Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.
Most people in the United States and around the world met Peter Jackson upon the release of the first “Lord of the Rings” movie. A relatively lean cinematic experience, filled with impressive images and a pure love for the source material, “LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring” was an impressive entry into the public consciousness for Jackson. I knew of Jackson from his earlier works such as “Heavenly Creatures” and “The Frighteners” and, even though both movies weren’t commercial blockbusters, although “Heavenly Creatures” was a massive critical success, they heralded the arrival of a portly, jolly, talented Kiwi on to the world’s cinematic stage.
Jackson’s work on the first two LOTR movies was particularly impressive for a number of reasons: Firstly, for the sheer chutzpah in convincing a stingy studio to part with hundreds of millions of dollars to make three movies at one time; secondly, for his and his team’s very impressive job condensing some very dense books; and, finally, for eschewing CGI for as much reality as possible. The last point was particularly impressive since the first movie came out after the one movie that destroyed my belief in a benevolent God, “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” For these, and a number of other reasons, I ignored the complaints of my increasingly sore ass and sat for a combined six hours (albeit not at one time) to watch the first two LOTR movies.
While the pro-Jackson tide had started to turn before the end of the second LOTR movie, it sank the boat in the final movie of that series. I just couldn’t take the increasingly precious dialogue not to mention the final movie’s 14 endings! Every time I thought the movie was over, another ending would show up and, as I finally made my escape to the completely filled men’s bathroom, I swore that I would never watch another Jackson movie in the theater again. I truly appreciated this oath when “King King” was released and I realized that, more than any other filmmaker, Jackson believes in including every available punctuation and sentence in his movies. Now, some could propose that this kind of filmmaking gives you the best value for your dollar but I would retort that the health of your ass and bladder is worth more than that dollar and that Jackson’s ultimate mission is to burst the bladder of every loyal cinemagoer i.e. he is a bladder buster par excellence.
Now Jackson has turned the 320 page Hobbit novel into three movies; three movies! This is the kind of waste that the Taliban uses to propagate their anti-western theories. I am no fan of those bearded fanatics – wait, isn’t Jackson a bearded fanatic too? – but I can guarantee that if you take a young impressionable man and make him watch the Jackson oeuvre, that poor bastard will begin to hate everything that Jackson represents too. So, do yourself and the entire world a favor and give all “The Hobbit” movies a pass. Sure, the filmmakers will lose a bunch of money but think of all the good that will come if Jackson’s future movies have a running time of less than four hours and the Taliban lose an effective recruiting tool!