LET THEM COME!! - Like the Thunder of the Riders of Rohan...Fellowship of the Ring Special Features DVD Review
What could be more exciting for a Tolkien nut than to kick back on your OWN couch, with your own comfy blanket, the lights dimmed way low, and the Fellowship of the Ring DVD filling your living room with sights and sounds from Peter Jackson's vision of Middle Earth?
Well, speaking for book fans, we could probably say that kicking back on your own couch, with your comfy blanket, and your copy of the Lord of the Rings in hand is just as, if not more, exciting. But, it's August 6th, 2002, and there are millions of Tolkien fans, old and new, who are watching their brand new copy of PJ's Fellowship of the Ring. It is of that matter which we will write...
First off, the t shirt from Wal Mart is actually VERY cool. It's thick, white cotton with the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring letter logo on the left breast in black, (the New Line lettering), and then a huge circular print on the back of the One Ring inscription. Inside of the One Ring inscription is a larger version of the New Line logo except it's in gold. Truth be told, it looks pretty sassy.
Open your DVD and you have two discs inside with a nice trifold 'program' with scene by scene titles and scenes from the movie here and there. Your excitement, by this time, is beginning to build.
That is, until the book of Lord of the Rings merchandise coupons falls out of the cover and into your lap. OVER $300 IN DISCOUNTS AND SAVINGS (WITH PURCHASE). I actually felt sick at this point. Is THIS what Wellywood has done to my beloved Middle Earth mythology? Upon opening the coupon book, (what did you think I'd do? Burn it?), I am even more dismayed to find that I've already made purchases from about half of the vendors. Okay, I'll confess: Out of the 15 coupons that I counted, I've given my hard earned cash to 7 of the advertising vendors. I am aghast at myself. Truly.
And yet, there are at least 3 coupons that I would like to use for future purchases. In fact, who am I kidding? We all know that I will.
So, I place the coupon book in a safe place and dim the lights, put in the DVD, grab my blanket, and stretch out on the couch. I am going to allow myself to be thrilled to the extra features DVD, I've decided, and save the movie for my DVD party this coming Saturday night. I probably won't adhere to that creed, but for now, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead...sorta.....read at your own risk
I skip the first menu choices and head directly to the Special Edition Preview. What do I see before my astonished eyes? GILDOR INGLORION! A host of white, shining, and ethereal Elves walking through the Shire with Frodo and Sam looking on while Frodo explains that the Elves are heading to the Grey Havens. WOW. All shame from my earlier encounter with the coupon book has been banished; we're gettin to see more ELVES!!
And more Elves! The gift giving scene is, of course, there with an especially endearing preview of Galadriel and Gimli. Yes, there it is, folks, what John Rhys Davies described to us last year at DragonCon: Galadriel asking what a Dwarf would have from the Elves, and Gimli making his famous reply. Well, actually, he doesn't speak verbatim from the book. However, it's close enough.....I guess.
What else? Gollum floating on his log down the Anduin; the Hobbits dancing drunk on a table; the Fellowship parting from Rivendell and a last parting glance between Aragorn and Arwen; Aragorn introducing himself to Boromir as a "friend of Gandalf the Grey"; Aragorn at a statue in Rivendell...his mother? Not sure. Isildur putting ON the One Ring; Bilbo writing in his Red Book in Bag End as Gandalf approaches. In a word, mellyn, it's exquisite. It's all of the insightful, meaningful character development that New Line didn't want to risk another 30 minutes over in the theaters. Thank Eru that Peter Jackson insisted that they put them on the DVD and that it would be released before Two Towers.
Yet, you know what still seems to be missing? The friendship between Legolas and Gimli as described by Tolkien while the Fellowship is in Lothlorien. I hope I'm wrong, and maybe I'm being way too picky, but I didn't see any evidence. I hope I'm wrong.
LET THEM COME!
