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"The Fellowship Of The Ring": review by Darth Sidious
The presently elated state of my gray matter | December 19th, 2001 | Darth Sidious

Posted on 12/19/2001 1:22:18 AM PST by Darth Sidious

Well, as of this moment it's now been an hour since we (the Lovely Lisa and yours truly) left the theater, after the 12:01 am first showing of The Fellowship Of The Ring. To say that a fun time was had by all would be an understatement: the place was packed! One knot of fans came in costume as Aragorn, elves etc. I brought a sign saying "Gandalf 3:16" I waved around before the movie. Lots of "Lord Of The Rings" discussion, including the ubiquitous "do Balrogs have wings" going on. I'd say the crowd ranged in age from 16 to 75 easily, with probably 20-35 being the most in attendance.

Oh yeah, and the movie... the movie...

At this point I want to say something - a three word phrase - but I'm trying awfully hard not to take the Lord's name in vain. It's commonly used, however, to indicate that one is completely and utterly overwhelmed by an event. And gosh-darnnit, I want to say those three words, over and over and over again... until it becomes absolutely clear to you, Dear Reader, that this writer has indeed become completely and utterly overwhelmed by this particular event.

Lisa had never done a midnight showing of a movie before. I'd been telling her the past few days that this would be "fun". 'Course, this comes from a guy who camped out overnight for tickets to Star Wars: Episode I a few years ago too, so my own senses may be kind of inured to this sort of nonsense. But to someone blessedly belonging to the realm of normal mortals, the idea of seeing a movie at midnight - unless it's Rocky Horror Picture Show - is still a bit peculiar. Still, the Episode I first showing was loads of fun, and Lisa trusted me enough to give this a whirl.

I'm thankful she went along for the ride. Years from now when we've a houseful of children, the little tykes are going to be in awe that Mommy and Daddy were among the very first to watch The Fellowship Of The Ring. As much as someone would be in awe of their parents being the first to see The Wizard Of Oz or Gone With The Wind.

Okay, the temptation is too great, but fill in the blank: oh my ___.

Oh my ___ oh my ___ oh my ___.

This is easily the best movie I've seen since The Patriot, and maybe the best I've seen ever. That'll have to wait 'til later this morning, when the full experience has "soaked in". Peter Jackson has raised the bar higher than any film has since the original Star Wars in '77. Indeed, The Fellowship Of The Ring may be the finest marrying of story and special-effects in film history: a wonderful fruit of the seed that was planted from George Lucas's endeavours. And if Star Wars is ever supplanted as the predominant saga of cinema, there is no more suitable an heir in sight than there is The Fellowship Of The Ring.

So if you're wondering how the first chapter of cinema's The Lord Of The Rings gets rolling without making a film of "The Hobbit" first, you're in for a treat. The first eight minutes sets the stage for both newcomers to the saga and die-hard Tolkienites, introducing the Rings of Power and who they were meant for, and how the One Ring wound up in the hands of Bilbo Baggins (Sir Ian Holm). I *loved* this part, because from the getgo it's laying down a history for what's to come. And probably the spookiest is when it shows the nine of the race of Men, who are given nine rings: I've always wondered who these nine guys were, what they looked like before they turned into the Ringwraiths, and somehow Jackson's interpretation was exactly what I imagined. If only the same could be said for Sauron...

Ahhhh, Sauron... the Lord of the Ring. We see him forge the One Ring to ensnare the others, and then in action during the most BRUTAL battle you could imagine. After you see Sauron, Darth Vader is a wuss. Darth Maul is a wuss. Darth I'm-A-Drunken-Soccer-Hooligan-And-You're-Shite-I'm-Gonna-Break-Your-Skull is a wuss even.

Okay, anyhoo... the story goes from a beautifully orchestrated intro to Frodo (Elijah Wood) meeting Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) en route to the Shire for Bilbo's 111th birthday party, and...

