Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of hobbits and wizards and things that go bump in the plot.

I was trying desperately to come up with something to say about Back to the Future, part 3. I can’t possibly make fun of it or poke holes in it, I love it too much.

So I turned to another trilogy. A small series of indie movie you may not have heard of called "Lord of the Rings".

I watched these a while back. As the hobbits went from where they lived to where they were going, to do the thing they needed to do (admittedly, I may not have been giving it my full attention) I started thinking about what all the Hobbitses have done since.

Emo Hobbit (Elijah wood) went on to do lots more movies, as you would expect the star of the film to do. The success of these movies and of his career is the subject for a much longer and more mean-spirited blog post than mine.

Fat Hobbit (Sean Astin) has been in 24, amongst other things. He pops up on TV from time to time, to calls of "Nasty fat hobbit" from my living room.

Annoying Hobbit (uh... the guy from Lost; whatsisname) has been on Lost, Flash Forward, and was last spotted in an Eminem video living out every man's fantasy involving Megan Fox: Namely, beating the tar out of her and then setting her on fire.

But what about the other one? Other Hobbit, as soon as the credits stopped rolling, pretty much became the "George Harrison" of the hobbit crew. Off doing his own thing? Retired? Perhaps he was doing theatre work, or simply making movies and TV shows I don't watch, I thought to myself.

Then I see, in one of the (many) penultimate scenes of the film, that it's not just my imagination. I wish I could say that I had cropped him out of the final frame of this image, but Peter Jackson did it for me.

His performance was fine, as far as I can tell. And though I'm no expert on halflings, he seemed to be just as good as Annoying Hobbit, who has since had a stellar career. Their performances were so similar, in fact, that I'm still not sure which one was Merry and which was Pippin.

So now I'm wondering if he did something to piss off a certain rotund beardy New Zealander, or even Hollywood itself. Is he a massive racist? Homophobe? Pogonophobe? Republican? Is he asking to be paid in uncut conflict diamonds? Does he want his own trailer, but ON THE MOON? Does he have a clause in his contract that says he doesn't have to do any scenes that don't involve nudity?

Maybe he just has a shitty agent, or has been horribly disfigured in a balrog accident. Other Hobbit: If you're out there, please let us know you're OK. The Ents are getting worried.

And while we're on the subject of mysteries, the Mines of Moria had a locked door that the fellowship spent a hell of a long time trying to open. I'm not sure, but there may have even been a montage.

According to wikipedia, the inscription above the doors read "Ennyn Durin aran Moria. Pedo mellon a mino" which is Elvish for "The Doors of Durin, Lord of Moria. Speak, friend, and enter."

To open them, all you need to do is say "Friend" in Elvish ("Speak, friend, and enter"... get it?) It's a clever riddle! Well, not really. The simple process of reading the inscription out loud should have opened the bloody door every time. You call that a security system? 'Cos I don't. The Luthor Mansion from Smallville is harder to break into.

What else? Oh, yeah. The Uruk-hai.

There's a rather nice sequence in the first film of the Uruk-hai being created. Carved out of mud by goblins or something, and then being kitted out with some +1 armor and being given a rather nasty (but geometrically pleasing) sword, before being sent out into the world to cause general mayhem and capture specific hobbits.

I can't help but think that if Sauron had really wanted them to succeed, it may have been advisable to fit at least, say, fifteen minutes of sword training into the schedule. Maybe after lunch, but before the carnage.

I am pretty sure that if you hand a creature that is about four minutes old a sword and ask them to use it without any form of instruction, they'll do themselves an injury. And if you send them against the Heir of Isildur - a man who has spent the last seventy years kicking the ass of about every sentient species of Middle-Earth - they'll be chopped into more pieces than a slutty cheerleader in a Wes Craven movie about a serial killer with katanas for arms and a chainsaw for a head.

The only other scene that stuck with me was Saruman magically picking up Gandalf the Grey and whirling him around like a nunchuck. I don't know why, but it's nice to see OAPs kicking the crap out of each other. Using him like a mop to sweep the floor was a nice touch, but it was a shame his pointy hat fell off; that would really have helped get into those hard-to-reach corners.

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