My Lord of the Rings Fan-Girly Mission.

I got into a bad habit a few years back, watching the same films, TV series etc. over and over again. It was mainly to try to ease my insomnia and to give me a sense of comfort when the world was falling apart around me. I guess that’s why fantasy films grabbed me so thoroughly. I’ve probably watched Lord of the Rings about 30 times per film. At about the same time I pretty much stopped reading, stopped listening to music and got stuck in a bit of a World of Warcraft related rut. I want to do something to change that. I want to have interesting things to do. I love films, books and music, so I came up with a plan!

So by putting it on the internet, I’m going to make it official, so here is my plan. I plan to watch a different film each month, but in order to make it easier, I’m going to choose films according to the spectacular cast of Lord of the Rings. (Basically stalking in film form?) I’ve already got this month’s done entirely by accident. It was the J.J. Abrams Star Trek (not the new one, that’s not out yet, the one from last year!).

The reason I think this will work is that the cast of LotR is firstly HUGE, there’s a lot of actors that have been working a long time (bear in mind they were made ten years ago, and most of the actors in it were reasonably established) and on top of that, if you follow their careers you get to some incredibly amazing films, and hopefully the plan is to get to some films I’d not normally watch. (Particularly when following Viggo Mortensen doing things like Eastern Promises, or Christopher Lee in Star Wars…)

Yes, I know I’ve never seen Star Wars. I’ve seen the Clone one. I’ve tried to watch the rest, but it’s just kinda… not me. Yes, you can lynch me later.

But anyway, that’s my plan. I’m going to watch at least one film a month (or significant chunks of a TV series.. *points at Lost and Game of Thrones*) in an attempt to broaden my “cultural horizons” and not just watch things with hobbits or Hugh Jackman in it.

I’ve made a list of the Films/TV I’ve already seen before starting this “challenge”: (Focussing mainly on the fellowship itself.

  • Elijah Wood – Back to the Future II, Flipper, Deep Impact, The Faculty, Happy Feet
  • Sean Astin – Toy Soldiers,
  • Sean Bean – GoldenEye, Equilibrium, Troy, National Treasure, The Island, Accused (BBC TV),
  • Orlando Bloom – Midsomer Murders (killed with a pitchfork), 3 of 4 of the Pirates films, Troy, Extras (he’s flipping hilarious),
  • Billy Boyd – Does listening to a lot of Beecake count? He also did a great documentary thing broadcast recently on BBC Radio 4 extra where he charted the adaptations of Lord of the Rings over time.
  • Ian McKellen – The 3 X-men films, The Da Vinci Code, Stardust, The Golden Compass, Doctor Who (The snowmen episode)
  • Dominic Monaghan – I Sell the Dead, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Lost (only seen Season 1 though)
  • Viggo Mortensen – *hangs head in shame* Haven’t watched anything. I read some of his poetry and love his photography and art though.
  • John Rhys-Davies – I think I’ve probably seen some of the Indiana Jones ones, and probably the Lost World, I’ve definitely seen him as Leonardo Da Vinci in Star Trek: Voyager, Princess Diaries 2 (don’t look at me like that, I had PMS and was back spasms!) and he narrated Pinky and the Brain (that might be stretching the cultural relevance a bit?)
  • Christopher Lee not in the fellowship, but Hammer films amuse me – many Hammer Horror films, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Diagnosis: Murder, Return from Witch Mountain, At least one of the Musketeers films, Sleepy Hollow, Gormenghast <3, The Clone-based crap-Star Wars, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Golden Compass, Christopher Lee’s Fireside Tales (BBC Radio 4)
  • Karl Urban – not technically in the fellowship, but very handsome – I’m sure I must have seen him as Cupid in Hercules, and probably Xena too, The Bourne Supremacy, and now… Star Wars as well!

In fact, in the last two days, I’ve watched two films for this! Yesterday I watched Star Trek (Karl Urban – Bones) and Happy Feet today (Elijah Wood – the voice of Mumble).

