Thursday, November 20, 2003

#67. Lord of the Rings

Yeah, so I ended that caption thing Monday evening, not long after I made that entry. Yup.

Back to wrestling news, then. The question of whether I want to be spoiled seemed to be a prescient concern here. With, I hear everything that's rumored, am soiled as to what will happen; generally every development that happens becomes less about the experience of it, the surprise, than the scripted story that it really is. We all know professional wrestling isn't real. Sure, the athleticism needed is real, but the match results, the feuds, they're all predetermined. Champions aren't champions because they're the best (although this is true of every winner; it's more chance than necessarily worthiness that awards such titles), but because they're crowd-pleasing, or the development suits what the writers have in mind. (David Arquette as WCW champion was definitely more about stunt, the current angle.) used to do a lot of this, and regardless of the reasons why it no longer does, it serves my interests more now. The commentaries they manage are now mostly worthless, but they do have this "wrestler of the week" feature, and that's perhaps the best thing they've ever done, and unlike the wrestler rankings they tried some time ago, they've generally stuck with it. Sometimes they're massively hypocritical, but that's just life.

And to further embellish the Jackson of the Rings beef. I enjoyed Fellowship of the Ring. It's vastly superior to the hack work done in The Two Towers. Maybe this is because it made a semblance of a pass at characterization. Gandalf here not only has more to do, but Ian McKellan is allowed to do so much more. Is it the presence of Sean Bean as Boromir? Jackson has a complete story to tell there, and even though he botches the beginning of it in his efforts to minimize the council at Rivendell, he still must see it to the end. His embellishment of Boromir's demise is effective. But in the next film, Boromir's brother Faramir (the acting portraying whom looks nothing like Bean) is subject to another hack job, but there's nothing to this. Jackson has taken the approach that this film can't possibly be seen alone, therefore nothing really has to make sense since we're just passing through. Even in The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions there's a definite sense of where one story ends and the other begins. It's the old cliffhanger that does it. Jackson instead chooses an approach that on the surface is similar, suggesting in the end that Gollum is indeed leading Frodo and Sam into a trap, but he's used Gollum so much as a joke that this revelation doesn't have as much resonance. Bane is a mysterious individual whom the Matrix audiences have been given enough suggestions for as to what he's ultimately up to (no good), whereas Jackson has indulged himself in the computer effects of Gollum and the quasi-depth he has (the inner struggle) and how Frodo and Sam see different sides of him, but he portrays all this in such an ineffectual way that we never understand why Sam dislikes him other than he simply does and why Frodo cares for him other than he simply does. We are meant to believe that Frodo sympathizes with this creature, but this is more inference on the part of the audience than what's up there on the screen, and so the film itself comes of utterly lacking. And given that Jackson only goes with the minimal amount of suggestion in favor of his embellishing of a romance between Aragorn and Arwen (all the while ignoring other elements of Aragorn's character and development during the epic), we begin to see where his priorities lie. It's the look of it. Why do you think people were so awed by Gollum's appearance? Because the worth of these films is in the artistic achievement, exactly what Jackon's strength is. And I still have problems even with that. Gollum is not as impressive as he could be; he's another victim of Jackson's lack of refinement.

Must I go on? Well, not today.

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