Maybe it’s just because I’m tired, I don’t know…
I watched the third Lord of the Rings movie just now. Return of the King, I believe it’s called. Frankly, I was a little put out by it. Because instead of having the intended effect of whisking me away to a magical place, it just caused me to think about the actors instead of the characters.
And here’s something: if you take an epic movie like Lord of the Rings and stop thinking in terms of fantasy and start thinking in terms of reality, it’s just a lot of people who are way too serious about pretending. Think about any of the several thousand dramatic speeches.
Those guys aren’t really in battle. They’re sitting in front of a pile of crew members and cameras, and they’re giving this rousing speech about death and what have you. This is why I could never be an actor. Because I’d feel stupid pretending that hard in front of other people.
Eventually, I stopped obsessing about how serious these people are about their make-believe, and got into the story a little. I’m not even going to rant on about how everybody in this movie is like half a glass of wine away from making out. It’s been said before, by better than me. But seriously?
All the people who say it’s just a movie about intense friendship are in denial. I’ve had friends before, and I’ve had people I want to put my dick into. You look at one a certain way, and you look at another a certain way. There’s a line, you know? Every character in this series crossed the shit out of that line.
But what really stuck out was this: Frodo’s a complete douche-puppy. You ever sit down and watch those movies right in a row, you see like eighty-two hours of this teary-eyed Hobbit whining his way across the countryside. If he isn’t about to bawl, he’s about to piss himself in fear. I don’t delve deep into the mythology of Lord of the Rings, so I could be wrong, but isn’t he kind of supposed to be the main protagonist?
Near the end of the movie, when that giant spider penetrated him with its stinger (no symbolism there, ‘cause this is just a buddy movie), I almost cheered. I knew it hadn’t killed him, but at least I got a break from watching his crybaby ass talk about what a heavy burden the ring is, or how hungry he is, or how weak he’s feeling.
One thing I admired about those hobbits, though, is that any time they got in serious trouble, where they thought there might be some dying involved, they started talking about home. But not really like their families or their houses or anything; they talked about the bar they frequented. They reminisced about boozing and smoking. Constantly. And you’d think they’d be going one way: “Do you remember The Shire? The way the grass smelled on a fresh spring morn? Or the way the sun looked as it rose just over the hill?” But then it veers, “And the way we gathered berries for wine, and the pungent aroma of a grand smoke.”
Not verbatim, of course, but if you ever watch these movies, pay attention. The only thing they reminisce about other than drinking it up and smoking is Gandalf’s fireworks. Although to give Sam some credit, there are a couple of parts where he talks about his dad, I think. Also, when the end is really near, when it seems like dying on a burning mountain is mere moments away, he talks about tapping that Rosie chick’s ass.
Now that’s a Hobbit I can respect. Of course, Frodo shits it all up by hugging him and talking about how he’s sure glad to be here with him at the end of everything. And buddy movie or not, you know that if those giant eagles hadn’t shown up and rescued them, Frodo would have eventually gotten around to saying something like, “Before we die, Samwise Gangee, my very best friend in the world…you ever wanted to try it up the butt?”
I’ve seen these movies before, so I knew that every second mattered when they were trying to save the day. There’s that final battle, where the remainder of the good guy army strolls up to the front gate of the bad guys. And they are instantly surrounded. They charge, all brave-like, because there’s no way they’re making it out alive, right?
The scene cuts back and forth between this battle and Sam and Frodo trying to walk up a hill. And stupid-ass Frodo falls down like a dozen times. When he isn’t tumbling to the ground dramatically, he’s whining some more about how he’ll never make it, or how thirsty he is.
And then I start thinking: if Frodo had cowboy-ed up through the entire set of movies—if instead of running away in terror, or bitching about food, or being a worthless, misty-eyed, shaggy-headed emo—if he had hurried his ass up, how many lives could he have saved? Because there at the end, it looks like quite a few people die while he’s crying to Sam about how he remembers The Shire.
And that’s a relatively small battle compared to the one that came before it. A giant city is getting catapulted to ruins, and then there’s a cut to Sam and Frodo, Frodo looking all weepy and talking about how hard shit is.
I’m sure it was very difficult, okay? You have this ring that’s evil or whatever, you have demons or some shit chasing you down on giant flying lizards, stabbing you in the shoulder. Difficult. I get it.
But suck it up, man.
If I was Sam, you know what I would have done about halfway through? I would have stabbed Gollum in the face, smacked Frodo in the back of the head with a shovel, and then hauled his dead ass to that volcano and thrown him and that damn ring in. Mission accomplished in about half the time, now it’s time to get balls-deep in that barmaid from town.
Maybe it’s just because I’m tired, I don’t know…