Ahhh, okay, look, it doesn't matter who's playing who in this film. I know who McKellen is, I know he played Magneto in X-Men and he's openly homosexual, and if anyone else has a problem with that, fine. I know a few Christians who have vocally said this is reason enough to boycott the film. Well, as a fellow believer I'll go on record as saying this film hits the mark closer than any other interpretation of Tolkien's overwhelmingly Christian-inspired work. That's NOT McKellen on the screen, that is Gandalf. Hugo Weaving isn't in this movie: Peter Jackson convinced Elrond to come back East across the Sea to play himself: the real Weaving is busy filming The Matrix Reloaded, so that can't be him.

I'm going to cut to the chase about The Fellowship Of The Ring, about how to watch it and get the most from it. It doesn't have Tom Bombadil and Goldberry in it. The barrow-downs scene is nowhere. The Council of Elrond is greatly abbreviated from how it's depicted in the original text. Arwen has a far greater presence than she has in the novel. A dozen differences and more will be enough to rankle some die-hard Rings fans... but don't worry about those. Go into The Fellowship Of The Ring with the mindset that this is a historical film... and as faithful to its historical matter as is Apollo 13 or Gettysburg. Tell yourself that this is a cinematic translation of the War of the Ring. That it doesn't matter if some of those things did or didn't happen inside the Apollo 13 capsule: they made it home and that's all that's really important. So too is it with this movie: tell yourself that this is one translation of a real historical event, just like Tolkien didn't invent the story, he merely translated it from the Red Book of Westmarch (collecting dust somewhere in some forgotten corner of the Oxford library). That this is a depiction of events as they happened 9,000 years ago. It doesn't matter that no one will ever find the ruins of Barad-Dur or Rivendell on this earth, because they aren't to be found.

But the metaphors and analogies in this movie are all quite true. This is a story centered on a metaphor for absolute power, symbolized in an innocent-looking gold band. It's a warning against seeking power for power's sake. It's about resisting the temptation of power, of refusing to yield to the lust for glory. And it's about the strength that is found, not in the gods of this world or the might of fortresses, but in accepting with the most abject humility that one must do what one can to stand against evil - however meek or mean the effort - in the time God has given us. As I have come to discover those aspects of life, so too do I believe that The Fellowship Of The Ring is a very true and real story... if only as analogy to our struggle against our own ring's temptings.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: tolkien
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In the two years I've been doing this for Free Republic, The Fellowship Of The Ring receives my heartiest recommendation. When this trilogy is complete it will stand as the greatest film ever made. I really believe that. Go see this movie today, it's opening day, if at all possible: tell your children and grandchildren that you were there on the first day of the film that will be to them what The Wizard Of Oz is to us.

We're going to see it again later today. For a movie that clocks in at just under three hours, that's gotta mean it's pretty good.

1 posted on 12/19/2001 1:22:18 AM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: lowbridge; JohnHuang2; Jeremiah Jr
Heads up.
2 posted on 12/19/2001 1:22:56 AM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: Rebelbase; Mercuria; Jefferson Adams
Heads up.
3 posted on 12/19/2001 1:23:44 AM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: GeronL; SauronOfMordor; incindiary; MouthOfSouth
Heads up.
4 posted on 12/19/2001 1:24:50 AM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: Darth Sidious
I knew I could count on my fellow Freepers for my 5:25AM "Tolkien Fix"! Thanks for the post, bud! (and CONGRATS on your engagement!)

Newborn Lurtz BUMP!

5 posted on 12/19/2001 1:24:57 AM PST by Caipirabob
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To: Darth Sidious
I've got 7 hours and 11 minutes before I go see it.
6 posted on 12/19/2001 1:24:59 AM PST by ipfreely
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To: ipfreely
6 hours, 5 minutes...

Damn, I'm a geek!

7 posted on 12/19/2001 1:26:16 AM PST by NYS_Eric
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To: Yakboy
I knew I could count on my fellow Freepers for my 5:25AM "Tolkien Fix"! Thanks for the post, bud! (and CONGRATS on your engagement!)

Thanks! (and glad to oblige :-)

Newborn Lurtz BUMP!

