It’s a Wonderful Life

Over the past decade I’ve become something of a Scrooge at heart, never rallying much enthusiasm for Christmas; Thanksgiving is my holiday. This year has been different.

I’ve been attempting to become a kinder, gentler person, one less critical of others and more willing to praise and to share and to enjoy the moment. This new attitude is already paying unexpected dividends: I’m happier than I have been in five years. Couple this new, improved attitude with a surfeit of cash and the result has been a holiday season in which I’ve actually enjoyed giving gifts, have looked forward to doing so. It has been easy to find things to give my family and friends.

It’s a Wonderful Life was one of my favorite films when I was in high school and college, but it’s been several years since I watched it. Kris and I snuggled up on the couch one night last week and watched it together. It was a wonderful. It felt as if I were watching the film for the first time.

Even the Roth family Christmas pleased me this year. We Roth boys see each other every day at Custom Box Service so that seeing each other for Christmas usually feels anticlimactic. But I enjoyed myself on Tuesday night, playing with Tony’s kids, eating pizza, burning the hot fudge, unwrapping Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on DVD.

We spent a relaxing Christmas Day with Joel and Aimee. We lounged around the Christmas tree, reading, chatting, and playing Bohnanza and Dutch Blitz. Their cat, Nine, entertained us by throwing her superball around the room and stalking Hedgie, the hedgehog.

Joel got a whole stack of Patrick O’Brian books. His affliction must be deeper than I had suspected. (I’m one to talk: I haven’t even begun reading the series yet, but already own the first three volumes.)

We had planned to prepare a lamb recipe from Caprial, but the lamb had turned green and blue. We improvised, adapting the recipe for chicken instead. The improvisation worked, thanks largely to the splendid wine-peppercorn sauce (for which we used a bottle of St. Josef’s Cabarnet Sauvignon (1987) that Jeremy and Jennifer had given us for Christmas).

In the evening, the four of us saw Gangs of New York (which one might call Martin Scorsese’s Helms Deep). My three companions hated the film. Aimee, in a fit of generosity, offered to grade it a D because of Daniel Day-Lewis‘ presence. I didn’t dislike the film as much as the others; in fact, I enjoyed the first half. The last hour of the movie is awful, however, an indefensible, convoluted mess. The final twenty minutes are particularly wretched, with an amateurish voice-over reading telegraphed reports of rioting in the streets of New York. Scorsese‘s ambition has got the better of him in Gangs of New York. He tries to tell too many stories, and the film is worse for it. I’d recommend waiting for video if you’ve considered seeing this. (Update: This review of Gangs of New York is spot-on, though the review’s evaluation is ultimately a bit more positive than mine.)

Tonight, Kris and I will have dinner with Paul Carlile and, perhaps, catch another of those films we expect to be in Oscar contention.

Best in show from the gifts received department? Without question, the gift from my parents-in-law: the beautiful, information-packed Atlas of Oregon. Wow!

Peter Jackson’s Helm’s Deep

Note: foldedspace.org died recently, and is gradually being reconstructed. This entry has moved. The 72 comments from before the move can be found here.

I saw Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep twice on Wednesday. Though I liked the film better the second time, I was still disappointed. Much of that disappointment is a result of baggage that I bring as an audience-member and not a result of Jackson’s filmmaking; nearly every other review I’ve read or heard has been glowing.

I was going to write a proper paragraph-based review with nice transitions, etc. etc. etc. but I’m not up to the effort. Instead I’m going to provide a review which uses lots of bullet points. Warning: spoilers ahead!

Please keep in mind that I do not hate Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep; I’m just disappointed by it. I was also disappointed by The Fellowship of the Ring last year, though I’ve warmed to it after multiple viewings. Most of my review focuses on the negative aspects of Helms Deep, but that’s only because all of the other reviews are glowing and you can read them to find out about all that is good about the film.


Here are some disappointing features shared by The Fellowship of the Ring and Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep:

Intrusive music
Howard Shore‘s score isn’t bad, but it’s omnipresent, and sometimes overwhelms the action on the screen. Maybe this is a problem with me as an audience member. Perhaps others like it. I don’t.
Moving camera
I was sick last year when I saw The Fellowship of the Ring. The always-moving camera made me feel even more nauseated. Peter Jackson (and his unit directors) don’t seem to have enough confidence in their framing to allow a simple static shot. The camera pans and sweeps and soars and zooms and never stays in one place for long. It’s dizzying.
Elves
Yes, elves are wispy and mystic. But these films play them in such a languorous fashion that they nearly put me to sleep whenever they appear. The elves speak s-l-o-w-l-y. They move s-l-o-w-l-y. It gives the intended other-worldly effect, but it also slows the pacing. Rivendell and Lothlorien are the two slow points in Fellowship. The Arwen/Elronod/Galadriel section slows Helms Deep. I’m not suggesting that these scenes should not be in the films, just that they should have been done differently.
Glossing
Because The Lord of the Rings is a huge story, it’s impossible for Peter Jackson to put everything on the screen. It’s inevitable that some things have to be cut. Tom Bombadil? Yes, I love him, too, but he’s not essential to the story. However, I don’t understand why essential bits were cut (or glossed over): Galadriel’s gifts in Fellowship (which, fortunately, are restored in the extended DVD), Merry and Pippin’s experiences with the orcs, the Ents, etc. Merry and Pippin are give rather short shrift in Helms Deep, which is unfortunate.
Battles
My least favorite parts of these films are the battle sequences. The book has battle sequences, and they are integral to the story. I am not opposed to battle sequences, even long ones, if they are done well. The battle scenes in these films are not done well. They’re long and nonsensical. Jackson spends a lot of time establishing that the orcs, especially the Uruk-Hai, are threatening, yet when they enter combat, they’re surprisingly ineffective. They’re like Star Wars stormtroopers with swords instead of blasters. In Ewoks Attack, pint-sized teddy bears are able to take out trained battle troops with rocks. In both Fellowship of the Ring and Helms Deep, Merry and Pippin take about trained battle troops with rocks. We’re supposed to find these villains threatening?

Here are my specific comments regarding Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep:

Negatives

  • Despite the movie’s three hour length, things felt rushed. Important plot points are glossed over in favor of the epic final battle scene.
  • Some plot points, especially those related to the battle sequences, are ludicrous. From the sheer stupid:
    • Where do Merry and Pippin get the stones that they throw while perched upon Treebeard’s shoulders?
    • Why are they throwing stones again? They did it at the end of Fellowship; it was stupid then, it’s stupid now: these hobbits are hefting and throwing stones so large, and throwing them with such accuracy, that they kill orcs? Give me a break.

    to just silly on an abstract level:

    • If Saruman is such a mastermind, if he’s going to the trouble to mass ten thousands of orcs, then:
      • Why doesn’t he give them a little training so that they don’t fall like matchstick men at the first hint of combat. These Uruk-Hai are supposed to be tough and scary, yet they’re so delicate that two hobbits can hold off dozens of them. That’s not very scary. They’re no better than rats.
      • Why doesn’t he provide them with combined arms? The only weapons the Uruk-Hai seem to have are spears and those funny pseudo-carpenters squares. That’s fine for close combat, but it kind of sucks when your opponents have longbows, you know? At Helms Deep, there are two Uruk-Hai with crossbows, but they’re seen only briefly for dramatic effect. They certainly aren’t around when they’d actually be useful (as when Gimli and Aragorn are scaling the wall of the keep).
  • Wormtongue moans, “Where will we find an army large enough to storm Helms Deep” and Saruman takes him to the window to see tens of thousands of Uruk-Hai massed outside Isengard. Give me a break. What? Wormtongue doesn’t know anything of Saruman’s master plan? And somehow thousands of orcs managed to gather outside in hushed whispers and tiptoes? This is an example of the filmmakers choosing the nonsensical simply for dramatic effect.
  • Another example of the nonsensical in the service of the dramatic: as the Uruk-Hai march to Helms Deep they make an impressive thump-thump-thump marching-in-unison kind of sound. That’s great, except they are obviously not marching in unison. What we should hear is a chaotic shuffling of feet, but that just wouldn’t be as fun now, would it?
  • Gollum has no dangly bits where his dangly bits should be.
  • Theoden should speak in iambic pentameter.
  • People have complained that Gimli is relegated to comic relief. He certainly serves that purpose in Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep, but I don’t mind. I’m more miffed that Legolas doesn’t play a larger role. Legolas rocks. Also, Merry and Pippin’s story has been truncated. (Though I suspect we’ll see more of them in an extended DVD.)
  • Our heroes are girding themselves for battle. Gimli is in the middle of trying on a chainmail dress when elven archers march through the gates. Everyone rushes to greet them. When Gimli lumbers down the stairs, he is now clothed for combat. What? What happened to the chainmail dress he was just wearing?
  • Gandalf and the Rohirrim charge down an impossibly steep slope. Any horse galloping down this embankment would, in reality, lose its footing on the first stride and tumble headlong into the waiting army of orcs. The scene looks silly.
  • Theoden and Aragorn’s final charge knocks over orcs on the bridge as if they were bowling pins. These orcs look completely computer animated in the way they march exactly alike, the way none of them stand aside to let the riders pass, the way they’re simply there to be pushed off the bridge. It’s silly.
  • Did I mention I don’t like it when Merry and Pippin throw stones?
  • I don’t mind Peter Jackson making changes to the story to improve how it plays on the screen, but some of the changes seem to serve no purpose. Why have Faramir take Frodo to Gondor? What purpose does it serve? None that I can see. Worse is Aragorn’s faux death? Is this simply so he can enter a fugue state in which he dreams of Arwen? This side-plot seems contrived and unnecessary. (Indeed, it literally is contrived and unnecessary.)
  • Not to beat a dead horse but: the battle films are overlong and poorly staged. (And this is the primary reason that the other bits need to be glossed over). Yes, I know I’m a minority voice here. Most people love the battle scenes, especially Helms Deep. I’m not one of them. The final battle in Fellowship (the movie) is drawn from two pages in the book, yet lasts twenty minutes on screen. The film version features Merry and Pippin finding stones on the floor of a forest (problem one) that they heave (problem two), toppling orcs (problem three, especially since the orcs are, seemingly, killed by the throws). This is typical of all the battle scenes in both films so far. On Weathertop, Aragorn throws a torch at one of the Nazgul and it goes up in flames. What? did he bathe in kerosene? The battle of Helms Deep is rife with these kind of errors. I can’t help thinking that if Saruman had thought to construct more than two ranged weapons. Really, the battles are my biggest beef with the films. The other gripes I can forgive. It’s not even a problem with the script. I don’t mind battle scenes, and they could still follow the same script but just have the action on screen be more consistent, less preposterous, better edited.

