Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Hunt for Tolkien

So, the forty minute film. I hope it is the start of further free, independent internet films that adapt the work of The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion, but, I hope, without the lame patterning after Peter Jackson's films.

The Hunt for Gollum mostly sucked rotten eggs. Frankly, there is nothing there that is Tolkien. Or rather, it is Tolkien thrice removed.

The film runs like a studio plug, saying, "Hey all you big executives out there who we hope are watching this: look, see, we're just, you know, doing this as an "amateur production", we're just having some fun, (to which imagined executives hopefully respond: "Well, for an amateur production it really is awesome! I then wonder what you geniuses can do with a large scale production! Here, have some money for a big film!") and well, oh gee, we know how to make an action scene like this and we can do this and this- oh, and we can also do this…"

The editing is horrendous. There's no rhyme or rhythm or reason. There is one good scene that gave me hope. It is when Aragorn meets the other ranger and they talk together in the night by the fire. In fact, my friend who I watched it with suggested the other ranger would have made a better Strider. I agree.

The film isn't about Aragorn hunting Gollum. It's: obligatory orc scene. Second obligatory orc scene. Obligatory Strider/Arwen flashback crap. Obligatory black riders. Obligatory Gollum soliloquies.

And if anyone would suggest that such criticism is unwarranted because the film is made "by fans for fans", then I would say that the criticism is warranted precisely because of that.

These filmmakers are coming out with a second one. This time it will be an hour: Born of Hope. The story will be generally (I'm snobbishly presuming more like 'vaguely' rather than generally) concerning something about the Dunedain.

You know, even if The Hunt for Gollum were not as technically slick as it was, but they used every frame as a sincere portrayal of Aragorn and actually exhibited soul and some degree of plumbing of the appendices upon which the makers claim it is based, then it would have been - with clunks adding to its charm - deserving of fan excitement.

3 comments:

Owen said...

If they were professionals pretending to be amateurs they did a very good job pretending. And excuses for yawn worthy fight scenes that did nothing to enhance of advance or even detail the story line. I love and laud the books. I feel asleep (literally) in all three of Jackson's movies - I'm just not a big cgi fight scene kinda guy - so for this one I am afraid I clicked out long before the 40 minutes was over.

Paul Stilwell said...

I have to admit, the more I watch the Jackson trilogy the more I am dissatisfied with it. Tolkien's work doesn't take kindly to simplistic psychologizing; all that reading in of new motives into characters actions, to make them more "believable", like the horrific number they did on Aragorn - it's sloppy and rather arrogant, and I believe much the fault of Jackson's two co-writers.

Owen said...

Agreed. This is always my problem with movies of all kinds; I am a story person not a SFX person.