Thursday, December 19, 2002

Writes SF and non-fiction too

Science fiction writer David Brin discusses the Lord of the Rings. David Brin is a darn good writer of SF and I respect his opinions when he lays them down in the occasional non-fiction piece. Last year I tried to interview him through email for a project for library school but he wouldn't do it. I wanted his opinion about the future of writing. I kind of got the impression that he thought I wanted him to write my paper but all I really wanted was a sentence or two. I thought it would be neat to have a short quote from a know SF writer. Oh well, it never hurts to ask.

Speaking of Lord of Rings, I went to see the Two Towers last night. I think Roger Ebert has written the most insightful review of the movie. That means I agree with it. He always does a good job reviewing SF and fantasy movies since he is a SF and fantasy reader. I didn't know that until fairly recently. Since he has a knowledge of the genre he is capable of viewing a film as a movie and then discuss whether or not it works as science fiction. He's also a hell of a good writer. I may be wrong but I believe he may be the only film reviewer to have won a Pulitzer.

I don't want to go into Uber-geekdom but I had real issues with The Two Towers. There were unecessary plot discretions in order to enlarge the part of Liv Tyler and the character of Faramir was completely destroyed and was shown to be as weak as his brother, Boromir, instead of stronger and nobler as he was in the books. As in the first movie, time was compressed (which I guess cannot be helped) and the role of the Ents was minimized and they are not shown to be as old and wise as in the books. The character of Treebeard really gets the shaft. He's the oldest creature on the earth and he is given no personality at all. It may have been better to have left the ents out. Also the roles of the two hobbits, Merry and Pippin, were decimated as they end up as merely ent motivators. Gimli the dwarf comes within a pubic hair of Jar Jar Binksdom when he is used too frequently as comic relief.

Sure, sure, but what about the Battle of Helms Deep? 60 minutes of pure action that will blow your fucking socks off.

The best scene in the movie takes place when the CGI Gollum has a vocalized dialogue between both his personalities. Gollum is what the ring has twisted him into and Smeagol is who he once was. As in the first film with Frodo's encounter with Bilbo in Rivendale, it's one of those great moments where the immeasurable personal sacrifice of Frodo the ring bearer is shown. I am impressed by how the moviemakers do not shy away from the fact that Bilbo is giving up his inner essence to save the world. It's easier to die than it is to continue suffering.

I may not have come away as satisfied with this movie as I was with the first but the books and the movies combined have caused me to think so it's a worthwhile project.

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