Positives:

  • It was clever to merge Gandalf’s voice with Saruman’s when Gandalf the White first appears. I like that.
  • The acting is uniformly excellent, especially that from the supporting players. Grima, Theoden and Eowyn are fantastic, almost Shakespearean. This is the element of the books and the films that I love: the literate epic drama, not the fantastic battle scenes. Pare down the battle scenes and give me more intrigue with Theoden and Grima and Saruman! Give me more acting, less fighting. This would make a better film. (For me.)
  • Generally, I’m not a fan of horses; they’re big clumsy beasts that step on young boys and scar them for life (literally and figuratively). However, I think horsemanship is a skill that transfers well to film and I want more. The little that is on screen is great, but give me more more more!
  • Wormtongue rocks. Well done!
  • Arwen has fantastic lips. Very kissable. They’re the best part of the film, really.
  • Gollum has no dangly bits where his dangly bits should be.
  • Jeremy says: “Those rocks actually fall like rocks instead of Styrofoam blocks.” (This is true of the bigger pieces, but the smaller “stones” in close-ups still fall like Styrofoam blocks.)
  • Treebeard: “That doesn’t make any sense to me. But, then, you are very small.”
  • Gollum’s internal conflict plays well on the screen. It’s written and performed well.
  • The song that plays over the end credits is by one of my favorite obscure artists, Emiliana Torrini. It’s great!

I like nearly every portion of Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep in isolation. If you were to show me any one scene, I’d like it. However, when the scenes are strung together into a film, something seems to be missing. The whole is less than the sum of its parts.

Remember: I do not hate this film. It’s above average in fact, meriting a 6.0 on J.D.’s Patented Move Rating Scale. I had hoped for more.


One of my favorite bits from Tolkien:

Frodo
If you ask it of me, I will give you the One Ring.

Galadriel
You offer it to me freely? I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this.

In place of a Dark Lord you would have a queen! Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!

I pass the test. I will diminish and go into the west and remain Galadriel.

Comments

On 20 December 2002 (10:47 AM),
Dana said:

You and I frequently like or dislike the same things, but for vastly different reasons. In a surprising turn of events, I pretty much agree with your reasoning completely.

The presence or absence of Gollum’s dangly bits aside, he’s an amazing piece of work, and everybody involved with him deserves recognition. He’s pretty amazing.

I know that there is destined to be no Scouring of the Shire, too, in the third film, and I think this will rob the conclusion of a needed closure.

The Saruman/Gandalf blend was indeed quite neat, but I thought it would have worked much better if the previews hadn’t given away that Gandalf returns…

“Your talk of snuffling riders with invisible noses has unsettled me.” — Pippin, FotR

On 20 December 2002 (03:25 PM),
Dave said:

I have to take issue with some of what you bring up. Specifically:

* Where do Merry and Pippin get the stones that they throw while perched upon Treebeard’s shoulders?
-I believe that we clearly see Treebeard handing them rocks.

* these hobbits are hefting and throwing stones so large, and throwing them with such accuracy, that they kill orcs? Give me a break.
– My recollection is that the hobbits threw the rocks, knocked the orcs on the head and then Treebeard stepped on them, but I admit that this was a fairly small part. I did think that the rocks were fairly good sized for hobbit-sized folk, however. And by the way, have you ever been whacked in the head by a flying rock? Ask the Israeli’s why they wear helmets when dealing with rock throwing Palestinians. In addition, aren’t hobbits supposed to be really good with rock throwing?

* Why doesn’t he give them a little training so that they don’t fall like matchstick men at the first hint of combat. These Uruk-Hai are supposed to be tough and scary, yet they’re so delicate that two hobbits can hold off dozens of them. That’s not very scary. They’re no better than rats.
– Talk to Tolkien about this. In the book the hobbits do exactly as they did in the movie except that I don’t recall the chase into Fangorn Forest. Of course, in the movie the hobbits only survive because Treebeard squashes the orc first rather than the hobbits.

*The only weapons the Uruk-Hai seem to have are spears and those funny pseudo-carpenters squares. That’s fine for close combat, but it kind of sucks when your opponents have longbows, you know?
– Of course, it could be that none of our fair heros happen to be standing in places where orcs with crossbows are at and we therefore don’t see them. In other words, simply because we don’t see them doesn’t mean that they’re not there.

*What? Wormtongue doesn’t know anything of Saruman’s master plan? And somehow thousands of orcs managed to gather outside in hushed whispers and tiptoes?
-Why would he know of how many orcs Saruman has? He’s a soothsaying spy that just got tossed out on his ear, presumably rode hard to get to Isengard and probably has no idea how much strength Saruman has amassed.

* Gollum has no dangly bits where his dangly bits should be.
– His loincloth went underneath the whole way. I checked it out because the dangly bits thing bothered me, too. Hmmm, should I really be admitting that I was checking out Gollum?

* Gandalf and the Rohirrim charge down an impossibly steep slope. Any horse galloping down this embankment would, in reality, lose its footing on the first stride and tumble headlong into the waiting army of orcs. The scene looks silly.
-Oh yeah, you’re right on there. Of course, cavalry charging pikes usually doesn’t work out well for the first line of horses, either…

*Why have Faramir take Frodo to Gondor? What purpose does it serve? None that I can see.
– In The Return of the King, Faramir goes back to Minas Tirith and then goes out to fight the battle at Osgiliath. I think that Jackson compressed this into 2T’s in order to allow for more room in TROTK but still set the strategic stage for Minas Tirith being in jeopardy, allow for the siege of Minas Tirith, allow the hobbits to hook up with the Rohirrim, etc.

* Worse is Aragorn’s faux death? Is this simply so he can enter a fugue state in which he dreams of Arwen? This side-plot seems contrived and unnecessary. (Indeed, it literally is contrived and unnecessary.)
-Right again.

* Theoden and Aragorn’s final charge knocks over orcs on the bridge as if they were bowling pins. These orcs look completely computer animated in the way they march exactly alike, the way none of them stand aside to let the riders pass, the way they’re simply there to be pushed off the bridge. It’s silly.
-Right again. If it was that easy, why didn’t they do this at the outset?

I also agree with Dana’s assessment of the Scouring of the Shire. When I read the trilogy again this summer, I found that the Scouring was the portion that I liked the best, perhaps because of the obvious political undertones that it had. I remember thinking while sitting in the movie, “Damn, they’re going to skip the Scouring of the Shire, aren’t they?”

On 23 December 2002 (04:53 PM),
Tracie said:

Re: Faramir. I noticed but didn’t mind most of what was mentioned above. I agree with it, but it didn’t bother me too much (just a bit). But where I really was bothered wasn’t so much in Faramir taking the hobbits to Osgiliath, as Faramir initially “failing” the test of the ring–which he passed with flying colors in the book. Jackson gives the impression that Faramir is nearly JUST LIKE Boromir–he has to be bonked on the head by seeing the peril of the ring before he can understand it. BIG disservice to the character Tolkein created. When he says in the film that this is a test of his quality, he then decides to bring the ring to Gondor! FAILED! In the book, he gives Frodo and his companions safe passage through the land! As far as needing to get them to Gondor to meet up with the Rohirrim…Am I missing something? Why do they need to meet the Rohirrim? Frodo and Sam HAVE to move on to Mordor after this, and Merry and Pippin will meet Theoden in Isengard–as written by Tolkein, I would assume? Meanwhile, if Faramir does his thing at Osgiliath, then we won’t ever see the strain between him and his father–because that is what PROMPTS his riding out to Osgiliath–from which he comes back unconscious and seemingly dying. So, the character set-up and drama between Gandalf, Faramir, and Denethor won’t occur. PLUS, why would Denethor favor Boromir over Faramir now anyway? Since Jackson’s Faramir is just a Boromir clone…? I like your site! Thanks!

On 27 December 2002 (11:05 AM),
ME said:

I’ll tell you what bothers me about this review: the movie is called THE TWO TOWERS and not PETER JACKSON’S HELMS DEEP!!! You sound like a mouron everytime you say it, DJEEZES!!!

On 30 December 2002 (08:47 PM),
Rory said:

Does it really matter what he calls it?

I agree with about 80% of your points. Details such as the omnipresent music don’t bother me much, but I think it depends on the viewer. I will admit that I too was swayed by the Helms Deep battle scene, but even the badass-ness of it all doesn’t cover up the sheer unrealistic qualities. I understand that this is a fantasy, but you can’t take it to the point of imminent disbelief.

On 30 December 2002 (10:47 PM),
Gordon said:

Ok. I have seen the movie twice. I don’t mind the changes that Peter Jackson made to it. Except for Helms Deep. There were no elves at Helms Deep. They are too busy getting ready for Dol Guldur which is clearly stated in the book.

So Peter Jackson can’t afford the special effects of having the Huron’s do away with the Orcs (which is why Gandalf really went away from Rohan). He wants to have shiny silver men gallop to the rescue. I can live with that. I just don’t think the elves would even show up at Helms Deep even if they could. All they are doing is covering their asses as they head West. Why do directors insist on putting their mark on movies? He was doing such a good job of more or less accurately portraying the story.

On 30 January 2003 (11:49 AM),
Turbonut2003 said:

I don`t understand why Saruman,with tens of thousands of orcs at his disposal doesn`t keep any in reserve as home guard for Isengard.The film only shows about 50 at most.
Also,the second film is called “The two towers”,this is presumably a reference to Saruman`s dark tower and the white tower of helm`s deep?
But they don`t actually feature very strongly.
I can`t recall seeing either tower in it`s entirity……….
……….Perhaps it`s just me,I don`t know.

On 04 February 2003 (09:24 PM),
Bob said:

In reference to the actual “two towers”, Tolkein never stated what two towers the book was named after. In the movie the two towers that were mentioned were Orthanc and Barad-dur (Saruman states this while looking in the palantir or standing on the top of orthanc, i dont quite remember). Tolkein actually considered many of the towers in middle earth: Orthanc, Barad-dur, Minas Morgal, Cirith Ungol, etc…He never choose two specific towers…

Moving cameras? If you feel sick, you should have stayed at home. I feel haveing these constant moving camera shots, you get the feeling that the cameras are actually there and are not restricted; its like you are there and obversing the action as it happens. I feel it makes things more beleivable, as if you were just there, floating above the action.

The elves are great. I feel they are the best part of the movies and the books. The way Jackson and the writers decided to portray the elves is done is such a way to make them more knoble. They seem to demand more respect. They are so graceful and elegant. If they would have moved faster or talked faster, they would have lost this element. The elves would seem just like men, but with pointy ears and straight beautiful hair.

As for “Glossing”…Jackson was told by the producers (or someone along those lines) to make the movie under three hours. He had to cut the scenes that were not crutial to the plot. He did make an agreement with them though. He said he would take the scenes out as long as the extended version was out befor “The Two Towers” was released in theaters.

