According to Ali:

The universe revised and edited as necessary for sanity.


Today's Offering:


The Loyal Opposition


Maybe this is just the pol sci major in me, but I feel the overwhelming need to stir up some trouble (well, it could also have to do with the fact that I'm bored, and trouble is always a fun remedy for that situation). At any rate, SW Purists may want to leave now, because I'm going to weigh in on the SW/LOTR film debates.

That's right, boys and girls, the Star Wars Trilogy lost.

You're still here? Perhaps you're just preparing the straightjacket? Allow me to continue.

First the requisite disclaimers: 1) I am not abandoning Star Wars, 2) I am not being compelled to write this against my will, and 3) I am NOT going to pull that tired cop out arg "You can't compare the two--they're different stories.

Also for the record, I am also not going to say "Tolkein started it all, there's no competition." There's LOTS of room for competition. Both films are seminal in the genre (by which I mean that they are the films that truly define sci-fi/fantasy in the public psyche). I have taken my seven year old brother to see LOTR, and it has made a tremendous impact on him (carefully not mentioning the fact that he, like me, now wants to either shoot or stab everything in sight, Legolas-style). Hell, it made a tremendous, four-times-in-the-much-hated-theater impact on ME. But, of course, it's time for me to elaborate.

I hadn't read the Ring Cycle. I tried the Hobbit in high school, but visions of that horrendous 70's cartoon kept dancing in my mind, and I threw it away in disgust.

Until they got Elijah Wood to be Frodo. THAT was one hobbit I could see myself liking (no bowl cut=good feelings from Asyr). But I had a strict no books/no movie policy. So my brother got me the series for Christmas.

Read it in three days.

Had to see the movie. (And believe me, this is relevant, your Honor. If I could be allowed to continue. All right, Mr. Matlock, I'll allow it. For now. Ooh, too much TV!)

I was honestly impressed. Really. My loyal readers (all three of them) will know that I am a purist. But the movie, in most cases, was dead on. Bag End was perfect. Strider was perfect. Elrond (although this is disputed) was perfect. I did have issues, though.

Issue #1: The time lapse. This could have been included without much pain, and I really don't like the idea of loosing twenty years without a by-your-leave.

Issue #2: Elrond and Isildur in Mount Doom. Dumb.

Issue #3: Galadriel doesn't show Sam the mirror/give him a present. This makes me worry for the third film.

Issue #4: Merry and Pippin (and this is the BIG ONE). A huge part of my tolerance for Merry and Pippin (who only grew on me veeerrryyy slowly) was the fact that they had NO BUSINESS on the "mission. quest. thing," but they went out of loyalty to Frodo. This impressed me. A lot. And it wouldn't have spoiled the timing of the movie to have them chase Frodo and Sam--"What are you doing here?" "Coming with you."--and then stick with it when they realize they're in over their heads (no hobbit jokes intended there). Instead, we have to see Merry evolving this realization throughout the movie, mostly by oh-so-subtle facial expressions. I don't have that much time, Mr. Jackson.

But that's the critique. Here's the approval.

As a loyal SW Junkie, I am accostomed to a director riding roughshod over the wishes, pleas, and plain old-fashioned common sense of the fan base. How cool is it to instead work with Peter Jackson, who is quite conscious of not only his place in history, but the fact that he is working with a story that has, does, and will continue to touch millions of lives? The changes that were made in the movie were rarely done with an eye to marketability (the most blatant one being the whole Arwen/Frodo scene, and that made sense--Arwen doesn't DO anything else, so I can cope), and never done with an eye toward Jar Jar Binks.

Some have criticized the introductory sequence. I empathize, but cannot endorse that argument. As I said earlier, I took two younger brothers to see it. Neither had read the books, and all the cramming I did in the car didn't equal that intro for understanding. The sad fact is that Tolkien's writing style (unfolding bit by bit, hidden in pages of text) makes for wonderful reading (duh), but requires some semblence of scholarship. Because of Jackson, my bros got the magic without the work. And if the movie makes them read the real thing, good for it.

Some have argued against including this in favor of that (be it Bombadil and Bree, Barrow Downs and Rivendell, Galadriel and Balin, or scores of other details). Here (and I may need to record this for all history) I have bowed to Mr. Jackson's superior knowledge of filmmaking, timing, and such.

I suppose, therefore, that I have joined what is lovingly known in Britian as the loyal opposition. Consider this a challenge, Mr. Lucas, to be as honest and respectful as Mr. Jackson when interpreting the great stories of all time.

And that, my friends, is. . .

Canon According to Ali.


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