Won't spoil anything, but something happens to Lurtz towards the end that I couldn't help but say out loud "just a flesh wound" :-)

8 posted on 12/19/2001 1:30:17 AM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: Darth Sidious
Thanks for the ping, bro! =^)
9 posted on 12/19/2001 1:31:29 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: Darth Sidious
In the two years I've been doing this for Free Republic, The Fellowship Of The Ring receives my heartiest recommendation. When this trilogy is complete it will stand as the greatest film ever made. I really believe that.

Thanks for the very nice review, and I tend to agree with your comment above. And this movie will make a KILLING on 2nd and 3rd showings. I see probably 3 movies a year on average, but I FULLY intend to see this movie 3 times just by itself. Peter Jackson, you da MAN!

10 posted on 12/19/2001 1:32:06 AM PST by NYS_Eric
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To: NYS_Eric
It should also appeal strongly to families: not a single swearword anywhere, no mention of sex anywhere. There's the thing about Arwen choosing to live as a mortal when she joins her life to Aragorn's, but only this materialistic world could make something of that other than what it's meant to be: true love.

This is the very rare movie you could take your church's youth group to - or the whole church for that matter - and no one would feel ashamed or insulted or anything else like that. People are tired of that... and this movie (and to some extent, "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone") delivers an innocent alternative. Lord knows we need good medicine like this after a season of grief.

11 posted on 12/19/2001 1:39:10 AM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: Darth Sidious
"This is easily the best movie I've seen since The Patriot . . ."

Somehow I don't think they'll put this on any LOTR movie ads. Ouch. ^^

12 posted on 12/19/2001 1:39:36 AM PST by Harp
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To: NYS_Eric
6 hours 20 mins !!! And counting...
13 posted on 12/19/2001 1:41:14 AM PST by paul544
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To: Darth Sidious
Thanks, we are seeing it Monday.
14 posted on 12/19/2001 1:44:19 AM PST by beekeeper
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To: NYS_Eric
Join the club. I can't wait.
15 posted on 12/19/2001 1:46:03 AM PST by ipfreely
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To: Darth Sidious
For our family this movie has the distinction of being the first for which we purchased tickets in advance - over the Internet no less. We're waiting until Friday when it fits the kids' schedule...

Thanks for the review!

PS: Had this movie been reviewed as containing any liberal propoganda then, regardless of all else, we would have skipped it entirely.

16 posted on 12/19/2001 2:36:10 AM PST by The Duke
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To: Harp, Darth Sidious
Yeah Darth, I'm with you on the entire review except for that Patriot comment.

Maybe you meant that you hadn't seen a movie at all since the Patriot, in which case I retract my sneering look :)

17 posted on 12/19/2001 2:53:57 AM PST by Skywalk
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To: Darth Sidious
I think I may forgo my workplace responsibilities today and take my crew to the movie! (My wife isn't into it, unfortunately, and my kids are too young for orcs and gore and war...) Thanks for the review- Im half in mental Middle Earth this week with all the buzz!
18 posted on 12/19/2001 3:13:32 AM PST by ovrtaxt
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To: ovrtaxt
You need a new wife!
19 posted on 12/19/2001 3:18:15 AM PST by Skywalk
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To: Skywalk
Oh, her finer attributes more than make up for her fantasy/scifi shortcomings. When I talk to my friends about their marriages, Im only more thankful! She's like Arwen but completely immersed in the real world.
20 posted on 12/19/2001 3:21:46 AM PST by ovrtaxt
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To: ovrtaxt
Then for that, I congratulate you. I should be so lucky.
21 posted on 12/19/2001 3:24:51 AM PST by Skywalk
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To: Darth Sidious
This is a story centered on a metaphor for absolute power, symbolized in an innocent-looking gold band. It's a warning against seeking power for power's sake.

Hillary Clinton, take note.

22 posted on 12/19/2001 3:37:15 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: Darth Sidious
Wow. An o'dark early review after a midnight showing - and a well written one at that.

I owe you a flagon of mead, a laurel, and hardy handshake - to mix movie metaphors.

Well done, lad. Well done.