The quiest Orc army? Of course they didn’t have to tip toe to gather in front of Orthanc. Grima and Saruman do not actually hear the orcs until they reach the window in the tower. I guess the tower is sound proof….

Marching in unison? Of course you cant make that many orcs march in step. But what would have been better to hear, the orcs marching with a very “chaotic shuffling of feet” or the menacing thump-thump-thump? Think about it.

At Helms Deep, The Uruk Hai did have more than “spears and those funny pseudo-carpenters squares”. If you notice, when the orcs first charge the walls, many elves are hit and fall from the walls. There are more than just two crossbows at helms deep. You not only see then there, you also see them when the orcs break down the door. After they brake a portion of the door down, they began to shoot at those trying to baracade the door.

I know everyone is entitled to their opinions, as I am, but alot of the other comments made by jdroth are ludacris. Get over the rocks. Hey, they’re hobbits. They’re simple. Stick to simple things. Alot of the timing issues can be looked over. They dont ruin the story line. They are not even that noticable.

Over all I loved the movies. Both “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Two Towers”. The only things I feel they should not have added was the Ents (not gathering the hourns) and taking Frodo and Sam to Osgiliath. By taking them, Jackson took them far out of their way and he also totally changed Faramir’s character. He was more cruel in the movie and I dont think it was something Jackson had to change from the book.

On 05 February 2003 (01:43 AM),
[email protected] said:

Has this guy ever read the book the two towers I mean he sounds like he’s winching about how poorly the scenes were staged. I mean what else do u expect ok they F*cked up with the characters and the film but that doesn’t mean this A*sshole can wine about it. So if anyone think the film sucked then read the book u clowns it’ll make sense i’ve read the a couple times and i saw the film 3 times and it’s better than the last one.

NOTE: read the return of kings if u think two towers sucks

On 08 February 2003 (05:47 PM),
Bob said:

DAMN RIGHT!

On 08 February 2003 (10:41 PM),
J.D. said:

Because the last two commenters seem concerned that I’m unfamiliar with Tolkien: in the past twenty years, I’ve read the trilogy probably ten times. I’m by no means a detail geek (that’d be Dana), but I’m plenty familiar with the work.

I have no problem that Peter Jackson wants to change certain things with the book; I just want the changes to make sense, and to work on screen.

Also: Matt and Bob, I never said I disliked these films. They just didn’t live up to my (admittedly high) expectations, especially Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep. Just because somebody doesn’t worship a film that you think is great doesn’t make the other person wrong…

On 15 February 2003 (12:55 PM),
kingbridge said:

nice little debate lets talk about how jackson made and ruined certain characters king theoden whay is he such a wimp in the books he was a war monger wishing to go to his forefathers and not be embaresed by their deeds .then u have farimer the weak willed. ah dont get me wrong i liked bolth movies but these characters bugged me

On 14 March 2003 (06:14 PM),
heather said:

this is not about the movie but i need peter jackson’s e-mail address, if you happen to have i would love to have it i have to ask him a very important question! thanks

On 18 March 2003 (05:47 AM),
Susie said:

[email protected] and Bob, you should be ashamed to post on the internet. I’m surprised you were even capable of reading the book! It’s just a shame you were apparently unable to learn anything about effective punctuation from Mr Tolkien.

And as for “me”, what kind of moron can’t even spell the word?

On 30 July 2003 (04:00 PM),
shooka said:

okay..this like 1 million years later…but first things first..

dude, quit griping about the movie. if you dont like it..dont watch it. šŸ™‚

second…elves at helms deep..this wasn’t due to the fact that PJ didn’t have any money for the Huorns..in fact the Huorns are in the film.

last…dude, you’re a little too obsessed with Gollums bits…

On 03 August 2003 (11:01 PM),
frodofanatic said:

Ok, I don’t know why you did not like the music so much. It added to the battle perfectly, blending violins and bass instruments in splendid harmony. You must be deaf to think the music overdramatized the battle. You must have not listened to the way the music builds as the fight scened become more gruesome until Gandalf and the Rohirrim charge down the slopes. If you still don’t believe me, listen to the cd, without the battle. You will know what I am saying. You’re sick to be talking about Gollum’s-er-dangly bits. For likng the movie so much, you sure do like to post negative things about it.

On 04 August 2003 (07:12 PM),
dowingba said:

In frodofanaticism land it’s only possible to like 100% of something or hate 100% of something. Criticism is not allowed. One may only say “I do not like it” or “I do like it”; any variation is punishable by death, as well as every single other crime.

But I do agree the music is amazing, in both LOTR films so far.

On 07 August 2003 (06:49 PM),
Eric said:

It is quite clearly stated by Tolkein that the two towers were Orthanc and Minas Morgul. Minas Morgul, also know as Cirith Ungol was not even in Peter Jackson’s film. Further, in an interview, I heard him state that the two towers were Orthanc and Baradur…gah…he didn’t even know which towers were being referenced by the title of the book(s) he was making into a film. He isn’t qualified for this endeavour…Being as he only used one of the two towers in his film adaptation, I tend to refer to the second movie as, “Peter Jackson’s One Tower” It was an okay, if somewhat disjointed movie, with silly dumbed-down more modern dialouge and a lot of flashy effects in the big battle sequence, but I’m afraid the battle itself bored me…I agree very much that it wasn’t well done. Beyond that, there is the fact that because PJ played with the timeline and combined events (specifically–the refugees and Eowyn travelling with the King and his army to Helm’s Deep) that the battle of Helm’s Deep COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED AT ALL! Theoden and his riders set out, rode hard (a forced march) and got to the keep just barely in time to be attacked. And that was only possible because it was a mounted force not burdened with any wagons or refugees on foot…..hence, Theoden and his forces would not have gotten there in time. Their travel time would have been easily doubled, if not tripled….and the orcs would have caught them in the open and slaughtered them…..in short, PJ’s depiction of the military campaign for Rohan (due to all his meddling with events, ignoring the timeline, and even geography)is intellectually insulting if you know even a little about medieval war and a good amount about Tolkein’s writings on the subject. The things he had happen in his movie are not possible given the structure and setup he used…

On 05 September 2003 (12:02 PM),
Ben Mead said:

Can you give me Peter Jackson’s e-mail address cos i’d really like to speak to him. I think the films are the best films i’ve ever seen.

On 13 September 2003 (03:06 PM),
Imrahil said:

Um, Eric? The tower of Cirith Ungol and the City of Minas Mogul are totally separate! Cirith Ungol is the name of the pass you idiot! Not aother name for Minas Morgul! By the way, the Uruk-hai pretty much kick the defenders @sses until Gandalf arrives. I agree about Faramir’s character being screwed up and about the Eomer and Gandalf charging down the hill. BUT, the causeway Theoden and his men charge down is barely wide enough for two horses, so the Uruks couldn’t get out of the way. Also, when the Rohirrim charge down the hill, the Uruks are blinded by the sun coming down the hill! It’s kind of hard to spear a horse when your blind. Yes, they could still have braced the pikes, but the horses could ride around them. And the sudden rising of the sun behind the hill would have suprised them so much they might have forgotten to brace their spears. As for the actual story, the Huorns and much more scenes w/Faramir will be in the extended edition dvd. Those dvds are for the purists who are whining because Treebeard has the wrong kind of moss beard! Oh, and for the record, the elves have composite bows, not longbows. Big difference.

On 26 September 2003 (05:14 PM),
jess said:

lord of the rings is a big loser movie, okay!!!!!!!!its dum!!!!!!!!!!!

On 26 September 2003 (08:56 PM),
dowingba said:

Remember that Orcs hate sunlight, too. Now, the Uruk Hai don’t hate it as much as normal Orcs, but they hate it nonetheless.

On 29 September 2003 (06:54 PM),
LegolasFan said:

When I saw Helmdeep, I wondered how they made it. I wanted to know if I could have a blueprint. You see some friends are working on a prodject, A movie, they wanted to know how to make Isengard, Mordor, Helmdeep, Rivendell, The Shire, Rohan, Gondor, and all those kinds of things, they are actually going to try and make a kids version of Lord of the rings, they will call it Prince of the Rings. No they aren’t going to copy all of it, They just like how Peter Jackson made the book come alive and they thought they should make a kids version of it. Have auditions and everything. We loved how he espesially made rivendall and helmsdeep.
Things that I thought needed allittle work:
nothing
Things that I loved about the movies:
Everything
Arwen (Liv Tyler) Awesome, I loved the way you talked in Elvish teach me.
Legolas (Orlando Bloom) I loved the way you said Elvish in The Two Towers while talking to Aragorn at the very end of the sentence.

On 24 October 2003 (09:25 AM),
Kyadoshi said:

I suggest you quit analysing story details and do what Sartre suggested.

Suspend your disbelief.

If the movie doesn’t do that for you, then I’m sorry. Go listen to rap.

On 25 October 2003 (09:33 AM),
Sandor jun. Simon said:

Hello.
I’m from Germany and my Englisch isn’t very good. I admire Peter Jackson and the Lord of the Rings is really fantastic. I want to write a letter or an e-mail to Peter Jackson. Is this possible? The Lord of the Rings has change my life and I cannot stop thinking.

Thank you
Sandor jun. Simon
[email protected]

On 12 November 2003 (03:24 PM),
championangel121 said:

First of all, Sandor jun. Simon, for someone who’s moved here from Germany your English isn’t at all bad. You probably can write to Peter Jackson and get something back, even if not directly from him. Perhaps some others can help?

Now for the rest. First of all, I’m someone who actually likes the battle scenes and stuff. That said, I agree with many points, but disagree with some:

This is a fantasy movie. It may seem unrealistic, and in parts it is, but that’s because you’re looking at it from a 21st century person’s eye, not experiencing it from a pre-medieval viewpoint. Have you any idea just how powerful a few horses can be? The causeway is narrow; a bunch of thousand-pound beasts running much faster than humanoids can, and mounted men with swords; think about it. All they have to do is nduge them a few feet. Its overdone, but if it’s going to have that Shakespearean feel to it, then it needs to be overdone. From realistic viewpoints, its overdone. From the movie, pretty good. It was worth it, at least to me.

Throwing rocks: Well, duh it doesn’t kill them. They’re rocks. Still, even hobbits throwing rocks can knock people out. They actually didn’t throw rocks in the 1st movie, only in the EE. Remember the Hobbit? Hobbits are good at games, and Bilbo was “dangerous” with stones. I’d bet Merry and Pippin are even stronger than him and had larger stones. Again, maybe overdone and not really necessary, but pretty realistic.

