Christmas this year has not felt at all Christmas like sadly, due to working more now than any other time this year, which is perverse beyond belief when you consider it’s supposed to be a fairly global holiday season. I shall say no more for fear of falling into another huge rant at the retail industry. Nay, instead i shall inform you that Monday saw myself, Mike G, Matt and Kath doing some Christmas shopping in Hanley followed by a KFC and then…Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. Anticipation for this film was high, and not just from me. Oh how i remember going to watch Fellowship two years ago, my hands clammy with excitement for the first instalment of my favourite book ever, my friends mostly oblivious to the story into which they were about to be propelled. I remember raving about it, going to see it, and emerging with a happy happy glow when i saw Peter Jackson had done more than well, and that my friends were raving about the film. I saw it a further seven times at the cinema. As i stood in the queue to get the tickets for ROTK i also cast my mind back to a year ago, my hands had been clammy with excitement and a fearful foreboding for The Two Towers. Had Fellowship been a fluke? Had the few shaky reports from the internet been true or not? How far had Jackson strayed from the book this time? My friends emerged from watching TTT more excited than from Fellowship, they had been pulled into the world of Tolkien hook line and sinker, and it was great to see them share my appreciation for the story. Yet i was disappointed. For all the films accomplishments, it had been over cut to squeeze it into the cinema, parts made little sense, and what the hell were elves doing at Helms Deep? I feared for ROTK. I saw TTT only once more at the cinema, though i feel it was almost totally vindicated in the Extended DVD edition, where much of the story was restored. I also finally agreed that Elves at Helms Deep was a reasonable deviation from the book, seeing as it replaced some of the colour and shading of the world and characters that otherwise could not be reproduced in film. It was true to Tolkiens spirit, if not his words.
By the time i’d finished running through all that we had sat down in the cinema, and Return Of The King was starting. The cinema became quiet. Smeagol appeared on screen and i loved the concept…to cut to the chase, ROTK turned out to be a mixed bag of goodness. Although the start was a little shaky in my opinion, and had very clearly been hacked gratuitously to get the film down to size, the rest of the film was beyond brilliant. I can forgive the sometimes shaky effects (there’s some poor bluescreen), the slight plays to hollywood (legolas surfing an oliphant), because the rest of the film is so incredible. It is uncanny that you can get vertigo from watching a bit of film. That you can take in one hundred thousand orcs in formation blotting out the entire scene, from horizon to horizon, with one white city besieged in the middle, clearly about to be destroyed. The battle of Minas Tirith is without doubt one of the most awe inspiring spectacles ever committed to film. Imagain Zulu, or even Helms Deep from TTT but inflated to a scale almost beyond comprehension. Seriously, those numbers just don’t count until you see them on screen.
We left ROTK very very happy, and frankly i am dying to see the Extended version in the hope of restoring the beginning of the film to it’s original brilliance (it’s obvious there’s a lot more there, but it just doesn’t get shown).
Yesterday was Christmas Day, which was great, because i wasn’t working! My little brother had a remote control hovercraft, and a few GameCube games amongst his toys, my sister got a TV (something we were never ever allowed to have) and i got a Stearling Silver One Ring (the LOTR ring). I had guessed i might get it after my sister wandered in one day with a ring size chart and got me to check what size i was. I had been convinced it was going to be very sad if i got that, but actually seeing it, it’s a very nice ring indeed. I’m quite chuffed with it in the end Sadly though it’s too big for me as my parents got it before Kath got around to her oh-so-subtle inquiries. I have to find time in my dinner hour tomorrow to go get it changed for one that -doesn’t- fly off my finger of it’s own accord.
Today is Boxing day, and after work it was the semi-traditional ‘around the grandparents’ night, and i was surprised to see Matt was in attendance, in addition to my Aunt Shiela and Cousin Joanna. It was nice to see them again, especially considering i’m about five or six years older than the last time i saw Jo - both adults this time around! how scary! :lol We had a nice few hours eating and talking, before Matt Kath and myself left for our respective homes due to general tiredness and impending work.