23 posted on 12/19/2001 3:39:29 AM PST by LTCJ
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To: Darth Sidious
Uh-Oh! If Freepers love this movie then this means the liberals are going to have to find fault with it. I wonder what the DemocraticUnderground take on LOTR will be?
24 posted on 12/19/2001 3:40:50 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Don't worry. When the third film brings the Easterlings, Haradrim and Far Haradrim in as friends of Sauron, we'll hear plenty of howls ;)
25 posted on 12/19/2001 3:45:06 AM PST by Skywalk
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To: Darth Sidious
I also knew that SOMEONE here at FR would give me a heads-up early review... I'll have to see it today... and I may enter the theater but never leave. I may be transported to Middle-Earth, never to be seen in the mundane world again - who knows?
26 posted on 12/19/2001 4:03:46 AM PST by muffaletaman
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To: muffaletaman
I was going to post a favorable review of LOTR from the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel but this Freeper review was so much better that I refrained from doing so.
27 posted on 12/19/2001 4:07:01 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: muffaletaman
I think there's still a "Straight Road" to Valinor.
28 posted on 12/19/2001 4:15:09 AM PST by Skywalk
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: ecurbh
Wanna ping the ringers?
30 posted on 12/19/2001 4:34:17 AM PST by Texas2step
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To: ecurbh
Oh, while you at it, got some others who want to be added to your one ping list...

Overtaxed
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
frodolives
Rainbow Rising

Gonna be a great day!!!

31 posted on 12/19/2001 4:40:52 AM PST by Texas2step
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To: Darth Sidious
I can't tell you how annoyed I am with you right now! I can't see this movie for at least another week, which I've grudgingly come to accept, but now you've gone and written this piece. Delayed gratification sucks! ARGHHHHHHHHH!!! ,-)
32 posted on 12/19/2001 4:43:55 AM PST by FrdmLvr
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To: jrherreid; HairOfTheDog; RosieCotton; billbears; ObfusGate; austinTparty; Texas2step; jrherreid...
Good morning pingees! The day has arrived. It is going to be hard to think about anything remotely work-related for the next 9 and half hours.
33 posted on 12/19/2001 5:59:15 AM PST by ecurbh
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To: NYS_Eric
So am I!

Bought my tickets this morning for tomorrow's night show. Trying desperately to finish Return of the King so I can say I've read the books before I go.

The books are fantastic. Looking forward to Merry and Pippin...

34 posted on 12/19/2001 6:04:51 AM PST by carton253
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To: Darth Sidious
I saw it too. He dies in the end. Dang.
35 posted on 12/19/2001 6:10:48 AM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: JohnHuang2
I did not know you were a ringer! Cool!
36 posted on 12/19/2001 6:12:51 AM PST by Texas2step
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To: Darth Sidious
Darth,

Thanks for the movie review. I'm a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and all of his books (I'm currently re-reading the trilogy). I plan to see the movie with my parents, brother and sister-in-law today at 4 p.m.

- Un-PC.

37 posted on 12/19/2001 6:16:45 AM PST by Un-PC
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To: Texas2step
Please add me to the Ring Ping list, if you can! I've been lurking and enjoying the anticipation here for a few weeks. My wife and I have tickets for Saturday - our first date without our 3 young sons in well over a year. Hooray!! I'm wrapping up "Finding God in the Lord of the Rings" this week, having finished the Return of the King last month for the first time in several years. Enjoy, all!! And hey, lets be grateful to actually find something like common ground with the leftists on this at least. Maybe the movie will turn a few of them. Stranger things have happened...
38 posted on 12/19/2001 6:23:45 AM PST by Wordsmith
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To: paul544
2 hours and 50 minutes to go and I can't sit still!!!!
39 posted on 12/19/2001 6:25:27 AM PST by billbears
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To: Darth Sidious
Thank you for this review!

It warms my heart to know that you shared this with your soon-to-be bride. My husband and I have been married 10 years this coming Saturday and we're going to see the LOTR to celebrate. It is the first time in our married life that we've gone to the movies.

40 posted on 12/19/2001 6:31:51 AM PST by 2Jedismom
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To: Darth Sidious
Thanks for the first report!!! I am very excited about this!!!!
41 posted on 12/19/2001 6:36:35 AM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: The Duke
For our family this movie has the distinction of being the first for which we purchased tickets in advance - over the Internet no less. We're waiting until Friday when it fits the kids' schedule...