Wormtongue: Well, probably not. That is pretty ignorant.
Marching: I’ve often wondered about this. Again, its supposed to be imposing. I don’t know what a massive horde marching sounds like, so I can’t really comment well.
I’m not even commenting on dangly bits.
Elf and Dwarf: Yes, Gimli is changed to comic relief in the movie, which is a prime complaint from many. Orlando Bloom is a great actor (not to mention really hot from a girl’s standpoints) and he has yet to have a starring role. Not even PotC really worked. But you have to keep attention where it belongs-like you’ve been saying over and over again. About the chain mail, all he has to do is slip it off; he doesn’t actually wear it, or I don’t remember the movie well enough.
Faramir: This was one of the worst changes in the movie from the book. They’ve changed Faramir from strong helper to obstacle. I think that they’re trying to build up his character, which you’ll see in TT EE and ROTK: how he’s always been second to Boromir and nearly despised by his father. How he’s pretty much banished to the backwoods with a small group of men and left to do whatever. How he’s still a proud man of Gondor who could control the Ring and who doesn’t know its true potential. Still, I disagree with what they did in this film.

Aragorn’s fake death: Again, I agree with you. Come on. VM broke his toes for this scene! They really didn’t need it, it probably fooled hardly anyone, and it took away valuable time.

Uruk-hai: I disagree entirely here. Just watch the movie: Orcs are guarding Isengard, not Uruk-hai. And the Uruk-hai aren’t being defeated easily; they’re trading nearly one to one with the Elves and Men of Rohan. They didn’t need crossbows, of which they almost certainly had more than the two seen; you can even tell from the number of Elves hit! Why use bows when you can just send massive amounts of troops through a blasted breach and over a wall? The Uruk-hai were doing very well, and didn’t at all tumble like matchstick men.
Horse Charge: One of the top two or three epic scenes in movie history. Enough said,
Music+Camera: If it was any other way, the movie would probably be worse. You can’t do much better.
Elves: Maybe so. But its worth it to gain insight into them. You have to build up the story and provide some background.

Enough. See my drift? Good comments, good positives. Arwen is awesome! Anyway, signing off. I’ll try to find PJ’s or the LOTR effort’s e-mail and/or mailing address. See ya!

On 16 November 2003 (02:46 PM),
Billy said:

Enough about the two towers, it’s time to tackle the problem of Christopher Lee’s character being dropped from the RotK. Sign the “Put the Saruman scene back into the Return of the King” at:
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/smanrotk/petition.html

On 01 December 2003 (12:53 AM),
JJ said:

VM broke his toe when he kicked the orc helmet at the orc funeral pyre, that the rohirrim (?) made, thinking that the FS had failed to save the hobbits.

My interpretation of the Gandalf charge into the orcs was that at the last moment, Gandalf cast a blinding light against the Orcs, causing them to lose their line in the confusion and bewilderment.

Hated the Legolas surf board. That was just pandering to box-office.

Agree on Faramir subversion. That just did not make sense.

On 01 December 2003 (02:30 PM),
Ruthie;-) said:

Hey ya’ll….

Just a few little comments I’d like to make. I am by no means a *LOTR Fanatic*, but I do love and admire the books and love and admire the movies. But really…lighten up!! I mean, you don’t have to take it so seriously! First of all, it’s a fantasy. It doesn’t exhist!! Yeah, it’s a great book, and yeah, they changed some crucial stuff in the movie, but who honestly expected the movies to live up to the books anyway?
I agree mostly on the Faramir stuff. Don’t get me wrong…Faramir is my favorite character and I was extremely disapointed when I first saw the movie, but I can see what PJ was trying to do. It’s hard to show the inner struggle on the movie screen, and I think he was trying to bring that out a bit more. No, if I’d been in charge, I wouldn’t have even entertained the thought of doing it that way, but it’s not ALL that bad. It’s actually pretty good in the EE, because Faramir has all these flashbacks and extra conversations with Frodo and Sam. (Ok, I’m probably gonna get yelled at pretty bad now, but hey;-)
One last thing…Arwen’s lips the BEST part of the movie? Oh…wow. Right. Can you run that by me again? Arwen’s lips the…best…part of the movie. Sure. (Having a hard time grasping this here.) Personally, I think that’s the WORST part of the movie!! Woo…just thinking about those whoppers makes me feel a little sick! They must weigh 5 pounds each!! Did she get an injection or something? Wow.
Alright, I’m done.
Overview: I liked the movies a lot. They had flaws. They weren’t as good as the books (duh!) They were a little corny at points. They went a bit too fast at some points. SO WHAT?? I still love them;-)

On 01 December 2003 (06:19 PM),
Kevin Cheberenchick said:

I Love The Lord of the Rings. I’ve read all of The Lord of The Rings books. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ACTOR IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS. I have all of them on on DvD with nothing taking out and I always watch the movie before I see the next one. And I ALWAYS watch the Speical Features. Peter Jackson I say you should make “The Hobbit” since they dont have The Hobbit with people acting in it the have a cartoon Hobbit. You should use the people that acted in the the others movies like Gangdalf and if you need any other people that are only in “The Hobbit” YOU CAN ASK ME PLEASE (I put my e-mail)

On 01 December 2003 (06:19 PM),
Kevin Cheberenchick said:

I Love The Lord of the Rings. I’ve read all of The Lord of The Rings books. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ACTOR IN THE LORD OF THE RINGS. I have all of them on on DvD with nothing taking out and I always watch the movie before I see the next one. And I ALWAYS watch the Speical Features. Peter Jackson I say you should make “The Hobbit” since they dont have The Hobbit with people acting in it the have a cartoon Hobbit. You should use the people that acted in the the others movies like Gangdalf and if you need any other people that are only in “The Hobbit” YOU CAN ASK ME PLEASE (I put my e-mail)

On 01 December 2003 (06:22 PM),
Kevin Cheberenchick said:

Sorry I posted so many it to a while but Please still read my and if you do make “The Hobbit” you can choice me.

On 11 December 2003 (02:52 PM),
Adrimal Ardvark on board the Bolivian Navy Ships (currently on manuvers in the South Pacific) said:

Give me a break!?! Please!!
You’re ‘review’ is complete lies man! Yes the movies that Peter Jackson made are not infalliable but who the hell can make PERFECT movies, espically when you’re dealing with the greatest story ever told. The books were sublime and of course the film adaption won’t be as good, it never could but Jackson, Walsh, Boyens ,TAylor et al have done a brilliant job in adapting them.

I do see where you’re comin from cuz the uruks fell like little girls but it wuz needed, remember it was our heros that threw them! And as for how they got the rocks… use you’re imagination! Treebeard gave them to them.
All in all the movie is worth well more than a 6.0, 9.5 at least.

When citing it’s fault remember that the movies had to make money so they had to appeal to those that haven’t read the books and this justifys why (although I really disliked them both) Faramir being such a dick and Aragorn’s faux death.

I am completley confident that RotK will clean up at Oscars 2004. It couldn’t not. Can’t wait for Dec 17th.

On 16 December 2003 (07:03 PM),
Rachel Nipper said:

GIVE ME A BREAK!!!
PJ did his best ( and his best was great!). I am in love with the movies and the books, and that does mean I may give it a little more credit. Not that I don’t agree with you at all, but I loved the movies (the books are better though). Here are my opinions (jeeze you guys are going to be yelling at me aren’t you?)

Moving Cameras-If the movies make you sick forget about watching them!The moving camera (like someone else said but I forgt, sorry) makes it seem like you are in the movie! It was awesome.

Actors- I agree with most of you there, the actors made a brilliant performance. (Although the whole “Arwen’s lips being the best part” thing was just stupid!) And why are you so obsessed with gollum’s dangly parts (kind of strange)?
Battle Scenes- I thought the battle scenes gave it something extra, I don’t want to go 2 indepth but dude, use your imagination about all those stuff, it is a fantasy movie.
Well I really could go on, and on, and on, but I’d rather not. Wait, before you move on to the next posted mail pleeeeeeeeeeeeease give me Peter Jackson’s address, e-mail address, anything that I could write to him on! I NEED to say something to him. And on Ruthie and the Kevin guy’s post, I am so dreaming of being in one of those movies too! Anyone have his address, anyone?

On 16 December 2003 (09:25 PM),
Courtney said:

I disagree with a lot of what you said.

No movie can ever live up to the book. When you read a book “your” imagination runs wild. Everyone’s imagination is different and therefore we get different interpretations about the book. However – P.J. did stray from the story, especially with Arwen and a few other things.

About the music. I think Howard Shore is an amazing composer. I remember watching TTT for the first time and hearing the music when the elves came to the battle of Helm’s Deep. The way Shore took the theme from Lothlorian and added a snare drum (among a few other things) to it to make it more warish was awesome. I’m a music person, so that just made my day because of his cleverness. I’m totally stoked about the ROTK’s soundtrack.

Also – you have to remember that the first two movies never reach the climax that is in the thrid movie. It’s all exposition and rising action.

And – I think P.J. has accomplished a great deal with what he’s done. No one else could have created a world that makes you feel like you could take a trip to. Considering Tolkien’s world was fantasy, P.J. has made it real. Imagine if the movie was made while Tolkien was alive. It would have been horrible and you probably would have thrown up, but not because of the camaras. They could not have made this movie then.

Congratulations to P.J. and the amazing cast and crew and to Howard Shore. I wish I could have been an extra or played in the orchestra for these amazing monumental movies.

Don’t knock things – especially if you can’t do any better or if Tolkien wrote them (i.e. the rocks and such). Just get over it.

On 22 December 2003 (09:35 AM),
Shane said:

I have to greatly disagree with some of what Courtney says. She’s is taking the role of an apologist and tries to deflect any criticism by saying that if you can’t do any better, don’t knock things.

No.

People have all the right in the world to “knock” things. I do not have to be a computer engineer to know that an old 486 chip is slow compared to a new Pentium 4 or AMD processor. Just as I do not need to have skills matching or surpassing those of the inventors of these computer chips in order to understand this, I do not need to have skills matching or surpassing those of various directors or authors to notice failings or successes. Your way of arguing is a deflectionary method which is not worth anyone’s time. You yourself are knocking the opinions of people here by writing your comment. Are you equal or beyond them in their skills?

No. We will not get over it. We care about and love the books. If we see people perverting the very nature of the characters in the book or just simply notice a character wearing something different seconds later, that is not wrong. We are not simply discarding all the amazing work that has been done in the rest of the films but are only seeking to point out flaws in our never-ending quest for excellence. If you do not want to search for excellence then don’t, but please do not tell us to “get over it”.

Oh and there are plenty of people in the world who could have done worse, as good or perhaps even better than Peter Jackson. There are so many people in this world that you can never elevate one man and say that nobody else could do that as well. This is simply inaccurate. Not many who could have? That would have been likely but there are certainly others.

My own thoughts? I loved the movies in so many ways that I could not explain them all right here. The positive sides to the films are so great and obvious that we tend to not mention them as often as the flaws but there are there just the same. I was very, very disappointed with how they ruined the character of Farimir and reduced his honor and wisdom by making him falter to the degree that he did with regard to the ring. I disliked Peter Jackson going on a tangent with “Aragorn’s Death” and dream. I loved the scenery and the acting. I thoroughly enjoyed the costumes and was extremely impressed with the sight of Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul. Very nicely done to say the least.

