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Friday, December 27, 2002

The Review That Wasn't

Just got back from seeing The Two Towers. I feel obliged to report this, although I really don't have much to say about it. (It's been years and years since I read the books, and every single one of the approximately three copies I have of the trilogy is in storage where I can't easily get at it. I'm thinking of buying a cheap set at a used bookstore to do my Tolkien blogburst post. Either that or I'll just wing it and get stuff wrong.)

So, without having anything in particular to say, here's what I'll say:

The battle scenes were impressive. Gollum was good, but not perfect. Aragorn's hair still stringy. I thought Eowyn had a bigger part in the books, but I might've misremembered, or that might be in The Return of the King. The scenery is beautiful; we can always do with more scenery. They must have spent a fortune on helicopters. The transformation of Theoden is amazing and subtle. I thought The Two Towers ended with Sam and Frodo meeting "she", but I might be wrong.

I hate the dwarf-tossing jokes.

Now, I've mentioned before that Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn, is deeply offended that some people are comparing the battle of Good vs. Evil in The Lord of the Rings to our current situation. These people apparently cast the US in the role of the good guys, see, whereas Mortensen sees the US as Saruman. (To be fair---dammit---he says that civilians in Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever see the US as Saruman, but he also says that we are not the good guys in this conflict.) The money quote is here:

VM: You know, the people who are terrified at Helms Deep, who are outnumbered in this incredible violence and desire to control-to destroy-the people of Rohan and the rest of the free peoples of Middle-earth, and to control their wills, to control their infrastructure-or destroy it-that's what we're doing in these countries. That's really what we're doing unfortunately.

Actually, if you'll recall, Gandalf tells Theoden that Saruman does not want to control or destroy Rohan's infrastructure, he wants to destroy Rohan itself, "down to the last child", which is much like Al Qaeda's plan for us, unless they can get us to convert to Islam (that would be the "control the will" part).

But when you see the movie and see the vast legions of Saruman ranged against the few defenders of Helm's Deep, you do get an idea of how hopeless our enemies ought to feel (as well as, it must be said, their civilian hostages---er, populations). So one can sort of see where Mortensen's coming from, if you automatically equate "weak" with "right". But, just as might does not make right, it does not make wrong, either, you stringy-haired meat puppet.