This just in from Jenny Allan over at Crackpot Critic – seems she has a thing against Hobbits. Following is her email to us:
Dear Chris Gore:
I was impressed with your efforts to provide alternate reviews for movies that have been given universally great reviews. Yet when it comes to hobbits, apparently there is no room for dissenting views. Both of Film Threat’s reviewers gave The Two Towers such a gushing, on their knees ass-kissing that is so devoid of critical faculty that I actually felt bad for thinking that the attempts at romantic love in these movies have been painful and that the method Jackson uses for moving characters around Middle Earth (high angle shot of riders on empty plain) has gotten extremely tired only two-thirds of the way through. As a middle section in a trilogy, this movie does not stand on it’s own the way that Godfather II or even the Empire Strikes Back could. TTT is not only dependent on the veiwer having seen Fellowship of the Rings, but it is difficult to follow if you haven’t seen that movie recently. We are plunged right back in the middle of the action with no recap and no chance to remember which of the guys with stringy long hair is which.
So we have essentially, a competent action movie, with excellent acting but suffering characters and plot that offer little surprise or even much that’s compelling outside their place in the world of Lord of the Rings. Chuck Russell’s comparison of Aragorn to Han Solo is not only full of crap but it illustrates a fundamental problem with the reviews of the Lord of the Rings movies. I don’t know why but no one can seem to review the LOTR movies without using Star Wars as a straw man with which to glorify Peter Jackson’s abilities as a director. Comparisons between the LOTR movies and the Prequels are apt. I think both trilogies are entertaining and fun for pretty much the same reason: they provide fans with an expansion or visual explication of a universe that’s built on cult status. But the weaknesses of the Attack of the Clones do not make The Two Towers a better film. George Lucas’ failure to complete his vision in a way that satisfies his vast and demanding fan base don’t make Peter Jackson a genius.
One thing that might make Jackson’s latest film great is the fact that the battle for Helm’s Deep sequence does transcend this cult milleiu and is the finest attempt to capture a large scale seige on film. Is that alone enough to call it the number one film of 2002? Braveheart the Gladiator were both ground- breaking in similar respects, yet I doubt those movies will be remembered for much in time other than Oscar trivia. Gollum might be the greatest CG character yet filmed, but that’s not really saying much. That’s like saying Gollum succeeds because Jar Jar failed. Gollum would be great even if he was just an actor in make-up. The performance is great because it takes a seemingly silly character and makes him important. Also it’s difficult to have a guy talking to himself constantly without inspiring laughter.
Think about the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a few years time. Are there iconic characters and images that will stand out and be representative of film making at the beginning of this century? I doubt they will equal even a fraction of the number of such moments we were given in the Godfather and original Star Wars trilogy. But let’s just say that these movies do stand the test of time and millions of fans continue to sit through these things, thinking, ah yes, this is my favorite scene, where the horse rides in slow motion through a sunny meadow while Enya music plays in the background. If that happens then the best we’ll be able to say about filmaking in the Oughts is that it’s conceivable to get what you pay for. If you spend massive quantities of money on production values, hire good actors, adapt a well-loved and action-packed novel then you might get lucky and make something that doesn’t suck.
Maybe there’s a little ass kissing in our reviews, but that’s because The Two Towers rules!
Posted on January 7, 2003 in News by Film Threat Staff
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