I think Jackson and the cast and crew of the films should be saluted for their superb job. It was an excellent rendition, far surpassing those of the past. By no means perfect or without glaring flaw but excellent all the same. I commend them for their hard work and wish to drive others onto greater work by pointing out areas of improvement, rather than ignoring them and simply settling for what is. I will always remember these movies as a high quality benchmark for excellence but I cannot simply ignore they utter ruin they bestowed upon the very character of several individuals either. (Faramir’s ring-lust & Frodo being tricked by Gollum regarding Sam for example.)

On 27 December 2003 (09:24 AM),
Michael Hamill said:

after viewing the return of the king, i had to wonder WHY jackson ever left out bombadil of the whole trilogy. in the films i believe a character such as bombadil is required, i fully understand the concept of time and that the movie has to appeal to die hard fans and the less enthuastic tolkien followers but this was truly the biggest error leaving out bombadil (in my opinion).

On 05 January 2004 (05:17 PM),
Emily said:

Ok, I read all the stuff up above, but what i am really looking for is Peter Jacksons email or address or a site where i can write 2 him or something! If u have info please mail me at [email protected] This is my moms email because mine is not working, so put To Emily under the subject. Thanks!

On 05 January 2004 (05:17 PM),
Emily said:

Ok, I read all the stuff up above, but what i am really looking for is Peter Jacksons email or address or a site where i can write 2 him or something! If u have info please mail me at [email protected] This is my moms email because mine is not working, so put To Emily under the subject. Thanks!

On 18 January 2004 (02:42 PM),
Tulkas said:

I think Peter Jackson is to Lord of the Rings, what James Cameron was to the ship “Titanic,” i.e. he turned the story into a corny action chick-flick, but not even that much in that the characters in “Titanic” actually would have looked better in “Lord of the Rings” than the geeks cast as elves, kings, great warriors, wizards etc; in fact, Kate Winslett was originally supposed to play Arwen, but she was replaced by Olivia Tyler to shut up her screaming tantrums, when her dad, the lead guitarist for “Aerosmith,” used his connections to gave his little groupy-goof what she wanted– and to make all that plastic surgery pay off.
And speaking of Arwen, who the hell made the virgin goddess into Xena? Thank New Zealand for that!

Furthermore the entire movie looked like it was filmed in miniature, and in a cesspit with dirt and crap all over everything; people who read the books might like it, but people who UNDERSTAND the books should hate it.

On 28 January 2004 (04:45 PM),
I LOVE ELIJAH WOOD!! said:

hey well I think that PEOPLE should appreciate the movies and how much work was put in to them. come on, Peter Jackson worked for over 5 years on these!

On 07 February 2004 (01:20 PM),
Emily W. said:

First of all i disagree with many things that you said were “bad”.

“If Saruman is such a mastermind, if he’s going to the trouble to mass ten thousands of orcs, then:
Why doesn’t he give them a little training so that they don’t fall like matchstick men at the first hint of combat. These Uruk-Hai are supposed to be tough and scary, yet they’re so delicate that two hobbits can hold off dozens of them. That’s not very scary. They’re no better than rats.”
-First of all, in the books (of which this movie was written from) there’s no reference that Saruman gives training to his Uruk-Hai. Now i can see how they could have just “added” it in there, but it’s not that important or essensial to the movie. Remember, they were trying to focus the movies around the ring bearers journey. They didn’t have enough time to go into great detail.

“Where do Merry and Pippin get the stones that they throw while perched upon Treebeard’s shoulders?”
-is that really essential to the movie??!! who cares how they get the stones! That’s reading way too much into the scenes.

“Gandalf and the Rohirrim charge down an impossibly steep slope. Any horse galloping down this embankment would, in reality, lose its footing on the first stride and tumble headlong into the waiting army of orcs. The scene looks silly.”
-yes, some of that may be true, but the music combined with the climatic entry of the Rohirrim is just magnificent! Look past the impossiblities and just enjoy the scenes.

Now to get that over with, (i had to say my opinion!) i want to comend Howard Shore for his magnificent score!!! Bravo! When i saw the 1st movie i was thrilled with the music (i always pay attention to the music in films b/c i am a music person who plays the trumpet). The 2nd movie was kind of a let down compared to the 1st movie. The “theme” of TTT music seemed to be quite war-ish, alittle too war-ish for me (i think the battles in the 2nd movie were a little too long. They didn’t seem that long in the book!). But when i saw the 3rd movie i was thrilled! The brass parts were magnificent (oh and of course the other instruments were good too! lol :)) It topped the trilogy off well. Bravo Mr. Shore!

On 11 February 2004 (07:49 PM),
Sammy said:

I’m weirded out to see that you can find so many negatives in such a great film. Even if you see things you don’t like, try to focus on the positive more..I mean, c’mon…PLEASE! And what’s with this “battles scene were not well done” thing. Think YOU could have done a better job?
Doubt it.

On 12 February 2004 (06:43 PM),
Jacob D. said:

I have the first lord of the rings on vhs and the two towers on dvd. I think that they are brilliant movies! If you hate the storyline, they it is easier to see whats wrong with these movies! I enjoyed the plot and the graphics are very well detailed! I could barely spot all the mistakes that everyone posted online. I am not complaining!!! Could you get me the e-mails of orlando bloom, Viggo Mortensen (played Aragorn), and some others! they are my favorite actors! the movie is just a masterpiece!!! Thanx SO MUCH!!!!!! [email protected]

On 13 February 2004 (12:52 PM),
Jacob said:

I am desperate for the Emails please!!!!!!!!! I want them so badly!! please respond to this anyone with info on viggo mortensen or orlando bloom please send them to me!!!!!!!!!

On 14 February 2004 (09:37 AM),
Emily W. said:

Hello Jacob! I love those characters too! I’m sorry i don’t have the e-mails of them, but i do have mailing addresses. If you’re looking for them to respond back, it’s probably unlikely seeing as i sent them a letter like 2 years ago and…. zip. Anyways, i did ask for an autographed picture from Elijah’s company thing, and they sent one back (the autograph is probably copied but it made my day :)). So here are the mailing addresses to some people.

Orlando Bloom:
c/o Artists Management group
9465 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212 USA

c/o Chris Andrews
ICM
8942 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211 USA

Viggo Mortensen:
c/o The Rawlins Company
3933 Patrick Henry Place
Agoura Hills, CA 91301 USA

Elijah Wood:
c/o Willam Morris Agency
151 El Camino Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212 USA

Sean Astin:
P.O. Box 57858
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413 USA

If you need anyone else’s i’ll be happy to give it to you! untill then, hope you can use these.

-Emily W.

On 14 February 2004 (10:01 AM),
Emily W. said:

P.S.
(one of my favorite scenes in TTT)

Frodo:”I can’t do this, Sam.”
Sam:”I know. It’s all wrong. By rights, we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was… when so much bad happened? But in the end it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will sine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you…that meant somethin’. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories… had lots of chances of turnin’ back, only they didn’t. They kept goin’…because they were holdin’ on to somethin’.”
Frodo:”What are we holding on to, Sam?”
Sam:”That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. An’ it’s worth fightin’ for.”

-I LOVE that scene!!!

On 19 February 2004 (03:44 PM),
Vaessa said:

Emily can you get Foromire’s adress(sp?) for my friend?

On 24 February 2004 (02:10 PM),
Emily W. said:

Hello Vaessa,
I’m sorry it’s been a while but i wanted to get a post up on here. You probably won’t get a mail address from me this week because i have like a bajillion and one things i have to do for school, so once the week-end comes i’ll search a little harder. So far i’ve found nothing. It will be hard to find his mailing address seeing as he’s not an actor from the usa. Thanks so much for you understanding. I’ll see what i can do šŸ™‚ I really only have the addresses for the fellowship but i’ll try. cyaz!

-Emily W.

On 28 February 2004 (01:41 PM),
Emily W. said:

Hey Vaessa!
After much searching i found David Wenham’s (Faramir) mailing address! It’s through a company so i’m not sure if you’ll get a response. But here it is anyway!

David Wenham
c/o Artists Independent Network Vanessa Pereira 32 Tavistock Street London WC2E 7PB United Kingdom

There ya go! I’m glad i could help!

-Emily

On 01 March 2004 (05:51 AM),
TolkFanatic said:

So many of the comments here are like those on Amazon — if you don’t give a movie 5 stars you suck. The reason I didn’t like the movies is the destruction of the secondary charachters. The only one they got right was Boromir. Theoden, Faramir, even Eyowen were all de-emphasized for the sake of the primary characters. The other reason I was so pissed off was not that I can’t accept change between the books and the films, but that Peter Jacksopn et. al. made such a big deal about how “accurate” his portrayal was. I’m sorry, but you can’t make such claims, unless you’re going to try to be accurate.

In response to some posts above:

1. “* Why doesn’t he give them a little training so that they don’t fall like matchstick men at the first hint of combat. These Uruk-Hai are supposed to be tough and scary, yet they’re so delicate that two hobbits can hold off dozens of them. That’s not very scary. They’re no better than rats.
– Talk to Tolkien about this. In the book the hobbits do exactly as they did in the movie except that I don’t recall the chase into Fangorn Forest. Of course, in the movie the hobbits only survive because Treebeard squashes the orc first rather than the hobbits.”

Two things — Sauruman didn’t know which hobbit had the ring, so he told his orcs to capture, without harming or searching them. In the book, Merry slices off several of the orcs’ arms and hands before they’re taken. See, Merry and Pippin had swords, which they got from the wights after meeting Bombadil. So that got cut. Tolkein writes that Boromir is pierced by many orc arrows before he dies. I got the impression from the way Tolkein writes that most, if not all orcs carry bows. also, the Isengard Uruk-Hai were joined by orcs from Mordor.

2. *What? Wormtongue doesn’t know anything of Saruman’s master plan? And somehow thousands of orcs managed to gather outside in hushed whispers and tiptoes?
-Why would he know of how many orcs Saruman has? He’s a soothsaying spy that just got tossed out on his ear, presumably rode hard to get to Isengard and probably has no idea how much strength Saruman has amassed.

Wormtongue was in and out of Isengard many many times in the books, Gandald guesses. Like over years’ time. He must of known of most of Sauruman’s plans and plots.

3. In reference to the actual “two towers”, Tolkein never stated what two towers the book was named after.

It’s helpful if you understand that Tolkein’s inital publisher named the three books and he hated the titles.

