Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"The Hunt for Gollum"

If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, be sure to check out The Hunt for Gollum.

Within two minutes you will be amazed, because this is a fan-made movie. That is, it was done by motivated, skilled, dedicated fans, not by a big-money studio. As such, it really is a remarkable achievement. The production values, the sets, the costumes, the makeup, the music, the camera-work, and even the CGI, are all incredibly impressive. For a fan-made movie, it's a marvel.

Now that "for a fan-made movie" is not meant as a note of condescension. It is simply an expectation-setter, so that you give it a fair view.

The actors are for the most part adequate or better. The gent who plays Gandalf (Patrick O'Connor) is quite good. I'd like to have seen a lot more of him, and less of....

Unfortunately the weak link is the man who plays Aragorn. He mostly looks the part (though I was too conscious of his eyelashes in some shots; what was up with that?). He has a good physical presence, does the very impressive action scenes quite well.

But he is almost completely expressionless. Either he has few skills as an actor, or he comes from the Old School that the best way to depict fantasy is to affect an ethereal trance. His expression almost never changes at all, unless you count an unfortunate tendency to let his mouth hang open.

(Oh dear. After writing this I go to the cast page and find that the actor is Adrian Webster, and he is described as "a strong actor with a thoughtful gaze." Oh, so that's thoughtful, not unnervingly vacant. Well, decide for yourself.)

Though I've read the books many, many times, I'm not a Tolkien scholar. But I do think they added a brief bit of ancestor-worship that is not in keeping with Tolkien, right towards the start.

It is about 40 minutes, and it's time well-spent. The fight-scenes are intense, and a couple of the deaths are a bit violent and lingering, so you might preview it before showing it to your younger, more tender 'uns. I'd probably rate it PG-13. But if you're at all an LOTR fan, it's definitely worth watching.


Al said...

hmmm... how do they avoid a copyright lawsuit by the Tolkien estate? They even used the maps included in one of the large editions I have.

thanks for the link Dan.

al sends

Fred Butler said...

So when will they go back and do the scourging of the Shire?

DJP said...

When the movie is remade by someone else in 15 years.

Then there will be the scourging of the Shire, Tom Bombadil, barrow-wights, Aragorn as a man grim man gladly gripped by destiny (and not angsty and conflicted), Faramir as an equally noble man, Denethor as a noble ruler driven mad by Sauron, no idiotic bypaths towards Gondor, and no Sam whimpering off on the Stairs.

Trinian said...

Oh my, I'll have to spend some time with this one after work - I'd best watch it fast before it gets C&D'd into oblivion like so many other fan-made projects I've been interested in recently. Thank you very much, Dan.

Shaun Marksbury said...

Ha, I watched this just last night. :) I agree that the effects were awesome for an independent film. There were a couple of rough spots, more than forgivable. :)

DJP said...

I agree. It's not a deathless classic; but I do think it's an AMAZING accomplishment, and well worth a watch.

Unknown said...

I will definitely have to check this out after work today. Thanks for the link!

NoLongerBlind said...

Thanks for the present!

Looking forward to viewing this with wife and son!

Short Thoughts said...

Pretty stunning work. I was fine with most of it, but the thought that Gollum could be tied in a sack and carried leisurely about . . . well.

DJP said...

Gotta admit, though — clever money-saver.


Unknown said...

Finally got to watch it. Definitely worth it and for it being an amatuer film is just amazing. Now I need to watch the trilogy, again.

Thanks Dan!