Oh yes! Theoden is going to be the type of King that one would INDEED swear allegiance to on bended knee! The Two Towers trailer that was attached to the Fellowship in March had a sensory tingling scene where Theoden is being armed and he is speaking of battle and glory. It was like seeing Henry V make his St. Crispin's day speech; I wanted to run home get my Glamdring and go racing off into the plains of Rohan, (hopefully with a nice, fast Rohan horse beneath me!) Well, there's a scene in The Two Towers preview section of the DVD that made me feel the same way. Theoden is right in Aragorn's face and asks, "How many?" Aragorn hesitates but a moment, then answers, "Ten thousand strong." Theoden's face becomes more determined as he turns on his heel and marches down the corridors of Meduseld, "LET THEM COME!" he cries! GO THEODEN!
The Behind the Scenes part of the special features has Peter Jackson driving you to the sets and special effects shops of the Two Towers post production. Let me tell you folks: Helm's Deep is going to ROCK. Richard Taylor makes a statement to the effect that Fellowship has been hailed as a masterful visual experience; he warns us to "just wait" until we see The Two Towers. The Helm's Deep scenes on this DVD made me totally and completely agree with Mr. Taylor. You think Moria was mind blowing? Ha.
Oh, and there are most definitely Elves at Helm's Deep. Haldir himself. Didn't see Arwen. Lots of Elven arrows flying into lots of Uruk Hai. Hmph.
Eowyn....yes, indeed, she will have no problem making people believe that it pained Aragorn to refuse her love. Mirando Otto, as Eowyn, has this wonderful, expressive face that lets you see the torment and passion that is behind our beloved heroine. Eowyn is going to steal the next movie, I am quite sure. She'll have some folks squealing that Aragorn sticks with Plan A to marry Arwen. That would be movie fan folks, of course, not book fans. We would never do that.
Wormtongue. Just like I always pictured him: a serpent in human form that makes me want to run screaming into the night. He looks like the kind of creature that you kill on sight JUST because it's bloody ugly. He's going to give me the creeps just as badly as Shelob will, I promise you.
You see a lot of Edoras in the TT preview and it is absolutely beautiful. Breathtaking, in fact. That picture of Eowyn standing on the steps of Meduseld, the wind blowing her dress, and the white mountains in the background is a classic. I tell you, Eowyn is going to steal the next film.
I took a quick glance at the Two Towers EA game preview while holding my breath. I'm a longtime PC gamer who does not yet own any type of console gaming unit. I was hoping to NOT have to buy a gaming console, but with EA's recent "hint" that they were not going forth with the PC version of this game, I may just have to do that. Just so you know, I'm NOT really happy about that. So, I went into this part of the DVD with a chip on my shoulder. There wasn't any coupon in the book for a PS2 or Game Boy Advance, you know! They could AT LEAST provide me with that and NOT the Gateway computer that's in there seeing as how no one is going to develop a PC version....
Ahem. Excuse me.
So I did view the game preview portion of the DVD. The claims that the game will make you think that you are playing inside of the movie are nose-stretching, Pinocchio style statements. However, I will admit that the gameplay looks very cool. The characters look very cool. We all just found out that the actors did do the voices. So, looks like I'll be buying a PS2. Sigh.
The rest of the special features most of us have seen:
- Houghton Mifflin's Welcome to Middle Earth
- Quest for the Ring FOX TV Special
- Sci Fi Channel's Middle Earth Special (I hadn't seen this one and really quite enjoyed it!)
- Website features (for those with slow internet connections? hmm)
- Theatrical Trailers (for Fellowship, not TTT)
- Enya Video (Okay, WHO edited this video?)
Am I glad that I bought this DVD, having already pre-ordered the super duper special extended edition with the cool Weta bookends?
I could do without the coupon book reminding me of how gullible I am, but other than that, I can honestly say that YES, I am very glad that I have my Fellowship DVD in my hands, in my house, NOW.
I think I'm gonna get one of those Middle Earth watches...the one with the map....you know, just in case.....
You can purchase the DVDs thru Amazon.com at the Tolkien Online DVD Store!