The Star Trek film was good. It was better than I thought it would be. I do like Star Trek, with my favourite series being Enterprise, followed by Voyager, the original series, then Next Generation probably. I prefer the people to be believable, and to actually struggle occasionally. That and I hate the empath who works with Cpt Picard. I struggle when the female characters are whimsical I think. Anyway, back to the film, the storyline was alright, a bit twisted and strange, but ok. I found the characters of Kirk and Spock hard to believe, because of the lack of doubt. Maybe it’s just me, but the lack of fear/panic in Kirk and the lack of “logic” in some of Kirk’s actions seemed strange, and all the more strange now I come to think about it after watching the film. Karl Urban is hardly in the film, truth be told, but I did like his portrayal of Bones. He captured the lack of deference for authority well, and I love the sarcasm. Especially the bit with the incessant vaccines.

So, onto Happy Feet. I’m always a bit over-cautious when it comes to American kids’ films. They tend to have an overly-soppy sentimental message or teaching buried in there somewhere, and of course this is no different. “Clean up the planet or the penguins will be sad” isn’t a bad message I suppose, but I hate the permanent teaching of kids. Sometimes films don’t need a “message” sometimes it’s OK for there to just be a story! Having said that, I did like the film, I’d probably not watch it again, and I’d think it’s definitely got nothing on Monsters Inc. or Finding Nemo.

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Recommendations please!!

I’m on my own for a whole week, it’s snowing outside so I can’t really go out much (bendy problems suck!) so I’d like it if you lovely internet people could recommend a film or two to keep me occupied during the week. I’ve currently got on my list:

  • The Crow – I seem to remember watching this when I was a teen, but can’t remember much of it.
  • The Road – Working my way through Viggo Mortensen’s films and this one looks amazing.
  • I Sell the Dead – Seen it already – really funny and yet a bit creepy, definitely worth a re-watch. Dominic Monaghan is great as Arthur and the ending was quite unexpected.

Maybe I should have a fellowship weekend – watching a film by each of the members of the Lord of the Rings fellowship. I’d probably not have that much time spare though? Does give me an excuse to watch Equilibrium though.

I’m also hoping to finish Straken by Terry Brooks this week (Which is so cheap on Amazon, Cheap second hand books will ruin my finances!!). In Brooks’ books there tends to be a point by which you’re surprised nobody’s died… I’ve reached it and have been a bit terrified to read on. Got to though because then I can start on Gormenghast which was my Christmas present. I tried to read it years ago because I loved the BBC adaptation of it (It’s where I developed a slight Rhys-Meyers obsession I think)

And yes, I will do dissertation work – but if I exclusively look at statistics, my brain will melt.

For now though, I am going back to my warm double bed, with a cup of tea and some chocolate to listen to the final instalment of Neverwhere, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Well done BBC!

Weta are remaking Thunderbirds!

Weta are remaking Thunderbirds!

I’m so excited about this, Weta Digital are going to re-make Thunderbirds.

I love Thunderbirds because:

  1. It’s a great story.
  2. It’s nice idea that someone can come along and fix everything.
  3. It has great female role models unlike so many other sci-fi series. Lady Penelope really does kick ass.
  4. Everything in it is something you actually could make as a child, with enough yoghurt pots.
  5. It’s nice that all the boys are mildly (to extremely) techy and nerdy – and yet they still get to be the heroes!

Weta digital is the workshop responsible for the special-effects in the Lord of the Rings and Avatar. This means they created the Gollum that you see in the films!

Though it will be weird to see the Tracy boys without strings attached, I really look forward to seeing this concept without giggling about the bad puppetry.

As an additional note, I am writing this using my dictation software. It has had a few problems with my accent (mild Bristolian) specifically the words yoghurt and ass but other than that it worked pretty well. It even recognized Gollum! I didn’t even have to train it to do that!