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First Impressions of

The Lord of the Rings

By Mike and Micky Gunn

[Mike and Micky Gunn are friends of mine from Wellington, NZ. We share an interest in fantasy and role playing games; Micky is the Dungeon Master (Mistress?) for a play-by-email RPG (PBEM RPG) in which I've been participating for several years. Mike's a member of the role playing party, too. Micky wrote a software review for the AJ in December 1998; have a look at the archived copy on the TPC website. We're all fans of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books, and have been eagerly anticipating the movie that's been filmed in NZ. When Micky told me they were going to the premier, I asked for a report on their impressions, and they agreed to let me publish it. It's coming to Japan in March, I hear, but I thought you'd like to read their first impressions. Mike plays a dwarven fighter, Grungebeard, in the PBEM RPG and--like any good role player--takes his role seriously...which explains his calling Legolas the elf "Leg o' lamb", and his admiration for his dwarven counterpart in the movie. --Mike Lloret]

Well LOTR...first off, it is the first movie I have been to, where the audience applauded at the end. Seems everybody was there to see a great movie and be entertained, and they all appreciated what they saw.

Well it's long, at nearly 3 hours (when the DVD comes out it will have the missing hour making it 4 hours long--a little secret from an insider). Overall we loved it. From the opening scenes showing the history of the ring right through to the break up of the fellowship it held you. As an avid reader of the book you sat there in anticipation of how they would handle each up and coming chapter of the book and marveled at how they managed to capture it just right. There was from my point of view no scene that disappointed me in its interpretation of the story.

The scenery was superb, (well it would be, being New Zealand) and they managed to conjure up a real feeling of Middle Earth. The buildings (especially The Shire and Bree) gave a real impression of being there. The characters and how they handled the size difference was seamless and early on you readily accepted that Hobbits were smaller (God knows how they handled it where the larger member managed to sweep the hobbits of their feet and carry them over the bridge in the mines--absolutely brilliant).

The elf ("Leg o' lamb") was particularly well done, without being tacky they managed to portray his quick bow firing skills and elven gait to a treat. And of course the dwarf, the only thing he did not do that was dwarvish was scream beer!* (maybe in the next movie). He and all the characters in the battle sequences were portrayed using their particular racial traits (love the bit where the party waits for the attack of the orcs in the mine all with some concern except the dwarf who stands stalwart with a grin of anticipation and a glint in his eyes). The fight scenes are handled well from the small battles being a rolling, brutal, fast-paced scrap to the opening historical battle sequence that was absolutely breath taking (bodes well for some of the bigger battle sequences latter on in the series) The attack against an elven shield wall is stunning and left me in awe of just how they did it!

The comic relief provided by the two younger hobbits (Merry and Pippin) was just right as was the relationship between Sam and Frodo. Oh, and Gollum was handled well with only some quick glimpses of him.

Low points...the battle with the cave troll seemed a bit over done (picky really as it's hard to see how else it could have been handled), and of course the missing bits such as the barrow downs, the old oak and Tom Bombadil (despite the length I guess some bits still had to go...oh, for the missing hour).

Overall, a great movie, one that will be a classic...gee, I have not mentioned the ring wraiths, the weapons and armour, the use of magic, the fireworks, the kraken, the Eye...there is so much that is good about this movie...go see it!

Mike Gunn

*Think "Grungebeard" and you wouldn't be far wrong! (Micky)

PS: (Micky) Though looking forward to seeing the movie I was a little skeptical walking into the cinema (which has some of the monsters--one of Saruman's uruk-hai and a cave troll--on display). All too often a fantasy movie is over the top or completely and disappointingly unlike my expectations.

I'm happy to report LOTR was neither...and I even forgive Mr. Jackson for cutting large chunks out of the book in order to cram the basic plot into a 3 hour condensed version. The cinematography and FX are breathtaking, and their model makers and sculptors were first rate (and believe me, I was closely scrutinizing the latter's handiwork for any signs of inferior craftsmanship. :-)

© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

January, 2002

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor

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