I learned a very important lesson when Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers came out in theatre.
I was ludicrously excited. I was going with a cousin on opening night (this was, I believe, my FIRST opening night experience). The theatre was packed. The audience was amazing. The movie had everything I wanted: wonderful lines and pacing, great music, beautiful costumes, that scene where Legolas surfs down the stairs on a shield, firing arrows, before kicked the shield INTO AN URUK’S NECK. It also, I believe, has the greatest opening sequence in the history of film*. I was buzzing when I got home, even though I had to go straight to sleep because I had an exam the next day. And just as I was drifting off, it hit me:
Almost everything in “The Two Towers” is wrong.
There is no love triangle. The Ents want to fight Saruman. Théoden’s idea to go to Helm’s Deep is seen by Gandalf as a good decision. And don’t even get me STARTED on Faramir.
We took to calling it “the opposite movie”. When I took my Tolkien and Fantasy class the last year of university, you could easily spot the people who were skipping the readings, because when it came to TTT, they were ALWAYS wrong.
But you know what?
I don’t care**. I don’t care because it held to the spirit of the original text. The Two Towers has some INCREDIBLY DRY chapters, and Helm’s Deep is held to, basically, a PARAGRAPH. I wasn’t really a writer back then, just a reader and a fan, but I understood (most of) why the changes were made. You tell stories differently in print than you do on screen, and for all its “opposite”ness, The Two Towers is a fantastic film.
I’m keeping that in mind as I get all geared up for THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG tonight. We’ve been jokingly referring to it as “The Desolation of My Feelings” all year***, and because it’s the second movie, the “opposite” movie, I know that it’s the one that might try the patience of the purist inside of me.
I’m better about that than I used to be, though. I’m more understand of how the story needs to changed. Yes, I’d rather the barrels were closed, but I am sure there’ll be a decent reason why they’re open. Frankly, I’m looking forward to finding out what that is.
I’ve been avoiding all the reviews and comments and spoilers. I don’t want to know ANYTHING. I know that over the next few weeks, I am going to read things that make my blood boil, but I’m not worried about that now. It’s true, I won’t be going to the premiere as Party Thranduil (I tried, though), but I am planning to have a fun time tonight.
It won’t be the same. It’ll probably be the exact opposite. There will be things that the critics hate. There will be things that YOU hate. But I am going for the music and the effects, for Tauriel and Bard’s daughters, for the first elderly sorcerer buddy cop movie ever made.
And, good lord, I am frelling excited about it.
*It was almost beaten out by the opening of Star Trek: The Reboot, but that scene of Gandalf and the Balrog falling through the cavern really seals it.
**EXCEPT FOR FARAMIR.
***The first move was going to be “An Unexpected Party”, after the chapter title, but it quickly became “And Unexpected Journey Into Dwarf Feelings”, because REALLY. The third one is, of course, “There And Back Again, Electric Boogaloo”.