Saturday, December 27, 2003


Piker intended to live at the movie theater this holiday season. It hasn't quite worked out that way, but Piker has seen two movies. The first was Bad Santa, which had its funny moments but was ultimately unsatisfying and nothing special. Yesterday, Piker saw The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. It too had its funny moments, but was ultimately one of the most satisfying and special movies Piker has even seen. Piker actually shed tears in the third Act. The trilogy as a whole was such a powerful experience. What amazed Piker most was the combination of technical mastery of the visual world of Tolkien's books and the sterling storytelling structure that leads to a highly emotional experience. Peter Jackson obviously deserves much of the credit as director of this massive undertaking. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is so humongus in scope and so technical and complicated that what may get lost in talking about these films is Jackson's work with the actors. He elicits so many great acting performances, both large and small, and accomplishes the elusive cohesion that every director strives for, where every part serves the whole. In fact, every last detail on that screen displays the work of a master filmmaker getting the very best work out of hundreds and hundreds of people who participated in mounting this epic series. Not since the first Star Wars trilogy has such a saga captured the imagination of a movie-going generation.

I first read "The Hobbit" in seventh grade. Tolkien's world was etched in my little Piker brain, but for some reason, I never read The Lord of the Rings trilogy of books. In a way, I'm glad. It allowed me to view the movies with fresh eyes and that child-like sense of wonder of what would happen next. Now that I've seen the entire trilogy up on that big screen, I'm ready to tackle the series of books. In fact, I'm more psyched than ever to read them.

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