4. nice little debate lets talk about how jackson made and ruined certain characters king theoden whay is he such a wimp in the books he was a war monger wishing to go to his forefathers and not be embaresed by their deeds .then u have farimer the weak willed. ah dont get me wrong i liked bolth movies but these characters bugged me

Theoden was ruined. In the book, all Gandalf did was shake the dark out of his eyes. But in the movie, he’s this naysayer all the way into the ROTK. In the book, Gandalf tells him to hide with his people in the hills, but he says – you don’t know your own strength, Gandalf, I ride to war. In the ROTK, he’s ready and willing to aid Gondor, and doesn’t pout about “they’ve never helped us.”

What kills me is the books was all about how the main charchters were sources of inspiration to the 2ndary charachters. They helped them past their doubts and returned them to their previous glory. Faramir, Theoden, Treebeard are all perfect examples. But that was too subtle for Jackson. He had to have people nag them to death about what was right. It was so surface it sickened me.

5. This is a fantasy movie. It may seem unrealistic, and in parts it is, but that’s because you’re looking at it from a 21st century person’s eye, not experiencing it from a pre-medieval viewpoint.

All movies have to live up to the reality of their own framework. What I mean is, if a movie is about dragons, fine, I’m not going to complain that they can’t fly because they’re too heavy. But if the dragon gets killed by the first arrow, then it’s unreal within its own setting. See? For great fantasy, watch Conan the Barbarian. Conan, though a highly-trained and strong warrior, is still just a man, and can only take on 1 guy at a time. The scene in ROTK with Sam and Shelob was so unispriring I almost laughed. Shelob was supposed to be the queen of all spiders, and all she can do is push him around on the wall? C’mon. I felt like I was watching the muppets there.

6. I will always remember these movies as a high quality benchmark for excellence but I cannot simply ignore they utter ruin they bestowed upon the very character of several individuals either. (Faramir’s ring-lust & Frodo being tricked by Gollum regarding Sam for example.)

I could have forgotten all the above and still enjoyed the movies, except for the way Frodo betrayed Sam. Always in the books, whenever the dark greed fell on Frodo, he quickly recovered and it bonded the two hobbits more closely. Having Frodo trust Gollum over Sam was absurd. I alomst walked out of the movie after that. It was Jackson’s final failure.

On 05 March 2004 (02:30 PM),
Emily W. said:

Hummm… So many things you said above were, well really harsh. I would’ve like to see if you could have done better. I agree with the part about how Frodo betrays Sam. It wasn’t in the book and the point?? But still, it wasn’t a failure! Look at the massive job that these people take on and it’s amazing that they even finished the movies. No, the movies weren’t perfect, but they were still a masterpiece.

On 17 March 2004 (08:00 PM),
Krishan Bhakta said:

Heelo can u e-mail me back 2 busy rite now thank you

On 18 March 2004 (04:46 PM),
gemma said:

hey im wonderind if i can please have Peter Jacksond address im am going to audition for a part in his next movie cause i thought that he maid three other great movies and i wanted a chance in being in king kong i have been in productions before and i realy want to send some information to him about me and i have looked everywere for his address and then i found this
pleeez can i hav it its important to me

On 18 March 2004 (04:57 PM),
gemma ward said:

the lord of the rings triliogy was the best movies that i have ever seen in my whole life i dont no why some people say harsh things about it. the first time i read the book was when i was 6 now im fourteen and desperate to be in his next move i have been in plays and productions before and i would appreciate it if you could send me peter jacksons address to my email. it would be great if i could just send him my info and i cant do this if you dont give me his address CAN YOU PLEEEZ SEND ME SOME INFORMATION ON HIM AND WHEN THE AUDITIONS ARE. IT WOULD BE A GREAT HELP THANK YOU SO MUCH DONT FOR GET

IT IS REALY REALY REALY IMPORTANT THAT I GET MY INFORMATION TO HIM REAL SOON BE FOR IT IS TO LATE

On 09 May 2004 (01:15 PM),
Emily w said:

Hey i don’t know if this will help but i only have his mailing address.

Peter Jackson
c/o ICM 8942 Wilshire Blvd. #219 Beverly Hills, CA 90211-1908

It was the best i could do. Hope you get your chance in king kong!

~*Emily*~

On 09 May 2004 (01:19 PM),
Emily w said:

By the way, it doesn’t show your e-mail, Gemma. You have to type it.

On 29 November 2004 (08:43 AM),
Jessica said:

when are the audtions for the Hobbit going to be and where will they be held???

On 14 December 2004 (12:31 PM),
someone said:

Dear god, you people are pathetic. Half of you cannot spell good enough to pass third grade, and the other half are most likely IN third grade.
1. I like the movies, and I can see his points
2. You will NOT get a part in Peter Jackson’s next movie.
3. You will NOT get a personalized reply from any of the actors

On 14 December 2004 (03:08 PM),
Joel said:

Er, someone (if that is your real name), shouldn’t it be “Half of you cannot spell WELL enough to pass third grade…”?

On 27 December 2004 (02:56 PM),
Ezri Bloom said:

Hey SOMEONE Joel is correct so maybe you are the one who needs to go back to third grade and learn correct grammar!!

On 13 January 2005 (01:51 PM),
Emily W. said:

hahahaha!!! Y’all are so strange! šŸ™‚ Be happy! Hey the extended 2nd movie is out! And it shows i think the running into Fangorn forest. Remember, they couldn’t put EVERYTHING into the movie, it would be just way too long! Although, I wouldn’t mind if it were like 5 hours! lol šŸ™‚

On 16 March 2005 (05:19 PM),
marcia said:

PLEEEEEEEEAAAAAASE HELP! I NEED PETER JACKSONS ADDRESS! I HAVE BEEN ON THE COMPUTER FOR HOURS ON END AND TO NO AVAIL! THENKYOU SO MUCH IF YOU CAN HELP! IF THE CORRECT EMAIL ADDRESS COMES BACK I WILL SEND SOME EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS! THANX AGAIN!

On 02 April 2005 (08:52 AM),
Ruben said:

i need Peter Jakcsons e-mail realy bad can you help.

Ruben

On 23 April 2005 (10:39 AM),
Murray MacDonald said:

Dear Peter Jackson. My name is Murray MacDonald Im 12 years old. I am a Autistic boy and I live twelve miles from Oban in Scotland. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan I have seen both origanal and Evtended edition’s of all three films on DVD. Please could I have your Email Address because I was wondering if I could come down to New Zealand with my parents and my two brothers who also like the trilgoy and meet you and some of the cast members who live there. Hope you are well from Murray MacDonald
Phone number 01631 750 231
Email [email protected]
Address
Alder Cottage West
Ardchattan
Connel
Argyll
PA37 1RG
Scotland

On 23 April 2005 (10:39 AM),
Murray MacDonald said:

Dear Peter Jackson. My name is Murray MacDonald Im 12 years old. I am a Autistic boy and I live twelve miles from Oban in Scotland. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan I have seen both origanal and Evtended edition’s of all three films on DVD. Please could I have your Email Address because I was wondering if I could come down to New Zealand with my parents and my two brothers who also like the trilgoy and meet you and some of the cast members who live there. Hope you are well from Murray MacDonald
Phone number 01631 750 231
Email [email protected]
Address
Alder Cottage West
Ardchattan
Connel
Argyll
PA37 1RG
Scotland

On 23 April 2005 (10:39 AM),
Murray MacDonald said:

Dear Peter Jackson. My name is Murray MacDonald Im 12 years old. I am a Autistic boy and I live twelve miles from Oban in Scotland. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan I have seen both origanal and Evtended edition’s of all three films on DVD. Please could I have your Email Address because I was wondering if I could come down to New Zealand with my parents and my two brothers who also like the trilgoy and meet you and some of the cast members who live there. Hope you are well from Murray MacDonald
Phone number 01631 750 231
Email [email protected]
Address
Alder Cottage West
Ardchattan
Connel
Argyll
PA37 1RG
Scotland

On 13 July 2005 (11:43 AM),
whodyanikabolokov said:

You all need to get a funkin life especially the sad old fuke who was moaning about not seeing gollums ‘dangly bits. Love to see you make a better film you tosser.

Me, myself and gollum

On 14 July 2005 (10:06 AM),
Will said:

Hi,
I am a huge lotr fan and am even planning on going to live in NZ. I think Lotr is fantastic and I don’t know why people hate it so much as to make a web site about how much they hate it!
To be honest I think that any one who dislikes lotr should look at all of the facts.
– Lotr took a total of 6 years to complete, including all of the designing processes.
-Filming took 14 months.
-PJ hired the best cast to play the parts of all the characters.
-The best composer ever was making the music-Howard Shore.
-The best visual effects, prosthetics e.t.c producers were hired- WETA Workshops.
-Lotr won a total of 11 OSCARS. The world record.
so some one must like it!

It sad to think that it was nearly 2 years since lotr was finished and every one has calmed down about it. But one day, hopefully peter Jackson will make The Hobbit then all of the madness can start up once again.

From Will, Gollums twin.

On 27 August 2005 (03:24 PM),
Cassandra said:

I have been a huge fan of LOTR ever since i picked out the Hobbit picture book for my dad to read to me when i went to bed when i was four. Sure, some parts of the movie are a bit unessecary, but look at it this way… the orgins of this book started almost a hundred years ago when Tolkien enlisted in WWI. Guess were the dead marshes came from? The bodies in the water-filled trenches on the battle field. Tolkien had one of the most imaginative minds that I believe there ever was. It’s taken us almost a century to catch up with it. Because the master himself cannot preside over this project, Mr. Jackson did the best he could. It was a HUGE risk to take on this movie… and i believe he pulled it off very well. Your not supposed to pay attention to slightest detail and then rip on it. It’s the movie as an overall. It’s wonderful, it draws you in toward the characters, makes you feel for them. I believe a movie is not only about the camera angles, shots, and graphics, but how well the movie engages the audience. How it pulls them in and says, “Your in it now, too.” I’m rather fond of Legolas too, and was disappointed that he wasn’t it the movie as much as he should, but his time on screen was well managed and forgiving because of the “importance” of other characters at that moment. Mr. Jackson did an amazing job, much better than we could ever dare to dream. and if ur still disappointed, in about another 60 years, YOU re-make it and see how hard it is to translate the un-translatable onto the big screen without complains from fans like us.

On 08 September 2005 (08:11 AM),
RAGHAVAN said:

PLEASE IF ANYONE CAN GIVE ME PETER JACKSONS EMAIL ID PLEASE MAIL IT TO [email protected] I REALLY NEED TO TALK TO HIM PLEASE I WOULD REALLY BE GREATFUL TO YOU THANKS

On 08 October 2005 (06:30 PM),
Hillary said:

Hey i love Lord Of The Rings its my “ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE” I hope that Peter Jackson pusses through and makes “The Hobbit Movie” iam waiting for this movie to some out and hopr it does!!!!!! Thanks alot *Hillary*

Tradition

I’ve been doing a lot of genealogy work lately, researching my family history. It’s a great hobby, makes the hours fly by like nothing else.

As my research continues, I understand more how deeply my roots are embedded in this area: not only Oregon’s Willamette Valley, but specifically the ten mile radius around Zion Mennonite Church.

My Roth ancestors came here in 1889. They helped found Zion in 1893. My Sharp ancestors settled here soon after. Now many descendants of the Roths and the Sharps still live here, as do descendants of the Kropfs and the Yoders and the Kauffmans and the Gingeriches from which the original community was built.

I’m still here. I’m tied to this place by deep roots of tradition.

Tevye
A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here in our little village of Anatevka you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy.

You may ask why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!

Because of our traditions we’ve kept our balance for many many years. Because of our traditions everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.

Papas
Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?

The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.
The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.

Mamas
Who must know the way to make a proper home,
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family and run the home,
So Papa’s free to read the holy books?

The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!
The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!

Sons
At three, I started Hebrew school. At ten, I learned a trade.
I hear they’ve picked a bride for me. I hope she’s pretty.

Daughters
And who does Mama teach to mend and tend and fix,
Preparing me to marry whoever Papa picks?

Children
The daughters (sons), the daughters (sons)! Tradition!
The daughters (sons), the daughters (sons)! Tradition!

Tevye
Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.

I was raised in Anatevka. I live there still, but in the past I have turned my backs upon its traditions, have mocked them even.

I am older now, and see things differently. Maybe I do have room for these traditions, even if they serve a different role in my life than in the life of others. Maybe it is possible to reconcile these traditions with who I am today.

So I’ve been thinking: where is it written that in order for me to attend church I must profess a belief in a god? Where is it written that my presence at church is an admission that I believe in a god? As Jenn said yesterday: “People go to church for a lot of different reasons,” only one of which is a desire to worship a deity. Nick wants to visit Zion this Sunday for the singing. He misses it.

If I choose to spend my Sunday mornings at Zion Mennonite Church, do not take the wrong impression. I will not go there to worship; I will go there to be with my family, to participate in the traditions of Anatevka.

I want to do so without expectations being placed upon me. I want to do so without causing distress to Kris or to anyone else. I want to do so with the understanding that it is not god that brings me to this place; it is the bond of family which ties me to this church, to this congregation, to these people.

Comments

On 19 December 2002 (01:48 PM),
Joelah said:

You bring up an interesting question: Can/Should we celebrate traditions without believing in or honoring that which inspired them? The whole singing a song about God, in a setting that is constructed for the worship of said God, in amongst a group of other singers who are singing FOR God… being part of a situation and only participating in it fractionally? What would/will the true believers say about this? A lot of them, I suppose, would cheer you on, appreciative of the values that bring you there, or hoping that from a partial participation would grow a full one. Others, though, might be disturbed by the motions you’re going through.
As far as the whole, “Tradition” angle, I say chuck it. We cannot ever fully free ourselves from our cultural underpinnings, we must always be aware of our biases and influences, but why celebrate them?

On 19 December 2002 (02:50 PM),
Dana said:

It sounds to me like you are missing the sense of community that Church provided (as well as the music and the traditions of your childhood). There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, of course.

However, I think there is something a bit disingenuous about attending a religious worship service when you are an atheist. If people who are there worshiping know you are an atheist and accept your presence, that’s one thing, but if they actually think you believe, well, I think they would be within their rights to be upset and/or exclude you.

You ask where it’s written that you have to believe in god to partake. I think that’s sort of implicit in churchgoing — that’s the primary purpose, and the singing and community are secondary manifestations of that purpose.

(Shrug)

On the other tentacle, unless they ask and/or you volunteer the information, I can’t imagine anybody would really know. Of course, Canby isn’t exactly a big town, and you have history in the church, and there is such a thing as gossip.

On 19 December 2002 (04:58 PM),
Dave said:

And a weblog…

On 19 December 2002 (06:28 PM),
J.D. said:

Ha!

I’ve made no secret of my atheism, but neither have I been evangelical about it. My fear is that attending church would lead others to believe, incorrectly, that I had returned to a life of faith. Kris is already afraid this is true.

On 20 December 2002 (12:41 AM),
Drew said:

It sounds like your desire to attend church is a longing for community and ritual – both fine reasons for participating in a religious organization – ITWATA (in the world according to Andrew). It seems peculiar that you are so concerned about other people’s reaction to your participation. If it gives you something you need then that should be enough. ITWATA a church is a place where one goes to delve for a personal revelation of truth. It is not a place where prepackaged dogma is force fed like bad fast food. This is probably why I’m a Unitarian. At the risk of sounding evangelistic, you might enjoy a Unitarian service – cerebral, often political, heavy on music, light on dogma. The sum of UU doctrine basically amounts to seven principles:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person

Justice, equality and compassion in human relations

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large

The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all

Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

Oooops, that probably is evangelism. I’d better stop.

Happy holidays.

On 20 December 2002 (07:09 AM),
J.D. Roth said:

It seems peculiar that you are so concerned about other people’s reaction to your participation. If it gives you something you need then that should be enough.

To an extent, I agree. However, one of the hallmarks of J.D.-ness is empathy; I do worry about how others feel. Not because I’m afraid of what they think of me, but because I do not want to make them uncomfortable. I don’t want to create marriage strain by going to church; it’s not worth it. I don’t want to cause the church members any anxiety; it’s not my intent.

ITWATA a church is a place where one goes to delve for a personal revelation of truth.

That’s not really what I’m after, though. You hit the nail on the head when you said I wanted “community and ritual”. These are missing from my life. (I get some community via friends and book group, but on a much smaller scale than what I crave.)

At the risk of sounding evangelistic, you might enjoy a Unitarian service – cerebral, often political, heavy on music, light on dogma.

This doesn’t sound evangelistic, but it also is not what I’m looking for. I do not want to participate in just *any* church service; I want to participate in the services at Zion Mennonite Church in Hubbard, Oregon. It is in this one place that my family roots are deep, with which I feel kinship to the congregation. I don’t want to create new family bonds, I want to revisit the old ones.

On 21 December 2002 (01:29 PM),
Dana said:

Do or do not. There is no try.

As I said above, there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia. I expect that if you were to revisit for a service or three, no one would mind at all. However, if you are going to actually formally join the church, the church members might have a problem.

But if that’s what you want to do, then there’s not really going to be a substitute. You should try it out and see how people react.

If you know Kris is going to have a problem with it and you aren’t willing to add that strain to your life, then that pretty much answers that right there.

If you know what you want, and you aren’t willing to live with a known consequence of attaining it, then your only real option is giving that up and trying to find something else to satisfy your desire.

If your current life does not provide the ritual and community that you crave, and you feel you cannot get it at the familiar, childhood source, where else can it be found? Can things like book club provide more of it than they do now?

Rick Berman Sucks

Roger Ebert’s review of Star Trek: Nemesis is oustanding: hilarious, heart-wrenching. Spot-on. (Slashdot discussion.)

I used to love Star Trek. I grew up watching the original series in re-runs every Sunday at 4 p.m. on channel 12. For nearly two decades!

I video taped every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I audio taped every episode. I had little forms that I filled out as I watched the episodes, noting which recurring minor characters appeared in the episode (Lwaxana Troi! O’Brien!), which recurring subplots resurfaced (Worf’s family is dishonored! Data wants to be human!), etc. etc. I rated every episode. I was thrilled by the Borg, amused by Q. I even liked Wesley Crusher, and defended him to my friends. When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted, I followed it with equal fanaticism.

Then came Star Trek: Voyager. The premise of the show seemed promising, but the first season was terrible. On 19 June 1995 I posted my disgust to rec.arts.startrek.current and basically gave up on the franchise.

Voyager limped through its seven year run with ever-dwindling audiences. Paramount tried to pimp the new series, Star Trek: Enterprise, as a return to the swashbuckling adventures of old. I watched half of the first season (and scattered episodes since), but from what I’ve seen, it’s just more of the same old shit.

Every Star Trek fan knows what needs to be done to fix the franchise: jettison Rick Berman, who has single-handedly destroyed that which we once loved.

I can’t wait to get Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn on DVD.

Comments


On 13 December 2002 (10:56 AM),
Dana said:

Ayup.

Dr. Who, though, is still fantastic. I think it’s because it’s british. Can you imagine Hollywood actually producing an SF/Action movie/show with an iconoclastic goofball as the main hero, who himself solves problems by figuring them out?

The closest I think they’ve come would be the short-lived, Asimov-inspired _Probe_. Or maybe _Max Headroom_, but that was developed by the british, too (the producer on MH was the same guy who did the “8th Doctor” episode on Fox).



On 13 December 2002 (02:34 PM),
Santa Claus said:

“I can’t wait to get Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn on DVD.”

Be patient there sonny-boy.



On 26 December 2002 (09:02 PM),
Victor Hugo said:

Greetings fellow,

Iļæ½m a brazilian illustrator and sci-fi fan and I was looking for info on NEMESIS (it will open here in Brazil only in February), and i found your site, but it seems that you (and many people disliked it very much). I also loved the classic trek, and i even gave proudly to Walter Koenig (when he came to Brazil in June 2002) a poster of my comic book line (www.brigadaonix.com.br).
Since Deep Space Nine and Voyager didnt aired in brazilians TVs (only classic trek and TNG), just a bunch of episodes were released on video, on the Warner Channel we had a refreshing outing..BABYLON 5. I watched every episode during its 5 year run. I was dazzled, specially the third and fourth season, which set the standard for space battles for that time on. Its The Lord of the Rings in space. IMHO..on trying to follow the footsteps of Gene Roddenberty, Rick Berman tried, but it was J. Michael Straczynski which succeeded, Star Trek as it should be, its on BABYLON 5.



On 31 January 2003 (01:26 PM),
Cragg said:

Rick Berman belongs in prison.



