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Archive for May 1st, 2010

by Allan Fish

(New Zealand/USA 2002/2003 234m) DVD1/2

Haka at Helm’s Deep

p  Peter Jackson, Barrie M.Osborne, Frances Walsh  d  Peter Jackson  w  Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh, Stephen Sinclair  novel  J.R.R.Tolkien  ph  Andrew Lesnie  ed  Michael Horton, Jabez Olssen  m  Howard Shore  art  Grant Major  cos  Richard Taylor, Ngila Dickson

Elijah Wood (Frodo), Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), John Rhys Davies (Gimli/Treebeard), Sean Astin (Sam), Billy Boyd (Pippin), Orlando Bloom (Legolas), Dominic Monaghan (Merry), Miranda Otto (Éowyn), Andy Serkis (Gollum), Bernard Hill (Théoden), Christopher Lee (Saruman), Hugo Weaving (Elrond), Liv Tyler (Arwen), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel), Brad Dourif (Grima Wormtongue), Bruce Hopkins (Gamling), Craig Parker (Haldir), David Wenham (Faramir), Karl Urban (Éomer), Sean Bean (Boromir), John Noble (Denethor),

The Fellowship of the Ring left our comrades split asunder seemingly for good, with three potential narratives to keep a track on.  Add the fact that middle sections of planned trilogies are often weak and there were those who worried that Jackson’s awesome enterprise would fall flat at the second hurdle.  It is to his credit that the second film is as rich and achievement as the original, even more so in this special edition.

            The original cut of the film was still arguably the best English language film of its year, but it is only when we view the uncut version that we see just what additional nuances and plot details were missing.  And we’re not just talking about the central characters, but in terms of the links to not only the preceding film, but the following finale, The Return of the King (none more so than the flashback with Boromir, who was killed in the first film, and Denethor, who appears in the third film).  It is this film that is true not only to the spirit of Tolkien, which the whole of the trilogy is rich in, but in the spirit of the wish of Tolkien.  By this I mean that when Tolkien wrote of Middle Earth he was in mourning for Britain’s lack of a mythology to rival the Norse, German, Greek and Roman.  Fair enough, we had Arthur, but he was born out of Wales via Brittany.  He wanted to create something with an equal footing in not only fantasy but in history.  In the second film, the fantasy takes a back seat and we enter the world of the Rohan, people from a small country state like those of old Anglo-Saxon England, with Edoras very reminiscent of East Anglia or Kent caught up in the battles and rivalries of the larger kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex and Northumbria.  Even the names have their roots in this period and it is here that Tolkien’s own Egbert (the Wessex king who united England in the 9th century), Aragorn, comes into his own and faces his ultimate test. (more…)

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