Y’know, I just can’t get a handle on this whole Lord of the Rings movie thing.

When I first heard about the project, I was skeptical that it could ever be pulled off. The first news and images from the production only served to confirm my fears. Then, when the teaser trailer was released and more production information began to filter onto the internet, I actually found myself excited to see the movies.

Now, though, with the pictures and information that Ain’t It Cool News has been providing the last few days, I’m becoming even more skeptical than I was before. Lurtz? Lurtz? Who the hell is Lurtz?

Peter Jackson, in whom I had tremendous faith, is beginning to worry me. This is just going to be some convoluted cheap-ass production with stuff changed around and mangled and added in order to play to that portion of the audience which is unfamiliar with the book. It’s going to be crap.

Harry Potter, on the other hand, looks fantastic.

(On a side note: Why the hell can’t Ain’t It Cool News do something about its layou? It is easily the ugliest major site on the web (well, of those that I view regularly, anyhow). It has the poorest code, the sloppiest layout — it’s just all-around painful to look at.)

Dane writes that:

  1. “Lurtz is the name of the orc in Saruman’s service who is responsible for actually killing Boromir at Amon-hen (http://www.theonering.net)”, and
  2. “I’ve never understood the need to criticize a creative work when it’s not done yet. In under a year you will be able to see the final product. Second guessing the changes Jackson is going to make aren’t really fair without taking the whole final product into account.”

To which I can reply that I both do and do not see his point.

On the one hand, it is silly to judge a creative work before it is finished. Take Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, for example. How many people, like me, were completely blown away by the first trailer? The second trailer wasn’t quite as good, but still promised an amazing film. Based on that, and other information I had gleaned, I was expecting an outstanding movie. Instead I got something on par with Return of the Jedi. Sure it had some fun scenes (opening scene, underwater city, pod race, senate meeting, light saber battle), but these were outnumbered by the lame-ass (lame-ass being a technical term, of course) things in the movie (Jar-Jar, Jedi council, Jar-Jar, midichlorians, Jar-Jar, space battles, Jar-Jar, Coruscant exterior shots, Jar-Jar, C3PO, Jar-Jar, plot points that made no sense, Jar-Jar, and Jar-Jar for example).

On the other hand, is judging an unfinished creative work any different than judging it based on incomplete information? Is my premonition that the Lord of the Rings movie isn’t going to be very good any different than my premonition that the movie Joe Dirt isn’t going to be very good? No. They are the same thing. I’m basing these premonitions on the information I have available and my past experience. And what do you know? — these are generally a good guide. I don’t need to see any more to know that Lurtz is going to be Beastmaster-esque. And deep down Dane knows I’m right.

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