Thursday, March 04, 2004

on the heels of the oscar triumph

The people closest to me know how hung up I have been about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Ever since Darwin and DaMike introduced me to these books in the early nineties, I had always been enchanted by Middle-Earth, its races, its history and the epic saga that is the Lord of the Rings.

If fantasy were a religion (and for some it is), then I heard High Mass last December 17 (then again on January 11, and yet again on January 17). I watched the culmination of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King. And what a resounding Return it was. It was worth standing in line for three hours to get in for free at the GenTxt premiere (it was a spur-of-the-moment thing and I'm glad that S. talked me into it). It was worth watching twice over.

Mike the Collector (who is the only person I actually know who has the talking Treebeard and Saruman action figures) was hedging his bets on the Eowyn action figure. And after the movie and her quite-predictable though nicely-delivered line, I think that may just be the case. Meanwhile, I didn't know that the action figures were already available, and so I missed the chance to get the Legolas for Return of the King. No matter, I still have the Legolas dolly from Two Towers. I heard it fetches a hefty (hefty? I really am low on cash!) PhP1,000 nowadays, and mine's in mint condition since I don't fancy playing with it anyway.

I wonder if the prices of the action figures will be given an additional boost because of the triumph at the Academy Awards. I do know that this third installment of Lord of the rings has now grossed one billion dollars worldwide. The only film to have made more is Titanic (which, we all know, had Leonardo di Caprio, Kate Winslet's boobies and which a lot of people watched 10 times), and like that movie, the Lord of the Rings trilogy will go down in movie history--and this one as one of the greatest movies ever made (haha, sorry Titanic fans). Note that I still consider the three films as one movie; and the triumph, of course, belongs to the entire trilogy. I hope this will pave the way for more forays into the fantasy genre... who knows, Dungeons and Dragons could have been a better film.

Professor J.R.R. Tolkien's moving, fantastic story revolutionized the fantasy genre, elevating it from widespread fairy tales and folklore to a creation of a whole different world where we were moved by and could relate with the characters, but were still in awe of them. Although there may have been previous attempts on the fantasy genre, and many succeeding attempts, including my favorite Dragonlance series, the Middle-Earth books remain the genre's definitive work.

But most of all, I like being taken to Middle-Earth, much more than I like being taken to a galaxy far, far away. Although there are many complexities in the story, despite the intricacies of such relationships as half-Elven Elrond and Aragorn's or that of the mad Steward of Gondor and his sons, the basic rule stays: it is the battle between good and evil. Evil is plainly manifested in the Eye of Sauron, the Witch-King of Angmar, the Nazghul, the Urukhai--they are ugly, selfish and vile. These may be metaphors for industrialization and pollution, but to fight the simplistic fight, when all around you now you do not know who are truly evil, or who can truly do good, to know simply who is good and who is evil and to fight that fight, that is one of the attractions that Tolkien's saga holds for me.

That, and the message that there is always hope. Even in the most humble of packages such as halflings.

Meanwhile, I will schedule a marathon viewing of the extended editions of the three films as soon as the RoTK extended DVD comes out. I am quite excited. Don't bother me for twelve hours.

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