Well, we didn't get them over the Internet, but we DID get them Monday night for a Friday afternoon showing. The oldest gets in from college EARLY Fri. morning, and the 2nd oldest flies in from college in Pittsburgh at 1:10 pm Fri., and we're driving back home and then ALL SIX of us are going to the movies!! It will be great to go to a movie that all of us can watch and enjoy together.

Sir SuziQ even passed up an outing with a group at work who are going to see the movie tomorrow at noon to wait and go with us on Friday. WHAT A GUY! We're all excited about the film. I even gave Sir SuziQ one of his Crhistmas gifts early (the soundtrack to the movie), so he could tape it for a business trip today. Yeah, we're all hopeless geeks, what can I say?

42 posted on 12/19/2001 6:44:19 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: Darth Sidious
Mmmmm....Me precious....mmm..you like, good.
43 posted on 12/19/2001 6:44:56 AM PST by Rebelbase
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To: Darth Sidious
Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait.....
44 posted on 12/19/2001 6:48:25 AM PST by Reborn
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To: Reborn
AAhhhhhhhhhh, a FReeper has seen, liked, loved -- a little over 4 hours and we too will enter Middle Earth!

THANK YOU

45 posted on 12/19/2001 6:57:58 AM PST by Cascadians
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To: Darth Sidious
I brought a sign saying "Gandalf 3:16"

That is great! Very funny.

I am a sci-fi fan who has not read the books, having always "meant to". Now I will not until I see the movies because it sounds like I will get even more out of the books AFTER the movies.

I know that Tolkein was a devout Christian but it is my understanding that Norse mythology really inspired his work. While Christianity did inspire him, Tolkein rejected the notion that he was doing any sort of allegory in any way.

Lord of the Rings, by Tolkein's own admission, is not any sort of "Christian story" so I don't see why this movie should be boycotted any more than any other movie. Of course, any actor has committed sin, even the most devoutly religious one. If the issue is that they publicly flaunt it, well, a lot of straight actors do that, too.

46 posted on 12/19/2001 7:03:02 AM PST by AmishDude
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To: Darth Sidious
Okay. Here's the deal. Never read any Tolkien. (My mom, 71, has read all three of this particular trilogy.) I've read some C.S. Lewis. My husband, (not a reader by any stretch) says he doesn't think I'll like this movie because it contains scorcery. But my understanding is that the story is allegorical, in much the same way as the Narnia books are. So settle a marital disagreement, who is right? Thanks in advance. There are SO few movies I care to see. I also loved The Patriot (although I hid my eyes during one battle scene).
47 posted on 12/19/2001 7:03:06 AM PST by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch
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To: Darth Sidious
Bump.
48 posted on 12/19/2001 7:15:09 AM PST by Brett66
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To: Darth Sidious
I absolutely loved the movie, but then again I am a fan of the books. My wife thought the movie was great, but not spectacular, but kept raving about how wonderful she thought Natalie Portman's dresses were in the Star Wars trailer. Mars and Venus thing I suppose. We both thought Viggo Mortensen did an amazing job as Aragorn/Strider. She never read the books, but found his acting amazing. I was very pleasantly surprised by Elijah Wood. He became Frodo for me.
49 posted on 12/19/2001 7:17:53 AM PST by dogbyte12
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To: Darth Sidious
Last night was the first time I ever went to a midnight movie. I have waited over thirty years to see 'The Lord of the Rings.' It was well worth the wait. Thanks and kudos to Peter Jackson and company.

I could quibble about condensations, ommissions and the like. But it would be for nought. The movie works so well and on so many levels, and tells Tolkien's magnificent tale so very beautifully, that to concern oneself with such specious notions would be indeed craven.

Tomorrow, I'm taking my stepson to see it when he gets in town for Christmas vacation. For those of you who get to see it, I think you will agree that three words sum up the experience as the post credits are shown: ROLL THE SEQUEL!

50 posted on 12/19/2001 7:24:48 AM PST by genew
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