|"Did you just call me 'Mitzi'?!?"|
|"Elbereth - where did I fail to end up
in this special ..."
|Life is not easy for a single dad of three children - even if the director shows mercy and only brings one of the three on screen.
Elrond Half-Elven, Lord of Imladris, has not only to worry about the fate of Middle Earth (not to mention having his mother-in-law literally on his mind all the time), also his daughter's husband-to-be causes him headaches. Elrond loves his daughter dearly, and wants to spare her from grief and sorrow; he doesn't shy back from a little bit of emotional blackmail to achieve his target: "Do I not also have your love?"
While we didn't see too much of Elrond in "The Fellowship of the Ring", one of "The Two Towers" strongest scenes rests on his shoulders:
|Elrond paints out the future to his daughter Arwen as it will be if she insists on staying in Middle Earth to wait for Aragorn, a mortal, instead of leaving for Valinor.
Next time you think your dad is overdoing it when he tries to talk you out of dating that guy with the tongue piercing, remember Elrond, the word "DOOM" clearly written all over his forehead, hovering over Arwen and telling her that "you, my daughter, you will linger on, in darkness and in doubt. As night falling winter has come without a star. Here you will dwell, bound to you grief, under the fading trees, until all the world has changed and the long years of your life are utterly spent."
This scene, wonderfully done, reminds me in look, feel, and colour of pictures from the 18th century, and shows us the other side of "immortality". The eternal youth and life so many people wish for can also be a curse, when loved ones die and you are the only one left, damned to walk a dying world. Very gothic.
I admit that I first cocked my eyebrow more than Elrond when I heard that Hugo Weaving was cast to play Elrond. I haven't read LOTR 20 times, but I've seen "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" roughly that, and I just COULDN'T imagine him playing Elrond. Uh, was I wrong. He's perfect. Elegant, classy, with a natural authority - and nobody can make the word "doom" (which seems to follow him in a little dark cloud over his head) sound as menacing as he. Definitely my favourite character in the whole movie.
|Some critics bemoaned the lack of "strong female characters" in the movies. I'm pretty sure the same critics would have been the first to complain if Peter Jackson had added some female characters not to be found in the books. Tolkien gave us Arwen, Galadriel and Eowyn - all three are impressive enough to make up for any "lack in wimminhood".
Liv Tyler is beautiful enough for ten - a dark, medieval beauty, she doesn't even need make up and pointed ears to look like an Elf. Her Arwen is strong and proud, and she knows what she wants. Or rather: who she wants.
She's torn between her hope and love for Aragorn and her love for her father and their people. How Liv Tyler acts out this conflict is amazing - because you never suspect anything is acted. No wonder the male part of the audience adores her - an all around impressive, intelligent and absolutely stunning woman. And one that doesn't look like a stick-insect - a real wowser!
|"Ooops ... there went the zipper ..."|
|I admit that I haven't warmed up to Eowyn - yet. That's not Miranda Otto's fault - I have to wait for the last movie of the trilogy to give my final verdict. While the movie-Eowyn certainly looks as I'd imagined a courageous shieldmaiden, she doesn't behave like I'd hoped. It's very clear she's smitten with Aragorn - yeah well, who could blame her! - but why has this to be portrayed with quivering underlip and bambi eyes? It just doesn't fit.
A "Shieldmaiden of Rohan" - sitting in the caves waiting for the battle to end? Huh?
Her strongest scenes are with Grima Wormtongue - there's a sinister tension between the heroine (all dressed in white) and the dark villain which makes you shiver.
|When news got out that Jeffrey Combs would play Grima Wormtongue, we were dancing on the table. (Jackson-fans will remember him as "Agent Milton Dammers" in "The Frighteners").
Alas - soon afterwards it was announced that the part of Theoden's snakey advisor had gone to Brad Dourif. I was very, very miffed then - but having seen Brad's Grima, all I can say is: wow. What an intense play! Great actor, fantastic interpretation of the role, and when Grima stood beside Saruman, learning about the destruction of mankind, that one single tear he shed almost made me forgive him. Almost.
|"Saruman! No! Not the comfy chair!"|
|"Darn. Snow White had 7 dwarves. I see only one."|
|Another one of those characters who's got "IT" is a wonderful example of the contribution casting played in LOTR's enormous success. Karl Urban as Eomer has a screen presence that goes far beyond his brief appearance; something we already noticed when he played 'Caesar' on "Xena - Warrior Princess".
Eomer's bitterness, anger and frustration are like a bomb - you know these powerful emotions will all erupt to the surface sooner or later. Definitely one of the characters we're greatly looking forward to seeing again in movie no. 3.
|THE ONES THAT DIDN'T WORK OUT FOR ME (YET)|
|Countless are the ways we worship thee, oh magnificent one.
We are unworthy of the twinkle in your eyes, oh mighty Balrog-slayer and most dignified of all Hobbit-sitters.
May all cinemas double the size of their screens to hold your presence.
In other words: we really dig Sir Ian McKellen.
|"Of course I'm angry - he used my toothbrush!"|
|We would like to send special greetings to The Ringwraith - it's always great to meet old aquaintances again!
We have missed you since we last saw you in "The Frighteners", and we're glad to see you kept yourself so well.
Yes, you guessed: we really dig the Ringwraiths as well!
|Bernard Hill is a fantastic actor, and he possesses the warmth needed to play Théoden the way he should be.
Unfortunately, we don't get to see wise and kind Théoden King except in one short scene, when Gandalf lifts the curse. This one moment shows Théoden as I'd imagined him. Also very touching: Théoden mourning at his son Théodred's grave.
For the rest of the movie we're treated to an arrogant old man blinded by "honour and glory", a passive bystander to the slaughter of his men, and quite frankly, I spent most of his screen-time hoping Aragorn would grab him by the neck and give him a good shake. That his arrogance is born out of self-doubts is acceptable, but not bearable.
We'd like to see a different Théoden in the next movie. Please.
|We're very much hoping that we'll get to hear the story of Faramir in "Return of the King". If we hadn't read the book, we'd be completely clueless about this character and his motivations.
The father/son conflict is essential - let's hope it wasn't cut out. Bringing The Ring to Gondor would be the chance to impress his father - who otherwise always favoured Boromir - so his strength to give up The Ring and release Sam and Frodo is even more admireable.
This aside: David Wenham - yum yum!
|I've written this article originally for the "Lord of the Rings" special in issue #5 of "PK Webzine", March 2003. I tried to keep my enthusiasm for Elrond at bay - ah, who am I kiddin' - I exceeded by far the 20 lines he was entitled to. But what the hey - what am I head editor for if not to bend the rules in my favour! You're DOOOOMED!|