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Monday, October 29, 2012

Some Thoughts on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings chronicles the epic struggle between the forces of good and evil to control a ring which has the power to rule Middle-earth, a world populated with Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs, humans, sorcerers, and tiny furry earthlings known as Hobbits. Evolving into a series of three books, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, the trilogy was influenced by the academic’s fascination with languages, the dawn of the industrial age, the scarcity of English folklore, the horrors of being a soldier in WWI, and the rise to power of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Socialist Party in Germany.
Source: http://www.flickeringmyth.com/2009/10/cinematic-adventurer-peter-jackson_14.html

As the adage goes, it is better late than never. For long now, I have been catching up on back movies especially those whose brilliance have left remarkable bearing on our generation's culture. Obviously, Peter Jackson's adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien's literary masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, is a must watch.

Starting at 5 o'clock in the afternoon yesterday, I embarked on a 10-hour marathon of watching the trilogy. I ended up at 5 o'clock in the morning today. But I couldn't get my mind off it, so I began drafting a note..

Here is my two cents worth on the trilogy:

  • Power is in itself powerful. The Ring symbolizes power and it had its own mind. It encompasses man. And because it encompasses him, he thirsts for it. Power has always been man's quest. It comes in different levels, different forms. Either way, man wants to take control. It is innate in him, fueled by desire. But he is bound to some supernatural, natural, and even human control, thus restoring balance.
  • Destroy nature and it will destroy you. Man has always been vulnerable to destruction, and it has always been of his own doing. Man can never take over nature, even his very own nature. Man is nothing compared to these forces. He is weak because he is human. 
  • Wars exist because men are animals. Life is all Hunger Games. Only the fittest survive.
  • Animals are exploited in war films, especially horses and wild beasts. They are mere tools of man. 
  • Kings are conceited and stubborn. It is their greed for power that brings war and destruction upon their people, yet they get the final credit and historians remember and write about them.
  • The rich use the middle and lower classes in their own battle for power. The poor's fate is to suffer.
  • The rich reaps what the poor sows. The rich always use the poor to protect its own interests. The latter is called and pressured to fight in wars with a battlecry that's for their country or kingdom but after the war, while the soldiers lay dead in bloodbath and ruins, the power of their leaders is just strengthened. 
  • The 4 halflings - the hobbits - were praised after their crucial participation in the destruction of the ring and the restoration of peace but after that, they were back to the Shire, to their status where their importance is as small as they are.
  • In times of war, women are as useless as the elderly and the children. They are weak and must be hidden. They can do nothing.
  • The Great Eye in TLOTR can be compared to George Orwell's 1984's Big Brother; both are omnipotent, watching over the people.
  • The films encourage its viewers to have hope for man, for good. I think this is good message.
  • No man is an island. Two heads are better than one. The hero/main character always got a friend beside him.
  • 2 of the Hobbits' names Merry and Pippin sound like Mary Poppins to me.
  • Arwen, Galadriel, and Eowyn all had the beauty that of a goddess. They almost looked the same. This is lack of perspective for me. Anyway, there were only few attempts to empower women in this film and it was only Eowyn's quest that came strong. Although at the end, she came back to being a lady in her kingdom. A muse of her man. 
  • The films did not overwhelm me. This lack of gusto is probably from my opinion that some parts were exaggerated, some were absurd, and some were just time-consuming. My movie marathon took me almost 12 hours. What lengthy films indeed. 
And as The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy film, it was inevitable for me not to compare it with other fantasy films such as:
  • J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter series similarities with the trilogy:
    • the boy hero, orphan (Frodo Baggins and Harry James Potter)
    • Sauron and Voldemort, the dark lords, who have been defeated in a previous battle but who weren't entirely gone or destroyed but whose power were distributed to their lackeys or minions and whose presence remains. Both possessed a growing power that was attached to a certain instrument. (The Ring and The Horcruxes)
    • Gollum and Dobby - they differ in function but kind of appeared physically alike to me
    • Gandalf and Dumbledore - the wise wizards
    • Ringwraithers and Dementors - black, faceless figure that are servants of the dark lord
  • C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia similarities with the trilogy:
    • trees moving and joining the war
    • river scene where rushing water kills enemies
    • the use of wild beasts and other animals in war scenes
    • the unification of peoples from different lands/kingdoms

Generally-speaking, I did like the trilogy. Pardon my bland reaction but that's the most I could say. I know that the Lord of the Rings is considered one of the great films in history and I believe that. I have explained my lack of gusto earlier. Anyway, this trilogy is a good topic for more serious analysis or critique for the underlying issues in the films were aplenty. 

My mind now is at rest. After all, another 10-hour journey awaits me. A journey home. 

Favorite quotes:

"Fly, you fools!" - Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." - Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." 

"Not all those who wander are lost." 

"How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep...that have taken hold." - Frodo, The Return of the King

P.S. New Zealand is beautiful. I shall fly thereto, someday. Someday. 

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