Lord of the Rings' fan praises film adaptation
MOVIE MANIA Daniel DePhillips, left, accompanied his sister, Chasity Stephens, and her boyfriend, Andy Kennedy, at a showing of "Lord of the Rings" on Thursday. DePhillips said the country's No. 1-grossing moving "was great." The movie is still playing at the Bonita Lakes 9 Cinema. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By David Denham/Special to The Star
Jan. 4, 2002
As a senior in college, I kept hearing talk of dragons and dwarves, of wizards and elves, and of hobbits.
What were hobbits?
Many of the words that flowed, trying to explain this imaginary world to a Tolkien illiterate, sounded like a foreign language. Orcs, Smaug, the Shire, Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Ents, Nazgul … what was this Middle Earth?
Unfortunately, my load at school prohibited recreational reading. So the fantasy world of Middle Earth slipped from my mind.
Several months after graduation, a new friend and I were discussing books. J.R.R. Tolkien's books were favorites of this new friend. Nothing else would do but that I take his copies home that very day and begin reading these classics as soon as possible.
It was not long before I discovered why those who have been to Middle Earth are ready to talk of the adventures with any and all who will listen. Among the Tolkien fans, I was as obsessed as any.
Middle Earth is a land inhabited by elves known as Lothlorien, also referred to as Lorien, which in Elvish means "dreamland." Within Lothlorien there is a flower, also named Lorien, which translates as "dreamflower."
This is where my wife and I found the name for our oldest daughter, Lorien. Yes, I would classify myself as obsessed.
Hearing of the making of a movie "Lord of the Rings," I was very excited. The more I heard, the more I anticipated the release of the movie.
Web sites whetted my appetite, and it seemed as if the release date would never arrive. As the Dec. 19 opening drew nearer, I found myself with a feeling of trepidation.
Could a movie possibly do justice to such a magnificent literary work? How could they possibly capture this incredible world that sprang from the imagination of a genius?
What would be left out and how much? What would they change? How different would the characters appear than the way my mind's eye saw them?
Still, I could not wait.
On Dec. 18, I purchased my tickets for the 4 p.m. showing the next day, and found I had difficulty getting to sleep that night. Work dragged that day, but finally the time arrived.
I still wondered if I would be disappointed. A little after 7, I left the theater feeling exhilarated, awe-struck, and a little exhausted (I felt as if I had fought the battles myself).
The movie was all I had hoped it would be, and more.
There were changes from the book, but none so severe I was offended by them. Most fit a little better for a movie format, especially for those who have not read the books.
Most of the characters were very close to the way I had pictured them. Elijah Woods as Frodo was perhaps a little less plain than I imagined, a little too "pretty." But he played the part well and I easily put that behind me.
The orcs were a little different than I would have made them. Somehow they seemed more "science-fiction" than "medieval" to me; however, such a fantasy character is certainly open to interpretation.
In some scenes there was a little too much computer animation dealing with the orcs, but, again, this was merely my taste in the matter.
Overall, I thought the casting was outstanding. Gimli the dwarf, Legolas the elf, and Gandalf could not have been better, and Strider was exactly as I had imagined.
The scenery was panoramic, far beyond any expectations. Nothing I had imagined as Middle Earth was more beautiful.
I was very curious as to how the movie would play to those who had never read the books. I felt the movie did an excellent job of portraying the history of Middle Earth leading up to "The Fellowship of the Ring."
There were details I am sure those who have not read the books may have missed, but I think anyone can follow the movie well enough.
If you have not read the books, I would recommend seeing the movie first and then reading the books. I believe this would make visualization of Middle Earth and all her characters easier.
As you can tell, I came away from the movie not disappointed in the least. Rather I was thrilled beyond expectation.
My second viewing left me as excited as the first. My only disappointment is now having to wait for the release at Christmas 2002 of the next installment, "The Two Towers."
I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas.