in the 10 years of improved technology since the movies were made? Would all the snide homoerotic talk about Frodo and Sam ruin their friendship for me? Would the magic of the hero’s quest, with the ins and outs of evil and free will woven throughout, still resonate?
I’m happy to say: Yes. Yes. No. No. And a big YES. (And Viggo is still pretty hot.)
The movies stand up. They looked amazing, and though in the back of my head, I was still remembering all the little notes I knew from watching those damn DVD extras, the story took me away. Sure, there’s a bit too much exposition and some of the performances are over the top. Yes, the movie is long. Who cares? It’s a great story, and the sweeping grandeur of New Zealand plus the amazing costumes, miniature work and musical score are as impressive today as they were 10 years ago.
Walking out of the show, I felt a little wistful for the years gone by, for my good friend who waited in long lines with me to be a part of the opening weekends. I felt old; how is it even POSSIBLE that it was 10 years ago that I first saw the movie in the theaters? I felt a little depressed at how little my life has changed since then.
But tonight, one day later, I think I’ve decided to take comfort in the fact that the movies held up. They were innovative in their time, and they are still very good. If I apply that same idea to my life, I like where that takes me.
Bring on The Hobbit. And The Two Towers, next Tuesday. I’ll be there.