Episode 322: Middle-Earth on Film Retrospective

January 16, 2015


Featuring Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono

A retrospective on Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy and his “Hobbit” film trilogy

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One comment on “Episode 322: Middle-Earth on Film Retrospective

  1. Michael Jan 16, 2015

    Matt was so shocked by Ben’s “hobbit on hobbit action” comment at the intro, he stopped the music altogether! Nice. 😉

    I rank “Fellowship” and “Unexpected Journey” as my top two, because both do such a good job of presenting (re-presenting) Tolkien’s world as envisioned by Jackson. I found both movies completely immersive and enjoyable experiences. I put “Return of the King” and “Two Towers” as numbers 3 and 4 — I find “Towers” a little dry, but both are better than the remaining Hobbit films. Then, “Five Armies” at 5 — I enjoyed watching it, but it’s not as deep as the LotR films — and “Desolation” at 6: bloated and too impressed with itself, just like Smaug!

    Hearing about the Tauriel-Kili stuff being added makes a lot of sense. That was my least favorite element that Jackson added and, you’re absolutely right, it’s completely unnecessary and doesn’t even really have a payoff. If Tauriel had died by Kili’s side or something, then maybe we could have had some character development for Thranduil, and would’ve had a vague anticipation of the Arwen-Aragorn relationship in LotR (in that an elf and non-elf are having a relationship where mortality is a major factor) — but they didn’t do that, so, eh.

    On the nature of pipeweed, I don’t really have a dog in that hunt, but I found an interesting excerpt from JRRT’s “Unfinished Tales” at this blog – http://middleearthnews.com/2013/04/20/concerning-pipe-weed-simply-tobacco-or-something-more/ – that gives the germ of the Saruman scene in Fellowship. I think Saruman’s comment in the script is faithful to the spirit of that excerpt, if not the letter.

    Thanks for reading and responding to my feedback from last time. (Although I think Jesse was perhaps agreeing with you guys, not me – Jesse, what say you?) Yeah, we have to agree to disagree on the dragon sickness issue. The very scene Matt cites proves, to me at least, that it’s a metaphor, because it’s obviously such a non-literal, non-linear experience. It’s not a fever breaking or something as prosaic as that; it’s Thorin finally realizing that, in his greed, he is no better than Smaug (hence the dragon shadow we see in that sequence). As for Balin’s comment “worse case of dragon sickness” — that’s no more a literal, medical diagnosis than someone saying, “Boy it’s nice outside, and I’ve got a really bad case of spring fever.”

    (And Ben, mea culpa on “coda”!)

    Enjoyed your discussion, guys! (Although if you think the Tolkien estate will ever let that stuff enter the public domain – ha!)

    PS. Matt, you’re absoutely right – the only dumb question is the unasked one!

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