Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring -- Extended Edition

Welcome to this week's edition of Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I go through my DVDs, watch one, and blog about it.  This week, we start on Peter Jackson's extended editions of his epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.  Yup, it's the Fellowship of the Ring.  This entry is originally dated June 17, 2012.

So.  Lord of the Rings.

I'm pretty sure I've blogged this several times before.  I love The Hobbit.  First read it in Grade 6.  Read it a few more times afterwords.  Love it love it love it.  But I've never been able to read The Lord of the Rings.  I'm sorry, but the books are so boring.  They get so bogged down with exposition.  The furthest I've ever been able to make it is about three chapters in to The Two Towers.  Each new years eve, ever since Christmas 1989 when I was given a really nice boxed set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I've vowed "This is going to be the year!"  And each year I fail.

The last time I made a concentrated effort to make it through the books was when the movies were on the horizon.  But that never came to be.  Now the movies were pretty good.  I did enjoy them.  And, as some have pointed out, that trilogy of movies is now THE trilogy for a whole new generation.  And one thing I liked about the movies was all the boring exposition stuff that bogs down the books got left on the cutting room floor.  Which is why I've never held any interest in getting the extended editions.  From what I gather with the extended editions, all they really did was put the boring exposition stuff back in.

You've got to admire Peter Jackson, though, with his attitude towards the extended editions.  He's not like George Lucas and the Star Wars Special Editions, who's all like, "The Special Editions are the only editions!  NO OTHER EDITIONS EXIST!!"  But when the question is put to Jackson, as to which version is the final version, he goes into the differences between seeing a movie in the theatres and seeing it at home.  He recognizes that it's two different media, and each version is tailored for its specific medium.  For example, when watching a movie at home, you can pause it to take a pee break.  Can't do that in the theatre.  Therefore, he'll tell you that the theatrical version are the final version for theatres, and the extended editions are the final versions for home media. 

I have the theatrical versions on DVD, and they're fine by me.  As I've blogged before, I'm not in a big rush to upgrade a lot of my DVDs to Blu-Ray, because I don't have the HDTV yet to fully enjoy Blu-Ray.  So when the extended editions came to Blu-Ray last year, and the geeks started geeking out, I just kind of shrugged in indifference.  However, whenever I got the e-mail from Amazon saying it was marked down from $120 to $50 in one of their one-day sales, I'd look and go, "Ooo.  That's a good price.  I'm fairly indifferent, but at that price...."  So, the other day, I was in HMV, and saw it marked down to $50, and thought, "Ooo...at that price, why not?" 

I know that, with a trilogy like this, the big thing is to watch all three films in one sitting.  However, with the 10+ hours of the extended edition trilogy, I had no desire to do that.  I also bought Superman vs. The Elite (look for the review on my other blog) and wanted to watch that.  Plus, it was a sunny enough day that I wanted to enjoy some sunshine.  But I did at least clear my afternoon to watch The Fellowship of the Ring.

I'd actually watched the theatrical edition of Fellowship not too long ago.  (Don`t bother looking through previous entries...it was before I decided to resurrect this.)  I had just seen the trailer for The Hobbit and I was kind of craving it.  So, the theatrical version was still fresh in my mind.  No need to recount the plot because, if you read my blog, there's a pretty good chance you've read the books and/or own the movies yourself.

I was expecting a lot of the boring exposition stuff to be put back in in the movie, but I'm glad to see that wasn't the case.  The example of boring exposition stuff that I always point to is the Council of Elrond scene, where the Fellowship is formed and they set off on their quest.  In the books, that scene goes on and on and on and on as all the characters bring up previous wars and skirmishes...seriously, it's like reading the minutes of a town council meeting.  So stuff like that wasn't put back in.  Luckily, what was put back in were wonderful little character moments that really added depth to a lot of the characters.

For example, Boromir.  There's a lot more stuff with Boromir, and I came away viewing him as a more sympathetic character.  In the theatrical editions, he does seem like a bit of a power-mad jerk the way he covets the Ring.  But in the extended edition, you can see that he's actually quite desperate to save his people, and sees the Ring as being a means to help him.  Makes his fall a little more tragic.

Or another addition, when the Fellowship first leaves Rivendell.  Gandalf calls for Frodo to lead them, but as soon as they leave the gates, Frodo whispers to Gandalf that he doesn't know which way to go, and Gandalf tells him to turn left.  Just a little scene, but it shows you how dependent Frodo is on Gandalf, and what a blow it is when Gandalf dies. 

Another one, when the Fellowship leaves Lothlorien.  In the theatrical version, she only gives Frodo that gift of the glowing water.  In the extended edition, everyone gets a gift, and it helps to illuminate their characters.

Sadly, I don't think I'll be doing The Two Towers and The Return of the King next.  I did order Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and John Carter from Amazon, so those'll go to the top of my "to-watch" list.  If I get a long weekend coming up, I'll probably watch the entire trilogy.  But until then, the Fellowship will have to do.

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