On 01 June 2003 (02:59 PM),
Charles Banks said:

AN ABSOLUTE SHAME! How is that Rick Berman has been allowed to destroy Star Trek as he has without a eek or Scream from anyone around or above him?? My biggest fault with Star Tek has ALWAYS been that alought theysay their mission is to seek out NEW life, and to boldly go where no man/woman has gone befoe, they NEVER do this but instead we’ve been subjected to a time where it seems as if all of space has been commercialized except for the Neutral Zone. Nothing really shocks and Awes then, allof the races they encounter look the same! There is absolutely no attempt at creative thinking.
The Borg would have been an excellent plot for a full screen movie, but Berman screwed that away.
the only problem with Star Trek is that it’s in the hands of incompetence! There are those out there that could probly work wonders with it, a true shame and the end of an era. If there is a site thats sending letter to him please info me. many thanks
Charles Banks



On 01 June 2003 (03:00 PM),
CHARLES said:

AN ABSOLUTE SHAME! How is that Rick Berman has been allowed to destroy Star Trek as he has without a eek or Scream from anyone around or above him?? My biggest fault with Star Tek has ALWAYS been that alought theysay their mission is to seek out NEW life, and to boldly go where no man/woman has gone befoe, they NEVER do this but instead we’ve been subjected to a time where it seems as if all of space has been commercialized except for the Neutral Zone. Nothing really shocks and Awes then, allof the races they encounter look the same! There is absolutely no attempt at creative thinking.
The Borg would have been an excellent plot for a full screen movie, but Berman screwed that away.
the only problem with Star Trek is that it’s in the hands of incompetence! There are those out there that could probly work wonders with it, a true shame and the end of an era. If there is a site thats sending letter to him please info me. many thanks
Charles Banks



On 23 August 2003 (01:27 PM),
Robert said:

Maybe it’s time to start reminding Berman he once said he was planning to move on after season three of this series. Hopefull he can be persuaded to take Braga with him.
His comments can be found here.

http://www.trektoday.com/news/160400_03.shtml



On 26 August 2003 (03:42 PM),
Phil D. said:

Greetings , I have been and always will be a product of the intense mythical phenomenon we all know as STAR TREK! That being said-The originality of Gene’s vision is ingrained within a global society-The foundation is the most essential part of any construction and no matter what you add onto the structure it will remain secure in it’s place in time.We are very lucky to live within a real time of space exploration-I believe that all the people working in the fields of research and/or space related activity have been influenced by sci-fi.I consider myself to be an explorer and self educated science enthusiest always seeking intellectual and psysical adventure .The day will come when somehow all of mankind will be united for the common good -Today we are concerned with our own sence of security and wellbeing which is not a bad thing at all- we are still far too primitive.Perhaps in several thousand years we will atain a level of substance within our being that will unify the race-If we survive ourselves!



On 06 January 2004 (11:14 PM),
Arias said:

If anyone knows how to contact Rick Berman via email, please write to me at [email protected]

Thank you,

Arias



On 30 January 2004 (08:31 PM),
Glen Gabel said:

I used to watch the old episodes too, I loved all the original cast movies, and even TNG had a lot of merit…but then Roddenberry died and Berman became King Retard of the Trek Universe. Now everything Trek sucks…I think Id rather sit through SW: Episode 1 again than ST: Nemesis…(b4..what the hell were they thinking?)

Rick Berman is a dimwit who wouldnt know a good script if it bit him in the arse. I hope the execs at Paramount get a clue and can him.



On 03 February 2005 (11:27 AM),
Hawk said:

It is with a sad heart that I announce Enterprise has been cancelled after four seasons and will not be back for a fifth year. The news was made official yesterday at Star Trek.com. I feel this could be the death of Star Trek and we have one person to blame- Rick Berman. He has sucessfully worked the Trek name into the ground, whereas ten years ago it was at its highest peak with the huge ratings grabber, The Next Generation. Too many trips to the well has proven to be ill advised and Berman should be removed from his position as keeper of the Roddenberry flame, by his Paramount superiors, as was threatened a year ago. I see no point for him and Brannon Braga to have anything further to do with the franchise. They have done enough.



On 09 March 2005 (07:51 PM),
Dr. Nose said:

I agree that Star Trek is in a state of crisis but I am of the minority opinion that the franchise is not suffering from overexposure–its suffering from some massive blunders. Enterprise was an ill conceived show. While a prequel might have worked for the mythological Star Wars series, Star Trek is about moving forward. Now, more than ever, the nation needs Roddenberry’s hopeful vision of the future but Enterprise did not give us much of one. It was dark. The ship was dark and many of the early story lines were dark. The backstory and casting were amiss as well. Think about all the interesting back stories to the characters on Next Generation and compare them to the thinly developed characters on Enterprise. Most of the cast was not that inspiring but they suffered through poor writing until Manny Coto came on board.

My recipe for the next Star Trek Series:

(1) Return to the 24th Century. There are too many opportunities for cross over characters and fun with holodecks to go back in time.

(2) License the show to the Sci Fi channel or perhaps HBO. Roddenberry’s concept is too heady for UPN. It needs creative breathing room.

(3) Stick to the basic values of Roddenberry’s optimistic vision of the future.

(4) Have fun. Enterprise was the most humorless of all the series.

I don’t know why Rick Berman has repeatedly rejected the Starfleet Academy Premise. I think it could be well done and perhaps bring in more young viewers.

I really care about Star Trek and would like to see it save.

Dr. Nose

Canon LiDE 30

I bought a new scanner yesterday to replace my rapidly dying old scanner. Here are some test scans.

My nephews Alex and Michael

My nephew Alex waking by the Custom Box warehouse

My grouchy nephew Michael and his toy truck

My nephew Alex playing with the grass

My nephew Alex devouring an apple

Kaden Bacon-Flick at the bottom of a slide

A grove near Gribble Creek at the edge of a fall storm

Kris' mother Claudia hams it up

The Canon LiDE 30 is a great little USB scanner, light-weight and efficient. After downloading the OS X drivers from the Canon web site, it works like a charm under Jaguar.

Scanning these pictures helped me learn a couple of handy techniques in Photoshop Elements, too, such as despeckle and dust/scratch-removal.

Best Gingerbread Cookies Ever

Mom made great cookies. My favorite were gingerbread cookies, hot out of the oven, with a cold glass of milk. Since I left home for college, I haven’t had a good gingerbread cookie.

Until last night.

For Monday Night Football, Jenn Gingerich made the gingerbread cookies from Cooks Illustrated (November 1999).

Cooks Illustrated is the Consumer Reports of food magazines. The staff tests dozens of recipes to come up with the best recipe for any particular dish. They test kitchen equipment. They answer questions about obscure kitchen tools. They research tips and tricks. This information is all presented in a magazine with no advertising. It’s outstanding.

Also from the same group are America’s Test Kitchen, a cooking show, and The Best Recipe, which is something of a cooking bible in the Gingerich and Roth-Gates households (five stars in 151 reviews at Amazon!).

The Cooks Illustrated gingerbread cookies are, well, the best gingerbread cookies I’ve ever had. Jenn also provided frosting, gumdrops, M&Ms, and red-hots to decorate the cookies. The result? A stomach ache from eating too many gingerbread cookies.

Just like being a kid again.

For the record, here’s the recipe for these cookies. (If you like this recipe, subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated — you won’t be sorry.)

Best Gingerbread Cookies
from the November 1999 issue of Cook’s Illustrated

The challenge: There are essentially two types of gingerbread cookie: the thick ones that bake up soft, moist, and gently chewy, and the crispy thin ones that can not only be eaten but also used to decorate the Christmas tree. (There is of course another type, but it would qualify as building material before it could be called an edible cookie.) We began by trying to perfect a recipe for thick gingerbread cookies but found that by using the very same dough and rolling it thinner, we could also produce a tasty thin cookie that held up on the tree.

The solution: The first thing we did to remedy the many construction-type recipes we found was to add more butter. A ratio of anything less than 4 tablespoons of fat to 1 cup of flour will produce a very dry cookie–which may be what’s wanted when building a gingerbread house but is not desirable in a cookie meant for eating. More sugar and molasses came next, making the cookies more flavorful, pleasantly sweet, and moist. A little bit of milk leant the cookies just the right extra measure of softness and lift. Now, whether thick or thin, we had a cookie that tasted as good as it looked.

For good measure: The recipe provides instructions for a slightly unorthodox technique to mix the ingredients that makes it possible to use the dough at once instead of chilling it in the refrigerator for several hours, as called for in most recipes.

THICK AND CHEWY
GINGERBREAD COOKIES

For about twenty 5-inch gingerbread people or thirty 3-inch cookies

If you plan to decorate your gingerbread cookies and make ornaments out of them, follow the directions for Thin, Crisp Gingerbread Cookies. Because flour is not added during rolling, dough scraps can be rolled and cut as many times as necessary Don’t overbake the cookies or they will be dry. Store soft gingerbread in a wide, shallow airtight container or tin with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper between each cookie layer. These cookies are best eaten within one week.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened slightly
3/4 cup unsulphured molasses
2 tablespoons milk

1. In food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade, process flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda until combined, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is sandy and resembles very fine meal, about 15 seconds. With machine running, gradually add molasses and milk; process until dough is evenly moistened and forms soft mass, about 10 seconds. Alternatively, in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add butter pieces; mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1 1/2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds.

2. Scrape dough onto work surface; divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll 1/4-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. (Alternatively, refrigerate dough 2 hours or overnight.)

3. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4. Remove one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and gently lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Cut dough into 5-inch gingerbread people or 3-inch gingerbread cookies, transferring shapes to parchment-lined cookie sheets with wide metal spatula, spacing them 3/4 inch apart; set scraps aside. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full. Bake cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheets front to back and switching positions top to bottom halfway through baking time. Do not overbake. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature.

5. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, cutting, and baking in steps 2 and 4. Repeat with remaining dough until all dough is used.

THIN, CRISP GINGERBREAD COOKIES

For 2 1/2 to 3 dozen gingerbread people
or 4 to 5 dozen cookies

These gingersnap-like cookies are sturdy and therefore suitable for making ornaments. If you wish to thread the cookies, snip wooden skewers to 1/2-inch lengths and press them into the cookies just before they go into the oven; remove skewers immediately after baking. Or, use a drinking straw to punch holes in the cookies when they’re just out of the oven and still soft. Store in an airtight container. In dry climates, the cookies should keep about a month.

Follow recipe for Thick and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies, quartering rather than halving the dough, rolling each dough quarter 1/8-inch thick, reducing oven temperature to 325 degrees, and baking cookies until slightly darkened and firm in center when pressed with finger, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Delicious!

Comments


On 03 December 2002 (08:11 AM),
J.D. said:

In typical obsessive J.D. fashion, here’s the breakdown of the Amazon ratings for The Best Recipe: five stars = 129, four stars = 13, three stars = 8, two stars = 2. Pretty darned good!

From reading the comments at Amazon, I’m led to understand the book contains a recipe for coconut chocolate chip cookies that is quite good. I’ll have to try it.

I should note that sometimes it is best to use The Best Recipe as a base for your dish rather than as the sole recipe. For example, we recently prepared Tuscan-style Game Hens. We used the preparation technique from The Best Recipe (brine the hens in a salt solution for several hours) but used an actual recipe from another cookbook (one of Caprial’s). Very nice.

On 03 December 2002 (03:59 PM),
Jeremy said:

The true cooking bible in our household is a collection of cookbooks by Marcella Hazan. These were recommended to me by my brother-in-law and have served us very well over the years. Some of you have had many meals prepared from these cookbooks.

-jeremy

On 03 December 2003 (11:34 AM),
J.D. said:

Yummy. I know what I’m doing Friday afternoon: cookie time!